Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions ~ Why do I sometimes fail to hear God when He speaks?

Why do so many of us fail to hear what God is saying? 

We want to know His will for us, but we cannot perceive Him speaking to us. Like David, we pray, "O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest" (Ps. 22:2). 

Why can't we hear His voice?

One significant obstacle is that we often consider the act of listening 
to be a passive experience
—we assume we can simply sit and absorb what is being said. 

Good listening, however, is an active endeavor, 
involving both attitude and action.

We will have difficulty listening if we come to God with uncertainty, doubting that He is going to speak. 

Instead, we are to approach God confidently and expectantly, 
anticipating He will communicate with us. 

Such an attitude expresses our faith and 
demonstrates we believe His promises.

Another problem is disobedience. 

God instructs us, but we do not like His answer. 

Perhaps we want more information 
before we step out in faith (Judges 6:36-40). 

Maybe the Lord is commanding us to release something 
that is important to us (2 Sam. 12:13-23) 

or directing us to act in a way 
that is terrifying, challenging, or unpleasant (John 1:1-3). 

Either way, we want Him to change His mind and plan.

The prophet Jeremiah repeatedly reminded his people 
that although God had been speaking to them, 
they refused to hear Him. 

"I spoke to you in your prosperity," 
the Lord declared through the prophet, 
"but you said, 'I will not listen!' 
This has been your practice from your youth, 
that you have not obeyed My voice" (Jeremiah 22:21). 

We often have the same problem. 

The Lord may be speaking to us, 
but we've blocked Him out. 

However, we must repent of our faithlessness and disobedience 
and immediately do whatever He's commanded.

Sometimes God is silent simply to build our faith 
and relationship with Him. 

Sometimes He withholds information 
until we are prepared to pay attention 
and obey Him—
trusting even when we cannot hear His voice. 

In such instances, we're told, 
"Cease striving, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). 

We must approach the Lord with an attitude 
of patience and confidence (Ps. 40:1) 
and listen for Him actively. 

Colossians 3:16 says, 
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, 
with all wisdom." 

In other words, as we read and meditate on Scripture, 
we are to humbly and submissively 
allow the truth of His Word 
to penetrate deep within our hearts 
and overflow to our actions. 

We must come quietly to Him 
and allow Him to do the talking. 

While there is nothing wrong with keeping a prayer list, 
a devotional time ought to include 
more than just a litany of requests. 

We should take time to hear what God says to us.

Pastor Stanley closes by saying:
Keep on listening attentively
and prepare to submit to
whatever the Lord tells you.

Your heavenly Father will speak,  
and when He does, He will bless you greatly.

see page 410
Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible

Friday, April 25, 2014

God's Love for Us

Think of the purest, most all-consuming love 
you can imagine. 

Now multiply that love by an infinite amount--
that is the measure of God's love for you. 

God does not look on the outward appearance. 

He doesn't care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, 
if we are handsome or homely, 
if we are famous or forgotten. 

Though we are incomplete, 
God loves us completely. 

Though we are imperfect, 
He loves us perfectly. 

Though we may feel lost and without a compass, 
Gods love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled 
with an infinite measure of holy, 
pure, and indescribable love.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Interceding for Others: Six Ways to Pray for a Loved One in Need

(I may have posted this one already...though it is a good reminder for me...)

By Dr. Charles Stanley

You and I can always go to Jesus in our time of need. But what should we do for a friend or loved one going through a crisis? How can we pray for someone God has brought to mind, even if we don’t know the exact details of their situation? 

In Colossians 1:9-12, Paul includes a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. His example gives us six ways to intercede on another person’s behalf:

1. May my friend be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (v. 9).
God is ready to show us exactly what to do in any given situation. AsPsalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” You don’t have to say, “Show my friend Your will—if it’s Your will.” His promise to do so is sure and clear. Ask the Lord to give your loved one spiritual discernment and clear direction about His desires.

2. May my friend walk in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ and please God in all respects (v. 10). 
If a person is a believer, then he is called to emulate the life of Christ—his words and behavior should match the character and attitude of Jesus. Pray that your friend would recognize the great privilege of being part of God’s kingdom. If he does not know Jesus as his Savior, ask the Lord to make Himself known in your friend’s life, so that he would become a child of God and give glory to the Lord through obedience and repentance.

3. May my friend bear fruit in every good work (v. 10).
Being busy doesn’t always mean that we are also being fruitful. Pray that your friend will wisely invest his time and resources for the sake of God’s kingdom—to have an eternal impact rather than a temporal one.  

4. May my friend increasingly grow in the knowledge of the Lord (v. 10).
We all have a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy, though we might try to quench it with other things. Nothing can take the place of a healthy relationship with the Father. Finding spiritual fulfillment is possible only through reading, applying His word to our lives, and observing the results. Pray that your friend will have a hunger for God and seek Him through Scripture.

5. May my friend be strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might (v. 11).
If you know someone going through a crisis, don’t stop praying for the power of God to work in his or her life. On behalf of your friend, ask God to provide strength to remain steadfast in the truth, regardless of the circumstances. Keep praying for the person to be empowered to do His will, for His glory.

6. May my friend express joyous gratitude to the Father for His grace (v. 12).
It can be a challenge to remain thankful when we’re experiencing unpleasant circumstances. In order to steal our joy and diminish our witness, Satan often uses times of difficulty to bombard us with destructive thoughts, Pray that your friend will have a thankful heart and share gratitude with others as a testament to the good work of God in his or her life.

As Christians, we are connected to the One who has authority over all things, knows all things, and loves us unconditionally. And He wants to hear the desires of our hearts and give us wonderful blessings. If we come to Him asking for wisdom and the strength to walk in His ways, He will answer our prayers.

Think about somebody whose life you want to impact for eternal good. Spend time each morning petitioning God to work in that person’s life, according to Paul’s example. You can also ask someone to pray for you in this way. Then, as you intercede for others, you will begin to see God change their lives and experience the blessings of His good work.

In Touch Ministries, Inc. ~

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions ~ What are the characteristics of a godly man?

Luke 2:1-20

Until he became engaged to Mary, Joseph's life probably resembled that of most other men in his hometown. No doubt he had business concerns and goals for the future. But nothing seriously interrupted his daily routine until Mary informed him she was pregnant. 
This was when his life changed rapidly.

The news was shocking to him, and rather than disgrace Mary, Joseph planned to send her away (Matt. 1:19). 
But God saw the confusion building within Joseph's mind and sent His angel to guide him: 
"Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, 
for the Child who has been conceived in her 
is of the Holy Spirit. 
She will bear a Son; 
and you shall call His name Jesus, 
for He will save His people from their sins
(Matt. 1:20-21). 
From this point on, Joseph never questioned the Lord's method or motive. He realized the God of the universe had chosen him to watch over Mary and the Son she would have. He remained faithful not only to his wife, 
but also to the Lord.

Joseph showed courage by ignoring 
the ugly rumors swirling around town 
about Mary's pregnancy; 
he valued God's plan above what others thought of him. 
He remained sensitive to the Holy Spirit, 
demonstrated by his acceptance of His guidance. 
After the birth of Jesus, an angel appeared to him, 
warning him of impending danger. 
Joseph immediately took Mary and Jesus to Egypt, 
where they found safety until the threat passed 
(Matt. 2:13-15). 
As we look at the life of Joseph, 
we find that he was a humble man 
who honored God by obeying His Word. 
He remained consistent and content, 
and he could be counted on 
to follow the Lord regardless, 
of the personal costs.

How can you grow in your faith to become a godly individual?

1.  Begin by committing yourself to a consistent, 
daily walk with Christ.

2.  Attend a church where the Word of God 
is proclaimed as the standard of life.

3.  Make a commitment to God and to your loved ones 
that you will not abandon your devotion 
to Christ or to them.

You will gain a sense of godly responsibility 
when you stand up for what is right! 

A committed Christian is not easily swayed, 
but is filled with conviction, faith, 
and a desire to know God intimately. 

When Joseph had no one else 
to guide and comfort him, 
he turned to God 
and found the strength 
and love he needed 
to get through 
the most difficult of circumstances.

You will too. 
Will you make Joseph's spiritual commitment 
your own today?

~ page 379 ~

Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions ~ How do I handle nagging doubt?

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan loves to use fear and doubt 
to discourage believers. 
He knows if he can get you to question God, 
then maybe you will give up 
and abandon His will for your life. 

First, realize....
feelings of fear often accompany 
feelings of doubt and uncertainty. 

If left unattended, 
these runaway emotions 
can tempt you 
to stop trusting the Lord 
and His ability to provide for you.

The first step to turning away 
from doubt and discouragement 
is to proclaim your faith in Jesus Christ. 

When trouble strikes, 
He is your omniscient help. 
He also is the only One 
who truly understands you completely. 

He knows your weaknesses and strengths. 

He also knows exactly what is needed 
to encourage you and lift you up 
so you can continue walking forward in faith.

Second, set a goal... 
to read God's Word each day. 

This is the best way to combat fear and doubt. 

The Lord uses a daily reading program 
to train your mind 
and to teach you how to handle doubt. 

The Book of Psalms highlights 
many personal battles 
over emotions 
such as feardoubtloneliness
and discouragement

David and others made a conscious decision 
to trust the Lord 
through tremendously difficult circumstances 
and found that God never once failed them.

Third, prayer is essential 
in fighting fear and doubt. 

In essence, prayer is faith in action

When we pray, 
regardless of whether we feel like it, 
we make a statement of faith. 

We pray because we see God 
as the solution to what we face. 

If you are facing a difficult situation
don't hesitate to ask Him 
to show you the best way to handle it. 

If your level of trust seems low, don't worry. 

The Lord is wise and kind. 

He wants to teach you more about Himself, 
not frighten you away. 

Your faith will increase 
as you get to know Him better.

Even if you don't feel 
you have the emotional strength 
to trust God, 
don't worry. 

The Lord is your strength (Psalm 18)!

 A.B. Simpson often told those who found themselves in a difficult spot, "When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary."

The last thing Satan wants you to do 
is to go to God in prayer 
and tell Him you feel doubtful. 

Always be honest with Him; 
He knows it all. 

Honesty breaks the pattern of doubt 
and provides the right atmosphere 
for God to work mightily in your life. 

He loves you with an eternal love, 
He will provide for your every need.

Thank you, Lord, for providing the right word at the right time. 
You know us and know what we need!
In Jesus name, Amen!

today's selection is from page 17 of Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Key to Bible study...

-Spurgeon, "Christ Our Passover"

The more you read the Bible, and the more you meditate
upon it, the more you will be astonished with it.

He who is but a casual reader of the Bible, does not know
the height, the depth, the length and breadth of the mighty
meanings contained in its pages.

There are certain times when I discover a new vein of
thought, and I put my hand to my head and say in
astonishment, "Oh, it is wonderful I never saw this before in
the Scriptures."

You will find the Scriptures enlarge as you enter them; the
more you study them the less you will appear to know of
them, for they widen out as we approach them.

Especially will you find this the case with the 'typical' parts of
God's Word. Most of the historical books were intended to
be types either of dispensations, or experiences, or offices of
Jesus Christ.

Study the Bible with this as a key.
One of the most interesting points of the Scriptures
is their constant tendency to display Christ.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Bible

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

The Bible is the richest treasure of the world.

Without it the palace is a dark blank.

With it the humble cottage sparkles with celestial light.

It is the transcript of God's heart.

It tells, what human reason is weak to find.

It is pure truth without one shade of error.

It gives knowledge on all things
needful for time and for eternity.

It is a safe guide through life's entangled path.

It is a compass . . .
  through shoals and rocks;
  amid winds and waves;
  to heaven's eternal rest.

The sage is ignorant without it.

The peasant learns from it salvation's road.

It is a solace for every hour.

It is a companion always ready to converse.

It cheers when other comforts fail.

It is arrayed in every charm for intellect.

It never wearies.

It is always fresh.

Its oldest truths cannot grow old.

Its readers become more wise; more holy.

Other books may puzzle and corrupt. 

The Bible is from heaven, and leads to heaven.
It enters the heart with purifying grace.

The more you search the Bible, the more your
minds will wonder, and your hearts will love.

Read it as literally true. Then no human
philosophy will beguile you.

Ponder its characters. You will find on
them the intrinsic stamp of truth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions ~ What does God require of us?

Sometimes God's commands are clear as the sun on a cloudless day. However, at times what He instructs you to do may seem as difficult as capturing the sun and putting it in your pocket—it's an impossible task.

The Israelites faced this dilemma when they stood on the verge of entering Canaan. God commanded that they take the land of promise by war; but after 40 years of wandering, no doubt they wondered if they had what it took to wage a successful campaign.

Yet, they were missing the point of the relationship they had with God. In Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 Moses admonished, "What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?"

God did not expect them to have a perfect battle plan—
He simply wanted them to love Him. 
He did not ask them to win the war at any cost—
He told them to simply trust His ways 
and obey His commands.

Moses understood that Israel could not 
be under God's protection 
without obedience and faith—
without love for the One they were following. 
You must understand that as well.

God is not an impossible taskmaster; 
He won't set you up to fail. 
Rather, he is your loving God 
who is making a way for you 
through whatever challenges you face. 
Your responsibility is to walk in His ways.

Micah 6:8 explains, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" 

What does that mean? 
It means that you are to exhibit the character of Christ—
respectfully accepting God's instructions 
and serving Him out of love.

Understand that 
God wants to have a deep 
and abiding relationship with you, 
He gladly prepares and empowers you 
for whatever He expects of you. 

The more you understand His ways, 
the more you're going to love Him 
and want to obey Him.

If you want to serve God 
and if you desire His protection, 
you must..... 
know Him, 
love Him, 
obey Him. 

And no matter how difficult the challenges that arise, 
God will help you. 

In His will is the safest place for you to be. 

So, do not fear, for He is with you. 

He will give you the strength you need 
when you trust Him 
do what He says.

 the above is from page 374 in Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible 

Read through the Bible in a year, or simply get a fresh approach to your quiet time. Each 15-minute reading includes passages from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs. You'll find Dr. Stanley's easy-to-understand application notes on every page, plus real-life topics and more. Now available in Dr. Stanley's favorite translation, the New American Standard Version.