March 2016

It’s Never Too Late

Paul was an amazingly influential believer — and yet did you know he got a late start in the Christian life? Most people become Christians as teens and young adults; Paul didn’t get started in formal ministry until he was past 40! Most pastoral search committees would never consider a man in his mid-forties with little to no experience!

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In spite of his late start, Paul had a powerful impact. This teaches us two important lessons:

—It’s never too late to start serving God.

—It’s never too late to change the course of your life so you can make a difference.

No matter what your age or circumstance, God can always use you.

Lord, help me to turn away from my excuses for holding back and choose to serve the people You bring my way. Amen.

Checklist for Your Day

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___Purpose to follow God’s ways all day long. Start with prayer.

___Purpose to do His will every minute. Yes, even with those phone calls you’d rather not take, the meetings you’d rather skip, the meals you’d rather not cook.

___Purpose to stay alert to God as you go about your day. Check in with Him when challenges along the way. Look for His joy and peace as you go through your day.

___Purpose to talk with God throughout the day when you feel harried or overbooked. It’s as easy as remembering to say “Please, God, let me respond in Your way. Help me stay calm. Help me know when to speak and when to listen. Help me to help!”

Lord, each day is so full of activity. Please help me keep focused on You throughout the day. I want to face each challenge with Your peace and wisdom. Keep me calm amid every storm. Amen.

Little Things Matter

And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after,
and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.

Luke 23:55

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How is true love measured? In the case of the faithful women who loved and followed Jesus, their great devotion was evident in little things. On history’s darkest day their devotion shone brilliantly.

Love stayed. Although Jesus’ disciples fled in fright, these dear women stayed with Him through His crucifixion, never wavering, ever watching, modeling a to-the-end devotion.

Love followed. This loyal company of ladies walked behind those who carried Jesus’ body to learn the way to Jesus’ tomb.

Love cared. These caring women realized no one prepared Jesus’ body for burial. It was a little thing, perhaps, yet they decided to see to their Master’s final earthly need.

Love worked. Returning home after a long, gruesome, agonizing day at the crucifixion and these ladies prepared spices and ointments for the embalming of Jesus’ body.

Little things. Yet they revealed hearts that loved God. Can you think of something you can do today for your Friend and Savior? Can you stay a little longer in prayer, follow a little closer in obedience, care a little more for His people, work a little harder for His kingdom? Ask for His guidance.

There’s No Need to Panic

What would you do in an emergency? In a disaster? I had the opportunity to find out when a killer earthquake struck our home in California. It was early in the morning, and I was home alone when the ground began to buckle and crack beneath my bare feet. I panicked as I raced for the door in blacked-out darkness.

Then Psalm 46:1-3—verses I had memorized—came into my heart, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Sounds like an earthquake to me! I knew God’s presence immediately.

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Jesus tells us not to panic but to pray instead. If you spend time bringing your daily questions and worries to God, you’ll be prepared to rest in His strength when the things around you shake, shudder, and quake.

Living Honorably

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles,
that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may,
by your good works which they observe, glorify God
in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:11-12

Do you ever wonder, Why can’t the world make being pure and holy easier? My friend, This has always been and will always be a dilemma for Christians.

The world won’t make living your faith easy, but God’s wisdom will make it easier to understand:

  • the world. You and I are sojourners, pilgrims, aliens, and strangers. Adjust your perspective of the world and your ties to it.
  • the Christian walk. You can keep yourself from sin. How? Put away your desires for money, power, and worldly success so your walk is not destroyed or marred by these temptations.
  • the why. Here are two reasons to abstain from indulging fleshly cravings. First, so your conduct honors Christ. When your inner life is under control, then your outer life will honor the Lord. And second, so that you are found blameless when critics examine your life.
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Honorable conduct is a wonderful lifetime goal! The Greek word for honorable implies the purest, highest, and noblest kind of goodness — goodness that is lovely, winsome, gracious, noble, and excellent. Attractive, gracious, upright behavior will always be your greatest defense… and your greatest witness.

Enduring Opposition

Anytime you stand up for what you believe, you will experience opposition — you can count on it! As Paul told his young disciple, Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Earlier in 2 Timothy, Paul wrote, “You… must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life” (2:3-4). You are called to live boldly by different standards — God’s standards.

Yes, it will be difficult. But such hardship is nothing compared to what you’ll gain — God’s blessing for your obedience and a clear conscience for doing what is right.

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God, when opposition comes my way, give me strength to bear it with grace and maintain a clear conscience. Amen.

No Matter What, You Are Blessed

When a well-known newspaper counselor was asked what one problem stood out among the thousands of questions she received, she said, “Fear!”

You probably guessed that. We all face it, don’t we? We’re surrounded by fear. But here’s the good news for all believers in Christ: You have a built-in antidote to fear. It’s “the peace of God that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

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It is definitely possible to experience peace in a crazy, hectic world—or even a crazy, hectic household. Philippians 4:7 calls this the kind of peace “which surpasses all understanding.” And here’s some more good news. You can possess it right in the middle of your trials, when you need it the most.

Let this truth sink into your heart — you are blessed!

Dear Jesus, why do I let fear creep into my heart? Give me Your peace and perspective so I can look beyond fear to the blessing of Your peace. Amen.

Need Help?

What are some ways the Bible helps you? Look at what Psalm 19:7-11 says:

–It refreshes and heals. The Bible converts the sinner and restores the believer who stumbles (verse 7).

–It gladdens the heart. Scripture is a source of true joy (verse 8).

–It illuminates the mind. The Bible gives meaning to life (verse 8).

–It satisfies. As food satisfies the body, Scripture satisfies the soul (verse 10).

–It rewards. There is no greater reward than a clean conscience, a pure heart, and peace of mind. All this comes not just from knowing God’s Word, but keeping it (verse 11).

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Lord, when the culture around me suggests a path to happiness, please remind me that true and lasting satisfaction comes through knowing You in Your Word. Amen.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Just as a garden is laid out by a plan, God designs your life according to a plan. He uses the people, events, and circumstances in your life to guide you along the path toward godliness. Truly, He knows how to grow you to be like Him!

Three fruit of the Spirit that help your life’s garden plan thrive are patience, kindness, and goodness. Patience is like a seed hidden in the earth, out of view, while it secretly and slowly nurtures life. Kindness grows from the seed of patience in the dark depths where it develops a root system. It then pushes its head up through the soil until, at last, it cracks through the soil, visible to all. Goodness blossoms and blesses all who see it.

Do others see patience, kindness, and goodness being planted, taking root, and blooming in you? Spend time in God’s Word to give these fruit of the Spirit food and light and protection so you can see the harvest in your life.

God, help me cultivate Your patience, kindness, and goodness. Help me seek Your direction and love so I can follow the design You have for my life. Amen.

Roots Run Deep

When my mother-in-law was seriously ill, my husband – her only son – was out of the country and unreachable. As I cared for her by the hour, I have to tell you – I was reaching deep into my reservoir! There just wasn’t time for my usual kind of quiet time with God. What I found was strength in the many scriptures I had memorized over the years. I gained energy from the psalms I’d read and from past times I spent alone with God. Those were roots deep into God’s truth. And I needed every one of them.

If you’re going to be a woman after God’s own heart, the support you get from a healthy root system is vital for standing strong in the Lord. Meet with God regularly. Talk to Him often and passionately through prayer, and commune with Him through meditation on His Word and His attributes. Read His wisdom found in His Word.

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Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me and caring about me daily–especially when I go through really tough trials. I love that I can come to You in times of stress and weakness, and You will give me strength. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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