Family Talk Night Light for Couples

bible gatway 3

Duration: 365 days

A HOLY PARTNERSHIP

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself.” Ephesians 5:33

To properly define the God‐ordained role of husbands, there’s no better place to turn than Scripture. The apostle Paul instructs: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:25–28). Paul also tells us “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23).

Here’s the bottom line of your responsibility as a husband: You are charged with the holy, loving leadership of your wife. There is nothing dictatorial or selfish in this prescription! Your love is to be so strong that it mirrors Christ’s love for the church, so committed that you would unquestioningly die to save her, and so powerful that it is indistinguishable from love of your self.

What a challenge! And what a privilege to join with God and your wife in this holy partnership! For as you fulfill your role as head of the house, you’ll encounter blessings you never imagined.

JUST BETWEEN US…

  • (husband) What has been my most “shining moment” as your husband?
  • (husband) Do you feel my love for you meets this scriptural ideal?
  • (wife) How do you feel about the responsibility God gives husbands?
  • (wife) How can I encourage you in this role?

(husband) Heavenly Father, You have given me an awesome and holy responsibility to love my wife just as Christ loved the church. Help me to follow His perfect example as I learn to increase my love for my mate. Amen.

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

Men’s Devotional Bible

bible gatway 3

Duration: 365 days

TRASHED POTENTIAL

Judges 16:1–31

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 29:23; Romans 6:12–14; Ephesians 6:11–18

You knew that guy in high school—the guy with all the money, the looks, the clothes and the fastest car. He was the popular one, the guy everyone liked to hang out with, the one who was a lock for being voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” But instead of taking advantage of all these advantages, he decided to spend his time chasing girls and partying, to the dismay of his parents and the ruin of his GPA.

Trust Fund Babies. College playboys. Frat-house social committee chairmen. To direct these terms at other guys is to accuse them of riding Daddy’s coattails and to call into question their work ethic and the seriousness with which they take life. Those who have less in the world can only scratch their heads and wonder what they could do with the same perks.

Now, this is a stereotype, to be sure. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel in this case. But as we can’t think back on that one guy and not wonder what happened, so also we can’t read the story of Samson and not wonder what went haywire.

Mighty Samson, who has never lost a battle, is captured by a woman, tortured by his enemies and enslaved until his death. The mighty warrior who has killed scores of his enemies with rudimentary tools and with his bare hands trips up on the most obvious of ploys. The one who was to be dedicated to God’s service for the purpose of saving his people ends up in bondage to the very people he was intended to conquer.

What was he thinking? How could he have subjected himself to this kind of trickery? Didn’t Delilah ask him repeatedly about the secret of his strength, and couldn’t he see where this was leading? Did he forget that the Philistines had come into her house and tried to capture him on a number of occasions? Or did he just enjoy playing this game, knowing he couldn’t lose?

The sad fact is that Samson was just as human as you and I. He allowed his eyes to lead him astray, and he allowed his pride to strategize for him. In some sense he was a victim of his own success—and he learned the hard way that even a slugger with a perfect batting average can strike out when it matters most.

So what can we learn from Samson’s story today? Were you the one in high school who squandered your advantages and made foolish choices? Can you think back on times when you deliberately disobeyed what you knew to be God’s will for your life—and paid the price? If so, gain encouragement from the end of Samson’s story. God gave him a second chance to show that he was God’s man, and Samson struck a crippling blow to his enemies. God also gives us more chances than we can count to return to him and rededicate ourselves to his mission in the world.

TO TAKE AWAY

  • Why was it so easy for Samson to ignore his greatest weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your greatest weakness?
  • How could God help you turn your weakness into a quality he can use in his great strength?

How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps

bible gatway 3

Duration: 365 days

RIDING THE BRAKES

Read James 4:6.

I see parents all the time who are working very hard to correct their children, but they don’t realize it doesn’t have to be so hard. If they would invest more time in building a relationship—hit the gas a little harder—they would discover it’s much easier to steer.

That analogy poses the question: What gets in the way of building a relationship? Sometimes we blame our lack of time, because we’re just too busy. In the analogy, that’s like running out of gas. Other times we blame our children’s stubbornness. They don’t want a relationship with us and push us away. That’s like having a flat tire. We’re not going anywhere until we pull off to the side of our paths and change an attitude or two.

Both our lack of time and their stubbornness can be factors in why the relationship isn’t gaining much acceleration. However, I’d like to suggest another reason, one I think is actually much more common than we recognize. Many parents are riding down the road with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake. And the name of that brake pedal is pride.

Three times in God’s Word, pride is linked to resistance. Peter and James both tell us, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The writer of Proverbs says, “Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that if God says something three times, it must be really important to Him. Here’s my paraphrase: in a relationship with God, humility hits the gas and pride hits the brakes.

God warns us repeatedly about pride because it destroys our relationship with Him. God does not want your life to implode into self-centeredness like a black hole that collapses into nothingness under its own gravity. But it’s pretty hard to worship your Creator when you are High Priest of My Way in the Temple of Me.

*Do you see pride or selfishness in your own life that is affecting or being picked up on by your child?

“How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps” is drawn from How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps: Tame Your Vices, Nurture Their Virtues by Patrick Quinn and Ken Roach. Copyright 2015 by David C Cook; all rights reserved.

MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

UPrayer in the Father’s Honor

…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Luke 1:35

If the Son of God has been born into my human flesh, then am I allowing His holy innocence, simplicity, and oneness with the Father the opportunity to exhibit itself in me? What was true of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Son of God’s birth on earth is true of every saint. God’s Son is born into me through the direct act of God; then I as His child must exercise the right of a child— the right of always being face to face with my Father through prayer. Do I find myself continually saying in amazement to the commonsense part of my life, “Why did you want me to turn here or to go over there? ‘Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:49). Whatever our circumstances may be, that holy, innocent, and eternal Child must be in contact with His Father.

Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is He having His wonderful way with me? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19), or have I carefully pushed Him to one side? Oh, the noisy outcry of today! Why does everyone seem to be crying out so loudly? People today are crying out for the Son of God to be put to death. There is no room here for God’s Son right now— no room for quiet, holy fellowship and oneness with the Father.

Is the Son of God praying in me, bringing honor to the Father, or am I dictating my demands to Him? Is He ministering in me as He did in the time of His manhood here on earth? Is God’s Son in me going through His passion, suffering so that His own purposes might be fulfilled? The more a person knows of the inner life of God’s most mature saints, the more he sees what God’s purpose really is: to “…fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). And when we think of what it takes to “fill up,” there is always something yet to be done. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 74-76; Romans 9:16-33