“Involving God”- Charles F. Stanley

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” – Psalm 1:1-2

You have a choice every day:  to involve God in your life through prayer and time in His Word, or to go it alone.  One ultimately yields peace while the other bring anxiety.

But take note, you’re not just promised tranquility when you meditate on Scripture – you’re assured you’ll be blessed.

This is because when you ponder the Word deeply – analyzing it, considering it thoroughly, and asking God for insight into it –your pattern of thinking is changed in the process.  The Father gives you uncommon wisdom for your finances, relationships, and future.  And when your mind is filled with His ways – His goodness, will, provision, power, and principles – you will have a peace and steadfast faith no storm can tear apart.

So today, make the choice – involve the Lord in your life by meditating on His Word and seeking Him in prayer.

Father, open Your Word to me – fill me with a passion for Scripture and Your holy presence.  I commit my life to You and seek understanding into Your will and Your ways, amen.

In His presence…allow Him to guide your life and teach you His ways.

“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

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Comprehending the Truth” – Charles F. Stanley

“Comprehending the Truth” – Charles F. Stanley

“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10

God wants you to know the depths of who He is.  He wants you to truly grasp His majesty, holiness, power, love, grace, and joy.  Because when you begin to comprehend these mighty truths about His character, you are enriched, enabled, and energized (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

Despite being stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, slandered, rejected, and imprisoned, Paul wrote that his ultimate aim in life was to “know Christ” (Philippians 3:10).  And he surely did.  This knowledge carried, encouraged, and strengthened him to the very end.  And Paul was able to proclaim, “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me…The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever, amen” (2 Timothy 4:17-18).

When you know Jesus as your Deliverer, Comforter, Forgiver, Healer, and Prince of Peace, you can endure too, because you know the truth of His character and the certainty of His promises.  So press on to know Him at all costs.

Lord, I want to know You – all of You – to the greatest heights and the very depths of Your being, amen.

In His presence…persevere to know Him.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“For the Lord” – Charles F. Stanley

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the lord you will receive the reward.” – Colossians 3:23-24
Are you being called upon to make challenging sacrifices? There are times when you may be required to take on jobs or responsibilities that are difficult or you deem “beneath you,” and you may be tempted to nurse a bad attitude. But don’t. Right now there’s nothing more victorious you can do than to give your best effort for the Lord.
Friend, your mind-set about what you to do makes a tremendous difference – directly affecting your task now, but also impacting eternity. Why? Because one day you will stand in the presence of Jesus and be judged from what you’ve done and how you honored Him in what He gave you to accomplish. Keep this in mind as you go about your day. You may have many unpleasant responsibilities to take care of, but do them joyfully for God, knowing that He will reward your loving obedience. That change in perspective alone will make all the difference in your day – and also in eternity. Lord, whatever I’m called to do, I will do it joyfully and with excellence, knowing I am serving You, amen. In His presence…do everything for His glory.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

A day is coming when your life on earth will be over, and as the song says, “only what’s done for Christ will last.”  The writer of Hebrews provides a word of warning as the Day approaches; a command for followers of Christ to stay together.

For many, church is simply a place you go, or meetings you attend, or a time to enjoy the company of friends.  Maybe it is a place you go to keep your moral compass grounded, or maybe just a duty to check off your list..  This familiar phrase may apply; “I’ll go to church because the kids need to hear about God.”  If you identify with any of these descriptions of church, you have missed the mark presented by this passage.

You may say, “I can worship without going to church.”  This may be true, but is also misses the mark.  The Christian life is not about “you”, it is about “others.”

The command is to consider one another and exhort one another.  Consider, that is to look after or be aware of, others in the body.  Exhort, encourage, lift up and be a help, to those in the body.  When these attitudes are right, the result will be love for others and good deeds will follow. 

The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone, but touching, feeling, embracing others within the body.  Someone used this analogy to compare two types of churches:  one was like a bowl filled with marbles, the other like a bowl filled with grapes.  When the bowls were shaken the marbles just crashed around and made a lot of noise, but the grapes were crushed and the fruit of the grapes came out.

What kind of church do you have here? What kind of Christian are you?

Ask the Father to help you be willing to be broken for others within your body.  Ask the Father to help you consider the needs of others in your church fellowship.

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Deuteronomy 6:6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Please read the verse again, carefully.  God is speaking, and He is addressing parents.  He is commanding parents to put His Word into your children’s hearts.  Who is responsible for teaching your children?    Can there be any doubt?  Parents, you shall teach them, and teach them diligently.  How shall you teach them?  You teach them from the overflow of what God is doing within your heart.

All through the day opportunities abound to take circumstances of life and use them as teaching moments.  But this is only half the job before you.

Ask God specifically to give you insight into the character and heart of your child.  As He provides insight, you will see how to pray for that child.  The verse makes it clear that God expects parents to be intimately involved in the lives of their children.

Pray that your children will open their heart to God at an early age. Pray that you will see their character develop and God will show you how to help shape them. Pray they will have Godly friends. Pray they will be protected from people and circumstances that would lead them astray. Pray that God will give you insight and warn you when danger is near. Pray that you will not provoke your children. Pray that you will set a Godly example every day for your children. For single parents, pray God will bring Godly people into the lives of your children to help you teach them.

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Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Deuteronomy 5:29 “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever.”

You now come before the Lord to pray for others. Begin with those closest to your heart, your family. Parents want the best for their children, children cherish their parents. In God’s wonderful plan the home is the first place, the primary place, that we learn to nurture and care for others.   

Sadly, many homes today have been broken and torn apart. You must know that the Father see these homes, also, and they are ever near His heart. God takes special care of homes broken by divorce or the loss of a loved one. 

Parents, consider your home and the priorities your children see in you.  Not what you say, but what your children see in your daily life.  What do you care about?  What are you willing to die for?  Are your core values centered on God or the world?  What legacy will you leave your children when you are gone? 

Dr. Charles Stanley, a very well-known pastor, lost his father when he was very young.  He tells of the difficult economic times being raised by his mother alone.  Their home had extreme pressure from the world and Charles could have become wayward.  His Mom could have given up.  But Dr. Stanley recalls that every day of his life, even through high school and while in college, his Mother prayed over him.  He says every night she would come to his room, kneel by his bed and pray out loud over him.  Only God knows the impact her prayers had on that home and the life of Dr. Stanley. 

Parents, you must be devoted to God, and your children must know of that genuine devotion if you want God’s protection and blessing on your family.

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Job 42:10 “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.”

Job experienced great loss of family and possessions.  He came to the place he was at a loss about what to say to God.  He had no more arguments to present.  He came before God repentant and empty handed.  He had nothing to give to God, only an awareness of how great God was.  He came to the place where he simply worshipped God.

In worship before God he then prayed for his friends.  He could do nothing, from a human viewpoint, for them.  These friends had spoken hard things, wrong things to Job, yet he held nothing against them.  He did the    one thing he could do; he prayed for them.

Scripture says the Lord turned his captivity and gave Job twice as much when he prayed for his friends.  Here is a very fine point that can easily be missed.  A casual reading might indicate God rewarded Job because he prayed for his friends.  This logic would seem to say, if you are in trouble you can pray for others and God will reward you because you prayed for someone.  This is not correct.

Look carefully to find the place of the intercessor.  You will see it in the first few verses of Job 42.  Job came to the end of himself.  He no longer thought so much of his own cares and needs.  Job also saw God for who He was; the Almighty, the Holy Father, and the One before whom he must worship.

With no regard for his needs, bowing in worship before his Sovereign God, Job could then see with new eyes the needs of his friends.  He prayed for them, he interceded for them before his Sovereign God, as he worshipped.

This is intercession.  This is critical if you will be used of God.  Learn the lesson of Job.

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