Monday, September 19, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Taken For Granted

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.

“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Each of us has a heartfelt need to be honored and respected. All too often, however, we take our spouses for granted at home. Is it any wonder that so many mothers hold down jobs in the workplace today? Many work for financial reasons, but some do so to find the recognition and praise they don’t get from their mates. Could this also be why many men spend excessive hours at work—to receive from colleagues the accolades that they don’t get at home?

Your partner is a jack‐of‐all‐trades who brings a host of skills to your marriage: provider, short‐order cook, nurse, counselor, financial planner, gardener, arbiter of sibling disputes, spiritual leader, comforter, and much more. We encourage you to show your appreciation for these talents and services. Tell your wife how much you enjoy her cooking. Send your husband to work with a note praising him for his good judgment with the family budget. In front of guests, compliment her taste in home decor and his wise guidance of the children.

If we don’t make our mate feel honored and respected, we may find our partner looking for recognition somewhere else.

Just between us…
  • What couple do we know who is an example to us of honoring each other?
  • Do we honor each other well?
  • What opportunities to bestow honor have we missed?
Have we sought recognition elsewhere because we weren’t receiving enough at home?

Heavenly Father, forgive us for any self-centeredness or lack of consideration in our marriage. Please teach us to make honoring our spouse a reflex action, not a begrudging afterthought. 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 19, 2016

Esther 4:4-17
When Esther's maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him for her people. Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law-- all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days." When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this." Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish." Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Acts 18:1-11
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together-- by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people." He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Luke 1:1-4, 3:1-14
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."

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.

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 19, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

Luke 3:10-11 (NRSV) And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”

John the Baptist is giving mundane instructions to those who believe that the salvation of God is near. Of course, just because instructions are ordinary does not mean we are good at following them. So we begin with coats—simple and ordinary.

Remarkably, John regards all of our second coats as more than chances to make a charitable donation; John thinks our extra jackets actually belong to our non-coat-having neighbors. Further, John thinks the very possession of these second coats names our mistrust of God’s continuing provision for our lives, lived out at our neighbors’ expense.

I wonder what it means to imagine the material world as a medium through which our trust in God is measured and expressed. Would that turn the world upside down? I pray to know my neighbor’s poverty as a sign I am called to grow in my trust that the kingdom of God has come near.

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NIV Devotions for Women - Transformed by Jesus

Acts 4:1–37

When women kindly ask me to sign their copies of my books, I sometimes write, “To Susan the Beautiful!”

“Oh, no!” Susan (or Kathy or Linda) will protest, turning red. “I’m not beautiful.”

“Sure you are,” I insist, as I add my signature. “It says so right in the Bible.” As further proof, I jot down “Psalm 149:4” and encourage them to look it up. You see, it’s God’s gift of salvation that makes us truly beautiful, inside and out. Nothing transforms a woman’s appearance more than being covered from head to toe in the grace of God’s Son.

I know this beautifying process is legitimate because I’ve seen it happen again and again. When women come to know the Lord in a real and personal way, their frown lines begin to soften. A sparkle appears in their eyes, and a radiance falls over their countenance.

We have proven scientifically that such physical changes occur when we fall in love: glowing skin, sparkling eyes, increased heart rate. And for some of us, similar improvements take place when we’re expecting a child. Conventional wisdom says that “all brides are beautiful” and “pregnant women glow.” It’s chemical, hormonal, and very real.

Why not at the spiritual level too? When you allow the Lord to fill your heart with his boundless love, it shows on the outside. This beauty has nothing to do with cosmetics or plastic surgery. On the contrary, it’s an inside job: A heart full of love produces a face full of joy.

When I stepped into a church for the first time as an adult, I was amazed to see pew after pew of attractive women. Is this a requirement of membership? I wondered. Maybe they’re all Mary Kay consultants!

Soon I learned the happy truth: Such beauty is a gift from God. Unlike lipstick and blush, which seldom last longer than a few hours, spiritual beauty is timeless. It literally pours out of your pores and alters your appearance in a most appealing way. People will think you’ve had a face-lift, when in fact you’ve had a faith-lift.

—Liz Curtis Higgs

  1. Why were people so astounded by Peter and John’s courage?
  2. Based on your knowledge of the Bible, what had happened to transform them so radically?
  3. How have you experienced a “faith-lift” since walking with Christ? How does it reflect outwardly?
Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Related Readings

Psalm 149:1–9; Isaiah 61:1–3; 1 Corinthians 1:26–31

His Princess Every Day - His Friendship

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

My Daughter,

Everyone goes through difficult seasons in life. If it is a hard interval for someone you love, be careful not to judge him or her too harshly. Look beyond your own hurt to the pain that has caused that person to lash out or treat you unfairly. I want you to become the faithful friend you long to have when you’re hurting... and hang on to the good times you have shared with your loved one. Lift them up to Me in prayer, and I will bless them in ways far beyond anything you can imagine. Once this season has passed, the bond of your relationship will be even stronger, and I will be glorified through your faithfulness!

Your Father in heaven and faithful friend

There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24

Treasure of Truth

True friends can’t be seen until conflict comes.

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.

Women of the Bible - The Woman of Samaria

Her character: Looked down upon by the Jews because she was a Samaritan and disdained because of her many romantic liaisons, she would not have been most people's first choice to advance the gospel in a region where it had not yet been heard.
Her sorrow: To have lived in a way that relegated her to the margins of her society.
Her joy: That Jesus broke through barriers of culture, race, and religion in order to reveal himself to her.
Key Scriptures: John 4:1-42

Her Story

Every day, the woman carried her water jug to Jacob's well just outside Sychar, a town midway between Jerusalem and Nazareth. Even though it was the hottest time of the day, she preferred it to the evening hours, when the other women gathered. How tired she was of their wagging tongues. Better the scorching heat than their sharp remarks.

She was surprised, however, to see that today someone had already arrived at the well—a Jew from Galilee by the looks of him. At least she had nothing to fear from his tongue, for Jews did their best to avoid Samaritans, despising them as half-breeds who worshiped not in the temple at Jerusalem but at their shrine on Mount Gerizim. For once she was glad to be ignored, grateful, too, that men did not address women in public.

But as she approached the well, the man startled her, breaking the rules she had counted on to protect her. "Will you give me a drink?" he asked.

What kind of a Jew was this? she wondered. Certainly not a Pharisee, or he would have taken the long way around Samaria to get to Galilee. With a toss of her head, she replied, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?"

But he wouldn't be put off. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

"Sir," she replied, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" That should take him down a notch or two.

But the man kept pressing. "Go," he told her, "call your husband and come back."

This last request took the wind out of her. Her quick tongue was barely able to reply, "I have no husband."

"You are right when you say you have no husband," Jesus said. "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

His words cut her. Shaking off the hurt, she tried changing the subject, diverting him by stirring up the old controversy between Jews and Samaritans. "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."

The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

Meanwhile, his disciples, who had gone into the town to look for food, returned and urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

But Jesus replied, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."


Dodge, counterdodge—nothing the woman said would keep Jesus at bay. He kept pressing beneath the surface, inviting her to a deeper understanding, hemming her in by revealing his knowledge of the most intimate details of her life. Overwhelmed, she finally admitted the truth. And when she did, Jesus startled her with a revelation about himself: He admitted, for the first time, that he was the Messiah. Though she hadn't known it, she had been conversing with her Savior.

Jesus had arrived at the well thirsty, hungry, and tired from the journey north to Galilee. But by the time his disciples returned from their shopping trip in Sychar, he seemed refreshed and restored by his encounter with the woman.

She, in turn, was so deeply affected by him that she exclaimed to whoever would listen: "He told me everything I ever did." At the Samaritans' urging, Jesus stayed on for two days and many came to believe, saying to the woman: "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

Her Promise

Are you thirsty? Is there a longing in you that you just can't seem to meet? Do you hunger for something to fill some void, some emptiness you can't even explain? Look everywhere, try everything—you'll find nothing in this world that will satisfy. Only Jesus can provide the living water that will fill you to overflowing, that will satisfy your longing, that will soothe your thirst so completely you'll never be thirsty again.

Girlfriends in God - My Safe Place

Today’s Truth

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised’ (Job 1:20-21).

Friend to Friend

Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father, and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain, and despair was even more powerful.

Did Job doubt and question God?


Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain?


But Job remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering.

Job stood firm in his faith even when his heart and body was broken. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first (Job 42:11).

You are no stranger to trials. The lab report came back malignant. The school called, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informed you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss called you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish.

Yes, storms will come, and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God.

No one would call George Smith a coward. Smith was a daring jet test pilot in the 1950's when the sound barrier was first being broken. He could face anything - until he had to bail out of a jet going 805 miles per hour. Smith survived, but he was hospitalized for weeks. Smith shared his fear of ever flying again with one of the nurses who had become a friend. The nurse smiled and said, “I have an antidote to fear. It is courage. To have courage is to know the worst, and to discover that in God's economy, the very worst can't really hurt you."


God doesn’t always deliver us immediately.

God doesn’t always deliver us in a logical way.

God doesn’t always deliver us like we want to be delivered.

But God always delivers us.

If we count on strength from anyone or anything other than God Himself, we will be miserably disappointed. He is our safe place.

Jeremiah 16:19 offers a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for God’s hand of deliverance: “Lord, You are my strength and my protection. You are a safe place for me to run to in times of trouble.”

Trials are an important part of life. We desperately try to avoid any and all pain. When a crisis hits, we search frantically for the nearest exit. Instead, we need to learn to embrace pain and harvest the truth it holds.

The most beautiful life is often the most broken life. The ashes of death may very well be the fertile soil from which a new life of victory and promise will grow. God is forever covering each pain with His infinite love and mercy, bringing hope and encouragement where there was once only despair and death.

Where is God when the winds pick up and the churning waters pummel your rocking boat?

God is where He has always been and where He always will be – right there with you in the midst of every stormy circumstance. Run into His waiting arms when you are afraid. Trust Him and rest in the amazing truth that He is with you. He is your safe place.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am so guilty of looking for the easiest way out of a painful circumstance instead of looking for Your hand at work. Please help me learn to trust You enough to keep my gaze on You and my glance on my circumstances. And even when my faith is weak, please teach me to place that faith in You alone.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize 2 Corinthians 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort! Record it in your journal. When the hard times come, remember who God wants to be in your life.

More from the Girlfriends

NEW BOOK from Mary Southerland! Mary has updated the E-Book, Fit for Life, and released it in a soft cover book. Fit for Life addresses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual areas of your life and teaches you principles that will empower you to bring each area under God’s control.

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

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Daily Devotional by John Piper - Our Unspeakable Privilege

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:14)
One implication of the magnificent name, I AM WHO I AM, is that this infinite, absolute, self-determining God has drawn near to us in Jesus Christ.

In John 8:56–58 Jesus is answering the criticism of the Jewish leaders. He says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly! I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Could Jesus have taken any more exalted words upon his lips? When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” he took up all the majestic truth of the name of God, wrapped it in the humility of servanthood, offered himself to atone for all our rebellion, and made a way for us to see the glory of God without fear.

In Jesus Christ we who are born of God have the unspeakable privilege of knowing Yahweh as our Father — I AM WHO I AM — the God
  • who exists
  • whose personality and power is owing solely to himself
  • who never changes
  • from whom all power and energy in the universe flows
  • and to whom all creation should conform its life.
May those who know the name of God put their trust in him.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WE DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO DO GOD’S WILL

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

While living in Hong Kong, I used to make a point of having dinner with many of the Open Doors supporters worldwide that gave up some holiday time to courier Bibles into China. Often in the course of their travels some of them would meet famous house church leaders and say, “To be truthful, I was a bit disappointed in meeting.” They would add something like, “I thought these people would be remarkable saints, and of course they were, but they were also quite prejudiced, or rude, or had some other feature that I did not think worthy of a very spiritual leader.” They assumed that the persecuted were “super-saints.” But they are not.

It is a very unfortunate trend to idolize the persecuted. We assume that if a Christian survives twenty years in a stinking prison cell they are in a completely different spiritual category from ourselves. They are of course different in what they have experienced, but that does not necessarily make them more spiritual. As J.C. Ryle once put it, “Even the best of men are only men at the best.” They often retain the blind spots and prejudices of their culture.

On one occasion I was taking a distinguished Bible teacher to meet a revival leader in Lanzhou, Gansu province. This Chinese leader had seen over 50,000 people come to know the Lord through his ministry over a ten-year period, but to our amazement he taught that “you can only come to faith on a Sunday.” He had been taught Christianity by his beloved grandmother, who believed the Lord would only listen to pleas for repentance on a Sunday. We talked and argued about this, and eventually he threw us out shouting, “You just hate my Granny.” I hear now, years later, that he has extended the “repentance period” to Saturday as well. Yet he is still an extremely effective evangelist despite this chronic, man-made obstacle he has erected to the grace of God!

Surely the great point is this: flawed as some Chinese leaders were, they did the will of God mightily. They labored in a country that has seen the number of Christians grow from less than one million in 1949 to over eighty millions today—the largest revival in the history of Christendom. God didn’t stop pouring out his Spirit because his saints were imperfect.

If the persecuted teach us anything, it is that God will work through us even despite our prejudices, blind spots and eccentricities. If we offer ourselves, we will be used…as we are.

We do not have to be perfect to do God’s will. Otherwise, no one could.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk in faith thankful that I do not have to be perfect to do God’s will.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You can still use me with all my imperfections and blind spots.

Un Dia a la Vez - Dios es nuestro mayor defensor

El que habita al abrigo del Altísimo morará bajo la sombra del Omnipotente. (Salmo 91:1, RV-60)

En el Manual de Instrucciones, Dios nos dice que «abogado tenemos para con el Padre, a Jesucristo el justo» (1 Juan 2:1, rv-60).

Sin embargo, para que esto sea así, debes creerle a Dios y tener tu fe puesta en Él, a fin de que veas este versículo hecho realidad en tu vida.

A cada momento vivimos situaciones donde decimos: «¿Quién podrá defenderme ahora?». Entonces comprobamos que solo Dios puede ayudarnos porque Él es omnipotente y omnipresente.

Creerle a Dios es un gran beneficio, pues aunque tal parece que esa situación que hoy vives es un callejón sin salida, Dios tiene la salida para todo problema. Él tiene la última palabra y es el que cambia los decretos de muerte a vida, de enfermedad a sanidad, de prisión a libertad, de culpable a inocente.

A Dios le interesa que nos vaya bien.

De modo que si quieres activar esa defensa a tu favor, debes dejar de luchar con tus propias fuerzas, debes dejar de pensar que te las sabes todas y rendirte por completo a Jesús.

Verse of the Day - September 19, 2016

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Read all of Ephesians 4

Our Daily Bread - Worth the Calories?

By Poh Fang Chia

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I love egg roti prata, a popular pancake in my country of Singapore. So I was intrigued to read that a 125-pound (57 kg) person must run 5 miles (8 km) per hour for 30 minutes to burn 240 calories. That’s equivalent to only one egg roti prata. 

Ever since I started working out in the gym, those numbers have taken on a new significance for me. I find myself asking: Is this food worth the calories?

While it is wise to watch our food consumption, it is even more important to watch our media consumption. Research shows that what we see can stay in our minds for a long time and influence our behavior. It has a “clingy effect,” sticking to us like that stubborn fat we find so hard to lose.

With the wide variety of media content surrounding us today, we need to be discerning consumers. That doesn’t mean we read only Christian literature or watch only faith-related movies, but we are careful about what we allow our eyes to see. We might ask ourselves: Is this worth my time?

In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul tells us in essence, “Feed your eyes and minds on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.” This is a “diet” worthy of what Christ has done and is doing in us.

Are my viewing habits enhancing my life or are they drawing me away from things that really matter? Help me, Lord, to make wise choices.

The mind is formed by what it takes in.
Will Durant

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - ¿Valen la pena tantas calorías?

Leer: Filipenses 4:4-9 | La Biblia en un año: 2 Corintios 11:16-33

Por Poh Fang Chia

… si algo [es] digno de alabanza, en esto pensad… (Filipenses 4:4-9).

Me encanta el huevo roti prata, un panqueque popular en mi país, Singapur. Por eso, me llamó la atención leer que una persona de 57 kilos debe correr a 8 kilómetros por hora durante 30 minutos para quemar 240 calorías. Eso equivale a un solo huevo roti prata.

Desde que empecé a ir al gimnasio, esos números han adquirido un nuevo significado para mí, y suelo preguntarme: ¿Vale la pena esta comida con tantas calorías?

Aunque es sabio vigilar nuestra alimentación, es aun más importante vigilar nuestro consumo de los medios. Estudios demuestran que lo que vemos permanece en nuestra mente mucho tiempo e influye en nuestra conducta. Tienen un «efecto pegajoso»; como esa obstinada grasa en el cuerpo, tan difícil de perder.

Ante la variedad de contenidos en los medios, debemos ser consumidores prudentes. No significa leer o ver solo literatura y películas cristiana, sino ser cuidadosos con lo que vemos. Podemos preguntarnos: ¿Vale la pena dedicarles tanto tiempo?

En Filipenses 4:8, Pablo nos dice algo así: Alimenta tus ojos y tu mente con cosas verdaderas, nobles, justas, puras, amables, de buen nombre, virtuosas y dignas de alabanza. Esta es una «dieta» digna de lo que Cristo ha hecho y está haciendo en nosotros.

¿Mis hábitos televisivos mejoran mi vida o me alejan de lo realmente importa?

«La mente se forma por lo que entra en ella».
—Will Durant

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Хлеб наш насущный - Стоит ли?

Читать сейчас: Филиппийцам 4:4-9 | Библия за год: Екклесиаст 1-3; 1 Коринфянам 10:19-33

автор: По Фанг Чи

Что только добродетель и похвала, – о том помышляйте. Филиппийцам 4:8

Я люблю «Роти Прата» – это яичные блинчики, популярные в Сингапуре. Человеку, который весит 57 кг, нужно бежать полчаса со скоростью 8 км/ч, чтобы сжечь 240 калорий. Это эквивалентно одному-единственному блинчику «Роти Прата».

С тех пор как я стала заниматься спортом, эти цифры приобрели для меня новое значение. Я регулярно задаюсь вопросом: стоит ли эта еда затрат на сжигание калорий?

Несомненно, следить за рационом неплохо, однако намного важнее следить за тем, чем мы наполняем разум. Исследования показали, что увиденное может оставаться в памяти долгое время, оказывая влияние на поведение. Информация «прилипает» к нам, словно жировые отложения, от которых потом непросто избавиться.

Среди окружающего нас информационного многообразия нужно быть особенно разборчивыми. Это не значит, что нужно читать только христианскую литературу или смотреть только видео, имеющее отношение к вере. Но мы должны хранить свои глаза и уши, спрашивая себя: стоит ли это моего внимания?

В Послании к филиппийцам Павел, по сути, говорит: «Насыщайте свой разум тем, что истинно, честно, справедливо, чисто, любезно, достославно, добродетель и похвала» (Флп. 4:8). Это достойная «диета».

Обогащают ли увлечения мой внутренний мир или, напротив, уводят меня от того, что действительно важно? Помоги мне, Боже, выбирать правильно.

«Мышление формируется тем, что в него входит».
— Уилл Дюран

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Des calories justifiées?

par Poh Fang Chia

Du reste, frères, que tout ce qui est […] digne de louange […] soit l’objet de vos pensées. (Philippiens 4:88)

Je raffole de l’oeuf roti prata, une crêpe prisée chez moi à Singapour. J’ai donc été intriguée de lire que, pour brûler 240 calories, une personne de 57 kg doit courir 8 km/h en 30 minutes. Or, cette quantité calorifique équivaut à un seul oeuf roti prata.

Depuis que je me suis mise à m’entraîner au gym, ces statistiques ont revêtu un nouveau sens pour moi. Je me pose souvent la même question : «L’apport calorifique de ces aliments est‑il justifié ?»

Bien qu’il soit sage de surveiller notre consommation alimentaire, il importe encore plus de surveiller notre consommation médiatique. Des recherches ont démontré que ce que nous voyons est susceptible d’occuper notre esprit et d’influencer notre conduite pendant longtemps. Ces images ont un « effet adhésif » aussi fort que la graisse si difficile à éliminer.

Le vaste contenu des médias nous oblige à être des consommateurs avertis. Cela ne nous restreint toutefois pas aux seuls écrits ou films chrétiens, mais à la nécessité d’user de prudence dans ce que nous permettons à nos yeux de voir. Il se peut que nous nous demandions si ces aliments visuels justifient le temps que je leur consacre.

Philippiens 4.8 revient à dire : « Nourrissez vos yeux de tout ce qui est vrai, honorable, juste, pur, aimable, méritoire, vertueux et digne de louange. » C’est un « régime » digne de ce que Christ a accompli et accomplit encore en nous.

L’esprit se façonne à l’aide de ce qu’il ingère.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ