November 2015

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.

In Everything Give Thanks

When life is good it’s easy for praise and thanksgiving to flow from our lips. But when life gets tough, that’s an entirely different story. Yet the Bible says, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Everything? I’m afraid so! Think of it this way: When you’d rather stay miserable but you choose to look beyond your pain to see or trust in the Lord’s purpose, that’s sacrificial praise.

So often it’s out of the darkness of my trials that I find God’s joy magnified in my life. Think of a beautiful diamond displayed against a black background. The dark makes the stone shine all the more. What a great picture of what Christ has done for us.

Jesus, whenever I focus on my problems, help me see them as opportunities for You to do amazing things. And thank You for using every situation to make me more like You. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—Walking in God-Confidence

Are you fearful because God appears to be moving you in an unexpected direction? Is the unknown causing you to waver on the path of obedience? Take heart in your resolve. Walk in confidence with God. Walk as King David did, declaring, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

Though you might not know where God’s will is taking you, you can trust God to watch over and stay with you. Though life may take surprising turns, they are not unexpected to God. He knows what is happening and why, and all He calls you to do is to trust Him.

Father, I affirm that as long as You lead me and I walk with You, I have nothing to fear. I resolve to follow You today, knowing that I’m never safer than when I’m with You. Amen.

The Empty Nest

Do you miss the sounds of a full house? Have your children moved on to college, marriage, or their own dwellings? I understand how hard the empty nest stage of motherhood can be. It comes all too soon! Hannah, of the Bible, wanted a son so badly that in 1 Samuel 1:11 she vowed to “give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” And because she kept her promise, her Samuel had to move to another city. She had to love him across many miles.

The mother of writer Elisabeth Elliot prayed and wrote letters. For 45 years she wrote each of her six children twice a week. And that was before computers and email! Reach out to your children-and grandchildren-in prayer and love. This investment matters to the Lord and to your family.

God, do I tell my children how much I love them? I mean to. I intend to. I try to show it by my care and affection. Help me take advantage of every opportunity to tell, write, and share of my love for them…and for You. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—Drill Sergeant Dad

Being a dad after God’s own heart sometimes requires playing the role of “drill sergeant”-or instructor. Those who are chosen to become drill sergeants are given that task because they are serious, well-seasoned, and battle-hardened. Their job is to take a raw recruit and make him into a soldier in only a few months. The tougher they are on the recruits on the training ground, the more likely a soldier will survive on the battlefield.

As we look to their example of a drill sergeant, be aware that I am not asking you to emulate their harshness. Rather, I am encouraging you to emulate their tenacity toward preparing soldiers-in your case, your children-for survival on the battlefield of life.  As a dad, one of your jobs is to take a raw recruit-your child-and turn him or her into a godly man or godly woman who will love Jesus and, in turn, train up yet another generation to follow the Lord.

Also, whereas a drill sergeant has a recruit for only two or three months, you have your children for about 20 years! And you get to train and instruct them every day. Because God gives you many years to raise up your children, you have many opportunities to influence and train them up—in every area of life!

Dad, your first objective is to help your children develop a heart that follows God, that delights in being responsive to Him and His commands. Your goal is to nurture in them a heart that obeys.

The Lonely Mom

Moms feel lonely too. Many mothers and wives have days-or even seasons-of feeling lonely. But you are not alone. The Bible says God is with you.

It’s a fact of life. You will be alone at various times. When your children start grade school, extra activities, college, or their own marriage and family. And most women end up outliving their husbands. But through these times of transition, solitude, and loneliness, you can turn to One who is always there.

Pray for and cultivate a firm, powerful sense of God’s presence. Then, when you’re in physical solitude, you’ll realize you’re never alone. God promises He will never leave you or forsake you. And God never breaks His promises. His presence is there with you and for you. He will comfort and encourage you.

Lord, just when I’m feeling distant from others, I am drawn once again to Your presence. You are my Creator and You are the one constant in my life. Thank You for filling me and my days with the joy of Your faithful love. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—Making the Best Decisions

What if you’re uncertain about an important decision you must make? How can you seek God’s input? Here are the four C’s you’ll find helpful for the times when you need guidance:

Commands from the inspired Word of God.

Competent and wise counselors.

Circumstances and changing conditions.

Conscience aided by the Holy Spirit.

God can use any or all of these means to give direction to you if you are ready to listen. It may take time, but that’s okay. Making use of these resources will help you to make informed decisions that honor and glorify God.

God, I want to make wise decisions that glorify You. Help me to keep my eyes and ears open so I can learn from You and honor You in all I say and do. Amen.

Offering the Sacrifice of Joy

The fruit of the Spirit is…joy.
Galatians 5:22

One year on a beautiful autumn Sunday, Jim and I drove to a church in central California so Jim could conduct an ordination service for one of his former students.  As we crossed over a little bridge, we stopped and looked at the brook that flowed beneath it and sounded so pleasant and refreshing. Peering over the rail, we were surprised to discover the cause of the water’s sweet sound. We saw piles of large, jagged rocks that were impeding the water’s surface, even redirecting its path. Nevertheless, the little brook gave forth utterly joyful sounds!

Both Jim and I marveled that something so traumatic could cause something so lovely.

Yet isn’t this stream a picture of what real life is like? Our lives are filled with disappointments, crises, tragedies, heartaches, affliction, and struggles-just as Jesus said in John 16:33! But the good news is, that as we encounter disquieting rocks that impede our progress, disturb our tranquility, and redirect our path, God can give us the joy we need to produce sounds of praise to Him.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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