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.

A Burning Question

May the God of peace,…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21


The question came up during a job interview. “How do you deal with difficult people?” Caught off guard, I am afraid my answer did not really cut it. “Sometimes I laugh.”

I guess because of the inadequacy of my answer, that question just burned a hole in my heart and mind. I kept revisiting it.

I have to admit, sometimes I do laugh. Do they realize how childish they are acting? Sometimes I use avoidance. I stay away from them as much as possible.

The truth of the matter is that usually if a person is “difficult”, they have an underlying reason behind their crankiness. In getting to know people I have discovered some of their reasons.

Issues from childhood rank high on the list – verbal, physical, emotional abuse; an alcoholic or drug addicted parent; extreme losses of relatives or home. If these issues remain buried they can lead to an adult not trusting others or their world around them.

They could be experiencing difficulties in the present which cause their reactions to seem cranky or edgy. Death of a spouse, divorce, caring for aging parents, children who choose a seemingly wrong path for their lives can all cause a person to be weighed down by life.

I have to admit sometimes even I am the “difficult person.” How would I like people to deal with me when I am unpleasant? Quite frankly, I would like to be treated with kindness.

The next time this question comes up, I want to be ready for it. My answer will be quite different from the first time. I will say that I want to get to know that person. Maybe I can get that person to trust me enough to share their burden with me. I will treat that person with kindness and pray for them every time they come to mind. That is my resolve to “deal with difficult people” from now on. With God’s guidance, I believe I can succeed.

Father, help me to be more thoughtful and kind as I am dealing with others. Thank you for your grace when dealing with me.


Susan P.

No Fear

Do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32


I had not ever paid attention to that verse in Luke before. The verse right before it talks about seeking his kingdom so my mind would start singing the scripture song, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….”

When I finally did make the leap to verse 32, it felt like a warm fuzzy moment.

God has been pleased to give me -- part of His flock -- His kingdom. When I started digging I found that some other versions of the Bible mention that He “chooses gladly to” or He “delights” in giving us his kingdom.

What about us? What do we need to do? That’s when we backtrack to Luke 12:31 (and Matthew 6:33). We “seek” his kingdom. He provides for us in “his kingdom”. We do not have to be fearful or to worry. He sees our hearts. He knows what goes on behind the scenes of our public persona. We do not have to be ashamed to show the world who we are because who we are is His. The Holy Spirit lives in us, empowering us.

How do we become one of his “little flock”? We believe in Him. We believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that He was and is the sacrifice for our sins. The sins that hold us hostage and make us afraid can be forgiven if we ask.

I just get a picture of God with all of His little flock around him. I see a look of pure joy on his face. He is delighted with his children. His hands are out in love and compassion accepting us into his fold, gathering us to Him.

And that, my friends, is nothing to be afraid of.

God, thank you for allowing us to be part of your flock. Amen.


Susan P.

Job, That Book

I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
Job 23:12


That pesky little book of Job. I have tried my best to avoid it, but there it is. It just keeps popping up.

Right there, nestled in between Esther and Psalms we find it. What an amazing place to be! On one side we have, Esther, a wonderful obedient woman of God. On the other side we have a book of worship, singing, confession, and hope. We see the heart of King David.

And then we have Job. He too was a man of God. As I read through the book my heart breaks for Job. He lived such a blessed life and then Satan comes in to destroy, challenge God’s power, and to undermine Job’s faithfulness.

I would much rather read about Esther saving the Israelites with her courage and obedience or David killing the giant with a slingshot. Job’s story just seems so sad and discouraging.

And yet, Job’s faith in God rings out through the entire book. During the times of joy and the times of horror, Job remained faithful. His friends, though well meaning, tried to give him misguided condolences and counsel, but Job remained faithful.

His family murdered, his possessions gone, even his very own body riddled with disease. And yet he remained faithful.

As much as it grieves me to read most of the book, I read its entirety. Because, in the end, God still reigned; Job, still had faith; and Satan, was still defeated, as he always will be.

Job, a difficult book to get through, but so worth it.

Father, thank you so much for your Word and for the examples of faith like Job and Esther and David you allow us to get to know through it.


Susan P.

The Me Card Game

…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19b-20


Scenario: someone says something unjust and untrue about me. How do I respond? I usually play The Me Card Game in some form or fashion.

“Poor me” card – tell everyone who will listen that nobody likes me. Stir up as much strife as possible. Result: people may tire of my drama and move on.

“Not me” card – The other person’s comment was totally unfounded. I’m not going to waste any of my energy worrying about it. I’ll give it to God. Result: Rumor dies down, God’s grace abounds.

“Maybe me” card – I pray and ask God if anything I did even remotely resembles the accusation. Result: precious personal time with God, rest from the ugliness of the situation.

“Wait and see” me card – I just sit back and watch what unfolds. I use patience at all costs. I pray that God will help me to wait on Him to move. Result: the situation will either come to a head on its own or die down without fanfare.

“Why me” card – I can try to figure out why in the world someone would say that about me. Result: could be negative or positive. If I wallow around in self-pity, this card could lead to bitterness and depression. If I play it in a heartfelt serious manner, it could lead me to a whole new level of joy and understanding.

I may choose a combination of me cards to play, but I must choose wisely because whichever card I play, I have to live out the consequences.

How did I come up with this game? Experience. At one time or another I have played each one of these cards and dealt with the aftermath. Thank goodness I am not playing this game alone. Good choices or bad, God is right there with me.

God, thank you for desiring the best for us. Your steadfast love is amazing.


Susan P.

Meet Me at the Playground: Let’s Play Red Rover

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us
2 Corinthians 5:20

                                                                                                                                   
Red Rover was a team game often played on the courtyard of Travis school. Sometimes we included the boys. However, if they became too rough, we quickly ousted them.

Two teams of about eight players would hold hands and line up facing each other. Then they would call one of the other team’s members with this rhyme:

Red Rover, Red Rover, let ?? come over.

That person would then run and try to break through the opponent’s line. If she did, she could take one of the enemy players back to her side. If she failed she stayed on the opposing team’s side. The game ended when one side had all the players. It was a fun game.

Christians have a challenging task. We are called to break through the barriers of ignorance, apathy, and closed hearts to win others for our team, God’s kingdom. We have received a commission to do this. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28: 19,20).

Our task is a daunting one. Since the 60’s our nation has strayed further and further from the teachings in God’s Word. We are fed lies like:  All roads lead to Heaven. The historical Jesus is false. The Bible is not accurate. Modern social mores change God’s laws. The established church is dying. These falsehoods come from Satan, the father of lies.

We need to stand up for Christ. Paul admonishes us: Be on your guardstand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Let’s look at our own lives. Are we committed to walk in the way Christ walked? Do we forgive as He did? Do we worship in God’s House as Christ did? After all, Jesus was perfect, yet He spent many hours in the synagogue studying the scriptures. Do we seek out lost people and share our testimonies?

When we look in the mirror of our lives, do we see a reflection of Christ? Gentle Jesus was a friend to all. He ate with the sinners and touched the leper. He healed the lunatic and forgave the harlot. Do we care for all kinds of people as He did? That is the kind of ambassador who breaks through the barriers and wins people to our team.

Dear Father, Give us power through Your Spirit to be brave. Help us break through the line and carry people back to the winning side of Christ.

Janice Yandell