Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Failure is Never Final With God

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

A righteous man or woman may fall seven times, but he will get back up again. — Proverbs 24:16

It may take a storm or two before we finally call out to God to pick us up and put us in the center of His will. But He will not let us stay down. Today He tenderly says to you, "Even if you fall seven times, My princess, I will always help you get back up again."

Watch this week's video by clicking on the image below.

 Failure is never final with God.

We all fall down, or sometimes life pushes us down. Many times our foundation has been so shaken that we feel like we are in a free fall and can’t find solid ground to stand back up.

The truth inside the heart of every man and woman screams, “I want to win.” No one wants to lose in life. We just don’t know how to recover from the fall. Sometimes we hide like Eve in the Garden, sometimes we run away like Jonah But God is so faithful He will take our weakest moment when we want to quit and lovingly lift us back up again.

Just because you feel like quitting does not mean life is over.

Sometimes a fall gives us an encounter with grace as we allow the Lord to lift us up from our painful place of humiliation. Sometimes our falls hurt both others and ourselves. But every time I’ve thought, “I can’t get up again”, and have cried out to my King, He has always heard me, and He has always stretched out His hand to help me stand and continue serving Him.

The reason I tell you about my Miss San Jose Pageant is because I learned a very important life lesson from that night. I learned that it is not only how we act that makes a difference in our lives; it is also how we choose to react to pain, disappointment, and rejection. These reactions can determine whether we win or lose in this life.

Keep in mind that there is not a soul on this earth who won’t experience failure, disappointment, and discouragement. Our beloved King David had to get up from the shame of neglecting his duty to be on the battlefield and committing adultery. The apostle Peter had to get from the guilt of denying Jesus three times after bragging he loved the Lord more than everyone else. Do not misunderstand me—there is a price to pay when we fall and sin against God, however, the same God who disciplines us because He loves us also sent us a Savior to give us the power to get up and finish our faith fight.

God's Letter to You

My Princess Warrior,

I know many days you feel like a weary warrior, too tired to fight. I see you when you have exhausted your faith and lost your passion for My people. Today I want to paint an eternal picture for My beloved warrior. Every act of kindness you share will water someone’s thirsty soul. Every time you pray for someone, you are changing their destiny from darkness to light. You are more than a light in the darkness. Your faith will continue to be a raging fire that will burn in the hearts of many generations who follow your works on earth. 

Your Eternal King

My Prayer for You

Dear God, I lift up your daughter before you today, I ask right now that you would give her a sweet release from anything that is holding her back from tasting your goodness. I pray if there is anything in her that is not of you that you would reveal it now so she can get up and be free. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

For more about Sheri Rose's ministry, visit HisPrincess.com.

The Daily Readings for July 19, 2016

Joshua 8:1-22
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear or be dismayed; take all the fighting men with you, and go up now to Ai. See, I have handed over to you the king of Ai with his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king; only its spoil and its livestock you may take as booty for yourselves. Set an ambush against the city, behind it." So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to go up against Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand warriors and sent them out by night with the command, "You shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it; do not go very far from the city, but all of you stay alert. I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out against us, as before, we shall flee from them. They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, 'They are fleeing from us, as before.' While we flee from them, you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city; for the LORD your God will give it into your hand. And when you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire, doing as the LORD has ordered; see, I have commanded you." So Joshua sent them out; and they went to the place of ambush, and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai; but Joshua spent that night in the camp. In the morning Joshua rose early and mustered the people, and went up, with the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. All the fighting men who were with him went up, and drew near before the city, and camped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai. Taking about five thousand men, he set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley. When the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the inhabitants of the city, hurried out early in the morning to the meeting place facing the Arabah to meet Israel in battle; but he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. And Joshua and all Israel made a pretense of being beaten before them, and fled in the direction of the wilderness. So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city. There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel; they left the city open, and pursued Israel. Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Stretch out the sword that is in your hand toward Ai; for I will give it into your hand." And Joshua stretched out the sword that was in his hand toward the city. As soon as he stretched out his hand, the troops in ambush rose quickly out of their place and rushed forward. They entered the city, took it, and at once set the city on fire. So when the men of Ai looked back, the smoke of the city was rising to the sky. They had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers. When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city was rising, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. And the others came out from the city against them; so they were surrounded by Israelites, some on one side, and some on the other; and Israel struck them down until no one was left who survived or escaped.

Romans 14:1-12
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Matthew 26:47-56
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him." At once he came up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him. Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you are here to do." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?" At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 45 Eructavit cor meum
1 My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2 You are the fairest of men; grace flows from your lips, because God has blessed you for ever.
3 Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, in your pride and in your majesty.
4 Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice.
5 Your right hand will show you marvelous things; your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
6 The peoples are falling at your feet, and the king's enemies are losing heart.
7 Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom; you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8 Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9 All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10 Kings' daughters stand among the ladies of the court; on your right hand is the queen, adorned with the gold of Ophir.
11 Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; forget your people and your father's house.
12 The king will have pleasure in your beauty; he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13 The people of Tyre are here with a gift; the rich among the people seek your favor."
14 All glorious is the princess as she enters; her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16 With joy and gladness they are brought, and enter into the palace of the king.
17 In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18 I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another; therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever."

Evening Psalms

Psalm 47 Omnes gentes, plaudite
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a cry of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdues the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.
4 He chooses our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of the ram's-horn.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill.
8 God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the peoples have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham.
10 The rulers of the earth belong to God, and he is highly exalted.

Psalm 48 Magnus Dominus
1 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised; in the city of our God is his holy hill.
2 Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion, the very center of the world and the city of the great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he is known to be her sure refuge.
4 Behold, the kings of the earth assembled and marched forward together.
5 They looked and were astounded; they retreated and fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in childbirth, like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
7 As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God; God has established her for ever.
8 We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of your temple.
9 Your praise, like your Name, O God, reaches to the world's end; your right hand is full of justice.
10 Let Mount Zion be glad and the cities of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments.
11 Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her; count the number of her towers.
12 Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds; that you may tell those who come after.
13 This God is our God for ever and ever; he shall be our guide for evermore.

His Princess Every Day - Dress Like Royalty

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

I’ve called you to be royalty, My princess. You don’t have to conform to the wardrobes of this world to feel good about yourself. Remember, what you wear initially defines what people think about you. I want your wardrobe to honor Me. You don’t need to dress to get attention--I can make you more beautiful than any fashion designer because I specialize in internal and eternal makeovers. Your favor and beauty will radiate because you are a reflection of Me. Keep in mind that those who design clothes to expose your body do not love your soul like I do. My love, let your wardrobe reveal My spirit--not your flesh. So robe yourself today like the royalty you are.

Your King and your eternal beauty

Charm can be deceiving
and beauty fades away,
but a woman who honors the LORD
deserves to be praised. - Proverbs 31:30 (CEV)

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 - The Good Fight

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

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE PERSECUTED

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12

With our hunger and thirst for righteousness comes the promise of persecution for those who take a stand for God. We have not been called to safety and comfort but to serve in the midst of conflict. Persecution is not to be strenuously avoided, for it is the result of righteous living. To avoid it, one would have to cease living righteously.

The early church went through much persecution for their faith in Christ. It affected their livelihood. They had to ask themselves, Should a Christian craftsman create idols for the temples? Or should a tailor sew robes for heathen priests?

Persecution affected social and family life. Most feasts were held in the temple of some god. A common invitation would be dining at the table of such a god. Even an ordinary meal in a home began with a cup of wine poured out in honor of the gods, like grace before a meal. Could a Christian share in such a meal like that?

Severe persecution meant being flung to the lions, burned at the stake, or being wrapped in pitch and set alight to provide light for Nero’s palace gardens. Or it meant being sewn in animal skins and set upon by Nero’s hunting dogs. Christians were tortured on the rack; scraped with pincers; had molten lead poured on them; had red-hot brass plates fixed to the most tender parts of their bodies; had eyes torn out; had limbs cut off and roasted before their eyes; had hands and feet burned while cold water was poured over other parts to prolong agony.

Most of us have never in our lives made a real sacrifice for Jesus. To have to suffer persecution is to walk along the same road as the prophets, the saints, and the martyrs. To suffer persecution is to make things easier for those who are to follow. To suffer persecution is to experience the fellowship of Christ, as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in the furnace (Daniel 3:19-25). It is not always so dramatic, but it is nevertheless real. Most of us enjoy the blessing of liberty today because men and women in the past were willing to buy it for us at the cost of their own blood, sweat and tears.

RESPONSE: I will accept persecution, whether mild or hot, which comes as a result of righteous living.

PRAYER: Lord, encourage those today who are experiencing severe persecution for Your name.

Girlfriends in God - Where Would I Be Without My Mountains?

Today’s Truth

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Dan and I have been all over the United States and the world … but we had never been to Montana. So when I booked a speaking engagement there, we decided to take a few days following the event for a mini-vacation.

We fell in love with Montana! The event was amazing! The leadership, preparation, and prayer that had gone into the planning of the conference blessed me in a huge way. I knew before the doors opened that God was all over it. And I was so right! God’s presence was powerful as 12 women surrendered their lives to Him and dozens of others made fresh commitments that would forever change their lives! So I was already flying high as Dan and I left Billings, Montana and made our way to Yellowstone National Park.

The drive was beautiful … but flat. We saw hills and what some might call mountains in the distance. But like I said, Dan and I have been all over the world – to Latin America, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Colombia … to name a few places with some pretty impressive mountains. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive to Gardner where we would be staying.

After checking into our hotel, we still had a few hours of daylight left and decided to check out as much of Yellowstone as we could. Dan had studied maps, guides, and information on the Internet … and he had a plan.

At the park entrance we were greeted by a friendly park ranger who answered the few remaining questions Dan had. The ranger then warned us to be careful on certain mountain roads that still had icy spots. Hmmm … that sounded promising! Like there were real mountains ahead.

We. Wanted. Mountains.

And mountains we got!

Stunningly, breathtaking, shockingly beautiful mountains! Every day we found mountains more spectacular than the day before. Not to mention the wild life on those mountains. We saw buffalo, a black bear and a grizzly bear, deer, pronghorn, antelope, elk, moose, and even a bald eagle. We simply ran out of words to describe God’s magnificent display and drove in awe-filled silence.

I began to think about mountains and how God has used them in my life.

When it comes to daily living, I prefer the “flat” road. No crisis. No trials or disasters. No mountains of problems to climb or overcome. I have even been known to say that boredom is highly underrated.

But boredom has certainly not been my lot in life. It started pretty much before I was born – since I was a surprise. My mother was 42 when I was born. And even though I may not have been planned by human heart and mind, I was absolutely planned and wanted by the heart and mind of God.

My father died when I was three years old, and from that point on it seems as if my life has been filled with what I have thought of as mountains to climb – you know, problems to solve, trials to endure, and disasters to survive.

The mountains of Montana gave me a different perspective, a new backdrop for living.

Yes, it is hard to climb the mountains on this treacherous journey called life. But looking back, I realize that the beauty and purpose of the mountain God allows to rise up on my path outweighs the pain and effort it takes to climb that mountain.

And the climb itself is life changing.

With each determined step, I gain a little strength and my focus becomes a little clearer. Distractions fall away and my commitment to know God more grows stronger. The voices that once drowned out His voice grow silent. My heart once again longs for nothing more than to be in God’s perfect will. On the mountain I am desperate for only Him. And there is no better place to be … on my face, helpless in His arms.

With a sigh, I conclude that it doesn’t take as much faith to walk the flat roads of life as it does to climb the mountains. And I wonder … where would I be without my mountains?

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You with nothing but praise in my heart. Thank You for Your faithfulness as I face and climb the mountains in my life. I want to know You more. I want to trust You more fully even when I don’t fully understand what Your plan is for my life. Today, I lay down my rights and my agenda. I surrender to You, Lord, and praise You for the mountains that draw me closer to You.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

What mountain are you facing today? Pray Psalm 121 aloud as your prayer of faith. Grab your journal and record your commitment to walk by faith and trust God for the mountain in your life. He is with you!

More from the Girlfriends

Need help learning how to really trust God? Check out Mary’s new book, 10-Day Trust Adventure. It addresses the decisions you will make in every area of life - including your past and future, your family and friendships, your finances and work - and show you how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and really trust God.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.
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Verse of the Day - July 19, 2016

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Read all of Isaiah 41