Time and Wisdom

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12

Generosity comes in many forms. One version is material gifts. Another is the sharing of our time and wisdom. I (jcd) recall the example of one man who gave up two hours and influenced my life for years. When I was in college, my aunt heard a speech by a well‐known Christian psychologist, Dr. Clyde Narramore. “We need Christian young men and women in the field of mental health,” Dr. Narramore said to the audience. “If you know of promising students who are interested, I’ll be glad to meet with them.” My aunt told me of this invitation, and I called Dr. Narramore for an appointment. He graciously agreed to see me, even though he was busy and didn’t know me from Adam.

As we talked in his living room, he laid out a plan for how I could become a psychologist. It’s been over forty years since that conversation took place, yet I still remember the advice he gave me that day. It shaped the next five years of my life and helped channel me into a profession I love.

You may not have the financial means to help people in need, but you can offer them your time and insights. It may be just what they need to point them in the right direction.

Just between us…

  • Who has influenced us through their gifts of time and wisdom?
  • In what areas do we have expertise, insights, or available time that might help someone else?
  • Who do we know who might benefit from our generosity?

Heavenly Father, tonight we reach for a truly generous life together. Guide and strengthen our willingness to share. Thank You for putting us on earth for something bigger and more meaningful than our own comfort or happiness. Amen.

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

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Parental Doubt

An anxious heart weighs a man down. Proverbs 12:25

A few years ago, Focus on the Family conducted a survey on the most common frustrations of parenting. The majority of mothers and fathers did not criticize their children, but said they were troubled by their own inadequacies. Comments such as “I’ve lost confidence in my ability to parent” and “I’ve failed my children” revealed just how deep this mind-set reaches in today’s society.

It was not always so. Parents of previous generations worried about economic depression, world wars, and later the cold war with Russia. Mothers and fathers didn’t invest much effort in hand-wringing over their children, at least not until a problem developed. When I (JCD) asked my dad if he worried about all the things that could go wrong in raising a child, he smiled sheepishly and said, “Honestly, Bo (his pet name for me), I never really gave that a thought.”

The self-doubt that plagues so many parents today is largely a cultural phenomenon. If you are among these parents, we suggest you turn away from the world’s whispers and focus on the comfort and truth that come from our heavenly Father: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). You can no more be a perfect parent than you can be a perfect human being. Lean on the Lord to make up the difference—and don’t let anxiety and guilt steal the joy of parenting.

Before you say good night…

Are you ruled by self-doubt as parents?

What attitude does God want you to have toward parenting?

Heavenly Father, we ask You for the faith to believe in Your love and Your power totally. We know that faith is a gift from You, and we ask for a faith strong enough to banish all doubt and establish all trust. Amen.

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

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Water Is on Its Way, Day 1

Today’s reading is drawn from Exodus 17:1-3.

Observation

At the command of the Lord, the Israelites camped, but there was no water to drink. You’d think that if God commanded a camping spot, there’d be immediately plenty of water, as well as a buffet line and waiters to bring them coffee and dessert. You’d think that if God had planned it, all the logistics would have been taken into consideration and a catering company would be waiting for the Israelites as they arrived.

Application

There will be times, even though the Lord leads us, when we will find ourselves with sparse resources. Not enough money. Not enough help. Not enough encouragement. But it doesn’t mean that God is not in the situation.

Maybe you’re like me . . . being patient comes hard when I am thirsty after a “long trek.” We can react prematurely, jumping to the wrong conclusions about how God is working. In doing so, we make the desert a hotter place than it needs to be. God is not finished yet. Think about it — God had water stored in a rock!

How often, from a source we least expect, God provides. He did for the Israelites, and he will again for you and me today!

Prayer

Lord, thank you for helping me to understand that just because there is a shortage of resources, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t led me to this place. I will wait on you to provide, knowing that you still have more to come. Remind me of this when I panic or complain.

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