Friday, July 22, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Persistent Prayer

“They should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

When I was only eight years old, I began praying for my dysfunctional family while alone in my bedroom. It still brings tears to my eyes to think that Jesus Christ was listening to me—a little child from a poor family—in those quiet moments. I had no status or influence in the community—no particular skills or talent that the Lord needed. And yet He accepted and blessed me in the years that followed. Those early prayers for a loving family, and later for a Christian husband, were answered beyond my greatest hopes and dreams.

Some of you reading this tonight, however, have also prayed unceasingly for what you believe is God’s will—yet you’ve seen no evidence that He has even heard your prayers. I know of one husband and wife who have prayed for the salvation of their children for more than twenty‐five years, with no hint of change. To those in a similar situation: I understand your discouragement. I don’t know why the Lord chooses to grant some of our petitions more quickly than others—but I do know that He honors the prayers of His righteous followers, and that we should stay on our knees before Him.

Luke 18 records the parable Jesus told about the widow who approached a judge, day after day, asking for justice against her adversary. For some time the judge refused. Finally, however, he gave in, “so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” Jesus was telling us to not give up, but to pray persistently for the desires of our hearts.

I have based my life on my belief in the power and importance of prayer. That’s why I agreed to chair the National Day of Prayer Task Force. And it is why Jim and I have made prayer the cornerstone of our marriage. Consistent prayer can also undergird and sustain your marital relationship through the years. We encourage the two of you to bow before our great, loving God—tonight and every night.

Shirley M Dobson

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

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for July 22, 2016

From Forward Day By Day

2 Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 

In retail sales, you learn quickly that you cannot judge a shopper by their looks. The girl in leggings and a sweatshirt may be an heiress; the well-coiffed woman may be way behind on rent. You learn quickly that in order to make sales, you treat every shopper as though they were worth their weight in gold. And, frankly, they are.

How often do we look at the face value presentation of a person and make a judgment or a decision about how to treat that person based on what we see? I am not so highly evolved that I always remember to look past appearances, but I have come to a place where I feel like I can appreciate people as works of art. Art is worthwhile for the bits of themselves that the artists pour into their work.

When you start looking at people as master-crafted art, what they look like isn’t nearly as important as the care with which they have been made. We are made in the image of God.

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The Liturgical Calendar: - July 22 - Saint Mary Magdalene

Today the church remembers Saint Mary Magdalene.

Mary of Magdala (Magdalene) was one of several people of ill repute whose lives were radically changed by Jesus. The scriptures are not explicit about the nature of her many sins, but it is made clear in the gospels that Jesus gave her the will and power to abandon them. Nevertheless, the authorities were not impressed, and Jesus seems to have been criticized for keeping company with such people.

Tradition has held that Mary of Magdala was a very emotional person and our English word "maudlin" derives from her name. She followed Jesus into Galilee and helped care for him and the disciples there. She witnessed the Lord's suffering on the cross. She took oil to anoint his entombed body and therefore she is often represented with a jar of ointment. Her tearful reaction on finding an empty tomb is still a favorite line to many faithful, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him" (John 20:13). When the Lord appeared and called her name, "Mary," she recognized him and exclaimed, "Teacher!" She was the first to see the risen Lord.

Help us to recognize Jesus when we meet him, that we may proclaim the Good News of his eternal life to the world. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Daily Readings for July 22, 2016

Judith 9:1, 11-14
But all who lived in the whole region disregarded the summons of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, and refused to join him in the war; for they were not afraid of him, but regarded him as only one man. So they sent back his messengers empty-handed and in disgrace. Then Nebuchadnezzar became very angry with this whole region, and swore by his throne and kingdom that he would take revenge on the whole territory of Cilicia and Damascus and Syria, that he would kill with his sword also all the inhabitants of the land of Moab, and the people of Ammon, and all Judea, and every one in Egypt, as far as the coasts of the two seas. In the seventeenth year he led his forces against King Arphaxad and defeated him in battle, overthrowing the whole army of Arphaxad and all his cavalry and all his chariots. Thus he took possession of his towns and came to Ecbatana, captured its towers, plundered its markets, and turned its glory into disgrace. But to those who resist show no mercy, but hand them over to slaughter and plunder throughout your whole region. For as I live, and by the power of my kingdom, what I have spoken I will accomplish by my own hand. And you-- take care not to transgress any of your lord's commands, but carry them out exactly as I have ordered you; do it without delay." So Holofernes left the presence of his lord, and summoned all the commanders, generals, and officers of the Assyrian army. And all the Israelite men, women, and children living at Jerusalem prostrated themselves before the temple and put ashes on their heads and spread out their sackcloth before the Lord. They even draped the altar with sackcloth and cried out in unison, praying fervently to the God of Israel not to allow their infants to be carried off and their wives to be taken as booty, and the towns they had inherited to be destroyed, and the sanctuary to be profaned and desecrated to the malicious joy of the Gentiles. The Lord heard their prayers and had regard for their distress; for the people fasted many days throughout Judea and in Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty. The high priest Joakim and all the priests who stood before the Lord and ministered to the Lord, with sackcloth around their loins, offered the daily burnt offerings, the votive offerings, and freewill offerings of the people. So the king of Egypt became hostile to them; he exploited them and forced them to make bricks. They cried out to their God, and he afflicted the whole land of Egypt with incurable plagues. So the Egyptians drove them out of their sight. Then God dried up the Red Sea before them, and he led them by the way of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. They drove out all the people of the desert, So the slaves took him and led him out of the camp into the plain, and from the plain they went up into the hill country and came to the springs below Bethulia. When the men of the town saw them, they seized their weapons and ran out of the town to the top of the hill, and all the slingers kept them from coming up by throwing stones at them. So having taken shelter below the hill, they bound Achior and left him lying at the foot of the hill, and returned to their master. Then the Israelites came down from their town and found him; they untied him and brought him into Bethulia and placed him before the magistrates of their town, Therefore, my lord, do not fight against them in regular formation, and not a man of your army will fall. Remain in your camp, and keep all the men in your forces with you; let your servants take possession of the spring of water that flows from the foot of the mountain, for this is where all the people of Bethulia get their water. So thirst will destroy them, and they will surrender their town. Meanwhile, we and our people will go up to the tops of the nearby mountains and camp there to keep watch to see that no one gets out of the town. They and their wives and children will waste away with famine, and before the sword reaches them they will be strewn about in the streets where they live. They came to her, and she said to them, "Listen to me, rulers of the people of Bethulia! What you have said to the people today is not right; you have even sworn and pronounced this oath between God and you, promising to surrender the town to our enemies unless the Lord turns and helps us within so many days. Who are you to put God to the test today, and to set yourselves up in the place of God in human affairs? You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test, but you will never learn anything! You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or understand the workings of the human mind; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out his mind or comprehend his thought? No, my brothers, do not anger the Lord our God. Then Judith prostrated herself, put ashes on her head, and uncovered the sackcloth she was wearing. At the very time when the evening incense was being offered in the house of God in Jerusalem, Judith cried out to the Lord with a loud voice, and said, "For your strength does not depend on numbers, nor your might on the powerful. But you are the God of the lowly, helper of the oppressed, upholder of the weak, protector of the forsaken, savior of those without hope. Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all your creation, hear my prayer! Make my deceitful words bring wound and bruise on those who have planned cruel things against your covenant, and against your sacred house, and against Mount Zion, and against the house your children possess. Let your whole nation and every tribe know and understand that you are God, the God of all power and might, and that there is no other who protects the people of Israel but you alone!" As the women were going straight on through the valley, an Assyrian patrol met her and took her into custody. They asked her, "To what people do you belong, and where are you coming from, and where are you going?" She replied, "I am a daughter of the Hebrews, but I am fleeing from them, for they are about to be handed over to you to be devoured. I am on my way to see Holofernes the commander of your army, to give him a true report; I will show him a way by which he can go and capture all the hill country without losing one of his men, captured or slain." When the men heard her words, and observed her face-- she was in their eyes marvelously beautiful-- they said to her, "But now, in order that my lord may not be defeated and his purpose frustrated, death will fall upon them, for a sin has overtaken them by which they are about to provoke their God to anger when they do what is wrong. Since their food supply is exhausted and their water has almost given out, they have planned to kill their livestock and have determined to use all that God by his laws has forbidden them to eat. They have decided to consume the first fruits of the grain and the tithes of the wine and oil, which they had consecrated and set aside for the priests who minister in the presence of our God in Jerusalem-- things it is not lawful for any of the people even to touch with their hands. Since even the people in Jerusalem have been doing this, they have sent messengers there in order to bring back permission from the council of the elders. He said to Bagoas, the eunuch who had charge of his personal affairs, "Go and persuade the Hebrew woman who is in your care to join us and to eat and drink with us. For it would be a disgrace if we let such a woman go without having intercourse with her. If we do not seduce her, she will laugh at us." So Bagoas left the presence of Holofernes, and approached her and said, "Let this pretty girl not hesitate to come to my lord to be honored in his presence, and to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to become today like one of the Assyrian women who serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar." Judith replied, "Who am I to refuse my lord? Whatever pleases him I will do at once, and it will be a joy to me until the day of my death." From a distance Judith called out to the sentries at the gates, "Open, open the gate! God, our God, is with us, still showing his power in Israel and his strength against our enemies, as he has done today!" When the people of her town heard her voice, they hurried down to the town gate and summoned the elders of the town. They all ran together, both small and great, for it seemed unbelievable that she had returned. They opened the gate and welcomed them. Then they lit a fire to give light, and gathered around them. Then she said to them with a loud voice, "Praise God, O praise him! Praise God, who has not withdrawn his mercy from the house of Israel, but has destroyed our enemies by my hand this very night!" As soon as it was dawn they hung the head of Holofernes on the wall. Then they all took their weapons, and they went out in companies to the mountain passes. When the Assyrians saw them they sent word to their commanders, who then went to the generals and the captains and to all their other officers. They came to Holofernes' tent and said to the steward in charge of all his personal affairs, "Wake up our lord, for the slaves have been so bold as to come down against us to give battle, to their utter destruction." So Bagoas went in and knocked at the entry of the tent, for he supposed that he was sleeping with Judith. All the people plundered the camp for thirty days. They gave Judith the tent of Holofernes and all his silver dinnerware, his beds, his bowls, and all his furniture. She took them and loaded her mules and hitched up her carts and piled the things on them. All the women of Israel gathered to see her, and blessed her, and some of them performed a dance in her honor. She took ivy-wreathed wands in her hands and distributed them to the women who were with her; and she and those who were with her crowned themselves with olive wreaths. She went before all the people in the dance, leading all the women, while all the men of Israel followed, bearing their arms and wearing garlands and singing hymns. Judith began this thanksgiving before all Israel, and all the people loudly sang this song of praise. Then my oppressed people shouted; my weak people cried out, and the enemy trembled; they lifted up their voices, and the enemy were turned back. Sons of slave-girls pierced them through and wounded them like the children of fugitives; they perished before the army of my Lord. I will sing to my God a new song: O Lord, you are great and glorious, wonderful in strength, invincible. Let all your creatures serve you, for you spoke, and they were made. You sent forth your spirit, and it formed them; there is none that can resist your voice.

Psalm 42:1-7
1   As the deer longs for the water-brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God.
2   My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
3   My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long they say to me, "Where now is your God?"
4   I pour out my soul when I think on these things; how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,
5   With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who keep holy-day.
6   Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me?
7   Put your trust in God; for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

2 Corinthians 5:14-18
For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

John 20:11-18
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord" and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Men of the Bible - Ezra

His name probably means: "Helps"

His work: A priest living in exile in Babylon.
His character: Courageous to face any foe, diligent in his study of the law, skilled in leadership, and humble before the Lord.
His sorrow: His own sinfulness and need of forgiveness and the sinfulness and disobedience of his people.
His triumph: Being the catalyst for genuine repentance among those Hebrews who returned from exile to their homeland.
Key Scriptures: The book of Ezra

A Look at the Man

Ezra was a student and a teacher of Scripture. His dedication to learning made him well versed in the substance and nuances of the law. He had a commanding knowledge of its truth. Is it any wonder why God selected him to initiate revival among the Hebrews?

Not much is said of Ezra's conversation with Artaxerxes that day, but God empowered Ezra and softened the king in a remarkable way. Of course, Artaxerxes was impressed with Ezra's understanding of his own religion and thoughtful preparation for this return to the homeland.

And although he would have been hard-pressed to explain it, the king knew that there was something else going on with this humble man who stood in his presence. Scripture tells us that "the hand of the LORD his God was on Ezra." God revealed himself through Ezra and moved the heart of a pagan monarch.

The king also must have observed Ezra's leadership skills. He knew that the task of moving thousands of Jews back to their homeland would need to be shouldered by a group of men who shared Ezra's vision and were loyal to him. In his letter, the king directs Ezra and his "brother Jews" to "do whatever seems best" with the vast provisions he sends along. This was not going to be a solo operation, and Artaxerxes was impressed with Ezra's ability to find other leaders to assist him.

Ezra was a man of vision demonstrated by his calling of the Levites to join the caravan to Jerusalem. He made it clear that this voyage was not simply a sightseeing tour of the rebuilt temple, but a spiritual pilgrimage.

Ezra's close relationship to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is undeniable. Ezra "was well versed in the law" and had devoted himself to studying and keeping the law, as well as teaching its commands.

But it was Ezra's humility before God that is the most telling part of the story. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than when the report of Israel's sinfulness was brought to his attention.

You would think, after seeing how Ezra had prepared for this trip and how he had demonstrated his fidelity to God and his leadership skills, that Ezra would be outraged by the report. "Who do these Jews think they are?" Ezra could have thundered. "God will surely judge them for their sin."

Instead, Ezra fell on his knees lamenting the sins of God's people. Soon others gathered around the weeping priest, pouring out their own sins before the throne of God. What an amazing sight that must have been. Then Ezra, empowered by the Holy Spirit, made a declaration before the people that Israel's unfaithfulness had manifested itself in the Jewish men marrying foreign women. He told them to confess their sin and make a covenant to send away these wives and their children. "You are right!" the people responded. "We must do as you say."

Often the fires of revival are kindled in the souls of people like Ezra who come before the Lord on behalf of God's people. 

Reflect On: Ezra 10:1
Praise God: For his faithfulness in Ezra’s life and his promise to be faithful in yours.
Offer Thanks: For the insurmountable challenges that force you into his presence.
Confess: Any propensity to be critical of others’ sins without confessing the gravity of your own.
Ask God: To fill you with his presence, to give you dreams and plans that honor him, and grant you wisdom.

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 - Good Morning

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

My beloved,

Call my name in the morning and you will hear me whisper “I love you”; see me and you will feel My presence near you. Whenever you reach for me, I will extend my hand of mercy to you. My mercies are new every morning for you. Though at times it may feel I am not near you, I am. For you are my love and I will never forsake you. I will keep you warm when the world is cold. You never need to wonder again if I will be there in the morning when you awake.

Your Prince and morning glory

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. - Lamentations 3:22-23

Prayer to my Prince

My Lord,

I love you, my Prince. Will you speak to me in a distinctive way today? I want to hear your still voice express your love for me. I want to be watered with your Word this morning, and to walk through this day as the dearly cherished princess you say I am. I am talking to you in faith and inviting you into my day and all my tomorrows.

Your Bride who is ready to be awakened

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. - Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

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 - THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus is also the great light of the world (John 8:12). Those who believe in Him are brought out of darkness into His light (Colossians1:12-13) and in turn become lights also. In essence, they live the Beatitudes. What does light do?

A. It exposes dirt - If Christians live holy and righteous lives, it will show up the unrighteous deeds of others (Ephesians 5:8-14). An example is that people who take bribes feel very vulnerable if there are others that don't. Christians who work in government offices can, by their uprightness and integrity, diminish the amount of corruption just by their very presence and principles.

B. It lights up the way so that we do not stumble - If Christians walk by the principles of the Word of God, their lives take on a higher purpose and direction than that of self. This will not fail to attract the attention of a watching world. The world then is faced with a choice—to accept or reject such a model. To those who reject, that light becomes darkness. But for those who accept, that light illumines their lives and they will not make wrong choices.

C. It discourages works of darkness - More crimes are committed at night than in the daytime.

D. It dispels fear - When light shines, the phantoms of the night just fade away. People who are afraid of the dark prefer to sleep with the light on.

Light even enables discernment to be made—between friend and foe and between truth and counterfeit. It enables work to be done. Light enables plants to grow. Used in modern technology, it aids in telecommunications (fiber optics), helps to heal (lasers), and aids in publishing books.

The light of the gospel also blesses in so many ways. And Christians who walk in it can in turn help others by sharing the knowledge they have concerning life, death, sin, salvation, God, the devil, heaven and hell. For these are the issues that plague man on a wide scale and for which they are striving to find adequate answers. The light will be recognized, not just in words, but in “good deeds” which lead others to praise our Father in heaven.

In Kumasi, Ghana, African Enterprise has been organizing city-cleaning teams. Before an evangelistic campaign, Christians often ask government leaders if they can clean it up. Then they send out teams of people with makeshift straw brooms and pails of soapy water to scrub the city. Christian workers have cleaned hospitals, city parks, and government grounds before major outreaches to exemplify practical love.

RESPONSE: Today I am determined to shine for Jesus—the true light of the world!

PRAYER: Lord, I want my life to count for You and Your kingdom. Help me be a lighthouse for You.

Girlfriends in God - Worry Wastes Life

Today’s Truth

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection] (1 John 4:18 AMPC).

Friend to Friend

Not all fear is bad. It is good to be afraid of sticking your hand in a fire, crossing a busy street with your eyes closed, or jumping off a cliff. That is good healthy fear.

Bad fear is fear of present circumstances and future events that may or may never happen. Being too afraid to step out and do what God has called you to do. Being so worried about the consequences that you throw trusting God out the window. That’s an unhealthy fear.

The Holy Spirit will warn you with a healthy sense of fear to protect you, but He will never stir up worry to stymie your faith. I’ve often heard it said that worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have. And it’s true! Rehearsing your troubles before they even happen causes you to experience them many times, whereas you were not meant to experience them but once—when or if they actually occur.

Most of the biggest challenges you will ever face will be the result of things you never even thought to worry about or even crossed your mind. They will blindside you on a Thursday afternoon at 2:00, when you never saw it coming. You will not even have known that you should have worried about the possibility! (Now, don’t let that get you worried.)

We waste valuable time and forfeit the thriving faith when we allow “what ifs” to hold us captive.

What if I’m embarrassed?

What if I’m rejected?

What if I fall flat on my face?

What if I fail?

What if one or all of these things do happen when I step forward in obedience? I’ll live. God will be right there with me.

Here’s the bigger question: What if I don’t step forward in obedience? What if I ignore God’s prompting? I might miss out on one of His greatest blessings of my life.

Do you believe God loves you? I’m thinking you just answered yes. Then why do you worry that He doesn’t have your best interest in mind? He will not allow or initiate any circumstance in your life that is not filtered through His sovereign love for you. You will make it! Life might not unfold as you imagined, but when you place your hand in His and trust in His love, you will survive and most likely thrive.

Paul had an incredible attitude about the “what ifs” in his life. He had the mind-set of bring it on. The Pharisees couldn’t stand him, but they found his attitude made it impossible to stop him. They threw him in prison and he said, “That’s OK. Give me some parchment and ink. I’ll write some letters to the churches. I’ll write to them about how to have joy in all circumstances.”

They chained him to a prison guard and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll tell him about Jesus. As a matter-of-fact, I’ll bring his whole family to Christ!”

They threatened to kill him and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll get to go to heaven and be with Jesus. What could be better?”

Paul faced his fears and booted them out the door with the love of God. What do you do to a guy like that?

Paul wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!” (Philippians 1:21–22).

He wasn’t worried or concerned about his future. Paul was at peace with whatever happened on his faith journey because He trusted in the character and love of God. And with a faith like that, the natural consequence is to live bold. And that’s what we can do today!

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I will not walk in fear today. I will kick fear out of the door…give it the boot. I know that You will guide me as I walk in obedience today. If my act of obedience appears to result in a failure, I know that it is not, because obeying you is the ultimate success regardless of the apparent outcome. Oh Lord, I breathe in peace and exhale worry.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Matthew 6:25-34. Consider memorizing verse 34.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.

Think of 2 bad things that happened to you during the past year. Did you worry that they would happen before they happened? Or did they catch you by surprise.

Let’s take a poll. Click over to my Facebook page and leave a comment that says either: caught me by surprise or saw it coming.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Just as a trapeze artist who grabs hold of a second bar, but refuses to let go of the first, we can get stuck in our faith when we refuse to let go of all that holds us back. It’s time to let go of all that holds us hostage to a “less than” life…and that includes worry about the future and regret about the past. We need to let go of worry and take hold of total trust in the goodness of God! Then we will truly move forward and live bold. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog to learn when the free on-line Bible study will begin in the fall.

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Girlfriends in God
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