Romans

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.

Defiant

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What about where I live, and where you live?

Enjoying the moment would be all that mattered if death were the end of it all.  Living as if God does not exist would also be no problem if that were the case.  Those who accept Jesus as their Savior know that there is life beyond the grave and that our life on earth is only a preparation for our life that does not end.  What you do today matters eternally.  In light of eternity, sin and defiance is a foolish game.  How foolish?  It is a game that cannot be won.

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.

Applying for the judgeship

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Do you really think-

anyone of you who judges

those who do such things 

yet do the same-

that you will escape God’s judgement?

Romans 2:3

Apparently, man was not given the tools, ability, right or authority to judge other men.  Men judging one another is sort of like a horse judging another horse for being a horse.  Not only are we not free of all sorts of problems ourselves (we are men ourselves), we have no authority-it’s God’s jurisdiction.  How are we able to help one another, or sharpen one another, when we are judging those around us?

The verse from Proverbs is interpreted to mean benefiting from intellectual discussion which brings joy through a keener mind and improved character, which will show in the face.  Or even more literally, a man sharpening his friend’s face 🙂 .  That probably is not something we will be willing to do with our brother or sister when we have a roadblock between us-that being whatever judgement we’ve served them.  Our brothers and sisters are waiting, let us serve them.