Charles Stanley – The Power of Persistence


Philippians 3:10-14

Everyone desires success. Simply wanting it, however, won’t guarantee achievement. That’s why many people fail to reach their goal: They encounter hardship and give up.

So let’s discuss one characteristic needed to accomplish what you set out to do: Persistence is the combination of strong desire and willpower. Paul exemplified this capacity to stay on course in the face of difficulty and refuse to quit. He was passionate about sharing the gospel with both Jews and Gentiles across the known world. Acts 20:24 records his purpose: “That I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Though he encountered tremendous obstacles like shipwreck, prison, physical punishment, and constant danger, the apostle never quit (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

What motivated Paul to persevere amidst struggles? First, he had a clear God-given goal and trusted that the Lord would enable him to achieve it. Second, the apostle felt indebted to share the life-changing truth of salvation. Third, he knew the devastation awaiting those who do not know Jesus.

Paul had his eyes fixed on his purpose, which he so valued that no circumstance could deter him. Ultimately, he achieved what almighty God had ordained.

The Father has great goals for His children. Striving for anything less will neither fulfill us nor achieve what He’s planned in our life. Once His direction is clear, we should passionately pursue God’s purposes with the Holy Spirit’s strength and guidance—especially when obstacles arise. Don’t give up!

Bible in One Year: John 12-13

Our Daily Bread — Love in Action

Read: Philippians 1:27–2:4

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 34–36; Hebrews 2

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.—Philippians 2:3

“Do you have a few items you’d like me to wash?” I asked a visitor to our home in London. His face lit up, and as his daughter walked by, he said, “Get your dirty clothes—Amy’s doing our laundry!” I smiled, realizing that my offer had been extended from a few items to a few loads.

Later as I hung clothes outside on the line, a phrase from my morning’s Bible reading floated through my mind: “In humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). I had been reading Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, in which he exhorts them to live worthy of Christ’s calling through serving and being united with others. They were facing persecution, but Paul wanted them to be of one mind. He knew that their unity, birthed through their union with Christ and expressed through serving each other, would enable them to keep strong in their faith.

We might claim to love others without selfish ambition or vain conceit, but the true state of our hearts isn’t revealed until we put our love into action. Though I felt tempted to grumble, I knew that as a follower of Christ, my call was to put my love for my friends into practice—with a clean heart.

May we find ways to serve our family, friends, and neighbors for God’s glory. —Amy Boucher Pye

Read Luke 22:22–27 and consider how you can pattern yourself after Jesus the servant, looking especially at the words, “But I am among you as one who serves.”

The gift of unity can result from serving each other.

INSIGHT: Philippians was written by the apostle Paul to a group of Christians in the ancient city of Philippi. Paul had met many of these church members several years earlier when he visited this Roman colony in the heart of Macedonia. The church had begun with the conversion of a small group of women—including a wealthy Thyatiran clothing dealer named Lydia—who met to worship God on the banks of the Krenides River outside the city gates (Acts 16:11-15). Now many years later Paul wrote to these friends from prison. He was unsure he would ever see them again to deliver his message in person (1:27). What was the content of this message? Stand firm; stand together; be joyful; there is hope in Christ! Dennis Moles

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Living a Fulfilled Life

“Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Living life apart from God is futile.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is greatly misunderstood. It is a difficult book to read simply because it is hard to understand. Everything in it appears wrong and as if it doesn’t fit with the rest of Scripture. But it is part of the Old Testament wisdom literature because it is a statement of human wisdom. Ecclesiastes tells us how man perceives his world, God, and the realities of life.

Most scholars believe Ecclesiastes was penned by Solomon. They debate whether he wrote it before he was a true believer or after. He may have written it in retrospect, or he may have penned it sometime before he had a full understanding of the life-changing truth of God.

Ecclesiastes is a fascinating book because it reveals the folly, uselessness, senselessness, and frustration of human wisdom—that which James calls “earthly, natural, demonic” (James 3:15). In Ecclesiastes 1:16 Solomon says to himself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me.” That verse shows me that when God initially gave Solomon wisdom, He gave it to him on a human level. He gave Solomon wisdom to make successful decisions and judgments as king. But although divine wisdom was available to him, I believe Solomon opted for human wisdom the greater portion of his life. And that wisdom was never able to answer his ultimate questions.

The sum of Solomon’s perspective on human wisdom is in Ecclesiastes 4:23: “I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed.” That’s a death wish and is the logical end of worldly wisdom—futility.

Fortunately, Solomon did eventually embrace true wisdom. At the end of his book, he said, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (12:13). What then can satisfy your heart and make life worth living? The wisdom of God alone.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you follow His ways for a blessed and fulfilled life.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 3:13-26, noting how the benefits of true wisdom are in contrast to what Solomon experienced.

Wisdom Hunters – Honor God 

He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. John 7:18

God is easy to honor because He is the most honorable. We honor and esteem God because he is God. His position is without comparison. His role of King of Kings and Lord of Lords is matchless. Nothing can compare with the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is high and lifted up, never to sin and always to forgive. He is not always understood, but He can be trusted exclusively. Honor and glory goes to the One who can be thoroughly trusted. His word is His bond; it is never to be broken. This is trust at the highest level.

Therefore, He solicits honor by His very nature. He is the most deserving of honor. His character calls for it and His holiness demands it. Foolish and unwise are we when we honor ourselves. Self-honoring is as awkward as the physical act of patting yourself on the back. It looks strange for one thing and secondly, it draws attention to the wrong person. Honor is to be given, not taken. It is to be bestowed, not withheld. The act of honoring God facilitates authenticity. Honor means you are about truth and you flee from what is false. There is a divine dignity in your behavior and speech. It is easy to honor God because he is honorable. It is a privilege to honor God because He has honored us with His presence. Do not substitute God’s place of honor with anyone or anything, especially yourself.

Honoring God starts with attitude. Honor by definition means you revere, respect, and fear God. You hallow His name and speak it with humility. There is God and there is none other besides Him. Your words are a reflection of your attitude; therefore, they are honorable, and you esteem Him by the way you live. You do certain things—like honor others—because you honor God. You do not do certain things—like abuse your body—because you honor God. You recognize your body as the temple of His Spirit; therefore, you honor Him with clean living.

Your speech is free of obscenities because you honor God. You love your wife because you honor God. You respect your husband because you honor God. You honor your parents because you honor God. The bottom line is you honor what God honors, and you dishonor what He dishonors. This is why you embrace righteousness and abhor sin. Honor is what God desires and what He deserves. Honor Him first, and it becomes natural to honor others. If you reverse the order, it is impossible to honor Him with a whole heart. Your true life in Christ flows out of honor for God.

A life of honoring God and others means you graduate to heaven with honors. Honor Him with your time, treasures, and talents.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, show the wonder of Your honor and glory through my grateful praise.

Application: What does it look like for me to honor the Lord in all I say and do?

Joyce Meyer – Trust God Completely

But when He was in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast, many believed in His name [identified themselves with His party] after seeing His signs (wonders, miracles) which He was doing. But Jesus [for His part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men]; and He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts]. —John 2:23-25

How deeply can we trust others? How much of ourselves do we give to others, and how vulnerable are we to them? I suppose the answers to these questions are as varied as the different situations. But considering the questions is definitely food for thought. Those of us who havebeen hurt by trusting too much tend to pull back when we get into certain situations. I was once involved with a group of women whom I dearly loved, but eventually I realized our relationship wasn’t healthy for them or for me. I had become too dependent on them, even placing a trust in them that belongs only to God.

All of us know we’re supposed to place our ultimate trust only in the Lord. But sometimes we encounter individuals or groups who mean so much to us that we give too much of ourselves, or we allow them authority in our lives that belongs only to the Lord. When this happens, our lives are out of balance. And when we get out of balance, we open a door for the devil.

The words from John’s gospel serve as an appropriate warning to us. He was speaking of the relationship Jesus had with His own beloved disciples. Jesus knew how much—and how little—He could trust even those who were closest to Him. He understood human nature—something all of us have.

Jesus knew that we, too, would need discernment about trusting others, so He sent His Holy Spirit to guide us and to let us know who we could trust. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, the apostle Paul referred to the spiritual gift called the discerning of spirits, and in verse 31, he urged us to “earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts….” One of these “great gifts” is discernment, and it helps us distinguish between good and bad, not just bad.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Trust God Completely

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Trust Him

“So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to” (Matthew 6:31-33).

As a young businessman, I was strongly attracted to the material things of the world and worked very hard to achieve success. But when I became a Christian, I could not ignore the logic of Christ’s command, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).

I made my commitment to obey His command. Since that day so many years ago, I have sought to be obedient to that command. The Lord has graciously and abundantly blessed me with the fulfillment of the promise of His supernatural provision which follows:

“Your heavenly father already knows perfectly well (the things you need), and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.”

God is trustworthy, and the obedient, faithful Christian soon learns that he, like the psalmist of old, can proclaim:

“I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves Him, nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry” (Psalm 37:25).

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:25-30

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Resting on the absolute certainties of the Word of God, I will refuse to worry about anything today (recognizing that concern involves others, while worry involves only myself). “All things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). “My God shall supply all your need…” (Philippians 4:19). By trusting these and other promises from God’s word, I have no reason to worry

Ray Stedman – How To Be Saved

Read: Romans 10:5-11

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. Romans 10:10-11

That is the clearest statement in the Word of God on how to be saved. Paul makes it very simple. He says that it begins with the confession of the mouth: Jesus is Lord. Don’t twist those words to mean that you have to stand up in public somewhere and announce that you believe Jesus is Lord before you are saved. Paul does not mean it that way, although it does not exclude that. He means that the mouth is the symbol of the conscious acknowledgment to ourselves of what we believe. It means that we have come to the place where we recognize that Jesus has the right to lordship in our lives. Prior to this point we have been lord of our lives, and we have run our own affairs. We have decided we have the right to make our own decisions according to what we want. But there comes a time, as God’s Spirit works in us, that we see the reality of life as God has made it to be, and we realize Jesus is Lord.

He is Lord of our past, to forgive us of our sins; He is Lord of our present, to dwell within us, and to guide and direct and control every area of our life; He is Lord of our future, to lead us into glory at last; He is Lord of life, Lord of death, he is Lord over all things. He is in control of history. He is running all human events. He stands at the end of every path on which men go, and he is the ultimate one we all must reckon with. That is why Peter says in Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – How To Be Saved

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – A Light to the Nations

Read: Isaiah 49:1-6

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob. (v. 6 NIV)

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” the angel asked Abraham when Sarah laughed at the idea she would bear a child in her old age (Gen. 18:12-14). No, nothing is too hard for God. But some things are too small.

It is too small a thing for the servant of the Lord merely to be the Savior of Jacob and Israel. Yahweh is the God of Israel, but he’s no mere tribal deity. He is also the God of all the earth. Therefore he says to his servant, “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (v. 6). Jesus clearly understood this to refer to himself when he declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6 in a sermon he preached during his first missionary journey. Speaking in the local synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he used this verse to justify his sharing the gospel with Gentiles as well as Jews. So he made a small but important change: “We are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles . . .’” (Acts 13:46-47).

Did you catch that? Paul says the Lord has made us a light for the nations. We are commanded to proclaim Christ as universal Savior and Lord. Anything less would be too small for him.

—David Bast


Give glory to Jesus, Light of the world.


Greg Laurie – Against All Odds

Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.—2 Chronicles 20:3

Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, faced a dilemma. His enemies greatly outnumbered him. To make matters worse, his enemies had joined forces with the other enemies of Israel and were coming to destroy him. One day, someone came to King Jehoshaphat and warned him that a gigantic army was headed his way, bent on his destruction. It was hopeless. There was no way that he could meet this army with what he had. He was going to be destroyed. What did Jehoshaphat do? The Bible says that he “set himself to seek the Lord.” He prayed, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV).

The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15–17 NKJV).

Jehoshaphat and his army went out to meet their enemies, but they put the worship team out front. The Bible says that when they began to sing and praise the Lord, the enemy started fighting among themselves and destroyed each other.

Maybe you are facing what seems like an impossible situation right now. You may not be able to see a way out. But God can. Call on Him. Then stand still and see what He will do.

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Truth

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

God keeps His promises. If you can find one promise in the entire Bible that God cannot keep, then God is not the God He says He is. The fact that God is truth is another way that God shows His perfection. His Word is perfectly reliable; He cannot help but speak truth. He never, ever lies. God is truth. Here are some important, truthful promises that He has made to you, if your trust is in Him –

God promises never to leave you. (Hebrews 13:5)

God promises to take care of your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

God promises to hear you when you are in trouble. (Psalm 50:15)

God promises to love you. (1 John 4:16)

God promises everlasting life to you if you trust in Him. (John 3:16)

People will disappoint you. Your friends will sometimes make promises they cannot keep. Your family will sometimes say things they do not mean. Your classmates will sometimes lie or forget to keep their promises. Why? Because humans sin and cannot be perfect. But God is perfect. Every word of God is true. Psalm 33:4 says, “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.”

Would you like to do something fun?

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Truth

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Place to Hide

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 51:5

“I was brought forth in iniquity.”

Our fallen sinful nature affects and pollutes everything we do. Our very best deeds are stained with sin. Even our acts of obedience fall so far short of perfection, defiled as they are by remaining sin, that they are but as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) when compared with the righteousness God’s law requires.

If we limit our attention to single sins to the neglect of our sinful nature, we’ll never discover how deeply infected with sin we really are. When David prayed his memorable prayer of Psalm 51, after he’d committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered, he traced his heinous actions back to their original cause—his sinful nature acquired in his mother’s womb.

You might be thinking, “Why devote so much attention to sin? It just makes me feel guilty.” My reason is to cause us all to realize we have no place to hide. Only against the dark backdrop of our sinfulness can we see the glory of the cross shining forth in all its brilliance and splendor.

We often resort to euphemisms to mitigate the severity of our sins. I sat with some friends across the table from a Christian leader who said, “I’ve had an affair.” Of course we all knew what he meant, but I later wished I’d had the presence of mind to respond, “Bob, look me in the eye and say, I’ve committed adultery.’” We need to call sin what the Bible calls it and not soften it with expressions borrowed from our culture.

Furthermore, even a deep, penetrating sense of our sinfulness does not do justice to the reality of our predicament. Our situation was so desperate that only the death of God’s own Son on a cruel and shameful cross was sufficient to resolve the problem. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Come As You Are

Today’s Scripture: Esther 3-4

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29

Today’s passage in Esther is a study in contrasts. And it all centers around a contrast in kingdoms. The Scriptures go to great lengths to describe the riches of the king’s palace at Shushan. There were hangings of white, green, and blue fastened to silver rings with cords of fine linen and purple. The beds were of gold and silver on a pavement of red, blue, white, and black marble. It must have been something! But one day, every child of God will see something that will make the palace at Shushan look like a doghouse. We have no concept of what the glories of heaven will be like except that they will be beyond our wildest imaginings.

The second contrast emerges when Mordecai challenged Queen Esther to approach the king. Everyone knew the dangers involved. If she came to the inner court without being called by the king, she could be put to death if the king did not hold out his golden scepter.

What a contrast to the King of kings, whose word is, “Call unto me and I will answer thee.” What a contrast to the urging of Scripture to come boldly to the throne of God, where we can find mercy and grace.

We can see it in the life of Jesus as well. He was the most inclusive person who ever lived. He welcomed people others turned away–little children, lepers, tax collectors, sinners, anyone who came to Him in simple faith and need. And today, without special invitation, the Lord of glory is waiting to reveal more and more of Himself to you and me in His Word.


Lord, I am awed that Jesus died for me so that I could be Your child and have access before Your throne. Amen.

To Ponder

God wants us to come into His throne room unbidden, to “interrupt” Him with our prayers.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – PAUL’S GODLY ANXIETY


Read PHILIPPIANS 2:25–30

The Greek verb for “worry,” merimnaó, can have either a negative or a positive meaning. The negative meaning is the one most often translated in English, “to be anxious or distracted, troubled with cares.” In some contexts, though, it can have a more positive meaning, “to care for, provide for, or look out for.” In that case, the Greek word is often translated “care” or “concern.”

This sort of “anxiety” is what the apostle Paul meant in today’s reading (v. 28; cf. 2 Cor. 11:28). Though this month we’re mainly focusing on worry as a sin—and indeed, that is how Scripture mostly uses the term—we should also examine this alternative meaning. There is such a thing as appropriate care or concern, which doesn’t become an obsession or an idol. This godly example from Paul helps us to see concern that doesn’t cross the line into worry. This concern is felt while still expressing faith in God.

As an emissary from the church at Philippi, Epaphroditus had visited the apostle Paul in Rome, where he was under house arrest (v. 25; 4:18). While there, Epaphroditus had fallen ill and nearly died (vv, 27, 30). He felt homesick and emotionally distressed because his illness had alarmed the Philippians (v. 26). Feeling similarly, Paul looked forward to sending Epaphroditus safely back home (v. 28). The believers there should welcome and honor him as having “almost died for the work of Christ” (vv. 29–30).

What made Paul’s “anxiety” in this case legitimate and even godly? First, the illness occurred while Epaphroditus was doing the work of Christ, not self-centered pursuits. The risk had been worth it. And second, Paul acknowledged the situation had been in God’s hands all along, saying, “God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me” (v. 27).


Have you thought your anxiety was justified, but in fact it demonstrated a lack of faith? On the other hand, have you thought your anxiety was sinful because someone told you Christians should always feel happy? Invite the Holy Spirit to assess your cares and concerns through the lens of Paul’s example in Scripture.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Above the Clouds


Job 37:21

When you read a verse like the one above from Job, you may begin to wonder what was going on with Job and his friends to bring up such a conversation.

These guys said to Job, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised?… Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?… Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean.” In other words, “Job, you don’t know enough to understand God’s ways.”

Then God answered Job (chapters 38–41; read it sometime—it’s beautiful). God said that he is the one who has created everything the way it is. God sees the sun even when to us it is covered by clouds. Now Job knows he can hear from God. He can understand what God is doing in the world when he learns to consider that God’s perspective is so different from ours.

Do you want to hear from God and see his bigger perspective? You can if you will pray with all your heart and ask God to show you his plan and his way.

Dear Lord, I know you made everything, understand everything, yet you want to talk with me. You give me understanding. Amen