Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Healing Words

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 tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.” Proverbs 15:4

Do you enjoy teasing your wife? When you’re with friends, do you occasionally reveal an embarrassing secret about your husband?

One key to building trust is to take great care not to hurt or embarrass those we love. Some information is private and should remain so. For one partner to reveal family secrets indiscriminately breaks the couple’s bond of loyalty and violates trust.

Just as important as the words we don’t say, however, are those we do. Men, especially, are often reluctant to share feelings and fears with their wives, yet openness fosters trust and intimacy. Sharing thoughts is vital to a healthy, secure marriage. How can a wife feel safe or valued if she’s left guessing about what her husband is really thinking and feeling?

Along the same lines, if you’re in charge of the family finances, and you’ve accidentally or foolishly depleted the bank account, don’t hide it—let your spouse know. If someone makes a pass at you at work, tell your partner, even if it’s uncomfortable to do so. As you work together to find the best solution for problems like these, you’ll grow closer.

Just between us…
  • Are you comfortable with the amount and nature of teasing in our relationship?
  • Do I share my thoughts with you as much as you’d like?
  • Do our words “bring healing” to each other?
  • How can I help you share your feelings?
Dear God, let the words of our mouths always be true and full of grace. May our words bring healing and encouragement and draw us closer together. 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 14, 2016 - Holy Cross Day

Isaiah 45:21-25
Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.

Psalm 98 Cantate Domino
1   Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
2   With his right hand and his holy arm has he won for himself the victory.
3   The LORD has made known his victory; his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4   He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
5   Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.
6   Sing to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the voice of song.
7   With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout with joy before the King, the LORD.
8   Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, the lands and those who dwell therein.
9   Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD, when he comes to judge the earth.
10   In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.

Galatians 6:14-18
May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule-- peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

John 12:31-36
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

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 Liturgical Calendar: Holy Cross Day

Today the church remembers Holy Cross Day.

"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself " (John 12:32). It seemed in the fourth century that these words of Jesus were swiftly being fulfilled. Christianity had swept over the known civilized world. A Christian emperor now reigned from the throne of the Caesars and it was he, Constantine the Great, who, on this day in 335, dedicated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as a monument to the triumph of the Lord over the grave. This day was celebrated throughout Christendom as the feast of the lifting-up of the Cross of Christ over all the world.

The hope that the time was at hand when all humanity would acknowledge the Lordship of the Savior was premature. But this dream has never been forgotten. Christian people still work and pray for the time when everyone everywhere will return to their Creator, the Crucified and Risen Lord. This is a day for rejoicing in that hope, as Abraham rejoiced in looking forward to Christ's coming, though he had only the most vague notion of what it would be like. We look forward with joyful anticipation to the day when all people shall find their Lord, and we work toward making him known in every corner of his creation.

O God, who by the passion of your blessed Son has made his shameful death to be unto us the sign of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the Cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for September 14, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

Galatians 6:14 (NRSV) May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

A Wisconsinite moved to South Texas with a full array of down jackets. Shortly after arriving, the Wisconsinite was joined by some neighbors, who helped with the unpacking. When her new friends came across the jackets, they laughed. Appreciating these relics of another world, they soon added gently, “Friend, you won’t need those here.”

You won’t need those here. Paul suggests that in the kingdom of the crucified Christ, the social weapons of posturing, jockeying, and self-justification are weapons we won’t need. We can boast in the cross of Christ because the cross of Christ has removed our need for boasting.

Because we no longer seek to defeat one another or God, we are free to pursue new and holy friendships made possible by the radical good news that God, in Christ, has made us God’s family. What a gift: God has freed our hands, our lives, so that we might be open to postures of generosity, gentleness, and love!

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

His Princess Every Day - Speak Life With My Words

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

I know the world whispers in your ear that what you possess defines who you are, and that what you look like determines your worth. This is a lie, My love. The generations to come will never remember you for the things you accumulate or the efforts you placed in your appearance. In fact, the harder you strive to collect more things and to perfect your image, the more insecure you will be about who you are and why you are here. I am in you and you are in Me. I will give you all that you need. Now go and walk through your world in the confidence that I’ve uniquely equipped you with all you need to impact the lives of those around you forever!

Your King and your Confidence

For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. - Proverbs 3:26 (NASB)

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 - A Touch of Compassion

Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

Friend to Friend

It was Easter Sunday, and I was sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the worship service to begin. Anticipating a large crowd, I arrived early to drop Jered off in the nursery, one of his favorite places to go since every nursery worker doted on him. As the choir filed in, a friend slipped into the pew beside me and said, “I think you need to go to the nursery. Something is wrong with Jered.” Jumping up, I leapt over legs, toes, and pews as I raced to the church nursery and my son. 

When I got to the nursery, I was not prepared for what I saw. In a far corner, lying on his favorite red mat was Jered, staring at the ceiling, silent and rigid. As I bent over him, searching those beautiful blue eyes, huge tears slid down his chubby cheeks as he flew into my arms, sobbing. You have to understand – as a baby, Jered cried only when he was hungry, wet, or sick. Something was obviously very wrong. I kissed his forehead. No fever. I checked his diaper. Dry and clean. I had no idea what had broken my son’s heart, but I certainly intended to find out.

The nursery worker drew me aside and said, “We had a new little girl in the nursery today. It was her first time in a church nursery – ever. When her parents left, she immediately began screaming and wouldn’t stop. Jered came running and wrapped his arms around her, but she pushed him away. He then brought her his bottle, but she hurled it across the room and continued screaming. Desperate to help her, Jered then found his diaper bag and fished out Turtle.

Turtle was a small, green-and-blue stuffed turtle we had given Jered during a stay in the hospital when he was seriously ill with the croup. From the moment Jered saw Turtle they were inseparable. He slept, ate, and played with Turtle clutched tightly in one hand. Turtle quickly became Jered’s most precious possession.

Mrs. Giles continued, “I couldn’t believe Jered was willing to give Turtle to a stranger, but he tried.” The crying child took one look at Turtle and threw it in Jered’s face. Stunned, he picked up Turtle and lay down on the mat, refusing to move, Turtle clutched tightly in his arms.

Then I knew. I knew Jered couldn’t stand to see the little girl in pain and was determined to help. When he couldn’t comfort the little girl, he retreated, waiting for someone else to help. That’s compassion.

Compassion is not just sympathy. It is empathy. When it comes to dealing with people in pain, we mistakenly equate compassion with “fixing” them. Genuine compassion is first able to feel their pain. And the more pain we experience, the more compassionate we will be.

We must learn to use our pain in the right way, not lashing out, but looking within to share the pain of others. There is a choice in every pain, an opportunity in every trial. Pain makes us focus inward or outward. It makes us martyrs or merciful. The choice is ours.

We have a choice every time we are confronted with a need. We can either ignore the need, or we can meet the need by giving away part of the comfort God has given us when we have been in pain.

Galatians 6:2 (NLT) “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

If we can’t prevent pain, we can at least lighten the load with compassion. Alan Redpath wrote, “You can never lighten the load unless you have first felt the pressure in your own soul.” Compassion makes us willing to feel the pain of others, responding as if it were our own.

Let’s Pray

Father, forgive me when I fail to see the needs of the people in my life. I really want Your love to flow through me to each person I meet. Give me Your heart of compassion to feel their pain, and teach me how to find ways to help ease that pain.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:31-37. How can you apply the same truths in your life that the Samaritan applied when taking care of the wounded man?

Wherever today finds you, look around for someone in need – someone who needs a touch of compassion in his or her life. Be willing to let God use you to meet that need.

More from the Girlfriends

A word from Mary: I have a weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. I am very excited about a new study beginning September 5, Taking Down the Giants in Your Life. Do you struggle with fear, stress, jealousy, anger, and depression … the roadblocks to happiness and joy? Let’s tackle each one and see what God has to say. Join now and get all of 2016 lessons plus bonus studies in the summer.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Salim Manayer who heads a significant reconciliation ministry in Israel between Israeli believers and Palestinian believers tells this story in his newsletter of learning about true love for others in the body of Christ during a visit to Denmark:

I experienced something so beautiful. The love and acceptance of the Messiah through the lives of the people who took me around, opened up their homes, took me shopping, took care of me when I was sick and took time out of their busy lives to drive me from one end of the country to the other. I was so moved by their kindness, their hospitality, their compassion, their honesty and their love. Through long country drives they shared and explained to me their reasoning for various traditions and teachings.

And who were these people? Well, if you want to get technical they were Lutherans. Lutherans who belong to the state church – many of them pastors. Yes, we are different – I am an Israeli believer who does not hold to these traditions, but we are called to love each other in spite of our differences. Put all of these labels aside, these amazing people were my brothers and sisters, they are my family because we belong to the family of God and they embraced me as their family.

I was moved as I sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee after confirmation class with one pastor and while eating apple crisp on Rosh Hashanah with another pastor, attentively listening to them as they shared their passion to see the lost people in their communities and parishes find God and believe in him. It left an impression on my heart and encouraged and inspired me to reach the people in my own community.

Sometimes stereotypes and prejudices are there in the back of your head and you don’t realize it until God places those same people you held stereotypes about in your face and they begin to show you the love God requires of his children…

Maybe I was sent to Denmark to impress upon, encourage, challenge and impart to the Danish believers to become reconcilers in their local communities; to bless them and show them that it is possible to break down the walls of bitterness and hatred, demolish their stereotypes and prejudices and to love their brothers and sisters. And yet, that is exactly what they taught me.

RESPONSE: I commit this day to show true love to my brothers and sisters breaking down prejudices.

PRAYER: Lord, I need Your help today to follow Your command to love all my brothers and sisters.

Un Dia a la Vez - ¿Por qué servir?

Servid a Jehová con alegría; Venid ante su presencia con regocijo. Salmo 100:2, RV-60

El servicio es un privilegio. Es algo que podemos hacer y nos deja muchas satisfacciones. Es una manera muy especial de representar el corazón de Dios. En otros devocionales recordamos que el mejor ejemplo de servicio lo dejó Jesús cuando estuvo en la tierra sirviendo a los demás. Incluso les lavó los pies a sus discípulos. La Palabra dice que «hay más dicha en dar que en recibir» (Hechos 20:35).

Muchas personas se comunican conmigo para decirme que quieren servir a Dios, pero no saben cómo hacerlo ni en qué hacerlo. Lo importante es que tengas el deseo. No necesariamente tienes que servir en la iglesia. Puedes hacerlo en las cárceles, los hospitales, las casas de refugio para mujeres maltratadas, hogares de adopción, centros de rehabilitación de adicciones, etc. En realidad, la mies es mucha y los obreros son pocos.

El gran problema es que muchos no sirven porque no quieren compromisos. Creen que por servir tienen que dejar de hacer sus cosas o limitarse, pero no se imaginan que Dios restituye, premia y nos da todo lo que deseamos.

He escuchado en diferentes ocasiones esta frase: «El que no sirve, no sirve». Aunque no somos salvos por obras, «la fe sin obras está muerta» (Santiago 2:26). Tu salvación es posible cuando recibes a Jesús como tu Salvador, pero la fe se manifiesta con la acción.

Pídele a Dios que te muestre cuál es tu mejor campo de servicio y empieza a desarrollarlo.

Daily Devotional by John Piper - God Shall Supply All Your Needs

My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
In Philippians 4:6, Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And then in Philippians 4:19 (just 13 verses later), he gives the liberating promise of future grace, just as Jesus did: “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

If we live by faith in this promise of future grace, it will be very hard for anxiety to survive. God’s “riches in glory” are inexhaustible. He really means for us not to worry about our future.

We should follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul. We should battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of future grace.

When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises, Isaiah 41:10. The day I left for three years in Germany my father called me long distance and gave me this promise on the telephone. For three years I must have quoted it to myself five hundred times to get me through periods of tremendous stress. “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you, with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, RSV).

When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10.

Verse of the Day - September 14, 2016

Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV) [ Imitating Christ’s Humility ] Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Read all of Philippians 2

Our Daily Bread - Beyond Time

By David McCasland

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68–69

During 2016, theater companies in Britain and around the world have staged special productions to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Concerts, lectures, and festivals have drawn crowds who celebrate the enduring work of the man widely considered to be the greatest playwright in the English language. Ben Jonson, one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, wrote of him, “He was not of an age, but for all time."

While the influence of some artists, writers, and thinkers may last for centuries, Jesus Christ is the only person whose life and work will endure beyond time. He claimed to be “the bread that came down from heaven . . . whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (v. 58).

When many people who heard Jesus’s teaching were offended by His words and stopped following Him (John 6:61–66), the Lord asked His disciples if they also wanted to leave (v. 67). Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (vv. 68–69).

When we invite Jesus to come into our lives as our Lord and Savior, we join His first disciples and all those who have followed Him in a new life that will last forever—beyond time.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of eternal life in fellowship with You today and forever.

Jesus is the Son of God, the Man beyond time, who gives us eternal life.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Más allá del tiempo

Por david c. mccasland

Le respondió Simón Pedro: Señor, ¿a quién iremos? Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna.Y nosotros hemos creído y conocemos que tú eres el Cristo, el Hijo del Dios viviente.  (Juan 6:68-69)

Durante 2016, compañías de teatro de varias partes del mundo están realizando producciones especiales para conmemorar el 400.º aniversario de la muerte de William Shakespeare. Conciertos, conferencias y festivales han atraído a multitudes para celebrar la obra perdurable de este hombre, considerado el más grande dramaturgo de la lengua inglesa. Ben Jonson, uno de sus contemporáneos, escribió: «No fue de una época, sino para todos los tiempos».

Aunque la influencia de algunos artistas, escritores y pensadores puede durar siglos, Jesucristo es el único cuya vida y obra trascenderán el tiempo. Él afirmó ser «el pan que descendió del cielo […]; el que come de este pan, vivirá eternamente» (Juan 6:58).

Cuando muchos que escuchaban sus enseñanzas se ofendieron por sus palabras y dejaron de seguirlo (vv. 61-66), Jesús preguntó a sus discípulos si ellos también querían dejarlo (v. 67). Pedro respondió: «Señor, ¿a quién iremos? Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna. Y nosotros hemos creído y conocemos que tú eres el Cristo» (vv. 68-69).

Cuando invitamos a Jesús a entrar en nuestra vida, nos unimos a sus primeros discípulos y a todos sus seguidores en una nueva vida que durará para siempre.

Señor Jesús, gracias por el regalo de la vida eterna en comunión contigo, hoy y siempre.

Jesús es el Hijo de Dios, el Hombre que trasciende el tiempo, quien nos da vida eterna.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Хлеб наш насущный - Вне времени

автор: Дэвид Маккасланд

«Господи! К кому нам идти? Ты имеешь слова вечной жизни; и мы уверовали и познали, что Ты Христос, Сын Бога живого». Иоанна 6:68-69 

В 2016 году театры Британии и всего мира отмечают 400-летие со дня смерти Уильяма Шекспира. По этому случаю повсеместно организуются концерты, лекции и фестивали, призванные увековечить память величайшего из драматургов, писавших на английском языке. Бен Джонсон, один из современников Шекспира, говорил о нем: «Он был вне возраста, вне времени».

Действительно, влияние некоторых артистов, писателей и мыслителей может длиться столетиями, преодолевая границы времени и культуры, но только Иисус Христос – единственный, Чья жизнь и труд пребудут вовек. Иисус сказал, что Он – «хлеб, сошедший с небес... Едящий хлеб этот жить будет вовек» (Ин. 6:58).

Услышав эти слова, многие из слушателей Спасителя пришли в недоумение и оставили Его (Ин. 6:61-66). Тогда Христос спросил учеников, не хотят ли и они уйти (Ин. 6:67). На это Петр ответил: «Господи! К кому нам идти? Ты имеешь слова вечной жизни; и мы уверовали и познали, что Ты Христос, Сын Бога живого» (Ин. 6:68-69).

Обращаясь к Иисусу Христу, мы присоединяемся к первым ученикам и тем, кто последовал за Ним в новую жизнь, которая будет длиться вечно – вне времени.

Господь Иисус, благодарю Тебя за дар вечной жизни в общении с Тобой ныне и вовек.

Иисус – Божий Сын, Человек вне времени, дарующий нам вечную жизнь.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Au‑delà du temps

par David McCasland

Seigneur, à qui irions‑nous ? Tu as les paroles de la vie éternelle. Et nous avons cru et nous avons connu que tu es le Christ, le Saint de Dieu. Jean 6:68-69 

Au cours de 2016, des troupes de théâtre en Grande-Bretagne et partout dans le monde ont mis en scène des productions spéciales pour souligner le 400e anniversaire de la mort de William Shakespeare. Des concerts, des conférences et des festivals ont attiré des foules désireuses de célébrer l’oeuvre impérissable de l’homme que l’on considère en général comme le plus grand des dramaturges de langue anglaise. Ben Jonson, l’un des contemporains de Shakespeare, a écrit à son sujet : « Il n’appartenait pas à son époque, mais à tous les temps. »

Bien que l’influence de certains artistes, auteurs et penseurs puisse s’exercer pendant des siècles, Jésus‑Christ est le seul dont la vie et l’oeuvre transcenderont le temps. Il a déclaré : « C’est ici le pain qui est descendu du ciel […] celui qui mange ce pain vivra éternellement » (JN 6.58).

Lorsque de nombreuses personnes ayant entendu les enseignements de Jésus s’en sont offusquées et ont cessé de le suivre (V. 61‑66), le Seigneur a demandé à ses disciples s’ils voulaient partir eux aussi (V. 67). Pierre lui a alors répondu : « Seigneur, à qui irions‑nous ? Tu as les paroles de la vie éternelle. Et nous avons cru et nous avons connu que tu es le Christ, le Saint de Dieu » (V. 68,69).

En accueillant Jésus en soi comme Seigneur et Sauveur, on joint les rangs de ses premiers disciples et de tous ceux qui le suivent depuis dans une nouvelle vie qui transcendera le temps.

Jésus, le Fils de Dieu, transcende le temps et donne la vie éternelle.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ