Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

Hearts of Compassion

Clothe yourselves with compassion.
Colossians 3:12

It was a cold December in Philadelphia. Eleven-year-old Trevor Ferrell was watching TV in his comfortable home when images of street people flashed on the screen. Trevor’s heart was touched—he had to do something. He grabbed a blanket and pillow from his closet and begged his parents to take him downtown. They resisted at first—it could be dangerous, after all—but eventually relented. Soon, Trevor was handing the blanket and pillow to a grateful homeless man.

That night marked the first of many visits by the Ferrell family to Philadelphia’s street people. Trevor’s friends started joining him, others began donating items to hand out, and a ministry was born. Trevor’s Campaign for the Homeless attracted national interest and inspired chapters across the country. An abandoned Philadelphia hotel was turned into Trevor’s Place, a home for street people, and an adjacent building was transformed into Trevor’s Next Door, a residential living and service center.

Hundreds of people found help and hope because a fifth-grader remembered the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Christ had incredible compassion for the down-and-outers of the world, touching even lepers who were likely shunned by others (Luke 5:12–13). When you encourage your children to help those in need, you move them that much closer to the compassionate heart of Christ.

Before you say good night…

  • How are you encouraging your kids to show compassion to others?
  • What could you do this week for the “least of these” in your town?

Lord Jesus, may we all have ears to hear the cries for help around us. Show us how to respond as You would, bringing Your compassion to our family and to our world. Amen.

Illustration adapted from Focus on the Family radio broadcast, 20 January 1986.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About My Family Talk

Family Talk is a Christian non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Founded in 2010 by Dr. James Dobson, the ministry promotes and teaches biblical principles that support marriage, family, and child-development. Since its inception, Family Talk has served millions of families with broadcasts, monthly newsletters, feature articles, videos, blogs, books and other resources available on demand via its website, mobile apps, and social media platforms.

About Dr. James Dobson

Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, "Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk." He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline, Love for a Lifetime, Life on the Edge, Love Must Be Tough, The New Strong-Willed Child, When God Doesn't Make Sense, Bringing Up Boys, Marriage Under Fire, Bringing Up Girls, Head Over Heels and, most recently, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift. 

Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised five U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the following awards: Winston Churchill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faith & Freedom Coalition (2017), Daniel Award from AZ Christian University (2016), and the Defender of Life Award from the Justice Foundation (2015). 

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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