Encouragement for Life

Welcome Your Tests

Tests

When Jim and I first married, we lived on a honeymooner’s budget, which means we did most of our furniture shopping at the local flea market. One day we discovered a wonderful antique brass bed. Orangey and almost black from the oxidation of the metal, its dismantled pieces leaned against the wall of a dingy booth behind other sparkling, more desirable items. But the price was right for us.

That old bed instantly became a treasure to us. But it had to be cleaned before we could use it. So we hauled our find home, set it up, and Jim went to work on it to see what he could do about the discoloration.

When I checked on his progress later, I was alarmed that Jim was laboring away with steel wool and caustic cleaner! And he rubbed and rubbed and rubbed. But the harder he rubbed, the brighter the brass shone. It came alive and was even more outstanding than we’d dreamed!

God’s tests of you through trials has a similar effect on your faith in Him. His trials are good for you. Tests bring out the best in you. They prove what you are made of and what you’ve learned—or not learned—as a Christian. Welcome the tests God sends your way. That way you will shine as a trophy of His grace!

“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
James 1:3

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!

Being a Member of the Family of God

Member

Hopefully you are already actively involved in your local church. And living out this scripture, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” Hebrews 10:25). Being a member of a church is important to God. You can demonstrate that church is important in your life in these ways:

  • Attend faithfully—You can worship God anywhere and at any time. But as you worship God with other Christians, you also have the opportunity to serve and fellowship with them.
  • Give generously—When you invest your “treasure” in God’s church and God’s people, you have a greater “heart” interest in the well-being of others. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
  • Pray regularly—The apostle Paul urged believers to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). Pray regularly, not only for your family, but also for your church family, its leaders, and its ministries.
  • Serve joyfully—Follow Christ’s example of serving others. Jesus said that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). If you have received Christ, you can joyfully serve others! And when you do, you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:24)!

Drawn from A Woman’s Daily Walk with God, a devotional 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.

Dealing with Discouragement

Discouragement

Discouragement is a fact of life. You might even have a case of it today! Here are a few ways you can deal with discouragement:

  • Recognize the source of discouragement—The devil. The enemy of your soul would like nothing better than to take you out of the game and see you benched.
  • Resist the temptation—When you are tempted to give in to discouragement you are to “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
  • Regain your relationship—After you resist the devil, take the next step and “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (verse 8).
  • Remember your power—You have Christ’s power working in and through you. Remember the promise of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • Respond to encouragement, and encourage others—When others encourage you, “be quick to hear” (James 1:19). Also “encourage one another day after day” (Hebrews 3:13).

Who needs a word or an act of encouragement from you today? A little bit of encouragement can go a long way toward brightening someone’s spirit and motivating them to press on.

Drawn from Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials. This encouraging book discusses the hard times we all face. It will remind you that God won’t give you trials you cannot bear without including a way of escape. By turning to Jesus, you will find hope, joy, and meaning in your journey, no matter how bumpy it seems.

You Can Be Content … No Matter What!

Content

Contentment is a wonderful state to be in, and Psalm 84:11 tells us why we can be content … no matter what:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

Reason #1—God is your sun. You have His provision. Just as the sun is the source of all physical life, so God is the source of all life, both physical and spiritual.

Reason #2—God is your shield. You have His protection. Just as a shield is protection in war, so God is your source of safety and security.

Reason #3—God gives you His grace. When you need Him, God provides all things through His grace. You don’t have to worry about being strong enough.

Reason #4—God will give you glory. He will give you glory—eternal glory—no matter how or when you die. And you will experience some of Jesus’ glory while here on earth!

Reason #5—God gives what is good. You can be content knowing that your good God only gives good gifts, what is 100-percent good or beneficial for you.

What has God withheld from you that you think you really need? The true answer is “Nothing!” If you needed it, your good God has already given it to you or will give it to you.

 

Drawn from What God Wants to do For You. In this helpful resource, Jim George shares 24 sure promises from the Bible that show just how much God loves us. Includes study questions that help readers know how they can benefit from God’s incredible promises in their everyday lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

What person hasn’t dreamed of coming home to a set table and a delicious, prepared meal on Thanksgiving Day? When David prayed to God in Psalm 23, he said, “You prepare a table before me” (verse 5). Your host for this feast is the Lord Himself. And the table is prepared for you in advance because you are an anticipated, invited guest.

Imagine! Your divine host is the awesome, all-powerful, all-knowing God. He is attentive, watching for every opportunity to provide for you, continually refilling your cup. He delights in pouring out a generous portion. This dream is for real! God invites you to this table of fellowship and thanksgiving.

Have a seat! Participate with Him in His personal love for you. Relax … and enjoy!

Sweet Lord, You are so thoughtful. My every need is satisfied when I’m in Your presence. I delight in this feast and am fully nourished by Your love, attention, and care. Amen.

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

When Others Need Help

help

Everyone is busy taking care of responsibilities, family, and work commitments, and no one was ever busier than Jesus who went about doing good. And yet Jesus shows us the way to help others when it’s not on your to-do list or on your packed calendar! What can we learn from our Lord?

Jesus never seemed to allow what was urgent to get in the way of what was important. On one occasion while Jesus was preaching to a packed house, four friends went so far as remove the tiles off the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching and let their friend’s bed down through the hole they created.

Jesus could have exclaimed, “Can’t you see I’m busy?” But instead, Jesus “saw their faith, [and] He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’” (verse 5). Then Jesus miraculously healed the man. Ministering to this one man was what was important.

From this story Jesus teaches us to…

… Be careful not to allow crowds, packed schedules, and busyness to get in the way of people who truly need help.

…You will always have something that needs immediate, urgent attention. But ask God to give you discernment so you don’t ignore sincere cries for help. Ask Him, “How would You want me to treat this person?”

In Small Changes for a Better Life by Elizabeth George, 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 this wonderful resource!

Checklist for Confidence       

Confidence

Anyone can become more confident. But the confidence that comes from Christ and points to Him as its source is based on trust—trust in Him.

Check your responses to these questions:

—Are you placing your full trust in Jesus?

—Is your confidence at full strength, or have you lost sight of your identity with Christ?

—Are you confidently serving your family, raising your children, ministering your spiritual gifts, and being a bold witness for Christ?

If you are struggling with self-doubt or timidity, follow these steps that will strengthen your confidence:

—Redirect your focus to Jesus and trust Him completely.

—Meditate on Christ and recall what He has accomplished for you as your Savior.

—Do your best to be the best parent, worker, and servant you can be.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You protect, sustain, and empower me for my many roles and responsibilities. Thank You that I can live and serve with confidence, knowing You are with me. Great are You, Lord, and greatly to be praised! Amen. 

 

Draw from Quiet Confidence for a Woman’s Heart by Elizabeth George. You’ll find this book to be a great companion for your season of trials and challenges. This resource will help you live a life filled with faith, hope, and trust built on the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ.

God Is Always in Control

Control

 

As you look at the world and its sin and evil, don’t conclude or think God doesn’t care about what’s going on. Or that He isn’t capable of dealing with it or in control. God does care, and He is capable of doing whatever He wants—but in His timing. Hear what God told Moses with regard to the Israelites when they were held captive in Egypt. God proclaimed:

  • I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt…
  • I am concerned about their suffering.
  • So I have come down to rescue them…
  • I am sending you to Pharaoh (Exodus 3:7-10).

God sees. God cares. And God acts.

Even when it may not seem like it, God is always in control. Your response should be to willingly submit to His authority. Trust God…and rest in His care.

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.

Two Ways to Make It Through Every Day

Through

Life indeed is rich and full—and trying! There is so much to do as Christians to contribute to the people in our lives. And doing so requires us to be “steady as she goes.” Two practices will help you make it through each day–even the really bad days!

  1. Focus on the end.Take your eyes off yourself and fix them on the goals you have to serve the Lord, serve your loved ones, and serve the people in your life. Those purposes are the reason for all you do and dream of accomplishing.
  2. Recall at the end of each day all that was done and achieved. Instead of focusing on what was not done, give thanks to God for what was Keep your eyes on the day’s blessings instead of its failures. Give thanks to God for His grace. Appreciate the enablement and wisdom He gave you along the way.

Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials discusses the hard times we all face and reveals how you can “count it all joy.” Elizabeth George reminds you that God won’t give you trials you cannot bear without including a way of escape. By turning to Jesus, you will find hope, joy, and meaning in your journey, no matter how bumpy it seems.

Does Your Prayer Life Need a Makeover?

Prayer

For a quick lesson on prayer, note these principles from Nehemiah’s remarkable prayer life:

  • Pray to meet the needs of others. Nehemiah’s awareness of the conditions of the people around him moved him to pray and find a way to help them.
  • Pray with an open mind. Be willing to be the answer to your own prayers. As Nehemiah prayed, he came to understand that God’s purpose involved him!
  • Pray with a willing heart. Nehemiah committed himself to obeying God’s desire to use him. He willingly set aside certain activities so he could carry out God’s plan.
  • Pray for others to join in the work. Nehemiah asked God to move the hearts of others to assist him in accomplishing God’s work.
  • Pray with persistence. Don’t give up too quickly. Nehemiah prayed for four months before he received a clear, concise response from the Lord.
  • Pray for blameless conduct. Nehemiah was constantly concerned about his own sinfulness and the need for God’s forgiveness. Nehemiah prayedto be fit for the Master’s use.
  • Pray for direction. Nehemiah prayed at every step and every decision to know and do God’s will.
  • Pray and then act. There should be a balance between faith in God and following God. Sometimes there is only enough time to lift up an “arrow prayer,” and then act. At other times, prayer continues for months. Whenever God’s answer does come, move out with the strength of faith.

In Knowing God Through Prayer by Jim George, 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!

 

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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