Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Happily Ever After?

“Are you married? Do not seek a divorce.”
1 Corinthians 7:27

What you have observed by looking around your social circles is born out by the numbers: According to nearly every relevant statistic, the institution of marriage is in serious trouble. The Council on Families in America reports that half of first marriages are likely to end in divorce. The National Center for Health Statistics tells us that the number of Americans choosing to marry is declining. And Brent Barlow, professor of family sciences at Brigham Young University, says that if cohabitation and divorce trends continue, “married” could become a minority status within ten years.

Obviously, millions of couples who were once deeply in love and believed they were wonderfully suited for each other are seeing their marriages fall apart. If you and your spouse are going to beat the odds, you will need to bring dedication and hard work to your relationship.

Does this challenge seem more like a threat than a promise? We have good news. First, couples who are willing to invest in their relationship will find the greatest fulfillment and meaning that life has to offer. That is the promise of a godly marriage. Statistics bear this fact out too! Second, you need not try to beat the odds alone. In fact, you were never meant to. But more on that tomorrow…

Just between us…
  • What, specifically, does having a “happy marriage” mean to you?
  • Are you happy? Why or why not?
  • What can I do to bring more happiness to your life?
Heavenly Father, You designed the covenant of marriage from the beginning, and our marriage belongs to You. So bless our union with Your best! Draw us together, and draw us to You. Amen.

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

His Princess Every Day - I Came to Serve You

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

Even when you don’t feel valued, let Me remind you, My Princess, that I--your King--came to serve you. I not only created you; I also sustain your life, comfort your spirit, and provide what you need. You are so valuable that I even paid the ultimate price at the cross to ransom you, My child. I am able to take any failure or mistake you’ve made and miraculously use it for My glory. I am patient, kind, and merciful--I am Love. So now that you know your sins are forgiven, I am asking you to turn from who you were and become who I called you to be. Let Me help you. I am your Lord who loves you no matter what.

Your King who came for you

“For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
- Matthew 20:28

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit HisPrincess.com for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Chocolate For Your Soul with Sheri Rose Shepherd - What's Controlling You?

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! — Deuteronomy 30:19

I used to feel angry with God for allowing me to grow up in such a dysfunctional home. Why hadn’t He put me in a family that lived together peacefully? Why did He let me cry myself to sleep at night while my parents screamed at each other in the other room? Why did other little girls have parents who loved each other and got along?

I don’t think it was God’s will that my parents fought or that their marriage ended in divorce. But today I realize that my past pain and my parents’ marital problems do not have to determine my future. If everything in my life had gone the way I wanted it to, I might not have such passion for my God-given call as a Christian speaker and author. I might not have compassion for those who have walked through similar trials in this life.

He has used my painful past to make me passionate for peace in my own family now. He has used my parents’ divorce to compel me to stay married when I was tempted to give up in tough times. He has used my poor choices to take drugs by giving me courage to speak to young people about how to live for God. My battle with bulimia drove me to write a bestselling book, that helps girls and women break free from that bondage.

I know many times life does not seem fair or just. I wish I could give you a reason for every sad and awful thing that happens on this earth. I wish I could pray away all the pain this life brings. What I do know, according to the Word of God, is that we are in a spiritual war and there are souls to be won!

Our God can take any part of our lives, good or bad, and use it for his Glory. We can be a trophy of His grace, forgiveness, and mercy for the world to see.

Today is a perfect day for your new life to begin, you are only one choice away from a beautiful break through!

God's Letter to You

I believe if The Lord was going to write you a personal letter about battles this life brings it may read like this....

My Princess Warrior,

I will make you a Hero of the faith if you chose to live for me. Every tough choice you make to obey Me will become a foundation of faith your family.. Your commitment to my call will crave character in the next generation. Every prayer you pray will become a blessing passed down.

Your and courage will continue to bring comfort to many during their difficult times. Your trust in Me will remain in others who watched you walk in peace. I, your God, declare on this day that your children’s children will be forever blessed because you lived your life for an audience of One . . . Me!

Your King Who Gives You Life

Treasure of Truth

Happy are those who delight in doing what he commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will never be forgotten. — Psalm 112:1–3

Girlfriends in God - The Picture of Repentance

Today’s Truth

He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, NLT).

Friend to Friend

It had been a rough afternoon for Hudson, our four-year-old grandson. Dan and I were keeping him and his brother Justus for a few days while our daughter and son-in-law were out of town. I know. It’s a rough job, but somebody has to do it.

I had spent a week getting ready for their visit. The checklist was complete!

The refrigerator, pantry, and snack drawer were filled with their favorite foods.

The toys were assembled and ready for action.

The bed in our guestroom was piled high with extra pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals waiting to be hugged.

Favorite books were stacked beside their bed for naps and bedtime imaginations.

Now all we needed were the boys! When we went to pick them up, they squealed and jumped into our arms. At this point, I’m not sure who was more excited. But it didn’t matter. The adventure had begun!

We had a total blast!

We went to their favorite places … Chuck E. Cheese, Wal-Mart, Build-A-Bear, Lego Land, McDonald’s … to name a few. We raced Hot Wheels and built cars, trucks, airplanes, and castles with Legos. The boys battled alien creatures from the safety of Papa’s fort made with blankets, tables, chairs, and a few secret items that I was told girls simply would not understand. Bath times were one big splash fest. At bedtime, we snuggled under blankets and read stories accompanied by some pretty amazing shadow puppet shows.

I lay between Justus and Hudson each night and watched them fall asleep as I sang the songs I once sang to their mother. Beautiful boys!

Our grandchildren are my greatest legacy and some of the most skilled teachers in my life. Hudson stepped up to the lectern on the boys’ last day with us.

We spent the morning at the park and had a picnic lunch before a rainstorm chased us home. After naps we had an epic laser light battle in the basement playroom where Justus says it gets “seriously dark” when it rains. Justus was declared the winner, and we raced upstairs to get ready for dinner.

We were headed to one of their favorite places to eat - Fritz’s – where a miniature train runs around the ceiling of the restaurant and stops at each booth, lowering a tray holding the food you ordered. I know. It’s amazing. The boys love it.

And then it happened!

Seriously, Justus and Hudson had been nothing short of wonderful for three days. They listened and did everything we asked them to do. They went to bed like angels without a fuss. They were happy and sweet.

But that invisible switch was flipped, and the battle was on!

Neither boy listened. When we asked them to do something, they looked at us as if we were speaking a foreign language. Hudson blatantly refused to do anything we asked him to do. The final straw was when he punched Justus for no reason and earned a timeout.

Hudson hates timeouts with a passion, but he took it like a champ, apologizing to Justus and to us. I went to grab my purse while Dan helped Hudson get his shoes on so we could go eat. When I walked back in the room, Hudson’s eyes met mine, and his precious little face crumbled as he burst into tears.

Dan and I were stunned!

I grabbed Hudson in a fierce hug and held him until he stopped crying. I wiped away the tears and kissed his scrumptious cheeks. “What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked. With tear-filled eyes and a trembling lip, he said, “Mimi, I twy so hard to make good choices, but sometimes I just can’t!” My heart broke, and I began to cry with Hudson. I knew exactly how he felt.

I told him how much Papa and I love him.

I told him we would always love him, no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

I told him how special he is to us … and to God.

And I caught a glimpse of the Father’s heart when we come to Him in genuine repentance. Not sorry we got caught in our sin, but truly sorry that we have sinned.

The desire of God’s heart is always restoration – not condemnation. When we truly repent, God will truly forgive us.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You with a broken heart. I am a sinner, and I am so sorry for the disobedience in my life. Reveal every wrong attitude and action in my life that is displeasing to You. Right now, I repent. Father, thank You for the precious gift of forgiveness that is mine because of what Jesus did on the cross.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Are you ready to turn away from your sin and turn to God? If so, record the following commitment in your journal. Pray through each statement. Sign and date your entry.
  • I understand that forgiveness demands repentance.
  • I choose to admit the sin in my life.
  • I choose to “turn from” the sin in my life.
  • I will destroy any paths that might lead to that same sin.
  • I will trust God for the power to practice repentance.
More from the Girlfriends
One of the most powerful illustrations of God’s love and forgiveness is found in the lives of Hosea and Gomer. Hear their life-changing story in Mary’s MP3 download, Love That Never Fails.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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 - STANDING STRONG

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

Until the fall of President Ceausescu in 1989, Romania was one of the most important countries for Open Doors Bible delivery ministry. We supplied countless Bibles and books—especially to Pastor Paul Negrut of the Baptist Church in Oradea. He later wrote to Brother Andrew and said, “In a divinely appointed network, we would receive a small number of Bibles to be distributed quietly and carefully among believers. Although the food supply was scarce, the Romanian believers treasured the Word of God more than anything in this world. When asked to choose between food parcels and Bibles, every Romanian that I know asked for Bibles.

“What Open Doors has done for us is better described in the words of a Christian lady who whispered to her husband, ‘The angels have arrived.’ Their little daughter heard those words and rushed into the next room to see the angels. To her surprise and disappointment, the ‘angels’ she saw were two bearded men casually dressed. The little girl had great difficulty reconciling her imagination about angels with the reality she saw. As strange as this looked for that little girl, this is the spiritual reality: for us you have been God’s angels that brought us the Bread of Life.”

Previously, Open Doors knew that the little Baptist Church of Oradea was likely to be knocked down at any moment as it was located in a slum clearance area. A new building was badly needed, because the little church was nowhere near big enough to accommodate all the believers anymore. However, the possibility of the church being granted planning permission for a new building was very slim.

At the beginning of 2005, we found that the little church still had not been pulled down, but it was no longer in use. A beautiful, big, new church had taken its place—a gigantic church, which seats 3,000. Every Sunday it is completely full, as it was in the past, right into the aisles. During the week, Bible studies are held for about 400 teenagers and young adults.

Dr. Paul Negrut’s church is heavily involved in evangelism and missionary work, reaching to Central Asia, Russia and the Middle East. They even have a theological university where pastors receive training. Students come not only from Romania but also from the missionary fields. One student is from Yakutsk (Siberia).

But not all believers in Romania are getting on well. Pastor Paul says, “In my experience, 95% of the believers who faced the test of external persecution passed it, while 95% of those who now face the test of prosperity fail it.”

But he also quickly analyzed the situation of persecution well: “It is not persecution itself but the lessons learned under persecution that make and keep the church and an individual believer strong in the Lord… what makes the difference is how we respond to persecution and how we respond to freedom.”[1]

Stand strong in the Lord!

RESPONSE: Today I will prepare myself for the hard assignments in responding biblically to challenges.

PRAYER: Pray for Romania that God will revive His church to stand strong in the face of prosperity.

1. Audrey Dorsch, “After the Persecution—What Then?” Faith Today (November/December 1992), p.60

Verse of the Day - July 05, 2016

Isaiah 12:4 (NIV) In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Read all of Isaiah 12