Friday, April 15, 2016

The Argument

by Gigi Graham Tchividjan

He walked out, closing the door firmly behind him. I heard the car drive away, and with a heavy, aching heart, I leaned against the closed door. Hot, angry tears filled my eyes, spilled over, and ran down my cheeks. How had it happened? How had things built to this point? Neither of us had intended our little discussion to develop into a heated disagreement. But it was late, and we had both experienced a hard day.

Stephan had risen early to drive for the car pool. Then he had seen several patients with difficult, heartbreaking problems. An emergency had taken up his lunch break, and he had been behind schedule for the rest of the afternoon. When he finally left the office, he hit a traffic jam on the freeway and arrived home tense and tired to a wife with seven children, all demanding his attention.

I, too, had endured a difficult day after a sleepless night with the baby. Besides the normal responsibilities involved with running a home, rain had kept us confined indoors all day. It was humid, and the children were more quarrelsome than usual, amusing themselves by picking on each other. Between settling arguments and soothing hurt feelings, I managed to get dinner on the table. But I hadn’t had time to comb my hair or freshen my makeup, and Stephan could sense my frustration when he came in.

Finally, when the kitchen was clean, the small children bathed and tucked into bed, and the teenagers talked out, Stephan and I found ourselves alone in our bedroom, trying to discuss a minor problem. It soon blew out of proportion. Angry feelings were vented, words spoken that we did not mean, and then—a slammed door and retreating car.

I slumped into a chair, dissolving into tears of discouragement and disappointment in myself. How long was it going to take to learn my lesson? Late at night, especially after a wearisome day, is not the time for arguing, but for comfort, encouragement, and loving.

As I sat there, I remembered that I had been so busy trying to handle the home front, keeping everything and everyone under control, that I had not spent time with the Lord that day. I had even failed to pray for Stephan. No wonder things had not gone well.

I glanced in the mirror and saw red, puffy eyes, no makeup, and hair in disarray. I saw lines of fatigue and tension where there should have been tenderness and love, and I understood Stephan’s desire to get away and cool off.

I fell on my knees beside the chair, asking the Lord to forgive me and to fill me with His Holy Spirit so I could be to Stephan all he had ever dreamed. I asked for the Lord’s strength, His sensitivity, His wisdom, so I could juggle my own schedule, the demands of my home and children, and still have time to meet my husband’s needs when he came home from the day’s work. Then I added a timid P. S. asking Him to give Stephan a change of heart, too.

I felt peace and a sudden refreshing. I got up, washed my face, added a little color to my cheeks and lips, combed my hair, lavished perfume on myself, and climbed into bed to wait.

Before long, I heard the front door open and familiar footsteps in the brick hallway. Our bedroom door opened quietly and Stephan stood there, his tired face and kind, loving eyes drawing me like a magnet. I flew into his arms. Later, our loving erased the last traces of frustration and anger. Clinging to each other as we fell into a much‐needed sleep, I couldn’t help wondering why we hadn’t thought of this in the first place. 


Conflict in marriage is inevitable: You can’t live with someone every day of your life without occasional friction. In too many of today’s marriages, however, fights are the rule rather than the exception.

A sixth‐grade teacher shared with me the results of a writing project assigned to her class. She asked the kids to complete a series of sentences that began with the phrase “I wish….” She was shocked and saddened by the response. Instead of writing about toys, animals, and trips to theme parks, twenty of the thirty kids made reference to the breakup of their families or conflict at home.

Let’s talk this next week about what we can do to reduce conflict in marriage and to make sure that when we do disagree, it’s something worth arguing about.

- James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
“The Argument” by Gigi Graham Tchividjian. Taken from Weather of the Heart by Gigi Graham Tchividjian. © 1993. Used by permission of Baker Book House Company.

Men of the Bible - Boaz

His name may mean: "In Strength" 

His work: He was a wealthy landowner.
His character: Boaz was a capable and upright man, so touched by the loyalty and generosity of a young widow named Ruth that he responded to her with extraordinary generosity, playing the role of kinsman-redeemer for her and her mother-in-law, Naomi.
His triumph: To find a well-suited wife who blessed him with a son.
Key Scriptures: Ruth 2-4 

A Look at the Man

Boaz was a good man going about his everyday work when God brought an unexpected blessing into his life. Evidently, he was someone of standing in Bethlehem, a man who may have been content with life the way it was. Nothing in the legal tradition of the time required him to show the degree of kindness he displayed toward Ruth, the young widow from Moab. Boaz went out of his way to act as her protector and provider while she worked in his fields.

But marrying this foreign-born woman was something altogether different, a commitment that would entitle her to a lifetime of his protection and provision. What's more, a firstborn son would not be considered his offspring but that of her first husband's. But when confronted with Ruth's request for marriage, Boaz responded in a way entirely consistent with his character, acting as though she were doing him the favor rather than the other way around.

As a result, Boaz was blessed with a wife who must have been a pleasure to live with and a son who would become the grandfather of King David. Boaz was the living embodiment of the person who heeds the counsel of Philippians 4:8-9: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…. And the God of peace will be with you."

The man who sought to be a blessing to a young woman in need is memorialized not only in the book of Ruth but also in the list of ancestors included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ contained in Matthew's gospel. 

Reflect On: Ruth 2:12–19 
Praise God: For rewarding the goodness of those who belong to him. 
Offer Thanks: That God has given you the means by which to bless others. 
Confess: Any selfishness in the way you approach your belongings. 
Ask God: To increase your kindness and sensitivity toward others.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

His Princess Every Day - Friday, April 15, 2016

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

His Glory

My Dearly Loved Daughter,

One of my greatest pleasures is giving you the desires of your heart; however, you must learn to trust that I know what you need better than you do. If you open your heart and your mind and allow Me to direct your life, you will find that what I want for you will not only fulfill you in every way, but it will also bring glory to who I am. It is only when you seek first the Kingdom of God that you will find My perfect direction. There are so many things I can and will do through you if you will empty yourself and let Me, your loving heavenly Father, fill you with every perfect and good gift. I will not force My way in, and I will love you even if you continue to live for yourself; however, I want to warn you that this world is not your final destination. What you do here and now will count for all eternity.

Your heavenly Father, who knows best

Jesus answered, "If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me.” - John 8:54

Treasure of Truth

It isn’t getting what You Want that satisfies; it’s giving what you have for His glory.

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.

Daily Readings for April 15, 2016

Exodus 24:1-18
Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the LORD; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him." Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do." And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, "See the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. God did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; also they beheld God, and they ate and drank. The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction." So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, "Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them." Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Colossians 2:8-23
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"? All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.

Matthew 4:12-17
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 105: Part I
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:
9   The covenant he made with Abraham, the oath that he swore to Issac,
10   Which he established as a statute for Jacob, an everlasting covenant for Israel,
11   Saying, "To you will I give the land of Canaan to be your allotted inheritance."
12   When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in the land,
13   Wandering from nation to nation and from one kingdom to another,
14   He let no one oppress them and rebuked kings for their sake,
15   Saying, "Do not touch my anointed and do my prophets no harm."
16   Then he called for a famine in the land and destroyed the supply of bread.
17   He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18   They bruised his feet in fetters; his neck they put in an iron collar.
19   Until his prediction came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
20   The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free.
21   He set him as a master over his household, as a ruler over all his possessions,
22   To instruct his princes according to his will and to teach his elders wisdom.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 105: Part II
23   Israel came into Egypt, and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham.
24   The LORD made his people exceedingly fruitful; he made them stronger than their enemies;
25   Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people, and dealt unjustly with his servants.
26   He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen.
27   They worked his signs among them, and portents in the land of Ham.
28   He sent darkness, and it grew dark; but the Egyptians rebelled against his words.
29   He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die.
30   Their land was overrun by frogs, in the very chambers of their kings.
31   He spoke, and there came swarms of insects and gnats within all their borders.
32   He gave them hailstones instead of rain, and flames of fire throughout their land.
33   He blasted their vines and their fig trees and shattered every tree in their country.
34   He spoke, and the locust came, and young locusts without number,
35   Which ate up all the green plants in their land and devoured the fruit of their soil.
36   He struck down the firstborn of their land, the firstfruits of all their strength.
37   He led out his people with silver and gold; in all their tribes there was not one that stumbled.
38   Egypt was glad of their going, because they were afraid of them.
39   He spread out a cloud for a covering and a fire to give light in the night season.
40   They asked, and quails appeared, and he satisfied them with bread from heaven.
41   He opened the rock, and water flowed, so the river ran in the dry places.
42   For God remembered his holy word and Abraham his servant.
43   So he led forth his people with gladness, his chosen with shouts of joy.
44   He gave his people the lands of the nations, and they took the fruit of others' toil,
45   That they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Hallelujah!

Daily Meditation for April 15, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Matthew 4:16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.

How timely these words must have sounded in Isaiah’s time, then to Jesus’ friends and followers. What a timely statement for each of us as we spend time in darkness, then experience the dawning of light-beyond-death.

In 2008, Hurricane Ike produced all sorts of damage along the Texas coast, destroying some homes completely and rendering others unlivable. I lived in Houston at the time, and the city wasn’t hit as hard as other places but still experienced significant damage.

My home was without power for seventeen days, and I still remember the experience of turning on the first generator-powered lamp. A whole room re-appeared from the lonely light of one bulb. It brought possibility and opportunity. Christ is the light we are asked to shine. Even if it seems we are only one bulb, a single light can make a great deal of difference in the midst of darkness.

Girlfriends in God - April 15, 2016

What We Need The Most
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

God is love. (1 John 4:8b, NIV) 

Friend to Friend

My mom tells a story that when I was a toddler, I used to push my older brother and sister off my dad’s lap so I could cuddle with him all by myself. I still do this with my kids and husband. It might look different today, but my goal is the same: I want more love. And I’m not above pushing someone else out of the way to move myself forward.

My love hunger stumps me. I’ve been a Christian since I sat on a little plastic Sunday-school chair and learned Bible stories from a flannel-graph board. If I’m so into Jesus—and I promise you, I am—then why am I still needy?

Why is my heart such a love vacuum?

I long to be known, adored, and fully accepted.

I may not verbalize it often, but this desire plays on repeat in my internal dialogue.

Anybody else?

The fact of the matter is, I want more love than any human could ever give me. I often look to my husband, children, and friends to fill this ache that churns within me. When will I learn that my people can never fully satiate my longing for more?

I’m so thankful that the Bible reminds me of this intensely personal truth: God is my heavenly Father—my Abba—who loves me in the way I’ve always wanted to be loved.

Perfectly. All-sufficiently.

I do want the love of my people. And that’s okay. But I can’t expect imperfect human beings and relationships to satisfy my heart cravings. Only God can satisfy.

Only God.

The apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to strengthen and encourage the believers in Ephesus. He wanted the people to “get” the magnitude of God’s love and prayed that the Lord would help them experience the reality of it. This is a portion of what Paul wrote:

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17–19)

Paul associated the love of God with power. It’s almost as if he was saying, “If you can get this ... if you can wrap your head and heart around the truth of just how much God loves you, it will blow you away with blessing. Your faith will pack a punch, and you’ll never be the same.” 

Man! I sure like the sound of that, don’t you? Don’t you want to be “rooted and established” in God’s love? Don’t you want your awareness of His love to fill you “to the measure of all the fullness of God”?

Sign me up! I need it. I want it. I want it all.

Check this out. The New Testament part of Scripture was written primarily in Greek. The transliteration of the Greek word for rooted that’s used in this passage is rhizoō, which means “to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded.” Figuratively it means to “become stable.” So my personal summary is this: God’s love should stabilize my faith. My acceptance of His love for me will strengthen and “fix” me.

Mind. Blown.

God’s love is that thing I need the most. I want that strength. I want that stability. I want every blessing of His love in my life. His Word tells us the love-well of Jesus is wide, long, high, and deep. So today, I’ve decided to stop expecting others to meet my love needs and am instead asking God to help me be rooted and established in the fullness of His all-satisfying love. Join me? 

Let’s Pray

Lord, Please help me to be rooted and established in Your love. Would you stabilize my faith and allow me to grasp the power of Your love for me?
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 27:1-14. Note some of the ways that God shows His love for us. Spend a few moments thanking God for these things. 

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from the new book by Gwen Smith, I Want It ALL. Order yours today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite retailer.

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

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 “danger.”

Dr. Paul Negrut pastored the largest Baptist church in Europe which is located in Oradea, Romania. He served the church faithfully under the cruel Ceaucescu regime and often suffered personal mistreatment.

He shared with our Open Doors leaders that the most difficult time he remembers was a night he returned home rejoicing after a very successful evangelistic crusade. But when he walked in the house, he saw his wife weeping and his nine-year-old daughter was trembling. Through her tears his wife shared that when their daughter was coming home from school that day, the Securitate (Romanian secret police) tried to rape her to destroy her and the family.

Paul said, “That night I was in a great struggle. For the first time I was thinking to emigrate from Romania. I asked the Lord, ‘Should I leave the blessing of suffering or should I endure to see my girl like that?’

“I talked to my wife and after prayer, we chose to stay. Two days later they tried to rape our daughter again. And two days later they tried to rape my wife. But every time God was protecting them in a miraculous way.”

Today Dr. Paul Negrut is the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Oradea and the Chancellor of Emmanuel Baptist University. Dr. Negrut weathered the days of communism in Romania and rose to great influence when the Iron Curtain came down. He was offered a job with the new democratic government in a free Romania, but turned it down believing that serving the Lord was a higher calling. Emmanuel University and the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Oradea are known throughout Europe. The university trains people from all over Romania and many other parts of the world. 

RESPONSE: I will live this day in the awareness that danger can never separate me from Christ’s love.

PRAYER: Help me remember, Lord, that You are there in the midst of all my troubles.

Verse of the Day - April 15, 2016

Romans 13:6-7 (NIV) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  

Read all of Romans 13