Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Greatest Gift

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap… yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24 

Although the battle for healthy self‐confidence is most often fought by women, many men also struggle with the issue. Unlike a woman, a man derives his sense of worth primarily from the reputation he earns in his job or profession. He draws emotional satisfaction from achieving in business, becoming financially independent, developing a highly respected skill, being the “boss,” or being loved and appreciated by his patients, clients, or business associates. When his career fails, however, look out.

His confidence often falters, and he becomes vulnerable. Depression, anger, and withdrawal are just some of his potential responses. Wives, here’s something to remember: More than anything, your man needs your respect. Compliment him on the qualities you most admire in him. Avoid comments that debase or embarrass him—especially in the eyes of others. As much as is reasonably possible, understand and support his career, but also create such an affirming atmosphere at home that he will be happy to leave career concerns at the office.

The better you understand your differences, the more you’ll appreciate the gift that is your mate.

Just between us…
  • (wife) What achievement are you proudest of?
  • (wife) Are you satisfied with the current state of your career?
  • (wife) How can I help you with your career?
  • (wife) How can I show more respect for you and what you do? 

(wife) Father, thank You for my husband—for the energy, skills, and ambitions you’ve placed in him. Help him to know that You love him no matter how he performs, and please help me show him the honor and respect I feel. Amen. 

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

"Twisted Truth" - Bible Life Coaching with Sheri Rose Shepherd

by Sheri Rose Shepherd
For God knows that the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.  — Genesis 3:5
Watch this week's video by clicking on the image below.

We need to be careful that we discern people's words from the true word of God. There are those that will be used by the enemy to give you a twisted version of the truth, but partial truth does not set people free. Only the power and truth of God's word will help you find your way when you are lost. Watch this week’s video for clarity on truth. 

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 Beloved Daughter,
Curiosity to take a walk on the dark side of life can be very dangerous. It is not that I don't want you to experience everything the life I gave you has to offer, it is that I love you so much I want you to experience it my way.

From the day I created the first woman, her curiosity carried her away from my perfect will. Her partial truth and doubt of my word brought death to her, her husband, and all of mankind. Today there is a different kind of death, not just the death of the physical body, but the empty spirit that walks in limited power to live by my word, because of twisted truth. I'm asking you to test everything against my word and purpose yourself to live by my truth and then you will experience the freedom that I long for you to know! 

Your Heavenly Father 


Dear God,

I lift your daughter up before you today. I ask you to give her discernment that she can see right from wrong, light from dark, and truth from lies, so she can live life free from deception. In your name I pray, amen. 

Treasure of Truth 

Just because we believe something, it doesn't mean it’s true.

The Daily Readings for May 3, 2016

Leviticus 26:1-20
You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the LORD your God. You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.

1 Timothy 2:1-6
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all-- this was attested at the right time.

Matthew 13:18-23
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

Morning Psalms

Psalm 78: Part I
1   Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2   I will open my mouth in a parable; I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
3   That which we have heard and known, and what our forefathers have told us, we will not hide from their children.
4   We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, and the wonderful works he has done.
5   He gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children;
6   That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
7   So that they might put their trust in God, and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments;
8   And not be like their forefathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9   The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, turned back in the day of battle;
10   They did not keep the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11   They forgot what he had done, and the wonders he had shown them.
12   He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13   He split open the sea and let them pass through; he made the waters stand up like walls.
14   He led them with a cloud by day, and all the night through with a glow of fire.
15   He split the hard rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as from the great deep.
16   He brought streams out of the cliff, and the waters gushed out like rivers.
17   But they went on sinning against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
18   They tested God in their hearts, demanding food for their craving.
19   They railed against God and said, "Can God set a table in the wilderness?
20   True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; but is he able to give bread or to provide meat for his people?"
21   When the LORD heard this, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, and his anger mounted against Israel;
22   For they had no faith in God, nor did they put their trust in his saving power.
23   So he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven.
24   He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them grain from heaven.
25   So mortals ate the bread of angels; he provided for them food enough.
26   He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and led out the south wind by his might.
27   He rained down flesh upon them like dust and wingéd birds like the sand of the sea.
28   He let it fall in the midst of their camp and round about their dwellings.
29   So they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.
30   But they did not stop their craving, though the food was still in their mouths.
31   So God's anger mounted against them; he slew their strongest men and laid low the youth of Israel.
32   In spite of all this, they went on sinning and had no faith in his wonderful works.
33   So he brought their days to an end like a breath and their years in sudden terror.
34   Whenever he slew them, they would seek him, and repent, and diligently search for God.
35   They would remember that God was their rock, and the Most High God their redeemer.
36   But they flattered him with their mouths and lied to him with their tongues.
37   Their heart was not steadfast toward him, and they were not faithful to his covenant.
38   But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins and did not destroy them; many times he held back his anger and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
39   For he remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that goes forth and does not return.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 78: Part II
40   How often the people disobeyed him in the wilderness and offended him in the desert!
41   Again and again they tempted God and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42   They did not remember his power in the day when he ransomed them from the enemy;
43   How he wrought his signs in Egypt and his omens in the field of Zoan.
44   He turned their rivers into blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.
45   He sent swarms of flies among them, which ate them up, and frogs, which destroyed them.
46   He gave their crops to the caterpillar, the fruit of their toil to the locust.
47   He killed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.
48   He delivered their cattle to hailstones and their livestock to hot thunderbolts.
49   He poured out upon them his blazing anger: fury, indignation, and distress, a troop of destroying angels.
50   He gave full rein to his anger; he did not spare their souls from death; but delivered their lives to the plague.
51   He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the flower of manhood in the dwellings of Ham.
52   He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53   He led them to safety, and they were not afraid; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54   He brought them to his holy land, the mountain his right hand had won.
55   He drove out the Canaanites before them and apportioned an inheritance to them by lot; he made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56   But they tested the Most High God, and defied him, and did not keep his commandments.
57   They turned away and were disloyal like their fathers; they were undependable like a warped bow.
58   They grieved him with their hill-altars they provoked his displeasure with their idols.
59   When God heard this, he was angry and utterly rejected Israel.
60   He forsook the shrine at Shiloh, the tabernacle where he had lived among his people.
61   He delivered the ark into captivity, his glory into the adversary's hand.
62   He gave his people to the sword and was angered against his inheritance.
63   The fire consumed their young men; there were no wedding songs for their maidens.
64   Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
65   Then the LORD woke as though from sleep, like a warrior refreshed with wine.
66   He struck his enemies on the backside and put them to perpetual shame.
67   He rejected the tent of Joseph and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68   He chose instead the tribe of Judah and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69   He built his sanctuary like the heights of heaven, like the earth which he founded for ever.
70   He chose David his servant, and took him away from the sheepfolds.
71   He brought him from following the ewes, to be a shepherd over Jacob his people and over Israel his inheritance.
72   So he shepherded them with a faithful and true heart and guided them with the skillfulness of his hands.

The Daily Meditation for May 3, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Leviticus 26:13 I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

What weighs us down? What yokes do we carry that cause us to struggle, to stoop, only able to see the ground under our feet and not the vision before us?

Maybe it’s addiction—to alcohol, to power, to hurtful relationships, to patterns of life that burden instead of lighten our souls. Maybe it’s the heavy yoke of anger that has long since ceased to inform us and now festers, curling us inward on ourselves, making us more and more isolated.

God yearns for us to offer that burden to God so that we can stand tall, lift our heads, and see the path before us. The second step of twelve-step recovery programs based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

God still breaks the bars of our yokes. God still frees us. What weight in your life needs to be given to God so you can be restored?

Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

His Princess Every Day - Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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

You Have Beautiful Hands

Your hands are beautiful because they are blessed by Me. I want you to raise your hands to heaven and praise Me. Ask Me, and I will anoint your hands to heal those who are hurting and help those who are in need. I have given you those beautiful hands to touch others with My love, and when you use your hands to work for My kingdom, I will bless all that you do. It is a privilege, My princess, to have that kind of power in your possession. I can do amazing things through you when you faithfully hold on to My promises. Be assured that while you are using your hands to help others, I, your King, will move My mighty hand in all areas of your life. So keep reaching out to the world, My love, and help them to know that I am real. Hold on to My hand, and know that I will never let you go.

Your King and the One who holds your hand 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:16-17 (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.

Chocolate For Your Soul with Sheri Rose Shepherd

What If You Were Asked to Choose?
by Sheri Rose Shepherd

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. — Matthew 6:25

Many times we have to lay down our dreams for divine destiny.

King David was a mighty warrior of the faith, but his biggest battle was inside himself as he fought to understand why God would choose him. This future king was torn from the many comforts he was accustomed to and forced to hide out in caves to protect his very life. I’m sure David must have wondered, 'Is this truly God’s will for my life?'

King David did not ask God to become a leader of the faith, but David did say yes to the call to fight to further God’s Kingdom. It took sixteen years of “spiritual boot camp,” personal battles, and great sacrifices to prepare David to lead God’s people.

David did not allow the battles to make him bitter; instead he transferred his painful preparation time into prayers and cried out to God in writing. Today those pain-filled prayers found in the book of Psalms show us how to find God in our own personal battles. His calling was not easy, but his life was full of adventure and his faith still lives on in our heart today.

I know it is hard to see yourself as a David, but he is no different than you and me. He was an imperfect person who stepped out and trusted God by surrendering his wants to God’s will for his life. He lost much, but they gained a legacy of faith. He fought to walk the narrow road, trusting his God to guide him all the way home to heaven. 

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,
You have my spirit inside of you therefore you have my power to live a life without limits. There is no war I cannot win for you. There is no problem hard enough that I cannot solve it for you. There is no life too broken that I cannot put back together again. There are no chains strong enough that I cannot break. Don’t ever doubt who you are in me. Nothing can limit you from living an abundant life but your disobedience and lack of faith. Now step out on a limb and choose to obey my commands and you will feel my power and passion resurrect inside your soul. I will do immeasurably more than you would ever dare to ask of me or even imagine! 
Your God Who Knows NO Limits

Girlfriends in God - May 03, 2016

God Sees You
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 59:16, NIV). 

Friend to Friend

I will never forget the first time I took our two-year-old son to the beach. I assumed Jered would take one look at the ocean and make a beeline for the water. We lived in South Florida at the time where many of the people we knew either had a swimming pool or lived on a canal that literally ran through their backyard. Since the tropical climate made it possible for Jered to play outside almost every day of the year, it was not unusual for him to be around water of some kind on a regular basis.

Just to be sure the trip was successful, I did what I thought was a fairly impressive job of preparing Jered for his first beach adventure. We talked and read books about the ocean and watched television shows about going to the beach. We quizzed friends about the best places to go once we got there and, finally, the day came when we actually went to the beach.

I am a list-maker. So, of course, I had compiled an extensive list of things to do and take with us.

Suntan lotion – check.
Picnic basket filled with snacks and drinks – check.
Mickey Mouse sunglasses and hat for Jered – check.
Beach towels, a beach ball and toys for building sand castles - check.

Jered helped me pack the car and scrambled into his car seat yelling, “Go, Mom! Hurry!” I did, and off we went.

We sang and laughed all the way and planned what we were going to do once we reached the water. Honestly, it never crossed my mind that Jered would be afraid of the ocean because Jered is afraid of very little in life. Even as a toddler, he approached each task with confidence and the attitude that the only reason he could not do something was because he had not had the opportunity to try it.

As we pulled into an ocean front parking lot, Jered began clapping and cheering. He quickly scrambled out of his car seat, grabbed my hand and promptly froze. Miles of sand and water stretched out before him in every direction. When the waves crashed against the sand, he gripped my hand and asked, “What’s that, Mom?” Puzzled, I said, “Why, that is the ocean, honey. Isn’t it great?” I watched the color drain out of my son’s face as he backed up, pulling me with him. “I don’t want beach, Mom!” I couldn’t believe it! Obviously a little reassurance was needed. When I pulled Jered into my arms and slowly edged my way toward the water, he promptly burst into tears. “Too big, Mommy! Too big!” he cried. I suddenly realized that Jered did indeed love the water – as long as it was surrounded by cement and filled with chlorine. The ocean was an entirely different matter altogether. It was too big and completely overwhelming.

Are you facing a circumstance that is much too big for you to handle? The deafening waves of doubt may be crashing around you, drowning out the promises of God.

The unknown stretches before you and all you can see are the mistakes you have made and the opportunities you have missed.

Fear has brought you to your knees and you are more desperate than you have ever been in your life.

The questions far outnumber the answers.

You cry alone in a darkness that is unlike any you have ever faced.

You long to be understood and crave a love that accepts you just as you are in the midst of your fear and doubt.

I have great news for you, girlfriend! God sees you. He has not been caught off guard by the circumstances you face and where you are is no surprise to Him. In fact, God will take what the enemy means for evil and use it as the perfect setting for a miracle.

You don’t have to understand God to trust Him. Restoration and peace are His specialty. He will be your refuge and your strength. Right now, quietly turn to Him. He is waiting. 

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today with a sense of helplessness. I am desperate for You, Lord. I need Your strength and power to sustain me because everything seems to be falling apart. I want to be a woman of faith and stand strong when trouble bombards my life but I cannot do it alone. Today, I turn to You, God, and celebrate the truth that You will turn to me and be my refuge.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Jered has grown into a wonderful young man who loves the ocean. Swimming, fishing, tubing, snorkeling, water skiing … he enjoys it all. What once held only fear and uncertainty now brings him joy. God can do the same thing for you.

Look back over your life. When did God take something bad and bring good out of it? Describe that experience. Remember the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and what He did in your past … He can do today and tomorrow. He is faithful – even when we are faithless.

Read and memorize Today’s Truth found in Psalm 59:16. Choose to sing a new song of praise – no matter what happens today. Record this verse on an index card and keep it with you. When fear and doubt come, meet them with this powerful promise from God. 

More from the Girlfriends

We are with you, girlfriend! Sharon, Gwen and I want to encourage you with the truth that you are loved. God loves you and so do we!

Need help dealing with stress? Check out Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, for practical and powerful steps found in Psalm 23 for managing stress before it manages you.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. Matthew 26:3-4 

In the New Testament we see Satan using five external tactics against the church: rulers, priests, merchants, mobs and families—and of course, these often occurred in combinations. The followers of Jesus tend to unite the enemies of Jesus, so that quite unlikely alliances can be created. Jesus himself saw this when the Pharisees and the Herodians—two groups that never spoke to each other—got together to plot his assassination after he healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3:6).

It is surprising to some that the rulers are not the biggest persecutors of Christians in the New Testament. That dubious honor falls to the Jewish priestly caste. But there is no doubt that strong opposition came from the rulers. Pontius Pilate was complicit in the death of Jesus; Herod Agrippa killed the apostle James in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2); and of course Nero initiated a terrible persecution against the Christians of Rome in AD 64—the community most think Mark’s gospel was written to encourage.

Though it was Pilate’s order, it was really the Jewish high priest who pushed Pilate into giving the order for the crucifixion when he was inclined to let Jesus go (see John 18:31), and tried to accomplish this by arranging a crowd clemency scene. All throughout his ministry, Jesus’ bitterest enemies were the priests. And so it proved for the early church. The first flogging of Christians was administered under the auspices of the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:40), and the first martyrdom of a Christian (Stephen) was carried out by enraged clerics (Acts 7:54-59). And so it continued also for Paul, the main character of the early church, ironically a former Pharisee and a witness to the stoning of Stephen.

But it is a sad fact that the class threatened most by radical Christian faith is the clerical class, whether of one’s own religious persuasion or of a rival one. This is not to say all clerics are persecutors. Many Pharisees became followers of Jesus, and some, like Nicodemus and Simon, were the very model of courtesy and open-mindedness. Nevertheless, in the history of the church, other “believers” have perpetrated most violence on Christians. 

RESPONSE: Satan uses external as well as internal tactics to attack the advance of the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER: Lord, help me show love to other “believers” who do not hear Your voice but are used as tools of the enemy.

Verse of the Day - May 03, 2016

Romans 12:12 (NIV) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Read all of Romans 12