September 2015

The Reasons Why We Seek Peace

“What I need is rest. About a hundred years ought to do it!”

Don’t we all feel this way at times? If I asked you to fill out a survey with one of the questions being, “What causes you to seek peace?” how would you answer? I responded to this question quickly: busyness. It’s #1 on my list. There’s always just “one more” of something to do. Responsibility is next. Tension is on the list too. Stress drains my energy. I’m sure you have your own list of feelings and activities and issues that make you crave peace.

Here’s the good news! Psalm 23:2 says, “[God] leads me beside the still waters.” Still waters! Can’t you just feel it? God knows your need for peace and He provides it. He ensures the restoration and calm you need to continue fulfilling His will for your life.

Father, replace my stress with Your peace and contentment. Renew in me the joy of life and service to You and those around me. Amen.

Protecting Yourself

God promised that when it comes to temptation, He has provided “the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). But even before you get to the point when you are tempted, there are measures you can take to protect yourself from falling into sin.

  1. Read, listen to, and obey God’s Word, which helps you to discern right from wrong.
  2. Avoid places and situations where you might experience temptation.
  3. Avoid getting involved with people who might pressure you to participate in sin.
  4. Avoid “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NKJV).

Providing temptation with fewer opportunities to strike is a great way to protect and preserve yourself.

Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation today. Help me make smart choices about where I go, what I fill my mind with, and whom I spend my time with. Amen.

What’s Going On?

“Where is all my energy anyway? What’s going on?” These are important questions to ask and answer. When you evaluate your life and health choices, you’ll probably discover why you’re so tired. What time do you go to bed? What activities are you involved in? Do you have young children? Teenagers? Are you working? Serving at your church?

I think you can clearly see what’s going on. Something has to give or else something’s going to give! And it will be your body if you don’t make changes.

The Bible says Jesus took time to go away and rest a while. If you’re going to be that energetic, enthusiastic marriage partner or parent after God’s own heart, find ways to build up yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

God, give me discernment to see what habits need to change and how I can restore energy and enthusiasm to my life and faith walk. I want to be healthy, whole, ready and willing for each step of my purpose in You. Amen.

Building Bridges

From Jim’s heart: Some time ago I was told the story of a high-level official in a foreign government who enrolled his son in a college in America. Because it was a Christian college, there was great excitement among the students as to who might have the opportunity to share the gospel with this young man and possibly see him come to Christ. Would it be the senior class president? The star athlete? The campus chaplain?

Well, the young man did come to Christ. But everyone was surprised to learn the identity of the person God used as His messenger. Why? Because Tom was just an average guy, one you would never pick out of a crowd as someone with unusual skills or witnessing abilities. Later when someone asked Tom what happened, he said, “I simply built a bridge between my heart and his, and then Jesus walked across it.”

Becoming a neighbor. Developing friendships. Building bridges. Friend, this is what it means to develop a heart for reaching others. You and I don’t need to be pastors or Bible scholars in order to witness. But we do need to earn the right to be heard by those around us.

What are some ways you can build bridges that will help transport the message of Jesus Christ from your heart to the hearts of others?

Sometimes We Need to Be Scarce

From Elizabeth’s heart: One way to be respectful to your friends is sometimes to be scarce. There are a multitude of ways friends can communicate without having to be together physically. You can phone, text, email, use postal services… and especially prayer! As the proverbs teach us, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and hate you” (Proverbs 25:17), and “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him” (Proverbs 27:14).

Here;s how my friends and I approach each other. When we call on the phone we always ask, “Is this a good time to talk? Is everyone gone (kids to school, husband to work)”? And if it’s not a good time, then we say, “I’ll call back later,” or “Call me when it’s convenient for you”.

We also call before we stop by or drop in. There are no surprises. Everyone has their goals, projects, responsibilities, ministries, preparations for the family and the home. We all have our families to serve, our housework to take care of, our devotions to tend to, our ministries to prepare for.

We respect and support these undertakings, helping each other when and where we can… even if it sometimes means being scarce!

A Zeal for Service

From Jim’s Heart: One day I met with a man with a heart to serve. He looked like he could have played linebacker for a pro football team. As we had lunch together, I noticed my new friend didn’t eat much of his food. Instead, he talked on and on about how he loved to serve the people at his church. He constantly looked for opportunities throughout the week to serve the needs of fellow church members, and on Sunday he couldn’t wait to get to church so he could continue his ministry of service.

This man’s zeal for service may seem excessive or abnormal at first glance because of the “me”-oriented society we live in. But his extreme desire to serve is Christlike. It’s godly.

As fleshly humans, our natural–and selfish–tendency is to take care of our own needs first. We like to make sure we have plenty of time for what we want to do. Then if we have any time or energy left over, we just might be willing to use it to serve someone else… maybe.

But as men and women after God’s own heart, we need to make ourselves available as God’s servants…. like these people in the Bible:

  • God spoke of Abraham as His servant (Genesis 26:24).
  • Joshua was called “the servant of the Lord” at his death (Joshua 24:29).
  • David, too, was called “my servant” by God (2 Samuel 7:5).
  • Godly men and women were chosen as deacons and deaconesses to serve and help meet the needs in the congregation (1 Timothy 3:8-11).
  • The apostle Paul referred to himself as a servant of God (Romans 1:1).
  • The Proverbs 31 woman “extended her hands to serve the needy” (verse 20).

Service to God and His people is not an insignificant task. It is a mark of a follower after God’s own heart.

A Loyal Friend

Choose to be loyal–not a fair-weather friend. I’m sure you know exactly what that means. It’s a so-called friend who bails on you as soon as something bad happens. They are great friends as long as nothing gets complicated or sticky. Usually this type of friendship is one-way. As long as you do things their way or agree with them, everything is fine. But the minute you speak up or cross them or try being your own person, that “friend” fades away into the night.

Being loyal means being supportive, being ready to assist and encourage. That’s why loyalty is so essential in any friendship. In the Bible, David and Jonathan’s friendship was characterized by a solid loyalty even in the midst of adversity. They loved and encouraged each other in the Lord. They stood together through tough times like a set of identical stone bookends. They met as young men and warriors, and our last glimpse of their faithful friendship is of David mourning Jonathan’s death. Theirs was a to-the-end-no-matter-what friendship. You can read about their friendship in 1 Samuel 20:14-17.

How does your loyalty rate as a friend? Are you “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)? Loyalty in others starts with you being loyal.

Important Things Take Time

It’s correct to say that anything that is truly important to you will require your time and attention. And praying for your spouse and children is definitely a top priority.

Think about it: Your children are your flesh and blood. They are closer to you than anyone else, other than your spouse. That means you should be willing to give up some of the time you spend on secondary things so you have more time for the primary thing–praying for your marriage partner your children.

Prayer requires time. And if your immediate response is that you;re too busy to pray, then you need to somehow, somewhere, free up some time to carry out this priority. The Bible refers to this trade-off of lesser things for the greater things as “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16). When it comes to you and your children, God has given you an allotted “season” of time with your children under your roof. It will truly fly by! That’s why you must make the most of your time with them.

Here’s a quick exercise you can go through almost every day: Think about how much time you spend each day watching the news, or sports, or a favorite program or two, or even The Weather Channel. Or consider the amount of time you put into exercising, surfing the Internet, going on Facebook, or emailing friends and associates and taking care of your personal business. When you add up all this daily expenditure of your minutes and hours, you’ll realize that you definitely have time for prayer-especially prayer for each family member’s life and soul.

A Dad’s Privilege

Most men are do-it-yourself guys. If it needs fixing, they fix it themselves. They are or act self-sufficient and have a hard time letting others help. For example, guys usually don’t like to ask for directions. As a result, many men have a hard time depending upon God. This dependence goes against all the “rules of masculinity”. But to decline help–especially God’s help–makes no sense because men are competitive and want to win. They want to be on the winning team.

So why not be on God’s winning team? On this team, you have a higher power–in fact, the highest power in the universe, God Himself! You have a team leader who possesses perfect wisdom and can give absolutely 100-percent correct guidance.

If you are a dad, you’ve discovered by now that being a father requires more than you are capable of giving. This is exactly where intercessory prayer comes in! Most dads see providing for the physical needs of their families as a major duty, if not their primary one. But the Bible also reveals that fathers are to provide for their spiritual needs. Petition God with your concerns–not only for yourself, but also your family. This is a dad’s privilege.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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