“Uncomfortable Answers” – Charles F. Stanley

“Uncomfortable Answers” – Charles F. Stanley

“To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messing from Satan to torment me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7

The Father always responds to your petitions.  However, His answers don’t always come in the manner you expect or prefer.  The apostle Paul understood this.  The Lord didn’t remove the thorn as Paul asked.  Yet through his time in prayer, Paul received a new understanding of God’s grace and a more profound dependence on His strength.

Likewise, there are times God gets your attention by being silent, answering no, or telling you to wait.  During such seasons you are wise to conduct spiritual self-examination.  Are you requesting something for the wrong reasons or that’s outside of His will?  Have you disobeyed Him in any way?

Friend, when God answers your prayers in a manner that’s uncomfortable, it is because he has something far better for you that he doesn’t want you to miss.  So if He doesn’t respond in the way you expect, like Paul, allow Him to redirect your focus to the needful areas of your life – such as building faith and character.  Continue to listen and expect whatever He reveals to bless your soul.

Lord, help me hear You clearly ad accept Your answer to me with gratefulness, amen.

In His presence…accept however He answers you.

:  “Spiritually Learning” – Charles F. Stanley

:  “Spiritually Learning” – Charles F. Stanley

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father.  He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” – 1 John 2:1

What is the alternative to being united whit Christ?  It is despair and utter discouragement at all turns.  However, by accepting Jesus Christ, we trade in our inadequacy for His adequacy and are born again.  We have the opportunity to start over with a clean slate.  And as God’s spiritual offspring.  He teaches us how to be victorious in every aspect of life.

Of course, the face that the Lord calls us His children indicates that He knows we have a lot to learn – and in the process of growing in our knowledge of Him and His ways, we are going to fall occasionally.

But, friend, take heart.  The Father understands that you are not going to be a perfect Christian.  You will falter and fail, but He will not forsake or abandon you.  His grace is sufficient for you – each and every day!

Lord Jesus, thank You for being such as wise and patient Teacher and for forgiving my sin.  Truly, You deserve my praise, amen.

In His presence…accept His grace and learn His way.

“Take Him Seriously” – Charles F. Stanley

“Take Him Seriously” – Charles F. Stanley

“The priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over.” – Joshua 3:17

After living in Egyptian bondage, being disobedient, and wandering the desert for forty years, the people of Israel turned to God with sincere and submissive hearts.  And as they approached the Promised Land for a second time, they did so without complaint or hesitation.  They were ready to obey – regardless of how unreasonable God’s commands appeared.

So when the Lord told them to take their most precious symbol of His presence – the Ark of the Covenant – into the middle of the flooding Jordan River, they did it.  And because they obeyed, he parted the waters and allowed them to cross on dry ground.

When you take God seriously, He will bless you for it.  So regardless of what He instructs you to do today, trust Him to lead you.  Mind the checks in your spirit, obey the principles of Scripture he shows you, and step out in faith when He calls.  Take Him seriously because blessings always follow when you do.

Father, I want to live in obedience to Your will for my life.  Help me submit whenever You call, amen.

In His presence…respect His authority.

“True Peace” – Charles F. Stanley

“True Peace” – Charles F. Stanley

“Gideon built an altar…and named it The Lord is Peace.” – Judges 6:24

It’s not in the appeasement of evil, ungodly compromise, or by engaging in the false security the world offers that you’ll ever find true and lasting peace.  You will only do so by obeying God.

Gideon understood this firsthand.  Judges 21:25 says, “In those days…everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  This did not bring anyone tranquility.  On the contrary, the Israelites’ idolatrous ways invited continual assaults by surrounding armies.  So God called upon Gideon to obey Him and to stand against the invaders.

Being from the smallest, weakest tribe, Gideon felt unprepared for the challenge.  Wouldn’t it be easier just to get along with the oppressing Midianites?

The Lord’s answer?  “Surely I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).  Yes, Gideon’s righteous stand would stir up the enemy, but God would be his abiding peace and lead him to triumph.

The same is true for you.  Obeying the Lord may not be easy or popular, but you can have peace no other way.  So stand firm in Him and trust that He will be your place of rest.

Lord, lead me – I will obey you.  I praise You for being my peace, amen.

In His presence…find true and lasting peace.

“Aggressive Listening” – Charles F. Stanley

“Aggressive Listening” – Charles F. Stanley

“[The people of Berea] searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” – Acts 17:11

There are two kinds of listeners:  passive and aggressive.  A passive listener takes what his pastor says as truth without much more consideration.  On the other hand, an aggressive listener diligently seeks to know what God has to say – and grows much more quickly in his faith because of it.

Aggressive listeners are the ones whose Bibles are open and pens are ready.  In Bible study, they demonstrate an inquisitive mind.  In personal devotion, their notebooks are replete with insight into God’s ways.  They are always probing, searching, and comparing what they’ve heard with previous instruction.  And the Father blesses their attentive hearts (Matthew 7:7-8).

So consider, are you sensitive to what God is saying?  Do you persist in asking how the lessons you’re taught apply to your own life?  Do you take what you hear as truth, or do you investigate the Word, making sure the principles you’ve learned align with Scripture?  What kind of listener are you?

Father, I want to be an aggressive listener who can identify Your truth and apply it to my life.  Teach me to hear You and walk in Your ways, amen.

In His presence…commit to aggressive listening.

:  “The Truth about You” – Charles F. Stanley

:  “The Truth about You” – Charles F. Stanley

“Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” – 1 Corinthians 1:30

Are you finding it difficult to overcome certain sins or destructive behaviors?  Part of the reason may be because you don’t fully understand all Jesus has done for you.  You must comprehend your position in Christ before your actions can change.

So take hold of this truth today:  at the cross, not only were your sins forgiven, but your nature changed.  You’re no longer a sinner; rather, you are now a saint who at times fails to seek God for your needs.  The difference is not only how the Lord perceives you but how you view yourself.

If you still see yourself as a sinful individual, then you’ll likely act like one.  But if you accept your identity as a completely new person in Christ, then you can behave as His blameless, beloved child.

Friend, God has given you a fresh start by going you a new nature and identity.  So embrace it and rid yourself of the sins that no longer hold you captive.

Lord, thank You for freeing me from sin.  Help me remember my position in You so that I may always glorify your holy name, amen.

In His presence…rejoice in your new identity.

“Sacrifices” – Charles F. Stanley

:  “Sacrifices” – Charles F. Stanley

“Because you have…not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you.”- Genesis 22:16-17

God will never ask you to sacrifice anything without giving you a greater blessing in return.  Of course, the moment He asks it of you, it may be difficult to remember that.

It certainly was for Abraham.  When he and Sarah were well beyond child-bearing age, the Lord miraculously provided them with Isaac.  But then God commanded something very difficult, indeed – that Abraham offer his only son as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-10).

Abraham willingly complied, confident that the Lord would keep His promise to provide many descendants through Isaac.  Though he didn’t know how God would do so, Abraham absolutely trusted he would – and the Lord spared Isaac.  And because Abraham was faithful, God blessed him beyond imagination.

Likewise, the Father may ask you to give up something important – not to wound you, but to make sure your trust in Him remains firm.  No matter how difficult it is, do it.  He will bless you in amazing ways that will both surprise and delight you.

Lord, I won’t withhold anything from You. Fill me with faith and help me always be obedient, amen.

In His present…trust Him with what’s dearest to you.

“Led to the Source” – Charles F. Stanley

“Led to the Source” – Charles F. Stanley

“Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I.  Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8

Have you ever found that when reading your Bible or listening to a sermon, sometimes God will lead you to the same passage over and over again?

I recall an occasion when I was seeking the Lord’s will about a decision I faced, and every morning I found myself reading Isaiah 6.  I was into the third week of this before I realized I was being rebellious toward the Lord with regard to what He required of me.  Somehow He would not let me escape verse 8.  When I finally said yes to the Lord, Isaiah 6 was no longer prominent in my morning meditation.

Once of the most rewarding experiences in the Christian life is to face a challenge and meditate upon Scripture until we know our heavenly Father has spoken.  Through His Word he directs us, challenges us, warns us, and reassures us.

Will you be open to what He is saying to you today?  Then be sure to pay attention to the verses that keep turning up.

Father, thank You for Your Word and Your persistence with me as I seek to hear Your voice and follow Your lead, amen.

In His presence…let Him lead you.

:  “How God Speaks Today” – Charles F. Stanley

:  “How God Speaks Today” – Charles F. Stanley

“I will put my law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 31:33-34

 Do you long to engage in direct and meaningful communication with God?  Do you want to hear from Him and understand His path for your life?

The Lord is in the communication business.  And His primary way of speaking to you today is through His Word.

In the Bible, you have the complete revelation of God – He doesn’t need to add anything else to it.  It is the unfolding truth of His character and ways throughout history – completely inspired by the Holy Spirit.  And just as His Spirit controlled the minds of the men who penned its pages, he can and will teach you the truth through it.

So when you face difficulties or heartaches, rather than seeking the counsel of others, first go to Scripture and hear straight from your Savior.  He wants to speak to you.  Set your heart to listen.

Precious Lord, help me hear You speak through Your Word today, amen.

In His presence…listen for His voice as you read His Word.

“Wholeheartedly” – Charles F. Stanley

“Wholeheartedly” – Charles F. Stanley

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

Do not get frustrated or discouraged when it appears difficult to seek the Father.  You may wonder why He doesn’t just make Himself known to you.  But don’t despair, His is training you to find Him.  How does He do so?

First God develops your trust by stretching you beyond your comfort level.  Romans 8:24-25 explains, “Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  And so the Father remains silent for a time so you’ll persist in seeking Him and increase in faith.

Second, the Lord teaches you to depend upon Him rather than any earthly crutch.  He sustains everything in the universe with His power and He wants you to realize it.  So He brings you to the point where you must rely upon Him for everything – even the timing and manner by which He reveals Himself to you.

So keep watching, and expect to hear your loving God.  He will certainly be found by you as you seek Him wholeheartedly.

Lord, thank You for deepening my relationship with You.  I give You my whole heart, amen.

In His presence…wholeheartedly seek His face.

“Your High Calling” – Charles F. Stanley

“Your High Calling” – Charles F. Stanley

“Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” – Colossians 4:17

Do you find God must constantly prod you to keep growing in your faith?  Or perhaps you’ve progressed in your relationship with Him, but there’s not much fruit and you wonder what’s going on?

If so, then it may be that the Lord has called you to serve Him in a specific way, but you’ve refused.  It’s possible that you’re not using your gifts to honor Him, or you are ministering in areas that make you feel comfortable rather than really obeying what He’s asked you to do.

Friend, you may have your own goals, but remember, the highest, most wonderful purpose you can embrace is to faithfully carry out whatever He specifically created you to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Those who follow Him in such a way encounter adversity, yes, but they also experience the power of the Holy Spirit – for guidance, faith, hope, and strength when doing the Father’s will.

That is life at its very best.  So don’t settle for anything less.  Be sure to carry out the ministry he gives you.

Lord, where would You have me serve You?  What did You create me to do?  Lead me – I will obey and glorify You, amen.

In His presence…discover all you were created for.

“Your Unassailable Salvation” – Charles F. Stanley

:  “Your Unassailable Salvation” – Charles F. Stanley

“Is it by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and mad partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith.  And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

Remember this today whenever you doubt your relationship with the Father:  the enemy knows that if he can convince you that your salvation is vulnerable, he can render you discouraged and ineffective.  Any thoughts and feeling you have that God is mad at you or no longer loves you are the evil one’s lies.  Do not listen to him!

Your salvation has never been based on your own goodness or how you feel.  Rather, it has always been unfalteringly founded on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  As a forgiven, beloved child of the living God, your position is safe unassailable, and sure for eternity.

Friend, do now allow the enemy to discourage you.  Stand on the fact of your salvation and the perfect provision of your wonderful Savior.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Redeemer, loving me unconditionally, and saving me permanently.  I praise You, my all-sufficient and unassailable Savior!  Amen.

In His presence…give thanks that your salvation is eternally secure.

“Overcoming Mountain” – Charles F. Stanley

“Overcoming Mountain” – Charles F. Stanley

“Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low…And the glory of the Lord will be revealed.” – Isaiah 40:4-5

When you face a mountain in your life, you have a choice:  be overwhelmed or be energized because you know the Savior will reveal Himself in a profound way to you.

Of course, your first thought may be, If I were really in God’s will, I wouldn’t be facing obstacles – especially ones this enormous.  But that is not so.  You have an enemy who will oppose you whenever he sees the Lord doing anything great through you.  You can be in the center of God’s plan, doing exactly as He says, and encounter a mount of opposition.

But don’t focus on the mountain, friend.  Look at almighty God who loves and provides for you.  He can handle the troubles before you with ease (Matthew 21:21).  And if you respond correctly – with faith – your relationship with Him will grow stronger and He will be glorified.

So don’t give up!  Look to God and trust Him.  You’ll be amazed at how He levels mountains before you.

Lord, thank You for taking care of the mountain before me – it is nothing to You.  I praise You, my Savior!  Amen.

In His presence…watch for the Savior’s deliverance.

June 2:  “Stop, Look, Listen” – Charles F. Stanley

June 2:  “Stop, Look, Listen” – Charles F. Stanley

“My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.” – Psalm 62:1

Growing up, I recall hearing my first-grade teacher remind us repeatedly to stop, look, and listen before crossing railroad tracks.  That was before we had flashing red lights, warning bells, and those long arms that swing down and block entry onto the rails.

Of course her purpose for this caution was our safety.  But through the years, I’ve often pondered the wisdom of her words.  No doubt our impulse to hurry – rather than fully assess a situation – can harm us terribly.  We have to be careful because with every passing year, it seems life accelerates a bit more.

So when you’re in a rush, consider, “What am I missing by moving at such a pace?”  By rushing through life, you may forfeit the best of what God has for you – the blessing of His presence, godly friendships and a strong family, and – worst of all – His will.

Do not make that mistake.  Stop by waiting in His presence.  Look for His activity and leading.  And listen for His direction.

Lord, I will stop, look, and listen for Your instruction.  Thank You for keeping me safe and leading me to life at its very best, amen.

In His presence…wait for Him to lead you.

2019 - Thank God for the Bible.

We are so blessed to have access to His Word, to be able to own it, house it in our homes and in our hearts, to read it and experience its life-giving power. It is the guide by which we are to live; the standard by which we are to measure our lives. It’s so much more than just a book -- IT IS LIFE. Thank God that you have access to God-breathed, supernatural knowledge through His Holy Word. Make known to Him how much you appreciate His lamp unto your feet and light unto your path. Ask that He would use His Word to daily reveal Truth to you as you journey with Christ. [Psalm 18:30, Psalm 33:4, Psalm 130:5, John 1:1, John 1:1

Thank God for Annoyances.

Some days it can be hard to feel thankful when there’s a cranky kid, 13 loads of dirty clothes, a kitchen that looks like a crime scene, and a busted radiator. But no matter the setbacks and aggravations, and no matter how we feel, one thing remains the same--He is present in the trials we face. Even the smallest of trials do not go unnoticed by Him. Thank Him for the hard stuff. Thank Him for using these things to strengthen your dependency on Him and your faith in Him. Pray for trust in Him on the hardest of days and keep praises on your lips. [Isaiah 55: 8-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, James 1:2-4]

Thank God for Wisdom.

Godly wisdom is vital in our walk with Christ and with others. In fact, the book of Proverbs refers to wisdom as “the principal thing.” Take time to thank God for His wisdom, guidance and direction in our lives. We are so blessed to be able to consult Him- His Word- to direct our paths and help us get to the end of our journey here on Earth with as few regrets as possible. Pray you would be sensitive to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in your decisions, great and small. [Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 4:7]

Follow God, Not People by Joyce Meyer

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue.  John 12:42

Follow God, Not People by Joyce Meyer

The Bible teaches us in John 12:42-43 that many of the leading men believed in Jesus but would not confess it for fear that if they did, they would be expelled from the synagogue. For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).

In this example, we see that some people were hindered from a relationship with Jesus because they were addicted to approval. Although they wanted a relationship with the Lord, they loved the approval of man more. That is sad, but it happens all the time.

The people mentioned in John 12 knew that Jesus was real. They believed in Him, but the love of approval would not permit them to have a true relationship with Him.

I wonder how their lives turned out. What did they miss because they said yes to people and no to God? I wonder how many of them were never mentioned in the Bible again. I wonder if they faded into oblivion and never fulfilled their destiny because they loved the approval of men more than the approval of God. How many of them spent their lives disrespecting themselves because they were people-pleasers?

Follow God, not people!

Are God’s Thoughts Your Thoughts? by Joyce Meyer

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

Are God’s Thoughts Your Thoughts? by Joyce Meyer

Whose thoughts are you thinking? If your thoughts are not God’s thoughts, I recommend changing your thinking! If we want to have what God wants us to have, then we will need to learn to think the way He thinks.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you… (KJV). God has thoughts for you. Do you think about you and your life the way God is thinking about you?

If you’re not thinking the way God is thinking, you are not going to end up with God’s plan for you. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… (AMPC).

You can stop God’s plan by thinking your own fleshly thoughts, or agreeing with others’ or Satan’s thoughts, or you can think God’s thoughts and believe and receive the good plan He has for your life. Who are you in agreement with?

Unseen Promises Exist by Joyce Meyer

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.  Matthew 21:22

Unseen Promises Exist by Joyce Meyer

Before the fulfillment of God’s promise to multiply Abram, He changed his name from Abram (“high exalted father”) to Abraham, (“father of a multitude”) (See Genesis 17:1–6). God spoke the promise long before it was visible to anyone.

Anything that is in the Word of God is a promise that be can rightfully and legally spoken forth even before it visibly exists.

Reach into the spiritual realm, that you cannot see, and pull the promises of God out of there, with the words of your mouth, and prophesy them into existence. Read God’s Word, and speak as the Holy Spirit leads you to do so today