Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Bottom Line

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

The contradictory advice given in popular culture about what children need is enough to drive a conscientious parent to distraction. In days past, moms and dads learned child‐rearing from their parents, who learned from theirs. Rightly or wrongly, they had a sense of confidence about what they were doing. That’s because the traditional approach to parenting boils down to some very basic ideas.

Here are just a few:

—When your children ask, “Who’s in charge?” tell them.

—When they mutter, “Who loves me?” take them in your arms and surround them with affection.

—When they defiantly challenge you, win decisively. Talk to them. Set up clear boundaries and then enforce the rules firmly and fairly.

—Expose your children to interesting things. Help them use their time wisely.

—Raise them in a stable family with two parents who love each other and enjoy a strong marriage.

—Teach them to love the Lord and understand His Word.

—Treat them with respect and dignity and expect the same in return.

—Set aside time to build friendship and love between generations. Then enjoy the sweet benefits of competent parenthood and a wonderful family!

Just between us…
  • How are we doing on this list of parenting basics?
  • Where do we see progress?
  • Which ones need special attention? 
Father, thank You for the timeless wisdom that we can follow to help us raise our children right. May we parent wisely and lovingly, trusting in Your blessing. Amen. 

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

The Treasure Inside of You

by Sheri Rose Shepherd 

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. — Ephesians 2:10

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

You are treasured and loved no matter how you feel about yourself. I want you to be sure of this, my sister princess: you are set apart, chosen by God to stand out for His glory. It is time for you to get comfortable in your royal wardrobe and embrace who you are in Christ. If you think about it, why should you waste your days trying to fit in with the world, and miss your chance to stand out and make a difference by the way you live and the way you love?

It’s time to become more concerned about your witness and your walk with God. Let Him help you finish the work you were sent here to do. Watch the video above and find the priceless gift God placed inside of you—and live to give it away! 

God's Letter to You 

My treasure,

You are my masterpiece, whether you believe it or not. I have been carving your character through trials and displaying my grace through your weakness without your awareness. But now I am asking you to open your eyes, and to say “Yes” to all the work I want to do through you. I am ready to appoint you as an ambassador of hope to the hurting and a comfort to those who feel cold inside.

I long to display my glory and marvelous plan for your life for all to see, but I love you too much to give you more than your heart can handle. So I'm asking you to pray and ask me to help you get your heart into place, that you are ready to receive and watch the wonderful work I will do in you and through you—starting today, if you're willing. 

Your God of Creation

Treasure of Truth

A Potter does His greatest work when the clay is soft and ready to be molded into something beautiful.

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

His Princess Every Day - I Will Protect You

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

I am your shield of protection. Many times you wonder where I am in the midst of the battle that rages around you. You feel abandoned on the battlefield. Don’t be afraid and don’t lose faith. I am here, and I am always victorious. I will protect you, but you must trust Me. Sometimes I will lead you to shelter for safety and restoration. Other times I will ask you to join Me on the front line in the heat of the battle. The truth is, I can kill any giant that threatens your life, but, just like David the shepherd boy, it’s up to you to march forward, pick up the stones, and face your giant. I love to prove My strength when the odds are the greatest and hope is the smallest. I am truly your shelter and your deliverer--I will protect you no matter where you are.

Your King and your Protector 

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. - Psalm 32:7 (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 - Are You a Desperate Housewife?

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
Psalm 142:6

I believe when a man walks down the aisle and says “I do,” his every hope and intention is that his marriage will be for life. He sincerely desires to understand and take care of the beloved bride he has chosen. He romanced her and worked hard to express his love so she would want to spend the rest of her life with him. He was determined to be her hero and lovingly lead her safely through life. The challenge for each man begins after the “I dos” because generally no one has taught him how to accomplish his God-appointed position in a woman’s life.

Eventually, a man’s attempts at love, leadership, and even heroism may miss their mark, and his beloved bride gradually withdraws emotionally from the very one she hoped would give her happily ever after. Sadly, she often closes up her spirit in order to protect her heart from any more hurt.

The man she longs for ends up feeling frustrated and angry at himself, and he may give up trying. Their love story, which once fostered hopes of intimacy, happiness, and growing old together, withers into isolation, pain, and despair—sometimes even divorce. That was certainly what I saw growing up.

I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people, so as part of several blended families, it was hard for me to understand what a healthy family is supposed to be. Needless to say, when I was growing up all I understood about marriage was “unhappily ever after.” So my heart’s desire was to find a godly man to love me forever and then to live with him in a lovely home with a white picket fence. To be honest, that white picket fence was almost as important as the man because somehow the fence represented the foundation of a stable family that I never had as a child and protection from heartbreak.

I invite you to join me for a few moments by clicking the video link I am praying that God will give you a new perspective about living beyond the white picket fence. 

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 Child,

I want to birth a new thing in your heart and bring forth the perfect peace and plan I have for you. I am asking you as your heavenly Father to look to the future and not to the past to find the path I have prepared for you.

I know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth letting go of what once was to receive all I have for you. Your past has prepared you for your purpose, and nothing and no one can stop My plans for your life. Don’t allow disappointment to direct your path. Now is the time to take My hand and walk out the rest of your days on earth with Me, your Heavenly Daddy. 

Your Creator of new life!

Treasure of Truth

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. — Isaiah 43:19

Girlfriends in God - May 24, 2016

A Truth That Will Change Your Life
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39b, NLT) 

Friend to Friend

One blessing of being in women’s ministry is the friendships I have with other women in ministry. We are our own little band of sisters. Sisters with a mission! We cheer for one another, cry with one another, laugh with one another, pray for one another, and rejoice with one another.

One sister I’ve had the opportunity to lock arms with for the journey is named Renee. Renee works for an international women’s ministry and is a talented God-fearing, Bible-teaching speaker and writer.

Several years ago, Renee traveled across the country to speak at a women’s retreat. When she got there, a few unexpected circumstances caused her to send out an “SOS, pray-for-me-now” email to her ministry sisters.

I got the email and hit my knees.

Early the next week, Renee sent us an email thanking us for praying and telling us what God did in the hearts of women at that retreat. She told us that she spoke about the lies that we believe as women and told personal and biblical stories that illuminated God’s truth. Then, at the final session, Renee asked the women to consider what they believed to be true about themselves.

Her challenge went something like this: “When you settle your soul long enough to simply be still—when you pause to listen to your heart—what do you hear? Are there lies that linger in your heart knowingly or unknowingly?”

She encouraged them to write down on a note card the lies they had accepted as truth, whether lies spoken by a parent, kids in the schoolyard, a friend, a family member, a spouse, a child, a pastor, or a stranger. She told them that some of the lies might never have been spoken at all, just believed.

When they finished she invited them to bring the cards to a wooden cross at the front of the room. Next to the cross she had placed baskets filled with promises from God’s Word, and after each woman nailed her card to the cross, she picked up a truth that would replace her lies.

Tears ran down cheek after cheek as the women brought their lies to the cross and embraced God’s life-changing Words. Guilt was forgiven and sorrows were traded for joy that day. Then a beautiful celebration went down. God, through his Holy Spirit, revealed His heart to those sweet women and shattered the lies of the enemy.

After the retreat was over, Renee looked through the cards that had been nailed to the cross. One card jumped out at her. Written over and over was one word: Worthless!

The woman who wrote that wasn’t the only one at that retreat who felt that way. That same word—worthless—was penned on many of the cards that weekend. It represents a lie that has been believed by most every woman at some point in her life. There have been days, weeks, and months that I’ve believed it myself.

It’s one of Satan’s favorite words to throw at us, and it is a big, fat, ugly LIE.

The Bible clearly shows us that we are valued in the sight of the Lord. When we allow God’s Word to flood our lives with truth we are changed by the height, the depth, and the width of His love for us. 

“Take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19, MSG).

God loves you with a personal love.

He knows your name.

He considers you highly valuable.

He adores you.

No matter what you’ve believed in the past, choose by faith today to believe this one truth: you are perfectly loved by God. 

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank you for loving me, cherishing me, and for seeing me as valuable. Please help me to recognize any lies that my heart may perceive as truth, and strengthen me to trade in my sorrow for your joy.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

What does your heart hear when you are still?

What lies would you write on that card?

Meditate on the following Psalm (Read it silently; then out loud.)

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

Now, spend a few moments writing in your journal or in prayerful response to God. 

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s book Broken into Beautiful. This book is filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony… and with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus.

Her new book, I WANT IT ALL, is a passionate call to follow God with great expectation for the impact, the challenge—and the blessing—that comes from dreaming big dreams and believing that God keeps his promises. I WANT IT ALLwill challenge you to experience more faith, more power, and more impact. More of Jesus. All of Jesus. Everything that God has for you. Order yours today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or ChristianBook.com.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070


When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 

“Get dressed and come along, we have a traitor we are going to necklace. We have a tire, a bottle of petrol and matches.” The group of angry youths at the door did not even give their South African youth leader, Julia, a chance to protest.

Julia’s parents were Christians who tried to raise her in the ways of the Lord. She rebelled at an early age and mixed with bad friends, abused drink and drugs, and married a man who deserted her. As a single parent she did her utmost to find a job, but work and food was scarce.

Julia joined a political party and participated in every gathering in her neighborhood. Violence, she thought, is the only solution to the country’s and her own problems. She was soon chosen as leader of a large group of young people who made their presence known in the streets.

Nevertheless, Julia’s problems were not solved. Every day was one long struggle to keep body and soul together, to find employment and to care for her child. One day, things became too much. She realized that no person could help. “Lord,” she prayed in the dark, “if You truly are there, as my parents maintain You are, You must help me now.”

The Lord answered her prayer. He laid His hand on this young woman and changed her life. She would never again be alone without her Heavenly Father who cares for her by her side. After her repentance she spent much time pondering and praying about her political aspirations and how she would handle her youth group.

That morning with the youths at her door, Julia got dressed and accompanied them to the man they wanted to execute by necklacing. Julia says, “I did not say anything. All that I could do was to pray and ask the Lord, ‘What must I do now?’

“Fortunately it wasn’t long before I got an answer from the Lord. I scraped all my courage together, looked at my comrades and said, ‘If there is one of you who has never made a mistake, who is not a “sell-out,” let him fasten the tire around the man’s neck, let him set it alight.’

“Not a single one of the young people had an answer. One by one they silently parted and left me with the man who was to have been executed. I asked him to help me to carry away the tire and the rest of the things. I never saw him again.

“I must admit, I was quite afraid that the young people would return to burn down my house. However, God is great and wonderful because nothing happened. I am still their leader.” 

RESPONSE: Today I will be bold to live like Jesus when facing difficult situations.

PRAYER: Pray for young people caught in Satan’s lie that violence is the solution to their problems.

The Daily Readings for May 24, 2016

Proverbs 15:16-33
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife, but those who are slow to anger calm contention. The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway. A wise child makes a glad father, but the foolish despise their mothers. Folly is a joy to one who has no sense, but a person of understanding walks straight ahead. Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed. To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone, and a word in season, how good it is! For the wise the path of life leads upward, in order to avoid Sheol below. The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but maintains the widow's boundaries. Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure. Those who are greedy for unjust gain make trouble for their households, but those who hate bribes will live. The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil. The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body. The ear that heeds wholesome admonition will lodge among the wise. Those who ignore instruction despise themselves, but those who heed admonition gain understanding. The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.

1 Timothy 1:18-2:8
I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme. 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. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument;

Matthew 12:33-42
"Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

Morning Psalms

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

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

Evening Psalms

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

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

Forward Day by Day Meditation for Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Proverbs 15:17 Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

My favorite meals are never about the food. Well, they are mostly not about the food. They are about celebrating, grieving, or just being present with each other.

Tacos from a local food truck eaten on a park bench with a friend as she found her laughter again after a year of tragedy are my favorite. Shaker lemon pie shared over deep conversation about the impact of Thomas Merton’s writings on spirituality is my favorite too. My favorite meal is also the fried chicken after a funeral, sharing stories about the one who has died.

Our faith holds meals as deeply spiritual events. Our daily bread nourishes us physically, so the writer of Proverbs is right about eating our vegetables. And our meals nourish us spiritually too.

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Verse of the Day - May 24, 2016

Romans 12:10 (NIV) Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Read all of Romans 12