The Daily Encouraging Word Devotional
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“God has not given us a spirit of…timidity.” 2Ti 1:7 NLT
One of the most famous intimidators in the Bible was Goliath. He boasted, “Come… and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1Sa 17:44 NKJV). But David didn’t have “a spirit of…timidity,” so he replied, “This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (v. 46 NIV). Intimidators count on you to wilt in the face of verbal attack. That’s why you must let them know you refuse to give in, and that you have the God-given strength to resist their tactics. God never intended anyone to oppress or dominate another person. So stand up for yourself today in His strength! And if you are the intimidator, ask yourself why you feel the need to gain power and control over others. Indeed, you may need the help of a seasoned counselor to help you work through it. Intimidators often grow up in a chaotic or negative environment in which they feel powerless to change their circumstances. As a result they vow never to allow their lives to be out of control again, so they seek control instead. But their so-called strength just masks their insecurities and fears. Whatever the cause, intimidators can never hope to have a meaningful relationship with anyone they force into submission. And since the spirit of intimidation doesn’t come from God, there’s only one other source—Satan. Understand this: God is in control of every aspect of your life, so you’ve no need to control, or be controlled by the behavior of others.
“Your Father knows exactly what you need!” Mt 6:8 NLT
Jesus said: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (vv. 7-8 NLT). When people say, “I don’t know how to pray,” what they usually mean is that they don’t know how to pray like us. They don’t know how to use our “Christian jargon.” Jesus says you don’t need to worry about getting the words right because “your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him.” God’s listening to our hearts more than our words. We don’t have to be self-conscious; He’s not grading us on how well we express ourselves. Compare prayer to breathing. You breathe instinctively without awareness and conscious attention; it’s a natural expression of our moment-by-moment dependence on oxygen. That’s how God wants us to engage in our communication with Him. He wants to be the air we breathe and the environment in which we live. Edwin Keith said, “Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the Spirit of God.” Through prayer we can live in continuous contact with God. Jesus said, “Pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you” (v. 6 TLB). Prayer isn’t a public demonstration of how spiritual you are. Communication with the One we love calls for getting alone with Him, away from interruptions and distractions. It’s about you and your Father having an intimate talk.
“Do not be quickly provoked.” Ecc 7:9 NIV
Angry outbursts are destructive in all relationships, especially in your home. Children are the most vulnerable to parental anger, and they mirror their parents’ behavior. We shape our children’s destiny by our words, behaviors, and attitudes, and if they’re raised in a home that’s consistently high-volume, they’ll react similarly. Your actions are training your children to be hysterical and violent. Soon everyone will be overreacting, flying into fits of rage, and attacking one another. When you exhibit tantrum-like behavior you’re acting out of a selfish need to get what you want, when you want it, in the way you think you ought to have it. Please—for your family’s sake—start acting like an adult; exhibit self-control. “Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6:12 NKJV). Notice, you must have faith and patience. You may not be able to control what happens in life, but you can certainly control your reaction. Whether it’s the anger a father brings home from the workplace, or a wife’s anger toward her husband, it can bring a curse. Simeon and Levi harbored anger in their hearts and became vicious and vindictive murderers. Because of this, a curse came upon them, and the anger was passed down from generation to generation (See Ge 49). You must break the curse by resisting the temptation to let anger dictate your behavior. In the words of James: “My dear brothers, take note…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (Jas 1:19-20 NIV).
“The Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all.” 1Th 3:12 NKJV
As C. W. Vanderbergh wrote, “To love the whole world for me is no chore. My only real problem is my neighbor next door.” Most businesses would benefit greatly if bosses truly loved their employees, and the workers knew it. Most marriages would be happier, if spouses heard and saw constant reminders that they were loved by their mates. Most families would be happier, if parents consistently and lovingly affirmed their children. Tim Sanders, who wrote Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, tells us love is the crucial element in the search for personal and professional success. He goes on to say that if life was an iPhone, love would be the first app you should add. Sanders is on to something! The greatest leaders are loving leaders—their followers, friends, and employees know they have their best interests at heart. Stop and think about this: Would you say the people who made the greatest and most lasting impact on you were the ones you felt genuinely loved and cared about you? Of course you would! And that’s how you’re supposed to treat others. The songwriter said, “Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay; love isn’t love till you give it away.” Here are four good reasons for saying “I love you” on a regular basis: (1) You need to say it. (2) You need to hear yourself say it. (3) Others need to hear you say it. (4) You need to hear it from others. So don’t be afraid to say those three little words! Once you start—you’ll never go back!
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Pr 14:12 NKJV
Imagine a long, dark hallway with a series of doors on either side. Written on each one is the name of an addiction such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, pornography, gambling, etc. Your teenager must walk down that hallway on their journey to adulthood, and their temptation to open those doors will be great. They can hear the beat of the music and the raucous laughter of their friends echoing from inside. The pressure to join them can be enormous. And it’s very difficult to convince a fun-loving adolescent that they should stay in the dark hallway, which seems so boring and embarrassing. Unfortunately for a certain percentage of individuals who open one or more of these doors, a tragedy begins to unfold. If a person is susceptible—and there’s no way to know in advance—he or she only has to crack the door an inch or two and a monster will run out and grab them. And some will be held in its grip for life. If you talk to an addict about his or her addiction you’ll learn that it probably began casually—with no hint that life was about to take a tragic turn. It all started with opening a door. Solomon bottom-lines it in two Scriptures: (1) “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us’…do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path” (Pr 1:10-11,15 NKJV). (2) “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”