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.

Giving back what was Taken

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside
quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
Psalm 23:2, 3


I once had the pleasure of restoring a beautiful old rocker that had belonged to my Great Aunt. Bringing it down from the dusty attic, I cleaned off years of dirt and grime and polished its wood until it shone like new - restored again!

To restore something means, “to give back what was lost or taken.” Every day, I rub up against a sinful world, and its touch tries to “take” from me – tries to steal away my faith.  But the good news is . . . God is my restorer!

When I spend time with Him, I am renewed . . . changed . . . refreshed! The Psalmist, David, said it this way: He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes (restores) my soul (Psalm 23:2,3).

In those moments alone with God, His Spirit gives me peace in place of turmoil; trust instead of fear; wisdom for confusion; hope instead of discouragement!

His gifts of restoration are beautiful and continual . . . a daily satisfaction!

Father, thank you for restoring my soul – my inner woman – every day!  I know I can come to You any time and in any situation, and You will breathe new life into me!  


Martha

Come and Listen

Come, all you who are thirsty . . . listen to Me and let
your soul delight itself in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:1, 2



Ive learned a lot of life-lessons from my cat, Blackie. One morning, as I sat in bed all cozy and warm, he came in . . . jumped up on the bed looking for a place to sit.  Unsettled and walking around the edges, he decided not to stay and receive his usual petting and words of affection. He jumped down and left the room!

We continued this back-and-forth exchange for a while as I called out to him, “Come, Blackie!”  “Come here!” Finally, I picked him up and sat him on my lap  talked to him and petted those soft ears and neck.

He snuggled into my arms and with loud purring noises of complete satisfaction, let me know that this was what he really wanted all the time!

Then I thought, I do this very same thing! I hear God calling me, but I stay back hesitant, afraid, or distracted, yet all the while thirsty and hungry for His words to me!

He says, Come, you who are thirsty . . . listen to Me and let your soul delight itself in the richest of fare(Isaiah 55:1, 2).

Father, teach me to step away from every hindrance, and  just come to You! For You long to speak and have me listen - delighting myself in Your Presence!


Martha

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