The Time Challenge

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…? Not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6–7

Setting aside time for the kids is a challenge for any family, but it’s doubly so when Mom and Dad are divorced. Yet if you are willing to make a few sacrifices, your kids will benefit significantly.

We know of a divorced mother and father who have rearranged their professional lives so that each can spend substantial parts of their week with Zach, their four-year-old son. John, a former golf instructor, gave up his job at the clubhouse because it filled up his weekends. Now he takes care of Zach on Saturdays and Sundays, then leaves him with Zach’s mother, Stephanie, each weekday morning. John works during the day at his new job as a sales associate while Stephanie spends that time with Zach. Then Stephanie, who arranged to work the night shift in her job as a nurse, leaves Zach with John for the evening and overnight. The result is that Zach feels loved and cared for by both of his parents.

Establishing complementary schedules with your ex-spouse will not always be easy, or even possible. Yet after the pain and uncertainty that inevitably follow a family breakup, your child needs you more than ever. Phone calls and gifts won’t substitute for what your child wants most from you—a mom or dad who is there every moment possible.

Before you say good night…

How do your kids respond when you give them one-on-one time?

If you are divorced, how do you think your kids feel about the breakup of your family? What can you do to help them?

Lord, we read these words and wonder how we will accomplish these things. Without You, we can never be the parents we want and need to be. Have mercy on us, and fill us with Your grace and wisdom—and staying power! Amen.

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

The Marriage Triangle

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

God promises to bless those who trust in Him. The Psalms state that joy, deliverance, triumph, mercy, provision, blessedness, safety, and usefulness will come to those who put their confidence in the Lord. We need to rely on those blessings in our marriages—otherwise the stresses of life will pull us apart. And those stresses will come! When the house burns down… when a child becomes ill… when a job and steady paycheck are lost, it’s all too easy to let fear and frustration drive a wedge between partners. Even minor problems, such as a nagging cold or a sleepless night, can disrupt the quality of our marriage.

The good news is that we weren’t meant to succeed by depending only on each other. Marriage is a triangle—with husband and wife at the bottom corners and the Lord at the top. The book of Ecclesiastes conveys a similar truth when Solomon talks about the strength of a three‐stranded cord (4:12). If we invite the Lord into our marriage and trust in His strength, we can experience strength and peace in our marriage regardless of the circumstances.

Just between us…

  • When, before our marriage, did God prove strong for you in a time of crisis? What specific blessing did He provide?
  • How has He blessed us during hard times in our marriage?
  • What are some of the little stresses that tend to drive us apart?
  • In light of what we’ve read this week, how can we encourage each other to trust God more?

Dear Lord, we praise You that You—the God of love, power, and goodness— want to be a powerful presence in our relationship. When tests come, bind us together with love. When we are weak, be strong for us. Amen.

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

TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING

NEW TESTAMENT READUNG IN BROWNView today’s reading at Bible Gateway

Mark 4:1-20

The Parable of the Sower

4 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Cross the Bridge – February 23, 2020

In a Ditch – Sunday, February 23rd 2020

13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
NKJV

The Pharisees, who were loyal to customs they had set in place, were critical of Jesus’ disciples who did not observe those traditions (Matt 15:1). They were even open, through tradition, to minimizing God’s written word to explain why something as simple as honoring your parents was disregarded (Matt 15:3-6). Friend, have you seen something done out of habit or tradition that no one was able to explain biblically? It’s important for all of us to recognize that when all is said and done those things that are not from the Father will be uprooted and done away with.

A great question to ask someone is why do you believe what you believe? Many today, unfortunately, have no clear understanding as to why they believe what they believe. The people of Berea were not a group of people who just believed without reason:

Acts 17:10-11
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
NKJV

Peter tells us this for those who inquire of us why we believe what we believe.

1 Peter 3:15-16
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
NKJV

Let me encourage you to be ready to connect yourself with the living God through His Word and by His Spirit. As well-meaning as a tradition may be, as sincere as a human being may act, apart from the foundation of God’s word and Spirit we have nothing to live for, nothing to live for that will last.

Life Lesson: As followers of Christ we need to be faithful in reading, studying, learning and trusting God more each day. Our foundation of truth is the Bible.

Lord,
Please help me remove those things that are in my life that are not from You. Please enable me, by Your word and Spirit, to live for You according to Your word and not man’s tradition or my own perception. Please cleanse me and forgive me of those things that are not from You, that I might live for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge
crossthebridge.com

Scripture quotations marked ‘NKJV™’ are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2020 Cross the Bridge.

For more life-changing resources visit crossthebridge.com

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