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.

Love your Brother and Sister

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God”, yet hates his brother he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command; Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
1 John 4:19-21



Do you have a sibling? Do you have a close friend that you would consider a brother or a sister? How is your relationship with them? Do you love them like Christ says we should?

The Bible tells us before we come before God we must first reconcile with your brother. The Lord does not want you to have broken relationships with your brother or sister. It was all apart of his plan for your life that you would have a brother or a sister. To turn away from them, to talk bad about them or to ignore them is also doing the same to Christ.

I know friend it can be hard when your brother and sister have done you wrong. When they have hurt you over and over again. How can you trust them, how can you forgive?

I love the story of Joseph and the forgiveness he gave toward his brothers. Realizing that the harm his brothers caused him was used by God to do great and wonderful things.

Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.(Genesis 50:19-21).

Dear Forgiving Father,
Please help us to have a heart change toward our brother and sister, who have done us wrong. Help us to forgive them, the same way you have forgiven us time and time again. Our flesh is weak and our hearts our broken. Give us the strength to take the next step, whether it is picking up the phone, speaking to them in person or writing a note. Help us grow in our faith as we display the love of Christ toward our brother and sister. We know that only you can heal our broken heart and disappointments. Holding on to anger and resentment only draws a wedge between us and you Lord and we will never be able to experience true fellowship and worship with that gap in the way.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Charity O

My Father and My Friend

“I cry aloud to the Lord, I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him, before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way.”
Psalm 142:1-3




Women love to talk!
We love to get with our friends and just share our lives up and downs, heartaches and challenges, love and romances, compliments and complaints. We just love to talk.

We can sit for hours with our girlfriend and just pour out our heart and emotions. Those sweet times with our friend can leave us encouraged, uplifted and rejuvenated.

However, I wonder how much of what we share with our friends, we share with God first? You see, we may share with our friend hoping for the right answer, or the right words of encouragement, when all the while God who is All Knowing, All Powerful, and All Loving is there waiting for us to share it ALL to Him.

So, let’s remember that when we have news to share, not to call, text or email a friend first, but kneel before God and telling Him your news. After all He is not just Your Heavenly Father but also Your Friend.

Dear Loving Father and Friend,

Thank you so much that You desire to be our friend. You want to know what burdens us, what brings us joy and what blesses our spirit. Help us to remember to turn to You first whenever we have news to share. We pray that You will continue to draw us close to You knowing that nothing can separate us

Thank you for the story of David and his transparency with You. David shared his deepest burdens and desires and You were always there to see him through.

We are so thankful to serve a God who cares for us. What a beautiful testimony that we can sing with assurance that – ‘I Am A Friend of God!


In Jesus Name,
Amen,

Charity O

Not Meant To Be A Loner

“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18

“Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12


Do you realize that we are not created to go through life alone?
God never meant for you to be a loner but to be in fellowship with others, serving and loving each other.

Heavenly Father,
Help us during our time of isolation. Help us not to just focus on ourselves but on those around us. It is easy to live life alone when we have been hurt and lied to. Help us Lord to turn those emotions into motivation to reach out to others.

Lord, you command us to love others around us. Help us to step out in faith as we reach out to people around us. Be patient with us as we slowly make our way back to trusting people again.

Lord you promise that you will “heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds.”(Psalm 147:3). Allow us to lean on that promise as we step out into the world and minister to others. Give us assurance that you can heal our heart that have been broken by those we thought were close to us at one time. We trust that as we walk in obedience to your Word that you can give us Your vision for people around us.

I Have A Friend In God!
Amen

Charity O

Sweet Surrender

Take your everyday, ordinary life...and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Romans 12:1 MSG


I’ve read that verse many times in different Bible translations. I find myself saying, Yes! I want to do that!

I am reminded of Jesus asking the sons of thunder, James and John, if they would be willing to endure the same sufferings that he would be going through. “Sure!” they replied confidently. However, they had no idea what that entailed.

Like James and John, I am eager to offer myself to God - as long as what he wants is in my comfort zone. Start moving beyond that and I get a little resistant.

I’m comfortable behind the scenes, away from the focus. A line in the movie The Princess Diaries pretty much sums up this sentiment. “My expectation in life is to be invisible. And I’m good at it!”

I received an email from someone who asked to interview me on camera for a show. No way! The same day God led me to today’s verse.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Did I really want to be living sacrifice?

But, God, does it have to be on TV? You know that’s not my personality. You made me this way.

Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this? (Romans 9:20).

I agonized over this decision for a couple of days before choosing to submit to what God wanted to do in and through me. Since my Father opened this door, I am willing to take a step and see where it leads.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a child-like ‘What’s next, Papa?’ (Romans 8:15 MSG).

Papa, may I embrace the wild ride you have for me in this wondrous, resurrection life!

Terri

What Was I Thinking?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5


I was reading the Bible one day about people who didn’t believe what Jesus said. I thought, I believe the Bible.

In my spirit I heard, “No, you don’t.”

I countered. But Lord, I believe the virgin birth, the resurrection, that You’re God’s Son - all those things people have a hard time believing.

“You don’t believe what I say about you.”

Oh, how true! I believed them about others but not for myself. I could quickly spiral into depression and self-loathing from others’ comments, actions or looks. I had a very poor self-image - that is, until I saw myself like Jesus sees me.

Paul wrote, we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. He states it as if it’s common knowledge, something we are all doing.

I certainly wasn’t! I was believing whatever thought popped into my head or whatever feelings I felt.

I searched hungrily for verses that I didn’t really believe about myself. I wrote them, read them and compared them against my thoughts. Wow! Many of the thoughts I had believed for years didn’t line up with God’s word.

Now the real work began. Falling into old thought patterns and feelings was my default action. I had to make a concerted effort to believe the truth. God has the ability to change our thinking in a moment but for me it took time. As in other areas of my life, the more I practiced, the more skilled I became. One day I was set free.

I’m not done. I still have other areas I’m working on, but I am determined to choose life!

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20).

Terri