Category Archives: Charles Stanley

November 17 The Ability to Worship

scripture reading: John 4
key verse: Psalm 66:1

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

In his book Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church, A. W. Tozer wrote of the urgency for God’s people to grasp the importance of devoted, passionate praise of our Savior:

We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches do not have: that is the ability to worship. It’s the one, shining gem that is lost to the modern church.…

Now what are the factors that you will find present in worship? First there is boundless confidence. You cannot worship a being you cannot trust.… Worship rises or falls in any church altogether depending upon the attitude we take toward God, whether we see God big or whether we see Him little. Most of us see God too small; our God is too little.

David said: “O magnify the Lord with me,” and magnify doesn’t mean to make God big. You can’t make God big. But you can see Him big.

Then there is admiration, that is appreciation of the excellency of God.… This admiration for God grows and grows. The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody.… But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is, we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight.

I magnify You, Lord. You are great. You are unlimited; there is nothing too difficult for You. You are excellent. You are my God![1]

 

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

November 16 Shattered Dreams

Scripture reading: Psalm 121

Key verse: Job 13:15

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

Anne Bradstreet, the greatest female poet of colonial America, was a busy wife and mother. Yet in the middle of unrelenting duty and hardships, she poured out the passions of her heart in poetry that is still admired today.

On the night of July 10, 1666, she was awakened by terrible cries: “Fire! Fire!” After she and her family made their way to safety, she stood outside and watched the fast-moving flames consume everything they owned. The next morning she picked over the smoking ruins, finding the remains of keepsakes. Suddenly she was overcome with emotion and wept over the thought of the joys that were lost.

In her poem “Upon the Burning of Our House” notice what she comes to as she works through the pain of traumatic loss: “And did thy wealth on earth abide? Didst fix thy hope on smold’ring dust?… Thou hast an house on high erect, framed by the mighty Architect … There’s wealth enough; I need no more; farewell my pelf, farewell my store. The world no longer let me love; my hope and treasure lies above.”

Even though tragedy had struck, God was taking care of Anne and her family. She also knew He would provide for the future. Do you have this same assurance? God waits for you to bring your shattered dreams to Him. And as you do, He touches your life with restoration and hope.

Here are my shattered dreams, Lord. Touch me with restoration and hope.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 335). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 16 Pruning the Branches

Scripture Reading: John 15:5–8

Key Verse: John 15:2

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.

Have you ever felt like God was removing things from your life? As if the trials and circumstances you were experiencing have made it necessary for you to reduce your priorities to a manageable minimum?

In the classic devotional by L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, there is recorded a simple but poignant poem that asks the question, “Why must this lot of life be mine?” The answer: “Because God knows what plans for me shall blossom in eternity.”

God knows what opportunities await you. And He is preparing you so that His glory can truly shine through you. First, however, He must remove what is unnecessary. In John 15:2, He promised, “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Understand that trials are never evidence that God has abandoned you. On the contrary, they suggest that God is molding you for great things ahead.

He has a place of service that is suited perfectly for you. However, He must first develop your trust in Him. Then you will see a great harvest and experience the joy of having the Lord work through you.

Thank You, Lord, that You have a place of service suited perfectly for me. Develop my trust in You. Prune the branches of my life, and then work through me.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 335). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 16 When the Timing Is Right

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:1–15

Key Verse: Acts 16:9

A vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Paul spent a lot of time seeking God’s guidance for his missionary journeys. In Acts 16 after revisiting the churches at Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch, Paul decided to continue westward to Ephesus. However, God stopped him. Scripture tells us he was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6 nasb).

This change had to be disappointing to Paul, who was prepared to go into a city that was in deep spiritual need. No one knows why God stopped Paul, but thanks to Luke we have a record of what happened next. Rather than becoming sullen, Paul turned northwest to the borders of then Asian territory, hoping to evangelize the cities of Bithynia. However, he was stopped once again. Therefore, Paul passed through the region and turned toward Troas. At any point, Paul could have resisted the Spirit of God and forcibly preached the gospel. However, his message would have been empty and without the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Troas, Paul had a vision that God wanted him to go to Macedonia. Because of his obedience, the gospel spread throughout Europe and later the Western world. Perhaps God is calling you to stop or wait before you make the next move. You think all looks perfect; Paul did too. Only God knows what lies ahead. Refuse to make a move until He says the timing is right.

Father, only You know what lies ahead on this road I travel. I don’t want to make a move until the timing is right. Help me watch for the stop as well as the go signs.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 335). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 16 Strength in Weakness

Scripture reading: Job 23:8–10

Key verse: Psalm 66:12

You have caused men to ride over our heads;

We went through fire and through water;

But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

He knew he was a poor speaker. He always got so nervous standing up before a crowd that his voice quivered, his face flushed red, and he could barely remember what to say. When his manager asked him to give a product demonstration to some potential clients, he was less than thrilled. He was too embarrassed to decline the opportunity, and everyone was counting on him.

The night before his talk, he knelt beside his desk chair to pray and give the problem to God: “Dear Lord, You know that I am weak in this area. Like Moses, I don’t even want to try to speak before important people, but I’m trusting You for the strength and ability. Father, show Your power tomorrow through me. Give me the words. Fill me with Your calm and peace, and guide my every syllable. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

The next morning when he began the presentation, he could feel the Lord answering his prayer. He spoke slowly and distinctly, and his voice didn’t shake once. After it was over, a colleague gave him a slap on the back in approval. The man replied, “Hey, it wasn’t me—God handled this one.”

That is the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:10 in action: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Dear Lord, in my weaknesses today, demonstrate Your strength. Help me remember that when I am weak, You are strong.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 335). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 16 Worshiping with Confidence

scripture reading: Psalm 84
key verses: 1 Peter 2:9–10

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Thinking great thoughts about God is the impetus for cultivating a life of meaningful worship. But the spiritual momentum that worship engenders will sputter if you do not understand your worth in God’s eyes. Thus, worship is not only thinking correctly about God but also thinking correctly about yourself.

Too many people fail to enjoy the delight of worship because they feel guilty about their past or present sins. Once they are saved, they live in the constant light of God’s unconditional love, their guilt completely atoned for through Christ’s sacrificial death. They are not under condemnation any longer, even when they sin.

God declares you are of inestimable worth to Him. His Son’s blood was shed for you; His heaven waits for you; His Spirit indwells you. You are precious, beloved, and honored in His sight, for you are made in His image and are His child through faith in Christ.

Reject the false accusations of the devil and the false guilt associated with his deceit. Turn away from unnecessary anxieties. God is for you, and you can worship Him with unfettered simplicity and confidence.

Father, I reject every false accusation of the devil! I am of inestimable worth to You. I am precious, beloved, and honored in Your sight. I am created in Your image, and I am Your child through faith in Jesus Christ.[1]

 

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

November 15 God’s Choice Tool

Scripture reading: Psalm 18:29–30

Key verses: Philippians 2:7–8

But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

In his book Making Sense Out of Suffering, Peter Kreeft comments on adversity:

The most oft-repeated teaching of Jesus is the paradox that the poor are rich, the weak are strong, the lowly are exalted. It is the point of the Beatitudes, of the Sermon on the Mount, of most of His parables; it is illustrated by His whole life, by the incarnation, the kenosis, the emptying. He “emptied himself,” taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. “And being found in human form He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7–8).

This is the radical counter to the wisdom of our age, of any age. The fundamental dictum of nearly all modern psychologists is to love ourselves, to accept ourselves as we are, to feel good about ourselves. When we obey this wisdom of the world, God has two choices. He can either let us stay in that state and run the risk of becoming contented, respectable, self-righteous Pharisees; or else He can mercifully slap us out of it with a dose of suffering, frustration, and discontentment with ourselves, and thus move us on to a new state …

Only when we are dissatisfied, only when we are weak, only when we are failures in ourselves, can God come in.

Adversity is God’s choice tool in molding you into a person of tremendous potential. Even in difficult times, He is at work.

Lord, help me realize that even in difficult times, You have not abandoned me. You are at work.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 334). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 15 Power for the Task

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:44–49

Key Verse: Luke 24:49

Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

You might think that Jesus would have expected the disciples to get started on the daunting task of global evangelization right away. However, in Luke 24:49, Jesus instructs them to stay in the city until an empowering happened.

How could the disciples impact the world if they were confined to the city? How could they wait to get started on such an important assignment as spreading the gospel? Jesus instructed the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit, because He wanted them to have God’s power for their great task.

  1. C. Dixon reminds us, “When we rely upon education, we get what education can do. When we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do. But when we rely on the Holy Spirit, we get what God can do.”

Perhaps you have wondered the same things. God has directed you in certain areas, but He has also called you to wait. You may work well for God, but when God’s power works through you, astounding things happen. In one day, the disciples led three thousand people to the Lord. God can do great things through you too.

Wait for Him to empower you through His Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit, I want to rely on You to lead in the sharing of the gospel. I don’t want to be merely a Christian educator or orator.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 334). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 15 Waiting Is Not in Vain

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:26–29

Key Verses: James 5:7–8

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

The good earth of America’s breadbasket has done its job. Once vacant silos stand ready for the year’s harvest.

Today’s promising bounty, however, was buried in the spring in soft furrows. For weeks, the vision of fertile fields could be seen only in the farmer’s mind.

Then seedlings peered out of the darkness and eventually matured into stalk and produce. Patience and perspiration were daily companions of the tiller.

James, the half brother of Christ, compared waiting on God to this scenario: “Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts” (James 5:7–8 nasb).

Waiting on God is not being resigned or idle. There are things we must do, tasks that are required. But like the farmer, we work and wait for God to bring forth the fullness of His answer. There are days of stillness and days of labor. Both are necessary.

The motivation to persist is knowing that God is actively preparing our hearts to receive the right answer at the right time. The waiting is not in vain. Both the process and the outcome can be to the praise of God’s grace.

Heavenly Father, help me realize that days of stillness and labor are both necessary for harvest. My waiting is not in vain. Both the process and the outcome will be for Your glory.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 334). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 15 Call Out to God

Scripture reading: Mark 6:45–52

Key verse: Mark 6:50

They all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

The disciples frantically wrestled with oars and sails as the little fishing boat became engulfed by the sea’s angry waves. How did they get into this mess? The answer: Jesus had sent them there. What a sobering thought. God leads us along ways that at times seem very dark and lonely.

Suffering pushes the limits of our ability to cope. The sudden death of a loved one brings shock. The news of a mate’s unfaithfulness leaves us numb. Our hearts seek comfort; our minds feel as though they will crush under the pressure. And we find ourselves crying out in anguish, even when we know that all He wants from us is an act of faith.

Jesus came to the disciples amid the storm. He didn’t come when the waves were calm, before the wind picked up its pace. He came when it appeared that all hope was lost during the fourth watch of the night. From their point of view disaster was unavoidable.

When Jesus approached the boat that night on Galilee, His first words were words of hope: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” God had a deeper principle in mind for the disciples to learn; He is Lord over all things. Nothing, not even death, can overpower Him.

Regardless of your past or your present circumstances, God is with you. Never be afraid to call out to your sovereign Savior. He has His eye on you, and He will bring you into a safe harbor.

Savior, I call out to You today! Be with me and bring me into a safe harbor.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 334). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 15 The Priority of Worship

scripture reading: Psalm 86:6–13
key verse: Psalm 86:10

You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.

The book of Revelation reveals the priority of worship. Both angels and people, prostrate before the brilliant throne of grace, unceasingly praise the Lamb and the Father. Yet the clear teaching of the Bible is that resounding, reverberant praise should be the priority of the believer during the earthly pilgrimage also.

How much time do you engage in the exercise of worship? Perhaps more tellingly, what does worship mean to you? Do you have a strong reverence for God that is obvious in your lifestyle and witness?

The role of worship in your life can be dramatically elevated when you think correct thoughts about God. Martin Luther once said to his contemporary Erasmus, who had adopted a humanistic theology, “Your thoughts of God are too human.”

You may unintentionally reduce the divine splendor of God. You may lose sight of the majesty of God, reducing Him to your very finite definitions.

The less highly you think of God, the less you will worship Him. The more exalted your thoughts of God, the more you will bow humbly before Him, acknowledging His supernatural attributes.

Father, sometimes I limit You by human reasoning. Sometimes I am irreverent in my conduct. Set me free from these limitations so that I can truly worship You.[1]

 

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

November 14 Abandoned to Christ

Scripture reading: Galatians 2:17–21

Key verse: Lamentations 3:33

For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.

Author Patrick Morley reminds us that God does not bring affliction upon us willingly:

He finds no pleasure in our pain. God is not the root cause of our problems; He is the solution. The reason for many of our afflictions is our disobedience to the will of God—doing our own thing, living by the desires of the sinful nature. The sinful nature leads us into good ideas that are not God ideas. One good idea leads to another, and before long we have wandered away from the Lord …

Because our personal relationship with Him is God’s highest priority, He invariably afflicts the life of the one who strays. But He never does this willingly or with enjoyment … His Spirit grieves when we wander, and when He afflicts us sorrow pierces the heart of God …

The normal believer’s expectation is that he can live twenty years pursuing the God he wanted, turn to the God who is, and twenty minutes later all the issues will be resolved. That is not how God works.

God’s business is to sanctify our lives of every alien thought. When we begin to bring thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ, we discover that deprogramming from the secular life view takes as long as the programming did. It takes as long to abandon to Christ as it did to abandon from Christ.

Father, You are the solution to my problems. I abandon myself to You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 333). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 14 Called with Confidence

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:14–18

Key Verse: Mark 16:15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

After the Resurrection, Christ appeared to two of the disciples. However, the news of Jesus’ resurrection seemed too good to be true, so the other disciples, in their disheartenment, did not believe the reports. When Jesus appeared to them, He rebuked them for their unbelief. He knew they would need great faith to take on the commission God had for them, and that faith had to begin with an understanding of God’s power.

Eleven men had the responsibility of spreading the gospel to the whole world. They were eleven simple men with an overwhelming goal, fueled by the power that raised Jesus from the dead. Surely our task is not as daunting as that which the disciples faced, yet Christians often consider evangelism impossible.

Clarence Hall wrote, “The problem is not that we have exhausted our frontiers. The problem is that we fail to recognize them! And as our vision shortens, our pessimism deepens.”

Lord, I have been guilty of failing to recognize the frontiers for the gospel. Forgive my shortsightedness and infuse me with a powerful drive to witness for You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 333). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 14 Waiting on God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 106

Key Verse: Psalm 106:13

They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel.

Psalm 106 records the bleak history of the Israelites’ wilderness journey following their exodus out of Egypt. Many negative episodes are chronicled, and one glaringly deficient trait was their inability to wait on God. In one incident, the Hebrews complained about their steady diet of manna, God’s daily, supernatural provision. The psalmist recounted, “They quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God [put Him to the test] in the desert” (vv. 13–14 nasb).

Failing to wait on God for His answer is usually coupled with a memory lapse of God’s past help. The intensity of our needs often fogs our vision of God’s faithfulness and power. Keeping God’s character in sharp focus is crucial to waiting for His response. When God’s ability to supply our needs is obscured, we too readily rely on our wisdom instead of seeking His counsel.

If you are tempted to move ahead without God’s guidance, pause and reflect on His perfect timing in meeting previous demands. The less you desire to wait on God, the greater your craving for instant solutions. You look for shortcuts instead of traveling the road of trust and dependence on God.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your help in the past. I need to remember these times as I travel down the road of trust and dependence on You. Help me bypass the shortcuts.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 333). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 14 Hope to Continue

Scripture reading: Psalm 62:1–12

Key verse: Psalm 62:8

Trust in Him at all times, you people;

Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

For several days now, we have talked about pain and suffering. Some of the examples have brought profound thoughts of devotion for our Savior. But ask yourself, Is my affection the kind that remains intact, even when the answer to my prayers is not what I expected?

In Candles in the Dark, Amy Carmichael wrote,

I once wrote that God always answers us in the deeps, not in the shallows of our prayers. Hasn’t it been so with you?

One of the hardest things in our prayer life is to accept with joy and not with grief the answers to our deepest prayers. At least I have found it so. It was a long time before I discovered that whatever came was the answer.

I had expected something so different that I did not recognize it when it came. And He doesn’t explain. He trusts us not to be offended; that’s all.

Sometimes God reveals at least a portion of His will to you. Other times He doesn’t. In periods of adversity, this can be unsettling. But God requires you to go on in faith, even when adversity closes in all around you. In accepting His will, you find lasting joy. Does this mean you are never to feel sorrow or be burdened by stress? No. God weeps with you, and through the life of His Son, He gives you hope to continue. At times, this may simply mean to be still under His restful care.

Lord, when adversity closes in around me, help me continue to advance in faith. I know that in accepting Your will, I will find the hope to continue.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 333). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 14 A Man Worthy of Our Praise

scripture reading: Philippians 2:5–11
key verse: Psalm 66:1

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

There have been many courageous warriors through the ages—Charlemagne, Napoleon, Grant, Lee, Patton.

Many brilliant minds have made significant contributions—Galileo, Pasteur, Bell, Einstein, Salk.

Dozens of inspiring leaders have influenced world events—Washington, Lincoln, Churchill.

Yet all the brightest minds through the ages, all the mighty men of the centuries, and all the notable accomplishments of good men everywhere can never invoke the praise and admiration of the God–man, Jesus Christ. Think on His names.

He is the God of the whole earth; Immanuel, God with us; the Creator of all things; the Upholder of all things; the everlasting Father; the Beginning and the Ending; the Rock of my strength; the Chief Cornerstone; the Redeemer; the Great High Priest; the Amen; the Holy One of God; the Firstborn from the dead; the Lord of lords; the King of kings; the Righteous Judge.

These titles represent only a few of the attributes of our Savior. Meditate on the wonder of His person; you cannot help ascribing to Him supreme, unsurpassed, consummate worth.

Jesus is worthy of all your praise. No mortal can compare with Him.

Jesus, I praise Your name! You are Immanuel, Creator, Upholder of all things, everlasting Father, Beginning and the Ending; my Rock, Cornerstone, Redeemer, and Great High Priest. You are Lord of lords, King of kings, and my Righteous Judge.[1]

 

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

November 13 Read the Fine Print

Scripture reading: Matthew 18:11–14

Key verse: Luke 19:10

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Sometimes the reason God allows adversity in your life is to deal with sin. He wants to get your attention focused only on Him and away from the transgression that besets your walk with Him. God can see the future consequences of present sin, and in His love He will send the winds of adversity to keep you from the harm that sustained sin brings.

God hates evil. Satan hates you. That is why the enemy will not share with you the ramifications of sin. He wants to keep your mind focused on enjoying the moment: Forget about tomorrow; everybody else is doing this today.

You’ve seen the fine print on advertisements that tout some marvelous product. The colorful adjectives atop the page describe how wonderful the product is, but the fine print below is a cold, hard recitation of the personal or financial realities of buying the hype and the product. That which is superficial and temporary most often is shouted loudest, but the truth is always the bottom line.

Satan never wants you to read the fine print. His objective is to destroy you. Jesus said He came not to destroy but to save that which is lost. He may allow adversity in your life, but ultimately it will be to your benefit if you respond properly and adhere to His Word, the finest print there is.

Let me realize that adversity will benefit me if I respond properly to it. Help me to do that, Lord.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 332). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 13 Forging Ahead

Scripture Reading: John 12:23–26

Key Verse: John 12:26

If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

The world is constantly vying for our attention. On the left, on the right—its relentless assault can cause us to lose our way quickly if we are not careful. But clinging to God no matter how good or bad our circumstances are keeps us walking closely with Him.

God is the guiding light in our lives, leading us by the voice of His Holy Spirit to a place of life. However, what we forget in our relationship with Him is that we are followers—He is the one leading us.

Whenever the distractions disorient us, we forget that God is our leader. Instead, we try to coerce Him to follow us, getting out of step with what He wants for our lives. Jesus told His disciples that following Him meant staying with Him (John 12:26). Serving the Lord does not happen if we are not walking with Him. And we cannot walk with Him if we are racing ahead of the pace He sets for us. Sometimes getting ahead of God and forging ahead on our own conveys the message that we do not need His help.

As His beloved children, we know that to serve and honor Him as He deserves, we must listen closely to His guidance for our lives through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and other wise believers around us.

Remove all the distractions, Lord. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You so I can keep in step with You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 332). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 13 Seeking God’s Guidance

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:7–11

Key Verse: Proverbs 8:11

Wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.

When we talk about the wisdom of man, we’re usually referring to mental ability, the capability to know and to achieve. We also use the word wisdom to refer to spiritual perception and insight on living.

The wisdom of God encompasses a far different realm. As Paul expressed it, His wisdom is so far above ours, there is no rational comparison: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25 nasb). Paul was speaking in figurative terms to say that if there were anything about God’s thinking that could be called foolishness, even that would be superior to our highest wisdom.

Jerry Bridges explains the significance of God’s wisdom to our faith in his book Trusting God:

When we stop and think about it, we know in our heart of hearts that God does not make any mistakes in our lives … God does know what He is doing. God is infinite in His wisdom. He always knows what is best for us and what is the best way to bring about that result …

We all recognize that human wisdom at its best is fallible … All of us from time to time agonize over some important decisions, trying to determine the best course of action. But God never has to agonize over a decision … His wisdom is intuitive, infinite, and infallible … (Psalm 147:5).

Father God, Your wisdom is intuitive, infinite, and infallible. I need wisdom for my spiritual journey. On the basis of Your Word, I claim it right now![1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 332). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 13 The Comfort of God

Scripture reading: Psalm 23:1–6

Key verse: Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

As Catherine Marshall turned to leave the room where her husband, Peter, had died, a portion of the Twenty–third Psalm came to mind, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life.” Those were words she had come to love and claim throughout the years. Now she felt it was God’s personal pledge to her.

She wrote,

During the funeral preparations and all the myriad decisions to be made, it was as though I were taken over and managed. In addition, a sort of protective shield was placed over my emotions. Somehow for those days I was lifted into a higher realm …

Then about eight days after Peter’s death, suddenly that higher realm in which I had been so lovingly enveloped was gone, and I plummeted to earth to stand again on feet of clay in the valley where salt tears and loneliness and the fear of coping alone with the problems of everyday life are all too real …

There is another side to God’s comfort for His ways are never man’s ways. It is not the feather-cushion kind or pat on the cheek … It does not tiptoe into the chamber of grief with its shuttered windows: it marches in. There is steel at its backbone. It is a bugle call for reinforcements … God comforts us with strength by adding resources. His way is not to whittle down the problem but to build up our ability to cope with it.

I praise You for Your comfort, Lord, which consoles me in times of need. Thank You for giving me the ability to face every adversity in Your strength.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 332). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.