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


Read: Matthew 16:1-28


When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” they replied, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” But Peter answered,You are the Christ, the Son of the living God
(Matthew 16:13-16).

What set Jesus apart as the Messiah?

  •  His birth: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born, as prophesied, in Bethlehem to a virgin. Though angels announced His arrival and He reigns over all creation, Jesus entered our world in a lowly manner so He could be identified with the meek and the poor.
  •  His wisdom: At age 12, He spent three days with rabbis, asking questions that showed his uncommon understanding.
  •  His baptism: Though He didn’t need cleansing, Jesus asked John to baptize Him so He could identify with sinners and demonstrate His love to them.
  •  His temptation: Satan tempted Him relentlessly for 40 days, yet He did not sin.
  • His ministry: He challenged man-made religious traditions. And by healing people—regardless of nationality—raising the dead, and forgiving sins, He revealed that God wants to be involved personally in our lives. Leading Pharisees wanted Him dead, but the Father protected His life until the crucifixion.

Many people deny Christ’s deity, calling Him simply a “prophet” or “good teacher.” But Jesus was never merely human. As complex as it is for us to comprehend, He was fully God and fully man. This is the unique way in which our heavenly Father chose to demonstrate His eternal love for us.

by Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  God Is…

•  More than a Father

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: James 1:1-5


What do you do when you lack clarity in the midst of a trial?

Oftentimes we are tempted to do something, anything. But the wisest approach is to pray and wait on the Lord for direction. But how do we begin?

Prayer starts with transitioning our thoughts from the situation at hand to the Lord. What we need is His perspective on the difficulty we’re facing. Then we can ask Him to do what He’s purposed to accomplish through the challenging circumstance—whatever that may be. When we pray God-centered prayers according to His will, we can be certain that He will give us what we have requested (1 John 5:14-15).

In addition, the prayer pattern that Jesus Christ taught His disciples in Matthew 6:11-13 reveals the type of needs our Father wants us to bring before Him. As He provides for us, we will learn to trust Him more and more. Keeping a prayer list is helpful because it becomes a record of our interactions with the Lord. When we see a direct correlation between our requests and His answers, it will become increasingly evident that God has worked in our life. Specific prayers are even better than general requests because God’s faithfulness is even more undeniable.

One request God promises to answer with a “yes” is the desire for wisdom. Whenever we need understanding, particularly in trials, we are to petition our heavenly Father, and He will give it generously as we fill our minds with scriptural truths. And as our wisdom increases, joy and trust in the Lord will too.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Sample Prayers

•  Heavenly Father, remind us…

•  Salvation Explained


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When Job was suffering, he said,

Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).

Even hardship and pain have a place in God’s plan for each believer.

During a particularly painful time in my life, I decided that I should learn something from my distress, as Job did. That allowed God to develop greater compassion in me—which helps me understand and relate to those facing similar trials.

Consider the truth in Paul’s words—that God

comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

Think about the kind of people you seek out when you’re hurting. You want someone who has felt your pain, right? A person who has already walked the path you’re on can understand your suffering and share wisdom. Going through what we sometimes call a “valley experience” prepares us to be a blessing and encouragement to others. But we must first accept that God has allowed this adversity in our life and then choose to learn from the situation.

God is the Lord of our life, and He has the right to use us as comforters and encouragers to those around us. As His servants, we must be willing to do His will, even when it hurts. Don’t waste your suffering! Instead, use it to bring God glory.

2 Corinthians 1: 1-7
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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FURTHER READING

Dealing with Despair

Overwhelmed by Negative Feelings?

Suffering – Spiritual principles to meditate on during hard times


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Please open your Bible and read: Matthew 18:21-35


Our forgiveness toward others should have no limitations.

God’s unconditional pardon of our sins destroys any excuse we might devise for holding onto bitterness. Though we may try to draw a line at the number of times we’ll accept apologies, or attempt to categorize which offenses we’ll pardon, Jesus drew no lines at the cross.

We also want to hang onto resentment instead of forgiving instantly. This is not scriptural. Whenever we cling to unforgiveness – even for a short time – Satan gains a stronghold. If the Father’s will is that we forgive, why must we think about it? We need to get our thinking done now: decide today that you will respond to hurts and humiliation with forgiveness.

We walk in a spirit of forgiveness when we understand that God is sovereign over this universe. Nothing hurtful can touch us unless it passes through His permissive will. That is not to say God instigated or caused it; however, God allows some unpleasant situations so that He can utilize our hurt to develop character, to expose weak spots, or to drive us closer to Him.

Forgiveness is painful and costly. Jesus felt every nail, every thorn. As the forgiver, we must bear wrongdoing  without retaliation. But as believers, we trust Jesus Christ to take that pressure off us. We can rely on the Lord to provide both wisdom and the strength take God – pleasing action. When we forgive, we need to approach our offender with the intent of reconciliation, doing whatever God directs to get our relationship right. Jesus did that for us.

By Dr. Charles Stanley

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Further Reading

Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others

•  Have You Forgiven Yourself?

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: Matthew 5:38-48


We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).

Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matthew 5:44).

Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom.

That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.

Maybe you’re thinking, But he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers.

We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.

Luke 6:29 says to turn the other cheek and give up more than is asked because expressing love outweighs exerting our rights. You can’t lose when you show others the boundless care of the Lord. You gain His blessing, and, hopefully, someone will be saved because of your example.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

The Powerful Reality

•  Going Deeper with God

•  Salvation Explained


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No matter what our position in life may be, we all at times encounter disappointment—

and that can quickly lead to discouragement.

Disappointment is simply an emotional response to a failed expectation or hope, whether because plans went awry or someone didn’t measure up.  But discouragement is a state of mind in which we become faint-hearted and lose confidence in God, ourselves, or others.

When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, its inhabitants were discouraged—the city wall had been destroyed, leaving them vulnerable to their enemies, and there were significant hindrances to rebuilding. But he encouraged them to start, explaining that the Lord had shown him favor by moving the Persian king’s heart to approve the project. Nehemiah’s confidence in God replaced the people’s despair and lethargy with the hope of success and motivation to work diligently.

We have a choice: Either settle into disappointment and accept our discouragement or—like Nehemiah—focus on the Lord, who is greater than any problem facing us. Although obstacles and disappointments may remain, God’s Word shifts our hope to His promises, good purposes, proven faithfulness, and sufficiency . With His strength, we can persevere. Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”.

Nehemiah 2:11-20

11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding.  13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon’s Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire. 14 Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass. 15 So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work. 17 Then I said to them, You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” 18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 So I answered them and said to them, The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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FURTHER READING

Alone But Not Lonely

Up from Depression  – Barbara Epp shares her journey with depression and the misconception that Christians shouldn’t get depressed

Struggling with Depression – Merri Ellen Giesbrecht tells her depression story and her story of hope

Dealing with Despair


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Read: John 8:31-36


Freedom is something we all love, but do we really know what it is?

Some people think it’s being able to choose or act with few if any restraints, limits, or accountabilities. But that is what God calls rebellion because it’s a rejection of authority, as each one does as he sees fit (1 Samuel 12:14-15). True freedom is being released from bondage to sin, and that is only possible through Jesus Christ.

The first step to freedom is recognizing areas where we are imprisoned. People who have not received Christ as Savior are in bondage to sin and unbelief. They can neither believe God nor trust the promises of Scripture because sin has blinded their eyes to the truth that they need a Savior.

Even followers of Christ can find themselves in bondage to particular sins despite repeated attempts to change. But for some of us, the struggle is with more subtle kinds of enslavement. Habitual feelings of inferiority, insecurity, rejection, or worthlessness can cloud our responses to life’s challenges by altering our ability to think or act while undermining our trust and obedience to God.

The Lord wants us walking in freedom, and Jesus describes the pathway. He says that if we’ll continue in God’s Word, we will know the truth, and it will set us free (John 8:31-32). First of all, we are liberated from sin and its condemnation through faith in Christ. Then, as we continue reading and meditating on Scripture, our mind, will, and emotions will be changed. The sins that once enticed us will become repugnant, and the emotional prisons will be opened as we discover our position in Christ.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Where Do I Call Home? – A Refugee’s story.  Helen Loewen’s story

•  Truth – God’s truth remains the same from age to age,

•  Salvation Explained


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“And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:4


Will your trials make you bitter and angry? Or will you trust God and discover the good He has for you?

Perhaps you read today’s verses and wondered how you could ever exalt or celebrate in your tribulations. After all, joy and gladness hardly seem fitting when you’re going through a difficult trial. But if you understand what the Lord is accomplishing through adversity and how He’s mercifully overseeing the events of your life, it’s possible to respond with gratitude and joy.

God’s goal is to develop perseverance in His children, along with proven character and, ultimately, hope. Relatively speaking, this life and its hardships won’t last long. But the glory that awaits us is eternal.

The Lord controls and sets limits on our burdens so they don’t overwhelm us. His goal is not to destroy us but to make us like His Son. And He designs the difficulty according to our areas of weakness so we’ll grow spiritually strong and lack nothing of eternal value

As God matures you, the intensity of trials may seem to build. But you’ll be better able to handle them in a way that brings spiritual benefit while also honoring the Lord. Over time you’ll become more confident that He’s doing a good work in your life. Then you’ll find you can rejoice in Him and increasingly depend on His strength.

Romans 5: 1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith,we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Struggles, Despair

•   How to Pray

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: Psalm 40:16


Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meaning. Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstance. As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy. On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace—even when life seemingly falls apart.

At times, however, even Christians live joylessly. Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason. But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that’s ingrained in one’s personality.

If you’re a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is and who you are in Him. To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you. He understands everything you face and promises to provide for your needs.

When you stop to consider the blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you. Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.

Amid the ups and downs of life, does God’s joy sustain you? Or do trials leave you hopeless and discontented? Our Father offers a higher way of living—not without pain but with strength to endure. Continually remember the vast treasure you have in Him and His love.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   Going Deeper with God

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

•  Salvation Explained


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Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17


No one likes feelings of inadequacy, but they are something we must learn to handle, as none of us can avoid them permanently. Tragically, though, many people live with a cloud over their head because in their thinking, they never measure up. For some, this may be due to childhood experiences that negatively affected their self-image. For others, the problem stems from a lack of success related to work, relationships, marriage, parenting, or any number of things.

The area Paul deals with in today’s passage is our Christian life. He asks a question that points to a common insecurity: “Who is adequate for these things?” (v. 16). Have you ever avoided serving the Lord in ways that challenge your comfort zone? If so, you’ve probably missed a tremendous opportunity to overcome feelings of inadequacy. He’s promised to lead us “in triumph in Christ,” (v. 14) but unless we believe Him and step out in faith, we’ll never experience the life He has planned for us.

Feeling inadequate is not a sin, but using it as an excuse is. When the Lord challenges you to do something that you feel is beyond your abilities, you have two options. You can focus on Christ and proceed in triumph or focus on yourself and withdraw in defeat.

It’s really a matter of faith. God would never ask you to do something without empowering you to accomplish it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will do it perfectly, but each step of obedience is a victory. The alternative is to play it safe, but then you’ll miss out on God’s best for your life.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  Suffering – Spiritual principles to meditate on during hard times

  Beauty out of Brokenness

•  Salvation Explained


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In tough situations, we’re often tempted to rely on our own logic and strength, but God’s way is best


Whenever challenges arise, there are two ways to respond—God’s way or our way. In today’s passage, we see what happened when Moses took matters into his own hands. Although his motives were pure—namely, the relief of his peoples’ suffering—his method was wrong. Moses …

  • Focused on the difficulty instead of the Lord. How often have you and I done the very same thing? If the unfairness or pain of a situation grabs our attention, we can lose sight of our all-powerful God.
  • Relied on his own strength and understanding. When a problem confronts us, the most natural response is to do whatever we can to make it right. Our way may seem so logical at the time, but it won’t accomplish God’s purposes.
  • Acted impulsively instead of waiting on the Lord. If a situation seems urgent, fixing the problem as fast as possible easily becomes our top priority.

At some point, we’ve acted similarly and suffered the consequences of self-reliance. But God didn’t reject Moses or cancel His plans for the man. Instead, the Lord refined his character through trials and gave him another chance. Don’t you think our loving Father will do the same for us?

Exodus 2:11-25
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock.
When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?”
So they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.”
He said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.”
Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.
Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.
So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

Bu Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•  God’s Plan – A Study on God’s Destiny for Me?

•  We Plan, God Directs

•  Salvation Explained


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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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Further Reading

•   Get Rid of Guilt

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

•  Salvation Explained


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When a crisis comes, cry out to our almighty God


The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous.  And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears  And delivers them out of all their troubles.”
Psalm 34:15-17

When we face a crisis, the Lord is willing and able to help. But before He will become involved and release His divine energy into our situation, He requires one thing: a righteous heart.

This, of course, is not an expectation that we live a perfect life, which our Father knows would be impossible. When a sinner turns to God for salvation, He cleanses the heart of iniquity and gives that person a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:!7). Yet even believers will follow old flesh patterns at times, so the Lord calls us to confess and repent when we miss the mark. Then He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Thankfully, He hears us in our imperfection as long as we desire to walk in His way. The problem arises, however, when a Christian knowingly lives in sin and chooses not to turn from it—the Lord will not hear an unrepentant heart.

Today’s passage shows that the heavenly Father wants His children to cry out to Him. During trials, we tend to pray this way—with increased focus, passion, and sincerity. Hannah is a good example. Heartbroken over her barrenness, she went to the temple and beseeched the Lord with such emotion that the priest thought she was drunk! God answered her plea and opened her womb
(1 Samuel 1:1-20)

When a crisis comes, cry out to our almighty God, but be sure you do so with a righteous heart. Then He will hear and answer—either fulfilling your hoped-for request or providing a different solution. Because He is omniscient, loving, and sovereign, you can fully trust that His answer is in your best interest.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   How to Pray

•  Sample Prayers

•  Salvation Explained


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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6


When was the last time you cried out to God about something other than personal issues? We’re often so absorbed in our own life that we fail to see the crises others are facing. But whether a hardship impacts total strangers or hits close to home, do you ever feel some matters are just too big for one person’s prayer to make a difference?

Well, don’t believe it.James 5:16 assures us that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV). And the next verse gives a powerful example: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”

Almighty God is able to heal, bring peace, and change circumstances. And He has chosen to let His children participate in the process through prayer. In fact, He wants us to talk with Him about everything

The next time you hear of a tragedy or problem—regardless of whether it affects you or perfect strangers—resist the temptation to distance yourself from it. You can influence the lives of others when you intercede on their behalf. Let crises become a catalyst for prayer.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
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Further Reading

•   How to be sure God Listens to your Prayers

•   Hailing the Chief

•  How did Jesus Pray?

•  God Listens to Us

•  Salvation Explained


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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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