Daily Devotional

Friday, November 27

Remembering God's Blessings

Psalms 9:1-2

We are given amazing privileges when we trust in Jesus. Recalling these promises is a good way to maintain a thankful heart, even when facing challenges in other areas. Consider four such blessings:

  1. Christ’s gift of salvation. No matter what trial we’re facing, it is microscopic next to the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. The cross was a steep price to pay, but the Savior willingly took our place in order to offer us forgiveness and eternal life.
  2. Assurance of God’s love. The Lord cares for us unconditionally—that is His very character (1 John 4:16). Unfortunately, the storms of life can cause us to question this, but Romans 8:31–39 unequivocally tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
  3. Answered prayer. We have the awesome privilege of talking to the Father about anything burdening us—and He never grows tired of listening to His children. Our omnipotent, omniscient God is not only able to help us in any situation; He also knows the best possible way to do so.
  4. A personalized plan. The Lord has a will, plan, and purpose for our lives that He will accomplish if we obey Him. No one is exempt from adversity, but we can trust God to bring good from everything He permits to come our way.

Hardships, temptations, and tests will touch us all, but the Lord allows difficulty for a reason—even when we don’t understand why (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, submit yourself to the Father, thank Him for His wisdom, and be confident that He will accomplish His purposes for you.

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

Thursday, November 26

Gratitude in Affliction

Psalms 119:65-72

At Thanksgiving, we typically express gratitude for God's blessings. But did you ever consider thanking Him for something that doesn't seem like a blessing—such as a trying circumstance you want Him to remove or change? A grateful heart is most precious to God when, humanly speaking, our situations don't warrant giving thanks. By making four foundational decisions, we can begin to see the value of our adversities and respond with appreciation.    

Believe and trust the Lord. Only by viewing life from a scriptural perspective can we understand His purposes in our trials and trust His wisdom in allowing them.

Accept the situation as coming from God—either directly sent or permissively allowed. If we truly believe He's working for our good (Rom 8:28-29), we can choose to receive each difficulty as coming from His loving hand. Then we can say "Thank You."

Submit to God in the circumstance. Although we may not like the situation, knowing that God "[is] good and does good" (v. 68) allows us to confidently place our lives under His authority.

Draw from Him the strength to endure. No one has the ability within himself to endure hardships with gratefulness. Only by relying on the Lord can believers go through adversity with an appreciative heart.

Now, think about that circumstance you would like changed, and with a new mindset, offer this prayer to God: "Lord, I accept this situation as coming from You. In faith and trust, I place myself under Your loving authority, and draw from You the strength I need to endure with gratitude." 

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

Wednesday, November 25 

Jesus the Source of Peace

Colossians 1:15-20

Before we knew Jesus Christ, our life was full of godlessness and wickedness—we had self-seeking ways and stubborn, unrepentant hearts (Rom. 1:18; 2:5, 8). Like our strife-filled world, we clamored for peace and tried to find it, but our efforts failed.

When we came to faith in the Savior, all of that changed. We were rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into Christ’s kingdom (Col 1:13). Every one of our sins—past, present, and future—was forgiven. Divine justice was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, and God’s wrath upon us was removed. We became a new creation, washed clean by Jesus’ blood (2 Cor. 5:17).

Now that sin’s power over us has been broken, we can live in accord with God. He sent His Holy Spirit to be our personal guide in this new life, helping each of us experience Christ’s peace (Rom. 8:6). We also can look forward to an eternity spent in heaven, where righteousness, tranquility, and joy abound (Rom. 14:17).

The story of the prodigal son’s return is a picture of our reconciliation with the Lord (Luke 15:11-24). The son had chosen to leave his father, living instead to please himself. Repentant, he eventually returned home; his father joyfully greeted him and forgave him, and there was harmony between them. God has done all this for us.

Our unity with the heavenly Father came at a great price—the sacrifice of His only Son. Christ gave His life for us so that we could be reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). Christian lives are to testify that Jesus is the source of our peace. Does your life communicate this message?

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

Tuesday, November 24

Resisting Fleshly Appetites

Ephesians 2:1-7

The Holy Spirit guides believers to make wise and righteous decisions. But when Christians fail to listen, they can make choices that appeal to the flesh instead.

After the serpent spoke to Eve, she no doubt took a long look at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:3). Whatever she might have thought about the tree before, she now saw it with new eyes—flesh-focused eyes. Genesis 3 tells us that the forbidden tree appealed to Eve in three ways: 1) it was good for food, 2) it was a delight to the eyes, and 3) it was desirable to make one wise.

In other words, the tree could fulfill three legitimate human appetites: the desire for tasty meals, beauty, and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with these God-given yearnings. The Lord created a variety of food and an earth packed with breathtaking sights so that people could enjoy them. He also offers the Holy Spirit as a source of His true wisdom and knowledge. In fact, it is the Spirit who teaches believers to keep fleshly appetites under control and in balance.

Meanwhile, Satan works very hard at corrupting healthy desires. He abhors seeing people's appetites satisfied. What he wants is to watch a person lusting after a good thing until he or she is controlled by the impulse to have it.

The Devil is pleased when people make themselves slaves to a desire that—in the proper context—the Lord intended to be enjoyed freely. A believer walking in the Holy Spirit rejects gluttony, preferring desires that are within God's boundaries instead. That's how we get His very best.

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

Monday, November 23

Peace with God

Romans 5:1-2

One day I posed a question to the waitress at my table: “If you could ask God for anything, what would your request be?” Her answer was immediate. “I want to feel at peace.” She tearfully explained that her grandmother had died and emotional turmoil resulted.

Many in our world are like this young woman, in that they desire inner calmness but have no relationship with the Lord. People often seek contentment by trying to improve their appearance, physical fitness, financial situation, or social status—or by abusing substances. But such things can’t bring tranquility of heart or mind. Only a relationship with Jesus leads to true peace.

Prior to salvation, we were slaves to sin and living in opposition to God (Col. 1:21). Our transgressions had formed a barrier of hostility between Him and us, which we were helpless to cross on our own. Without God’s intervention, we could not have found the way of peace. But our heavenly Father provided the perfect solution to our sin problem. He sent His Son to pay for our iniquities and remove the separation that existed between us and Him.

When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, we were reconciled to the Lord (Rom. 5:10) and no longer at odds with Him. In Christ, we have peace with the Father.

Our triune God has provided everything we need for inner tranquility. The Father opened the way for us to be in His family. Jesus continually offers His peace so we can experience serenity of mind and heart (John 14:27). And the Holy Spirit cultivates the fruit of peace in our lives (Gal. 5:22).

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

Sunday, November 22

Our Heavenly Father

Matthew 6:8-13

When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as "Our Father." They had previously heard Jesus say, "My Father," but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who has been born again into the household of God have this same right.

Since our concepts of God are shaped by our earthly fathers, we all have different perceptions of Him, but Jesus is the only one who has a completely accurate understanding of the heavenly Father. Consider some of the ways He cares for His children:

• Loves: God's love is unconditional, since it's based on His nature rather than our performance (1 John 4:16).

• Listens: When we pray, He gives us His full attention (Ps. 55:16-17).

• Provides: The Father assumes responsibility for meeting all our needs (Phil. 4:19).

* Guides: He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).

• Protects: The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers. (Ps. 121:1-8).

• Stays: He's not an absentee parent, since He'll never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).

•  Disciplines: The Lord disciplines us
for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).

Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our view of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we've never known before. 

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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