Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Leave Your Sin Where it Belongs... at the Cross

by Sheri Rose Shepherd 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Watch this week's video by clicking on the image below.

If you are battling to forgive yourself from your past mistakes, keep in mind that there is not a soul on this earth who won’t experience failure, disappointment, and discouragement. Our beloved King David had to get up from the shame of neglecting his duty to be on the battlefield and instead committing adultery. The apostle Peter had to get up from the guilt of denying Jesus three times after bragging that he loved the Lord more than everyone else. Do not misunderstand me—there is a price to pay when we fall and sin against God. But the same God who disciplines us because He loves us, also sent us a Savior to give us the power to get up and finish our faith fight.

Confession is a gift from God by which He replaces the strongholds of our past sin and shame with blessings of forgiveness and freedom, healing and hope.

Today, I am free from the fear of God’s punishment, not because of anything I can do in my own power, but because my Lord paid the price for my sin. I am forgiven and so are you!

There is nothing you can do that can keep God from loving or forgiving you. Leave your past where it belongs... nailed to the cross! 

God's Letter to You 

Beloved child,

I love it when you come to Me to confess your sin. I am your safe place and your salvation. There is nothing you can tell Me that I can’t handle hearing. I already know your every thought and action, so why waste even a moment trying to hide anything from Me? Let’s make it right together. Let Me have the thing that’s holding you back from a new and fresh start. Come to Me in truth and be transparent. I’m the Lover of your soul. If you will come to Me and confess, I will gladly wash over your mind, your body, and your spirit to make you clean. You will never need to feel shame again, because I covered you with My life. 

Your Lord and Savior who died for you 

For more about Sheri Rose's ministry, visit HisPrincess.com.

The Daily Readings for April 26, 2016

Isaiah 52:7-10
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the LORD to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Psalm 2
1   Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2   Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3   Let us break their yoke, they say; let us cast off their bonds from us.
4   He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord has them in derision.
5   Then he speaks to them in his wrath, and his rage fills them with terror.
6   I myself have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion
7   Let me announce the decree of the LORD: he said to me, "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
8   Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9   You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10   And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11   Submit to the LORD with fear, and with trembling bow before him;
12   Lest he be angry and you perish; for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13   Happy are they all who take refuge in him!

Ephesians 4:7-8, 4:11-16
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people." The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

Mark 1:1-15
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

The Daily Meditation for April 26, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Matthew 6:7 When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do.

As a writer, I put a high value on words. So this reminder always causes me to pause and reflect. What balances my love of words is my lifelong journey of learning to pray with silence. Stopping, sitting, letting go of control and simply resting in God’s presence.

My most connecting moments of prayer came toward the end of a summer job in East Texas. After work, I often retreated to a little waterfall on an isolated creek. Sometimes I would start painting or writing, but that would always lead to silence and stillness.

After practicing for a summer, one day I sat to pray, and all distinction disappeared. I felt connected not only to the rock I sat on and the air I breathed but also through them to the trees and grass and sky. I had a glimpse of God’s presence in me and in all the good creation. For a moment I let go of the distinction of words and empty phrases and fell into God’s presence.

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His Princess Every Day - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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

Fill Your Home With Peace
I know how hard it is for you to feel content in your home when you’re always wanting one more thing to make it the perfect place. I long to give you beautiful things that turn a house into the haven of a home; but My princess, you must first learn to let Me build in you a place of peace and contentment. Do your best to rest in Me and wait for Me, and then I will give you what I know will benefit you the most. I want you to make your home a place that builds relationships and reflects who you are in Me. Remember that your loved ones need you more than any material thing. So decorate your home with joy, fill it with timeless memories, and create a safe place to grow up in Me.

Your King and your Resting Place 

Peace I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled... - John 14:27 (NIV)

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.

Girlfriends in God - April 26, 2016

For God So Loves Me
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame (Song of Songs 8:6, NIV). 

Friend to Friend

Shakespeare described jealousy as a "green-eyed monster." I once heard it called “the gangrene of the soul.” Jealousy is usually thought of as a negative trait we need to guard against. But with God, jealousy takes on a whole new meaning.

God is a jealous God.

The root idea in the Old Testament word jealous is to become intensely red, referring to the way our face changes color with rising emotion when something or someone very dear to us is threatened. Both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are translated “zeal."

In other words, being jealous and being zealous is basically the same thing in the Bible. God is zealous – eager about protecting what is precious to Him. It’s the kind of jealousy that compels God to relentlessly pursue each one of us, no matter how we try to evade Him with our indifferent attitude or our propensity for sin.

The jealousy of God is comparable to the jealous passion of a parent for their child. As a mother, I understand that kind of jealousy.

When our son was six weeks old, he developed a potentially serious medical condition. I panicked when the doctor told us to bring Jered to the hospital for tests. After an extensive exam, the doctor said, “Let’s get an IV in this little man and get him upstairs for X-rays.” Seeing the look on my face, our pediatrician assured us, “He’s going to be fine. We’ll take good care of him.” I appreciated his words of comfort, but they were not nearly enough for me.

Jered couldn’t eat in case they had to do surgery. Jered was all about eating. He screamed for food until he was hoarse. I cried along with him. I knew he was hungry, but I couldn’t feed him or make him understand why I couldn’t feed him.

The kind nurses reassured me that everything was going to be fine. I wanted proof! This was not just any baby they were dealing with. Jered was my baby!

I held Jered tightly as a wonderful nurse expertly and gently inserted Jered’s IV, quickly securing it with surgical tape. She then took a Styrofoam cup, cut it in half, and taped it over the needle so Jered couldn’t accidently kick it out. And he was indeed kicking at this point!

The nurse then left the room so I could try to calm Jered down. He was almost asleep when the door slammed open. An X-ray technician wheeled a gurney into the room and sharply ordered, “Let’s go!” He had no idea who he was dealing with. My husband did and quickly took charge, escorting the technician into the hallway to say, “We’ll carry our son to the X-ray floor, so we will not need that gurney until we get there.” The technician started to argue, but wisely reconsidered as his eyes met mine.

When we reached the X-ray unit, Dan gently pried Jered out of my arms, and laid him on the gurney. The technician said, “We’re really backed up today, so let’s make this quick!” He then jerked the gurney and the IV pole in opposite directions, yanking out the carefully inserted IV. As blood spurted out of my son’s leg, he began to scream in pain.

I don’t exactly remember what happened next, but Dan does. He said I scooped Jered up in my arms, stomped my foot so loudly that nurses came running as I growled at the offending young man. He glared back at me and said, “Lady, do you need to leave this unit?"

Dan said he quickly began calculating how he was going to raise my bail money when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw me approach the doomed technician, plant my finger in his chest and whisper through clenched teeth, “Listen carefully, young man. I know you have a job to do, but you need to understand something right now! This is my baby! I am not going anywhere! And you need to watch how you treat him!"

The young technician quickly apologized … and I stepped back.

Fortunately, Jered did not have to have surgery. Thankfully, we headed home instead of to jail. I was and still am a jealous parent who is passionate and zealous about her children.

Don’t doubt for a minute that God is jealous for you.

He is standing right beside you, wrapping His arms of love around your wounded heart.

Listen closely as He declares that you are His child.

You belong to Him, and He is not going anywhere! 

Let’s Pray

Thank You, Lord, for loving me like no one has ever loved me. I don’t understand that kind of jealousy, but I accept it and celebrate Your love today.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Spend time with God today, reading and meditating on John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Record this verse in your journal. Circle the action words. What do they mean to you? 

More from the Girlfriends

The love of God is like no other love. Mary’s MP3 download, Love That Never Fails, is a powerful message that will help you understand and celebrate God’s amazing love.

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on Mary’s website and connect with her 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
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"Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways" Proverbs 20:30 TEV

Here is one of five ways God uses problems and persecution in your life: God uses problems and persecution to DIRECT you.

Idris Nalos was an African animist converted to the Christian faith in southern Sudan. Soon after his conversion he became an evangelist. He went out preaching in the remotest places. Within a few years, he planted three churches. Soon considered as dangerous because of his activities, he was arrested by the Islamic authorities and put in prison. There he suffered torture to make him to deny his Christian faith. Beaten for hours every day, he was also totally deprived of sleep.

About to collapse, Idris prayed, “Lord, prevent me from being like Peter. I am about to give up, help me.” And God answered in giving Idris a vision where he saw all those to whom he had preached the gospel and who, in turn, proclaimed the good news to other people.

“I saw those who were saved,” he said. In this vision, he realized that even if his life was taken, others had already taken up the baton. From this moment, Idris was no longer afraid for his life. After three weeks of ceaseless torment, his torturers released him without explanation.

To avoid another arrest he immigrated to Khartoum in the north, where he founded three new churches in a fundamentalist Muslim territory. He had learned how to trust and wasn’t afraid anymore. God showed him where to go and what to do.

Sometimes God must light a fire under us to get us moving. Problems and pressures often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? 

RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!

PRAYER: Lord, point me in the direction of Your will. May I not need problems and persecution for You to get my attention.

Admit You’re Wrong

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.” 1 John 1:9 

It is very difficult for parents to ask their children for forgiveness. They feel that it somehow damages their authority to admit they have done wrong and promise to do better next time. But I (jcd) believe it is healthy for a mom and dad to model for a child how to apologize when they have done something wrong.

One evening years ago, I was especially grouchy with my ten‐year‐old daughter, Danae. I blamed her for things that weren’t her fault and upset her needlessly. After I went to bed, I realized that I needed to apologize. The next morning I said, “Danae, I’m sure you know that daddies are not perfect human beings. I know I wasn’t fair with you last night. I was terribly grouchy, and I’m asking you to forgive me.” Danae put her arms around me, then shocked me to my toes when she said, “I knew you were going to have to apologize, Daddy, and it’s okay. I forgive you!”

If parents never admit their wrongs, their children often remember the offenses well into adulthood. Instead of clearing the air and reestablishing the relationship, the hurt feelings are stored in the memory bank to fester. Furthermore, by admitting a wrong, the parent says on the record that things will change—that he or she will try not to make the same mistake in the future. Healthy families follow these principles of forgiveness… from the top down!

Just between us…
  • Why is it easy to overlook the need to ask our children for pardon?
  • When we ask for forgiveness from our kids, what do we demonstrate? 

Heavenly Father, it’s never easy to admit we’re wrong—especially to children. Give us the courage to seek forgiveness from our kids whenever it’s warranted. May our family grow up without lingering bitterness and hurt. Amen.

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

Verse of the Day - April 26, 2016

Hebrews 7:25 (NIV) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Read all of Hebrews 7