Praying for the Right Things

Paul knew the importance of strategic prayer in his own life and the lives of others. And he knew what to pray for. His prayers focused on spiritual issues. He knew that if those he was praying for were spiritually mature, they could handle anything.

We, however, sometimes have it backward. We pray about physical matters, not realizing that the real battles are fought in the spiritual realm, not the physical. That’s why Paul stated that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). That’s also why Paul urged believers to take up the full spiritual armor of God (verse 13). And when that’s been done, Paul says to pray always… for all the saints (verse 18).

Your prayers to God for believers and unbelievers are extremely important. So do what Paul did based on Colossians 1:9-12:

  • Ask God to help others know what He wants them to do with their lives (verse 9).
  • Ask God to give others a desire for a deeper spiritual understanding (verse 9).
  • Ask God to help others live life in a way that pleases Him (verse 10).
  • Ask God to help others understand their spiritual gifts and exhibit the fruit of ministry (verse 10).
  • Ask God to give others strength to endure life’s trials (verse 11).
  • Ask God to give others patience when dealing with trying people (verse 11).
  • Ask God to fill others with joyful thanks as they live for Him (verse 12).

A Courageous Mom

It only takes a glimpse of email spam to see evil in action in this fallen world. It’s more than a little scary. But mom, you can make a difference! Moses’ mother, Jochebed, belonged to a sorority of mothers who gave their sons to God to use in the fight against evil. Samuel’s mother gave him up for God to use, and Mary saw her son Jesus offered up to die on the cross.

Psalm 37:1 encourages you not to “fret because of evildoers.” Instead of worrying or trying to solve every problem in your own power, devote yourself to raising godly children. The power of evil is helpless against the power of the truth you plant in your child’s heart and mind. You are a courageous, loving mom when you place your confidence-and your child-into God’s care.

God, I receive such comfort and assurance as I plant Your eternal truths in the heart of my child. I cannot control the existence of evil, but I can base parenting decisions on Your righteousness just as I can place every hope for my child in Your power. Amen.

Dedicate Yourself to the Long-Distance Race

The Christian life and spiritual growth are not sprints. They are long-distance races that require lifelong perseverance. You grow in spiritual maturity as you run the race moment by moment, day after day, and year after year.

In many ways, running the spiritual race is a lot like physical running. If you stop exercising physically, your body may not show the results of inactivity for a while. But in time you will wake up and find that you can’t run to the end of the block, and it’s a short one at that!

In the same way, you may think you can get by without exercising spiritually, by not reading your Bible, or praying, or going to church. One day, however, you will wake up and find yourself spiritually flabby, out of shape, and wide open to sin…all because you didn’t make a focused effort to keep growing day by day.

Remember, you cannot rest on yesterday’s growth. You must be dedicated to growing today… and every day!

A Scriptural Battle Plan for Making Wise Choices

What can you do about decision-making and the will of God? Follow this scriptural battle plan. These “weapons” work for every area of your life and lead you toward God’s best.

First, ask God for help. Pray, “Lord, Your Word says in James 1:5, ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God… and it will be given to him.’ So here I am, Lord! I need wisdom, and I’m asking You for it! Please reveal Your wisdom in this matter.”

Next, pull James 4:17 out of your arsenal and pray, “And, Lord, Your Word says ‘Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.’ Lord, I don’t want to sin. I want to do the right thing, the good thing. So I’ve got to know what that is. Please show me the right thing so I can do it!”

Finally, reach for Proverbs 3:5 and 6 and pray, “And, Lord, Your Word says to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.’ I don’t want to rely on my own heart, so I’m asking You right now, Lord, to guide my footsteps. What is the right thing to do here? What is the right decision? What is the path You want me to walk in? What is the right way?”

Victory Over the Flesh

Every Christian battles with the flesh-even the great apostle Paul struggled (see Romans 7:21-24). How can you M-A-S-T-E-R this challenge?

Monitor your time with those who drag you down.
Account for your struggles to a more mature believer.
Strengthen your “inner man” through the Bible and prayer.
Train yourself to avoid things that stir fleshly desires.
Exercise purity in relationships with the opposite sex.
Run from the lusts of the flesh.

Victory is possible. Make these steps a regular part of your life!

Lord, thank You for reminding me that I am not a helpless victim. Empower me to master my fleshly desires, I pray, as I put these principles into practice. Amen.

The Reasons Why We Seek Peace

“What I need is rest. About a hundred years ought to do it!”

Don’t we all feel this way at times? If I asked you to fill out a survey with one of the questions being, “What causes you to seek peace?” how would you answer? I responded to this question quickly: busyness. It’s #1 on my list. There’s always just “one more” of something to do. Responsibility is next. Tension is on the list too. Stress drains my energy. I’m sure you have your own list of feelings and activities and issues that make you crave peace.

Here’s the good news! Psalm 23:2 says, “[God] leads me beside the still waters.” Still waters! Can’t you just feel it? God knows your need for peace and He provides it. He ensures the restoration and calm you need to continue fulfilling His will for your life.

Father, replace my stress with Your peace and contentment. Renew in me the joy of life and service to You and those around me. Amen.

What’s Going On?

“Where is all my energy anyway? What’s going on?” These are important questions to ask and answer. When you evaluate your life and health choices, you’ll probably discover why you’re so tired. What time do you go to bed? What activities are you involved in? Do you have young children? Teenagers? Are you working? Serving at your church?

I think you can clearly see what’s going on. Something has to give or else something’s going to give! And it will be your body if you don’t make changes.

The Bible says Jesus took time to go away and rest a while. If you’re going to be that energetic, enthusiastic marriage partner or parent after God’s own heart, find ways to build up yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

God, give me discernment to see what habits need to change and how I can restore energy and enthusiasm to my life and faith walk. I want to be healthy, whole, ready and willing for each step of my purpose in You. Amen.

Building Bridges

From Jim’s heart: Some time ago I was told the story of a high-level official in a foreign government who enrolled his son in a college in America. Because it was a Christian college, there was great excitement among the students as to who might have the opportunity to share the gospel with this young man and possibly see him come to Christ. Would it be the senior class president? The star athlete? The campus chaplain?

Well, the young man did come to Christ. But everyone was surprised to learn the identity of the person God used as His messenger. Why? Because Tom was just an average guy, one you would never pick out of a crowd as someone with unusual skills or witnessing abilities. Later when someone asked Tom what happened, he said, “I simply built a bridge between my heart and his, and then Jesus walked across it.”

Becoming a neighbor. Developing friendships. Building bridges. Friend, this is what it means to develop a heart for reaching others. You and I don’t need to be pastors or Bible scholars in order to witness. But we do need to earn the right to be heard by those around us.

What are some ways you can build bridges that will help transport the message of Jesus Christ from your heart to the hearts of others?

A Zeal for Service

From Jim’s Heart: One day I met with a man with a heart to serve. He looked like he could have played linebacker for a pro football team. As we had lunch together, I noticed my new friend didn’t eat much of his food. Instead, he talked on and on about how he loved to serve the people at his church. He constantly looked for opportunities throughout the week to serve the needs of fellow church members, and on Sunday he couldn’t wait to get to church so he could continue his ministry of service.

This man’s zeal for service may seem excessive or abnormal at first glance because of the “me”-oriented society we live in. But his extreme desire to serve is Christlike. It’s godly.

As fleshly humans, our natural–and selfish–tendency is to take care of our own needs first. We like to make sure we have plenty of time for what we want to do. Then if we have any time or energy left over, we just might be willing to use it to serve someone else… maybe.

But as men and women after God’s own heart, we need to make ourselves available as God’s servants…. like these people in the Bible:

  • God spoke of Abraham as His servant (Genesis 26:24).
  • Joshua was called “the servant of the Lord” at his death (Joshua 24:29).
  • David, too, was called “my servant” by God (2 Samuel 7:5).
  • Godly men and women were chosen as deacons and deaconesses to serve and help meet the needs in the congregation (1 Timothy 3:8-11).
  • The apostle Paul referred to himself as a servant of God (Romans 1:1).
  • The Proverbs 31 woman “extended her hands to serve the needy” (verse 20).

Service to God and His people is not an insignificant task. It is a mark of a follower after God’s own heart.

Important Things Take Time

It’s correct to say that anything that is truly important to you will require your time and attention. And praying for your spouse and children is definitely a top priority.

Think about it: Your children are your flesh and blood. They are closer to you than anyone else, other than your spouse. That means you should be willing to give up some of the time you spend on secondary things so you have more time for the primary thing–praying for your marriage partner your children.

Prayer requires time. And if your immediate response is that you;re too busy to pray, then you need to somehow, somewhere, free up some time to carry out this priority. The Bible refers to this trade-off of lesser things for the greater things as “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16). When it comes to you and your children, God has given you an allotted “season” of time with your children under your roof. It will truly fly by! That’s why you must make the most of your time with them.

Here’s a quick exercise you can go through almost every day: Think about how much time you spend each day watching the news, or sports, or a favorite program or two, or even The Weather Channel. Or consider the amount of time you put into exercising, surfing the Internet, going on Facebook, or emailing friends and associates and taking care of your personal business. When you add up all this daily expenditure of your minutes and hours, you’ll realize that you definitely have time for prayer-especially prayer for each family member’s life and soul.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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