Category Archives: Charles Stanley

September 16 Freedom from Feelings

scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:18–23
key verse: John 17:17

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

A formidable enemy of the truth of Christ is feelings. You feel unworthy—even though God says you are made in His image (Gen. 1:26–27) and called by His name (Acts 2:21).

You feel insignificant—even though everything you do can be done to the glory of God and used by Him to accomplish His sovereign purposes (Col. 3:17).

You feel unloved—even though God says He cares for you as a shepherd cares for his sheep (John 10:11).

You must learn sooner or later to move past your feelings and instead lean on the indisputable fact of God’s Word. How can you do that?

The best way is to compile a list of Scriptures dealing with the troubling emotions that beset you. If you are depressed, you should take a week or so to find Scripture passages dealing with God’s joy and His comfort. Then you should write them down so that you can carry them with you.

When these feelings assault you, you should turn to the Scriptures and read them aloud. You should tell the Lord Jesus Christ that you choose to believe His truth rather than your emotions. Then you should praise Him for His answer.

Refuse to budge. Your feelings may linger, but they eventually will crumble under the weight of God’s mighty truth.

Father, sometimes I feel unloved, unworthy, and insignificant. But these are only feelings—not facts. I choose to believe Your truth rather than my emotions.[1]

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

September 15 Training to Win

Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24–26

Key verse: Psalm 84:11

The Lord God is a sun and shield;

The Lord will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly.

Many people make a tremendous mistake by assuming that trial and difficulty are results of something they have done wrong. They have forgotten Paul’s analogy of the athlete who must prepare himself mentally and physically to compete and win the prize. Even in Paul’s day, an athletic competition was a big event. The only way an athlete became stronger was through training, and that meant having his strength tested.

Training to win is not a light and easy task. It requires hard work, discipline, and the ability to withstand all kinds of pressure. Paul asked, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim” (1 Cor. 9:24–26 nasb).

Trials are God’s tools to test your faith in His ability. When you fail to learn a certain spiritual principle, don’t be surprised if He allows another trial to arise. He is teaching you how to trust in His strength and not your own. Learning how to handle the valley times of life readies you for the many blessings God has prepared for you.

Lord, thank You that every trial I experience leads to a blessing. Use the valleys of my life to prepare me for the blessings You have planned for me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 Spiritual Safety

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:15–23

Key Verse: Matthew 17:22

Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Physical safety is on our minds today, especially after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which changed our world forever. We are rightly concerned about homeland security, yet when it comes to protection, many people neglect the even more precious arena of soul and spirit. The fact is that there are spiritual terrorists on the loose. Jesus called them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and issued some stern warnings to alert us.

These wolves are false teachers and false prophets who appear to be genuine spiritual guides but are instead full of schemes to advance their own agenda. They look good and they sound good, but they are consumed with lust and greed. None of this is apparent at first. Instead, they preach a fine gospel in a most compelling manner. Gradually, however, they begin to blend inaccuracy with fact. At this point, people seem to forget that truth mixed with error is no longer truth; instead, it has become error.

You can recognize these folks in a number of ways. Jesus said they would bear fruit that would eventually reveal their true character. At first you might detect that they are subtly questioning the Bible’s authority and its relevance for the twenty–first century. Then you will notice little is said about living a holy life or being careful to obey the whole counsel of God. Later they will begin to equate obedience to God with living the way they want you to live. False teachers desire a following more than they care for your welfare. Here we must be very discerning, so remember: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

Dear Lord, protect me from false teachers and false prophets. Let me recognize them by their fruits. Keep me safe spiritually.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 The Cost of True Discipleship

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25–35

Key Verse: Luke 14:27

Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Jesus certainly knew how to drive away a crowd. When He spoke of wholehearted commitment and absolute surrender to His mission, the multitudes melted away. The only ones left were those who recognized that He spoke the words of life, uncompromising yet loving truth about what it means to really know Him.

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest about the kind of total absorption Christ wants us to have:

There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

God divides the private life of His saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us.

But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.

Jesus wants all of your devotion, not just a portion. You cannot have other priorities plus Jesus. He is the priority.

Precious Lord, adjust my priorities. Call me into greater intimacy with the gospel. Deepen my relationship and fellowship with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 An Anger-Ridden Spirit

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 25:2–38

Key verse: Proverbs 29:8

Scoffers set a city aflame,

But wise men turn away wrath.

David was furious. He and his fatigued cadre of wilderness warriors had sought provisions from a rich businessman named Nabal, whose flock of sheep and herdsmen they had protected.

Nabal spurned David’s request. David’s response was quick and vivid. “Every man gird on his sword,” he ordered his fighting men (1 Sam. 25:13). Only the intervention of Nabal’s circumspect wife, Abigail, prevented David from murdering Nabal and his men.

You probably have never reached this level of hostility, but seething anger has no doubt caused you to consider irrational acts or erupt in speech you wish you could later retract. This illustration is marked with several takeaway principles.

First, it’s not the fact that we are angry that matters; it’s what you do with your anger that counts. Everybody gets angry. But does your anger remain as the impetus for future deeds and words? David’s rage distorted his reasoning and prompted him to vengeful behavior.

Second, you can count on God to assuage your anger. If you take your hostile feelings to Christ, He will always prompt you to turn away from anger.

Third, it is better to trust God for the outcome than to take matters into your hands. If another wrongs you, leave the results to the Lord. Forgive as Christ has forgiven you, and you won’t pay the price for an anger-ridden spirit.

Dear heavenly Father, help me trust in You rather than take matters into my own hands. Keep me from an anger-ridden spirit.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 Freedom from Manipulation

scripture reading: John 13:31–35
key verse: Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

The art of being a friend is a delicate one, involving honesty, sharing, forgiveness, and much more. That is why Scripture is so full of admonitions concerning how we are to treat one another in love and respect.

Besides the obvious ways of hurting one another, there are other traps to avoid. Pamela Reeve discusses a major one in her book Relationships:

Another common problem in friendships develops when one person tries to control the other. The deeper the friendship grows, the more vulnerable we become at any level. But the intimate relationship in particular provides fertile ground for the stronger personality to control the one who yields more easily.

This type of manipulation can occur on both conscious and subconscious levels. Yet whatever form that control may take, it’s poison in a relationship. It may be quick poison or it may be slow poison, but it will always weaken and often kill a friendship.

What kind of friend are you? Are you so afraid of losing a relationship that you attempt to manipulate the other person into liking you? Do you give the person space to make his or her choices? How do you respond to disappointment when the person lets you down? It’s important to evaluate these issues honestly and ask the Lord to make you a selfless and supportive companion.

Dear Lord, free me from manipulation. Don’t let me be controlled by others. Don’t let me seek to control others. Make me a selfless and supportive friend and companion.[1]

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

September 14 Power of the Cross

Scripture reading: Luke 22:14–20

Key verse: Luke 22:20

Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

Today’s passage is taken from the section concerning the Lord’s Supper, when Jesus establishes a new covenant with all believers. The old covenant was with Abraham and his heirs, who became the nation of Israel. In the lamplight of the Upper Room, Jesus provided His disciples with a rare look into the future. Lifting the cup of wine, He said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20 nasb).

While Jesus’ actions and words appear to contradict the Law of Moses and the covenant God established with Abraham, they are really parallel in theological thought. God requires payment for sin. Therefore, there must be a covering substantial enough to remove the stain of sin in our lives.

God recognized the sacrificing of sheep and goats as an atonement for sin, but there was no eternality to this system. Jesus brought change and eternal hope to mankind. His life and death opened the way to salvation and freedom from the bondage of sin. On the Cross, a new covenant was established, and the need for repetitive sacrifice was taken away.

Christ’s death broke sin’s power over your life. You can now say no to temptation before it takes hold of you. But should you stumble, turn quickly to Him who loves you, and seek His restoration. As you confess your weaknesses, He is faithful to forgive and restore.

Father, thank You that sin’s power is broken over my life, enabling me to say no to temptation before it takes hold of me. Thank You that when I do stumble, You are faithful to forgive and restore.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 269). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 14 God Knows You

Scripture Reading: Psalm 18:1–6

Key Verse: Psalm 18:6

In my distress I called upon the Lord,

And cried out to my God;

He heard my voice from His temple,

And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

The concept of God’s ability to save mankind is evident throughout the entire Bible. In Psalm 18:1–2, David wrote: “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Saints in the Old Testament understood that God was their only hope of salvation. The prophets of God looked to the future and believed that God would save mankind from sin. This truth was a great source of praise and adoration of the Lord. However, while they loved the Lord, their relationship with Him was quite different than what we experience today. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can know God intimately and be sure He knows us.

When the darkness of this world closes in, stop and think of God’s infinite, unconditional love. Throughout the ages, the one thing that holds true is that God’s salvation is there for all who come to Him with a humble and open heart.

David wrote, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice” (Psalm 18:6). God knows your deepest need, and He will answer your cry for help and salvation.

You are the hope of my salvation, Lord. In my distress, I call to You. I cry to You for help.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 269). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 14 Acting Out Your Commitment

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:23–26

Key Verse: Luke 9:23

He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

In the back of your mind, when you hear the words deny and cross, you usually think of suffering. You might even get the vague idea that yielding to God’s will for your life is going to mean always walking a hard road or giving up everything you ever hoped for in favor of a foreign plan.

Denying yourself doesn’t mean eating only bread and water or not letting yourself have good things. Jesus was talking about submission, the one-time act of saying to the Lord that He is in charge, that Christ is your Master and Savior and is free to use your life any way He pleases.

“Taking up your cross daily” is the step-by-step process of acting out that commitment and affirming it each day as you make decisions. If you want to take a certain action, but you know that God has a specific command against it, then you must make a choice—your way or God’s way. And because He is absolutely loving and absolutely holy, you know that His direction is in your best interest and for your ultimate good.

Self-denial is Christ-acceptance. Saying yes to Him means opening up your life to adventure that leads only to blessing. Begin to act out your commitment today!

Lord Jesus, my answer is yes—I will follow You! Help me act out my commitment today as I walk Your way.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 269). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 14 Controlling Anger

Scripture reading: James 1:19–27

Key verse: Proverbs 16:32

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,

And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Be angry, and do not sin” was Paul’s carefully crafted, Spirit-inspired alert to the church at Ephesus. His admonition was delicately phrased for good reason. Constructively managed anger has no sinful connotations. You do not sin every time you fume or fuss. A flushed face or raised tone is not necessarily a willful sin.

However, anger crouches at sin’s door. Mismanaged, it can be destructive to the offender and the offended. Suppressed, it can nurture bitterness, depression, and a stifling passiveness. Your best tactic in handling this powerful emotional current is to approach its expression with much caution.

The Bible says the believer should be slow to anger (Prov. 16:32; James 1:19). If you are constantly at a boiling point over even minor matters, then you probably have treaded into hazardous territory. Your anger should be short-lived. “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” Paul said (Eph. 4:26). When angry feelings keep you awake at night, meet you in the shower in the morning, or race through your mind during the day, you are living on a ragged spiritual edge. God’s peace and joy are fleeting.

If you blow up often, tell the Lord you want to change, and ask Him to bring your emotions under His control. If your temper short-circuited today, confess your sin now, and don’t carry your grudge into tomorrow.

Keep me from mismanaged anger, Lord. Help me bring every emotion under Your control.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 269). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 14 Who You Are in Christ

scripture reading: John 16:13–15
key verse: Genesis 1:26

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Imagine this scene: a young boy lives in a small frame house in the inner city. He is surrounded by poverty and crime. His days are filled with emptiness and despair. There seems to be no way out. He does poorly in school because he has no motivation.

One afternoon a gentleman knocks on the door. He shares staggering news—the young boy is a direct descendant of a writer of world renown.

From that moment on, the boy is never the same. He studies hard; he goes to the library; he helps his parents. Yet all that is changed is his view of himself.

Do you see why it is so important to see ourselves in the light of God’s truth? We are not plain Joes and Janes; we are God’s sons and daughters. We are not rescued sinners with streaks of goodness; we are saints—the holy people of God. We are not the same, ordinary people we were before we received Christ; we are entirely new creations.

There has been a radical change. You are now an heir with Christ. All that God has is yours as you receive His blessings humbly by faith (John 16:13–15).

How do you see yourself today? Lonely, inadequate, defeated, afraid? The truth of who you are in Christ will set you free.

I am free in You, dear Lord. Help me to see myself as You see me. Thank You that I have been radically changed and I am an heir with Your Son, Jesus Christ.[1]

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

September 13 A Way Out

Scripture reading: Hebrews 4:14–16

Key verse: 1 John 2:1

My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Often we quote these verses from Hebrews but fail to consider their deeper meaning. The writer of Hebrews discovered a truth that revolutionized the way we view temptation. He stated that we now have a Great High Priest who is able to sympathize with all our struggles.

Jewish believers were accustomed to going to the temple to worship. It was there that they approached the priest, who made a sacrifice for their transgressions. Whatever the law required, whether two doves or something else, they would bring as an offering to God. The priest then would sacrifice the animal(s) on behalf of the individual. The animal’s blood became the symbol of atonement.

As the Lamb of God, Jesus became the eternal sacrifice for mankind’s sin. In the Father’s eyes, Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary was sufficient payment for your sin, not just part of it but all of it. He is your Advocate before God’s throne of grace (1 John 2:1). He is able to personally identify with the temptation you face. Although He did not yield to sin, He certainly faced its power.

Temptation is not sin. It is the step before it. The important factor here is that Jesus, being tempted in all ways, did not yield Himself. He knows the intense pressure created by temptation, but He also knows there is a way out. Whatever your struggle, Jesus is aware of it, and He will set you free.

Lord, You know the intense pressure created by temptation. You also know the way out. Show me the way.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 268). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 13 The Believer’s Security System

Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 2:18–21

Key Verse: 2 Peter 2:21

For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

While every child of God has a built-in “spiritual security system,” some Christians are far more vulnerable than others to spiritual predators. False teachers, or “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” will seek out immature believers and exploit their ignorance. The wolves also hunt down people with unresolved guilt, in an effort to salve their consciences with phony remedies.

People who fail to confess and forsake sin according to Scripture remain highly susceptible to Satan’s trickery. Another group of people at risk of seduction are those who have gained a head knowledge of Jesus and religious practices but have not followed through in genuine discipleship. They may be church members, and they may even be baptized, but something is missing. They have no root in true godliness and end up entangled in a worse state than before.

Fortunately, believers are equipped to avoid these potholes. We have a security system designed to protect us if we keep it well tuned. First and foremost, we have to saturate our minds continually with God’s truth. In so doing, we will eventually develop a mental grid that reacts in alarm when something false comes our way. In this manner, we become rooted and grounded in the truth.

Christians must also learn to know the Holy Spirit personally and listen to Him. He enables us to have a discerning spirit, and He will educate our conscience to provide timely warnings when we start down the wrong path. We can escape the snares of the devil and rest secure in Jesus.

Thank You for Your security system, Lord. Warn me when I start down the wrong path. Help me escape the snares of the devil and rest securely in You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 268). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 13 Following Jesus

Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:12–25

Key Verse: Matthew 4:19

He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be His disciples, all He said to them was, “Follow Me.” Peter and Andrew had heard Him teach before; that was not the first moment they had laid eyes on Jesus or heard what work He was about. Yet at the moment of calling, Jesus said only a few words.

The hearts of Peter and Andrew were already prepared to answer His call; they immediately left their nets and livelihood and went with Jesus. The two disciples had an extreme sensitivity to the Spirit of God. They were able to recognize the difference between God’s prompting and the urging of their hearts.

Peter and Andrew also possessed a mind-set of service. The New Testament had not yet been written, but their lives exemplified these verses about their Savior: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:5–7 nasb). They were ready to sacrifice anything for the cause of Christ, even the security of a known future as fishermen.

Jesus Christ gives you the same call: “Follow Me.” It does not matter where you are in life. All that matters is that you adapt your own plans to His.

Precious heavenly Father, two words have changed my life—Follow Me. I have heard the call. I am ready to respond. I will follow You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 268). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 13 Fostering Friendships

Scripture reading: John 14:15–21

Key verse: Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron,

So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Many times, lonely people fall prey to the wrong kinds of friendships. When someone is hungry for companionship of any sort, he is less likely to be choosy in forming intimate friendships, and God calls His people to be selective.

From the earliest Old Testament times, when God guided the nation of Israel out of Egypt and into a land filled with strangers, He gave them specific instructions about how to treat the Canaanites, who were sometimes interested in forming alliances with Israel. Why? God knows the importance of avoiding close associations with those who do not have a relationship with Him.

In their book Happiness Is a Choice, Dr. Minirth and Dr. Meier explain,

Select your friends very carefully, because you will become more and more like your friends whether you intend to or not!… You should have a few non-Christian friends as well, but if you are a committed Christian, you will want your most intimate friends to be committed Christians also.

Don’t overestimate your own spiritual strength. It is much easier than most Christians think for a non-Christian friend to bring a Christian down spiritually. In Proverbs 27:17, wise King Solomon wrote that “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

Father, I want to be close to people who have a relationship with You. Help me foster genuine friendships with those who know and love You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 268). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 13 The Doorway to Freedom

scripture reading: Mark 9:14–27
key verse: Mark 9:23

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

You must receive the truth of the Scriptures in order to be free from the bondage of insecurity and inadequacy. Webster’s Dictionary defines receive as “to take in through the mind or senses; to permit to enter; to take or come into possession of.” Truth can be rejected; it can be held at arm’s length.

First, you have to receive God’s truth into your inner person. Pride in your resources can hinder that reception. God is a Gentleman; He will not force His ways upon you. You must open the door of your mind and heart to Him.

Second, you must believe the truth of the Scriptures. Believing means that you trust God enough to step out on His promises. You cannot just assent to the Word of God; you must rely on, lean on, and let Him implement His Word in your life so that Christ Jesus—who is the truth (John 14:6)—can set you free.

Belief is action. Since God tells you in His Word not to worry (Phil. 4:6), you must stop fretting. Since He says you are valuable in His eyes (John 3:16), you must lay aside your ideas about a lack of self–worth. When you receive and believe God’s authoritative, liberating truth, you have entered the doorway of freedom.

I receive Your truth. I believe Your truth. I act upon it today, dear Lord, as I walk through the doorway of freedom.[1]

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

September 12 Pruning the Branches

Scripture reading: John 15:1–8

Key verses: John 15:1–2

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Roses take the right amount of fertilizer and sunlight to produce beautiful buds. The location of the plant and type of soil are also important. However, another element is essential to producing healthy rose bushes, and that is pruning. The rule, according to one grower, is to “prune until you see good wood.”

Along with the obvious dead wood, growers cut away any small shoots they know won’t produce buds. When the plant is the most vulnerable from battling winter freezes and icy temperatures, the pruner takes his shears and trims away everything that threatens to limit its growth and flowering.

So it is with us. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1–2 nasb).

God cuts away the dross in our lives until He sees “good wood.” Without pruning, we would never bear the sweet fragrance of Christ. It is in the cutting that God strips us of ourselves and shapes us to His image.

Don’t become discouraged at His pruning touch. God is constantly at work in the lives of those He plans to use greatly.

O God, even in the midst of difficulties I know that You are at work in my life. I praise You![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 12 The Eternal Adventure

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:6–13

Key Verse: 1 John 5:9

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.

When someone testifies about something—a product, an event, another’s character—the testimony is only as strong as the character of the person giving it. And when it comes to God, there should be no question about what He says. His words are truth.

But there is an even greater benefit to knowing God. As we draw near to Him, we learn that He not only provides the guidance we need at every turn in life, but He also gives us a clear map on how to accomplish His plan for our lives.

John wrote, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:9, 11). The assurance of our salvation is based on God’s Word. We do not have to be afraid that one day we will fall from His grace. This cannot happen to those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. God’s love is eternal. There is never a moment in time when He turns His love in another direction. It is always focused on us.

He provides us the assurance we need through what He has testified about His Son. The moment we accept God’s Word as truth and receive Christ as our Savior, we are saved. The eternal adventure begins with great assurance!

Thank You for salvation and assurance. Thank You, Lord, that Your love is forever focused on me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 12 A Spokesman of God’s Truth

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:20–21

Key Verse: Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

George Whitefield, an English evangelist who lived from 1714 to 1770, delivered more than eighteen thousand sermons in his lifetime of being a traveling preacher. In England and America, his strong voice carried through fields to the crowds of thousands that gathered wherever he went. He was so passionate to spread the gospel that he continued preaching even in poor health.

The people around him recognized that the Lord gave him almost superhuman energy and drive. In their book The Light and the Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel described the scene in New Hampshire at his last sermon:

When the time came to speak, he could barely breathe, and one of them said to him, “Sir, you are more fit to go to bed, than to preach.”

“True, sir,” gasped Whitefield. Then, glancing heavenward he added, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of it. If I have not finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, and seal Thy truth, and come home and die!”

God answered his prayer. After delivering a more than two-hour sermon, the exhausted Whitefield went to a pastor friend’s home; he died the next morning as he gazed out the window at the sunrise. Because one man was willing to be a spokesman of God’s truth, two nations were touched with His love.

O Lord, make me a spokesman of Your truth. I have not finished my journey. Don’t let me grow weary along the way. Keep me faithful to the end.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 12 Taking Charge

Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:1–12

Key verse: 2 Timothy 1:7

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

She stood to the side of the lobby where she could watch him unobserved. He was an acquaintance from years ago, and she had spotted him coming through her office building. She wanted to speak and reintroduce herself, but something held her back.

Every time she wanted her feet to move, she felt rooted to the floor. Her mouth was going dry, and her hands began to tremble. Would he even remember her? Would he care? What if she looked silly? He might laugh, or he could be completely indifferent. No, she finally reasoned, I’m not going to bother.

Have you ever felt the fear of rejection or failure or embarrassment? You probably also know the longing of wishing you had taken a chance and risked being vulnerable. You do not want to let opportunities pass you by, but somehow you feel unable to change.

A key to victory over insecurity and social fear is remembering your identity in Christ. You are not a failure, even when you mess up. You are not ridiculous, even when you make silly mistakes. Paul wrote, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Stepping out and taking a chance is not an opportunity for pain; it’s opening up your life in an area of weakness to allow God to demonstrate His strength (2 Cor. 12:9–10). Let the Lord absorb the risk.

God, You have not given me the spirit of fear. You have given me power, love, and a sound mind. Let me reach out to others today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.