Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Error Or Opportunity?

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.

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

Many years ago, at what was then Standard Oil Company, an executive’s mistake cost the firm more than two million dollars. On the day the news leaked, the firm’s employees feared the wrath of the powerful head of the company—John D. Rockefeller—and found various ways to avoid him. One partner, however, kept his previously scheduled appointment. When he walked into the president’s office, he saw Rockefeller writing on a pad of paper.

“Oh, it’s you, Bedford,” Rockefeller said calmly. “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss?” The partner said that he had. “I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.” Across the top of the page was written, “Points in favor of Mr. ________.” There followed a long list of the man’s virtues, including a description of how the executive had helped the firm make the right decision on three separate occasions. Since the earnings from these decisions had added up to many times the cost of the recent error, Rockefeller told Bedford that he had decided to seize the opportunity to encourage the executive instead of censure him.

The next time your spouse fails you, you could cut him or her down in a torrent of angry words… or you could see a golden opportunity to encourage.

Just between us…
  • When was I most encouraging to you during a crisis?
  • Is there a particular Scripture verse you cling to during tough times?
Lord, we so often underestimate how much influence our words can have. We ask for wisdom to speak encouragement—especially when criticism might be expected. Amen.
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Illustration from More of… The Best of Bits and Pieces, ed. Rob Gilbert (Fairfield, N.J.: The Economics Press, 1997). Reprinted in Stories for a Man’s Heart, comp. Al and Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).

The Daily Readings for October 12, 2016

Jonah 1:17-2:10
But the LORD provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, "I called to the LORD out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, 'I am driven away from your sight; how shall I look again upon your holy temple?' The waters closed in over me; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the Pit, O LORD my God. As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the LORD!" Then the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.

Acts 27:9-26
Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous, because even the Fast had already gone by, Paul advised them, saying, "Sirs, I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives." But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. Since the harbor was not suitable for spending the winter, the majority was in favor of putting to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, where they could spend the winter. It was a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest. When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control. After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven. We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship's tackle overboard. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.' So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island."

Luke 9:1-17
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money-- not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he tried to see him. On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place." But he said to them, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish-- unless we are to go and buy food for all these people." For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each." They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 119: Aleph Beati immaculati
1   Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
2   Happy are they who observe his decrees and seek him with all their hearts!
3   Who never do any wrong, but always walk in his ways.
4   You laid down your commandments, that we should fully keep them.
5   Oh, that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes!
6   Then I should not be put to shame, when I regard all your commandments.
7   I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, when I have learned your righteous judgments.
8   I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.

Psalm 119: Beth In quo corrigit?
9   How shall a young man cleanse his way? By keeping to your words.
10   With my whole heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commandments.
11   I treasure your promise in my heart, that I may not sin against you.
12   Blessed are you, O LORD; instruct me in your statutes.
13   With my lips will I recite all the judgments of your mouth.
14   I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees than in all manner of riches.
15   I will meditate on your commandments and give attention to your ways.
16   My delight is in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119: Gimel Retribue servo tuo
17   Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.
18   Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.
19   I am a stranger here on earth; do not hide your commandments from me.
20   My soul is consumed at all times with longing for your judgments.
21   You have rebuked the insolent; cursed are they who stray from your commandments!
22   Turn from me shame and rebuke, for I have kept your decrees.
23   Even though rulers sit and plot against me, I will meditate on your statutes.
24   For your decrees are my delight, and they are my counselors.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 12 Salvum me fac
1   Help me, LORD, for there is no godly one left; the faithful have vanished from among us.
2   Everyone speaks falsely with his neighbor; with a smooth tongue they speak from a double heart.
3   Oh, that the LORD would cut off all smooth tongues, and close the lips that utter proud boasts!
4   Those who say, "With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?"
5   Because the needy are oppressed, and the poor cry out in misery, I will rise up, says the LORD, and give them the help they long for.
6   The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined from ore and purified seven times in the fire.
7   O LORD, watch over us and save us from this generation for ever.
8   The wicked prowl on every side, and that which is worthless is highly prized by everyone.

Psalm 13 Usquequo, Domine?
1   How long, O LORD? will you forget me for ever? how long will you hide your face from me?
2   How long shall I have perplexity in my mind, and grief in my heart, day after day? how long shall my enemy triumph over me?
3   Look upon me and answer me, O LORD my God; give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
4   Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him, " and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.
5   But I put my trust in your mercy; my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
6   I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt with me richly; I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 14 Dixit insipiens
1   The fool has said in his heart, There is no God." All are corrupt and commit abominable acts; there is none who does any good.
2   The LORD looks down from heaven upon us all, to see if there is any who is wise, if there is one who seeks after God.
3   Every one has proved faithless; all alike have turned bad; there is none who does good; no, not one.
4   Have they no knowledge, all those evildoers who eat up my people like bread and do not call upon the LORD?
5   See how they tremble with fear, because God is in the company of the righteous.
6   Their aim is to confound the plans of the afflicted, but the LORD is their refuge.
7   Oh, that Israel's deliverance would come out of Zion! when the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.

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 October 12, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Scott B. Hayashi

Jonah 1:17 (NRSV) But the LORD provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Today, we find Jonah caught in the belly of a great fish. Some people imagine a Disney version of Pinocchio and Monstro the whale. I imagine Jonah locked in a tight and smelly womb-like stomach, with the large fish’s thunderous beating heart sending shock waves across the membrane. Jonah needs to be reborn into the world. He prays from his place of confinement. “I called to the Lord out of my distress, and he answered me…”

Perhaps you have been similarly trapped in your life. This feeling, this kind of experience, is not uncommon. I have been there myself. Upon relating his own story of distress and confinement, one man told me, “I said to Jesus, ‘If you hold my hand, I will hold on to yours.’ ” And he held on to Jesus, and Jesus held on to him. That made all the difference in his life. It has made all the difference in mine. Can you imagine the difference holding Jesus’ hand, and having him hold yours, would make in your life?

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Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE BODY OF CHRIST AT WORK


…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

Training for Christian women in Pakistan, where poverty and illiteracy abound, has proven to reflect the character of the body of Christ.

A student says, “It’s important for me to be here so I can learn to read and write. Then I can read the Bible for myself, which is the most important thing for me. I want the Gospel to spread throughout our country. Now I study hard and I can write my name. I intend to stand before the people and read the Bible by myself so that other people may be encouraged to learn to read and write in the same way.

One teacher named Gladys says, “I have a gift for sewing, cutting, and embroidery. The other gift God has given me is to share with other people and tell them about Jesus. That is the opportunity I have and that is what I am doing here. When I began here, I said to them, ‘I am not educated. I can’t teach anyone.’ But then the Lord said to me, ‘This is My work. I will use you.’

“We do face discrimination because we live in the midst of people who don’t want us to move forward, people who keep trying to push us down so that we will always be in slavery. But the women testify to what God has done for them in their lives. From the time they first come here, I can see God changing their lives because the way they speak changes and they talk about the love they’ve been shown and how that has affected their lives. If someday a mother’s children are Christian because I taught her, I would be so happy because I would know that God had done His work through me.

Another teacher reports, “I first came to the center to learn sewing skills. But my father took me out of the center. He sent me to work for a Muslim family who lived in Turkey. The family said that I should give up my faith because it was no good. I told them that God had blessed me through this faith, and that I could not find such a blessing anywhere else, and that my faith meant everything to me.

“Then one time, when their daughter was ill, they taunted me and said I better pray for her and see what Jesus would do. So I did pray for her, and she was healed. They knew I had prayed to my God for her and so they exclaimed, ‘Glory to God! Surely your Jesus does answer prayers.’

Before I left them, I testified to them, and they said that my prayers work, but I told them, ‘It’s not my prayers. It is the Lord who causes us to pray and it is the Lord who heals.’ And they had to admit that it was true, and that my God truly does work.”

Another student concludes, “The Church is the body of Christ. We have to help each other to share the love of Jesus as He has shown us.”

RESPONSE: Today I will share my giftedness with others and help build up the body of Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for the Open Doors training sessions around the world—especially among poor and illiterate Christian women.

Girlfriends in God - The Gift of Prayer

Today’s Truth

Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them (Matthew 19:13).

Friend to Friend

Praying for the people we love is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. And letting those people know we are praying for them is an important part of that gift. I was recently reminded that this truth applies to children as well.

Two of our grandchildren live in Kansas City, so we get to seem them every few days. My husband and I love it and are always looking for opportunities to spend time with them.

We invited Justus and Hudson over to meet our new worship pastor and his wife who have a set of triplets and a little boy about the age of Hudson. We turned all of the kids loose in our fenced-in back yard. After a toddler version of soccer and several turns on the swing set, I called, “Time for a break! I’ve got cookies!” Six sweaty little bodies came running. And that’s when I heard the scream!

Justus had fallen and and cut his leg. It wasn’t a deep cut, but it was a cut on my grandson’s leg, which meant it was a big deal to him and to me!

Scooping him up in my arms, we headed inside where I held him until he stopped crying. I cleaned the cut, covered it with an antiseptic cream, and carefully placed a Paw Patrol bandage on it. I then prayed for Jesus to heal the cut, a prayer that sealed the deal for our grandson. Justus smiled up at me and said, “Thanks, Mimi.”

I didn’t see Justus for several days, but when I showed up to baby-sit him and his little brother, the first thing Justus said was, “Mimi, He did it!” I had honestly forgotten all about the cut and my prayer for Jesus to make it well … but Justus hadn’t.

Justus grinned, pointed to his leg where the cut was barely visible and said, “See? God made it all better! He answered your prayer!”

Awesome … right? But that is not all.

When Hudson cut his arm a few days later, Justus helped his mom clean and bandage the wound. Justus then prayed for Hudson and assured him that Jesus would heal him. And He did!

Justus believes that prayer works because his grandmother prayed and God answered her prayer. Justus then experienced the power of answered prayer when he prayed for his little brother and God answered his prayer. Justus, Hudson and I now pray together about many things – fear of the dark, monsters, “cwazy” drivers, and storms – basically anything that is a concern to their little hearts. It is a gift – to me and to our grandsons.

Are you giving the gift of prayer to the people in your life? Do they know you are praying for them?

We try to make prayer complicated, but it really isn’t. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Our helplessness is our most powerful prayer. God does not listen for the eloquence of our words. He listens for the voice of our need.

Prayer isn't a religious exercise. It isn’t a holy vending machine and does not require us to jump through a certain number of hoops in order for God to hear and respond.

Prayer is the declaration of our total and utter dependence on God. When we pray, we are telling God that we are desperate for Him. We are saying “yes” to whatever the minute, day or future holds … even before we know what that may be.

We don’t have to drop to our knees or close our eyes to pray. Prayer is the continual conversation between our heart and the heart of God … in every part of our day.

Prayer should be our first response … not our last resort, and it should be as natural as breathing.

When someone asks you to pray for them – pray. Pray with them over the phone. Stop in the middle of the store or sidewalk and pray. Pray with your children on the way to school. Write a note of prayer to a hurting friend or just to bless a friend. Ask your waiter or waitress how you can pray for them.

Make prayer a gift that you freely give.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to be a prayer warrior, a woman of God who lives in a constant state of prayer. Please help me see the needs in the lives of the people I love as well as those needs in the lives of people I meet every day. Teach me how to pray, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

What do you think this verse means when it says to “pray without ceasing?” How can you apply this truth to your prayer life? What person needs to know that you are praying for them today?

More from the Girlfriends
We have over-complicated prayer! Prayer is simply talking with and listening to God. Most of us have the talking part down. The listening part – not so much! Get Dan Southerland’s book, Chair Time, to learn how to hear the voice of God in prayer.

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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Un Dia a la Vez - La infidelidad

El que lleva a los justos por el mal camino, caerá en su propia trampa; pero los íntegros heredarán el bien. Proverbios 28:10

Hombres, la infidelidad no es una moda ni te hace más hombre. Por el contrario, te hace más cobarde.

Para los hombres que no tienen una vida espiritual sana, les cuesta mucho entender que debes ser hombre de una sola mujer. Aunque el mundo te tilde de tonto, esa es la voluntad de nuestro Dios. Por eso la fidelidad es la más hermosa cualidad y virtud que pueda tener un hijo de Dios.

¿Has pensado qué haría Jesús si lo hubieran tentado con la infidelidad? ¡Hubiera huido, ya que fue íntegro en todo!

Si quieres cambiar tu vida, debes dejar atrás el pecado de la infidelidad que desgracia tu vida y la de tu familia. El Manual de Instrucciones habla con dureza de las consecuencias. Recuerda lo que se declara en Romanos 6:23: «La paga del pecado es muerte». No te hablo de la muerte natural, sino de la muerte espiritual que pone un abismo entre Dios y tú, te aparta de su protección y te lleva a tocar fondo.

No es más hombre el que tiene más mujeres. Es más hombre el que solo tiene una. Si tienes más de una mujer, recapacita y permite que Dios te libere de esta doble vida. Renuncia a esa relación y arrepiéntete de corazón. Dios, que es un Padre de oportunidades, restaurará tu vida.

Recuerda que la verdadera vida no está en la tierra. La verdadera vida está cuando partamos de este mundo y tengamos que darle cuenta a Dios por lo que hicimos con nuestra vida y con nuestros hogares.

Verse of the Day - October 12, 2016

Proverbs 1:8-9 (NIV) [ Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom ] [ Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men ] Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Read all of Proverbs 1