Charles Stanley – Getting Rid of Anger

Ephesians 4:26-32

The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He said that as Christians, we are to “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (Eph. 4:1) and to “be imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). In his letter to the church at Ephesus, he explained what it meant to live a godly life.

First of all, we must curtail some of our old habits and behaviors and replace them with new ones that are acceptable to God. The acts of the flesh are no longer to be a part of us—we now have a new nature and must conduct ourselves accordingly. Galatians 5:19-21 lists 15 specific behaviors that have to cease. These include enmities, strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, and dissensions. Notice the role anger plays in each of these. It fuels disagreements and inflames antagonism. And second, if we get angry, we need to apologize quickly (Eph. 4:26).

The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) should replace ungodly thoughts and actions. If we have been quick-tempered, then we need to gain patience. If our anger runs hot, then we are to become peaceful people. Foolishness in speech must give way to the wisdom of Christ. Change is possible because sin’s power over us has been permanently broken. We have been set free to live in a way pleasing to God.

We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but happily, we need not continue in it. As new creations, we no longer have to be defined by who we were before salvation (2 Cor. 5:17). To exhibit the righteousness that is yours, cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s transforming work.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 3-4

Our Daily Bread — Ready for a Change?

Read: Galatians 5:16-25

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 16-18; 2 Corinthians 6

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control.—Galatians 5:22–23

Self-control is probably one of the hardest things to master. How often have we been defeated by a bad habit, a lousy attitude, or a wrong mindset? We make promises to improve. We ask someone to hold us accountable. But deep inside, we know that we don’t have the will or the ability to change. We can talk, we can plan, we can read self-help books, but we still find it difficult to overcome and control many of the things that are inside us!

Thankfully, God knows our weakness, and He also knows the remedy! The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). The only way to gain self-control is by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us.

In other words, our key focus is not effort but surrender—to live moment by moment submissively trusting in the Lord rather than in self. Paul says this is what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16).

Are you ready for a change? You can change, for God is in you. As you surrender control to Him, He will help you bear the fruit of His likeness. —Jaime Fernández Garrido

I am in need, Lord, of Your power so that I might change and grow. I surrender myself to You. Please help me to understand how to be submissive to You that I might be filled with Your Spirit.

God is not nearly as concerned with our ability as He is with our surrender.

INSIGHT: Today’s passage exhorts us to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16). Just as a surgeon operates by means of a scalpel, we are to walk by means of the Holy Spirit. We are to be consciously dependent upon Him in attitude and choices. Yet there are two spheres of influence that pull us in different directions. The term “flesh” is used to describe the old sinful way of life that seeks to live independently from God and exhibits behavior displeasing to Him. The “Spirit” refers to those behaviors that flow from the indwelling Christ and produce fruit exemplifying His character. When we walk by means of the Spirit, we can say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unlikely Blessing

Stranger things have happened. My friends had struggled with infertility for most of their married lives. Employing the latest reproductive technologies didn’t work and thousands and thousands of dollars later there was still no child. As a result of all this, and because of their advanced age, they had given up the possibility of having a biological child and adopted a little boy. They were overjoyed to bring this little one into their family, and we rejoiced together at his baptism. Little did we know at the time that my friend was pregnant; nine months later this couple welcomed their daughter into the world. They were truly overwhelmed by this unexpected and unlikely turn of events. Sometimes, surprise is the greatest blessing.

Surprise is at the start of Luke’s gospel narrative which begins with two women, who were both, like my friend, unlikely candidates for mothers. Elizabeth was a woman beyond child-bearing age. She was barren. Mary was a young, unmarried girl. Yet, these two women were the mothers of two of history’s most famous individuals: John the Baptist, the last prophet of Israel, and Jesus, who would be called, Messiah. The announcement of these pregnancies must have been disconcerting at best. As if this strange news wasn’t enough, it was announced to both families by an angelic visitor. The first words spoken were “do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid, indeed! These births would turn the world upside down, and would change the lives of these women; both women were the unlikely recipients of unlikely blessing.

Despite the improbable circumstances, Elizabeth praises God by saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men” (Luke 1:25). Elizabeth and Zacharias were both from priestly lines: Zacharias from Abijah, and Elizabeth from Aaron. The gospel alerts the reader that they “were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of God” (Luke 1:5-6). However, Elizabeth’s barrenness would have called her “righteous” status into question. Childless women were a ‘disgrace among men’ in her day. Childlessness was naturally looked upon as a grave misfortune or even as a sign that one was cursed by God. The wife who presented her husband with no such tangible blessings or supporters felt that her aim in life had been missed. So the announcement that Elizabeth would bear a child beyond her child-bearing years was as unlikely as a virgin having a child.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unlikely Blessing

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit and Prayer

“Be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).

Spending time with God in prayer is another crucial element in walking by the Spirit.

During my regular times in the Word, I often don’t know where Bible study ends and meditation begins, or where meditation turns into prayer. My devotions are definitely a seamless process in which I read Scripture, meditate on it, and pray that God would help me understand it. I’m sure that many of you have had the same experience. It ought to be like that for any believer who is faithful in spending time with the Lord daily.

Along with meditating on Scripture and focusing on God, prayer is an essential component of our strategy to walk by the Holy Spirit. An attitude of moment-by-moment prayer, patterned after 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (“Pray without ceasing”), will greatly help us walk in step with the Spirit.

“Pray without ceasing” obviously does not mean believers are to spend every waking moment in formal prayer. Paul’s command to the Thessalonians refers to recurring prayer, not a ceaseless uttering of words from a certain posture.

To pray as part of our spiritual walk means we bring every temptation before God and ask for His help. It means we thank Him for every good and beautiful experience. It means we ask the Lord to allow us to join the fight against evil. It means when we have an opportunity to witness, we pray that God would help us be faithful and that He would draw the person to Himself. And finally, this kind of prayer means we’ll turn to God as our Deliverer whenever we have trials.

Thus, walking by the Spirit is a lifestyle of continual prayer. All of our thoughts, actions, and circumstances become opportunities to commune with God. And if that is true, we obey Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

Suggestions for Prayer

Take a brief prayer list with you (on an index card) today, and try to pray through it several times during the day.

For Further Study

Matthew 6:1-8 leads into Jesus’ presentation of the Lord’s Prayer. What general attitude has no place in prayer?

List the specific things Christ warns against, along with those He commends in this passage.

Wisdom Hunters – That’s Some Serious Crying

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?     Psalm 56:8

While I was growing up, my mom cried during touching television moments. She cried during old movies when two lovers were reconciled. She cried while watching The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, and she even cried during Folgers coffee commercials. Yep, stories surrounding that stuff that is good to the last drop made her weep. So I grew up in a home where tears were acceptable and normal.

Now that I am older, I value tears for a couple of reasons. First, I generally believe when we are willing to be authentically real and honest with others, they will often do the same with us. Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, transparency promotes transparency, so intimacy is built. When we cry with others, they may feel free to do the same. Second, tears help us experience God more intimately. When all our posturing and posing before the Almighty is stripped away through tears, we are humbled before Him in dependency. Tears cleanse the eyes of the heart so we can see Him more clearly and experience His grace more fully.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

But not everyone is happy to shed tears either publicly or privately. For many reasons (including our histories and insecurities), shedding tears can make us feel vulnerable and out of control. That’s understandable. But if you have a hard time allowing yourself to cry, you might find what the Bible says about tears enlightening and even liberating.

For example, in Luke 19:41, Jesus—the Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End—wept over Jerusalem and was grieved that the Jews did not recognize Him as Savior. The Greek word translated “wept” means more than just shedding a few silent tears—it means “to wail aloud.” That’s some serious crying!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – That’s Some Serious Crying

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – God Can

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

Recommended Reading

Hebrews 7:25

“I can’t.” We hear it all the time—and sometimes for good reason. Children say “I can’t” because they lack knowledge or skill. They literally can’t! And sometimes adults say “I can’t” for the same reason. “I can’t be an astronaut.” “I can’t be a professional athlete.” In most cases, those are honest and accurate statements. No problem. But there is a problem when we don’t think we can because we don’t think God can.

There are numerous instances in Scripture that describe God being able. And there are no examples of God not being able to do something because of limitations on His power. One of the most encompassing statements that connects God’s ability to our ability is 2 Corinthians 9:8: “God is able to make all grace abound” toward us so we will have “all sufficiency in all things.” Because God is able, we are able. When we say, “I can’t give, love, forgive, reconcile, repent, be kind, be compassionate, be content . . .” we are saying, “God isn’t able to make that grace abound to me.”

Don’t limit yourself by limiting God. Let His grace abound to you.

The sinner, apart from grace, is unable to be willing and unwilling to be able.

  1. E. Best


Daniel 9 – 12

Girlfriends in God – What To Do When God Says No

Today’s Truth

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

John 14:13

Friend to Friend

A few years ago, I was on my way home from running errands. As I approached our neighborhood, my cell phone rang.

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”

“Hey, baby! I ran some errands and will be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”

“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no —I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”

Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

Don’t say ‘no’? I thought. Really? C’mon girl. I’m the parent. You’re the child. Get a grip.

What I said to her was, “Honey, we are several weeks away from swim season. I’m not sure that today is a good day for all of this. And by the way, you’re free to share your heart with me and to tell me your desires, but you do not get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood now and will see you in a minute.”

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Ray Stedman – Rejoicing in Suffering

From your friends at

Read: Romans 5:3-10

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NIV

It is clear from this that Christians are expected to experience suffering. Those who think that becoming a Christian will remove them from suffering have been seriously misled, for the Scriptures themselves teach that we are to expect suffering.

The Greek word for suffering is translated as tribulation, something that causes distress. It can range from minor annoyances that we go through every day, to major disasters that come sweeping down out of the blue and leave us stricken and smitten. These are the sufferings that we might go through, the tribulations.

According to Romans 5, the Christian response to suffering is to rejoice: Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings. Here is where many people balk. They say, I can’t buy that! Do you mean to say that God is telling me that when I am hurting and in pain, I am expected to be glad and rejoice in that? That is not human, not natural!

How do you get to the place where you can rejoice in suffering? The apostle’s answer is, We rejoice in suffering because we know… We rejoice because we know something. It isn’t just because it’s such a great feeling to be hurt, it is because we know something about it. It is something our faith enables us to know, a kind of inside information that others do not share.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Rejoicing in Suffering

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Christ-side-piercing Spear

Read: John 19:31-37

One of the soldiers pierced his side. (v. 33)

Herbert next takes us back to the gospel story, and to the narrative that is literally the crux of it, the account of the crucifixion of our Lord on the cross at Calvary. He points us to John’s version of it, which is distinctive, and which like so much else in the fourth Gospel adds yet greater depth to truths we may already know from the other three.

Jesus has died on the cross, and today we consider what (in every sense) follows that death. The thrust of the soldier’s spear confirms that this really is a dead body. The fluid oozing from the wound separates out, and Augustus Toplady’s hymn “Rock of Ages” highlights the symbolism: “Let the water and the blood / From thy riven side which flowed / Be of sin the double cure: / Cleanse me from its guilt and power.”

When I pray, this is where I begin. I too am at the cross, before the crucified Christ. I too see the water and the blood. It is actually the blood rather than the water that cleanses me, as Jesus in dying takes all my sin on to himself, and bears its penalty for me. The water revives me, as his Spirit gives me new life. The one deals with the guilt of the past, the other sets me on track for the future. Whatever penitence and praise and petition may fill my times of prayer, I have to begin with the Christ-side-piercing spear.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Christ-side-piercing Spear

Greg Laurie – Memento Mori

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. —Colossians 3:2

Back in older times, there was a Latin phrase they would write on the top of a document. It was memento mori. It means, “Think of death.”

You say, “That is so morbid.” It actually is not. It was a reminder to be aware of the fact that life ends. Be aware of the fact that eternity is close. Be aware of the fact that there is an afterlife.

It is not a bad thing to think about these things deeply. In fact, it was C. S. Lewis who said, “A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not . . . a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.” You should think about death, eternity, and the afterlife.

If you are a Christian, you are going to enter heaven in one of two ways: either through death or through the rapture. Either we will die, or the Lord will catch us up to meet Him in the air.

Imagine being part of the rapture. One day you might be walking on the street, thinking about a loved one who has gone to be with the Lord. Maybe you are thinking about your last conversation with them, or wondering what they are experiencing there in heaven. Suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, you will be with them.

Mothers and fathers reunited with sons and daughters. Husbands reunited with wives. Siblings with siblings. Friends with friends. Your sorrow vanishes and it is replaced by ecstatic joy. Not only are you with your loved one again, but best of all you are with Jesus.

For the Christian, thinking about the afterlife is not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing. So go ahead and think about it. Go ahead and dream about it. Go ahead and wonder about it. It is called being heavenly minded.

Kids 4 Truth International – The Lord Loves Cheerful Givers

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

It was Thursday morning, and Tonia and Ruben had gotten up early so they could go with Uncle Dirk to the market. They loved the Thursday markets because there were so many interesting things and all kinds of people to see. Each of them had saved a little money since last Thursday, and they jingled the coins in their hands as they walked with Uncle Dirk from the train station to the marketplace.

But today wasn’t just any Thursday. Today was their mother’s 40th birthday! They knew that even today – even on her own special day – she was at home doing things for them. Right about now, she was probably preparing their lunch – slicing up bread, setting out dishes, washing vegetables for some soup. That was just how their mother was. Always doing, doing, doing – but never doing things for herself. Just yesterday, she had fixed Ruben’s bicycle chain and added a bell to the handlebars. Last week, she had mended Tonia’s favorite scarf.

“Look here, Uncle Dirk!” cried Ruben. “Don’t you think Mother would love these soaps? There are all kinds of scents and colors to choose from! I’m sure I could find one she would love.”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The Lord Loves Cheerful Givers

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Like Armies in Battle

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 26:41

“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

William Romaine (born 1714) was one of the leaders of the eighteenth-century revival in England, along with George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers. In his classic work on faith he wrote, “no sin can be crucified either in heart or life, unless it be first pardoned in conscience, because there will be want of faith to receive the strength of Jesus, by whom alone it can be crucified. If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power.”

What Romaine was saying is that if you do not believe you are dead to sin’s guilt, you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue its power in your life. So the place to begin in dealing with sin in your life is to count on the fact that you died to its guilt through your union with Christ in his death. This is an important truth you need to ponder and pray over until the Holy Spirit convinces you of it in both your head and heart.

Meanwhile, to make progress in the Christian life, we must acknowledge the continuing tension between our sinful nature and the Spirit of God within us.

Observing this “internal conflict,” George Smeaton noted, “and the strange thing is, that in this conflict the power and faculties of the Christian seem to be occupied at one time by the one, and at another time by the other. The same intellect, will, and affections come under different influences, like two conflicting armies occupying the ground, and in turn driven from the field.”

With any two opposing forces, the direction of movement often goes back and forth until one eventually prevails. This is the way it will be with us until the Holy Spirit finally prevails.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Out of This World

Today’s Scripture: 1 John 2:15-17

For this world in its present form is passing away. – 1 Corinthians 7:31

Over the years, I’ve traveled through numerous countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, preaching the good news of Christ and conducting discipleship and leadership seminars. I don’t speak the languages in those countries, and no matter how hard I try to fit in, the fit hasn’t been exact. What I’ve worn and the language I’ve spoken tell everyone I’m a foreigner.

This is much like our life in Christ. We are foreigners in this world, because our citizenship is in heaven. Although we’re instructed by God, “Do not love the world or anything in the world” (1 John 2:15), He also has appointed us ambassadors to carry His message throughout the world. How do we put these two commands together?

The answer is found by studying the life of Jesus Christ. He did not find His identity or purpose in this world. Instead, He carried out His Father’s redemptive plan. His pleasure was in doing the will of God. And so it should be for us, Christ’s ambassadors. We must see ourselves as pilgrims on a mission. We are to model the life of Christ as we seek to communicate to the unbelieving world around us.

I urge you to pray that God will show you the best way to share Christ with the unbelievers you know, and count on the leading of the Spirit as you live a life of daily discipleship in this world but not of it.


Lord, keep my eyes focused on the mission You’ve given me–to explain Your saving grace to a world that doesn’t speak Your language. Amen.

To Ponder

What would your life look like if you gave top priority to sharing the message of salvation with unbelievers? What would you loosen your grip on, and what would you take hold of?

BreakPoint –  Americans Doing Good: Louisiana, Tocqueville, and Volunteer Associations

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Lord Jonathan Sacks, a British rabbi who won the 2016 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion—a prize Chuck Colson also won. Lord Sacks told me that every American ought to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic book, “Democracy in America,” at least once a year. Why? To remind ourselves that citizens acting together can do far more good than a far-off government.

Just ask the citizens of Baton Rouge. Following a catastrophic flood recently which killed 13 people and rendered thousands homeless, residents learned yet again—as they did after Hurricane Katrina—how unreliable “the government” can be. U.S. Congressman John Mica called the federal government’s response “pitiful.”

But that didn’t mean Baton Rougers were without help—far from it. Hundreds of volunteers—members of churches, civic groups, and rank and file volunteers—showed up to pitch in. Volunteers in boats rescued some 30,000 people.

Wesley Pruden, a columnist at the Washington Times, marveled at the private citizens who worked to ease the suffering. For example, a Notre Dame student organized food contributions. Citizens in Appalachia loaded up a truck “with diapers, baby food, basic groceries, odd pieces of furniture and tape guns.” And University of South Carolina athletes “organized a truck to Baton Rouge for the benefit of their rivals at Louisiana State University.”

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Americans Doing Good: Louisiana, Tocqueville, and Volunteer Associations

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A TIME TO MOURN

Read ESTHER 4:1–5

The custom of wearing black garments to a funeral dates to the Roman Empire, when togas made of dark-colored wool were worn during times of mourning. Women would often cover their heads with black caps or veils. The immediate family of the deceased would wear black for an extended period of time— widows for as long as two years.

The effects of Haman’s evil act were immediately felt by the Jewish people. There was “great mourning” in every province of the country (v. 3). Mordecai visibly displayed his grief by putting on sackcloth and ashes.

Sackcloth, similar to today’s burlap, was a material made of coarse, black goat’s hair. It was traditionally worn as either a sign of mourning or of repentance. When Jacob thought his son was dead, he mourned and put on sackcloth (Gen. 37:34). Ashes were applied to the head, or sometimes the mourner would sit amidst them to signify humility or being downcast and afflicted.

While people throughout the empire wept and fasted at the news of their terrible impending fate, Xerxes and his nobility wanted no part of it. They ruled that anyone showing visible signs of mourning would not be allowed within the palace gates. They wanted to create an artificial bubble in which everyone was happy and successful and safe.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A TIME TO MOURN


North Carolina adopted legislation in March 2016 which mandates that in government buildings, individuals may use only restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. Gov. Pat McCrory defends the law as a way to protect young girls from potential predators.

The National Basketball Association and other groups are already boycotting the state because of this law. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, the NCAA has announced that it is pulling seven tournament games from the state for the same reason. This after attempts were made over the summer in California to remove funding from religious universities that defend biblical sexuality and marriage.

As ethicist David Gushee warns, “On LGBT equality, middle ground is disappearing.” Gushee is himself a convert to the LGBT cause and advocate for same-sex marriage. While I disagree strongly with his reasoning, I agree that discrimination against Christians who “discriminate” against the LGBT community will continue to escalate.

As with all challenges, the time to decide we will act with courage is before courage is required. Case in point: “Sully” Sullenberger and the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Chesley B. Sullenberger III was a fighter pilot with the US Air Force before serving as a commercial pilot for twenty-nine years. Then came January 15, 2009. His actions after birds knocked out both engines of his jet saved the lives of all 155 people on board US Airways Flight 1549.