Tag Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – A Biblical Pattern for Prayer

 

Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s Prayer has been prayed by countless people, but Jesus intended it to be a pattern for praying, not simply a recitation. When we use it as a model and consider what each line represents, our prayers become more meaningful. As you go through this passage from Matthew 6, keep in mind its three parts:

First is an invocation, which honors the Father’s name, kingdom, and will (Matt. 6:9-10). God’s name encompasses all that He is, in the fullness of His attributes. His kingdom involves both His rule over us now and the promise of Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth. The accomplishment of the Father’s will in our individual life and in His plans for the entire world should be our prayerful desire.

Second is a section of petitions (Matt. 6:11-13). These include daily dependence on the Lord for our basic needs, a plea for forgiveness, and a request for His protection from temptations.

Third is a doxology, or praise, of God’s glory (Matt. 6:13). Emphasizing His sovereignty and almighty power over the earth and our personal lives, this closing segment reminds us that He is our Lord and Master.

From the beginning to the end of this prayer, God is the focus. Is He central in your prayers as well?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 39-43

 

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Charles Stanley – Biblical Characteristics of Prayer

 

Matthew 6:5-8

Prayer is simply talking with God. Yet with regard to consistency or how to approach Him, we sometimes struggle—especially when we’ve observed other Christians pray and assume theirs must be the “right” way. That’s probably how people felt watching the Pharisees, who’d corrupted this priceless privilege by turning it into a hypocritical, ritualistic performance of self-righteousness. In contrast, Jesus taught that God-pleasing prayers have the following characteristics:

Sincerity. Coming before a holy God should fill us with humility rather than a self-focused desire to be perceived favorably by others.

Secret. Although there is always a place for humble public prayer, we also need to have personal time alone with our heavenly Father.

Simple. The pagans often used meaningless repetition of words or phrases to get their gods’ attention and persuade them to grant requests. But since we know that the Lord always hears us, we can plainly present our concerns and petitions.

Serenity. Our heavenly Father loves us and knows what we need, so we don’t have to worry that He’ll ignore our prayers.

To follow Jesus’ guidelines, we must see ourselves as weak, dependent children coming to our loving Father for help.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 35-38

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Strength for the Lonely

 

Isaiah 41:9-11

Loneliness is a painful emotion that many people fear. Paul knew what it felt like, so his life and letters can offer us encouragement when we’re lonely. Yesterday we saw how the apostle was motivated by the presence of Christ. Now let’s look at what fueled His courage.

First, Paul experienced the strength of God. Often, the Lord allows us to come to the end of our own ability so that we clearly see His hand. Otherwise, we would attribute success to our own doing. For example, the apostle was facing possible death charges in court, and it must have been tempting to water down the truth in order to save his own life. But God enabled him to be forthright in once again proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ—fearlessly, boldly, and effectively.

Second, Paul knew he was fulfilling God’s will. Despite his dire situation, the apostle found satisfaction, energy, and joy because he was obedient to God. The believer’s reality is bigger than what meets the eye in the imminent moment.

Remember, even in painful circumstances, three truths are certain: Jesus stands with us; He strengthens us for whatever task our Father wants us to accomplish; and until our final breath, He will enable us to fulfill God’s purpose. Be comforted and encouraged by these promises of the living Lord.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 29-34

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Courage in the Lonely Hour

 

2 Timothy 4:6-18

Today’s passage is about a painful time in Paul’s life. He sat in a prison cell, knowing that death was coming. After devoting his last years to teaching others and sharing Christ, he now was alone during his trial and imprisonment. Loneliness must have felt overwhelming. But he met the suffering with courage. What gave him the strength to endure?

For the apostle, Christ’s presence offered comfort and motivated him to persevere. He knew God was right there with him in the current moment, and he could also look back on previous situations when the Lord had clearly intervened. Years earlier, for instance, Paul had seen a vision telling him not to fear during a storm at sea. And though the ship ran aground, all of the men survived (Acts 27:14-44).

For those of us who know Jesus Christ as Savior, strength is readily available in His presence. Our heavenly Father promises that He will never abandon His children—even when everyone else has walked away.

If your circumstances leave you feeling lonely, call to mind times when God was evident to you and unmistakably revealed His hand in your life. Then read His Word so the truth of His presence can comfort and encourage you. As a believer, you are truly never alone.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 23-28

 

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Charles Stanley – Our Faithful Teacher

 

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Think about all the teachers who have impacted your life. Have you ever considered that the Bible exceeds them all? It not only teaches who God is and how to be saved but also tells us how the Lord wants us to live as Christians.

This indispensable resource offers encouragement and practical guidance for whatever we face. For instance, God’s Word tells how to handle temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), teaches the value of adversity (James 1:2-4), and explains how to live righteously (Eph. 4:17-32). In addition, it assures us nothing can separate us from Christ’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). All that we need for life and godliness can be found in its pages.

So, instead of calling a friend, searching the internet, or reading a self-help book when direction is needed, we should first go to God’s Word. And then we should ask ourselves, Am I listening to its teaching?

But the Bible isn’t just for instruction; it’s also for correction and confrontation, so we should be open to that kind of teaching as well. That means an even more challenging question is, Am I heeding the Bible’s reproof?

Scripture is a great resource only if our hearts are receptive to its wisdom, and we must have the humility to accept any kind of teaching it offers. Only then can we be fully trained in righteousness by the Scriptures.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 1-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – The Gift of Eternal Life

 

1 John 5:6-13

The Bible tells us that we are helpless to save ourselves. The only way to receive the gift of salvation is to agree with the testimony of Scripture: God the Father sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins.
Jesus Christ paid in full the debt we owed for our transgressions (Isa. 53:5; Rom. 6:23). His gift of salvation is:

Freely Given. The guilt of our sin has been removed without cost to us. There is no act so vile that it is not covered by the cross of Christ, and there is no deed so good that could achieve salvation.

Fully Sufficient. Christ’s death paid for all sin—past, present, and future. Nothing is required of us except to believe in Jesus.

Forever Ours. Having received our salvation, we do not have to work to keep it. This precious gift is permanently ours, and it guarantees that we are irrevocably members of God’s family.

Our feelings do not determine whether we are saved or not; the only thing that matters is what God says—and what we believe. Have you put your faith in Jesus? If so, then according to God’s biblical promises and the Holy Spirit’s affirmation, you can know that eternal life is yours. Won’t you thank God today for this remarkable gift?

Bible in One Year: Job 39-42

 

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Charles Stanley – Choosing Eternal Life

 

Romans 1:15-23

Let’s start with the bad news: We are all born physically alive but dead to the things of God. Every one of us starts existence in a condition of sinfulness that separates us from the Lord. Our unrighteousness automatically places us under His judgment and wrath.

Now for the good news: Salvation means communion with God forever. By trusting in the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are saved—in other words, we receive the eternal life of Jesus through His Spirit. At that moment, intimacy with God begins here on earth, and it continues forever in heaven.

Keep in mind that there is an enemy who wants us to think physical death is the end of life. But Scripture tells us the truth: Eternity will be spent either with God in heaven or in a permanent hell, separated from Him.

Our response to the salvation Jesus offers is the deciding factor with regard to our ultimate destination. If we reject His sacrifice, then there is no forgiveness of sins and no relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. But if, by faith, we accept Christ’s payment for our sins and receive Him as Lord, then we will enter into an everlasting home with our heavenly Father.

The choice is yours to make: What will eternity look like for you?

Bible in One Year: Job 35-38

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Daniel: Forward by Faith

 

Daniel 6:1-28

While reading the book of Daniel, it’s good to keep the big picture in mind: This is a story about the man’s great trust. Daniel had clung to his faith so consistently that when he was cast into the lion’s den, the prospect did not ruin him.

The prophet’s faith began with his parents, who likely talked about the Scriptures and set a godly example. He also witnessed the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. Both factors undoubtedly reinforced the idea that God keeps His word, and Daniel was determined to obey Him.

Later, in Babylon, he courageously refused to eat the king’s food, which had been offered to idols and therefore violated Scripture (Ex. 34:15). God shepherded Daniel through that situation and as well as many others where his position or his life was at risk. Letting go of doubts each time, the prophet steadfastly obeyed the Lord and endured.

Strong trust like Daniel’s doesn’t materialize out of thin air. Throughout life, he made small decisions in faith until his commitment to God’s way was habitual and unshakeable. The same is true for us—faith grows as we take more steps of obedience. We witness God’s answers to prayer and increasingly depend on Him until we have a personal history of His trustworthiness.

Bible in One Year: Job 31-34

 

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Charles Stanley – The Family Influence

 

1 Kings 15:8-34

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

 

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

 

Jonah 1:1-17

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

He uses storms to …

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Charles Stanley – Life’s Passing Storms

 

Psalm 107:23-32

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Gift

 

1 Timothy 4:12-16

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 1-3

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Turning Our Back on God

 

2 Chronicles 33:1-25

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Ezra 8-10

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Charles Stanley – May 24, 2020

 

Sunday Reflection: The Transformation of Our Desires

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

 

 

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Charles Stanley – When We Ignore God

 

James 4:17

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: Ezra 1-4

 

 

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Charles Stanley – How to Reach Your Goals

 

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

When setting goals, here are five things to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Momentary Pleasure

 

Genesis 25:19-34

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

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 32-34

 

 

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Charles Stanley – God’s Plan of Crucifixion

 

Acts 2:22-36

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

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Charles Stanley – The Cross: The Heart of Christianity

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 24-25

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Sunday Reflection: Our Longing for Eternity

 

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

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

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

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

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 21-23

 

 

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