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.
I awoke at 3:52 a.m. to discouraging thoughts, dire predictions, and sure failure. These nightly journeys were wearing me out and crippling my daylight hours of joy and fulfillment. Why is it that in the dead of night I have no power to recognize and refute the lies of the enemy? I mull and steep and marinate in fears and anxieties over things that aren’t even reality. They are the “what ifs” of my life.
In my quiet time, I read how David, when distressed and distraught, encouraged himself in the LORD. He preached a sermon to his own soul! That night, I went to bed fully armed with an arsenal of preaching material!
As was becoming a habit, I awoke around 4:15 a.m. sensing the doom of the enemy’s oppression. So I started preaching to my soul: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 4:27).
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3).
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul; and all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1).
And then….as I began reciting his blessings to me, the Prince of Peace brought precious sleep to me.
We all need to develop David’s skill of encouraging ourselves, strengthening ourselves, in the Lord. I am so grateful for his Word that gives life and rest. I praise him for being my peace. I recount his goodness to me….even when I have to preach to myself in the wee hours.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).
I am a loser mom. My boy will grow up to be a juvenile delinquent. These were my thoughts as I disconnected the call from the school principal. My son had seen the principal’s office twice in one semester…this time for throwing paper towel basketballs into the trash can in the boys’ bathroom. I phoned my husband in tears with the news.
“You ARE NOT a loser mom,” he assured me. “Our boy is just in first grade. This is when he needs to make mistakes and learn from them.”
“But he should know better than to play basketball in the restroom,” I countered, “Even as a first grader!”
Does God ever have to repeat himself to you? Does he ever have to re-teach you? We all learn through repetition. God tells Joshua over and over, “Be courageous. Do not fear.” Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God in many ways, often starting his teaching with, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matt 13:45). The disciple John’s writings are full of his repeated pleadings to “Love one Another.”
For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule, a little here, a little there (Is 28:10). This is how God teaches us. A little at a time, over and over, bit by bit, with patience and steadfast love. This is how I need to teach my boy.
I’m happy to report that this boy is now a seventh grader, growing in godliness and the character of Christ. He has not made another trip to the principal’s office since this one in the first grade, but he did serve time in “Homework Lunch” this week! He is learning. He has a teachable spirit.
Thank you, Lord, for your patience with me, for not giving up when I must learn the lesson again. Give me a teachable spirit so that I don’t have to repeat the hard lessons!
After fifteen years as a stay-at-home mom, I entered the workforce a few months ago. I feel like I live in the land of “I don’t know what I’m doing” much of the time. That sort of feeling wears on my confidence. It makes me doubt my skills and results. It makes me tentative and unwilling to take risks and try new things. It makes me waver and lean toward whatever opinion my ears hear.
The insecurities of life and the uncertainties of tomorrow draw me to the writings of John, the Elder, in 1 John. He tells us throughout this book what we KNOW as believers:
1 John 2:3 We KNOW that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
1 John 3:2 We KNOW that when he appears, we shall be like him…
1 John 3:16 This is how we KNOW what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
1 John 4:16 And so we KNOW and rely on the love God has for us.
1 John 5:2 We KNOW that we are children of God.
1 John 5:20 We KNOW also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may KNOW him.
We can walk in confidence because of what we KNOW…and John tells us what we KNOW. If I KNOW that when he appears I’ll be like him, I’ll have an eternal mindset as I walk through the day. I can KNOW how to love those around me…by laying down my life in my daily choices like Jesus did. And I can walk in joy and security KNOWING that God loves me.
Thank you, Lord, for your Word that teaches me and for your Holy Spirit that testifies to my spirit so that I can KNOW that I am a child of the King.