Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Weekend, March 31, 2012 & Palm Sunday April 1, 2012
The Truth that Sets You Free
Read | 1 John 4:13-19
Knowing that God loves unconditionally changes everything. If you believe this truth, fear will no longer have any hold on you. You may be suffering or in terrible pain and as a result feel unloved. But the fact is, you are loved–deeply and personally.
I don’t know why the Lord has permitted your trial, but I do know this: Pain never shouts that God doesn’t love you. That’s the Deceiver’s voice. Did Jesus’ suffering indicate that the Father didn’t love the Son? No. There are hardships in life we can’t always explain, but they can never cancel out or in any way diminish His unconditional love.
Knowing this truth empowers our lives with joy. How wonderful to realize that, whether you’re awake or asleep–no matter what you do or don’t do–His love for you never changes.
This knowledge also brings freedom. You no longer have to keep trying to measure up to some standard in order to be accepted. Since God’s love isn’t based on your performance, you’re free from the bondage of trying to work harder to earn it–which is impossible. You also have the security and assurance of the Father’s unfailing care, even when you’ve failed. Rely on His love–He will never leave you. His Spirit within assures us of this when we keep our hearts open to listen.
If you’ve ever watched the ocean, you know that its waves keep rolling into the shore. Sometimes they crash with unbelievable force, and other times they’re gentle. Either way, they can’t be stopped! Likewise, there’s nothing you can do to stop Almighty God from loving you.
1 John 4
Testing the Spirits
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.