Charles Stanley – How to Listen to God


Isaiah 50:4-5

Most of us are better at talking than listening, but communicating with the Lord involves both. God intends for His children to hear His voice. His goal is the same today as it has always been—to be certain that we comprehend the truth about Him, to conform us to His ways, and to equip us for communicating His truth to others.

One of the main instruments God uses to speak to modern-day believers is His Word. For this reason, studying the Bible is more important than getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. We can easily live on one daily meal, but we cannot survive in this wicked world unless we feast on Scripture. The result of regular consumption of God’s Word is a discerning spirit. When a Christian shares something the Lord has laid on his heart to tell us, our spirit verifies the truth of the message.

Regardless of how loudly God speaks, we won’t hear unless listening is a priority. We must ask the Lord to teach us to hear and then work at having a quiet attitude. An internal “receiver” tuned to the Father develops only through committed prayer, meditation, and practice at listening. In addition, we need a spirit of submission to obey His commands.

God’s goal for us is a lifestyle of sensitivity so we can hear Him in noisy or calm situations. Listening is a critical skill for ensuring that our hearts are open to divine guidance in every circumstance. In addition to the nourishment provided by our feast of Scripture, there is also “dessert”—recognition of our Father’s voice.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 49-50

Our Daily Bread — Turn It Off


Read: Mark 6:30-32,45-47

Bible in a Year: Psalms 113-115; 1 Corinthians 6

Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. —Mark 6:31

When our kids were young, we took a trip to northern Wisconsin to visit my grandparents. They didn’t get very good reception on their television, but TV wasn’t much of a priority with them. After I had seen our son Scott fiddling with the TV set for a while, he asked with frustration, “What do you do if you can get only one channel and you don’t like what’s on that one?”

“Try turning it off, ” I said with a smile. Not exactly the advice he was hoping for. It’s even more difficult to do now, especially when there are so many devices that entertain, inform, and distract us.

Sometimes we do need to just turn it all off and rest our minds for a little while; we simply need to “unplug.” Jesus often drew aside for a time—especially when He wanted to take time to pray (Matt. 14:13). He encouraged the disciples to step away as well—even for a brief time (Mark 6:31). That kind of solitude and time for reflection is beneficial for each of us. In those moments we are able to draw near to God.

Follow the example and wisdom of Christ. Get away by yourself and “rest a while.” It will be good for your body, mind, and spirit. —Cindy Hess Kasper

Lord, help me to seek those things which are from above. I want to turn off all that distracts me and draw near to You.Share this prayer from our Facebook page with your friends.

Turning down the volume of life allows you to listen carefully to God.

INSIGHT: Mark 6 is a pivotal chapter in this gospel account. It begins with the people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth rejecting Him (vv. 1-6). This experience is compounded by the death of John the Baptist (vv. 14-29)—a person Jesus loved and honored (Matt. 11:1-11; 14:1-13). These moments of difficulty, however, did not impede Jesus’ continuing work. The chapter concludes with two of His most notable miracles: His feeding of the multitude (vv. 30-44) and His walking on water (vv. 45-56). Great heartache and power combine to make this chapter so strategic in Mark’s gospel. Bill Crowder


Alistair Begg – No Weeping in Heaven


I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heared in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. Isaiah 65:19

In heaven the glorified do not weep, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships, nor unfulfilled longings in heaven. Poverty, famine, danger, persecution, and slander are unknown there. There will be no pain to distress us, no anxious thoughts of death or bereavement to sadden. Those there do not weep, for they are perfectly sanctified. No evil heart of unbelief prompts them to depart from the living God; they are faultless before His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well might they stop mourning since they have stopped sinning. They do not weep, because all fear of change is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They are safe in a city that will never be taken; they bask in a sun that shall never set; they drink of a river that will never run dry; they pluck fruit from a tree that will never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity will not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall endure with it.

They are forever with the Lord. They do not weep because every desire is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything that they do not have. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire and will-all the faculties are completely satisfied; and although our present ideas of what God has prepared for those who love him are imperfect, still we know by the revelation of the Spirit that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessing. That same joyful rest awaits us. It may not be too long before the weeping willow is exchanged for the palm-branch of victory, and sorrow’s tears will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss. “Therefore encourage one other with these words.”1

1) 1 Thessalonians 4:18

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Samuel 15
  • Romans 13

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Five fears


“Yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 8:12

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 12:4-12

Fear may be yoked into the service of God. True fear, not fearing, but believing, saves the soul; not doubt, but confidence, is the strength and the deliverance of the Christian. Still, fear, as being one of those powers which God has given us, is not in itself sinful. Fear may be used for the most sinful purposes; at the same time it may be so ennobled by grace, and so used for the service of God, that it may become the very grandest part of man. In fact, Scripture has honoured fear, for the whole of piety is comprehended in these words, “Fear God”; “the fear of the Lord”; “them that fear him.” These phrases are employed to express true piety, and the men who possess it. Fear, I have said, may ruin the soul. Alas! It has ruined multitudes. O Fear, you are the rock upon which many a ship has been wrecked. Many a soul has suffered spiritual destruction through you, but then it has been not the fear of God, but the fear of man. Many have rushed against the thick bosses of the Almighty’s shield, and defied God, in order to escape the wrath of feeble man. Many through fear of worldly loss have brought great guilt into their consciences; some through fear of ridicule and laughter have not had the boldness to follow the right, and so have gone astray and been ruined. Yea, and where fear does not work utter destruction it is capable of doing much damage to the spirit. Fear has paralysed the arm of the most gigantic Christian, stopped him in his race, and impeded him in his labours. Faith can do anything, but fear, sinful fear, can do just nothing at all, except prevent faith from performing its labours.

For meditation: The one you seek to please is the one you fear (Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Sermon no. 148

23 August (1857)

John MacArthur – Maintaining Doctrinal Purity


“[Love] rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

Love never compromises God’s Word.

Paul has just given us a list of things that love does not do: become jealous, brag, act arrogantly or unbecomingly, seek its own, become provoked, keep track of wrongs suffered, or rejoice in unrighteousness. Now he comes to the first of five things love does: “[Love] rejoices with the truth” (v. 6).

The contrast in verse 6 is between love’s inability to rejoice in unrighteousness and its joy when truth prevails. “Truth” refers to God’s Word, which is the standard of righteousness. Paul could have said, “Love doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with righteousness,” but he went beyond the mere deeds of righteousness and addressed its standard and motive.

Love won’t tolerate false doctrine or sinful behavior, but it rejoices when God’s Word is taught and obeyed. The psalmist said, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have more insight than all my teachers . . . . I understand more than the aged. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. I have not turned aside from Thine ordinances, for Thou Thyself hast taught me. How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:97-104). That’s the testimony of one who rejoices in the truth.

Often Christians are willing to compromise sound doctrine for the sake of loving others. They believe that doctrinal precision is somehow divisive and unloving. But Scripture says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. . . . For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 6-8).

Biblical love always operates within the parameters of God’s Word and spiritual discernment (Phil. 1:9-10). The most loving thing you can do is live according to biblical truth. Doctrinal compromise simply diminishes the quality of love and plays into the hands of the evil one.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for wisdom and discernment to keep your love within its proper biblical bounds.

For Further Study

Memorize Philippians 1:9-11.

Joyce Meyer – Too Much Talk Leads to Sin


In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent. — Proverbs 10:19

We all need to learn how to establish and maintain boundaries with our words. Proverbs 10:19 in the NIV states, When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. In other words, people who talk a lot will often find themselves in trouble.

Because our words carry so much power, we need to learn to say only what needs to be said. Almost every time we have a problem with somebody, it’s over something we have said or that person said. There may be other elements—something somebody is doing, for example—but the main cause of the argument most of the time is something that was said. If we learn to speak only what is wise and necessary, then we will have much more peace.

Power Thought: I speak words of wisdom that are filled with God’s power.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Does Glorious Things 


“Thank the Lord for all the glorious things He does; proclaim them to the nations. Sing His praises and tell everyone about His miracles” (Psalm 105:1,2).

How long has it been since you have taken time to meditate upon and list all the glorious things the Lord has done for you and how long has it been since you have shared them with your family, your neighbors or even strangers? Of course, your list may differ from that of your neighbors or of fellow believers in your local church or from mine. But among those glorious things that He has done are: He has, by His Holy Spirit, drawn us all to Himself; He has created within our hearts a hunger for His love; and through faith in Christ we have become His children; our sins have been forgiven and we now have the joy of living every moment of every day in vital union and fellowship with Him – all this with the certainty that we shall spend eternity with Him. Mere human words could never express the gratitude that wells up within one’s heart at the thought of God’s great gifts. The word “alleluia” is universal and is spoken in all languages as an expression of praise to God and no word is more appropriate.

My personal list of blessings also includes a godly, praying mother who lived her Christianity and dedicated me to Christ before I was born, and followed me – as she did all her other children – with her daily prayers; a wonderful father who, I had the privilege of introducing to Christ after I became a Christian and seeing him begin to experience that peace which comes from knowing Christ; a godly wife who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and shares my commitment to serve Him as our Lord and Master whatever the cost, wherever He leads us.

I thank Him for sons who love Him, and who have committed their lives to serving Him wherever He leads; a daughter-in-law who shares the love and conviction of her husband; a marvelous staff of thousands of godly men and women who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and hundreds of thousands of co-laborers who undergird me and this ministry.

The glorious things that He has done are without number. Yes, we must sing His praises and tell everyone about His miracles. We must proclaim the glorious things he has done to all the nations!

Bible Reading: Psalm 113

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate upon the glorious things God has done for me and I will sing His praises and tell everyone about His miracles. I will give my prayer and financial support to helping proclaim His greatness to all the nations of the earth.


Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Good Judgment


Prudent, shrewd and discerning – choice words to describe Abigail found in I Samuel 25. Her husband Nabal was a wicked and harsh man. Soon-to-be-king David had fled to the wilderness to escape from jealous King Saul. He and his 600 followers helped Nabal’s shepherds care for 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats so that none were lost to predator or robber. The men asked only for some food in return, but Nabal insulted them and sent them away with nothing. David’s first instinct was to fight and kill the foolish man.

Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received…and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing.

I Samuel 25:39

But Abigail intervened. Her good judgment helped David avoid undermining his reputation. She understood a difficult situation and made an immediate and wise decision to help David reject revenge. Her discernment helped her speak to David intelligently and persuasively. Abigail was an expert peacemaker – and eventually won David’s favor and love (I Samuel 25:40-42).

Like Abigail, be wise in your dealings with others. Seek to be discerning in your responses to those who might oppose you. Then intercede for this nation’s leaders – that they would govern with prudence.

Recommended Reading: I Samuel 25:13, 23-35

Night Light for Couples – Words You Can Count On


“I have put my hope in your laws.” Psalm 119:43

Just as you must trust the Lord in all you do, so also should you trust His Word.

Years ago, shortly after I (jcd) left my positions at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California School of Medicine, I discovered that my frequent travel and speaking engagements on behalf of families were taking a toll on my own family. As I wrestled with this problem, I came across a Scripture passage that showed me the solution. Moses was exhausted from solving all his people’s disputes. Jethro, his father‐in‐law, recognized this and advised Moses to appoint others to help, saying “If you do this, and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” (Exodus 18:23). The next day I canceled all but two of my speaking appointments for the following year and determined to stay home. That decision led to the start of Focus on the Family and a film series seen by 80 million people!

The wisdom contained in the world’s leading bestseller—the Bible— has sustained husbands and wives for thousands of years. Wouldn’t it be foolish to trust God, yet ignore His Word?

Just between us…

  • What Scripture verse has made the biggest difference in your life?
  • Do you feel that we spend enough time reading the Bible as a couple?
  • How can we allocate more time for reading the Word?
  • Which book of the Bible would you like to study next?
  • How can we get even more out of our Scripture reading?\

Dear God, thank You so much for giving us a trustworthy, written guide to show us how we should live. Help us to increasingly rely on the Bible for Your wisdom for our lives. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson