Daily Devotional



Friday, June 24

Responding to Disappointment

Matthew 1:18-25

To find examples of wise, godly reactions to disappointment, you’re more likely to turn to Psalms than to Matthew. But thevery first chapter in the New Testament tells the story of an upright man’s reaction to painful and disheartening news.

Joseph—Jesus’ earthly father—was a righteous person. A godly man wants a wife who shares his desire to honor and obey the Lord, and Scripture indicates that Mary was exactly that sort of woman (Luke 1: 45-55). So imagine how stunned Joseph must have been when Mary returned from a long visit with her relative Elizabeth and told him that she was pregnant. Moreover, she was claiming no man had touched her.

Any way Joseph looked at the situation, it appeared grim. And yet Matthew 1:20says that he “considered”—in other words, he sought a wise, righteous response. God entered Joseph’s life in a dramatic way to confirm Mary’s story and put a stop to his “quiet annulment” plans.

The Lord turned Joseph’s mourning into joy. Mary had told the truth—strange and startling as it was. The couple would bear the intense public censure of an early pregnancy, but Joseph stopped thinking about what others would say. God had blessed work for him: to raise the Messiah alongside a faithful woman. 

Followers of Christ should seek a godly response to disappointments they face. Since the Lord always has a plan, the wisest reaction is to anticipate the good He can do and await His timing. God certainly blessed Joseph for his willingness to “seek first His kingdom” (Matt. 6:33).

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


Thursday, June 23

A Servant's Rewards

Hebrews 6:10

In His grace, God freely gives salvation to those who believe in Jesus. We cannot earn this gift, nor do we deserve it. Our Father does notice our good works, though. And He promises to reward us according to what we have done for Him.

True service occurs when we allow the Lord to work through us for His glory and honor. True ministry occurs when divine resources meet human need through loving channels.

Revelation 22:12 encourages us, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." Whether large or small, all service done in Jesus' name will be blessed. We must be careful, though, that our actions are for Christ's glory. If motives are self-serving, the only benefit we receive is the praise (if any) that we hear from people in this life. And we know that men's approval is not satisfying or lasting.

While some rewards will be given in heaven, other blessings can be experienced now. For example, we know great joy when we allow God to bless others through us. And there is deep satisfaction in realizing that we are pleasing Christ. In addition,there's a profound sense of fulfillment when we lead a person to Jesus and teach him how to walk by faith.

Serving others is both a great benefit and a responsibility for Christians. We should prayerfully consider our motives to make sure that our goal is to glorify Christ. Only then will we receive God's full blessings--rewards given not only in eternity but on earth as well.

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


Wednesday, June 22

Our Gifts for His Kingdom

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Many people hear the word "serve" and feel that they do not have the necessary qualities to make a difference in others' lives. This is true--apart from God. But He has gifted each of us in unique ways with a purpose in mind. His plan for us involves using these talents to serve Him for the good of others.

Satan would like us to believe otherwise. Our Enemy wants us to notice what others are doing and then to feel inferior. For instance, I have heard women say, "I am just a homemaker." They see people preaching and singing in the choir and wish they could accomplish something so great for God. Friends, there could be nothing further from the truth. An enormous responsibility rests with those who train their children in righteousness.

In fact, the Holy Spirit has gifted each believer for specific work in God's kingdom. Scripture explains this idea by a comparison with a human body: each person has gifts and purposes that make the entire system function well. But if the heel wants the eye's role, the whole being will lose balance.

Each part is crucial, even though some are less noticeable than others. Truthfully, those with less apparent talents have an advantage because pride and self-sufficiency may be less of a temptation.

Notice how Peter defined himself: "a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1). He was no longer a man motivated by self-interest. Once He followed Jesus, he saw himself as a servant of God. We, too, are called to serve the King of Kings with whatever abilities we are given.

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

Tuesday, June 21

The Call to Serve

Galatians 5:13

Jesus commanded that we serve one another, but obeying this mandate in humility is not natural for us. Sure, there are times we like to help others. But service that involves self-sacrifice--especially for someone we deem undeserving--much more difficult to do.

What does it mean to serve? Consider Christ's example. He gave up everything in heaven to live among us, subjecting Himself to dishonor and human frailty. And He loved even those who rejected Him. Think about how He humbled Himself and washedthe disciples' feet at Passover. This was a disgusting, lowly task that a slave might be assigned--far from anything a king should do. He even knew these men were about to abandon Him but served them anyway.

Ultimately, Christ gave His life for us. And He did so while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Serving others was His lifestyle--part of who He was and what He did. As His followers, we should strive to be like Him.

Therefore, service involves first dying to our selfish attitudes and motives. Only then can we live to glorify Christ. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love God wholeheartedly and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). Ironically, it is only when we humbly serve others that we experience God's fullness in our own lives.

Many try to achieve happiness by striving after their own desires. The result? Tired, unsatisfied people. True contentment happens only when we walk closely with Jesus. He shows where we can humble ourselves and take care of others. These actions, done through His strength, will be blessed.

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

Monday, June 20

The Power of God's Grace

Romans 5:1-5

Grace is one of God's most amazing gifts. It provides us with everything we need to live in perfect freedom: pardon for our sins, healing for our hearts, the companionship of God's indwelling Holy Spirit, and access to freely cultivate our relationship with Him. We work, worship, and enjoy life surrounded by His unconditional love. His grace upholds us, fills us, and sustains us.

Since we are forgiven people, the Lord responds to us not as enemies but as His dearly loved children (Rom. 8:15; Eph. 5:1). He hears our prayers, speaks to us, and acts on our behalf.

The knowledge that we live under the covering of God's grace gives us...

  • Security about our position. No one can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28).
  • Boldness to live for Christ. Nothing anyone does or says can shake our confidence in who the Lord is or who we are in Him.
  • Peace for today because we can fully trust in His sovereignty. The Lord is carrying out His perfect will--and we can be sure that nothing is able to thwart His plans when we cooperate with Him.
  • Hope for the future. This life is just the beginning. One day we'll see Jesus face to face, be perfected as the individuals He created us to be, and live with Him in our true home forever.

The Lord is committed to transforming each of us according to His special plan for our lives. Even His correction is an expression of His loving favor (Heb. 12:10). When we falter or fail, we can rest assured that His amazing grace hems us in and always offers us redemption.

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


Sunday, June 19

Following the Father’s Example

Ephesians 6:1-4

Do you have a strong relationship with your children? The way we first think about God has much to do with how we were parented—especially by our father. What image of the Lord are youportraying?

Many men struggle in their role as dads because their own fathers were either absent—physically or emotionally— or poor examples. But regardless of what a person experienced in the past, the best thing any parent can do is imitate God the Father. But how do we know who He really is?

We get our best glimpse of what the heavenly Father is like by looking at His Son. Speaking with the disciples, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me . . .
He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:6, 9). Not only is Christ our path to relationship with God; He is also the way we come to know the Father’s true character.

When we look at Jesus’ life, what do we see? He was merciful, patient, gentle, compassionate, kind, and full of goodness toward all people (Matt. 9:10-13). The Savior healed the sick, provided for needs, and offered forgiveness—regardless of the offense (Matt. 14:14-21; Luke 23:34). But in love, He didn’t hesitate to discipline or correct others when required.

More than a solid education or material possessions, your child’s greatest need is a role model of devotion to God through prayer, Bible reading, and holy living. If you make knowing and following the heavenly Father your first priority, you won’t have to worry about what kind of parent you will be. 

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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