Self-Discipline – Day 14

Today’s reading is drawn from 2 Timothy 1:7.

Because of Timothy’s natural inclination to timidity, Paul was prompted to encourage his fellow worker to maintain a holy boldness and assurance in his position of spiritual leadership. Paul had commissioned Timothy to oversee many of the churches in the Roman province of Asia, and this task required “power, love and self-discipline.” Self-discipline is needed to stretch us beyond our own comfort zones and areas of personal inertia. For some, the needed discipline will be more in the realm of the emotions; for others the focus of self-control will be in the realm of the mind or of the will.

Writing to the Galatians, Paul said that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). While people without Christ can exercise self-control, this quality in its fullest expression of character transformation is a part of the spiritual fruit that only the Holy Spirit can produce.

Self-discipline is seldom easy. Paul’s words to Timothy reveal that this young man probably struggled with it in his ministry. And most leaders who come across the need for more self-discipline in their lives struggle at times as well. But read Paul’s instruction to Timothy again in this passage, and let it sink in and empower you in the areas in which you most need help. God’s Spirit is the power source behind self-discipline. Timothy evidently found that out, and so can you.

Bible Gateway

God Gives Hope, Day 14

Today’s reading is drawn from Romans 15:13.

Heaven’s hope does for your world what the sunlight did for my grandmother’s cellar. I owe my love of peach preserves to her. She canned her own and stored them in an underground cellar near her West Texas house. It was a deep hole with wooden steps, plywood walls, and a musty smell. As a youngster I used to climb in, close the door, and see how long I could last in the darkness . . . I would sit silently, listening to my breath and heartbeats, until I couldn’t take it anymore and then would race up the stairs and throw open the door. Light would avalanche into the cellar. What a change! Moments before I couldn’t see anything—all of a sudden I could see everything.

Just as light poured into the cellar, God’s hope pours into your world. Upon the sick, he shines the ray of healing. To the bereaved, he gives the promise of reunion. To the confused, he offers the light of Scripture.

from Traveling Light

Bible Gateway

Night Light For Parents

Empty Shells

I know your deeds…your service and perseverance. Revelation 2:19

Elmer Bendiner flew on numerous bombing runs over Germany during World War II. He never forgot one of those missions. Bendiner’s B-17 was hit especially hard by enemy antiaircraft guns; eleven shells pierced the fuel tank. If even one of those shells had exploded, the plane would have been blown out of the sky. Incredibly, however, all remained intact. As Bendiner wrote in his book, The Fall of Fortresses, he eventually learned the explanation for this miracle. When demolition experts opened up the shells, they found no explosive charge. All were empty—but one. That shell contained a small note, apparently from a factory munitions worker, written in Czech. Translated, it read: “This is all we can do for you now.”

Scripture says that God notices our persistent acts of faith: “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance” (Revelation 2:19). That includes our small efforts as well as the great ones. When you are discouraged by the evils threatening your children and feel that your “insignificant” attempts to shield them make no difference, remember that the Lord is watching—and when it is within the wisdom of His divine plan, He will honor even the smallest endeavor: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).

Before you say good night…

Do you believe that God notices your efforts to protect your children (see Revelation 2:19)?

How has God blessed even small efforts in the past?

Lord, we thank You that tomorrow is a new day. We ask that You would meet us in the morning with fresh strength and power so that we can make the most of each opportunity You place in our paths. Amen.

Night Light For Couples

Tranquility

“Be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50

If you don’t protect yourselves from outside stresses, married life can seem more like a marathon than a stroll in the park. With relentless pressure at work, a demanding schedule of carpooling and sports, and the stress of keeping up with home and church duties, moms and dads can begin to lose heart. Then fatigue and irritability set in, angry words are spoken, and soon every member of the family is at one another’s throats.

All of us, especially at the end of pressure‐packed days, need a safe retreat. As a working husband or wife, you need a chance to unwind privately for a while when you first come home. School kids (teenagers, too) need uninterrupted “down time” on a regular basis. No one can keep up a frenetic schedule for long without it affecting his or her attitude.

Jesus told His followers to “be at peace with each other.” If you’re finding hopefulness in short supply in your marriage, maybe it’s time you get off the treadmill of continuous stress. If it’s just the expectations of others that is keeping you on the run, say “no” more often. Take an afternoon off. Get a babysitter so you can have some time to yourself. Set aside quiet time regularly—and guard it. Slow down your mealtimes together. Simplify.

As you make a priority of creating tranquility at home, you’ll feel your heart lifting and hope returning.

Just between us…

•When you feel overwhelmed by demands, do you ever lose hope?

  • How can we do a better job of protecting each other’s “down time”?
  • How can tranquility at home promote a better spiritual life?

Dear God, forgive us when we allow external demands to dictate the quality of our home life. Give us the foresight and discipline to create a sanctuary of peace and renewal. Amen.

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