Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Watch Out For Traps

“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We’ve found that retired couples and stay‐at‐home spouses are especially likely to fall into four traps that can take the joy out of life. Here they are, along with some suggestions for avoiding each trap. First is the trap of isolation. Don’t allow yourself to withdraw within your own four walls. Stay connected to people even when it’s easier to stay home.

The second trap is inactivity. The simple act of taking a walk, visiting the library, or going grocery shopping keeps the muscles limber and the mind alert.

Third is the trap of self-pity. This attitude can cripple or even kill you! To ward it off, reach out to others. Develop a ministry of prayer and hospitality for those around you.

The fourth trap is despair. The elderly, in particular, can slip into thinking that life is over and no longer worth living. Yet the Christian must always be future oriented. The beauty of our faith lies in the assurance of the next world, where true joy awaits us all.

Just between us…
  • Do you ever fall into any of these traps? Which one(s)?
  • What specific things can we do to avoid them?
  • Are you looking forward to the future? Why or why not?
  • How does God use the elderly for His purposes?
  • How could praying and caring for others lead to joy for us?

Father, we are so thankful that we will one day leave life’s troubles behind and enter the joy of eternity with You. In the meantime, help us redeem the time for Your glory, confident that You are ready to work out Your divine purposes in every moment. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Why Did I Lose My Job if God Loves Me?

Lessons From My GPS

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. —Proverbs 3:5–8

A headline in the April 23, 2012 edition of The Atlantic recently grabbed my attention: 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed — How? Think about how alarming that statistic really is — more than half of all college students are graduating only to find there isn’t a job in their chosen field waiting for them. After four years of study, many have to set aside their plans to pursue their dreams, settling instead for flipping hamburgers, selling coffee or sweeping floors.

There’s nothing wrong with those tasks. In fact, I believe much can be learned by engaging in manual labor. Whether you’re reading this as one of those “under-employed” recent college grads or you’re a seasoned professional who has been forced to deliver pizza or stock supermarket shelves, I’m here to tell you that the path you’re on is part of God’s plan for your life. Let me illustrate with a personal example.

When I lost my job as a “big-time” executive, I had to humble myself and take whatever I could find to do just to keep some income coming in. That included freelancing as a locksmith for a very gracious brother from church. My task typically consisted of assisting people who had locked themselves out of their car. One particularly busy day I was on a roll with 14 calls in a 12-hour period. Those calls had me zigzagging from one end of the county to the other to rescue stranded drivers.

I recall thinking about the many times I passed by the same landmarks. I wondered why that person or this person couldn’t have locked themselves out just 40 minutes earlier when I was in their area! I began to retrace my routes in my mind and realized what a maze of turns and curves and overlaps had occurred throughout my travels. It was a MapQuest nightmare!

When I read the words in Proverbs 3:6 about how the Lord "will make your paths straight," I was reminded of the haphazard route I had to take while working as a locksmith on that crazy, busy day — which, in turn, prompted me to think about my career path. Specifically, I reflected on how often I have worked at a job in which I had no idea how that role would fit into my future. As I reviewed my experiences in light of this verse, I realized that my assortment of jobs was not a maze of uncharted destinations. In fact, every bit of experience I have accumulated, in many different fields, I am using today. I have to believe that every job you have had has helped to mold you too.

You and I are a MapQuest trip “in process.” If you look closely, you can see how the Lord has mapped out your life and how seemingly unrelated job experiences really do fit together to formulate the Lord’s plan for you. The experiences of your life and career actually do make sense — you just might not see the big picture at the moment. Unfortunately, that’s because you and I are not privy to the directions beyond this very minute.

Although we still want to ask when this part of the journey will be over, and we still long to know where we will end up with our career, we can rest assured that God has a perfect plan for us. He will make your paths straight if you trust in him rather than in yourself. Why not take some time right now and look back over your road map? Isn’t it amazing how the Lord has worked, in all things, for your good? If you don’t see the straight road just yet, don’t worry. With his guidance, you will see how the road behind is part of the road ahead.

This seven-day devotional is drawn from Why Did I Lose My Job If God Loves Me: Help and Hope for Those in Career Transition by Rick J. Pritikin.

His Princess Every Day - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.


My Daughter,

There will be times that you may feel I am far from you. That is not true, my girl. Your feelings will deceive you but I never will. The truth is that you will always find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will always help you find your way back to me no matter how far away you wander, because you are mine and I love you. Whenever you feel lost and alone, just look up and I will be the one to light your way. When your world seems dark and cold I will be your compass and your comfort. I will carry you when you’re too worn out to walk--just like a daddy carries his little girl. No matter how far you fall away from me, I will always come rescue you whenever call to me!

Your Father Who always has his eyes on his girl

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?" - Matthew 18:12 (NLT)

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Girlfriends in God - March 30, 2016

When God Says No
Sharon Jaynes
Today’s Truth

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NASB).

Friend to Friend

Like any good parent, God’s answers to our requests are not always “yes.” When God says “no,” we must accept the fact that our Father knows best.

In my own life, my desire was to have three or four children. I conceived my first child with no problem. Little did I know at the time that Steven would be my only child. For years my husband and I prayed for more children. We traveled down the road of infertility doctors, diagnostic procedures, and timed intimacy, which is anything but intimate. As hard as it was for me to accept, God said “no.” 

Do I understand God’s decision completely? No, I do not. But I’ve come to realize that He doesn’t owe me an explanation. God is God. He does what He pleases and I must trust Him. When we can’t see His hand, we must trust His heart. I so know this: “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving,” (Psalm 62:11,12). God is strong – He can do anything. God is loving – He will always do what is in our best interest.

Have you ever considered that God said no to His own Son, Jesus? Just before His arrest, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,” (Matthew 26:39). And yet, God said “no.” Jesus went to the cross. God knew it was the only way. He loves you and me that much.

We can be assured that if God does say “no” to our requests, it is for the same reason – He loves you and me that much.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I am so glad that You have not answered “yes” to every one of my requests. When I think about what my life would be like if You had given me everything I had ever asked for…oh my, I shudder. Thank You for loving me enough to say “no.” Thank You for answering each and every prayer with Your infinite wisdom. I trust You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of some prayer requests that you are glad God said “no” to. 

Are there some prayer requests that God has said “no” to that you don’t understand?

Are you willing to trust that God knows best?

I would love to hear how you are thankful for one of God’s “no” answers in your life. Let’s chat at

More from the Girlfriends

We tend to read the gospels through the lens of the 21st century, but when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, and how He broke a cultural rule every time He came in contact with a woman in the New Testament, we begin to understand just how radical His ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours. How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free: A Woman’s Walk in Power and Purpose, is now available on and By taking an in-depth look at how Jesus crossed cultural boundaries to honor women, you’ll fall in love with Him all over again and have the confidence to walk in the power and purpose God intended. Bible study guide is included. Click here to watch the book trailer and be blessed!

And wives, I Invite you to check out my app, Praying Wives.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070


Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

On the basis of certain facts, a relationship has been established between two parties. Now there must be actual evidence to prove that one has made that commitment. This is the aspect of entrusting oneself to that second party. In our Luke text, we see two phrases that reflect this entrusting aspect of commitment,deny yourself” and “take up your cross daily.”

Deny Yourself:

The word “deny” literally means “say no to oneself” or “renounce self—leave self behind.” The biblical concept of commitment calls the follower of Jesus to “deny oneself” not self-denial. This is not to deny something, but a more complete and total denial of oneself in which one no longer seeks for what pleases self.

This is in direct contrast to the normal way of life where everyone is out for himself or herself. The basic sinful nature of the world, whether communist, capitalist or revolutionary is the same. It desires the promotion of self at the expense of someone else. Jesus says his followers will be known as those who deny themselves.

Take Up Your Cross Daily:

The second part is even more extreme. Commitment also calls for the taking up of the cross. In commitment to Jesus, you deny yourself even to the point of willingness to go to your own execution! We only commit ourselves to the point of willingness to die when we understand that the present life ends up in death anyway and the One who has promised us forgiveness and eternal life can really deliver.

In Jesus Christ, the believer has found real life. Therefore the denying of self and the way of the cross are only logical steps for him or her to take.

A young man who had recently become a Christian was returning home to a country where the punishment for conversion to Christ was death. He was asked whether or not he was afraid to go back. He replied, “I have already died in Christ!”

Jim Elliott, a missionary who was martyred in Ecuador, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

RESPONSE: Today I will commit to entrust myself to Jesus by denying self and taking up my cross.

PRAYER: Lord, I entrust myself to You and purpose to live the rest of my life to the fullest in ways that only You decide.

Daily Readings for March 30, 2016 - Wednesday in Easter Week

Psalm 105:1-8
1   Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.
2   Sing to him, sing praises to him, and speak of all his marvelous works.
3   Glory in his holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4   Search for the LORD and his strength; continually seek his face.
5   Remember the marvels he has done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,
6   O offspring of Abraham his servant, O children of Jacob his chosen.
7   He is the LORD our God; his judgments prevail in all the world.
8   He has always been mindful of his covenant, the promise he made for a thousand generations:

Acts 3:1-10
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Luke 24:13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Daily Meditation for March 30, 2016 - Wednesday in Easter Week

 From Forward Day by Day

Luke 24:32 Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?

Before I was ordained, I had three degrees in theology. I had read and studied the Bible, some of it in Hebrew. In an academic sense, I thought I was at least competent. But it wasn’t until five years into ordained ministry that I actually knew much about the Bible.

In one of the churches I was serving, we decided to read the Bible. We went all in. In September, we read the whole Bible out loud over a long weekend. Then throughout the rest of the year, we had a Thursday evening dinner and study group of a few dozen people who read the Bible cover to cover together. Sunday mornings we had a simpler, Reader’s Digest version of the class. We stopped printing the lessons in the bulletin and urged people to bring a Bible to church.

It was transformational. Opening the scriptures with open hearts with a group of people made room for the Holy Spirit to bring God’s word alive for us. Our hearts burned within us.

Verse of the Day - March 30, 2016

Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV) He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.