Charles Stanley

Continue reaching upward

IMG_7915

If we’re seeking approval for our efforts, we’re going to be consistently disappointed when it doesn’t come.  But since the Lord never overlooks our service, we can persevere, knowing He’s the one who will someday reward us.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 2, 2018.

Advertisements

All-encompassing

IMG_7850b

We are each called to ministry in one form or another.  Although we tend to think of ministry as something that’s done inside a church, in reality it encompasses everything we do all week long, no matter where we are.  In God’s eyes, there’s no division between sacred and secular activities.

Each of us has been created and fitted by God to fulfill the particular ministry He’s chosen specifically for us.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 30, 2017.

Preparedness

IMG_7899

What makes an effective servant of Christ is not natural abilities, creativity, or human initiative, but total dependence on Him for both direction and adequacy.  God uses those who are weak, humble, submissive, and obedient so that He alone gets the glory.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 1, 2018.

All the same

IMG_7883

We are all on the same level at the cross and saved by the same grace and blood of Jesus.   As we humbly admit our sinful, helpless condition and call on the Lord to save us, He forgives our sin and irrevocably adopts us into His family.  And just as we humble ourselves to receive Christ’s salvation by faith, we must also serve Him with humility of mind.

Being a servant of Christ requires that we submit to His leadership, regarding what we’re to do, how we’re to carry out His will, and where He would have us serve.  There is no room for self-seeking or self-promotion; our only concern should be obedience, with the aim that God alone gets the glory.

Sometimes we become preoccupied with finding our purpose in life so we can gain a sense of usefulness and self-fulfillment.  Although we do benefit from serving the Lord according to the way He’s gifted and designed us, that should not be our motive.  A humble spirit doesn’t look out for its own interests but instead thinks of others (Philippians 2:3-8).  This is the attitude Christ had.  He willingly left heaven to take on human form in order to go to the cross – that was a selfless act of obedience to the Father so we could be saved.

Are you willing to serve the Lord in obscurity?  What if no expressions of gratitude or praise come your way?  Do you cheerfully do lowly tasks?  It’s not always easy to evaluate our motives, but asking ourselves these questions will help us determine whether we’re truly serving in humility or seeking our own interests.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 3, 2018.

Serve with humility

IMG_7865

“True service is not something we do for the Lord, but something He does through us.  By regarding service [this way], we can have confidence – not in ourselves and our abilities, but in God, who makes us adequate for whatever He gives us to do.”

Charles Stanley

Resisting Compromise

IMG_7830

King Solomon’s life illustrated the peril of compromise (1 Kings 11:1-7).  Concession begins in a seemingly insignificant way.  For instance, someone might want you to make a financial decision that you know in your heart is unwise.  But you go along with the plan because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.  You have compromised the message of the Holy Spirit, who warned you.

Small compromises lead to more serious ones.  With each successive concession, our conscience is weakened.  Ultimately, whenever we give way to evil – whether we let go of a doctrinal belief or simply listen to music that taints our thoughts – we always lose.

We compromise for a variety of reasons.  Many do so from fear of rejection or of being unappreciated.  Some choose this route to avoid conflict.  Still others may begin to doubt God’s trustworthiness or goodness; as a result, they give up on Him, compromising their basic beliefs and undermining their reason for assurance.

To be men and women who are strong enough to resist making concessions, we need to develop some essential armor.  First, we must have strong convictions about the Bible and depend on it as a guide for daily living.  Next, we need to have faith in God’s promise to supply all of our needs.  Finally, we must find the courage to trust in Him, even when we are misunderstood, persecuted, or falsely accused.  When we surrender our life to God, He replaces enslavement to compromise with security in Him.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 29, 2018

Happiness or Joy

IMG_7740

Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meaning.  Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstances.  As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy.  On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace – even when life seemingly falls apart.

At times, however, even Christians live joylessly.  Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason.  But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that’s ingrained in one’s personality.

If you’re a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is and who you are in Him.  To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you.  He understands everything you face and promises to provide for your needs.

When you stop to consider the blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you.  Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.

Amid the ups and downs of life, does God’s joy sustain you? Or do trials leave you hopeless and discontented?  Our Father offers a higher way of living – not without pain but with strength to endure.  Continually remember the vast treasure you have in Him and His promises.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 20, 2018.

The first priority

IMG_7814

The Scriptures contain many cautionary examples of men and women who had misplaced priorities.  Often, these are the otherwise godly people who had a momentary lapse.  This should give every believer pause to consider the importance of taking captive detrimental thoughts and desires.

For good purposes or bad, we set priorities in one of three ways:  by evaluating which things ought to carry the most importance; by succumbing to pressure and letting people or circumstances dictate how we should prioritize; or by drifting into habits and modes of thinking that become a way of life.  Wise believers will certainly want to avoid the drifting option, as this approach accompanies a life that feels meaningless.  And priorities ought to be in place before we face trying circumstances and people – in that way, we can be steadfast in our commitment.  The only viable choice, then, is to prioritize deliberately.  We do so by setting a goal to live in accordance with God’s purpose and plan.

The priorities we choose are determined by what we value.  Sometimes, though, prioritizing can be frustrating since there are so many distractions diverting our focus.

If we consider a right relationship with God to be of utmost importance, then we will put first those actions and thoughts that strengthen our connection with Him.  We need to be disciplined in following our goals, because living purposefully is rarely easy.  However, the good news is that God knows our heart, and He will honor our sincere attempts to put Him first.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 18, 2018.