From Our Hearts to Yours
Due to some wrong choices I’ve made, I can sure relate to Abraham when a famine occurred … and he chose to go to Egypt during the famine in search of food. It appears that Abraham reacted to his circumstances without praying for God’s guidance. He relied on himself rather than God, and he failed on these three counts:
- Abraham feared for his life (Genesis 12:12). He thought he would starve to death. Fear is a good indicator that we have strayed away from God’s will. When we have fear, we are not trusting God.
- Abraham lied about his wife. He asked Sarah to join with him in lying about their relationship and to say she was his sister (verse 13). Rationalizing our actions to justify doing something wrong is another sign that we are acting out of the will of God.
- Abraham chose a coward’s approach. He opted not to defend Sarah when she was taken into Pharaoh’s palace (verse 15). Failure to stand up for what is right is yet another mark of erring behavior due to a failure to pray.
No issue or decision is too minor for prayer. Take nothing for granted when it comes to your concerns. What seemed like “no-brainer situations” to Abraham (for example, during a famine—go where the food is, right? … and when you’re about to die, lie, right?!) were his opportunities to trust God. The next time something seems so clear-cut that there is no need for prayer, think again. Then quickly get down on your knees and cry out to God.
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As one of God’s sheep, you have His promise to feed you! As creatures who need physical and spiritual food, you and I enjoy both from the hand of the Shepherd. We can release our worries to Him, because He cares for us throughout life. God brings us to places of pasture through circumstances and events.
This kind of care is the role of a good shepherd—and a role completely fulﬁlled for us by the Good Shepherd. And when there are no pastures, the shepherd himself gathers the food needed for his ﬂock by using his crook to pull down leaves and berries from the trees. Then he feeds his sheep directly and intimately right out of his own hand!
Why should we ever worry about food and clothing? About ﬁnances and money? About security and the needs of life? We have the Lord as our caring shepherd. When fears regarding the cares of this world set in, remember God’s promise to care for you. And then do as David—a shepherd himself—did and declare, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).
Find further encouragement in Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. Drawing on biblical wisdom as well as personal experience, Elizabeth helps women handle their emotions and discover inner peace that comes from focusing on what is true. She shares six powerful Bible truths that will help readers draw closer to God and know His joy and love.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Where does life find you today? What difficult times are you enduring? What situation seems to be unbearable?
Encouragement is on the way … God’s powerful promise in Jeremiah 29:11 leaves no phase or issue of life uncovered! It assures us that God’s plans, for us and for His people, are for good, not evil. God is our security for any and every situation we will encounter in life. This includes birth, death, marriage, singleness, widowhood, poverty, and persecution. Also, suffering the unknown of a move or the permanence of being in an unpleasant place.
One morning a pastor’s wife called to tell me that her husband was resigning from his church. Margo reported, “Elizabeth, I’ve been reciting Jeremiah 29:11 all day long! God brought us here. He has taught us many lessons and used us in many ways. I also know God has a plan for us and that it’s good. He knows where we are going!”
In the midst of all that she was feeling due to her life being turned upside down, Margo remained confident in the truths of Scripture. Margo was dealing with fear and disappointment as she anticipated saying goodbye. She was struggling with worry and anger as she faced being uprooted from her home. My friend battled confusion and hurt about moving in an unknown direction to an unknown place.
The foundations of our daily lives may suddenly collapse, and the security of our income may slip away, but we can be confident in God, His goodness, and His promises. Therefore we can enjoy victory as we focus on His plans for us—plans of peace and not evil, to give us a future and a hope.
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Forgetting the past is not easy to do, but the following three steps will help you let go of the past so you are free to press on and serve God in the present.
Step 1: Discover the gold.
Whatever has happened to you in the past and whatever is happening in your life now, be sure you look for the “gold.” Trust God that somewhere in your trials there is gold for you—a hidden blessing, a lesson learned, or a character trait being forged! Find the “gold”—the good—and let go of the rest. Take it with you and move on!
Step 2: Find forgiveness.
If you were at fault or contributed to your trial, you need to find forgiveness. And that forgiveness comes from God: “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9). In this truth you find forgiveness—a truth cost Christ His life. You are gloriously free to let go of the past and move on. As this wise saying goes, “Why should you remember what God has forgotten?”
Step 3: Forgive others.
Freedom is yours when you forgive those who have hurt you. Jesus modeled such forgiveness for us as, hanging on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). When we fail to forgive others, we sentence ourselves to a life of bitterness. We also stop growing in faith. And we compromise our service and witness for Jesus. When we—by God’s grace—extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us, God can mightily use us.
Are you at a crossroads in your life? Wondering what to do about a complicated relationship? 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 found in the book of Proverbs with Elizabeth’s NEW book, Proverbs for a Woman’s Day.