Category: <span>thoughts by Charles Stanley</span>


It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Paul spent his life serving Christ, and yet he experienced continual suffering.

Why would God let one of His most faithful servants go through so much pain?

This isn’t just a question about Paul; it’s an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships, but He doesn’t necessarily do so.

Maybe our reasoning is backwards. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is what produces faithful Christians. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials, or pain, we’d never really know God, because we’d never need Him.

Like it or not, adversity teaches us more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will. I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never been challenged by hardship? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful. For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by pain, persecution, and adversity?

Depending on your response, trials can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30
 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;  in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—  besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•  Life Can Bring Joy out of Sorrow by Norma Becker
•  Fully Surrender to the Lord
•  Salvation Explained

thoughts by Charles Stanley Thoughts by Men


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”  Hebrews 12:1

When you think of endurance, what comes to mind?

We usually associate it with persistence through hardship, like the mindset of a marathon runner pushing through the pain to finish the race. We see that Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to run with this kind of determination. The implication is that we are going to face hardships and suffering in the Christian life.

Our goal should be to remain faithful and obedient to Christ through every situation. That is possible because we know our suffering is temporary and we have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. But in the meantime, we need the right attitude. Are we to grit our teeth, mutter, and complain all the way to heaven? Certainly not!

The writer of Hebrews commended the suffering Christians for their joyful attitude. They didn’t enjoy the pain and hardship, but knew that it was all part of God’s plan for their good and ultimately they’d have a great reward in heaven.

We, too, can endure hardship with joy in the Lord, who comforts and strengthens us through it and promises to bring us safely to glory.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  Forgiveness is Good for Your Health
•  Former Mob Boss for the Colombo Crime Family in New York
•  Salvation Explained

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As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?  My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, Where is your God?”  These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.   Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. Psalm 42: 1-5

We all have expectations, and if our hopes fail to materialize, we feel disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with this emotion as long as we don’t let it become all-consuming despair. In such a state of mind, we might find our circumstances dominate us, which can lead to sinful responses.

For example, we may become angry at God because we think He has let us down. When that’s the case, we’re essentially saying we know better and the Lord should have worked the situation out according to our desires. Can you see the pride in such thinking? Certainly He doesn’t expect us to be happy about our adversity. But as difficult as it is, we need to humble ourselves under His sovereign hand and accept that He has jurisdiction over both our joys and our trials. This attitude becomes possible once we realize everything that happens is designed for our good so that we can become more like Christ.

When life deals you a painful blow and your soul is in despair, turn your eyes away from your situation and place them on the Lord. Put your hope in Him, knowing that difficulties and suffering are temporary. Hopefully there will soon come a time when you again joyfully praise Him here on earth, as all His children will do eternally in heaven.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Struggles, Despair

•  Random Acts of Kindness it is amazing how random acts of kindness affect those around you.

•  Salvation Explained

thoughts by Charles Stanley Thoughts by Men


A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.

Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.

All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.

Romans 6:16-23
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Should I Pray Every Day? 
•  God Listens to Us
•  Salvation Explained

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“Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.” Psalm 25:12

How can you be sure you’re making the right decision? Sometimes it may seem as if God plays hide and seek when we’re trying to know His will, but that’s not the way He operates. He wants to give us clear direction. The real question is, What do you need to do to hear His voice?

Clear the pathway. We have two main obstacles that hinder our discernment: sin in our life and our own strong desires about the situation. To receive the Lord’s guidance, we must repent of all known sin and make our desires secondary to His.

Exercise patience. Sometimes it takes a great deal of strength to stand still when everything within you is shouting, “Hurry! Time is running out!” But if you rush ahead of God, you may miss His will.

Persist in prayer. The Bible clearly instructs us to keep coming to the Lord with our concerns. As we continue to pray, He will gradually weed out anything confusing until we come to His conclusion about the matter.

Search the Scriptures. The Word of God has an answer for every need, and the Holy Spirit knows just how to point us in the right direction. I remember times while I was reading the Bible that a verse jumped off the page and supplied the exact answer I needed to make an important decision.

So often when we’re faced with a critical choice, all we want from the Lord is a quick answer. But He delights to meet with us in order to deepen our relationship with Him. Don’t let the urgency of your need keep you from enjoying the intimacy of His presence as you seek His will.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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From: Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org.

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Further Reading

•  You Asked God for What?
•  Hearing God’s Voice
•  Salvation Explained

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Read: Deuteronomy 29:22-29  (scroll down)


Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, three biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering.

    1. The Lord is in control (Psalm 103:19)The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all”.. Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them in accordance with His plans.
    2. God loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. . Giving His Son for the salvation of mankind proves the Father’s love. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior.
    3. Whatever God allows is for His good purposes (Genesis 50:20) “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present      result,  to preserve many people alive. Though we cannot fully comprehend what He is doing in each incident, every disaster is an opportunity for the world to know God and lean on Him.

God loves us perfectly and is sovereignly working everything for our good and His glory. This realization should fill us with hope, even in the midst of a crisis. Then, instead of reacting in fear, we will find refuge in Him

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;

    no longer will their faces grow pale.
23 When they see among them their children,
    the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
    they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
    those who complain will accept instruction.”


Further Reading

•   Struggles, Despair
•   Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others
•  Salvation Explained

thoughts by Charles Stanley Thoughts by Men


Jesus’ values are nothing like the world’s, so grasping who we are as God’s children can be hard

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him”. Romans 8:16-17.

Since the culture’s way of thinking is powerful and at times intoxicating, it’s easy to lose our way while pursuing the abundant life God promises. If that happens, the freedom we expected to experience in Christ can feel weighed down by sinful behaviours and thought patterns—not least of which is worry.

Anxiety comes readily when things go awry, and we think the responsible course of action is to take matters into our own hands, strategizing for every negative possibility. That might seem like the path to peace, but it will never liberate us from our fears. Eventually, we’ll realize we can’t do it on our own.

Jesus sets His followers free from worry (Matthew. 6:25-34). But we must continually submit ourselves to His care. Then we can rest assured, knowing that no matter what our circumstances are, He’ll always come through for us—perhaps not in the manner we expect, but in ways that help us grow closer to Him, the only true source of peace.

Think about it:

What do you gain from worrying about circumstances?

What do you lose?

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  The Names of God – A Bible study
•   Cling to the Lord
•  Salvation Explained


thoughts by Charles Stanley Thoughts by Men


Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Does it surprise you that Paul wrote today’s passage when he was in prison? He didn’t know what his future held—whether he’d be freed or punished or killed—but he had learned to be content in all circumstances, good or bad. How many of us can make that claim?

It’s not uncommon to feel discontentment when we cannot control our situation. And as long as our satisfaction depends on whether certain things work out, circumstances will continue to steal our peace. Paul was not saying that we’ll never experience anxiety or frustration again; rather, what matters is how we respond when those feelings grip us.

This is something Paul had to learn. He endured tremendous suffering, from shipwrecks and hunger to unjust imprisonment and beatings (. He knew as well as anyone that situations can be painful and seemingly hopeless. But he finally discovered that true contentment came from Jesus, not the situation he found himself in.  

2 Corinthians 11:24-30 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.  Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?  If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”

How do you respond when circumstances are out of your control?

Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). That same peace is available to you and me.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  God WILL take care of you
•   God’s Sufficiency Exceeds Our Need
•  Salvation Explained

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2 Samuel 11: 1-5

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, I am pregnant.”

Temptations can come at any time, but they are especially dangerous in periods of weakness because that’s when we’re more prone to yield. The Scriptures are filled with descriptions of men and women who sinned against the Lord in moments of vulnerability. These true stories are given to us for our instruction so we can learn from the mistakes of others. ( 1 Corinthians 10:11).

While temptations come in a variety of forms, they follow a similar pattern. David’s sin is a good example of this. His eye looked, his mind desired, and his will acted. Resistance is difficult in the best of times, but it’s even more of a struggle during periods of anger, emptiness, idleness, or isolation—and that was the case for David, who should have been in battle instead of in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1). At the end of the day, no matter what’s creating the vulnerability, each person is responsible for his or her own actions.

In times of weakness, remember the acronym “HALT.” Don’t let yourself become too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Most importantly, fix your attention on the Lord and draw strength from Him through prayer. Use Scripture to guard your mind, and the Lord will give you victory over temptation.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  Feelings, Forgiveness and Peace | by Dr. Muriel Larson
•  The Power of Forgiveness | by Dr. Henry Brandt
•  Salvation Explained

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When we experience adversity, we tend to wonder, Why is this happening to me?

Although the answer might remain a mystery, Scripture gives us a foundation from which to view difficulties. God’s Word tells us that we live in a fallen world filled with sinful people, that even the redeemed are not exempt from trouble, and that Satan has great influence here.

But as believers, we know God uses our troubles to accomplish His good purposes. Although they are sometimes the Lord’s means of correcting us when we stray, trials also teach us to depend on Him rather than ourselves and to trust He will supply our needs. A diet of nothing but manna must have seemed like a great trial to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Yet that was God’s means of humbling them and teaching that He alone was their Provider.  Deuteronomy 8:3

So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

Understanding these things about God, you can begin to recognize adversity as a reminder of His great love. And not only that, but difficulties are also a way to know Him more intimately—that is, you won’t ever experience God as Comforter if you’re never in need of comfort. So whatever the reason for your trial, realize that He has allowed it for your good  Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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•  Struggles, Despair
•  Where Your Choices Can Lead You
•  Salvation Explained

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Wouldn’t it be great if it were easy to do God’s will?

But sometimes it seems as if a mountain stands between us and what we’ve been called to do.  When Zerubbabel felt this way, the Lord sent His prophet Zechariah with a message of encouragement.

Zerubbabel was given the task of rebuilding the temple.  When King Solomon built the first temple, the kingdom was at peace, the treasuries were overflowing, and the workforce was huge.  But the situation was quite different when the Jews returned after 70 years of Babylonian captivity. They were few in number, their enemies kept attacking them, Jerusalem was in ruins, and resources were limited.  Zechariah’s message to Zerubbabel (4:1-9) contains two principles that strengthened him and will also help us when we face insurmountable
obstacles.

We are to face our God-given tasks in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own strength and energy (v. 6).

The Lord’s work can never be
done with human strength.  His indwelling Spirit must empower
us with the wisdom and energy to accomplish His will in our lives.

When God calls us to a task, He assumes the responsibility for removing any hindrances (vv. 7-9).

What seems to us like Mt. Kilimanjaro is a mere anthill for the Lord.  When we’re tempted to give up, it’s time to look up, see the obstacle through His eyes, and trust Him.

Is the Lord asking you to do something that seems impossible?  Dwelling on your inadequacy leads to discouragement, but focusing on the Lord gives hope and the strength to persevere.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by permission
http://www.intouch.org/

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FURTHER READING

•  The Package! Dealing with Unexpected Circumstances
•  Dealing with Despair…! Dark Moments of the Soul…

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“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7-9)

Photography has taught me a great deal about patience.

I once spent four days waiting to photograph the Matterhorn in Switzerland but inclement weather was keeping the peak totally hidden. On the last night of my stay, I went to sleep praying. Very early the next morning, I opened my eyes to see that huge white mountain glistening against the pitch black sky. I had not even realized the inexpensive hotel we’d selected had a view of the mountain!

Rather than waiting until we reach heaven to reward us, God sends many blessings to us now – particularly in response to our attitude of patience.

1. We see God at work. His way is the best way, and we become more aware of this when we observe Him working out His plan in our life.

2. We can achieve our objectives. The Lord knows the right moment to provide what we want or need. If we give up too soon or try to manipulate circumstances, we miss out on God’s best for us.

3. We have God’s favor. When we are patiently waiting for His will, then He can freely bless us. God certainly wants to pour out His love on our life.

The Lord has many rewards available to us when we abide patiently in His will. We will all face circumstances in which we are tempted to be impatient. What determines whether or not we express patience is the value we place on whoever else is involved – a brother, friend, co-worker, or God. Do you value Him enough to be patient with His timing?

Question: Where can you develop patience in your life?

by Dr. Charles Stanley
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http://www.intouch.org/

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•  Be Patient
•  Love is Patient and Kind – a story of a man on a bus

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Read: Acts 9:1-31


Do you know someone with a hostile attitude toward God? It can be hard to imagine such a person accepting the Lord’s salvation, but no one is beyond the reach of our loving heavenly Father.

Saul of Tarsus is a perfect example. This self-righteous Pharisee was so confident of his obedience to God’s Law that he couldn’t see his need for a Savior. His goal was to get rid of Christians, but God had other plans for his life. Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light and confronted him about his persecution of the church. Saul repented, placed his trust in the Savior, and spent the rest of his life spreading the good news that salvation comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conviction of sin is an uncomfortable but important step for a life of faith. Before we can understand our need for a Savior, we must recognize the hopelessness of our sinful condition. Then we can repent and receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

Like Paul, we are saved only because God reached down to rescue us. And He will never leave or forsake us but is always present to mold us into Christlikeness.

Hebrews 13:5 “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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•  God Demonstrates His Love like this…
•  Jesus is Always There!

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Read: Daniel 6 NIV


We live in a noncommittal world, where perseverance is all too rare.

If a job is difficult or boring, people often think, Why not find another one? Or when a marriage becomes unhappy, many wonder, Should I be with someone else?

Sadly, this mindset is also found among believers. At the first sign of conflict, some Christians hop to another church instead of working through difficulties with their local body of believers. And when it comes to our personal walk of faith, many of us struggle to maintain a consistent quiet time with the Lord.

Daniel was a man of steadfast loyalty. Not even the awareness that he could be killed interfered with his practice of praying three times a day. Such commitment to the Lord was noted by others. Jealous officers and governors used Daniel’s consistency to trap him, but the king made a remarkable statement:

Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you” (Daniel 6:16).

Apparently, he believed Daniel’s devotion would be the key to the young man’s deliverance

Daniel’s victory in the lion’s den led to great influence, as it inspired the king’s decree to worship the Lord. Have you considered that the Lord was able to use him because of his unwavering obedience and worship? Imagine what God can do with you when you also commit yourself to Him.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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•  Get Wise!
•  Keep Yourselves in God’s Love

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And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!  Matthew 14:29-30

The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy. Your heart is so heavy that you feel as though you could die. What do you do?

Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to look for help. As believers, we dwell with the almighty God, who is able to aid us. At those moments when we are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.

In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to communicate that we desperately need His mercy.

It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s ability and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, we also lay down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.

The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is strength in just speaking His name.

When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be allowed to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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http://www.intouch.org.

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•  How To Be Sure God Listens To Your Prayers
•  Fully Surrender to the Lord

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