Charles Stanley – How God Reveals Himself

Romans 1:18-21

Look at the delicate veins of an oak leaf, and you experience the beauty of God. Observe the storm-whipped surf beating against a beach, and you witness His power. The Lord’s sense of order is revealed in the march of the seasons and the precise tilt and turning of the earth. People need to look no farther than nature to understand that God is real.

Romans tells us that the revelation of the Lord in nature is sufficient to render inexcusable those who would deny His existence (Rom. 1:20). There’s no reasonable explanation for the creation of the material universe other than an omnipotent God putting it all together. The matter and fuel for a “big bang” had to come from Someone.

But nature can’t give us a full revelation—creation does not show the Lord’s holiness or eternity. That is why He gave us His Word. The Bible reveals God’s character, records His laws, and explains His expectations for the faithful. In its pages, we can learn about our Father and the kind of life He wants us to lead. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture teaches about the living Word—Jesus Christ—who is the full revelation of God. The heavenly Father wanted to ensure that humanity could know Him intimately, so to make Himself known, He sent His Son clothed in flesh. Jesus said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” (John 14:7). Spend time in Bible study and prayer to know your Father better.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 1-5

Our Daily Bread — The Survival Float

Read: Psalm 55:4-23

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 27-29; 2 Corinthians 10

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.—Psalm 55:22

Sunlight glittered on the swimming pool in front of me. I overheard an instructor speaking to a student who had been in the water for quite a while. He said, “It looks like you’re getting tired. When you’re exhausted and in deep water, try the survival float.”

Certain situations in life require us to spend our mental, physical, or emotional energy in a way that we can’t sustain. David described a time when his enemies were threatening him and he felt the emotional weight of their anger. He needed to escape the distress he was experiencing.

As he processed his feelings, he found a way to rest in his troubled thoughts. He said, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). He recognized that God supports us if we dare to release our problems to Him. We don’t have to take charge of every situation and try to craft the outcome—that’s exhausting! God is in control of every aspect of our life.

Instead of trying to do everything in our own effort, we can find rest in God. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking Him to handle our problems. Then we can pause, relax, and enjoy the knowledge that He is sustaining us. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

God, today I give my problems to You. I know that You are in control of everything and I believe You are willing to help me. Please help me to find peace in You.

How do you find your rest? Share with us at

God is a safe resting place.

INSIGHT: In today’s reading David lamented over the activities of the wicked against him and denounced those who accused him (Ps. 55:1-15). Especially troubling was the betrayal of a former friend. Yet David had confidence in God. His goodness and ability to deliver pulled David into a spirit of praise (vv. 16-23).

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Spirit-Filled Song

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

If we are Spirit-filled, we will have songs of praise in our hearts and on our lips.

Once a Christian knows about being Spirit-filled and walking by the Spirit, it is still fair for him or her to ask, “But how can I know if the Holy Spirit is really at work in my life?” Ephesians 5:19 answers this question by declaring one of the unmistakable evidences of the Spirit’s full operation in our lives—we will have a song in our hearts.

The Bible does not give us much detail about the practical use of music and song, but there are enough references so that its significance to God and His people is clear. The Israelites praised God after He rescued them from the Egyptians (Ex. 15). The Psalms are filled with songs and praise, epitomized by the final verse, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (150:6).

In the New Testament, Jesus and the disciples closed the Last Supper by singing a hymn (Matt. 26:30). Paul and Silas sang while they were imprisoned at Philippi (Acts 16:25). During his vision in Revelation 5, the apostle John sees this: “When He [Christ, the Lamb] had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song” (vv. 8-9).

That “new song” John was about to hear sung before God’s throne was not just new chronologically—it was new qualitatively. Here as elsewhere in the New Testament, “new” is used in relation to God’s salvation, which means it makes perfect sense for us to sing a new song—one that is far better than the world’s songs—if we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Words of genuine praise should well up in our hearts often and at the appropriate times break forth from our lips as we reflect the joy of the Spirit-filled life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God specifically for some of your favorite hymns.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 5:1-14 for the complete context of John’s new song.

  • What is the song’s theme?
  • How many eventually join in the praises?

Wisdom Hunters – Safe Environments 

“Your brother has come,” he replied, “and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.”    Luke 15:27

Our soul seeks out safe environments. We are attracted to people we can trust, who accept us for who we are instead of who we need to be. Safe environments give us security and peace. We can bare our souls because we know we are in a place of confidentiality, so do not fear rejection. A business meeting with a rigid agenda, pretense, and pride is not a safe place in which to be yourself.

Those who foster safe environments seek first to understand; there is no rush to judgment, but there is a rash of love. In safe environments, we feel loved, even when we are unlovely. Parents have the privilege of providing a safe environment for their teenagers transitioning into young adulthood. This can be a trying time for everyone, as your children are not babies anymore, so they do not want to be babied and controlled.

By God’s grace, you have trained them for such a time as this. This is your teenager’s time of transition into maturity and he or she may have to make a bad relational decision in the process. This is how he or she grows and learns. Therefore, as parents, it is imperative you keep the home environment safe and non-combative. Continue to speak the truth in love, but do so graciously with great patience and after much prayer. If your teenager doesn’t feel safe at home, they will find safety and acceptance elsewhere; so create attractive environments they want to be in.

Safe environments are also necessary for Christ-seekers. People searching for authentic faith need someplace to ask questions without being rebuffed for their elementary inquires. More mature believers have the opportunity to be there for those on their faith journey, but judgment is a juggernaut against safe environments, as it crushes with a condescending attitude. So, be careful not to impose your high standards on a person or situation, and in the process endanger the safe environment. Share your own failures and struggles, doing so builds bridges to the heart. Safe environments are void of pedestals of pride. Consider a Bible discussion in your home, and follow it up with a fun activity. Make Christianity attractive, not boring. Safe environments draw people to Christ.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Safe Environments 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Back to Your Future—Back to the Drawing Board

Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way.”

1 Kings 19:15

The Bible is full of people who broke down in the Lord’s work. Jonah melted down in chapter 4 of his book. Jeremiah wandered around Jerusalem in near despair. John the Baptist questioned the Messiah. The apostle Paul went to Troas where a great door opened, but he was too anxious to launch a work there. And Elijah is a model for all of us who need to go back to the drawing board to rest and reprioritize our lives.

Recommended Reading: 1 Kings 19:11-18

Elijah’s story is a model for us. In 1 Kings 19, the great prophet collapsed in exhaustion and fear. He fled to the desert and went all the way to Mount Sinai. He rested, slept, prayed, ate, and complained to the Lord about his traumas. God listened, patiently restored him, and sent him back on his way along the way he had come. The Lord re-commissioned his prophet with fresh assignments.

Sometimes we need a break. We have to go back to the drawing board, reset ourselves physically, and reestablish our priorities. God has more work for us, so we mustn’t quit too soon. If you feel you’re near a collapse, don’t despair. The same God who helped Jonah, Jeremiah, John, Paul, and Elijah can help you too.

All Elijah needed to get renewed for service was a fresh vision of the power and glory of God.

Warren W. Wiersbe

Read-Thru-the-Bible: Joel 1 – Amos 4

Joyce Meyer – Humble and Bold

Be strong (confident) and of a good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded  /*/  you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.- Joshua 1:6-7

Not only is it possible to be humble and bold, it is impossible to be truly bold without humility. Joshua was a man who was both. God told him to finish the job Moses started and take the Israelites into the Promised Land. Immediately after giving Joshua the command, God announced to him, No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

Joshua’s confidence rested in the fact that God was with him, and because of that he was able to go forward to do something that he probably felt unqualified to do. Joshua must have felt fear because the Lord repeatedly told him to “fear not,” which means “don’t run!”

God told Joshua that if he would be strong, confident, and full of courage, he would cause the people to inherit the land that God had promised them.

Lord, what an amazing promise this is! I receive it as my own. Help me to know Your Word and to be absolutely faithful to it. Amen.


.1`1From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Church Will Prevail

“You are Peter, a stone; and upon this rock I will build my church: and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

You and I can truly rejoice: no matter how weak and ineffective our church may seem to be at times, the fact remains that “all powers of hell shall not prevail against it.” Remarkably fulfilled to this date, this promise has the Word of God Himself to back it up.

Sometimes, we see the human frailties of one another in the church – which will always be there – and we forget for the moment the great strengths that are present: the Word of God; fellow believers who are fully committed to the Lord; genuine worship of our heavenly Father.

Primarily, we have the promise that the church is God’s instrument for worship and instruction of His children. It is a rallying place for believers; a powerhouse of prayer; a training school for sharing our faith.

A parallel to this promise has to do with the Word of God. Men have tried to destroy it down through the ages, but it remains the all-time best seller and so shall it ever be. Men have tried to count the church down and out many times, never with any degree of success whatsoever. And so shall that ever be, as well.

Rejoice: all the plots, stratagems and machinations of the enemy of the church shall never be able to overcome it. You and I, meanwhile, can do our part to help make the church all that God intends for it to be.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 12:21-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will praise God for His protecting hand over the church and do all in my power, the Holy Spirit enabling, to keep it strong and triumphant – the center of spiritual revolution.

Ray Stedman – A New Master

Read: Romans 6:8-14

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:14

Why does Paul bring in the Law? He brings in the Law because he is dealing with one of the most basic problems of the Christian struggle, the thing that often depresses and discourages us more than anything else — the sense of condemnation we feel when we sin. The Law produces condemnation. The Law says that unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you. We have been so engrained with this that when we sin, even as believers, we think God is angry and upset with us and he doesn’t care about us. We think that way about ourselves, and we become discouraged and defeated and depressed. We want to give up.

But Paul says that is not true. Believers are not under Law, and God does not respond that way toward us. We are under grace. God understands our struggle. He is not upset by it; he is not angry with us. He understands our failure. He knows that there will be a struggle and there will be failures. He also knows that he has made full provision in Christ for us to recover immediately, to pick ourself up, and go right on climbing up the mountain. Therefore, as his beloved child, you and I don’t need to be discouraged, and we won’t be.

Sin will not be your master because you are not under law and condemnation, but under grace. And even though you struggle, if, every time you fail, you come back to God and ask his forgiveness, and accept it from him, and remember how he loves you, and that he is not angry or upset with you, and go on from there, you will win.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – A New Master

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Peace

Read: Philippians 4:4-7

In everything . . . prayer . . . and the peace of God. (vv. 6-7)

After the curious link between prayer and “softness” comes a metaphor that is much less puzzling, but will even so repay our close attention: that is, prayer as peace.

We need to focus on the word “everything” in verse 6 of our reading. My friend Joe has complicated problems, and when he and I are focusing on a particular one, the others have to wait their turn. Do they at that point begin to spin out of control?

Of course not. Life may be a jigsaw puzzle with a multitude of pieces, but God knows exactly where every bit of the puzzle is, and how each is designed to fit in with the rest; in what order, and at what speed, and with what purpose, all are eventually to be pieced together. He already has the whole picture in mind, involving many other people besides Joe and me. Because “The Lord is King,” says Josiah Conder’s hymn, “alike pervaded by his eye / All parts of his dominion lie.” When we are told to combine “supplication with thanksgiving” in our prayers, those two terms mean more than simply looking ahead to ask and looking back to thank; the thanking as well as the asking has in view what God is doing in the present and will be doing in the future, because we can with a peaceful heart know that every last detail will turn out to be part of the pattern.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Peace

Greg Laurie – Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire.—Job 5:7

There are times I just don’t know why God does or does not do certain things. I, like you, am mystified by a lot of it.

Listen, being a Christian does not mean you will not suffer. We may ask the question “Why me?” but we could more easily ask “Why not me?” 1 Peter 4:12 warns us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (ESV). Our trials and sufferings should not be seen as strange, but should be expected.

Jesus Himself assured us that there will be suffering in our lives. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

Here is what we need to know: suffering will come. It’s not a matter of if but when and how much. We need to prepare for it.

If, as you are reading this, you are not experiencing any suffering or tragedy, I would say, “Rejoice, and enjoy it!” But know that hardship will come.

Here is the bottom line. You are either coming out of a storm or headed into another. “People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire” (Job 5:7 NLT). It’s just a matter of time. In this life, the only way to avoid suffering is to die. So, like the diligent squirrel gathering nuts for winter, store these truths in your heart.

In his book If God Is Good, Why?, Randy Alcorn says, “Most of us don’t give focused thought to evil and suffering until we experience them. This forces us to formulate perspective on the fly, at a time when our thinking is muddled and we’re exhausted and consumed by pressing issues. People who have ‘been there’ will attest that it’s far better to think through suffering in advance.”

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Glorified When His Disciples Bear Fruit

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

Jody brushed the clods of dirt off her hands and tapped her trowel on the edge of the garden path. That does it! she thought. I’ve done my part. Now it’s up to this garden to hold up its end of the bargain! As she walked toward the house, Jody wondered at how she kept seeing rows and rows of weeds in her mind every time she closed her eyes. It felt like she had been weeding and planting for a thousand days! But it would be worth it, she knew – like when the squash and tomatoes were ripe and ready to eat! She could almost taste them now!

How do you think Jody would feel if she came to her garden at harvest-time, after all that work she put into it, only to see that none of her crops came in? What if none of her tomato plants decided to yield one tomato? What if her squash vines decided to bear a pumpkin or a carrot, but no squash? What if the ears of corn never grew kernels? That would be weird, for one thing! Who ever heard of a squash vine that gave a pumpkin, or of corn-ears that never grew kernels? A harvest like that would be very weird indeed.

That would be a strange harvest, yes, but worse – a harvest like that would also be so disappointing! Think of all the work Jody poured into her garden! How do you think it would feel to not get any fruit, not even after so much hard work?

Discipleship is hard work, too. The whole growing process for a Christian is a hard thing. But did you know that God is glorified when His people bear fruit? The Bible teaches about the kinds of things we should see growing in our hearts – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, kindness – all sorts of amazing characteristics. They should be a part of every believer’s life, and every believer should be growing in this kind of “fruit” every day.

Do you know why God is so glorified when we bear fruit? Because ultimately, He is the One Who deserves the credit for our growth. God expects us to become more and more like His Son, but He also works in our hearts to change us so that we can! He gives us the desire to grow. He enables and strengthens and gives grace to help us. And His power is greater than any human power. Only God can bring spiritually-dead people to life and grow them into spiritual fruit-bearers.

God gets all the glory when His disciples bear spiritual fruit.

My Response:

» What kind of “fruit” is my life bearing right now?

» Do I desire to glorify God?

» How can I glorify God?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Progressive Sanctification

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:1

“As you received from us how you ought to live, and to please God, . . . do so more and more.”

Warring against the sin that remains in us and putting on Christ-like character is usually called sanctification. But because the term definitive sanctification is used to describe the point-in-time decisive deliverance from sin’s dominion, it’s helpful to speak of Christian growth as progressive sanctification. The word progressive indicates positive change. To use the tug-of-war analogy, it assumes that though the rope may move back and forth, over time it moves in the right direction until finally at the end of our lives we win the tug-of-war against sin.

There’s no doubt this rope must move in the right direction. The New Testament writers assume our growth and continually urge us to pursue it. We’re to pursue holiness “more and more,” and to love each other “more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1,9-10). We’re to possess the qualities of Christian character “in increasing measure” (2 Peter 1:8, NIV). However, we can always expect resistance. To stay with the tug-of-war analogy, although the Spirit who dwells within us is stronger than the sinful nature, that nature continues to “dig in its heels” every step of the way. And sometimes it will pull the rope in the wrong direction.

What is it then that will keep us going in the face of this internal conflict? The answer is the Gospel. What will motivate us and keep us going—even in the midst of the tension between the Spirit and the sinful nature—is the assurance in the Gospel that we have indeed died to the guilt of sin, that there’s no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus, that the Lord will never count our sins against us, and that we’re truly delivered from the reigning power of sin.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Building up the Church

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11-14

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:2

I had a friend who decided to paint his car, but about halfway through he got busy with something else and didn’t finish the job. Month after month, there it stood, half green and half something else, looking terrible. A job half done.

Now, when you and I think of our involvement in the Great Commission, we need to think of finishing the job. And that involves two things–winning the lost and building up the saved. We want those who turn to Christ to become strong, robust, dedicated, mature disciples. We want to see them built up in the faith, so they can reach out to others with the gospel and begin to build up those new ones in the faith.

That is what Paul was pleading for in 1 Corinthians 14:12, where he told the Christians in Corinth to “try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” It is imperative that you and I know how to help people grow in their Christian lives. Why? Because if a person comes to Christ and does not go on to become a mature disciple, the job is half done.

One of the most helpful things anyone ever did for me as a new Christian was get me started in Scripture memory. It has become a lifetime habit of memorizing God’s Word. Over the years, I’ve started scores of other people in Scripture memory. You see, that’s how it works. You take the things others have used to build you up, and you use them to help others. That’s the only way to fulfill the Great Commission and keep it from being a job half done.


Lord, show me how I can more effectively use my spiritual gifts to build up others in the faith. Amen.

To Ponder

Every Christian should be built up in the faith and equipped to minister to others. How far are you in the building process?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – HATRED REVEALED

Read ESTHER 5:9–14

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Hate is a powerful and destructive emotion, but God’s love vanquishes man’s hatred.

Haman began the day “happy and in high spirits” (v. 5). He was unaware of Esther’s intention in selecting him for this special banquet. Instead, he bragged to his friends and family about his high position in the king’s court. His good mood at being selected for a banquet with the king and queen temporarily offset his hatred of Mordecai. But his rage was never far from his mind. Even his boasting about his position and wealth gave him “no satisfaction” (v. 13), as long as Mordecai was allowed to exist. Even though Haman knew Mordecai would be killed within the year, it was no longer enough. He craved immediate results. His hatred was boundless.

Haman’s wife and friends had a suggestion. He should set in motion a gruesome plan for Mordecai’s death. That way the execution would happen promptly, and Haman could enjoy his exclusive invitation. Haman was “delighted” by their suggestion (v. 14), and immediately put the plan in action.

Death by impalement was a particularly gruesome choice, intended to make a spectacle and example of the one being punished. Verse 14 describes the pole as being 50 cubits high, approximately 75 feet. Haman’s rage was clearly out of control.

God’s people have often been the targets of anger. In Isaiah, God assures that He alone will vindicate such rage. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced” (Isa. 41:11). Mordecai’s fate would not be determined by Haman. He was safe in the protection of the Almighty God.


Haman reminds us that when we allow our hatred to fester, it will lead us to monstrous places. Unfettered hate will drive out our ability to enjoy God’s good gifts. If you struggle with hatred or bitterness today, confess it before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the fruit of the Spirit instead (see Gal. 5:22–23).

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading


On Freedom (and predestination)

Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.

From A Grief Observed

Compiled in Words to Live By


Streams in the Desert for Kids – I Know for Sure

Hebrews 11:1

Mark was a young boy whose grandmother told him he could ask for one thing for his birthday from a catalogue. Mark spent the next few days pouring over the catalogue, looking at all the different things he could ask for. Should he ask for a new ski coat or new running shoes? Should he ask for a new book or a DVD? Should he ask for new swimming gear for the summer or a video game?

It took a long time, but Mark finally decided. He wrote a letter to his grandmother telling her that he wanted a brand new swim suit that he could use at her cottage on the lake that summer. He went to the mailbox to mail his letter, but instead of letting it go he held onto the end of it. He stood there for quite a while, thinking, Did I really ask for what I wanted most? Should I think some more about what to ask for? Maybe I want a red swim suit instead of the green one. Did my grandmother really mean it when she told me to ask for a present?

Finally, Mark pulled the letter out of the box and put it in his pocket and went home to worry about it some more. Guess what? He didn’t get a gift from his grandmother until he finally made up his mind to let the letter go. Then soon there was a package from her with his gift inside.

Having faith in God is something like that. If we trust God completely, we tell him what we need then we let it go. We go on about our business and see what he will do for us. That is what it means to be certain about what we do not see.

Dear Lord, I’m going to ask for something I really need. Then I’m going to let go and wait to see what you will do. Amen.