Daily Devotional



Friday, May 27

When a Nation Turns Its Back on God

2 Chronicles 33

Hezekiah was a god-fearing king who brought about reformation among the Israelites. His son Manasseh, however, was an evil ruler. He had watched his father walk with God and live according to Scripture. Yet he chose to ignore the Lord.

Manasseh worshipped false gods, even to the point of sacrificing his sons by fire in order to praise Molech. He practiced much evil—including witchcraft and sorcery— and led Israel astray, thereby provoking God to anger. The king, along with the people, paid a high price for his rebellion.

This story illustrates the Lord’s intolerance of a nation’s disregard toward Him. Now consider our country. We, too, are a nation that pushes God aside—one that has turned away from the only true God and embraced idols. Perhaps these aren’t statues of stone, but we worship money, sports ability, fame, and reputation, to name a few.

The United States of America was founded on biblical principles with the intent to guarantee freedom of worship. But over time, we have removed the Lord from many aspects of public life. Prayer in schools, for instance, was deemed unconstitutional. What was once a “nation under God” has turned into a country that tolerates a growing number of sins and yet belittles absolute truth.

If a nation turns its back on the Lord, His judgment is inevitable unless the people repent and make Him Lord once again. As believers, our responsibility is to pray that God would draw the heart of our country back to Himself—and to help the gospel and truth spread through our land.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Thursday, May 26

Recognize Your Vulnerability

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Some Christians see a fellow believer fall into sin but fail to acknowledge that they, too, could stumble. That's dangerous. Satan has them right where he wants them: deceived by a false sense of confidence. Three enemies are constantly at work trying to bring us down: the Devil, his world system, and our own treacherous flesh.

Even though believers have a righteous standing before God, we must each, like Paul, acknowledge an internal problem: "sin which dwells in me" (Rom. 7:20). Satan takes full advantage of this weakness, luring us with fleshly and worldly temptations. He stokes our pride so we'll be blinded to our own vulnerability to stumbling.

Christians need to be continually on guard. Since ignorance--of the nature of sin, the strategies of the Enemy, and our own areas of weakness--sets us up for failure, we cannot afford to be careless in our thinking. Anytime you find yourself excusing, redefining, or rationalizing sin, you've lost your sensitivity to the Lord. God's Word must always fill our minds and direct our steps.

If you've drifted from the Lord, turn back to Him by acknowledging your sin and accepting full responsibility for it. Repentance simply means changing your mind and going in a different direction--toward God instead of away from Him.

The next step is harder. Respond with gratitude for the Lord's chastisement. Every time believers fall into sin, God lovingly works to bring them back into a fellowship with Him. His discipline may be painful, but it's always good because it brings us to our senses and reconnects us with our Father.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.



Wednesday, May 25

The Impact of Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Prayer is the lifeblood of an intimate relationship with the Father. But believers often have questions about its power and effectiveness. Don’t hesitate to take your queries to the Lord, dig into Scripture for answers, and seek the counsel of a trusted spiritual mentor. Prayer is too important to neglect.

Will God’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God is not subservient to believers or dependent upon their prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him involves us in the work that He is doing in our lives and in the world, but He will carry on without us.Laboring alongside the Lord is our privilege.

Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact God’s work? I believe that Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no, depending upon the situation. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, the Lord often prophesied what He would do and then brought those events to pass.

In other cases, “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that He holds back until we put out prayerful hands to receive them. But because God is a loving Father, He also pours our blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.

Believer’s prayers have tremendous impact, particularly on their own faith and life. Do you understand what an awesome privilege it is to kneel before the all-powerful Father and know that He listens and will respond? God loves to be good to His children and answer their prayers.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org



Tuesday, May 24

When a Fellow Christian Stumbles

Galatians 6:1-5

The Lord doesn't want the members of His body to live in isolation; believers are intended to function as a loving family who actively care for each other. One of our responsibilities as part of God's household is to come alongside a brother or sister who has stumbled. Paul specifies that those "who are spiritual" are to restore the fallen ones to fellowship with the Father and the family. "Spiritual" doesn't mean some elite group of pious leaders; it refers to any Christians who are living under the Spirit's control. A key element in this process is the attitude of the one who seeks to restore a fellow Christian.

A Spirit of Gentleness: This isn't a time for harshness, anger, judgment, or condemnation. Our goal is not to heap pain and guilt upon a hurting brother or sister but to show mercy and forgiveness (2 Cor. 2:5-8).

A Spirit of Humility: Those who have a superior attitude look down on a fallen brother and think, I would never make those mistakes. But the humble know their own vulnerability. Instead of judging others, they examine their own lives in order to recognize and deal with areas of weakness.

A Spirit of Love: When we love others, we'll willingly sharing their burden. This requires an unselfish investment of our time, energy, and prayer on their behalf.

How do you react when a fellow Christian has stumbled? One of the ugliest human traits is our tendency to feel better about ourselves when another person misses the mark. Instead of sharing the latest gossip about a fallen brother or sister, let your heart break, and come alongside to love and help.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.



Monday, May 23

Practical Ways to Bear Burdens

1 Thessalonians 5:14

There are hurting people everywhere, but at times we just don't know what to say or do to ease their pain. Here are six practical ways to bear someone else's burden.

  1. Be there. At times the best "method" of helping is simply to be present. During our darkest hours, we don't need someone who tries in vain to fix everything; we just need a friend.
  2. Listen. Don't attempt to give answers or tell people what to do next. Injured souls frequently want simply a listening ear so they can express what's on their mind.
  3. Share. Never parade yourself as someone who has all the answers. Instead, allow your own pain and failures to help others.
  4. Pray. There is power in speaking people's names before the Lord. When they hear someone talk to Jesus on their behalf, healing often starts taking place.
  5. Give. Sometimes helping others involves more than a handshake or warm hug. Maybe they need something financial or material. One of the best measures of sincerity is how much we're willing to give to others.
  6. Substitute.You may know an individual who bears the burden of caring for someone else. If you step in and take his or her place for a while, you are emulating your Savior--He, too, was a substitute.

Because we were unable to do it ourselves, Jesus bore all of our sin and sorrow, even unto death. As a result, we can live happily and eternally in communion with our Father. If Christ did that for us, how can we ever say, "I'm too busy to bear someone else's burden"?

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

 

Sunday, May 22

Choosing Love over Rights

Matthew 5:38-48

We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).

Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matt. 5:44). Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom. That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.

Maybe you’re thinking, But he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers. We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.

Luke 6:29 says to turn the other cheek and give up more than is asked because expressing love outweighs exerting our rights. You can’t lose when you show others the boundless care of the Lord. You gain His blessing, and, hopefully, someone will be saved because of your example.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

 
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.
 

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