Moments with You Couples Devotional 2/14


FEBRUARY 14

Valentine’s Day Massacre

You have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things. Ezekiel 16:43 

It arrives so fresh off the heels of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s easy to overlook. You’ve just barely gotten used to writing the new year on your bank checks. For all practical purposes, it’s simply the typical weekday between February 13 and February 15.

But this is not a day for practical purposes.

This is Valentine’s Day. And Sam forgot it.

Sam’s wife had a card addressed to him, hidden in her top dresser drawer. Her gift to him was under her dresses in the closet. She waited for him to make the first move, to end this little dodge of his. There he was, sitting down to watch television at 7:30 at night as if he might be camped out there till bedtime… as if he’d actually forgotten what day this is!

Finally, at 10 P.M., when Sam had stumbled upstairs to brush his teeth, he found his wife sitting bolt upright in bed. Somehow the temperature felt noticeably cooler in that room than in the other parts of the house.

“What’s the matter? What’d I do?” He did a super-quick scan of his usual offenses. Everything checked out.

“Tomorrow morning,” she said through clenched teeth, “I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from zero to two hundred in less than six seconds. And it had better be there!”

With that, she snatched her pillow and blanket and trudged off, presumably to the downstairs sofa, leaving Sam standing there looking very unmanly, totally exposed as a Valentine forgetter. But his pride wasn’t about to be threatened so easily.

The next morning his wife found a gift box in the driveway. She tore it open and looked inside.

It was a bathroom scale.

Sam has been missing since Friday.

DISCUSS

What is the kind of gift you like to receive on Valentine’s Day?

PRAY

Pray that you both will be sensitive to one another’s needs for romance and love on the other 364 days of the year. 

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Conversation Starters


NOVEMBER 10

Conversation Starters

You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 3 JOHN 6 

Between interaction with the culture, media and their peers, this year your teenagers will be exposed to one hundred thousand messages about sex. How many of these will come from you?

That’s the question Sharon Hersh posed on one of our FamilyLife Today broadcasts recently, and it is a good one. Sex is talked about incessantly in the predominant media channels that today’s teens are wired into. It’s almost impossible to avoid. It’s also a frequent topic for discussion in hallways, in Internet chat rooms, in emails and on the phone. And although this generation has become more comfortable talking about this subject than any generation before them, parents still find it nearly impossible to bring up.

But we’d better—because 99 percent of what they’re hearing in those one hundred thousand messages is wrong!

I assure you, most of the mistakes we made in this area were not because we were too involved. Rather, they occurred when we made some dangerous assumptions that our children’s convictions and standards were more firmly in place than we thought. We also erred in thinking that peers from excellent Christian homes embraced biblical convictions as well. In the words of our teens, “NOT!”

A letter we received from a young woman, who became pregnant as a teenager, cemented this resolve in us. I hope it will in you, as well. After telling her story, she wrote, “Parents, talk to your kids. Let them get angry. I would rather my children say, ‘I hate you and your rules’ than say later, ‘Why didn’t you tell me I was headed for trouble?’ “

Please don’t sit back and let your children negotiate these sexual traps alone. They need you to guide them through. They need to hear the truth—from you—not just once, but repeatedly.

DISCUSS

What do you think you know about your children’s sexual standards? What will you do to find out for sure?

PRAY

Pray for God’s protection of your children’s sexual purity and for their convictions, and ask for the courage to repeatedly break through the conversation barrier.

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Moments with You Couples Devotional 9/4


SEPTEMBER 4

Fork in the Road

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor. PROVERBS 18:12

Years ago, I conducted a public interview with Bill and Vonette Bright, who founded Campus Crusade for Christ. I asked them, “Was there ever a time in your marriage where you were at a real crisis? A true fork in the road that could have ended in disaster?”

Bill’s eyes filled with tears, his head dropped a bit, and he began to nod. There was shame and sorrow in his voice as he began to tell about a disagreement that had momentarily threatened their marriage.

It began when Bill had begun to make some key ministry decisions without consulting Vonette, even though the choices he was making directly affected her. One day as they argued about one of these issues, Bill declared, “The decision has been made, and it’s too late to change our plans now.”

Suddenly, all the resentment building inside Vonette erupted. “Okay, Bill Bright! I’ll just leave! I’m not going to live where I have nothing to say about what goes on.” She whisked the children into the car, got in the driver’s seat, and then slumped. Where would she go?

At this point, their young son Zac made a statement that cut to the core: “Mom, this shows me the kind of person you really are.” As her son’s words stung her, Bill burst through the front door and deliberately got in front of her car. He pleaded, “Don’t go, Vonette.”

He went on to apologize, and she did too. Then Bill backed up his words of apology by changing the decision they had argued about. Later, Vonette wrote, “I stayed because he took the first step toward reconciliation and working out our problems. It took a real man of God to admit he was wrong, and this gave me the courage to confess my poor attitude.”

The Brights’ marriage flourished for more than 50 years until Bill’s death in 2003. They never quit. Neither should you.

DISCUSS

Have you faced any forks in the road? What key decisions have strengthened your marriage?

PRAY

Pray for a heart of humility so that you will always take the first step toward reconciliation.

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Moments with You Couples Devotional 8/25


AUGUST 25

Intensive Prayer Unit

Let them pray for him continually; let them bless him all day long. PSALM 72:15

If there’s one thing Barbara and I have learned during our many years of raising children, it’s that prayer is indispensable. Irreplaceable. Life giving. That’s why we went before God often with our children’s personal matters in mind. And we urge you to do the same, being careful to do the following:

Pray offensively. Pray for your children’s peer groups—that they will each have at least one strong Christian friend they can count on through the years. Ask God to protect your children daily from those who would be an evil influence.

Also consider asking God to help you catch your children doing things right so that you can encourage them in making good choices.

Pray defensively. From time to time we felt that a child might be deceiving us, but we could never be absolutely certain. In those situations, we asked God to help us catch the child if he or she was doing something wrong. God seems to honor parents who pray this prayer!

Pray intensely. One of the most misunderstood spiritual disciplines of the Christian life is prayer accompanied by fasting (the giving up of food or something that you love for a prescribed period of time). According to the Scriptures, God assumes that we will fast and pray (see Matthew 6:16-18), and He promises to reward us if we do it with a pure heart and motive. We know one couple that set aside each Monday to fast, from sunrise to sundown, praying for their struggling teenager.

Any time God brings your children to mind is the perfect moment to bring their names and needs back before Him. As James 5:16 tells us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

God delights in hearing the prayers of the “helpless parent.”

DISCUSS

What are the top needs of each of your children?

PRAY

Make your prayer time today focused on each of your children. If you don’t have children, consider praying for a niece or nephew.  

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White-Glove Test


AUGUST 15

White-Glove Test

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. JOHN 15:3 

Whenever our Weekend to Remember speaker team gets together—as we’re passing each other in the hallway or stepping onto the elevator—we often ask each other one probing question: “Are you clean?” We’re calling each other to personal holiness—we don’t want anyone who represents our Lord and our ministry to stand before others with an unexamined heart.

“Are you clean?” It’s a good question to ask, don’t you think? Few of us like being presented with something that pries this hard—something so personal, something we might not be able to answer yes to.

I remember when I came across a friend—a fairly well-known Christian leader—at a convention. I shook his hand, looked him in the eye and surprised him by asking, “Are you clean?” He answered back, “Well, yeah, I’m clean.” But he wasn’t clean. I could tell.

A couple of days later, this same man tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Dennis, I need to talk to you privately about something.” We eased off to a corner of the room, where he said, “I lied to you. I’m not clean. I’ve got a problem with pornography. It’s causing me to fail as a husband and a father. I’m not the man other people think I am.”

I was so proud of him for responding to the Holy Spirit with that kind of honesty and remorse. We talked for quite a while, prayed together and laid out some accountability steps we both knew would help.

A few years later, I crossed paths with him again. But this time I didn’t even need to ask him the question. His whole countenance and posture answered it for me. He was clean. And confident. He’d been sprung from that whole demoralizing trap of phony sexual fulfillment.

How about you? Are you clean?

DISCUSS

Who could use someone like you to ask this kind of question of them?

PRAY

Pray for a life that is so clean and pure, you’ll want to share the blessings of obedience with others.  
 

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Moments with You Couples Devotional 7/15


July 15

Good Friends

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. PROVERBS 17:17

H. Clark Bentall once headed the Bentall Corporation, a construction company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Five downtown office towers in that city bear his family’s name. He was a major player in the commercial construction and real estate business.

But late in life, after a 50-year career with the company, he found himself in a disagreement with his brothers, who leveraged Clark out of the day-to-day operations and eventually out of the business altogether. Shortly thereafter, his wife of 57 years lost her battle with cancer, and Clark himself was soon stricken with Alzheimer’s disease.

There he was—in his early 80s, alone with no work and no wife—and with his ability to grasp what was going on around him beginning to slowly evaporate.

A man who once had everything now had nothing.

But in the years before the fog of Alzheimer’s engulfed him, Clark Bentall had invested thoroughly and genuinely in his friendships. And now, in his time of need, every Tuesday and Thursday morning some of his best friends would come over for breakfast, just to talk and say thanks . . . for everything. As the weeks and months went by, Clark had less and less to contribute to the stimulating conversation and shared memories. But still they came, for over four years.

That could be you one day. Alone. Dependent on the obligations of family members and the goodwill of neighbors and friends. Will you have invested enough in people’s lives to make them want to come see you, even when you’re not as much fun as you used to be?

Now is the time to pour your heart into others—not just to look ahead to the future, but also to make a difference in their lives today.

DISCUSS

Talk about your friendships. List your best ones. Talk about how you could help one another do a better job of building friendships.

PRAY

Give thanks to God for “kindred spirit” friends. And if you don’t have many, ask Him to bless your life with a few more.

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Moments with You Couples Devotiona 6/25

June 25

Dollars from Heaven

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Luke 6:38

Our children are better students of us than we are of them. They know—really know—more of what’s going on in your marriage than you think they do. This was certainly the case for a couple who were invited by the wife’s brother and sister-in-law to attend one of our Weekend to Remember marriage conferences. Times had been hard for this couple, from the typical stress of raising four teenage daughters to the strain of having one daughter preparing to graduate and another preparing to marry to the added pressure of temporarily providing a home for a friend and her two children. Truly, this was a couple in need of some refreshment.

But even with their relatives’ offer to pay for the airfare, they still didn’t feel as if they could handle the cost of the hotel, meals and conference fee. Disappointed, they said, “As much as we’d love to go, we just can’t afford it.” But when they returned home that same night, they were met by an incredible sight in their bedroom: 400 one-dollar bills—on the bed, on the floor, even taped to the walls—as well as a card that read: “We love you, Mom and Dad. Have a great time!” Their youngest daughters (ages 10 and 13), knowing what
was going on, had scraped together every cent they had saved to give their parents a gift and the trip of a lifetime.

Don’t ever forget that your children are like little radar units, locked on to the two most important people in their lives. They know how you are doing. That’s why it’s so important to invest regularly in your marriage by getting away.

DISCUSS

When was the last time you took time away to work on your marriage? Pull out a schedule and talk about finding two weekends in the coming year to invest in your marriage.

PRAY

Ask the Lord to help you be sensitive to how your children gain strength and stability from your relationship with one another.

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Moments with You Couples Devotional 6/18


June 18

Courageous Parenting (Part One)

Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage. PSALM 27:14

One of my favorite conversation starters when I’m eating with other men or with a group of couples is “What is the single most courageous thing that you have ever done in your lifetime?”

When most people think of courage, they think of heroic deeds—like those done on battlefields distant in time and geography. But I think we need massive doses of courage if we are going to raise families according to the Scriptures.

Courage is demanded of parents who desire to do the following:

Parental courage is needed if we want to raise a generation of young people who know how to withstand sexual temptation. It takes a battlefield mentality if we are going to give our children the kinds of standards they need to maintain sexual purity.

It takes courage to look your sons in the eye when they’re 13, 18 or 24 and ask them if they’ve been looking at pornography on the Internet. But your sons need you to ask them. And, Dad, you need to be able to ask them with your own conscience clean.

It takes courage to talk to your sons straight about keeping their hands off the girls. And it takes courage to meet with a young man who wants to take one of your daughters out for the evening—asking him to keep his hands and lips off your daughter!

The easiest thing to do is nothing. But that’s how battles are lost.

DISCUSS

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

PRAY

Ask God for the courage you need to stand strong in the battle for the souls of your children.

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