Sunday, June 26, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Overcommitment

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Ephesians 5:15

Overcommitment is a marriage killer. When your week is filled with the demands of fifty, sixty, or even seventy hours at the office, the pressures of a new baby, making meals, night classes, housework, church programs, replacing the broken window, the kids’ band and football practices, Bible studies, painting the house, caring for your aunt with the broken leg… well, you get the idea. How can a husband and wife seek to communicate with each other when they’re too worn out to talk? How can they enjoy praying together when every moment is programmed? How can they enjoy a sexual relationship when they just want to collapse into bed each evening?

A few years ago some friends of ours decided to do something about this dilemma. They sold their house and moved to a less expensive home so they could reduce their hours at work and spend more time with each other and their children. That kind of downward mobility is almost unheard of today. Have they regretted it? Not for a moment.

Just between us…
  • Are you satisfied with the amount of time we have for rest, renewal, and relationship building?
  • Did we overcommit ourselves in the past week or month? How did that happen? How can we prevent it from happening again?
  • What activities most often consume the time we could better spend with each other and with God? Can we give some of them up?
Dear Heavenly Father, we find it so much easier to fill our lives with “doing” instead of “being.” Forgive us for our misplaced values and careless living, and show us how to keep our priorities straight. Amen.

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

Coming to God in Prayer


The disciples asked the Lord how to pray. We should do the same and pray with conviction.

The disciples of Jesus had been watching Him for some time. It became apparent to them that He prayed often, and He prayed with confidence that His prayers would be answered. It also was obvious that their own prayers were not like His. Finally, they came to the Lord with a humble request: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).

Have you ever asked the Lord that question? Since the disciples of Jesus wondered how and what to pray, you may be sure that many other believers have struggled with the same questions at some point in their lives.

Daniel was a man of God who knew how to pray. He knew how to approach God, and he prayed with conviction, believing that God not only heard him but that He would answer. Look at part of his fervent prayer for his enslaved nation and think about the way he came before the Lord.

What Does God Say?

"O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate" (Daniel 9:16-17, ESV).

On your notepad, record your answers to the following:

  • What do you see in Daniel's prayer that shows his understanding of the nature of God?

  • What does Daniel confess to God about Israel's relationship to Him?

  • What did Daniel ask God to do about his prayer and pleas?

  • What were Daniel's specific requests for the city of Jerusalem and the temple of God?

  • Was his prayer primarily for his own sake, for his nation's sake or for God's sake?

My Thoughts

How should you approach God in prayer? The Bible has many pointers for you. Below are several Scripture verses that give guidance about what your attitude should be as you come to Him in prayer. Write down all that you see.

There are many more things that the Bible teaches about prayer. Use your concordance to look up the words "pray" and "prayer" in order to see what other lessons you can learn about a proper attitude in prayer.

My Part

Here is a verse you should put into your mind and heart. It tells you what the Lord will do for you when you pray, and it encourages you to have complete trust that He hears you and will answer every need.

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).

Reprinted with permission from © 2015 iDisciple LLC, All rights reserved.

The Daily Readings for June 26, 2016 - 6th Sunday of Pentecost

1 Kings 19:15-16, 19:19-21
Then the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Then Elijah said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?" He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Psalm 16 Conserva me, Domine
1   Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; I have said to the LORD, "You are my Lord, my good above all other."
2   All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble among the people.
3   But those who run after other gods shall have their troubles multiplied.
4   Their libations of blood I will not offer, nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
5   O LORD, you are my portion and my cup; it is you who uphold my lot.
6   My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
7   I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night.
8   I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
9   My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope.
10   For you will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy one see the Pit.
11   You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Galatians 5:1, 13-25
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Luke 9:51-62
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for June 26, 2016 - 6th Sunday of Pentecost

Galatians 5:17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

Imagine that you are dreaming, and in this dream you see a hot pan heating on a kitchen stove. In walks a man who grabs the hot pan with both hands. It burns him, and you want to scream at him to put it down, but you can’t. You watch, horrified, as he keeps holding on. Why won’t he let it go? The pan is burning his hands, and he is clearly in pain, but he still holds on.

I’m one of those people easily distracted by philosophy, speculation, and abstract ideas. These concepts definitely have an important place in the life of the Spirit, but one of the most basic problems that we human beings have is that we do things that cause suffering. We who pursue a life of faith would do well to keep coming back to the basics with others and ourselves: What in the life of the Spirit is serving you well? What is it in the life of the flesh that is causing pain to you or to others?

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Standing Strong Through the Storm - GOD ANSWERS PRAYER

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

In the mid-1990’s, my Canadian co-worker, PJ, and I were leading a ministry trip of Canadians and Americans to Iran. This was the first trip with a sizable group of Americans so there was a lot of excitement about it. And as expected, it took us right to the wire (two hours before our air flight) to secure their visitor visas.

As we finally relaxed on the long air flight, we realized we’d been so busy with travel details we’d had no time to shop for gifts for the brothers and sisters we’d be meeting. So on the plane, we bought every box of chocolates that were on the duty-free carts.

On arrival in Iran, our women were all conservatively dressed in their black chadors allowing them to travel anywhere in the country and be accepted. It also enabled many discussions with other women on the street. Only their shoes gave them away as westerners.

One of our tasks was to deliver some funds for widow support for the several Christian widows of martyred pastors in the country at that time. We channelled this through Sister Takoosh who was the widow of well-known Pastor Haik, the leader of the evangelicals in the entire country until his untimely murder.

We sent our group of chador-covered ladies to meet Takoosh at night at her home. They were received with the traditional great hospitality of the Persian culture and Christian community. They drank tea together and enjoyed wonderful fellowship in Jesus after sharing the financial and other gifts they brought.

Just before leaving, one of the Canadians remembered something. She reached into her large purse and pulled out a box of chocolates. She handed it to Sister Takoosh and said, “The two Pauls sent this as a gift for you.”

Unexpectedly, Takoosh began to weep. She then wiped her tears and said, “I really love chocolate. And when I get any, I cut it into small pieces to make it last as long as possible. Just yesterday I ate my last piece. And I said to the Lord, ‘I know this is a very selfish request, Lord, but would You please bring me some more chocolate!’”

God is concerned about even the small things in our lives. Talk to Him about them.

RESPONSE: Today I will talk to God about every detail of my life and trust Him with the answers.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord that You care about my every need. I will Trust You to take care of every detail.

Verse of the Day - June 26, 2016

Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Read all of Leviticus 19