Thursday, September 8, 2016

Night Light for Couples - God’s Gift

The challenge of sustaining an intimate, faith-based marriage in today's “hurry-up” society has never been greater. Night Light for Couples, the couples' devotional from Focus on the Family ministry founder Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley, brings spouses together each evening, helping them stay connected with each other and their Lord. Stories that strike an emotional chord, Scripture readings, provocative questions, prayers, and personal commentary from the Dobsons encourage men and women in their homes and spiritual lives. More than just another devotional, Night Light is a practical, uplifting guide for every couple who longs to experience the joyous, intimate, “three-person” marriage covenant God intended.

“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25

In previous generations, some people believed women were not supposed to enjoy sex. Even today some Christians still feel that sex between marital partners is somehow sinful or “dirty.”

But there’s nothing biblical about either viewpoint. The Lord created us as sexual beings and gave us the gift of physical intimacy as a means for expressing love between husband and wife. In the biblical account of the Garden of Eden, we are told that “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” The Bible says that before sin entered the picture, the first husband and wife were unashamed of their nakedness (Genesis 2:24–25).

Scripture also uses sexual symbolism to describe the relationship between God and man. (Look, for example, at Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 7:9 and 23:10; Ezekiel 16; Hosea; Ephesians 5; and Revelation 19:6–7.) In addition, Solomon’s Song of Songs clearly celebrates sexual pleasure between married lovers. We suggest that you set time aside to read that book together.

As designed by God, sexual desire in marriage is more than an afterthought or a means to guarantee procreation. That’s why we can wholeheartedly say, “Let’s ‘make love’ the way our God intended!”

Just between us…
  • While growing up, did you receive positive or negative messages about sex?
  • How do you think this has affected our love life?
  • Do you think of sex as a gift from God? Is there anything about our love life that you’d like to tell me?
Dear God, thank You for making Your wonderful intentions for married sex so clear in Scripture. Where we have trampled on this gift, forgive us. We want so much to “make love” Your way. Amen.
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Daily Readings for September 8, 2016

Job 29:1-1, 31:1-23
Job again took up his discourse and said: "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin? What would be my portion from God above, and my heritage from the Almighty on high? Does not calamity befall the unrighteous, and disaster the workers of iniquity? Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps? "If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit-- let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!-- if my step has turned aside from the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, and if any spot has clung to my hands; then let me sow, and another eat; and let what grows for me be rooted out. "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door; then let my wife grind for another, and let other men kneel over her. For that would be a heinous crime; that would be a criminal offense; for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my harvest. "If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves, when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? And did not one fashion us in the womb? "If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not eaten from it-- for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow-- if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or a poor person without covering, whose loins have not blessed me, and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have raised my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had supporters at the gate; then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.

Acts 15:1-11
Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, "It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

John 11:17-29
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 50 Deus deorum
1   The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2   Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.
3   Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.
4   He calls the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.
5   Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.
6   Let the heavens declare the rightness of his cause; for God himself is judge.
7   Hear, O my people, and I will speak: "O Israel, I will bear witness against you; for I am God, your God.
8   I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; your offerings are always before me.
9   I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens;
10   For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11   I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12   If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13   Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.
15   Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me."
16   But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips;
17   Since you refuse discipline, and toss my words behind your back?
18   When you see a thief, you make him your friend, and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19   You have loosed your lips for evil, and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20   You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother's son.
21   These things you have done, and I kept still, and you thought that I am like you."
22   I have made my accusation; I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23   Consider this well, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24   Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God."

Evening Psalms

Psalm 59 Eripe me de inimicis
1   Rescue me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
2   Rescue me from evildoers and save me from those who thirst for my blood.
3   See how they lie in wait for my life, how the mighty gather together against me; not for any offense or fault of mine, O LORD.
4   Not because of any guilt of mine they run and prepare themselves for battle.
5   Rouse yourself, come to my side, and see; for you, LORD God of hosts, are Israel's God.
6   Awake, and punish all the ungodly; show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.
7   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
8   Behold, they boast with their mouths, and taunts are on their lips; "For who, they say, will hear us?"
9   But you, O LORD, you laugh at them; you laugh all the ungodly to scorn.
10   My eyes are fixed on you, O my Strength; for you, O God, are my stronghold.
11   My merciful God comes to meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
12   Slay them, O God, lest my people forget; send them reeling by your might and put them down, O Lord our shield.
13   For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, for the cursing and lies that they utter, let them be caught in their pride.
14   Make an end of them in your wrath; make an end of them, and they shall be no more.
15   Let everyone know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
16   They go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city.
17   They forage for food, and if they are not filled, they howl.
18   For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning;
19   For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in the day of my trouble.
20   To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God.

Psalm 60 Deus, repulisti nos
1   O God, you have cast us off and broken us; you have been angry; oh, take us back to you again.
2   You have shaken the earth and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for it totters.
3   You have made your people know hardship; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4   You have set up a banner for those who fear you, to be a refuge from the power of the bow.
5   Save us by your right hand and answer us, that those who are dear to you may be delivered.
6   God spoke from his holy place and said: "I will exult and parcel out Shechem; I will divide the valley of Succoth.
7   Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my scepter.
8   Moab is my wash-basin, on Edom I throw down my sandal to claim it, and over Philistia will I shout in triumph."
9   Who will lead me into the strong city? who will bring me to Edom?
10   Have you not cast us off, O God? you no longer go out, O God, with our armies.
11   Grant us your help against the enemy, for vain is the help of man.
12   With God we will do valiant deeds, and he shall tread our enemies under foot.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for September 8, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

John 11:20 (NRSV) When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.

Lazarus’s death presents a heart-wrenching challenge to Mary and Martha’s relationship with Jesus. Just a few chapters ago, Mary is lauded for sitting at Jesus’ feet and choosing the “better portion.” Now, she stays at home and lets Martha walk the long road to meet their teacher. For her part, Martha is direct in her anger. In tomorrow’s reading, Jesus will ask where they have laid Lazarus’s body, and the people will parrot back the phrase Jesus used to call the disciples, “Come and see.”

Like Mary, we have days when death—actual or metaphorical, of loved ones or dreams—makes it hard for us to get up and go to meet Jesus. Some days we stay at home, wounded and grieving the loss of a hoped-for future. But when Jesus sends word that he’s coming, Martha gets up quickly. We too find our own feet. We find our deepest disappointments overcome by the news that Jesus has not left us alone in our grief, that he is coming to hold us, to make all things new, and we rise to our feet, moving toward the hope that is resurrection and life.

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NIV Devotions for Men - Inward Remembrance, Outward Adoration

2 Kings 17:7–29

Recommended Reading: Psalm 42:1–2; 84:1–12; Hebrews 12:28

Many years ago a number of skylarks imported from England began to breed and dot the American landscape. One day, a man who studied birds sat listening with solemn interest to the song of the immigrant birds. Nearby, an Irish laborer—hearing the song of the bird he’d heard in his mother country—stopped, took off his hat and turned his face skyward. A look of awe and joy washed across his face. His inward remembrance and love of country produced an outward response.

Although the Israelites expressed an outward worship, they didn’t possess an inward love of God. Sure, an observer might believe that they worshiped God inwardly. But in truth, their hearts secretly served other gods. “In their secret chambers of idolatry and imagery,” said Clarence Macartney, “they bowed down before the grinning images of Baal.”

Today, as we express our adoration and worship of God, we can either be like the student of birds or like the Irishman who responded emotionally to their song. The observer simply admires what takes place, but experiences no feelings of love and devotion. However, the true worshiper—upon hearing songs about God and words of his heavenly home—feels his heart beat faster, thinking of a glorious hope for the future. And all of us long to feel this beat, because it makes our hearts come alive.

Anyone can go through the outward motions. But we can’t worship by just playing a role. We have to make it the aim of our heart. When we offer our heart to God in love and adoration, he, in return, washes awe and joy across our soul.

To Take Away
  • How does “going through the motions” of worship make you feel?
  • In what ways do you sincerely worship God?
  • How does your worship of God affect your daily living?

His Princess Every Day - Peace

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

My Daughter,

When your heart needs a safe place to hide, when you feel your dreams are drowning in doubt and darkness, close your eyes and call out to me and you will feel your Daddy in heaven quiet your your spirit and whisper "Fear not my child, I am with you." Never give into the worries of this world, because you are mine and you can count on me to care for your every need. I will give you peace that goes beyond your problems and the power to pray through anything that stands in the way of my plan for you, my precious girl!

Your Father, your Peace and comfort

I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. - John 14:27 (NLT)

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 - When You Hit a Wall, Climb Over

Today’s Truth

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Friend to Friend

What do you do when your ship pulls up anchor and sails off without you? How do you respond when life doesn’t turn out like you thought it would? Where do you turn when the powers that be toss your hopes and dreams overboard and tell you to go home? What do you do when someone whose opinion matters denies you passage on the boat you were meant to board?

The answers to those questions can change everything. You need to decide right now—before it happens.

In my last devotion, I told the story of being left at the dock in Italy while my friends sailed away. “You are not fit to sail,” was the ship’s declaration. (If you didn’t see yesterday’s devotion, go to When Life Doesn’t Turn Out Like You Thought It Would to catch up.)

Let’s go back to the story—to the trip that ended before it began. Pull up a chair and sit with me in the seaport terminal. That’s what Nicoletta did. She was a young woman who worked for the cruise line and seemed just as broken-hearted as we felt. “I wish I should help you,” she whispered in awkward English.

She sat with me. Tried to console me. And cared for me. Then she came up with a crazy idea.

“I know this would be a lot of trouble,” she began. “I know this would be risky and costly. But what you could do is take a ninety minute cab ride back to Rome, check in a hotel by the airport, and book a flight from Rome to Reggio Calabria for tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. Once in Reggio, take a bus from the airport to the seaport terminal. 

“Then take a ferry from the seaport terminal, across the Mediterranean, to the island of Sicily where the ship will be docked. When you get to Sicily, find a local doctor who will examine you. If the doctor declares you healthy, and writes you a certificate saying you are ‘fit to sail,’ you can then take that back to the ship doctor and perhaps he will allow you to board. But you have to do all that before 3 p.m. tomorrow when the ship will leave Messina and sets sail for Greece.”

That was the craziest idea we had ever heard. Who did she think we were? Superman and Wonder Woman? So what did we do?

We took a cab back to Rome, a flight to Reggio Calabria, a bus to the seaport, and a ferry across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Once in Sicily we met up with Nicoletta’s friend, Lucia, who drove us to her personal doctor who spoke no English. The doctor poked, prodded, and prepared a report that declared I was healthy and “fit to sail.” 

The report was in Italian, so Lucia translated it into English using her Smartphone app. The doctor signed the document, put her official stamp on it, and we exchanged double-cheek kisses . . . three times. She felt so sorry for us and all we had gone through during the past twenty-four hours, she wouldn’t even accept payment. More double-cheek kisses. More tears.

Steve and I scurried back to that cruise boat waving the official “fit to sail” document like the victory flag it was. The attendant gave to it to the ship doctor, who then allowed us to board the ship at 2:45. Fifteen minutes later the ship’s horn blasted announcing it was leaving the port.

Did that story make you tired? It makes me tired just thinking about it. But here’s what you need to know. At some point in your life, someone whose opinion you think matters might tell you to “go home.” They may deny you passage on a ship that you know is meant for you. They may tell you:

You are not smart enough.
You don’t have the right resources.
Your writing is not good enough.
You don’t have the right credentials.
Your past is too sordid.
Your idea is not practical.

You might even stand on the dock of your precisely prepared hopes and dreams and watch as your friends get on the ship that you long to board—without you. All you can do is put on a forced smile and wish them well, when what you want more than anything is to run on that ship and say, “You’ve made a mistake. This is my boat! It was meant for me too! Don’t leave me!”

And if that happens to you, you will have a choice. You can give up and go home. Or you can do what you need to get to get on board. You can take a cab, take a flight, take a bus, take a ferry, and do whatever you need to do get on the ship God has built for you. Let go of discouragement and take hold of your God-given dream.

I don’t know what your ship is today. I don’t know what God has planned for you . . . but I do know it is something good.

History is full of untold stories of men and women who did not complete their assignments from God, but stopped too soon in the face of disappointment. 

Perseverance is fueled by moving beyond the circumstances that are seemingly against you in confidence of the Holy Spirit who is within you.

Pressing on in the face of discouragement might seem a bit crazy. Persevering when the world puts a “Do Not Enter” sign in front of your hopes and dreams takes a determination that is not for the faint of heart. Relentlessly pursuing your passion when what you’d really like to do is crawl back in bed and cry will try your stamina. But the alternative is to go home and wave as others sail away while you cozy up with the remote.

Pressing on in the shadow of discouragement is hard work. Giving up is easier. But it is those who persist in the shadow of disappointment that experience the sweetness of success—who live the adventurous faith that God intended all along. Who live BOLD.

If you hit a wall, climb over it. I pray that you’ll unearth dreams that you’ve buried in the soil of discouragement and disappointment. Dust them off. Move forward. Live bold.

Let’s Pray

God, so many times I give up too soon. I think about all the men and women in the Bible who faced impossible situations. Suppose they had given up and gone home? Help me be like the saints of old who kept pressing on when common sense said, “Give up.”
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Today’s devotion was longer than usual. If you read to the end, that means that you DO have a spirit to persevere and we’re kindred spirits! Now, let’s think about a few folks in the Bible.

How did Noah have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?

How did Moses have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?

How did the disciples have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?

Are you seeing a pattern here?

How do you need to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?

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. 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 for more great deals and inspiration.

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Daily Devotional by John Piper - How to Repay God

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord. (Psalm 116:12–14, ESV)
What keeps the paying of vows free from the dangers of being treated like a debt payment is that the “payment” is, in reality, not an ordinary payment, but another act of receiving which magnifies the ongoing grace of God. It does not magnify our resourcefulness. We can see this in Psalm 116:12–14.

The psalmist’s answer to his own question, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?” is, in essence, that he will go on receiving from the Lord so that the Lord’s inexhaustible goodness will be magnified.

First, lifting up the cup of salvation signifies taking the Lord’s satisfying salvation in hand and drinking it and expecting more. This is why I say that “paying” back to God in these contexts is not an ordinary payment. It is an act of receiving.

Second, this is also the meaning of the next phrase: “I shall call upon the name of the Lord.” What shall I render to God for graciously answering my call? Answer: I shall call again. I will render to God the praise and the tribute that he is never in need of me, but is always overflowing with benefits when I need him (which I always do).

Then the psalmist says, in the third place, “I will pay my vows to the Lord.” But how will they be paid? They will be paid by holding up the cup of salvation and by calling on the Lord. That is, they will be paid by faith in future grace.

Un Dia a la Vez - Se crece con el dolor: Testimonio de sanidad (segunda parte)

Señor mi Dios, te pedí ayuda y me sanaste. Tú, Señor, me sacaste del sepulcro; me hiciste revivir de entre los muertos. Salmo 30:2-3

¿Se crece con el dolor? No sé cuál será tu respuesta, pero podemos sacar muchas reflexiones con esta frase, que no es para nada rebuscada, pues se hace realidad en la vida de los que llevan una relación con Dios.

Me refiero a la relación con Dios porque es la única manera en que podemos conocer su corazón y entender muchas de las cosas que permite en nuestra vida. El dolor es una de ellas.

En este mes de septiembre te contaré, a petición popular, del mes más traumático y doloroso de mi vida. Sé que de esta dura experiencia Dios te dará la porción de lo que tú debes aplicar a tu hermosa vida. En mi caso, la aprendí a apreciar cuando estuve a punto de morir.

Toda estadía en un hospital es dolorosa por los continuos pinchazos y los sufrimientos al recuperarnos de una intervención quirúrgica. Mi operación fue muy complicada. Necesité mucha morfina por varios días porque los dolores eran inmensos.

Experimenté otro dolor, el dolor del alma, de no poder ver a mi princesa pequeña que en ese tiempo tenía un año y medio. Me dolía dejar mi trabajo, no poder pararme ni moverme, y mi hija de tan solo dieciocho años a cargo de la casa, las cuentas, las hermanas y su abuelita. Me dolía mucho que me vieran tan enferma y sufrieran, pues hemos sido muy amigas.

Sin embargo, el dolor y el tiempo fue pasando y poco a poco me levanté de una manera milagrosa. ¡Alabado sea Dios!

Все от Бога

В восемнадцать лет я устроилась на полноценную работу и усвоила важный урок об экономии и расходовании. Я усердно трудилась и откладывала часть зарплаты, пока не накопила на год обучения. А потом моей маме потребовалась срочная операция. Я быстро сосчитала, что у меня в банке лежит именно столько денег, сколько нужно на операцию.

Любовь к маме взяла верх над планами на будущее. Слова из книги Элизабет Элиот «Ревность и чистота» приобрели новое значение: «Если мы крепко держимся за то, что нам дано, не желая отдать, когда придет время или когда повелит Даятель, то мы тем препятствуем собственному духовному росту. Легко ошибиться. “Если Бог это дал, – рассуждаем мы, – то теперь это мое”. Нет! Это наше, чтобы возблагодарить Его, и наше, чтобы отдать Ему обратно».

Я поняла, что моя работа и умение экономить были Божьим даром. Я могла позаботиться о родном человеке, поскольку была уверена, что Бог обеспечит мое обучение другим способом. Так и случилось.

Бог хочет, чтобы вы применили к себе молитву Давида: «От Тебя все, и от руки Твоей полученное мы отдали Тебе» (1 Пар. 29:14).

Tout nous vient de Dieu

J’avais 18 ans lorsque j’ai obtenu mon premier emploi à temps plein. J’ai alors appris une importante leçon au sujet de la discipline consistant à faire des économies. J’ai travaillé et économisé jusqu’à avoir assez d’argent pour toute une année d’école. Puis ma mère a dû se faire opérer d’urgence, et j’ai compris que j’avais à la banque de quoi payer son opération.

Mon amour pour ma mère a soudain pris le pas sur mes projets d’avenir. Des paroles du livre d’Elisabeth Elliot intitulé Passion and Purity (Passion et pureté) ont alors revêtu un autre sens pour moi : « Si nous retenons quoi que ce soit qui nous est donné, en refusant d’y renoncer le moment venu ou de laisser le grand Pourvoyeur l’utiliser comme il l’entend, nous freinons la croissance de notre âme. Il est facile de nous tenir à tort le raisonnement suivant : “Si Dieu me l’a donnée, cette chose m’appartient. Je peux en faire ce que je veux.” Non. La vérité, c’est qu’il nous revient d’en remercier Dieu et de lui rendre ses bontés […] de renoncer à cette chose. »

J’ai compris que mon emploi et ma discipline m’ont été donnés par Dieu ! Je pouvais user de générosité envers ma famille parce que j’étais certaine que Dieu pourvoirait à mes études autrement, ce qu’il a fait.

De quelle façon pourrions‑nous plaire à Dieu aujourd’hui en concrétisant la prière que David fait dans 1 Chroniques 29.14 : « [C’est] de ta main que viennent toutes ces richesses […] et c’est à toi que tout appartient » ? 

 Tout appartient à Dieu.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GRACE

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

We now consider the most important characteristic in the training of the disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the quality of living the Christian life with grace.

We use the word “grace” to describe many things in life:

· A well-coordinated athlete or dancer
· Good manners and being considerate of others
· Beautiful, well-chosen words
· Consideration and care of other people
· Various expressions of kindness and mercy

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

Also, grace is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Grace comes to us free and clear with no strings attached. It is the act of unmerited favor – most often to the down and out.

Christ came down from heaven and he reminds us that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down.

Dr. Donald Barnhouse said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and lived it. And it was written as a description of how He lived His life. The Apostle John describes Jesus’ glory as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In a world of darkness and demands, rules and regulations, requirements and expectations demanded by the hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus came and ministered in a new and different way.

After commenting on His glory, John goes on to add, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John and the other disciples became marked men. His style became theirs. They absorbed his tolerance, acceptance, love, warmth and compassion so that it ultimately transformed their lives. They too lived their lives demonstrating grace!

Thus grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world. It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.

RESPONSE: Today I desire to be a person like Jesus – full of grace and truth.

PRAYER: Pray that God would fill your life with the ability to live with the grace of our Lord Jesus.

Verse of the Day - September 08, 2016

Psalm 143:10 (NIV) Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Read all of Psalm 143