October 2017

First Steps in Faith

Faith

Faith—what a price tag it has! The life of faith is not an easy one. And that’s exactly what Sarah discovered. Life was going quite well for her in her hometown of Ur. True, she and her husband, Abraham, didn’t have any children yet (Genesis11:30). That may have been more bearable as long as she was surrounded by friends, family, and the distractions of the lush and sophisticated, prosperous city of Ur. Like any other woman, Sarah must have loved home, sweet home!

But Sarah was asked to leave behind all that was familiar and secure—to turn her back on all that she knew and go somewhere else. You see, God told Abraham to leave, to get out of Ur. And where were they to go? “To a land that I will show you,” is what the Lord said (Genesis 12:1).

Sarah’s minuscule seed of faith budded on that red-letter day when “they went out…from Ur of the Chaldeans” (Genesis11:31). Possibly with pain in her heart and tears in her eyes, Sarah acted on God’s instructions regarding marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 KJV). As always, obedience to God boiled down to a faith-issue. However it happened, Sarah took an important step of faith, and it grew and ultimately earned her a place of honor in God’s Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11).

Are you wondering and praying, “Dear God, how can I develop greater faith?” Try these important first steps today:

  • Trust the faith of those who lead you—Those who show you the path to greater faith.
  • Turn away from the pleasures of this world—“Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).
  • Turn toward the unknown, the unseen, the eternal, with a heart of faith—“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

A Prayer to Pray
Dear God of “Sarai,”
grant that such a one as I
may see the good in bad
and the faith to be had…
following Thee!

Drawn from The Remarkable Women of the Bible by Elizabeth George. This inspiring book provides spiritual nourishment from a woman’s point of view. Connect with the same source of fulfillment that sustained your sisters in ancient times – a growing relationship with God.

Created in God’s Image

Created

Do you ever wonder, What exactly does it mean that we are made in God’s image? God created a perfect world, and He created man perfect in His own image. For reasons we cannot understand, God allowed sin to both mar His creation and distort His image in man. But all through the Bible we see that God has always had a plan to restore and “upgrade” man’s likeness to God. The apostle Paul stated it this way: “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

God’s plan is to make those who are His own into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. So, as it was at creation, God’s people will once again possess the image of God in all its glory.

Of all God’s creation, only mankind was created in His image. Because you bear God’s image, He has a claim on your life. Rejoice in your relationship with God. Embrace your likeness to Him. And purpose to learn more about your Creator. Begin today by taking time to worship Him. Ccommit yourself to gladly living in a way that reflects His image.

Drawn from The 50 Most Important Teachings of the Bible by Jim George. This helpful resource highlights key teachings every believer should know. With great clarity and simplicity, this book focuses on the most essential elements of the faith that’ll strengthen and encourage you!

Bless Others with Encouragement

Encouragement

Every woman’s life is visited by problems, difficulties, challenges. We’re busy. We’re burdened. And we carry the burdens of our loved ones in our hearts as well. In Elizabeth and Mary we meet two such women. Neither of them had—or would have—an easy life. Elizabeth had lived decades with heartache. And Mary’s decades of heartache were just around the corner. But in the midst of Elizabeth and Mary’s daily woes and the cares of everyday life, we witness mutual blessing and honor, rejoicing, and encouragement.

What do you tend to talk about when you are with other Christian women? We have so many options, don’t we? We can choose to talk about trivia, trash, the latest “talk” from a talk show, the local news, gossip, or—our most well-loved topic—ourself!

If we are nurturing a heart of humility, our “talk” will be markedly different. Why? Because as women who are humble—women after God’s own heart—we will think of others. We will be other-oriented. We will, like Elizabeth, seek to encourage others, honor others, bless others, build up others. One of the principles of my life I owe to a principle from one of my husband Jim’s sermons: Make it your goal that, in every encounter, others are better off for having been in your presence. Such a goal assists both you and me as we seek to be women who encourage others.

Drawn from Nurturing a Heart of Humility by Elizabeth George. In this study, you’ll walk through the life of Mary the teenager, the wife, the mother, the widow, and the church member. You’ll discover how to:

  • Sustain a humble spirit with overflowing prayer.
  • Hold God’s assurances deep within.
  • Walk humbly through good times and bad with a heart fixed on God.

Prayers of Praise

Prayers

Sometimes we are so overjoyed by God’s goodness that we break forth in praise! If prayer is simply communing with God, and praise is a way of voicing our thanks to Him, then prayer and praise go hand in hand. That’s what happened with Moses!

Moses’ first recorded outbreak of praise came early in the escape and exodus of God’s people. Within a few days of leaving Egypt, things looked pretty bleak. Pharaoh had heard that the Israelites were wandering in the desert. His heart was hardened toward them. And he went after what he thought was a bewildered group lost in the desert (Exodus 14:3).

And there God’s people were! One day they were on the verge of extinction, trapped by the sea before them and by Pharaoh’s advancing army pursuing them from behind. But by the next morning, God had completely destroyed Pharaoh’s forces, powerfully and miraculously drowning them in the sea (verses 5-31).

God’s chosen people had every reason to rejoice—and rejoice they did, heartily and mightily. Our prayers, too, should include praise and thanksgiving. Like Moses, we also have much to be thankful for. Moses said it well: “He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen” (Deuteronomy 10:21).

Drawn from Knowing God Through Prayer by Jim George, in which he shares the keys to meaningful communion with God. We could all benefit from some guidance on how to pray with more fervor and faithfulness. And there are no better prayer mentors than the men and women of the Bible. They talked with God and touched His heart. Get to know them through this great resource!

Teen Tuesday – Making the Right Choices

Choices

Give your servant a discerning heart…to distinguish between right and wrong.
1 Kings 3:9

You’ve probably been to a camp or retreat or youth meeting where there was a “sharing time,” a time when those who were brave enough recounted some of the choices they made in their past. Even though the teens who shared were no longer living back in their past, they could still see, remember, and taste the consequences of their choices — both the good and the bad. Their sharing may have included phrases like…

  • I wandered off the path…
  • I fell away from the Lord…
  • I got sidetracked in sin…
  • I lost my first love…
  • I strayed from the truth…
  • I made some wrong decisions…
  • I got in with the wrong crowd…

Well, you know what happened, don’t you? Somehow, at some time, for some reason, they  made a wrong choice. Maybe it was just a little lie. Just a little shading of what is right. Just a little bending of a rule. And eventually, as this happens again and again, there comes a day when making wrong choices becomes all too easy. By then, their life has become a mess.

I’m sure you already know your actions are a matter of choice. Sure, some choices are made for you. They are out of your control, and are made by those who are responsible for you…like your parents, your teachers, your coaches, and your youth leaders. But many choices each day — and almost each minute of the day — are yours to make. They are a matter of your will. You get to decide what you will or won’t do, how you will or won’t act. You make the choices, which means you can’t blame anyone else for what happens next.

As you prepare to make the tough choices, pray. Then make the choice God wants you to make—the one that leads you to living your life God’s way.

Drawn from A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices by Jim George. Young men will enjoy Jim’s balance of biblical insight, personal anecdotes, and candid forthrightness. Plus, they’ll gain the skills they need to make right choices in response to all the challenges that come their way.

Living for Jesus

Living

Jesus expects you to live for Him. The Christian faith isn’t about dying—it’s about living! If Jesus is your Savior, you are no longer alone, for He now lives in you. He is your power for living and your hope for the future. His Spirit in you empowers you moment by moment to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus told His disciples that if they loved Him, they would keep His commandments.

Living for Jesus means you willingly choose to follow His commands. Where do you find those commands? Read through the Gospels on a regular basis. Take note of what Jesus said about living for God. Read about how Jesus responded to the pressures of daily life. In His Word, the Bible, Jesus has provided help for you to live the Christian life. It will guide you like a lamp shining in the darkest of nights.

Living for Jesus requires a willful effort on your part, and all the resources you need are available to you. Are you ready for the challenge?

Drawn from The 50 Most Important Teachings of the Bible by Jim George. This helpful resource highlights key teachings every believer should know. With great clarity and simplicity, this book focuses on the most essential elements of the faith that’ll strengthen and encourage you!

Rest in the Provision of God

Rest

“I’d feel so much better if I knew the plan. I’d rest if I knew exactly what God had in mind for my life.”

How well do you manage when it comes to trusting God? Do you rest in Him to take care of your need for food and clothing? Or do you live in fear that perhaps He won’t? Do you trust God to supply instruction, encouragement, protection, love, and friendship? Or do you fret about some perceived inability on God’s part to care for you?

Psalm 23:1 begins with “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” When God oversees your days and nights, you will not be in need of anything. If you’re single, God will provide. If you’re childless, God will provide. If you’re a widow, God will provide. Trust in Him. Relax in Him. Rest in HIm. And enjoy the sweet rest that faith provides.

Lord, when I’m scared, tired, worried, or feeling aimless,
I know that You care about me and every aspect of my life.
You keep watch over Your flock night and day.
You are my shepherd.
I will never be in need.

Drawn from A Woman’s Daily Walk with God by Elizabeth George. This devotional is filled with practical wisdom and encouragement, sure to bring direction and stability to your day. These daily reminders will help you draw near to the Lord so that you find the strength, peace, and confidence you need for both the everyday moments and bigger challenges of life.

Expressing Your Commitment to God

commitment

From the start of Abraham’s journey with God and throughout his life, Abraham built altars as he moved through the land God promised to him. He offered sacrifices on those altars and prayed to God (Genesis 12:8 and 13:4). Those altars of worship, set up in the midst of a pagan world, served as a public witness to Abraham’s commitment to the one true God.

Today prayer testifies to our faith in God. Building an altar and praying were to Abraham what “giving a blessing” over our food in a busy restaurant represents for us today. Everyone sees you pray! By this one act you make a statement: “I owe my food—and my life—to the providence and provision of God. I am one of His people. And I am acknowledging my dependence on Him, even down to the very food I eat.”

Have you publicly shown your devotion to God today?

Drawn from Knowing God Through Prayer by Jim George, in which he shares the keys to meaningful communion with God. We could all benefit from some guidance on how to pray with more fervor and faithfulness. And there are no better prayer mentors than the men and women of the Bible. They talked with God and touched His heart. Get to know them through this great resource!

Serve the Lord with All Diligence

diligence

Today—and each day—is a gift of grace from God to you! In God’s Word I learned His plan and His path for my life as a woman, wife, mom, and a servant in the church. Then, as I continued to read daily in Proverbs, I soon discovered that diligence—along with a lack of diligence—is a major theme in not only Proverbs, but throughout the Bible.

Being diligent should not be seen as a duty, but as a delight. Diligence comes from within and reveals our true character. And you can count on it—sometimes you will get a little down or tired. When this happens, lift up your soul and pray. Keep your heart tuned in to God’s Word. Rehearse His promises to you. Remember what a mess your life was when you had no direction, no purpose, no love to give to others. Recall the day of your salvation, and rejoice in what God is accomplishing in you as He transforms you into the image of His dear Son. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and count on His power and grace to assist you to diligently do His will today.

“A little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the hands to rest,”

then your poverty will come as a robber

and your want like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:33-34

Drawn from Proverbs for a Woman’s Day, in which Elizabeth George takes you on a journey through the 31 chapters of Proverbs, which cover the matters closest to your heart. Don’t guess about the next step and hope for the best. Get a clear view of the right path as you follow God’s wisdom through this book!

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


Made with ♥ by Guild & MCP