Friday, July 8, 2016

Night Light for Couples - I Love You!

“This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17

One of the best ways to sustain true love between you and your mate is to build a bridge of loving memories. I am reminded of a husband named Jim who was tragically killed in an accident while driving home from work. It was his wife Carol’s fiftieth birthday. Rescue teams found two plane tickets to Hawaii in his pocket; he had planned to surprise Carol with them.

Months later, Carol was asked how she was coping. She answered that on their wedding day, she and Jim had promised to say “I love you” before noon each day of their marriage. Over the years it had become a fun—and often difficult—challenge. She recalled running down the driveway saying “I love you,” even though she was angry at Jim. On other occasions she drove to his office to drop a note in his car before the noon deadline. The effort it took to keep that promise led to many positive memories of their years together.

The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen, then slipped out to the car. Carol heard the engine starting and raced outside. She banged on the car window until he rolled it down, then yelled over the roar of the engine, “Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I, Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying ‘I love you!’”

“That’s how I’ve survived,” Carol said later. “Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were I love you!”

We can build bridges across the span of our lives in many ways— with cards and flowers, through special shared moments, or, like Jim and Carol, with a simple “I love you” expressed each day. Cherished memories established over the course of your marriage will give you and your mate the foundation for a genuine love that endures a lifetime.

Shirley M. Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Debbi Smoot from Moments for Each other by Robert Strand (Green Forest, Ariz.: New Leaf Press, 1993). Reprinted in More Stories for the Heart, comp. Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1997).

We call to you, Lord, in this time of violence

Lord of mercy, we call to you in this time of violence. We pray for all law enforcement officers, especially those who died last night during protests in Dallas and those who are injured, we pray for our brothers and sisters of color and we pray for all of your people who struggle and mourn. Be our light in the darkness. Lord in your mercy...

Men of the Bible - Hezekiah

His name means: "Yahweh Has Strengthened"

His work: He became coregent of Judah with his father, Ahaz, in 729 BC, six years before the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians. He reigned on his own for twenty-nine years, during which time he reopened the temple and restored Jerusalem as the center of worship, destroying the pagan altars and high places his father had built.
His character: Hezekiah is one of only four kings that the Bible compares favorably with King David, saying, "Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah…. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook."
His sorrow: That Judah and Israel had fallen away from the Lord, worshiping the gods of the nations around them.
His triumph: Hezekiah reformed the religious practices of Judah and with the Lord's help withstood the Assyrian invaders.
Key Scriptures: 2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 28:19-25; 29:1-10

A Look at the Man

Hezekiah's character stands in sharp contrast to the character of the other two kings who appear in the story. His father, Ahaz, trusted not in the God of Israel, but in the gods of other nations, particularly Assyria, believing them to be the source of its great power. By currying favor with idols, he must have hoped to increase his own power. But the reverse happened, and Judah grew weaker, not stronger.

Sennacherib was like him, trusting the power of his empire and then attempting to undermine Judah's trust in God. Three times his spokesman advised the people, "Don't trust Hezekiah when he tells you your god will save you. It's a fantasy! Your god is no different than the gods of all the other nations, none of whom have been able to resist us." Then, to entice them further, he promised to take them to a land of ease, a place with olive trees and honey, admonishing them to "choose life and not death."

It's no accident that Sennacherib's words directly contradict the counsel of Moses just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, a land filled with milk and honey. At the end of his ministry, Moses warned them: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

By attempting to persuade the people of Judah that everything good in life comes from trusting in the power of human beings, Sennacherib urged them toward the path of least resistance. Fortunately for Judah, Hezekiah recognized the lie and continued to trust in the Lord, thus inviting God's help and assuring Judah's survival.

Though the details of our stories differ vastly from the story of this ancient king, the principles are identical. We are still assailed by voices assuring us that the good life consists of amassing wealth, accumulating personal power, achieving success, and forging the kind of relationships we desire. But to mistake earthly blessings for the life that only God can give is to place our future in jeopardy. The choice is ours to make—today, tomorrow, and the day after that. The joy we seek lies in loving the Lord our God, listening to his voice, and holding fast to him.

Reflect On: 2 Kings 19:15–28 
Praise God: Because he is the Lord of heaven and earth. 
Offer Thanks: That no human being can ever overrule his sovereign power.
Confess: Any unbelief that makes you doubt God’s willingness to exercise his power on your behalf.
Ask God: To give you a greater desire to live for his glory and his glory alone.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

His Princess Every Day - His Light

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

My Daughter,

There will be times when I seem to be allowing you to walk in the darkness. You never have to worry when it is dark because I am your light. As your faithful Father, I don’t want you to wander away from Me. If it takes darkness to make you desperate for My light, then it’s worth losing your sight so you can see Me clearly. When you feel lost, don’t look to others for the light; get on your knees and call out to Me. I will come to your rescue every time. Your faith will soar when you let go of what you see in the natural light. As long as you let My Word and My instruction illuminate where you walk, you will not stumble or fear what you cannot see. My desire for you, My daughter, is that you no longer be controlled by what you see but live by what you know to be true about Me. From this day forward, may you choose to never again doubt in the darkness what you know to be true in the light!

Your faithful Father

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:6

Treasure of Truth

Your Father sees perfectly what you cannot. He will remove any obstacle in the way of His will.

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.

Girlfriends in God - You’re More Than a One-Talent Girl

Today’s Truth

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

In my last devotion, we looked at the parable of the talents, or rather the parable of the three choices. We saw a landowner that gave one servant five talents, another servant two talents, and another servant one talent.

As you read that devotion, (and if you didn’t, please click on and read it first) I wonder if you saw yourself as a one-talent girl. Perhaps you’re thinking that God hasn’t given you much to work with. He did, after all, entrust the servants with talents “according to their ability.” You look at what other folks are doing for God with their five talents and think that yours doesn’t really matter much anyway. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It could be that the servant with the five talents started out with one talent a few years back. The master saw what he did with that one—how he turned it into two. Then when he went on his next trip, the master gave that servant two talents, which he turned into four. So on this particular journey, the master entrusted this servant with five!

If we don’t use what God has given us because of fear, then He will not entrust us with more. It could very well be that He will take away what He’s given us and give it to someone else who has the courage to use her gifts and talents to accomplish her God-given purpose.

There’s always a bit of fear when it comes to taking a step of faith, but step we must! Don’t let the fear win. It’s not worth it.

I always thought a talent was just a few pieces of silver or gold. Boy, was I wrong. In biblical days, a talent referred to the largest unit of currency at the time. It was the heaviest or largest biblical unit of measurement for weight, equal to about 75 pounds or 35 kilograms. The one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today’s standards. Some calculate a talent to be equivalent to twenty years’ wages for the common worker.

So even though the one servant only received one talent or bag of gold, it was still no paltry amount. And again, I’m not turning this into a teaching about money. I don’t think that was what Jesus was doing either. He was teaching us about being good stewards of what God has entrusted us in every area of life.

God will never call you to do something that He will not empower and equip you to do. How sad when we hide what He has entrusted to us because of fear. If you have your talent hidden in the ground, dig it up. Once the landowner in the parable came home, it was too late for that servant with the one talent, but it is not too late for you.

I’m glad that the biblical term for what Jesus was teaching about is called talents. The NIV translates it as “bags of gold.” But when I see the word talents I can better associate it with God-given gifts and abilities. You have been given talents! Even if you think that you have been given only one talent, you have been given one.

Don’t let fear keep you from using what you have. Invest what God has given you in other people, and watch your investment multiply right before your eyes. Then when your day comes, God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me every thing I need to live a godly life. Help me to see the gifts and talents that you have given me. Help me to let go of feelings of inadequacy and take hold of Your sufficiency.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read John 6:1-13. What did God do with the boy’s small lunch?

What do you think God is asking you to offer to Him?

He will use what you’ve got…but you’ve got to use what you’ve got.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion was taken from my new book, Take Hold of the Faith you Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. And if there is anything we need to let go of in order to move forward it’s shame and condemnation. A mediocre, mundane faith is not what you were made for! In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith, living less than what we had hoped. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to TAKE HOLD of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for you and placed in you! Click on the book cover to download a sample chapter and view a quick video. And if you’re looking for a new study for your women’s group or individual study, Take Hold includes a Bible Study guide in the back.

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 - SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHO SUFFER

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 2 Timothy 4:16

The Apostle Paul knew exactly what it was like to be alone, to be deserted by all who called themselves “brothers” and “sisters.” A former colleague who has done considerable travel among the persecuted says, “It is hard to believe that Christians are the largest persecuted group in the world today. But it is even more difficult to believe that this is so seldom mentioned in our gatherings and church services. More Christians know the names of their favorite actors than their fellow believers who are in prison.”

He continues, “With every trip something in my heart breaks as I hear the echoes of suffering:
  • I remember the echoes of an Egyptian mother as she shared how her young boy was stuck in a haystack because she refused to deny Jesus.
  • I remember the sounds of weeping as fellow students in Indonesia shared how Sariman, their co-student, was hacked to death.
  • I remember the cries of anguish as we walked from church to church that was burned to the ground on the island of Lombok.
  • I remember the tears of Rebecca in Iran as she showed the picture of her father who was stabbed to death for sharing the gospel.
  • I remember the voice of Pastor Daniel in Vietnam as he shared how he was chained to the ground for six months.
  • I remember the fear of Grace from Sudan as she shared how her church was attacked and her friend was shot through the head.
  • Oh, I remember the cries of Caleb in Eritrea as he shared with tears how two dear friends were executed in front of him because of their faith.
  • And I remember the tears of Joy in the southern Philippines as she shared how her fiancé was shot to death in their church in Mindanao.
  • But, most all, I remember the deafening sounds of silence every time I return home.
RESPONSE: How can I be silent today? How can I not speak on behalf of those who suffer? How can I desert those that belong to the same body that I belong to and who desperately need the encouragement of my intervention on their behalf?

PRAYER: Lord, broaden my awareness of the needs of my suffering brothers and sisters. May I not be known for my silence.

Verse of the Day - July 08, 2016

Psalm 138:2 (NIV) I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.

Read all of Psalm 138