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.

Anna Beth and the Cookie Tree

For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10



One Christmas, my grandkids and I made star-shaped cookies. We rolled out the cookie dough, cut out the shapes and baked them in the oven ‘til they were just right!

The boys soon went on to other things, while Anna and I stayed behind to finish up. Anna stacked the left-over cookies, big ones on the bottom, some smaller ones on top. All of a sudden we realized we had the beginnings of a cookie tree!

We dripped green frosting all over our creation, and sprinkled small candies that glittered on the star points that now were branches. We were so surprised and excited because we werent expecting to make a cookie tree that day! Wow! We made something beautiful!

Then it occurred to me, Thats what God does with each one of us. He creates something beautiful beyond our imagining!

For we are Gods handiwork – a masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good    works . . . (Ephesians 2:10).

Father, help me to remember that You know exactly what to do in my life  lovingly molding and shaping me into something just right  something I wasnt even expecting!

Martha

Best Foot Forward

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
Proverbs 3:26


This week we have worked our way from the top of our head to the soles of our feet. God is so in love with His crowning creation----us---that He has filled His Word with warnings and encouragements for our body. O how He loves you and me!

Many times we forget the importance of our feet until they are hurting so bad we can barely hobble to the closest chair.

But God has not forgotten the importance of this anatomical model of complicated simplicity that caused Leonardo di Vinci to say “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and work of art.”

Our feet adapt and balance us quickly as we move from place to place. But God warns us where we direct our feet to take us. Proverbs 4:14-15 tells us “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Psalm 119:105 states,“Instead we should say Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

When God finished creating us He didn’t brush the dust off His hands and say, “Well that’s done, now let Me see those beautiful mountains again and that handsome zebra I made yesterday.” No, He keeps a constant interest in us and how we use the mind and body He made for us. Wanting us to get the best use from His marvelous design, He gave us the “Operator’s Manual”----His Word.

My Son pay attention to what I say; listen closely toMy words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right for the left, keep your feet from evil”  (Proverbs 4:20-27).

Claudia Jackson

Bite Your Tongue!

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
James 1:26


The tongue refers to that muscle on the floor of our mouth that has to do with taste, food manipulation, and speech. This small organ of God’s creation can be an instrument of good or evil.

It is hard to write a devotional about the tongue because it drops a big mirror right down in front of me. “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who needs this most of all?” ME!!!!  

Jesus’ brother James wrote very stern words in James 3:3-6, 8-11. “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue, also, is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

But the flip side of all the damage our tongues can do is all the good it can do when our eyes are focused on the Lord and we ask for His help. Philippians 2:11, “And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage one another daily.” Then Psalm 71:23-24 states,“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You, I whom You have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long.”

With our tongue we can choose to praise our Savior; tell others the Good News of salvation; and speak words of kindness, comfort, encouragement, and truth. The use of our tongue falls under that Fruit of the Spirit called Self- Control.

Tempted to gossip? Bite your tongue! Tempted to belittle? Bite your tongue! Tempted to lie?  Bite your tongue! Tempted to curse? Bite your tongue!

Claudia Jackson                              

Look This Way!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2


Our eyes are an important part of our body, our health, and they work non-stop. They are our window to the world and influence how we view the world. Nothing is a match for the tasks this amazing creation of God does for us. It is so natural that we take our eyesight for granted. But, God does not take our eyes for granted.

His Word has numerous scriptures regarding our eyes. It repeatedly tells us our eyes should be focused first and foremost on HIM.

Psalm 25:15 My eyes are ever on the Lord.
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your love.
Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things, preserve my life according to Your Word.

God is very pointed in telling us that our eyes can cause us to sin. Matthew 5:29 states, If your right eye is causing you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than for you whole body to be thrown into hell. (Jesus is NOT teaching self-mutilation. He is saying we should deal as drastically with sin as necessary.)

Coveting is #10 of God’s Big Ten Commandments. To covet is a wrongful yearning to possess or have something that belongs to another. God says, “Don’t do that!” That is just one sin our eyes can lead us into.

Have you ever been driving and looked away from the road momentarily to gaze at something beside the road? Before you realized it your car was about to leave the road and head where you were momentarily looking. So it is with our minds and actions.

have to ask myself frequently, “Is this TV show, movie, or book wholesome? Would I want the Holy Spirit to watch or read this with me?

Matthew 6:22 states, The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

Lord, help me keep my eyes focused on You.

Claudia Jackson                         

Mind Matters

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37


The human brain is the main part of our nervous system and is the center of thought and mental ability.  Our thoughts are so important to God that His Word has a lot to say about the subject.

Sometimes we use the word “heart” to stand for our thoughts and feelings. We say “In my heart, I felt or I meant to…….” . What we correctly mean is “In my brain I thought……”.  But “in my brain” sounds so clinical.

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus indicates that with our heart, soul, and mind we are to love the Lord, our God. Jesus did not leave out any aspect of our being for this most important command.

All actions and words begin in our brain. So, if our mind loves the Lord our God it seems that our thoughts and actions will have a great starting point. In Jeremiah 31:33 the Lord declares, “I will put Mylaw in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

Here in Texas we have an old proverb that states, “What is in the well will come up in the bucket.” What we mean is whatever is in your thoughts will come out in your words and actions.

In Psalm 139:23-24 David asks, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

I ask myself, Am I brave like David to ask God to search my thoughts?

My prayer is the lyrics of James E. Orr’s song “Search Me, O God”

     “Search me, O God, and know my heart today, ​​
      Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
      See if there be some wicked way in me;
​​      Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.”


Claudia Jackson