June 2014

Living as Good Samaritans

Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'”

—Luke 10:30-36

Some Christians have the mistaken idea that unbelievers are “the enemy.” As a result, they have little or nothing to do with them.

In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-36), the Samaritan did not see the wounded Jew as his enemy, even though the Jews of that day were hostile toward Samaritans. Rather, the robbers were the enemy, and the wounded Jew was a victim. We rightly view victims of tragedy with empathy and concern. So why don’t we view the unbelievers around us in the same way? They are the victims of Satan and sin (2 Timothy 2:26), and they can’t help themselves (Romans 3:10-18).

Pray for unbelievers and show you care for them. Take every opportunity to be their friend and neighbor.

Jesus, have I passed by any victims lately? Open my eyes and show me someone today who needs my prayers, my time, my caring attention. Keep me from labeling victims as enemies. Amen.

Anna — Serving the Lord

Anna was a woman whose life was touched by darkness. Her own dear husband had died after only seven years of marriage. In the intervening years, 84-year-old Anna had daily looked for help and redemption from the Lord. Then, on one particular day, the Light of the world entered the temple of the Lord where Anna was devoutly serving the Lord. Mary arrived, carrying the long-awaited Christ Child in her arms—the One who would dispel the world’s darkness. And Anna was there… and her life—and yours!—would never be the same.

Luke 2:37 tells us that in all the time of her widowhood, Anna “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Anna the widow might have been tempted to live a lonely life, but she chose a life of service to the Lord instead. And her long-term faith was definitely rewarded! For she was there to see the Christ Child—her Savior—finally come at last. Upon seeing Him, Anna “gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

Anna was devout—she lived at the temple.

Anna was a witness—she saw her long-awaited Lord face-to-face.

Anna was an encourager—she spoke of her Lord to all those who would listen.

A life of faith has many aspects, and in the widow Anna we witness a life of steadfast hope and faithful worship, prayer, and service. Anna shows you and me vividly, the winning combination of qualities that make up a heart of humility! Are you one who seeks to lift up, encourage, and restore those who are cast down? To speak a timely word of ever-burning faith in God to those who are weary is indeed a divine art!

Handling Riches

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty,
nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come,
that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19

Today you and I get to sit in the front row at the apostle Paul’s money management seminar and learn firsthand how to handle what God has blessed us with… God’s way. What principles does Paul promote?

Principle 1: Avoid the temptations of the wealthy. Do not become arrogant and place your trust in earthly riches instead of in the living God.

Principle 2: Engage in the duties for those of means. Be rich in good works, be prepared to give, and be willing to share.

Principle 3: Resist laying up treasures for yourself. Share earthly treasures and remember — the fruit of your salvation will be seen in your attitude toward others.

Principle 4: Lay hold of good works. Giving doesn’t require money. You can give to others with your attitude and actions.

There’s a lot to learn about how you relate to money by taking a good look at your bank statement and your credit card statement. Your attitude and priorities are there in black and white. Are you a spender? A giver? A hoarder? A saver?

God may not be asking you to sell or give away all your possessions and wealth. But He is definitely asking you to prayerfully consider how you handle the riches He’s given you. So become a cheerful and generous giver. Give in His name — your heart will reap the rewards of joyously giving!

Overcoming Anxiety

When we think of all we want in life, joy ranks high. So does peace. And here, in the God-breathed, inspired Word that comes straight from the mind and heart of God, we have the source of both joy and peace. To enjoy these two qualities of life, you must…

Rejoice. This is a command, my friend. It’s an exhortation to cheerfulness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). We are to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what is happening to us.

Pray. This too is not optional… it’s a command. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Rather than suffering from anxiety, you are to present your needs to the Lord and trust Him to provide for you and yours.

And the results? The sweet, sweet results? First, you will experience “the peace of God” — the peace that is characteristic of God Himself. Even when your difficult circumstances don’t change, God’s peace will prevail.

And second, God’s peace will stand guard over you, like a soldier or a sentinel, protecting you against the anxieties and worries that want to attack your heart and mind. Through prayer you will truly experience God’s peace that surpasses all human comprehension.

From Jim’s Heart — Equipping Yourself to Lead

The best way you can help lead your family is to make sure you are growing spiritually. This growth will give you the wisdom and strength you need for leading your children. You can make this happen by.

  • Reading the Bible daily so you are “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
  • Finding role models to emulate. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 niv).
  • Avoiding negative influences. “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  • Avoiding tempting situations. “Flee.youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22 ).
  • Abiding in Christ so you can bear much fruit (John 15:1-8). This means praying to God, depending upon Him, and actively obeying Christ.

God, please transform my family by transforming me.
Speak to me through Your Word, through Your Spirit, and through godly people.
Make me the parent my family needs. Amen.

Sharing the Wealth

Learn firsthand how to handle what God has blessed you with by reading these verses from Paul and practicing the principles he presents:

BREAK VERSES
17. Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
18. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19. storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life
(1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Principle 1: Avoid the temptations of the wealthy. Don’t become arrogant and place your trust in earthly riches instead of in the living God.

Principle 2: Engage in selfless service to other. Be rich in good works, be prepared to give, and be willing to share.

Principle 3: Resist the temptation to lay up treasures for yourself. Share your earthly treasures with others. Your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life will be seen in your gracious attitude toward others.

Principle 4: Lay hold of good works. Giving doesn’t require money. Many of the men and women of the Bible who gave were poor. Even if you have little to give, follow in the footsteps of their good works.

Prayerfully consider how you handle the riches God has given you. You are so blessed, and now you can bless others.

From Jim’s Heart — Yielding to God

When you consider the extraordinary ways God worked through men such as Moses and Paul, you may think, I can’t measure up to people like them. I don’t have what they had.

But you must realize that these “heroes” of the faith were just common, ordinary people. It was their obedience-their complete yieldedness to God-that gave them uncommon strength and faith. They submitted their lives to God, and God worked mightily through them.

I don’t know about you, but their examples inspire me to re-evaluate my own obedience, and I’m hoping the same for you. Are you reluctant to listen to God because you think He is asking the impossible? Are you failing to make yourself available to Him because you’re doubtful or afraid? Your part is to simply obey, and God will do His part.

Lord, I see now that You can do anything through me
if I will simply yield myself to You.
Help me to make myself more available to You today. Amen

Spiritual Insights

I also, after I heard of your faith in
the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
do not cease to give thanks for you,
making mention of you in my prayers.
-Ephesians 1:15

Did you know that Paul was a prisoner when he wrote these words with such conviction about compassionate prayer for others? You would expect an innocent prisoner to rant, rave, blame others, question God, and sink into depression. But not Paul. He praised God! His outbursts of worship and lists of blessings run through his entire letter to the believers in Philippi. The overflow of Paul’s heart is evidence that he spent his time meditating on God’s sovereign plan, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, Jesus’s supremacy, and the shining effects of God’s grace.

Pray as Paul did! No matter your circumstances or your troubles, ask God to help you and the people in your life develop “spiritual eyes” for seeing and understanding your riches and blessings in Jesus Christ. Tell Him you want to.

  • know Him better
  • look with great hope and anticipation to His upward calling
  • understand your special relationship as His child and heir
  • experience His power moment by moment

What are your difficult circumstances today? You might be limited by a life situation, but God is never hampered. Praise Him! Then write a few words of hope and comfort to a loved one who needs encouragement. Or call and pray with someone who needs God’s peace.

Lord, thank You for hearing my prayers for my friends and loved ones. Help me be an example of Your love and grace and share spiritual insights from God’s Word. May we all give You praise, honor, and glory. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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