Saturday, September 24, 2016

Night Light for Couples - May I Have This Dance?

by Nancy Jo Sullivan

I ordered a bag of popcorn at the snack bar while my girls scurried through the department store searching for Christmas gifts. I yawned as the clerk handed me my snack. I could barely keep my eyes open.

We had just moved into a new home. In between unpacking boxes, I had baked cookies, wrapped presents, and written cards of greeting. So far the holidays had left me feeling depleted of energy. I wanted to feel close to God, especially in this season, but I hadn’t had time for prayer and quiet reflection.

As I settled into a booth, I noticed an old man standing near the store entryway. Though his face was wrinkled, his eyes twinkled with the energy of youth. He was ringing a Salvation Army bell.

I watched as he danced around his red coin kettle, bobbing and turning to the rhythm of his own footsteps. Ringing his bell in carefully timed beats, he waved and smiled to those who passed him by.

“Joy to the world… mmm… the Lord is come.”

Soon a woman made her way past the singing man. She was wearing a Christmas‐tree sweater, her brow was furrowed, and she carried several shopping bags.

“No joy for the Lord?” the old man called out to her. The woman sighed and rolled her eyes. She hurried to her car. I watched as people hustled past the man. Most of them ignored him. Everyone seemed preoccupied with balancing their bags and boxes of presents.

A businessman with a cell phone walked past the dancing bell ringer.

“Let every heart… mmm… Prepare him room…” the old man sang.

The sound of his bell and the beeping noise from the cash registers forced the businessman to shout into the phone. He reminded me of how all my seasonal obligations made me feel. I was trying to find a way to converse with God, but so far I hadn’t gotten a good connection.

As busy shoppers made a wide perimeter around the bell ringer, an old woman, her back hunched and her gait slow, approached him. She smiled as she clicked open a tattered purse and dropped four quarters into the slotted red pail.

The man took off his ear‐muffed hat and bowed to her. “May I have this dance?” he asked. The woman blushed and began to giggle. As she drew herself up, her wrinkles seemed to fade. The two of them began to shuffle around the store entry, the old man gently guiding the frail woman in graceful glides and turns.

“Joy to the world… the Savior reigns…” their voices rang out in happy unison.

As I watched, I found myself wanting to join their department store waltz. Theirs was a dance of joy, unencumbered by stress or preoccupation—a dance of praise that proclaimed anew the tender message of old:

“Joy to the world… the Lord is come!”

Later that night, as my family slept upstairs, I curled up on the couch in our family room. After turning on my favorite holiday CD, I drank a cup of tea in front of our brightly lit tree. Soon the notes of “Joy to the World” filled the room.

I could almost hear the Lord say, “May I have this dance?”


Like the woman in the Christmas‐tree sweater and the businessman with the cell phone, so few people seem to experience joy. No matter what time of year it is, they are preoccupied with the stress of the season and have either rejected or forgotten the joy that Jesus offers.

Yet none of us needs to live this way, for believers in the Lord know an eternal joy that ultimately transcends any hardship experienced in this world. Even in the midst of trials, He stands ready to lead us out of our suffering into His wonderful presence.

This next week we’ll talk about how to choose joy in our marriages and in our lives. We can learn to rejoice and praise Him every day. The Lord has come!

- James C Dobson
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • “May I Have This Dance?” by Nancy Jo Sullivan. Taken from Moments of Grace by Nancy Jo Sullivan. © 2000. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

The Daily Readings for September 24, 2016

Hosea 1:1-2:1
The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah, and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel. When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD." So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the LORD said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel." She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen." When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God." Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God." The people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head; and they shall take possession of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. Say to your brother, Ammi, and to your sister, Ruhamah.

Acts 20:1-16
After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples; and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given the believers much encouragement, he came to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was about to set sail for Syria when a plot was made against him by the Jews, and so he decided to return through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. They went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas; but we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we joined them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, "Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him." Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted. We went ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there; for he had made this arrangement, intending to go by land himself. When he met us in Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. We sailed from there, and on the following day we arrived opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos, and the day after that we came to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; he was eager to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Luke 4:38-44
After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah. At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 87
Fundamenta ejus
1   On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
2   Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of our God.
3   I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me; behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia: in Zion were they born.
4   Of Zion it shall be said, "Everyone was born in her, and the Most High himself shall sustain her."
5   The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples, "These also were born there."
6   The singers and the dancers will say, "All my fresh springs are in you."

Psalm 90 Domine, refugium
1   Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God.
3   You turn us back to the dust and say, "Go back, O child of earth."
4   For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.
5   You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6   In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.
7   For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
8   Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9   When you are angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10   The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
11   Who regards the power of your wrath? who rightly fears your indignation?
12   So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
13   Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? be gracious to your servants.
14   Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15   Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity.
16   Show your servants your works and your splendor to their children.
17   May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 136 Confitemini
1   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.
2   Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures for ever.
3   Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his mercy endures for ever.
4   Who only does great wonders, for his mercy endures for ever;
5   Who by wisdom made the heavens, for his mercy endures for ever;
6   Who spread out the earth upon the waters, for his mercy endures for ever;
7   Who created great lights, for his mercy endures for ever;
8   The sun to rule the day, for his mercy endures for ever;
9   The moon and the stars to govern the night, for his mercy endures for ever.
10   Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his mercy endures for ever;
11   And brought out Israel from among them, for his mercy endures for ever;
12   With a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm, for his mercy endures for ever;
13   Who divided the Red Sea in two, for his mercy endures for ever;
14   And made Israel to pass through the midst of it, for his mercy endures for ever;
15   But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, for his mercy endures for ever;
16   Who led his people through the wilderness, for his mercy endures for ever.
17   Who struck down great kings, for his mercy endures for ever;
18   And slew mighty kings, for his mercy endures for ever;
19   Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his mercy endures for ever;
20   And Og, the king of Bashan, for his mercy endures for ever;
21   And gave away their lands for an inheritance, for his mercy endures for ever;
22   An inheritance for Israel his servant, for his mercy endures for ever.
23   Who remembered us in our low estate, for his mercy endures for ever;
24   And delivered us from our enemies, for his mercy endures for ever;
25   Who gives food to all creatures, for his mercy endures for ever.
26   Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy endures for ever.

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 24, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

Psalm 90:14 (NRSV) Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Taizé is a French ecumenical monastic community whose worship is marked by song, simplicity, and silent prayer. “But what do you do in the silence?” came the question from a young adult, addressing one of the brothers of the Taizé community. The brother smiled and answered, “It’s a good question. I listen to God and learn to trust God’s love. I begin to love God back through my astonishment at God’s love for me. There is joy in the silence.”

I do not always wake up in the morning longing to be satisfied by God’s loving-kindness. I wake up worried about responsibilities, irritated that the demands of work and family are ever at war. Some days, I wonder who I am and what’s important and whether I trust the answers to those same questions that I came up with on the previous day. To live in God’s love requires daily surrender.

May the silence in our prayers today recall to us the love that will satisfy and bring us the joy and belonging offered by God in Christ. For this we were made. Amen.

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

NIV Devotions for Couples - Finding the Best of Times

Revelation 21:1–27

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Marriage can be like the days of the French Revolution, immortalized in the words of Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities—“the best of times and the worst of times.”

In the best times of marriage, we can’t get enough of each other. We breeze through workdays, knowing we can be together afterward. We spoon our bodies in the night, delighting in how well we fit together. We cook special things for each other. We reach for each other’s hands in church, show each other off to friends, get high at the sound of each other’s voice on the phone.

We crave each other in the hard times too: when our parents decide to divorce, when a close friend is diagnosed with cancer, when one of us loses a job, when we have a miscarriage, when someone betrays us. We ease the hurt by holding each other tight and letting the tears fall, by reading passages of Scripture together, by linking hearts and hands in prayer. Somehow just being together fortifies us in the times when we ache and hurt.

In the worst of times, we lose each other. He flirts with a waitress, making his wife feel invisible. She goes on a spending spree at the mall, sabotaging the budget her husband so carefully worked out. He works late night after night; she spends too much time with friends. Even at church the togetherness is lost as she goes to choir, while he goes to Bible study. She has meetings that leave him sitting alone; he is so busy talking to others that he barely notices she’s gone. Even when together, spouses can be alone. They stay home for the night, but he’s upstairs watching a football game, while she’s downstairs trotting on the treadmill. Or during dinner, she’s replaying a work problem in her head, while he’s reading the paper.

Whatever the reason, failing to connect becomes a kind of living death. The warmth, the passion, the closeness between us cools until it seems we’re only going through the motions of marriage. Then something, somehow, prods us into reaching for each other again: Maybe it’s a sermon that cuts truth like a knife into our hearts or a friend who begins asking questions about our relationship or a work associate whose problems become too personal. Then things can really heat up between us—this time with anger, accusations, threats and tears. The pain is excruciating, but if we work through it (sometimes with professional help), we can find each other again in a new kind of love, one that’s forged in the fire and ashes of repentance and forgiveness. Then the tears we drop are ones of relief, gladness and joy.

One day we will stop crying for good. After we pass through the final vale of separation from each other, God himself will wipe our faces clean of tears. Then he will usher us into glory, where we will be so united with him, so one with him, that there will never again be a need for tears. The best times of marriage, in all their passion and delight, are a prelude to that.

Phyllis Ten Elshof

Let’s Talk
  • What are some times when we felt the most togetherness? What helped fuel those times? When have we felt most alienated from each other? What brought us back together? What are some practical ways we can work together that will keep us close?
  • Is either of us sometimes uncomfortable with too much intimacy? What do we do when we feel crowded into closeness? How do we get some space without offending each other?
  • How does closeness and intimacy with God affect our relationship with each other?

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE BODY OF JESUS

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Colossians 1:18

In China, one small group of believers gathered weekly in the back room of a small store to worship together during the Cultural Revolution. Since they could easily be overheard by anyone entering the store, they “sang” hymns together without words or music. Someone whispered the name of the song and the group together silently moved their lips simply “thinking” the words and music.

In the Bible, the church is called “God's husbandry,” “the body of Christ,” and the “household of Christ” (I Corinthians 3:9; 12:13,27; Hebrews 3:6). It is also called His bride and a wife (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:2,9; Ephesians 5:22-33). These are all simple examples given to help us understand that the Church is a spiritual entity, neither a building nor a human organization. This is probably the most common error in belief found among Christians. It is important that we realize that the church of Jesus Christ is basically and When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus responded by promising to build His church on the solid “rock” of this great truth and that the gates of hell would not withstand it. (Matthew 16:13-18). According to the New Testament, a person who has recognized, as Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ, and who trusts in Him by faith as Savior and Lord, is “born again” (John 3:1-17).

This new birth is a spiritual experience that opens the heart to the Spirit of God. He enters that heart and dwells there. This believer is then a “priest” of God and enjoys direct access into the holy presence of God (I Peter 2:5,9; Hebrews 4:16). This relationship of an individual with Christ is clearly a spiritual relationship, and Jesus joins together individuals who have this faith in Him into a spiritual body—His church.

RESPONSE: I will cherish my relationship with Christ and His body—the Church.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for Your household of faith. Help me to understand its functions and walk and serve in expressing them.

Verse of the Day - September 24, 2016

Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Read all of Hebrews 10

Our Daily Bread - Pass It On

By Lawrence Darmani

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 78:4)

I enjoy watching relay races. The physical strength, speed, skill, and endurance required of the athletes amaze me. But one crucial point of the race always gets my special attention and makes me anxious. It is the moment the baton is passed to the next athlete. One moment of delay, one slip, and the race could be lost.

In a sense, Christians are in a relay race, carrying the baton of faith and the knowledge of the Lord and of His Word. And the Bible tells us about our need to pass this baton from one generation to another. In Psalm 78, Asaph declares: “I will utter . . . things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us . . . . We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (vv. 2–4).

Moses said something similar to the Israelites: “Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deut. 4:9).

For generations to come, we are called to lovingly and courageously do whatever we can to pass along “the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Father, help me to be faithful in passing my faith along to someone else.

We influence future generations by living for Christ today.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Unser Täglich Brot - Weitergeben

Lesen: Psalm 78,1-8 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Hoheslied 4–5; Galater 3

Von Lawrence Darmani

Wir verkündigen dem kommenden Geschlecht den Ruhm des Herrn. (Psalm 78,4)

Ich sehe gern bei Staffelläufen zu und staune über die Kraft, Geschwindigkeit, Geschicklichkeit und Ausdauer, die von den Sportlern verlangt wird. Aber an einem Punkt werde ich immer nervös. Das ist der Moment, wo der Stab von einem Läufer an den anderen weitergegeben wird. Nur ein kurzes Zögern, ein Ausrutscher, und das ganze Rennen ist verloren.

In gewissem Sinne sind auch Christen in einem Staffellauf. Wir tragen den Stab des Glaubens und der Erkenntnis von Gott und seinem Wort. Und die Bibel sagt uns, wie wichtig es ist, den Stab von einer Generation an die nächste weiterzureichen. In Psalm 78 erklärt Asaf: „Ich will meinen Mund auftun . . . und Geschichten verkünden aus alter Zeit. Was wir gehört haben und wissen und unsre Väter uns erzählt haben, das wollen wir nicht verschweigen . . .; wir verkündigen dem kommenden Geschlecht den Ruhm des Herrn und seine Macht und seine Wunder, die er getan hat“ (V.2-4).

Ähnlich sagte es Mose zu den Israeliten: „ . . . das du nicht vergisst, was deine Augen gesehen haben, und dass es nicht aus deinem Herzen kommt dein ganzes Leben lang. Und du sollst [es] deinen Kindern und Kindeskindern kundtun“ (5.Mose 4,9).

In jeder Generation sollen wir mutig und liebevoll tun, was wir können, um zu „verkündigen . . . die Wohltaten dessen, der [uns] berufen hat von der Finsternis zu seinem wunderbaren Licht“ (1.Petr. 2,9).

Vater, hilf mir, meinen Glauben treu an andere weiterzugeben. Teile mit uns auf, wie du deinen Glauben an die nächste Generation weitergibst.

Wir prägen künftige Generationen, wenn wir heute für Jesus leben.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Передайте дальше

Читать сейчас: Псалом 77:1-8 | Библия за год: Песнь песней 4-5; 1 Коринфянам 14:1-20

автор: Лоуренс Дармани

Не скроем от детей... возвещая роду грядущему славу Господа и силу Его...Псалом 77:4

Я люблю легкоатлетические состязания, особенно спортивную эстафету. Сила, скорость, умение и терпение спортсменов нередко приводят меня в изумление. А больше всего мне нравится момент, когда один атлет передает эстафетную палочку другому. Короткая задержка – и весь забег может быть проигран.

В некотором смысле христиане также участвуют в эстафете, передавая «палочку» веры и истины из одного поколения в другое. В Псалме 77 Асаф провозглашает: «Что слышали мы и узнали, и отцы наши рассказали нам, не скроем от детей их... возвещая роду грядущему славу Господа, и силу Его, и чудеса Его, которые Он сотворил» (Пс. 77:2-4).

Моисей говорил нечто подобное своим современникам: «Только берегись и тщательно храни душу твою, чтобы тебе не забыть тех дел, которые видели глаза твои, и чтобы они не выходили из сердца твоего во все дни жизни твоей; и поведай о них сынам твоим и сынам сынов твоих» (Втор. 4:9).

Мы призваны смело с любовью возвещать новым поколениям «совершенства Призвавшего вас из тьмы в чудный Свой свет» (1 Пет. 2:9).

И пусть в передаче этой «эстафеты» у нас не возникнет никаких заминок.Отче, помоги мне быть верным в передаче своей веры другим.

Мы влияем на будущие поколения, живя для Христа в настоящем.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Donnez au suivant

par Lawrence Darmani

[Nous] dirons à la génération future les louanges de l’Éternel, et sa puissance, et les prodiges qu’il a opérés. (Psaumes 78.4)

Je me plais à regarder des courses à relais. La force physique, la vitesse, l’aptitude et l’endurance requises des athlètes me remplissent d’admiration. Reste qu’un point crucial de la course capte toujours mon attention en particulier et m’angoisse un peu. C’est le moment où le témoin est remis à l’athlète suivant. Il suffit d’un instant de retard ou d’un simple manque de synchronisme pour vouer la course à une défaite.

Or, les chrétiens participent aussi à un genre de course à relais, en ce sens qu’ils transportent le témoin de la foi, ainsi que de la connaissance du Seigneur et de sa Parole. Et la Bible nous parle de la nécessité de se remettre ce témoin de génération en génération. Dans le Psaume 78, Asaph déclare : « J’ouvre la bouche par des sentences […] des temps anciens. Ce que nous avons entendu, ce que nous savons, ce que nos pères nous ont raconté […] nous dirons à la génération future les louanges de l’Éternel, ainsi que sa puissance et les prodiges qu’il a opérés » (V. 2‑4).

Moïse a dit quelque chose de semblable aux Israélites : « [Veille] attentivement sur ton âme, tous les jours de ta vie, de peur que tu n’oublies les choses que tes yeux ont vues, et qu’elles ne sortent de ton coeur ; enseigne‑les à tes enfants et aux enfants de tes enfants » (DE 4.9).

Nous sommes appelés à tout faire pour transmettre aux générations à venir, avec amour et courage, « les vertus de celui qui [nous] a appelés des ténèbres à son admirable lumière » (1 PI 2.9).

On influence les générations à venir en vivant déjà pour Christ.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ