April 2015

From Jim’s Heart—Too Busy to Pray?

Often when you fail to pray, you say it’s because you’re super busy. But in reality, it’s not your schedule that keeps you from praying. It’s your failure to realize the importance of prayer and make the time to pray. So, instead of relying upon the power of prayer for all you do, you roll up your sleeves and turn to yourself and your own power instead of God’s.

If your life is so busy you can’t pray, is it possible you haven’t taken time to ask God for help with your priorities? Turn to Him. He will give you the discernment that enables you to use your time well—so you will be able to pray!

God, show me—what have I prioritized above my time with You? What have I depended on instead of You? Help me assess my priorities today and keep prayer at the top of the list. Amen.

Rest

For almost 30 years we lived in Los Angeles—a city that never sleeps. It doesn’t matter what time you are out and about, the roads, the streets, and the freeways are always packed with cars and people. This dark-to-dark scenario is repeated for millions of people in cities around the world. Whether we like it or not, or choose it or not, we are all to some degree members of the “Busyness Club”. Men, women, and even children are having less time to rest. How can anyone find any rest in this hectic life? Jesus has the answer:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NASB).

Jesus invited His audience—and you, too—to “Come to Me…and I will give you rest”. His summons was to come participate in the promise of rest…which only He can give. Obviously, rest is supremely important to God and is part of His plan for you. Therefore, it should be important to you to ensure that you rest your body, refresh your soul, and worship God.

There’s no reason to be “weary and heavy-laden” when you heed Christ’s call to “Come to Me”. In Him you will find relief and refreshment.

Lord, so often I am weary. Help me remember Your offer of rest—real rest. Thank you, Lord!

From Jim’s Heart—All Ear

Have you ever tried to define obedience? That’s the challenge a missionary ran up against as he was translating the Bible into a foreign language. Taking a break from his search for a meaning, he called to his dog. When the dog came running, a tribal observer said, “Your dog was all ear.” Instantly the missionary had the words he needed to define obedience—”to be all ear.”

How about you? Are you “all ear” when it comes to hearing what God says in His Word?

Ask the Lord to help you respond with eagerness to Scripture. You’ll find this easier to do when you follow the example set by King David: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

Father, as I hide Your Word in my heart, help me to listen to its prompting and hear its life-giving message. And then, give me strength to obey—to be all ear. Amen.

Thinking of Others

That you also may know my affairs and
how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and
faithful minister in the Lord,
will make all things known to you;…
that he may comfort your hearts.
Ephesians 6:21-22

Don’t you love it when you receive a “thinking of you” greeting card? I purchased an entire package of these cards to keep on hand for encouraging those I know who are downhearted or suffering in some way.

Even though he was suffering in prison, the apostle Paul wrote an encouraging letter to the believers in Ephesus. He chose to send the note via the hands of a trusted friend, Tychicus, who would take Paul’s personal greetings to the people and update them on how he was doing.

Are you thinking of others today? Even if you’re facing difficult circumstances, you can share your heart with people by focusing on the blessings that come to you from God the Father and your Lord Jesus Christ, including:

  • peace in your life circumstances
  • love that is unconditional and constant
  • faith that is strong and unswerving
  • grace and myriad other blessings

Lord, help me to think of others and to share Your love with them so they too can experience the countless blessings You give. May I hold tightly to Your promises and the great gifts of Your peace, love, and grace. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—A Dad’s Look of Love

What does an overflowing love look like in real life? From the first moment you know a baby is on the way, all your thoughts, dreams, prayers, and goals should be focused toward that little one. You should be completely consumed with understanding what it means to be a dad, and specifically, a dad after God’s own heart.

Your love for that anticipated child should start with helping your wife begin to prepare physically for the baby’s arrival by making sure she takes care of her health. A healthy mom is more likely to have a healthy baby. It also means helping your wife set up a nursery area—especially those things that require Dad’s “special touch” like painting, remodeling a room, and assembling a crib, chest of drawers, and a changing table.

Then, as dad and leader of your growing family, your love looks to the financial needs of those in your home. This is a good time to sit down with your wife and discuss the future. If she’s working, does she want or need to continue working? Do you need to get a second job? Take on additional shifts? Work some overtime? In relation to your wife’s job, what arrangements need to be made for her departure or leave of absence?

God’s first assignment to every dad is to love Him supremely. When you do, you will be much further down the road to being the kind of dad who, by God’s grace, will seek to raise children after God’s own heart. When all of you—your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength—is centered on God, your love will overflow to your family, and your heart’s desire will be to teach your children to love and follow Him too.

A Special Time

Why not plan a special night for your family? If you’re not married, get friends together. Give everyone plenty of notice, especially if teens are involved. When the time comes around, prepare a festive meal, go out to dinner, or order pizza!

Later, gather around and have everyone share what they’ve done in the past three months that was fun and meaningful. Encourage each person to share a goal or dream…and be supportive. Dreams aren’t always based on current reality. Talk about the childhood antics of the kids, how you and your husband grew up, met, and married, what your parents did, where your grandparents lived. Share your faith experiences…and let others share theirs. End your time together by drawing each other’s names out of a hat and committing to doing two nice things for that person during the week.

Lord, You’ve given me a wonderful family and awesome friends. I delight in being with these people You’ve given me to cherish…and I especially delight in You. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—How Much Do You Value Your Bible?

I’m sure you have heard of rare comic books being sold at auctions for incredibly high prices. But are they truly worth that much? Does a fiction or fantasy tale really have the kind of value that is found in the Bible? Tragically, many Christians don’t value the Bible as they should.

How about you? Do your interests lean more toward entertainment and comic books? Or is your appreciation for the Bible like that of a man in one of Jesus’ parables? This man found a hidden treasure in a field and sold all that he had to buy and claim this one treasure (Matthew 13:44). What was the “hidden treasure”? According to the parable, it was the kingdom of heaven. He believed the things of God are worth far more than the things of this world.

God is not asking you to sell everything or even anything. He is only asking you to give Him your life and spend time getting to know Him and His plan for your life—by reading and studying His Word.

Jim Elliot, a missionary who was martyred while only in his late twenties, said it well:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose.

The Bible contains the words of life. Open it to find out what they are!

Getting into God’s Word

Can you grasp why making the choice to spend time with God in His Word is so important? Getting into the Bible and having a quiet time alone with God causes you to grow-to grow in the knowledge of Him, which then helps you grow in making better choices and becoming more like Jesus. How does this happen? It’s an inside job! The Bible actually changes your heart.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t miss out on the miracle of a spiritual makeover every single day? Here are a few steps you can take to help you keep growing in your love for God’s Word and your understanding of the Bible. Every time you take these steps, you are making the choice to make time with God a priority—your Number One priority!

Read it. I could add, just read it. Start anywhere. The only wrong way to read the Bible is not to read it.

Study it. This is yet another way to dig deeper into your Bible.

Desire it. You already know from daily first-hand experience the importance of physical food. Well, you need to view the spiritual food of the Bible as having that same importance…only greater! As Job declared, “I have treasured the words of His mouth [God’s teaching] more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12).

From Jim’s Heart—Giving an Answer for Your Hope

“But what about the heathen in Africa?” This is the age-old question people often ask when they first hear the gospel message which points to Jesus Christ. This question also brings up one of the most common fears people have about witnessing. They worry, “What if an unbeliever asks a theological question I can’t answer?” Are you one of these people?

Well, cheer up—that’s a good thing. Hopefully, there will be questions! Evangelism is listening to other people; understanding their objections, fears, and questions; and then doing your best to give solid biblical answers.

Do you know the questions unbelievers are asking? To help you prepare, I’m sharing a list of the seven basic questions unbelievers most often ask and giving you the basic Scriptures that will help you with the answers. My prayer is that you will develop friendships with others that cause them to feel comfortable asking you any of these questions.

Seven Basic Objections to the Gospel *

  1. What about the heathen who have never heard the gospel? (Answer: Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18-20)
  2. Is Christ the only way to God?  (Answer: John 14:6)
  3. Why do the innocent suffer? (Answer: Romans 5:12)
  4. How can miracles be possible? (Answer: John 1:1, 14; John 3:2)
  5. Isn’t the Bible full of errors? (Answer: 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
  6. Isn’t the Christian experience psychological? (Answer: Acts 9—the conversion of Paul; Romans 5:8-10)
  7. Won’t a good moral life get me to heaven? (Answer: Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5; James 2:10)

*Adapted from Paul Little, How to Give Away Your Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), pp. 67-80.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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