Monochrome

Heed Instruction

In our individualistic society, we may think we don’t need anyone’s help in making decisions, forming convictions, or distinguishing truth from error. But such self-reliance doesn’t lead to true wisdom and spiritual discernment. To know the Lord’s mind about a matter, we must rely on His Word. In the pages of Scripture, God has revealed who His is, how He works, and the way His followers are to deepen both their understanding and their relationship with Him.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, January 5, 2021.

God’s perspective

When times are frightening and uncertain – whether personally, nationally, or globally – the place to find comfort and assurance is the Bible, especially the book of Psalms. Scripture helps us look at circumstances from God’s perspective. That reassures us of His love and care for us and lifts our eyes to a higher hope than anything this world can offer. We all want to find peace, and the first step is to cease striving (v. 10). Remember that the Lord is always with you, and know that His kingdom is coming.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, November 10, 2020.

A Great Task

Living together in a way that evokes the glad song of Psalm 133 is one of the great and arduous tasks before Christ’s people. Nothing requires more attention and energy. It is easier to do almost anything else. It is far easier to deal with people as problems to be solved than to have anything to do with them in community. If a person can be isolated from the family (husband, wife, parents, children), the church, or others around them (neighbors) then be professionally counseled, advised, and guided without the complications of all those relationships, things are very much simpler. But if such practices are engaged in systematically, they become an avoidance of community.

Community is a ‘place’ where people pay attention to each other; where each person is taken seriously; where each person learns to trust; where each person depends on others; where each person is compassionate with others; where each person rejoices with others.

Commentary from Masterwork Bible study, Fall 2020, Spiritual Warfare lesson by Jerry Rankin, page 82.

Looking for direction

Sometimes people make decision they later regret because they listened to ungodly counsel. Here are four suggestions to help you discern what is wise, biblical advice:

  1. Look for counsel that references God, the Bible, and Jesus. If it neglects or contradicts the principles of Scripture, the best thing to do is retreat.
  2. If there’s a lot of talk but little prayer, think twice. Even with a great exchange of ideas and wisdom, a prudent advisor should ultimately defer to God and pray for His direction. Prayer is essential for attaining the whole counsel of God.
  3. Avoid a counselor who compromises Scripture. People sometimes soften God’s requirements by saying things like, “Nobody’s perfect, so a little gossip, gambling, or other ‘fun’ won’t hurt.” Such rationalizing can quickly lead to destruction.
  4. Beware of counsel quick to criticize the church. Someone who readily discredits the church may have a hurtful bias and a tendency to leave God out when giving advice.

Remember, living within each believer is the Counselor Himself – the Holy Spirit – who wants to help with all our decisions. Seek Him first and often.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, November 21, 2020.

Privilege

Prayer is an amazing privilege by which God involves us as He accomplishes His will in our lives and in the world. During hardships and trouble, we come to Him in weakness and helplessness, asking for His aid, strength, and guidance. Then He answers according to His good and perfect will.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, August 9, 2019.

Avenues

The prayers of God’s people don’t merely drift into space but are avenues through which God does His amazing work on earth. However, He cannot be manipulated into unleashing His power – there are no prayer formulas or perfect words that cause Him to act.

What James means by effective prayer is explained to us in 1 John 5:14 (in photo). Therefore we can define effective prayer as that which is in accordance with God’s will. According to James, effective prayer requires a righteous life. If we are harboring sin, pride, and self-reliance, it’s doubtful that our prayers will align with God’s will. We can’t hang onto our unrighteousness and expect to offer effective prayers, because sin hinders our relationship with God. Before coming to the Lord with our petitions, we must first confess our sins and turn from them.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, August 9, 2019.