October 2014

From Jim’s Heart—Profitable for All Things

We live in a health-conscious society. Diet plans and exercise regiments abound, and we’re reminded again and again of the benefits of eating right and good physical training.

Even the Bible acknowledges this, saying that bodily exercise “profits” us (1 Timothy 4:8). Yet notice what it says next: “But godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” So while physical training has some value, spiritual training has a lot more. In fact, it’s “profitable for all things.” That includes your marriage, your children, your job, your ministry, and even your life in eternity!

How are you doing in your growth toward godliness—that is, becoming more like God as much as is humanly possible?

Lord, help me assess my spiritual training regimen and make adjustments where necessary. Thank You for the promise that my growth in godliness is not only possible but also profitable! Amen.

A Great Day–Or Is It?

You can plan, schedule, and control—but real life doesn’t always go as smoothly as you’d like, does it? Someone’s upset with you, the car breaks down, you’re in a meeting and the school calls because your child is sick, you get the news your mother has fallen and hurt herself—it’s an endless list.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” As a believer in Christ, you have longsuffering, or patience, as a fruit of the Spirit. Let this verse be a great comfort and reminder when you’re dealing with personal relationships, trying to keep a household together, and managing your workday, along with all the other responsibilities you have. Colossians 3:12 says to “clothe yourselves with… patience.” It’s spiritual fashion at its best!

Jesus, I want to wear my faith well. Grant me patience as I parent my children, encourage my spouse, do my work, and offer a listening ear and open heart to others. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—Developing a Passion for the Church

For many years I lived a lukewarm form of Christianity with little or no involvement in a local church. Call it drifting, call it distraction, call it laziness, call it enamorment with the things of the world, or even sin. Whatever you call it, my heart was not fixed on or consumed with the things of the Lord. Then, by God’s grace, I became aware of the crucial place being a part of a local church should have in my life.

My return to the church began when I met a dynamic Christian man while on the job. God used that one man to ignite within me a new passion for the Lord, for His Word, and for going to church. Then when I began attending church, some godly men began to mentor me and help me grow. The results were literally life-changing, for both me and my family.

Attending church can do that for you and your family, too. If you’re not actively involved, Christ is calling you to “not neglect meeting together” (Hebrews10:25). If you’re not sure whether you’re in the right church, determine to find the best church for you and your family. Determine to be faithful. Determine to be active. Determine to grow. Developing a passion for the church leads to manifold blessings!

Is There a Proper Place to Pray?

You can pray to God at any time, day or night. God never sleeps and is always available (Psalm 121:3). His ears are always open to the righteous, and He hears their prayers (1 Peter 3:12). But do you ever wonder, “Is there a correct or proper place to pray?”

True believers with clean hearts can approach God anywhere with their prayers. This was true in both Old Testament and New Testament times. For example,

  • King David prayed in a cave (Psalm 57).
  • The Israelites prayed in the wilderness (1 Kings 8:33-34, 47-49).
  • Elijah prayed in an upper room in a house (1 Kings 17:20).
  • Daniel prayed in his personal chamber (Daniel 2:19).
  • Sailors prayed in their boat (Jonah 1:13-14).
  • Peter prayed on a housetop (Acts 10:9).
  • Lydia and a group of women prayed by the riverside (Acts 16:13).
  • Paul and Silas prayed in stocks in a prison (Acts 16:25).
  • Paul and the disciples at Tyre prayed on the beach (Acts 21:5).

God’s people are to pray everywhere (1 Timothy 2:8). And that includes you! You can pray from any place, at any time.

From Jim’s Heart—Becoming God’s Man

Do you share in God’s desire for your spiritual growth? God won’t force growth upon you. No, you must desire it enough to do something about it. As you look at your own heart, what is the burning desire of your soul? Do you truly want to be God’s man who makes a difference, who has a positive, dynamic impact on those around him? I hope you’re saying, “Yes! I want to grow spiritually. I want my life to have a positive impact on others. I want to be God’s man.”

So where and how do you begin? Here are some steps you can take:

  1.  Desire to follow Jesus. A true follower doesn’t merely follow Christ only when it’s convenient. You are called to full-time faithfulness without hesitation or reservation.
  2.  Grapple with sin. Each day you will struggle against the temptation to fall into sin and experience a constant battle with the flesh and its desires and passions. To ensure that your growth remains steady and uninterrupted, confess any and all sins to Him right away.
  3.  Refuse to be spiritually lazy. Life is full of choices regarding what you will or won’t do. You must make serious choices when it comes to the spiritual realm. Will you read your Bible and pray today? Your ongoing choices will determine whether you grow spiritually strong or become spiritually lazy.
  4.  Find a role model. It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, look around for a “picture” of a man who’s making a difference, a mature-in-the-Lord man who can mentor you and provide you with counsel, guidance, and encouragement on a regular basis.
  5. Realize that spiritual growth is ongoing. Spiritual growth must be pursued daily. You cannot rest or count on yesterday’s growth. Without regular spiritual nourishment, you’ll wake up one day and find yourself defeated in your Christian walk.

To become God’s man, get the help you need. Find the resources that will educate and stimulate ongoing growth. Dedicate yourself to growing spiritually every single day for the rest of your life. Then you will become a man who makes a difference.

More Like Him

Have you ever noticed that the more you are with someone, the more you become like that person? If you’ve been married a while, you’ll notice you and your spouse use some of the same figures of speech. You share many of the same opinions and perspectives on life. You’ll even see this principle at work in your children. And if you’re single, you experience the same thing with your close friends and family.

And it works the same way when it comes to God! The more time you spend reading the Bible, the more you resemble Him. You begin to think as God thinks and do what He would do. You desire what He desires. As you spend time with Him, your life takes in and reflects more and more of His love and glory. Commune with Him each day and spend time in His Word. You’ll reap tremendous rewards!

Lord, I know You are with me always, but the special times we spend together are so life-giving and life-changing! Thank You for Your Word and the light it gives on my journey. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—Imitating God

Are you a spiritually sensitive man? By way of definition, this means walking through life with a God-consciousness. It means knowing how God would act, talk, and respond to life’s situations.

How can you develop this kind of sensitivity? A key way is to observe God in action in the Bible. For example, as you see how He responded graciously to His fallen creation and sacrificed His only Son for us, you begin to understand how you should be more loving, giving, and selfless. As you see His other traits—His patience, His wisdom, His goodness—you’ll discover character qualities you’ll want to imitate in your own life.

As you read your Bible, observe God carefully. Learn from His example. And you’ll grow in spiritual sensitivity.

God, how can I imitate You at work today? At home? In the community? Help me to remember how my simple words and actions can reflect Your saving work in the world. Amen.

Your Heart Is Your Voice

It’s easy to say all the right words when we pray. We can use prayer books containing the eloquent prayers written by others. We can spend hours in prayer crying out to God. But no matter how important the prayer or the need, the key to prayer is the condition of our hearts. Consider these sobering truths—God will not answer when we…

…hold a grudge

…fail to forgive others

…fail to make our wrongs right

…refuse to apologize for our faults and sins

…are not kind and gentle to our enemies

…are jealous or critical

…indulge in known sin

…yield to temptation

In short, Psalm 66:18 states: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Are you wondering, is there any help… and hope? And, what, dear Lord, is it that I need to do for my prayers to be heard by You? Psalm 34:17-18 gives us the answer: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

The issue is, has been, and always will be the heart—your heart. The greatest lesson you must learn, beyond how to better love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27), is how to pray from the heart—your heart!

From Jim’s Heart – Godly Ambition

Ambition can be both positive and negative. An example of the latter is people who have scratched their way to the top and, in the process, left their claw marks on the backs of you and others they climbed over in order to reach their goal.

That’s not the kind of ambition we as Christian men should have. No, we are to have a godly ambition—that is, a desire to serve the Lord and focus on fulfilling His will. God’s kind of man strives solely for the glory of God and the good of others. This is part of what Paul had in mind when he said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Let’s follow Paul’s example by bringing our ambition in line with God’s will.

God, when I am consumed by selfish ambition, help me focus on glorifying You and serving others. And when I lack ambition, remind me of Your purpose for my life and the tremendous prize of knowing You. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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