Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Daily Devotionals are by well respected Bible Leaders, Teachers and Pastors. John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Avoiding Spiritual Delusion

Avoiding Spiritual Delusion

[COLOR=red]”Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

It’s a delusion to think you can hear God’s Word, then disobey it without cost.

Matthew 7:21-23 records the tragic results of spiritual delusion. Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Jesus made a clear distinction between those who merely claim to be Christians and those who truly are. The difference is, true believers do the will of the Father. In the words of James, they are doers of the Word, not merely hearers who delude themselves.

“Hearers” in James 1:22 translates a Greek word that speaks of auditing a class. Auditing students attend class and listen to the instructor but don’t do any work. Consequently, they don’t receive credit for the course. The phrase “delude themselves” speaks of being victimized by one’s own faulty reasoning.

People who listen to God’s Word but never obey it are spiritual auditors who delude themselves by thinking that hearing the Word is all God requires of them. Unfortunately, many churches are full of such people. They attend services and hear the sermons but their lives never seem to change. They’re content to hear the Word but never apply it. Like those whom Jesus condemned in Matthew 7, they’ve chosen religious activities over true faith in Christ.

How tragic to think you’re saved, only to hear, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23). That will never happen if you’re a doer of the Word.

Suggestions for Prayer

Take advantage of every opportunity to respond to the Word in specific ways. Ask God for His grace to keep you faithful to that goal.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 7:13-29.

How did Jesus describe false prophets?

How can you discern a false from a true prophet?

To what did Jesus liken those who hear His words and act on them? Why?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Being A Doer of The Word

Being a Doer of the Word

[COLOR=Red]”Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.

Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the importance of applying Scripture. For example, just prior to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua received this message from God: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8). That’s a command to be a doer of the Word—one who receives, studies, and understands Scripture, then applies it to every aspect of his or her life. That was the key to Joshua’s amazing success.

James 1:22 is a New Testament counterpart to Joshua 1:8 and is directed to every believer: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It’s not enough to hear the Word; you must also do what it says.

The phrase “doer of the word” doesn’t refer to the person who obeys periodically, but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It’s one thing to run in a race; it’s something else to be a runner. It’s one thing to teach a class; it’s something else to be a teacher. Runners are known for running; teachers are known for teaching—it’s characteristic of their lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience to biblical truth.

Never be content to be a hearer of the Word only, but prove yourself a doer in the Christian life. Your claim to love Christ will mean something only if you obey what He says.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Memorize Joshua 1:8 and pray regularly that God will make you a faithful doer of the Word.

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 1.

What are the benefits of delighting in God’s law?

How does the psalmist characterize those who reject righteousness?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Devotionals

Receiving the Word in Humility

Receiving the Word in Humility

[COLOR=Red]”In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

A humble heart is a teachable heart.

Scripture speaks of a past, present, and future aspect of salvation. You have been saved from the penalty of sin (salvation), are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification), and will ultimately be saved from the presence of sin (glorification). At first glance James 1:21 may sound like it’s written to unbelievers, urging them to receive the Word, which is able to redeem them. But the phrase “save your souls” carries the idea that the implanted Word has the ongoing power to continually save one’s soul. It’s a reference to the present and ongoing process of sanctification, which is nurtured by the Spirit-energized Word of God.

The Word was implanted within you by the Holy Spirit at the time of your salvation. It is the source of power and growth for your new life in Christ. Your responsibility is to receive it in purity and humility so it can do its sanctifying work.

“Humility” in James 1:21 could be translated “meek,” “gentle,” or “having a willing spirit”; but I prefer “teachable.” If your heart is pure and humble, you will be teachable and will set aside all resentment, anger, and pride to learn God’s truth and apply it to your life.

When Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15), He was addressing this very issue. If you love Him, you will desire to obey Him and will receive His Word so you can know His will for your life. As you receive the Word, the Holy Spirit empowers you to live according to its principles.

Paul said, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another . . . and whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:16-17). That’s the essence of a biblical lifestyle and the fruit of receiving the Word in humility. May God bless you with a teachable spirit and an ever-increasing love for His truth.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to keep your heart tender towards Christ and His Word.

For Further Study

Read Nehemiah 8.

Who read God’s Word to the people?

How did the people respond?

Would you characterize them as receivers of the Word? Explain.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Receiving The Word in Purity

Receiving the Word in Purity

[COLOR=Red]”Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness . . . receive the word” (James 1:21).

When the psalmist said, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:101), he was acknowledging a key principle of spiritual growth: you must set aside sin if you expect to benefit from God’s Word. Peter was expressing the same thought when he said, “Putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:1-2). Likewise, James admonished us to put off sin and receive the Word (James 1:21).

Neither James nor Peter were addressing unbelievers, because without Christ, people have no capacity to set sin aside or receive God’s Word. But we as Christians are characterized by our ability to do both, and must continually purify our lives through confession of sin, repentance, and right choices. That’s why Paul said, “Just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification” (Rom. 6:19).

The Greek word translated “putting aside” in James 1:21 originally meant taking off dirty, soiled clothes. “Filthiness” translates a Greek word that was used of moral vice as well as dirty clothes. Its root word was sometimes used of ear wax, which impedes a person’s hearing. Similarly, sin impedes reception of the Word. “Wickedness” speaks of any evil intent or desire. Together they stress the importance of setting aside all evil actions and intentions.

Simply stated, you should never presume on God’s grace by approaching His Word with unconfessed sin. David prayed, “Keep back Thy servant from presumptuous [deliberate] sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless” (Ps. 19:13). He wanted to be pure before the Lord. I pray that you share his desire and will always receive the Word in purity.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Memorize Psalm 19:14. Make it your prayer as you study God’s Word.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 3:5-17.

What does Paul admonish you to put off? Put on?

Why is it important to heed his admonitions?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/drawing-near

Be Slow to Anger

Be Slow to Anger

[COLOR=Red]”Let everyone be . . . slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

If you resent God’s Word, you cannot grow in righteousness.

Have you ever started reading your Bible, thinking everything was fine between you and the Lord, only to have the Word suddenly cut deep into your soul to expose some sin you had neglected or tried to hide? That commonly happens because God seeks to purge sin in His children. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to penetrate the hidden recesses of the heart to do His convicting and purifying work. How you respond to that process is an indicator of the genuineness of your faith.

“Anger” in James 1:19-20 refers to a negative response to that process. It is a deep internal resentment accompanied by an attitude of rejection. Sometimes that resentment can be subtle. Paul described those who “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3). They’re the people who drift from church to church in search of someone who will tell them what they want to hear—or a congregation that wants a pastor who will make them feel good about themselves instead of preaching the Word and setting a high standard of holiness.

Sometimes resentment toward the Word ceases to be subtle and turns to open hostility. That happened when the crowd Stephen confronted covered their ears, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60). Countless others throughout history have felt the fatal blows of those whose resentment of God’s truth turned to hatred for His people.

Receiving the Word includes being quick to hear what it says and slow to anger when it disagrees with your opinions or confronts your sin. Is that your attitude? Do you welcome its reproof and heed its warnings, or do you secretly resent it? When a Christian brother or sister confronts a sin in your life, do you accept or reject their counsel?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the power of His Word to convict you and drive you to repentance. Welcome its correction with humility and thanksgiving.

For Further Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5, noting the charge Paul gave to Timothy and his reason for giving it.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Be Slow to Speak

Be Slow to Speak

[COLOR=Red]”Let everyone be . . . slow to speak” (James 1:19).

It is reported that when the Scottish Reformer John Knox was called to preach, he shed many tears and withdrew himself to the privacy of his room. He was grieved and greatly troubled at the prospect of such an awesome responsibility. Only the compelling grace of the Holy Spirit Himself enabled Knox to fulfill his calling.

John Knox understood the importance of being slow to speak. He knew that God holds teachers of the Word accountable for what they say, and will dispense a stricter judgment to them if they violate their ministry (James 3:1- 2).

In one sense, God holds everyone accountable for what they say. You are to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). But being slow to speak doesn’t refer to vocabulary or opinions. It refers to teaching the Word. You are to pursue every opportunity to hear God’s Word, but exercise reluctance in assuming the role of a teacher. Why? Because the tongue reveals the subtle sins of one’s heart and easily offends others (James 2:2).

Does that mean you should never teach the Bible? No, because God commands every believer to “make disciples . . . teaching them to observe all” that Jesus taught (Matt. 28:19-20, emphasis added). And the Spirit gifts many believers to be preachers and teachers of the Word. Paul said, “I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

You must take every opportunity to share the gospel with others, and if God has called and gifted you to teach the Word, be faithful to do so. But remember, those are serious and sacred responsibilities. Be sure your motives are pure and your teaching accurate. If someone is offended, let it be by the convicting power of the Word, not by something you said at an unguarded moment.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask the Lord to teach you to guard your tongue and to speak only what is edifying to others.

For Further Study:

Read Proverbs 10:19, 13:3, 17:28, and 29:20, noting what each teaches about wise speech.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

Be Quick to Hear

Be Quick to Hear

[COLOR=Red]”This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear” (James 1:19).

Being quick to hear involves a proper attitude toward God’s Word.

It has been well said that either God’s Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God’s Word. Apparently some of James’s readers were allowing sin to keep them from receiving the Word as they should. God was allowing them to experience various trials so their joy and spiritual endurance would increase, but they lacked wisdom and fell into temptation and sin. James called them back to the Word and to a godly perspective on their circumstances.

James 1:19 begins with the phrase “This you know,” which refers back to verse 18. They had experienced the power of the Word in salvation, now James wants them to allow it to sanctify them. For that to occur, they must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath (v. 19).

Being quick to hear means you don’t disregard or fight against God’s Word. Instead, when trials or difficult decisions come your way, you ask God for wisdom and receive the counsel of His Word with a willingness to obey it. You’re not like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, whom Jesus described as “foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).

You should be quick to hear the Word because it provides nourishment for your spiritual life and is your weapon against all spiritual adversaries. It is the means by which you are strengthened and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It delivers you from trials and temptations and engages you in communion with the living God. The Word should be your most welcome friend!

Be quick to hear, pursuing every opportunity to learn God’s truth. Let the testimony of the psalmist be yours: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. . . . How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:97, 101, 103).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His precious Word and for the marvelous transforming work it accomplishes in you.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 19:1-14.

What terms did the psalmist use to describe God’s Word?

What benefits does the Word bring?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Receiving the Word

Receiving the Word

[COLOR=Red]”This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).

True believers receive God’s Word.

The key word in today’s passage is “receive” (James 1:21). Believers are to receive God’s Word. That’s what distinguishes them from unbelievers. Jesus said to a group of religious unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:43, 47).

“Hear” in those verses doesn’t refer to hearing with the ear only. Jesus’ audience heard in that sense—even to the point of wanting to kill Him for what He said (v. 59)—but they didn’t receive and obey His words. By rejecting the truth, they proved themselves to be children of the devil, who is the father of lies (v. 44).

Peter called God’s Word the imperishable, living, and abiding seed that brings salvation (1 Peter 1:21). But receiving God’s Word isn’t limited to salvation alone. As a Christian, you have the Word implanted within you. Now you must nurture it by removing the weeds of filthiness and wickedness so it can produce the fruit of righteousness. That isn’t a one-time effort, but a lifestyle of confession, looking into God’s Word, desiring His message, and longing to obey it. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sinlessly perfect, but your life will be marked by ever-increasing spiritual maturity and obedience to the Word. When you are disobedient, you should feel an enormous tension in your spirit until you repent and make things right.

Are you hearing and receiving God’s Word in that way? Do those who know you best see you as a person whose life is governed by biblical principles? Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Receive His truth and abide in it continually!

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to keep you sensitive to His Word in every situation you face today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14, noting the Thessalonians’ response to God’s Word.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Examining Your Faith

Examining Your Faith

[COLOR=Red]”Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

God wants you to know whether your faith is genuine or not.

Our studies this month center on James 1:19-2:26, which deals with the issue of true faith—a most important consideration indeed. Knowing your faith is genuine is a wonderful assurance, but thinking you’re saved when you’re not is the most frightening deception imaginable. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus speaks of those who call Him Lord and even do miracles in His name, but aren’t redeemed. Second Timothy 3:5 speaks of those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. They’re religious but lost. Sadly, many people today are victims of the same deception. They think they’re Christians, but they’re heading for eternal damnation unless they recognize their true condition and repent.

Deception of that magnitude is a tragedy beyond description, but you need never fall prey to it because James gives a series of tests for true faith. This month we’ll be applying one of those tests: your attitude toward God’s Word. That’s an especially crucial test because the Word is the agency of both your salvation and sanctification. The Holy Spirit empowered it to save you, and He continually works through it to conform you to the image of Christ. That’s why Peter said, “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God. . . . [Therefore] like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 1:2-2:2).

Jesus Himself characterized believers as those who abide in His Word and obey His commandments. They receive the Word with an attitude of submission and humility. However, unbelievers resist and disobey the Word (John 8:31, 43-45). Psalm 119:155 says, “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Thy statutes.”

As you study this test of true faith, ask yourself, Do I pass the test? I pray that your answer will echo the words of the psalmist: “I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end” (Ps. 119:112).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for clarity and confidence about your faith in Christ.

For Further Study

Read the book of James, noting the instructions he gives regarding Christian living.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR

Making Worthless Things Valuable

Making Worthless Things Valuable

[COLOR=Red]”The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

In God’s hands you can be a precious and effective instrument.

The story is told of a great concert violinist who wanted to prove a point, so he rented a music hall and announced that he would play a concert on a $20,000 violin. On concert night the music hall was filled to capacity with music lovers anxious to hear such an expensive instrument played. The violinist stepped onto the stage, gave an exquisite performance, and received a thunderous standing ovation. When the applause subsided, he suddenly threw the violin to the ground, stomped it to pieces, and walked off the stage. The audience gasped, then sat in stunned silence.

Within seconds the stage manager approached the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, to put you at ease, the violin that was just destroyed was a $20 violin. The master will now return to play the remainder of his concert on the $20,000 instrument.” At the conclusion of his concert he received another standing ovation. Few people could tell the difference between the two violins. His point was obvious: it isn’t the violin that makes the music; it’s the violinist.

The disciples were like $20 violins that Jesus transformed into priceless instruments for His glory. I trust you’ve been encouraged to see how God used them despite their weakness, and I pray you’ve been challenged by their strengths. You may not be dynamic like Peter or zealous like James and Simon, but you can be faithful like Andrew and courageous like Thaddaeus. Remember, God will take the raw material of your life and expose you to the experiences and teachings that will shape you into the servant He wants you to be.

Trust Him to complete what He has begun in you, and commit each day to the goal of becoming a more qualified and effective disciple.

Suggestions for Prayer

Make a list of the character traits you most admire in the disciples. Ask the Lord to increase those traits in your own life.

For Further Study

Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17, noting Paul’s perspective on his own calling.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals#.TqYCaZxU3cR