Daily Devotional

Friday, October 8

Our Heart's Desires

If you could have anything in the world, what would it be? Your answer reveals a lot about who you are. The psalmist writes, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4). There is nothing wrong with desires--they motivate us to achieve great things. But not all of our yearnings come from God.
Consider your aspirations and what they say about who you are:
Do you hope for a position of authority in order to be in control? Longing for personal advancement in order to manipulate others reveals a lack of integrity, whereas a godly person craves righteousness.
Do you dream about wealth and fame? Perhaps there's a void in your spirit that you're trying to fill. But only God can meet the insatiable needs of the human heart.
Are you afraid to ask the Lord for what you want? Maybe you think He won't listen, but God tells us to approach His throne with boldness and confidence (Heb. 4:16).
If the Lord doesn't respond affirmatively to your prayers, ask Him to make your desires conform to His will. Whatever you do, don't take matters into your own hands and go after what you want. There is always a high price to pay for rebelling against God.
God cares for us bountifully, but that doesn't mean we can expect Him to deliver whatever we want, whenever we want it. Only when our dreams align with His plan for our lives does He fulfill them. The thoughts that preoccupy us are an accurate barometer of the state of our relationship with Christ.

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

Thursday, October 8

Looking for Fruit

Galatians 5:16-26

As believers, we all want the fruit of the Spirit, but how can we know if we truly have it? Even unbelievers can display these qualities when conditions are positive. This nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is not what we do, but who we are, and it is primarily on display in Christians when circumstances are unfavorable. Two characteristics help us recognize these traits in our lives.

Fruitful believers are not controlled by their environment. Everyone experiences trials and pain, but those who are filled with the Spirit do not lose His fruit because of their situations. They keep their joy even when difficulties overwhelm. If someone speaks harshly, they respond with kindness. Because the Holy Spirit is in control, He is free to produce His fruit no matter what the circumstances are. Even though such believers may feel pain, anger, or a desire for revenge, they choose to trust the Lord to protect them and direct the outcome.  

Fruitful Christians recover quickly after a fall. These believers are not perfect, but they are sensitive to the Spirit's conviction and are quick to return to the Lord in repentance. In fact, they are actually grateful for the correction and praise God, not only for revealing their weakness but also for drawing them back to obedience.

No one produces these amazing qualities in himself. Trying harder to be godly will never work. Character transformation occurs when we submit to God, giving Him complete control of our lives. Only then will the Spirit be free to produce fruit that remains even in the deepest, darkest storms.

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

Wednesday, October 7

Praying with Impact

Since praying is such a common practice for believers, over time it's easy to fall into habits that result in a lifeless and empty prayer life. Instead of a dynamic conversation with thoughtful requests and active listening for God's response, our prayers can seem more like grocery lists. Because communication with the Lord is such a vital part of the Christian life, we occasionally need to step back and examine how we're doing.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
How effective are my prayers? Is God answering my petitions, or does it seem as if they never go past the ceiling?
Who am I praying for? Are most of my requests for myself or others?
What am I asking the Lord to do? Have I looked in the Word to see what He wants, or am I trying to get Him to intervene according to my plans and desires?
When do I pray? Is it only during emergencies or when I need something?
If you discovered any selfishness in your answers, you're not alone. Most of us struggle to enter God's presence with our eyes focused on Him instead of our needs. But the only way we'll be able to pray with impact is to fill our minds with Scripture so we can find out what the Lord wants to do.
Your prayer life can become effective and dynamic if you'll approach the Lord with a clean heart (Psalms 66:18), align your requests with His will, and believe He will do what He says (Mark 11:24). Then you'll be able to pray with absolute confidence knowing that He will hear and answer your petitions.

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.

Tuesday, October 6

God Works Within Us

Ephesians 3:20-21

Let these words slowly sink into your understanding: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (v. 20). What an amazing description of God’s ability to work within us.

Yet so often our focus is mainly on what we want Him to do around us: If He would change this situation or fix that problem, then my life would be better. But He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us!

The Holy Spirit has more than enough power to transform lives from the inside out, but working change within is usually a slow process. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and will never give up on us.

The Lord has a purpose for your life, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although He has an individualized plan for each one of His children, He also has an overarching goal—to conform every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might make no sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing.

What would you like to see the Lord do within you? As you read the Scriptures, look for qualities that God considers precious, and ask Him to work them out in your life. Then rely on His wonderful promise to do even more than you have asked or imagined.

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

Monday, October 5

Prayer: Our Time Saver

What do you think about when you wake up? Are your thoughts instantly focused on the day ahead, or are they centered on the Lord? Although most of us have busy lives that consume much of our time and attention, the most important and time-saving part of each day is that spent in quiet solitude with God.
Yet many believers feel so rushed that they don't think there's time for the Lord. They immediately jump onto the treadmill of life and then wonder why they're so frustrated, confused, and dissatisfied. Even if their desire is to follow God, they don't know where He's going since they haven't stopped to get directions for the day. There's also a disconnect because they've ignored their relationship with Him. No one can have intimacy with Christ without daily communication.

Perhaps the problem is our own human logic. We think spending time reading the Bible and praying each morning will result in having less time and lower productivity. However, when we seek Christ's direction and wisdom for the day and invite Him to control our lives, He'll accomplish more through us than we can do by ourselves. He'll give us wisdom for good decisions, increase our strength and energy, and free us from time-wasting anxiety.
Are you too busy for the Lord? If so, you're denying yourself the blessing of an intimate relationship with Christ. When you make time for Him, He'll fill you with peace and joy, guide your decisions, grant you wisdom, empower you to obey, make you more productive, and comfort you with His love.

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





A   A   A