Encouragement for Life

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.

Enter Into the Solace of the Lord

Solace

Hannah, a woman from the Bible, experienced firsthand the promise and reality of God’s friendship. She found solace in His presence. Childless and relentlessly pro­voked by her husband’s other wife, Hannah had nowhere to turn. Yes, Hannah certainly fell into the category of one who was mercilessly perse­cuted by an enemy, an adversary, a rival. This other woman chided and taunted Hannah year after year, scoffing and laughing at her barrenness (see 1 Samuel 1).

But when Hannah went up to the house of the Lord to worship in Shiloh, she poured out her problems and woes to Jehovah. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. In Hannah’s case, even closer than her husband. In God’s presence, there was solace and rest. He provided camaraderie. In His presence, there was help and healing. Hannah left that place of worship repaired, replenished, and rapturous!

You, too, have a friend in the Lord God who provides solace for you from your enemies and your problems. You, too, can enter into the pres­ence of the One who provides a haven of rest while you are on the run. Do you need a visit with Him now? Just approach the Lord … and delight yourself in Him and in His friendship.

Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials by Elizabeth George discusses the hard times we all face and reveals how you can “count it all joy” by turning to Jesus to find hope and meaning in your journey, no matter how bumpy it seems.

Loving Your Family — and In-Laws

Family

How would you rate your relationships with your family? It’s sad to have to say that most family relationships are not what God desires them to be. Many times, we do things that hurt our parents or family members. And, at other times, one of them does something to hurt us. That’s often the way it is in a family. And that’s also the way alienation begins.

I recently heard of a mother and daughter who hadn’t spoken to each other in over 30 years. What a loss for those two family members! And compounding this tragic sin were the many grandchildren who had never seen their grandparents, not to mention grandparents who had never seen their flesh and blood grandchildren. Oh, what a loss!

Dear friend, don’t let this happen in your marriage. You can’t change another family member’s heart toward you, but you can surely change yours. Ask God to heat up your heart toward your family members. Take to heart Paul’s advice from Romans 12:18 and make the effort to “live peaceably with all men,” including your family and in-laws. Then go the next step and make things right between you.

In your family relationships, be the …
Mature one who chooses to have a heart of forgiveness.
Kind one who prays for your loved ones.
Friendly one who reaches out and makes an effort to have God’s kind of relationship.

And don’t forget to draw upon the resources of prayer, the Word of God, and the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). By God’s grace, you can extend love to your family!

Are you wondering what to do about a complicated relationship? Don’t guess about the next step and hope for the best. Proverbs for a Woman’s Day by Elizabeth George gives you a clear view of the right path as you follow God’s wisdom found in the book of Proverbs.

Embracing Thankless Tasks

Tasks

Tired and thirsty from a long journey, Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, waited by the town well in Nahor. He stopped there and prayed. Eliezer asked God to bring the right woman for Isaac, Abraham’s son. Specifically, he asked that she would offer him a drink of water. Before he’d finished speaking, “Behold, Rebekah … came out with her pitcher on her shoulder” (Genesis 24:15) Eliezer saw right away that Rebekah was a working woman. Probably twice a day she took a heavy clay pitcher to the town’s water source to draw precious water. Then, she would complete her task by carrying it home to her family.

  • Notice Rebekah’s beautiful qualities of diligence and faithfulness.
  • Look carefully at her tireless industry and humble willingness to engage in menial work.
  • Observe her ability to do demanding work and thankless tasks.
  • Marvel at her servant heart that placed the needs of her family above what others might think.

Do you view menial work as degrading? In your mind, is physical work to be done by other people and not you? Do you dread working on “necessary, but thankless” tasks? In His Word, God praises the enchanting-but-industrious Rebekah. If you’re tempted to put off or disdain difficult work, look to this beautiful woman as an example.

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 new book, One Minute with the Women of the Bible.

 

Planning for Neglect

Neglect

I remember reading an article in the Los Angeles Times about a concert pianist who was asked about the secret of his success. He answered, “Planned neglect.” He then related how he first began to study the piano. He was young, and many things were tempting and tugging on him for his attention and time. So each day he began to take care of those tugging demands. Then, after taking care of all those other things, he would return to his music, meaning his music was getting the leftovers of his time and energy. But one day he made a decision to deliberately neglect everything else until his practice time was completed. That program of “planned neglect” accounted for his success.

If you’ve tried to be all things to all people and ended up failing on most fronts, here’s a solution: Daily develop and fine-tune the strategy of the concert pianist. Plan to neglect nonpriority projects, issues, activities, and distractions in order to complete and manage well those roles and responsibilities that are truly the most important. Then see what you can do with the lesser items on your list.

What are the few areas in your life that are most important in God’s eyes? Are you a son or daughter? Spouse? Parent? Sibling? If so, these are roles where your planning is most vital. This is your God-given family—a stewardship and priority given to you by God. What one thing can you plan to do today to enrich the lives of those closest to you?

 

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 the book of Proverbs. Elizabeth George takes you on a journey through the 31 chapters of Proverbs, which cover the matters closest to your heart in Proverbs for a Woman’s Day.

The REAL Truth About Work

work

Rumor has it that work is a consequence of the fall of man. If Adam and Eve had not eaten that apple, we wouldn’t have to work today. But in reality, work existed before the Fall. Long before that first bite of fruit, we witness God at work in the creation of the universe.

In Genesis 1:1, we meet God punching the time clock, so to speak, as a worker: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Finally, when the work was completed, on the seventh day God “rested from all His work which [He] had created and made” (Genesis 2:3).

Also after Adam and Eve were created, God told them to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). That sounds like work to me!

My fellow working friend, it’s obvious God created us, both men and women, to be workers. He knows that our physical and mental makeup thrives on work and creativity.

In 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband 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.

Wisdom for Your Food Encounters

food

I once read that the average person has at least 20 food encounters every day. How can we manage these encounters? First Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Imagine it! You can actually eat in a way that brings honor and glory to God! So give God glory and honor Him when you eat, by what you eat, and by how much you eat …

  • Refuse to be mastered by food or drink
  • Refuse to overeat
  • Eat with self-control
  • Consume just enough
  • Eat only what you need

As you make your way through your glorious new day, the day that the Lord has made and the day that He has given to you, pray. Use the content of Romans 12:1 as your personal heart cry to God:

Lord, today I present my body to you as a living sacrifice, as a spiritual service of my worship. May I live this day in a way that is acceptable to You. Lead me not into temptation. Amen.

Learn and study more of God’s wisdom in bestselling author and Bible teacher Elizabeth George’s newest book, Proverbs for a Woman’s Day. She takes you on a journey through Proverbs, which covers the matters closest to your heart, including how to…
~ trust in God when it’s hard
~ find fulfillment in your marriage
~ train and enjoy your children
~ and more!

What Happens When We Don’t Pray?

pray

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.

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 with Jim George’s newest book, Knowing God Through Prayer: Learning to Pray with The People of the Bible.

Releasing Your Worries

 

Worries

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.

 

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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