Thursday, June 30, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Still the One

We’ve talked this week about the brevity of life and the importance of making the most of the time the Lord has given us. Our journey as marital partners will someday come to an end. First one of us, and then the other, will stand before God, give an account of our days, and begin our eternal journey. Jim and I certainly look forward to that heavenly reward, but we are also enjoying our time together on this earth. Jim has recovered fully from a heart attack and a stroke, either of which could have taken his life. Those experiences have made our relationship all the sweeter and more precious. I will always thank God for bringing us together in a marriage that has continued now for more than four decades.

One of the most delightful experiences during that time came in a Marriage Encounter seminar we participated in years ago. I knew that Jim loved and needed me during the early years of our marriage, but I had begun to quietly wonder if I still held the most prominent place in his heart. On the final day of the seminar, without discussing it ahead of time, we wrote each other letters addressing just this issue. I’ll never forget the moment we came together and shared these thoughts.

Jim concluded his letter to me, in part, with these words:

I love you, S. M. D. (Remember the monogrammed shirt?) I love the girl who believed in me before I believed in myself. I love the girl who never complained about huge school bills and books and hot apartments and rented junky furniture and no vacations and humble little Volkswagens. You have been with me—encouraging me, loving me, and supporting me since August 27, 1960. And the status you have given me in our home is beyond what I have deserved.

If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

So why do I want to go on living? It’s because I have you to take the journey with. Otherwise, why make the trip? The half that lies ahead promises to be tougher than the years behind us. Autumn is coming. Even now, I can feel a little nip in the air—and I try not to look at a distant, lone cloud that passes near the horizon. With whom, then, will I spend that final season of my life?

None but you, Shirls. The only joy of the future will be in experiencing it as I have the past twenty‐one years—hand‐in‐hand with the one I love, a young miss named Shirley Deere, who gave me everything she had—including her heart. Thank you, babe, for making this journey with me. Let’s finish it— together!

May the Lord continually sustain and enrich your marriage. God’s blessings to you both… and good night.

- Shirley M Dobson

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

His Princess Every Day - Break Out of Approval Addiction

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,

Today I am asking you to search your heart and ask this question: whom do you seek for approval? Are you living your life for the approval and praise of people, or of Me? I want to save you from exhausting yourself by performing for a world that does not want to praise you. I designed you to desire Me and Me alone. When you choose to live for me, you will never again be thirsty for attention, because you will be hydrated in My love and adoration for you. Now let Me ask you again, My beloved daughter: Whose praise do you seek?

Your King who seeks after you

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. - Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

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 - MYSTERY

He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ… Ephesians 1:9

Human beings always want to know “why?” and “why not now?” But it’s precisely because we are human we cannot know. That’s why mystery is so important to understand. The entire book of Job is all about the “why” of suffering and in the end God invites Job to see a bigger picture than even his suffering.

Creation is a mistake if all you see is your suffering. But if you lift your eyes wider and let your gaze roam over the whole universe with God, you can also see that creation has even more beauty and grace.

So we are to value mystery because it enables us to feel God’s love…love that was fully revealed in Christ.

Sometimes we get to see “why?” and “why not now?” (one of the good aspects of growing older). Often we don’t because we are the players of life in the universe, not the playwright.

Christine Mallouhi in her excellent book, Waging Peace on Islam, makes this significant conclusion:

The victorious and triumphant Christian life does not conjure up pictures of suffering and death and feelings of abandonment. But this was all part of God's victory in Christ. If this was the path the Master trod why should it be any different for the servants? Jesus cried out "why?" and "where are you?" to God when circumstances were crushing him. God is always greater than our understanding of him and there will always be mystery about him that causes us to fall down in awe and worship. This mystery, which we want to tidily categorise, keeps causing struggles in our life. Every time we get God tidied up like a ball of rubber bands, another end bursts out and the struggle begins over again, until we learn to live in faith with untidy ends. If everything is clear then faith is irrelevant. We are not called to solve the mystery, but enter it.

RESPONSE: Today I will value mystery because it enables me to feel God’s love.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord that though the world around us if full of suffering, it is more full of beauty and grace. Help me to trust You and value mystery.

Girlfriends in God - Learn How to Sit Down

Today’s Truth

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:40-42).

Friend to Friend

I had a list of things to get done. Yes, my back was killing me. I was tired, but that list kept me hurrying around the house like the proverbial Energizer Bunny. When my husband walked in from work, I gave him a quick hug and resumed my almost frantic pace.

“What are you doing, honey?” Dan asked. With one of my famous sighs, I responded, “I just need to get a few things done.” “How is your back?” Dan persisted. With growing irritation, I answered, “It hurts!” Dan watched me for a few minutes and then calmly stated, “You don’t know how to sit down, do you?” My first response was irritation, which quickly escalated into anger – until I heard the unmistakable prompting of the Holy Spirit affirming the truth Dan had spoken. I needed to learn how to stop and sit down – and rest. But that list held me captive to unrealistic expectations in a ridiculous effort to prove my worth through what I did. It is an ongoing battle in my life. And I am not alone.

We all struggle with balance and the stress that struggle creates. When we refuse to balance the demands of work, home, family, friends, and personal growth, stress happens. What we really need is a holy balance only God can bring. The story of Mary and Martha, two very different women, offers valuable truths about balance.

A balanced life is focused on right things. Focus is always found at the feet of Jesus. Mary lived out this truth. In fact, Mary, more than any other person in the New Testament, is associated with sitting at the feet of Jesus.

To sit at the feet of Jesus demands action on our part. First, we must stop. I know - a novel idea for most of us. Mary stopped what she was doing - helping Martha in the kitchen - and came to sit at the feet of Jesus. Of course, Martha immediately began complaining that she had been left to do all the work while her sister wasted time sitting at Jesus’ feet. I’ve learned that there will always be someone who will misunderstand or complain when you choose to obey God and do what Jesus told Martha was “the better part."

Mary made a choice, and so must we. Choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling, and a willful determination. God wants relationship building time with us, which means time at His feet - in His presence. Jesus gently rebuked Martha because she had forgotten what was most important.

It is amazing to me how I can squander away the best part of my day, leaving God with the leftover scraps of time and then have the audacity to complain that my life is void of power and purpose. Distractions come from every side. Some of those distractions are good and wonderful things, but they are still wrong things if they keep us from stopping to spend time with God. We make daily choices about where we invest our time as we head to work, run errands, plan meals, deal with children, clean house, and do laundry - but fail to schedule the most important activity of all, spending time with God.

I absolutely hate to wait and tend to view waiting as a thief that robs me of control and forces me to face the unknown. Waiting is not a passive loss of time. Waiting is active spiritual obedience. In each waiting room of life, God is at work preparing me for the circumstances ahead.

Psalm 5:3 (NLT) “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” 

Are you desperate for the peace and a balance only God can provide? Then it’s time to stop, take inventory of the demands upon your time, and begin investing the best part of your day sitting at His feet. Being wrapped up in God’s work can easily become a shabby substitute for being wrapped up in His presence, and we can only be wrapped up in God’s presence when we learn to sit at His feet and wait on Him.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am really tired of trying to prove my worth by what I do. I am tired of being responsible for everyone’s happiness – a burden You never intended me to carry. I want to let go of everything except the things You have for me to do. Help me learn to see my worth in Your eyes alone. Give me the strength to stop and rest in You. Thank You for loving me, Father. Please help me to live a life that reflects that love.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize Psalm 23:1-3.

List two ways you can apply these verses to your life in the area of sitting at the feet of Jesus.
  1. __________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________
More from the Girlfriends

If we want to live the life God created us to live, we must bring every area under His influence and control. Mary’s E-Book, Fit for Life, will help you learn to truly sit at His feet. Check it out!

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Verse of the Day - June 30, 2016

Zechariah 14:9 (NIV) The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

Read all of Zechariah 14