Encouragement for Life

Think Twice Before You Lend

 

Lend

The book of Proverbs warns you and me and all readers against becoming liable for the financial obligations of others, saying, “If you become surety…” (Proverbs 6:1). This means being a cosigner—the one who is responsible for a debt if the borrower defaults.

Suppose a relative or friend wants to buy a car but needs additional money to make the loan payments. Then your friend or relative comes to you and asks you to cosign the note. What is the best way to handle this kind of request? Take time to think and pray and ask for advice. Don’t feel pressured by any kind of time limit. Take all the time you need before you make this kind of commitment. And if you are married, your spouse should be involved from the first minute.

  Consider these reasons why you should take your time and be sure before agreeing to cosign for a someone’s loan:

  • You might be helping someone buy something which is not God’s will for them to have.
  • You might be discouraging the development of your friend’s patience, faith, and trust in God to provide.
  • You may be practicing bad stewardship. Remember that Scripture instructs you to be a wise and careful steward of what you have (1 Corinthians 4:2).
  • You risk the possibility of bitterness in a close relationship, especially if that person defaults on their loan. It is better for them to be upset with you right away when you say “no” than for you to shoulder the results of a default in the future.

The biblical approach is to discern if there is a real and legitimate need. If so, it is better to give money outright, than to become surety.

 

In Proverbs for a Woman’s Day, 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 found in the Bible.

Knowing God’s Will … ABC Style

Will

How can you know God’s will? As you pray, seek to live according to what is revealed in God’s Word, and search out godly counsel, you’ll discover God’s specific will for you—your greatest treasure.

Follow these ABCs based on God’s will for Rebekah and how His will for her was revealed.

  • A – Ask God. Abraham’s servant prayed fervently and specifically about finding the right wife for Isaac.
  • B – Be faithful. Rebekah was led to the next phase of God’s will for her life while she was faithfully serving her family in the details of daily life.
  • C – Consult others. Rebekah’s father and brother were involved in counseling her and agreed to her marriage to Isaac.
  • D – Decide for yourself. Family members agreed, God’s will was evident, but Rebekah had to choose to follow God’s plan.
  • E – Execute your decision. Rather than lingering, Rebekah acted immediately and began her journey of faith … by faith!

Ask God to open your eyes and your heart to His will for you. And don’t be surprised when you discover it’s right in front of you!

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

Working Together as a Couple

Couple

Because you and your spouse as “one flesh” are a team, ideally the two of you have the potential to accomplish twice as much by working together toward common goals. Like Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”

Unfortunately, in our imperfect world maybe the two of you are not acting as one. Maybe it looks like one of you isn’t shouldering their share of the burden—or is pulling in the opposite direction, toward an opposing goal. Conflicting purposes can be counterproductive and cause you to feel like you are buried under a pile with no way out and no one to help you.

Each of you has some choices to make. You can nag, throw a tantrum, harden your heart, resent your spouse…or you can pray for the two of you to better use time so that together, you move toward fulfilling the purposes God has for you as a couple.

As a couple who wants to do all to the glory of God, get rid of negative, fleshly responses and instead, pray. When you do this, you are putting your problem in the right place—right into God’s hands. And while you are praying for your spouse, take the next step and ask God for His help for yourself—that you would become a better time manager, even an excellent one!

In 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband by Elizabeth George, you’ll discover key Bible passages you can use as a springboard for lifting your husband up to God. Praying the Scriptures is especially powerful because you are actually praying what God desires for your spouse.

Be a Person of Great Influence

Influence

Ananias is a classic example of a man who displayed obedience in the midst of a difficult situation. As a result, he had great influence. The details of his obedience are found right in the middle of the story of Paul’s conversion…

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight” (Acts 9:10-12). Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name” (Acts 9:13-14).

God’s command to Ananias was, “Go” (verse 15). And Ananias had to decide—to obey, or not to obey? And the rest is history! Ananias went, and Ananias became a man of great influence because he was obedient to God.

His example teaches us to be:

  • Available to do what God asks.
  • Willing to do what must be done.
  • Prepared to obey, no matter what.
  • Expectant of the results God is seeking.

You can be another Ananias. All it takes is a desire to faithfully obey the commands of Scripture as they are presented. As you are faithful to follow God’s commands, you will have a powerful and lasting influence and impact.

In The Man Who Makes a Difference, Jim George explores how the Apostle Paul took God’s priorities for life and made them his own. The result? He had a significant impact on everyone around him … and you can, too!

 

 

Proof of God’s Love

Proof

What’s in a name? Plenty! In Bible times, names given to newborns were very significant. Through the names they bestowed, mothers and fathers passed on their expectations, their faith, and even a bit of hard-earned wisdom.

Such is the case of Leah. The lackluster Leah had the misfortune of sharing her husband, Jacob, with her stunning sister, Rachel. The Bible tells us Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and that Leah was unloved. Both Leah and Rachel were barren for a while, but the Lord eventually opened Leah’s womb, and she conceived and bore a son.

When she held her new baby, Leah christened him “Reuben”—“See, a son!” or “Behold a son!” Leah exclaimed, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me” (Genesis 29:32). The name “Reuben” reveals Leah’s longing for love.

But buried deeper in the naming of her tiny boy was Leah’s joyful surprise at God’s love and compassion. “Reuben” also acknowledges God’s kindness and providence. God had noticed her trouble and looked favorably upon Leah. She treasured that thought so deeply that it was passed on to her son. To Leah, Reuben would always be proof of God’s loving care—a loving care you, too, can enjoy!

In One Minute With The Women of The Bible by Elizabeth George, you’ll learn how God comforted, helped, and provided for the women in the Bible  … and you’ll grow more and more aware of His amazing love for you.

 

Choosing Your Words Like Chocolates

Words

We always have a choice when we open our mouth! We can choose words that harm—or words that heal. Remember: You have not mastered self-control if you have not mastered what you say and don’t say.

When I think about word choices, I can’t keep from thinking about chocolate! More specifically, about a box full of chocolates. If you’re like me (and are lucky enough to ever have a box of chocolates!), you peer into that box of delicious delicacies and oh-so-slowly, oh-so-carefully select which one you will eat.

When you speak, determine that you will seek to deliver only words that are “chocolate” to another person—words that are good, sweet, special, a pick-me-up, and an energizer. Words that are comforting and wise that will minister to the person and to their individual need. As you talk with the people who cross your path, listen to their hearts as they share. Discern their needs. Then consider all of the good things you could say, and choose the perfect one to bless them.

 

Are you stressed out by your responsibilities? 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 Proverbs for a Woman’s Day by Elizabeth George.

The Blessings of Fasting

Fasting

Fasting was part of the prayer life of many of the remarkable people in the Bible. Hannah, Samuel, Nehemiah, Daniel, and, of course, Jesus, fasted. The preparation and eating of food requires a significant portion of a person’s day. Therefore, fasting gives us extra time to pray and to consider and confess areas of sin. Hunger, too, reinforces a sense of repentance and reminds us of our dependence upon God.

Adding fasting to your prayer life introduces an element of further seriousness to your prayers. Too often, it’s easy to come casually to God in prayer. On some occasions, we may even have a degree of superficiality in our prayers. But when you determine to fast in conjunction with your praying, you express a desire to be more focused on God.

So, on those occasions when your heart is especially burdened, or when significant decisions need to be made, why not intensify the seriousness of your prayers by fasting?

In Knowing God Through Prayer by Jim George, experience a deeper intimacy with God and give new life to your prayers. In this new book, find clear direction on how to pray God’s way in all of life’s hardships and blessings.

 

Hope for Your Dark Valleys

Hope

Have you ever traveled down, down, down into any dark valleys? Can you remember a time of foreboding or panic? Of suffering and sorrow? Of terror as darkness seemed to overshadow you as you journeyed into the unknown?

Thank God we can praise Him for what we learn about Him during such times. On the other side of darkness we know something of God’s promised presence—He was there with you. And you know something of His grace—it was sufficient for those terrifying times.

It’s true that the perilous valley is a part of life’s path. But we have hope. It’s also true that we can grasp the hand of God as we descend the frightening path into the valley of darkness. We can rest in the knowledge that He has already walked this path. And we can walk calmly with Him, remembering the words, “Yea, though I walk … .”

So walk as you suffer! And keep on walking! Have hope. Don’t pause. Do not falter. Don’t ponder. Just proceed.

Walk, knowing that as the Shepherd’s dear sheep, and with the Lord beside you, you will walk through it. It comforts the soul to know that the Good Shepherd does not take His sheep into the valley of darkness to stay—but to pass through it. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death …” (Psalm 23:4).

In Loving God With All Your Mind, 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.

Why Pray Specifically?

Daniel was a man of exacting prayer. He knew how to pray and what to pray for. For instance, in the midst of a crisis caused by King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel prayed specifically, precisely, and earnestly. He had two requests: That God would reveal the secret of the king’s dream, and that God would preserve and protect Daniel and his three friends (Daniel 2:18). God tells us that “in everything,” whether it’s a crisis or not, to “let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

You don’t need to clue God in on what’s happening. No, “your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). And you don’t need to persuade God to hear you. His love for you does not need to be coaxed or induced. He is always available and with you.

But God’s desire is that you still “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Because God knows your every need, there’s no need to pray with “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7). Like Daniel and his three friends, keep your prayers brief and specific. Then wait for God’s specific reply.

Experience a deeper intimacy with God and give new life to your prayers as you find clear direction on how to pray God’s way in all of life’s hardships and blessings in Knowing God Through Prayer by Jim George.

 

Learning from When Jesus Prayed …

Prayer

Jesus loved to pray. He not only prayed before important events and significant decisions, but in any and all other circumstances. Day and night, prayer was His way of life. Here are just a few of the many times Jesus prayed:

Prayer in the midst of a busy life. “In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Prayer against popularity. Jesus saw the danger of becoming popular. When “great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities,…He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).

Prayer after success. After a time of successful and fruitful ministry, Jesus gave thanks to the Father: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes” (Luke 10:21).

Prayer at a grave. Jesus’ friend Lazarus was dead and He was about to perform a miracle of resurrection. Knowing what was about to happen, He prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me…but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me ” (John 11:41-42).

Prayer from the cross. From the beginning to the end of His time on earth, Jesus modeled a life of prayer. In fact, His used His closing breath to pray, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit’” (Luke 23:46).

If prayer was this important in the life of God the Son, shouldn’t it be important to you as well? Nurture the habit of prayer? “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

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 who talked with God and touched His heart. Join bestselling author Jim George as he shares the keys to meaningful communion with God in Knowing God Through Prayer.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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