From Jim’s Heart—Drill Sergeant Dad

Being a dad after God’s own heart sometimes requires playing the role of “drill sergeant”-or instructor. Those who are chosen to become drill sergeants are given that task because they are serious, well-seasoned, and battle-hardened. Their job is to take a raw recruit and make him into a soldier in only a few months. The tougher they are on the recruits on the training ground, the more likely a soldier will survive on the battlefield.

As we look to their example of a drill sergeant, be aware that I am not asking you to emulate their harshness. Rather, I am encouraging you to emulate their tenacity toward preparing soldiers-in your case, your children-for survival on the battlefield of life.  As a dad, one of your jobs is to take a raw recruit-your child-and turn him or her into a godly man or godly woman who will love Jesus and, in turn, train up yet another generation to follow the Lord.

Also, whereas a drill sergeant has a recruit for only two or three months, you have your children for about 20 years! And you get to train and instruct them every day. Because God gives you many years to raise up your children, you have many opportunities to influence and train them up—in every area of life!

Dad, your first objective is to help your children develop a heart that follows God, that delights in being responsive to Him and His commands. Your goal is to nurture in them a heart that obeys.

From Jim’s Heart—Making the Best Decisions

What if you’re uncertain about an important decision you must make? How can you seek God’s input? Here are the four C’s you’ll find helpful for the times when you need guidance:

Commands from the inspired Word of God.

Competent and wise counselors.

Circumstances and changing conditions.

Conscience aided by the Holy Spirit.

God can use any or all of these means to give direction to you if you are ready to listen. It may take time, but that’s okay. Making use of these resources will help you to make informed decisions that honor and glorify God.

God, I want to make wise decisions that glorify You. Help me to keep my eyes and ears open so I can learn from You and honor You in all I say and do. Amen.

Prayer Is the Key to a Life of Impact

Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

The apostle Paul was a man of action. He was a man’s man, a leader’s leader, and a teacher’s teacher. He was smart and well-educated.

In today’s vernacular, Paul would be considered a Type A personality. He could do it all himself. He could stand before a group of Greek philosophers in Athens and debate with the best of them. And he could stand before kings and speak with such confidence that his royal audience would walk away amazed.

From a human perspective Paul was self-sufficient and highly competent. So most people might be surprised to learn that Paul was a great advocate of complete dependence upon God in prayer. Prayer, by its very definition, looks to a higher power for wisdom and direction.

Paul recognized that his usefulness to God was in direct proportion to his dependence on God. And because Paul was useful to God, he couldn’t help but make a difference in his world. This is why prayer is such a vital key to a life of impact!

A Preaching Mom

There are many things we can do for our children-and teaching God’s Word is at the top of the list! If you love God and you’re a mother, find time in your busy schedule to teach God’s Word to your children. It will have value for salvation now and for eternity.

Ruth Graham said of motherhood, “It’s the nicest, most rewarding job in the world, second in importance to none, not even preaching.” Then she added, “Maybe it is preaching!” Can you see how your role of mom includes giving biblical truth to your children at every opportunity? Take the time and effort to consistently bring God’s love and truth to the hearts of your children. It’s never too early — or too late — to begin!

Father, give me a passion to teach Your Word to my children-to instill in them Your truth and wisdom. Give me a desire to share a message of faith that moves their young hearts toward You. Amen.

Meek to Mighty

“I used to be so confident. But now I feel like such a loser.” Do you feel this way? My friend, God never asks for us to have confidence. He only asks that we have confidence in Him! And when God commands, He also supplies. This is true for every area of your life.

In Old Testament times, the Midianites periodically destroyed the crops of the children of Israel. A young man named Gideon secretly “threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites” (Judges 6:11). He doesn’t sound very brave, does he? And yet we learn that God enabled and strengthened the meek man Gideon into a mighty warrior, a man of valor, a man of mighty faith (Hebrews 11:32-33).

God will transform you too. Yield to Him. Trust Him. Allow Him to do great things in and through and for you.

Father God, when I’m hesitant to show faith in You, give me courage and the right words to say that will lead people to You. Open doors for me to bravely serve You and share Your truths. Amen.

From Jim’s Heart—A Man of Impact Makes Goals

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:13-14

August 31, 1974 was a red-letter day in my life. That was the day my wife and I sat down together and each wrote some lifetime goals. Up until that day, I had flopped and floundered and made little or no progress in achieving much of anything with lasting godly influence. Basically I had spent the first 30 years of my life drifting from one desire to another…and most of the time, without God in mind.

But then, on that life-changing Sunday afternoon, I decided I needed to ask God to give Elizabeth and me wisdom as we sat down to write goals-goals that we hoped would give us direction and line up with His will for our lives.

Today, both Elizabeth and I are still operating our lives according to those goals that were written with hearts full of hope-goals that have simplified our focus in life, goals that have allowed me to influence not only my wife and children, but also fellow believers in my church and the Christian community nationally and internationally.

Why are goals such an important key to becoming a man who makes a difference? Because they help us to define our purpose. The poorest of all men is not the one without gold, but the one without a goal. Goals give us direction and purpose, and help us know how to best use our time and energy = thus making us men of impact.

Protecting Yourself

God promised that when it comes to temptation, He has provided “the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). But even before you get to the point when you are tempted, there are measures you can take to protect yourself from falling into sin.

  1. Read, listen to, and obey God’s Word, which helps you to discern right from wrong.
  2. Avoid places and situations where you might experience temptation.
  3. Avoid getting involved with people who might pressure you to participate in sin.
  4. Avoid “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NKJV).

Providing temptation with fewer opportunities to strike is a great way to protect and preserve yourself.

Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation today. Help me make smart choices about where I go, what I fill my mind with, and whom I spend my time with. Amen.

Sometimes We Need to Be Scarce

From Elizabeth’s heart: One way to be respectful to your friends is sometimes to be scarce. There are a multitude of ways friends can communicate without having to be together physically. You can phone, text, email, use postal services… and especially prayer! As the proverbs teach us, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and hate you” (Proverbs 25:17), and “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him” (Proverbs 27:14).

Here;s how my friends and I approach each other. When we call on the phone we always ask, “Is this a good time to talk? Is everyone gone (kids to school, husband to work)”? And if it’s not a good time, then we say, “I’ll call back later,” or “Call me when it’s convenient for you”.

We also call before we stop by or drop in. There are no surprises. Everyone has their goals, projects, responsibilities, ministries, preparations for the family and the home. We all have our families to serve, our housework to take care of, our devotions to tend to, our ministries to prepare for.

We respect and support these undertakings, helping each other when and where we can… even if it sometimes means being scarce!

A Loyal Friend

Choose to be loyal–not a fair-weather friend. I’m sure you know exactly what that means. It’s a so-called friend who bails on you as soon as something bad happens. They are great friends as long as nothing gets complicated or sticky. Usually this type of friendship is one-way. As long as you do things their way or agree with them, everything is fine. But the minute you speak up or cross them or try being your own person, that “friend” fades away into the night.

Being loyal means being supportive, being ready to assist and encourage. That’s why loyalty is so essential in any friendship. In the Bible, David and Jonathan’s friendship was characterized by a solid loyalty even in the midst of adversity. They loved and encouraged each other in the Lord. They stood together through tough times like a set of identical stone bookends. They met as young men and warriors, and our last glimpse of their faithful friendship is of David mourning Jonathan’s death. Theirs was a to-the-end-no-matter-what friendship. You can read about their friendship in 1 Samuel 20:14-17.

How does your loyalty rate as a friend? Are you “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)? Loyalty in others starts with you being loyal.

From Jim’s Heart—Beware of Spiritual Laziness

I am a part of a men’s Saturday morning Bible study at my church. The study started at 7:00 am, so I have to leave home at 6:30 to get there on time. Each Saturday as I drive to the church, my route takes me by a golf course that was filled with men playing golf and a lineup of carts waiting to tee off. Because many of the golfers are already far along on the course, it is evident they got there much earlier in the morning… like about 6:00 am!

By contrast, when I arrive at church, only a few men are there. I am always amazed that so many non-Christian men are willing to get up so early on a Saturday morning to play golf, but so few Christian men are willing to get up early to study and grow in God’s Word.

I know finding a balance that ensures that God is my #1 priority isn’t an easy matter. Even after decades of being a Christian, I’m constantly having to evaluate my choices. Here are some questions that help me, and can help you too. Invite the Lord to help you with your priorities.

  • Am I choosing the world over God and His Word?
  • Am I choosing hobbies and sports to the point of excluding any time that could be spent reading my Bible and growing in faith?
  • Am I choosing fun at the expense of being in a Bible study group?

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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