Charles Stanley – Love is in the Giving

Charles Stanley

When you think of a loving relationship, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of the romantic love between a husband and a wife, the special bond between a parent and a child, or the comfortable companionship of a close friend. Most people think happiness in love depends heavily on getting what they need from the other person.

The truth is that giving, when it’s done with pure motives, is its own reward. This sense of satisfaction doesn’t depend on how others receive your gift of service. Some people will never be content with what you do for them. Others will never feel worthy; no matter how much you encourage them or attempt to include them in your life. In risking love, you are also risking the possibility of being rejected or turned away. A person may even reject you while saying he or she loves you!

The goal in loving is not to evoke the response you want from another person, but to do what you believe the Lord is pleased for you to do. Your willingness to love must never depend upon another person’s ability to give love back to you.

You must seek to give love in ways that others can accept your love. But if they cannot accept your love in spite of your best efforts, then you must ask yourself, Is God asking me to show love to this person? If so, then you can be sure He accepts your efforts and values them. He will reward you by sending someone who can receive your love, and who can return love to you in precisely the ways and in exactly the moments you need it most.

Also ask yourself, Can I accept the forms of love that others are showing to me? Be open to receiving the love of others.

Your challenge as a Christian is to love others even if they don’t love you back. So, you are never without someone to love. Reciprocity is not required for this kind of love. The only thing that is required is your willingness, your desire, and your commitment to open up and give others a piece of who you are and what you have.

If you don’t have someone who needs you today or who counts on your love, find somebody. You only need to open your eyes and look around. You’ll find dozens of people within immediate range who greatly need to know somebody cares for them.

Volunteer your time to an organization or group that needs an extra pair of hands or perhaps a particular skill that you have.

Join a group that shares your interests. Don’t do it with an eye toward what you can get from the group. Instead, join with the intent of giving something to the group. Your gift of love may be baking cookies for refreshment time, typing up the minutes of the group meeting, offering your living room for meetings, or picking up members who no longer drive so they can attend.

Get involved with a church group actively engaged in ministry to others. It may be a group of ushers who assist with church services. It may be a group that goes door-to-door to deliver information about the church. It may be a group that prepares boxes of clothing and bedding to send to missionaries.

You’ll find more opportunities to give than you ever dreamed possible. You’ll find more people in need of love and compassionate care than you ever anticipated.

When you know someone is counting on your help, when you know you’re making a difference in someone else’s life, when you can see that your gifts of time and talent are greatly valued, when your loving touches are accepted and returned, when your words of encouragement fall on appreciative ears, and when your acceptance of another person creates a friendship or establishes a good relationship, you automatically have a sense of purpose and meaning for your life. You have a desire to love more, to give more, to extend yourself further.

And in that, there is hope. You want tomorrow to dawn because there is still a lot of loving that you have to do tomorrow. You want next week to roll around because there’s still a lot of giving that you want to do next week.

On the other hand, if you isolate and turn inward—refusing to acknowledge the hands that are reaching out to you and refusing to believe the encouragement that others attempt to offer—you will become increasingly depressed. You also can expect to have a growing feeling that you are worth nothing and that life is over.

Loving others is the most hope-filled thing you can do.

Adapted from “The Reason for My Hope,” by Charles F. Stanley.



Our Daily Bread — Canceled Christmas

Our Daily Bread

Luke 2:36-38

Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of [Jesus]. —Luke 2:33

We felt as if our Christmas was being canceled last year. Actually, our flight to see family in Missouri was canceled due to snow. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years to celebrate Christmas with them, so we were greatly disappointed when we only got as far as Minnesota and had to return home to Michigan.

On Sunday, in a message we would have missed, our pastor spoke about expectations for Christmas. He caught my attention when he said, “If our expectations for Christmas are gifts and time with family, we have set our expectations too low. Those are enjoyable and things we’re thankful for, but Christmas is the celebration of the coming of Christ and His redemption.”

Simeon and Anna celebrated the coming of Jesus and His salvation when Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple as a baby (Luke 2:25-38). Simeon, a man who was told by the Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, declared: “My eyes have seen Your salvation” (v.30). When Anna, a widow who served God, saw Jesus, she “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v.38).

We may experience disappointments or heartache during the Christmas season, but Jesus and His salvation always give us reason to celebrate. —Anne Cetas

How wonderful that we on Christmas morn

Though centuries have passed since Christ was born,

May worship still the Living Lord of men,

Our Savior, Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem. —Hutchings

Jesus is always the reason to celebrate.

Bible in a year: Amos 1-3; Revelation 6



Alistair Begg – Hearts Fixed on Jesus

Alistair Begg

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

Ruth 1:14

Both of them had an affection for Naomi and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the test came: Naomi unselfishly set before both of them the trials that awaited them and encouraged them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their friends in Moab.

At first both of them declared that they would take their stand with the Lord’s people; but upon further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother-in-law, and her people and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother-in-law.

It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to hold to them in the face of discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical clinging to the Lord, which must show itself in holy devotion to truth and holiness, is no small matter.

How do things stands with us? Is our heart fixed on Jesus, our body a living sacrifice? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer the loss of all things for the Master’s sake? The ultimate gain will be an abundant provision, for the treasures of Egypt do not compare with the glory to be revealed.

Orpah fades from view; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death. But Ruth lives on in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line that produced the King of kings.

Blessed among women will be those who for Christ’s sake renounce all; but forgotten, and worse than forgotten, will be those who in the hour of temptation violate their conscience and turn back to the world. This morning let us not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah’s kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a clinging of our whole heart to the Lord Jesus.


Charles Spurgeon – Perfection in faith


“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 2:20-26

We could not have access to God unless on the footing of perfection; for God cannot walk and talk with imperfect creatures. But we are perfect; not in character, for we are still sinners; but we are perfected through the blood of Jesus Christ, so that God can allow us to have access to him as perfected creatures. We may come boldly, because being sprinkled with the blood, God does not look on us as unholy and unclean, otherwise he could not allow us to come to his mercy seat; but he looks upon us as being perfected for ever through the one sacrifice of Christ. That is one thing. The other is this. We are the vessels of God’s temple; he has chosen us to be like the golden pots of his sanctuary; but God could not accept a worship which was offered to him in unholy vessels. Those vessels, therefore, were made perfect by being sprinkled with blood. God could not accept the praise which comes from your unholy heart; he could not accept the song which springs from your uncircumcised lips, nor the faith which arises from your doubting soul, unless he had taken the great precaution to sprinkle you with the blood of Christ; and now, whatever he uses you for, he uses you as a perfect instrument, regarding you as being perfect in Christ Jesus. That, again, is the meaning of the text, and the same meaning, only a different phase of it. And, the last meaning is, that the sacrifices of the Jews did not give believing Jews peace of conscience for any length of time; they had to come again, and again, and again, because they felt that those sacrifices did not present to them a perfect justification before God. But behold, beloved, you and I are complete in Jesus. We have no need of any other sacrifice. All others we disclaim. He hath perfected us for ever. We may set our conscience at ease, because we are truly, really, and everlastingly accepted in him.

For meditation: Being accepted in Christ enables us to serve God acceptably.

Sermon no. 232

15 December (Preached 2 January 1859)



John MacArthur – The Lover of Righteousness

John MacArthur

“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions” (Heb. 1:8-9).

In these days it’s difficult for us as Christians to be totally supportive of our governmental leaders when we see so much of what God calls righteous compromised or ridiculed. But the King of kings–Christ Himself–is the only leader who has a perfectly right attitude toward righteousness.

Christ rules from an eternal throne, and He rules eternity as God and King. The scepter He holds is symbolic of His rule, particularly as a rule of righteousness.

But there’s more to it than that: He just doesn’t act righteously; He loves righteousness itself. How often have we obeyed without joy, expressing an attitude of willing condescension? But Jesus gives us a different model.

James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” True righteousness never varies from what is true, just, and good. And 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God is total light and total righteousness. Everything Jesus did resulted from His love of righteousness.

Because Christ loves righteousness, He hates lawlessness. Since He loves what is right, He must hate what is wrong. The two are inseparable–one cannot exist without the other. You cannot truly love righteousness and also like sin. When there is true love for God, there will also be true love for righteousness and total hatred of sin.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we will love righteousness. Our attitudes toward righteousness and sin will ultimately reveal how closely we are conformed to Christ. Check out your attitudes and actions. How are you doing?

Suggestion for Prayer:

Like the psalmist, ask God to show you any hurtful way in you (Ps. 139:24).

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 119 and note how many times the psalmist makes reference to either his love for God’s law or righteousness.


Joyce Meyer – Facing Fear

Joyce meyer

The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. —1 Peter 5:8

Notice the scripture says “may” and not “will.” In other words, you have something to do with whether he is able to devour you. And if you know anything about Satan, he doesn’t have any power. The only power he has is the power you give him.

Fear, of course, is one of his favorite tactics, so he will try to use fear to stop you. But don’t give in to him. Go ahead and do it afraid. When God tells you to give somebody a tract or witness to a person, say, “Yes, Lord, I want to do what You’re telling me to do. I feel kind of afraid, Lord, but I believe You’re with me, so I’m just going to do it.”

When God tells you to give an extra big offering in church because He wants you to plant it as a seed (See Luke 6:38) so that you can come up higher in your finances, say, “Okay, Lord, I’ll do it. I know that means I will have to really trust You for some provision, but because I believe I’m hearing from You, I’ll do it.”

Don’t let the devil rob you of the destiny God has for you. Step out and face your fears; face your pain. You can be a victorious Christian, or you can be one who is never quite able to enjoy the fullness of God. The only difference between the two is that one is stopped by fear and the other does it afraid. Determine today to do it afraid!


Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Learn to Be Patient


“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to be patient” (Romans 5:3).

A Christian family was struggling with the trials of being parents (they had four young children – two of them in diapers). One day the wife, who was frustrated to her wits’ end, came to me for spiritual counsel. As she phrased it, she was at the point of losing her sanity.

How could she cope with rearing her children? She told how angry she got with the children when they disobeyed her. In fact, she indicated there were times when she feared she might physically harm her children, though she loved them dearly.

How could she cope with rearing her children? She needed the fruit of the Spirit, patience and love. The only way she could obtain such patience was by faith, confessing her sins and appropriating the fullness of the Holy Spirit. This she began to do, continually. Today, she is a women of godly patience, and being a parent has become a joyful privilege for her.

All of us need Christ’s patience, regardless of who we are or in what circumstances we find ourselves. Patience is granted to us by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. It is produced by faith as a fruit of the Spirit, and it is granted in times of great crises (Luke 21:15-19); in dealing with church situations (2 Corinthians 12:12); in opposing evil (Revelation 2:2), for soundness of faith (Titus 2:2) and in waiting for the return of Jesus Christ (James 5:7,8).

Bible Reading: Romans 5:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will look on trials and problems as a forerunner of great patience in my life, while claiming the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me.



Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Salvation Security


In 1924, the catchphrase “the gift that keeps on giving” launched a phonograph company’s series of musical recordings. In 1971, the popular movie “Diamonds Are Forever” inferred precious gems are the ideal gift. Last month, an e-trading company suggested the best gift to give is a contribution to a non-profit organization doing relief operations in the Philippines.

The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

In truth, there’s only one gift with eternal value – salvation in Jesus. It’s been offered to the whole world, but many reject it, staying on an earthly quest for success and material comfort. Some say His salvation is too hard to receive – that there must be some “catch.” How sad it is that their choice has the consequence of eternal separation from God Himself.

Jesus cautioned about laying up earthly treasures that can be destroyed or stolen. It is time for America…for you…to acknowledge the folly of pursuits for earthly security, and look instead to the Cross, from which absolute security in life continually flows. Pray for your leaders on Capitol Hill, in the Supreme Court, at the Pentagon, and in the White House. The gift that keeps on giving is for them, too.

Recommended Reading: John 3:12-21