The writers of Encouraging.com are celebrating their fifteen year landmark by making their 365 daily devotional book, God Moments, available as a free digital download! A total of thirty-six GABC writers have faithfully captured “moments of God’s presence” in their lives to encourage your own spiritual journey. You can find God Moments on amazon.com, iTunes, and BarnesandNoble.com.

Fellowship

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ…God is light, in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth.
1 John 1:3, 5b-6

Image result for fellowship

Being raised in a Christian home and in church while growing up made becoming a Christian a natural part of my life. Whew! I didn't have to worry about heaven or hell when I die because I have accepted Christ as my Savior. I thought that was it. I did not understand at first the reality of knowing Him.

As a senior in High School I remember reading a scripture about fellowship with Him. That word, fellowship, just seemed to jump right off the page and smack me in the face. What? Was there more to this deal than I previously realized?

After meditating on God’s word I discovered that I am not just His child so that I can go to Heaven when I die (as wonderful as that will be), but also so that I can have a living breathing relationship with Him now. What a relief to encounter that truth. Believe it or not that had never occurred to me before.

One synonym for fellowship is “companionship.” Imagine the strength I gain from thinking of God as a companion.

What joy! I do not have to depend on my own strengths to get me through this life. I can depend on Him.

That word fellowship still brings a sense of peace and contentment to me when I think of it or run across it. I have fellowship with Him and He provides me fellowship with other believers journeying through this life with me. I am not alone because I have fellowship.

I like it!

Susan P.

Busting Out

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:7 & 8


I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. It looked like a huge tree had grown up inside an old house and the branches had pushed out through all of the windows.

What I really saw was a house turned into a piece of artwork. After further investigation, I discovered that the artists intended for there to be flames coming out of the windows not branches. They welcomed comments of people who saw it and had a mailbox for them.

I wondered about what comment I might leave as we continued on our trip. The house appeared pretty normal except for the flames leaping from the windows. It reminded me of some people (and myself) who appear to be great on the outside, but have something stewing on the inside. It could be an old grudge, bitterness, unforgiveness, or unconfessed sin.

Eventually, that old stuff starts popping out of every seam and crevice. It comes in the form of anger, uncontrolled emotions, a bad attitude, or just good old fashioned meanness. We can fool ourselves into believing that no one notices our anxiety, but eventually, as hard as we try, it flames out of control.

Instead of letting things build and fueling the fire, we have an outlet for our internal flames. We have a way to feel peace without the pity party. All we have to do is give it up to God. He cares for us. He loves us. He wants us to be at peace. He does not want anything to consume or devour us other than our love for Him.

Worship Him, praise Him. Glorify His name. Our uneasiness will drift away and His joy will be “busting out” of us instead of negativity.

Susan P.

Get the Picture

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled
us to himself through Christ…
2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 18a

Image result for sunset old church

On my way through the country one day I came across a gorgeous sunset which caused the silhouette of an old church in front of it to stand out. The steeple pointed upward toward the sky. I just had to stop and snap a picture.

Not many days later I drove down the same country road at a different time of day. The church which had been beautifully silhouetted by the sunset looked old and run down in the bright sunshine. Without the glorious sunset, you could see the chipped paint, leaning stairs, and used up condition of the old building.

Just like that sunset had made the old church look beautiful, God can make our lives the same. Sin causes us to become dilapidated and worn out. The love of God makes us beautiful not because of our own abilities, but because of His.

Thank goodness for His view of us when we have Him in our hearts. The blood of Jesus Christ covers our ugly sin while highlighting His character and nature. What a beautiful picture He creates of His children.

He must do it, we cannot. We must simply believe that He is capable and able to create this new picture of us. We must believe in the message of salvation and forgiveness.

Thank you, God for creating beauty where it could not exist otherwise.



Susan P.

You Just Never Know

Have mercy on me, my God…for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed…For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 57: 1 & 10


I ran into an old friend and at first we exchanged pleasantries. Then I began to lament about how negatively things had been going lately.

My husband had lost his job and consequently, our health insurance. Then he had a bicycle accident which required a trip to Direct Care for stitches and x-rays. Our microwave went out as did our refrigerator. He was having a terrible time finding another job so we were surviving on our dwindling savings.

Her response to my whining, “You just never know, do you?”

Later I thought about her question/statement. If anyone knew about a negative life change it was her. Her husband had a tragic accident at work and died from his injuries. She did not get the chance to say goodbye or any warning what might happen that day.

I did not become acquainted with her until much later on, but for the whole time I have known her I have never heard any complaining or negativity come out of her mouth. She lived through a much worse “you just never know” type experience than me. Yet, I never see her without a smile on her face. I only know her as an encourager who people enjoy being around.

I have to agree with her. One never knows when a life changing event will happen. What I do know is who will be with me through these trying times. God has not forsaken me or my family. We can totally trust in Him to work everything out in the long run.

My patience may run thin, but His faithfulness does not.

Susan P.

Traffic Lights

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3

Image result for traffic lights

While on my way to work one day I came to a busy intersection. The red light ahead let me know that I needed to stop. As I sat and waited, I thought about what chaos would occur without those lights letting each driver know when to stop, go, or turn.

If any one of us heading towards that intersection had chosen to disregard the light for our lane, we would have not only put our own life in danger, but those of the other drivers and passengers as well.

In the Bible, God gives us commands that we need to obey and follow. He does not give us these commands so He can police us and catch us doing something wrong, but so our lives will run so much more smoothly and efficiently.

God commands us to love each other, be kind, and look out for one another. He admonishes us to be good stewards of our money, our time, and the gifts He has given us. He encourages us to be respectful of authority and our elders. He even gives us tips for getting along with our spouses and children.

Just like in the intersection while driving, if I choose to ignore His commands my life can become chaotic dodging one thing after another. I may want to be my own boss and do my own thing. If I make choices contrary to His commands, then I should not be surprised when the consequences do not turn out as pleasant as I would like.

If I consider obeying His commands as a way to show my love for Him, then it makes it so much easier to be obedient.

God, thank you for giving me the Bible so that I may know your heart and know your commands. How wonderful to have the privilege of obeying them.

Susan P.