Encouragement for Life

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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. 

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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

I’m Angry All the Time

Angry

 

Righteous Anger

Is there such a thing as “good anger”? Yes, Jesus showed us an anger that was a holy response to sin when He was angry with the religious leaders for their uncaring attitudes toward a sick man (Mark 3:5). The Bible tells us that the right kind of anger is okay, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger quickly and not let it linger, giving the devil an opportunity for us to sin (Ephesians 4:26).

Unrighteous Anger

Unfortunately, most of our anger is not righteous but results from pride, selfishness, and hurt feelings. When we don’t get what we want, we get mad and sin by expressing our anger in harmful verbal and physical ways.

Anger is not anything new. The first son of Adam and Eve, Cain, was confronted by God for his anger. Why was Cain angry? Because God had no regard for his sacrifice, while his brother Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. God told Cain that his anger was a “sin” which “lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (see Genesis 4:5-7). Rather than mastering his anger, Cain unleashed it and murdered his brother Abel.

Mastering Anger

How can we master the kind of anger that is sinful? Understand that no one is immune from anger, and anger is always “crouching at the door.” Realize that anger cannot master you if it isn’t there, so ask God for His help in not giving in to anger in the first place. And when anger does show its ugly head, acknowledge your anger to God and confess it as sin. Follow David’s example: “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord… .” Then accept God’s forgiveness: “… and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).

RESPOND

Righteous Father, Your Word says to be angry and do not sin, and to not let the sun go down on my wrath. I acknowledge that most often my anger is not a godly, righteous anger. It is a sinful display of my utter need for Jesus’ continued work in my life. I ask that Your Holy Spirit work in me to help curb my wrath and anger and to manifest Your love, patience, and self-control. Then I will honor You as I live according to Your standards and show the world Your transforming grace in my life through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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REFLECT

How often do I unrighteously lose my temper—at other drivers, my children, co-workers, or my spouse? Next time, I will pause and pray for grace and patience.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19)

REMEMBER

How Do I Figure Out the Truth?

truth

How gullible are you?

I am not asking in a derogatory way. I tend to believe what I hear, read, and watch. If you’re like me, you realize there is definitely a need to discern truth. And that ability comes from learning, growing, and understanding the Bible. You may want to get involved in a Bible study or take some classes to further your knowledge. Memorizing Scripture is crucial to being able to separate fact from fiction.

A story has been told often of how the American Bankers Association once trained its tellers to detect counterfeit bills. Not once during their training were the tellers exposed to counterfeit money. They spent the entire time handling nothing but the real thing. By the end of their training, they knew the real thing so well that counterfeits were glaringly obvious.

When it comes to discerning truth, your training is to become so familiar with God’s Word that counterfeits and lies are quickly obvious to you.

RESPOND

Jesus, memorizing takes time and energy, which are in short supply in my life. Please give me an energy boost and open my mind to Your Word. I want to do everything I can to know truth and learn about You. Amen.

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REFLECT

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” (John 8:31-32)

Take time this week to memorize the verse above.

REMEMBER

Where is God’s Peace?

peace

God provides real peace for us… and that includes you—even if you have a screaming baby, a high-stress job, or are knee-deep in troubles. You may not be feeling much like a woman after God’s own heart, but John 16:33 records Jesus saying that even though in this world you will have tribulation, you also have God’s perfect peace in every circumstance of your life.

So even if at this moment you aren’t able to fully appreciate the truth of God’s peace, it is there and it will make itself apparent.

1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, [and here’s the part for you today] knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Bless you today, and hang in there!

RESPOND

Father, thank You for caring so much about me that You know I need peace and rest. Restore my energy and my commitment to You and Your plan for my life. Amen. 

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REFLECT

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Have I turned to God for His peace?

REMEMBER

The Source of My Confidence

Confidence

Self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency are traits that are admired and desired by many women. Yet such self-sufficiency is an enemy to your soul, causing you to think you can always do what needs to be done in your own strength and with your own abilities.

No Doubt

The man Gideon in the Old Testament could have possessed this kind of self-confidence when he prepared to meet his enemy with 32,000 men! But to prevent this kind of “self ” attitude and “self ” sufficiency God reduced Gideon’s army down to a mere 300 men. With a force this small, there could be no doubt that any victory would be from God (see Judges 7:1-25). God wanted Gideon’s confidence to be in Him— in Elohim and His might and power—and not his own abilities and resources.

Nothing Has Changed

Nothing has changed these thousands of years later. Like Gideon, you too must recognize the danger of trying to fight your battles in your own strength. God wants you to be victorious, but He wants you to know that any and all victory comes from Him, and He has given you the Holy Spirit to help you be victorious.

Like Gideon, the apostle Paul recognized where his power came from: “My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). God never sends you out to battle alone. He goes before you, as well as beside you and behind you. Whatever your situation, be confident. God, the mighty Elohim, is with you.

RESPOND

Dear God, Your very name Elohim conveys that You stand for might, power, and omnipotence as seen in the creation of the universe and all that is in it, including me! No one can stand before You in defiance. Every knee shall ultimately bow before Your throne in utter submission. And yet, that incredible power dwells in me through the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Help me draw on Your strength and power so I can run and not be weary, and I can walk and not faint as I tap into Your empowering Spirit. By Your grace, today I will confidently live for You with strength and resolve, and by Your grace, I will not shrink from fulfilling Your will, for I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Amen.

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REFLECT

“The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

Do I lean on my own strength more than the Lord’s?

REMEMBER

Endure to the End

Endure

It’s just amazing that people—including you and me—can endure just about anything if we believe it is for something worthwhile. Knowing that His disciples would be hated, arrested, and killed for following Him, Jesus made this promise: “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). Jesus’ words and His promise still apply today.

Hope to Endure

He promised salvation for all those who endure. Jesus was not saying that enduring suffering is a way to be saved, because endurance is not a means to earn salvation. No, endurance is the evidence that we are truly saved by Christ’s death on our behalf.

You can praise God that He has not left you without His support as you faithfully persist through hard times. God has put His Spirit in you to help you endure whatever comes your way. He has made this promise to all believers: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good” (Jeremiah 32:40).

Help to Endure

When you are struggling, remember that the secret to endurance comes from your relationship with Jesus Christ, your Lord. As you trust in Him and are obedient to Him, the Holy Spirit who abides in you will empower you to stand firm against any and all trials and tribulation. Look to God daily and trust Him to give you His patience to endure every small or large test you face.

Be patient and press on! Eternal life and peace in the presence of your Savior is your coming reward.

RESPOND

Dear God of all patience, You are longsuffering in Your dealings with mankind… and with me. You are not willing that any should perish, and You patiently postpone Your judgment so others may be brought to salvation. Gracious Father, through Your dear Son, Jesus, You have brought me Your priceless salvation through His death on the cross. Throughout the ages Your people have been hated and persecuted. Grant me the strength I need today and every day to persevere as I count on the fulfillment of Your promise that eternal salvation is awaiting me at the end of my days on earth. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Prayers for a Woman’s Heart (coming next month!) is filled with this and other devotions and prayer to help you grow in wisdom, patience, and peace! PRE-ORDER today and we’ll send you free gifts!

REFLECT

“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.” (Oswald Chambers)

Do I lean on the Holy Spirit to help me endure difficult times?

REMEMBER

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Elizabeth & Jim George


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