Charles Stanley

True Blue

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Ending Gossip in Our Life-follow up to, “Not Sometimes, But Always”, May 16, 2017.

Spreading rumors about other people exposes little about their true nature but reveals quite a lot about the speaker’s own character.  Such behavior shows a willingness to sin against the Lord by causing harm to someone else.  Until a gossiping believer confronts his sin, he can’t progress toward becoming the person God wants him to be.

Confession is the first step in dealing with sinful speech.  This should be followed by repentance-the pledge to turn away from opportunities to talk about others.  A useful scripture for a redeemed gossip to pray daily is Psalm 141:3:  “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Next, be on guard against temptation.  Believers have a responsibility to set themselves apart from gossip in order to keep their thoughts and words pleasing to God.  Being in the presence of one who spreads stories can tempt us to participate.  In a situation where rumors are being shared, the best course of action is to speak out against the practice and then leave.

Finally, instead of talking about someone, it’s wise to pray for that person.  Getting into this habit will help train the mind to replace sinful patterns with God-pleasing ways.  The Bible teaches us to encourage and comfort each other, and prayer is a good way to obey that instruction 1 Thess. 5:11, 14).

A gossiping Christian dishonors God’s name-and his own.  Instead of using words that disparage and injure, choose to speak well of everyone.  In so doing, you will bring glory to the Lord.

Commentary from the In Touch Devotional by Charles Stanley, May 9, 2017.

Photo credit:  T. Link

Not Sometimes, But Always

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God hates gossip.  He wants our speech to be pleasing to Him-and He certainly does not consider idle talk or mean-spirited words pleasant (Col. 3:8).  Sadly, gossip is practiced so freely that even some believers participate and try to justify their chatter.  But hearsay has no place in a Christian’s life.

Romans 1 contains one of the Bible’s lists of sins.  The book’s author-the apostle Paul-is reminding believers that God has revealed Himself to all mankind.  Those who reject Him and chase after idols are turned over to their evil worship and the immoral practices that go with serving self (vv. 24-25).  Gossip appears in the middle of the list; God despises it because malicious talk destroys lives whether the stories are true or false.  The person who is targeted by the rumor often loses the respect of those who listen to it.  Hurt feelings may not be the only negative effect; a job or relationship could be lost as well.

Those spreading tales also face destructive consequences.  People who refuse to control the tongue reveal evil motives or, at the very least, a lack of discipline.  As a result, believers and unbelievers alike will often avoid such untrustworthy individuals.  For a Christian who spreads rumors, there’s potential for even worse damage.  Not only can the credibility of one’s witness be compromised, but fellowship with the Lord might also be harmed-animosity toward another person and intimacy with God can’t coexist in the same heart.

Gossip achieves no good in anyone’s life, which is why the Lord warns against it.  Instead, our words should build up, comfort, and encourage others.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, May 8, 2017.

Becoming Whole

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Romans 8:33-39

Modern society has many “solutions” for unhappiness.  For example, a lot of people turn to prestige, love, or various substances to counteract emotional emptiness, but the happiness these things offer soon drains out again.  Only God’s transforming power can change someone with a broken spirit into a content Christ follower who understands his or her value.

To find wholeness, a person must start by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior-the sin that stands between him and God has to be removed.  Then, with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he will be able to find the courage to confront past disappointments, hurts, and sins that may have contributed to his feeling unworthy of the Lord’s love.

Someone with a sense of wholeness feels satisfied with life.  He knows he is loved, which leads to a good self-image and the ability to love others.  Hardship is inevitable in this world, but it doesn’t devastate him or cause him to grumble or cast blame.  Why?  Because the born-again believer knows that God has promised to work everything out for his good (Romans 8:28).

In contrast, someone who feels fragmented or empty often has the opposite experience.  He may look okay on the outside while struggling within.  This can be the case with Christians who haven’t learned to experience God’s love.  In fact, I (Charles Stanley) was a pastor for several decades before I really felt the Father’s love for me; only then did I become truly complete.

The Lord will make His love known to believers who ask.  And through it comes the wholeness they have been seeking.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, March 26, 2017.

Transformed, Not Conformed

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The Apostle Paul lived in an age when sensuality, the pursuit of pleasure, and rebellion against the Lord were prevalent.  In response, he wrote letters urging Christians not to follow in the ways of the world.  Like those early believers, we are to pursue godliness by…

Presenting our bodies to God.  Our total being-mind, will, physical body, personality, and emotions-are to be turned over to our heavenly Father (James 4:7).  Submitting ourselves to the Lord requires both a definite decision to give Him control and a daily commitment to remain under His authority.  By surrendering to Him, we position ourselves for godly living.

Becoming living sacrifices.  The Christian life is built around the concept of sacrifice.  Jesus left the perfection of heaven to dwell among a sinful people so He might reconcile us to God.  He offered up His life for our sake-to make payment for our sins (1 John 3:16) and to bring us into His family.  And as believers, we are to follow His example.  Paul called it a living sacrifice, because it is ongoing and repeated daily.

Life is full of options.  Many decisions involve a choice between following God’s way or our own.  Maturing Christians will increasingly sacrifice their own desires and embrace His will.

A life of godliness is characterized by a heart and mind bent toward the things of God.  Although we will live imperfectly, our aim should be to obey His will and please Him.

Commentary from In Touch Devotional, by Charles Stanley, May 1, 2017.

Becoming Whole

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Romans 8:33-39

Modern society has many “solutions” for unhappiness.  For example, a lot of people turn to prestige, love, or various substances to counteract emotional emptiness, but the happiness these things offer soon drains out again.  Only God’s transforming power can change someone with a broken spirit into a content Christ follower who understands his or her value.

To find wholeness, a person must start by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior-the sin that stands between him and God has to be removed.  Then, with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he will be able to find the courage to confront past disappointments, hurts, and sins that may have contributed to his feeling unworthy of the Lord’s love.

Someone with a sense of wholeness feels satisfied with life.  He knows he is loved, which leads to a good self-image and the ability to love others.  Hardship is inevitable in this world, but it doesn’t devastate him or cause him to grumble or cast blame.  Why?  Because the born-again believer knows that God has promised to work everything out for his good (Romans 8:28).

In contrast, someone who feels fragmented or empty often has the opposite experience.  He may look okay on the outside while struggling within.  This can be the case with Christians who haven’t learned to experience God’s love.  In fact, I was a pastor for several decades before I really felt the Father’s love for me; only then did I become truly complete.

The Lord will make His love known to believers who ask.  And through it comes the wholeness they have been seeking.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, March 26, 2017.

Becoming Whole

IMG_4067

Romans 8:33-39

Modern society has many “solutions” for unhappiness.  For example, a lot of people turn to prestige, love, or various substances to counteract emotional emptiness, but the happiness these things offer soon drains out again.  Only God’s transforming power can change someone with a broken spirit into a content Christ follower who understands his or her value.

To find wholeness, a person must start by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior-the sin that stands between him and God has to be removed.  Then, with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he will be able to find the courage to confront past disappointments, hurts, and sins that may have contributed to his feeling unworthy of the Lord’s love.

Someone with a sense of wholeness feels satisfied with life.  He knows he is loved, which leads to a good self-image and the ability to love others.  Hardship is inevitable in this world, but it doesn’t devastate him or cause him to grumble or cast blame.  Why?  Because the born-again believer knows that God has promised to work everything out for his good (Romans 8:28).

In contrast, someone who feels fragmented or empty often has the opposite experience.  He may look okay on the outside while struggling within.  This can be the case with Christians who haven’t learned to experience God’s love.  In fact, I was a pastor for several decades before I really felt the Father’s love for me; only then did I become truly complete.

The Lord will make His love known to believers who ask.  And through it comes the wholeness they have been seeking.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, March 26, 2017.

Stronghold

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Our culture wants us to believe another lie-that we can accomplish much without God.  People will point out our human strengths, like education, skills, and gifts, and assure us that we have all we require to succeed.  The implication is that we don’t need God.  Satan always wants to turn us away from reliance upon the Lord; our enemy wants us to think that prior success means we can handle the task on our own.  The Bible tells us otherwise.  To do God’s work God’s way requires that we rely on His Spirit instead of depending on ourselves or others.  The lives of God’s children are to be characterized by steady reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

So he answered me, “This is the word

of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by 

strength or might, but by My Spirit,’

says the Lord of Hosts.

What are you, great mountain?

Before Zerubbabel you will become

a plain.  And he will bring

out the capstone accompanied

by shouts of:

Grace, grace to it!”

Zechariah 4:6-7

Portions of commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 12, 2017.

Aim

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Satan tries to trick us into thinking that life can be divided into two separate parts:  the secular, which is separate from the Lord, and the spiritual.  That’s a lie.  As God’s children, we are spiritual beings, and every area of our life is to be an expression of that divine relationship.  Whether employment, family role, ministry, or leisure pursuits, our every involvement connects into God’s purpose for our life and must please Him.

Portions of commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 12, 2017.