Charles Frazier Stanley (born September 25, 1932) is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and president of In Touch Ministries and also served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984 to 1986. He has an evangelical and dispensationalist theology. Charles Frazier Stanley was born on September 25, 1932, in Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, just nine months before his father, Charley, died. Stanley grew up in rural Dry Fork in the outskirts of Danville. At the age of 12, Charles became a born-again Christian, and at age 14 he began his life's work in Christian ministry. Stanley received his bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond. He later obtained his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He received his Th.M. and Th.D. degrees in theology from Luther Rice Seminary in Florida (which later relocated to Lithonia, Georgia).
Charles Stanley (January-24-2022) Daily Devotional: A Lesson in Pruning
It can be painful when God cuts fleshly habits and attitudes from our life, but that allows growth in Christlikeness.
John 15:1-5 - ``I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. ``Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. ``You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. ``Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. ``I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Years ago I lived in Fruitland, North Carolina. It was apple country, and several of my parishioners were growers. When I stopped by to visit one of them, I found him mercilessly cutting branches from one of the trees. He told me that to produce an abundant crop of the best fruit, he had to prune the branches. It might look as if the tree was going to die, but new growth would spring from the wounds.
Our conversation helped me understand why the Lord sometimes acts as a pruning knife in our lives. To get a plentiful crop of spiritual fruit, He must remove anything that hinders us from becoming the person He designed us to be. The process is often painful as God cuts away fleshly habits and worldly attitudes, but His pruning results in us becoming a more accurate reflection of Jesus Christ.
Being loved by God doesn’t mean being coddled. Our comfort is not His primary interest. Just as a grower prunes an apple tree to get a bountiful harvest, so God must sometimes cause us pain in order to bring forth greater spiritual growth, Christlike character, and abundance.
Charles Stanley (January-23-2022) Daily Devotional: Sunday Reflection: Growing in Obedience
God teaches us obedience so our faith will increase and our life will be transformed.
Any good gardener will tell you the importance of staking new plants. The braces provide support and help plants grow straight and tall. In teaching us obedience, the Lord similarly redirects our natural inclinations so we can grow in a Godward direction.
As we mature in our faith, we see that the Lord is teaching us how to submit ourselves to Him in ways both big and small. And yet He never forces us to comply. That means obedience isn’t passive; it’s a decision we make again and again until we’ve completed our time on earth.
Remember that even Jesus practiced the discipline of submission, and—as always—He serves as our role model (Heb. 5:7-8). Like Him, we must choose to live obediently, even when what we’re being asked to do is hard or painful. This willingness to listen and follow, no matter what the cost, glorifies God and transforms us in ways we never imagined (2 Cor. 9:13).
Think about it - Have you been fighting against the Lord’s guidance? How can you begin to make a better choice and grow in obedience to Him?
Charles Stanley (January-22-2022) Daily Devotional: In Times of Trouble
Even when life is hard, the Lord will always keep us steady if we fix our attention on Him.
Psalm 46:1-11 - God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth.He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. ``Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Hard times are inevitable in this life. We will lose loved ones. Some of us will face difficult ailments. We may even be wrongfully accused or mistreated. The range of human suffering is broad, but God is a refuge for those who trust Him.
Today’s passage speaks of great calamities. We often feel bewildered during such trials, but having an eternal focus lifts us from despair. God is still the sovereign Lord of the universe. The key to dealing with difficulty lies in trusting the One who is in control of all things.
Our natural impulse is to respond in fear and panic, but the Lord says to trust in Him through the trouble. He also tells us to surrender what we think is right, submitting instead to His plan. Unless our focus remains steady on Jesus, circumstances will overwhelm us.
What is your response when hardships arise? Consider accepting difficulty as a blessing, and let it deepen your relationship with Christ. Whether your current circumstances are good or painful, remember that a time is coming when God will bring all disasters and wars to an end. In the meantime, He is our stronghold in times of trouble.
Charles Stanley (January-21-2022) Daily Devotional: On the Bottom Looking Up
Trusting in God's power and grace makes it possible to break the cycle of despair.
1 Samuel 30:1-20 - Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire; and they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, without killing anyone, and carried them off and went their way. When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep. Now David's two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, ``Please bring me the ephod." So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. David inquired of the LORD, saying, ``Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?" And He said to him, ``Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all. "
Most of us know how it feels to be at rock bottom. Despair is a horrible condition because it continually feeds on discouragement, hopelessness, and failure. And the longer one dwells on these things, the greater despair grows. The only way out is to break free from this vicious cycle of darkness. We do this by . . .
• Repenting of anything that has caused us to doubt the Lord. If we’re in despair, then something has overshadowed God in our life, and that barrier must be removed—the sooner, the better.
• Recalling the Lord’s omnipotence. Since He had the power to save you from sin, He certainly also has the ability to overcome your despair.
• Remembering that nothing in our life happens by chance. God works all things according to His sovereign plan, for the good of those who love Him, and for His glory (Rom. 8:28 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose).
Despair stands in conflict with the abundant life the Lord has promised. If you’re feeling down and out, ask Him to lift you back up today. You’ll never automatically fall out of despair. But with God’s help, you can change your mindset and see your situation through the lens of His Word.
Charles Stanley (January-20-2022) Daily Devotional: Building Lasting Friendships
Strong, godly friendships like Jonathan and David’s are a blessing from the Lord.
1 Samuel 18:1-4 - Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.
How many friends do you have? And I don’t mean the people you connect with on social media—I’m talking about the few who really know you and stick with you through thick and thin. Such mutual friendships are rare today.
What does it take to develop this kind of relationship? There could be no finer example than the friendship between David and Jonathan, and three qualities stand out.
1. The relationship was characterized by mutual respect. This often gets lost in today’s world, but the reality is that we can maintain a genuine friendship only with someone for whom we have high regard.
2. David and Jonathan felt strong love for one another. Even though they weren’t related, these two friends shared a relationship as deep and loyal as a brotherhood.
3. Their commitment to each other was genuine. These were no fair-weather friends. Their bond withstood even the attempts by King Saul to kill David. (See 1 Sam. 23:15-18 - Now David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, ``Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also." So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house) Jonathan refused to let anything—not even his own father’s jealous fury—come between him and his friend.
Think about your best friend. Is the relationship characterized by these qualities? If so, recognize that you have been given a blessing from the Lord. Praise Him for the gift of your friend.
Charles Stanley (January-19-2022) Daily Devotional: A Reason for Confidence
Negativity doesn’t fit who we are as God's children—we should have confidence in our almighty Lord.
Proverbs 3:21-26 - My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught.
Negativity affects us in both spiritual and physical ways. Even simply spending time with a pessimistic individual can take a toll. On the other hand, positivity—especially that related to confidence in the Lord—enables us to live as our Father desires.
As God’s children, we have every reason to live with assurance. His very presence is permanently within us, and He has granted us His peace, which passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7 - And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus). In addition, He promises to provide for our needs and empower us to obey and serve Him.
Sometimes, however, we have trouble accepting and living in these spiritual blessings. When that’s the case, we should purposefully take steps to develop confidence in our all-powerful God. This begins with meditating on His Word and drawing near to Him in prayer. As we grow in our understanding of the Lord and His promises, our faith is strengthened and confidence in Him increases.
The world is full of distrust, fear, and uncertainty. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by negative messages that take your eyes off Christ. Focus on the truth of Scripture and put your confidence in almighty God. Facing each day with His strength will drive away doubt and anxiety.
Charles Stanley (January-18-2022) Daily Devotional: Relying on Christ.
Instead of focusing on our self-esteem, let’s rely on Jesus in our inadequacy.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 - And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. It’s not unusual to hear that an individual who values himself will accomplish much. Yet Scripture warns us not to think too highly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3 - For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith). We should have far greater confidence in Christ than in ourselves.
Despite his impressive credentials (Phil. 3:4-5 - although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee), Paul knew he was inadequate to complete the ministry God gave him. In fact, today’s passage says that when preaching the gospel to the Corinthians, he came in fear and trembling (1 Cor. 2:3 - I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling). His message wasn’t delivered with self-confidence but in complete reliance upon the Spirit. And that’s exactly how we should live as well.
When we rely on God’s power instead of our own abilities, He produces supernatural boldness in us. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with confidence because the indwelling Spirit of the living God enables us to follow Him. He directs and strengthens us in every situation as we humble ourselves in dependence upon Him.
Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate? Instead of shrinking back, consider them as opportunities to put your confidence in the Lord. You can trust the One who is your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.
Dr. Charles Stanley Weekly Saturday sermon: A Time For Courage (January-22-2022) In Touch Ministries. Fear is a hindrance. It creates anxiety in our heart, it divides our mind, it drains our energy and it hinders whatever we’re doing in life. We learn how to conquer this damaging emotion and live with the confidence only found in God.
Charles Stanley (January-17-2022) Daily Devotional: Lay Aside Old Ways
The reason some Christians don't feel the Lord’s peace and joy is that they are still living in their old worldly ways.
Ephesians 4:17-24 - So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
It seems that in a world of prosperity and abundance, there would be great contentment, yet the opposite is true. Why are so many people unhappy, anxious, and unsettled?
The main reason is that most of the world doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, so they can’t have His peace and joy. But there are also Christians who are discontent because they’re wearing old “clothes” from their past. These garments might be emotions and attitudes left over from childhood, or it may be that these believers are trying to hold on to behaviors from their life before Christ.
The solution is to change into the new clothes that Jesus secured for us (Isa. 61:10 - I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels). We are to lay aside old habits and thought patterns the way we would a filthy garment. This means we’re no longer to remind ourselves about the wrongs done to us by others. Nor are we to cherish sinful habits, continue worldly practices, or think the way we formerly did.
As new creations in Christ, we have no business wearing the dirty clothes of the flesh. Instead, we are to exercise our renewed mind and put on the new garments given to us by God. We will be satisfied only when we let go of the old and put on the new.
Charles Stanley (January-16-2022) Daily Devotional: Sunday Reflection: Yours Truly
Praying isn’t a one-sided affair; rather, it is an intimate and precious conversation with God.
Writing letters—either by hand or electronically—is a good way to communicate. We can share our innermost thoughts with others, give and receive encouragement, and laugh together. However, letters aren’t perfect. They’re sporadic, coming in intervals of every few days or longer, and the conversation tends to be one-sided. A telephone or video call eliminates those delays by allowing us to interact in real time. We can hear one another and even make eye contact.
Many of us feel that prayer is like “writing” requests to God and sending them off, hoping to eventually get a response. But our heavenly Father wants to speak with us in a more immediate, intimate way (James 4:8 - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded). That means we must commune with Him daily, clearing space in our mind and heart. When we do, we’ll find that conversing with Him becomes easier over time. Then prayer will be as natural as speaking with a friend—the best one you’ll ever have (Prov. 18:24 - A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother).
Think about it - Do you feel close to God in prayer, or does it seem as if you’re speaking into a void? Plan when you can focus on prayer in the coming week, and make sure to spend as much time listening as speaking.