The Daily Encouraging Word Devotional
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“Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’” Ps 3:2 NIV
Regardless of how badly you have failed or how often you have failed—God won’t give up on you. So don’t give up on yourself! Nothing you’ve done is beyond the scope of His grace. Others may give up on you, but not God. King David fell as low as a person can get. He was guilty of adultery, deception, and murder—all major-league offenses. But God forgave and restored him. He writes about it in two psalms. In the first psalm he writes: “Many are saying of me, God will not deliver him. But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side…From the Lord comes deliverance” (vv. 2-6, 8 NIV). In the next psalm he writes: “He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Ps 40:1-3 NIV). And the God who turned David’s greatest mess into a message, and his greatest test into a testimony, will do the same for you when you turn to Him and receive His forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
“Perfect love expels all fear.” 1Jn 4:18 NLT
God cares about you too much to leave you in any doubt about His love. The Bible says His “perfect love expels all fear.” If God loved us with an imperfect love, we’d have cause to worry. Human love is flawed; it keeps a checklist of our sins and shortcomings—and consults it often. God keeps no such list. His love casts out our fear because it casts out our guilt. John writes, “If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart” (1Jn 3:20). When you feel unforgiven, question your feelings but don’t question God. Go back to His Word; it outranks self-criticism and self-doubt. Nothing fosters confidence like a clear grasp of God’s grace, and nothing fosters fear like ignorance of it. The fact is, if you haven’t accepted God’s grace you’re doomed to live in fear. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist, or earthly possession can put your mind at ease. Those things may help numb your fear, but they can’t eradicate it. Only God’s grace can do that. Have you accepted Christ’s forgiveness? If not, get down on your knees and do it now. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us…and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn 1:9). The place of confession is also the place of cleansing and restored confidence toward God. Your prayer can be as simple as this: “Lord, I admit I’ve turned away from You. Please forgive me. I place my soul in Your hands and my trust in Your grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” Now, having received God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace—live like it!
“Meditate on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.” Php 4:8-9 NKJV
When you’re going through bad times, your goal should be to keep a good attitude. And with God’s help you can. Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Nazi Holocaust camp survivor, said: “If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life—an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the [SS] was unable to destroy. Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner, helped him to adapt, and thereby improved his chances of survival.” Here is some practical advice on keeping a good attitude in bad times: (1) Always believe the best about others, but don’t get bent out of shape when they disappoint you. Nobody is perfect, including you. Just be grateful for the people that bring joy, and endeavor to be counted among them. (2) When you are tempted to retaliate, judge, or become impatient, say to yourself, “This is an opportunity for me to model a great attitude for the glory of God.” You say, “But this person is driving me crazy.” Then refuse to be a “passenger” and go along with them. Take back the wheel, get into the driver’s seat of your life, and determine which direction you’ll go and what attitude you’ll have. The Bible says: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.”
“Carry each other’s burdens.” Gal 6:2 NIV
Mark Twain said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Why does the Bible say, “Carry each other’s burdens”? Because one person can only carry a burden so far on their own. American novelist John Kennedy Toole quickly discovered that. As a young writer he worked alone writing a novel in New Orleans. When it was finished he sent it to publisher after publisher, but they all turned him down. Overcome by rejection, he took his own life. Some time after the funeral, his mother found a coffee-stained manuscript in the attic and took it to a professor at Louisiana State University who agreed to read it. Immediately he recognized its genius and recommended it to a major publisher. After its release, John Kennedy Toole’s novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, won a Pulitzer Prize and was heralded as one of the major novels of the twentieth century. If only he’d surrounded himself with friends who knew how to share his burden, encourage him when he faced rejection, and motivate him to keep going, his life would have turned out very differently. So the word for you today is—“Find people who believe in you.” Encourage and support them, and welcome their support in return. Spend more time with those who sharpen you and make you better, and less time with those who drain your energy, time, and talent. The truth is, friends who speak encouragement into your life are priceless. Their words are “like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Pr 25:11 NIV).
“Those who fear him lack nothing.” Ps 34:9 NIV
There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. To get even a spark from a flint you have to hammer it. To get anything out of a sponge you have to squeeze it. But a honeycomb just overflows with sweetness. So which kind of giver are you? The Psalmist writes, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him…for those who fear him lack nothing” (vv. 8-9 NIV). Tithing is an act of worship. Of the 118 hours you’re awake each week, almost half are involved in earning money. So when you give God your money you’re giving Him your brain, your brawn, and yourself. When you go to the Lord’s house on the Lord’s Day, partake of the Lord’s Supper, and put the Lord’s tithe into the Lord’s treasury, it’s an act of profound worship. Now, let’s be clear: A God who paves heaven’s streets with gold isn’t going to go broke because you don’t give Him a tithe of your income. But you might! This sign appeared on a church marquee: “Give God a tithe in proportion to thine income, lest He be displeased with thee and give thee an income in proportion to thy tithe.” The act of tithing isn’t about the tithe; it’s about the tither. It’s not about the gift; it’s about the giver. It’s not about the money; it’s about the man or woman. It’s not about possessions; it’s about the possessor. As the songwriter said, “Were the whole realm of nature mine; that were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”