Charles Stanley –Equipped for the Valley


Psalm 119:17-24

If a sermon is worth listening to, we’re wise to jot down its important points. Writing etches wisdom deeper into the heart and mind, where a foundation of biblical theology is built.

You can’t afford to let a message or scripture brush over your ears and drift away. Christians who aren’t listeners may panic upon entering a spiritual valley; since they’ve retained very little teaching, their understanding of the Lord will be limited. Those without a theological foundation don’t realize God is upholding them through their difficulty—and their trial has purpose (Isa. 41:10; Rom. 8:28). Nor do they understand they must surrender to God’s work in their life. Otherwise, though they are still believers, they’re not advancing the kingdom and could be set aside. Consequently, a Christian without a solid biblical foundation may seek counsel from worldly problem solvers who offer only temporary release from pain and fear.

David, the author of Psalm 23, said that he did not fear evil (Psalm 23:4). He knew God, so he had nothing to be scared of since the One who controlled everything was on his side. How could he be stifled by anxiety while in the Spirit’s comforting presence? David held on to what he knew of God and endured. But he had to be familiar with God’s character and promises in order to believe that the Lord would not fail him.

A spiritual relationship heavy on emotion but light on education falters in a valley. Believers must know how Scripture applies to life. Unless your belief system can withstand pressure, pain, and criticism, you are at risk. Start building your biblical foundation so you’ll have it in times of need.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 10-12

Our Daily Bread — The Right Way to Pray


Read: Matthew 6:5–15 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 25–26; 2 Corinthians 9

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Matthew 6:6

I admire people who record prayer requests in journals tattered from daily handling, those who keep track of every prayer and praise and then faithfully update their lists. I’m inspired by those who gather with others to pray and whose kneeling wears out the carpet at their bedsides. For years, I tried to copy their styles, to emulate a perfect prayer life, and to imitate the eloquence of the so-much-more-articulate-than-me folks. I strived to unravel what I thought was a mystery, as I longed to learn the right way to pray.

Eventually, I learned that our Lord simply desires prayer that begins and ends with humility (Matthew 6:5). He invites us into an intimate exchange through which He promises to listen (v. 6). He never requires fancy or memorized words or phrases (v. 7). He assures us that prayer is a gift, an opportunity to honor His majesty (vv. 9–10), to display our confidence in His provision (v. 11), and to affirm our security in His forgiveness and guidance (vv. 12–13).

God assures us He hears and cares about every single spoken and unspoken prayer, as well as the prayers that slip down our cheeks as silent tears. As we place our trust in God and His perfect love for us, we can be sure praying with a humble heart that’s surrendered to and dependent on Him is always the right way to pray.

Lord, thank You for reminding us You hear every prayer.

Calling on Jesus as our loving Savior and Lord is the right way to pray.

By Xochitl Dixon


Today’s Bible reading, taken from our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, gets to the heart of one of the most important issues in Christian living—motives. In Jesus’s teaching, He continually brought the “why” issue to the forefront because, in many ways, whatwe do is often secondary to why we do what we do. In a world focused on performance, Christ focuses on motive; and this focus drives us to the priority of motive as well.

Do we do what we do to be seen by people or to please our Lord?

Bill Crowder

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Rooftops, Windows, and Doors! Oh My!

Read: Genesis 6:8-18; 8:1-19

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made. (8:6)

Thousands of people trekked across the country and assembled in Williamstown, Kentucky, on July 7, 2016, for opening day at Ark Encounter, a life-sized Noah’s Ark attraction sponsored by the Answers in Genesis ministry. My family and I, along with friends, were among the high-energy crowd that day. Excitement also ran high as we approached the enormous 51-foot structure. At every turn, brilliant colors, lifelike creatures, and rich content filled the space. What we had previously only imagined about the ark from Scripture was now conceivable. The ark was a magnificent design from the bottom deck to the door, and from the roof to the window.

From the very beginning of Scripture, God reveals himself as the master architect of this universe. He calls it good, until evil spreads throughout. God, regretting his initial design (6:5-7), drafts a new blueprint for the world. He recruits Noah to build an ark with specific dimensions, including a roof (6:16), a side door (6:16), and a window (8:6). Clearly, God has a detailed plan, and with a 40-day flood, one pair of each living creature, and eight people from Noah’s family, he eventually repopulates the earth.

We can’t always visualize God’s master plan, but we can always trust it. He’s our protector and life-giver. There’s no need to fear the storms in our lives. His plan will soon be clear. —Ericka Loyne

Prayer: Lord, help me to clearly see the life you have built for me

Joyce Meyer – God’s Vision for You


“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the LORD, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God’s plan for the people of the nation of Israel was only for their good. Yet they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years on what was actually an 11-day journey. Why? Was it their enemies, their circumstances, the trials along the way, or something entirely different that prevented them from arriving at their destination in a timely manner?

God called the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to go to the land He had promised to give them as a perpetual inheritance—a land that flowed with milk and honey and every good thing they could imagine—a land in which there would be no shortage of anything they needed—a land of prosperity in every realm of their existence.

But the Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They knew where they came from, but they did not know where they were going. Everything was based on what they had seen in the past or what they could presently see. They did not know how to see with “the eye of faith.”

We really shouldn’t view the Israelites with astonishment because most of us do the same thing they did. We keep dealing with the same problems over and over again. The disappointing result is that it takes us years to experience victory over something that could have and should have been dealt with quickly.

I come from a background of abuse. My childhood was filled with fear and torment, and my personality was a mess! I built up walls of protection to keep people from hurting me, not realizing that while I was locking others out, I was also locking myself in. I was filled with fear and believed that the only way I could face life was to be in control so no one could hurt me.

As a young adult trying to live for Christ and follow the Christian lifestyle, I knew where I had come from, but I did not know where I was going. I felt that my future would always be marred by my past. I thought, How could anyone with a past like mine ever be all right? It’s impossible!  

But Jesus had a different plan. He said, The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me . . . to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity] (Luke 4:18 AMPC).

Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free—and that included me. However, I did not make any progress until I started to believe that I really could be set free. I had to get rid of my negative thinking and replace it with a positive vision for my life. I had to believe that neither my past nor my present could determine my future. Only then could Jesus free me from the bondage of my past—and free me, He did. What a marvelous miracle!

You may have had a miserable past; you may even be in current circumstances that are very negative and depressing. You may be facing situations that are so bad it seems you have no real reason to hope. But I say to you boldly: Your future is not determined by your past or your present!

Most of the generation the Lord called out of Egypt never entered into the Promised Land. Instead, they died in the wilderness. To me, this is one of the saddest things that can happen to a child of God—to have so much available and yet never be able to enjoy any of it.

Start believing that God’s Word is true. Mark 9:23 assures you that with God all things are possible. Because you serve a God who created everything you see out of the unseen realm (see Hebrews 11:3), you can give Him your nothingness and watch Him go to work on your behalf. All you have to do is have faith in Him and believe His Word—He will do the rest!

Prayer Starter: Dear Father, I thank You for loving me and having a vision—a good plan—for my life. I pray that You will help me overcome any negative thoughts of problems, past or present, that come against my mind, and make my life what You want it to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Bond of Love


“Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything – home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property – for love of Me and to tell others the Good News, who won’t be given back, a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land – with persecution! All these will be his here on earth, and in the world to come he shall have eternal life” (Mark 10:29,30).

Having admonished His disciples to follow Him even at the cost of leaving everything – including mothers and families – behind, Christ is now affirming His consistency with the disciples. Obviously He loved His own mother dearly – one of His last acts before He died on the cross was to be sure that the apostle John would take care of her. Yet the bond of love which Jesus felt toward His disciples, a bond which continues today toward those who truly seek Him with all their hearts, transcends even the bond of love which one experiences in flesh-and-blood relationships, unless those relationships are also rooted in the love of Christ.

Romans 5:8 explains the basis for this bond. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit ignites the hearts of true disciples with supernatural love, (agape)in action. That bond of love builds a spiritual family relationship that transcends all others, a relationship that is truly supernatural. In this way our Lord fulfills His promise that everything that is given up to follow Him will be given back a hundred times over in this life.

Bible Reading:Matthew 12:46-50

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In every way I will seek to obey the commands of my Father in heaven with the certainty that greater bonds of love will unite my heart with many brothers and sisters. This will demonstrate to the world the validity of the revolutionary, supernatural power of the love of God ignited in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.