Category Archives: Charles Stanley

January 22 Fruitless Prayer

Scripture reading: Isaiah 66:1–2

Key verse: Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart—

These, O God, You will not despise.

In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, King Claudius of Denmark steps into a chapel in his castle to pray, an act to which he is unaccustomed. But his nephew, Hamlet, has murder on his mind and stands outside the door, deciding whether he will rush in and kill the king. When Hamlet hears him trying to pray, he backs down from his plan for the moment and walks away.

What Hamlet misses, however, is the ending to the king’s fruitless prayer: “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” In other words, the king realized that he was not sincere in his prayers, and that God would not honor his unrepentant heart.

God’s message to Israel through Isaiah pertains to the same issue of spiritual heart condition. God did not recognize their sacrifices because the Israelites did not offer them in true repentance, did not follow God’s laws concerning sacrifices, and continued in their lifestyles of sin.

God wanted their hearts to be truly His; He desired genuine relationship with them, and He desires the same with you. Are you holding back by refusing to admit how much you need His cleansing? When you humble yourself before the Lord, you open the door for sincere and pure fellowship.

Lord, I humble myself before You today to open the door for sincere and pure fellowship with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 22 Following God’s Counsel

Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1–7

Key Verse: Genesis 3:6

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

We serve a loving God who desires to lead His children into sound, wise decisions. However, even though we call on God for guidance and direction, we do not always follow His counsel. What can we expect when we fail to listen to Him?

Take a moment to read Genesis 3:1–7. In these verses, we find Eve faced with a conflict between what the Lord has told her and what she wants for herself. Sadly, she ultimately decides to base her decision on the words of the tempter, and as a result, sin enters the world.

This mistake demonstrates a pitfall that we often make in our day-to-day decisions: we listen to the wrong voices. In today’s passage, Eve knows very well what the Lord requires of her, yet she gives in to the allure of Satan’s offer. She weighs each option against the desires of her own heart and unfortunately chooses the one that appeals most.

When we follow similar patterns in our lives, we are in effect saying, “Thanks for Your advice, God, but I’m going to do things my way instead.” Even though we may not say these words outright, it doesn’t mean that our actions are not conveying this message. We must be careful how we respond to God’s call.

God has made Himself approachable and available. He wants us to seek His mind for our decisions. When we receive His guidance, we must then decide to heed His advice. To remain obedient to God, pray for the strength to follow His wise counsel.

Dear Lord, I thank You that You are approachable and available. Give me the strength to follow Your wise counsel.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 22 Trusting God

Scripture Reading: Genesis 39

Key Verse: Genesis 39:23

The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

People who have spent time in prison talk about the mind-numbing effects of incarceration. Days slide into days, months into months, and an inmate’s perception of time and reality may become stunted. It is easy to lose motivation or the will to live without hope, a goal, something to work toward.

Such was not the case with Joseph. If ever anyone had a reason to be bitter, it was Joseph. He did not even deserve to be in jail. Joseph could have allowed his frustration to deepen into resentment and then taken it out on his fellow prisoners and the guards. He could have made life miserable. Instead, Joseph chose to trust God:

But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. And the chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper. (Gen. 39:21–23 nasb)

Joseph understood that God’s plans for him extended beyond the negatives of the here and now; in faith he could look past the present pain, and as a result, God turned his circumstances into a beautiful testimony of His love and provision.

I trust You, Master! By faith, I look beyond the past and present into the tremendous future You have planned for me. Turn my negative circumstances into a testimony of Your love and provision.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 22 Enjoying God

Scripture reading: Jeremiah 32:39–41

Key verse: Deuteronomy 30:9

The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers.

The Shorter Catechism encapsulates the Christian’s purpose in this terse statement: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Most committed followers of Christ passionately seek to honor Him. Fewer, however, really know how to enjoy God. Perhaps this is due in part to the misunderstanding of how God feels about you. He takes great pleasure in you.

John Piper writes in The Pleasure of God: “God is rejoicing over my good with all His heart and with all His soul. He virtually breaks forth into song when He hits upon a new way to do me good.”

Piper continues:

But the promise is greater yet. Not only does God promise not to run away from doing good to us, He says, “I will rejoice in doing them good” (Jeremiah 32:41). “The Lord will again take delight in prospering you” (Deuteronomy 30:9). There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to Him. He seeks us out, because it is His pleasure to do us good.

God is not waiting for us, He is pursuing us … I have never forgotten how a great teacher once explained it to me. He said God is like a highway patrolman pursuing you down the interstate with lights flashing and siren blaring to get you to stop—not to give you a ticket, but to give you a message so good it couldn’t wait till you get home.

Set me free to enjoy You, dear Lord. Thank You for Your goodness and the blessings You bestow upon me each day.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 22 Begin Again with God

scripture reading: Matthew 11:28–29
key verse: Isaiah 30:21

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is one of North America’s most exciting adventures. The trail stretches from Maine’s Mount Katahdin to Georgia’s Springer Mountain and offers breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and a chance to experience the peace and solitude of nature.

Since 1984, the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC), a group of volunteers and fellow hikers, has maintained the trail. These people work all year to keep it free of debris and dangerous obstructions. However, the ATC is not responsible for unauthorized footpaths leading to or from the trail. If you want to enjoy the trail, ATC volunteers will tell you to practice safety and purchase official Appalachian Trail maps. Following unmarked trails can be disastrous.

A sad fact is that many of us do this very thing in life. We purchase fraudulent maps and take unmarked routes that lead us far from God’s plan. Instead of reaping a reward of peace and safety, we stumble into dangerous ravines.

However, it’s never too late to begin again with God. If you think you have taken the wrong trail, ask God to show you the way. Commit yourself to following His map from this point on, and He will lead you along a safe, sure path.

O God, how often I have strayed spiritually into unmarked territory. Forgive me. Show me the right way. I want to follow Your map from this point on.[1]

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

January 21 God Is Good

Scripture reading: Romans 8:35–39

Key verse: Psalm 33:5

He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Here is the truth about God’s goodness: it always seeks to encourage and lift up rather than tear down or condemn. Romans 8:1 reminds us that “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” God knows the times you struggle, and He longs to pour out His encouragement and hope over your life.

In the light of this goodness, nothing has the power or ability to separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8:35, 38–39). His power securely keeps you. Nothing is strong enough to deter His help when you call to Him. Does this mean that you will never face hardship? No, but it does mean that in times of difficulty, God will be near enough to hear even the whispers of your heart.

Never view Christ as a stern, unloving judge. Jesus was very quick to point out that He came to save, not to judge the world. Once you accept Him as your Savior, the only judgment you will ever attend is the one where God rewards your faithful love and devotion toward Him and His Son.

Can you step away from God’s goodness? Yes. Because the Lord has given each of us a limited free will, we can choose to turn from God. However, God will never turn away from you. You may be troubled by a situation that seems uncontrollable, but God holds the solution, and He will provide the hope you need as you turn to Him.

Lord, I am so grateful that You will never turn away from me. You hold the solution to every situation. You will provide the hope I need.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 21 Conformed to the Truth

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1–5

Key Verses: Romans 12:1–2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Yesterday we were reminded that God speaks to us so that we may be conformed to His truth and communicate His message to others. But what does it mean to be conformed to the truth?

We are provided with an answer in Romans 12:1–2. The passage may be divided into three interrelated goals for the believer to pursue:

  • Present your body as a living sacrifice.
  • Do not be conformed to the world.
  • Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Being a living sacrifice, we are told, is our spiritual service of worship to God (verse 1). No longer must we give burnt offerings. Instead, we are to live in a way that glorifies God.

Not conforming to the world means that we should not live according to, or be negatively influenced by, the standards of our secular environment.

Transformation is a continual process that happens from the inside out. Our minds should be constantly renewed or refreshed by a new way of thinking—replacing our selfish wants with desires to serve and obey God.

A final thought is given in verse 2. We must change so that we “may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

God has clearly communicated these goals to you. Where are you in this important process: presentation, conformity, or transformation?

Lord, my mind is Yours. Take it and reconstruct it so that my whole person can be reshaped into the person whom You intended me to be.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 21 The Test of Faith

Scripture Reading: James 1:2–8

Key Verse: James 1:12

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Most of us know the story of Joseph and the depth of his faith. Genesis 39–50 records the events of his life and how God provided emotional strength for him to rise above discouragement. The principle involved in Joseph’s life is one of extreme faith.

He didn’t enjoy being sold into bondage. Like any of us, he probably fought feelings of rejection, loneliness, and fear. He had worshiped and trusted God. Yet he ended up in a foreign land with no immediate hope of returning home to his family. Even there, Joseph held fast to his conviction—God had a plan for his life. He had been given a vision, and he refused to fall prey to sin and discontentment.

Each of us will face times of trial and discouragement. But it is here among life’s darker moments that God exposes the depth of our faith.

For the psalmist to write about his victorious journey through the valley of the shadow of death, there had to be a valley experience. For Joseph to testify to God’s faithfulness, there had to be an Egyptian encounter. For you to affirm the eternal love and strength of God, there must be a test of faith in your life as well. Remember, God will never abandon you. Just as He was with Joseph, He is with you—forever!

Precious Lord, despite the feelings of rejection, loneliness, and fear that sometimes flood my soul, I know You have a plan for me. Through all my trials, expose and then strengthen the depth of my faith.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 21 A Man After God’s Heart

Scripture reading: 2 Samuel 23:13–17

Key verse: Acts 13:22

When He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

Hidden within the text of 2 Samuel 23:13–17 is a revealing detail of King David’s life. The Philistines had captured Bethlehem, David’s birthplace, and established a garrison there. The city was shut up: no one could go in and no one could leave. David was in his stronghold in the nearby cave of Adullam. There with selected members of his mighty men, David plotted the next attack against the enemy.

There he longingly expressed a desire for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem. As his men listened to his words, their devotion for their commander was stirred. Three of the men risked their lives by crossing enemy lines to bring a single cup of Bethlehem’s water to David. When he saw what they had done, David’s heart was humbled. He refused to drink the water, choosing instead to pour it out as a drink offering to God.

David recognized the valor of his men, but he also understood that only God was worthy of such devotion. The other aspect to the story is that David refused to elevate himself above the others.

The entirety of David’s heart was humbly committed to God. That is why God said of David: “He is a man after My own heart.” In God’s eyes, humility is a sign of greatness and obedience a characteristic of those who intimately walk with God.

Dear God, help me walk humbly and obediently with You. Make me a person after Your own heart.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 21 The Abiding Life

scripture reading: Hebrews 4:1–10
key verse: Hebrews 4:3

We who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Does an apple tree struggle to produce apples? Does a pear tree labor to make its sweet crop?

As simple as it may appear, the liberating principle for doing God’s work God’s way is learning to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ means resting in the finished work of the Cross. The cry of Jesus at Calvary was, “It is finished.” He had accomplished the work of redemption, providing the way of victory over sin and Satan for all who place their faith in Him.

Your toil or effort can add nothing to what Christ has done. Your task is to receive the complete sufficiency of Christ for every situation. You do so with the same childlike faith you had at salvation: “Yes, Lord, I believe You can solve this problem, heal this relationship, take care of this anxiety because You are my adequacy. You are all I have, but You are enough.”

The abiding life is the restful life spoken of in Hebrews 4. It is the place of absolute trust and confidence in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ is all–sufficient. His life richly flows through you in the person of the Holy Spirit. He will satisfy every need, fulfill every demand, and produce the abundant Christian life in you as you depend wholly on Him. He is able.

Father, I am tired of trying to produce fruit on my own. I yield my self–effort to You right now. Let Your life flow through me, making me sufficient for every situation. Let me learn the secret of the abiding life.[1]

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

January 20 A Living God

Scripture reading: Psalm 36:1–9

Key verse: Proverbs 22:4

By humility and the fear of the Lord

Are riches and honor and life.

He had gone to church as a young boy. However, in growing older he strayed from the things of God. After a short term in the military, he took a job with a large company and relaxed. He had job security, a lovely wife, and children. What more could he want?

That was 1950. Since then, things have changed dramatically. The security he once enjoyed waned. Economic changes forced him into an early retirement. He never prayed or asked for God’s wisdom, thinking instead, That religious stuff isn’t for me. Yet in secret, he hoped his life was “good enough” to earn him a spot in heaven.

Many things are lacking in this man’s life. The most obvious is salvation. There is also a lack of understanding of who God is. The writer of Proverbs asserted, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (9:10).

People who do not fear God do not really know Him. Only when you take time to know God do you realize He is a personal, loving, living God, who is active in every area of life.

If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, now is the right time to make that decision. Or if your fellowship has grown cold, ask Him to restore the intimacy of your personal relationship.

Father, let me come to know You in an intimate way. Renew the warmth of my fellowship with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 20 God’s Goal in Speaking

Scripture Reading: Galatians 1:11–17

Key Verses: Galatians 1:15–16

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.

When God speaks to us, He always has something very specific to say. Never speaking in generalities, He has a goal in mind to reach the human heart. Using today’s passage from Galatians as our guide, we can identify three clear objectives of God’s speaking. God speaks because He wants us to:

  • comprehend and understand His truth;
  • be conformed to and shaped by this truth; and
  • be equipped to communicate truth to others.

In Galatians chapter 1, the apostle Paul used the example of his own life, preconversion and postconversion, as evidence of God’s objectives. Beginning in verse 12, he explained how God first revealed truth to him through the revelation of Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of Paul’s understanding of the truth.

Next, Paul wrote that, despite his advancement in the teachings of Judaism, the Lord called him through His grace (verse 15). This was the beginning of a process that involved Paul being conformed, or shaped, to the truth.

Finally, we are given Paul’s grace-filled account of the Lord’s plan for his life. “God … called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles” (verses 15–16). Clearly, Paul received and embraced his call to communicate God’s truth to others.

What better proof do we have of God’s objectives being perfectly revealed and carried out in one believer’s life?

Thank You for Your truth in my heart. Please use it to shape me to Your will, so that I may share Your truth with others.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 20 Obeying in Faith

Scripture Reading: Luke 5:1–11

Key Verse: Luke 5:5

Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

Jesus was speaking to a group gathered along the shores of Galilee. When He finished, He turned to Peter and told him to raise the boat’s sails, head back out into the open water, and lower his nets for a large catch of fish.

Tired and wishing only for a few hours of rest, Peter seemed to hesitate. Did Jesus know what He was requesting? Everyone there knew the best time for fishing—especially with nets—was at night; the worst time was during the day.

Peter tried to reason: “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing.” But Jesus remained firm: “Let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4–5 nasb).

Every time we are called to obey God, our faith is challenged and our true nature revealed. The miracle of the tremendous quantity of fish was the result of Peter’s willingness to trust and obey Christ by faith. In obedience he replied, “At Your bidding I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5 nasb).

When our hearts are set on obedience, God responds mightily. There will be moments in life when you may ask, “Lord, is this a matter of obedience?” If so, choose to obey in faith, then “let down your nets” and prepare for a tremendous blessing.

Lord, I set my heart this day to obey Your Word. As I move forward in obedience, I am “letting down my nets” spiritually and preparing for a tremendous blessing. I know it is coming, so thank You in advance![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 20 Spiritual Pride

Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1–13

Key verse: Luke 18:11

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.”

Most believers would balk at the idea of being labeled as having a “holier than thou” attitude. We think of classic examples of spiritual arrogance, such as the Pharisee in Jesus’ story who got on his knees to thank God that he was not as bad as some other people (Luke 18:11).

What creeps into our hearts more often is a subtle spiritual pride, a smug security that we are not vulnerable to certain kinds of sins anymore. Joni Eareckson Tada illustrates this issue in her devotional Diamonds in the Dust.

“You’ll never catch me doing that!” one might say. Oh yeah?

Upright and obedient, Noah stood alone against a carousing, lustful world that drank itself silly. Who would have thought that Noah would end up drunk?

Bold and courageous David was brave enough to go up against Goliath, the warrior giant of the Philistines; later on he made believe that he was a madman for fear of his enemies.

And consider Elijah. We take him to be a rather brave man, wielding the sword of God’s vengeance against tens of thousands. But the threat of one woman sends him into suicidal despair …

Just when you think you know yourself, you do or say something that seems so out of character. But it’s not … Don’t be surprised. Just be careful that you, too, don’t fall.

Keep me from spiritual pride, dear Lord. Let me walk in true holiness.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 20 The Best Route

scripture reading: Proverbs 3:1–8
key verse: 2 Corinthians 5:7

We walk by faith, not by sight.

If you pick up a road map, you can readily discern the best route to reach your destination. But while the map logically arranges the maze of highways so that you can stay on course, it does not provide a total picture of what the journey holds in store. Hills, curves, stoplights, restaurants, service stations, school zones, and other details of the trip can be discovered only as the trip unfolds.

Knowing God’s will operates in a similar manner. God has a plan for your life, but the specifics you want so desperately are revealed only as you are committed to the journey of devotion and discipleship.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs that God will guide your steps and unveil His plan as you trust wholeheartedly in God, refuse to rely solely on your limited wisdom, and obey Him consistently.

As you do these things, combined with prayer and the study of Scripture, the details of His personal plan—a place of work, a marriage partner, a church to attend—will follow.

God wants you to know His will. Delight yourself in Him; put aside preconceived notions, and concentrate on trust, obedience, and a personal relationship with Christ. Wait on Him, and at the right time, the answer will come.

Dear Lord, help me put aside preconceived notions of Your plan. Instead of relying on my limited wisdom, help me trust and obey You and wait patiently until the answer comes.[1]

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

January 19 The Life of God

Scripture reading: John 11:1–45

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.

Think about your best friend for a moment. Try to remember your very first meeting. What if your best friend had handed you a long list of dos and don’ts, telling you any violation would lessen his care for you? Obviously your relationship would never have progressed. Who would want such a friend?

Yet many Christians act as if this is their view of Jesus. But He did not hand you a list of conditions when you accepted Him. What He gave you was His life.

In the New Testament, there are several Greek words for life. Bios (origin of biology), generally translated, means “lifestyle.” Another Greek word for life is zoe, which means “life as God has it.”

In John 10:10 (nasb), Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” In John 11:25, He stated, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In both cases, Jesus used the word zoe. How awesome to hear from our Lord Himself that the “life as God has it” is within us, a magnificent gift of His unconditional love.

Since you have this life, His life, you already have the very best. He dwells within you to encourage and empower you. As long as you are within God’s will, sustaining energy will flow through you from His eternal wellspring. Within His will, you’ll never tire of living for Jesus.

Father, help me walk in Your will so that sustaining energy from Your eternal wellspring will flow through me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 20). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 19 Blind to the Truth

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1–4

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 4:4

… whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Why is it that so many people in our world today remain ignorant of the gospel even when it is presented in so many ways? Modern-day missionaries are now able to deliver the message of salvation across the globe via radio, television, the Internet, books, and traditional word-of-mouth presentations. And still, there are those who will not receive Christ.

Though distressing, this situation is not new. When Paul addressed the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 4:4, he identified this same problem and offered a reason for its existence—Satan blinded the minds of the unbelieving.

We need only to turn on the news or pick up a newspaper to find supporting evidence for this problem. How many times do we hear confessions from criminals who claim to have acted in God’s name? “A voice in my mind told me to commit this crime,” they say in defense.

The sad truth is that the voices these people are hearing are not of the living God but of “the god of this world,” the god of evil. Just as Paul said, these poor souls have been blinded to God’s truth.

In your time of prayer today, thank God for drawing you to Himself with His truth. After doing this, intercede for someone in your family or community who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ. Pray for this person’s salvation, asking God to lift the “scales” of spiritual blindness from his or her eyes.

I am so grateful, dear Lord, that You have lifted the scales from my eyes. I pray for the hardened hearts of those around me, that they may be softened to receive You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 20). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 19 Faith to Dream

Scripture Reading: Psalm 71:13–21

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:7

We walk by faith, not by sight.

When God gives you a promise for the future, He is responsible for opening the right door at the right time for you to accomplish the task. Author and teacher Henrietta Mears had a motto: “Dream big whenever God is involved.” In life, she did just that and turned an unheard-of Sunday school department at First Presbyterian in Hollywood, California, into a program that drew thousands into a deeper walk of faith in Christ.

However, in 1937 she faced an interesting problem. Her ever-increasing youth program had outgrown its retreat facilities. God made it clear—He would provide a new retreat area that would meet the need.

Property, once an elaborate resort, in the San Bernardino Mountains became available. But the price, even though greatly reduced, was still too high. Henrietta resolved, “If this was God’s meeting place, He would provide the means to purchase it.”

The owner’s poor health along with a damaging storm opened the way for the purchase of the property at an “unheard-of” low price. Henrietta concluded that the way of faith is never by sight or human reason; it is always by the sovereignty of God.

Is there a need in your life that seems overwhelming? Trust God; He has His best in store for you.

O God, give me the ability to dream big. Remove all that limits my vision. Let me see beyond natural circumstances that restrict my faith.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 20). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 19 Knowing God

Scripture reading: Psalm 34:1–22

Key verse: Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Knowing God is not simply an intellectual proposition. You “know” God in a manner much similar to the process of getting to know a human companion.

  1. I. Packer explains in his book Knowing God:

Knowing God is a matter of personal involvement—mind, will, and feeling. It would not, indeed, be a fully personal relationship otherwise. To get to know another person, you have to commit yourself to his company and interests, and be ready to identify yourself with his concerns. Without this, your relationship with him can only be superficial and flavorless.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” says the psalmist (Psalm 34:8). To “taste” is, as we say, to “try” a mouthful of something, with a view to appreciating its flavor. A dish may look good, and be well recommended by the cook, but we do not know its real quality till we have tasted it.

Similarly, we do not know another person’s real quality till we have “tasted” the experience of friendship. Friends are, so to speak, communicating flavors to each other all the time, by sharing their attitudes both toward each other (think of people in love) and toward everything else that is of common concern …

The same applies to the Christian’s knowledge of God, which, as we have seen, is itself a relationship between friends.

Dear heavenly Father, strengthen the bonds of our relationship. I really want to know You better.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 20). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 19 Discovering God’s Will

scripture reading: Psalm 40
key verse: Psalm 40:8

I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.

The house was in poor condition due to a shifting foundation. Wallboard was cracked, the ceiling sagged, and numerous other repairs were warranted. Slowly, over time, the owners worked at restoring the damage. After a few years, the restoration was complete.

Shortly thereafter, interest rates on mortgages fell dramatically. The couple were able to refinance at a lower rate only because the house was appraised at a good value.

Preparation is a major part of discovering the will of God as well. You want to know God’s will, and you want to know it now. But have you been willing to make the sacrificial preparations to know and obey His plan? Are you ready to follow when God makes it clear what He desires? What you do today in terms of Bible study, prayer, meditation, fellowship, worship, and other scriptural exercises prepares you to do God’s will. They sensitize your spirit, bend your heart to holiness, and equip you to hear and discern the voice of God as He speaks through the Scriptures, godly counsel, or the providential arrangement of circumstances.

If you want to know the will of God for the future, be disciplined for godliness today. When the time is right, your spiritual senses will be alert to the good and perfect will of the Father.

Prepare me, Lord, to do Your will. Sensitize my spirit to discern Your voice today through the Word, godly counsel, and the providential circumstances of my life.[1]

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