Thursday, September 29, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Watch Out For Traps

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.

“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We’ve found that retired couples and stay‐at‐home spouses are especially likely to fall into four traps that can take the joy out of life. Here they are, along with some suggestions for avoiding each trap. First is the trap of isolation. Don’t allow yourself to withdraw within your own four walls. Stay connected to people even when it’s easier to stay home.

The second trap is inactivity. The simple act of taking a walk, visiting the library, or going grocery shopping keeps the muscles limber and the mind alert.

Third is the trap of self-pity. This attitude can cripple or even kill you! To ward it off, reach out to others. Develop a ministry of prayer and hospitality for those around you.

The fourth trap is despair. The elderly, in particular, can slip into thinking that life is over and no longer worth living. Yet the Christian must always be future oriented. The beauty of our faith lies in the assurance of the next world, where true joy awaits us all.

Just between us…
  • Do you ever fall into any of these traps? Which one(s)?
  • What specific things can we do to avoid them?
  • Are you looking forward to the future? Why or why not?
  • How does God use the elderly for His purposes?
  • How could praying and caring for others lead to joy for us?
Father, we are so thankful that we will one day leave life’s troubles behind and enter the joy of eternity with You. In the meantime, help us redeem the time for Your glory, confident that You are ready to work out Your divine purposes in every moment. 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 29, 2016

Genesis 28:10-17
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the LORD stood beside him and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place-- and I did not know it!" And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Psalm 103 Benedic, anima mea
1   Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
2   Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
3   He forgives all your sins and heals all your infirmities;
4   He redeems your life from the grave and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;
5   He satisfies you with good things, and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.
6   The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed.
7   He made his ways known to Moses and his works to the children of Israel.
8   The LORD is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness.
9   He will not always accuse us, nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10   He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
11   For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
12   As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us.
13   As a father cares for his children, so does the LORD care for those who fear him.
14   For he himself knows whereof we are made; he remembers that we are but dust.
15   Our days are like the grass; we flourish like a flower of the field;
16   When the wind goes over it, it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.
17   But the merciful goodness of the LORD endures for ever on those who fear him, and his righteousness on children's children;
18   On those who keep his covenant and remember his commandments and do them.
19   The LORD has set his throne in heaven, and his kingship has dominion over all.
20   Bless the LORD, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding, and hearken to the voice of his word.
21   Bless the LORD, all you his hosts, you ministers of his who do his will.
22   Bless the LORD, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul.


Revelation 12:7-12
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death. Rejoice then, you heavens and those who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you with great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"

John 1:47-51
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

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 Daily Meditation for September 29, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Jonathan Melton

Psalm 103:1 (NRSV) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

The man beside me had become exasperated in his attempts to persuade his friend on the end of the phone. “I give up!” he screamed. “I’ve done all I can.” He slammed the phone shut and panted his exhaustion.

As I processed this stranger’s conversation, I felt compassion for him. He clearly wanted to give his friend a gift. What escaped the man, however, was that the form of his message betrayed the sweetness of its content. More simply, he had stopped living his own faith in an attempt to give faith to another.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul…” The psalmist’s gentle self-prodding reminds us that we are continually living lives of faith. We live them alongside each other, in relationship to each other, sometimes carrying each other, but we never live our lives of faith alone. And when we can find those spaces where our souls truly offer blessings and prayers of thanks for all that we have been given, everything inside of us seems to be saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

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

Un Dia a la Vez - Días de preparación


Toda la Escritura es inspirada por Dios, y útil para enseñar [...] a fin de que el hombre de Dios sea perfecto, enteramente preparado para toda buena obra. 2 Timoteo 3:16-17, RV-60

Si estás buscando un cambio en tu vida, y en especial le has pedido a Dios que te dé una oportunidad para cambiar, servir y cumplir con un llamado, piensa que Dios escucha con mucha seriedad tus peticiones. Por eso, va a empezar a dirigir tu vida de tal forma que te irá llevando a dejar cosas, a tomar decisiones muy duras para ti, pero que serán necesarias para los planes que tienes. Conozco personas que han hecho pactos con Dios y han dejado sus trabajos seculares que no honraban su nombre y han buscado algo que vaya de acuerdo a su estilo de vida.

¿Sabes lo que pasa a veces? Parecemos muy espirituales y nos dejamos llevar por las emociones. Le decimos al Señor: «Quiero ser misionero, quiero ser pastor y vivir para ti».

«Perfecto», dice Dios. «¿Estás dispuesto a dejarlo todo por mí? ¿Dejarías ese trabajo que te da buen dinero, pero te roba tiempo con tu familia? ¿O estás listo para ser misionero dejando tu familia y viajando a lugares en los que quizá no tengas una cama donde dormir y la comida no sea la más apetitosa?».

El servicio a Dios tiene un precio y sacrificios que enfrentar. Sin embargo, la gran verdad es que si Dios te llama, te capacita y te prepara. Creo que ya te lo dije, pero lo repito ahora: Así como los soldados van a la guerra, pero antes necesitan preparación física y entrenamientos muy fuertes, igual sucede con nosotros. Dios necesita prepararnos para darnos lo que anhelamos.

Girlfriends in God - How Resistance Can Lead to Strength


Today’s Truth

The testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:3)

Friend to Friend

My daughter plays competitive volleyball and recently began a specialized resistance plyometric workout called Vertimax training. The actual Vertimax equipment looks rather unimpressive. It’s a sturdy platform that hosts a complicated series of industrial-sized rubber bands. The results of training with this system, however, are anything but unimpressive. This advanced resistance-training helps to increase vertical jump, strengthen and protect muscles, and accelerate an athlete’s reaction time. Everything a volleyball player wants!

But let me tell you, it is hard work.

Kennedy trains under the careful watch of a guide who knows just how much tension to add and to allow on the platform. And she works through a rapid series of reps to the point of fatigue, and sometimes to failure.

The resistance of the bands increases her strength, but not until her muscles are worn down. After fatigue sets in and the muscles break down, healing begins, and she grows stronger as a result.

Just like in life.

Trials and tension can lead to stress or to strength. Often both! Challenges can tear us down, but they also hold the power to build us up. It’s important for us to realize that we get to choose our responses when resistance wears us thin.

I want to honor God in both good and bad times. Don’t you? I honestly do, but it’s not easy. I tend to get upset about the breakdowns and strains I have to deal with. The Bible shows me, however, that if I didn’t have any resistance I wouldn’t grow.

The beauty of resistance is that can lead to strength. (If we allow it to.)


Remember what James said?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)

I read these verses and a part of me want to run the other way. But I want to grow. I want to mature in my faith, to trust God more, to persevere and showcase His power in and through the pressure.

So how does this play out practically?

Well, I want my marriage to grow stronger. Always. Because even though we’ve been married a long time, Brad and I are two flawed individuals with strong opinions and crazy-different emotions. Those two variables alone set the table for tension, but there are countless sources of strain beyond our shortcomings. (And all the people said: AMEN!)

We know that marriages, and all relationships, are hard work. So for my marriage to be strong - as far as it’s up to me - I need to press through times of fatigue in order to move toward the strength I long for when Brad and I hit the tension point. I need to look to God, my Guide, who carefully watches me, knows all about the hurt, and helps me through the resistance.

If I want my marriage to be strong, I can’t just be stubborn and do things my way because my ways are flawed and weak. (This applies to all relationships!) The ways of the Lord, however, are perfect and strong. So I look to the Bible to instruct my heart and inform my attitude. She brings him (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26)

When I’m stressed out by my man, or angry with him (people…it happens), I have to pray for God to give me the grace that my heart lacks and the willingness to forgive. Even in the times when I’m convinced that he’s wrong. Even when my feelings are hurt or my ego is bruised. Even when, even when, even when… (And believe me, Brad has plenty of opportunities to do the same with me!)

The Bible assures us, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

That sounds good to me. I like to know that there is a reward that follows the fatigue.

On the Vertimax platform when the tension bands are removed, an athlete experiences the benefits of the training. Testing brings perseverance. It’s a promise.

What resistance are you facing today? Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4)

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Forgive me for wanting to find the easy way around the resistance that can be used to strengthen me. Help me to appreciate the value in the strains and struggles I endure. Build my strength today in the fatigue I face and help me to look to You and walk in Your grace.
In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

Read James 1.

JAMES CHALLENGE: Ready to grow in the strength of God? Read the entire book/letter of James. Do it today or do it this week. However long it takes. Are you in? Click here to let me know by leaving a comment on my blog or on my Facebook page.

More from the Girlfriends

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Seeking God?
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Girlfriends in God
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Standing Strong Through the Storm - I AM NOT AFRAID ANYMORE


One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10

Paul was experiencing great pressure and persecution while sharing the gospel in Corinth. With the encouragement of these “red letter” words from Jesus Himself, Paul gained courage to stay in Corinth for another year and a half teaching the word of God.

Known for its rich historical heritage and tourist attractions, Aurangabad is one of the very famous districts of Maharashtra, India. It has been an important place since ancient times because of its location in the famous Silk Route. The route traveled across the width of Asia to Europe. The city is named after the great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and is one of the fastest growing cities in India. Marathi and Urdu are the main languages spoken in the city.

During the first Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminar, the participants expressed profound appreciation, gratitude and the need for more such seminars. So new sets of people were targeted in order to bring awareness and educate them on how to handle persecution when it comes.

The majority of the students confessed that they had never heard of this kind of teaching before. Topics such as addressing religious intolerance were highly appreciated. While the participants were initially apprehensive of sharing their testimonies, they stepped forward after watching the persecution related movies and video clips, and boldly shared what God had done in their lives.

Pratima Pagare attended and commented, “I was always scared to death with the thought that fundamentalists will attack and stone us because we minister to people in the name of Jesus. I am so encouraged to come to this seminar and to hear the testimonies of people who faced persecution in their ministries and still went on. I was also strengthened by the teachings on how to stand strong in the midst of storms and this has driven away all my fears. I thank God and Open Doors for this.”

Priti Alhad said, “I did not know what the content of the seminar would be, but gradually as the sessions went by, I considered myself privileged to be present here and be blessed by the teachings. I am not afraid of persecution but these teachings encouraged me and prepared me for the times of persecution…As I go from here I want to share this knowledge that I have gained here and create awareness among my church members and utilize these teachings in my ministry. I thank your ministry for organizing this seminar in our area.

RESPONSE: Today I will keep on speaking and not be silent trusting the Lord for His protection and blessing.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to lose my fearfulness and trust You when I face those who oppose me.

Verse of the Day - September 29, 2016


John 3:20-21 (NIV) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Read all of John 3

Our Daily Bread - Within a Stone’s Throw


By Randy Kilgore

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. ( John 8:7)

As a group of religious leaders herded an adulterous woman toward Jesus, they couldn’t know they were carrying her within a stone’s throw of grace. Their hope was to discredit Him. If He told them to let the woman go, they could claim He was breaking Mosaic law. But if He condemned her to death, the crowds following Him would have dismissed His words of mercy and grace.

But Jesus turned the tables on the accusers. Scripture says that rather than answering them directly, He started writing on the ground. When the leaders continued to question Him, He invited any of them who had never sinned to throw the first stone, and then He started writing on the ground again. The next time He looked up, all the accusers were gone.

Now the only person who could have thrown a stone—the only sinless one—looked at the woman and gave her mercy. “ ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’ ” (John 8:11).

Whether today finds you needing forgiveness for judging others or desiring assurance that no sin is beyond His grace, be encouraged by this: No one is throwing stones today; go and be changed by God’s mercy.

Father, cleanse me of my judging nature and free me from the bonds of sin. Let me taste Your mercy and then help me to live a changed life.

Tell us your story of how the Lord has shown grace to you at odb.org/story.

We serve a Savior who is eager to forgive.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Unser Täglich Brot - Nur einen Steinwurf entfernt

Lesen: Johannes 7,53–8,11 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Jesaja 7–8; Epheser 2

Von Randy Kilgore

Wer unter euch ohne Sünde ist, der werfe den ersten Stein auf sie. (Johannes 8,7)

Eine Gruppe frommer Führer brachte eine Frau, die sie beim Ehebruch ertappt hatten, zu Jesus. Sie konnten nicht wissen, dass die Frau damit nur noch einen Steinwurf von Gottes Gnade entfernt war. Ihre Absicht war, Jesus zu diskreditieren. Wenn er sagte, sie sollten die Frau gehen lassen, konnten sie behaupten, er würde das Gesetz des Mose brechen. Wenn er sie hingegen zum Tode verurteilte, würden die Menschen, die ihm in Scharen folgten, seine Worte der Gnade nicht mehr ernst nehmen.

Aber Jesus drehte den Spieß um. Statt ihnen direkt zu antworten, sagt die Bibel, begann er auf die Erde zu schreiben. Als sie nicht locker ließen, forderte er die auf, die noch nie gesündigt hatten, den ersten Stein zu werfen. Dann schrieb er weiter. Als er wieder aufsah, waren alle Ankläger verschwunden.

Der Einzige, der einen Stein hätte werfen können—der Einzige ohne Sünde—sah zu der Frau auf und begnadigte sie. „So verdamme ich dich auch nicht“, sagte er, „geh hin und sündige hinfort nicht mehr“ (Joh. 8,11).

Ob du heute Vergebung brauchst, weil du andere verurteilt hast, oder die Zusicherung brauchst, dass keine Sünde so groß ist, dass Gott sie nicht vergeben kann—du darfst wissen: Heute wirft keiner einen Stein. Geh und lass dich von Gottes Gnade verändern.

Vater, reinige mich von meinen „Vor“-Urteilen und befreie mich von den Fesseln der Sünde.
Lass mich deine Gnade schmecken und verändere du mein Leben. Erzähle uns, wie Gott dir gnädig war, auf unsertaeglichbrot.org

Wir dienen einem Herrn, der uns gern vergibt.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Благодать вместо камня

Читать сейчас: Иоанна 8:1-11 | Библия за год: Исаия 7-8; 2 Коринфянам 1

автор: Рэнди Килгор

Кто из вас без греха, первый брось в нее камень.Иоанна 8:7

Ведя к Иисусу женщину, застигнутую в прелюбодеянии, иудеи и подумать не могли, что тащат свою жертву к источнику благодати. Их планы были просты: дискредитировать Назорея. Если бы Он сказал, что женщину нужно отпустить, они бы обвинили Его в нарушении Моисеева закона. А если бы одобрил жестокий приговор, это подорвало бы Его учение о милости и прощении.

Но Христос обратил их оружие против них самих. Вначале, не давая ответа, Он писал пальцем на земле. Когда же иудеи продолжали допытываться, Он, подняв голову, сказал: «Кто из вас без греха, первый брось на нее камень» (Ин. 8:7), а затем снова продолжил что-то писать. Когда Он поднял голову во второй раз, ни одного из обвинителей уже не было.

Единственный, кто мог бросить камень на объявленных условиях, единственный безгрешный, смотрел на женщину с жалостью. «Я не осуждаю тебя; иди и впредь не греши», – сказал Он (Ин. 8:11).

Нуждаетесь вы сегодня в прощении за осуждение других, или вам нужно убеждение, что Его благодать может покрыть любые грехи, ободритесь: никто сегодня не бросает камни. Идите ко Христу и доверьтесь Божьей милости.

Отче, преобрази мою осуждающую природу и освободи от оков греха. Дай мне вкусить Твоей милости и помоги жить преображенной жизнью.

Мы служим Спасителю, готовому прощать.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - À un jet de pierre


par Randy Kilgore

Que celui de vous qui est sans péché jette le premier la pierre contre elle. (Jean 8:7)

En amenant de force une femme adultère à Jésus, les chefs religieux ne pouvaient savoir qu’ils l’amenaient ainsi à s’approcher à un jet de pierre de la grâce. Ils espéraient discréditer le Seigneur. Si Jésus leur disait de laisser aller cette femme, ils pourraient prétendre qu’il transgressait la loi mosaïque. Par contre, s’il la condamnait à mort, la multitude qui le suivait perdrait foi en ses paroles empreintes de miséricorde et de grâce.

Jésus a cependant retourné la situation contre ses accusateurs. La Bible dit que plutôt que de leur répondre directement, il s’est mis à écrire sur le sol. Comme les chefs religieux continuaient de mettre sa parole en doute, il a invité quiconque n’ayant jamais péché à jeter la première pierre à la femme, puis il a recommencé à écrire au sol. Lorsqu’il a relevé les yeux, tous ses détracteurs étaient partis.

La seule personne qui aurait pu jeter une pierre – Jésus, le seul innocent – a regardé la femme et lui a accordé sa miséricorde en lui affirmant : « Je ne te condamne pas non plus ; va, et ne pèche plus » (JN 8.11).

Qu’aujourd’hui vous ayez besoin d’être pardonné pour avoir jugé les autres ou que vous désiriez avoir l’assurance qu’aucun péché n’est hors d’atteinte de la grâce divine, puisez un encouragement en ceci : il n’y a personne aujourd’hui pour jeter des pierres ; alors, allez et soyez transformé par la miséricorde de Dieu.

Nous servons un Sauveur qui est toujours prêt à pardonner.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ