Category Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – Good Decisions

 

Genesis 25:27-34

The familiar expression “You reap what you sow” is reinforced throughout Scripture (Job 4:8; Prov. 11:18). In today’s passage, Esau learned this truth the hard way. Famished, he returned from hunting and requested a bowl of the stew his brother was cooking. Jacob seized upon the opportunity and agreed to share the food in exchange for his older twin’s birthright.

In Old Testament times, the firstborn son enjoyed special privileges, which included authority over younger siblings, a double share of the inheritance, and the honored position as spiritual leader over the family. Yet Esau, deciding that food was more of a necessity right then, traded his birthright for dinner. He later grieved when he realized what was lost, but at that point, it was too late. Like Esau, we at times all face critical choices. While God offers forgiveness for wrong decisions, the consequences remain. So we must learn to choose wisely.

We should take to heart two warnings from this story. First, to distinguish our best options, we need to assess whether we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually stable; if not, we should wait. Otherwise, we might end up like Esau, who allowed hunger to cloud his thinking. Second, delaying gratification is usually a safe choice. For example, though a person may be eager to buy a car, it’s wise to shop around for the best deal. Our human desires can feel overwhelming at times, but we should prayerfully wait for God’s timing.

Think about the longings you have, consider the consequences, and take your time. God wants to steer you away from unnecessary trouble.

Bible in One Year: Mark 6-7

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Understanding God’s Promises

 

2 Corinthians 1:20

God’s Word is our source of comfort and hope because the Lord always does what He says. Every prophecy in the Bible either has come to pass or will be fulfilled in the future. In fact, Scripture is so trustworthy that Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

However, we must not assume that every promise recorded in the Bible is for us. The Lord’s biblical pledges fall into several categories, and it’s important to understand the difference so we don’t mistakenly claim one that is not meant for us. When we misapply Scripture, we can develop an inaccurate view of God, and that usually leads to disappointment and distrust of Him.

Some biblical promises are limited—they apply to a specific person, nation, time, or purpose. For instance, in Genesis 18:10, the Lord assured Abraham that Sarah would have a son, but we cannot presume that He will do the same for us. He can certainly use this passage to teach us about His providential care and provision, but we shouldn’t grab verses and expect them to be fulfilled in our life regardless of their context.

Other promises in the Word are conditional and apply only if we meet the qualifications, as in Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 John 1:9. However, there are some  promises that apply to all believers—these are assurances that are certain because of our union with Christ (Eph. 1:7-14). They have been given to us by our loving heavenly Father for our benefit, hope, and encouragement.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Purpose of Our Trials

 

1 Peter 4:12-14

We shouldn’t expect the Christian life to be easy and comfortable, because believers aren’t exempt from trials. In fact, becoming a Christian may result in increased trouble and suffering. Peter refers to such hardship as a “fiery ordeal,” and tells us not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12). God uses our suffering for His good purposes, and He walks through it with us. Hope in the midst of affliction is possible when we understand what God is achieving in the situation.

First, the heavenly Father sometimes uses painful experiences to purify us. Trials drive us to the Lord and open our eyes to sins that we have tolerated. His discipline is not designed to crush us but to produce “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).

Second, the Lord at times allows difficulty as a way of testing us. His goal is to produce increased faith, endurance, and devotion to Him. Rather than complaining, we should exult in our tribulations, knowing that they are producing proven character within us (Rom. 5:3-4).

Third, God uses suffering to display his power. Trials humble us by revealing our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). They teach us to depend on the Lord for the power to persevere and mature.

Fourth, our suffering has eternal benefits. Earthly affliction “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Let these truths encourage you to view your next trial from God’s perspective. Though you may not feel it at the time, the Lord is with you. He is your hope and sufficiency.

Bible in One Year: Micah 5-7

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Communicating God’s Truth

 

Matthew 28:18-20

You’ve probably heard people say, “That may be true for you but not for me.” Genuine truth is not relative. Nor is it a part-time phenomenon. So, when Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), He meant it for everyone. The rock-solid principles that God has communicated should be shared with others.

We see this admonition repeatedly in Scripture. In Matthew 28:18-20, the Lord gives us what is known as the Great Commission. This is a charge for all of us who believe: We’re to go out and spread the truth about Jesus Christ, teaching others what we have learned.

Likewise, in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructs Timothy not only to tell others what he has learned, but also to encourage those men to tell even more people. And Paul elsewhere states that we, as believers, are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). In other words, we are His emissaries to the world. We are to take what we know and make it known to those we encounter. For what purpose? The passage makes it clear that our mission is to help others be reconciled to God.

How can we ever doubt the urgency of this message? We have a truth to tell, and we must share it!

This week, take the time to write out your faith story, and review it so you’ll feel comfortable and confident sharing that testimony with others. Pray for opportunities to share how God’s love has changed your life. Then trust the results to the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 1-5

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Work of the Holy Spirit

 

John 16:7-15

If someone asked what the Holy Spirit does, how would you answer? Some Christians may not be aware of what He is accomplishing in their life, but the Spirit’s work isn’t a total mystery—Scripture tells us what the role of our divine Helper is.

He convicts us of sin (John 16:8). This is the first step in awakening us to our need for salvation. But even afterwards, the Spirit continues revealing sin in our life so we can immediately confess and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

He guides us into all truth (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches about Jesus Christ and God’s Word, and He helps us discern the difference between truth and error.

He fills us (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit means that He is directing our path, much like a ship that is driven along by the wind filling its sails. This requires that we surrender our life to Him, acknowledging that He owns us and has the right to lead.

He bears fruit through us (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit produces qualities we could never consistently display on our own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Although the Holy Spirit indwells and seals us immediately upon salvation, His work within each believer takes a lifetime. He is our constant Helper, who transforms us into Christ’s image and equips us for our daily challenges so we don’t have to struggle through life in our own strength. In all of our difficulties, conflicts, and heartaches, He guides our way, guards our hearts, and gives us His wisdom.

Bible in One Year: Obadiah 1, Jonah 1-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Who Is Jesus?

 

John 1:1-5

We know that most people have some inaccurate perceptions of Jesus, but this is also a problem in the church today. A survey called “The State of Theology” asked professing evangelical Christians about their beliefs, and the answers were a mixture of truth and error. For instance, 97 percent do hold the belief that there is one true God in three persons—Father, Son, and Spirit. However, 78 percent erroneously believe that Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.

Our salvation is dependent on following the One whom God sent to redeem us. Therefore, we must be certain we’re trusting in the only true Savior—Jesus—as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. In today’s passage, the apostle John describes Him as “the Word” and lists five attributes.

Jesus is eternal. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1-5). Jesus didn’t come into existence when He was conceived and then born as a baby. He existed before time even began.

He is God. “The Word was God” (v. 1). He has always been and will never cease being divine.

He is with God (John 1:1-2). The Son and the Father, along with the Holy Spirit, have always existed eternally as separate persons while being one in nature.

Jesus is the Creator. “All things came into being through Him” (John 1:3). In fact, nothing came into existence apart from Him.

In Him is life (John 1:4). Jesus is the source of all life, both temporal and eternal.

Is this the Jesus you’ve trusted for your salvation? Though He became a man, we must never cease to recognize and worship Him as the Son of God.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 23-25

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Principle or Preference?

 

Daniel 1

Imagine driving down a gravel road on a dark, rainy night. Even the light from your headlights seems to be swallowed by the blackness as you struggle to avoid veering off the road. Now consider what a difference it would make if there were yellow lines down the middle and white ones along the sides. You’d know exactly where on the road you’re supposed to be.

These two scenarios represent the difference between a life based on preferences and one guided by scriptural principles. Preferences fluctuate with the circumstances. When this is the basis for our decision making, the result is confusion, stress, and possibly danger as we wander through life. In contrast, principles are God’s unchanging truths, which keep us on the path of His will and protect us from spiritual danger and deception.

Daniel is an example of a young man who lived by principles. When he realized there was a line he couldn’t cross without disobeying the Lord, he stood fast and trusted God instead of conforming to the pagan world around him. Daniel chose not to eat food that had been sacrificed to Babylonian idols, and he left the consequences of his obedience to the Lord.

There are two main reasons we sometimes rely on preference-based decision making: Either we want to fit in, or we want to avoid the negative consequences that could come as a result of obeying the Lord. Yet to go this route will leave us in darkness, swerving dangerously through life. Safety and security can be found only in obedience to God’s principles, which are like bright white lines on the road keeping us in the center of His will.

Bible in One Year: Lamentations 3-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Suffering a Spiritual Failure

 

Deuteronomy 1:19-46

No one likes to fail at anything, and a spiritual fall is particularly distressing. The word failure immediately drums up uncomfortable thoughts of a blemish on our walk with God. Try as we might, however, we simply cannot and will not go through life without missing the mark from time to time.

Most troubling to believers are those instances when we know the right thing to do but don’t do it. That’s what happened with the Israelites, who refused to enter the land God had said to conquer and possess. They allowed fear to short-circuit their obedience to the heavenly Father. But the ultimate reason for their disobedience was a lack of trust in God.

Think about a time you failed to follow one of the Lord’s commands. Did you look at the circumstances around you and conclude that it was too risky to do what God had said? Or perhaps your way simply seemed like a better approach. In both cases, the temptation began with doubts about God. Is He powerful enough to handle the circumstances if I follow Him? I’m not convinced He knows what’s best for me.

Every time we trust in ourselves and doubt God’s wisdom, power, and goodness, we are headed for failure and its aftermath. Although He always forgives us when we come to Him with a repentant heart, we may still face the consequences of our self-willed rebellion.

The Lord wants us to have enough confidence in Him that we choose to follow His directions and thereby avoid the pitfalls of self-reliance. Remember that the God who calls us empowers us to obey whatever He commands.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 49-50

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Self-Directed Man

 

Luke 12:16-21

Surely you’ve heard the old stereotype about men never wanting to stop and ask for directions. That’s probably truer than we’d like to admit, but when it comes to asking for help, it isn’t just males who are guilty. There are many men and women—all driving full steam ahead—who don’t want to stop or slow down to ask for guidance.

If you were to look at this through spiritual lenses, you’d see a world of lost, hopeless souls trying to save themselves. They think they can somehow earn their way to heaven through good deeds and hard work. They assume it’s possible to accomplish this on their own. But they’re wrong.

As you read through Luke 12:16-21 today, count the number of times the “rich fool,” as he is known, says the words “I” and “my.” This parable is a picture of the self-directed man trying to make his own way and secure his own future without help from anyone—including God.

The Father does not mince words with this man. Entering the scene in verse 20, God immediately calls him a fool! Don’t miss the severity in the condemnation. By relying solely on his self-focused shortsightedness and pride, this man left nothing behind at the end of his life—except for a pile of crops.

The message for us today is that, when we strike off on our own and initiate actions with no thought of God, we behave like fools. The Lord has a plan for your life. He knows where you’ll succeed and where you’ll fail. Trust Him to provide the direction you need.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 46-48

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Our Trustworthy Guide

 

Psalm 32:8-9

Many years ago, while I was on a photography trip, the heavenly Father taught me a valuable lesson about leading and following. My party had been hiking on a trail for three or four hours when I felt a slight sensation of dread. I had a sneaking suspicion that we were traveling the wrong way. When I asked our guide about it, he calmly reassured me that we were, in fact, heading in the right direction.

Well, that quieted me for a few minutes, but this persistent sense of being off track simply would not go away. So I pulled out my compass and discovered that, sure enough, we were heading the wrong way. When I pointed this out to our guide a second time, he finally stopped to think about it. After examining the compass, map, and trail markers, he realized that we really were off course. We lost about three hours—and some beautiful photo opportunities—because our guide wasn’t leading us correctly.

That experience taught me how vitally important it is to trust in the person who is guiding us. Beyond the hiking trail, this holds true in business, church, families, or any other relationship. If our guide isn’t trustworthy—if we cannot put our complete faith in him or her—we’ll end up lost.

So let me ask you: Who is your guide? Are you following celebrities or news reporters? Are you trusting in politicians or business leaders? If you’ve placed your absolute faith in anyone or anything other than your heavenly Father, you’re already off course. He is our one trustworthy Guide. Seek Him and get back on track today.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 41-45

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Relying on the Spirit in Our Work

 

Ezra 4:1-5

Israel’s enemies were clever in their efforts to block the temple’s reconstruction. First, they offered to help. What better way to cause things to go wrong than to get involved in the work? When their aid was rejected, they set out to discourage the workers and make them afraid. The opponents even hired counselors to thwart the Israelites and were successful in hindering the project.

God, however, wanted His people to reject self-reliance and instead carry out His work in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. He offered them encouragement and protected their building project despite the mountain of opposition facing them. Sometimes this means He will remove the problem; at other times He walks us through it. In either case, we are to rely steadily on God’s Holy Spirit. Doing so will allow us to:

  • Patiently love our spouse when there is turmoil in the home.
  • Wisely guide our children toward godliness in our self-centered culture.
  • Follow scriptural principles about giving, saving, and spending in a society that urges us to get what we want now.
  • Experience contentment and God’s peace in our current circumstances—single or married, employed or out of a job, healthy or sick.
  • Do God’s work His way.

Being led by the Spirit characterizes how we work. While that mindset is countercultural and not pleasing to the flesh (Gal. 5:16), it’s the only way to live as a child of God. Seek out believers who are trying to practice dependence on the Spirit, and encourage one another not to give up.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 37-40

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Grace in Sorrow

 

John 20:11-19

The famous hymn “How Firm a Foundation” describes God’s purpose for our trials: “For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.” The pain and hardship we endure is meant not to crush us but to refine and shape us into Christ’s image. God alone knows how to replace ashes with a crown, and mourning with the oil of gladness (Isa. 61:3).

This is what Mary Magdalene discovered on the morning of the Christ’s resurrection. She went to the garden tomb, overwhelmed by sorrow and loss. The darkness of despair was swallowing her when she turned around and saw Jesus. After He spoke her name, she immediately recognized the Lord and clung to Him, fearing that even now He might be taken away from her.

But Jesus assured her that He had not yet ascended to His Father. Although there would come a day when He would physically depart from her and all His followers, in reality nothing could separate them from Him. Because He had paid the penalty of their sins with His death, His Spirit would soon indwell them. And one day Jesus would come to take them back to His Father’s house to be with Him forever (John 14:3).

We can all relate to feelings of despair. Dashed hopes—even small ones—can lead to suffering. But when expectations are high or personal loss hangs in the balance, our hope can be crushed if disaster strikes. Then it’s important to remember that when we have Christ, weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5).

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 25-27

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Consequences of Sin

 

Genesis 3:14-19

Christians tend to categorize sins, rating some as small and inconsequential, and others as huge and far-reaching in the damage they cause. In reality, no one sins in isolation. Each act of disobedience affects not only the sinner but also others in both the present and the future.

If we were to separate Adam and Eve’s sin from its context, few of us would convict them of great transgression. All they did was swallow some fruit from a tree with a “do not eat” sign. Today people think nothing of ignoring commands—even biblical ones.

But God has a totally different view of our sins. Each one is followed by negative consequences. Adam and Eve’s disobedience led to pain and frustration in two basic areas of fulfillment—relationships and meaningful work. The whole earth fell under sin’s curse, and all people born since then have entered the world with a sin nature that alienates them from the Lord.

That first rebellion plunged humanity into a terrible condition. Civilization is now plagued by ramifications of the sins committed by millions of human beings throughout the ages. Is it any wonder the world is in such sad shape? Sin not only causes suffering; it also robs us of God’s best. The Garden of Eden is closed and locked to sinful mankind.

The good news of Christ’s grace and forgiveness is our only real hope in this fallen world. Though unpleasant, focusing on sin’s consequences is necessary at times to remind us of the greatness of our salvation and to move us to obey God, even in the small things.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 22-24

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – External Causes of Discouragement

 

Colossians 3:23-24

Whether in the workplace or elsewhere, discouragement can hit from many angles, depleting energy and productivity. To lessen its paralyzing effect, wise believers learn to detect its sources and symptoms. Let’s examine some external causes.

Unresolved disappointments. This could be letdowns caused by our own failed expectations or someone else’s.

Constant criticism. Frequent put-downs can make us think, What’s wrong with me? Yet unless God reveals truth in such comments, learn to let them go.

The feeling that no one’s listening. This can leave us with a sense of rejection.

A sense we aren’t appreciated after doing our best. We at times get so tied to our work that someone’s failure to acknowledge our efforts can feel like a personal rebuff.

Bad working conditions. Many believers enjoy what they do but pick up on coworkers’ cruelty, bitterness, or refusal to recognize their investment of time, energy, or creativity. This can make it extremely difficult to get motivated about going to work each day.

Lacking opportunities to shine. A job that doesn’t make the best use of one’s gifts and abilities can wear a person down. So can tight-fisted management that limits freedom to make innovations.

Oftentimes, it’s the people we see every day who seem to have the most power for causing discouragement in our lives. Read through the list again. Do any of the above scenarios sound familiar? If so, pray for the strength to face these external discouragers with renewed confidence and grace.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 18-21

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Dealing With Discouragement

 

Psalm 42:1-8

How can we conquer discouragement? Let me suggest nine specific tips:

  1. Look within. Examine yourself for the underlying cause.
  2. Admit that you are discouraged. This is something that’s easy to avoid, ignore, or lie about, but denial doesn’t help you grow.
  3. Identify precisely what you are discouraged about. Name it—then face it.
  4. Recall the nature of discouragement. Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a response, and we can respond in other ways.
  5. Begin meditating frequently on Scripture. God’s truth can help you accurately evaluate what you feel.
  6. Take your area of discouragement to God in prayer. Ask Him to reveal what He wants to teach you in this area of your life.
  7. Focus on the Lord, not your situation. Ask Him to help you see this disappointment and its lessons from His perspective.
  8. View the cause as coming from the Lord. If we understand that He allows disappointments, we can find meaning in trouble.
  9. Confess three things: The Father is with me in the pain; He’s in control of my life and has allowed this for a reason; He is a good God, who will not let this disappointment be in vain. Try speaking these truths out loud.

Discouragement may sound harmless enough, but don’t underestimate its power. By keeping watch, you can avoid its deadly trap. So write down these nine steps on an index card, and then review the list whenever disappointments start to consume your thinking.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 15-17

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Nature of Discouragement

 

Psalm 16:7-11

Discouragement is a powerful, destructive force. Before we can understand how to rid our life of this common temptation, we must recognize its harmful nature.

Understand that discouragement…

Is something we choose. While it’s a natural response to difficult circumstances, we have the power to choose a different response. No one else is responsible for our discouragement.

Is universal. At times, everybody will face periods of disappointment and discouragement because we live in a flawed world filled with flawed people.

Can recur. Sometimes we think we’ve settled an issue, which later resurfaces when we least expect it. Or we may have old emotional wounds triggered by something a person says or does.

Can be temporary or lifelong. Refusing to face discouragement head-on can open the door for it to influence our decisions, actions, and relationships as long as we live.

Is conquerable. With the Father’s help, we can get through seasons of discouragement. He wants His children to have a rich and fulfilled life. If we trust in His promises and His character, our feelings of discouragement will slowly be replaced by hope.

Are you stuck in the throes of discouragement? If so, the Lord wants to lift your spirits. Let Him help you out of that lowly state: Start by believing that the Father wants to encourage you and get your life back on track with Him.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 12-14

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Saved for God’s Glory

 

Ephesians 1:5-6

Salvation is an amazing gift from our heavenly Father, and since we are the recipients, it might appear that we’re the primary reason He sent His Son to save us. After all, He loved us so much He didn’t want us to perish. And though this is certainly true, the greater reality is that He saved us for “the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6).

When sinners are saved, God’s glory and grace are displayed. The salvation that He offers …

Highlights His generosity (v. 3). God not only gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins, but He has also blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.

Reveals the Father’s mercy (v. 4). He took the initiative in salvation by choosing us “before the foundation of the world.” His mercy toward us reaches from eternity past to eternity future.

Emphasizes His holiness (v. 4). Because God is holy, His goal is to make us holy and blameless so we can dwell with Him forever. This process of transformation begins at our conversion and will be completed at our resurrection.

Shows divine love (vv. 4-5). To rescue us from condemnation would have been enough, but in love our heavenly Father chose to adopt us and make us part of His family.

Displays God’s kindness (v. 5). He saved us “according to the kind intention of His will” and not because of any worthiness or good behavior on our part.

Our greatest human need is to know and love the God who saved us. And through salvation, we come to experience His glorious grace.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 54-57

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – The Challenge to End Well

 

2 Timothy 4

In a race, how you begin is not as important as how you finish. And this same principle is also true to a large degree in the spiritual realm. That’s why the writer of Hebrews reminds us to “lay aside every encumbrance” that hinders us in the race set before us (12:1). A believer’s lifetime is not a sprint but a marathon walk with Christ, and our goal should be the same as Paul’s—to fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

Today’s passage contrasts two runners. After a great start as a fellow worker with Paul (Philem. 1:24), Demas later deserted the cause because of his love for the world (2 Tim. 4:10). Instead of enduring to the end, he gave up and didn’t finish the course.

Mark, on the other hand, started poorly. When Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey, they took the young man with them, but after the first leg of the trip, he returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:5, Acts 13:13). Because Mark had deserted them on that first trip, Paul refused to take him on the second (15:36-40). However, when Paul was nearing death, he wanted Mark, whom he now considered “useful for service” (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark had proven himself faithful by persevering in obedience and service to the Lord, and eventually he wrote the one of the four gospels.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuits and pleasures of this life and forget that we have a higher goal. Once we cross the finish line and see Christ face-to-face, everything else will fade in comparison. So let’s run with endurance the race set before us.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 46-49

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Faithful Servants

 

Colossians 4:7-17

Every word of Scripture is profitable for us, and that includes today’s passage—the final greetings and instructions at the close of Colossians. Although reading a list of names may not seem edifying at first, doing so provides a lesson on living with a committed Christian community. The people Paul mentions are all examples of faithful servants of God.

For instance, Tychicus (vv. 7-8) brought Paul’s letter from Rome to Colossae since the apostle was in prison. The distance is about 900 miles as the crow flies, but it was much farther for Tychicus, who had to sail around Italy and across the Mediterranean Sea before traveling through Asia Minor on foot. Yet he faithfully endured the hardship in order to bring Paul’s letter to the Colossians—and to us, since the epistle is now part of the New Testament.

Onesimus (v. 9) exemplifies a life transformed by Christ—this runaway slave was a valuable servant not only to his former master but also to Paul (Philem. 1:10-17). Then Epaphras (Col. 4:12-13) was a faithful intercessor for the church in Colossae, and Luke was a committed companion to Paul during the apostle’s travels and imprisonment. And Nympha is acknowledged for hospitality in opening her home as a meeting place for the church.

In the New Testament, we’re instructed to be faithful stewards, live transformed lives, pray for one another, serve humbly, and practice hospitality so Jesus’ love is apparent to those who don’t know Him. As the people in today’s passage show, your actions can reflect Christ even more than words do.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 43-45

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Charles Stanley – Left Here to Minister

 

Ephesians 2:8-10

Why do you think God has left you here on earth instead of immediately taking you to heaven the moment you were saved? Think of all the hardships and heartaches you’d have escaped. Imagine the joys you’d be experiencing with Christ in heaven. But then again, who would be here to tell others the gospel of salvation if all the believers were taken out of this world?

If you are living and breathing, then the heavenly Father has a purpose for you, a ministry to fulfill. Don’t think of ministry as something done only in a church building by a select group of people. Service to God is the responsibility of every believer. It’s a matter of doing the “good works, which God prepared beforehand” for each of us to accomplish (Eph. 2:10).

Although the way we serve may change over time, we are never called to retire and do nothing. Even a bed-bound saint can pray for others or offer encouraging words to visitors and caregivers. A believer’s goal should not simply be to attend church, listen to a sermon, and receive enough spiritual food to get through the coming week. The goal is to serve God with our whole being, reflecting the love of Jesus through who we are. Our worship of God and instruction from His Word is what edifies and equips us to serve one another and go into the world to share the gospel.

Your entire life is meant to be an act of service to God. If instead you are living for your own happiness and goals, you will eventually be disappointed. But when you walk in the good works God has prepared for you, you’ll have the satisfaction of doing exactly what you were created to do.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 40-42

http://www.intouch.org/