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.

The Attraction of Distraction

. . . let us throw off everything that hinders . . . and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus . . .
Hebrews 12:1, 2


We’ve all heard people say: “You drive me to distraction,” or, “You drive me up the wall.”
We know what that means - life is crazy sometimes!

So much runs through our busy minds – a maze of paths in many directions! We get distracted . . . a phone call, a letter, a disagreement. What do we do with distraction?

In the Bible, Job and his friends tried to figure things out. They asked, “Why is this happening? It must be because of this . . . or that!

Really there’s nothing to figure out except to realize that our enemy, Satan, wants us to be distracted by our thinking and confusion so that our progress is hindered!

If in a race, a runner knocks over a hurdle and then looks back, he won’t see the next one coming and will take a nasty fall. He must look straight ahead and keep going . . .
So must we!

The Apostle Paul said, One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize . . . (Philippians 3:13,14).

Let us throw aside every weight that hinders and every sin that entangles us, and let us run the race that is set before us, looking away from all that will distract  – to Jesus!
(Hebrews 12:1, 2 AMP)

Father, thank you for the reminder to look away from every distraction and see only You in front of me!

Martha

Look Up And See!

The Lord is waiting to be merciful to you, and will rise up 
to show you compassion . . .
Isaiah 30:18 CEB


Having lived near the coastline of southern California for many years, hot air balloons were a scenic part of San Diego. We sometimes stopped the car along the roadside to watch them rise up in the distance, floating for miles and miles in peaceful rhythms.

There isn’t anything more breath-taking than a coastal sunset with colorfully designed balloons dotting the horizon!

In the same way, God puts us in a place where we can see Him – sense His Presence. Maybe it’s in a sunset, or someone’s smile, a small gift, or encouraging words. He uses these things to invite us to look up!

In Luke 15, the focal point of the prodigal son story is the father’s great compassion for his wayward son. Every day the father anxiously waited for the son to return home. When the day came . . .  when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and had compassion; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).

Then the father told his servants to go quickly and bring the finest robe - a ring for his finger and the finest shoes for his feet! 

This love and forgiveness so overwhelmed the son that he must have looked up into his father’s face and said, “How can this be? I was not expecting this!”

Thank you Father for Your unexpected gift  . . . your compassion that rises up so that I can see You!

Jesus said, And I, if I am lifted up (on the cross), will draw all men to Myself! (John 12:32 NASB).

Martha 

Clogged Pipes

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:13


Don’t you just hate it when a pipe gets clogged in your home? Clogged pipes demand our immediate attention.

Let’s think for a moment about our spiritual pipe line. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have immediate access to our Heavenly Father.  Just picture a pipe going directly from God to you. When Christians allow sin to stay in their lives, their direct access to God becomes clogged. Sin interrupts our fellowship with God. We miss out on the joy and many blessings He has for us.
Sin is serious—so serious that it sent Jesus Christ to the cross. We don’t want to think of ourselves as sinners. It is human nature to hide our sins and overlook our mistakes. But, we are guilty. Just think of  things like not spending time with God, jealousy, anger, holding grudges, gossiping, cheating, lying, to name a few. We don’t like to admit our wrongdoings, but we must.

Why not take some time right now and imagine yourself standing on the ground looking up into the heavens. Picture that direct line you have to God. Remember your rebellion and disobedience towards God. This disobedience and rebellion clog the pipe between God and you—just like a clogged pipe in your home.
For those of you who do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, you can gain access to God by turning from your sins and seeking His forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is the complete blotting out of all dirt and degradation of our past, present, and future. It gives us a direct access to our Heavenly Father.

Father, Thank You for allowing me to lay my sins at the foot of the Cross. Lord, help me to be aware of the wrongdoings in my life and be willing to confess them to You.  Thank You for Your forgiveness.
Georgia Andrus

Without Excuse

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 
Romans 1:20



I sat on our patio in awe of the beauty that surrounded me. The daffodils were swaying their bright yellow heads in the gentle breeze. The camellia bushes were showy with their red and pink blooms.  The sky was royal blue. A variety of birds were hopping around in our yard. How can people not believe in God?

Our Scripture for today, written by the Apostle Paul, tells us that we have no excuse for failing to seek God, to worship Him, and to thank Him. God’s eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in His creation. God’s revelation of Himself in nature is available to everyone.

Nature shows us a God of might. Acts of nature and the birth of a baby give us evidence of the power of God. The petals of a tiny flower or the color of a beautiful bird show us evidence of a God who is a God of detail and order.

Creation alone is enough to give us a general knowledge of God. Therefore, Paul tells us that we are without excuse when it comes to knowing God. As we look around and see all that God made, we can clearly see His invisible qualities.

Are you guilty of rejecting the knowledge of God’s existence? Perhaps there is something in your life that you are putting in God’s place.

We cannot plead ignorance of God. We have seen what He is like from His world. God makes things plain to us. We must not suppress the truth.

Why not take a short break from your hectic schedule today and observe the things around you—beautiful colors, blue skies, a variety of trees and plants, sunrises and sunsets. God’s works prove His being.

Georgia Andrus

Don't Be Anxious

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7   


Can you imagine never being anxious about anything? I can’t. In his book, “Day by Day,” Billy Graham says, “Historians will probably call our era ‘the age of anxiety.’” We become anxious when our hopes are not centered in God and His will for us.
Someone has said that the anxious person and the worrier are so preoccupied about what may happen in the future that they forget to live in the present. Is this true of you? I have to admit that I sometimes find myself in these anxious times. When this happens, we tend to make mountains out of molehills.

Much of our anxiety, I believe, comes from this electronic age. It keeps us so “wired” that we are too tense to find God in the midst of situations. In an airport recently, I observed people as they walked by. Nearly all of them were on their cell phones with frowns on their faces. Those sitting around me were glued to their IPads. We are never able to get away from work, worry, or phone calls when we load ourselves down with electronics.

In today’s Scripture, Paul counsels us to not be anxious about anything and to take everything to God. Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything! As Paul writes this passage, he is chained to a Roman soldier, guarded day and night. Yet, he has the peace of God. This peace comes when our hearts and minds are fixed only on God.

Maybe it is time that we set some boundaries on the time we spend on smart phones, smarts TVs, and all of those things that claim our attention.

Throughout the New Testament Jesus tells us not to worry or to become anxious. We are to fix our focus on God and His righteousness. When we trust Him, He will take care of everything in our lives.

Georgia Andrus