Night Light For Couples

Breaking Out

“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Breaking out of comfortable routines can be beneficial for us, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. My (jcd’s) father, for example, hated automatic transmissions on automobiles because he had learned to drive with stick shifts. I’ve fallen into similar patterns. Until 1992 I wrote books on yellow pads with pencils. I worked that way for years despite the availability of word processors. The twentieth century was almost over before I decided to join it.

Rigidity and the force of habit can cause us to do things that make no sense. Yet when we stop learning and growing, we fail to reach our potential. To look at it another way, which companies would you say are more successful in today’s fast‐changing marketplace: those whose motto is “We’ve always done it this way,” or those that continually evaluate their methods and seek improvements?

Some of what succeeds in business also makes sense in marriage. You might ask yourself if any outdated routines and pointless—or even costly—habits are holding you back.

Just between us…

  • Am I stuck in any habits that no longer make sense?
  • How are those who are unwilling to change like the Pharisees of

Scripture? (See Luke 11:37–44.)

  • Do you enjoy learning?
  • How can I encourage you to get out of old ruts or discard outdated habits?

Lord, we can become so comfortable in our old ways, but comfort can lead to stagnation and retreat. Inspire us by Your Spirit “of power, of love and of self-discipline” to reach for Your creative best. Thank You for the gift of new life we can enjoy together every day. Amen.

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

Bible Gateway

Night Light For Parents

Independence Day

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1

The act of releasing a grown child into the world is often challenging for parents, but we should keep in mind that the prospect of leaving home can be equally daunting for your son or daughter. Sometimes they will need a gentle push out the door.

You’re probably familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, who demanded his share of his father’s estate, set off on his own, and squandered his fortune in wild living (Luke 15:11–13). This strong-willed child couldn’t wait to sever his family ties. His older brother, however, was the hard-working and responsible member of the clan. He remained with his father, laboring for years on the family farm.

We don’t know for sure how the older son felt about his life at home, but he clearly resented the homecoming lavished on his brother upon his return (vv. 28–30). Compliant children such as this eldest son often have a more difficult time disengaging from the nest. Because there is little conflict with their parents, they’ve developed a close, secure bond that is hard to give up. Yet God did not intend for adult children to maintain the same relationship with their parents as they did when they were small. That’s why every family should anticipate an “independence day” that is a passage into freedom—not only for the grown child, but also for the parents.

Before you say good night…

Do you have “compliant” kids that may struggle when the time comes to leave home?

Do you talk with your kids about the future, helping them anticipate an “independence day”?

Lord, we so enjoy close relationships with our children—yet we don’t want to hold them back from the plans You have for them. Open our eyes, Lord, to see how we can best release them into the world and into Your care. Amen.

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

Bible Gateway


God Uses Problems to Shape You

Tell the truth. When you run into problems, what is your first and most common response: complaining? crying? yelling? denial? pouting? rejoicing?

Unless you’re highly unusual (or slightly dishonest) you probably didn’t answer “rejoicing.” Let’s face it—it isn’t normal to be joyful in the face of trials. But you can develop this trait. According to the promise above, trials are good for you. How so? In the same way that an excruciating exercise regimen is good for you. You sweat and strain through painful and unpleasant workouts. But over time, if you keep at it, you see big changes. You’re stronger and healthier.

Viewing your troubles as a kind of “spiritual exercise program” enables you to rejoice (see 1 Peter 1:6–7). It enables you to see your suffering as something good in your life. God is using trials in your life to stretch you and strengthen your faith. Without these pressures, you’d be just another flabby, out-of-shape Chris­tian.

God’s Promise to Me
• I allow you to go through trials so that you might grow.

My Prayer to God
God, you want me to trust you in the hard times. Rejoicing isn’t natural for me, so make it my supernatural response to difficulties and pressures in my life. Teach me to endure, Lord, so that my faith will grow and get stronger.


God Is Bigger Than Your Worldly Troubles

Have you ever stopped to think how different life would be if we were still living in Eden? No broken relationships. No difficult pregnancies. No squabbles with spouses. No financial woes. No cancer. No feeling far away from God. (And this list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface!)

Instead we live in a world marred by the effects of sin. We daily face all kinds of pain, trouble, suffering, weeping, loss and despair.
The temptation is to blame our woes on God, but let’s be honest: The human race did this to itself. All God ever did was love us, and—when we rebelled—implement a plan to rescue us.

The promise above—a statement by Jesus to his followers—is a sobering assessment of the way things are. But it is also a hopeful reminder of the once and future Paradise for which we were created.
In light of such truth, author Elisabeth Elliot counsels us: “Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.” 

God’s Promise to Me
• Trials and sorrows are part of living in a fallen world.
• I am bigger and more powerful than any worldly troubles you face.

My Prayer to God
Heavenly Father, trials and sorrows are a normal part of life. I don’t like this truth, but it reminds me of my need for you, God. I can take heart in the fact that you will have the final word. I praise you because you are powerful and sovereign over my life—even the hard times. Always keep me looking to you.