The Daily Encouraging Word Devotional
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“God has not given us a spirit of fear.” 2Ti 1:7 NKJV
To overcome financial anxiety, you must: (1) Understand where your anxiety comes from. Unless your name is Bill Gates, the chances are that you’ll experience some degree of financial anxiety. But when fear becomes your fixed state of mind, something’s wrong; it’s time to unwrap the package. Fear can be hereditary, passed from generation to generation. And it can trap you in a cycle that’s hard to break. But you can break it! Gideon tore down the altar where his family had worshipped idols for generations—and they were angry with him when he did it (See Jdg 6:25-30). But Gideon knew that in order to win in life, he must trust in nobody but God. (2) Rise above your past failures. Have you made bad investments and now you’re afraid to take a risk? Are you hoarding as a hedge against future failure? Here’s the problem: nothing ventured, nothing gained! In baseball the players who make the most home runs strike out more often than they score. But they know that unless they step up to the plate and swing the bat, they can’t win. A barn filled with seed doesn’t produce a harvest. Furthermore, when the farmer plants his seed, drought and frost and pests can wipe him out. Yet if he doesn’t plant, failure is guaranteed. Getting the idea? (3) Anticipate God’s goodness. As you get older you become more risk-averse, more inclined to look for a safe harbor. That’s understandable, but you can’t let fear control your life. David wrote, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps 23:6). When God’s goodness is what you’re believing for—God’s goodness is what you’ll “surely” get!
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Ps 56:3 NKJV
The solution to financial worry isn’t necessarily having more of it. Indeed, the more money you have, the more you have to lose. And the thought of losing it can cause you to worry more, not less. It’s a vicious cycle. Trying to find security in money is like tying a boat to a dock; when a big enough storm comes along, the ropes will break and it’ll be swept away. So since we all wonder when the next economic storm will hit, what’s the answer? More rope? Stronger rope? Tighter knots? No—that just gives you knots in your stomach! For the next few days let’s look at some Bible answers to money worries: Tackle your fear head-on. The Psalmist said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Now, since David was a king he probably didn’t worry a lot about money, right? But he did worry about his enemies stalking him, catching him off guard and killing him. We each have different areas of worry, and the ones that control us are called “core fears.” Sometimes you can keep them at bay; other times they control and consume you and make you act in ways you’re not proud of. Christian financial advisor Ron Blue says that for years he was trapped by the fear of not having enough money, or losing what he had. Folks around him didn’t know it, but it’s what drove him. Today he’s a best-selling author and financial counselor to multitudes. But to get there he had to confront his core fear, and trust more in God than he did in himself. And so will you.
“He came seeking fruit on it and found none.” Lk 13:6 NKJV
Jesus said: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’” (vv. 6-9 NKJV). How long have you been serving the Lord? What are the tangible “fruits” of your service to Him? We’re not all capable of the same level of productivity. Jesus taught that some of us have thirtyfold potential, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold (See Mt 13:8). It’s your faith and your gifting that determine your level of productivity. For example, God doesn’t expect a “thirty-folder” to produce a sixtyfold harvest. He’s not an unreasonable taskmaster. But if this parable teaches us anything, it’s that God won’t let you just sit on your hands and do nothing. The words, “cut it down,” are a sobering reminder of this. God is patient. He will work with you year after year in an attempt to bring you to the place of spiritual maturity where you can fulfill the purpose for which He brought you into His kingdom. But if after all His efforts you refuse to produce fruit, He will go elsewhere and find what He’s looking for. Bottom line: in the end God’s purposes will be fulfilled!
“The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Ps 19:8 NIV
The Psalmist writes, “The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” God can put an idea in your mind that changes the direction of your life. Marconi had an idea from which came the radio. Bell had an idea from which came the telephone. God, Who’s a creator, gives creative ideas to people all the time. But you must act on them; otherwise He will give them to somebody else. Isn’t it time you asked Him for one of His ideas for your life? The fact that you believe in God is wonderful. But here’s something equally wonderful—God believes in you! Instead of looking at your present situation and thinking, “I guess my life’s as good as it’s ever going to get,” start asking, “Lord, what do You have in mind for me?” If you let it, life can beat you down and make you feel low, lost, lacking, and limited in ability and potential. And if you act on these feelings and thoughts instead of what God says about you in His Word, you’ll never move forward and fulfill what He put you on this earth to do. You say, “God has never given me one of His great ideas.” Maybe that’s because you have never asked Him for one! He gives them to seeking hearts, prepared hearts, faith-filled hearts, and obedient hearts. Here’s a profile of the kind of person God gives great ideas to: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night…Whatever he does prospers” (Ps 1:2-3 NIV).
“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Ge 32:26 NIV
Jacob got off to a bad start in life. When it came to business practices, he had more angles than a pyramid! First he ripped off his older brother, Esau, then his father-in-law, Laban. Then one night the Angel of the Lord showed up in his tent and Jacob wrestled with him until daybreak. As the sun rose, the Angel said to him, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” At that point the Angel told him he would no longer be called by his old name, Jacob, which means “deceiver,” but by his new name, Israel, which means “a prince with God.” Up until this time Jacob thought making money would make him happy, but it didn’t; it almost cost him his family. Sound familiar? But after wrestling with God he received a new name, a new nature, a new walk, and a new future. Isn’t that what you want too? Well, the good news is—you can have it! The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Co 5:17 NKJV). Jacob was a self-made man. The problem is, he wasn’t enjoying the life he’d made for himself. He didn’t know he’d been born for a purpose greater than merely acquiring “stuff,” and it was only in God’s presence that he discovered this. His story in a nutshell is this: Jacob is who he was. Esau is who he wanted to be. Israel, a prince with God, is who God made him. And God can do the same for you if you let Him.