October 2015

Praying for the Right Things

Paul knew the importance of strategic prayer in his own life and the lives of others. And he knew what to pray for. His prayers focused on spiritual issues. He knew that if those he was praying for were spiritually mature, they could handle anything.

We, however, sometimes have it backward. We pray about physical matters, not realizing that the real battles are fought in the spiritual realm, not the physical. That’s why Paul stated that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). That’s also why Paul urged believers to take up the full spiritual armor of God (verse 13). And when that’s been done, Paul says to pray always… for all the saints (verse 18).

Your prayers to God for believers and unbelievers are extremely important. So do what Paul did based on Colossians 1:9-12:

  • Ask God to help others know what He wants them to do with their lives (verse 9).
  • Ask God to give others a desire for a deeper spiritual understanding (verse 9).
  • Ask God to help others live life in a way that pleases Him (verse 10).
  • Ask God to help others understand their spiritual gifts and exhibit the fruit of ministry (verse 10).
  • Ask God to give others strength to endure life’s trials (verse 11).
  • Ask God to give others patience when dealing with trying people (verse 11).
  • Ask God to fill others with joyful thanks as they live for Him (verse 12).

Prayer Is the Key to a Life of Impact

Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

The apostle Paul was a man of action. He was a man’s man, a leader’s leader, and a teacher’s teacher. He was smart and well-educated.

In today’s vernacular, Paul would be considered a Type A personality. He could do it all himself. He could stand before a group of Greek philosophers in Athens and debate with the best of them. And he could stand before kings and speak with such confidence that his royal audience would walk away amazed.

From a human perspective Paul was self-sufficient and highly competent. So most people might be surprised to learn that Paul was a great advocate of complete dependence upon God in prayer. Prayer, by its very definition, looks to a higher power for wisdom and direction.

Paul recognized that his usefulness to God was in direct proportion to his dependence on God. And because Paul was useful to God, he couldn’t help but make a difference in his world. This is why prayer is such a vital key to a life of impact!

A Preaching Mom

There are many things we can do for our children-and teaching God’s Word is at the top of the list! If you love God and you’re a mother, find time in your busy schedule to teach God’s Word to your children. It will have value for salvation now and for eternity.

Ruth Graham said of motherhood, “It’s the nicest, most rewarding job in the world, second in importance to none, not even preaching.” Then she added, “Maybe it is preaching!” Can you see how your role of mom includes giving biblical truth to your children at every opportunity? Take the time and effort to consistently bring God’s love and truth to the hearts of your children. It’s never too early — or too late — to begin!

Father, give me a passion to teach Your Word to my children-to instill in them Your truth and wisdom. Give me a desire to share a message of faith that moves their young hearts toward You. Amen.

A Courageous Mom

It only takes a glimpse of email spam to see evil in action in this fallen world. It’s more than a little scary. But mom, you can make a difference! Moses’ mother, Jochebed, belonged to a sorority of mothers who gave their sons to God to use in the fight against evil. Samuel’s mother gave him up for God to use, and Mary saw her son Jesus offered up to die on the cross.

Psalm 37:1 encourages you not to “fret because of evildoers.” Instead of worrying or trying to solve every problem in your own power, devote yourself to raising godly children. The power of evil is helpless against the power of the truth you plant in your child’s heart and mind. You are a courageous, loving mom when you place your confidence-and your child-into God’s care.

God, I receive such comfort and assurance as I plant Your eternal truths in the heart of my child. I cannot control the existence of evil, but I can base parenting decisions on Your righteousness just as I can place every hope for my child in Your power. Amen.

Dedicate Yourself to the Long-Distance Race

The Christian life and spiritual growth are not sprints. They are long-distance races that require lifelong perseverance. You grow in spiritual maturity as you run the race moment by moment, day after day, and year after year.

In many ways, running the spiritual race is a lot like physical running. If you stop exercising physically, your body may not show the results of inactivity for a while. But in time you will wake up and find that you can’t run to the end of the block, and it’s a short one at that!

In the same way, you may think you can get by without exercising spiritually, by not reading your Bible, or praying, or going to church. One day, however, you will wake up and find yourself spiritually flabby, out of shape, and wide open to sin…all because you didn’t make a focused effort to keep growing day by day.

Remember, you cannot rest on yesterday’s growth. You must be dedicated to growing today… and every day!

Meek to Mighty

“I used to be so confident. But now I feel like such a loser.” Do you feel this way? My friend, God never asks for us to have confidence. He only asks that we have confidence in Him! And when God commands, He also supplies. This is true for every area of your life.

In Old Testament times, the Midianites periodically destroyed the crops of the children of Israel. A young man named Gideon secretly “threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites” (Judges 6:11). He doesn’t sound very brave, does he? And yet we learn that God enabled and strengthened the meek man Gideon into a mighty warrior, a man of valor, a man of mighty faith (Hebrews 11:32-33).

God will transform you too. Yield to Him. Trust Him. Allow Him to do great things in and through and for you.

Father God, when I’m hesitant to show faith in You, give me courage and the right words to say that will lead people to You. Open doors for me to bravely serve You and share Your truths. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—A Man of Impact Makes Goals

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:13-14

August 31, 1974 was a red-letter day in my life. That was the day my wife and I sat down together and each wrote some lifetime goals. Up until that day, I had flopped and floundered and made little or no progress in achieving much of anything with lasting godly influence. Basically I had spent the first 30 years of my life drifting from one desire to another…and most of the time, without God in mind.

But then, on that life-changing Sunday afternoon, I decided I needed to ask God to give Elizabeth and me wisdom as we sat down to write goals-goals that we hoped would give us direction and line up with His will for our lives.

Today, both Elizabeth and I are still operating our lives according to those goals that were written with hearts full of hope-goals that have simplified our focus in life, goals that have allowed me to influence not only my wife and children, but also fellow believers in my church and the Christian community nationally and internationally.

Why are goals such an important key to becoming a man who makes a difference? Because they help us to define our purpose. The poorest of all men is not the one without gold, but the one without a goal. Goals give us direction and purpose, and help us know how to best use our time and energy = thus making us men of impact.

A Scriptural Battle Plan for Making Wise Choices

What can you do about decision-making and the will of God? Follow this scriptural battle plan. These “weapons” work for every area of your life and lead you toward God’s best.

First, ask God for help. Pray, “Lord, Your Word says in James 1:5, ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God… and it will be given to him.’ So here I am, Lord! I need wisdom, and I’m asking You for it! Please reveal Your wisdom in this matter.”

Next, pull James 4:17 out of your arsenal and pray, “And, Lord, Your Word says ‘Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.’ Lord, I don’t want to sin. I want to do the right thing, the good thing. So I’ve got to know what that is. Please show me the right thing so I can do it!”

Finally, reach for Proverbs 3:5 and 6 and pray, “And, Lord, Your Word says to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.’ I don’t want to rely on my own heart, so I’m asking You right now, Lord, to guide my footsteps. What is the right thing to do here? What is the right decision? What is the path You want me to walk in? What is the right way?”

Victory Over the Flesh

Every Christian battles with the flesh-even the great apostle Paul struggled (see Romans 7:21-24). How can you M-A-S-T-E-R this challenge?

Monitor your time with those who drag you down.
Account for your struggles to a more mature believer.
Strengthen your “inner man” through the Bible and prayer.
Train yourself to avoid things that stir fleshly desires.
Exercise purity in relationships with the opposite sex.
Run from the lusts of the flesh.

Victory is possible. Make these steps a regular part of your life!

Lord, thank You for reminding me that I am not a helpless victim. Empower me to master my fleshly desires, I pray, as I put these principles into practice. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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