Category Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – The Family Influence

 

1 Kings 15:8-34

The environment in which children grow up influences the rest of their life. The family dynamic, particularly parental behavior, impacts their perspective about themselves, others, and the Lord. In today’s reading, for example, consider King Asa, a man in the royal line, who followed in David’s footsteps and pleased God. Now compare his story with that of Nadab, who provoked God’s anger by practicing the same evils as his father, King Jeroboam.

With those men in mind, we must consider what will become of our children if they follow in our ways. We are typically their first example of godly living, which means that they should see us praying, reading God’s Word, and communing with His people. Our families should see us turning to the Lord for strength and comfort whenever a problem or decision confronts us. Kids should see their mom and dad serving friends, neighbors, and enemies alike. And a child should always know by his parents’ actions and speech that Jesus Christ is valued above all else in their life.

If you want your family members to desire God, then you must live according to His will. Your modeling that priority can lead them directly to the ultimate example of true life—Jesus Christ.

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

 

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Charles Stanley – Why Does God Allow Storms in Our Life?

 

Jonah 1:1-17

No one likes turbulent times, but until we reach heaven, they will be a part of our life. The underlying foundation for understanding the storms we encounter is found in Psalm 103:19. No matter what the apparent source is, God ultimately directs every situation, because His sovereignty rules over all.

He uses storms to …

Bring us to repentance. Sometimes we create chaotic conditions with our own sinful choices. Yet like Jonah, we’ll discover that the Lord is always with us—even in our disobedience—drawing us back to Himself.

Grow us spiritually. Trials force us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. We learn to endure, persevere, and submit to the Father so He can make us more like Christ.

Reveal Himself to us. Turbulent times give us a more accurate perspective of God and the way He works. Sometimes this understanding comes when we look back on a storm and see how He brought us through. Then we realize His strength was sufficient and His purpose was good.

Take comfort in knowing that God controls your storms, and His mighty power and unfailing love govern whatever comes your way.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Charles Stanley – Life’s Passing Storms

 

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. It’s in turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous times, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal tempest described in today’s passage provides insight regarding the Lord’s role in the various upheavals we face. According to Psalm 107:25, God was responsible for this storm, as He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Sometimes the Lord interrupts our life by sending turbulence so we will do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried for God’s help. He then brought them out of their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him to other people.

There’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes when a storm is past. But let’s not forget to respond like those grateful sailors.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Gift

 

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Every Christian is given a spiritual gift with which to serve and build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Sadly, though, many believers neglect theirs. Timothy actually had some good reasons to forsake his calling, but Paul urged him not to “neglect [his] spiritual gift” (1 Timothy 4:14). We can learn from Timothy’s situation by asking ourselves if the following situations might be hindering us from fully serving God.

Age: Whatever our age, the Lord wants us to use our spiritual gifts. Because of his youth, Timothy could’ve been intimidated by those with more experience. Others think they’re too old to serve God, but we’re never called into spiritual retirement.

Inadequacy: Have you ever avoided a service opportunity simply because you felt totally unqualified? That’s probably how Timothy felt about leading the church at Ephesus. Our spiritual gifts rarely come to us fully developed. God often requires that we step out in faith and trust Him to work in and through us. Over time, as we obey and learn how to use our gifts, they become more effective for God’s kingdom.

Is anything keeping you from using your spiritual gifts? Though given to us, these abilities aren’t for us; they’re for the church. To neglect them not only deprives fellow believers; we ourselves are also robbed. We’ll find both joy and blessing by serving others and doing the work God has designated for us.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 1-3

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Turning Our Back on God

 

2 Chronicles 33:1-25

Hezekiah was a god-fearing king who brought about reformation. His son Manasseh, however, was an evil ruler. He had watched his father walk with God and live according to Scripture. Yet he chose to ignore the Lord. Manasseh worshipped false gods, even to the point of sacrificing his sons. He practiced evil—including witchcraft and sorcery—and led the people astray, thereby provoking the Lord to anger. This story illustrates that God doesn’t tolerate an attitude of indifference toward Him.

Now consider our country. We, too, are a nation that largely disregards the Lord—one that has turned away from Him and embraced idols. Maybe ours aren’t statues of stone, but we worship money, athletic ability, fame, politics, and reputation. Over time, we’ve removed the Lord from many aspects of public life. What was once a nation founded on godly principles has become a country that tolerates a variety of sins.

When Israel turned its back on the Lord, God’s wrath was inevitable unless the people repented and made Him Lord once again. As believers, we have responsibility to pray that God will draw our heart—and the heart of our country—back to Himself, and that He will help the gospel and truth spread through our land.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 8-10

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Charles Stanley – May 24, 2020

 

Sunday Reflection: The Transformation of Our Desires

In John 6, a massive crowd has been following Jesus, and He miraculously feeds them by turning a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish into food for 5,000 people (John 6:9-13). The crowd recognizes that a prophet like Moses has been raised (John 6:14; Deut. 18:15), and the next day they continue to seek after Him—perhaps hoping to see more miracles or be fed in abundance yet again.

He challenges them, saying, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). They are excited that He can take away their hunger and free them from starvation, but they haven’t thought about the promise of salvation—of everlasting life in Him. Let us remember, then, that Jesus wants to do more than just fill us with food and offer us earthly comfort; He wants to transform our desires.

Think about it
•  Throughout this chapter, Jesus uses eating and drinking to speak about belief in Him. How can these ordinary practices remind us of our faith in Christ?

  •  What does it mean to pursue the “food” of eternal life?

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – When We Ignore God

 

James 4:17

Have you ever felt ignored? We all long for love, acceptance, and attention, but perhaps an important person in your life has shown little interest in you or what you have to say.

There’s something even worse, though, than ignoring others: disregarding God. But we’ve all done it. One way we ignore Him is by failing to obey His instructions. Or maybe we sense His leading but don’t follow. And unless we seek time with our Father—whether in His Word, prayer, or worship—we are neglecting Him again.

The consequences are painful. For one thing, neglect grieves God because He is our heavenly Father, who desires closeness with each of His children. We also miss out on the best for our life. Ignoring our connection with the Lord and choosing not to abide in Him would mean missing out on His plan and the fruit of the Spirit. As a result, we shortchange ourselves out of fulfilling the purpose for which He created us—glorifying Him. And remember, we eventually will be held accountable for our actions.

How are you choosing to live—do you pay attention to what God says, or are you living with your own set of standards? Your conscious choices affect your walk with Jesus. If you tune your spirit to listen and discipline yourself to obey, you’ll enjoy great intimacy with the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 1-4

 

 

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Charles Stanley – How to Reach Your Goals

 

1 Kings 5:1-12; 1 Kings 6:38

When setting goals, here are five things to consider:

Cooperation is needed. First, we cooperate with God by agreeing to His plan. Second, we enlist the cooperation of others, starting with prayer support.

Reaching a goal requires consistency. Since God is involved in establishing our goals, we can remain fixed on accomplishing them. Even if others discourage us, we stay the course as the Lord has asked.

Clear focus means staying fixed on our purpose. By remembering that God set the goal for us, we will not allow others to change our direction.

Courage is often necessary to reach a God-given goal. Being courageous involves a willingness to take action without knowing the outcome—and we can do that because it is God who asks. As we deepen our trust in Him, boldness will come.

Developing a lifestyle of dependence on God is important. When aiming for a goal, it’s easy to rely on our own strength and forget about leaning on God. True success requires dependence.

These items aren’t a standard by which to measure ourselves; they’re pointers to help us move in the right direction. If you’re not sure how best to set and reach goals, seek out someone with experience and be open what God might teach you through him or her.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Momentary Pleasure

 

Genesis 25:19-34

Decisions have consequences. That can be a good thing, but at times we end up dealing with lifelong repercussions. Then we look back and wish our decision had been wiser.

For example, in exchange for a bowl of stew, Esau sacrificed his birthright. In other words, he gave up not only his wealth, inheritance, position, and prominence but also power and the right to lead the entire family.

Is there a “bowl of stew” in your life—something you want badly that’s right in front of you, there for the taking? At the moment, it may seem like the right decision, but later you could find you’ve traded something valuable for something with little or no worth.

Whenever we’re ruled by anything besides the Holy Spirit, we are more prone to sacrifice our future for immediate gratification. Appetites are God-given, but they aren’t designed to dominate us. That’s what caused Esau to lose his future. He wanted to satisfy his appetite right then and, at the time, was willing to pay the price.

We can endanger our future when we focus on the temporary instead of the eternal. What are you doing right now that could have lifelong consequences? Is it worth it? Ask God to help you see your situation from His perspective.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 32-34

 

 

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Charles Stanley – God’s Plan of Crucifixion

 

Acts 2:22-36

Who was responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion? Though both the Jews and the Romans played a role in putting Him on the cross, God was the one who had already planned His Son’s death as atonement for mankind’s sin.

Peter made this very clear in his first sermon, and he also affirmed it many years later in his first epistle, saying of Christ, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God” (Acts 1:20-21). Even before creation and the entrance of sin into the world, God already had a plan in place for the redemption of those who would believe in Him.

The Father’s plan for the crucifixion of His Son was motivated by the sinful, hopeless condition of mankind, His love for us, and His justice. God could neither ignore our sin nor simply decide to forgive us, because those options would be unjust, and He cannot act contrary to His nature. The cross was God’s way of fulfilling His predestined plan of salvation. Now all who trust in Christ can be forgiven and receive eternal life. Have you done this?

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

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Charles Stanley – The Cross: The Heart of Christianity

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The cross has become the symbol of Christianity, but it’s so much more than a mere piece of jewelry worn around the neck. The crucifixion of Christ is a central doctrine of our faith, and understanding it correctly is essential for eternal life. In fact, Paul was convinced the cross was the most vital subject he could address.

It’s important for us as believers to understand what happened on the cross—then we too can be thoroughly convinced of its supreme significance. It was not simply the execution of a Jewish man. What transpired in that event was the solution to mankind’s biggest problem: sin and our resulting alienation from God. The crucifixion is the divine transaction that saves us. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin and reconcile us to the Father. Although the Jews and the Romans viewed the crucifixion as the execution of a criminal, God saw the death of His Son as the perfect atoning sacrifice, which allowed for the justification of sinful mankind.

Nothing else is required to pay for our salvation. To be saved, all we must do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 24-25

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Sunday Reflection: Our Longing for Eternity

 

Think of a time when you’ve deeply longed for something. Maybe you wished to live somewhere else or felt restless in your job or schoolwork. Or perhaps you were deeply anxious to grow your family, as so many in the Bible were. (See Gen. 11:30; Gen. 25:21.) How did you respond? Did you pray for change, escape through temporary satisfaction, or seek support from your friends and loved ones?

As you contemplate your deep yearnings, remember that one longing God has put on your heart transcends all earthly desires: the longing for eternity.  Keep in mind His words to the prophet Isaiah: “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you” (Isa. 55:3). The Lord calls each of us to everlasting life in Him.

Think about it
• Looking ahead to that eternal promise of redemption, what can you do today—in addition to deepening your prayer life—in order to draw closer to God? Consider things you could start doing as well as things you could give up.

  •  What would it take to have all your longing and restlessness satisfied?

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 21-23

 

 

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Charles Stanley – God Is Always In Control

 

Isaiah 45:1-7

Why do bad things happen? Honestly, it’s a question I can’t answer, but I believe God has a purpose for everything. My faith is in the fact that the Lord is sovereign (Psalm 22:28).

When we’re in the middle of a trial, it’s hard to resist crying out, “God, why is this happening?” Sometimes we get an answer and sometimes we don’t. But we can be sure nothing happens by accident. We have His promise that He’ll cause “all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).

Seeing in advance how God will work all things for our benefit can be very difficult, if not impossible. Our limited human perspective often doesn’t allow us to grasp His greater plan. However, the Father’s good handiwork is in everything—even our pain, hardships, and losses. He turns mourning into gladness and provides bountiful blessings and benefits from our darkest hours.

As believers, we must accept that things won’t always make sense to us. Isaiah teaches that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isa. 55:9). He sees the beautifully completed big picture. We can rely on the fact that God is in control, no matter how wildly off-kilter our world seems to be.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 18-20

 

 

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Charles Stanley –The Need for Spiritual Discernment

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

John tells us that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One (1 John 5:19). For this reason, spiritual discernment is of utmost importance. Thankfully, Hebrews 5:11-14 reminds us of believers “who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (NLT). In other words, we can get better at distinguishing between truth and error through practice.

In today’s passage, Paul mentions he was dealing with false apostles disguising themselves as servants of righteousness. The same thing happens today: Such servants are all around, “peddling their wares.” It’s their attempt to carry away those who are always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

We may find it challenging to match wits with false apostles, but we can subject them to the obedience test found in 1 John 2:4: “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” However, this test works only if we ourselves know the truth. Dive into Scripture today so that you can “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Knowing God’s Word is what will help our quest for godly wisdom.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Who Is the Holy Spirit?

 

John 14:16-18

Some Christians don’t realize the Holy Spirit came at the moment of salvation to live permanently within them. And some who do realize this don’t understand who the Spirit is, how He works, or why His indwelling presence is so significant.

The Holy Spirit is a person—not simply a power or force—and He, along with the other two members of the Trinity, was involved in creation. We know this because when God created mankind, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). The plural pronouns in this passage refer to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that the Father would send them a Helper who would be with them and in them forever (John 14:16-17). Even though the Lord would no longer be physically present, He wasn’t going to leave them to fend for themselves like orphans. Instead, He promised to come to them through the presence of His Spirit (John 14:18).

Because of the crucifixion, today the Spirit is our leader, guide, teacher, and comforter. His presence in us means that we are God’s children and that God has upheld His promise to always be with us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 11-14

 

 

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Charles Stanley – When a Fellow Christian Stumbles

 

Galatians 6:1-5

One of our responsibilities as part of God’s household is to come alongside a brother or sister who has stumbled. Paul specifies that those “who are spiritual” should restore the fallen, but the word spiritual doesn’t mean some elite group of pious leaders. It refers to Christians who are living under the Holy Spirit’s control and who have an attitude of …

Gentleness. Restoration of a fellow believer doesn’t call for harshness, anger, judgment, or condemnation. Our goal is not to heap pain and guilt upon a hurting brother or sister but rather to show mercy and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).

Humility. Those who have a superior attitude look down on a fallen brother and think, I would never make those mistakes. But the humble know their own vulnerability and can easily put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

Love. When we love others, we will willingly share their burden. This requires an unselfish investment of our time, energy, and prayer on their behalf.

How do you react when a fellow Christian stumbles? One of the ugliest human traits is the tendency to feel better about ourselves when another person misses the mark. Let’s pray that our heart will be filled with compassion instead, and that we’ll come alongside to love and help believers who are distanced from the Lord.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 8-10

 

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Charles Stanley – The Gift of Forgiveness

 

Matthew 18:21-35

How can you lift the debt from your debtors if you don’t comprehend your own indebtedness? How can you offer that freedom if you yourself have never received it? One of the biggest obstacles to forgiving others is our failure to understand the depth of God’s forgiveness for us. Not until you accept that God has paid the penalty on your account will you cease your efforts to collect from others.

When you take God at His word, this glorious freedom can start to sink in. Then you can then begin the process of offering your offenders full forgiveness. You must choose to leave all punishment or retaliation up to the Lord. It is essential that you surrender your so-called “rights,” whether it is your right to get even or to get justice. Remember, we can totally trust God to handle our injustices appropriately because He is the ultimate judge.

It may be helpful to write out a list of all the offenses against you that you can think of. Then bring them one by one before God and leave them at His feet. By doing this—and by asking for His help—you can release your offender to the One who says, “Vengeance is Mine” (Heb. 10:30).

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 5-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Searching for Unforgiveness

 

Luke 17:3-4

Unforgiveness is like fertile soil for a crop of noxious weeds. It is the source of much that can go sour in personal relationships and, therefore, impacts our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s disguised—for instance, if people say in an angry tone that they have forgiven past offenses, their obvious bitterness betrays them. Unforgiveness can sink into your heart and hide from you; then it can hurt relationships without you ever being aware of it.

Consider these following questions to see if you need to forgive someone:

  •  Have you been hoping that a certain person will get what he or she deserves?
  •  Do you talk negatively about this individual to others?
  •  Do you indulge in fantasies of revenge—even mild ones?
  •  Do you mull over what someone did to you?
  •  How do you feel if a good thing happens to that individual?
  •  Do you blame him or her for how your life turned out?
  •  Do you find it hard to be open and trusting with people?
  •  Are you frequently angry, depressed, or bitter?
  •  Do you find it difficult or impossible to thank God for your offender?

 

Take a moment to let God examine your heart. Will He find any unforgiveness there?

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 1-4

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of Perspective

 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the rhythms of daily life—jobs, family and social commitments, homes, to-do lists, and even time-consuming distractions. We go from one thing to the next, usually focused on earthly demands and pleasures. It can feel like a difficult tension sometimes, to get through each day with appropriate attention on godly priorities.

Thankfully, we’re not the first to navigate this, and Scripture offers direction. Paul reminded the Colossians to take an eternal perspective, setting their mind on “the things above” (Col. 3:1-2). And just a few verses after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us of precisely that: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

Think about it
•  Consider what it looks like to have an eternal perspective as you go about daily life. How can your job, chores, or commute help you focus on “things above,” as Paul encouraged? What else could you include?

  •  Contemplate any habits or practices that might help you redirect your attention to God’s promises. You might think of worship, prayer, serving others, or fasting. How often do you participate in these things?

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 28-29

 

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Charles Stanley – Does Prayer Influence God?

 

James 5:13-18

Our heavenly Father chooses to involve the prayers of His children in the outworking of His plan (2 Kings 20:1-6). But what about a circumstance like a friend’s serious illness? Perhaps you wonder, Why should I pray about it if God already knows how the situation will turn out?

When you pray, God works in your heart so that you are in harmony with His will. Prayer lets us in on what He is doing. In the event that God calls your friend home, He also prepares you with awareness of His presence—that way, when you walk through the valley, you have peace. And in some situations, your prayer may be the very instrument God plans to use in bringing about a result He desires.

No farmer can control the yield of his crops. He can till the soil and plant the seed in the best way he knows, but it is the Lord who causes growth. Of course, God could produce crops without help, but no farmer reaps a fantastic harvest sitting at home. In a similar way, the heavenly Father chooses to work through us because He is a God of relationship. He wants to involve us in His work, and that includes our prayers.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 25-27

 

 

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