NEW TESTAMENT READING

View today’s reading at Bible Gateway 1 Corinthians 10:1-18 Warnings From Israel’s History 10 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 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.

Family Talk Night Light for Couples

ROMANCE

by Bill and Lynne Hybels

Romance was never my strong suit. I proposed to Lynne in her parents’ garage; I took my Harley‐Davidson on our honeymoon; I thought our best anniversary was the one we spent watching a video of Rocky III. I had to learn the gentle art of romance. For starters, I figured it meant flowers. Beyond that, I didn’t have a clue, but I knew I could get the flower job done. As confirmation from God that I was moving in the right direction, who do you think set up shop right out of the trunk of his ’58 DeSoto at the corner opposite our church? The flower man! So, quite regularly, on my way home from work or meetings, I would pull over to the side of the road, buy a bunch of roses or carnations from the flower man, and take them home to Lynne. What a husband! I thought as I handed over my three bucks.

Yet when I proudly presented the flowers to Lynne, fully expecting her to hire the Marine Corps Band to play “Hail to the Chief,” her response was lukewarm.

“Gee, thanks,” she said. “Where’d you get these?”

“Where else? My buddy, the flower man—you know, the guy with the ’58 DeSoto at Barrington and Algonquin. I’m a volume buyer now. I stop there so often that he gives me a buck off, and if they’re a little wilted, he gives me two bucks off. I figure they’ll perk up when you put them in water.”

“Of course,” she said.

I kept it up consistently for quite a while—until Lynne’s lack of enthusiasm for the gift drained my enthusiasm.

Some time later, on our regularly scheduled date night, Lynne and I decided to clear the air of anything that might be bothering either of us. We do that now and then. We sat down in a cheap restaurant (not only am I unromantic, I’m also Dutch) and asked, “What’s going on? Is there anything we need to talk about? Is there anything amiss in our relationship?”

On that particular evening, Lynne took out her list and started checking off the items.

“Ooooh, you’re right on that one. Eeeh, that one, too. Yep. Guilty as charged. Guilty. Guilty. You’re right again.”

She ended her list, and I was in a pile. “I really am sorry,” I said, “but trust me. I’m going to do better.” “Now, what about you?” she asked. I really didn’t have any complaints, but after hearing her list, I thought I should say something. I scrambled. “Well, I do have one little problem. Have you noticed the absence of the flowers lately?” “No,” she said. “I haven’t really paid attention.” How could she say that? “We have a problem,” I said. “I can’t figure it out. Hundreds of thousands of husbands pass by that corner. Do they stop for flowers? No. Do I stop? Yes! What gives? What is your problem?”

Her answer made my head spin. She looked me straight in the eyes and said quietly, “The truth is, Bill, I’m not impressed when you give me half‐dead flowers that come out of the trunk of a ’58 DeSoto that you were lucky enough to run across on your way home from work. The flowers are cheap, and the effort is minimal. The way I see it, you’re not investing enough time or energy to warrant a wholehearted response from me. You’re not thinking about what would make me happy; you’re just doing what’s convenient for you.”

“Okay, let’s get this straight,” I said. “You would be happier if I got up from my desk in the middle of my busy day, threw my study schedule to the wind, walked all the way across the parking lot, got in my car, and made a special trip to Barrington, where I’d have to pay quadruple the price just because it said Barrington on the bag? And you wouldn’t mind if the extra time it took crimped my workout schedule at the Y…. And you wouldn’t mind if I came home late because of all the extra running around I would have to do to get you expensive flowers? Is that what you’re telling me? That would make you happy?”

Without batting an eyelash, Lynne said, “Yes, that would make me happy.” I couldn’t believe it! “What are you talking about? What you’re ask‐

ing for is impractical, uneconomical, and an inefficient use of time.” “That’s a great definition of romance, Bill. You’re learning!”

LOOKING AHEAD…

Whether we’ve been with our partner for one year or forty, we’re all still trying to master the definition—and execution—of romance in our marriages. As Bill Hybels learned, there’s far more to romantic love than meets the eye. What his wife needed was a heart‐to‐heart and soul‐to‐soul relationship. This kind of relationship seems natural to women, but sometimes men have a hard time figuring it out.

So just what is romance? We’ll talk about that in the week ahead. For tonight, spend a few minutes telling each other what romance means to you. You might hear something important that you’ve missed before.

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • “Romance” by Bill and Lynne Hybels. Taken from Fit to Be Tied by Bill and Lynne Hybels. © 1991 by Bill and Lynne Hybels. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Family Talk Night Light for Parents

THREE DAYS OF JOYE

by Sandra Byrd

My shaking hand dialed the phone to cancel a hair appointment. One ring, two. I held back the tears.

Unexpectedly, my friend Joye, instead of the salon, answered the phone. Wrong number. I burst out crying before apologizing and hanging up.

I’d never understood winter blues. The start of a new year had always meant fresh beginnings, back to school or work. But this year, instead of my happy, let’s-keep-those-New-Year’s-resolutions-going attitude, I was run-down, depressed, and apprehensive about another round of responsibilities. Years of busyness and gutting it out had come home to call. The emotional toll was high.

Please, God, I prayed through a fog of fatigue and discouragement, help me.

Five minutes after that fervent prayer, the doorbell rang. I wiped my eyes and pulled a brush through my hair. Go away, I thought. It rang again, and again. I finally opened the door—to Joye.

“I’m here to help,” she announced. She threw her arms around my weak shoulders, ignoring my faltering refusal. Bundling my children up against the early January chill, she helped me with my coat as if I were a child, too. We buckled into her car for the five-block ride to her house. I tried to argue, but like frosty breath hanging in the air just a minute before disappearing, my protests evaporated against her warm resolve.

When we arrived at her home, she settled me on a cozy couch, tucking me under a soft, well-loved blanket, then shooed away her kids and mine to play downstairs. I felt silly. But after five minutes of thumbing through a magazine, I closed my eyes. While I napped on the couch, the children romped through an unexpected play day.

At noon, Joye brought me a tray with lunch. Tears sprang up again and I smiled. Once I’d told Joye that my mother had made tomato soup with a chunk of cheddar cheese at the bottom whenever I was sick as a girl. She’d remembered.

The next day I felt better, but Joye insisted that we come over again. My children laughed as she painted clown faces on them with costume makeup. I giggled, too—my first giggle in months. This day, Joye baked and served warm Monster Cookies. Her mother had prepared them for her when she was a girl.

On the third day I maintained that I was fine, but Joye said, “We’re having so much fun, why not come over for one more day?” So I sat on her couch while she went about her housework. I’d forgotten how much a mother and wife needs a few hours now and then to renew herself—and how wonderful it felt!

Later that afternoon, we sat in Joye’s kitchen sipping hot cocoa. She pulled three tiny plastic cups out of her junk drawer and began stuffing them with potting soil. “What are you doing?” I said, savoring a minimarshmallow as it dissolved against my tongue.

“You need a hobby,” Joye said. She snipped the best, strongest leaf off of each of her three prized African violets. “It will help you relax.” She tucked one leaf into the rich soil in each planter. “Soak these when you get home, then let them dry out. Don’t water them again until they’re completely dry. In a few weeks they’ll sprout roots, and then in a couple months they’ll blossom. It’ll be the first sign of spring.”

Now, me and my brown thumb were highly skeptical that anything would grow in my house, much less something without roots to begin with. But sure enough, one month later each of those plants budded several tiny leaves, proof of unseen roots thriving below the soil. Months later I settled the growing plants into larger pots, preparing them to withstand my move to a new home across town.

After I got unpacked in the new house, I invited Joye and her kids over for lunch. “Look at my violets!” I proclaimed as she walked into the kitchen. I smiled like a mother boasting of her children’s latest achievement.

“They’re thriving,” Joye agreed, counting almost a hundred heady purple and pink blossoms among the three plants.

I hugged her. “And so am I.”

LOOKING AHEAD…

Like the once-weary mother in tonight’s story, we all need rest to thrive. It’s not just a convenience that we try to squeeze into our schedules or an indulgence for those who aren’t willing to work hard. Regular times of quiet and stillness are a spiritual and biological necessity. Many members of the animal kingdom, as well as certain plant species, will hibernate or lie dormant through the winter months in order to survive. We humans have a much harder time acknowledging the natural rhythms of life.

But God knows about our overzealous tendencies. He created us. That’s why He commands us to set aside a day each week to rest, pray, and rejuvenate. He understands how much we need regular periods of renewal and how easy it is for us to put them off. In today’s hurry-up culture, families will often try to do it all—work, school, church, social events, and an endless array of swim meets, acting classes, and piano lessons. Life begins to feel like a runaway freight train.

Want to get off the train before it crashes? Let’s talk this week about ways to make that happen.

– James C. Dobson

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

“Three Days of Joye” by Sandra Byrd. © 2002. Sandra Byrd is the author of numerous books, including the Hidden Diary series, the Secret Sisters series, Girl Talk, the Inside-Out Beauty Book, and Heartbeats. She and her husband, Michael, have two children. Used by permission of the author.