May 2018

6 Steps To Be More Productive

Productive

When my girls were young, I was hardly able to hold my head above water. I had a hyperactive family of four going at full speed, which meant I wasn’t very productive.

Craving Help

I craved help for a better life. So I took the first giant step toward improvement and growth: I identified and owned my key problem—my life was a mess. Along with that admission came a refusal to rationalize my messed-up ways with trite excuses like, “But you don’t understand. We’re a v-e-r-y busy family! One of these days, things will ease up and then I’ll have more time to take care of my home and family…er, and myself.”

Oh yes, I was definitely looking for that better life. I got tired of thinking—and even blurting out once in a while—There has got to be more to life than this! Meaning there’s got to be more to life than all my wheel-spinning, than my feeling rushed and spent all the time and still not getting my life in order.

Carving Out Time

Can you relate? Are you tired of the rush and are you looking for a better life too? The saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” says it all, doesn’t it? Your dreams and responsibilities are what make up your life’s journey. So, to begin your journey of following and fulfilling your dreams and taking care of your responsibilities, you must begin with one single step—get up tomorrow.

6 Steps To Be More Productive

As you pray about living your life God’s way and purpose to (by His great grace) make each day count, the following steps will pave the way for a better tomorrow.

Step 1: Determine when you must get up to make your day go the way you want and need it to go.

Step 2: Get to bed in time to get the rest you need before your getting-up time.

Step 3: Set your alarm—a good loud one, an obnoxious one!

Step 4: Pray. Ask for God’s help to get up. Tell Him why it’s important that you do. Rehearse your plans, purposes, commitments, and dreams for tomorrow with Him. Go ahead. He cares! After all, if they’re good ones, they came from Him (Psalm 37:4-5).

Step 5: Purpose to get up…no matter what. Don’t give in to your body. And don’t worry about not getting enough sleep. It’s only for one morning! Remember the adage: Mind over mattress!

Step 6: Praise God when you hear the alarm. Stand beside the psalmist and cry out with the dawn, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

RESPOND

Dear Lord, thank You for Your calming presence in the chaos. Help me to weave a gracious life that reflects Your peace, order, beauty, and blessing. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.”  (Proverbs 26:14)

What can I give up in order to make these steps a reality in my life so that I am more productive?

REMEMBER

Dealing with Loss

loss

If you are not experiencing loss at this time, this blessing is truly worthy of giving praise to God!

But for many, loss is a present reality—loss of a family member, health, a job, a home through financial setbacks, fire, or disaster.

Choices in Loss

If this is where life finds you today, you have a choice to make: You can allow yourself to be consumed by your loss, your pain, and your sorrow, or you can choose to be consumed by God and His mercy, His comfort, and His grace. Let these words comfort you in your situation: “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).

In his day, Paul addressed the topic of widows in the church and the loss of husbands, the greatest of all personal relationships. He said, “Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day” (1 Timothy 5:5).

Calling on God

Whatever the loss, either past or present, you too must trust God in the same way those widows were instructed to do. Call upon God’s strength to help you bear your burden of loss. Then ask God to turn your loss into an opportunity to minister His grace to others who are suffering loss.

RESPOND

God of all comfort, today I praise You that You give strength to the brokenhearted and aid to those who are in need. You bring sweet relief to those who are in pain. You protect and defend the weak and provide for those who suffer. Often I feel alone and sad with the loss of something or someone that is familiar and precious in my life. Yet I know You are always present and will fill the emptiness I am experiencing with Your love, grace, and peace. Thank You that my losses give me opportunities to trust You and experience a greater measure of   Your grace. When I am weak, You give me Your strength to carry on and to also comfort others who are experiencing loss. Thank You for Your love and concern. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Where do I turn most for comfort: friends, food, entertainment, hobbies, or the Lord?

REMEMBER

7 Steps to Enjoying Housework

housework

I smile every time I think about the results of a survey I took several years ago. During a teaching series entitled “The Wise Homemaker,” I asked a hundred women just like you and me, “What keeps you from getting your housework done?” Their answers fell in this order:

  • #1 Reason: Poor use of time
  • #2 Reason: Lack of motivation
  • #3 Reason: Failure to plan
  • #4 Reason: Procrastination

I’m smiling and nodding now because I can certainly relate! The items on the list make perfect sense to me!

So, if you’re like me, dear friend, you and I can both thank God that He has shown us His beautiful Proverbs 31 woman who uses her time—indeed, every second of it—and uses it well! Let me pass on some methods that help me “work up” a better attitude and even an eagerness about my work.

Enjoying Housework

  1. Embrace God’s will for your life—If you’re uncertain about what God’s will for your life is, you’re seeing it expressed right here in Proverbs 31. Put the message in your words and then own it, love it, tackle it, be committed to it, and dedicate your life to it!
  2. Stay in God’s Word—Allow the Spirit of God to energize your heart, mind—and strength—through the power of God’s Word.
  3. Develop a vision—Think for a moment about how your daily environment is a direct result of your vision for your home and family, your vision for the beauty and order of a well-run home and for peace under your roof.
  4. Pray for an eager attitude—When you turn off your light at night, pray about the work that awaits the next day. Ask God to help you greet the day with an eager attitude (see Psalm 118:24).
  5. Create a schedule—A schedule will help you plan your work. You’ll know what’s coming and where you’re going, and you’ll be able to anticipate the pace and envision your next task.
  6. Develop a routine—The more work you’re able to fit into a daily routine, the better. Those things you do everyday take less time when they’re part of a routine.
  7. Tackle the worst first—There’s no reason to live your days under a cloud of dread because of some challenging or unpleasant task you need to tackle. Simply do that task first! Having the monumental thing out of the way makes the day go more smoothly and easily.

I want you to experience the exhilaration and continuing motivation that come with such noble efforts. So please pause, pray, pour out your heart to God—with tears if they flow—and, relying on His grace, persist in the divine work God has given you to do for Him!

RESPOND

Lord, make us masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” (Proverbs 31:17)

REMEMBER

All that stands between your goal
And the deeds you hope to do
And the dreams which stir your soul—Is you!

How Can I Be More Generous?

generous

God is generous and giving. When the disciples came with a need, Jesus filled the need by giving food to five thousand people.

Are you nurturing a giving spirit? Are you generous with your resources? Giving God and people your time is sometimes the most expensive, and most appreciated, gift you can give.

Generosity also includes little touches and activities you can do to brighten someone’s day, such as sending a quick note, making a cheery phone call, weeding someone’s flower bed, or delivering a bouquet of wild flowers.

I remember clearly the day I assessed my spiritual life and decided I needed help in this area. So I prayed . . . and continued to do so. Every day I asked God to open my eyes and my heart and to bring to my knowledge the needs of others. I consider it re-tuning my heart to God’s Word, God’s ways, God’s grace, and God’s generosity.

With His help I can meet the needs of others and reach out with His love. Why not make this one of your goals?

RESPOND

Father, show me the big and little ways I can share my resources, including my time. Help me think of others before myself when I have free time and some spending money. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible – this brand new resource by Elizabeth George is filled with this devotion and 364 others short devotions to draw you to God’s Word and give you hope, wisdom, and understanding.

REFLECT

Read John 6:1–14.

Who can I be generous toward today? Name two specific ways to show generosity.

REMEMBER

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Envy

 

From the earliest time of biblical history, envy was a problem for mankind. Cain envied his brother Abel for receiving God’s blessing. King Ahab of Israel envied another man’s property (1 Kings 21). And the Jewish leaders envied Jesus and His popularity, and later envied the disciples because the crowds were responding to their message about Jesus. In all these cases, the sin of envy or coveting led to murder. No wonder God included covetousness in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17).

God’s Wisdom

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we are not to set our desires on anything that belongs to someone else. Envying others and their possessions is a pointless exercise for Christians. Why?

Because God has already promised to provide everything we truly need. Like the apostle Paul wrote, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)—not out of His riches, but “according to His riches.”

God’s Riches

God’s riches are limitless, and therefore His provision is limitless. Each day remember to purposefully think about what you do have and be thankful. And stop thinking about what you don’t have. Don’t fall into the world’s trap of envying others. Trust in God’s limitless provisions. Pray and strive to be content. 

RESPOND

Eternal Father, before time You were, and You are, and You will always be. You have no needs and are totally sufficient. I need Your help to know that I am sufficient in Your sufficiency. Yet I admit, in my sinfulness I often covet what others possess. Whether it is health, appearance, education, fame, or fortune, in times of spiritual weakness I envy others.

Help me eliminate envy and constantly be thanking You for what I do have. Lord, I know that You have already granted to me all that is necessary for life. I am blessed with the greatest possessions of all—an intimate knowledge of   You and Your Son, Jesus, and eternal life. I praise You that You are my shepherd and that with Your sufficient daily provision, I shall want for nothing. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)

Pause right now and give thanks to God for five things in your life.

REMEMBER

Playing Favorites – Teen Tuesday

favorites

You probably already know about favoritism from your experiences at school, in your neighborhood, and maybe even in your family. You can tell when someone is clearly the teacher’s pet! Or when someone is treated with great respect—or just a little.

Judging Others

I just love this true confession written by a teen who looked inside his heart and learned to accept others and not play favorites or show partiality. As you read it, ask yourself, “Am I an unfair judge?”

A new kid came to our school last year, and he was a little on the heavy side.
No one gave him a chance to show what kind of person he was;
instead, everyone judged him by his weight. Unfortunately, I did too.
Later in the year, many of us got to know him better, and he turned out to be really cool.
I felt so guilty about the way we acted earlier, and I wish we hadn’t judged him because of his appearance.

I’m sure everybody has treated someone unfairly at one time or another.
And most of us can be kind of shallow and sometimes judge people by how they look. But God is never shallow.
He cares about all of us—not because of what we look like, but because of who we are… 

You can thank God for the unique way he’s made you and for the way he’s made other people too. —Spencer  1

Accepting Others

There’s no doubt that playing favorites causes mountains of problems, hurt feelings, and broken friendships. It’s no wonder that James boldly says in James 2, verse 1, “Believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” It’s like James is saying, “Do not show partiality! Do not play favorites!” In plain language, he is telling us, “Stop it!”

Instead, be kind and compassionate. Your acts of mercy and your kindness are proof that you follow Christ. As a child of God and a believer in Christ, you have experienced God’s mercy. Therefore you can and should be merciful toward others.

RESPOND

Jesus, thank You that You love me—yes, me!—just as I am. Thank You for helping me to love all people the same and to be merciful to those who need some help. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” (James 2:8)

Why is showing favoritism wrong?

  • It is the opposite of what Jesus told us to do.
  • It results from evil thoughts.
  • It insults people made in God’s image.
  • It comes from selfish motives.
  • It goes against the Bible’s definition of love.
  • It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate. It is sin.  2

REMEMBER

 

 1 “Unfair Judges” in God’s Words of Life for Teens (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), p. 15.
2 Grant R. Osborne, ed., James (Life Application Bible Commentary) (Wheaton; Tyndale House, 1992), p. 52.

Raising Kids According to the Bible

Raising Kids

Any parent will tell you that raising children is one of life’s greatest joys. They will also tell you it is a challenging and difficult undertaking. Parenting children at any age, whether a baby, a teen, or a young adult, is a huge responsibility which can be scary and confusing. The good news is that parents don’t have to do it alone. Psalm 46:1 proclaims that “God is our refuge and strength.”

Parenting Instructions

Take comfort. God gives you direction, and His Word is always available to guide you each step of the way. Moses gave the children of Israel parenting instructions before they entered the Promised Land.

Like Moses, your major task, and the one with eternal consequences, is to take every opportunity to impart God’s precepts before they are needed, to “teach them diligently to your children, and… talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Instructing Parents

Unfortunately, you cannot impart what you do not possess. Committing yourself and aiming at obedience to your heavenly Father will help you raise children who are obedient and possess the knowledge—and an example—they need to walk through this world and live according to God’s Word.

The apostle Paul said of his disciple Timothy, “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). And moms and grandmoms, take notice. Timothy’s mother and grandmother had devoted themselves to teaching young Timothy God’s forever truths!

Your calling as a mother or grandmother is to faithfully live out what you know and believe in front of your children. Your careful, repeated instruction lays the groundwork in your child’s heart to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

RESPOND

God, I depend on You each day for wisdom and energy and conviction as I raise my child. Lord, I want to be a diligent student of   Your Word so I am a godly role model for my children. And I want to be diligent to follow Your instructions to teach them Your precepts. Help me to be an avid prayer warrior on behalf of my children, praying diligently and passionately for their salvation, praying that they will walk faithfully in Your ways, praying to be the parent You want me to be! How I need Your help! Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Prayers for a Woman’s Heart (BRAND NEW!) is filled with this and other devotions and prayers to help you grow in wisdom, patience, and peace as a mom and as a woman after God’s own heart!

REFLECT

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

In what ways does my life reflect my love for God and His Word to my children?

REMEMBER

Does God Love Me?

love

Family. Think about how deeply you love and care for them. How concerned you are about each precious life under your roof!

A Fierce Love

As a mom, you worry and struggle right along with your children. What they do impacts every part of you. I know how that feels. It is a fierce love and protective instinct moms have for their children. You want to protect them from anything that will hurt them. It’s the same with God, the Good Shepherd.

A Forever Love

Jesus said in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” It is Jesus who leads you, who brings you to still waters, who offers you love and care and concern.

God knows you. And He knows the hearts and purposes of your children. He will not let go of you or them when the path is rocky. He loves you fiercely!

RESPOND

Good Shepherd, when I worry, You invite me to the calm and balm of Your care. Thank You for guiding me and my family, for loving with an incomparable passion those whom I hold dear. Amen. 

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible – this brand new resource by Elizabeth George is filled with this devotion and 364 others short devotions to draw you to God’s Word and give you hope, wisdom, and understanding.

REFLECT

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (John 10:14)

Look for the many ways God loves you and your family. Make a list to share with them and add to over time.

REMEMBER

Loving Difficult People

Difficult

It is easy to love people who love in return. But what about those who don’t?

Jesus makes this astounding statement in Matthew 5:44–45: “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you . . . that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” God expects you to love the unloving, just as He loved you when you were lost in sin. God’s love is never deserved—it simply is.

It is natural for you to expect that when you are nice to others, they will return the kindness, right? Wrong! And you probably have the scars to prove it. Yet Jesus said, without exception, “Love one another; as I have loved you.”

Love is the sacrifice of self for the sake of your family and even your enemies.

RESPOND

Lord, it is hard to care about those who don’t care in return. But with Your help and by Your grace, I will look at each of these people through Your eyes of love—Your unconditional love. Amen. 

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible – this brand new resource is filled with daily devotions, wisdom articles, biographies, and more to draw you to God’s Word and give you hope, wisdom, and understanding.

REFLECT

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

Is my heart hard toward a friend or family member? I’ll begin to love them by praying for them right now.

REMEMBER

Managing Your Money – Teen Tuesday

money

Have you ever saved any money in a piggy bank at home or a savings account at a bank? Maybe your parents give you an allowance. Maybe you sell crafts or jewelry you’ve made. Maybe you even get birthday or Christmas money from your grandparents… Sweet!

Where’s Your Heart?

There are a lot of ways you can earn money. Jesus wants us to focus our hearts on heaven, not on earth, where our worldly treasures are. He wants us to know that everything we have on earth will one day be gone, and those earthly things cannot do anything for us in eternity, in heaven. The truth is, we won’t even need those earthly treasures in heaven!

Jesus gives us a principle to live by in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words, if your treasure is in heaven, that’s where your heart will be!

Just a note: It’s not wrong to make or have money. In fact, there are many commands in the Bible that tell us to work hard, take care of our family’s needs, earn money, use it wisely, and give to the poor. But we are definitely not to love money.

Where to Spend & Save

Whatever money you have, you are responsible for its use. You have decisions to make about what to do with your money. The Bible says, you need to…

  • Manage it—know where your money comes from and where it goes.
  • Give some of it at church.
  • Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to good causes and to people in need.
  • Save some of it.
  • Spend some of it—for gifts, for something special you’ve saved up for.
  • Include your parents in your plans and decisions. They have years of wisdom and experience in managing money. They have probably even learned a few things the hard way and will be happy to guide and guard you.

In your heart, focus instead on what you already have. Give thanks from your heart to God for how He has blessed you. Pray from your heart each day—and often through the day—for your challenges and for others. And open your heart as you live in a world where most people have less than you have.

RESPOND

Jesus, thank You for teaching me that what money I have, I must take care of and use carefully. Help me to think—and pray—before I spend. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Living Your Faith (NEW RELEASE!) will help your tween daughter, age 8-12, understand what God’s Word is saying and how it applies to everyday life.

REFLECT

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Do I pray about saving and spending in a wise way?

REMEMBER

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Elizabeth & Jim George


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