Category Archives: Charles Stanley

July 23 God’s Plan and Power

scripture reading: 1 Samuel 3:1–21
key verse: 1 Samuel 3:10

Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

You have probably known people who insist on serving God on their own terms. Before they even ask God in prayer what He wants them to do, they already have their plans mapped out. Before long, otherwise good and noble projects go wrong, and they don’t understand why. Charging ahead without seeking the Lord’s will, or ignoring His counsel, almost always brings negative consequences.

Hophni and Phinehas performed worship ceremonies in the temple according to their own wishes. Because they were more concerned about having relationships with the temple women and getting the best pieces from the sacrifices, God eventually allowed them to be killed.

Samuel, however, learned how to listen to God’s voice and how to respond. Just as Eli had told him, when Samuel heard God’s call in the night, he answered, “Speak, for Thy servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10 nasb). Samuel was ready to hear and obey whatever his Master told him; he waited for the Lord’s command.

Do you seek God’s instruction, or do you try to do His work in your own strength? For whatever He asks you to do, He provides the plan and the power to accomplish it. God’s work done God’s way means sure success.

Heavenly Father, I want to do Your work in Your way. Show me Your plan, then give me the power to accomplish it.[1]

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

July 22 Conversion Confusion

Scripture reading: 1 John 5:10–15

Key verse: 1 John 5:12

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

When John wrote of the “life” in today’s key verse, he referred to eternal life. He narrowed its conditions to the simplest terms: the person who “has” the Son has eternal life. You cannot “have” the Son unless you ask for Him, unless you receive Him, can you?

God’s people often question their salvation. This is needless worry amid Satan’s psychological mind games. The enemy wants you to be so consumed with your doubts that you focus not on God but on yourself. You can become paralyzed either by fear (of God or of not measuring up) or by overload. A person who doubts his salvation often will try to work his way to righteousness or salvation, an impossible task similar to worldly religions bowing to something man-made.

John assured you that you can know you have eternal life. There is one way, and that is to trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died on the Cross for your sins. You are trusting in a person, not an idea or philosophy. If you have recognized that you are a sinner and that Jesus is the Son of God, and if you have asked His forgiveness and His entrance into your heart, then you are saved.

God, thank You for Your life that flows into me and enables me to grow spiritually.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 213). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 22 Dealing with Temptation

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:11–13

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a blazing forest fire. Flames leap from above, rise from below, and dance back and forth on all sides. You are scared, breathless, and certain that all is lost. Then you notice a clear, fire-free path that leads from where you are standing to a spot out of harm’s way. What do you do? Well, you run like crazy down the safe path, of course!

How would you respond to someone who says, “You know, I’d rather just jump headlong into the fire and see what happens”? We would not be able to understand! Why on earth would someone choose to run toward danger and refuse to take advantage of a clear way of escape?

When we face temptation, it is like standing in the middle of a forest fire. Danger beckons from all sides, inviting us to jump into the fray. The problem, though, is that the fire looks inviting in these situations. Not only does the danger seem moot, but it actually appears to be a source of joy.

Joy never results from giving into temptation. Surrendering to the tempter only brings heartache and sin. Fortunately, God has promised that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; He always provides a way of escape. If you would run from fire, then it is only reasonable that you would flee from temptation; the only difference between the two is that temptation is more dangerous.

Lord, Your truth has shown me that yielding to temptation is like willingly running into a forest fire. Give me the strength to turn my back on those things that tempt me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 213). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 22 Unforgiveness

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14–19

Key Verse: 1 John 2:10

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

The path to freedom from an unforgiving spirit runs straight through the cross of Christ. When He died, forgiveness for man’s sins—all of them—was provided.

When we receive Jesus through faith, we no longer should hold grudges or seethe over injustices. Christ Jesus has forgiven us. We are called to extend His forgiveness—even to our enemies. We did nothing to earn our forgiveness. Then we cannot make others earn our forgiveness, which may be the tool used by Jesus Christ to demonstrate His unconditional love to believer and nonbeliever alike.

Because of the Cross and Christ’s presence in your life through the Holy Spirit, you have the supernatural capacity to extend His forgiveness. As a new creation in Christ, you are not a prisoner to your old habits of revenge and retaliation. Christ in you is your hope (Col. 1:27).

The love of God will not allow you to keep bitterness and resentment in your heart and still enjoy His fellowship. Now is the time to boldly forgive the one who has hurt you, not in your power but in the full forgiveness provided by the Lord Jesus Christ for every person at Calvary.

Lay your burden down. Let God’s love flow through you, and then watch Him work.

Almighty God, thank You for forgiving me. Now give me the supernatural ability to extend forgiveness to those who hurt me. Let Your love flow through me to others.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 213). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 22 A Heavenly Perspective

Scripture reading: Matthew 14:28–31

Key verse: Matthew 21:21

Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.”

No one would deny the fact that faith is a battle. And at times we may feel as though we step forward to trust the Lord, only to stumble back several steps. As thoughts of doubt flood our minds, we wonder: What if _____ happens? What if God doesn’t do what He promised? Can I trust God even when I don’t feel that He is close to me?”

That was exactly where Peter found himself as he began to walk to Jesus across the stormy surface of the Sea of Galilee. As long as Peter’s gaze was on the Lord, the waves and the wind meant nothing to him.

However, the moment he thought of the magnitude of the storm, he began to doubt and sink. We encourage fear and disbelief when we interpret a situation in light of our own knowledge and without regard to God’s ability. What could have been a great moment of faith turned life-threatening as Peter caved in to thoughts of fear.

Another action that leads to increased anxiety is seeking the approval of others. A friend’s counsel is fine, but first make sure you know God’s will for your life. Many times another’s point of view will not line up with God’s. A heavenly perspective always leads to victory! All doubt is earmarked with discouraging lies of Satan. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Seek His will for your life through the light of His Word (Ps. 119:105).

Help me keep my eyes on You, Jesus, when faith is a battle. Give me the heavenly perspective that leads to victory.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 213). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 22 Committed to the Task

scripture reading: Luke 9:57–62
key verse: Luke 9:62

Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus was committed to the Father’s mission, even to the point of death. If you plan to answer the call of Christ, you must be committed to His mission.

Lack of commitment may cause you to waver, become fearful, and eventually quit. Peter sank while walking on the water because he took his eyes off the Savior and became consumed with his surroundings.

Jesus told His disciples that no one who puts his hands to the plow and then looks back at what might have been is fit for the kingdom of God. Commitment is everything to Him. If you are not fully committed to Christ, you will never be committed to His mission.

Many people fail to answer God’s call because the commitment seems too great—the requirements too stiff. You may never understand God’s motive in calling you to a certain task, but you can be sure He has a purpose and a wonderful plan in store for you. Obedience is always the prelude to blessing.

Jesus was and still is fully committed to you. Are you committed to Him and His call? If so, praise Him for His work in your life, and then ask Him to give you wisdom and insight into your personal mission.

O God, make me committed to You with the same level of commitment You have toward me. Raise me up in Your strength to fulfill my personal mission in this world.[1]

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

July 21 Expect the Unexpected

Scripture reading: 2 Kings 3:10–18

Key verse: 2 Kings 3:18

This is but a trivial thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand.

Go forward!

As we step out without any sign or sound—not a wave or splash wetting our feet as we take the first step—we shall see the sea divide and the pathway open through the very midst of the waters.

If we have seen the miraculous workings of God in some extraordinary providential deliverance, I am sure the thing that has impressed us most has been the quietness with which it was done, the absence of everything spectacular and sensational, and the utter sense of nothingness that came to us as we stood in the presence of this mighty God and felt how easy it was for Him to do it all without the faintest effort on His part or the slightest help on ours. It is not the part of faith to question, but to obey.

Are you craving a fresh encounter with God? Then expect the unexpected. God has the answer to your heart’s deepest request.

  1. B. Simpson identifies the great victory of faith:

Our unbelief is always wanting some outward sign. The religion of many is largely sensational, and they are not satisfied of its genuineness without manifestations, etc.; but the greatest triumph of faith is to be still and know that He is God.

The great victory of faith is to stand before some impassable Red Sea, and hear the Master say, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”

God, You are the answer to my heart’s deepest requests. I expect the unexpected today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 212). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 21 The Struggle with Temptation

Scripture Reading: Luke 4:1–13

Key Verses: Luke 4:1–2

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

Everyone faces temptation. Even the Son of God was tempted by Satan to turn away from God. But Jesus saw through the enemy’s schemes and remained firm in His love and devotion to the Father (Luke 4:1–13).

One of the reasons Jesus came was to personally identify with our needs and struggles. He understands how you feel under the weight of temptation. He has faced the tempter and overcome the darkness and adversity associated with Satan’s fiery trials.

When you face temptation, know that you do not face it alone. Jesus is with you, and He provides the strength you need to say no to every dark thought or evil imagination. In times of temptation, when the enemy whispers lies to defeat and discourage, take your stand against him by clothing yourself in the mighty armor of God (Ephesians 6). Also know that you can never disappoint God. He knows exactly what you are doing even before you do it, and He loves you still.

Temptation is not a sin. Sin is the result of our acting on the temptation. God provides the strength we need to steer clear of temptation. You can say no to all evil because Jesus lives in you, and He has given you the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and knowledge. Therefore, take your stand as a child of God and claim His strength and victory!

Father, I know temptation is common to all. Give me the strength to steer clear of temptation and reject evil.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 212). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 21 Greed

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 11:24–26

Key Verse: James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

What drove the two biggest business deals of the late eighties—the $25 billion takeover fight for RJR Nabisco and the $14 billion merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications? Was it the conviction that bigger is better? Was it the search for corporate “synergies”? On paper, maybe. But three telling new accounts make it clear that the real moving forces were raw ego, greed, and ambition.

Such is the way Time magazine described the driving force of greed in our culture.

From corporate takeovers to individual ambitions, greed is a prime motivation for millions. We want more than we have; we want it now.

Clearly the Christian must move countercurrent to the prevailing tide of greed when it comes to a generous spirit. Generosity does not flow from educational, governmental, or financial systems. The polluted power of sin within each of us prevents generosity from naturally coming forth from us.

Generosity is a godly quality because God is the Author of cheerful giving (2 Cor. 9:7). Do you feel stingy? Are you slow to help others? Only a deliberate step of submission to the Lord Jesus Christ with a humble request for a giving heart can begin the blessings of a generous spirit.

Dear heavenly Father, deliver me from greed. Make me a cheerful giver. Bless me with a generous spirit.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 212). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 21 Perfect Faith

Scripture reading: Matthew 14:22–27

Key verse: Matthew 14:27

Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Just as Peter did, we spend a good portion of our lives learning to live by faith. Peter was certain that he had unwavering faith in Christ. However, it was about to be tested. In the middle of a severe storm on the open Sea of Galilee, the disciples tried not to become overwhelmed with fear. They struggled furiously with the sails and longed for Jesus’ help. But He was not with them on the trip, or at least that was what they perceived.

Suddenly, something caught their attention. An image that appeared to be a ghost was walking toward them on the water’s raging surface. It was Jesus, but their frantic minds did not recognize Him.

They cried out in despair. Jesus, sensing their anguish called back, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matt. 14:27). Peter exhibited real faith as he stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus.

It wasn’t until he was a distance away from the boat that his faith began to crumble. The stormy swells and the winds created a curtain of doubt in Peter’s mind. His attention shifted from the Lord to the storm, and he began to sink. Perfect faith is set on Christ. It does not waver. And the person who exhibits it will never sink, not because of his ability or strength, but because of God’s faithfulness.

Perfect my faith, Lord. Give me a faith that does not waver. Give me a faith that is securely grounded in Your faithfulness.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 212). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 21 So Send I You

scripture reading: John 20:19–23
key verse: John 20:21

Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

God gave Jesus a very clear mission—to seek and to save those separated from Him by sin. It was the same mission Christ gave His disciples, and it is the one He gives us today.

Many people spend a lifetime trying to understand their calling, but God’s call is clear. We are to be missionaries of His love and grace to a world bound by sin and shame.

When you accepted Christ’s death as payment for your sins, you also accepted the Father’s call—to tell others of His forgiveness. It may take you across the country, around the world, or across the office or neighborhood.

The mission and its message are clear—freedom from the penalty, power, and presence of sin for all who place their trust in Jesus Christ. Christ never calls you to fulfill His mission in your own strength. As the Father sent Jesus with a clear understanding of His purpose and power, He sends you with the same understanding.

Lack of knowledge of the gospel is the greatest hindrance to God’s mission. Ask Christ to give you a love for His Word that comes from the Holy Spirit. The insight you gain will serve as a beacon of hope not only to you but also to those the Father brings your way. May you know the wonder of His call today.

Heavenly Father, give me a clear understanding of Your purpose and power. Whether it is around the world or across the street, I want to fulfill Your mission.[1]

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

July 20 Binding Behavior

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:33–40

Key verse: Psalm 119:35

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,

For I delight in it.

Here’s how to handle a binding behavior:

Identify the problem behavior. Be honest with yourself or ask a trusted friend to be honest with you. Denying there’s a problem prevents you from experiencing true victory and hope.

Take responsibility for your behavior. No matter how small or large the behavior may seem, admit that it exists and you are responsible for its continued presence.

Trace it back to the source. Ask God to help you remember when you were programmed to feel or act a certain way. Low self-esteem, feelings of rejection, and helplessness all have beginning points. And all these behaviors lead to other habits that weaken your self-concept.

Forgive yourself and forgive others who have hurt you. Forgiveness does not mean the person who hurt you can walk away without being punished. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself so that you can experience freedom from bitterness and resentment. Harboring angry feelings can lead to physical and emotional health problems. God tells us that vengeance belongs to Him. Let the Lord have your hurt and pain, and He will take care of the situation.

Renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. You will discover that God loves you more than you can imagine. You also will receive needed strength and hope.

Lord, forgive me and help me to forgive others who have hurt me. Help me to take responsibility for my behavior and make things right.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 211). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 20 Finding Your Focus

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:9–21

Key Verse: 1 Timothy 6:17

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Admiral Arthur Radford once wrote, “In the Bible, and particularly in Jesus’ spiritual concepts of God and man, all men can find the key to victory, not only one evil system, but in the greater crusade against all falsehood. Mankind, however, appears to come slowly to the realization that freedom is not won and held solely by material means.”

Think about the truth of that statement in your own life. You have the key to victory, to ultimate freedom and triumph over all falsehood. Are you clinging to the hope of some material means to open the gates of freedom for you?

If you are, 1 Timothy 6:17 has a word for you: make sure that nothing becomes a stumbling block for you. True freedom comes when you fix the focus of your heart on Christ alone. Wealth, power, intelligence, beauty, status, politics, or even religious piety can lead quickly to bondage, especially when we desire these more than we desire Christ.

Turn to God and accept His principles for true freedom. He will faithfully supply all of your needs and give you victory over your trials. You will be truly free when all of your joy comes from Him.

Lord, I am so easily drawn to material things and temporal values that don’t last. Keep my mind fixed on You so that I may enjoy Your eternal riches.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 211). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 20 Peer Pressure

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1–3

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:9

We make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

We usually think of peer pressure affecting teens, but adults are just as influenced by the actions, dress, and customs of their associates. Fearful of rejection, we seldom venture beyond accepted norms. Seeking the approval of others is a tremendous motivating factor that influences even committed believers.

We should not think of this attitude as being strange. God tells us in the Bible not to be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2).

Each day you must trust the Lord to keep you from being shaped by the world’s financial, moral, and relational standards. The battle against such conformity can be won only when you truly seek to please God more than you seek to please others.

Pleasing the Lord should be the fervent ambition of every Christian. Pleasing Him means trusting the Holy Spirit to enable us to follow the Word of God as our authority and our guide in every part of living. Pleasing the Lord means obeying Him at any cost—even if it means experiencing the disapproval of others.

Make pleasing God your priority. When you do, you will find yourself conformed to His image, not conformed to the warped image of the world’s empty and vain standards.

Precious Lord, I do not want my life to be shaped by the financial, moral, and relational standards of this world. I want to please You. I trust Your Holy Spirit to enable me to conform to Your Word in every area of my life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 211). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 20 Faith for Today

Scripture reading: John 14:12–14

Key verse: Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In an emotionally taxing time, has someone ever told you to just “have faith”? It sounds like good advice, but the meaning is hazy. In her book Glorious Intruder, Joni Eareckson Tada talks about her struggle to come to grips with the real meaning of faith:

“Have faith, Joni … one day it will all be better.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard words like those from sad-faced friends who clung to the guardrail of my hospital bed when I was first injured.

… If being a woman of faith meant sitting around in my wheelchair longing for pie in the sky, I wanted no part of it. What a colossal misunderstanding!

Faith, as the Bible defines it, is present-tense action. It’s taking God’s promises and acting on them today. This “right now” way of looking at God’s assurances is the stuff of which great people of faith are made … To them, faith is pulled out of the abstract, out of the nebulous nowhere, out of the syrupy twilight, and lived with concrete certainty in the here and now.

Somewhere along the line I realized that. On some dark night in a sterile room the words of Hebrews 11:1 began to seep through my stubborn defenses. I began to realize that faith means being sure of what we hope for now. It means knowing that something is real, this moment, all around you, even when you don’t see it.

Lord, give me a faith that is sure of what I hope for. Give me faith that is real, even when I don’t understand.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 211). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 20 Essentials of a Fruitful Witness

scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1–5
key verse: Isaiah 66:2

“For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.”

Humility is the key to an effective witness for Jesus Christ. No one knew that any better than the apostle Paul. With an educational background that rivaled the philosophers of his day, Paul said when it came to the things of God his knowledge was as nothing.

You may think that you can dazzle a person into God’s kingdom with your Bible knowledge and memorized verses. However, if you fail to have a humble spirit, God cannot bless your efforts.

People need to see Jesus Christ—not a perfect saint, but a Christian who has been saved by His grace and who wants to share a humble testimony with others. If you will open yourself up to be used of God for His witness, in His way, you will be surprised at the opportunities He will bring to you.

Ask Him to give you basic tools from His Word. Lean on Him to provide the strength to overcome any fear the enemy may use to prevent you from telling others of His love.

There is only one message the world needs to hear: Jesus Christ our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, Jesus Christ our life, Jesus Christ our sufficiency for all things.

May He lead you in your witness for Him today.

O God, the world needs Your message. Help me overcome my fear, my shyness, and my apprehension. Let me be Your witness.[1]

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

July 19 Handling Habits

Scripture reading: Romans 8:14–17

Key verse: Romans 8:17

And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Every believer has the power through the Holy Spirit to be set free from habits that bind. When we think of behaviors that bind us and keep us from being all that God designed us to be, we often rush to the obvious thought of bad habits. But any “bad” habit is only a result of a deeper unbelief. Usually people become involved with damaging activities because there are unmet basic needs in their lives.

These could be as basic as a need to be loved or accepted. Many of yesterday’s children have faced rejection. As adults, they desperately seek ways to gain attention and be loved. Often these ways lead to destruction.

Each of us has a belief system that was built into us during childhood. It affects the way we view and respond to life. While a lack of positive affirmation in the childhood years can be a catalyst for low self-esteem and frustration, it does not have to lead to personal failure or a sense of hopelessness.

There is nothing eternal about our earthly grid system. The only thing that matters is what God says about our lives. And He has stated that He has a plan and a hope for each of us.

You can handle the habits in your life that bind you away from the truth of God by learning more about His personal love and devotion toward you. You are His child, a joint heir with Christ. Nothing bears more potential than this truth.

Lord, free me from every habit that would inhibit my spiritual growth.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 210). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 19 Free to Enjoy God

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:1–8

Key Verse: 1 Timothy 6:1

Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.

Paul understood being imprisoned. He knew what it was like to be under someone else’s command and subject to another person’s will: demoralizing and laborious. However, in 1 Timothy 6:1, Paul admonished all slaves to honor their masters in order to honor God.

This may be a difficult principle for you, especially if there is an authority in your life who is treating you unfairly, dishonestly, or cruelly. Though you wish to obey God, your adverse feelings toward the party in question get in the way.

Paul understood this, but he also realized that the only true freedom is through Christ. It is exercised by representing Christ’s love to others. Whittaker Chambers explains, “Freedom is a need of the soul, and nothing else. It is in striving toward God that the soul strives continually after a condition of freedom. God alone is the inciter and guarantor of freedom.”

Being free of the authority over you will not make you free, because your inherent need for freedom is that which only God can meet. Trust Him to make you free no matter what your circumstances. You represent Christ best when you show His love to all, regardless of how they treat you.

Father, there are times when I cannot abide the unkindness of people in authority over me. Thank You that I am not owned by earthly circumstances. You have set my spirit free.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 210). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 19 Anger

Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:5–8

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:26

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.

For most people, anger is not premeditated. We usually find our emotions erupting over unexpected incidents. The emotion of anger is not a sin; but left unchecked, it can mushroom quickly into sinful behavior. You can “be angry [and] not sin” (Eph. 4:26) when you follow these guidelines:

Do not be quick to become angry (James 1:19). If your anger triggers instantly, you have a sin problem. The Lord instructs us to be patient when wronged and long-suffering when abused (1 Cor. 13:4–5).

Do not hold on to your angry feelings. When you secretly nourish anger, you have sinned. Quickly put angry episodes behind you as you trust Christ to replace your anger with His love. Leave the results of your circumstances with sovereign God who can accomplish far more than your fury.

Do not justify your anger. Although there are occasions when anger is justified (a thug beating an elderly man on the sidewalk in front of your home), they do not occur often.

Are you handling your anger by biblical standards, or is anger handling you? If the latter is true, admit it as sin and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to remove your anger by loving through you.

Master, take control of my anger. Do not let me be quick to become angry. Help me release angry feelings and refuse to justify my anger. Let me learn to be angry and not sin.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 210). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 19 Going Against the Flow

Scripture reading: Matthew 7:24–29

Key verse: Luke 21:33

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

If you have witnessed the launching of a space shuttle from Cape Canaveral, Florida, you know that it is truly a spectacular sight. When not very high into the air, the shuttle begins a slight roll that positions it for later orbit.

Until the craft is out of the earth’s atmosphere, the shuttle is under the control of computers. The astronauts are powerless to aid or assist its climb. Once in orbit, they man the controls, check the performance of onboard computers, and assist in vital experiments. When the mission is completed, the craft reenters the earth’s gravitational pull and heads home. However, during reentry, NASA’s computers stand silent. They trace the ship; but for a brief moment in time, the shuttle is an unpowered craft that relies on its gliding ability to make a safe landing.

Often we place our trust in things that are finite, fallible, and destructible. Yet we find it difficult to place our trust in God. The Bible tells us there is one thing that will never pass away, and that is the Word of God. Men and their ideas come and go, but Jesus Christ remains the same forever.

The same God who parted the Red Sea, spoke to the prophets, and came to us in the form of a baby invites you to come into His presence. Why not go against the flow of the world by placing your trust in something that never changes and will last for an eternity?

Father, I place my trust in what is infinite, infallible, and indestructible. I place my confidence in You, Your Word, and Your Son, Jesus Christ.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 210). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.