Many Christians in today?s fast-paced world are unable to find the time to study the word of God; others read the word without gaining insight from it. This can be frustrating for Christians who are seeking a way to apply God?s holy word in their lives.
In Daily Encouragements with Purpose, author Dennis Berdecia offers messages to be read daily, except for the day of worship. These devotionals help you apply biblical principles to contemporary life and provide guidance for living out the Christian faith. Addressing practical concerns that challenge Christians from all walks of life, the lessons help you reflect on God?s word and the meaning behind it for the day-to-day walk.
Through scripture and prose, Daily Encouragements with Purpose strengthens and encourages Christians. It seeks to arouse the curiosity of those who are inspired by God?s word and to embolden them to reach out to God for more strength, just for today, giving comfort to believers in Christ.
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Daily Encouragements with Purpose
Keeping Strength in God's Perfect Word
By Dennis Berdecia
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Dennis Berdecia
All rights reserved.
Strange Things Will Happen
No two days are the same; every day of your life will be different. And every day, you can make that difference. As a child of Christ, the first thing you must do every day is get into the word of God and, in reading His word, learn to apply it to your own daily walk with Christ. Never set foot outside your house without God's instructions and encouragement for you.
The next step is to plan out your day. Remember, there is no guarantee but one—that if you are saved and your heart stops beating, you will be in the presence of the Lord. So plan your day and look forward to it. Because, as good as you may be at planning, things can go wrong. You might have planned out your day very carefully, but the most important thing is to maintain a good spirit and keep in mind that if something can go wrong, it will. So don't be surprised when nothing works out the way you expected and the only way you can describe your day is "just short of a disaster."
Don't get me wrong—there will be many peachy days. But these unexpected storms can feel like the end of the world at times. That's when you should be still and pray to your Lord and Savior, asking Him to bring calm to the storms of life. While you pray, keep in mind what Psalm 46:10 (NASB) says: "Cease striving and know that I am God." This is God's command, to stop panicking and trust in Him. An interruption in your daily plans can make you feel like you're having the worst day of your life. But when unexpected events change your plans, don't look so hard at the problem; just pray and look deep into the word of God, and you will find peace in the midst of the storm. Never look at your problems as if they are ruining your perfect day. Look at them as ways to build up your Christlike character and test your faith. Most of all, give God the glory, even during your stormy time.
The Bible says,
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Pet. 4:12–13 NASB)
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7 NASB)
Don't let the problems of this world make you lose focus on the blessings God has for you. If you abide in the Son of God and His word abides in you, the Holy Spirit walks with you and God the Father blesses you and protects you. Isn't that awesome? Remember that you are blessed—so ask whatever you wish, but keep in mind that it must be in the will of God. He has a purpose for you, and being miserable is not one of them.CHAPTER 2
Holding on to the Word of God
I have said this numerous times: There is nothing like reading the word of God to start your day, especially if you are working on your Christlike character. Jump-starting yourself with the word is awesome. The feeling is indescribable, and the final thought that goes through your mind is a desire to please God.
I think every day is an opportunity to demonstrate the new creature you are in Christ Jesus. You will encounter people who don't recognize the word of God and decide to express their hearts to you in an abusive way. There is one thing you should do at a time like this: remember how your life was before you came to Christ. You were no different than those people who speak to you harshly. So be quick to listen and slow to speak, because you are a new creation in Christ. And please remember this: Christ took on your sins on the cross, and through His sacrifice, you were forgiven. Therefore be quick to forgive and slow to anger, for you were once like those people.
The Bible says,
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:17–19 NASB)
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Eph. 4:29 NASB)
Be at peace within yourself, and do what the word of God teaches you to do. Proverbs tells us, "Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge" (Prov. 14:7 NASB).CHAPTER 3
When Times Are Difficult and You Are Feeling Alone
You must maintain a strong faith in Christ Jesus in good times and especially in hard times. Don't forget to dedicate some of your time to one-on-one prayer with God. You must learn to trust God in all His wisdom and understanding, so walk in a manner that is pleasing in His sight; don't walk in accordance with the world's standards.
You have faith in Him, you are communicating with Him, you trust in Him, and you are walking with Him. So walk with that deep-down confidence that He will deliver you from difficult times. Remember, you are not alone. Jesus encourages us with these words: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever" (John 14:16 NASB). Jesus's word, another, is translated in the Greek as allos, or "two beings of the same kind." That helper is the Holy Spirit, who is just like Jesus, but in nonphysical form. And the Holy Spirit isn't just your helper when you call Him; Jesus says the Spirit is with you forever.
The Bible says,
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Col. 1:9–12 NASB)
When times are difficult and you are feeling alone, present to God the things that trouble you, and He will grant you the spiritual wisdom and understanding that you need. He will get you through those times. He has done it for me; He will do it for you.CHAPTER 4
Take Courage in Times of Tribulation
How nice it is to take a walk in the forest and enjoy God's creation, or to walk through your own garden and enjoy its beauty. But life also has its uglier moments. We've all heard sayings like "Life is not a walk in the park" or "Not every day is a bed of roses." In fact, every day might be a bed of thorns—and you won't get any sleep in that bed! As much as you might want to have a walk in a beautiful garden every day, most days will not be all roses. But God's word is beyond roses; His word will give you peace, insight, and strength for the day.
As Christians, we must not forget what Jesus taught us during His short stay on earth—and is still teaching us every day as we open up the Bible. His word is the light unto our path, so we should continue to search in His word, the Bible, seeking encouragement to get us through the day.
Keep your thoughts on Christ and His promises, so that when you encounter tribulation in your life, you will have the word of God and His plans for you. In His word you will find answers to your tribulations. The strength that you need is found in Christ's victory on the cross; He overcame all tribulations that evil threw at Him, and so can you. You might feel alone, but remember: you are never alone. Jesus says to take courage in your times of tribulation, and in Him you will have peace.
The Bible says,
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NASB)
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (Gal. 6:9 NASB)
When you lose focus on God, turning your eyes from His promises, your tribulations will have their way with you. Remember, God has given you His plan and His words of encouragement; all you need to do is follow them, and you will overcome your tribulations and find peace.CHAPTER 5
God Will Deal with Sin and Evil
As I was reading Revelation 18:21, I was reminded of the evil and unclean spirits that dwell on this earth. There is something sinful that lurks in this world; it is on its own path and campaign to distort and destroy all that is good. This particular scripture describes a mighty angel taking a great millstone and casting it into the sea—and that is the way the great city of Babylon and its violence will end, by being cast into the sea. Jeremiah 51:61–64 includes similar details about Babylon and its demise.
The word millstone is also used in Matthew 18:6 (NASB), which says this: "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." A millstone is a large stone used to grind grain. With something that heavy hung around the neck, someone would be at the bottom of the sea in no time. That's also where God has buried all the sins of the regenerate people who have given their lives to Christ. The evil deceivers and their followers will end up there too.
In His word, God sets out His own plans for the evil that dwells in this land, and it is very encouraging to see how He will deal with this evil, which prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. So when the devil tries to attack you with words or temptations, stand strong against his schemes. For the devil is seeking to drag you into the darkness and devour you, to bring you to a place of sadness, disappointment, discouragement, and hopelessness in your life. But remember that we are children of the light and the devil cannot harm us; he will bring trouble, but it is in our troubled times that God delivers us from evil.
The Bible says,
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. (1 Thess. 5:4–6 NASB)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1 Pet. 5:8–10 NASB)
These verses encourage Christians to be on the alert—telling us, in other words, "No sleeping on the job!" The evil forces out there will try to make you stumble and fall, so take a stand on God's truths and He will keep His promises. Remember, it is in troubled times that you will see the Holy Spirit in action.CHAPTER 6
Trust in the Lord
Do you trust in your own strength to lead you, or do you trust in the strength of the Lord? Samson leaned on the strength that God gave him, but he also toyed with it at times—and in toying with his gift, he allowed the enemy to get in.
Samson also desired things that were not good for him. In fact, Samson got his way all the time; his wants were his weakness, and they got him into trouble and eventually led to his demise. The Bible says, "However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel" (Judg. 14:4 NASB).
We must be wise with the gifts and blessings God gives us and not to take them for granted. Sure, God can turn things around in our favor, but still we must be wise in all that we do.
Let me use a good movie as an example. In The Lord of the Rings, there is a classic battle of good and evil when the king of the land puts his trust in the strength of his fortress, Helm's Deep, and the evil one finds a weakness in the fortress walls and gets through. The king relies on castle walls to keep him safe, and they fail.
When you depend on things made by human hands, not God's hands, for strength and protection, you might suffer the same results as the king of Helm's Deep. The enemy will look for a weakness in you too. You must stay focused on God and His instructions, and not put your main focus on your own gifts. Be careful that you do not become enamored by your own "strengths" and behave foolishly. For a reminder, read the story of Samson in Judges 13:24–16:31.
The Bible says,
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you."
(Isa. 41:10–13 NKJV)
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.
My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
(Prov. 3:19–22 NKJV)
We should never depend on our own strength, but on the strength of the Lord our God. In Him alone we should trust.CHAPTER 7
To Hunger and Thirst for True Life
As a Christian, ask yourself these questions: What do you most desire and hunger for in life? Is it worldly pleasures—or, to rephrase, to be comfortable in life? If so, can those pleasures give you the bread of life, quench your spiritual thirst, and promise you eternal life? I believe the answer to that is no. Because most people have a spiritual hunger, the desire for a relationship with God. Consider all the people in cults, searching for a spiritual connection, and the many corrupt prosperity teachers misleading people with lies.
There is nothing missing from the Bible, and nothing needs to be added to it. Christ's promises are true; the Gospels will teach you God's will, and they will never mislead you. But I will share this with you: the different books of the Gospels complement one another, revealing God's will through Christ Jesus the Lord. There is no other way but through Christ.
The Bible says,
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:35–40 NASB)
All you have to do is come to the Son of God and He will certainly not cast you out; rather, He will deliver you out of darkness and into His glorious light. The Son of God is doing the will of the Father; all you have to do is truly believe in Him. Don't turn from the promise that the Son of God made to you—that He will not leave you or forsake you. Your situation might make you feel bad, but all you have to do is call on Him and believe.
Excerpted from Daily Encouragements with Purpose by Dennis Berdecia. Copyright © 2014 Dennis Berdecia. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. Strange Things Will Happen, 1,
2. Holding on to the Word of God, 3,
3. When Times Are Difficult and You Are Feeling Alone, 4,
4. Take Courage in Times of Tribulation, 5,
5. God Will Deal with Sin and Evil, 6,
6. Trust in the Lord, 8,
7. To Hunger and Thirst for True Life, 11,
8. God's Divine Plan and Your Spiritual Future, 12,
9. You Must Become Like a Child, 14,
10. Be Wise to the Voice You Hear, 16,
11. Getting It Right the First Time, 18,
12. God Is Always Watching over His Children, 21,
13. God's Love for You, 25,
14. The Inner Person Prevails (The Outer Always Fails), 27,
15. God Keeps His Word, 29,
16. Making a U-Turn, 31,
17. When You Are Spiritually Weak, 33,
18. When You Think God Is Saying No, 35,
19. Walking in the Spirit of Love, 38,
20. Just Follow God's Instructions, 40,
21. Medicine for Stressful Times, 42,
22. Do Not Be Trouble, 44,
23. Life Will Have Painful Moments (Part 1), 46,
24. Life Will Have Painful Moments (Part 2), 49,
25. Checking Your Spiritual Condition, 53,
26. Whom Are You Mimicking?, 55,
27. Sowing and Reaping, 57,
28. God's Free Gift: Eternal Life, 60,
29. Are You Superstitious? (Part 1), 63,
30. Are You Superstitious? (Part 2), 66,
31. Feed on the Word of God Every Day, 70,
32. Don't Become a Shipwreck, 71,
33. Are Your Plans God's Plans?, 73,
34. Running God's Race, 75,
35. Be Committed to All God's Teachings, 77,
36. Virtues of Excellence, 80,
37. Pleasant Words Are Sweet to the Soul, 84,
38. Words of Encouragement or Words of Stone, 86,
39. Teach Your Children the Ways of the Lord, 89,
40. God Restores the Brokenhearted, 91,
41. Love and Forgiveness, 94,
42. Guarding Your Mouth, 96,
43. Receive the Messenger to Receive the Blessing, 99,
44. Do You Know What Tomorrow Holds?, 101,
45. Trust and Believe in God, 103,
46. Are You Still on Fire for Christ?, 105,
47. Share His Mighty Works with All, 106,
48. Physical versus Spiritual Health, 108,
49. The Purpose of Storms and Trials, 112,
50. God Walks with You in Troubled Times, 114,
51. Victory Comes Only through God's Word, 116,
52. Christ Is in Perfect Control, 118,
53. It's Just Another Storm, 120,
54. When Bad Things Happen to Good People, 122,
55. Every Day Has Its Good, Bad, and Ugly, 126,
56. You Are Never Alone, 128,
57. Plan and Manage Your Life Well, 130,
58. Seeking God's Favor, 133,
59. Patience in Our Christian Walk, 135,
60. God Is with You at All Times, 137,
61. Be Aware of Your Surroundings, 141,
62. Ignoring the Warnings, 143,
63. Trust in the Word of God, 145,
64. Never Walk in Doubt, 147,
65. Do Not Deviate from God's Message, 149,
66. Be Freed by the Truth, 151,
67. It's About the Inner Person, 154,
68. Choose Your Words Wisely, 156,
69. Don't Sign Your Life Away, 158,
70. Walking with Counselors, 160,
71. God Knows Who You Are, 163,
72. Express the Love Within, 165,
73. Are You Seeking a Blessing or a Curse?, 168,
74. The Most Exulted in Heaven, 170,
75. Don't Be Wise in Your Own Eyes, 172,
76. Making Vows or Promises, 174,
77. The Bible: Life for the Lost and Found, 176,
78. The Benefits of the Word of God, 179,
79. A True Friend in Christ, 183,
80. Change Is Uncomfortable, 185,
81. Looks Can Be Deceiving, 188,
82. Serve God with Virtue, 190,
83. Never Stop Praying for Loved Ones, 193,
84. A Woman of the Lord, She Shall Be Praised, 196,