Category: thoughts by Charles Stanley

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Read: Judges 6:1-16


Anyone who’s struggled with fear and anxiety understands the difficulty of overcoming these emotions. Gideon was a man who experienced great apprehension because he lived when Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites as a result of their rebellion against God.

Conditions had become so desperate that Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press so the enemy wouldn’t think to steal it. It was at this low point in his life that the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Imagine his stress! He didn’t see himself as a great warrior and felt totally inadequate for the task.

Gideon’s problem was his focus. Despite being reassured that God was with him, Gideon observed the situation through human eyes and concluded that the Lord had abandoned Israel. Then he looked at himself from that same perspective and listed all the reasons why he was not the one to deliver Israel. But the Lord again responded by saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (Judges  6:16).

Like Gideon, we too are prone to focus on our own weakness and inability rather than count on what we know to be true about the Lord. We can think of a thousand things to worry about instead of remembering God’s past faithfulness and the certainty of His future promises.

Persevering through anxiety is easier when we know God intimately, believe His Word, and trust Him explicitly. In the process, we’ll discover that our anxiety is outweighed by His peace.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: Colossians 3:8-17


Christians are called to put aside “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech” (Colossians  3:8). The command is clear, but the process of achieving and maintaining this goal may seem confusing and overwhelming.

The first step is to recognize anger in our heart. This may seem unnecessary to those who are naturally expressive, but people who bury their anger deep within will need to spend time with the Lord in reflection and soul-searching. Resentment that’s been growing and infecting the heart can do great damage; the sharp sword of God’s Word is needed to reveal anger that has been simmering under the surface
(Hebrews  4:12).

The next step is to confess unrighteous anger as sin and then begin to deal with it immediately. Because anger is often a response to hurt, care must be taken not to excuse or defend it in the name of justice. So even when someone has sinned against you, it’s important to realize that holding onto anger in response is also a sin. Scripture tells us to overcome evil with good, not to repay it (Romans  12:17;   Romans  12:21).

Some people want to hang on to ill feelings, but nursing a resentful attitude isn’t sustainable; anger must be put aside. If we retain our “right” to hold grudges, we can’t expect to live in the new nature Christ has created for us.

The place where we will find strength is in that new Christlike personality. Our responsibility is to put it on. He invites us to cooperate with Him in the process of transformation. With each step of obedience, the peace of Christ will increase and anger will diminish.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: 1 Peter 4:12-14


We shouldn’t expect the Christian life to be easy and comfortable, because believers aren’t exempt from trials. In fact, becoming a Christian may result in increased trouble and suffering. Peter refers to such hardship as a “fiery ordeal,” and tells us not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12). God uses our suffering for His good purposes, and He walks through it with us. Hope in the midst of affliction is possible when we understand what God is achieving in the situation.

First, the heavenly Father sometimes uses painful experiences to purify us. Trials drive us to the Lord and open our eyes to sins that we have tolerated. His discipline is not designed to crush us but to produce “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

Second, the Lord at times allows difficulty as a way of testing us. His goal is to produce increased faith, endurance, and devotion to Him. Rather than complaining, we should exult in our tribulations, knowing that they are producing proven character within us (Romans 5:3-4).

Third, God uses suffering to display his power. Trials humble us by revealing our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). They teach us to depend on the Lord for the power to persevere and mature.

Fourth, our suffering has eternal benefits. Earthly affliction “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Let these truths encourage you to view your next trial from God’s perspective. Though you may not feel it at the time, the Lord is with you. He is your hope and sufficiency.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: John 20:24-31


Have you ever doubted God?

At some point in life, every one of us could probably answer yes. Doubts come when our expectations are not met—for example, when we believe that God will act a certain way, but He doesn’t. Then we start to question His love and wonder whether He truly has our best interest at heart.

The most famous doubter in the Bible is Thomas. He wasn’t with the other disciples when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them. Later, when they told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he refused to believe. He’d left everything to follow Jesus, but the crucifixion had dashed his expectations of a glorious messianic kingdom. In his doubting state, Thomas demanded proof before he would believe.

Have you ever considered how bold Thomas’s ultimatum was? No human being has the right to demand anything of the Son of God. Yet the following week, the Lord appeared to the doubting disciple and graciously offered the proof Thomas wanted. Jesus knew this wasn’t a case of rebellious unbelief, because Thomas belonged to Him (John 18:9).

When we are the Lord’s, we never have to fear that He will cut us off. Remember Scripture’s words of assurance: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Our doubts should be a reminder that we have much more to learn about God. So let’s think of them as a challenge to dig deeply into His Word to discover why our expectations have led us astray. The more we grow in our knowledge of our Lord, the more we’ll trust Him.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: Psalm 119:65-72


When we were still children in school, most of us preferred field trips to sitting still and listening to classroom lectures. However, believers would probably all prefer to learn our lessons from the textbook of God’s Word rather than on a field trip of trials. But the truth is that there are some things we learn best through experience.

Although trials are not always the result of sin, they do play a big corrective role in our lives. The heavenly Father may use them to draw our attention to sins we have tolerated, overlooked, or accepted as normal. These could be habits, attitudes, activities, or anything else that is not God’s absolute best for His child. No matter how trivial we may think it is, no sin should have a place in a believer’s life.

At other times, the Lord may be showing us we need to release something that’s not necessarily sinful but nevertheless is preventing us from reaching our God-given potential—perhaps a relationship, our goals and ambitions, a job, or a home. It could be a reminder to prioritize Him over our desires so that we might know and love Him more.

If we never had any troubles, we’d continue in what’s comfortable, easy, and enjoyable but would end up missing God’s best for our life. That’s why the psalmist said,

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

Any hardship that drives us to God and His Word is good for us. That’s because what we gain in knowing the Lord is worth so much more than all the wealth, power, and fame the world could offer us.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: Psalm 86:1-13


When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.

Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.

As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. Today’s passage from Psalm 86 starts with an urgent cry for help, followed by a reminder to the heavenly Father that David belongs to Him. Then he recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in loving kindness to all who call on Him (v. 3-5). These characteristics are the basis for trust.

Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: 2 Peter 3:10-13


With each passing year, the instability in the world seems more and more apparent. Natural and man-made catastrophes claim lives; political balance shifts; wealth and status come and go. It all causes us to ask, Is anything unshakable?

As overwhelming as these things seem, let me give you an even bigger example. In today’s passage, we read that the heavens and earth will be shaken. It will all be destroyed—burned, to be exact. Thankfully, we have the promise that God will create new heavens and a new earth, but in the meantime our world will undergo great turmoil.

Instability can create feelings of insecurity and fear unless we latch onto the truths God has given us. The Bible refers to Jesus as a rock and firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-11;   Ephesians  2:20). And we know that God is unchangeable and sovereign; nothing can undermine or move Him. His Word is truth, and it will last forever.

As Christians, we know that our eternal relationship with God is secure. We’ve been adopted as His children, and nothing can rob us of this position. What’s more, believers are assured of an eternal home with Him. Though we may at times feel unsettled by our circumstances, we can rejoice when trials bring us humbly to the cross of Jesus, where we will find peace and safety.

What assurance we have as God’s children! We can rest in peace and full confidence, knowing that our hearts are secure in Jesus Christ. As King David said in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9


When we focus on God, we are in a better position to grow in maturity and godliness. When our suffering persists, the Lord may also have other purposes in mind:

To increase our trust. You might think the happiest people are the wealthy or famous. But the truly contented are those who are at peace with God because their faith has been tested—and they know He has only their good in mind.

To strengthen our dependence upon Him. The apostle Paul testified about how his persistent thorn taught him reliance upon the Lord’s grace and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Instead of believing that we can handle things on our own, we likewise learn to depend more fully on God when our circumstances leave us powerless.

To manifest Christ’s life in us. God wants us to be a living example of the conduct and character of Jesus Christ. For this reason, He uses suffering to sift, sand, and prune whatever doesn’t belong in our life. But in those hard seasons of change, He also sustains us, providing all that we need in order to persevere.

To purify our hearts. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that the pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God (Matthew. 5:8). The purification of our heart is an ongoing process. Sometimes it takes difficult situations to identify the things that keep us from delighting in our relationship with God.

Do you trust that God loves you and wants the best for you? Decide to be more open to the work He wants to do in your life through the hard times.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: Psalm 42:1-8 (see bottom)


How can we conquer discouragement? Let me suggest nine specific tips:

  1. Look within. Examine yourself for the underlying cause.
  2. Admit that you are discouraged. This is something that’s easy to avoid, ignore, or lie about, but denial doesn’t help you grow.
  3. Identify precisely what you are discouraged about. Name it—then face it.
  4. Recall the nature of discouragement. Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a response, and we can respond in other ways.
  5. Begin meditating frequently on Scripture. God’s truth can help you accurately evaluate what you feel.
  6. Take your area of discouragement to God in prayer. Ask Him to reveal what He wants to teach you in this area of your life.
  7. Focus on the Lord, not your situation. Ask Him to help you see this disappointment and its lessons from His perspective.
  8. View the cause as coming from the Lord. If we understand that He allows disappointments, we can find meaning in trouble.
  9. Confess three things: The Father is with me in the pain; He’s in control of my life and has allowed this for a reason; He is a good God, who will not let this disappointment be in vain. Try speaking these truths out loud.

Discouragement may sound harmless enough, but don’t underestimate its power. By keeping watch, you can avoid its deadly trap. So write down these nine steps on an index card, and then review the list whenever disappointments start to consume your thinking.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Psalm 42:1-8
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
6 and my God.My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

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Read: Ephesians 2:10

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Early in my life, I experienced some feelings of inferiority. Because we struggled financially, my mother and I didn’t live in the “right” places, and I didn’t wear the “right” clothes. Even in school, I felt that I did not measure up academically to the other kids. The sense of failure and embarrassment at not being good enough was devastating to me.

The misery of inferiority is never what God intends for His children. Its seed usually takes root in the impressionable hearts of the young and thrives in an atmosphere of comparison. This kind of emotional baggage can have debilitating and enslaving ramifications in every area of life. Feelings of inadequacy may cause avoidance of healthy challenges; low self-esteem cripples personal relationships; and comparison steals contentment.

We need to understand how God sees us. Then, when feelings of inferiority come, we can cling to His accurate assessment rather than our own faulty one. He says we are His workmanship—His masterpieces. Each person is thoughtfully designed by the Creator for His purpose. The differences that cause us to make comparisons and feel discouraged are the very qualities that the Lord created to bring Him glory.

Feelings of inferiority are a hindrance to becoming the people that the heavenly Father designed us to be and a deterrent to fulfilling His purpose for our lives. When it comes to our value, we either accept the truth of His appraisal or decide not to believe Him and instead rely on our own feelings. What will your choice be?

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: Philippians 4:10-19


Today’s passage presents an interesting paradox. Paul promises the Philippians that God will supply all their needs (Philippians  4:19) yet admits that he has experienced times of want (Philippians  4:12). To reconcile these two statements, let’s consider God’s divine viewpoint.

Paul wrote these words from a prison cell, a place of great physical distress. From a human perspective, we might all agree that God should have provided for the apostle by relieving his suffering. But instead, the Lord taught him contentment in this difficult situation. Although his physical discomfort remained, a greater need—for a changed attitude—was met.

A change of heart toward ongoing suffering is a huge challenge. On our own, it’s impossible, but the Lord promises to strengthen us through Christ. By living in dependence and submission to Him, we gain His power to overcome our negative, sinful attitudes and learn contentment in all kinds of situations.

Our problem is not that the Lord won’t provide for us, but that we so often fail to understand what our deepest needs are. God sees from an unlimited perspective and works for our eternal good, providing for us according to His good purposes from the limitless supply of “His riches in glory” (Philippians  4:19).

Instead of pleading with God to take away your difficulty, ask Him for strength and a new perspective. Although He may not always deliver you from trials, you can count on Him to help you learn contentment, no matter what your external needs may be.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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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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Read: Ephesians 2:1-7


Do you feel loved by God?  Let me ask the question a different way: Did you know that as a believer, it’s possible to mentally understand God loves you without actually sensing it? In fact, the reverse can be true as well—we may say we love God, all the while knowing that our feelings of affection for Him are limited.

There are a variety of reasons that a Christian might not sense love from God or affection for Him, some of which stem from childhood experiences. Perhaps love was absent in the home, or maybe it just wasn’t expressed verbally or demonstrated in practical ways. An individual’s personality could also be part of the equation—some people are naturally expressive while others are more reserved in their emotions.

Although this discrepancy between knowledge and experience can be distressing, there is hope. Meditating on all the ways God has demonstrated His love for you—and asking Him to help you perceive it—can begin to move that truth from your head to your heart. Remember that love is God’s very nature (1 John 4:8), not something conditioned on your performance. And if you’ve been adopted into His family through faith in His Son, God has chosen to lavish kindness on you in Christ.

Believing and accepting that you are loved by the Father will in turn affect your feelings for Him. Commit to knowing Him more intimately and accurately through His Word, and your affection for Him will begin to grow. As you spend time with Him in Scripture and prayer, you’ll discover that the saying “to know him is to love him” is certainly true of God.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


The three commands in today’s passage may look simple because they’re short, but many people find them challenging to obey. Our lives are so full of responsibilities and activities that it’s all we can do to keep up our schedules, let alone live as these verses command. There’s only one way to succeed—not by trying harder but by focusing on Christ. When He becomes the center of our attention, our attitude and behaviour will change.

Rejoice Always. The realization that our omnipotent God is constantly with us puts troubling circumstances in their proper place—under His authority. It also helps us sense the incomparable joy of His companionship, even in difficulties and suffering.

Pray without ceasing. It’s important to set aside time each day to come before the Lord with our problems and requests. But believers also long for an ongoing attitude of prayer, which, like a continual conversation, is expressed either verbally or in our thoughts. Then if a decision is required or trouble comes, our first thought is to turn to God for help.

Give thanks in everything. If our minds are set on the Lord each day, we’ll be able to thank Him regardless of the situation. That’s because we know He is with us and will work everything for our good—if not here, then in heaven.

These three admonitions are a call to become preoccupied with Christ. If we are consumed with other thoughts, it’s easy to feel irritated, worry unceasingly, and complain about everything. But when we begin each day in God’s Word, we are reminded of His instructions and His care.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

People are saved when they trust Jesus Christ as Savior and choose to follow Him. Right then, most Christians realize that they will dwell with Him forever in heaven. But many don’t understand what they can expect for the remainder of their lives on earth.

One benefit that’s available immediately is a growing relationship with the Lord. The Father’s oneness with Jesus (John 10:30) illustrates the intimacy God wants to have with His children. He had this type of closeness in mind at creation—a relationship with man is an avenue for Him to express His love and for us to worship and understand our Maker.

Another advantage is that Christ-followers are promised clear guidance through God’s Holy Spirit. Decision making is a part of everyday life. It is impossible for a mere human to know every variable and nuance before choosing which path to take. But the Lord knows all things—past, present, and future. With godly wisdom available, it’s hard to understand why anyone would prefer to trust his own hunches.

Provision is yet another blessing guaranteed for believers. There will be hard times, but God gives Christians everything necessary for following Him (Philippians 4:19). And His grace will always prove more than sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

How abundantly God gives to His children! One word of caution, though: these gifts are effective only when believers walk obediently with Him. Sin can stifle them.

The heavenly Father desires that all of His sons and daughters have these blessings; if you’re living in obedience before Him, they are available to you. Is anything getting in the way of your total submission to Him?

by Dr. Charles Stanley
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