Monday, August 1, 2016

Night Light for Couples - What Did You Say?

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” Proverbs 1:5

Men may use less speech than women, but both sexes have been accused of not using their sense of hearing. “You never told me that” is a common household refrain. I (jcd) am reminded of the night my father was preaching at an open tent service. During his sermon, an alley cat decided to take a nap on the platform. My father, who was 6'4", took a step backward and planted his heel squarely on the poor creature’s tail. The cat went crazy, scratching and clawing to free himself. But Dad, intent on his message, didn’t notice. He later said he thought the screech came from the brakes of automobiles at a nearby stop sign. When my father finally moved his foot, the cat took off like a Saturn rocket.

This story illustrates the communication problem many couples face.

For example, a wife “screams” for attention and intimacy but feels that he doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he can’t hear her; it’s that he’s thinking about something else or is completely misinterpreting her signals. This situation can easily be improved by simply “tuning in” to the station on which your mate is broadcasting. The truth is that careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

Just between us…
  • When we tell each other something that doesn’t get through, who is to blame—the “sender,” the “receiver,” or both?
  • What have you wanted to say, but didn’t because you couldn’t get my attention?
  • How could learning to listen better to each other help us listen better to God?
Dear God, teach us the wisdom and grace of listening. Help us to pay attention to each word as though we were listening to You. Amen.

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

The Daily Readings for August 1, 2016

Judges 6:25-40
That night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the sacred pole that you shall cut down." So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the LORD had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night. When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. So they said to one another, "Who has done this?" After searching and inquiring, they were told, "Gideon son of Joash did it." Then the townspeople said to Joash, "Bring out your son, so that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the sacred pole beside it." But Joash said to all who were arrayed against him, "Will you contend for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been pulled down." Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he pulled down his altar. Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east came together, and crossing the Jordan they encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them. Then Gideon said to God, "In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said." And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew." And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Acts 2:37-47
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.
Morning Psalms

Psalm 80 Qui regis Israel
1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2   In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up your strength and come to help us.
3   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4   O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8   You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9   You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10   The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11   You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12   Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13   The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14   Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.
15   They burn it with fire like rubbish; at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16   Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17   And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18   Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 77 Voce mea ad Dominum
1   I will cry aloud to God; I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.
2   In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire; I refused to be comforted.
3   I think of God, I am restless, I ponder, and my spirit faints.
4   You will not let my eyelids close; I am troubled and I cannot speak.
5   I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past;
6   I commune with my heart in the night; I ponder and search my mind.
7   Will the Lord cast me off for ever? will he no more show his favor?
8   Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever? has his promise failed for evermore?
9   Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
10   And I said, "My grief is this: the right hand of the Most High has lost its power."
11   I will remember the works of the LORD, and call to mind your wonders of old time.
12   I will meditate on all your acts and ponder your mighty deeds.
13   Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
14   You are the God who works wonders and have declared your power among the peoples.
15   By your strength you have redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16   The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; the very depths were shaken.
17   The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed to and fro;
18   The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19   Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, yet your footsteps were not seen.
20   You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 79 Deus, venerunt
1   O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance; they have profaned your holy temple; they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2   They have given the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.
3   They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
4   We have become a reproach to our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5   How long will you be angry, O LORD? will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6   Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.
7   For they have devoured Jacob and made his dwelling a ruin.
8   Remember not our past sins; let your compassion be swift to meet us; for we have been brought very low.
9   Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name's sake.
10   Why should the heathen say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the heathen and in our sight that you avenge the shedding of your servants' blood.
11   Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, and by your great might spare those who are condemned to die.
12   May the revilings with which they reviled you, O Lord, return seven-fold into their bosoms.
13   For we are your people and the sheep of your pasture; we will give you thanks for ever and show forth your praise from age to age.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for August 1, 2016

From Forward Day By Day

John 1:14 (NRSV) And the Word became flesh and lived among us.

Glory be! What an awesome, incredible event we read about in today’s gospel lesson. What a way to start the week. What a way to start the month. What a way to start a life! But do I understand this message? Do I live and breathe as if the Word is among us? Consider an interpretation of the passage in The Message by Eugene Peterson: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood...” Wow!

If I were attending an athletic event to wave a sign for the TV and the crowd, John 3:16 wouldn’t be my top choice. Instead I would hold a sign for John 1:14. This Word that was in the very beginning, which was with God, which was God, which created all things, is now here in our midst as one of us. Pretty amazing. How can I not burst into praise for such a blessing as this?

Psalm 80, one of the psalms appointed for today, cries out repeatedly: “Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.” John’s prologue tells us that the psalmist’s prayers have been answered through the birth and life of Jesus. He is with us, among us, and the neighborhood—the world—will never be the same.

 Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

NIV Devotions for Women - The Giver

Matthew 7:7–29

According to recent statistics, parents spend an average of $1,500 a year on clothes for their kids and $450 a year on furnishings for their kids’ rooms. Children as young as elementary school age have cell phones, portable digital audio players, high-definition televisions and multiple video game platforms. Every year, parents in the United States spend tens of billions of dollars on Christmas gifts for their kids.

These statistics reflect more than rampant consumerism. They reflect the desire of parents to give gifts to their kids. Parents have always wanted their children to have good things.

Jesus used this universal truth to teach us of the power of prayer. It is a natural instinct to care for our child, to respond when our child asks for help or food or even a present. How much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to his children!

Unlike earthly parents, God the Father gives perfect gifts because they are spiritual gifts uniquely suited to each of us. There’s no such thing as a Christian who’s been spoiled rotten with spiritual gifts. God gives us gifts that fit us perfectly, gifts that fill and complete us. How are we to respond to such generosity? By using those gifts to the utmost. Isn’t that what every parent wants their child to do? We offer our children good things, so they’ll know they are loved. But we want them to use their gifts often and take care of them.

And God wants us to delight in his good gifts. What parent wants a child to put a present back under the Christmas tree and walk away disappointed? We want to see joy on our child’s face as she receives gifts from us. We want her to enjoy what we have given her. We know she loves her doll if she picks it up and hugs it. We’re sure he loves his bike if he climbs on and rides it. Our heavenly Father longs for us to enjoy the gifts he gives, to wrap our arms around them and use them for his good pleasure. God’s gifts are there for the taking . . . with pleasure.

  1. What is one good gift that God has offered you today? How have you embraced it?
  2. In what ways do your memories of your earthly parents affect how you read this passage?
  3. What spiritual gifts have you been given? Spend some time in prayer, asking your heavenly Father for gifts to build his body, the church.
Matthew 7:11 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Related Readings

Romans 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–31; Ephesians 3:14–21; James 1:17–18

His Princess Every Day - Know the Truth

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

Let Me take you back to the beginning of our relationship. Do you remember when you asked Me to be your Lord and King? I do, because I wrote your name in My Book of Life at that very moment, and you entered into a love relationship with Me. All the angels rejoiced in heaven! Our relationship can never be destroyed by anything or anyone. Once you were lost but now you are found, and My Spirit lives in you--you are Mine! I don’t want you to let life’s craziness and confusion distract you from knowing Me personally. So remember the truth--stand on it, read it, pray it, obey it, and walk in the wonderful truth that you are My princess, My chosen one!

Your King and your Truth

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him,
“You are truly my disciples
if you keep obeying my teachings.
And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:31–32

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 - BOLD IN THE SPIRIT

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

A few months ago a North Korean man successfully waded across the Tumen River into China looking for food, money and work in order to return later to his home country with help for his family. He was befriended by Korean-Chinese Christians (not an uncommon scenario among refugees there). As he sat in Christian meetings, an older woman said to him, “Receive the Holy Spirit or you can’t go back into North Korea; it’s too dangerous!”

After many discussions with believers, he confessed Jesus as Lord of his life and received the Holy Spirit. He packed Bibles along with his food cargo and crossed the river back to North Korea. Though it was a full moon night, there were no guards since everyone was watching North Korea play football (soccer) against Brazil in the World Cup games in South Africa.

As soon as he arrived home, he began talking about his new relationship with God. His family became irate. The young man’s uncle tried to beat this “new idea” of God and Jesus out of him shouting, “How can you believe these things?”

The young man replied, “How can you not? Without God how do the sun and moon rotate?” The Holy Spirit gave words to the surprised young man. Soon the beating was forgotten and the uncle was listening intently. The whole family of this young man ultimately received Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

On returning to China for further training, he commented that unless people are filled with the Holy Spirit they should not go back to North Korea because the spiritual warfare is worse than ever.

He concluded, “Only with the Holy Spirit’s help can we be bold. Pray for me that when I am caught I may be bold in my faith.”

RESPONSE: Today I will rely on the Holy Spirit to make me bold in my witness.

PRAYER: Lord, my soul, my heart, my flesh, cry out to You for the filling and power of Your Holy Spirit.

Girlfriends in God - You Are Somebody

Today’s Truth

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).

Friend to Friend

I want to know God’s will for my life. Don’t you? However I have learned that identity comes before activity. In other words, I must have a proper perspective of who I am before I can grasp what God wants me to do. This was true of Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”(Jeremiah 1:5). He didn’t choose Jeremiah after he proved himself worthy of the task, but before he was even born. That was true for Joshua (Joshua 1:6-9), Gideon (Judges 6:12), and Mary (Luke 1:28)—and that is true for you.

God didn’t throw up His hand when you were born and say, “Now what am I going to do with this one?” He had a plan and a purpose for you before you were born. Isn’t that exciting? David wrote this about God: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

Just before Jesus began his earthly ministry, he travelled to the Jordan to be baptized by his cousin John. As soon as he came up out of the water, the heavens opened, the Spirit descended, and God spoke. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” Matthew 3:17 NIV).

Before Jesus performed the first miracle, preached the first sermon, or called the first disciple, God made sure that His identity was clear. He was accepted, approved, and completely loved. So many Christians are trying to earn an acceptance and approval that Jesus already earned for them. God’s acceptance of you is not based on your performance. That doesn’t mean that we stop trying to do our best to live a God-honoring life. But it does mean that we stop trying out for a position or role God’s already given you. As someone once said, “The audition has been canceled. You’ve already got the part.” You have nothing to prove because you have already been pre-approved.

Not only does God accept you just as you are; not only does He love you just as you are; but He also likes the person that you are. Yes! He likes you.

If this were not so, none of us would qualify. God’s love and acceptance of you is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ for you and His presence in you. It is based on your true born-again identity as His child.

This is My Son.
Whom I love.
With him I am well pleased.

Allow God to baptize you in this affirmation of your true identity.
You are His daughter.
Whom He loves.
With you He is well pleased.

Before God called you to do something, He called you to be somebody. And it is only when you know who you are, that you can clearly know what to do. The truth is: you are who God says you are.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am in awe that You have a plan and a purpose for my life. Help me to remember that I am who You say I am: Your daughter, who You love, with whom You are well pleased.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Today, I want to share a song that I hope will minister to you as much as it does me. Click on the link below and allow Israel Houghton to encourage you to remember who you are in Christ. This might not be the style of music that you’re used to, but I think you’ll be blessed.

If you listened and were blessed I’d love to know. Click over to my Facebook page and let me know by saying, I know who I am!

More from the Girlfriends

PWapDid you know I have an app available on iTunes called Praying Wives. With this app for Apple devices you’ll get a scripture and a prayer for your husband for 365 days. You’ll be equipped and empowered to begin the daily habit of covering your husband in prayer from head-to-toe each day. These prayers will strengthen your marriage, deepen your personal prayer life, and cover your husband from head to toe—in ways that will lift not only his spirit, but yours as well. Also, check out the book, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe. He’ll thank you for it!

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

Verse of the Day - August 01, 2016

Psalm 119:114 (NIV) You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Read all of Psalm 119