Charles Stanley say: I love to take trips. I also enjoy preparing for the journey by beginning to pack days in advance. In fact, it is not unusual for me to sit down several weeks before I leave and plot the course that I will be taking. I look at maps and mark and highlight my route. I also calculate how many miles I will travel. I do all of this because I’m excited about the trip and can’t wait to get on the road.
The Christian life is an exciting journey that lasts a lifetime. But it also is one that requires preparation. For example, you can’t stand on the mountaintops of joy without the knowledge of Who has led you there.
Neither can you descend into the valleys of sorrow and disappointment without the information you need to negotiate a safe passage. David understood this principle, and in Psalm 23 he writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me” (v. 4 NASB).
Though he did not know exactly where he was going, David had a personal knowledge of the One who was leading him. He had a handbook—a map to follow—and it was the Word of God spoken to His heart. At times, he may only have had enough light to see a few steps in front of him. It was enough, though, because he knew and understood God had a course for him to travel. Therefore, he was not afraid.
Five or six inches of interstate ribbon on an earthly map may take an entire day or more to navigate. Along the way, you will encounter detours, inclement weather, mechanical malfunctions, and any number of surprises. Likewise, without the proper insight, you will miss the beauty of pastures, valleys, mountain ranges, and the many flowers you will pass along the way.
The Bible is our infallible compass, guide, and handbook to the place where we can experience God’s unconditional love. It underscores His timeless principles and gives us all the information we need to remain on the right path. Most importantly, it explains how we can receive eternal life through a personal relationship with God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Charles Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living was not written to take the place of personal Bible study. It is a companion and a compilation of the scriptural principles that I have learned and applied in my own life.
Although it is not an exhaustive work, I believe it is rich in content and counsel, if only because it reflects the instruction and encouragement that God in His grace has provided when I have failed or been in need. It is divided into eight major categories: Church Concerns, Daily Living, Doctrine, End Times, Personal Growth, Relationships, Service and Outreach, and Spiritual Disciplines. Each major section has numerous topics that you will find interesting, stimulating, inspiring, and refreshing.
I suggest that you read Charles Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living according to your current need or interest. If you want a better grasp on the fundamentals of your faith, study and digest the section on doctrine. If you lack a real sense of accomplishment, the material on spiritual disciplines could propel you to spiritual progress.
God has a plan for your life. Right now, you may feel exhausted and emotionally drained. Or you may be charged up and ready to take on a new challenge. You may have experienced recent spiritual growth, or you may have settled on a comfortable plateau because of an uncertain future.
God wants you to know that He is aware of you. And He wants to show you how to move from point A to point B successfully. He also wants you to enjoy the journey and complete the course that He has given you to travel.
He has pledged to give you the wisdom and strength you need to finish the good work He began in your life when He saved you (Phil. 1:6). And if you will let Him, He will keep you strong until the end (1 Cor. 1:8–9).