Category Archives: Charles Stanley

May 23 A Matter to Pray About

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:11–12

Key Verse: 2 Peter 1:3

… as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him whocalled us by glory and virtue.

Have you evaluated your spiritual life lately? If you did a thorough assessment of your perspective of God, you might be surprised by what you find.

Millions of Christians have received Christ as their Savior, but still give in to the allure of sin. Faith becomes merely a habit or an accessory, rather than a heart conviction and a way of life. When pulled in two directions, such people compromise themselves because they are convinced that they can’t live the way Christ did.

There are several reasons for this kind of erroneous thinking:

  • They are probably ignorant of God’s Word and the power He gives us to live out authentic Christianity.
  • They may think that their behavior is acceptable because they see other Christians living the same way—they are looking at their friends, not at Christ.
  • Those who refuse to surrender completely to the Lord will never know the power of His Spirit to overcome sin.

If you struggle with any of these issues, remember that you are a new creation in Christ. You can draw strength from God’s divine nature, which lives in you (2 Peter 1:3). It is available for the asking.

When you pray today, ask God to extinguish your love for the world and to replace it with a love for Him and His Word. Pray for Him to fill you with His Spirit so that you can discern wisely. “You will be … like a spring of water whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11 niv).

Father, extinguish my love for the world. Replace it with a love for You and Your Word. Fill me with Your Spirit so I can discern wisely.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 150). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 23 Overcoming Power

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:14–32

Key Verse: John 14:16

I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.

Luke told the story of two people on their way to Emmaus after the Crucifixion. They were greatly dismayed and discouraged by what seemed to be the end of their dreams. They had thought Jesus would free Israel from Roman rule. Now that He was dead, all hope appeared lost until their eyes were dramatically opened by the risen Savior.

All of us have known the crushing feeling of disappointment, especially when we think God is leading us a certain way and things turn out differently. However, the death of Jesus Christ was not an ending but a wondrous beginning. His disciples as yet had not been empowered with the Spirit of God. Therefore, their spiritual perspective was limited.

No one, including the disciples, could grasp the power available to them until after pentecost had come. Only then were Christ’s followers fully clothed with power from on high.

The powerful message of the Resurrection is that God now inhabits the hearts of His people through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. The next time you feel doubtful or discouraged, remember the power God gave to you through His Son. It is overcoming power from on high—over all the power of the enemy—and it is given to every person who places faith in Jesus Christ.

Almighty God, thank You for the power of pentecost, which surges through my spirit today. I praise You for overcoming power from on high that triumphs over all the forces of the enemy.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 150). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 23 The Focus of Your Life

Scripture reading: Psalm 27:1–14

Key verse: Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the Lord!

In Psalm 27, David was in the process of rousing his faith back to the point where he could say without a doubt that “the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

However, in Psalm 26, things did not appear so bright, and David pleaded his case before the Lord. When you face doubts and fears, what do you think of? Are God’s hope and intervention realities you believe? They should be.

God answers the heartfelt cries of His people. He wants you to know and believe that He will deliver you from all trouble. And even if the trouble remains for a season, He will provide and care for you.

Your responsibility is simply this: be willing to love and worship God. Sound too simplistic? Try it for a week. Let go of arguing your point of view. Put aside resentment, self-righteousness, and any pride that have placed enmity between you and others. Then set the focus of your life and heart on Jesus Christ. Doing this may be one of the toughest things you have ever done.

But over time you will notice small irritations have vanished. The need for recognition disappears, and there is an inner peace like nothing you have felt before. Instead of nervously worrying about tomorrow, you realize that God is the Captain of your soul. You can wait for God’s blessing just as David did because you have tasted His goodness.

Thank You for the inner peace that comes in Your presence, Lord. Help me to keep my focus on You instead of worrying about the future.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 150). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 23 A Tool of the Tempter

scripture reading: Matthew 18:6–14
key verse: Matthew 18:6

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

No one likes to feel used by another person. Yet when we cause other believers to stumble in their Christian walk, we have unwittingly become tools of the tempter. When we spread gossip in the office, dress immodestly, speak coarsely, or allow questionable television programs in our homes, we can be the tempter’s agents. Suppose you were asked: “Do you want to be used by Satan?” Surely your answer would be an adamant “No!”

Our wily adversary, however, has no qualms about using our sins and wayward habits to delude and deceive other Christians. While each of us is responsible for the response to temptation, we can avoid any compliance with the deceiver’s tactics as we understand a crucial truth: each Christian is part of Christ’s body. Our actions are never in isolation. For good or evil, our behavior affects the health and vitality of other believers.

Therefore, it is for your well–being as well as the rest of the body of Christ that you live obediently. God desires that you be a blessing to others, not a curse. Let your love for believers keep you and them from temptation.

Heavenly Father, as part of the body of Christ, I realize my actions are not in isolation. Let me be a blessing and not a curse to others. Don’t let me lead others into temptation.[1]

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

May 22 It Begins with Access

Scripture reading: Ephesians 3:11–12

Key verse: Psalm 34:15

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

And His ears are open to their cry.

How confident are you in your prayer life? Is it a vague spiritual realm where you are unsure? Is it merely a rote spiritual exercise you perform because the Bible teaches its importance?

This is certainly not the mind-set or spiritual atmosphere that God intended for prayer. He designed prayer so we might experience His reality, power, and care for our lives.

We often lack confidence because we do not understand some of God’s basic principles of prayer. It all begins with access (Eph. 3:11–12). Through faith in Christ, you are in His presence and can boldly bring Him your petitions. Through this access to God’s very throne, you can be confident He hears your prayers, every one of them. Not one falls on deaf ears.

If you have habitually sinned, God’s kindness can bring you to repentance. God’s forgiveness cleanses you from sin’s guilt. You are holy and righteous in His eyes, even when your behavior is unholy and unrighteous.

Your conduct does not alter your access, though it may hinder your communion. Since you have such fearless access through Christ, you can confidently pray with the assurance that God has heard your plea.

Heavenly Father, I praise You that through Christ I can confidently pray with the assurance that You have heard my plea.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 149). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 22 Requirements for Answered Prayer

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:1–18

Key Verse: Psalm 66:18

If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.

Is there something in your life that you have prayed for repeatedly? Perhaps your prayers are for a mended relationship, a job offer, or healing. Whatever your need may be, the Bible provides us with five requirements for answered prayer.

  1. Complete dependence on Christ as the only grounds upon which we can claim blessing (John 14:13–14). We cannot rely on our personal merit for answered prayer. Instead, we must trust in Jesus alone.
  2. Separation from all known sin (Psalm 66:18). If we continue in sin, God will not answer our prayers. To do so would be to condone our sinfulness.
  3. Faith in God’s word of promise (Hebrews 11:6). It is important to understand the difference between God’s unconditional and conditional promises, and which ones are affected by our obedience.
  4. Asking in accordance with His will (1 John 5). We must pray in God’s will for our prayers to be answered. To know His heart, we must consult His Word and pray.
  5. Persistence in our request (Luke 18:1–8). God wants us to continue in prayer until our request is answered or until He says, “I have something better.” God is willing to answer our prayers, and He asks us to come boldly before the throne.

Cleanse my heart, Lord, of wrongdoing, so that I can surrender to Your will in prayer and depend completely on Your grace.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 149). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 22 Your Family’s Defense

Scripture Reading: Psalm 140:1–8

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

You don’t fight real wars with popguns, and you don’t fight the devil with mere determination or resolve. God provides our families’ defense against Satan. If we are to succeed, we must take up His weapons.

Pray for each member of your family every day. Ask God to surround each one with His supernatural hedge of protection against the tactics of the evil one. Call out their names before God, thanking Him that they are inscribed on the palm of His hand.

Especially pray the Word of God. Find Scriptures that pertain to your particular problems, and pray those Scriptures to God. It is the truth of God, and the truth always defeats the lies of Satan.

Resist the devil in the name of Jesus. Through your union with Christ, you have been given victory over the enemy. Jesus defeated Satan through His sinless life, His atoning death, and His triumphant resurrection. Satan is a vanquished foe. Though he still puts up a vicious fight, you can overcome him through the power of Jesus Christ.

Rebuke the devil in Christ’s name, command him to flee, and stand firm. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your family members and leave no room for the devil to set up shop.

Dear heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, I rebuke the power of the enemy over my family and command him to flee! Holy Spirit, fill each member of my family so that there is no room for Satan to operate.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 149). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 22 A Taste of Heaven

Scripture reading: Revelation 21:1–8

Key verse: Revelation 7:11

All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.

Some dear saints long for a glimpse of heaven. The apostle John had this very experience. Momentarily, God allowed John to taste the goodness of His heavenly presence while remaining on earth. What an honor for a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Heaven is a place of worship and praise. The overwhelming scene that opened before John’s eyes was one of true glory. John wrote: “When I saw [Jesus], I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’ ” (Rev. 1:17–18).

The emotion that swept through John as he saw the risen Savior and Lord was one of awesome fear and worship. It was not fear as we experience it in everyday life. Instead, it was a reverent fear that recognized the power and strength of almighty God.

When you are called to stand in God’s presence, life on earth and all its troubles will seem small and insignificant. There will be only one issue at hand—the need to bow down and worship the Savior.

You can enjoy a taste of heavenly worship here and now. Enter God’s presence with a grateful heart as you meditate on the goodness of His affections toward you.

Thank You for Your goodness to me, Lord. As I enter into Your presence to worship today, give me a taste of what awaits me in heaven.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 149). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 22 Overcoming Sexual Temptation

scripture reading: Genesis 39
key verses: Genesis 39:9, 12

“There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” … She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.

“Just say no” is a familiar echo in the war on drugs, but it has done little to reduce narcotic use. It does not work with sexual temptation either.

God warns you in the Scriptures that you cannot handle sexual temptation with mere determination or self–discipline. Rather, He provides two clear principles of defense against sensual onslaught.

The first principle is preventive: express daily devotion to Jesus Christ. You cannot simply say no. That leaves a vacuum. For the Christian, that void is always filled with an affirmative yes to Jesus Christ: “Yes, Lord, I do love You and want to follow You. I do realize my frailty and ask You to deliver me from temptation. I am committed to You.” This everyday exercise takes up the shield of faith and withstands Satan’s ploys.

The second principle is simple: flee temptation and avoid the source. Joseph did. You must do the same. Do not go out to lunch with your secretary. Do not meet your boss for a late night meeting. Do not visit a local hangout.

Joseph loved God too much to sin against Him (Gen. 39:9). He also fled at the peak of temptation. Both principles still work.

I love You, Lord. I want to follow You. I realize my frailty and ask You to deliver me from temptation. Help me avoid its source because of my love for You.[1]

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

May 21 The Fear of the Lord

Scripture reading: Psalm 113

Key verse: Psalm 112:1

Praise the Lord!

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

Who delights greatly in His commandments.

The word fear in the Bible has a double meaning. The fear of the Lord mentioned in the Old Testament leads to reverence and is the evidence of our worship and reliance on God. The second type of fear is emotional and can come as a result of real or imagined danger.

The fear that God wants us to experience as believers leads to worship and admiration of Him. It is a fear based on love, not terror. When Moses approached God, he did so in humility, honor, and worship. The sacred awe he felt was powerful and very real because he stood in the presence of the Lord God almighty.

The fear of the Lord that resided in the heart of Moses was a sign of the bonding that had taken place between him and God. However, this kind of fear did not render him useless before God; it motivated him to step out in faith and put his entire trust in the unseen and unshakable things of the Lord.

Until we fear God with a holy reverence, we will never experience the fullness of His glory and grace in our lives. When you learn to trust Jesus with your entire life, you will find, as Moses did, you have learned to fear Him with a holy reverence that obeys His simplest command.

Teach me to fear You, Lord. Motivate me to step out in faith and put my entire trust in You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21 Have You Talked to God?

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105:1–5

Key Verse: Psalm 105:1

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

When problems face us, we frequently try to figure out the solution ourselves. If we can patch it up, glue it down, or tape it on, we attempt to do so. Other times, we’ll call someone to ask for a solution, but we are actually seeking sympathy and support to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes what we really need is for somebody to say, “Well, I appreciate you calling me, but have you talked to God about it? Have you prayed?”

Solving problems should begin with seeking the Lord before there is a crisis. In times of peace, we will experience the joy and contentedness that comes from worshiping God, reading His Word, and communicating with Him. When we set our hearts toward the Lord, our faith is strengthened, and we develop godly habits that sustain us through trials. We will awaken each morning thinking about God and talking to Him. We will ask God throughout the day about His plans for us and will act accordingly. Prayer will become our customary response.

Then, whenever we face any kind of problem, our first thought will be, “Father.” In that one word, we acknowledge our relationship with Him, our awareness of His presence, and our dependence upon Him. God loves to hear His name on our lips, and He promises to respond to the prayer that follows.

But what if you are presently in the midst of trouble but haven’t been seeking Him consistently? Begin now by humbly confessing this to God. Receive His forgiveness and then take every situation to Him in prayer.

Father, forgive me for trying to solve my problems without first seeking Your wisdom. Write Your name on my lips so that I may call on You first.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21 The Warfare of Prayer

Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:22–30

Key Verse: Psalm 143:8

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.

Why do we so easily neglect prayer? Why do we so often seek solutions in our own strength and resources instead of quickly turning to God in prayer?

True, our flesh is weak; but there is another reason why our prayer life can be ineffective or sporadic: we have an archenemy, the devil, who constantly works to keep us off our knees. Why? Our adversary—and he is exactly that—knows that victory comes as we seek and trust God in personal prayer.

Satan craftily gets us too busy to pray. He deceives us into thinking that life is lived only on the physical plane. As a believer, you are preeminently a spiritual being, indwelt by the Spirit of God. Therefore, you have a spiritual enemy—Satan—and to defeat him, you must employ spiritual weapons.

No weapon is mightier than prayer. That is where the battle is fought and won. When we turn to God and trust Him, we have placed the matter squarely in the hands of the One who has soundly defeated the devil and who leads in His sure triumph.

Your enemy is too strong for you, but not for your risen and ascended Lord. Come to Him in prayer, and watch Him win the battles that you could not achieve in your own strength.

Precious Lord, the enemy is too strong for me, but You are greater than all his powers. Please fight my battles. I cannot win in my own strength.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21 Marching into Battle

Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1–19

Key verse: 2 Chronicles 20:17

You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

The massive enemy army was coming. We can only imagine how news traveled in Jehoshaphat’s day—by messenger on foot or by rider on horseback. One day life was normal, filled with regular activity. The next day the nation of Judah awoke to news of enemy invasion.

Reports of the threat spread quickly, igniting feelings of panic. Even King Jehoshaphat became fearful, but he also recognized that no enemy was stronger than the Lord God.

He immediately proclaimed a fast, and then he called the people together to pray. The Lord’s Spirit filled the temple area where the people were praying and spoke through the prophet Jahaziel: “Listen, all you of Judah … Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s … Position yourselves … and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you’ ” (2 Chron. 20:15–17).

God instructed Jehoshaphat to place the choir in front of the people as they marched into battle. What an act of faith by Jehoshaphat!

Can you do what Judah did—march into battle singing? They heard the word of the Lord and understood that the victory was theirs. All they were called to do was to watch, pray, and praise. When we praise Him, God works in miraculous ways!

Lord, as I march into the battles of this day, I praise You! The victory is mine![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21 A Passionate Temptation

scripture reading: Judges 16:1–22
key verse: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Perhaps the most passionate, potent temptation of all is sexual allure. Even the strongest–willed men and women are overcome by its illicit attraction. Even the best marriages are destroyed by adulterous relationships.

One reason is the enormous emphasis our society places on sexuality. Sensuality permeates our entire culture, titillating us through television, magazines, books, and fashion.

Sexual temptation is also extremely pleasurable to contemplate. Here, more than anywhere else perhaps, Satan disguises his mischief as an angel of light, concealing its dark consequences.

But a more basic reason is the natural, God–given desire for physical relationships. Sex is God’s idea but only within the bounds of marriage. Thus, Satan takes a legitimate desire for sexual fulfillment, seeking to twist and distort it, and deceives us through the illegitimate means of adultery, fornication, pornography, and other forms of sexual abuse.

The fierce struggle is to enjoy your sexuality as God intends while resisting Satan’s alluring, but devastating temptation. Be thankful that God provides a way of escape.

Heavenly Father, keep me from sexual sins. You have provided a way of escape. Let me choose it. I want to conquer my sinful passions.[1]

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

May 20 A Tool of Defense

Scripture reading: Colossians 2:1–7

Key verse: Colossians 2:7

Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

A major portion of Paul’s writings was a tool of defense against the growing infiltration of apostasy in the early church. Christianity was not the only religion of the day, but it was the only faith that offered evidence of eternal, infallible truth.

Early Christians were so eager to grow in the knowledge of Christ that they often unknowingly accepted false doctrine as truth. Acutely aware of the problem, Paul sent men like Timothy, Titus, Silas, and others to exhort and encourage struggling believers.

The cruelty of false teaching knows no limits. In Thessalonica, believers had received word from false prophets that the Rapture had already occurred. This ploy of Satan set off such a wave of disillusionment that only a letter from Paul dissipated its erroneous influence (1 Thess. 4:13–18).

Apostasy is as alive today as it was in the New Testament era. In fact, as we approach the return of Jesus Christ, it will only grow and become more shrewd in its deception. The one sure way to equip yourself against the enemy’s deception is to saturate your mind with the Word of God. No other source is the origin of eternal, unchangeable truth. Don’t be deceived! Ask God to give you His discernment for every situation you face.

Saturate my mind with Your Word, Lord. Give me discernment for every situation I face today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 147). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 20 In Times of Trial

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:1–7

Key Verse: Psalm 25:1

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

No matter whether you are saved or unsaved, you can be certain that you will face problems in life. Because we live in a fallen world, we can expect trouble. But once you become a child of God, you have the tremendous asset of a loving heavenly Father to guide you. He will strengthen you to face any problem you will encounter.

Since you do not know what the future holds, perhaps the best way to prepare for a crisis is to seek the Lord when your life is problem free. When you become accustomed to seeking God during the good times, then your first response to a problem will become, “Father …” Calling out to the Lord during both ups and downs reminds us of our position as children of God.

So many people make the mistake of deciding on a course of action before praying to discover the mind of God. Bad choices can be easily avoided by going to our heavenly Father first. We should never let anyone push us into moving forward until we have heard from God. And we can be sure that when we call upon the Lord, He will be faithful to answer.

Sometimes His answer will come in a personal revelation or through godly teaching. Or it could come in the form of advice from a Christian friend. But most often, God reveals His will to us through His Word.

Are you facing a trial? Release it to the Lord in prayer, and He will help you overcome it.

Lord, Your will is a mystery that becomes clearer when I spend time in Your presence. Help me to seek Your counsel in good times, so that I recognize it in difficult ones.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 147). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 20 Renewing Your Mind

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1–2

Key Verse: Colossians 2:15

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul addressed believers from diverse backgrounds. Many had been involved in pagan cults. They had accepted Christ as their Savior, but they still fought intense battles within their minds.

Satan’s number one target is your mind. He wants you to think negatively, feel insecure, and run from where God has placed you.

Studies show morality and hope are at an all-time low in our age. But it should be just the opposite for believers. We have everything to live for, not because of who we are, but because of whom we contain—Jesus Christ.

You renew your mind by committing yourself to thinking and viewing life from God’s perspective. More than likely, you will have to ask God to help you make this change. It may also mean cutting off Satan’s access to certain areas of your life. Run a check on all that you read, listen to, and watch on television.

Ask God to show you what needs to go. Anything that conflicts with His truth is Satan’s ploy to sidetrack you. However, the real battle for the mind is fought in the will. God will renew your thinking, but you must be willing. Choose purity over evil, truth over a lie.

Master, help me change my thinking. I want to think Your thoughts and view things from Your perspective. Reveal any area of my life where I need to cut off Satan’s access.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 147). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 20 Requirements for Praise

Scripture reading: Psalm 24:1–10

Key verse: Psalm 31:19

Oh, how great is Your goodness,

Which You have laid up for those who fear You,

Which You have prepared for those who trust in You

In the presence of the sons of men!

Before you can truly praise God for who He is and what He is doing in your life, you must have the right attitudes. Here are the requirements for praise:

  • Submission to God. When you submit your life to the Lord, you will not argue about the circumstances that He brings your way. If there is hardship, you will ask Him to take the difficulty and teach you what you need to learn from it.
  • Repentance of known sin. You cannot truly praise God for the life He has given you and live in sin at the same time. Sin builds a barrier between the Lord and you that only His forgiveness can remove.
  • A deep abiding love for the Lord.
  • No evidence of a critical spirit. Criticism of others implies that you are right and they are wrong. God is strong enough to deal with the situations that trouble you. Keep your focus on Him.
  • A willingness to take captive any thought of fear. Fear isolates and paralyzes. As God’s beloved, you have no reason to fear anyone or anything. The Lord is your strength, and He stands guard over your life.
  • A desire to keep your life Christ centered by focusing on the Lord each day. No matter what kind of storm is building, God is in control.
  • Christ-centered relationships with others. Praise is multiplied when shared with another person.

Lord, I submit my life to You today. I repent of my sin. Deliver me from a critical spirit and a spirit of fear. Help me keep my life centered on You. Set me free to worship You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 147). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 20 Your Best Defense

scripture reading: 1 Kings 11:1–4
key verse: Psalm 119:11

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

Temptation can storm your mind and heart with sudden fury, overwhelming you and leading you into the whirlwind of sin. Your best defense is to willfully brace yourself daily for its assaults, mindful that you are easily conquered when ill–prepared.

You must choose to spend time with the Father, fellowshipping with Him in prayer and feasting on His Word. This is more than mere exercise. It is life and breath, spiritual stamina. Your devotion is strengthened. Your awareness of Satan’s subtle strategies is heightened. This is the way you build truth into your life, sensitizing yourself to error and deceit. Apart from regular, concentrated time with God, you are vulnerable to temptation.

You also prepare for temptation by maximizing the rewards of obedience while minimizing the pleasures of sin. Temptation seems sweet. But it leaves a bitter aftertaste. Resisting temptation is arduous, but the fruits of obedience are lasting and fulfilling.

Prepare now for Satan’s tempting attractions. When they come, you will be ready, armed with the truth and convinced of the blessings of obedience.

Prepare me now, Lord, for the hour of temptation. Arm me with the truth. Let me be convinced of the blessings of obedience. Strengthen my devotion for tough times ahead.[1]

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

May 19 God’s Viewpoint

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 4:15–18

Key verse: 2 Corinthians 4:18

We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

While God is infinite and sees your life from beginning to end, you are definitely finite. While He certainly has the answers, you sometimes have to pray for months or years before you can comprehend your situation from God’s viewpoint.

A respected theologian once remarked: “We understand life backward, but we must live it forward.” In other words, getting God’s viewpoint for our specific situation is not always easy or simplistic. As a result, we must persevere and remain steadfast in God’s unfailing love for us and trust resolutely in Him, even when we don’t have a hint of His perspective.

Realize that God’s Word consists of eternal principles that give realistic guidelines. You may want to know whether or not to buy a certain home. God can arrange circumstances and counsel to make such a choice clear, but more often He will use scriptural principles of finance and contentment to steer you in His direction.

Understand that God’s work is done in your spirit. Circumstances will fluctuate, but God is unceasingly at work in your heart to bring about the likeness of Christ. That is His ultimate purpose.

Focus on principles and focus within. God’s viewpoint will become far more evident when you do.

Dear heavenly Father, I want Your viewpoint. Clear my spiritual vision and help me to focus on the principles of Your Word.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 146). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.