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.


NIV is used unless otherwise noted.



Words of Destiny

So is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11


Several years ago, my husband ordered a box of paperback Bibles. We give them out to anyone who enters our house that we suspect might need or want a Bible. This one simple act has been the catalyst for many interesting conversations. Some people are thrilled to have a Bible, saying that they’ve never owned a personal copy. Others are happy to take one to pass to a loved one. Still others are encouraged to go home and do the same.

Do I think every person has taken it home and read it cover-to-cover? No, but I do feel confident that when they open that Bible, God will use His Words to draw them to Himself.

I know that when trials and rejections come, they can find comfort in the Bible. It may be riding around in the backseat now, but someday it might be a lifeline.

The Message version says God’s Words will “complete the assignment I gave them.”

He may just have a special message to someone that receives one of those Bibles. Maybe step one of that process is me placing it in their hands.

How are you sharing the Word of God with those in your path? Do you pass along a verse to a friend in need? Or write it out on a notecard for them? Do you ever post God’s Words on your social media accounts? We share everything else – why not share something that really matters?

Lord, Your Words can change someone’s eternal destiny. Please help me boldly share Your Word to those who come into my path. Give me kindness, creativity and faith to believe that Your Words will accomplish Your desired purposes.
Whitney

The Top Book

Your Word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the Heavens.
Psalm 119:89


We had concluded the Bible study and were visiting afterwards. Everyone started picking up their books, Bibles, and drinks and clearing out. I stacked a book on top of my Bible and reached to grab my purse. That’s when I noticed the young man gently dismantling my pile.

At first I thought it odd, but then I heard his reasoning. “The Bible is the top Book. Nothing is placed above the Bible.”

I smiled, placing my lopsided new pile under my arm and heading out the door. While I knew I had done nothing wrong, it was a good reminder from this new Christian.

He had a reverence for God’s Word like few people I’ve known. When it was opened, he listened intently. When he read his copy, he held it so gently, turning the pages gingerly. During the sermon, he leaned forward, eager to learn more about God.

He had received his one and only Bible when he was a young man. He regarded it as a great treasure to enjoy and share.

What is my attitude toward the Bible? I’ve had so many different copies over my lifetime that it’s hard to count them all. There was the tiny white Bible I carried to church as a child. Later I received several more as gifts. Now I even have 1,472 different versions available on my phone, if one can fathom that.

Do I give this most wonderful gift the top priority in my life? There are so many competing voices vying for that space. Social media, television shows, and the world’s wonderful array of distractions all fight. Will I defend God’s Word as first place? If so, what’s my strategy for doing so? What can I take off the pile? How can I restack so the Eternal dictates the rest?

Father, Your Bible is a magnificent treasure. Help me to make time to read and absorb Your precious Words for me.
Whitney

A Seed Planted

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6

“Thank you so much for planting the seed.” The last sentence of the letter struck me. It was so simple, yet profound. A seed of the gospel had taken root and changed the course of one whole family.

Let me explain. My mother taught a conversational English class at our church over thirty years ago. She wasn’t formally trained as a teacher, but felt God calling her to this ministry shortly after hearing about it. Her small class consisted of internationals who were eager to advance their English skills. She taught them simple lessons, giving them homework and rewarding them with prizes. She always included a Scripture or Bible story. Most of her students weren’t familiar with the Christian faith and were interested in expanding their knowledge of another culture.

They shared their favorite foods and customs. There was the time her students took her to a fancy restaurant that served live shrimp. She passed on that delicacy, but was happy to enjoy an authentic meal with her new friends. Our family gathered with their families for Christmas pageants and meals in our home.

And one day, her favorite student (She’s never claimed this aloud, but I could tell.) received Jesus Christ as his Savior. Over the next few years, his family all became believers. His daughter shared in this letter that she believed her father, who had been raised a Buddhist in Laos, was meant to bring his family to Texas so that he could begin a new life in Christ.

While my mother took joy in that letter, it also brought her sadness. You see, this precious man had passed from Earth to Eternity. His daughter wrote to thank my mom for doing her small part. Planting a seed.

Lord, thank You that Your Word is powerful. Please use me to sew Your Truth in someone’s life today.

Whitney

Eternal Word

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Photographer Joel Meyerowitz was capturing images during the 911 Ground Zero cleanup when a fireman ran up to him with an amazing discovery. He found a remnant from a Bible which had been melted into a piece of steel shaped like a heart. The page has most of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount still visible. Because of the iconic nature of this discovery, Joel donated the Bible to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in 2010. Thousands of visitors have seen this tangible reminder of God’s eternal Word.

This very real picture of the enduring Word of God is a reminder that nothing will eradicate it. There is no government, terrorist, skeptic or natural disaster that can erase God’s Word. It will stand long after the sands of history have been swept away. It will endure despite the questions that arise in our hearts. Opinions and cultures will change, but the eternal truths of Scripture will not.

What emphasis does God’s Word have in your life? In your family? How well do you know it’s promises and warnings? Does it sit as an untouched artifact in your home or do the pages show how it’s been called on time after time?

If someone were to later find your Bible in a pile of rubble, what story would it tell?

Lord, thank You for the precious gift of Your Holy Word. Thank You that You will speak to me as I read your Bible. Help me prioritize time spent in Your Word each day.

Whitney

Treasure

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. 
Psalm 119:11


I can still hear the way he would clear his throat before he spoke. He would clasp his hands and recite from memory the familiar words. “Blessed is the one,” he’d proclaim from Psalm 1. Or there would be a timely word from the prophet Isaiah. Sometimes John’s deep words would flow off my great-grandfather’s tongue as easily as if he’d been reading them.

You see, he’d learned to treasure God’s Word as a young man, tucking verses into his mind early on. They had marinated for years and he had called on them in times of great joy and more importantly, unthinkable trial. In the 103 years of his life, the unchanging Word of God in a changing world had sustained him.

My great grandfather died many years ago, but I still hear his voice challenging me. What eternal truths have I committed to memory? He had the Bible in written form only. I have it accessible on my phone at the touch of a button. I can listen to it while I walk or do household chores. Free programs and apps for memorizing Scripture would baffle my great grandfather. He would chuckle that I can listen to the Gospel of Mark in the school pick-up line. But do I?

I fear my familiarity with the Bible has caused me to forget it’s immeasurable worth. So many in the world hide their one illegal copy, risking everything to pull it out and read it. Yet, I can listen to it as I commute and read it in public with no fear of persecution. Do I take that for granted?

What passage of Scripture will you memorize today? Start small. Pick a verse, write it down and get to work.

God, thank You that Your Word will stand forever. Help me to root my life in Your Truth and commit myself to knowing it more each day.

Whitney