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.

He Hears My Voice

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.”
2 Samuel 22:7 (ESV)


My precious, elderly mother doesn’t engage in conversation like she did up until a few years ago. I live a few states away from my parents, so our communication is by phone. Dad talks freely while Mom is silent on the phone extension—until we begin our “goodbyes.” Then Mom pipes in, “It’s so good to hear your voice, Karen.” I’m grateful she still recognizes my voice and knows me by name.

Those few spoken words are priceless to me. Little penetrates and softens my heart like hearing those words. I’m in awe that the sound of my voice is enough to sustain her. Do I get tired or annoyed by the predictable repetition? No. Never. I listen for them with great anticipation.

My voice ministers to her. Her words affirm me. Heart connection takes place. Similarly, the Lord delights in hearing my voice.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly (Psalm 5:3).

For a moment, reverse the roles with me. How endearing is the Lord’s voice to you? God wants it to be. He doesn’t want you to dread hearing Him speak. Recognize His voice and respond to it.

[Jesus] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27).

The more we know Him, the more we hear Him speak. Grace gives us an ear for His words and allows us to tune in to Him. It hasn’t always been so for me. My hearing was impaired when I resisted His tender calling. I didn’t believe God was interested in hearing my voice. Gradually, trust opened our communication. Do you give others a voice and validate that they are heard?

Lord, I’m astounded that you hear me. May I be attentive to your voice of love and be a listening ear for others.

Karen Sims

I Don’t Want to Go

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Genesis 28:15


I can’t remember a time when I wrestled so much over a situation. My younger brother, Dave, had just died—unexpectedly and tragically. He had lived thousands of miles away, both physically and emotionally. Only in the last couple of months of his life had we begun to cautiously reconnect.

Dave’s untimely death prompted new interactions with my older brother, Ernie, who lived about a thousand miles away in the opposite direction. He called me to share the news of Dave’s passing. He said we needed to travel to New Jersey to take care of Dave’s belongings and finalize matters. I couldn’t imagine spending a few days with Ernie. We had a strained relationship at best.

Reluctantly, I said, “Ok.” That was all I could muster at the time.

I was a knotted bundle of messy emotions. I wasn’t sure of Dave’s eternal home. I grieved losing him and struggled to accept the inevitable upcoming trip. I do not want to go. I can’t imagine doing something so painful.

Anxiety consumed me until I spewed the burden onto my heavenly Father.

With teary eyes and clenched fists, I confessed, “God, I don’t want to go to New Jersey.”

Tenderly, He assured me, “I haven’t asked you to go.”

What?! I thought I had to go.

Pent-up dread erupted from deep within and evaporated. I don’t have to go.
Now I wanted to go! I needed to go!

Ernie and I met in New Jersey. We engaged as a team and completed our mission. Compassion for him poured from the core of my being. Supernatural strength and peace prevailed. God had transformed my fearful and hardened heart. Forgiveness flowed. Reconciliation began.

Thank you, Abba, Father, for your presence, grace, and power that you display through my frailties when I honestly cast my cares on you.

Karen Sims

Buttons and Triggers

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 
Galatians 6:1 


We talk about having our “buttons” pushed when someone says or does something that ignites powerful emotions. An array of ugly feelings burst forth when a sensitive spot in our souls is suddenly triggered. We all know at least one difficult person who provides opportunities for us to do the things we don’t want to do (Romans 7:15).

The word “caught” in Galatians 6:1 does not mean the act of being “found out” in a sin. Instead, it’s the idea of being trapped or ensnared by a sin after we’ve been tempted. “Buttons” and “triggers” spur us toward entrapment. We react to the trigger or button being pushed and then spiral out-of-control into a tenacious web of deceit. Once we are caught we repeat destructive thoughts and behaviors.

Buttons will be pushed. Triggers will be pulled. They launch our weaknesses and when left unchecked we are caught. Our hope is that we don’t have to snap under pressure or remain trapped.

Do you know a loved one who is caught in a harmful lifestyle? I do. At times we are the ones ensnared. Pride prompts us to believe we are able to escape on our own, but we aren’t. We need each other! God created us to depend on the community of believers who live by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit indwelling us has gifted and charged us with the amazing responsibility to restore others to harmony with God.

When we are the one trapped, we can choose to respond in humility and allow a fellow Christ-follower whom we trust, to free us of the net we’re entangled in. We come alongside each other, recognizing our comparable condition.

Holy Spirit, fill me moment by moment with your power, so that I may gently help restore those who may be caught in sin.

Karen Sims

Hope as an Anchor

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Hebrews 6:19,20a


The largest anchor in the world remains on the deck of the doomed luxury ship, Titanic. It was forged with sixteen tons of high-grade steel in 1910 in Netherton, England, by Hingley’s Anchor Works. This anchor held the giant ocean liner, which was the largest at the time—a massive 46,328 tons built from millions of individual metal parts. And that was when it was empty! It carried 900 tons of freight and passengers’ baggage! The anchor was tiny in comparison but it was trusted to secure the huge vessel.

What do you hope in? Things that don’t last? People who will disappoint you? Anything less than two unchangeable things leads to hopelessness The author of Hebrews states that it is impossible for God to lie, and we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged (Hebrews 6:18). This hope holds us firm and secure. . Hope will be realized when we see Jesus face-to-face.

“Hope is a wish in your heart of good things to come.” I read this statement on an internet website, but I can’t hold fast to such an uncertain notion.

Bible teacher John Piper defines biblical hope like this: “A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future." 

“Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future; it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen; it is confident that it will happen. There is a moral certainty that the good we expect and desire will be done.”

We are moored by God who is our genuine hope, like a ship relies on its anchor. He alone is trustworthy.

Lord Jesus, you are our present hope. You are immovable. You hold us steady when waves of doubt rock our faith.

Karen Sims

Thieves in the Night

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

We never heard a sound and there was no visible evidence left behind. My newly planted marigolds had mysteriously been stripped of all their foliage. My flowerbed looked like rows of lemon lollipops—flowers on bare stalks. Within days, the vibrant blossoms withered. Their source of life had been consumed. I stood dumbstruck. By the time I figured out what happened it was too late.

I searched the internet for answers and discovered that slugs or snails had devoured the marigolds’ leaves. They are nighttime critters and had pillaged my plants while my husband, dog, and I slept.

The same thing happens to us spiritually when we leave our minds and hearts unguarded. We let our thoughts wander. Things of the world lull us to sleep. Greed, self-promotion, materialism, and earthly comforts overtake us before we realize we’ve been robbed of life. The thief of our souls sucks out our fruitfulness. Intimacy with God our Father wanes. We struggle in relationships and we become ineffective witnesses for Jesus. We lose our beauty. I don’t want that to happen, do you?

Fear nearly paralyzes me when I consider the possibility of this happening to me or my loved ones. I haven’t yet learned how to keep slugs and snails out of my garden, but I do know how to prevent the evil one from ruining our lives. Stay rooted in Jesus and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21). Jesus says He came that we might have abundant life. He wants us to thrive! I trust Him to protect me from the thief. Will you? He is our good shepherd who lays down His life for us (John 10:11). He is our vine (John 15). We receive nourishment in Him. Our love, peace, and joy are replenished.

Jesus, you promise us abundant life as we stay close and connected to you.

Karen Sims