Thursday, June 16, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Words of Hope

“In his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

Like anyone else, I have days when discouragement seems to get the better of me. At such times I try to remember that the Lord has provided me with a source of continuing inspiration and hope. To tap into that source I need simply to open the pages of my Bible, God’s letter of hope to me.

I’m reminded of a story about an elderly woman who had lost her husband, George, some years earlier in an automobile accident. Theirs had been a long and happy marriage, and she missed him terribly. When she suffered a broken leg, she felt more confined and alone than ever. One particularly blue day, she found herself longing once again for her husband’s company. She sat in her living room and began to weep. “Dear God,” she prayed, “please give me the strength to get through this hour.”

Get your Bible, a quiet voice inside her said. But her Bible was in the bedroom, and, with her leg in a cast, she thought it would be too hard to retrieve. Then she remembered a small travel Bible on a nearby bookshelf. She reached for it and turned the pages to find a favorite Scripture.

Suddenly a letter fell into her lap. She carefully unfolded the yellowed pages. It was a love letter from George. In it, he expressed his deep affection for her. His words of comfort went straight to her lonely heart.

In the back pages of the Bible she found more notes from George. He had written them in the hospital while awaiting an operation, apparently fearing he would not return home. After he recovered, the notes were forgotten.

That woman spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the company of her husband’s letters and in the certainty that the Lord cared for her.

When you’re feeling short on hope in your marriage, ask yourself if you’ve spent enough time lately reading your “mail” from God. Jeremiah wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). As we go about our days, we can draw on the same delight… if we’ll just read the Bible for a few minutes and wait for His Word to meet our need.

God loves you with infinite compassion and tenderness. He knows just what you need and when you need it. In the pages of Scripture, you’ll find example after example of His wisdom, comfort, and love— all meant for you. It’s the kind of “mail” that will really make your day!

- Shirley M Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Lucille Heimrich from A Match Made in Heaven by Susan Wales and Ann Platz (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).

His Princess Every Day - It Is Finished!

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,

It is finished, My beloved Princess. I, your Savior, paid the price for your eternal life when I drew My last breath on the cross. I conquered death, I covered your sin with My blood, and I loved you with my life. Now My Spirit is in you to finish the work you have been sent to do. My Power is yours to use. My keys to freedom are now yours to share. My grace is your gift to receive. All regret or guilt is gone and new life has come, because it is finished. If you ever begin to doubt how much you are loved, look at the cross. It is finished, and you will finish strong!

Your Lord who paid it all for you

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - John 19:30 (TNIV)

A Prayer For Salvation

Princess Warrior, if you have never fully committed your life to the Lord or received Him as your Savior, I invite you to enlist in the Lord’s army and reap the reward of everlasting life. Yes, it is a spiritual fight to live for God, but there is no adventure on earth that is more exciting or everlasting than serving the King of kings.

If you’re ready to receive power and purpose, then say this prayer:

Dear Jesus,
I don’t want to live without a Savior any longer.
I believe You died for me, and I want to confess my sin and receive Your new life.
I choose on this day to invite You into my heart.
I thank You for Your blood shed for me on the cross at Calvary. Now I will live the rest of my life for You.
I pray this prayer by faith in Your name.

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.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - HAS GOD FORGOTTEN HIS CHILDREN?

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:1-2

If any believers can identify with this cry of David, it is those in North Korea. Today we hear from our co-worker, Jan Vermeer:

Looking at the desperate condition of the scattered North Korean church is a test of faith. Was the church meant to be underground or to be a bold witness? Should the name of Jesus Christ be proclaimed or whispered in silence? And if Jesus is King, why doesn’t He come to the rescue of his followers? Why do hundreds or even thousands perish in prisons or death camps each year?

An Open Doors contact in North Korea talks about their prayer meetings. “If you could attend one of those rare prayer meetings, your hearts would break,” he says. “We cover the portraits of the leaders on the wall and then we kneel down in a circle. We pray for strength and endurance. We pray that God will keep our country. ‘Father,’ we say, ‘The Israelites sinned and you made them wander in the wilderness for forty years. But for us, Lord, after more than fifty years we are still being punished. However, we have sinned and You are just. We bowed before the idols of Kim Il-Sung and before that to the idols of the Japanese. Forgive us. Please Father; restore the churches of past times in North Korea.’”

Feeling that sense of guilt in the North Korean believers is utterly painful. It makes you cry out with them the words of David, “How long, oh Lord? Will you forget me forever?” It’s a heartfelt cry, but is it the truth? Has God forgotten His children in North Korea? For that answer we have to investigate the spiritual life of North Korean Christians.

The Open Doors contact adds, “If you do that, you’ll find North Korean Christians are very mature. They know how to approach unbelievers and how to train new Christians, including their children once they are old enough. The Christians don’t mind to be tested. In fact, they are determined to sacrifice themselves for the Kingdom of God. They see trials as purifying.”

North Korean Christians know that when they pray earnestly, God will answer. The contact continues, “Whenever we do a project with Open Doors, first we fast for seven, sometimes ten days. Only when God tells us separately that we can continue with the project do we give the green light and carry out the project. Sometimes we have a very vivid dream in which God tells us what to do and sometimes we all just feel exactly the same about the project. Our believers are bolder and stronger than before, even though the persecution is also stronger.”

Where people love and follow Jesus, there is always hope!

RESPONSE: Today I bask in the sunshine of this hope. God does not ever forget His children!

PRAYER: Pray today for isolated believers in North Korea who do not have the warmth of Christian fellowship and group prayer.

Girlfriends in God - Celebrate Good Times, Come on!

Today’s Truth

There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10)

Friend to Friend

You would think she had just won the lottery the way she was screaming and jumping up in down. In fact, to her she practically had! She’d found her lovey and wanted everyone within hearing distance to celebrate with her.

Gabriella had lost her lovey a few weeks prior. This was a very big deal to a four-and-a-half-year old, especially since she’d had the little white and tan bear blanket from the time she was four months old. Lovey comforted her when she was sad or hurting, rode with her in car trips, slept with her during nap and nighttime, and was her most treasured possession.

When her comfy blanket friend went missing, Gabriella was understandably upset. She mentioned it to her mama, Brooke, occasionally and shed a few tears, but overall she held it together and tried hard to be a big girl about it.

So when she came across lovey in her sister’s dollhouse that day, the response was nothing short of effervescent elation.

Her mom had been visiting with a friend when Gabriella went rushing out to the living room, jumping, shouting and happy-dancing that she had found her lovey. Her face was radiant with joy that shown from her smiling eyes to her broad smile. It was a beautiful display of rejoicing over the lost being found.

In Luke 15 we read of a time when large crowds of people surrounded Jesus. Many of the people that came to hear him were lost: non-churched, rough-around-the-edges, curious outcasts. They seemed intrigued by this man who saw them for who they were and took a sincere interest in their lives. He taught, touched, healed and hung out with them. He didn’t wait until they had cleaned up and learned their good-boy Jewish manners. He welcomed them as they were.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law didn’t like it one bit. They muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2) Knowing what was on their hearts and minds, Jesus began to talk about lost things, repentance, and rejoicing.

First he talked about sheep. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:4-7)

Then Jesus talked about the value of a lost coin. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)

And He went on to tell the story of a prodigal son who broke the traditional customs by asking his father for his share of the family inheritance before it was due him, left home to do his own thing, spent all of his inherited money on wild living, and ended up desperate, alone, lost, and broken in a place far away.

When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:17-20)

Jesus continued to tell of that loving father who watched and waited for his son to return. When the wayward son finally did return, the father threw a grand ole’ party to celebrate. He was overjoyed that his lost son was found… that he was home and restored to the family.

Jesus told these parables to expose the depth of love that God has for humanity. The Pharisees showed blatant disregard for people who they didn't perceive to be as religious as they were and who didn’t act like them. What a contrast.

I’m reminded as I read this that I need to be careful about how I respond to people who don't share my faith in Christ. I need to value all of humanity and take a sincere interest in their lives regardless of what they believe. It can be easy to dismiss people who don't look like us or act like us or believe like us. But that's not what Jesus did.

Jesus showed us His heart for the lost. He went out of His way to teach and love them. He spoke life and shared the hope of salvation through the repentance of sins. He treasured those that society considered to be throw-away people and reached out to them in love. “For the Son of Man,” He said, “came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

To seek and save … and savor and celebrate!

Just like sweet little Gabriella rejoiced when she found her lovey, God and all of heaven celebrates when a sinner repents. Because we are His treasures and He loves us that much.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for seeking and saving me by Your grace. Thank You for loving me when I was hard to love. (And for the times when I still am!) Help me to see others as You see them. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Please use me to point others to Your hope.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Luke 19:1-10. What was the reason Jesus gave for coming to earth in verse 10? Are there any people you have given up on? Any you’ve distance yourself from because they don’t think, look, or act like you? What do you think would please God regarding this?

Give thanks to God for your salvation and for at least 3 loved ones who have been found by grace. Pray for the salvation of 3 lost people who are yet to be found by grace.

More from the Girlfriends

Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new book, I Want I ALL, who wants to help you think big thoughts about God – and inspire you toward His grace and truth. Her website is filled with videos, posts, songs and resources that will be a deep well of encouragement to you. Click here to visit her site. (Get a FREE Downloadable “I Want It All” COLORING and JOURNAL book when you sign up to receive her blog!)

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Verse of the Day - June 16, 2016

Psalm 103:13 (NIV) As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Read all of Psalm 103