May 2014

From Jim’s Heart — God’s Promises & Your Character

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could count on people to come through on their promises? Most likely you’ve been burned and disappointed by people who failed to keep their word. Contrast that disappointing experience with the trustworthiness of God’s Word and His promises to us. Remember that the power of a promise depends on the one making the promise.

God always keeps His promises to us, and God cannot lie or be unfaithful. Therefore…

  • You can always count on God.
  • You can always believe in God’s Word.
  • You can always depend on God’s nature.
  • You can always rely on God’s power.

Here’s the challenge: You mirror God’s nature or character when you keep your word and your promises to others. If you are going to make a promise, whether that promise is made to your marriage partner, your children, a fellow church member, your boss, a workmate, or anyone else, be sure you keep it. Your character is at stake!

Fulfilling God’s Will

God never makes a mistake. And He certainly didn’t make one when He chose the humble Mary to be the mother of His Son! The responsibility of raising Jesus, the Righteous Branch of David, called for righteous parents who followed God’s law. And, as the Scriptures tell us, Mary and Joseph clearly met that criterion.

  • Jesus was circumcised exactly eight days after His birth, just as God’s law required.
  • At this time, the child’s name was given. The name commanded by the angel was then officially given to the infant, just as God instructed.
  • Mary’s purification after childbirth took place exactly 40 days after the birth of her male child, just as God’s law required.
  • Mary presented Jesus, her firstborn son, to the Lord, just as God’s law required.

In Mary we see the kind of woman God delights in — a woman after His own heart, a woman willing to do all His will — to do just as He says. Only a woman intent on nurturing a heart of humility would even attempt the kind of obedience we see in Mary!

Because of Jesus Christ’s perfect fulfillment of God’s law, we live in the age of God’s marvelous grace. However, our obedience and wholehearted commitment to walking humbly in the ways of the Lord are still essential. Are you one who follows after God by walking in His ways? Spend time with the Lord now and affirm your desire to be like Mary, to be a woman after God’s own heart, a woman who fulfills all His will.

Love with the Heart of Jesus

All creation yearns for that wonderful day when Jesus returns to right all wrongs and heal the ravages of sin. We’re on our way to eternity, but until then, you and I face all the challenges of being in the world today. So how do we best live in the shadow of eternity? How should the nearness of Jesus Christ’s return affect our daily lives?

God reminds us in 1 Peter 4:8 that His number-one priority for His people is to love: “Above all things, have fervent love for one another.” This leaves no doubt about who you are and what you’re to focus on and do. And the only way we can love beyond human limits is by loving with the heart of Jesus.

With the heart of Christ, be aware of your responsibilities to God’s People. Love as a good steward of the amazing grace God has given to you. God wants your life and love to be centered on Him and His people, not on things of this world. His call is to love, to lodge, and to look out for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

An Attitude Adjustment

The world is full of people who have a low “self-image” or have a “poor me” attitude. You, too, have probably been tempted to give in to such thinking. But God gives you a sure remedy. Through His Word, God’s message to your heart is to constantly remember what He’s done for you through and in His Son, Jesus Christ. Here are some of the riches your heavenly Father bestows on you:

  • God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
  • Jesus “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
  • “God predestined you… to adoption as sons… by Jesus Christ to Himself… according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5).

And here is more wonderful news:

  • You’ve been crowned with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
  • You blessings are spiritual, not material ones that fade and deteriorate. Your riches in Christ are everlasting.
  • You have vast spiritual wealth in Christ. You have all the benefits that come from having God for your heavenly Father. And you have everything you need to grow spiritually.

From Jim’s Heart — Need Wisdom?

Are you experiencing a difficult problem in your life right now? Are you at a crossroad regarding a major decision? Are you struggling with issues you don’t have answers for? If yes, hear this promise from your heavenly Father: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

God is always ready and able to give you wisdom. Remember, He is the source of wisdom: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). And when you don’t understand what is happening, you need to wait, trust Him, and rest in His care. He is always faithful to His own.

Lord, I’ll be the first to admit it — I need Your wisdom!
Help me to wait on You and to put into practice
the things You show me in Your Word. Amen.

A Heart of Patience

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James 5:7-8

James presents a picture of a farmer to illustrate patience. A farmer plants his crops and then waits for the providence of God to provide the necessary rain. Finally the early rains of the fall and the late rains of spring come.

The hope we derive from the promise of Jesus’ coming helps us to wait patiently. When He arrives, He will set everything in order. He will make things right. He will correct all abuses. He will bring deliverance from our suffering. Let the certainty of the Lord’s return encourage your heart as you endure hard times, moments that seem endless, and the unknowns of tomorrow.

Where is your gaze fixed? Downward on your suffering or upward in the direction from which Jesus will come? Your patience will be helped when you look forward to the promise of His return. Put away your fretting and worrying and put on a heart of patience. Be still and know that He is God.

Lord, I’m making the decision to be still and trust in Your promises.
Today is hard, but I will wait for the rain of Your loving provision.
I will wait patiently with hope for Your grace to show me the way to go.

Coping with Life

No matter what you’re facing, embrace life in trust and contentment based on your faith in Jesus.

What situation do you face today? Has someone you love fallen sick? Are you concerned about your child’s behavior? Do you hold on to a hurt from the past? Just as Christ’s strength is sufficient for all you endure, it is sufficient to get you through each day.

Not one day goes by that I don’t remind myself of the awesomeness of God and His provisions for me and the ones I love. As His child you can look to Him, His Word, His promises, and His strength, and He will graciously — every time and without fail! — provide what you need for taking one more step along your God-ordained path. In fact, tell yourself, “I can do all things” — including this — “through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). How blessed you are to be able to turn to and trust God in every circumstance for every need.

Lift up Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 as your personal promise. There is no need to just cope when you have the Lord!

Living in Faith

If you desire to grow in faith and walk in greater faith, here’s a great example!

Simeon was a man in Jerusalem who was righteous and devout and spent his life waiting for the consolation of Israel. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32).

The child’s father and mother, Joseph and Mary, marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”

Yes, Simeon had lived in faith, hoping, praying, and at last seeing the Messiah. No one knows what the future holds. But we do know, don’t we, that whatever lies in the future will require living in faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Living by faith is what a woman after God’s own heart does.

From Jim’s Heart — Waiting for God’s Answers

When you think your prayers aren’t being answered, you tend to get discouraged and cry out, “God, why aren’t you helping me?”

Yet God has promised to answer your prayers: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). However, sometimes you don’t see the answer for a while, or God may say no because He has a different—and better—plan.

So you are exhorted to ask. But your request must be…

  • In faith (Matthew 21:22)
  • Without selfish motives (James 4:3)
  • According to the will of God (1 John 5: 14-15)

Lord, I confess that I’m not good at waiting for
Your answers to my prayers. But as I wait,
I believe You will build my faith, purify my heart,
and show me Your will. Thank You!

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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