Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Night Light for Couples - The Afterlife

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

Our hope for the afterlife was once expressed to me (jcd) by my father. We were walking on a country road, talking about life and its meaning, when he made a comment that I will never forget. He said that when he was a young man, the possibility of a future heavenly existence was not a matter of great value to him. He had enjoyed his youth, and the thought of life beyond the grave was like a pearl that was crusted over with scales and grime. The beauty of the pearl was assumed, but not apparent or realized. But as he grew older and began to experience problems associated with aging, including a serious heart attack and assorted aches and pains, the beauty of the pearl of eternal life began to shine. It shone more and more brilliantly until it became the most prized of any of his possessions.

My father died shortly after that conversation. He has at last grasped the “pearl” of eternal life. Thankfully, that same blessed hope is available to all of God’s children, including you and me. And it is a hope that can bring grace and meaning to every word and activity in our marriage.

Just between us…
  • How do you picture heaven?
  • As the years pass, do you find yourself thinking more about eternity, or less?
  • What is your greatest hope for the future?
  • Do we understand that the only “thing” we can take with us to heaven is other people and the Word of God? Do we live as though we believed that?
Father, we are so thankful that You have prepared a place for us in Your kingdom. Help us to make the most of our time in this life. May we do everything in our power to spread the good news of this eternal hope to those who don’t know You. Amen.

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

Girlfriends in God - When You Want a Daddy Who Loves You

Today’s Truth

[God said] “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV).

Friend to Friend

When I was a little girl, my father spent most of his waking hours working at his building supply company, observing construction sites, and socializing with his colleagues and associates. Even though his place of business was only a few blocks from our home, his heart was miles away in a place I could not find.

My father didn’t drink alcohol every day, but when he did, it consumed him. Dad was filled with a rage that always seemed to be hiding just beneath the surface of his tough skin. And when he drank, that rage spewed out like hot lava onto those around him. Unfortunately, my mother was the most common target. As a child, many nights I crawled into bed, pulled the covers tightly under my chin or even over my head, and prayed that I would quickly fall asleep to shut out the noise of my parents yelling, fighting, and hitting.

I was afraid of my father. Even when he was sober, I kept my distance. At the same time, I observed how other daddies cherished their little girls. I saw them cuddle their daughters in their laps, hold their hands while walking in the park, or kiss their cheeks as they dropped them off at school in the mornings. And while I wasn’t fatherless, I felt as though I was. Deep in my heart, I had a dream. I dreamed that one day I would have a daddy who loved me—not because I was pretty or made good grades or could play the piano well, but just because I was his.

Then one day, the dream came true. I discovered that I did have a Father who loved me...and so do you. God is your Heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally, provides for you unreservedly, and protects you unceasingly.

In the New Testament, Jesus called God by the name Father more than any other name. He also invites us to do the same. Think about that for a moment. The God of the universe who created the heavens and the earth; who always has been and always will be; who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere at once—that same God invites you to call Him Abba, Father!

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He said:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. . . .” (Matthew 6:6-9, italics added)

My friend, Gayle has a granddaughter named Carlie. One day Carlie and her best friend were sitting in the back seat of Gayle’s car. Carlie and this little friend were born on the same day, and their moms were in hospital rooms right beside each other. Not only that, the two girls lived in the same apartment complex. One difference was that Carlie’s friend never knew her father. Her mom had boyfriends who came and went through the years, but never a real dad.

When Gayle kept Carlie on the weekends, sometimes her best friend came along. One day, Gayle had both girls in the backseat when she was running an errand. They were about five-years-old at the time. And just out of the blue, Carlie’s little friend said, “I wish I had a daddy like you have a daddy.”

And Carlie said, “Oh you do have a daddy."

“No I don’t. I want a daddy like you have a daddy. I wish I had a daddy.”

“But you do have a daddy,” Carlie answered back. “We all have a daddy. God is our daddy. He’s everybody’s daddy.”

Gayle looked in her rearview mirror and saw Carlie’s friend hold up her hands in exasperation.

“Why has nobody every told me this!”

How precious! I have a daddy. You have a daddy. God is your Father and He loves you more than you could ever know. You, my friend, are the apple of your Daddy’s eye (Psalm 17:8 NIV). 

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for adopting me into Your family. How blessed I am to have a Father who loves me unconditionally, cares for me unceasingly, and provides for me lavishly. I love You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Look up the following verses and note what you learn about being a child of God. John 1:12; Philippians 2:15

Describe the difference between the actions and emotions of an orphan and a child of a King.

Which reflects your life the most?

More from the Girlfriends

I don’t know about you, but for most of us, life doesn’t usually turn out the way we had hoped. Broken dreams litter life. But here’s the good news! God has a purpose and a plan. He has a more amazing plan for you than you ever imagined. If you have lost sight of your dreams, grab onto God’s hand and travel to a place you thought you’d never find. The dreams God had planned for you all along. In my book, Dreams of a Woman: God’s Plan for Fulfilling Your Dreams, I take a look at common dreams that we women have, and how God longs to fulfill them in His own way…a way that is much greater than you ever dreamed. Come on, let’s dream again!

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

Standing Strong Through the Storm - TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

An extraordinary life in Christ does not just depend on teachings, circumstances or comfort. In many countries in the world today there are severe restrictions and obstacles facing parents in instructing their children in the ways of the Lord. In communist countries like China and Vietnam it is officially against the law to share the gospel with anybody under the age of eighteen years, including your own children.

In the Middle East, Christian schools are non-existent and Christian children are forced to attend Muslim schools and receive instruction from the Koran and Muslim teachers. Yet, it seems as if Christian families in restricted areas are more Godly and committed to the Lord than their counterparts in the west, where opportunities abound and Christians live in abundance.

The lessons that we learn from the persecuted church are of far more value than seminars or devotionals can ever be—the lessons of true discipleship and wholesome living. Lessons that are neither theology nor speculation but teachings of life, reality and practice.

Gerhard Hamm was one of the thousands of faithful believers through whom God’s light continued to shine in the Soviet Union during the years when communism reigned there.

He grew up in the Ural Mountains where his parents farmed. But then communism arose and in 1929 the “bandits” came, as Gerhard later often called the Bolsheviks. Because his father was a Christian and of German descent, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia. The farm was confiscated.

Mother Hamm and her twenty children also moved to Siberia. For a few years, the family was together. Then Gerhard’s father was taken away from his family and never came back. None of the family knows where his grave is. All the churches were closed and atheistic propaganda was being disseminated all around.

As a young boy Gerhard lost his father, his security, his home and his freedom—all because of the name of Jesus. Hunger and cold were his daily lot, an obvious reason for a young teenager to resent God and His commands. But despite the difficulties, ridicule and persecution, Mother Hamm prayed every day with her children, and they read the Bible together.

When Gerhard Hamm died in 1999 at the age of 76, he left a legacy of faithful children behind. All of his children and their spouses were devoted Christians. His grandchildren have all committed their lives to the Lord. All of Gerhard’s nineteen brothers and sisters and their spouses and children followed the footsteps of Jesus and many are still involved in various ministries reaching all corners of the globe. 

RESPONSE: Today I will take seriously the challenge of teaching, training and discipling my children or young people with whom I have close relationship.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to live a life of self-sacrifice so young people will see You and want to follow.

His Princess Every Day - Change

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

My princess warrior,

I know how much courage it takes to let go of who you were to become who I have called you to be. Your courage to break free from sin will become the key to your freedom. You will find something far greater than the temporary pleasure; you will find joy, peace and powerful purpose for living. Your choice to let go of the old and cling to the new will be one that will not only affect you--it will make an everlasting impact on those you love. I gave my life for you to have a better one. I will also give you the courage needed to walk to the promised land of your new, abundant life!

Your King and your Courage

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

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 15, 2016

Proverbs 23:24 (NIV) The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Read all of Proverbs 23