August 2018

Dealing with Gossip

gossip

It’s a horrible fact: Everyone has been hurt by gossip or slander. No one is immune from the searing pain brought about by false or damaging information. I know I’ve been on the receiving end of such pain and damage. And I’m ashamed to say I’ve been the deliverer of it too. You’ve probably experienced both ends of gossip as well.

Satan and She-Devils

The word slanderer is used many times in the Bible. And it has a frightening meaning! Slanderer comes from the word diabolos, meaning a malicious gossip, slanderer, or false accuser. This word is used 34 times (yes, 34!) in the New Testament as a title for Satan. It is also used to describe Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus and was called a “devil” in John 6:70.

And, besides these references, the word is used in Titus 2:3 and in 1 Timothy 3:11 in reference to women, literally meaning “she-devils” and “malicious talkers.”

Gossips are not in very good company, are they? They are lumped together with Satan, Judas, and slanderous “she-devil” women—not a pretty or pleasant thought, is it? Even the most hardened offender (gulp!) might be ashamed of her gossiping if she realized she was a she-devil involved in slandering and killing others.

Stay Out of the Fray

So what are we supposed to do when we’re around gossip? It’s good to be prepared, and these options will help.

  • Choose your activities carefully—Be careful about talking on the phone, hanging out, or staying too long after your luncheon appointment with your friends is over.
  • Choose words of praise—Be known as a woman who is a friend of women. I call this being a woman who is for other women rather than being against them. God wants you to share words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), wise and kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, sweet, constructive, and instructive. May your speech edify and minister grace to your hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
  • Choose to pray—Rather than talk about someone who has issues, pray for them. And while you’re at it, pray for yourself and your speech. Also pray for those who harm you. This way, you’re telling the right person—God, not everyone else—about your problems. His job is to deal with those who wrong you (Romans 12:19). Your job is to pray and to forgive.
  • Choose to deal with gossip as sin—This is where I had my greatest breakthrough. Acknowledge to God that you have a problem with gossip. Confess it as sin. Tell Him all about it (1 John 1:8-9). And ask for His help.

RESPOND

Dear Lord, please help me make it my goal that, in every encounter, others are better off for having been in my presence. Amen.

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REFLECT

Do I enjoy gossip more than I enjoy honoring the Lord and others?

What is my plan to avoid gossip?

REMEMBER

God wants you to share words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), wise and kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, sweet, constructive, and instructive.

Finding Time for a Quiet Time

Quiet Time

Lunch out with friends…or quiet time with your Bible? Hmm. Sometimes this choice is really hard, isn’t it?

Time for Ourselves

Time for ourselves is important, but that priority takes second place to God’s calling to train our little ones. This is your highest and most noble calling. But we can’t give out what we don’t possess, so it’s vital to nurture a passion for God’s Word and His wisdom.

Time for God

Spend some time each day reading the Bible. Share its life-giving truth with your children. It requires the sacrifice of time and energy, but the years you have with your children fly by so quickly.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart.” Your time in God’s Word is time He’ll use to make you a mom after His own heart. It’s time well invested!

RESPOND

Lord, help me choose You and Your Word as my source of strength and refreshment each day. I want to deepen my understanding of Your love and Your will so that I become a mother who invests in her faith and family with everything she has and is. Amen.

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REFLECT

Read one chapter of the book of Proverbs each day (hint: read the chapter that correlates to the day of the month).

REMEMBER

Your time in God’s Word is time He’ll use to make you a mom after His own heart.

The Best Way to Make a Decision

decision

 With shaking hands and a pained heart, I hit the end icon on my cell phone and concluded a life-shattering and life-changing call. One of my brothers had just given me the news that our dad, at age 95, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and would need nursing care for the final days of his life.

My brothers had all talked and agreed that they could take turns sitting with our dad on the weekends, and maybe I could be there during the week. The only issue with their decision was that I was in California and our dad was in Oklahoma!

I immediately went to my husband, Jim, so we could talk, pray, and weigh the situation. Little did we know my father would live—and suffer—for a year. But, I have no regrets in traveling back and forth to care for my father. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Make a Decision

Life requires that you make decisions. And obviously there are a variety of levels of decisions to be made. Some simple; others complex.  Each and every decision you make, regardless of its level of intensity, can have long-lasting consequences. If you had to make any of these serious decisions on your own, it could create stress and anxiety.

Help in Deciding

But, praise God, He hasn’t left you without help. He has given you His Word to show you the way as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). He has also given you spiritually mature Christians in your church who can help provide guidance.

As I look back on other decisions I’ve made, I realize I learned many times the hard way that, when I didn’t pray, seek God’s wisdom, or ask for godly advice, I just about always make wrong decisions.

So, speaking from experience, here are some guiding principles to use before making a decision.

No decision made without prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)

When in doubt, don’t (Romans 14:23)

Always ask “What does the Bible say?” (John 17:17)

Always do what you know is right (James 4:14)

Don’t let fear influence you (1 John 4:18)

RESPOND
Dear Lord, thank You for Your wisdom and guidance. Amen.

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REFLECT

How often do I pause to ask the Lord for His wisdom on a matter?

REMEMBER
“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)

What’s Wrong with Video Games?

video games

PARENTS: This devotion is written especially for you to share with your tween as a tool to talk about God and His Word.

“Dylan? Dylan! Dylan Douglas!” Mrs. Abrams, Dylan’s English teacher, called out. But Dylan was deep in thought. It wasn’t until Dylan’s friend Bart punched his arm that Dylan came back from the world of gaming.

You see, Dylan had become very distracted ever since he had started playing video games at Bart’s house. Dylan was hooked. He couldn’t wait until school was over so he and Bart could play more games.

What’s Wrong with Video Games?

There are many things in a guy’s life that can distract his attention away from what is truly important. For Dylan, it was video games. They took his mind off his schoolwork—and everything else.

So what’s the problem? What’s wrong with video games? What’s so bad about having some fun? Well, nothing! Especially if it’s done after you’ve taken care of your responsibilities. And as long as it doesn’t get out of hand or go to extremes. But Dylan’s real problem was the focus of his heart. His was concerned with only one thing…Dylan! What he needed was a better understanding of where God wants His growing boys to focus their hearts.

Where’s Your Heart?

Jesus told the people who wanted to follow Him, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). For Dylan, it’s pretty obvious that his “treasure”—the focus of his heart—was on playing video games. For other boys, the focus of their hearts may be sports.

That brings us to the biggest, most important question of all: Where is your treasure? Where’s your focus? Where’s your heart? A boy after God’s own heart wants to make sure his treasure is what God says it should be.

God wants you to love Him more than all other things. Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Love like this is a tall order, isn’t it? But it is possible. All you have to do is choose to put God first in your life and in your heart, one day at a time.

RESPOND
Dear Jesus, help me to love You more, to know You better, and to follow You with all my heart. Amen.

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REFLECT
Where is your “treasure”?

Circle the word “all” in this verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

REMEMBER
A boy after God’s own heart wants to make sure his treasure is what God says it should be.

Stop Complaining

stop complaining

We all make choices in what we do with our day, our thoughts, and our words. A favorite verse of mine ends with the words, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NASB). I don’t want to be robbed of even one of God’s riches by not taking time to let Him invade my life. The bottom line? I want to be a woman after God’s own heart!

Stop Complaining

One sure way to do this is to stop complaining. In Philippians 4:11-13 the apostle Paul writes, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (NIV).

Never once do we see Paul quitting, having a fit, or complaining. Regardless of his predicament, he was content. Why? Because he looked to his Savior for strength.

Start Praying

The Bible says to be steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And when you do, you’re on the way to becoming the best possible woman you can be—a woman who serves the Lord in her words and her deeds.

Make a daily commitment to God. It can be as simple as praying, “Lord, today I give myself anew to You!” Your heart for God should be like a boiling pot—intense and passionate. There’s no way to ignore that kind of fire!

RESPOND

Lord, help me look to You for my purpose and my strength. Lead me every day so I can do Your will and serve You to the best of my ability. Amen.

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REFLECT

Do I pause to consider my words before I speak?

Memorize Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”

REMEMBER

Regardless of our predicaments, we can be content. Why? Because our Savior is our strength.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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