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

Forgiveness means sharing the same gift Jesus extended to us—regardless of the offense


We’ll often try to justify an angry, unforgiving heart by thinking, Well, the Lord knows what that person did to me. So He gets why I feel this way. Certainly Jesus—who was fully God and fully man—knows human emotions inside and out. In fact, He Himself experienced betrayal and abandonment, so it’s true that He understands our pain. Nevertheless, He does not approve of an unforgiving attitude.

Through the Savior, we see how God views forgiveness, even when it comes to the vilest offenses. And consider this: We are the ones who continually betray Him. How? We’ve denied Him His rightful place in our life, doubted His Word, and ignored His instruction. There are times we kick Him out of our daily activities and decisions so we can pursue things more to our own liking. What’s more, we have sinned against both Him and other people.

And what is Jesus’ disposition towards us?

Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest(Mathew 11:28)

Now, do you really believe He will justify our unforgiveness? No, He wants us to instead look at the cross. There we will discover the price that was paid for our own forgiveness. Just as we have been forgiven, so we must now become forgivers Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord” forgave you, so also should you.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others

The Power of Forgiveness | by Dr. Henry Brandt

•  Salvation Explained


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No storm in life will last forever, and when it passes, we can thank the Lord for His rescue and constant watchfulness.


Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. And it’s in these turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind:

Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why?

When we find ourselves in tumultuous situations, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal storm described in today’s passage provides insight about the Lord’s role in the various upheavals that come our way. According to verse 25, God was responsible for this storm because He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Turbulent times encourage us to do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried out for God’s help. He then rescued them from their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His loving kindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him publicly.

No storm lasts forever, and there’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes once violent weather is past. Let’s remember to respond like those grateful sailors when the time comes, and until then to endure with our eyes on the Lord.

Psalm 107:23-32 

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.
(25) For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery.
They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His loving kindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders.” 

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  They Say I’m Nothing, but I’m Something by Londeka Zondi

•  Getting Life Back on Track by Marvin Kehler

•  Salvation Explained


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What peace there is for Christians in the Almighty’s unfailing, unconditional care!


Read: Romans 5:8

Many of us have heard since childhood that the Lord loves us. Yet it isn’t until we begin to understand the true nature of His never-ending love that our lives start to change dramatically—anxiety is exchanged for peace, depression for joy, and fear for confidence.

Today’s Bible verse tells us that while we were still living in rebellion against God, His love sent Jesus to the cross to pay the ultimate price for our redemption. In other words, He didn’t wait for our apologies or even our recognition of Him. No, the Almighty loved us so completely that He sent His Son to die for us while we were steeped in sin.

This doesn’t mesh with our human understanding of love. Much of our concern for others is conditional, hopefully with the exception of care for our children and families. We oftentimes project this imperfect image onto the Lord. It is hard for us to imagine that there actually exists a greater love than what we ourselves can give.

Thankfully, God is not restricted by our view of Him. So great is His care, in fact, that when we trust in Him, He calls us His children and adopts us! And our Father promises that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans. 8:38-39).

As you read Scripture, focus on verses about the heavenly Father’s love. Ask Him to help you start to grasp how great His love is. Document what you learn so that it is available to review when guilt or doubt creeps into your mind. What peace there is for Christians in the Almighty’s unfailing, unconditional care!

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   God Is…

•  Going Deeper with God

•  Salvation Explained


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Rely on God for emotional security.


Read: John 15:9-11

Is your life exciting? Or do you, like so many people, find most days routine and tedious? Have dreams become disappointments? If so, you might feel tempted to give up hope. But God promises fulfillment that can’t be found anywhere else.

Joy is a gift from the Lord. It doesn’t depend upon circumstances but rather is found in Jesus’ unchanging character and promises. And that’s exactly where to find true strength and power to endure.

Years ago I found myself being tested on this very point while working on a sermon about joy. A few days earlier, I had baptized a large number of people, and evidently, the repetitive motion had strained my back. There was no pain until midweek, when I tried to lift something heavy. Suddenly, I was dealing with severe backache. Almost immediately, the Lord brought to mind the message I was planning to present a few days later. Even though I complained and desperately wanted to be freed from the pain, I found I could be joyful in the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 tells us always to rejoice in Him. From this command, we know that even in the midst of hardship, we can purposefully choose to live with joy. This choice is possible for believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking obediently (Galatians 5:22-23).

Consider your response to both good and bad times. Does a consistent joy in Christ give you strength? Or do you find emotional relief only in the midst of positive circumstances? Difficulty is inevitable, but God’s truth is able to sustain you. Rely on Him for emotional security.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Hope for the Hopeless

•   Good News for You

•  Salvation Explained


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Our insufficiency drives us to God.


Read: 2 Corinthians 3:1-6


Paul never claimed he was capable of accomplishing all that God called him to do. He simply learned to look beyond his own inadequacy to the sufficiency of Christ. If we’ll adopt the same practice, we, too, can discover the blessings hidden in our own experiences of inadequacy.

Our insufficiency drives us to God. When we realize a situation is bigger than we can handle, we’re quick to open the Bible and diligently pray for guidance and power.

Inadequacy relieves us of the burden of self-effort and self-reliance. The Lord has us right where He wants us–at the end of our rope with nothing left to give.

Inability motivates reliance on divine power. We’ll never be adequate until we draw from the Holy Spirit’s inexhaustible strength. He does in and through us what God never intended that we do on our own.

By using weak, inadequate people, God demonstrates what great things He can do. He actually delights in choosing unlikely individuals to carry out His purposes. There’s no limit to what He can do through someone willing to give Him full control.

Inadequacy challenges our faith. Paul says, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (v. 5). Those who focus on the reliability of this promise and step out in obedience will grow in faith.

Why go through all the fear, pressure, and frustration that accompany feelings of inadequacy when there’s an alternative? Let the Lord make you adequate: rely upon Him and allow Christ to live in and through you. He will replace your anxiety with a quiet spirit of contentment.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  Who is God to You?

•   Wisdom and Knowledge of God

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: Matthew 11:28-30


What emotions come to mind when you hear the words burden and burnout? These terms make us sigh, don’t they? In this fast-paced, overworked world, most of us have felt the tiring numbness of carrying too much on our shoulders, in our schedules, and on our minds. Here are three ways a Christian should respond to these feelings:

Surrender to Christ. Jesus said to come to Him. There’s peaceful rest in surrendering our load to the Lord. His hands are large enough to hold anything and everything we need Him to handle. If we try to control and manage everything, we will wear ourselves out and eventually start dropping it all.

Depend on Christ. Jesus invites us to take His yoke and let Him bear our burdens. Although at first we may readily relinquish our concerns to the Lord, after a while we may try to take our burden back in an attempt to fix things ourselves. But by doing this, we interfere with the solution God wants to bring, and we end up wearing ourselves out once again. The truth is that only God has both the power and perspective to bring all matters to their proper conclusion (Romans 8:28).

Trust Christ. The Savior encourages us to learn from Him. As we fill our minds with the truth of His words, our trust in Him grows. His yoke will become easy, and we’ll see it as the safest and happiest place to be. When we know we never have to carry burdens alone, they get lighter.

What do you have to lose by coming to Jesus, taking His yoke, and learning from Him? Nothing but your burdens of exhaustion, stress, and anxiety.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Going Deeper with God

•   Struggles, Despair

•  Salvation Explained


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Waiting can be difficult.

Read: Joshua 6:1-5


The Lord has a beautiful plan for each believer’s life. But to thwart God’s purposes, Satan sprinkles obstacles in our path.

There are many types of hindrances, such as a difficult boss, contrary family members, and financial trouble. Anything that blocks a desired goal can cause anxiety and great frustration. But remember that no obstacle can touch you without God’s consent.

Consider Joshua’s army, which was no match for Jericho’s military. And the great wall protecting that city was an impossible barrier to cross. Yet God had promised the Israelites the land, and Joshua believed. He wasn’t fazed by what seemed unconquerable. Instead, he acknowledged the Lord’s power and sought His guidance.

Before Joshua even realized that God was at work, the Lord was preparing the city for destruction by instilling fear into kings throughout the region. Heaven’s directions included an unlikely battle plan, but because Joshua obeyed, God’s people triumphed.

Waiting can be difficult. And after a while, we might even begin to wonder if God will do anything at all–then it is easy to quit. But, as was true with Joshua, God has gone before us and is preparing the way. No matter how He chooses to handle the problem, His solution is always in our best interest.

Whenever you face an obstacle, you may experience great heartache. But even in the midst of pain, you can have full confidence in God. The most important part of each day is the time you spend alone with the Lord. He will encourage you with His love and give direction.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Struggles, Despair

•   Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: Hebrews 4:14-16


We often forget that during His stay on earth, Jesus experienced need just as we do. Although Christ was fully God, He was at the same time completely human, with all of humanity’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Though He didn’t sin, He identified with our suffering.

When Jesus had finished a 40-day fast in the wilderness, He experienced physical hunger and an onslaught of temptation from the devil (Matthew. 4:1-2). Later, after an exhausting day of healing people and feeding a crowd of more than 5,000, the Son of God required time alone with His Father for spiritual strength and refreshment (Matthew. 14:23). And in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was under tremendous spiritual and emotional pressure as He faced the daunting task of paying for the sins of mankind through His death on a cross (Matthew. 26:38-39).

In each weakness, Jesus turned to His Father. The Word of God was His defence in temptation, prayer was His source of strength for ministry, and submission to the Father’s will was His pathway to victory over sin and death. By passing through every difficult situation without sin, He became our Great High Priest, who intercedes for us and invites us to draw near to God’s throne for help in time of need.

Whatever your needs may be, you can follow Christ’s example and experience the Father’s provision. The Word of God is your protection, prayer is your strength, and submission to the Father is the way to victory over sin. Draw near with confidence, and let the Lord shower you with His grace.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   What a Friend we have in Jesus

•  God’s Mysterious Ways

•  Salvation Explained


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We struggle to reconcile our suffering with God’s love for us and His power to prevent or stop it.

Read Isaiah 45:5-10


When we experience hardships, we usually wonder why God allows these painful situations to come our way.   It just doesn’t seem to fit with His role as our loving heavenly Father. We struggle to reconcile our suffering with His love for us and His power to prevent or stop it. In order to understand what’s going on, we need to consider the possible sources of adversity.

A Fallen World: When sin entered the world, suffering came with it. God could have protected us from these harmful effects by making us like puppets who could not choose sin, but that would mean we’d also be unable to choose to love Him, because love must be voluntary.

Our Own Doing: Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble with our foolish or sinful choices. If the Lord stepped in and rescued us from every negative consequence, we’d never grow into mature believers.

Satanic Attack: The Devil is our enemy. To hinder anything the Lord wants to do in and through believers, Satan will never cease to harass us. His goal is to destroy our lives and our testimonies, thereby making us weak and useless for God’s purposes.

God’s Sovereignty: Ultimately, the Lord is in charge of all adversity that comes our way. To deny His involvement contradicts His power and sovereignty over creation.

For us to accept that God allows–or even sends–afflictions, we must see adversity from His perspective. Is your focus on the pain of your experience or on the Lord and His faithfulness? As believers, we’re assured that no adversity comes our way unless He can use it to achieve His good purposes.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

 Attacks of the Enemy? Are you prepared for this?

•  Dirty Oven – Sin in our life is like a dirty oven

•  Salvation Explained


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We cannot change the past, but when it weighs us down, we can turn to God for comfort


“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?”  Psalm 6:1-5

We cannot change the past, but when it weighs us down, we can turn to God for comfort

Throughout the world, people are mistreated and traumatized, and many carry deep scars throughout life. Not everyone’s experiences are extreme, but even mild hurts can fester, affecting relationships and self-image. Something as common as betrayal or rejection by friends or family can lead to distorted thinking and negative behaviors.

Unhealed hurts can lead to various symptoms, such as feelings of inferiority, fear of failure or criticism, and oversensitivity. Some people cope by criticizing others in an attempt to make themselves feel better. Others misinterpret innocent comments as personal attacks. Hurt can also overflow as unpredictable anger, as a person who’s been wounded is more likely to lash out at others. Sometimes those with a distorted self-image become loners because they’re overly concerned about others’ opinions of them.

Now and again we’re bound to experience some of these feelings, but God doesn’t want us to be trapped by the hurts we’ve suffered. Nor does He want us to be so crushed by our experiences that we feel worthless. Those who know the Savior will find comfort, healing, and trust in the Father’s love. Then, painful experiences can make us more like Jesus so we can glorify Him with our responses.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  Pressing the RESET button on our lives 

•   Keeping Yourself in God’s Love – even during painful times in your life

•  Salvation Explained


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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.” Romans 8:28


As we grow in our Christian faith, we move from the milk of elementary truths to the meatier issues of Scripture that challenge our heart and our thinking. One of those deeper concepts is the question of whether God is involved in every circumstance. Spiritually, it gives us a lot to “chew on” because the answer goes against our natural reasoning.

For example, Joseph was treated cruelly by his brothers, suffering enslavement and imprisonment in Egypt because of their hatred. We tend to wonder, How could a good God have been involved in that painful circumstance? Yet He worked it all for good, eventually moving Joseph to a position of power as Pharaoh’s right-hand man. When we ponder Scripture’s deeper teachings, it’s important to start with the truths about the Lord’s character, power, and promises. These form a foundation that can help us understand His role in both the triumphs and tragedies of life.

Although we can’t always grasp what God is doing in our circumstances, we can rely on His promise to work all things together for good to those who belong to Him. It’s important to remember that nothing touches us without passing though His loving, sovereign hands.

Read: Genesis 37-39 

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Why Worry Yourself Sick? – by Muriel Larson

•   When Confusion Prevails

•  Salvation Explained


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Every single moment, whether awake or asleep, we all live under the canopy of the Lord’s wondrous, absolute love for us.


Scripture tells us that love is the very essence of who God is (1 John 4:7). So if you don’t believe that He loves you unconditionally, you’ll never really know Him or have genuine peace about your relationship with Him.

How do you define “love“? It is Jesus unselfishly reaching out to mankind, giving Himself to us and bringing good into our life regardless of whether or not we accept Him. Romans 5:8 tells us that His care and concern are so immeasurable that He laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies. In fact, the Bible says that He first began to express His love toward us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians. 1:3-5). That means your actions had absolutely nothing to do with His love for you!

God’s commitment to us has absolutely no conditions or restrictions and isn’t based on whether we love Him back. Nor does He have more love for “good” people who may strike us as more worthy. He loves us even in our sin, even when we don’t repent. Does that give us license to disobey? No. It gives us power to live holy lives, walk obediently with Him, and learn to love Him the way He deserves. To follow Him is to receive the love He has been offering all along.

Every single moment, whether awake or asleep, we all live under the canopy of the Lord’s wondrous, absolute love for us. But to fully experience that love, you must receive it. Say yes to this amazing gift that God wants to pour out on you. Bask in it, and let it overflow to those around you.

Read: Romans 5:6-11 (see below form)

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


Further Reading

•  Your Father’s Heart Longs for You by Sylvia Gunter

•   How to Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness (3 parts)

•  Salvation Explained


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There are many situations that may cause our faith to waver.


“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8

The more we focus on God’s sufficiency, the more we trust in His promises.

Do you struggle with anxiety, frustration, and fear? Sometimes these feelings arise when we doubt God’s ability to fix a problem or protect us or a loved one. At other times we’re distressed because we question His willingness to handle a situation. Such uncertainties can develop from a lack of knowledge about God’s character, confusion regarding His promises, or a misunderstanding of His plans. That’s why it’s important to fill our mind with the truths of Scripture. Focusing on the Lord’s sufficiency instead of our circumstances gives us hope and strength.

There are many situations that may cause our faith to waver. It could be that our own sin prompts us to question the truth of the Scriptures in order to justify ourselves. Or previous failures might lead to a pessimistic outlook about current and future situations. What’s more, we have an enemy who reminds us of past mistakes and times when our prayers appeared to go unanswered. Satan’s age-old technique of questioning God’s truthfulness can make us wonder whether the Lord is trustworthy.

When doubts surface, confess them to God. Then recall past instances of His faithfulness and meditate on His promises. Let the Holy Spirit guide you into truth so you can stand firm.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  HE IS! – a powerful poem about God

•   The Almighty

•  Salvation Explained


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Forgiveness is an act of the will more than an act of the heart.


Read: Daniel 6  Daniel in the Den

Immediately after teaching His followers to pray, Jesus gave a warning about allowing unforgiveness to reside in the heart. He said that those who refuse to forgive others won’t be forgiven by the Father.

Do not misunderstand Jesus’ meaning here. Believers don’t lose their salvation when they refuse to forgive. Rather, they break fellowship with God because their unrepentant attitude gets in the way of regular confession and repentance. The Lord cannot ignore sin, and His Spirit will bring wrong behavior to the believer’s attention until he or she deals with it.

Forgiveness is an act of the will more than an act of the heart. Often people don’t feel like being merciful to someone who has wronged them. But a resentful spirit grows into a terrible burden. The Lord knows that forgiveness is best, even when it is difficult.

You won’t deal with a sin until you see it as God does. So assume full responsibility for your unforgiving attitude, and acknowledge that it is a violation of His Word. Claim the divine mercy He offers, and ask Him to enable you to lay aside anger and resentment against the other person(s). As part of the decision to move forward in grace, make a habit of praying for those who hurt you. And if God so leads, seek their forgiveness for your wrong attitude.

A bitter and resentful spirit doesn’t fit who we are in Christ. Nor is it healthy to carry an angry attitude through life. That’s why Scripture emphasizes the need to forgive. Choose to be liberated from your burden–Jesus promised to make us free when we release our sins to Him (John 8:36).

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Bible Studies

•   Keeping Yourself in God’s Love – even during painful times in your life

•    How to be Saved


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How many friends do you have?


Strong, godly friendships like Jonathan and David’s are a blessing from the Lord.

Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the ]soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.” 1 Samuel 18:1-4

How many friends do you have? And I don’t mean the people you connect with on social media—I’m talking about the few who really know you and stick with you through thick and thin. Such mutual friendships are rare today.

What does it take to develop this kind of relationship? There could be no finer example than the friendship between David and Jonathan, and three qualities stand out.

  1. The relationship was characterized by mutual respect. This often gets lost in today’s world, but the reality is that we can maintain a genuine friendship only with someone for whom we have high regard.
  2. David and Jonathan felt strong love for one another. Even though they weren’t related, these two friends shared a relationship as deep and loyal as a brotherhood.
  3. Their commitment to each other was genuine. These were no fair-weather friends. Their bond withstood even the attempts by King Saul to kill David. (1 Samuel 23:15-18) Jonathan refused to let anything—not even his own father’s jealous fury—come between him and his friend.

Think about your best friend. Is the relationship characterized by these qualities? If so, recognize that you have been given a blessing from the Lord. Praise Him for the gift of your friend.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Friendships

•   Forgiveness is Good for Your Health

•  Salvation Explained


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