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.


NIV is used unless otherwise noted.



Intimacy with God

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1

  
My husband and I put our home on the market, and it sold in three days. We were restoring my grandmother’s home as a place for family and friends to gather. Because of the quick sale of our home, we moved into the home we were restoring. I have spent a lot of time scrubbing, scraping, and sorting. The move and restoration process has not only made me do a lot of physical organization and inventory, but spiritual inventory as well. 

I have been thinking a lot about my spiritual core values. Our core values are what guide and propel us in life. What we value, we take to heart and implement in every area of our life. Having clearly defined spiritual core values can lead to great accomplishments and success in our walk with the Lord.

Having an intimacy with God is one of my spiritual core values. I admit that I often get busy and distracted and find other things competing with my desire to spend time with God. I have been guilty of drifting in my devotion to Him. However, my Father desires to commune with me daily.

Having an intimate relationship with God requires a commitment. We need to have a special place where we can meet with God daily. I personally feel it is best to have a devoted place for time with our Father, so it takes on a sacred quality. There we can focus on the Lord and hear His still, small voice.

Having an intimate relationship with God requires time. We have to learn to meet with the Lord daily and then learn to wait on Him. We have to trust Him and give Him time to speak to our hearts and answer our prayers.

Having an intimate relationship with God requires reading and meditating on Scripture. That is where God speaks to us, shares His promises, and reveals areas in our life that need correction.

Having an intimate relationship with God requires an attitude of humility. When we are full of pride, we don’t see our need for the Lord and will resist His guidance and correction.

Having an intimate relationship with God will result in a great reward in our lives. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” 

Father, we were designed for fellowship with You. Fill us with Your incredible joy as we spend intimate time with You.

Janet

Keep it Simple

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Isaiah 46:10


A few months ago we sold our home. We wanted more time to discern what God’s plan was for our future, so we are living in our farmhouse. It is much smaller that our former home, about half the size. Many of our things are in storage because the farmhouse was already furnished. I am realizing just how many extra things I had in our larger home. We are living comfortably with a lot less stuff.

This move and time of transition has made me think about the need for keeping my life more peaceful and not so full of the stress and chaos. I am spending more time focusing on my real purpose and evaluating my priorities. I want to be able to spend more time being still and knowing God. God wants to be first in my life. He wants me to grow closer to Him each day. In order to accomplish His will and not mine, I needed to simplify. 

Let me share some of my experiences on this journey.
  1. I had to confess that my life was cluttered and out of order.
  2. I had to make my relationship with Him a top priority.
  3. I had to evaluate my schedule of activities. Saying “Yes” to some and “No” to others.
  4. I had to get organized. I got rid of clutter. I planned and shopped wisely to be a better steward of my time and money.
  5. I am turning off the computer, phone, and TV more often to spend more quiet time with God and quality time with my family. 
Jesus paid a high price so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He offers peace, joy, and contentment. What about you, dear friend? Is there an area of your life that you need to simplify? What needs to stay? What needs to go? What needs to change?

Father, help me to be still and know you. Help me to keep my life simple and focus on the purpose and plan you have for me.


Janet

Winning on Our Knees

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6


I never participated in sports while growing up, but by nature I am a very competitive person. I like to win and be a part of the winning team. When I face spiritual competition I want to be victorious as well. In order to have spiritual victory we must fight through prayer, and sometimes those prayers should be offered while on our knees.

How do we win battles on our knees? We take our requests to our Holy Father and lay them there. It is not a quick prayer that we say at mealtime, before we hurry out the door, or as we go to bed. Instead, it is taking time to seek the Lord’s face and listen for His answer.

Why should we seek to win through prayer? Prayer assures us of victory. We see this over and over in scripture. God’s servants fell on their faces before a Holy God. Daniel prayed before being thrown into the lion’s den, along with many others. Battling on our knees with the Lord means we are not doing it alone. We have a strong and mighty force on our side. Through prayer we connect to the power of the Holy Spirit. All that we will accomplish for God will be done with the power of the Holy Spirit.

What does the battle plan look like as we prepare to win victories through prayer? First, set aside time to be alone with God. Find a quiet place and meet with the One who can help you. Second, listen for His voice. The Lord desires to know each of his children, but we will never know Him until we are willing to be quiet and hear His voice. Third, don’t be surprised when other issues in your life that are causing defeat are revealed to you. Repentance and surrender are necessary to experience God’s best for us. Fourth, remember that there can only be one leader. We can express our desires, but God does not take orders from us. We must allow Him to work on our behalf. Last, understand that battles in life are one of God’s tools. All that happens in our lives God allows, but He will work for our good if we surrender to Him alone (Romans 8:28).

Father, we desire to be victorious through You. Take the battles we are fighting today and turn them into good in Your way and in Your timing.


Janet

The Storms of Life

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Matthew 8: 25-26


How many of you can relate to the feelings of the disciples in our passage? Have you ever been caught in a storm in your life? Have you had a time when your problem seemed too big and your faith was too small? Have you ever felt threatened by the storm and its uncertainty?

I can remember some storms in my own life and family – a brain tumor, breast cancer, a painful divorce, life threatening injury, job loss, emotional struggles, an aging parent with dementia, financial difficulties. You probably have a list with some similar storms and other storms as well. We all go through storms in life. Jesus and his disciples were no different. They, too, went through storms.
  
In seconds our lives can be changed as the result of a storm. When things look bleak and dark, what are we to do? We must look for Jesus to show up. He will not keep us from going through the storm, but he will keep us in the midst of the storm. The storm may seem very fierce, but He is greater than the storm.

What are we to do when we are going through a storm in our life?
  • Cry out to the Lord for help. With just a word He can move on our behalf, and we will experience a great calm.

  • Trust and know God has our storms under control. He knows when they are coming and when they will end. He knows how to get us through.
  • Rest in God. He will take care of us through the worst storms life brings our way.

Let us learn to focus on God in times of trouble and adversity. As we do so, we will discover He is doing important spiritual work during these “storms of life.”

Father, help me to have faith during the storms in my life. You are at work in my life and will see me safely through each and every storm. That is the way to victory!

Janet 

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

If I go up to the Heavens, You are there, if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the
far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand holds me fast.
Psalm 139: 8-10


I love being a grandmother. My grandson, John, has brought such joy and fun into my life. I am thankful for the special times we have shared and the memories we are making. One of his favorite expressions is, “Hold you Nonna! Hold you!” Although he is asking to hold me, what he really wants is for me to pick him up and hold him close. Isn’t it sweet how children express themselves? I cherish those moments that I have to hold him for they pass so quickly.

Our Scriptures remind us that we, too, have someone that is holding us and is always near to us. The one who holds us was born in a stable long ago. He is the Hope of the world, the Grace that saves us, and the Love that heals us. The presence of Jesus is inescapable in our lives. Once we place our faith and trust in Him, we can never be separated from His strong hold.

In the Old Testament, God told Joshua that He would never leave him or forsake him (Joshua 1:5). That same promise is ours today. God will never leave us nor forsake us; no matter the circumstances, no matter the diagnosis, no matter the financial struggle. We can rest assured that He will hold us fast as our scripture proclaims.

What is the issue that you are struggling with today? Is it a circumstance that seems too big? Is it a health issue that evokes fear? Is it a financial issue that is overwhelming? Let the promise of the Psalmist speak to you. Be mindful that you are never alone. If you are in Christ, then you are held by Hope.

I love the assurance of the old hymn, Safe in the Arms of Jesus.

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast;
There by his love o’ershadowed,
Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember that you are my Hope, and I am always safe in Your Arms. Thank you for always holding me no matter what I face in my life. Help me to trust in You for strength and assurance.


Janet