Devotional

May 1
Morning
“His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers.” — Son_5:13
Lo, the flowery month is come! March winds and April showers have done their work, and the earth is all bedecked with beauty. Come my soul, put on thine holiday attire and go forth to gather garlands of heavenly thoughts. Thou knowest whither to betake thyself, for to thee “the beds of spices” are well known, and thou hast so often smelt the perfume of “the sweet flowers,” that thou wilt go at once to thy well-beloved and find all loveliness, all joy in him. That cheek once so rudely smitten with a rod, oft bedewed with tears of sympathy and then defiled with spittle-that cheek as it smiles with mercy is as fragrant aromatic to my heart. Thou didst not hide thy face from shame and spitting, O Lord Jesus, and therefore I will find my dearest delight in praising thee. Those cheeks were furrowed by the plough of grief, and crimsoned with red lines of blood from thy thorn-crowned temples; such marks of love unbounded cannot but charm my soul far more than “pillars of perfume.” If I may not see the whole of his face I would behold his cheeks, for the least glimpse of him is exceedingly refreshing to my spiritual sense and yields a variety of delights. In Jesus I find not only fragrance, but a bed of spices; not one flower, but all manner of sweet flowers. He is to me my rose and my lily, my heart’s-ease and my cluster of camphire. When he is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of his grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of his promises. Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with thee. I am a poor worthless one, whose cheek thou hast deigned to kiss! O let me kiss thee in return with the kisses of my lips.
Evening
“I am the rose of Sharon.” — Son_2:1
Whatever there may be of beauty in the material world, Jesus Christ possesses all that in the spiritual world in a tenfold degree. Amongst flowers the rose is deemed the sweetest, but Jesus is infinitely more beautiful in the garden of the soul than the rose can be in the gardens of earth. He takes the first place as the fairest among ten thousand. He is the sun, and all others are the stars; the heavens and the day are dark in comparison with him, for the King in his beauty transcends all. “I am the rose of Sharon.” This was the best and rarest of roses. Jesus is not “the rose” alone, he is “the rose of Sharon,” just as he calls his righteousness “gold,” and then adds, “the gold of Ophir”-the best of the best. He is positively lovely, and superlatively the loveliest. There is variety in his charms. The rose is delightful to the eye, and its scent is pleasant and refreshing; so each of the senses of the soul, whether it be the taste or feeling, the hearing, the sight, or the spiritual smell, finds appropriate gratification in Jesus. Even the recollection of his love is sweet. Take the rose of Sharon, and pull it leaf from leaf, and lay by the leaves in the jar of memory, and you shall find each leaf fragrant long afterwards, filling the house with perfume. Christ satisfies the highest taste of the most educated spirit to the very full. The greatest amateur in perfumes is quite satisfied with the rose: and when the soul has arrived at her highest pitch of true taste, she shall still be content with Christ, nay, she shall be the better able to appreciate him. Heaven itself possesses nothing which excels the rose of Sharon. What emblem can fully set forth his beauty? Human speech and earth-born things fail to tell of him. Earth’s choicest charms commingled, feebly picture his abounding preciousness. Blessed rose, bloom in my heart for ever!

From The Sword Study Bible

Rylisms

May 1
The Unstoppable Life
And Jesus went about all Galilee — preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” (Mat_4:23)
At the very moment when wicked Herod imprisoned faithful John, Jesus stepped forward and raised the torch of truth even higher. Herod should have left well enough alone!
Once Jesus settled in at Capernaum, establishing a base of operations, He then launched a campaign of conquest that will never be rivaled. For He did not seek lands or titles; His was not an egotistical desire for fame or wealth, or for power and honor. No; rather He came to conquer the heart of mankind; conquer and convert it back to its original passion — a full, free, and fantastic friendship with God Almighty!
Centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah had looked forward by faith and spoke concerning the Lord Jesus, who was yet to come, saying, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end…from henceforth even forever.” (Isa_9:7).
This great prophecy emboldens our belief that good will most certainly triumph over evil, despite the many things which seem to suggest the exact opposite in these violent days. Tune into any news channel and see how inundated we are with unbridled passion, unimaginable decadence, and unbelievable cruelty. Nevertheless, when evil sits upon the throne and the streets of nations are filled with foolhardy acts of immorality and injustice — we take heart in knowing there is a Kingdom which is greater than these fleeting empires. It is the Kingdom of our God, and of His Christ.
And — for any heart that has received this King into its multiple compartments — a promise is made that of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Government is what Christ brings to our discarded souls, and Peace is what results when He reigns in our lives. Would you know this peace of which I speak? Then yield your heart to the government of Christ over your affections, appetites, ambitions, aspirations, and aggravations.
Yes, Old King Herod should have left John alone! For, as it stood, he was merely a voice in the desert preaching to those who came out to see him. But this Jesus fellow was now going all over the place — bringing the Gospel into the very heart of the Nation. Matthew tells us that Jesus “went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Kingdom of God, and healing all manner of diseases among the people” (Mat_4:23). And get this — what Christ did in those days, He is still doing in these days — in an ever increasing circle of conquest. Furthermore, He has never stopped, and He never will!
This, then, is our heritage, as well as our mission. We are not merely subjects in this Kingdom; we are royal ambassadors, empowered by our King with the credentials that give us the clout necessary to cast down devils and call out the redeemed of the Lord.
This King, to whom we have sworn allegiance, told us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mar_16:15). John was in the desert; Jesus went round about Galilee; and now we have been thrust forth into all the world — the unstoppable Life has now been unleashed, and the world will never be as it was before!

From The Sword Study Bible

 

Devotional Sermons

May 1
Where They Found Him
And when they had found him — Mar_1:37
Lost and Found—Sinner and Savior!
Meditating on the Gospel story, one of the most enriching of all studies, one notes the great variety of places in which men and women found the Savior. There are people of whom we say admiringly, that you always know where you will find them. At any hour of any given day, you know where they are to be met with. But I venture to say, with the most perfect reverence, no one ever could say that of Christ—that was one of the wonders of His life. Appointments may be precious, but what a charm there is in unexpected meetings, when suddenly in the crowd we see a face, and then the sun shines out even in December. People were always finding Christ like that, suddenly, in very diverse places, and it is of one or two of these I wish to write.
In the Special or Striking Place
First, let us take the wise men from the East. They found Him in a manger. It was the unlikeliest place in all the world for One who had been heralded by stars. I remember, many years ago, going down a coal mine with a friend. We stumbled along a mile of tunnel, and there came on a man working in a hollow. And my guide, who was the local minister, pointing to the stooping figure, said, “That is the brightest Christian in my parish.” Then I thought of the wise men from the East finding Christ in that unlikely manger. I thought of the rowers upon the Lake of Galilee finding Him upon the stormy sea. I thought of the penitent thief upon the cross, finding the desire of all the nations amid the shames and agonies of Calvary. That is one of the wonders of the Lord. He is found in the unlikeliest places, in lives where one would never think to light on Him, and in the most unpromising of circumstances. He is found in India and in Manchuria, and among the hills and glens in Livingstonia, and in the savage islands of the Pacific Ocean. How often, studying the Old Testament, is the Lord found in the unlikeliest places—not in the royal splendors of Isaiah, but in seemingly desolate and barren tracts. So the magi, dreaming of kingly furnishings, and of cradles wrought with curious art, found Him a little babe among the beasts.
In the Sacred Place
Then, passing on a little, one remembers how His parents found Him in the Temple. It is a story familiar to us all. The wisest sages of the land were there, but Mary and Joseph never heeded them. The courts were echoing with music, but I question if Mary ever heard it. Like a morning of sunshine after a night of weeping was the sight of Jesus to His mother’s eyes, and she and Joseph found Him in the church. Not in the streets where rolled the tide of traffic; not amid the chaffering of bazaars; but in the beautiful place where God was worshipped, with its altar and its mercy seat. And to this hour, wherever folk are gathered to worship God in singleness of heart, the Lord still reveals Himself as present. Through song and prayer, or when the word is preached, or in mystical ways the mind can never fathom, how many become conscious of that presence which makes all the difference in the world? What new meaning does it give to churchgoing if we practice it in quiet assurance that we shall meet the chiefest among ten thousand there?
In the Solitary Place
Then, again, one recalls how His disciples found Him in the solitary place. To me that is of infinite suggestiveness. All the evening before He had been busy, healing sicknesses and working miracles. Virtue had been passing out of Him, for when He gave a cure He gave Himself. Then in the morning, long before the sunrise, He had risen and stolen quietly away—and they found Him in the solitary place. All alone, nobody beside Him, round Him the infinite solitude of nature—and to me there is a parable in that. To many a young man there comes the day when his spirit is thrilled by Emerson or Shakespeare. But Shakespeare and Emerson do not stand alone; there are other essayists and other poets. You find them moving in a glorious company, and you look at them, and call them men of genius; but you find Christ in the solitary place. Genius is a thing of less or more. It has its chosen child in every century. Genius may be an all-subduing flame, or it may only be a tiny spark. But the one thing you can never do with Christ is to regard Him as belonging to a class; you find Him in the solitary place. In the unconditional obedience He calls for, in His unparalleled and stupendous claims, in His immediate knowledge of the Father, in His total sinlessness, Christ stands alone, confronting every one of us. We find Him in the solitary place.
The Standard Places – Along the “Highway of Life”
Lastly, one recalls that there were those who found Him on the common highway. Who does not know the matchless story of the two who found Him on the Emmaus road. There rolled the wagon. There the chariot dashed. There marched the legions of the empire. There was the merchant travelling on business; there the prodigal returning home. It was the common highway, free to everybody, open to the beggar and to the emperor, and there the two disciples found the Lord. Sometimes that common road is very dusty. The heart faints and the feet grow weary on it. We wonder if we shall have strength to travel it, till in the hour of evening we win home. But what a difference it makes, what a blessed and amazing difference, when like the two going to Emmaus, we find Him on the common road! He makes so much of our worrying ridiculous. We forget it all in company with Him. He is so radiant, so full of loving hopefulness, so absolutely sure of God. In that companionship life blossoms. We have courage for the darkest mile. We recapture, even when the shadows fall, the burning of the heart.

From The Sord Study Bible

Our Dily Walk

May 1
THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER
“Lord, teach us to pray.” — Luk_11:1.
THERE IS no other such Teacher as Christ. He was the Master in the art of prayer, and has taught all the greatest intercessors among the sons of men. His own example has been their incentive. It was because they saw Him praying that one of the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray—an example of the power of unconscious influence. If a boy kneels in prayer in the school bedroom, he will be almost sure to start others praying.
Be natural in prayer. Do not repeat prayers the face of which has become worn away by constant usage. Find out approximately what your needs will be; and ask for the needed grace, as a child of a father.
Intercede for others. Do not use exclusively “I,” “me,” and “my,” but “we,” “our,” and “us.” Remember how Christ interwove intercession with every petition of the prayer He taught His disciples.
Be sure to receive as well as ask. No beggar is content with asking. He plies his errand until he receives. Alas, that we are so often content to ask with no thought of receiving. Before we rise from our knees, having pleaded for something that is contained in the Divine promises, we should dare to believe that we do receive the petitions that we have desired. “Have Faith in God” really means reckon on God’s faithfulness to you. Do not look at your faith. He who is ever considering his health will become an invalid; he who always looks down at his faith will cut the very roots from which faith grows, will shut out the beam by which faith lives. Look away to the character of God—the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and mercy for ever.
Leave the ultimate answers to your prayer to His infinite wisdom. Not unfrequently, to reverse our Lord’s words, children ask for stones and not bread; entreat for scorpions and not fish. Under such circumstances it is wise and good of God to say No to our requests, and to give us what we would ask if we knew all as He does. When we get to heaven we shall have to thank Him as much for the unanswered as for the answered prayers.
Be sure to give the Master time to teach you how to pray. It is necessary to wait for Him, when we feel less earnest, as when the fire burns most vehemently. He likes the regular hours for His pupils, and that they should not hurry impetuously away from His gracious words.
PRAYER
Teach me to pray, O Lord, as Thou didst teach Thy disciples of old, and winnow my prayers that I may desire and ask only those things that are according to Thy will. AMEN.

From The Sword Study Bible

Day By Day By Grace

May 1
The Source of Our Sufficiency

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God . . . [We] have no confidence in the flesh . . . I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (2Co_3:5-6; Php_3:3; and Php_4:13)
We have been considering how God’s grace develops traits of godliness in our lives. Such studies are related to finding the source of our sufficiency. Where are believers in Jesus Christ supposed to find adequate resources for living godly lives? The scriptures answer this question in a two-fold manner. First, God wants us to realize that we are not the source of anything that is needed. Second, God wants us to understand that He is the source of everything that is needed.
Our inadequacy is the first matter the Lord desires to clarify for us. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves.” Our own personal inadequacy is so comprehensive that we cannot expect that anything godly or eternal will source from us. We do not have any resources that can save a soul, transform a life, or cause the Lord’s church to be edified. This is a drastically different perspective on life than what we initially held. Man’s natural mind assumes that we must be the source of all that is needed for daily living. God’s word repeatedly warns us not to adopt this viewpoint. The Psalmists proclaimed such. “Vain is the help of man . . . Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa_108:12; Psa_146:3). Jesus elaborated on this theme. “Without Me, you can do nothing” (Joh_15:5). Paul taught the same. ” [We] have no confidence in the flesh (that is, in human resources) .”
God’s adequacy is the second matter that He wants to clarify for us. “Our sufficiency is from God.” As surely as we are totally inadequate to supply what we need for life, God is fully adequate to be our comprehensive source for living. The Psalmist understood this corollary truth as well. “Through God, we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies . . . Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Psa_108:13; Psa_146:5-6). Jesus offered the same sufficient provisions. “He who abides in Me . . . bears much fruit” (Joh_15:5). Paul testified of the same reality. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God is the source of our sufficiency in all that pertains to developing godly characteristics.
Dear Lord, my sufficiency, I repent of my frequent tendency to look to myself to find personal adequacy. How vain and hopeless that is. Lord, teach me to hope in You for everything I need for godly living, in Jesus name, Amen.

From The Sword Bible Study

Johnny Lingo’s Eight-cow Wife

by Patricia McGerr

When I visited the South Pacific islands, I took a notebook along. I had a three‐week leave between assignments in Japan, so I borrowed a boat and sailed to Kiniwata. The notebook was supposed to help me become a junior‐grade Maugham or Michener. But when I got back, among all my notes the only sentence that still interested me was the one that said, “Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father.”

Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name. But I wrote it down that way because I learned about the eight cows from Shenkin, the fat manager of the guest house at Kiniwata. He was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders. He wasn’t the only one who talked about Johnny, though. His name came up with many people in many connections. If I wanted to spend a few days on the island of Nurabandi, a day’s sail away, Johnny Lingo could put me up, they told me, since he had built a five‐room house—unheard‐of luxury! If I wanted to fish, he could show me where the biting was best. If I wanted fresh vegetables, his garden was the greenest. If I sought pearls, his business savvy would bring me the best buys. Oh, the people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet when they spoke, they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

“Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want, and then let him do the bargaining,” advised Shenkin, as I sat on the veranda of his guest house wondering whether to visit Nurabandi. “He’ll earn his commission four times over. Johnny knows values and how to make a deal.”

“Johnny Lingo!” The chubby boy on the veranda steps hooted the name, then hugged his knees and rocked with shrill laughter.

“What goes on?” I asked. “Everybody around here tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke.”

“They like to laugh,” Shenkin said. He shrugged his heavy shoulders.

“And Johnny’s the brightest, the quickest, the strongest young man in all this group of islands. So they like best to laugh at him.”

“But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?”

“Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival time, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!”

He spoke the last words with great solemnity. I knew enough about island customs to be thoroughly impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair‐to‐middling wife; four or five a highly satisfactory one.

“Eight cows!” I said. “She must be a beauty who takes your breath away.”

“The kindest could only call Sarita plain,” was Shenkin’s answer. “She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow.”

“Then how do you explain the eight cows?”

“We don’t,” he said. “And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact that Johnny, the sharpest trader in the islands, was bested by Sarita’s father, dull old Sam Karoo.”

“Eight cows,” I said unbelievingly. “I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo.”

So the next afternoon I sailed a boat to Nurabandi and met Johnny at his home, where I asked about his eight‐cow purchase of Sarita. I assumed he had done it for his own vanity and reputation—at least until Sarita walked into the room. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right.

I turned back to Johnny Lingo after she had left. “You admire her?” he asked. “She… she’s glorious,” I said. “But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata.” “There’s only one Sarita.

Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata.” “She doesn’t.” The impact of the girl’s appearance made me forget tact. “I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo.”

“You think eight cows were too many?” A smile slid over his lips. “No. But how can she be so different?” “Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows; another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita.”

“Then you did this just to make her happy?” I asked.

“I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside; things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.”

“Then you wanted… ” “I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman.” “But… ” “But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight‐cow wife.”

Looking ahead…

Someone said, “We are not what we think we are. We are not even what others think we are. We are what we think others think we are.” In other words, our estimation of our value as human beings is greatly influenced by the way people respond to us and the respect or disdain they reveal day by day. Those interactions shape our self‐concepts and are translated into the nuances of our personalities.

Johnny Lingo was, indeed, a brilliant man. He was astute enough to know that his negotiations with Sarita’s father would seal forever the self‐concept of the woman he loved. That’s why Sarita revealed such confidence and beauty. Let me say to the husbands and wives reading this book: You have the power to elevate or debase each other’s self‐esteem. Rather than tear down, don’t miss a single opportunity to build up.

For the next few evenings, we’ll talk about how to do that.

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • “Johnny Lingo’s Eight‐Cow Wife” by Patricia McGerr. © 1965 by Patricia McGerr. First published in Woman’s Day. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
 

Bible Gateway

Johnny Lingo’s Eight-cow Wife

by Patricia McGerr

When I visited the South Pacific islands, I took a notebook along. I had a three‐week leave between assignments in Japan, so I borrowed a boat and sailed to Kiniwata. The notebook was supposed to help me become a junior‐grade Maugham or Michener. But when I got back, among all my notes the only sentence that still interested me was the one that said, “Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father.”

Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name. But I wrote it down that way because I learned about the eight cows from Shenkin, the fat manager of the guest house at Kiniwata. He was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders. He wasn’t the only one who talked about Johnny, though. His name came up with many people in many connections. If I wanted to spend a few days on the island of Nurabandi, a day’s sail away, Johnny Lingo could put me up, they told me, since he had built a five‐room house—unheard‐of luxury! If I wanted to fish, he could show me where the biting was best. If I wanted fresh vegetables, his garden was the greenest. If I sought pearls, his business savvy would bring me the best buys. Oh, the people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet when they spoke, they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

“Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want, and then let him do the bargaining,” advised Shenkin, as I sat on the veranda of his guest house wondering whether to visit Nurabandi. “He’ll earn his commission four times over. Johnny knows values and how to make a deal.”

“Johnny Lingo!” The chubby boy on the veranda steps hooted the name, then hugged his knees and rocked with shrill laughter.

“What goes on?” I asked. “Everybody around here tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke.”

“They like to laugh,” Shenkin said. He shrugged his heavy shoulders.

“And Johnny’s the brightest, the quickest, the strongest young man in all this group of islands. So they like best to laugh at him.”

“But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?”

“Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival time, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!”

He spoke the last words with great solemnity. I knew enough about island customs to be thoroughly impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair‐to‐middling wife; four or five a highly satisfactory one.

“Eight cows!” I said. “She must be a beauty who takes your breath away.”

“The kindest could only call Sarita plain,” was Shenkin’s answer. “She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow.”

“Then how do you explain the eight cows?”

“We don’t,” he said. “And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact that Johnny, the sharpest trader in the islands, was bested by Sarita’s father, dull old Sam Karoo.”

“Eight cows,” I said unbelievingly. “I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo.”

So the next afternoon I sailed a boat to Nurabandi and met Johnny at his home, where I asked about his eight‐cow purchase of Sarita. I assumed he had done it for his own vanity and reputation—at least until Sarita walked into the room. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right.

I turned back to Johnny Lingo after she had left. “You admire her?” he asked. “She… she’s glorious,” I said. “But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata.” “There’s only one Sarita.

Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata.” “She doesn’t.” The impact of the girl’s appearance made me forget tact. “I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo.”

“You think eight cows were too many?” A smile slid over his lips. “No. But how can she be so different?” “Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows; another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita.”

“Then you did this just to make her happy?” I asked.

“I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside; things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.”

“Then you wanted… ” “I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman.” “But… ” “But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight‐cow wife.”

Looking ahead…

Someone said, “We are not what we think we are. We are not even what others think we are. We are what we think others think we are.” In other words, our estimation of our value as human beings is greatly influenced by the way people respond to us and the respect or disdain they reveal day by day. Those interactions shape our self‐concepts and are translated into the nuances of our personalities.

Johnny Lingo was, indeed, a brilliant man. He was astute enough to know that his negotiations with Sarita’s father would seal forever the self‐concept of the woman he loved. That’s why Sarita revealed such confidence and beauty. Let me say to the husbands and wives reading this book: You have the power to elevate or debase each other’s self‐esteem. Rather than tear down, don’t miss a single opportunity to build up.

For the next few evenings, we’ll talk about how to do that.

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • “Johnny Lingo’s Eight‐Cow Wife” by Patricia McGerr. © 1965 by Patricia McGerr. First published in Woman’s Day. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.