Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Error Or Opportunity?

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25 

Many years ago, at what was then Standard Oil Company, an executive’s mistake cost the firm more than two million dollars. On the day the news leaked, the firm’s employees feared the wrath of the powerful head of the company—John D. Rockefeller—and found various ways to avoid him. One partner, however, kept his previously scheduled appointment. When he walked into the president’s office, he saw Rockefeller writing on a pad of paper.

“Oh, it’s you, Bedford,” Rockefeller said calmly. “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss?” The partner said that he had. “I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.” Across the top of the page was written, “Points in favor of Mr. ________.” There followed a long list of the man’s virtues, including a description of how the executive had helped the firm make the right decision on three separate occasions. Since the earnings from these decisions had added up to many times the cost of the recent error, Rockefeller told Bedford that he had decided to seize the opportunity to encourage the executive instead of censure him.

The next time your spouse fails you, you could cut him or her down in a torrent of angry words… or you could see a golden opportunity to encourage.

Just between us…
  • When was I most encouraging to you during a crisis?
  • Is there a particular Scripture verse you cling to during tough times?
Lord, we so often underestimate how much influence our words can have. We ask for wisdom to speak encouragement—especially when criticism might be expected. Amen. 

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

His Princess Every Day - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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

You Are My Gifted One

My princess,

I have given you the gift of eternal life, but My giving does not stop there. Inside of you is a supernatural surprise--a gift that is waiting to be unwrapped... by you. Yes, it’s there. It’s hidden behind dreams waiting to be pursued. Swallowed up by daily distractions and drowned by disappointment. Let Me help you clear out the clutter and find your gift. You’ll find it in that place in life that brings you the greatest joy, that place where your soul longs to be, that work your hands love to do. But this gift that I’ve given to you is not just for you. I have blessed you to be a blessing to others. When you find your gift, I will take it and multiply it beyond what you could ever imagine. So ask Me, and I will help you open your gift so that you can give it away to the world--not to impress, but to bless.

Your King and the Giver of every good and perfect gift

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

Chocolate For Your Soul

Good Words... Without the Gospel
by Sheri Rose Shepherd

You are the light of the world—
like a city on a mountain,
glowing in the night for all to see.
Don’t hide your light under a basket!
Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. — Matthew 5:14-15

Have you ever had a good idea to help someone or do something good and although it felt great in the moment, it did not bring real, everlasting change? Or, have you ever wanted to share your faith but felt like a failure at representing Christ?

The first invitation I received to speak publicly about my faith came from an unlikely person. She was a woman who I felt had humiliated me at the dinner table in front of my husband’s Bible professors. There I was, already intimidated by the educated people at this event, due to my learning disorder and lack of education, when a woman, who was highly educated, said to me in a loud voice, “I heard you used to be fat, Jewish, and on drugs. How did you ever become a Christian?

Of course all eyes were suddenly on me. At this point I felt forced to share my humiliating life story in front of a table of "perfect in every way" strangers. I am not proud of my life before Christ, and every word felt like a fight as I struggled to explain my sin and salvation experience. When they finally stopped asking questions, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and there I begged God to never let that happen again. That night as I crawled into to bed, I played back my personal battles of regret, guilt, and shame. I did not feel worthy of sharing my faith. I wanted to hide my past and pretend it never happened. I know I am not the only person who struggles with feeling unworthy for God to use me to further His Kingdom on earth and who fights these inward battles of wanting to do something great for God.

It has been over twenty two years since that humiliating moment, but when I look back, I now realize that that was the moment God used to birth my speaking and writing ministry. That very woman who embarrassed me at dinner later invited me to share my story in front of that entire group of Christian leaders. Those leaders invited me to share my story with their women’s groups, and I have been invited to speak and write books ever since.

I did not ever dream I would be in ministry. But God has a strange way of calling each of us. Paul was blinded in order to see His true calling, and there is a Paul inside each of us. What I mean by that is that our heart screams to live a life of adventure and make a difference while we are here. That life is found in fighting our fears and stepping out and witnessing even if we feel worthless. You don’t have to have a lot of faith to do great things in God’s Kingdom. Just a little faith and a sweet surrender to God’s prompting can help you find the passion and power to speak up and share the message of love, hope and salvation found in Christ alone. He is waiting to speak through you today all you have to do is share what He means to you! 

God's Letter to You 

I believe if The Lord was going to write you a personal letter about battles this life brings it may read like this.... 

My Child,

I stepped into your darkness so you would shine for Me. Did you know that I have empowered you to light up the lives of everyone around you? You are My light to the world. Walk with Me, and let Me illuminate your life today with My love and My power. Look to Me, and I will make you the bright spot in someone’s darkness today. Don’t hide your light beneath your uncertainties and insecurities. Spend more time with Me and I will make you glow with a godliness that’s irresistible. If you will let Me, I’ll make you shine in such a way that you will be My star that points to heaven and brings hope to the hurting. 

Your King and True Light of the world

Girlfriends in God - April 12, 2016

How to Find Your Missing Peace
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

I'm sure you have heard about the Good News for the people of Israel - that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36, NLT). 

Friend to Friend

I love the story of the little girl who was working very hard on her homework one night. As the hours went by, her parents became very curious and asked her what she was doing. "I'm writing a report on the condition of the world and how to bring peace," she replied. Her parents were impressed! “Isn’t that a big assignment for just one person?” her dad asked. With complete confidence the little girl responded, “Don’t worry, Dad. There are three of us in the class working on it.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if finding and experiencing peace was that easy?

We work hard at peace - in our world, in our homes, in our relationships, and in our hearts. Yet, so many of us struggle to actually experience or even understand true peace. It occurs to me that in order to understand what peace is, we must first understand what it is not.

True peace is God’s peace and can only be found in Him. God’s peace is not the absence of conflicts, trials or difficulties and has nothing to do with human beings or human circumstances. In fact, the true peace of God cannot be produced on a human level at all. Any peace that can be explained by human logic is very fragile and will surely be destroyed by the storms of life.

I don’t know about you, but storms seem to sweep through my life on a regular basis and peace is often nowhere to be found. If we rely on this spoiled and fallen world for any measure of peace, we will forever be disappointed.

The only source of peace is God.

The only way to know peace is to know God.

The apostle Paul said, “There is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all."

We tend to focus on the part of that verse that promises peace with God and ignore the harder truth that peace is the result of Jesus reigning in our lives as “Lord of all.” The word “Lord” means “boss” and drives home the point that if Jesus is not Lord of all – He is not Lord at all.

And if He is not the Lord of all, then there can be no peace.

I’m sure you have read the poem below. Even though I often run across it on Facebook, or someone emails it to me, I never read it without being encouraged to remember exactly where my peace is found.

I’m too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed.
I refuse to be discouraged, to be sad or to cry.
I refuse to be downhearted and here’s the reason why:
I have a God who is almighty; who is sovereign and supreme.
I have a God who loves me – and I am on His team.
He is all wise and powerful; Jesus is His name.
Though everything else is changeable, My God remains the same.
I refuse to be beaten or defeated.
My eyes are on my God.
He has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod.
I am looking past my circumstances, to heaven’s throne above.
My prayers have reached the heart of God, and I am resting in His love.
I give thanks to Him in everything.
My eyes are on His face.
The battle is His; the victory is mine; He will help me win the race.
I repeat!
I’m too blessed to be stressed!”
(Author unknown)

As you face the storms of life, face them with God at your side - knowing that He is Lord of the rocking boat and Keeper of the waves. He rides upon the storm clouds of life, flinging peace into the tempest-filled heart.
God is Peace.

And when we know Him as our Lord and have made Him the boss of our lives - we will know Peace.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) 

Let’s Pray

Father God, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances and my heart is filled with fear and confusion. I really need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of every “storm” you are facing today. Surrender each one to God, asking Him to fill its place in your life with His peace. Now, choose to walk in that peace today. When you are tempted to slip back under the crashing waves, remember that the storm now belongs to your Father. 

More from the Girlfriends

I know people who would give every penny they have and every possession they own for an hour of peace. In fact, I have been in that place myself. The difference is that the Prince of Peace is my God and because He lives in my heart, so does peace. Yes, sometimes I allow the stressors of life to crowd in and try to smother that peace. I am so thankful that the peace of God is eternal and beyond human understanding.

Want peace? I encourage you to read my book, Escaping the Stress Trap to find 11 practical ways to deal with the stress in your life and experience true peace.

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on my website and connect with me through Skype, email or on Facebook.

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



Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall…persecution…? Romans 8:35c 

The question asked is a personal one. Not “what” can separate us but “who”? The inference is our enemy, Satan, who tries every tactic he can garner to make us think we can be separated from Christ’s love. Today we look at his tactic of “persecution.”

Heart-pounding terror—that’s what most Cambodians felt when Pol Pot seized power in 1975. Setan Lee was a young teen-aged medical student when the Khmer Rouge communist forces took over control of Cambodia. Their horrors and atrocities against their own citizens brought the label “Killing Fields” to the era. Setan was in the most vulnerable class as an educated young person. By God’s grace alone he survived the ensuing persecution, starvation and hardships. But as the young man gained strength, hatred for the Khmer Rouge gripped his heart. He plotted how he would get revenge, especially on the guard named Er. “She was the lady who I hated and I wanted to kill,” he said.

When the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1978, many prisoners fled the slave camps. Setan was one of thousands who began the dangerous journey to freedom in Thailand. He walked to the border and en route a preacher led him to faith in Jesus. He was later amazed to find all his family alive, except for his brother, who had been killed by the Khmer Rouge. Together, the family went to a Thai refugee camp, where Setan Lee became a young preacher.

One day, while preaching in a camp of 35,000 refugees on this text in Romans 8:35, an eerie feeling swept over him. As he looked over the many faces in the crowd, he spotted the guard Er in the crowd. “I prayed and asked the Lord to take control of me,” he said.

“First, I wanted to kill her,” he added, “but then something told me to have compassion and mercy toward her.” Lee told Er, “I forgive you for what you have done to me and my friends. I want you to believe in Jesus. He forgave me for what I wanted to do to you. So, in return, I forgive you. And it’s not me, but God.”

Although Lee prayed for Er, he never saw her again. He feared the Khmer Rouge’s grip on her life pulled her back into the jungle, yet he knew the Lord of the Universe had helped him forgive her for the persecution she had inflicted on him for years.

When I heard Setan share his amazing story, he concluded, “I realized through it all, that persecution could not separate me from the love of Christ.” 

RESPONSE: I will live this day aware that persecution can never separate me from Christ’s love.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the wonderful lessons we learn from the persecuted who know that it cannot separate them from You. May I know this assurance today no matter what I face.

Verse of the Day - April 12, 2016

Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Read all of Luke 9

Daily Readings for April 12, 2016

Exodus 19:1-16
On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. The people all answered as one: "Everything that the LORD has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. Then the LORD said to Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after." When Moses had told the words of the people to the LORD, the LORD said to Moses: "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, 'Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain." So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, "Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman." On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

Colossians 1:1-14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 3:7-12
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 26
1   Give judgment for me, O LORD, for I have lived with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2   Test me, O LORD, and try me; examine my heart and my mind.
3   For your love is before my eyes; I have walked faithfully with you.
4   I have not sat with the worthless, nor do I consort with the deceitful.
5   I have hated the company of evildoers; I will not sit down with the wicked.
6   I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD, that I may go in procession round your altar,
7   Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8   LORD, I love the house in which you dwell and the place where your glory abides.
9   Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
10   Whose hands are full of evil plots, and their right hand full of bribes.
11   As for me, I will live with integrity; redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
12   My foot stands on level ground; in the full assembly I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 28
1   O LORD, I call to you; my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit.
2   Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
3   Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, who speak peaceably with their neighbors, while strife is in their hearts.
4   Repay them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their actions.
5   According to the work of their hands repay them, and give them their just deserts.
6   They have no understanding of the LORD'S doings, nor of the works of his hands; therefore he will break them down and not build them up.
7   Blessed is the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
8   The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
9   Therefore my heart dances for joy, and in my song will I praise him.
10   The LORD is the strength of his people, a safe refuge for his anointed.
11   Save your people and bless your inheritance; shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 36
1   There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2   He flatters himself in his own eyes that his hateful sin will not be found out.
3   The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has left off acting wisely and doing good.
4   He thinks up wickedness upon his bed and has set himself in no good way; he does not abhor that which is evil.
5   Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6   Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; you save both man and beast, O LORD.
7   How priceless is your love, O God! your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8   They feast upon the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9   For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.
10   Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, and your favor to those who are true of heart.
11   Let not the foot of the proud come near me, nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
12   See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness! they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.

Psalm 39
1   I said, "I will keep watch upon my ways, so that I do not offend with my tongue.
2   I will put a muzzle on my mouth while the wicked are in my presence."
3   So I held my tongue and said nothing; I refrained from rash words; but my pain became unbearable.
4   My heart was hot within me; while I pondered, the fire burst into flame; I spoke out with my tongue:
5   LORD, let me know my end and the number of my days, so that I may know how short my life is.
6   You have given me a mere handful of days, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight; truly, even those who stand erect are but a puff of wind.
7   We walk about like a shadow, and in vain we are in turmoil; we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
8   And now, what is my hope? O Lord, my hope is in you.
9   Deliver me from all my transgressions and do not make me the taunt of the fool.
10   I fell silent and did not open my mouth, for surely it was you that did it.
11   Take your affliction from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
12   With rebukes for sin you punish us; like a moth you eat away all that is dear to us; truly, everyone is but a puff of wind.
13   Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears.
14   For I am but a sojourner with you, a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
15   Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again, before I go my way and am no more.

Daily Meditation for April 12, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Matthew 3:9 God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

For years, I understood this line from Matthew as a warning from Jesus to the Pharisees: “if you aren’t living the God-filled life of God’s children, then God will find others.” Now, in this spring season, I am aware of the reality that God has raised all of us children from the stones.

Our created nature (of dust) is from the stones. We literally build up our bodies from the dust of ancient stones as we harvest and consume vegetables that have grown from the dust of the field. So, too in this Easter season have we been raised spiritually from the stones that would bind us to death. Jesus led the way of dying and rising to life when he rose up from behind the stone that sealed his tomb. So too are we called from stones to rise to life as children of God.

I now understand this passage to be a declaration of our state of being. I celebrate being one of those children who has been raised up from the stones. A member of God’s family, raised to new life, an heir of the God of the living.