Category Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – Our Heavenly Place: New Jerusalem

 

Revelation 21:1-8

While Jesus was on earth, John heard Him promise to prepare a place for His followers (John 14:3). Years later, the apostle was given a vision of that place, and he watched the New Jerusalem come down out of heaven. The sight was beyond human description, but he did his best to put this heavenly vision into earthly language. (See Revelation 21:9-27, Revelation 22:1-5.)

John saw the brilliance of God’s glory radiating from the city’s structure, whose foundation gleamed with the dazzling colors of precious stones. The gates were made of pearls and the street of transparent gold. This nearly 1500-mile-long cube-shaped city was designed by the Lord as a place for Himself and mankind to live in perfect intimacy for all eternity. In Revelation 22:3-4, he notes that “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face.”

Though we may have difficulty imagining the physical structure of the New Jerusalem, we understand and rejoice over the fact that certain things will be absent from this heavenly city—namely, there will be no pain, tears, mourning, or death. Sin and every one of its consequences will be removed. All frustration, boredom, and problems will cease. No one will have handicaps, and our bodies will never grow tired or sick.

When the difficulties you face become burdensome, focus on your glorious heavenly future. The only time you will ever experience trouble and pain is in this earthly life. When you walk on the streets of New Jerusalem with the Savior, all the old ravages of sin will be gone, and your joy will be full.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 15-17

 

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Charles Stanley – A Place Called Heaven

 

John 14:1-6

Because mankind is earthbound until death, misconceptions about heaven are common. Some people imagine it as an ethereal world of formless spirits who float about, whereas others flatly deny its existence. A few have returned from near-death experiences to describe what they saw. Amid all the confusing and contradictory views, we would do well to remember that our only sure source of accurate information about heaven is God’s Word.

Jesus had firsthand knowledge of heaven because He came from there to earth. Shortly before dying, He told His disciples that He would go to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them and then would come back to take them to their new home. Several weeks later the disciples watched the resurrected Jesus ascend, as foretold, into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

Ever since that day, believers throughout history have been waiting for the Lord’s promised return. Each one will be given an immortal resurrection body similar to Christ’s. It will be physical, visible, and recognizable to others. We will even be able to eat. (See Luke 24:41-43.) Heaven is a literal place for actual, tangible bodies—a place to live, serve God, and worship and enjoy Him forever.

Knowing all the specifics of our eternal destination is impossible, but we can be sure that Jesus will fulfill His promise to come back for us. Stepping into our custom-designed dwelling places, we will each realize that we’re finally home—and throughout eternity can never be separated from our heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 13-14

 

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Charles Stanley – Building Lasting Friendships

 

1 Samuel 18:1-4

Genuine friends are rare treasures. In a very limited way, they are shadows of the perfect fellowship experienced within the Trinity. We are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27); one aspect of this truth is that the Lord created us for meaningful relationships. In fact, it’s difficult to flourish if we live in isolation. By God’s design, we are made to share life with others, as well as to give and receive love.

Friendships come in various degrees—from surface relationships to intimate fellowship. Although you may have many acquaintances, you might remain lonely unless you have at least one or two close friends. If God has blessed you with an intimate friendship, be diligent to devote time and effort to develop and cultivate it.

Jonathan and David exemplified this type of closeness. One was a prince and the other was a shepherd, so they seemed like improbable companions. However, status didn’t matter to them. Besides demonstrating humility, they also showed great respect for each other’s faith and love for Israel. They both felt as committed as brothers and gave generously of themselves. For example, the robe Jonathan gave David—a prized possession of the king’s son—was evidence of his loyalty and love (1 Samuel 18:4). He even risked his life and reputation in order to save David (1 Samuel 20:30-34).

Do you have a person like this in your life—someone with whom to share your joys and sorrows, strengths and weaknesses, fears and pain? Thankfully, Jesus is the best friend we can have, but we also need close relationships with others. What can you do today to build this type of friendship?

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 10-12

 

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Charles Stanley – Voiding God’s Grace

 

Galatians 3:1-5

In verse 3 of today’s passage, the apostle Paul raises a probing question for all who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. He says, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” The subtle shift from confidence in Jesus to confidence in the flesh (or self) can all too easily go unnoticed.

When we receive salvation through faith in Jesus and first experience God’s glorious grace and freedom from sin, we know we could never have produced these ourselves. We’re filled with gratitude and awe that He would give us the gift of salvation.

However, as we grow in grace and submit to the disciplines of obedience and service, we begin to accumulate a record of good deeds and Christlike conduct. If we’re not careful, we may begin to put confidence in our own righteousness and obedience instead of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life.

There’s something within our fallen humanity that longs to take credit for the good we do. We’ll readily acknowledge that we are saved by grace, but then we assume that living the Christian life is now up to us—that God did His part by saving us, and now we must do ours. Such thinking elevates us and denies the power of the Spirit in us.

Only when we have a large view of God and a small view of ourselves will we be able to see that we add nothing to our salvation. Nor can we claim credit for the work the Holy Spirit does in and through us as He sanctifies and matures us in Christ.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 8-9

 

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Charles Stanley – Triumph Through Failure

 

John 21:1-9

We’ve all left footprints in the valley of failure. What matters is how we respond afterwards. Do we give up and live a defeated life, or do we believe God can restore us?

The story of Peter’s failure and subsequent restoration gives us tremendous encouragement. Jesus warned that Peter would fall short, but He also prayed for the disciple’s faith not to fail. Jesus assured Peter ahead of time that his failure would not be the end of the story—he would stand up again and strengthen the others (Luke 22:31-32).

The Lord knew that before Peter could be molded into a strong yet humble leader, his pride and self-confidence had to be brought low and his heart broken. Although Satan wanted to sift the disciple to make him useless, Christ commandeered the process to make Peter useful.

In the same way, God can use our failures to prepare us to be more effective servants for Him. Although we may feel as though we have slipped from His grasp, Jesus has promised that nothing and no one can separate us from His love. He sits at the Father’s right hand, always interceding for us (Rom. 8:34).

When we wallow in our failures and build walls around our heart to deny the Lord access, we are resisting much-needed brokenness and healing. If we want God to use us, we must allow Him to get rid of the chaff that keeps us from being who He desires us to be. But if we will humbly turn to the Lord, He’ll give us a fresh start and a renewed understanding of His goodness and purpose.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 6-7

 

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Charles Stanley – Living in God’s Favor

Exodus 33:12-17

What comes to mind when you hear the word favor? While we use the term in a variety of ways—such as doing something to help a person or showing honor in some way—the biblical meaning is to show kindness or acceptance. As believers, we have experienced God’s favor toward us as a result of our salvation. But God’s favor also works in us and changes us.

Moses was a man who found favor with God, and consequently, his life and desires were changed.

Moses wanted to know God’s ways in order to know God (Ex. 33:12-13). Through Scripture, we discover how the Lord operates in people’s lives, what He desires, and how He works out His will in human history. As a result, we gain a deeper understanding of God and a greater love for Him.

Moses desired God’s presence (Ex. 33:15). When the Israelites sinned by worshipping a golden calf, God said that though He would send His angel before them into the Promised Land, He would not go with them (Ex. 33:1-3). But Moses didn’t want divine protection and provision apart from the Lord’s presence.

Moses wanted God’s favor to be a witness to others (Ex. 33:16). What made Israel a distinctive and blessed nation was their God. Without Him, they would be like any other people on the earth.

We must not only fight the tendency to take God’s favor for granted; we must also guard against desiring His blessings more than we desire Him. Think about how His favor has changed your life: Belonging to, knowing, and loving the Lord far outweigh any material provisions He can give.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 3-5

 

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Charles Stanley – How to Develop a Heart for God

 

Psalm 119:9-16

What is your response when you read that David was a man after God’s own heart? (See 1 Samuel 13:14.) Many of us look up to him as a spiritual giant and think to ourselves, I could never be like that.

But the Lord hasn’t reserved this title for just one man. He wants all of us to seek Him as David did. One of our problems is the tendency to focus on just part of his story. We tend to forget that the scriptural account gives a record of David’s lifetime. He had to begin pursuing the Lord the same way we do—one step at a time.

A hunger for the heavenly Father doesn’t ordinarily appear all of a sudden, fully matured, in one’s heart. Most of the time, it’s something that must be cultivated, and the best place to begin is the Bible. That’s where we listen to the Lord as He speaks to us in His Word.

Another essential element is prayer. As you read His words, start talking to Him. If it all seems dry and meaningless, ask Him to work in your life to make Scripture come alive. He loves to answer prayer in accordance with His will.

The next step is meditation. Don’t “put in your time” so you can say you’ve read your Bible. Slow down and deliberately think about what you’ve read, asking, What am I discovering about God?

The last step is to commit. A hunger for God may not develop right away, but remember, you’re working for a changed heart that will last a lifetime, not a fleeting emotional experience. Continue to fill up with the fuel that brings transformation—the Word, prayer, and meditation.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 23-24

 

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Charles Stanley – How to Develop a Heart for God

 

Psalm 119:9-16

What is your response when you read that David was a man after God’s own heart? (See 1 Samuel 13:14.) Many of us look up to him as a spiritual giant and think to ourselves, I could never be like that.

But the Lord hasn’t reserved this title for just one man. He wants all of us to seek Him as David did. One of our problems is the tendency to focus on just part of his story. We tend to forget that the scriptural account gives a record of David’s lifetime. He had to begin pursuing the Lord the same way we do—one step at a time.

A hunger for the heavenly Father doesn’t ordinarily appear all of a sudden, fully matured, in one’s heart. Most of the time, it’s something that must be cultivated, and the best place to begin is the Bible. That’s where we listen to the Lord as He speaks to us in His Word.

Another essential element is prayer. As you read His words, start talking to Him. If it all seems dry and meaningless, ask Him to work in your life to make Scripture come alive. He loves to answer prayer in accordance with His will.

The next step is meditation. Don’t “put in your time” so you can say you’ve read your Bible. Slow down and deliberately think about what you’ve read, asking, What am I discovering about God?

The last step is to commit. A hunger for God may not develop right away, but remember, you’re working for a changed heart that will last a lifetime, not a fleeting emotional experience. Continue to fill up with the fuel that brings transformation—the Word, prayer, and meditation.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 23-24

 

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Charles Stanley – A Heart for God

 

Acts 13:16-22

I sometimes like to walk through a cemetery and read the epitaphs. It’s interesting to see the words that have been chosen to sum up a person’s life. This may seem like a morbid pastime, but it’s actually a helpful way to reassess one’s own life. We’re each going to leave a testimony of some kind when we die. Have you ever wondered what your loved ones will remember about you? What words do you want inscribed on your gravestone?

In today’s passage, the apostle Paul tells us how God saw David—as “a man after My heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). What an awesome testimony of a life well lived! Though David wasn’t a perfect man, he was one whose life was centered on God’s interests and desires.

David’s many psalms attest to the fact that his relationship with the Lord was the most important aspect of his life. His passion was to obey God and carry out His will. However, that doesn’t mean he was always obedient. Who can forget his failure with Bathsheba? But even when he sinned by committing adultery and murder, his heart was still bent toward God. The conviction he felt and his humble repentance afterward proved that his relationship with the Lord was still his top priority.

If God wrote a summary of your life, how would He describe you? Does your heart align with His, or have you allowed it to follow the pleasures and pursuits of this world? Unless we diligently pursue our relationship with the Lord, we will drift away from Him. Maybe it’s time for a course correction.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 20-22

 

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Charles Stanley – Our Financial Security

 

Matthew 25:14-28

Feeling safe is a basic human need. Many people think they are financially secure until a little blip comes along in the economy or their personal circumstances. Then the reality that they are vulnerable hits home. Contrary to what the world says, financial security is found not in a bank account or a retirement fund but in a relationship with the One who owns everything in heaven and on earth.

God is not too busy running the universe to be concerned about your financial situation. The truth is, He cares about every detail of your life, including your need for economic security. By trusting His directions about how to acquire and use money, you can experience peace, contentment, and joy.

When it comes to finances, three basic truths should govern our thinking:

  1. God owns it all.
    2. We are managers of His possessions.
    3. We are responsible and will one day give an account to Him for the way we used His resources.

True financial security comes only when we use God’s money His way for His purposes. He alone knows the future and has the power to provide for our needs, whereas any financial strategy we might devise is backed only by human effort and wisdom.

Don’t you want to experience the stability of internal peace, even during an economic earthquake? Trusting in the Lord’s provision and obeying His instructions will fill you with confidence when others are gripped by fear and uncertainty. Rest in the knowledge that God provides for His children.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 18-19

 

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Charles Stanley – Praying in God’s Will

 

Colossians 1:10-14

Paul fervently desired that the body of Christ—individually and corporately—become spiritually mature. Knowing the Lord had planned for such growth to impact the world, the apostle asked that believers would know God’s will and then …

Live a godly life (Col. 1:10). Paul prayed for our character, conversation, and conduct to be consistent with the Lord’s. Christians are Jesus’ representatives, so our lives ought to be an extension of His—with eyes that look compassionately at others, hearts that offer forgiveness and love, and hands that are engaged in service. A believer’s character, while imperfect, should increasingly reflect Christ’s righteousness.

Make our life count (v. 10). In God’s eyes, not everything we do is fruitful—much of our activity stems from a desire to please self or others. All that truly matters is what’s done in obedience to our Father. Jesus spoke about the importance of bearing much fruit, which is possible only when we stay connected with Him (John 15:5).

Experience God’s power (Col. 1:11). Through the Holy Spirit’s presence, we have all we need for carrying out our Father’s will.

Remain committed and grateful (Col. 1:12). God answers according to His perfect timing. We must be steadfast in prayer and thankful for everything He’s done.

Whether we pray these verses for ourselves or for others, we can know that our petitions are in accordance with the Lord’s will. And 1 John 5:14-15 tells us praying in this way carries the wonderful assurance that God is going to respond affirmatively.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 15-17

 

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Charles Stanley – A Life-Changing Prayer

 

Colossians 1:1-9

When the apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Colossae, his letter included a life-changing prayer that is still impactful all these centuries later. It remains powerful because every request is in agreement with God’s will.

The first petition is for the Colossians to know the Lord’s desires. In order to please God, we must comprehend what His plans are and help carry them out. These include such things as loving God and our neighbors as well as His specific purposes for each believer’s life (Luke 10:27; Eph. 2:10).

Paul’s second request is for God to give spiritual wisdom and understanding with regard to such knowledge. He knew that to apply what we learn, we need the insight and clarity that can come only from the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). The result of these two petitions will be the ability to see better from God’s viewpoint. We’ll perceive our choices and situations as they really are, not just as they appear to be.

Another wonderful thing about these requests is that we can make them for those who do not trust in the Savior. Our Father offers salvation to all who believe in Christ. It is not His desire for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). If unbelievers know God’s will, their minds could be opened to His offer of forgiveness, and they might accept the sacrifice Jesus made.

God’s Word says that those who pray in agreement with His purposes will receive what they ask. That’s why it is important to start by discovering what His plans are. Try incorporating scriptural prayers—like the one from today’s passage—into your conversations with the Lord.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 13-14

 

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Charles Stanley – Enclosed in God’s Will

 

Psalm 139:1-12

We all have periods in life when it seems as if God’s plan has stalled or jumped the track. Perhaps you’ve prayed a long time for something or someone, but the Lord still hasn’t answered. Or maybe you asked Him to intervene in a situation, but nothing has changed. In times like these, it’s important to remember certain truths about your heavenly Father.

Even before you were born, God predetermined what He wanted to accomplish in, through, and for you. His plans for your life are guided by His wisdom as He directs events and chooses the precise timing to help you grow as a Christian. And His love motivates and propels everything He does in your life to make you more like His Son.

But from a human perspective, the heavenly Father’s plan may seem too slow or too hard to follow. For example, a husband and wife may become disillusioned with their marriage and decide to divorce, thinking that finding a new spouse would be easier than working out their problems. Or maybe financial pressures prompt someone to be dishonest on a tax return. These shortcuts demonstrate a lack of trust in the Lord’s ways and unbelief in His sufficiency.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can hold fast during those periods when we want to direct our own life. By relying on God’s great wisdom and loving intentions, we’ll have confidence to rest in His care. Our path may seem dark to us, but in His light, the way becomes clear. All we have to do is follow.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 10-12

 

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Charles Stanley – Shortcutting God’s Will

 

Psalm 37:1-9

In sports, construction, and travel, precision timing is essential. Rushing ahead of the plan could result in lost opportunities, future problems, or disaster. God’s plan for our life also contains time-sensitive elements. He orchestrates events to accomplish His will, bring Himself glory, and benefit us. This is why cooperation with His timing is so crucial. Instead of learning this lesson the hard way, consider what happened in the following situations from Scripture:

  • Abraham and Sarah tried to gain the promised son through Hagar, resulting in domestic discord and anger (Gen. 16:1-6).
    • Rebekah and Jacob used deception in an attempt to gain the Lord’s blessing, and Jacob became a fugitive (Gen. 27:1-43).
    • Becoming impatient for Samuel’s arrival, King Saul offered the sacrifice himself, and God took away his kingdom (1 Samuel 13:8-14).

Refusing to wait for God’s plan brings heartache and closes doors. But trusting in the Lord’s wisdom, believing His promises, waiting for His timing, and committing our way to Him will bring the blessings of obedience.

There are no shortcuts to God’s will, and His path for us may not be easy. To cooperate with Him, we must die to self, relinquish our own desires and plans in order to pursue His, and understand that we are His servants.

Coming up with a plan and rushing ahead may seem like the best approach, but who is better qualified to lead the way—you or God? One pathway is filled with fretting and uncertainty, but the other leads to rest and blessing. Which will you choose?

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 7-9

 

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Charles Stanley – The Gift of Love

 

1 John 4:7-10

Is there someone in your life you’re struggling to love? In other words, is there a person for whom—despite your good intentions, effort, and awareness of how you ought to act—it just seems impossible to muster any affection? Knowing that we should love doesn’t automatically make us adequate for the task. However, being a Christian opens the door for God to enable us by pouring His love into our hearts through His indwelling Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

First John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” What a relief to know that love is a gift from God and not something we must manufacture within ourselves. What’s more, the love He produces in us is not just for others but also for God Himself. He is aware that we have no resources within ourselves to love Him unless He enables us through His Holy Spirit.

The Lord doesn’t give us a command without providing whatever obedience requires. When we trust Christ as Savior, we receive not only forgiveness of our sins and adoption into God’s family but also the ability to love as He does. In fact, His love in and through us is evidence that we are born of God and know Him (John. 4:7). As we submit, Christ’s life is displayed in us through selfless, sacrificial care for others.

Although the Lord has richly poured His love into our hearts, we have the responsibility to grow in it. Every unlovable person in our life is an opportunity to let God teach us to love (1 Thess. 4:9-10). And every time we learn to know Him more intimately through His Word, our adoration of God increases.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 4-6

 

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Charles Stanley – Why Should We Love God?

 

Mark 12:28-34

Most of us are familiar with what is commonly called the Great Commandment—to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yet none of us feel adequate for such a task. Our hearts are fickle, our souls are often self-absorbed, our minds are easily distracted, and our strength falls short. We have an earthly existence that demands our time, attention, and energy. As a result, we often fail to focus on the One who is worthy of our wholehearted devotion.

So, what can we do to better obey this Great Commandment? In any relationship, love develops as we learn to know and appreciate the other person. Therefore, our starting place for loving God is His personhood—knowing who He is. The Old Testament provides magnificent views of His nature, power, and love, but the most tangible, understandable picture we have of God is His Son. When we examine Jesus’ character, words, and actions in the Gospel accounts, we perceive the heavenly Father more clearly.

The second reason to love God is because of what He has done. He’s not only our Creator but also our Savior. Through Jesus, the Father has rescued all believers from eternal destruction. We’ve been transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His Son and made heirs with Christ (Col. 1:12-13).

What distracts you from seeking to know and love the Lord? Have you carved time out of your busy schedule to read His Word and talk to Him in prayer? By doing this, you’ll discover that the saying “to know him is to love him,” will prove true of your amazing God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 1-3

 

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Charles Stanley – Loving God

 

John 14:21-24

If you ask a young man how he knows he’s in love with his girlfriend, there’s a good chance he won’t be able to explain but will simply say, “I just know it.” And those of us who have experienced the joy of falling in love will understand what he means.

But how do we know if we love God? Even though we can’t physically see, hear, or touch Him, our life should contain evidence that testifies to our love for Him.

Jesus’ love for His heavenly Father was perfectly demonstrated by His obedience. Every word, thought, and deed—from the time He left heaven to be born as a baby until His ascension—was done according to His Father’s will and instructions. Their relationship was so intimate that Jesus not only knew exactly what His Father desired but also delighted in obeying Him. (See Psalm 40:7-8; John 6:38.)

If we want to grow in our love for the Lord, we must draw near to Him through His Word. As we learn to know Him intimately, our love will increase and we’ll desire to obey. Unless we invest in Scripture, our fervor for the Lord will fall short of what it could be.

What does your lifestyle reveal about the depth of your devotion to Christ—can others see it clearly in your conversation, character, and conduct? And if you ever feel disappointed that your love for Christ seems small, open the Word of God and obey whatever He says. He will abide with you and disclose Himself, thereby increasing your capacity to love and know Him more.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 30-31

 

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Charles Stanley – Going Against the Flow

 

Psalm 62:1-6

A majority may rule in the culture, but in your personal life, there should be only one ruler—and that’s God. It makes no difference if 10,000 people tell you what you ought to do. Once you have decided to follow the Lord, it’s best to stand right where you are until you get marching orders from Him.

Does this mean we should never take godly counsel? Not at all. It simply means that when we know God hasn’t said to move, we shouldn’t yield to the temptation to please others by following their directives or timeline. In other words, while seeking scriptural advice, believers should also listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings and warnings. For example, when dealing with your children, you may sense there’s a time to bring up an issue and a time to hold off (Eccl. 3:7).

Sometimes, however, a fear of failure may discourage us from doing things God’s way, making us think, What if things don’t turn out as I planned? What if I’m ridiculed by my peers? But ultimately, we must ask ourselves whether we’re going to listen to God or the world. Remember, you don’t have to fear failure when you obey the Lord. He’s the one who intervenes in times of hardship. And He promises to act in behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isa. 64:4).

Remaining steadfast takes courage. That’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph. 6:10). All the pressure in the world can’t make you budge when you trust the Rock upon which you stand. With God’s guidance, you can act with complete confidence of a successful outcome.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 27-29

 

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Charles Stanley – Jesus: Obedient Unto Death

 

Philippians 2:5-11

Imagine someone asking whether Jesus is Lord of your life.  Unsure how you’d respond? Then think back to the last time God commanded you to do something. If following through was just too hard to face, it’s likely you haven’t yet given Jesus lordship over your life. When Christians feel the need to confer with anyone before obeying what they know God is telling them to do, an idol is likely in the way—whether it’s pride, a relationship, or an aspiration.

Our Father understands that obeying Him can be a challenge for everyone—including the Son. We can be encouraged by Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was wrestling in prayer with His Father’s will. Jesus was committed to being obedient but still struggled. Have you ever wondered what He saw in the “cup” when He prayed that God would let it pass from Him, if possible? (Matt. 26:39). At least four things would have made any of us want to push that cup away:

  1. The suffering Jesus would endure when He was crucified.
    2. The sin burden of the entire world.
    3. The desertion of His disciples.
    4. The separation He would feel from His Father.

We correctly see Jesus as God, but sometimes we forget that we cannot separate His humanity from His deity. His suffering and pain were greater than any we will ever know. And yet, though grieved to the point of death, He made a choice to obey the Father, demonstrating to us that we too can do even the most difficult things when we live in submission to God.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 25-26

 

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Charles Stanley – A Living Sacrifice

 

Romans 11:33-34, Romans 12:1-2

In the book of Romans, Paul works through a progression of truths—from our sinful condition, which deserves God’s wrath, to the display of His mercy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Chapter 11 ends in a crescendo of praise that should cause us to respond in worship by offering ourselves to God as living sacrifices.

But practically speaking, how are we to do this? In Romans 12:2, the apostle spells out a mindset to avoid and a goal to pursue.

Do not be conformed to this world. This is not a command to withdraw to the hills and live off the grid. Rather, we’re to lay aside our former manner of life because it is corrupted by our sinful desires (Eph. 4:22). Paul calls this “the old self,” and it’s what John referred to as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Until we deal with these things, we’ll find ourselves continually crawling off the altar to follow our own desires.

Be transformed by the renewing our minds. Lasting change isn’t brought about by willpower or emotional mountaintop experiences. For change that endures, we must renew our mind with God’s truths as revealed in His Word. Paul describes this renewal as “put[ting] on the new self,” which is created by God in righteousness, holiness, and truth (Eph. 4:23-24).

To be a living sacrifice requires submission in obedience to God’s will. As long as we’re in our earthly body, there will always be a battle with sin and self. But by letting God’s Word renew our mind, we’ll find ourselves praising Him as we use our life in accordance with His will.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24

 

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