October 2013

God’s Will Is Good

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

 I love Romans 12:2. It’s a key to understanding what it means to follow God with all your heart:

First a negative–“Do not be conformed to this world.”

  • Then a positive–“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
  • The result of your efforts–“That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

How thrilling! Knowing and living God’s will is every Christian’s desire and dream. It’s what we live for and where we want to live–right in the center of His astounding will! What do we know from this verse about God’s will?

God’s will is good. His will for you reflects one of His amazing attributes–His goodness. You have a good God. His will in your life and for you is always good. That’s settled forever. That’s the truth. You can count on it. What’s happening may look or feel bad, but it really isn’t.

Renew your mind with this truth, this promise, this fact, this certainty, this assurance. You can even to say to God, “Lord, from my vantage point, this doesn’t look so good, and it certainly doesn’t feel good at all. But Your Word says it is good, that good will come from it. So I’m choosing to believe Your Word over what I’m thinking and feeling.” This is how you renew your mind. It’s this simple. You choose to think God’s truth instead of succumbing to your thoughts, viewpoint, feelings, and emotions. You believe you have a good God who causes all things, including His will, to work together for your good (Romans 8:28).

Be a Difference Maker

Why be ordinary when you can be different–a difference maker? Even though it’s a struggle to live in a world that hates Jesus and sees salvation through Christ as foolishness God gives us guidelines. (See John 7:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:21,27-28.)

We’re to be salt (Matthew 5:13). We are to have a positive influence on the world, to be to unbelievers what salt is to food. What’s true of any seasoning is true of us. If a seasoning has no flavor, it has no value, appeal, or effect. We must make every effort to live pure lives and witness to the world–to cause other to desire to know God’s Son.

We’re to be light (Matthew 5:14). Can you hide a city that’s lit up and sitting on top of a hill? No! Its lights can be seen for miles as a beacon to the lost or those needing a safe place. Likewise we’re to shine with the reflection of Christ, a radiance that emanates from the presence of Christ within our hearts. If we live for Christ, we’ll shine brightly and show the way to Him. God desires that we be beacons of truth in a dark and needy world.

We’re to make a difference (John 17:6-18). In His payer before going to the cross, Jesus asked our heavenly Father to give us protection as He left us in the world and sent us into the world. Christ wants us to make a difference in the world where we live.

We are Jesus’ ambassadors to the world. We are His witnesses to the ends of the earth. One of our jobs is to live a holy life and share the gospel of Christ so that others will know of Him. One of God’s jobs is to enable and protect us while we live righteously and share the truth with unbelievers. Our greatest challenge, then, is to live in the world and not be influenced by it.

Your Prayer Journey

Prayer.

Just say the word and I begin to yearn and squirm at the same time! As a woman after God’s own heart, I yearn to pray. My soul longs for it. My spirit craves the communion with my heavenly Father that only the act of prayer provides. My heart emotes along with the words of King David of the Old Testament, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You” (Psalm 42:1; 63:1).

And yet I also squirm at the thought of prayer. Why? Because even though I know praying to God will most definitely be rewarding and a blessing, I also know it is a serious undertaking. Approaching our thrice-holy God, while both a joy and a privilege, is an awesome and almost fearful consideration. Then there is the challenge of finding and making the time, of seeking out and arranging for solitude, and of putting forth the effort focused communion with God through prayer requires.

What a battle! I fully recognize that I need to pray. Furthermore, I want to pray. I covet the desired results and blessings reaped through prayer. And yet there is the sober recognition of the work and the discipline such communion calls for.

Do you, my friend, share these same mixed sensations? Then together let’s purpose to heed God’s call to us to be women of prayer–no matter what! As the well-known saying goes, “Every journey begins with a single step.” And that’s certainly true of a journey into prayer. So take the first step. Commit to your own journey.

Pray.

A New and Exciting Journey

It’s been our joy and honor to be a part of your life for over 30 years. We have loved studying and teaching God’s Word, sharing with you, and growing with you. Every time we read an email, letter, or hear from you in person, our hearts swell with joy and thanksgiving. What a blessing it is to be able to touch your lives!

For many years, the only way we communicated with you was through our books and speaking events. We loved it and we still love it, but we also love what technology has enabled. It’s amazing that now, no matter where we are or where you are, we can talk with you daily. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our ALL NEW social media.

We’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for a few years, but until now, we’ve never really been able to put in the time and effort to share with you daily, like we wanted to. That’s all changed.

If you follow us on Facebook  or Twitter you’ll notice a lot of changes. We’re running our first Facebook giveaway for FREE books, and we’re also posting fresh, and we hope inspiring, content each and every day.

We love being able to connect with you in this way and we want to continue! Let us know what you think AND what you want to see. We’d love to hear from you!

God bless and thank you for joining us on this new and exciting journey. We can’t wait to see where God leads us next!

A Clear View

I love reading about the life of David in the Bible. I especially enjoy the part where he fought against Goliath, the giant. You see, David was just a shepherd boy. He spent his days out in the fields with sheep… but he also spent them with the Lord. He passed the lonely hours and days of solitude by tending the animals, singing songs to God, playing his lute, and thinking on the Lord and His care, protection, provision, and promises. (See 1 Samuel 17.)

One day David’s father sent him to the battlefront to take food to his older brothers. When he arrived, Goliath came to the battle line and threatened God’s people—again. He taunted them and put down their God. The result? The Israelite soldiers panicked and fled. But David, who had a fresh perspective because he’d spent so much time focused on God, said, in essence, to the warriors, “Hey! Don’t let that guy talk to you like that! Sure, he’s big, but you’re the army of the living God!” David was like the child who sees things as they are and says it. The shepherd boy could see what the seasoned warriors didn’t see. Because he’d been close to God, he viewed things differently—and accurately.

The same is true for you! When you’re close to God, spending time in His Word, you see clearly. You see a situation for what it is. You possess strength, courage, wisdom, and proper perspective. And all because you’ve been focused on God!

Then David said to the Philistine,
“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.
But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…”
1 Samuel 17:45

Waiting on Joy

There is no time lost in waiting… if you are waiting on the Lord. Sarah, the woman God had called “a mother of nations,” waited on the Lord for 25 years! Clutching God’s remarkable promise for a son, she had waited—right on past her childbearing years. The future looked hopeless, and although she had her moments of doubt, yet she hoped—hoped on the words the Lord Himself had spoken: “At the appointed time… Sarah shall have a son.” (See Genesis 17:16; 18:14.)

The English Bible doesn’t say it—but, oh, does the Hebrew language ever say it! Sarah and Abraham’s desert tent rang with sounds of joy! Sarah could not contain her gladness as she held her promised son. Once again Sarah was laughing. Oh, she had laughed before when the angels and the Lord had again promised the child. But then her laughter had been rooted in disbelief (Genesis 18:12). Now she exulted, singing in her own words, “God has made me laugh” (Genesis 21:6). Now hers was the hearty laughter of joy upon joy! “Who would have dreamed?” Sarah probably marveled. Certainly not she! But God, who is always fully able, had accomplished the miracle. Others would no longer laugh at her—now they would laugh with her in joy. (See Genesis 18:12; 21:6.)

Dear woman of God, join with Sarah in her chorus of praise! Even when life is difficult here, you can know joy because of the hope you have in Christ. Here you have cause to sing even when you don’t feel like singing, even when God’s promises aren’t yet fulfilled. At the appointed time—here or in heaven—God will give you reason to sing as He demonstrates His faithfulness to you. But sing now, as you look forward to the fulfillment of all His promises to you and to your season of joy!

Plan on the Word

Read, study, and memorize Scripture—it’s wonderful! To have God in your head and His Word in your heart will empower you to follow Him and His plan for you with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. But for His truth to be there, you have to actively and decisively put it there.

No matter how you feel about reading and studying the Bible, when you allow the Word of God to “dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16), things happen. Wonderful things! Amazing things!! Even things you don’t understand and cannot comprehend or explain.

With God’s powerful Word in your heart, prepare for change! You’ll discover fresh energy, new excitement, and a different—and better—outlook on life. Your goals will change. You’ll dream of doing great things for God as you begin to understand what great things He has done for you. You’ll have ideas and wonder, Now where did those come from? You’ll treat people differently… and you’ll treat them better. You’ll find yourself embracing and tackling your ministries, work, and responsibilities with joy! You won’t even recognize yourself!

Bottom line? You’ll be living God’s plan. You’ll be traveling His road to success, tasting and partaking of His brand of achievement and contribution. Why? Because you chose to do as He instructed. You planted His Word right into your soul.

In Times of Trouble… Pray!

Here’s a word for prayer you’re probably familiar with—supplication. As one well-loved verse instructs, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Clearly we are to ask God in supplication. This term for prayer stems from a Hebrew word that is connected with judges and judging. It means to invoke God as a judge. And to do so means that we must come to Him, the Judge! We are to implore Him for our needs. And we’re to do so earnestly and humbly. (See Philippians 4:6.)

Trouble is part of the Christian life. A giant growth-step in faith and maturity is to acknowledge, accept, and learn this fact of life. As my Jim always says, “Being a Christian is not a bed of roses!” I know it’s helped me tremendously to underline in my Bible the little word “when” in James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” It’s sobering—and instructive—to realize that James did not say if… but he said when as he wrote of trials in life.

The apostle Peter also wrote about the facts of trials and troubles, exhorting us with these words: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

You and I must face life with our eyes wide open. We must accept the fact of trouble. Then we must devise a plan for handling trouble and dealing with it—God’s way. For instance, what will you think when trouble arrives? What scriptures will you use to stay strong in the Lord as you walk through your own fiery trials? And what, when, and how will you pray about the troubles of life—past, present, and future? Wisdom always has a plan (Proverbs 21:5), so create your plan of action for facing and handling trouble. Be prepared for trouble… and pray!

Lessons in Leadership

If leading other women is one of the desires of your heart, or if leadership is something others are asking of you, consider a few principles drawn from J. Oswald Sanders’s classic book, Spiritual Leadership. 

  • A leader is a follower—The adage is true that to be a leader you must first be a follower. Leadership is a discipline, and it is in the process of being a faithful follower that you gain the discipline necessary for effective leadership.
  • A leader is a pray-er—Prayer brings to leadership the power and energy of the Holy Spirit. Missionary and leader Hudson Taylor was convinced that “it is possible to move [others], through God, by prayer alone.”
  • A leader is an initiator—It is only the authentic leader who is willing to take risks and move out courageously as “venturesomeness” is applied to vision. (Drawn from J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, Chicago: Moody Press, 1967).

If you’re looking for a model of a leader of women, God shows you in Miriam one of His very special women of faith. As the Bible explains, “All the women went out after her.” Miriam faithfully followed and assisted her two brothers, Aaron and Moses, as they led God’s people to freedom. As a prophetess and a pray-er, Miriam was filled with the Holy Spirit, who inspired her words. Moved by God’s miraculous defeat of the Egyptian army in the midst of the Red Sea, Miriam “took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” (See Micah 6:4; Exodus 15:20.)

May God’s Spirit at work in you and the example of Miriam encourage and inspire you to love and serve the women in your church as you pray about leadership.

God’s Presence Is Real

How can God’s presence be explained? You can’t see Him, but you can see His handiwork in creation. You can’t see the Spirit of God, but you do have Jesus’ word that He is present. You also have evidence of God’s presence in your life as you produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (See Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1; Galatians 5:22-23.) So how does the knowledge of God’s presence play out in daily life? I’ve got two stories to share.

On one rare occasion I was traveling alone. My flight was rerouted due to a blizzard. It was one of those stranded-in-an-airport-all-night scenarios, and there wasn’t any way to let Jim know what was happening or what might happen. I had that sinking feeling of being utterly alone. Then I remembered that I wasn’t. I prayed, “God, not one of my loved ones in this whole world knows where I am. But You do!” The promise of God’s presence reassured me that I wasn’t lost in space, and I experienced an amazing sense of peace knowing God was with me. God’s peace came when I remembered the truth of His presence.

The other time was when I was having major surgery. As the staff wheeled me into the operating room, and Jim was left behind in the waiting room, I lay on the gurney helpless and sedated. I prayed, “Lord, yea, though I may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death [I didn’t know what the surgeon might find], yea, though I may be entering the unknown, and yea, though I’m being put under the anesthesia, You are with me!” And do you know what? God was… and He is! We never have to ask for His presence. We only need to remember and relish the fact and reality of it.

In spite of what some might say about God, you can know one thing absolutely: God is with you wherever you go… forever! And that gives you courage day by day.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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