Category Archives: Charles Stanley

December 31 Forever Is in Front

Scripture reading: Acts 9:1–31

Key verse: 2 Corinthians 2:17

We are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

The apostle Paul encountered Jesus Christ on the Damascus road. Blinded and prostrate before God, Paul realized nothing he had learned could rival what Christ had revealed. Nor did he have a grasp of the immediate changes that would take place in his life.

Some people have shared how God removed certain sinful desires at the point of salvation. Others tell how old habits disappeared gradually. However, neither of these statements explains the depth to which God’s salvation reaches. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17–18 (nasb): “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God.”

When you accept Christ as your Savior, God immediately transfers your name from the book of sin and death to the Book of Eternal Life. He purifies your life and no longer views you according to your sin, but deals with you according to the testimony of His Son.

Don’t harbor the memories of past failures and sins. Once you come to know Jesus, the past is eternally behind you and the new you—holy and pure—is forever in front of you.

Dear heavenly Father, I praise You that forever is in front! There are unlimited divine encounters with You that await me in the future.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 31 The Challenge to End Well

Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:3–6

Key Verse: Philippians 1:6

… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

A writer once penned a story about Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China. He reported that the government of China commissioned a biography to be written portraying the missionary negatively. Yet the purpose of the assignment backfired: “As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.”

Taylor’s life spoke of God’s goodness beyond the grave. He followed Christ faithfully, and was rewarded for carrying out the mission given to him. This principle encourages Christians to continue living faithful, godly lives that will impact future generations.

The apostle Paul knew that the only real difference that could be made in a person’s life was to introduce him or her to Christ. He performed his duty faithfully until his death, and his testimony endures.

You are challenged to end well so that God’s grace will show itself in you. Just like Paul and Hudson Taylor, people will hear of your faithfulness and they will believe in God. Live in courageous godliness to the end.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving care throughout this past year. Give me courageous godliness so that I can end not only this year properly but my time on earth as well.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 31 The Journey of Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:8–10

Key Verses: Romans 8:28–29

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

You can’t reach the mountaintop unless you scale its slopes. You can’t reach your destination unless you hazard the journey. That’s what it means to take a step of faith, to risk the comfort of the familiar and trust God to take you to new places. Doing anything less is a form of compromise.

At the beginning of his trip of a lifetime, Abraham could not say with certainty that he understood God’s reasons or methods. But he did grasp God’s good purpose and knew that the only way to live it was to surrender himself to the experience.

In her book Faith: The Substance of Things Unseen, Penelope Stokes describes the value of the risk of faith:

It’s a frightening concept, new birth … to be catapulted like helpless infants into an unfamiliar, perhaps hostile world … to give ourselves over, heart and soul, to the God who calls us out into new life, into new experiences, into deep spiritual waters.

Both before and after my experience of surrender to Christ on September 15, 1970, I can see the hand of God working in my life, drawing me toward spiritual consciousness, leading me on the journey of faith … And all along the way, I see altars of sacrifice, times in which God called me to a new place, a different level of intimacy, continued growth … We must take the risk to go forward as God leads us to new levels of life in the Spirit.

Lord, thank You for being my Guide on this spiritual journey. I rejoice to see how You directed my footsteps during this past year. I face the future in faith and confidence.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 31 The Good News About Death

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1–9

Key verse: Acts 2:28

You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

Christianity is the only religion in the world that has the final word on death. While other belief systems hypothesize about death, leading to such mysterious offerings as reincarnation, Christianity alone presents a clear and compelling portrait that is defined in the death and resurrection life of Jesus Christ.

Lawrence Richards writes,

In view of the varied and terrible meanings that Scripture ascribes to death, it would be wrong to think of Jesus’s death as a mere biological event. When the Bible teaches that Jesus suffered and tasted death (Hebrews 2:8), a full experience of all that death involves is implied … Death is the direct result of sin. And the fact of death testifies to the overwhelming importance of a personal, obedient relationship to God.

The dying Christian has the calm assurance that biological ending is nothing but a new beginning. When our earthly tent is destroyed, we go to be with the Lord “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again from the dead. His resurrection is a historical fact, verified by the testimony of the Scriptures. It was impossible for death to reign over Him (Acts 2:28).

The last word about death is good news for Christians.

O Lord, thank You for taking the fear of death from me. I praise You that when my earthly tent is destroyed, I will be in Your presence.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 31 God Isn’t Finished Yet

scripture reading: Romans 8:28–30
key verse: 2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

You have probably heard someone say, “Please be patient—God isn’t finished with me yet.” That lighthearted saying is absolutely true. When you trust Jesus as your Savior, you begin a growing process that lasts a lifetime.

In his book Lifetime Guarantee, Bill Gillham explains it this way: “Once a person is born from above, his nature is already Christlike, but it’s infantile in maturity. He is like an oak sapling that can mature into a fully grown oak tree.… And by faith and obedience, as he begins to act consistently with his new nature, he will look more and more like Jesus.”

The Lord engineers all the circumstances of your life to conform you to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:28). God works in everything that He sends and allows in your life.

“But what about sin and failure?” you may ask. Jesus took care of your sin problem on the cross. When you trust in Him, you are forgiven.

Yes, God may discipline you and let you experience some painful consequences of wrong actions, but His plan hasn’t changed. Someday you will stand in the presence of almighty God, radiant and complete, fully transformed. It’s a goal worth the wait.

Precious Lord, I praise You for Your loving care throughout the past year. Above all, thank You that You are working in me—and You are not finished with me yet![1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.