Encouragement for Life

Words That Make a Difference

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 3:17-18

The world judges beauty by external elements: the style of a woman’s hair, the designer labels on her clothes, the monetary value of her house and car. But God’s beauty is evidenced by a woman’s words—by edifying, godly words of wisdom that bless others.

James shares eight components in the kind of speech that “is from above.”

  1. Pure words-that lack any ulterior motives or self-interest
  2. Peaceable words-that accomplish peace in your relationships with others and with God
  3. Gentle words-that extend kindness and consideration
  4. Reasonable words-that indicate a willingness to listen and yield
  5. Merciful words-that are rich in compassion and kindness.
  6. Words full of good fruits-that indicate Spirit-controlled speech
  7. Words without partiality-that are straightforward in dispensing God’s truths
  8. Words without hypocrisy-that contain no insincerity or deception or pretense
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Make the prayer of your heart to bear “the fruit of righteousness.” Pray that you will remember to speak with true wisdom that encourages others, blesses others, and brings honor to the Lord God.

Source title: Windows into the Word of God, by Elizabeth George

Living with Power and Confidence

Where does God have you today? What roles and responsibilities have been given you by your Lord? And how about your dreams—and your heart’s desires? Many of these indicate God’s directions for your life.

Take some time to discover what the Bible says about your roles… and then pray about them. Why not jot down some dreams you have too? Write them down in your Bible, your prayer book, a personal journal, or a special notebook dedicated to dreaming and planning and doing as you become a woman after God’s own heart.

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God’s road to success is quite simple: As you faithfully follow Him with all your heart and are obedient to fulfill His will for you, you will be blessed. You will enjoy success. Yes, you’re human, and you will have moments when you fail, slide back, fall down, or stay in one place for a while. But as you rely on God and do what He asks of you through His Word and prayer, He will give you the desire and confidence-and power-to move on and enjoy life in Him.

Source title: Windows into the Word of God, by Elizabeth George

Do You Possess This Key to Success?

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8

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I love recalling the day I stood in my driveway waving to my daughter Courtney and her children as they got ready to drive to the Navy base at Pearl Harbor. Courtney was meeting her husband to finalize their move to Hawaii. It was a beautiful day, and we’d all just witnessed a double rainbow! That incredible sight and the fact that my daughter was happily following her Navy husband as he pursued his career made me happy too. Why? Because Courtney, in her sometimes difficult roles of being a wife to a submariner and the mother of five children, chose to follow God with all her heart. That’s the key to success.

God is also asking you to follow Him wherever you are in life and in whatever you are facing. How can you be successful in following Him through the many opportunities He gives you to serve and help others? Start by reading and meditating on Joshua 1:8. God is showing you a key way to success–His kind of success!

Source title: Windows into the Word of God, by Elizabeth George

Celebrating Your Freedom in Christ

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.

Galatians 5:1

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Did your Fourth of July include a family picnic? Was it filled with children laughing and playing, and fireworks lighting up the sky? The Fourth is a holiday that provides opportunities for families and communities to be together. But its greater significance is the celebration of independence, religious freedom, and freedom from tyranny and oppression. As a woman, a wife, a mom, and a grandmother–I’m grateful for that freedom. I’m thankful to be able to pray openly with my family, to read the Bible without fear of any reprisals whatsoever, to take a stand for my faith or witness to others…and pray for those who lack these freedoms.

Jesus came so we could experience freedom. Not political freedom, or even the personal freedoms we enjoy, but freedom from sin. Whatever the situation and circumstances people of the world suffer–we have freedom in Christ. Rejoice! Celebrate and walk in this freedom every single day!

Source title: Elizabeth George, Radio 7/4

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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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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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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Take Care

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Take care of yourself—it’s part of God’s plan for you!

When you don’t exercise, your back goes out. When you’re not careful about what you eat, you lack energy and develop health concerns. When you don’t get the proper sleep, you’re wrung out for days.

I think you get the picture! It’s dangerous to neglect your health. After all, there’s physical energy involved in living out God’s priorities in your life. Nurture your ability to serve your family and God by taking care of yourself with a little extra discipline and planning. The Bible says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And Galatians 5:23 says to develop self-control. It’s for your good and for your life—and for your loved ones at home.

Lord, when I replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, I better serve You, my family, and my purpose in Your will. Help me to care for my body-this temple of the Holy Spirit-so I possess greater energy for honoring Your plan and priorities, and blessing those around me. Amen.

Honoring Your Parents

How much thought do you give to honoring your parents? It’s definitely something God has thought a lot about. In fact, He promises that if you respect your parents, He will bless you: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12).

Once you marry, this command and promise applies to both sets of parents-yours and your spouse’s. Your motive for loving and honoring your parents is to obey God’s instructions, not just to receive some personal benefit. But it’s great to have God’s special blessings as a result of your obedience.

Do you desire to honor and bless your parents? Then God’s promise “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:3) is yours-as you will honor your parents.

God, I know my parents sacrificed much, so much for me. They have cared for me, and it is the desire of my heart that I care for them and honor them. Please show me more ways to honor them with my words and my actions. Amen.

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Elizabeth & Jim George

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