This book is one in a set of small gift hard cover books that present 30 days of devotionals for married couples to read together. The selections in Moments Together for a Peaceful Home will focus on the many ways that husbands and wives can maintain peace and harmony at home--both in their relation- ship with one another and as parents of the children God has entrusted to their care. Married couples will learn practical ways to help family members live together united by the honoring actions of love, acceptance and forgiveness.
About the Author
Dennis Rainey is President and CEO of FamilyLife, a division of Cru. Dennis and his wife, Barbara, have spoken at Weekend to Remember conferences around the world. Dennis serves as the daily host of the radio program FamilyLife Today. Dennis and Barbara have authored more than two dozen books, including the bestselling Moments Together for Couples. The Raineys have six children and nineteen grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
Moments Together for A PEACEFUL HOME
By Dennis Rainey and Barbara Rainey
Copyright © 2003
Dennis and Barbara Rainey
All right reserved.
I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those
also who believe in Me through their word;
that they may all be one.
As I reflect on the teachings of Christ, I find that much of
His instruction dealt with maintaining peace and harmony
in relationships. He taught His disciples to break down barriers
in relationships. He taught them to forgive each other.
Love was the banner of His earthly ministry.
The Scripture passage above is part of the Savior's high-priestly
prayer, prayed near the end of His life. Why did He
focus on unity and oneness at this crucial point? Could it be
that it was because the strongest demonstration of the Holy
Spirit's power in our lives is imperfect Christians living with
But it isn't always easy, is it? When you and your mate-or
you and your children-have a conflict with each other, you
probably tend to withdraw from intimacy. Then you begin to
believe the worst about the other person, and eventually you
lash out in anger or bitterly withdraw, allowing the anger to
Communication is vital to maintaining unity. You may
have to reinvent your own pony express to stay close, even if
it has to run through hostile territory. Maybe you'll have one
meal a day when your family sits down and eats together,
with the phone off the hook and the television off. Possibly
you'll pray with your mate and with each of your children at
the end of the day. Or maybe you'll take a walk and talk with
a troubled teen who just needs you to be there.
The main thing is to take responsibility for doing your
part to see that Jesus' prayer-that you may "be one"-doesn't
go unanswered in your family.
* * *
Discuss: In your family, how does disharmony typically
start? Does fostering family harmony always
mean settling kids' differences for them?
Pray: Pray that Christ's prayer for unity will be realized
among your family members by their coming
together in love, acceptance and forgiveness.
* * *
FOR DOING YOUR PART
TO SEE THAT JESUS'
MAY "BE ONE"-DOESN'T
Of First Importance
For wbat I received I passed on to you as of
first importance: that Christ died for our sins according
to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised
on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-4 (NIV)
The Bible is a collection of many books and has many
truths to teach us. We are blessed that in this passage the
apostle Paul singles out its core truth. Of course nothing in
Scripture is unimportant, but nothing else is "of first importance"
like the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
What do all of us-children, teens and adults-need to
know to make the significance of Jesus's death, burial and
resurrection real in our lives? First, we need to know who God is
and how He loves us. We need to know what sets Him apart
God is holy; He is perfect. People, however, are not
God is just; He is always fair. We are not just in all
God is love; He desires a relationship with us-that's
why He sent His Son. We are not always motivated
out of our love for another.
Second, we need to know that our sins must be forgiven (see
Rom. 6:23). Many people in this culture of tolerance feel
uncomfortable talking about hell. God is patient, but He is
not tolerant. His justice calls for an atonement (a payment,
a penalty) for people's sins. We must understand that our
sins can keep us out of heaven. Our sins must be paid for.
And that is what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
Finally, we need to know that we receive God's forgiveness
through faith in Jesus Christ (see Eph. 2;8-9). Faith involves
repenting of our sins, turning to God in faith and trusting
Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. When we repent, we
acknowledge our sins before God and express our sorrow for
our sins to Him.
These are the basics that we all need to know about that
which is "of first importance."
* * *
Discuss: Have you made these truths about Jesus'
death, burial and resurrection "of first importance"
in your lives? Have you explained these truths to
Pray: If you have not yet received God's forgiveness
through faith in Jesus Christ, consider doing so now.
Here's a sample prayer: "Lord Jesus, I need You.
Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open
the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and
Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me
eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want
me to be." Also pray that God would work in your
children's hearts to bring them to Him.
* * *
NOTHING ELSE IS "OF FIRST
IMPORTANCE" LIKE THE
DEATH, BURIAL AND
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where
thieves do not break in or steal; for where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You and your mate would benefit from spending some time
singling out what is of second importance to you. Barbara
and I have pondered and struggled with this issue for years.
Among the core values we have listed are compassion, discipline,
courage, integrity and the fear of the Lord.
One day as we were prayerfully interacting over our
individual core values, we made a profound discovery: Our
priorities were different! One of Barbara's top five values
was "teaching our children the work ethic." I didn't even list
that in my top ten! Nor did she have one of my top five core
values down on her sheet-"relationships."
Suddenly it became clear why our weekend schedule
sometimes felt like a battlefield. We were battling over values-work
versus relationships. Barbara wanted to use our
Saturdays to work on the house or in the yard. My preference
was to slip away (from the work) and go build memories
and relationships on a boat on the lake.
Neither value was wrong-just different.
That day we learned a lesson I will never forget: Each of
us spends our time on those things we feel are most important.
And because most of us never get around to defining
our core values as individuals and as a family, we end up living
scattered and hectic lives, driven by unreal expectations.
* * *
Discuss: Write a mission statement for your family,
listing the core values you would like to emphasize.
Do the ways you spend most of your time and
money reflect these values?
Pray: Pray that God will help you choose the most
important values for your family and help you spend
your time and finances in ways that honor Him.
Do Something of
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men,
but as wise, making the most of your time.
Driving home one night after work a number of years ago,
I switched on the radio to catch the news. In a moment of
uncharacteristic sincerity, the announcer made a statement
that sliced through my fog of fatigue: "I hope you did something
of value today. You wasted a whole day if you didn't."
His statement struck me abruptly. Fortunately, I felt
pretty good about how I had invested my time that day, solving
some of the problems of a swiftly growing organization.
But in 10 minutes I would be home, where one lovely lady
and six pairs of little eyes would need my attention.
Would I do something of value with them tonight?
It's just one night, I thought, and besides, I'm
exhausted. Then I pondered how one night followed by another, 365 times,
adds up to a year. The nights and years seemed to be passing
with increasing velocity.
Five more minutes and I'd be home.
I'll bet there are other men like me who are really tired right
now. I'll bet I do better than average with my kids, I smugly concluded.
But another question came to mind and lingered: Did
God call me to be merely a better-than-average husband and father?
Or to be obedient and to excel?
But it's just one night. What would I accomplish? Would I waste
it spending all evening in front of the television? Or invest it in planting
the seeds of a positive legacy?
I wanted just one evening of selfishness-to do my own
thing, But what if Barbara had a similar attitude? Then who
would carry the baton?
One more minute and I'd be home.
Just one night, Lord. It's just one night. But then the same
angel who wrestled Jacob to the ground pinned me with a
half nelson as I drove into the garage.
Okay, Lord, You've got me.
* * *
Discuss: Did you do something of value today? If
you didn't, you just wasted a whole day of your life.
Pray: Ask God to help you keep your priorities
straight amid the pressures you face and the
demanding schedule you keep. Ask Him to give you
courage to do what's right.
* * *
DID GOD CALL ME TO
BE MERELY A BETTER-THAN-AVERAGE
FATHER? OR TO BE OBEDIENT
AND TO EXCEL?
Do Something of
So then do not be foolish, but understand
what the will of the Lord is.
As the kids surrounded my car like a band of whooping
Indians; screaming "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" I was glad on
this night I had made the right choice.
At supper, rather than just grazing our way through the
meal, we spent a few moments on nostalgia. Each of us
answered the question, What was your favorite thing we did
as a family this past year?
After supper I gave the kids three choices of what we
could do: play Monopoly together, read a good book together
or wrestle together on the living-room floor. Which do
you think they chose?
Three little sumo wrestlers grabbed my legs as they began
to drag me into the living room. Dad was pinned by the kids.
Mom was tickled by Dad. And kids went flying through the
air (literally) for the next hour. Even our ten-month-old got
into the act by pouncing on me after she had observed the
other kids in action.
Will the kids remember? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Did I waste the evening? No. With the power that God supplies,
I did my best to leave a legacy that counts-a legacy of love
that will outlive me. I was reminded of two things. First,
I thought of Paul's words in Ephesians 5:17, in which he reminded
us to make the most of our time and to "not be foolish."
Second, I remembered my dad. He was badgered by one
determined boy into playing catch over and over again. I can
still remember his well-worn mitt and curve ball.
If you struggle with priorities as I do, you might want to
commit to memory this verse in Ephesians. The fool whom
Paul wrote about is someone we never intend to become; it
just happens-one day at a time.
I hope you did something of value today. And I hope
you will tonight as well.
* * *
Discuss: What choices do you often have to make
to balance your own needs with those of your family?
Do you ever resent these demands? What is one
goal for family time that you want to achieve in the
Pray: Ask God to give you favor as you invest your
lives in one another and in your children.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also
is the head of the church. Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
Our culture has spent more than two decades redefining
the roles of husband and wife. At one extreme is the
Oklahoma newspaper headline that read, "State House
Repeals Law Appointing Husbands as Head of Household."
At the other extreme is the man who thinks being the head
of the house means his wife must obey his every whim without
But the Scriptures clearly give us the model for being
not only a man but also a husband and father. I call that
model the servant-leader. According to this model, husbands
and fathers are to lead, to love and to serve.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines a leader as a
"guide," or "conductor," "a person who has commanding
authority or influence"-a person who shows the way, directs
and governs. God designed these roles of husband and
Excerpted from Moments Together for A PEACEFUL HOME
by Dennis Rainey and Barbara Rainey
Copyright © 2003 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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