Friday, June 3, 2016

Night Light for Couples - What About Bob?

by Phil Callaway

Thanksgiving weekend began the way Bob and Audrey Meisner had planned. Piling a full‐size van high with mattresses, sleeping bags, and children, they drove a thousand miles through the flatlands of Manitoba to the in‐laws in Michigan. It was a beautiful trip. Patchwork prairies sprinkled with lakes stretched toward the horizon. Bare poplar branches held up their arms in surrender to winter. The children counted columns of Canadian geese deserting their homeland and heading for Florida. Neither Bob nor Audrey knew that the beauty of the first leg of their trip would stand in sharp contrast to the journey home.

The weekend was filled with relatives, turkey, and laughter. On Sunday night the Meisners said their good‐byes and headed for home. Leaving at 11:00 P.M., they drove through the night, arriving in Minneapolis about 8:30 the next morning. Though Mom and Dad were tired, the Mall of America beckoned, and it was many hours before they watched the skylines of the Twin Cities disappear in the rearview mirror as they drove toward the setting sun.

When Audrey offered to drive, Bob clambered into the back of the van, where he disappeared behind some sleeping bags and drifted off to sleep.

An hour and a half later, Audrey pulled into a rest stop as quietly as she could, hoping the family would sleep on. As she let the engine idle, she noticed how it seemed to be missing a cylinder, which made her think of Bob’s snoring coming from the back of the van.

After using the restroom, Audrey climbed back into the van, stirred some coffee, took a long sip, and pulled back onto the freeway. Two hours passed quickly as she tapped her fingers to a country gospel station and spun the dial, sampling talk shows. When she arrived in Fargo, North Dakota, the kids began to wake up. But not Bob. Wow, he’s tired, thought Audrey. Her seven‐year‐old appeared in the rearview mirror, rubbing his eyes.

“Go back to sleep, honey,” said his mom.

Suddenly, the peacefulness of the morning was shattered. “Where’s Daddy?” one of the kids asked.

“Very funny,” said Audrey, adjusting the mirror. “He’s back there sleeping… isn’t he?”

The children began pushing pillows aside, looking for Daddy. “Nope,” said her seven‐year‐old, “he’s not back here.”

“Do you think maybe he got raptured?” another child said. “You know, Mom, like you’ve been talking about when Jesus comes to get us?”

Audrey wasn’t laughing. Panic overtook her as she looked for the next exit. Should she turn around and go back? She had no idea where the rest area was. Was it two hours ago? Three?

Calm down, Audrey, she told herself. Then she prayed, Dear Lord, help me find Bob. And please keep him safe, wherever he is.

Pulling into a truck stop, she picked up a pay phone and called the police. “Um… I… uh… left my husband in Minnesota,” she told the officer. “At… well… at a rest stop.”

There was a moment of silence. “Sorry, could you repeat that?”

After a few minutes punctuated by desperation, Audrey was able to convince the man on the other end of the line that this was no joke— that she had left her husband, but not intentionally, although he might be thinking so.

“Tell you what,” said the officer. “You hang on. I’ll get all the numbers of the rest stops in that area. You don’t go anywhere now, ya hear?”

Audrey didn’t go anywhere.

After thanking the officer for his help, she started down the list. One number after another. Each phone call was met with surprise, but no success. Almost out of hope, she dialed the last number on the list. “Do you have a guy there who—?”

“Yaw, I shore do,” said a thick Norwegian accent. Moments later, Bob was on the phone.

“Honey, I’m so sorry,” said Audrey. “I didn’t mean to—” Audrey started to cry. And Bob started to laugh.

Two hours earlier he had climbed out of the van to use the restroom. But when he came back, the van was gone.

“Ha,” Bob had said. “Very funny.”

He had walked around the service area three times, expecting to find his family grinning around the next corner. But they were nowhere to be found.

“She wouldn’t leave me like this,” said Bob. “Would she?”

To pass the time, Bob washed people’s windshields and prayed that God would speak loudly to his wife, making his absence apparent. He even climbed in with a trucker who needed some spiritual encouragement. “You know,” the trucker told Bob, “this time with you was a divine appointment. I really needed this.”

“Dear God,” prayed Bob, “please, no more divine appointments tonight.”

Early the next morning, Bob watched the headlights of a familiar van pull into the rest stop. He stopped cleaning windshields and breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was a return trip for Audrey. But this time she honked the horn loudly, not caring whom she woke up.

“It’s the first time I ever left him,” she says, laughing now. “Believe me, it will be the last.”

“At first I wondered if the rapture had taken place,” Bob says. “Then it seemed like something out of a horror movie. But I thought, Well, make the most of it.”

Audrey learned a few things, too. “That night I realized the importance of casting all my cares on God. They are His, and He is completely trustworthy…. And I learned that it’s always a good idea to count bodies before you pull out onto the freeway.”

Looking ahead…

It happens to all of us. Just when life seems to be humming along smoothly, something as simple as a trip to the restroom turns into one little surprise after another.

There’s probably no way to avoid such unwanted twists of fate—but we can control our reaction to them. I’ve found that adversity in married life is easier to handle when I choose to face it with a smile instead of a frown. So the next time your spouse leaves you stranded by mistake, remember Bob Meisner. You can stew for hours sitting on the curb—or get up and wash a few windshields.

- James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
“What about Bob?” by Phil Callaway. Taken from Who Put the Skunk in the Trunk? by Phil Callaway. © 1999. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

Girlfriends in God - 5 Steps to Help You Make Wise Choices

Today’s Truth

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us… (Acts 1:)

Friend to Friend

The book of Acts is an account of the birth and growth of the early church and of the work of the Holy Spirit. After His death and resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for 40 days then ascended into heaven.

Just before He ascended, Jesus gave the disciples a fresh and compelling mission - one that you and I share in. He told them (and us) “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)


Power … Holy Spirit … witnesses… I imagine they must’ve been shaking their heads in wonder and scratching their heads in curiosity! What can He possibly mean? 

The people in the crowd that day watched Jesus leave the earth. Literally. They witnessed his ascension as he rose to heaven and stared at the sky when He disappeared from sight. Then they went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and prayed together constantly in expectation of the power He had promised. (Acts 1:12-14)

It was a new and vigorous day for the early church. A time when leaders were vital to guide believers in the grace, truth, and teaching of Christ.

Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus, was no longer around, so the group of 12 disciples dwindled to 11. The disciples, now apostles, agreed that they needed to add a new team member to help with the mission that Jesus called them to so they put their heads and hearts together to fill the twelfth spot on their ministry leadership team.

Here’s how Luke says the disciples made their decision.

“…Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:21-26)

In reading about this process, I begin to see some wise principles rise that I will apply when choices in my life need to be made.

#1. Assess/ Define your need (v.21)
#2. Consider your options (v. 23)
#3. Pray (v.24)
#4. Look for God’s direction (v.26)
#5. Accept God’s answer (v. 26)

I look over this list and connect the process to the decisions that lie ahead of me. Doing this helps me think beyond my emotions and reminds me to include God in the center. To pray like the psalmist did:

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
(Psalm 143:8)

Are you facing any decisions today? This week? This month?

If so, I encourage you to approach them with this 5 step Biblical process. While it won’t make your hard decisions easy, applying these principles can position you to make informed choices that are yielded to God’s leading. Which is always wise.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for being willing to help me make wise decisions. Forgive me for the many times I leave you out of the picture and do things on my own. Help me today with these things, Lord: ___________. Show me the way I should go.
In Jesus’ Name, 

Now It’s Your Turn

More practical advice awaits you today, friend! Read James 1. Then write down at least one verse that challenges you where you are and spend a few moments in prayer about the areas you need God’s wisdom with.

More from the Girlfriends

I Want It ALL is now available! This new book by Gwen Smith will help narrow the gap between average ordinary living and the not-so-ordinary promises of God found in His Word. We are meant to be women of impact who expect great things and move in the power and grace of Jesus. That’s the message of I Want It ALL. Order yours today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite retailer.

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Standing Strong Through the Storm - HOPE IN THE FACE OF BAD NEWS

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an idea of what God is really up to in this world? One thing we can be very sure of—that the story of the world as we find it in history books and newspapers, is not to be confused with the real story of what God is doing underneath. But what is God’s story as opposed to history? What’s he really up to? Must the daily diet of wars, murder and mayhem in my newspaper always get me down. Can I ever be sure something is going on underneath? Well, we can’t know perfectly as “his ways are so much higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:9). But we are afforded glimpses. This glimpsing really excited the early Christians. You can hear the delight in Paul when he writes, “God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us...” (Ephesians 1:9). The persecuted seem to get more glimpses than most.

I think of China. The headlines said in June of 1989 a terrible massacre took place. Five thousand young people were mown down by the Chinese army. The headlines all mourned the death of the pro-democracy movement. It was terrible, but what was God up to underneath? Out of that massacre came a remarkable turning to Christ among China’s students for the first time in history! The headlines never saw it. It’s not part of history. But “His story” went on.

I think of Afghanistan. When the Soviet Union invaded that country in 1980 the world was outraged. The headlines were all full of fierce denunciations of the action, and rightly so. But I remember meeting a missionary from Kabul who said, “Yes, what the Russians did was wrong, but the fact is it is now much easier under the Russians for Christians to evangelize than it was before under the Islamic regime.” Again, another more significant story, of God building his kingdom, was going on undetected by the world at large.

I think of Sudan. The headlines in the 1980’s were full of a dreadful civil war which isolated the Danka people from the outside world. It was terrible. There was untold suffering on vast scale. But underneath, God was bringing the 2 million Dinks to himself. By 1993, 80% of them were Christians and this among a tribe that was historically very resistant to the gospel.

Notice that these are all stories from the persecuted. They seem to be better placed to notice the real story. And so I need to keep in touch with them because this glimpse delivers me from despair. In 1989 in China, there was not just a massacre, but a revival. In 1980 in Afghanistan, there was not just an occupation, but new missionary opportunities. In Sudan, there was not just a brutal war that killed millions, but a new kingdom of believers among an unreached people.

So every day when I open my newspaper, I remind myself of two things, thanks to the persecuted: the story I see is not to be confused with the kingdom story; and underneath even the saddest news, God is surely up to something good. There is hope because God is always at work.

RESPONSE: Today when I read or hear the news, I will thank God that He is at work behind the scenes.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord, for Your promise to bring good out of the terrible events of this world.

Men of the Bible - Absalom

His name means: "Father Is Peace"

His work: David's third son, Absalom, was a brilliant military and political strategist.
His character: Absalom's remarkable assets of good looks and diplomacy became great liabilities, leading to his untimely death.
His sorrow: When Absalom's sister was raped by his oldest half brother, Absalom began a life of anger, rebellion, and revenge.
His triumph: For a time, Absalom was successful in gathering support against his father's reign.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 13-15

A Look at the Man

Absalom was a very special young man. Brimming with gifts and natural abilities, he was a natural-born leader. People were drawn toward him.

But Absalom was also a vicious conniver. Throughout his life, his bitter heart became a caldron of hatred and death.

Growing up in the palace of the king of Israel may not have been as delight as some in the kingdom may have envisioned. Absalom's father's sinfulness and the confusion of living in a home with David's multiple wives and a houseful of half siblings would likely have created untold chaos. Imagine this...

Absalom had a sister, Tamar, by his mother, Maacah. His half brother and David's oldest son, Amnon, was in love with her and tried to seduce her. Because she resisted, he set a trap for her. Pretending to be sick, Amnon asked David to order Tamar to tend to her half brother, which he did. But when Tamar brought food to Amnon, he pled with her to sleep with him. When she resisted, he raped her.

When word came to Absalom that his sister had been violated, he hated Amnon but said nothing to him. For two years Absalom seethed, plotting his revenge against his half brother. When the trap was set, Absalom had Amnon murdered.

Absalom did not see his father for three years. And instead of seeking out Absalom and confronting him with his treachery, David "longed to go to Absalom." What Absalom needed was a father who loved him enough to deal strictly with his violence. What Absalom got was a tentative father who was unwilling to jeopardize his son's affection. And what David got in exchange for his fear was a son who hated him for his powerlessness—a son who secretly resolved to overthrow him.

Suffering from the guilt of his own sinfulness, David was unwilling to hand Absalom any semblance of justice. For three years Absalom plotted his father's demise. And like an unsheltered man unwilling to acknowledge a gathering storm, David refused to see the dark clouds in his son's eyes.

Absalom was a man overflowing with potential. If only he had channeled those talents wisely! If only his father had helped him. But because he had neither the self-control nor the parental control to reign in his resentment and acrimony, Absalom died violently.

And David was forced to spend the rest of his life dealing with the agonizing "if onlys." If only I had not sinned with Bathsheba, bringing all of this treachery to my family. If only I had loved my children enough to discipline them. 

When the Cushite reported to David that Absalom was dead, he was shaken. "O my son Absalom! My son Absalom!"

The tragic story of Absalom ends with one final "if only" from the king. "If only I had died instead of you," David wailed uncontrollably. "O Absalom, my son, my son!"

Reflect On: 2 Samuel 15:1–12
Praise God: For acting with both justice and mercy.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has disciplined you.
Confess: Any tendency to blame others for problems and difficulties you have brought on yourself.
Ask God: To treat you not as your sins deserve but according to his mercy.

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

His Princess Every Day - His Heart

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

My Child,

I know loving others is risky, but what good is the love you have for Me if you will not let Me love others through you? What good is all that you conquered and accomplished if you have not loved well? The truth, My precious girl, is that anything you accomplish minus love will equal nothing in the end. I have loved you with an unconditional, everlasting love. Nothing that you say or do changes the way I feel toward you. Now I’m asking you to love others most when they deserve it the least--the same way I love you. I know what I request from you is not easy, but if you will draw on My strength, you will find that perfect love casts out fear. Even if those you love let you down, I will reward you for all eternity because of your choice to love them in a way that brought glory to Me.

Your Father who has a never-ending love for you

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13:3

Treasure of Truth

What good is love if you don’t give it away?

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.

Verse of the Day - June 03, 2016

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Read all of Proverbs 15