Uncategorized

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.

Love Is Action

Love is something we do, not merely the words that we say. Yet acting on our love is not always easy-as a wife knows who pulls into the driveway at 5:30 p.m. followed closely by her husband! Both of them have put in a long day at the office, so…who is going to fix the meal, clean up the dishes, and do the laundry? Love means that, even when you and I are exhausted and just want to sit down and do nothing, we cook, serve, and wash.

You see, love has work to do, and love does that work-love takes action-even when doing so requires strenuous effort. Our actions-backing up our words-are the proof of our love. That is why we are called to love not with word or with tongue only, but “in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

Where has God placed you to show forth love by your actions? Every family member provides you with an opportunity to put on the work clothes of love and to serve. If you go daily to a job, love has work to do there as well. If you live with roommates, roll up your sleeves and challenge yourself to do the work of love. Wherever you are you are to show forth God’s love not only by words and attitudes but by your actions.

“Success” Is Achieved One Decision at a Time

How did the men and women in the Bible accomplish great things for God? There wasn’t any secret formula or bestselling book on success for them. In fact, they were ordinary people like you and me. What made them effective was their willingness to obey God—one decision at a time.

Your impact on the lives of others-your family, the people at your church, your workmates-is cultivated with each decision you make, no matter how small. It’s the little things-such as reading your Bible, praying, going to church, and standing up for your faith-that add influence to your life. The key to a powerful Christian life is to obey God one decision at a time.

Father, may this day be filled with small steps of obedience. I pray that each choice I make today-large or small-will help me influence others for good. Amen.

Serve In Spite of Your Situation

If you and I wait until conditions are perfect, we will never serve others.

For instance, God’s servant Moses had to choose to serve in spite of his situation. He was called by God to lead His people–about 2 million of them!—out of Egypt (Exodus 3:1-22). But there was just one problem-the people weren’t sure they wanted Moses to lead them anywhere! Moses’ situation was bleak.

• Moses had no credibility as a leader-he had only led sheep for 40 years.
• Moses had no authority-he came as an outsider.
• Moses had no human resources-he had only a staff.
• Moses had no help-he was later given his brother, Aaron, as an assistant.

Praise God Moses finally accepted God’s call to service. And he went on to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Then he faithfully served God for 40 more years while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. In the end, God called Moses “my servant Moses” (Numbers 12:7). Moses’ circumstances weren’t easy, but he passed the test we all must pass: Moses served God and His people in spite of his situation.

Heaven on Earth

Would you describe what goes on in your home as “heaven on earth”? That’s quite an expression, isn’t it? Heaven…on earth! And life in your home is meant to be exactly that! The Bible uses home life and marriage as illustrations of God’s relationship with His church, with the people who follow Him. And when you live out your God-ordained roles and fulfill your God-given assignments at home others take notice and see proof of your special relationship with the Lord.

Just think! You have the privilege of presenting a picture of what heaven will be like to those around you. When you pursue with passion and purpose God’s design for a woman, a homemaker, a wife, a mom, you establish a home that reflects the order and beauty of life in heaven. An amazing opportunity, isn’t it?

I’m only human, Lord. How can I have a home and marriage that reflects Your perfect love, Your perfect peace? Show me, Lord. Please help me. I want to grow in these areas. I want to bless those in my home and point people to You. Amen.

Encourage Your Family

Purpose to encourage everyone you talk to. Put this goal on your prayer list. And guess who should be at the top of your prayer list? Guess who should get the first overflow of your ministry of encouragement? Your family!

I realize this doesn’t come naturally for most guys and even many women, but it’s worth the effort and practice and an act of your will to open your mouth and encourage your family.

As a dad of a bustling household with two daughters, here’s one thing I began to do each morning: I purposefully began to think about the first words I would speak to my family members as they prepared for school, work, or whatever they were facing that day. I wanted to help start their day on a positive note with encouragement.

Your thoughtful, prepared words will be powerful enough to set the sail for the day you and your family members will encounter. Your parting words filled with affirming, uplifting, and memorable encouragement will carry them through the trying moments of their day and even in the days, months, and years to come when things get tough! Don’t hold back. Speak up and encourage your family.

The Ministry of Encouragement

The ministry of encouragement should go out to everyone you encounter, even if it’s only for a minute. Ask your heart, “What can I give this person? A word of encouragement? A listening ear? A comforting touch?” (And, of course, that’s with a big smile and a hearty hello!)

For instance, I was attending a Christian women’s event in a hotel. As I entered the ladies’ room, an attendant was cleaning the restroom. First the smile…then the greeting…and then I said, “Thank you for all you do to make this place so nice. It looks fabulous!”

Yes, she was a stranger. And no, I’ll probably never see her again in my life. But that shouldn’t stop you and me from the sweet, uplifting ministry of encouraging others. Who knows what’s going on in another person’s life? Who knows the sadness, the hardships, the drudgery, the pain, the emptiness that may be there? And who knows…perhaps God is using you to give someone the only kind word they will receive in a 24-hour day.

How Can You Recognize Your Spiritual Gifts?

It may take you a while to determine your areas of giftedness and learn how to best minister to the other members of your church, but these four steps will get you started:

Start where you are-Do anything you can do, and do everything you can do, until you find something you must do! That something is probably your spiritual gift.

This is exactly what Elizabeth and I did when we first began attending church. We did anything and everything we could possibly do. It was such a joy to serve anybody and everybody in any way! And then, in time, as God worked through us, we began to find tasks that were ideally suited to us—which were our areas of giftedness.

Start with what you like-At the time of your salvation, God gave you spiritual abilities (1 Corinthians 12:11). These abilities are an inherent part of your Christian makeup. They are uniquely “you”.

As you grow and mature spiritually, these spiritual abilities will surface more and more as you have opportunities to serve. So what’s the best way to discover your areas of giftedness? Do what you like to do or desire to do. This, and your spiritual growth, will help confirm your spiritual gift.

Start asking others-Many times others will recognize your spiritual giftedness while you don’t. Why? Because what you are doing will seem to come naturally. It’s so easy and effortless and rewarding you hardly notice! That’s because your area of spiritual giftedness is a channel through which the Holy Spirit works-it’s not you, it’s Him! This is hard to explain, understand, and recognize. But just keep on keeping on. And ask others what they see as your most effectual area of service. Their observations will probably indicate your areas of giftedness.

Start with what God is blessing-When you are using your God-given gifts, others will be blessed. Also, your gifts will become more obvious as God blesses certain ministries you undertake. So if you are wondering what your gifts are, just take a look around to see what you are doing for the body of Christ that God is blessing.

Don’t Give Up on Your Family!

Being a loving mother, a doting grandmother, a gracious aunt, a caring cousin sometimes means we’re inconvenienced. A son needs picked up at ball practice, a granddaughter needs a ride to the soccer field, a nephew or niece wants to go camping. How blessed you are to be involved in family life—to love and pray for the young people in your life. After all, they’re your kin-and you have a responsibility to care deeply for and about them. God meant for the family to be important, a passion, a pursuit.

Take inventory. Is there any family member you’re skimping on in the Love Department? Is there someone you’re not praying for? Yes, I know some people are more difficult than others. Look to the Lord for help. Don’t give up on being a friend to the family.

Heavenly Father, thank You for my family–each and every one of them! Even when they frustrate me it’s a blessing to have them in my life. It’s wonderful to know I’m loved…and, through You, I can love them back. Amen.

Cooking and Cleaning

There’s nothing you can do that God can’t use. From cleaning up to being a keynote speaker at a conference, you can contribute to and be part of the work of Christ. Luke 8:1-3 describes a group of faithful women who used their money and means to support Jesus and His disciples on their preaching tours. Martha and Mary were two sisters who regularly hosted Jesus and His disciples for dinner and rest in their home (Luke 10:38). The mother of John Mark hosted a prayer meeting at her house (Acts 12:12). In Romans 16:1-2 Phoebe is described as a servant in her church and a helper of many.

What a thrilling parade of women! And what did they do? Cooking, cleaning, working, praying, hosting, giving, helping. Nothing you and I can’t do!

Lord, may I never underestimate the gifts You’ve given me. Help me see how I can offer practical, hands-on help when needed. Thank You for the opportunity to be a modern-day Phoebe-a helper of many. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


Made with ♥ by Guild & MCP