Monday, June 6, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Tummy Ticklers

“The cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

For those dismal days when you’re in desperate need of a laugh, you might start a humor file filled with surefire tummy ticklers. Here are a few to get you started, all reported to be genuine entries from church bulletins:

—Ushers will eat latecomers.

—The third verse of “Blessed Assurance” will be sung without musical accomplishment.

—Tonight’s sermon: “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

—Barbara remains in the hospital. She is having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.

—The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning.

—The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

—Next Thursday will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

—The cost for attending the Fasting Prayer conference includes meals.

—Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands!

Just between us…
  • What is your favorite joke or funny family story?
  • Would those with whom we share Jesus Christ describe us as good‐humored or somber?
  • How would our children describe us?
  • Is there a lot of laughter in our home? 
Heavenly Father, we know that a cheerful heart is a blessing to ourselves and others and a response of genuine trust in You. We ask that Your joy bubble up in our daily lives. Amen. 

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

Night Light for Couples - Family Whispers

“Be joyful always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 

Levity and lightheartedness are glue that holds family members together. Families willing to laugh at funny stories about growing up are sure to forge a strong bond for the tough times.

We heard about a mother who decided to hold her squirming toddler in her lap during his first Muppet movie. Midway through, they lost control of a large Pepsi and a box of buttered popcorn. The gooey mixture flowed over the child into the mother’s lap. Since the movie was almost over, she decided to sit it out. What she didn’t know was that she and her son were being cemented together. When the movie ended, they stood up… and the mother’s wraparound skirt stuck to the bottom of the toddler, came unraveled, and followed him up the aisle. She stood there clutching her slip and thanking the Lord she had taken time to put one on!

Another mother wrote us about a little miscommunication involving her preschooler: “Perhaps there should be a uniform word for ‘potty’ when children have to go to the bathroom. My three‐year‐old has been taught to refer to that act as a ‘whisper.’ Well, his grandfather came to visit us, and in the middle of the night my son came to his bed and said, ‘Grandpa, I have to whisper.’ Not wanting to awaken his wife, he said, ‘Okay. Whisper in my ear.’” So the little boy did.

The telling and retelling of funny moments like these can connect families for generations. God created us with a sense of humor for a reason. We believe that He wants us to use it.

Just between us…
  • Why do you think that God created us with an ability to laugh?
  • Do you remember any funny family stories from your childhood?
  • How can we preserve our family heritage through stories? 

Lord, we’re grateful we can share funny times with our kids. Help us make them part of a grand story that will bind us together for years. Amen. 

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

NIV Devotions for Women - But for a Moment

Joel 2:1–32

After the wicked King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes and condemned tens of thousands of the noblest men and women of France to torture and to death, many brave women were imprisoned in a huge tower called the Tour de Constance. The dungeon was a terrible place; its walls were 15 feet thick, and it was lighted only by narrow embrasures. The sister of a martyred minister lived for 36 years in that prison, and never gave way.

When at last the Huguenot women were released in 1768, someone found a word scored in the middle of the hard stone floor. The inscription is hardly readable, and to see it on a fine summer day, one has to kneel down and have a candle lighted; otherwise it is too dark. That one word is Resist. It is thought that some woman carved it, perhaps with a needle (the tracing is so faint), toiling at that word to help and strengthen herself and others, so that after she was gone they might be encouraged in their resolve to endure till the end. Surely the powers of endurance that God can give to the human soul are beyond our understanding. These women had not even the comfort of their Bibles. They had nothing, nothing—but God. Can the God who so gloriously nourished them with heavenly strength not feed us also, in our lesser needs, as we wait day by day upon him?

When we think of suffering, such as myriads have endured in all ages, in all lands, and of the suffering, too, that many are enduring today, our own little troubles and difficulties seem too small to think about at all, and we can only find relief in praying for those who suffer. And yet, though this is so, sometimes our trifles can try us a good deal, and those words, “And even this shall pass,” may perhaps bring comfort to some among us. At longest it is “but for a moment,” and then . . . ?

—Amy Carmichael

  1. What area of your life seems lost or hopeless? Ask God for the strength to resist giving way to discouragement.
  2. How does God’s promise to “repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” give you hope?
  3. How does the thought that what you are enduring is “but for a moment” in light of eternity bring you comfort?

Joel 2:25, 27
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you . . . Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”

Related Readings

Psalm 103:1–22; 2 Corinthians 4:16–17; Revelation 2:20–29

His Princess Every Day - You're Worth Everything to Me

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

My Priceless Bride,

It breaks my heart when you doubt what you're worth. I paid the ultimate price to prove to you how valuable you are, my beloved. I have loved you with my life. Whenever you feel insecure about who you are, look to the cross. Nothing you could ever say or do in this life will change the way I feel for you. You are such a treasure to me. I gave you my life to free you from a worthless life. I came that my Bride will live in an abundant life. Walk now in my confidence--not yours--and you will begin to feel your true value.

Your Prince who values you 

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God.
Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD
has chosen you to be his treasured possession. - Deuteronomy 14:2 (NIV)

Prayer to my Prince 

Please forgive me, my prince, for not accepting the price you paid for me to become your bride. Sometimes I feel so unworthy of being your bride. Who am I that you would trade your life for mine? Who am I that you would take what I deserve in order to give me what is rightfully yours in heaven and on earth? To be honest, my Lord, I cannot grasp how much you paid for my life. Maybe I never will. One thing I know is: I am loved by the savior of the world. May that be enough for me to feel like a treasure.

Your Princess who values your love

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

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.

Women of the Bible - The Wise Woman of Abel

Her character: Rather than passively waiting for someone else to save her city, she had the wisdom and courage to act quickly and decisively.
Her sorrow: That her city, though faithful to the king, was besieged by his army because it had been infiltrated by a rebellious leader.
Her joy: That she was able to successfully intercede for the town, thus averting disaster for many innocent people.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 20:14-22

Her Story

Teddy Roosevelt once said that "nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time." After the dust settles, the storm clears, the action stops, it's often too late for wisdom to work its marvels.

Many women in Scripture stand out for their wisdom. One woman, who lived in a town at Israel's northern border, is identified solely as "a wise woman" (2 Samuel 20:16), acting quickly to save her city.

The sad stories of Bathsheba and Tamar highlighted the decline of David's household. Eventually, Absalom, David's third son, rebelled and was killed in a battle for the throne. In the midst of this political instability, a rabble-rouser by the name of Sheba, from the tribe of Benjamin (Saul's tribe), attempted still another revolt. But Joab, the commander of David's army, chased Sheba all the way to Abel Beth Maacah, in the north.

Joab had constructed siege ramps to assault the walls of Abel and squelch the rebellion. It was evident that the entire city would be destroyed unless someone acted quickly to preserve the peace.

Suddenly, a woman stood on the walls of Abel and shouted: "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.

"We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel," she cried out. "You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord's inheritance?" she challenged Joab.

"Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy!" he replied. "A man named Sheba son of Bicri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I'll withdraw from the city."

"His head will be thrown to you from the wall," she shouted back.

The woman turned to her fellow citizens, urging them to act. In just moments, a man's head came careening over the wall. Disaster was averted.

The men in this story appear to behave only in conventional terms: mobilize the army, build a siege ramp, violently smash the city walls, squelch the rebellion. But the woman looked for another solution. Gruesome as it was, it kept the peace and spared lives on both sides. Through her intercession on behalf of her people, innocent lives on both sides of the city walls were spared.

Her Promise

The wise woman of Abel saw a need for immediate action, and she acted. She recognized that this was not a time to passively wait for someone else to take the reins of leadership, not a time for quibbling or wavering, just a time to do what needed to be done. Through this woman, God saved the innocent inhabitants of her city. There are times when quick action is required of us as well. We may hesitate, we may wish to go another way, we may dodge and shuffle, but in the end we must act. When we're living in obedience and close relationship with God, we can trust that we don't go alone. God is there, giving us the help and assurance we require.

Salt and Light - June 06, 2016

Girlfriends in God - How’s Your Heart? Part 1

Today’s Truth

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19, NIV).

Friend to Friend

It had been a very long day. My husband and I were both tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep – but we needed to talk. We didn’t have any major concerns or problems to discuss; we just wanted to catch up on life and unwind a little bit.

Dan was telling me about his day when he suddenly stopped, looked around and asked, “What was that beeping sound?” I hadn’t heard anything but suggested that the smoke detector battery probably needed replacing.

“It was a different kind of beeping,” Dan insisted. We listened – nothing. We turned out the lights and went to sleep, and I forgot all about the elusive beeping.

When Dan came home from work the next day, he grinned and said, “I figured out what that beeping sound was.” Since he had been at the church office all day, I was a little more than curious as to how he had managed to solve the mystery. “My defibrillator is beeping, which means that the battery is running out and needs to be replaced.” Why the man was grinning was beyond me, but it probably had something to do with the fact that he had solved the puzzle rather than dealing with another heart issue. We eat those for breakfast!

Dan has battled heart rhythm problems for years. In 2006, he went into cardiac arrest and became the proud owner of a defibrillator/pacemaker that keeps his heart in rhythm. The cardiologist told us that the battery would eventually have to be replaced, but we hadn’t given it much thought – until the unit started beeping.

Dan called his cardiologist who immediately set up an appointment to replace the battery. Dan had an unusually hectic schedule and was hoping to buy a little time before having the outpatient procedure done.

“What happens if I wait a few weeks to have the battery replaced?” Dan asked. The doctor laughed and said, “It will drive you crazy. Right now, the defibrillator only beeps once a day as a warning, but if we don’t take care of this now, it will start beeping every hour and then beep continually until the old battery is replaced. And if the battery is not replaced, the defibrillator will just stop working, and your heart will not be protected.” Needless to say, Dan quickly scheduled the procedure.

As I waited for Dan to come out of surgery, I prayed.

I asked God to give the doctors and nurses wisdom.

I asked Him to guard my husband’s heart.

It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “And what about your heart, Mary?” Physically, my heart was healthy and strong. The spiritual health of my heart was an entirely different matter.

The hospital waiting room became a holy place, a place where God and I conducted eternal business. I brutally examined my heart and confessed the sins I had desperately tried to hide in the dark corners where fear and doubt reside. God’s forgiveness and love rolled away the burden of those cherished sins and ushered peace into my soul. Tears rolled down my face like a refreshing rain of restoration.

I had let my guard down. I had dismissed the sentry of God’s truth and tried to live life in my own strength and worthiness, resting in past victories. It did not take long for the well to run dry. The wasteland of wrong priorities and vain spiritual activity spread before me and broke my heart.

My thirst for Him to do a new thing in my life grew as I prayed, “Lord, bring back the new again. I want to see You again."

He heard my cry, and He made a way. He made a way in the wilderness of my life as streams of mercy flooded my soul.

No matter where you are today, no matter what you have done or failed to do, God longs to heal, restore, refresh and renew. How’s your heart?

Let’s Pray

Lord, today I come to You with a new commitment in my heart – to pray continually and to read and study the Bible. Strengthen me through Your truth and empower me to stand against temptation and sin. Make me more aware of Your presence and power, Lord. I want to be a godly woman, a woman of discipline, and a woman whose life honors you and draws other to You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” Can you identify the attacks of the Devil in your life?

Take the following steps of faith:
  • I recognize the power of prayer and the Word of God to change and transform me.
  • I admit that I have let my guard down and allowed the enemy to sneak into my life.
  • I will identify the areas in my life that are out of control and surrender them to God.
  • I will make prayer and Bible study a priority in my walk with God.
More from the Girlfriends

If you need help learning how to trust God, get Mary’s new book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, now available in hard copy.

Perfect for personal or small group study, this book addresses every decision you make - and teaches you how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and trust God.

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.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Standing Strong Through the Storm - MEMORIZING GOD’S WORD

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

When China’s best-known pastor, Wang Ming-dao, was finally released from prison, he stated, “In these past twenty years, I have not had a copy of the Bible. Happily between the ages of twenty-one to twenty-four, I spent my time at home doing the housework and studying the scriptures. I memorized many passages. These passages in my heart came out one by one and strengthened me. Had it not been for those words of God, then not only I, but many others, would also have been defeated.”

Pastor Lamb in southern China was in prison for many years at that same time. “I understood then why I had memorized so much of God’s Word while in Bible school,” he says. “I kept my sanity only by repeating Bible verses over and over.”

The best way the church can prepare for trials and persecution is by seriously studying and learning the Word of God. Christians need an overview of the whole Bible. Understanding God’s outline for mankind in the Bible aids in memorization as well.

What is the right attitude to bring to Bible study? Some read and study the Bible with the intent to get something from it to teach to others. But first, we should approach the Bible with the desire to see the goodness and loving-kindness of God and understand how “wide and long and high and deep” is His love for us (Ephesians 3:17-19). Let His love show you His supply for your own need and then you are better able to meet the needs of others.

Second, approach the Bible with humility. Study the Bible to discover what God has said. Bible study is meant not merely to inform but to transform.

In restricted countries where Bibles are in short supply, pastors are often in a quandary as to which of the many spiritually needy he should share these precious books with. Progress in Bible memorization is one method they can use for determining who will receive the available Bibles. One house church group in Vietnam decided to give them to the believers who were most determined to use them. The criterion used was memory work. So Bibles were shared only with those who recited flawlessly Psalm 119—all 176 verses!

Open Doors is committed to provide God’s Word to those for whom it is not available. “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes....” (Romans 1:16)

RESPONSE: Today I will memorize a new verse from God’s Word, the Bible.

PRAYER: Pray for the Christians in restricted countries where there is a shortage of God’s Word.

Verse of the Day - June 06, 2016

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Read all of Ephesians 3