January 2014

From Jim’s Heart—Take Courage

I’m sure you’ve faced a difficult situation or had a meeting or a rigorous commitment you needed to brave. How encouraging it is when you have family and friends nearby to support and encourage you! Their presence provides a stimulus to do your best and promotes the courage to do the right thing.

As great as family and friends are, it’s even more motivating to know that God is always right there with you, no matter what happens…and no matter where you go. If your courage is a little thin these days and you feel like you are being overwhelmed by tough encounters and responsibilities, take courage, my friend. God is with you to help you fight your battles. Be strong and courageous! Whenever you are feeling anxious or afraid about something today, or sense your courage is faltering, draw power and courage from

  • God’s character—”For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own” (1 Samuel 12:22).
  • God’s Word—”In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:4).
  • God’s presence—”The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

Since God is with you and you are with God,
you have nothing to fear.

 

A Choice Garment

Like me, you get up every day, go to your closet, and select the clothes you’ll wear for the day. Well, you need to do the same thing spiritually. Here’s a partial list of God’s approved wardrobe:

  • Put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24).
  • Put on a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).
  • Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Colossians 3:12).
  • Put on love (Colossians 3:14).
  • Adorn yourself with good works (1 Timothy 3:10).
  • Be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5).

What are you wearing today? Peter says “be clothed with humility.” God wants us to be marked by our clothing, our garments of humility. Like Jesus, who was in the form of God, and equal with God, and before whom every knee shall bow, we are to humbly serve others. He showed us how when “He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:5).

Take a minute to think about your life. Each facet of your life and each person in it is a prime opportunity arranged by God for nurturing the beauty of humility and loving service in you.

Reflect God’s Light

Jim and I celebrated one anniversary on the Big Island of Hawaii, which included a trip to the famous active Kilauea Volcano. We were told to arrive at the lava flow just before dark so that we could see the most active area of red-hot lava at night. We were also warned to bring flashlights so we wouldn’t fall while hiking in the dark.

As the sun began to slip into the Pacific, we started our trek over mounds of hardened lava. Right away we met a couple struggling to make the same walk without flashlights. Since we had two, Jim gave them one of ours. I can’t imagine what might have happened to them if we hadn’t come along with that extra flashlight.

You and I have the same need for light in the spiritual realm. Before we belonged to Christ, we were like that couple trying to walk on the path, stumbling and falling. But now we have the light of Christ, and God expects us to “let it shine.” He wants us to pass on the light and be a positive influence to those still in darkness.

Christ is no longer physically present on earth, but you reflect His light to those in darkness as you bear the fruit of goodness, righteousness, truthfulness. You are unbelievably blessed as a child of God! God says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Imagine! Just as Jim and I were able to physically assist a couple trying to walk in the dark by giving them a flashlight, you are able to do the same spiritually as you reflect the light that is yours as a child of the Supreme Light.

Ten Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life

David’s prayer life was oh, so powerful. In the wake of being betrayed by his son and a close friend, along with being ousted from his home and kingdom, David the prayer warrior testified, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud” (Psalm 55:17).

You see, David had developed the habit of prayer. Then when trouble arrived, David simply turned up the steam on his prayer-habit. All he had to do in order to do battle through prayer was kick up the heat a notch! He didn’t have to begin praying, or learn to pray, or determine that he needed to pray, or would pray, or should pray. No, he simply increased the intensity, frequency, and the fervor of his prayers.

The habit of prayer is vital! These ten  suggestions will encourage you and help you develop a more consistent prayer life.

1. Use a prayer list or notebook.

2. Schedule a prayer time each day–maybe, like David, several times a day!

3. Spend time praying with others.

4. Pray using Scripture.

5. Borrow from the prayers of others.

6. Open and close each day with a time of prayer.

7. Gain inspiration from the biographies of others who prayed.

8. Study and reflect on the prayers of the Bible.

9. Follow through with your resolve: No decision made without prayer.

10. Feed your heart and mind with God’s Word.

Dear friend, like David, may you be able to declare to God, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:3).

From Jim’s Heart to Men—Take Your Decisions to God

Every major accomplishment in a man’s life requires a high level of commitment. I’m sure you can remember such an accomplishment in your life. Perhaps you were starting your own business. Or you were considering a job change or mapping out a new direction for your company or family. Whatever it was, you probably felt some initial hesitancy. One day you were eager to start…and the next you weren’t so sure. But once you made the decision to dive in and proceed, all the long hours of effort were worth it because of the joy of seeing the fruit of your labors.

What major decision or change are you facing right now? Have you included God in the planning process? Take time to pray. Share all your thoughts and concerns with Him. Ask for His leading as you move forward.

God, I commit my plans to You today.
Help me to honor You in all I do.
Thank You for guiding me so that my decisions
may glorify You and bless the people around me.

Amen.

You Are Exceptional!

You are exceptional. Think about it! Christ lives in you. That should–and does!–make a huge difference in your life. That sets you light years above this world! You are markedly unique! When you came to Christ–became a believer in Him–you were transformed and changed on the inside which others see as it shows on the outside.

Now consider this: “Why would any person with a pure, holy God living inside their heart and soul want to fashion or mold themselves after the ‘world’?” This makes me think about bread dough. I’m sure you know the process for bread making. First you mix up a batch of dough. Then you mold it into any shape you desire. You get to decide! You can shape your dough into little clover-leaf dinner rolls or breadsticks or a loaf.

When it comes to people, to you and me, we’re not to let the world knead and form us like bread dough, pressing and working us into its mold. Amazingly, you and I have everything we need to be remarkable. With God’s help, you can avoid conforming to this world and follow your Lord with all your heart. To do this you need to remember that God, in His divine power, has already given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Rejoice! You already possess all the makings for exceptional living!

Understanding God’s Will

God’s will is a vital element in following God. Therefore, we need to gain a better understanding of God’s will.

God’s will begins with renewing your mind— When your mind is transformed, your thinking, reasoning, and spiritual understanding help conform you to the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

God’s will gives meaning to your life–Life makes little or no sense without understanding that God has a plan and purpose for your life.

God’s will is unique to you–You are extremely special to God. He created you. He chose you. He loves you. And He has prepared a special purpose for you.

God’s will requires patience-God’s will isn’t hidden, but it may take time to become fully evident.

God’s will requires obedience-Discovering and fulfilling God’s ongoing will begins with accepting and obediently following His revealed purpose for your life.

Just for today, follow Him with all your heart,
as best you can, right where you are,
faithfully doing what He’s asking you to do
this minute, this hour, this day.

God Is With Us

Since God is with us whether we acknowledge Him or not, why not start actively practicing the presence of God? You can expect a huge difference in your life and in your faith when you remember to:

Acknowledge God’s presence in your life. With every activity, acknowledge God’s presence verbally or in silent prayer. When you get up in the morning, thank God for your life and for another day to walk with Him through whatever comes your way—surprises, catastrophes, and the never-ending dailies that sometime seem to drag on and not make much difference. Count on His presence. The harder your tasks or more terrifying your challenges, factor in your heavenly Father’s omnipresence. He’s right there with you, ready and able to comfort, encourage, strengthen and supply you with His divine wisdom, grace, and power–with everything you need.

Acknowledge God’s presence to others. Honor God and give Him glory by making His presence known to others. Your awareness of Him and dependency on Him is not something to be ashamed of or kept hidden. If you knew a celebrity or a great personality, you’d be proud of your friendship and want everyone to know. Well, who is greater than God? And He’s right there with you always! As you talk about Him to others, you’re announcing that you have a personal relationship with God and saying they can too. As the psalmist exclaimed, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2).

Thank God for His presence and together forge ahead in victory!

From Jim’s Heart—364 Days Ahead of You

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s “In the Word Wednesday” from Genesis that I posted on Facebook. Next week we will look at Exodus! But for now, just imagine, 364 new days left in 2014 for doing all sorts of things. I’ve heard it said that 15 minutes a day devoted to any one subject will make you an expert in 5 years. Well, consider this as Year One. What would you like to know, be, and do starting this year? If you want to be successful in God’s eyes, then spend this year reading your Bible. Here’s how it works:

“Do not let this Book of the Law [the Bible] depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8-9).

Notice the three keys to enjoying God’s promise of success for your new year:

Key #1 – Believe in the Bible’s authority: “This Book of the Law.”

Key #2 – Study the Bible diligently: “Meditate on it day and night.”

Key #3 – Obey the Bible always: “…so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”

God promises that when you follow His precepts, He will lead you into a successful life. This does not necessarily refer to financial success, but success where it really matters–success in the spiritual realm. God will bless you with success in your relationships with your family, friends, employer, and the countless others your life touches.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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