Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Night Light for Couples - A Lighthearted Spirit

“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

As Christians who want to bring joy to our marriages, we might do well to remember the words of baseball great (and occasional comedian) Yogi Berra: “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.” We could say the same about life: It’s how we look at circumstances that makes all the difference. For Christians, it’s not just how we look at things; it’s at Whom we’re looking. “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad,” wrote David (Psalm 32:11). Paul gave the same advice to the Philippians. And the author of Hebrews wrote: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross….”(Hebrews 12:2). Couples who keep Jesus Christ as Lord of their home seem to laugh more often and cultivate hope in their marriages more easily. Why? Because when Jesus carries the weight of your worries, your needs, and your future, lighthearted living is the natural result.

God gave us a sense of humor to help us stay “half mental” in our marriage, and surely He wants us to use and enjoy it!

Just between us…
  • Do you think Jesus often laughed? Do you think we would laugh more if we trusted God more?
  • What steps can we take to bring a lighthearted spirit into our home?
  • How can we worship God by our attitudes about life’s little hassles?
Most amazing God, thank You for making humor possible in our world. Forgive us when selfishness, fear, or faithlessness rob us of laughter. Amen.

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

Girlfriends in God - Can I Get a Witness?

by Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38, ESV)

Friend to Friend

Growing up we played silly games. Fun games that connected strands of strangers and tethered them to a specific time and place with a memory. One of those was the cookie jar game.

It’s probably more of a chanty thing. You remember.

Crowd: “Amy stole the cookie from the cookie jar!”

Amy: “Who me?”

Crowd: “Yeah, you!”

Amy: “Couldn’t be!”

Crowd: “Then who?”

Amy: “Elise!”

Crowd {redirected}: “Elise stole the cookie from the cookie jar!” … and the game went on to never really gather the cookies that were stolen. Who thinks these things up? Why can’t we just pass around the cookies and eat them with milk instead? I hear your “Amen.”

Sometimes I think that those of us who are Jesus lovers play the cookie game with the Great Commission.

Jesus Lovers: “Susan, tell the world that the Lord is good!”

Susan: “Who me?”

Jesus Lovers: “Yeah, you!”

Susan: “Couldn’t be!”

Jesus Lovers: “Then who?”

Susan points to another Christian who she thinks has less kinks in her armor. “Tara!”

And the game goes on, but the directive to be a witness for Jesus Christ does not. It is sharply cut off and redirected at the “Who me?”

I play games and pass up opportunities to influence others toward Christ all the time. I bow out from repping Him to the world… or to that friend, volleyball mom, neighbor, family member, or co-worker who is in desperate need of His grace. Why? Because I like my comfort. It’s fluffy and I’m shallow like that far too often.

It’s not such a silly game when eternal matters are on the line, is it?

It’s a sad game.

One that I need to stop playing.

One that we all need to stop playing.

I can almost hear you whispering to me in hushed tones. I am all about Jesus, Gwen. Love that guy! I totally dig His grace, love, forgiveness, and peace. Oh… and His comfort! Love His comfort. Love the epic lay-down-your-life and rise-again Easter thing. BUT don’t ask me to go talking about Him or anything. I just can’t. My life is complicated. I don’t know enough about the Bible. My marriage is on the fritz, I’m unemployed, and my kids are total prodigals, I can’t possibly be used by God to do holy stuff.

If we are being honest, I think all of us would agree that faith in Christ would be a whole lot more comfortable without that scary witnessing thing. Am I right?

It is essential that we be motivated beyond us. And this does not mean you need to start handing out Bible tracks on street corners or leaving them with a tip at the next restaurant you go to like your uncle Bob does.

It means that we need to want what Jesus wants. To do what Jesus did.

Jesus was all about doing the will of the Father. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38, ESV)

Beyond that, for you and me to do the will of the Father we need to want to do the stuff that Jesus wants us to do. See? It’s one of those pesky heart-matter items.

And He told His followers what He wants us to do just prior to His ascension. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, AND YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, emphasis mine) Replace the word you in that last sentence with your name.

{Your name} will be His witness. {Your name} will be given opportunities to influence others toward Jesus.

Nervous yet?

Don’t be. The call to be a witness might seem intimidating, but remember, those words rolled directly off the loving lips of Jesus and He would never ask you to do anything that He wasn’t going to help you with! Besides, He doesn’t really have any glowing candidates of perfection to call up. We are all just fumbling fools who fall more frequently than we’d like to admit.

You are qualified because of your Messiah, not because of your mess. {Tweet this!}

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) 

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, You are good. It is my greatest joy to worship You. Please help my worship to spill over in all areas of life. Give me courage to do what You have created me to do. Empower me to help others see You and to point them in Your direction so those around me can find the hope they are desperate for.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Have you ever played the cookie jar game with the great commission? What is one thing you can do today to be a witness for Jesus? CLICK HERE to visit my blog and tell me your one thing. {I love to hear from you!}

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s new book, I Want It ALL. Tired of going through the motions when it comes to your relationship with God? Ready for a more vibrant walk with Jesus? Learn how to grow in faith, power, and impact according to the Word of God. Order your copy of I Want It ALL today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite retailer. 

Click here to download a FREE sample chapter of Gwen’s new book I Want It ALL.

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 - INTERNALIZE GOD’S WORD

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

A co-worker who was teaching Christian leaders in Vietnam shares this experience:

I immediately realized that not one of these pastors owned a Bible and that they were waiting to hear from scripture. As I started sharing, one pastor raised his hand. “Excuse me brother, is that the Bible or is that you?”

“This is scripture,” I answered and immediately the leaders took out a notebook and eagerly started writing every word down. I then understood that this was the only way that they could collect scripture verses. I wanted to cry.

As I continued the teaching, the same question came once again. “Excuse me brother, is that the Bible or is that you?”

“This time it’s me,” I answered and suddenly everybody put their “Bibles” down and took out a different notebook and once again wrote down every word I said. Then came lunch break and the leading pastor stood up. “We will now have a time to test our Bible knowledge,” he announced.

I wondered how my Bible knowledge, with more than ten Bibles at my disposal, would measure up with these leaders who do not have their own copies. The leader asked the first question. “What does it say in Obadiah 2:4?”

I shrank in my chair. Please don’t look at me, I thought. I know there is a book of Obadiah but I must confess it has been some time since I read it. The pastors started laughing and then one raised his hand.
“Obadiah only has one chapter, brother!” I felt so ashamed. How is it possible I did not know this and these believers without their own Bibles knew.

Then came the second question. “What does the Bible teach in Nahum 1:7?

An elderly pastor in the front row raised his hand like an eager school child. He then started quoting the scripture: “The Lord is good, a strength in the day of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” 

“Well done brother,” said the leader. “You may sit down now.” But the elderly pastor was not finished yet. “Please,” he asked, “may I continue?” After a nod, he quoted the whole book of Nahum faultlessly.

I was also later introduced to another believer who came to know the Lord only during recent years. His passion for the Word of God is displayed in the fact that he has already memorized seventy-eight chapters of the Bible.

RESPONSE: Today, I will begin a program to internalize God’s Word and hide it in my heart.

PRAYER: Lord, give me a passion for Your Word like believers in Vietnam.

His Princess Every Day - Broken

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

My Daughter,

What you may see as broken inside yourself, I see as beautiful. I am the one who makes beautiful things out of what is broken. I am the same God in your life that took a broken-hearted orphan named Esther and turned her into a queen who saved my people. Just as I used Esther’s pain for my purpose, I will not waste a single tear you have shed, my love. I can and will use whatever is broken in your life for my glory. My love and mercy will shine brightest in those broken places. I will not only use what is broken, I will rebuild you to become even better and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Your King Who sees your true beauty

A Prayer for Brokenness

I pray that you will see how beautiful God created you and see how He is turning your brokenness into greatness. May you believe Him fully when He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” I pray that you will bring your weakness and brokenness to Him so that He can restore you and turn you into something more beautiful than you could ever be on your own. When you surrender your brokenness to your loving Father, He accepts you as you are and does not turn away from His beloved children. I pray that all of heaven’s beauty will shine through you. in Jesus’ name, amen.

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 08, 2016

Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV) The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

Read all of Habakkuk 3