Charles Stanley – Facing Life’s Unknowns

Hebrews 11:23-27

Ignorance of the future is mankind’s frightening reality. Particularly in times of stress and uncertainty, the road ahead appears dark. But believers have a special gift that helps them face life’s unknowns. We possess spiritual eyes that are trainable for seeing the omniscient God who holds the future in His hand.

Moses challenged Egypt’s Pharaoh, led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, and endured turmoil and rebellion as a nomadic leader because he saw “Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:27). Moses’ spiritual eyes were focused on God, and he trusted the Father completely.

Our daily existence may not be as dramatic as that of an Old Testament political rebel, but like Moses, we all have a purpose for which we are called to move forward without detailed instructions. And we share in the promised presence of God.

But it’s important to realize the Father reveals Himself only to clean-hearted believers. (See Matt. 5:8.) “Pure in heart” refers to holy thinking, which rejects incorrect ideas and replaces them with obedience. When a sinful thought occurs, pure-hearted believers confess and repent in order to move ahead in righteousness. In other words, the people who develop spiritual eyes to see God are those who are dedicated to knowing and serving Him. As we study Scripture to learn His commands, desires, and way of operating, we start to think as He does.

When believers’ hearts are clean, their spirit can sense the Father’s abiding presence. Consequently, we can face life’s unknowns hand in hand with Him.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 6-9

Our Daily Bread — Making Preparations

Read: John 14:1-6

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30-31; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.—John 14:3

As we viewed my father-in-law’s body in his casket at the funeral home, one of his sons took his dad’s hammer and tucked it alongside his folded hands. Years later, when my mother-in-law died, one of the children slipped a set of knitting needles under her fingers. Those sweet gestures brought comfort to us as we remembered how often they had used those tools during their lives.

Of course, we knew that they wouldn’t actually need those items in eternity. We had no illusions, as the ancient Egyptians did, that tools or money or weapons buried with someone would better prepare them for the next life. You can’t take it with you! (Ps. 49:16-17; 1 Tim. 6:7).

But some preparation for eternity had been necessary for my in-laws. That preparation had come years before when they trusted Jesus as their Savior.

Planning for the life to come can’t begin at the time of our death. Each of us prepares our heart by accepting the gift of salvation made possible by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

At the same time, God has made preparations as well: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). He has promised to prepare a place for us to spend eternity with Him. —Cindy Hess Kasper

Father, we’re grateful that we will have a place with You one day. Thank You that you will fill us with joy in Your presence.

God gives us time—to prepare for eternity.

INSIGHT: Preparation was an important theme in Jesus’s final teaching time with His followers. His “upper room discourse” opens with the promise of a place in the Father’s house (John 14:2), where Jesus would go and prepare a place for His followers. The imagery of a prepared place in the house of the Lord was not new. This same idea brought comfort to David, who sang, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6). As it was with David, Jesus’s disciples had this hope. And so do we! He promised to return for His own and take us to the place He has prepared.

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Spirit-Filled Gratitude

“Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20).

Sincere thanks to God will result at all times if we are truly filled with the Spirit.

I’m convinced that gratitude is the single greatest act of personal worship we can render to God. And today’s verse plainly asserts that thankfulness should be a well-rounded, consistent response to whatever God allows to happen in our lives (see 1 Thess. 5:18). Such a thankful attitude is impossible in our own strength, but as the Holy Spirit indwells us, He graciously and mercifully enables us to be thankful at all times, without exception.

It follows that if a Spirit-filled believer is enabled to give thanks at all times, he will also be strengthened to give thanks “for all things.” Implicit in Paul’s words are the hard things (see also James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 2:20-21); but there are also dozens of blessings that we must not neglect to be grateful for. Here are some primary examples: God’s goodness and mercy (Ps. 106:1), the gift of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15), the gospel’s triumph (2 Cor. 2:14), and victory over death (1 Cor. 15:56-57).

The Spirit-filled Christian will always display his gratefulness in the name of Christ to God the Father. We could not be thankful at all if it were not for the Person and work of Jesus Christ. So to be thankful in His name simply means it will be consistent with His character and deeds (see Eph. 1:5-8, 11-12).

God is the ultimate object of all our thanksgivings, and Father is the name that highlights His loving benevolence and the constant flow of His gracious gifts that come to those who know Him (see James 1:17). We just can’t escape the importance of our continually offering thanks to God on every occasion, for everything. Hebrews 13:15 presents us with this excellent summary: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Think of something you have not thanked God for in the past. Confess that neglect, and begin thanking Him for it regularly from now on.

For Further Study

Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-23.

  • How was that opportunity for gratitude different from those mentioned in the lesson?
  • How did Jehoshaphat demonstrate His trust in God?

Wisdom Hunters – Small Things 

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.   Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

Small things are big to God, so they are not to be discounted or despised. After all, our Savior is in the small things. Our pride wants to get on to the larger and more important opportunities. It dismisses the mundane or the monotonous. But success and significance are also found in the small things.

A quiet smile at a restaurant server is small, but significant. A little gift for an unsuspecting sanitation worker is small, but significant. Learning the children’s names of a blue-collar worker in your company, and occasionally joining him for lunch is small, but significant. Attention to small things makes people big. Celebrate an office employee’s birthday over breakfast, or an important personal milestone over lunch or dinner. When we give attention to small things, we say we care. Private acts of love foster public loyalty and long-term commitment. It is the attention to small things that build great people and grow great companies.

This is also true with our children. If we want influence with them when they face big issues as teenagers and adults, it is imperative we show interest in the small things of their childhood. Parental investment in ballgames, recitals, school plays, scouts, church camps, outdoors, homework, shared hobbies, and church all add up to an invitation to big things. Little things like tucking them in at night will one day give them the trust to invite us into the dark night of their soul. Investment in the small things invites influence with the big things.

Therefore, do not despise this season of small things. They are like seeds that eventually grow into grand and glorious opportunities of influence. There is a definite sequence of seed planting, watering, fertilizing, and cultivating. The process can become boring and seem unproductive, but this illustrates how God works. Your Savior is into stringing together a sequence of small activities that leads to larger outcomes. So stay with the small things, for in due season you will reap the harvest.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Small Things 

Joyce Meyer – Develop Your Potential

. . . He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you- Philippians 1:6

Before the days of digital cameras, cameras had film that had to be taken to a processor or a darkroom for development. Just having the undeveloped film didn’t do you any good. But once you went through the process of development, you had beautiful pictures for yourself and others to see.

It’s the same with you. God placed potential inside you, but just having potential is not enough. Be willing to let God work daily to bring you to spiritual maturity in Him.

It takes time and a willingness to let God work in your life to develop your potential, but I guarantee you can make a difference in the world and enjoy an amazing life as you learn to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than by your own will and ways.

Power Thought: God is at work in my life, developing and perfecting the potential He placed inside me when He created me.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Are You Bearing Fruit

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8, NAS).

Early in my Christian life, I had little faith as I prayed for one person, who by God’s grace received Christ. The more I understood the attributes of God and experienced His blessing on my witness for Him, the more I could trust Him.

As our Campus Crusade for Christ staff grew in number and we trained more and more students and laymen, we began to pray for millions to receive Christ. God honored our faith and prayers with millions of recorded decisions for our Savior in more than 150 countries of the world.

Now that we are helping to train millions of Christians on every major continent, associated with thousands of churches of all denominations and various other Christian organizations, I have the faith to pray for a billion souls to receive Christ. As I have come to know our Lord Jesus Christ better, I have learned to trust Him more. I now believe that He will do great and mighty things through me and through others as we live by faith the supernatural Christian life. Faith is like a muscle; it grows with exercise. The more we see God do in and through the lives of His children, the more we expect Him to do. Please note God does not change – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are the ones who change as we mature in faith.

How do you know that you are a true disciple? That you are glorifying God? By bearing much fruit. But what kind of fruit? The fruit of your holy life and the fruit of your Spirit-anointed lips must be in balance.

Some Christians concentrate on Bible study and prayer, seeking to honor God. Others concentrate on much Christian activity. Every time the church door opens, they are there. Yet neither type of person is experiencing God’s best.

Remember, we glorify God when we bear much fruit. Too many Christians are satisfied with modest efforts and modest results. Yet the better we know God and the more we are acquainted with His Word, the more we have fellowship with Him and grasp His vision and His burden for all people throughout the world.

Bible Reading: John 15:4, 5, 12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, that I will glorify God by bearing much fruit through both the witness of my life and the witness of my lips.

Ray Stedman – A New Husband

Read: Romans 7:1-6

Do you not know, brothers and sisters — for I am speaking to those who know the law — that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. Romans 7:1-3

Paul uses an illustration to teach us the way to be free from the Law. The woman is us. She has two husbands, one following the other. Notice what the death of the first husband does to the woman’s relationship to the Law. When the first husband dies, the woman is released from the Law. Not only is she released from her husband, but she also is released from the Law. If her husband dies, the Law can say nothing to her as to where she can go, and what she can do, and who she can be with. She is released from the Law. The death of the husband makes the woman dead to Law.

The first husband is Adam, this old life into which we were born. We were linked to it, married to it, and couldn’t get away from it. Like a woman married to an old, cruel, mean husband, there is not much she can do about it. While she is married she is tied to that husband. She cannot have a second husband while she is married to the first. She is stuck with #1, and she has to share his lifestyle of bondage, corruption, shame and death. That is why we who were born into Adam have to share the lifestyle of fallen Adam.

If this woman, while she is married to her first husband, tries to live with another — for this lifestyle is sickening to her — she will be called an adulteress. Who calls her that? The Law does. The Law condemns her. It is only when the first husband dies that she is free from that condemnation of the Law and can marry again. When she does, the Law is absolutely silent; it has nothing to say to her at all. Verse 4 says, So…you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

What a fantastic verse! Here is the great, marvelous declaration of the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Notice how Paul draws the parallel: So … you also. We fit right into this. The key words here are you also died to the law through the body of Christ. The body of Christ refers to the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – A New Husband

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Joy

Read: John 16:16-24

Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (v. 24)

The connection between prayer and “softness” may have been rather puzzling, but the link here, between prayer and joy, is made crystal clear. There is puzzlement, for sure, in the minds of Jesus’ friends, because up to this point the idea that he might leave them, if only (as it will turn out) for the three days between his death and his resurrection, has been totally mystifying. But knowing a crucified and risen Christ will open up for them a whole new way of praying.

Joe, whom you met yesterday, has been a “disciple” for some time, but the person and name of Jesus are not yet a reality to him. Sooner or later, in God’s good time, Jesus will confront him with the words that lead into today’s text: “Until now you have asked nothing in my name.” To spell it out, Jesus will be saying something like this: “Be sure of it, Joe, when you ask me to be your Savior from sin and the Lord of your life, you’ll find you are able to talk in a new way to ‘him up there,’ who has already helped you from time to time in the past, and he will begin to answer you as never before. Just tell him ‘Jesus said I could come,’ and you’ll be welcome at once. Ask, and you will receive; that missing element, joy, will begin to color your life in ways you never dreamed of.”


Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Joy

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Good

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:7-9)

This psalm was a well-known song among the Israelites in Old Testament times. What do you think the people in the neighboring nations must have thought when they heard the lyrics to this Israelite tune? The “neighbors” were godless people, meaning they were without the God of the Bible. Some of them were idolaters who worshipped many gods. Some of them would not bow the knee to any kind of god at all.

Do you think these godless people were happy? Were their idols hearing or answering their prayers? Were they able to get themselves through hard times on their own, without God? Maybe you are thinking, Well, how can I know what those ancient people were thinking? I am living in the twenty-first century, and those people are all dead now. I can’t watch them live without God. I can’t ask them how they liked their godless lives.

And you would be right, in a way. In our time, we can only imagine what people might have been thinking back then. But you can look around at people today. You can watch how godless people respond in a crisis and see how hopeless they are. You can read about them and see what they do and say. You can watch how it is for them to live life apart from belief in the God of the Bible. And you can see for yourself whether they really are happy or at peace.

When the USA’s World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11/01, Americans everywhere were asking a few questions: “Is God really out there?” “Is God really good?” If you have ever heard recordings of reporters and bystanders that day, as they watched the towers burn and fall, and as so many lives were lost, you can hear that many of them – even the ones who would never admit that God exists – were calling out on God! Most of them were probably saying His name in vain (in an empty way, because they were not really calling Him for help). But if you do not believe that God exists, why would your first reaction be to call out the name of a non-existent “God”?

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Good

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – His Loving Discipline

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:6

“The Lord . . . chastises every son whom he receives.”

In addition to disciplining those he loves, the Lord also, as our Father, “chastises” or punishes us. Punishment may serve one of two purposes: the execution of justice or the correction of character. When a person convicted of a crime is sent to prison, that’s punishment in the execution of justice. When a loving parent punishes a child, it’s for the correction of the child’s character.

Although today we usually equate discipline with punishment, the biblical use of the word discipline had a broader meaning. Punishment would have been one aspect of the overall program of child-training. But all of God’s discipline, including punishment for disobedience that he sends to us in the form of adversity, is administered in love and for our welfare. We must never equate his punishment of us with the negative emotions we often see in a human parent.

God does punish in the execution of justice. The Scriptures say, “God is just” (2 Thessalonians 1:6, NIV) and “?t is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19, NIV). But as far as believers are concerned, God has already executed the justice we should have received on his Son on the cross. Christ fully satisfied the justice of God and turned away his wrath from us. Therefore, God’s punishment of us is always corrective and always administered in love and for our welfare.

In times of adversity Satan will seek to plant the thought in our mind that God is angry with us and is disciplining us out of wrath. Here is another instance when we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves. The Gospel will reassure us that the penalty for our sins has been paid, that God’s justice has been fully satisfied. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Cheerful Giver

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6-9

“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – -Luke 21:3-4

I spent several weeks in the African country of Liberia teaching at a small Bible college. The missionaries who oversaw the college told me of a tragedy several years before, when their house burned down and they lost everything they had. The day after the fire, a little African girl came to them with a pair of well-worn canvas sneakers and gave them to one of their daughters. They were the only shoes the African girl had, and she would likely never get another pair, but she came offering them freely, saying she wanted to help. The missionaries were overwhelmed by her sacrificial giving.

It reminded me of Paul’s description of the Macedonian churches’ response to the grace of God. Second Corinthians 8:2-4 says, “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.”

Paul directs our attention to Jesus Christ as the great example of what it means to give: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (verse 9). Paul went on to say that our sacrificial giving should be more than an emotional response on the spur of the moment. It should be thought through and done deliberately. Christian, if you have never done it, sit down and lay out a giving plan that honors the Lord in its sacrificial generosity.


Lord, everything I have comes from You. Guide me as I consider how to give to others out of my abundance. Amen.

To Ponder

If your giving practices were made known to Christians in other lands, would your example be a challenge and encouragement to them?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

Read ESTHER 6:1–10

People will try counting sheep, drinking warm milk, taking deep breaths, and moving the television out of the room in order to get some shut-eye. In today’s passage, God uses a sleepless night to change the course of history.

The beginning of Esther 6 contains an ironic turn of events. Haman was preparing to destroy Mordecai. But now there would be a great reversal: he would be asked to construct an elaborate plan to honor him.

Notice how God intervened in the plot line of the tragic story. Even before Xerxes heard Esther’s request, Mordecai’s act of bravery was brought to his attention. The king could not sleep. We know that throughout Scripture, God often spoke to men and women in dreams and visions, and we can reasonably conclude that He was responsible for this restless, sleepless night in the palace. God engineered events to bring something to King Xerxes’ attention.

The king asked for the book that chronicled the historical records of his kingdom. Certainly the lengthy, detailed manuscript would be enough to induce drowsiness! But the book had the opposite effect. The king was reminded of Mordecai’s act of heroism when Mordecai prevented his assassination (2:21–23). Although the guilty officials had been put to death for the attempt, Mordecai had never been rewarded.

In a wonderful ironic twist, Haman was asked to suggest a reward for the hero. In his self-centered way, Haman assumed the recipient of the king’s gratitude would be himself (v. 6). He certainly never expected that the recipient would be Mordecai. While honoring Mordecai would delight the king, it was devastating and humiliating for the man who wanted to destroy him.


Do you realize that your acts of loyalty and love can delight your King? Psalm 147:11 says that God delights in those who fear Him and put their hope in Him. It is wonderful to know that we can bring joy and honor to our God. Ask Him today to guide your steps and to make each word and action one that will bring Him delight.