Author Topic: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley  (Read 40421 times)

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2011, 07:29:35 am »


July 28

Can You Trust Your Conscience?

1 Timothy 1:5-7

Let your conscience be your guide. This bit of folk wisdom seems to make sense since our conscience is designed to help us discern right from wrong. However, people cannot always trust their internal radar to steer them correctly; this is the case particularly with unbelievers, who don’t have the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and offer guidance for wise decisions. And while Christians do have God’s indwelling Spirit, they should be careful not to harbor sin in their lives, as that can interfere with the way their morality sensor functions.

A trustworthy conscience is programmed with scriptural teaching. Believers build a stable and sensitive spiritual radar system by applying God’s truth to their lives. They are committed to thinking and acting in ways that honor and please the Lord. Then, when sinful thoughts or choices come across that radar, it will deliver a sharp warning.

A person with a reliable conscience will have a strong desire to obey God. He won’t settle for what feels right or looks good, but instead prayerfully seeks the Lord’s will. In other words, he does not rely solely on his conscience but incorporates all of the Holy Spirit’s tools into his daily life: Scripture, prayer, etc. Moreover, when his spiritual radar sounds the alarm, he is quick to draw back and reject unwise choices.

A conscience isn’t designed to be our guide; it is a tool of the Guide. The Holy Spirit not only convicts us of sin, but He also brings to mind godly principles and leads us on a righteous path. He uses a variety of tools to conform us to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29).

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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2011, 07:23:46 am »
July 29

God’s Perspective on War

Romans 13:1-4

War is a very controversial subject in both the world and the church. Considering the broad spectrum of views and opinions, those who follow Christ would do well to search the Scriptures and ask, What does the Lord think about war?

In order to gain a proper understanding, we must first consider the condition of our fallen world. War is a natural consequence of sin. Some conflicts are fueled by evil intentions and desires, but others are a battle between right and wrong. God hates bloodshed, but if evil is not forcefully resisted, the wicked will prevail.

The Lord established government as a means of promoting good and restraining evil. National authority comes directly from Him. But some rulers abuse this authority and act wickedly, making war unavoidable. When evil men attack, a refusal to fight is an abdication of a government’s responsibility to protect the innocent and avenge wrong.

The Old Testament offers ample evidence that God sometimes uses war to achieve His purposes. He  commanded the Israelites to fight for possession of the land He’d promised them and to kill the inhabitants, who were extremely evil (Deut. 20:1, 17-18). He also used war to judge and punish wicked nations (Jer. 25:12-14) and even to discipline His own people (Jer. 5:15-17).

As you think about this difficult subject, remember that God’s goal is the destruction of wickedness, not people. In the final battle, Jesus will defeat sin and death, wars will cease, and righteousness will reign (Rev. 19:11-16). Until that day, we are left on earth to do our part in overcoming evil.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.
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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2011, 08:01:05 am »
July 30-31, 2011

Reconciling Love and War
Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites be the same one who said, “Love your enemies,do good to those who hate you” (v. 27)?

To clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of
God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (12:19).

People are killed in war, but this isn’t the same as murder. A soldier on the battlefield carries out his duties under the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). Murder, on the other hand, is an individual’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy and is motivated by a desire to destroy another person.

When governments avenge wrong, innocent people are protected, but when individuals seek their own revenge, they destroy themselves and others. In Luke, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. He knows that loving our enemies is the only way to protect ourselves from bitterness.

Would we prefer to turn the responsibilities around—are we quick to fight personal battles, but slow to affirm the avenging of evil nationally? Sometimes the only way for a country to have peace is to go to war, but we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle with individuals who wrong us.

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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2011, 08:28:04 am »
August 1

God's Loving Outreach

John 4:1-42

This story of the Lord's encounter with a Samaritan woman is a wonderful example of His loving response to hurting individuals. Jesus is always reaching out in love, even when we do not recognize His extended hand.

Although this meeting may have appeared accidental, it was really a providential appointment with the Messiah. As the woman reached the well, Jesus initiated conversation by asking for a drink of water. His direct approach surprised her and opened the door for a dialogue that would change her life forever.

Throughout the exchange, Jesus' goal was to help the woman recognize her greatest need so He could supply her with the only gift that would meet that need: salvation and the forgiveness of her sins. She had spent her life trying to find love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Christ offered her the living water of the Holy Spirit—the only thing that would quench her spiritual and emotional thirst.

Like the Samaritan woman, we can at times be so intent on getting our immediate needs met that we fail to see God's hand reaching out to us in love, offering what will truly satisfy. Only Christ can fill our empty souls for eternity and provide for our essential emotional needs now.

This world is filled with wells that promise to provide love, acceptance, and self-worth but never fully satisfy. When your soul is empty and the well runs dry, look for Jesus. He has a divine appointment scheduled with you, and He will quench your thirst with His Spirit—if you let Him.

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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2011, 09:28:30 am »
Aug. 2, 2011

Failing to Listen to God

Genesis 3:1-6 

Listening to God is not a onetime event. We must continually keep His Word before us, or we'll begin to listen to the wrong voices.

In Genesis 2:16-17, the Lord gave a command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Eve began to listen to another voice and did not hold firmly to her Creator's words. All that Satan had to do was plant a single doubt about God's integrity and offer Eve one appealing advantage of doing things her own way—and she fell for it. He mentioned wisdom, but using her own reasoning, Eve added two more benefits to the temptation: the fruit is good for food and a delight to the eyes.

The schemes of the Enemy have not changed. He still whispers lies and twists truth to convince us that a) God cannot be trusted and b) His ways are not the best. In every temptation, there is a deception about the character and motive of God, plus an attractive promise of a better way.

The world is filled with voices that vie for our attention and influence our thoughts and actions. Throughout the day, consider the messages that are sent your way through the media and people. Consciously begin to compare them to what Scripture says about God and His ways.

Remembering what God says in the Bible is our safeguard against deception and temptation. Daily devotions won't protect us if they're quickly forgotten during the day. Follow Christ's example: be ready with truth in your mind and on your tongue whenever temptation strikes (Matt. 4:1-11).

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Today, I want to make a difference.
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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2011, 09:02:58 am »

Where Are You?

Genesis 3:7-13

After not listening to God, Adam and Eve found themselves in a terrible predicament. Their first reaction was to cover up rather than "fess up." Fig leaves can never hide the root problem of sin, but even today, we still try this approach (v. 7). Instead of acknowledging and confessing sin, we often attempt a quick surface fix of the situation.

Adam and Eve's second response was to avoid God. They knew they were guilty of disobeying, but instead of coming to Him to reestablish their relationship, they hid from Him in fear (v. 8). We can do the same thing when sin breaks our fellowship with the Lord. Have you ever found yourself avoiding prayer and time in the Scriptures because you were struggling with sin and felt guilty?

A third reaction was to try and avoid personal responsibility by blaming others (vv. 12-13). Shifting guilt to another person can't remove it. We are each responsible before God for our actions, regardless of the circumstances or who else is involved.

Despite Adam and Eve's sin and their evasive ways of handling it, the Lord came to them (v. 9). Our sin is never large enough to keep Him away; our Father still calls to us and asks, "Where are you?" He knows what we have done and why, but He questions us so that we can come to realize our desperate state.

Never let guilt or shame keep you from God. He continually seeks those who have made a mess of their life and speaks to them through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. Forgiveness and a restored relationship await all who are willing to listen and respond with confession and repentance.

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Today, I want to make a difference.
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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2011, 08:16:24 am »
The Consequences of Sin

Genesis 3:14-19

Christians tend to categorize sins, rating some as small and inconsequential, but others as huge and far-reaching in the damage they cause. In reality, no one sins in isolation. Each disobedience to God affects not only the sinner but also countless others in both the present and the future.

If we were to separate Adam and Eve's sin from its context, few of us would convict them of great transgression. All they did was swallow some fruit from a tree with a "do not eat" sign. Today people think nothing of ignoring commands—even biblical ones.

But God has a totally different view of our sins. Each one is followed by negative consequences. Adam and Eve's disobedience led to pain and frustration in two basic areas of fulfillment—relationships and meaningful work. The whole earth fell under sin's curse, and every person born since then has entered the world with a sin nature that alienates each one from the Lord.

That first rebellion plunged humanity into a terrible condition. Civilization is now plagued by countless ramifications of the innumerable sins committed by human beings throughout the ages. Is it any wonder the world is in such sad shape? Sin not only causes suffering; it robs us of God's best. The Garden of Eden is closed and locked to sinful mankind.

The good news of Christ's grace and forgiveness is our only real hope in this fallen world. Though unpleasant, focusing on sin's consequences is necessary at times to remind us of the greatness of our salvation and to move us to obey God, even in the small things. Each obedience is huge to Him. 

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Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2011, 07:20:39 am »
 August 05, 2011     
 
 
 In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
     
Identifying Insecurity

Psalm 139:13-16

Let me ask you to do what may be an uncomfortable exercise. We are going to examine statements that insecure people often make about themselves. As you read each one, ask yourself, Do I think similarly?

Insecure people make comments like:

• Why bother trying? I'll never get it right.
• Everyone is looking at me, just waiting for me to make a fool of myself.
• I'm a failure.
• I am ugly and awful to look at.
• I can never win. I'm just a loser.
• No matter how hard I work, I never get any recognition.
• I am incompetent at everything.
• Nobody could ever speak well about me.
• I have failed before; once a failure, always a failure.
• I don't see how anyone could ever like, respect, or accept me.
• I don't deserve to be treated well.
• I don't fit here or anywhere else.
• Everyone else looks so "together." I feel "out of it" compared to them.
• I am an incomplete person, and nothing can change that.
• Why would anyone care to hear what I have to say?
• No one cares about what I think or feel.
• People are nice to me only when they want something from me.

Did any of the above statements ring true for you? Prayerfully consider the ones that got your attention. Then, take those specific fears to the Lord, and allow Him to show you His truth in each area. God wants to set you free from anything hindering your spiritual development.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Watch Online Videos of Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries at LightSource.com

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.
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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2011, 08:27:24 am »
The Results of Insecurity

Psalm 143:8

We've already seen some of the areas where insecurity shows up. Now we need to turn our attention to its effects.

To start, insecure people have difficulty establishing good, lasting relationships. They simply cannot see how they could add value to anyone else's life. This is a tragic loss, because every single one of us needs deep and meaningful friendships to help us grow.

Also, men and women with insecurity are often seen as prideful or snobbish. Lack of confidence can cause them to withdraw from others, which can easily be mistaken for an act of arrogance. They can thereby give the impression that they simply don't want to be around others.

What's more, insecurity frequently leads to indecisiveness and fear. People can be so consumed with self-doubt that they can't make any decision at all. They wonder, What if I make a mistake? Well, so what if they do? Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn how to do something correctly. Don't be afraid to try. Even if you don't succeed, you can at least rest in the fact that you did your best.

After a while, insecure people typically get angry. When they go so long feeling so poorly about themselves, they start to resent the success and happiness of others.

Can you see how something as subtle as a lack of confidence can have a debilitating effect on one's life? Don't allow such devastation to affect your relationships. Pray for the ability to recognize areas of self-doubt. And then start to take control today by asking the Lord to heal your insecurities. 

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Watch Online Videos of Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries at LightSource.com
and
Listen to Dr. Charles Stanley Online Broadcasts at OnePlace.com.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2011, 09:36:12 am »
The Source of Jealousy

Galatians 5:17-21

Most likely, you have been caught off guard by a wave of jealousy at some point in your life. Was it a spiritual attack? Did the Enemy make you covetous? Was someone or something working to make you resentful?

The answer—which may surprise you— is no. Jealousy actually springs from within us, even though we might try to deflect the blame. For example, we may say, "Well, they just shouldn't have that. They don't deserve it, so I'm perfectly justified in feeling this way."

Do you see what is actually going on here? We are not only feeling envious of someone, but we're also saying that our jealousy is the other person's fault! That's simply not true. We are each 100 percent responsible for our own feelings of envy.

Jealousy is a product of the flesh. In the Bible, it is listed among such sins as idolatry, immorality, drunkenness, and sorcery—sins which stand against our holy God and are described as "earthly, natural, demonic" (Gal. 5:17-21; James 3:15).

Envious feelings can lead to unhealthy comparison of one's own success to someone else's. That pattern can grow into a competition to out-perform others—and may result in full-blown fear and resentment. What a horrible way to live!

Though jealousy is a common emotion, it has no place in a believer's life. So each of us should try to look objectively at our heart motives. Are you plagued with an attitude of jealousy today? Lay your honest feelings out before the Lord, and ask Him to cleanse you of this sinful attitude.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

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