Charles Stanley – The Way to Hear God Better

Matthew 17:5

Our ability to hear the Lord is directly related to our relationship with Him. For example, without hearing the call to repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ, an unbeliever cannot become part of God’s family. Unless this vital step has been taken, nothing else God does or says to that person will make a difference.

But what about believers? How does a Christian’s closeness with God impact his or her listening? This is primarily an issue of identification. Once we receive Christ as Savior, then we certainly have salvation and are eternally secure in Him. But beyond that, God wants us to grow and mature in our faith.

We grow in Christ by identifying ourselves more and more with Jesus. That continual process brings us closer to God. And so when we pray, we are not talking to some distant god out there somewhere. Instead, we are praying to a God who loves, sustains, and molds us into His own image.

That changes how we approach Him, doesn’t it? Instead of crawling facedown before Him, mourning and wailing because of our sin and pleading for His mercies, we can come to Him boldly and joyfully, assured that He loves us, forgives us, and rejoices in our prayers.

When we have unimpeded fellowship with the Father, we definitely hear Him better. As we grow closer to Him, our spiritual hearing continues to improve. Through Jesus, we can have unimaginable clarity and intimacy in our two-way communication with almighty God. Let the Lord know that is your desire.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 43-45

Our Daily Bread — Evie’s Decision

Read: Acts 1:1-8

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 8-9; 2 Corinthians 3

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.—Mark 16:15

Evie was one of 25 American teenagers in a high school choir who traveled to Jamaica to sing, witness, and show God’s love to people of a different culture and generation. And for Evie, one day of that trip was particularly memorable and joy-filled.

That day, the choir went to a nursing home to sing and visit with the residents. After they sang, Evie sat down with a young woman who lived at the home, a woman in her early 30s. As they began to chat, Evie felt that she should talk about Jesus—who He is and what He did for us. She showed her verses in the Bible that explained salvation. Soon the woman said she wanted to trust Jesus as her Savior. And that’s just what she did.

Because of Evie’s decision to start a conversation about Jesus, our group celebrated a new birth into God’s family that day.

Mark 16:15 tells us that what Evie did is what is expected of all believers. Here’s how The Message paraphrases that verse: “Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.”

May we never underestimate the wonder of what it means for anyone, anywhere to hear the good news and to say yes to our Savior. —Dave Branon

Lord, it’s not easy to strike up a conversation about the gospel. Please allow the Holy Spirit to work in me so I will be willing and able to mention the good news to anyone who needs You.

Effective witnesses not only know their faith but show their faith.

INSIGHT: The book of Acts is penned by Luke, who also wrote the gospel of Luke. Both are addressed to Theophilus. Acts begins, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). The literal rendering of Theophilus is “he who loves God.” This may be the name of someone Luke knew or a generic name that addresses any reader who loves God and wants to learn about Him. Both Luke and Acts describe what Jesus taught and did. What did He do? He healed the sick, raised the dead, and walked on water. The signs and wonders Jesus performed confirm that His message should be taken seriously.

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Empowered for Service

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us . . .” (Ephesians 3:20).

Through the Holy Spirit, God gives His children all the spiritual power they will ever need to live the Christian life.

It’s a joy to know that spiritual gifts are not like toys whose packages say “batteries required.” What the Spirit provides is not dependent on perishable batteries for power. Instead, when the Spirit secures our new life in Christ, He also empowers and strengthens us with every spiritual resource we’ll ever need to serve Christ and minister to others.

The Holy Spirit draws from an infinite supply of strength and power, as Paul indicates in Ephesians 3:20. In verse 16 he had just prayed that the Ephesians would “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” Paul was certain that God’s Spirit can do far more in the lives of believers than most of us ever imagine. So many of us don’t get past the phrase “to Him who is able,” and with that failure we limit how much the Holy Spirit can do in and through us.

Paul had much more than a theoretical understanding of the Spirit’s infinite power supply—he experienced it firsthand. Even when he was stretched to the limit physically and spiritually, he said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9). We can’t attribute his inner perseverance to any other source than the Holy Spirit.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Empowered for Service

Wisdom Hunters – Strengths and Struggles

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.   Romans 12:6a

Know and understand your strengths, for it is best to behave how God created you. By God’s grace, He places within you giftedness to carry out His plan. This is called your core competency. You may be a gifted leader, so lead. You may be a gifted coach, so coach. You may be a gifted counselor, so counsel. You may be a gifted administrator, so administrate. You may be a gifted networker, so network. You may be a gifted writer, so write. You may be a gifted teacher, so teach. You may be a gifted servant, so serve. You may be a gifted artist, so create. You may be a gifted communicator, so communicate. There is a long menu of gifts, and you probably represent several of them. Study your gifts, and you will discover your strengths.

Become comfortable with and accept the one thing you do naturally. It is effortless because God has engineered you for this. He gave you the skills and abilities to innovate, create, and produce these desired outcomes. However, make sure you do not confuse passion with strength. If you have the passion to speak, it is imperative you at least have the raw skill for speaking. Many of the technicalities of communication can be learned, but don’t try to make yourself become someone you’re not. Synergy for life and work come as you align passions and strengths. Take the time to understand what you do best and where you have the most energy, and then position your responsibilities at home and work to mirror that ideal. Do not be afraid to change and try new things.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Strengths and Struggles

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Back to Your Future—Back to Square One

Tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times.

Proverbs 4:20, MSG

If your old clunker was built in 1980, you probably need a tune-up every 15,000 miles. If you have a car from the 1990s, you can go 30,000, on average, between tune-ups. Newer cars may only need tune-ups at 100,000-mile increments.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 26

When it comes to our internal engines—our hearts and habits—we need spiritual tune-ups frequently. September is a great time for a tune-up. With summer ending and fall around the corner, it’s a perfect time to revisit our attitudes and routines. If your priorities and patterns shifted during vacation, take a few minutes today to recalibrate them. If the last few weeks have disrupted your progress, let this weekend be a “Back to God” weekend.

Have you been skipping church? Start back. Has your daily devotional period fallen by the wayside? Begin at once to reclaim it. Has a bad habit slipped into your schedule? Confess it and turn from it. Get back to square one, and tune your ears to God’s voice. Keep His message in plain view at all times.

Cars specify periodic checkups … (and) the Christian’s spiritual condition needs a regular checkup too…. Have you ever had a spiritual checkup? Have you ever asked for one?

  1. I. Packer

Read-Thru-the-Bible: Daniel 1 – 5

Joyce Meyer – Seek God Wholeheartedly

Seek, inquire of and for the Lord, and crave Him and His strength (His might and inflexibility to temptation); seek and require His face and His presence [continually] evermore.- Psalm 105:4

If you have a need today, seek God with your whole heart. The Bible says to “aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above” (Colossians 3:1). If you seek the fruit of the Spirit wholeheartedly, God will do a work in your life so that you will enjoy the abundant life Jesus died to give you.

God promises, “And the Lord shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day and are watchful to do them” (Deuter¬onomy 28:13).

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Blessed are the Merciful

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7, KJV).

If you and I have a desire to imitate God, seldom do we accomplish that purpose more than in the practice of showing mercy.

God delights in nothing more than in the exercise of showing mercy. One of the clear prerequisites to real happiness is this display of genuine mercy. Surely God has given us the supreme example, by giving His only Son to die in our place. That is mercy beyond comprehension, beyond description.

The world speaks often of having someone at its mercy. In a very real sense, God has us at His mercy – but He chose to be merciful and make a way of escape for us. The decision to take that way is ours.

To the degree that we show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty – to that degree we are like God. And if He keeps us here on earth to be conformed more and more to His image, how important it is that we trust Him – by His indwelling Holy Spirit – to make us merciful.

When we do something to glorify God, like giving a cup of cold water in His name, in obedience to His commandments, and with a desire that He should be honored, He will consider it as done unto Him and reward us accordingly.

The lesson is clear: the merciful shall obtain mercy. And who among us is not a candidate for more of God’s mercy?

Bible Reading: Luke 6:31-36

: “Dear Lord, with Your great mercy as the supreme example, I resolve to allow your Holy Spirit to show mercy through me.”

Ray Stedman – The Father of Faith

Read: Romans 4:1-12

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God. What does Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Romans 4:1-3

Paul says that Abraham our forefather discovered two ways to gain worth: One, Paul suggests, is by works. Abraham was a man of good works. In Genesis, Abraham was an idolator and worshipped the moon goddess. But he was not deliberately seeking to evade God. He worshipped in ignorance. It was in the midst of that condition that God appeared to him and spoke to him. Abraham believed God, responded to his call, and set out on a march without a map. He trusted God to lead him to a land he had never seen before, to take care of his family, and to fulfill his promises. So Abraham appears in the Scripture as a man of great works.

Paul admits that if Abraham was righteous because of works, he had something to boast about. Works always give you something to boast about. You can look at the record, you can show people what you have done and why you ought to be appreciated. You may not boast openly, but we all have very subtle ways and clever tricks of getting it out into the open so people can see what we have done. You can drop a hint of something you have done, hoping that people will ask some more about it. Somehow you manage things so that people will know you are a person of significance. That is the way the world is today, and the way it was in Abraham’s day.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Father of Faith

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Engine Against the Almighty

Read: Luke 18:1-8

This widow keeps bothering me. (v. 5)

Think Middle Ages. Think warfare, and a walled city, and besiegers attacking its fortifications with catapults and scaling ladders and battering rams. These are what Herbert means by the word “engine”—siege engines, constructed by the army’s engineers.

But what sort of prayer is this? “Engine against the Almighty”—attacking God, as if he were an enemy?

Jesus’ parable about the widow who was determined to get justice for herself does say exactly that. He describes her besieging the offices of the “unrighteous judge” day after day, while the clerks whisper to one another, “Here comes that dreadful woman yet again!” It is of course one of the “how much more” parables. If a judge who is corrupt will do what’s right out of sheer exasperation, how much more may we expect from a loving God? So we should come to prayer with the determination that we would use if he really were an enemy with whom we were at war. “We threaten God in prayer,” said Herbert’s contemporary John Donne, in one of his sermons. “Prayer hath the nature of violence . . . we besiege God, and God is glad to be straitened by us in that siege.” He was one of the greatest preachers of the age, and we may hope that his congregation at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was duly fired to practice what it had heard him preach.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Engine Against the Almighty

Greg Laurie – What Are the “Gifts of the Spirit”?

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. —1 Corinthians 12:4–5

Scripture teaches that when we are baptized in the Spirit, we receive gifts of the Spirit.

Romans 12:6–8 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (NIV).

Note that it says, “We have different gifts.” Each is important, each worth using.

Who are we to be upset with God if He did not give us the gifts we want? They are not given by merit but “according to the grace given us.” We are to take what He has placed in our life and seek to multiply it.

2 Timothy 1:6 says, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (NKJV). To “stir up” means to “fan into full flame.” To fail to do this is to “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). That speaks of extinguishing something, and it is a specific sin against the Holy Spirit.

Continue reading Greg Laurie – What Are the “Gifts of the Spirit”?

Kids 4 Truth International – Only the LORD Can Promise Safety

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

Devon woke up with a start and sat up straight in his bed. His room was pitch black. In his mind, he could still see the dark forest and the mean-looking dogs that had been chasing him in his nightmare. He looked across the room toward the window. Were they out there, outside in the back yard? What if there really were mean, wild dogs out there waiting for him under his bedroom window?

He thought about calling for his mom to come in and sit with him. Or maybe he could catch Grandpa in the kitchen again, munching on a midnight snack. Maybe Grandpa would make him a jam sandwich and tell him stories about the Navy. Devon looked at the crack under the door. It was dark in the hallway, and he really did not want to go out there by himself. Deep down, Devon also knew that Mom needed to get up early for work in the morning. It would probably be better not to bother her. He lay back down and glanced toward the window again. Was that a twig snapping outside? Was something moving around in the bushes out there? Oh! What could he do?

Then Devon remembered that his Sunday school teacher had talked about different kinds of fear. Mr. Rooks was tall and had huge muscles, but even he admitted that sometimes he felt afraid of things. He shared with them a verse, something about trusting in God in the times he was afraid. It was hard for Devon to imagine someone as big and strong as Mr. Rooks being afraid of anything! But if Mr. Rooks found comfort and courage in trusting God, Devon thought, surely he could, too.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – Only the LORD Can Promise Safety

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Unquestionable Love

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 145:17

“The Lord is . . . kind in all his works.”

The apostle John said, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This succinct statement, along with its parallel one, “God is light” (1 John 1:5; that is, God is holy), sums up the essential character of God, as revealed to us in the Scriptures. Just as it is impossible in the very nature of God for him to be anything but perfectly holy, so it is impossible for him to be anything but perfectly good.

Because God is love, an essential part of his nature is to do good and show mercy to his creatures. Psalm 145 speaks of his “abundant goodness,” of his “abounding in steadfast love” and being “good to all,” of how “his mercy is over all that he has made” (verses 7-9). Even in his role of Judge of rebellious men, he declares, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV).

When calamity after calamity seems to surge in upon us, we’ll be tempted to doubt God’s love. Not only do we struggle with our own doubts, but Satan seizes these occasions to whisper accusations against God: “If he loved you, he wouldn’t have allowed this to happen.” My own experience suggests that Satan attacks us far more in the area of God’s love than either his sovereignty or his wisdom.

If we’re to honor God by trusting him, we must not allow such thoughts to lodge in our minds. As Philip Hughes said, “To question the goodness of God is, in essence, to imply that man is more concerned about goodness than is God. To suggest that man is kinder than God is to subvert the very nature of God. It is to deny God; and this is precisely the thrust of the temptation to question the goodness of God.” (Excerpt taken from Trusting God)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Separated Life

Today’s Scripture: James 4:4

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2

If you were to announce a lecture on “The Separated Life” before an average audience in, say, New York City, some might think it had to do with troubled marriages. Even Christians are vague about the biblical teaching on a separated life. It means a life set apart for God, no longer swayed by the pull of worldly attractions and ambitions. In my discussions with Christians across America about the concept of living a separated life, most people have strong opinions on the subject.

I know a man who advocates the idea of having a drink with nonChristians to show them he can be their friend and perhaps to gain an opportunity to witness to them. As a matter of fact, he’s had the opportunity to lead people to Christ along the way. He cites the Scripture passage that speaks of becoming all things to all men that by all means we may save some (1 Corinthians 10:22).

The late Paul Little had a different approach. Paul practically lived on the college campus. He was always out there with his shirtsleeves rolled up, mixing in lively discussions with nonChristians. And when one of them would invite him down to the bar to have a drink, he simply thanked them but said he really didn’t enjoy that. Would the person like to go to a game the next night–his treat? He kept the lines of communication open, didn’t condemn the person, yet didn’t participate in something he’d separated himself from.

We don’t need to enter into questionable practices with people to show them we’re not crazy-headed fanatics. There are many ways to build friendships with nonChristians without doing things we’re against.


Lord, show me how to follow Your lead of loving sinners without compromising my walk. Amen.

To Ponder

God wants us to show His love to the ungodly.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – HONORING GOD ALONE

Read ESTHER 3:1–4

King Nebuchadnezzar constructed a golden statue and ordered everyone to worship it. Three young Jewish men in the king’s court refused to bow, and they were punished for their defiance by being thrown into a furnace. To the king’s amazement, the fire did not destroy them. Instead, God protected them, and their obedience to God became an example to the king, his court, and the Jewish people. Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Israel: “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants” (Dan. 3:28).

Years later, Mordecai was in a similar predicament. Some time had passed since Esther became queen. Things had been going well for both Esther and Mordecai, who were now situated in their positions in the king’s court.

But we meet a new person in today’s passage: Haman the Agagite. He was promoted to an elevated position in the court by King Xerxes, “higher than that of all the other nobles” (v. 1). To reinforce Haman’s status, the king ordered that everyone must kneel and pay honor to Haman.

Mordecai refused to obey. His repeated act of civil disobedience was soon noticed by others. From verse 4, we can assume that Mordecai chose to reveal his Jewish heritage as a way to explain his refusal to pay homage to Haman. People urged him to go along with the new order, to just bow down. When Mordecai resisted their peer pressure to kneel before Haman, they reported his insubordination.

Right away we see Haman’s character revealed. He could not tolerate one man who refused to bow before him. He decided to target not only Mordecai but also all his people—a vendetta that would destroy the Jews.


Mordecai’s action reminds us that we serve first and foremost our heavenly King. His commands guide our actions and give us courage to stand up for our beliefs, no matter how unpopular they may be. Ask God to give you a heart that is open and obedient to His leading and willing to bear witness to Him no matter how uncomfortable the situation.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – He Can Do It

Romans 4:20-21

There is an old song that says God has promised us strength, rest, light, grace, help, sympathy, and love. Those are things we can count on. In addition God grants many of our requests by his power.


God hath not promised

Skies always blue

Flower-strewn pathways

All our lives through

God hath not promised

Sun without rain

Joy without sorrow

Peace without pain

But God hath promised

Strength for the day

Rest for the labor

Light for the way

Grace for the trials

Help from above

Unfailing sympathy

Undying Love


Annie Johnson Flint (1862–1932)


Like the song says, God’s resources are unlimited. He will take care of us and keep his promises. He will give us strength, rest, light, grace, help, and love.

Dear Lord, There isn’t anyone else I can count on to never fail me. You are our good God who has promised to care for us. Amen.