Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

Today the church remembers Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1109.

Anselm lived in an age when ignorance and raw power often went hand in hand. His life was spent in opposing these enslaving forces, especially in England. He was born of noble Christian parents in Burgundy and educated at the monasteries at St. Leger and Bec in Normandy. He joined the latter community and, after an impressive career as teacher and author, became its abbot. He first visited England at the invitation of William the Conqueror, by whom he was well-loved. His consecration as Archbishop of Canterbury met with overwhelming approval from the English people, who knew him as a wise and compassionate person.

He spent years in this high office attempting to gain a lasting peace in a time of constant feuding. He championed the church's independence from royal authority and was twice exiled by angry kings whose bidding he refused to do.

Anslem was a theologian of the first order. He lectured in Rome, carried on intellectual correspondence with the most brilliant leaders of his day, and wrote a number of books that are still highly regarded among theologians. His most famous book, Cur Deus Homo, was the foremost work on the doctrine of the atonement to come out of the Middle Ages.

O God, continue to enlighten us by the teaching of your servant Anselm.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Daily Readings for April 21, 2016

Exodus 34:1-17
The LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain." So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, "The LORD." The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. He said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance." He said: I hereby make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform marvels, such as have not been performed in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you live shall see the work of the LORD; for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you. You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles (for you shall worship no other god, because the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God). You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice. And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods. You shall not make cast idols.

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last. As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you-- in person, not in heart-- we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you-- certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again-- but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!

Matthew 5:21-26
"You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder' and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 50
1   The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2   Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.
3   Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.
4   He calls the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.
5   Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.
6   Let the heavens declare the rightness of his cause; for God himself is judge.
7   Hear, O my people, and I will speak: "O Israel, I will bear witness against you; for I am God, your God.
8   I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; your offerings are always before me.
9   I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens;
10   For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11   I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12   If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13   Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.
15   Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me."
16   But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips;
17   Since you refuse discipline, and toss my words behind your back?
18   When you see a thief, you make him your friend, and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19   You have loosed your lips for evil, and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20   You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother's son.
21   These things you have done, and I kept still, and you thought that I am like you."
22   I have made my accusation; I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23   Consider this well, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24   Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God."

Evening Psalms

Psalm 59
1   Rescue me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
2   Rescue me from evildoers and save me from those who thirst for my blood.
3   See how they lie in wait for my life, how the mighty gather together against me; not for any offense or fault of mine, O LORD.
4   Not because of any guilt of mine they run and prepare themselves for battle.
5   Rouse yourself, come to my side, and see; for you, LORD God of hosts, are Israel's God.
6   Awake, and punish all the ungodly; show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.
7   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
8   Behold, they boast with their mouths, and taunts are on their lips; "For who, they say, will hear us?"
9   But you, O LORD, you laugh at them; you laugh all the ungodly to scorn.
10   My eyes are fixed on you, O my Strength; for you, O God, are my stronghold.
11   My merciful God comes to meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
12   Slay them, O God, lest my people forget; send them reeling by your might and put them down, O Lord our shield.
13   For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, for the cursing and lies that they utter, let them be caught in their pride.
14   Make an end of them in your wrath; make an end of them, and they shall be no more.
15   Let everyone know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
16   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
17   They forage for food, and if they are not filled, they howl.
18   For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning;
19   For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in the day of my trouble.
20   To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God.

Psalm 60
1   O God, you have cast us off and broken us; you have been angry; oh, take us back to you again.
2   You have shaken the earth and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for it totters.
3   You have made your people know hardship; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4   You have set up a banner for those who fear you, to be a refuge from the power of the bow.
5   Save us by your right hand and answer us, that those who are dear to you may be delivered.
6   God spoke from his holy place and said: "I will exult and parcel out Shechem; I will divide the valley of Succoth.
7   Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my scepter.
8   Moab is my wash-basin, on Edom I throw down my sandal to claim it, and over Philistia will I shout in triumph."
9   Who will lead me into the strong city? who will bring me to Edom?
10   Have you not cast us off, O God? you no longer go out, O God, with our armies.
11   Grant us your help against the enemy, for vain is the help of man.
12   With God we will do valiant deeds, and he shall tread our enemies under foot.

The Daily Meditation for April 21, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

1 Thessalonians 2:20 Yes, you are our glory and joy.

My son was playing in and around a small kiddie pool on a summer day with a friend. They had already made up a couple of games involving toy dinosaurs and helicopters and were struggling to work out some rules for the next game.

That’s when my son hopped up and announced, “Let’s just joy out!” Then they both ran and jumped in the pool, letting go of all the rules and games and simply enjoying the sunny day. It was such a delight for his mother and me to witness them looking so free, so joyful in their play. We took our learning that day, and it’s become a family phrase. When things seem complicated, we remember to “joy out.” It is the reset button and reality check to which we can return again and again. When we do, I imagine that God delights in witnessing that and perhaps thinks, “Finally! They remembered to joy out!”

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His Princess Every Day - Thursday, April 21, 2016

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

Break Through to the Blessed Life
My princess warrior,

I have so many blessings I want to pour out on you. However, you hold the keys that unlock the amazing plans I have for your life. It is your obedience to Me that will open the windows of heaven for you to receive. If you trust Me, I will bless you with peace. If you share what I have given to you with others, I will give you even more. If you choose My will over your rights, I will give you great favor wherever you go. If you will pray, I will give you the power to change the world around you, My beloved Warrior. All that I ask is that you love and obey My commands, and you and your family will be forever blessed because of your obedience to Me!

Your King who loves to bless you 

If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God. - Deuteronomy 28:1–2 (NLT) 

A Prayer for Breakthrough 

Princess Warrior! I pray that you will find great joy in doing what is right in God's sight. May your decision today to turn from evil and cling to your God's goodness bring blessings on your children and grandchildren. I pray for a true breakthrough in any and every area of your past, present and future needs. May you experience the fullness of being blessed through obedience, and may God's great favor follow you all the rest of your days. In Jesus' name, amen.

The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. - Deuteronomy 28:8 (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.


In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16 

The Roman shield was the defensive piece of armor that was almost always used together with the sword. It was used to ward off a blow from the opponent while making your own sword-thrust. Likened to a shield, our faith in God is that piece of spiritual armor that enables us to withstand attacks by the enemy that are too much for the mind and body. The shield of faith has a three-fold duty.

1. It is a saving faith that is the inward confidence in God.

2. It is a serving faith that inspires our servant hood.

3. It is a sanctifying faith that lays hold of the power of God for our daily lives.

When you come under enemy fire, take shelter behind your faith in God. Do not be deceived by circumstances and events. Walk by faith, not by sight. Be confident that God has secured victory. Stake your life on His faithfulness. Trust Him to deliver you as you wear the shield of faith.

A colleague tells the story of Gabriel in violence plagued Colombia. His calling is to share the gospel with guerrilla soldiers hiding in the mountains. As he approaches a camp site with his bag of Spanish Bibles, a perimeter guard often steps out and sticks his AK-47 in Gabriel’s stomach.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to tell you about the love of Jesus which you can read about in these books.”

“We don’t want your books. Get lost or I’ll kill you!”

It’s at this point that Gabriel’s faith rises. Pushing the barrel of the gun aside he casually answers, “No you won’t! You can’t kill me until God says you can kill me,” and he boldly walks ahead into the camp where he distributes Bibles and preaches the gospel to those who will listen. He is still on the trail and has not been killed yet. He is convinced the day will come when his life will be taken. But his faith is solidly grounded in the assurance that it will only happen in God’s will. Meanwhile he is a powerful witness to the truth of the Gospel because of his faith. 

RESPONSE: Today I take the shield of faith so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.

PRAYER: Lord, help me be strong in faith, ready for Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial and deceit. Give me bold faith like Gabriel’s.

Girlfriends in God - April 21, 2016

When You Feel God Has Called You to More Than You Can Handle
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV) 

Friend to Friend

In my last devotion, we looked at Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush in Midian. God began by saying:

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them (Exod. 3:7–9, emphasis added).

This was sounding good to Moses! (And it sounds good to me!)

God sees!

God hears!

God is concerned!

God will rescue!

I imagine Moses’ heart was pounding, his pulse was quickening, his neck hairs prickling. Hope was rising! This was great news! Until the next few words rocked his world.

So now go. I am sending you to the Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exod. 3:10, emphasis added).

Can’t you see Moses backing away from the bush . . . holding up his hands as in, “Whoa. Hold on here. You’ve got the wrong man for the job.”

His exact words were: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exod. 3:11)?

Every insecurity in Moses’ emotional storehouse rose to the surface. And in his fainthearted and half-hearted objections we discover answers to what keeps us stuck in milquetoast faith—what keeps us from moving forward to the land flowing with milk and honey, what keeps us from experiencing the wall-tumbling, giant-slaying, mountain-moving, lame-man-leaping, blind-man-seeing, loaves-and-fishes-multiplying, thriving faith.

Moses was stuck in the muck and mire of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy. He allowed his past failure to stand in the way of his future success. His measuring stick had gotten him stuck as he saw others as more qualified, sanctified, and fortified to do anything meaningful for God. He had lost his confidence and God was about to show him how to get it back. But this isn’t just Moses’ problem; it is a potential problem for you and me as well.

Did you notice that before God told Moses what He was going to do, He reminded Moses who He was? “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

Then Moses replied, “Yeah, I got that, I know who You are, but who am I?”

That question is one of the most important you will ever ask. Your answer will affect the way to you look at life, tackle your troubles, and frame your circumstances. The answer to that question will determine your destiny. It can give you the confidence to accomplish your calling or take away your courage to even begin. If you don’t answer that question with the truth of God, the devil will answer it for you with his bag of lies.
What do you think ran through Moses’ mind when God said, “Now go, I am sending you to the Pharaoh?” I imagine his life flashed before his eyes and he saw all the ways he had disappointed people in his past, not to mention the way he had disappointed himself. 

You’ve got to be kidding! I am a murderer! I am a coward! I am a dirty rotten scoundrel! I am a wanted man! I am so messed up, used up, and fed up! No. No. No. You’ve made a mistake. You’ve got it all wrong. You’ve got the wrong man for the job. 

How many times have I reacted similarly to Moses? Perhaps you have too. As soon as God reveals what He has planned for you to do, the devil reminds you of your past failures and missteps. And I’m not talking about just the mistakes you made before you came to Christ, but also the ones you’ve made since you came to Christ. The times you did not flee from temptation but walked right into it, did not hold your tongue but lashed out in anger, did not wait on God but rushed in to take matters in you own hands. Those are the ones the enemy really likes to throw in your face.

And we ask the questions:

Who am I that I should go to the Pharaoh?
Who am I that I should write a book?
Who am I that I should start a business?
Who am I that I should start a ministry?
Who am I that I should be a teacher?
Who am I that I should help orphans overseas? 

And God replies, “You are who I say you are.”

So here’s your question for today...will you believe Him? 

Let’s Pray

Lord, so many times I’m like Moses. I sense you calling me to do something wonderful, something risky, something beyond my ability. And then I say, “Who am I that I could...?” Lord, help me to believe that I am who You say that I am, and that I can do what You say I can do. Help my unbelief, my shaky knees, and my weak hands. For I know that my weakness is made perfect in Your strength.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

What is one time when you sensed God calling you but you ignored the call because you didn’t feel qualified?

What is one time when you sensed God calling you and you move forward in faith even though you didn’t feel qualified?

I’d love to hear your answers. You can email me at 

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion was taken from my new book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward. Live Bold. On the outside, many of us are well-put-together churchgoers with trendy shoes, beautiful families, and wide, white smiles. On the inside, we’re little girls hesitating at the edge of the playground, wishing we could join in, but feeling something’s not quite right. We don’t know how to truly take hold of the “life to the full” that Jesus offers us. So we settle for a life that’s . . . less.

But a mediocre, mundane faith is not your destiny! In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. Let’s uncover untapped sources of confidence and courage, and see how to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy. It’s time to get UNSTUCK! Click on the book cover to discover free bonuses when you order before May 1, 2016.

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When the Top Flies Off

“Be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 

Because of our family ministry and Jim’s background as a psychologist, I sometimes wonder if people think that our marriage is somehow “different”—that we live in a dreamlike state of wedded bliss where conflict doesn’t exist. Believe me, that’s just not the case. We do our share of fussing and face the same struggles you do, whether it’s motivated by fatigue, worry about the kids, not communicating our expectations properly, or something else.

I recall an incident after we were engaged that seems funny now, but wasn’t so amusing at the time. Jim owned a 1949 Mercury convertible called “Old Red.” It was a disaster. The top wouldn’t go up or down; the electric windows didn’t work; the lights sometimes went out unexpectedly; and the engine had a habit of dying regularly. Every Sunday afternoon we took it out for a push. Worse, the front seat had springs sticking out at odd angles that snagged my clothes and made for a most uncomfortable ride. I hated that car, but Jim didn’t want to go into debt to buy a new one.

The coup de grace came the day Jim picked me up for an important job interview. I was wearing my best outfit, a black suit. As we sped down the road at fifty miles per hour, the convertible top suddenly blew off. Bits of string and canvas beat at our heads as dust flew everywhere. The remnants of the old top hooked onto the back of the car and flapped in the air like Superman’s cape.

Jim was so irritated at the car that he wouldn’t stop. He just kept barreling down the highway with the ribs of the top glistening above us. I screamed at him from under the dashboard, where I was crouched to escape the pieces of Old Red that were still flying about. Between his car falling apart and my screaming, Jim got even angrier.

Somehow we survived the day when both of us—and Old Red—blew our tops. Jim bought a newer car a few months later and, more importantly, we didn’t call off our engagement!

That’s how life is when you climb into the marvelous vehicle called marriage. You’re in for a long and wonderful ride. Expect the unexpected to happen. It will probably rattle your nerves and set you at odds with each other, and the top may even blow off every now and then. But if you share a committed love, you can survive those unexpected and unwanted conflicts. We have—for forty years now.

- Shirley M Dobson

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

Verse of the Day - April 21, 2016

John 10:28-30 (NIV) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."

Read all of John 10