January 2017

The Joy of Praying Together

Praying

From Jim’s Heart— 

While I was an associate pastor, a couple came to my office for marriage counseling. After we pinpointed several areas of concern in their marriage that needed their attention, I asked the husband to commit the couple’s desires to the Lord. As the man finished praying, I looked up to discover that his wife was crying. She explained through her tears that this was the first time in ten years of marriage that they had prayed together as a couple!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your marriage. Make it a point—and a practice—to come before the Lord in prayer together as a couple. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, or formal, or take more than a few minutes. Make it as simple and easy and natural as you can for both of you.

I guarantee you will both be blessed, and it will also do wonders for your marriage. After all, what is the old saying? “The couple who prays together stays together.” Prayer together is a shared spiritual experience. It is a strong tie that binds two hearts and souls together. And imagine the mutual joy you’ll experience as you witness God’s answers to your prayers … together!

In A Couple After God’s Own Heart, discover how you can enrich your marriage by looking at the lives of key couples in the Bible.

  • Learn the essentials necessary for enjoying an exciting life together.
  • Develop better ways to communicate and make solid decisions together.
  • Realize the need to draw upon God for unity and strength in hard times.

 

 

Deal With Today

 

Deal

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
{Matthew 6:34}

With these words of commonsense wisdom, Jesus reduces our responsibilities to those of today … and today only. He forces our focus from the panorama view of the mountain range of all our tomorrows … to the single mountain of today. You see, today is all Christ asks us to cope with. And today is something Christ knows we—with His help—can indeed manage. His words give us hope, and they give us focus. Matthew 6:34 includes Christ’s formula for winning over worry. It consists of His …

CommandDo not worry about tomorrow,

InsightTomorrow will worry about its own things, and

Challenge for you todaySufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Dear friend, Jesus calls us away from worrying about tomorrow (a major contributor to stress) and to addressing the reality of today. His job assignment for you can be boiled down to three words: “Deal with today!”

One Minute with The Women of The Bible will help you learn how God has comforted, helped, and provided for the women in the Bible. You’ll grow more and more aware of His amazing love for you.

Looking Heavenward

Suffering

We are not promised or guaranteed a life free of suffering, pain, or illness. Jesus wanted His followers—-including you and me—to know this hard truth: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33)—trouble, trials, suffering, and tears.

When my husband pastored and taught a senior citizens’ Sunday school class some years ago, he heard many of these dear people share one particular verse that comforted them after a spouse or relative or friend died. It was from a description of “the new heaven”:

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
{Revelation 21:4}

This scripture describes the reality and angst of suffering in life. But also the welcomed delights and promised well-being that await God’s people as they spend eternity in His presence. No matter what comes your way here on earth, no matter what pain or agony you face, set your worries aside and look heavenward! One day, the splendors of heaven will replace the sufferings of this life.

Prayers to Calm Your Heart is a beautifully designed gift book. It is part practical, part inspirational, and altogether essential to keep worry and runaway fear in check. It’s a welcome gift to give at any time on any occasion.

3 Steps for Trusting God in Hard Times

Trusting

Whenever tough times come our way, trusting God can be difficult. We can find ourselves falling into the trap of thinking that God made a mistake … that He wasn’t there when we needed Him. The Bible, however, describes a God who is perfect in His wisdom, His ways, and His timing. He is with us always. So what can you do to be more sensitive to God’s presence and trusting of Him during your tough times?

Step 1: List the negatives in your life. By negatives I mean the things you don’t like about yourself or your life situation. Your list may include your background, parents (or lack of them), siblings. Also, your appearance, abilities, personality, marital status, children (or lack of them), finances. Whatever challenges you may currently face.

Step 2: Acknowledge God in the “negatives.” God knew, God allowed, and God permitted. And, as Romans 8:28 states, God overrules and causes all things—including what you perceive to be “negatives”—to work together for your good.

Step 3: Thank God for each “negative.” And thank Him for His promise to work for your good and for your spiritual growth in everything in your life. Thank Him even in what you don’t like or don’t have. Remember that God has designed your life (Psalm 139:13-16). He has a plan for your life (2 Timothy 1:9). You can trust that He is actively working out His will through the people, events, and circumstances of your life—past, present, and future, positive and negative.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
{Romans 8:28}

Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials reminds you that God won’t give you trials without a way of escape. By turning to and trusting in Jesus, you will find hope, joy, and meaning in your journey, no matter how bumpy it seems.

Teen Tuesday—Being Friendly Like Jesus

Friendly

Being friendly and approachable is a Jesus quality. You may think, Of course anyone could talk to me or ask something of me. But you may also be sending a message that says you already have enough friends, thank you very much, or you’re too busy to be bothered. Or maybe you’re sending the message that you don’t want any friends.

Stop and think about Jesus’ friendliness. Jesus meant it when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Are you sure you are friendly and approachable? To your family at home? To the people at school, at church, or next door? Is your heart tuned in to those who are new, lonely, not a part of the in crowd—the outsiders?

Ask God to look into your heart. Pray for an approachable spirit that will reflect the heart of Jesus. Be like the One who never refused the cries of anyone who needed a friend and help … including you.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are always available to me when I’m alone or lonely. I know how good it feels to have a friend like You. I want to reflect Your heart and be a Jesus kind of friend to others. Help me be open and available to others who need Your help through me. Amen.

A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices takes teens through the step–by–step process of making decisions that are life-affirming, godly, and wise in areas that include improving relationships.

When You’re Stressed by Responsibilities

Responsibilities

 

Do you take your responsibilities seriously? Maybe so much so that you worry about how you’re going to manage all the responsibilities and relationships that are on your plate at home and fulfill everything you’ve committed yourself to outside the home?

Here’s a thought. What if there are just a few things God is asking of you? Just a few things He requires you to do? A few things that demand your faithfulness? Well, that’s the truth. God has a unique list of responsibilities that are just for you. (For starters, look at the list in Titus 2:3-5.) Ask Him to help you write out your list based on His list. Then ask Him to infuse you with His wisdom. Ask Him to empower you with His strength to faithfully carry out your list.

Look at each day’s true priorities and then look fully into God’s face, focus your attention, time, and energies only on the tasks God has for you today, and move forward in His power and grace!

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You.
{Isaiah 26:3}

You will find dozens of highly practical tips for every area of daily life, including your marriage, family, home, place of work, friendships, health, finances, and personal growth in Small Changes for a Better Life.

How to Think True Thoughts

Thoughts

Blessings abound when you think real and true thoughts. And one of those blessings is strength for daily life—strength that includes energy, health, and vitality.

I’m sure you know how limited you are when you are ill. Well, when you aren’t functioning according to what is real, it’s like trying to do something when you have a fever or the flu. Even though you force yourself to fulfill your responsibilities, something is missing. Your body’s ability and the demands of each task are out of sync! Sure, you go ahead and do your work, but there is little, if any, enthusiasm. And many times your work is half done or done poorly. Why? Because of poor physical health…which means less energy…and even less performance.

The same thing happens in the spiritual realm! Like a virus, your thoughts can drain your energy and cripple your usefulness. But, praise God, the opposite is also true. Your thoughts can be a source of strength. When you think on the powerful truths of Scripture, God uses His Word to change your way of thinking. And one beneficial—and much-needed!—result is that you are strengthened and energized for daily life by thinking on the truth—on what is true and real.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 
{Philippians 4:8}

Breaking the Worry Habit goes beyond the simple “just pray and give your troubles to the Lord,” and it offers practical step-by-step advice to help you develop trust in the Lord and take steps to keep worry and runaway fear in check.

You Can Count on God’s Provision

count

It’s a fact that fear and worry immobilize us in our kingdom work. They distract us from our worship and love of God. They make us doubt the fact we can count on Him. And our service to God and His people is hampered and blocked when we worry about ourselves and fail to trust in the Lord.

As you read the entire message from Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34, you’ll discover at least six reasons not to worry. Six reasons why you can trust God and count on His provision for you. Solid reasons to count on His oversight of every detail of your life.

  1. You are valuable to God (verse 26).
  2. Your situation is under God’s control, not yours (verse 27).
  3. God will take care of you (verses 28-30).
  4. God knows your needs (verses 31-32).
  5. Your pursuits should focus on God (verse 33).
  6. Your life should be lived for God one day at a time (verse 34).

When life gets tough, you have at least one serious spiritual choice you get to make. You get to choose whether to obsess and fixate on something earthly (like your financial situation) or whether to look up and count on God’s forever promises. Opt for the upward gaze—the God gaze. Then you can, with a clear head and an undivided heart, proceed to do the important work God has called you to, His kingdom work here on earth.

What God Wants to Do for You shares 24 sure promises from the Bible tailored perfectly to our needs that show just how much God loves us.

How Do You Make God Your Priority?  

 

decision

Top priority goes to God. Our love for God and our devotion to Him are to be complete and all-consuming and direct our decisions. The Proverbs 31 woman was praised and exalted by God and others. Why? Because she was “a woman who fear[ed] the Lord” (Proverbs 31:30). And, according to Proverbs 9:10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ put it this way, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).

So make one very practical decision every day—to read something out of God’s Word. It’s the best decision you’ll make each day! God is the source of all wisdom. He possesses all the wisdom there is. And He has revealed it in His Word, the Bible. As the psalmist put it, the law of the Lord makes the simple person wise (Psalm 19:7).

Before the day gets going (or gets out of hand!) and before the others in your household get going, curl up in some cozy place and read your Bible. Fill your mind with God’s mind. This one simple act of beginning each day with God sets each day on the path of wisdom.

Start or end your day with the powerful reminders of God’s work in the lives of women in the Bible in One Minute with The Women of The Bible. You’ll find encouragement for your own faith journey!

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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