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The Question That Matters Most

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God—and that He came to save you?

John 9:13-38

Yesterday, we discussed the man who was born blind and how he faithfully repeated his story. Many were amazed, but some likely didn’t believe his words. And others were actually hostile to him.

The man was brought before the Pharisees and interrogated twice. He shared how Jesus had healed him with mud applied to his eyes. But then the religious elite asked another question: “What do you say about Him?” And he responded boldly, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17).

His parents were called before the counsel, but they refused to answer any queries. However, that didn’t stop the man whose sight was restored. When he was questioned again, he didn’t falter. In fact, he began to cross-examine those supposedly wise men!

But there was a final question for him to answer. After being cast out by the Pharisees, the man born blind once again met Jesus, who asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v. 35). To this, he said, “I believe, Lord” (v. 38).

The healing, the explanations, the questions—all of it led to a simple statement of faith. May we learn a lesson from this steadfast soul about how best to use our own stories.


Experiencing Inner Peace

Remembering that God’s in control is the key to a calm heart.

Luke 8:22-25

Have you ever fallen asleep on a long trip? Jesus did. Luke tells us that one time Jesus and the disciples got on a boat to reach the other side of a lake, and Jesus fell asleep. The next thing the disciples knew, they were engulfed in a storm, and the one person powerful enough to protect them was blissfully unaware. The disciples panicked and woke Him.

Jesus has promised to give us His peace (John 14:27)—this is the very same peace that enabled Him to sleep through a storm. Without His tranquility, we feel helpless and afraid like the disciples. But with it, we can experience inner calm in the midst of hardship.

Believing in God’s sovereignty is the key to a peaceful heart. In their panic, the disciples believed that a sleeping Jesus wasn’t in control of their circumstances. But we must remember that He is always in control—even in times of difficulty. When we rest in the knowledge that God is in charge, we can exchange anxiety for peace.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be weighed down by fear. He wants to share His peace with us. Are you trusting in His control?


A Peaceful Heart

Entrusting our worries to God removes their power to cause anxiety.

Philippians 4:4-7

Sometimes circumstances trigger our anxiety, but other times it’s an inner turmoil we wrestle. Regardless of the source, our angst is no match for God’s peace, “which surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7). When you’re feeling anxious, remember ...

God made you on purpose. Our Father chose the time and place we each would be born (Acts 17:26), and He gave us our personality, talents, and spiritual gifts. So consider what God has chosen specifically for you and give thanks.

God has a plan for your life. Scripture promises that embracing the Father’s specific path for your life will bring satisfaction and peace (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God adopts believers into His family. Once you belong to Him, nothing can change the fact that you are His (John 10:28).

God forgives when you confess. Some feelings of inner turmoil come from guilt or shame over wrongdoing. But when you confess your sin and change direction, God forgives you. Then your conscience can become clear (1 John 1:9).

Peace is within reach when you remember your identity in Christ. Next time you’re feeling anxious, pause for moment to pray and meditate over these four truths. Taking your eyes off yourself and fixing them on Jesus should help, even if it’s necessary to repeat the process periodically.


Encouragement for Every Season

No matter what you are facing today, God understands and will faithfully care for you.

Deuteronomy 7:7-9

Each year we watch summer turn to fall, which then gives way to winter. And though the timing is less predictable, our lives similarly go through different seasons. Some months are brimming with joy while others are a slog of hardship. But one thing that stays the same throughout is the faithfulness of God.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). The Lord always does what He says He will do. He keeps His promises to you and will be with you in all seasons (Hebrews 13:5). That means no matter how dark, depressing, or hopeless your circumstances seem—or how good—these three things are true:

1. God will be faithful to you because that is His very nature (Deuteronomy 32:4).

2. God knows all about your situation; you are never alone (Psalm 139:1-5).

3. God can meet all of your needs and equip you for every phase of life (Philippians 4:19).

Remember this: You will change and seasons will change, but God is always the same. He won’t ever fail you or forget you—He is with you always. Great is His faithfulness!


God Is Near

The Lord wants you to know that you’re never alone.

Psalm 139:7-10

Do you ever find yourself asking the question, “Lord, where are You?” Today’s reading is your reminder that God is near, even when His presence is difficult to perceive—and even when you’re completely unaware of Him.

David reflects, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (v. 7). In asking these questions, David communicates that no matter where we might go, the Lord is right there with us. What a comfort to realize we are never beyond the reach of a God who is full of lovingkindness, mercy, and comfort.

In fact, our heavenly Father is and has been with believers every single day. We walk in the presence of the living God, whose Spirit lives in us (John 14:16-17). No matter what season of life you are in—no matter how long, short, painful, or easy it might be—God wants you to know you are never alone. What’s more, He wants you to remember that the darkness is not dark to Him (Psalm 139:12). He knows what is up ahead and will be with you as you face it.

Our faithful and omnipresent God is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He will never leave or forsake you—on this day or any other.


Worship That Satisfies

Our ultimate fulfillment is found only in the presence of our heavenly Father.

Romans 1:21-32; Romans 2:1-4

Did you know the Lord created you to worship Him? Many people dedicate their life to worshipping money, popularity, accomplishment, or pleasure but ultimately still feel a vacuum of unfulfillment.

King Solomon observed this longing in mankind, writing that God “set eternity in [our] heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And hundreds of years later, Jesus Himself confirmed this truth when He said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Why, you wonder? It’s all because the Lord wants a personal relationship with us.

Unfortunately, we often indulge in sin rather than worship God, and in the first chapter of Romans, Paul surveys the many lesser gods we settle for. He wanted the Romans to know that sin and false gods distract us from our eternal calling of communion with the Father. That’s why repentance is a critical practice in the believer’s life.

Remember, our heavenly Father designed us to find satisfaction in Him alone. And because of His great love for the whole world, He doesn’t want anyone to spend eternity without Him (2 Peter 3:9).


Full of Justice and Mercy

Because of His great love for us, God made a way for us to know Him personally.

Romans 3:21-26

Today’s verses and many other Bible passages tell us that God is just. What this communicates is that He’s true to His own principles. It also means that God, who is holy and perfect, cannot be one with a sinner. Instead, “the soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). It’s a frightening thought for imperfect people like us, isn’t it?

That’s why our heavenly Father provided a solution for all mankind. Jesus Christ, who was sinless, took our sin upon Himself and died in our place—so that we could be reunited with our Creator. The Lord continues to be just and holy, and we are declared a righteous child of God. As Paul wrote to the Romans, our Father is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

Notice that our righteousness and unity with God has nothing to do with our efforts—it was a gracious and merciful decision made by the Lord. Our good works will not earn the Lord’s favor, because every person inevitably sins. But Jesus’ death made it possible for those who believe in Him to have a relationship with the Creator. In the end, it’s because of God’s justice and mercy that we could be reunited with Him.


Personal Holiness

On our own, we can never be good enough for a perfect God, but He freely gives His goodness to all who believe.

Hebrews 9:11-14

Sometimes comparing ourselves to others leaves us feeling insecure, but other times it stirs up false pride. When we see others being mean, selfish, or lazy, we might think we’re better—and deserving of a place in heaven. In reality, we can always find someone “lesser” to make ourselves feel more holy. But compared to God’s perfect holiness, every person is lacking.

The truth is, whether or not we go to heaven has little to do with us—and everything to do with our heavenly Father. He was the one who made a way for our righteousness, and it wasn’t in response to our behavior. In fact, God decided long before we were born—before we had the chance to do anything good or bad—that He would offer the gift of salvation. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4).

If you find yourself trying to compare your holiness to that of others, or trying to prove to God that you’re worthy, remember what Paul wrote to the Romans: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That’s how you know salvation can only be received.


How to Listen to God

Blessing comes to those who seek the Lord's wisdom and apply it in their life.

John 10:2-5

Do you just talk to God, or do you listen to Him too? To train ourselves to listen to God, we must remember that hearing is an active, ongoing process. Our mind and heart should be open to the idea that the Lord has something to communicate throughout our day. We should expect Him to speak to us—and to do so in a way we can understand.

To practice hearing from God, we need to spend time focusing on Him, free from distractions. Meditating on Scripture creates an attitude that is conducive to listening. Active listening includes responding to what we hear. As we read, we should ask ourselves questions, such as What is the Lord trying to say to me through this? But we should also ask what each passage teaches about God Himself: What does it reveal about His character? or What do these verses indicate about the things He loves? The Lord speaks to us through His Word. When He sees that it is our heart’s desire to walk in His ways, He will gently correct any missteps and guide us down His path.

To develop a listening spirit takes a strong desire and regular practice. Are you listening to God’s voice? Is your heart inclined toward Him and intent on listening?

@Lynn posted:

RIP DR Charles Stanley !!

He's truly one of the best preachers I have ever hear in my lifetime. It was sad to hear he have left us but it's joyful to know his soul now resides with our father in heaven until the day of Jesus return. He has left a great number of deposits in my spiritual life through his sermons.

Last edited by Keith
@Keith posted:

He's truly one of the best preachers I have ever hear in my lifetime. It was sad to hear he have left us but it's joyful to know his soul now resides with our father in heaven until the day of Jesus return. He has left a great number of deposits in my spiritual life through his sermons.

Indeed..I had no idea he was that old…

Yes indeed, his teachings r left behind!

1 of the greatest TEACHERS of the Gospel !!


Going Against the Flow

You don't have to fear failure when you trust and obey the Lord.

Psalm 62:1-5

God speaks to us, and yesterday we learned how important it is to listen to Him. But as we all know, His isn’t the only voice out there. Does this mean we should never listen to those around us? Of course not—especially when the voices belong to godly men and women the Lord places in our path. But with so many competing messages, we should aim to hear scriptural advice and listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings above all else. And then we should obey Him. To the extent that we do so, our life will look different from others.

Sometimes a fear of failure may discourage us from doing things God’s way. But ultimately, we must ask ourselves whether we’re going to listen to Him or the world. Remember, you never have to fear failure when you obey the Lord. He intervenes in times of hardship, and He promises to act on behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4).

Remaining steadfast takes courage. That’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10). All the pressure in the world can’t make you budge when you trust the Rock upon which you stand. Are you listening to the Lord and obeying Him?


How God Sees Us

We are loved and cherished by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

1 Peter 2:9-10

Have you ever wondered how God sees you? Perhaps interactions with others have shaped how you believe you’re viewed. But in His Word, God tells us exactly how loved and cherished we are. Today’s passage describes just four of the many ways He sees us:

1. A Chosen People. God chose you and me to be part of His kingdom and family because He wants and loves us.

2. A Royal Priesthood. As believers, we are children of God and, therefore, part of a royal family. In other words, we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  

3. A Holy Nation. The church, or body of Christ, is a group of people who are holy—which, as we learned a few days ago, means “set apart” for the purposes of God. Our lives are never meaningless, because living for the Lord is the greatest purpose one can have.

4. A People for God’s Own Possession. You and I are precious possessions of God; we belong to Him (Deuteronomy 14:2; Titus 2:14). He so values each of us that He sent His Son to die in our place.

Each of these descriptions shows how highly God values you. Make it a point to remember your real identity and to be mindful that you are cherished.


A Special Purpose

Offering praise to God for who He is and all He’s done leads us to peace and joy.

Psalm 150:1-6

Yesterday, we looked at the way God sees us. How are we to respond to that love? Isaiah 43:21 says, “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” An integral part of worshipping the Lord is proclaiming His greatness.

One way we do that is by thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. When we love someone, the most natural response is to speak highly about them. In the same way, we who love Christ find that expressions of appreciation come easily to our lips. Praise lifts our eyes to the Savior and fills our heart with the contentment that eludes us when we focus exclusively on personal needs and problems.

Although praise and worship are usually associated with church services, they ought to characterize us wherever we are. Some of the most intimate and precious experiences of worship can happen during times spent alone with God. Ask the Lord to teach you to extol Him with your whole heart. Remember how He has cared for you, and look for daily evidence of His hand on your life. Then thank Him for how great He is.


The Truth That Sets You Free

The key to being set free from sin is the continual filling of our minds with God's Word.

John 8:12-34

The Pharisees rejected Jesus even though He was speaking truth. But others listened and believed, as we see in today’s passage. To them, the Lord said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (vv. 31-32). Many people, however, thought He was offering freedom from Roman political oppression or even from all the troubles of this life. But that’s not what Jesus meant at all. He was offering freedom from sin.

When we believe the truth of the gospel and turn to the Savior for salvation, we’re set free from the penalty of sin, which is eternal condemnation. But did you know that God’s truth also sets us free from the power of sin right now? Even though we’ll continue to struggle with temptation after we’re saved, we now have within us Christ’s divine strength to resist and overcome it.

Do you feel stuck in sinful patterns and desires? As Jesus said, continuing in God’s Word is the key to true freedom. Fill your mind with His truth, and sin will lose its power over you—today and for all eternity.


Christ in You

Our salvation is the work of Christ, and so is our sanctification every day that follows.

Colossians 1:24-29

Paul wrote to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings” (1:24). Can you imagine yourself saying that? It’s a difficult claim to make, much less to adhere to day after day. In fact, that would be impossible for us to do on our own.

The apostle was able to have such an attitude only because he drew from Jesus’ strength—and the same is true for us. We can try to live the Christian life by our own efforts, but we won’t succeed. Jesus Himself told the disciples, “The one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

To live a healthy spiritual life, it’s essential to recognize that power has nothing to do with us; it comes from Christ in us. Our salvation is the work of God, as is every bit of our sanctification throughout the rest of earthly life. Not only does He transform us; He’s also the one who empowers us to obey and serve as we rely on Him. Paul understood how our responsibility and God’s power intersect. In verse 29 of today’s passage, he expressed it this way: “For this purpose I also labor, striving according to His power which works mightily within me.”


Crucified With Christ

Realize that your past no longer has any power in your life.

Romans 6:1-11

The message of salvation is simple enough for a child to understand yet so profound that no human mind can ever fully comprehend it. One thing many people find perplexing is the concept of dying with Christ—a phrase that comes from Romans 6:6. There Paul writes, “Our old self was crucified with Him,” but what exactly does that mean?

With Jesus’ crucifixion, all of mankind’s sin—including yours—was nailed to the cross and canceled (Colossians 2:14). Or, as Galatians 5:24 says, “the flesh with its passions and desires” has been put to death. This means the person you were prior to salvation was crucified with the Savior, and you can never be that person again. The old you is dead, and the person you are today is a brand-new creation: a child of God, clothed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

While our full victory over sin won’t be complete here on earth, we can be confident that Jesus has declared believers holy, righteous, and blameless. Paul explained it this way: “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). If you believe Jesus is your Savior, move forward with confidence and peace in your new identity today.


A New Creation in Christ

Upon salvation, a person becomes a new creation, holy and blameless in God's sight.

Ephesians 4:17-24

Some people think they can receive salvation and go on living as they did before. But 2 Corinthians 5:17 is clear: “If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” It’s important to realize that this new creation is not an addition to the old you but, rather, a completely new self.

A person in Christ is a person forever changed. According to today’s passage, this new self is “created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (v. 24 NLT). Not only will sin lose its attraction for the believer, but there will also be an appreciation for God’s Word and a desire to reflect His righteousness more and more. If we don’t see evidence of these things in our life, what does that say about the state of our heart?

Jesus promises that salvation cannot be lost (John 10:28)—once a child of God, always a child of God. But it is possible to become apathetic about our identity in Christ. Does your lifestyle demonstrate that you are a “new creation”? What is your attitude toward sin and the pursuit of righteousness? Though none of us will live perfectly, the desire of our heart should be to move in the direction of our new self, which has been created in Christ’s likeness.


The Desires of Your Heart

Those who know God intimately discover that He provides everything they truly need.

Psalm 37:1-5

We love the promise in verse 4 of today’s passage: God “will give you the desires of your heart.” Unfortunately, when we focus only on receiving gifts, we miss the psalm’s context—namely, that our cooperation is needed.

The first requirement for receiving the desires of our heart is that we delight in God (v. 4). His highest priority is our relationship with Him—He wants to give us Himself more than anything else. We are to take pleasure in communing with the Lord and serving Him, and over time we’ll begin to appropriate His ways of thinking.

The second requirement of this promise is that we commit to His plan (v. 5). Following God’s path restructures our heart’s desires until they look like His. Now, sometimes what God provides appears different from what we requested. But He always answers our appeals based on His infinite knowledge and great love. He bestows the perfect answer to our prayer, whether it’s what we asked for or not.

Remember, God wants to grant our requests, but His greatest joy is a relationship with us. Seeing our heart’s wishes fulfilled is simply a byproduct of delighting in God and committing to His way. The real reward is a relationship with the God who offers to share Himself with humanity.


Our Responsibility to Rest

Life can bring frustrations, but knowing that God’s timing is perfect, we can ask Him to help us wait patiently.

Psalm 37:6-8

Yesterday we started reading Psalm 37 and discussed what we must do to receive our heart’s desires. But if we keep reading that chapter, we find the psalmist encouraging us to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.

Rest sounds easy, but sometimes it may require supernatural strength. Our natural tendency is to scramble, fret, and push our agenda, and those habits turn our mind away from delight and trust in the Lord. The stronger our desire is, the shorter our fuse. Sometimes we may even try to give God a timetable, but true rest occurs on His schedule. Only He understands every circumstance and knows the precise moment when answering our prayer is best.

So, the basic tenets of Psalm 37 are interrelated: We must spend time enjoying God in order to learn to trust Him and commit to His way. And doing so then frees us to rest in His control and patiently wait for Him to act.

Take a moment to pray: Father, thank You for giving me the desires of my heart. Today, help me to delight in You, commit everything to You, and rest in the knowledge that You have everything under control. I will wait for Your perfect timing. Amen.


The Transforming Grace of God

God can transform any sinner into a saint.

Romans 8:28-30

One of the most miraculous displays of the Lord’s power is His ability to transform an unrighteous man into a shining light for Jesus. The apostle Paul is a great example of how God can change ...

The religious into the redeemed (1 Timothy 1:12-13). Before his conversion, Paul was deeply religious, but not in a good way. He relied on his pedigree, performance, and piety to gain authority and acceptance. When he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, however, he discovered that all of his religious works and credentials meant nothing. The only way we can become acceptable before God is through receiving the saving grace of Christ—and that’s how Paul’s sin was replaced with a righteous spirit.

A servant of sin into a servant of God (Romans 6:17-18). Paul had been hostile toward the early church—promoting blasphemy, punishing believers, and voting for them to be punished with death (Acts 26:10-11). Yet after salvation, he became a dedicated missionary who spread the gospel wherever he could.  

Our Father turned one of the early church’s enemies into a wise and repentant leader. Commit to obey the Lord, and see what happens. He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in you (Philippians 1:6).


Caring for Others

Are generosity and service habits in your life?

Luke 10:25-37

So many people in the world are in need today and serving them is one of the highest callings of the Christian faith. Therefore, it’s essential for believers to commit to give of themselves on behalf of others.

There are countless ways to serve people. For example, a man might decide to pray for and come alongside a friend until a burdensome situation is resolved. Or a woman could make herself available to answer a neighbor’s questions about the faith. If we prayerfully look around, we may see other opportunities, such as driving an elderly friend to medical appointments, mentoring a teenager through a local outreach program, or helping a single parent check some things off a to-do list.

Before you become overwhelmed by the variety of needs in your area, remember that loving your neighbors is meant to be a church-wide effort. One person can’t do it all. Instead, join a small group of fellow believers committed to serving those God brings into your sphere of influence. In order to care for them, you may be asked to surrender resources and time—but when you do, the Lord will bless you with the joy and contentment that come only from Him.


For Such a Time as This

Though we may not always understand what God is doing around us, we can trust He’s working to accomplish His good purposes.

Esther 2:8-18; Esther 4:13-14

We clearly see the Lord’s sovereign hand at work in Esther’s life when she was plucked from obscurity and elevated to be the queen of Persia. She was a young woman with no social standing or power. Without her cousin Mordecai’s protection, Esther was actually very vulnerable. Can you imagine how upset, confused, and uncertain she must have felt as events were unfolding around her?

We may feel like that, too. God’s purposes are being worked out just the way He’s planned, but from our earthly perspective, things sometimes seem confusing and unclear. That’s why Esther’s story is encouraging. It teaches us to trust in God’s will. After all, He doesn’t save us and then leave us to fend for ourselves. Instead, He continually guides each of His children in the work He has planned.

Begin looking for the Lord’s hand in your life. He is working out His design—sometimes with gentle nudges, other times via jarring disruptions. No matter what happens, don’t forget that He is present and always moving and directing. Never imagine yourself to be insignificant in His eyes. You’re so highly esteemed that almighty God has designed a unique calling just for you.


No Calling Too Small

The Lord provides opportunities for anyone who wants to do His will.

Exodus 1:15-22

Yesterday, we read about Esther and how the Lord used her in a mighty way to deliver His people. If you caught yourself thinking, Well, I won’t be called to such a grand task, remember you don’t have to be a king or queen to have great influence.

Consider the story in today’s reading. A thousand years before the time of Esther, Pharaoh ordered all male Hebrew children in Egypt to be murdered at birth, but two midwives refused to comply with his decree. Even when they were questioned by Pharaoh—the powerful man considered by many to be divine—they continued saving lives because they feared the true God. And Scripture tells us that because of their bravery, the Lord “was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty” (v. 20). Neither Shiphrah nor Puah was a queen, yet the Lord still used them to save an entire nation.

Embracing our respective callings may at times be scary but is always worth it. Each time we do, we’ll learn just how faithful our heavenly Father is. And that will build our trust in Him

for the next opportunity He gives us to step out in obedience.


Worth the Wait

God's call to patience, though difficult, brings great rewards.

Luke 2:21-35

We are pretty impatient these days. If you don’t agree, just think about the last time you warmed up a meal in the microwave. Did you calmly wait during those few minutes, or did you stand there tapping your fingers and sighing in exasperation?

No wonder Scripture includes so many examples of godly patience. Time and again, the Father made promises to His children, only to have them wait years—sometimes decades—for the promise to be fulfilled. However, the result of that patience was always blessing.

Consider how long Simeon waited to see Christ—to hold the infant Jesus in his arms and prophesy over Him. For many decades he kept watch, holding firmly to the promise that he would not die before he beheld the Savior (v. 26). Imagine waiting day after day for such an amazing blessing. Some people might have found it challenging to continue believing the promise, but Simeon didn’t falter. And his reward was indeed great.

Shortcuts rarely lead to where God wants us to be. The long road, however, has been taken by countless faithful servants. So if you’re waiting on the Lord today, be encouraged because you’re in good company.