June 2016

A Fountain of Joy

She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
Proverbs 31:13

In biblical times a house was generally built around an open space which often included a fountain. All in the home enjoyed the happy music of bubbles, gurgles, and splashes produced by their fountain. You can be a fountain of joy when you willingly and happily do your work! Put the following joy-producing principles into practice.

Pray daily—Talking to God and listening to Him gives you His perspective that lifts your duties in the home from the physical realm and gives them spiritual significance as service to the Lord.

Recite Scripture—Allow God’s Word to encourage you as you work. Hide favorite scriptures in your heart so you can call on them when needed. (Read Philippians 4:13; Proverbs 14:1.)

Do your work to the Lord—Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men., The What, the Who, and the Why of all your work is God!

Value each day—Your rewards of receiving some “well dones” and enjoying a sense of order in your home and your life come more frequently when you willingly do your work one task at a time and take life one day at a time.

Pause and rest—There’s nothing wrong with well-earned rest. Pause when you need to and refresh yourself in the Lord.

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Mom, Let Your Light Shine!

If you desire that your children love God with all their heart, then there’s something you can do about it. Pray! And put your desire for your children right at the top of your prayer list. Then be diligent to live a life that reveals your love for God. Ephesians 6:4 says to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (NIV).

There’s a very simple way for this to become second nature: Talk of the Lord. Talk about Him when you’re at home and in the car, before the kids go to sleep, and as soon as they wake up.

A woman-a mother-who loves God is a light in darkness. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men [and before your children], that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

O dear Father, let my lips sing praises, speak requests, and make frequent mention of Your mercy. Give my children ears to hear of Your goodness so that they turn to You, their heavenly Father, with ease and delight. Amen.

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The Clothes of Love

Ruth…became his wife; and…bore a son.
Ruth 4:13

Here’s a thought to prop up by your kitchen sink, attach to your computer, and tape to your bathroom mirror:

True service is love in working clothes.

Perhaps Ruth’s most outstanding distinction was her servant heart. She consistently ministered to Naomi. Ruth rose before dawn, put on work clothes of love, gleaned in the barley fields, and returned home at night with food and grain for them {Ruth 2:17-18). When God gifted the widowed Ruth with a new, wonderful husband and a precious baby, her joy was complete. She now had an entire family to serve and love again!

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What clothes of love can you put on?

Service to others-Jesus models this heart attitude for us. He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).

Service to your husband-God’s Word is clear: “Whatever you do [including serving your husband], do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).

Service to your children-Every meal prepared, every piece of clothing washed, every room tidied, every floor swept, every ride given is love in action.

Service to your church-Married or single, you can exercise your servant heart at church. There are meals to take to those in need, pew racks to stock, chairs to set up, and Sunday school classes to teach.

The Bible points out many beautiful services rendered by women, including giving people food and places to stay, washing the feet of fellow believers, offering relief to the afflicted, and diligently performing good works (1 Timothy 5:10). Why not join their inspiring ranks?

Don’t Waste Your Mind

It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He had to paint with his head tilted uncomfortably upward while standing on scaffolds held by brackets in the walls, some 60 feet above the floor. Amazing! He never stopped using his mind, his creativity, his energy. And neither should you!

Once you have children, you focus so much on their development that it’s easy to forget to nurture yourself. You can pray, read the Bible, memorize Scripture, and use your gifts. Develop your mind and heart by focusing on God. Commit yourself to the things that lead to living a godly life.

Guard your heart, and don’t waste your mind-or your life. They are too precious to be spent on anything that doesn’t help you live out God’s plan and purpose for your life.

This life is precious’ Lord. I believe that. I watch days pass by and I feel like I’m missing out. Don’t let me waste another minute. Let me grow in spiritual strength, creativity, knowledge, and in all ways that serve my family and Your purposes. Amen.

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Your Husband as a Shepherd

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I had the surprise of my life when I interviewed for a job in a town on the outskirts of Los Angeles County. After stopping at the gate to gain entrance to the acreage of the Brandeis Institute, I drove down a long road leading away from all signs of city life. And there, for the first time, I found myself personally witnessing a shepherd-complete with a for-real sheepdog-moving flocks of sheep across the road right in front of my car!

Yes – sheep and shepherds still exist in our modern-day world. And the emphasis and analogy of a shepherd can help you understand and pray for your husband’s role as a father. A shepherd fulfilled a vital function for the agrarian people in biblical times in caring for the sheep. Likewise, your husband’s role as a dad is vitally important today.

And he has help! Jesus provides the perfect role model of what a shepherd does, and by extension, what a father is to do in his care for his children. In John 10:11, Jesus referred to Himself as “the good shepherd.” These activities and Jesus’ personal example can help fathers today, as well as help you as you pray for your husband as a dad.

My Prayer for My Husband:
(1 Peter 5:2-3)
Heavenly Father, I come before You now to pray for __________, the father of my children. I pray for __________ to see himself as the shepherd of the flock You have placed in his life-our children. Give __________ Your love and wisdom as he leads as a loving shepherd of our flock, not as a lord over them, and not because he has to, but willingly and joyfully. May __________ set a godly example in our family. Amen.

Calling All Men—The Gift of Friends

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Friends are a gift from the Lord. You should cultivate friendships with other men, especially other Christian men who will encourage you in your faith and give good advice. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

Are you friends with men who are a positive influence on your life, who encourage and build you up in the faith? And are you making the effort to grow spiritually so you, in turn, can be that kind of friend to others?

If you are in need of such friends, ask God to lead you to the right people. And be willing to take time to be a friend to other men who would benefit from your wisdom and experience.

Lord, help me to build replenishing friendships with other men. Whom can I look to as an example? Whom can I encourage? Thank You for my friends! Amen.

Too Nice

When I walked into Walmart, my eye was drawn to a large poster picturing several arrogant girls with some pretty nasty scowls on their faces. It was an ad for the movie Mean Girls.

Now contrast these “mean girls” with my friend Judy who helped me serve at a bridal shower. Judy moved among the women asking if they needed anything and making sure everyone was comfortable. Graciously she refilled cups and removed dirty dishes and soiled napkins. Then I heard one guest sneer as Judy moved out of earshot, “She’s too nice.”

Since that day I’ve given much thought to those words: “She’s too nice.” What Judy did for all of us-including an ungrateful woman-was to actively live out kindness-a fruit of the Spirit. The highest compliment a Christian can receive is to be described as “too nice.” When people say that of you and me, we can definitely know we are walking with God and bearing the fruit of His kindness.

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You Have a Pattern to Follow!

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Jesus was the greatest mentor of all time. He took a ragtag group of uneducated, ill-equipped men and, in three years, molded them into a force that turned the world upside down. Here’s what we can learn from His example:

There can be no impact without contact. Jesus spent time with His men. He taught by word and example, cared for them, and was patient with them.

He looked for men who were willing to learn. When He called them to the ministry, they eagerly followed. They made mistakes, but were willing to listen and obey.

He expected His disciples to make disciples. Jesus commanded them to carry on His work. You are now a part of that work, and you are to pass it on to others.

Lord, empower me today to follow Your example. Help me to pay attention to others and to offer my input when they are willing to receive it. Most of all, I want to eagerly follow you in obedience. Amen.

Go Ahead! Take the Risk!

She took an ark… and laid it… by the river’s bank.
Exodus 2:3

The wise writer of Ecclesiastes tells us to “cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (11:1). Like a farmer, at times you must go ahead and take a risk to enjoy the rewards of faith. You must step out before you can receive God’s blessing.

When the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered every male baby born to the Jews to be drowned in the Nile, Jochebed was forced to take a chance with her “seed”… with her tiny baby, Moses. She hid her little babe for three months. Then, realizing she could no longer conceal him and trusting God, Jochebed “took an ark of bulrushes… put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.” She was casting her bread-her beloved son-upon the waters.

In His great providence, God brought Pharaoh’s daughter to the riverbank. She found the ark and had compassion for the infant. Needing a nursemaid for the baby, the princess found Jochebed-further evidence of God’s providence. Jochebed was allowed to keep and nurse the precious babe she’d placed into the hands of God by putting him into the river. Jochebed’s seed of faith sprouted!

What challenge in your life requires a risk of faith? Are you sending your child off to school or college, off to a new married life, off to a job in another city or state, off to serve God on the mission field? Do you feel you’re losing him or her? Have the faith of Jochebed. Take the risk and let go. Trust God that you will eventually reap blessings.

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Elizabeth & Jim George

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