Category Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – Healing for Inferiority

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

The world bombards us with messages that can trigger feelings of inferiority. Happiness and satisfaction are promised if we will only drive the latest car, wear the newest styles, or build up those muscles while shedding pounds. If we do not guard ourselves from commercialism, it will drive the truth of God from our mind, and we will pursue a fruitless search for adequacy and value.

So often we look at externals to prove to ourselves and others that we’re valuable. Or we think, If only I were better-looking, richer, or smarter, I would be accepted and esteemed. It’s not wise to let others’ opinions and standards determine our feelings about ourselves; the only accurate assessment of our worth comes from looking into the eyes of the One who loved us enough to die in our place.

Paul told his readers that true significance comes from knowing and understanding the full dimensions of God’s love for them. This knowledge is our anchor when feelings of worthlessness overwhelm or failures tempt us to berate ourselves and withdraw in defeat. Notice that the Lord doesn’t say He’ll give us all the qualities and possessions we think will overcome our sense of inferiority. Instead, He promises to strengthen us “in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16).

God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” but His method is to work from the inside out, “according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20). If you struggle with feelings of inferiority, ask God to heal your soul by doing a great work within.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 1-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Feelings of Inferiority

 

Ephesians 2:10

Early in my life, I experienced some feelings of inferiority. Because we struggled financially, my mother and I didn’t live in the “right” places, and I didn’t wear the “right” clothes. Even in school, I felt that I did not measure up academically to the other kids. The sense of failure and embarrassment at not being good enough was devastating to me.

The misery of inferiority is never what God intends for His children. Its seed usually takes root in the impressionable hearts of the young and thrives in an atmosphere of comparison. This kind of emotional baggage can have debilitating and enslaving ramifications in every area of life. Feelings of inadequacy may cause avoidance of healthy challenges; low self-esteem cripples personal relationships; and comparison steals contentment.

We need to understand how God sees us. Then, when feelings of inferiority come, we can cling to His accurate assessment rather than our own faulty one. He says we are His workmanship—His masterpieces. Each person is thoughtfully designed by the Creator for His purpose. The differences that cause us to make comparisons and feel discouraged are the very qualities that the Lord created to bring Him glory.

Feelings of inferiority are a hindrance to becoming the people that the heavenly Father designed us to be and a deterrent to fulfilling His purpose for our lives. When it comes to our value, we either accept the truth of His appraisal or decide not to believe Him and instead rely on our own feelings. What will your choice be?

Bible in One Year: Job 39-42

 

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Charles Stanley –Does God Want You to Succeed?

 

Proverbs 16:1-3

Is success a legitimate goal for believers? Is this something God wants for His children? The answers depend upon your definition of success. Many people define it as the achievement of wealth, prominence, or fame. If that’s what you’re seeking, then you are following the world’s definition, not the Lord’s.

In His eyes, true success begins internally—the first step is a relationship with Jesus, whereby you have trusted Him as Savior and are following Him obediently. His goal for you is ongoing growth in Christlike character and spiritual maturity, but that’s not all. He also has some work for you to accomplish here on earth (Eph. 2:10). God planned these tasks specifically for you and designed them with your personality, talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts in mind. You could think of them as your unique calling and responsibility in life.

Genuine success involves doing what the Lord has called you to do, not just occasionally but continually. It has to do with persistence rather than perfection. When this is your definition of success, you can know that the Lord wants you to succeed. And He’s committed to helping you become the person He designed you to be—and to accomplish the goals He’s set for you.

The ultimate evaluation of our success will take place when we stand before God and give an account of our life (Rom. 14:12). Any self-centered earthly achievements will be left behind. But if we’ve lived by His definition of success, our treasure will await us in heaven—along with the words “Well done!”

Bible in One Year: Job 13-16

 

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Charles Stanley – Following in Christ’s Footsteps

 

Matthew 10:24-42

Much of Christianity has a distorted view of discipleship. In our desire to see more people come to Christ, we may be guilty of offering a gospel that emphasizes the benefits of following Jesus while avoiding any mention of the cost involved.

However, Jesus didn’t shy away from speaking truth. He let people know that being His disciple would not be easy, because they’d be following in His footsteps. Since Christ didn’t sail through life without challenges, why should we? Our goal should be to become like our Savior, and that means we must be willing to suffer to one degree or another.

Contrary to what many contemporary sermons suggest, following Jesus may not make your relationships better. It could become a source of contention because a true disciple’s love, devotion, and loyalty to Christ supersedes every other relationship. If what a friend or family member desires contradicts what the Lord has commanded, then the choice must be to follow Christ rather than a loved one.

As Christians, we’ll frequently be tempted to compromise in order to avoid misunderstanding, criticism, rejection, or persecution. But as Christ’s followers, we are called to live a crucified life—and compromise undercuts the wholehearted nature of crucifixion. We cannot pursue the acceptance of the world and at the same time follow the Lord. Until we stand with both feet on the side of obedience, we forfeit assurance of God’s peace and blessings.

Although discipleship is costly, the reward is great. Jesus promises to confess us as His own before God when we enter our heavenly home.

Bible in One Year: Job 9-12

 

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Charles Stanley –The Cost of True Discipleship

 

Luke 14:25-35

Unlike many churches today, Jesus was never interested in gathering crowds, nor did He make His message more appealing in order to gain a larger following. In fact, He consistently emphasized the high cost of discipleship instead of making it easy for people to follow Him halfheartedly. That’s because His goal was to make true disciples who were totally committed to Him—and this is the same charge He gave us in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).

In contemplating what makes up the essence of a human being, we might think of an individual’s life, relationships, and possessions. Yet Jesus demanded that His followers surrender all three. In Luke 14, the Lord taught that to be His disciple, a person could not …

Love anyone more than Him (Luke 14:26). When Jesus used the word translated as “hate,” He wasn’t advocating animosity toward family members. Rather, He was emphasizing a commitment to place Him before any human relationship.

Love one’s own life more than Him (Luke 14:26-27). The image Christ used was that of carrying a cross. This symbolized death to our former sinful lifestyle and, if necessary, a willingness to die in order to remain faithful to Him.

Be unwilling to give up all possessions (Luke 14:33). This doesn’t mean we must live as paupers, but we should hold everything loosely, knowing that we are merely stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us.

None of us can fully live up to Jesus’ call. But by His grace, we can commit to Him all that we are and all that we have. This should be the mindset of those who enter through the narrow gate to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14).

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

 

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Charles Stanley – Living by Our Convictions

 

Romans 14:22-23

Have you ever had to take a stand against a barrage of opposing opinions in order to be true to Christ? Or has a group of friends or coworkers ever wanted to cut corners or participate in a sinful activity—and you were the only one saying no? When the godly voice is outnumbered, it can be challenging to speak up for righteousness.

We all have convictions that define who we are and determine our lifestyle and choices. We may like to think that these are a private matter, but in reality, they are constantly on display for all to see. That’s because we live them out each day with our words and actions.

Since convictions have a powerful influence, we should examine what ours are saying about us. Are they leading us to a righteous life in accordance with God’s will, or are they so weak that our life is dominated by the old fleshly nature?

God has given us principles from His Word to guide, protect, and help us lead godly lives. These standards are like guardrails that keep us from veering off track when temptations beckon. By holding firmly to these convictions, we follow a path that fits our identity in Christ. Instead of going along with the crowd, we’re to walk in God’s will and abstain from the sins that surround us in the world.

The time to establish our convictions is before we face temptations, not in the midst of them. We need solid, immovable biblical principles to shape what we believe and how we live.

Bible in One Year: Esther 6-10

 

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Charles Stanley – Following Our Convictions

 

Acts 4:1-20

Most of us have been blessed to live relatively free from persecution. We may have experienced some mocking, ridicule, or ostracism because of our beliefs, but we don’t have to fear punishment or death. However, that’s not the case elsewhere in the world. There are Christians in other countries for whom today’s passage is all too familiar.

Acts 4 tells us that Peter and John faced great opposition for their faith. After being thrown into jail for healing a sick man, they were warned not to speak or teach in Jesus Christ’s name. But they held firmly to their convictions and replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 NLT).

Our goal as believers is to become unshakeable in our faith. Peter and John didn’t flinch from their responsibility to proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name, even in the face of imprisonment and threats. Yet in reading this account, we may wonder how we could ever endure persecution.

The truth is that in ourselves, we can’t do it. But we are never alone. When we stand for our convictions, God’s Spirit is always present in us. He gives us the physical, spiritual, mental, and moral strength to stand firm when we are tested and tried (Luke 12:11-12).

God wants His children to trust Him with the future; He doesn’t want us becoming panicky about what may lie ahead. But if He ever calls us to suffer for Him, in that moment He’ll provide the grace we need in order to remain faithful.

Bible in One Year: Esther 1-5

 

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Charles Stanley – Strength for the Fearful

 

Isaiah 41:9-13

I recommend that believers underline Isaiah 41 in their Bible and meditate on it frequently. When one of God’s people is seeking an anchor in turbulent times, this is the right passage for the job. Here, Isaiah writes about the source of Christians’ strength.

In Isaiah 41:10 alone, the Lord promises strength, help, and protection. Moreover, He gives two commands: “Do not fear” and “Do not anxiously look about you.” Among Satan’s subtle and successful traps is the art of distraction. The evil one knows that fear can choke faith. He works hard to make unsettling circumstances a person’s sole focus. Once a believer’s attention is diverted from God, natural human tendencies take over. In the absence of prayer and worship, anxiety and doubt grow unobstructed.

Staying focused on the Lord can be hard. The flesh prefers to seek security by thinking through all possible angles. Our tendency is to weigh what we think could happen against what “experts” say will happen, and then to evaluate possible ways of preventing our worst fears from coming true. Instead of becoming more confident, we begin to realize how powerless we are. Thankfully, we serve an almighty God who says, “Surely I will help you” (Isa. 41:10). We can count on Him.

By focusing on our circumstances, we’re actually choosing to feel anxiety and doubt. But these emotions don’t belong in a believer’s daily life. Instead, let’s decide to trust in the promises God has given us. He’s filled His Word with scriptural anchors to keep His children steady in the faith.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 11-13

 

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Charles Stanley – Small Steps to a Great Destiny

 

Luke 5:1-11

God’s simple requests of us are oftentimes stepping-stones to His greatest blessings. Although we may view these lesser events as unimportant, the Lord sees them as a big deal. The apostle Peter is a wonderful example of a man who took small steps that led to a great destiny.

When Jesus asked to be taken out in Peter’s boat, the fisherman could have said no. After all, he’d put in a full night’s work and was probably exhausted. But by taking this small step, Peter received a front-row seat to hear the greatest teacher on earth, and he began a life-changing adventure.

Although Jesus’ first request was fairly ordinary, His next suggestion would challenge everything Peter knew to be logical. Heading into deep water at midday for the purpose of catching fish was ludicrous to this fishing expert. Sometimes the Lord asks us to do what seems unreasonable. We should remember that the Lord is not obligated to work within the realm of what’s normal or logical. If Peter had refused this unusual request, he would have missed the biggest catch of his life—and I don’t mean just the fish. This miracle opened Peter’s eyes to catch sight of his Messiah. When he got out of that boat, the fish meant nothing to him because Jesus became his everything.

The Lord isn’t waiting for us to do some big, impressive task for Him; He’s simply calling us to obey Him one small step at a time. Don’t miss the great adventure God has for you. Even when His ways seem unreasonable, follow Him faithfully, and your destiny will unfold before your eyes.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Charles Stanley – The Sacrificial Lamb

 

Hebrews 10:1-14

God’s grace has no limits. His mercy can reach the darkest part of our heart. What’s more, the forgiveness Jesus offered on the cross stretches back to earth’s first day and forward to its last. Christ not only erased our past, present, and future sin; He also paid for the wrongs of every generation.

When the Israelites brought a goat or a lamb to the temple for a sacrifice, they placed their hands on its head and confessed their sins. The priest then killed the animal and sprinkled some of its blood on the altar of atonement. The ritual symbolized a confessor’s payment for sin. But the lamb could not actually take on the sin and die in place of the Israelite (Heb. 10:4).

If an animal’s blood could actually erase a sin-debt, we’d still be offering those frequent sacrifices and Jesus’ death would have been unnecessary. Yet we must remember that though the act itself had no saving power, the ritual of sacrifice was God’s idea (Lev. 4:1-35). He established such offerings as a powerful illustration of the seriousness and penalty of sin. The practice also pointed to Christ’s perfect sacrificial death on our behalf and the salvation He offers. To use a modern metaphor, sacrifice can be thought of as similar to a credit card. God accepted the lamb’s blood as temporary payment. When the bill came due, Jesus Christ paid the sin-debt in full.

Modern believers do practice certain biblical rituals, but we are not pardoned through prayer, Bible reading, or even the act of confession. Like the Israelites, we must also look to a lamb—the Lamb of God. When we receive Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are forgiven forever.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

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Laying Down Lives

LAYING DOWN LIVES

When Soldiers Die for One Another

As we mark another Memorial Day honoring those in uniform who have given their lives in service to the nation, it’s important to remember a truism of war: In the heat of combat, a soldier fights not for his country but for his buddy on the right and the left. The bond among soldiers, forged in battle, is as strong, or stronger, than any tie to nation or family.Consider the case of Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor. On Sept. 29, 2006, Monsoor was serving with a small team of SEALs on a rooftop in hotly contested town of Ramadi. They were in the overwatch position, providing surveillance and security for the troops on the ground. They’d been engaged in several firefights already when an enemy grenade came flying over the edge of the roof, hitting Monsoor in the chest, before falling between his two SEAL comrades.Being situated next to the exit from the roof, Monsoor was the only one in a position to escape the blast. Instinctively he could have dropped down the stairs and taken cover a wall before the grenade exploded, and no one would have thought less of him for doing so.But Monsoor’s primary concern was not for his own safety; it was for the lives of his friends. Instead of ducking for cover, he turned and threw himself on the grenade just as it exploded, saving the lives of everyone else on the roof. For his courageous actions, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Or consider the case of Army Rangers stationed in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Oct. 3, 1993—the day of the infamous Black Hawk Down incident when Somali militants shot down two Army helicopters. The Rangers who had gone to the crash sites were vastly outnumbered and cut off from resupply or rescue. Word went out that a rescue mission was to be mounted. Every cook, clerk, and supply assistant at the base was to gear up and prepare to move back into the dangerous city, despite the fact that several vehicles had just returned filled with dead and wounded.

Yet not a single man flinched or refused to go. Even those who could have been excused from action easily boarded vehicles to head back. One soldier even cut the cast off his broken arm so he could go with them.

At the second crash site, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart volunteered to rescue the fallen crew, knowing that what they were doing would almost certainly result in their deaths. Both Gordon and Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their courage and honor.

This love for comrades, for that is what it is, is a great illustration of John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” It is agape love in action, wishing the best for another, even at great cost. It is the love shown by Christ, who scorned the shame of the cross and faced an agonizing death all to save sinners (see Heb. 12:2). Like Monsoor, Gordon, Shughart, and numerous Rangers, He humbled himself and became obedient to death, all to save us (see Phil. 2:8).

So as you remember our fallen dead today, remember Him who, out of great love for us, gave his life.

This article was originally published on May 25, 2015, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “The Passion of God’s Love”.

 

 

 

By In Touch Ministries Staff

 

As you remember our nation’s fallen heroes today, remember Him who, out of great love for us, gave his life.

Source: Laying Down Lives

Charles Stanley – The Christ-Centered Life

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?

This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.

The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).

A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

 

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Charles Stanley – Salvation: The First Step

 

Acts 16:19-40

After a baby takes his first steps, the parents call loved ones. They excitedly announce the awesome accomplishment, which is the beginning of a new life of greater mobility and maturity. In the same way, the Christian life begins with a first step—salvation. But it’s only the start of a new life of increasing spiritual growth.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). It’s simple enough that even a child can do it, and after salvation, we are all like babies taking our first steps. A new believer doesn’t understand all the doctrines of salvation any more than a toddler knows all the mechanics of walking. However, once we are saved, we have a responsibility to learn what God has done for us and to take more steps of obedience in the Christian life.

Genuine salvation always results in transformation. When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, He comes to live within us through the Holy Spirit. Our old way of life no longer fits our new identity, and the Spirit works within us to make us more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Has there been a particular point in your life when you recognized your sin and then asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior? If so, how has your life been transformed since then? Spiritual growth is one of the ways we can know that we are saved.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 32-34

 

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Charles Stanley – The Justice of Divine Judgment

 

Revelation 20:11-15

Every person will face God on judgment day. Whenever that topic comes up, I am usually asked something like, “What about people who live in remote areas, who will never hear about Jesus?” The concerned questioner is really wondering, How could a loving Lord send an ignorant person to hell? In other words, how can it be fair to condemn those who have never heard the gospel?

To understand how God judges, we should recognize two truths about Him. First, He is not limited. While whole people groups still have no Scripture in their language, God always reaches individuals whose hearts are open to knowing Him. Men like Abraham and Moses had no Scriptures, and yet the Lord spoke to them.

Second, God reveals Himself to all people, whether or not they have access to the Bible. As we saw yesterday, He not only demonstrates His power and attributes through creation; He also programs our conscience to understand the basic distinctions between right and wrong. For those who are blessed to hear the gospel at some point, Jesus Christ is the greatest revelation of God in their life.

When people stand before the Father, He will judge them on three criteria: the amount of truth to which each has been exposed; how many opportunities there were to accept the truth and share it with others; and what was done with those opportunities. The believer’s responsibility, then, is to reach as many as possible with the gospel so that no one need ask, “What about those who have never heard of Jesus?”

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 29-31

 

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Charles Stanley – Those Who Have Never Heard

 

Romans 1:16-25

In many countries, the gospel cannot be shared freely. Repressive governments and religions stop Christians from telling others about Jesus. However, God is mightier than oppression. Where human messengers can’t carry the good news, the Lord is revealing Himself to those whose hearts are open.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:4). But because He is holy and just, He can’t overlook man’s sinful condition, which renders all guilty and without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20). That is, He will not admit people into heaven unless they have acknowledged their need for a Savior (Rom. 3:20-23). However, our Father is also fair and merciful. He makes His presence known to every person so that each one can recognize His sovereignty.

The Lord does this by revealing Himself to all mankind in two ways: through conscience and creation. First, He has imbedded His basic moral guidelines in the human conscience (Rom. 1:19). In other words, at some point in life, people generally have an innate sense that certain actions are right and others are wrong. Second, the Creator displays His power and divine nature through what He has made (Rom. 1:20). The complexity, variety, order, and beauty of the world all point to a Designer.

We can’t pinpoint every method the Lord uses to reveal Himself. Yet we can be sure nothing will stop Him from reaching out to people who follow conscience and creation to the logical conclusion—the existence of a loving, sovereign God.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

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Charles Stanley – Remembering God’s Priority

 

Numbers 15:37-41

At times, people will say, “I’ve made Jesus a part of my life.” But this statement reveals that they have missed the point. The truth is, Jesus can never be simply a part of life; at salvation, Jesus becomes our life—everything revolves around Him because He is the central focus.

For the believer, the essence of living is to walk in childlike obedience to Christ. That means we express His righteous life simply by faith. To do this, we depend on the power of the Holy Spirit for enablement and divine grace for forgiveness when we stumble. And stumbling will occur because we live amidst two kingdoms that are in constant conflict. On the one hand, there’s the pull of the world, and on the other, the pull of God. In other words, Satan throws temptations our way, but from our Father comes the appeal of holiness, peace, and joy in Christ.

That’s why Jesus taught, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). The way to do this is by spending time with our Father in prayer and in His Word. Doing so will not only clear from our thinking anything that doesn’t fit with God’s priorities; it will also serve to remind us of His commands and His greatness (Rom. 12:2; Psalm 105:4-5).

The battle is ongoing. And it rages not just in the realms of education, science, politics, and finances but also within every human heart. To be successful in God’s eyes, it’s critical that we keep His priorities as our own and make continual course corrections to stay on track.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 24-25

 

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Charles Stanley – Building on Christ

 

1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Have you ever seen an elaborate, masterfully crafted sandcastle? That’s one of the most delightful experiences of a trip to the beach. The best builders are painstaking in every detail as they craft these beautiful works of art. The towers are straight, the windows are even, and sometimes the outline of individual bricks can be seen on each wall. The end result is often stunning, rivaling the elegance of homes in the wealthiest neighborhoods of the world.

But for all a sandcastle’s splendor, its hours are numbered. From the moment the first grain of sand is set in place, the miniature building is on its way to oblivion. Within hours the details are destroyed by wind, rain, and the incoming tide. There is simply no future for a house of sand.

Sometimes believers’ lives are like sandcastles. Even though everything looks perfect on the outside, their life’s pursuits and activities will be revealed as worthless in the fire of God’s judgment. Although their eternal destiny is secure, they will suffer the loss of heavenly rewards because they used inferior building materials.

The most important thing in life is to make sure we have the right foundation. Church attendance, ministry work, discipleship programs, or community service are no substitute for the rock-solid foundation of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We also need to build our life with faithful, obedient service to the Lord. The goal is not to have the most impressive-looking life in this world but to build one that demonstrates our devotion to the Savior who died to rescue us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 21-23

 

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Charles Stanley – Responding to Accusation

 

Luke 12:11-12

When conflict occurs, the natural reaction is to blame someone else and defend yourself. But believers must respond differently. Once, I was publicly chastised for a wrong I had not committed. Thankfully, the Lord enabled me to remain calm rather than react angrily. Praying before doing anything else is the best response in a crisis. When we do, God supernaturally provides that which we can’t muster up ourselves.

Spiritual discernment. The Lord, who perfectly understands the source of every problem, can give us insight beyond our limited perspective. Perhaps there’s been a communication breakdown, a feeling of jealousy on the other person’s part, or a mistake we unknowingly made. The Holy Spirit can show us how to approach our accuser and see beyond hurtful words or actions.

A quiet spirit. Our human nature wants to react quickly so that we can defend ourselves. That’s why we must first deliberately focus our attention on the Lord and experience the inward peace He alone makes available to us (John 14:27).

Wisdom. Jesus told His disciples the Holy Spirit would give them wise words to say when they faced hostile authorities. He’ll do the same for you. Ask Him to put a seal on your lips until He shows you what to say and when (Psalm 141:3).

We don’t have to react to criticism with anger and self-protection the way the world does. Instead, we are called to represent Christ in every situation by depending on Him. In responding as He directs, we bring Him glory and cause unbelievers to want to know the source of our strength.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

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Charles Stanley – God’s Ways Revealed

 

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Just when we think we’re growing in our understanding of God, something happens that causes us to wonder if we know Him very well at all. Perhaps it was an unanswered prayer request, an accident, an illness, or some loss that shook our faith. What are we to think when the events in our life seem to contradict our understanding of God?

This basic truth may sound paradoxical, but we’re wise to keep it in the forefront of our thinking: We have a God who is far beyond human comprehension, yet He wants us to know Him and understand His ways. Even the apostle Paul—who had an intimate relationship with God—exclaimed, “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Rom. 11:33-34).

So how can we know our unfathomable God? The only way is if He reveals Himself to us—and that’s exactly what He has done. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit “so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). That’s why the apostle Paul said, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Although we’ll never know or understand all that God does, we can be confident that as we read the Scriptures and walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit, He will teach us God’s ways.

We have a priceless treasure within us. The Spirit is the only reason we can understand spiritual concepts that are hidden from those who don’t know Jesus. But with this privilege comes the responsibility to let God’s Word dwell richly within us, because that’s how the Spirit teaches us the Father’s ways.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 28-29

 

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Charles Stanley – Walk in God’s Ways

 

Psalm 81:10-16

Most of us realize there’s no guarantee that life will be pleasant and easy. But when disappointment or hardship comes, we are often more preoccupied with finding a way out than with understanding how God is moving in our situation. One danger of this approach is that we might not recognize if we’ve gotten off course.

The Lord wants us to know His ways so that we can walk in them. Yet like Israel, we fail to listen to Him and instead plot our own course through life. As a result, we experience unnecessary suffering—a high price for disobedience. We should remember that though walking in God’s ways may lead us through painful valleys, His grace is always there to strengthen our faith and bring comfort and encouragement. But we forgo such mercies if we rebel and go our own way.

So consider whether your life is aligned with the Lord’s ways or aligned with your own. He always leads us in holiness, wisdom, faith, and obedience. But our ways are a result of convenience, self-interest, self-advancement, and human reasoning. The Lord’s path is always the best, and ours is usually costly.

No matter where you find yourself today, God is calling out to you, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). The imagery is that of a baby bird with its beak stretched wide to receive the food its parent brings. The Lord wants to feed you with His Word so you can learn His ways. Are you open to receiving it? More importantly, are you willing to obey it?

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 25-27

 

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