Friday, October 28, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Black Sunday

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.

“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:4

Every family has moments they’d rather forget—moments that later call for understanding and forgiveness. When our children lived at home, we found that Sunday was often the most frustrating day of the week, especially during the “get ’em ready for church” routine. But Black Sunday was uniquely chaotic!

Jim and I began the day by getting up late, which meant that everyone had to rush to prepare for church. Then there was the matter of spilled milk at breakfast and the black shoe polish on the floor. Finally, Ryan, who was dressed first, managed to slip out the back door and get himself dirty from head to toe. As these irritations mounted, the criticism and accusations flew back and forth. At least one spanking was delivered and another three or four were promised.

After the Sunday evening service we called the family together. We described the day we’d had and asked each person to forgive us for our part in it. We also gave each member of the family a chance to express his or her feelings. Ryan was given his first shot, and he fired it at me. “You’ve been a real grouch today, Mom!” he said with feeling. “You’ve blamed me for everything all day long.” Danae then poured out her hostilities and frustrations. Finally, Jim and I had an opportunity to explain the tensions that had caused our overreaction. It was a valuable time of ventilation and honesty that drew us together once more. We then had prayer as a family and asked the Lord to help us live and work together in love and harmony.

No matter how hard we try, we will experience times when we fail to live up to our Christian principles. When those times arrive, discussion and forgiveness are the best methods for soothing wounded relationships. I urge you at those moments to actively seek forgiveness from each other and from God and freely offer forgiveness in return.

While you’re at it, forgive yourself. If God can post a “No Fishing” sign by the sea where your sins are thrown, then so can you and I.

- Shirley M Dobson
  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE WAY OF THE CROSS

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

Two days before the SSTS Seminar in a restricted Central Asia country, Pavel, a Christian leader discovered the garage he was using to store restricted (illegal) Christian literature in the tribal language was broken into by youths and over 2000 pieces of literature stolen. Ironically, police discovered the literature being distributed at a nearby school by the mischievous youths and traced the ownership of the literature to Pavel.

He was “invited” to come to the police station. There he discovered that the authorities were open to receiving a bribe of one month’s salary in exchange for having the remaining literature returned and the case closed. It was also suggested that because he was lacking the appropriate registration papers for being in this community, he should pay the money before the police “found some drugs in his home” and he be sent to jail for a longer period of time.

Pavel now had two choices: pay the bribe and redeem most of the stolen literature which had come into the country at great personal and emotional risk past many police checkpoints; or wait and see how God intervened to bring glory to His name even if it meant a fine or imprisonment. Pavel knew that to pay the bribe would open the door to a pattern of further blackmail, as the police would now own him as “their man.”

During the 3-day SSTS seminar, the group met with Pavel and his wife and prayed with them each morning before he went to the police station for further interrogation in the afternoons. Pavel had to make a decision by the third day. As he left for the police station he told the group, “This SSTS seminar has changed my entire thinking on this matter. I am not paying the bribe. I am choosing ‘the way of the cross.’”

Latest reports are that Pavel’s case was resolved without a bribe and he is still active in effective ministry in his country.

RESPONSE: Today I again choose to walk “the way of the cross” as I make my decisions and choices.

PRAYER: Lord, help me never to choose the easy way of the culture but to walk “the way of the cross!”

Girlfriends in God - He’s One Step Ahead

by Arlene Pellicane

Today’s Truth

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23, NLT).

Friend to Friend

I stared at the pile of papers, unsure for the first time about how to complete them. It was the middle school registration packet for my oldest son Ethan. I wasn’t sure how to fill out a few blanks. It all seemed so much more complicated than elementary school.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

I had faith this verse even applied to middle schoolers.

Like in the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, I decided to “phone-a-friend” for help. Not just any friend…my middle school counselor friend.

You see, just a few months before deciding on where Ethan would go to middle school, we joined a small group at church. There we made a new friend who just happened to be a counselor at Ethan’s new school.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. My friend told me exactly what to do and even arranged for me to meet my son’s advisor. As I left that middle school office fully assured, I was reminded once again that God is always one step ahead. He had orchestrated meeting my counselor friend just before we needed her!

When we enter a new phase and stage of life, we can be confident that God goes before us. If you’re starting a new job next week, God knows exactly where your desk will be and which people you will need to meet.

If you’re saying goodbye to a friend or having trouble with a loved one, God knows how to get you through the rough spots and bring you comfort.

He directs the steps of the godly. It’s up to God to orchestrate your life. It’s up to you to be directed. It’s our job to simply follow and trust, but that can be hard when we want control and security.

I’ve seen the bumper sticker that reads, “God is my co-pilot.” Although I’m sure the writer was well intentioned, the slogan isn’t Scriptural. God doesn’t want to be a co-pilot. He wants to be the pilot. As long as you are navigating your life, God cannot direct you to His best.

The first commandment in Exodus 20:2-3 is “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me.”

We belong to God. He is the Lord and the sole director of our lives. In the same way He rescued the Israelites out of slavery, He will rescue and redeem your life. Even if it seems like you’re walking through a wilderness right now, God is directing your every step. He delights in every detail of your life and will create a beautiful story that is worth telling. Keep trusting and walking. Don’t worry - He’s one step ahead of you. 

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for leading my life and delighting in my way. I don’t always know what to do, but I’m so glad that You know. I trust You to direct my every step and ask You to give me wisdom today. May I rest in the confidence that You have everything under control.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

What would the bumper sticker on your life say…”God is my pilot” or “God is my co-pilot”?

What’s one concern of your life you can turn over to God, asking Him to direct your steps?

More from the Girlfriends

If you are a mom or grandma, maybe you could use some guidance about your child or grandchild’s next stage of development.

Today’s devotion is from Arlene Pellicane and her book 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom will shed light on your parenting journey. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom has something for you – including insights from our very own Gwen Smith. 

Seeking God?
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Un Dia a la Vez - Jesús y los juramentos

«Cuando ustedes digan “sí”, que sea realmente sí; y cuando digan “no”, que sea no. Cualquier cosa de más, proviene del maligno». Mateo 5:37

Desde siempre hemos escuchado que no debemos jurar, mucho menos usando el nombre de Dios en vano. Esto se debe a que Dios espera que digamos la verdad en todo momento.

En el Manual de Instrucciones también encontramos que el Señor espera que nuestra palabra sea sincera y que tengamos una sola respuesta. Cuando somos personas de una sola palabra, tenemos credibilidad y confiabilidad ante otros, mucho más al decir que somos cristianos. Si quedamos mal, también se afectará el nombre de Dios.

Cada vez que les prometamos algo a nuestros hijos, debemos cumplirlo. Les hacemos mucho daño si los ilusionamos con algo y no lo llevamos a cabo. Así que distingámonos y aprendamos a ser hombres y mujeres de carácter.

Men of the Bible - Peter

His name means: "Rock"

His work: A career fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
His character: Peter was a determined and impetuous man who became bold in his witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
His sorrow: Like many impulsive people, Peter's greatest enemy was his mouth—speaking without thinking. This landed him in all kinds of trouble.
His triumph: The leadership of the disciples, the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles, and his martyrdom for the Savior he loved.
Key Scriptures: Luke 9

A Look at the Man

Simon Peter had heard about Jesus. Living close to the Sea of Galilee, as Peter did, it would have been hard to miss him. But Peter's career kept him busy. Being distracted by the Teacher wouldn't be good for business.

Then one morning, as Jesus walked along the shore with the usual crowd of people surrounding him, he stopped and, without warning or permission, stepped into Peter's boat. Imagine the fisherman's shock when Jesus said to him, "Push out into the deep and drop your nets."

"But, Master," Peter protested, surprised that Jesus knew his name. "We've been up all night fishing and haven't caught anything."

Jesus turned to look at Peter with a glance that for the next three years would become familiar.

"Okay," Peter sighed. "Because it's you, I'll do it."

The moment the nets drifted below the water's surface, they filled with fish. Peter called for a second boat. But the nets were so full of fish that both boats nearly sank. Suddenly Peter made the connection between the miracle and his own wickedness. "Go away, Lord," he pleaded as he fell to his knees. "I'm a sinful man."

The Master must have instantly bonded to this rough but tenderhearted fisherman. "Don't be afraid, my friend," Jesus said to him. This may have been the first time anyone had ever said these words to this brave man. Then Jesus added, "Follow me."

The most outspoken and visible of Jesus' disciples, Simon Peter was a remarkably complex man. He was impulsive, brash, thickheaded, courageous, tough—and fearful. But there was a special place among Jesus' closest followers for this man. We have no record of there being an election of officers, but the gospel writers put Peter's name first when they list the disciples. He was their designated leader.

And there was a special place in Jesus' heart for Peter as well. He was the only disciple who received a new name—a nickname. "Blessed are you, Simon son of John," Jesus announced to him one day. "Now you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. And against my church, the gates of hell don't have a chance."

But like the man who carried the name, the word rock had many faces. Certainly there was the kind of rock that provided stability—bedrock on which the church was to be built. But there was the rock that represented shallowness—an impediment for the seed to grow. There was the rock that got in the way of progress—the stumbling stone of offense. And there was the rock that was many Jews' weapon of choice. And in a contemporary setting, rock sometimes refers to a precious gem. Jesus couldn't have given Simon a more appropriate moniker.

But any instability that marked the man prior to Jesus' resurrection was permanently erased once he touched the risen Savior and heard his call once more: "Follow me!" It was Peter who stood at Pentecost and preached a radical conversion message. It was Peter who, like his Lord, healed the sick—even his shadow had healing power! It was Peter who confidently stood before the antagonists in the Sanhedrin, the same men who later murdered Stephen. "Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus," he declared. "There's no other name under heaven by which we must be saved!"

It was Peter who was singled out for an extremely unpopular assignment—to take the message of salvation to non-Jews. Peter, whom King Herod imprisoned for his refusal to stop preaching the Good News, was miraculously set free by an angel. And it was Peter whose death, Jesus said, would "glorify God."

While ministering in Rome, Peter was arrested by Nero and was later tried and crucified. However, unwilling to be killed in the same sacred way his Master had died, Peter requested that he be crucified upside down. His wish was granted, and God was glorified.

Reflect On: 2 Peter 4:12–13
Praise God: For his love.
Offer Thanks: For the wonder of a Savior who meets us where we are and transforms us by his Spirit.
Confess: Your inconsistency in wanting to follow him but so often neglecting to be his unfailing and faithful ambassador.

Ask God: For the will to be in his presence daily and to find in that encounter his redeeming power.

Verse of the Day - October 28, 2016

1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV) For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

Read all of 1 Peter 1

The Daily Readings for October 28, 2016

Deuteronomy 32:1-4
Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he;

Psalm 119:89-96 Lamedh In æternum, Domine
89   O LORD, your word is everlasting; it stands firm in the heavens.
90   Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another; you established the earth, and it abides.
91   By your decree these continue to this day, for all things are your servants.
92   If my delight had not been in your law, I should have perished in my affliction.
93   I will never forget your commandments, because by them you give me life.
94   I am yours; oh, that you would save me! for I study your commandments.
95   Though the wicked lie in wait for me to destroy me, I will apply my mind to your decrees.
96   I see that all things come to an end, but your commandment has no bounds.

Ephesians 2:13-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

John 15:17-27
I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. "If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world-- therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'Servants are not greater than their master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.' "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

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 28, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Scott B. Hayashi

John 15:17 (NRSV) I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Historically speaking, we do not know much about Simon or Jude. Some folks assert that Simon the Zealot was the groom at the wedding in Cana where Jesus manifested his first miracle—turning water into wine. Other stories from other places assert that Jude was the disciple who carried the image of Jesus on a piece of cloth, collected during his scourge and walk to Calvary. Their ministry was tied together, and they were martyred in Beirut, sometime around 65 CE.

Many stories from many places suggest resting places for their relics, but most people drawn to Simon the Zealot and Jude recognize the crypts in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome as their place of final repose. Simon is remembered as the patron saint of sawyers, harkening back to the story of how he and Jude were martyred, and Jude is remembered as the patron saint of lost causes. Both are friends of Jesus, and God help us to be ones, too. (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

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Our Daily Bread - Learning to Count

Read: Psalm 139:14–18 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 15–17; 2 Timothy 2

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! Psalm 139:17

My son is learning to count from one to ten. He counts everything from toys to trees. He counts things I tend to overlook, like the wildflowers on his way to school or the toes on my feet.

My son is also teaching me to count again. Often I become so immersed in things I haven’t finished or things I don’t have that I fail to see all the good things around me. I have forgotten to count the new friends made this year and the answered prayers received, the tears of joy shed and the times of laughter with good friends.

My ten fingers are not enough to count all that God gives me day by day. “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Ps. 40:5). How can we even begin to count all the blessings of salvation, reconciliation, and eternal life?

Let us join David as he praises God for all His precious thoughts about us and all He has done for us, when he says, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand” (139:17–18).

Let’s learn to count again!

Lord, Your works are so many and good I can’t count them all. But I thank You for each one.

Let’s thank God for His countless blessings.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Unser Täglich Brot - Zählen lernen

Lesen: Psalm 139,14-18 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Jeremia 15–17; 2.Timotheus 2

Wie schwer sind für mich, Gott, deine Gedanken! (Psalm 139,17)

Mein Sohn lernt gerade, von eins bis zehn zu zählen. Er zählt alles, vom Spielzeug bis zu den Bäumen. Er zählt Dinge, die ich leicht übersehe, etwa die wilden Blumen an seinem Schulweg oder die Zehen an meinen Füßen.

Mein Sohn bringt auch mir wieder das Zählen bei. Ich bin oft so beschäftigt mit Dingen, die ich nicht erledigt oder nicht bekommen habe, dass ich das Gute, das mich umgibt, gar nicht mehr sehe. Ich habe vergessen, die Freunde zu zählen, die ich dieses Jahr gewonnen habe, und die Gebetserhörungen, die Tränen der Freude und das Lachen mit guten Freunden.

Meine zehn Finger reichen nicht aus, um alles zu zählen, was Gott mir jeden Tag schenkt. „Herr, mein Gott, groß sind deine Wunder und deine Gedanken, die du an uns beweisest; dir ist nichts gleich. Ich will sie verkündigen und davon sagen, wiewohl sie nicht zu zählen sind“ (Ps. 40,5). Wo sollen wir anfangen, wenn wir von dem erzählen wollen, was uns die Erlösung, Versöhnung mit Gott und das ewige Leben bedeuten?

Wir wollen mit einstimmen, wenn David Gott lobt und für die guten Gedanken dankt, die er über uns hat, und alles, was er für uns getan hat: „Wie schwer sind für mich, Gott, deine Gedanken! Wie ist ihre Summe so groß! Wollte ich sie zählen, so wären sie mehr als der Sand“ (Ps. 139,17-18).

Lasst uns wieder zählen lernen!

Herr, deine Werke sind so groß und zahlreich, dass ich sie gar nicht zählen kann. Aber ich danke dir für jedes einzelne.

Lasst uns Gott danken für seine unzähligen Gaben.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Урок счета

автор: Кейла Очоа

Читать сейчас: Псалом 138:14-18 | Библия за год: Иеремия 15-17; Филиппийцам 3

Как возвышенны для меня помышления Твои, Боже. — Псалом 138:17

Мой сын учится считать от одного до десяти. Он считает все: игрушки, деревья. О многом я и не думаю как о предмете для счета, а он считает, например, цветы по дороге из школы или пальцы на моих ногах.

Я учусь считать вместе с ним. Часто я так «зацикливаюсь» на том, что мне нужно сделать, или на том, чего у меня нет, что забываю о том добром, что меня окружает. Я забываю считать новых друзей и ответы на молитвы, слезы радости и благословенные минуты в кругу своих по вере.

Моих десяти пальцев отнюдь не хватит, чтобы перечесть все, что Бог дает мне каждый день. «Много соделал Ты, Господи, Боже мой! О чудесах и помышлениях Твоих о нас – кто уподобится Тебе! – хотел бы я проповедовать и говорить, но они превышают число» (Пс. 39:6). Что уж говорить о величайших благословениях: спасении, прощении и вечной жизни!

Присоединимся к Давиду в хвале Богу за Его дивные замыслы и все, что Он сделал для нас: «Как возвышенны для меня помышления Твои, Боже, и как велико число их! Стану ли исчислять их, но они многочисленнее песка» (Пс. 138:17-18).

Будем заново учиться счету!

Господь, Твои дела так многочисленны и дивны, что их не сосчитать. Но благодарю Тебя за каждое из них.

Будем славить Бога за бесчисленные благословения.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Apprendre à compter

Lisez : Psaume 139.14‑18 | La Bible en un an : Jérémie 15 – 17 et 2 Timothée 2

Que tes pensées, ô Dieu, me semblent impénétrables ! (Psaume 139.17)

Mon fils apprend à compter de un à dix. Il compte tout, des jouets aux arbres. Il compte des choses dont j’ai tendance à faire fi, comme les fleurs sauvages le long du chemin jusqu’à l’école et mes orteils.

Mon fils me réapprend donc à compter. Il m’arrive souvent de permettre à des choses que j’ai laissées en suspens de m’accaparer ou de négliger de voir toutes les bonnes choses qui m’entourent. J’ai oublié de compter les nouveaux amis que je me suis faits cette année et mes prières qui ont été exaucées, les larmes de joie que j’ai versées et les éclats de rire que j’ai partagés avec de bons amis.

Je n’ai pas assez de mes dix doigts pour compter tout ce que Dieu me donne jour après jour. « Tu as multiplié, Éternel, mon Dieu ! tes merveilles et tes desseins en notre faveur ; nul n’est comparable à toi ; je voudrais les publier et les proclamer, mais leur nombre est trop grand pour que je les raconte » (PS 40.6). Comment même nous mettre à compter toutes les bénédictions du salut, de la réconciliation et de la vie éternelle ?

Joignons‑nous à David afin de louer Dieu pour tout le bien qu’il pense de nous et tout ce qu’il a fait pour nous : « Que tes pensées, ô Dieu, me semblent impénétrables ! Que le nombre en est grand ! Si je les compte, elles sont plus nombreuses que les grains de sable » (PS 139.17,18).

Réapprenons donc à compter !

Remercions Dieu pour ses innombrables bénédictions.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ