Tag Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – Hope Amidst Suffering

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

We all go through distressing times in life. These seasons of suffering may be brought about by relational difficulties, financial hardships, or other trials. But as God’s children, we can take heart in knowing that our pain is not wasted.

Sometimes our pain is for the eternal benefit of others—God uses it to reveal the genuineness of our faith so that others might see it and be drawn to His Son (1 Peter 1:7). By the way we respond to adversity, our belief in Jesus becomes visible to those around us. Believers will be encouraged, and seekers will ask us questions about our faith.

At other times, God uses trials to teach us to obey—Hebrews 5:8 tells us that even our Savior learned obedience from the things He suffered. Another purpose of hardship is to broaden our ministry. The apostle Paul’s imprisonment let him minister among the guards, resulting in the salvation of many.

Difficulties can also be the Lord’s tool in preventing a problem from happening—such as the unidentified ailment that kept Paul from becoming prideful. When disobedience threatens our walk with God, He will take whatever steps are needed to draw us back to Him. He may allow a need to remain unmet or something cherished to be removed. His purpose is that we confess our sin and return to Him.

We may not know the reasons for our heartaches, but the wisest choice we can make is to trust the heavenly Father. After all, He who saved us through the sacrifice of His Son has promised to use our suffering to bring about good (Rom. 8:28).

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 37-40

 

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Charles Stanley –God Uses Our Suffering

 

Hebrews 12:10-11

Joseph’s life involved much suffering. The young man was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, and forgotten. But when God’s plan was revealed, Joseph declared that it was good (Gen. 45:7-8).

Scripture tells us that the Lord has many purposes for the pain we experience. One is to develop personal righteousness in us. Desiring that we walk in holiness before Him, God utilizes discipline to direct us away from ungodliness and to increase our fruitfulness. He will use difficult people and circumstances to prune away any “deadwood”—attitudes, behaviors, and relationships that do not fit a child of God (Eph. 4:25; Eph. 4:29, Eph. 4:31). While such pruning is not a pleasant experience, it can effectively train us to lead a godly life.

God also uses suffering to manifest the life of Christ in us. For that to happen, we must learn to depend on Him for both our work and our words. If circumstances did not press in upon us, we would probably go our own way. But we are to be like Jesus, who relied on His Father no matter how easy or hard the situation became. As Christ’s ambassadors, we are to be living examples of His character. This may mean forgiving our enemies, bearing our burdens with patience, or finding joy in the midst of sorrow, just as He did. Our witness will not be a perfect one, but we should display a growing “family resemblance” to the Lord.

Life is full of trouble. But in the hands of a loving God, our suffering is being used for eternal purposes.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 33-36

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Effective Prayer

 

John 15:7-11

I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t want an effective prayer life. We all long to see the Lord answering our prayers and actively intervening in the concerns and needs we bring before Him, but are we willing to do what’s required? Jesus’ promise of answered prayer is linked with two prerequisites, both found in verse 7 of today’s reading.

“If you abide in Me.” To abide means to remain, dwell, or continue, and according to 1 John 3:24, abiding in Christ is characterized by keeping His commands. Therefore, if we want to pray effectively, we must be committed to obey God in every area of our life. Any rebellion robs us of the wisdom we need in order to pray rightly. It also hinders our fellowship with the Father and keeps Him from hearing and answering our requests.

“And [If] My words abide in you.” We must ask ourselves these questions: Does God’s Word remain, dwell, and continue in me? Am I more preoccupied with talking to God in prayer than with listening to what He’s said in His Word? Scripture is the basis for effective prayer. As we read and meditate upon God’s Word, it convicts us of sin so we can repent and be cleansed. Scripture adjusts our focus from earthly priorities to heavenly ones. It also shapes our thoughts to align with God’s so we’ll know how to pray according to His will instead of ours.

There are no fast and easy shortcuts to a fruitful prayer life. It was meant to develop through a lifestyle of obedience and dedication to the Word. These are cultivated over a lifetime and glorify God by bearing much lasting fruit.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 31-32

 

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Charles Stanley – Turning the Other Cheek

 

Matthew 5:38-42

The Bible passage that says to turn the other cheek may confuse us. Are we to stand still while someone beats us up physically or emotionally? That’s not the message Jesus was delivering. When He gave the Sermon on the Mount, He was expanding outward obedience to the Law to include attitudes and motives.

The familiar expression “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes from Exodus 21:23-25, an Old Testament law describing appropriate penalties for injury. Some interpreted this as allowing retaliation by civil government. But Jesus was showing a better option—the way of love.

Pride will certainly trigger a desire for revenge if a coworker takes credit for our work or a family member repeatedly says unkind words. Yet we are not to “repay evil with evil or insult with insult” but should instead give a blessing (1 Peter 3:9 NIV).

In daily practice, the form a righteous response takes depends on the situation. We may need to ignore the other person’s actions, walk away from the abuse, or confront our enemy. Instead of trying to get even, we should seek to understand that person and the reason for any animosity toward us.

God has lessons for us to learn in these difficult situations. When we endure unjust treatment, we are following in Christ’s footsteps. No one was more unjustly treated than the sinless Son of God. Yet He “did not revile in return” and “uttered no threats” but kept entrusting Himself to His Father, knowing that He judges righteously (1 Peter 2:20-23). Surely God can also handle our grievances if we’ll respond as Christ did.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 28-30

 

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Charles Stanley – Blessing Our Enemies

 

Luke 6:27-28

As stories of the persecuted church reach us, we learn about Christians who respond to imprisonment, beatings, and harassment with unimaginable grace and dignity. These saints have learned to obey Christ’s command to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), even in the harshest of circumstances.

We may never face physical persecution for our faith, but we will run across people who hate and mistreat us. The most natural response is to dislike them in return, but harboring ill will and bitterness chokes our witness and poisons our souls. Instead, Jesus instructs us to love our adversaries and treat them well.

The Greek word for this kind of love is agape—this is not a feeling based on the other person’s likability or favor toward us but, rather, an action of the will that does what is best for the other person. It’s the type of love God has and, therefore, is not something we can muster within ourselves. But as the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in us, agape love will flow through us, even to our enemies.

When someone wrongs or hurts us, it’s an opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Rather than harboring animosity or seeking revenge, we are told to pray for our adversary. Instead of begging the Father to defeat our enemy, we can ask Him for the strength to express genuine Christlike love in the face of opposition. That’s the kind of prayer God is delighted to answer. And when we are privileged to meet the need of one who despises us, we might just see an amazing change in his life.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 25-27

 

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Charles Stanley –Walk in the Light

 

Ephesians 5:6-16

Yesterday we saw that when we walk in holiness, we change direction from our old life and leave an imprint wherever we go. Now let’s consider one more aspect of this new journey: walking in the light. (See 1 John 1:5-7.)

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul challenges us to consider this question: “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” He’s saying that just as Christ and Satan can’t have fellowship with each other, neither can good and evil. In other words, sin should become a foreign thing to everyone who knows Christ as Savior. His Holy Spirit helps us become sensitive to the presence of sin.

The Bible says that before we come to Christ, we are not only in darkness, but we are darkness. The ungodly are darkened in their understanding, ignorant of the truth, callused in their heart, and hardened in their spirit; they have turned themselves over to sin. All of this changes when a person places faith in the Lord. The believer experiences forgiveness and redemption, and what’s more, something else wonderful happens: Darkness is replaced with God’s light and righteousness.

Everyone who chooses to follow God is given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), but patterns of the old self linger. You may think that because you sometimes struggle with sins, godliness is an unattainable goal. However, it is not your own strength that makes you holy, but the Holy One in your heart. When you make Christ the center of your life and daily make the decision to walk in His light, He enables you to live holy in this dark and unholy world.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 22-24

 

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Charles Stanley – The Christian’s Walk

 

Ephesians 4:1-2

After placing trust in Jesus, a person should begin to walk in a new direction. Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore have real purpose; it isn’t fitting for Christians to live aimlessly. The apostle Paul presents a dramatic contrast between who we once were and who we’re to be after coming to faith. (See Eph. 4:15-24.) Formerly, we might not have felt too bad about sin, but now that we are one with Jesus Christ, our mind is being renewed and our behavior should become increasingly God-pleasing.

As God’s children, we’re also to walk weighty—that is, leaving an imprint and an influence wherever we go. When we understand who we are in Christ and commit to walking in holiness, we begin to reflect the Lord Jesus to others. The joy we have in Him becomes an expression of His presence in our life and evidence of our relationship with Him.

So think of all the people you cross paths with each day. You might be reflecting Jesus to some who have been blind to the truth of God. In addition, your oneness with the Lord and your unity with other believers make you an asset and an encouragement to the body of Christ, too. You have no idea how many lives might be touched by yours.

I’m certainly one who believes in the value of sermons, but God’s people must do more than simply sit and listen. Our life must change so that everybody who meets us will meet Christ in us. Our old life—how we lived before meeting the Lord—was self-centered; our new life is Christ-centered. Is that becoming more evident in you?

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 18-21

 

 

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Charles Stanley – The Throne of Grace

 

Romans 10:4-13

On a popular television show, the final contestant has an opportunity to win the grand prize, which is hidden behind one of three doors. The contestant, pulled from the audience, calls out the door number and discovers whether he or she has won the prize. Many leave disappointed.

Our God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t hide the gift of salvation behind one of many doors and make us guess where to find it. He clearly tells us which door to open and gives us the faith to open it, promising that all who believe in Christ will not be disappointed (Rom. 10:11).

What a wonderful God we have! Our past sins don’t keep us from receiving His grace, because all that matters is believing in Jesus Christ to save us. Then the door of grace opens, bringing the free gift of forgiveness, salvation, and new life. Hymn writer Charitie Bancroft described grace this way:

      Because the sinless Savior died,
      My sinful soul is counted free.
      For God the just is satisfied,
      To look on Him and pardon me.

Confidently we may now approach God, knowing that we are accepted. When we draw near to Him, we come to a throne of grace where “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Forgiveness will be granted, and our prayers will be heard. And most wonderful of all, our relationship with God will deepen. Why would we ever neglect such a gracious opportunity?

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 15-17

 

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Charles Stanley –A Lifestyle of Obedience

 

Genesis 6:9-22

A lifestyle of obedience requires commitment and perseverance. Noah needed both as he obeyed the Lord’s instructions to build a large boat with a roof, doors, and three decks. God spelled out the exact measurements, the type of wood to use, and the way to make the vessel watertight. It was essential that Noah adhere to every detail if the ark was to house all the animals and stay afloat.

Scripture does not describe reactions to the project, but knowing human nature, we can imagine the disbelief and rejection Noah probably experienced. Yet he worked faithfully to the end and “did everything just as God commanded Him” (Gen. 6:22 NIV).

The Lord wants us to follow His instructions precisely. Unfortunately, we like to add some of our desires and preferences to His plan. We are like a child whose parent assigns three chores. The first is done satisfactorily, the second is put off until another day, and the third is skipped because the child deems it unnecessary. This is not obedience. In our case, we know we’re called to show compassion and kindness, forgiving others as the Lord forgave us (Col. 3:13). However, our human nature wants to pick and choose which parts of Scripture we’ll obey. As believers, we should keep in mind that God honors those who wholeheartedly follow Him (John 12:26).

Many people in the Bible saw obedience as their goal. Abraham determined to go wherever God led. Moses felt inadequate but still carried out the Lord’s plan. Paul did an about-face to become Christ’s disciple. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to follow the path of righteousness.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 12-14

 

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Charles Stanley –The Priority of Obedience

 

Luke 6:46-49

The Creator gave Adam and Eve two commands—first, to fill the earth and rule over it, and second, not to eat from a certain tree in the Garden (Gen. 1:28; Gen. 2:17). Because they chose to disobey, their relationship with God was broken, and they had to leave Eden.

Not only did the first couple’s rebellion impact their own lives but it also had far broader implications: All future generations would suffer. In Romans 5:12-19, the apostle Paul explains why. Through the trespass of one man, Adam, sin made its entrance into the world, and death resulted for all mankind. Because Adam was the head of the human race, his disobedience affected everyone born after him. Every person starts out with a bent away from the Lord and a desire for self-rule.

By contrast, Jesus Christ made conformity to the Lord’s will the priority of His life. He obeyed God in both word and deed. (See John 8:28-29.) Having lived a perfect life—one entirely without sin—He qualified to be our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through the death of one man, Christ Jesus, payment was made for the transgressions of all mankind. God’s acceptance of the Son’s sacrifice brought us forgiveness and freedom from sin’s power.

Adam’s disobedience brought judgment and death, whereas Jesus’ obedience resulted in new life for all who believe in Him (Rom. 6:4). Our Savior calls us to deny selfish desires, live sacrificially, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). A believer’s godly life will bring Jesus honor and point others to Him.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 9-11

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Expressing Gratitude to God

 

Psalm 100:1-5

If you’re a Christian, you probably know that thanking the Lord for His blessings is an important aspect of your relationship with Him. But have you ever considered the different ways this can be done? Gratitude isn’t limited to verbal expressions or prayers but can actually be demonstrated in a variety of ways.

In the Psalms, one of the most frequently mentioned methods of conveying thanks is by singing. Songs can often say what our heart feels but has trouble articulating. As the words from our favorite hymns or praise songs flow from our lips, we are reminded of who God is and the magnitude of His salvation and love for us. And singing isn’t reserved just for church. When we’re filled with gratitude, we may find ourselves humming or singing songs that magnify the Lord wherever we are.

Another way to express gratefulness is by serving God—whether through acts of kindness, teaching Sunday school or Bible study, organizing a ministry, reaching out to marginalized people, sharing the gospel with the lost, helping someone in need, or giving financially. Every one of these can be offered to God with an attitude of thanksgiving for all He’s done for us.

Ultimately, we show the Lord our gratitude through obedience. A holy life flows from a heart filled with thankfulness for God’s grace, mercy, love, and salvation. Instead of living for ourselves and our own pleasures, we’ll want to exalt Christ in all that we do, say, and think. And as we allow God’s Spirit to control us, He will faithfully enable us to live in a manner that is pleasing and honoring to the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 6-8

 

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Charles Stanley – Prayer Changes Things

 

Psalm 145:18-21

When I was growing up, my mother and I moved quite often, but wherever we lived, one thing never changed. In each home, she hung a plaque near the door with these words inscribed on it: “Prayer changes things.” I know she believed this, because she spent a lot of time talking with the Lord.

Upon hearing our petitions, God is certain to respond if what we ask is in His will (1 John 5:14-15). When we pray that His will be done, our heart begins to value what He values, putting us in sync with the Spirit. If we earnestly desire His best for our life, He will respond to our prayers in a more beautiful way than we could have ever imagined ourselves.

A primary purpose of prayer is to discover the Lord’s will for our lives. As we seek His way, He works in our hearts and minds to guide us with His Word and develop our understanding of the situation. Then our eyes will be opened to His point of view so we can pray according to His will. And when we pray for His will to be done in His timing, we’ll be amazed at what He can accomplish.

Prayer is a powerful tool by which God acts in this world. What is truly amazing is that He has given us the privilege of participating in His work by simply talking to Him. It’s not that we change anything through prayer, but He has chosen to bring about change in conjunction with our requests. In ourselves, we have no ability to save unbelievers, heal the sick, or overcome evil, but we can pray and watch God mightily intervene in our lives, homes, churches, and world.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 4-5

 

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Charles Stanley – Handling Praise

 

Proverbs 27:2

How do you respond when someone gives you a compliment? For some people, praise is nearly as difficult to handle as criticism. This can be especially true for believers since God’s Word instructs us to be humble (Col. 3:12). Yet we’ve all experienced how encouraging a word of praise can be. Most of us can remember a time when a parent, teacher, employer, or friend voiced approval that motivated us to even greater heights.

God knows that we all need encouragement, and one way He supplies this need is through the words of others. That’s why it’s important to address our confusion regarding the best way to give and receive compliments.

Acknowledge the comment by simply thanking the person. Don’t belittle their words in any way or explain reasons why you do not deserve them.

Identify the character quality that led the other person to offer praise. For example, does he have a discerning spirit, compassion, or strong love for others?

Share what the encouragement means to you. If someone tells you how he enjoyed your teaching, you might say, “That really motivates me to study harder so God can use me as He desires.”

When appropriate, include others in the praise. For instance, if you are complimented on something that was a group effort, be sure to acknowledge the contributions of the others. This not only encourages them but also protects you from pride.

Praise can help each of us become the person God intends us to be, or it can lead to the sin of pride. Our attitude and response are the determining factors.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 1-3

 

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Charles Stanley – Accepting Criticism

 

Proverbs 10:17

Nobody likes criticism. It can hurt, especially when unsolicited, and is sometimes delivered with unkind words and a harsh spirit. However, we must be careful not to reject the reproof without first considering whether it’s valid.

God can use an honest, direct person to convey something we need to hear. Criticism forces us to examine ourselves. God’s goal is that we grow in spiritual maturity and holiness, but we all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the areas He wants to transform. If we fail to listen to a reproof He allows to come our way, our spiritual growth could be stunted. However, this doesn’t mean all critiques are valid. That’s why it’s important to respond well and evaluate criticism correctly.

  • Do not immediately reject the comment, blame the person, or defend yourself. Instead, consider what was said, and ask God to help you discern if it’s true.
  • Thank the person for his interest in you and explain that you’ll reflect on his observation. If he was sincere, he’ll be appreciative, but if his intentions were negative, this may disarm him.
  • Evaluate the criticism and determine what exactly is under scrutiny—your beliefs, your character, God … ?
  • View this as an opportunity for growth, and if necessary, apologize.

Instead of allowing criticism to lead us into anger and self-pity, we should let it do its work in our life. We can’t allow hurt or anger to derail what God wants to do in us—namely, make us more Christlike. And isn’t that what we all want?

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 63-66

 

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Charles Stanley – Releasing Guilt

 

Isaiah 55:7-8

The church I grew up in could sum up much of its theology in one statement: “Thou shalt not … ” I don’t recall hearing about the Father’s love or how to live the Christian life. What I learned was that a wrathful God would punish me if I didn’t follow all the rules. And there seemed to be rules for everything—including what I could read, what I could wear, and what I could do.

As a teenage boy, I spent a lot of time begging the Lord to forgive me for one foolish thing or another. And I carried around a constant weight of guilt and worry everywhere I went. I just couldn’t seem to be good enough. In truth, the rules were a burden to me, and since I thought God made them, He was a burden too.

In my young adult years, I learned that my perception of God was wrong. He is gracious and loving. The commandments that He gave were designed to keep us safe and free from shame. But even when we do mess up, there is no condemnation for those who trust in Christ (Rom. 8:1). That means He forgives our sin and “wipes out [our] transgressions,” remembering them no more (Isa. 43:25). We may have to live with consequences but never with the weight of guilt.

God is not a burden. He is the burden-bearer. (See Psalm 68:19.) He placed our sins on Jesus Christ at Calvary, thereby relieving us of that heaviness. Don’t keep staggering under the load of guilt. Lay it down before a loving, gracious heavenly Father, who encourages us to come to Him and offers a yoke that is easy and light (Matt. 11:28-30).

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 58-62

 

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Charles Stanley – Purified Faith

 

Hebrews 11:32-40

Most Christians would love to have the heroic trust of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11. Few of us, however, would willingly undergo the process God uses to develop this kind of dynamic faith. We enjoy reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who trusted the Lord, but we cringe at their hardships, listed in Hebrews 11:35-38. None of us want to go through suffering, yet adversity is one of the ways God purifies our faith.

Picture the Lord as a master sculptor standing before a block of marble—that slab is you! Envisioning the hidden work of art within, He lovingly and carefully chips away everything that does not fit the masterpiece He is creating.

Character. One of the first areas the Lord deals with is your character. His goal is to shape you into the image of His Son, and there are some traits and attitudes that must be chipped away in order for Him to accomplish the task. His chisel exposes imperfections like pride and selfishness.

Idolatry. When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, it is an idol in our life. To protect us, God will sometimes use adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we’ll cling only to Him.

The chisel hurts—it sometimes feels as if the Lord is taking away everything we hold dear. Unless you understand His goal and believe He’s working for your good, you’ll think He’s cruel. But if you trust Him and yield to His shaping tool of adversity, your faith will be purified and strengthened through affliction.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 54-57

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Proven Faith

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

Faith is a central element in the Christian life because it is the means by which we enter into salvation. But that’s only the beginning. From then onward, our faith­—or lack of it—shapes our lives and determines what happens to us when the winds of adversity blow. Some Christians learn to hold their footing even in hurricane-force gales, but others are toppled by the slightest gust. To understand why this is true, we need to examine the source of our faith.

Inherited faith. If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably adopted some of your parents’ beliefs. This kind of godly foundation is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but eventually, each person must assume responsibility for his or her own beliefs.

Textbook faith. The Bible is the ultimate guide for establishing our beliefs. But that’s not the only source of influence. Books, preachers, teachers, and friends all impact our convictions. Our theology may in fact be sound, but faith is only mental acceptance until it’s put to the test.

Proven faith. Only when we trust in the Lord through the fires of adversity will we have faith that can stand. Then it’s no longer based on what others have told us or what we’ve accepted as true but is built on our firsthand experience of His faithfulness.

To evaluate your faith, consider how you react to difficulties. Do you cling to the Lord or get angry at Him? Is your attitude one of thanksgiving because He’s making you more like His Son, or are you frustrated? No one can escape hardship, but those with proven faith will benefit from it.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 50-53

 

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Charles Stanley – A Call to Be Merciful

 

Luke 6:31-36

It’s common today to have a simplistic view of Jesus. This can be true even of believers if they aren’t sufficiently familiar with Scripture. Many Christians who passionately claim, “I just want to love like Jesus” have no idea what that entails.

One thing Christ requires of His followers is selfless love for those who mistreat them, and He gives the following reason, based on God’s character: “For He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35). In essence, Jesus is telling us to have the same mercy for others that God has for us.

Mercy is not simply feeling pity; it means acting with compassion. Instead of just sympathizing with us, God did something about our desperate condition—He sent His Son to save us from sin and its horrendous consequences. Although we can’t save anybody by showing mercy, we can demonstrate God’s kindness to others despite their treatment of us.

Being merciful to those who don’t deserve it is contrary to our natural inclinations and is possible only through the power of God’s Spirit within us. What we naturally want is justice. To extend mercy seems to say the offense against us wasn’t very bad—but this is a misunderstanding of the word’s meaning, because where no wrong has been committed, there’s no need for mercy.

When you are merciful, you are giving to others what God has given to you. And aren’t you glad that He doesn’t immediately deal out retribution for every sin you commit? So remember, God wants you to trust Him with all your hurts. And He also wants you to treat others (even your enemies) as you want to be treated—with mercy.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 46-49

 

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Charles Stanley – Our God of Mercy

 

Psalm 145:8-21

God isn’t stingy with mercy. The sunshine you enjoy on a beautiful day also warms everyone else in your area. Good health, jobs, education, families, and friends are all the result of God’s mercy over His creation. Even those who don’t recognize or thank Him for His goodness are recipients of it. However, His universal mercy is only temporal and cannot save anyone eternally.

There’s a limit to God’s mercy because it cannot contradict His other attributes—like holiness, righteousness, and justice. Sin must be punished in order for God to remain just. And without justice, mercy and forgiveness would be meaningless. This dilemma was the reason Jesus Christ came to earth to die: He satisfied God’s justice by bearing the penalty for our sins.

Although God offers the mercy of salvation to all through the gospel of Jesus Christ, only those who accept Him by faith receive it. Yet so many think lightly of divine kindness, tolerance, and patience; they fail to realize that these blessings should draw them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). These people trample underfoot His mercy and continue on their merry way, oblivious to the fact that justice, not mercy, awaits them in eternity.

Even believers can abuse God’s plentiful mercy by engaging in deliberate sin while telling themselves, “He’ll forgive me.” But as the ones who are redeemed and given eternal life, we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what Christ did. Giving up the heavenly rights, authority, and comforts due the sinless Son of God, Jesus came and suffered divine justice for our sins so we could receive His Father’s mercy.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 43-45

 

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Charles Stanley – Spiritual Gifts Work Together

 

Romans 12:3-8

Have you ever noticed that people in the church don’t all think the same way? When we become frustrated in our attempts to communicate with a fellow believer, we may begin to wonder whether something is wrong in our spiritual life. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a united body of Christ?

It turns out that the problem could be the result of spiritual gifting. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to every believer for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). But unless we realize this, we may fail to appreciate the gifts of other believers. Then it’s easy to start harboring the opinion that everyone else should be like us.

For instance, someone with the gift of mercy might judge a believer with exhortation skills to be heartless—the exhorter may appear to value explaining the spiritual benefits of adversity over sympathizing with the hurting person. Yet both gifts are beneficial; used properly, they work together to help a sufferer see there’s hope in the hardship and comfort for endurance.

The root of division over spiritual gifts is self-focus, which can be displayed in two ways. If we think too lowly of our spiritual gift, we may become resentful or feel unimportant. If, on the other hand, we think too highly of our gift, we may believe it’s the most important one.

If you feel at odds with a fellow believer because of your differing approaches to issues in the church, stop and thank the Lord for that person and his gifting. Then pray that he will be used for the good of the fellowship and for God’s own glory.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 40-42

 

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