June 2018

The Simple Solution to a Better Day

Day

Psalm 121 is one of the “Pilgrim Psalms” or “Songs of Ascent.” Each year God’s people were required to attend the annual festivals in Jerusalem. Fulfilling this law called for a commitment to a long and strenuous journey—an uphill climb every step of the way up to the mountaintop where the temple, the seat of worship, was located.

Uphill Climbs

These devoted worshippers trekked through desert lands where bandits often robbed the pilgrims along the way. Families banded together and traveled in caravans to provide safety for all family members, from babes to the aged. And they sang these songs as they ascended the terrain to the temple!

Many of our days are uphill climbs. Our climbs at home and at work often involve stress, weariness, and the challenge of managing heavy burdens and workloads. It’s hard some days to find any joy as we labor on. Yet these pilgrims sang!

Unending Praise

They sang songs like Psalm 121 to praise God as they pushed themselves and their gear uphill. On their way to worship God, they worshipped Him with songs of praise. As they struggled onward and upward, through music they …

  • rehearsed God’s promises.
  • recounted His character.
  • recalled His faithfulness.

As you step into your day and step up to take on your responsibilities, with every step you take, lift up your eyes to the Lord. Lift up your songs of praise when you are worn out and weary. Lift up your heartfelt worship as you labor. Your help comes from the Lord.

RESPOND

Lord, I lay before You my worries, my sorrows, my disappointments, and my failures. I am looking to You for a portion of Your strength for today—and for joy in my work. As I rise to take on the tasks ahead of me, I give thanks as I remember that “My help comes from the Lord.” Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber… neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1-4)

Do I daily spend time in prayer and God’s Word?

REMEMBER

“God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.” (Andrew Murray)

Sweet Speech

Speech

Fast talk, sarcasm, and banter can be fun. That would be something I would do if I didn’t continually ask God to “sweeten” my speech.

Sweetening My Speech

I can verbally spar with the best of them, but is that what God is asking of a godly woman?

Choosing words that build up and lift up yourself and others will bring praise to God. Those words will also bring a gladness that surpasses the momentary satisfaction of winning an argument.

Saying Nothing

When you speak, make sure your words “come from [an] upright heart,” and that your “lips utter pure knowledge.” Ask God for His help in curbing rampant, destructive, and ungodly speech. Proverbs 12:18 tells us, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

If you want to be wise, restrain your lips. Just say nothing. Try it for a day. It will be difficult, but it will be a day marked by wisdom— a day of glorious victory, peace, and self- control.

RESPOND

Father, help me remember to hold back from speaking the sharp words that come so quickly to my mind. Fill my mind with Your thoughts and my mouth with Your wisdom. Let my speech be sweet and encouraging. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible – this devotion is one of 364 daily devotions by Elizabeth George in this beautiful Bible. Pick up your copy here!

A Girl After God’s Own Heart Coloring Book – this interactive gift will help you teach your daughter Scripture. Add You Always Have a Friend in Jesus for Girls for 50% OFF when you PRE-ORDER this wondering coloring book today!

REFLECT

If you want to be wise, restrain your lips. Just say nothing. Try it for a day.

REMEMBER

Being a Godly Wife

Wife

Like the first-steps and the how-tos of cooking in the cookbooks I received at my bridal shower, foundational guidelines to spiritual growth and being a godly wife are simple.

Aren’t you thankful that God keeps it simple when it comes to such a mystical, mysterious element as spiritual growth? We only need to know what God says is the basic recipe for being a woman and a wife after His own heart…and to faithfully follow His recipe. That’s what “great creations” are made up of. And I’m praying that you and I will become just such creations as we faithfully follow these very few-but-simple steps for growing in the Lord!

  • Read your Bible every day. Keep in mind that something is better than nothing, so aim for at least five minutes a day of Bible reading. That’s about how long it takes to read one chapter in your Bible.
  • Pray for your husband three times every day. Pray before he wakes up, at noon, and right before he comes home from work. Of course it will be easy to repeat this exercise every day for a week. Then, of course, you’ll want to do it for life!
  • Plan to go to church this week. Whether you are a little rusty on your church attendance, haven’t been going at all, or don’t know where to go, place this all-important “date” on your calendar. Then call neighborhood churches or friends to find out where to go, the times of the weekly services, and any other information you might need regarding a couples’ class or a program for your children. The night before, lay out your Bible, organize for a no-hassle breakfast, and get to bed a little early.

    It’s important that you talk to your husband about your desire to go to church. Ask him if he would like to go along with you. Tell him you value his opinions. Also share the information you’ve gathered and ask for his input. If he doesn’t want to go to church with you, that’s okay. Your assignment is to be friendly, excited, and to make a move in the direction of attending church yourself. God’s job is to work on your husband’s heart. And, of course, you’ll be praying for him!

  • Sign up for a Bible class or Bible study. I know you’re busy, but you should never be too busy to take care of your spiritual growth. This “little” exercise may require making a few phone calls, but it will be worth it when you experience the exhilarating joy of growing in the Lord, which is the most important way to make a big difference in your life and your marriage!
  • Purchase or borrow a Christian book on any topic. Ask your friends and other Christians for their favorite Christian book titles. You can’t buy every book, but you can create a list to remind you which ones to purchase in the future. And don’t forget to make good use of your church library. It’s been said that “by spending 15 minutes a day you can read 25 books in a year.” Now, can’t you scrape up 15 minutes today…and every day? As you learn from authors and teachers and scholars who share their knowledge and their passion for God and His Son, you, too, will grow in knowledge!
  • Write a letter of commitment to God. On paper, pour out your desire to grow spiritually. It will only take you about five minutes…but those few minutes could set in motion the direction for the rest of your life!

RESPOND

Dear Lord, I long to be a woman and a wife after Your own heart. Please guide me and help me. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

I suggest this schedule for your first five days of Bible reading:

Day 1  Genesis 1
Day 2  Genesis 2
Day 3  Genesis 3
Day 4  Ephesians 5
Day 5  Colossians 3

Then go back and begin at Genesis 4 and finish the book of Genesis one day at a time, one chapter at a time.

REMEMBER

A Friend in Jesus – Teen Tuesday

jesus

It’s always good to know the person who says he or she wants to be your friend. So let’s take a few minutes and have some fun in God’s Word as we get to know J-E-S-U-S.

J esus is the Son of God.

Many kids—and adults too— get confused when Jesus is called “the Son of God.” They think this means that He was not God, but was only God’s Son, which makes them think that He is someone less than God. But read the verse below and answer this question:

According to John 20:31, what is the purpose of the book of John? “These [things—the words and messages in the Gospel of John] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.”  According to the rest of John 20:31, what is the result of believing Jesus is the Son of God? “…that by believing you may have life in his name.” Jesus, who was God in human flesh, wants to be your friend. That’s pretty cool, right? Actually, that’s epic! What else did Jesus do? Read on to discover that He…

E ntered this world as a baby.

You [Mary] will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus (Luke 1:31). Once Jesus was born, He was a human person, like you and me. But He was also God, which means Jesus possessed a perfect, sinless nature. He was and is 100 percent God and 100 percent man. Jesus also…

S acrificed Himself for His friends.

It takes a very special friend to be willing to die for another person. And yet that is what Jesus said He was willing to do. How did He demonstrate His love for His friends—and you—according to Romans 5:8? God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

U nites His friends with God’s heavenly family.

Jesus wants to be your friend, but with that friendship comes an additional relationship. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). When He becomes your friend, He comes to live in your heart!

S ecures eternal life for His friends.

Jesus offers His friends eternal life. Eternal means lasting forever. What do you need to do to receive this life that has no ending? God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Do you believe that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins? If so, God the Father wants you as a friend for His Son!

RESPOND

Dear Lord, it’s hard to make a friend and to be a friend. Thank You for wanting to be my friend. I’m so glad that I can receive You into my heart and be Your friend even before we meet in heaven. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Girl After God's Own Heart Coloring Book

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REFLECT

Write out one thing you liked, learned, or want to do after discovering that Jesus wants to be your forever friend.

REMEMBER

Being a Godly Father

Dad

If you are a dad, you are part of an exciting exclusive club. However you came to be your children’s dad and whatever the circumstances, you are their dad. Being a father is one of the greatest privileges God extends to you. But this role also bears the greatest of responsibilities

Influencing Your Kid’s Heart

Your children are yours to influence for good or evil. Your example will mark them for life. Maybe you need to get down on your knees and ask God to give you His wisdom to do whatever is necessary to be a dad after God’s own heart. And even better is to do this every day.

Influencing Your Father Heart

Additionally, here are 4 small steps that make a big difference in helping you become a godly father—a father after God’s own heart.

  1. Love your wife. The most important step you can take as a dad is to love your wife. This may not be your easiest step. But it will be the one that goes the farthest in modeling God the Father’s love for His children.
  2. Affirm in your heart that you are in the faith—that you are in Christ. If you are, you have access to all the help you will ever need to be God’s kind of dad.
  3. Make sure you are growing spiritually. God wants you to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Because spiritual growth is a command, that means you have a choice. If you want to be a dad after God’s own heart, you will want to choose to grow spiritually. So carve out some time each day to spend with your heavenly Father.
  4. Don’t make excuses for not reading your Bible. Getting into God’s Word is an obvious step for all things spiritual—including being a dad. I’ve heard a lot of men say, “I have to be at work really early.” Or “I don’t understand the Bible.” Or “I don’t know where to start.” Yet if something is truly important to you, you’ll find a way to fit it into your busy schedule, and you’ll take time to learn how to do it. Not only does a Christian man, husband, and father need to spend time with God daily, but he should want to.

RESPOND

Dear Lord, help me represent You, our heavenly Father, to my children—I want to display Your love, devotion, discipline, and caring well. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

In what ways do I need to grow in the Lord to grow as a godly father?

REMEMBER

How to Make Good Choices

Choices

Who is the most important guest you have ever had in your home for dinner? Well, just imagine what a stir was caused when Jesus and His disciples showed up for dinner at the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Martha went immediately into high gear and tore into preparing food for her VIP guests. At some point Martha became frustrated. Without thinking, she complained to Jesus because Mary, her sister and helper, was sitting at His feet listening to Him while He taught instead of assisting with the serving.

The Good Stuff

Sure, preparations for dinner needed to be made. And 12 guests for dinner is a houseful! But this is how Jesus evaluated Mary’s choice to stop her busy serving, sit at His feet, and listen to Him: “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (verse 42). It’s sort of like Jesus was saying, “Listen, Martha, you have all your life to fix and serve food, but today you have Me. Don’t berate your sister. Mary made a most excellent choice.”

I’m sure you already know your actions are a matter of choice. You also know that some choices are made for you because they are out of your control. But multitudes of choices arrive with each new day which are yours to make. And these choices, my friend, are a matter of your will. You get to decide what you will or won’t do, how you will or won’t act.

Guidelines to Make Right Choices

The following guidelines will help you proceed through your day, confident that you are seeking to make the right choices.

  • Treat each day as being important. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
  • Acknowledge your need for wisdom—and ask for it! “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
  • Develop a deep respect for God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
  • Maintain a vital relationship with Jesus. “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17).
  • Pay any price for the truth. “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).

RESPOND

Dear Lord, please help make the decision-making process clearer for me. When I am faced with a choice to make, help me know to either do it or don’t do it. Thank You for Your wisdom. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

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REFLECT

“Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
How often do I carve out time in my schedule to sit with the Lord and with others?

REMEMBER

3 Easy Ways to Help Your Marriage

marriage

I tried to learn how to play golf several times in my twenties, but I was never good at it. But I have often talked to real—and good—golfers who have said that whenever they start playing badly, they go back to the fundamentals of the game. Somewhere along the way, their swing or their putting had altered from how they were trained.

Marriage is likely no different. Getting back to those early days in your relationship with your husband may be all that’s needed to solve any problems you might be having. You started out as friends, became best friend, then finally committed to being best friends forever! So beyond praying, what can you do to rekindle your best-friends-forever status with your husband?

Some of these suggestions won’t be possible if your husband is not a Christian or strong in his beliefs. Don’t let that deter you! Keep praying for your husband whether he is a Christian or not.

Pray Together

Suggest to your husband that the two of your start small with brief prayers together. Jim and I keep a short list of people who need prayer. Maybe you can start in this simple way and see what happens.

Work on Common Interests

When you were dating, there was so much you enjoyed doing together. But with marriage, unless you both work at it, you can easily drift apart. Make an effort to do something together that you both enjoy.

Spend Time Alone Together

When our marriage hit the ten-year mark, Jima and I attended a marriage conference. One of the suggestions was that we date every week. We had a ton of excuses—money, time, babysitters, jobs. But we made time together—alone—a priority. Give it a try with your husband.

Your marriage was founded on friendship. Make a plan with your husband to rekindle that bond. There comes a time in every marriage when we need to nurture that friendship “love” spoken of in Titus 2:4.

RESPOND

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of my husband and our marriage. At times, it feels like we’re just going through the mundane routine of life and that we’ve lost touch with each other. Please help us rekindle our friendship with one another. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband —Discover key Bible passages you can use as a springboard for lifting your husband up to God. Praying the Scriptures brings deeper unity to your marriage relationship and spiritually enriches you as you make it a habit to ask for God’s guidance in your partner’s life.  https://jegeorge.co/2kNdJLm

REFLECT

“…admonish the young women to love their husbands ….” (Titus 2:4)

What is one thing I can do today to rekindle my friendship with my husband?

REMEMBER

Why Should I Read the Bible?

Read

Why should we read the Bible? God’s Word is exciting and energizing. It is even thrilling! Why? Because it is life-changing and heart-transforming.

A Lifeline

Today the Bible is my lifeline. For the first twenty-eight years of my life, I turned to everything but the Bible for help. Ever since the day I discovered the truth about Jesus Christ in the Bible, I’ve relentlessly devoured His Word. My appetite for the life-giving, life-saving, life-sustaining truths in Scripture has only increased as the years have gone by.

Living by The Word

Proverbs 2:6 says, “The LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” What you read between the covers of your Bible is wisdom for all your trials and for all the days of your life.

Stand on it. Live by it. And teach it to your children every day so that they, too, have the thrill of a transformed life.

RESPOND

Lord, Your Word leads me to the refuge of Your heart. It fills me with passion to love You and compassion for loving my children. Transform me, Lord. Amen. 

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible – today’s devotion, plus 364 more, are featured in this encouraging resource by Elizabeth George! Order your copy today for fresh encouragement for everyday concerns and vision for a transformed life … and inspiration to read the Bible daily.

REFLECT

“For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:8)

Do I read the Bible daily? Is doing so a priority for me?

REMEMBER

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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