“What About Joseph?”

what about joseph
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
As we read testimonies from the lives of people in the Bible, there is a great deal to learn.   As we ponder the birth of Christ, and how miraculous it was, it reminds us how God does great and mighty things.   His ways are higher than our ways, and way beyond what we could ever dream up.   I can only imagine how Mary felt when the Angel appeared to her with such shocking news.   Her first response….”How can this be?????”     But what about Joseph?
 
 
Today I want to bring some thoughts for you to meditate upon relative to Joseph in the story of the birth of our Savior.   I wonder how Joseph felt when he found out Mary was pregnant but he was not responsible for it.   He was in a tough position, and he knew it well.   Joseph was an upright man with some decisions that had to be made.    When Mary’s condition was discovered  it would have been customary, according to the Law of Moses, to stone her to death.    So Joseph had a plan…at least he thought he had a plan.    He had a plan, he pondered a thought, but there was a divine intervention.
 
 
Matthew 1:19-25 New King James Version 

19 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

 
 
“But while he thought about these things, BEHOLD an angel of the Lord appeared…”   As we ponder this portion of scripture in which Joseph had his own plan go up in smoke, let us learn from it.    Many times we too can have problems that may seem unsolvable.   We may dread the consequences of a problem we are facing.  We may be facing things that are so big, and we do not know what to do.    It is so easy to turn to our own reasoning and prepare a way of escape in our own mind, but all of a sudden God intervenes!    Have you ever experienced God intervening in a situation?   I know I have!    I hope this encourages your heart to look to the Lord first of all, and allow His intervention in every area of your life.    We serve a God that is the greatest problem solver ever!


“Jesus Isn’t Just the Reason…”

jesus is not just the reason
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Probably as long as I can remember being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christmas season arrives, and we see and hear…”Jesus Is the Reason For the Season”.      I know there are many  that truly understand keeping things in perspective over the holidays but I have to say that there are many who do not.   In the thirty three years  of being a Pastor’s wife I have seen so many people walk through the celebration of Christmas, and it sometimes has been a pure struggle for them.   For many it is a time of pain and loneliness.   For others it is nothing but memories of those that are no longer here, and it makes their hearts constantly reach into the past wishing it was the same.   I too had both of my parents sick during the holidays and they both died weeks after.   I had Grandparents that made our Christmas holidays such a sweet time, and those precious memories live on in my heart, but they have gone on to be with the Lord.
 
 
Our memories of our past absolutely can be put into perspective with the help of our Lord.   Also of great importance is the problems of today can be put in their proper place as well, again…only with the help of God.    There is a old Christmas song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.   This song is a 71 year old favorite of many!   I am okay with it until it gets to this part…
 
 
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, 
our troubles will be miles away.
   “
 
 
Great song, but can we please get real, and admit that there is NO holiday that makes our troubles go miles away from us.    God wants to deal with our problems no matter when they happen, and He does not want us to “shelve” things till we slip back out of a celebration.
 
 
This devotion that I am sharing with you today was inspired by a quote I saw the other day…
 
 
“Jesus isn’t just the
reason for the season.
He’s the reason for
every day of
our life.”
 
 
Help us Lord to keep this holiday in perspective, and remind us that You are our reason for living one day at a time!  Your Word says,  in Acts 17:28  ” It is in Him that we live and move and keep on living.”    Help us to recognize that we need to live the same each and everyday unto You, and for Your purposes.   As we gather with family and friends over this blessed Holiday, may we show your unconditional love and kindnesses not matter what.
 
 
 


“How Do You Reflect the Son?

how do you reflect the son
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
A year or so ago I was on my way home and one of the many churches I drive by had an interesting and inspiring quote on their announcement board.   It said, “How Do You Reflect the Son?” It was another one of those “selah” moments and great words that gave me a picture that challenged my heart. The more I thought about it, the more it inspired me to share with you what He showed me.
You know that God wants to use us to reflect the light of His light, life and love in this very dark world.
 
There are many that claim they do not need them. That’s okay if they want to claim that but we can still bounce light in their direction can’t we? Of course we can…and we should! God has commanded us to live as Jesus lived.
 


1 John 2: 6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
“Whoever says he abides in Him ought as a personal debt to walk and
conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted
Himself.”

 

 
We must remember that when someone is in darkness they do not realize that their world is without light. They do not realize what they do not see.  I can remember all too well when I thought I had no need for Jesus in my life?
 

When we engage with people we need to be ever conscience to be studying where they may be open to the light of God’s Word. God wants to us use to reflect His light into their lives that they can experience Him. You see as one experiences His love, light, or wisdom as a result of you sharing, you are helping them to see it is Him that they truly need to fill those voids in their lives.
 

Lord, we ask that You use us to illuminate Your Light, Life, and Love to everyone around us.   Speak to our hearts about those that are needing to hear about you.   We thank you for those divine opportunities to touch a person’s heart that desperately needs You.   Thank you Lord for coming into our hearts and making us vessels that carry your beautiful Light!   Amen.


“He Guides Us In the Living of Our Lives”

He teaches us in the way we should live
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
Psalm 32:8 (ERV)

 

” The Lord says, “I will teach you and guide you in the way you should live.  I will watch over you and be your guide.”

The Lord desires that we have Him guide us in every aspect of our lives. Today I am sharing this scripture in light of how we treat others. I love this scripture because the psalmist is proclaiming that the Lord has spoken that He will teach us and guide us in how we should live.  Today can we take time to meditate on how He can help us in how we see, and treat people around us?

 

 

Many times it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on people’s faults rather than the good things about them. God desires we LIVE to LOVE!!!! Criticizing is not showing His love in any way. The more you focus on anything negative in others the bigger it is going to become to you. Jesus admonished us with the following words from the book of Matthew:

 

Matthew 7:3-5 (ERV)

“Why do you notice the small piece of dust that is in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood that is in your own? Why do you say to your friend, ‘Let me take that piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself first! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You are a hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to get the dust out of your friend’s eye.”

I think the Lord clearly understands that we will encounter the faults and shortcomings of others but He desires that we handle ourselves in His love. The fault of someone could make your life miserable but it all comes back to asking God to guide you, and help you to deal with such things.

Today let us focus on Jesus’ last words of these verses, “Look at yourself first!” As we continually give our hearts and minds to Him, He has promised to teach us about all that we need in this life. Many times He may begin to lead you to pray for that individual that really needs help. As we are obedient to His process, He will take care of everything that pertains to us and He will lovingly deal with those around us. Let us also remember that the Holy Spirit is a complete gentleman and He will not impose Himself on anyone. The more we pray for others, the more our heart will be enlarged to love and carry people in prayer rather than be critical toward them.



“In God Alone We Find Our Rest”

find rest my soul
 
Psalm 62:5
American Standard Version

 

“My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; For my expectation is from Him.”

 
 
 
 

Thoughts, worries, and fears have a sly way of pulling and tugging at our souls.   They start out many times as little thoughts, “no big deal” worrying, and little fears that we are convinced we can handle on our own.   If not dealt with any of these can snowball, and become big and out of control.   In this scripture in Psalm 62, the psalmist was commanding his soul to be quiet and wait upon God.    He spoke out that his expectation was from him.   There are those times that we too need to speak to our souls and command them to quiet and be silent so that we can be at peace as we expect from the Lord our God.

 
 
 
I would like to also share from Psalm 116. The psalmist begins the chapter by exclaiming, “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice…” He proceeded to say that he knew God’s ear was toward him and then he said, “I will call on Him as long as I live!”
 
 
 
You see this psalmist understood that death was staring him in the face and he had no where to turn. I am sure that what the writer went through was terrifying and he stops and reminds himself of who and what his God is all about.   Here as well he tells his soul to return to it’s rest.  This is what Psalm 116:7-9 says.
 
 
 
“Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”
 
 
 
I believe this chapter in Psalms can also serve to remind us that in trying circumstances we absolutely must call on the Lord for our help and we must purpose to meditate upon  His love and care over us.   Let us be diligent to think upon  these truths that our souls may be calmed. As we walk before the Lord in the land of the living, let us rejoice in His mighty works He has done in our lives!
 
 
 
 
Father, remind us that we can truly expect from You, for You are true to your Word.    Help us Lord in those times in which our souls are lacking Your peace.   Remind us to speak up and call our souls to return back from to the sweet rest that You have blessed us with. Amen


“The Power of the Tongue”

death and life
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Have you ever seen someone appear to fall apart as a result of someone being unkind to them or a word spoken that was hurtful. Many times people may not realize that the careless word they just spoke could potentially put a hurting person in a very bad place. If a person is walking in a place of despair and discouragement and they feel there is no way out, they need lifted up. Oh Lord, help us to see with your eyes the hurting people around us.
 
 

There is a cliche I have heard often. “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back!” Usually this is said when someone just seems they cannot go on and they throw up their hands and just give up. The idiom the straw that broke the camel’s back is from an Arabic proverb about how a camel is loaded beyond its capacity to move or stand. Many times people become paralyzed by fear of failing again or they just feel they can not go on any longer.
 
 

Proverbs 18:21 (GNT)
“What you say can preserve life or destroy it;

so you must accept the consequences of your words.”

 
 

The truth is our words carry power that not only affects us but it has the power to affect others. On a positive note I love to think of the power of one encouraging word. Have you ever been there?…you are about to give up, and one person speaks one powerful encouraging word and out of no where you just feel that with God’s help YOU CAN!!!! There is power in our words. Never underestimate the power of death and life in our tongues.   May we guard our tongues that we speak words that bring health, healing, and joy to those around us.



“No, Our Love Should Be Real!”

no our love should be real
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
God is looking for us to put feet to His love, and walk out His ways. He is desiring that we put action to that which we know we should do. There is a scripture that says, “In Him I live and move and have my being.” Acts 17:28 He so desires that we act according to His Word and walk away from our ways that do not exhibit His love and character. There are those that need His love and we need to avail ourselves to Him that He can flow through us.
 
 
 
We must remember that there will be times that He may call upon us to help people and it may just make us have to go one more mile than what we had intended. Many times His love will stretch us and that is a very good thing. It is in those times that His love will be shown and we too will grow as we give of ourselves. I think it is a good thing for all of us to be pulled away from our comfort zone and put in a place we have to rely on Him to help us to do things we never thought were possible!
 
 
 
Oh how liberating it is to know that when we are real with God, He will show us great things that He desires to do through us. We will then be positioned to act from our hearts and exhibit His love in a real way.   Today may we be encouraged that God can enable us to show His real love by the things that we do for Him and for others.
 
 
 

1 John 3:18-19 (ERV)
“My children, our love should not be only words and talk.

No, our love must be real.

We must show our love by the things we do.

That’s how we know we belong to the way of truth.”



“Trust Is a Must”

trust is a must
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!”
 
 

 

We live in an age of information and it is readily at our finger tips. In many ways it is so wonderful and time saving how you can get information about almost anything. While this is good it can distract us, and keep us from fully trusting in the Lord. Sometimes we can be tempted to pick and choose what we think is the right thing to do according to head knowledge rather than the will of our Lord.

 

 

Today we are focusing on living a life of trust for it is a must as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the scripture says we need to trust Him from the bottom of our hearts and stop trying to figure everything out. Many times God has a totally different route He desires to take you and you need to be willing to walk in the direction He has chosen.  Sometimes His paths that He is establishing for you are ones you may feel uncomfortable with.   If so, let us trust Him as to how He has decided to walk beside us.

 
 

 

I think there is a key word that God wants us to keep before us and that is the word HUMILITY. As we stay humble, we will be thankful for the knowledge, gifts and talents He has blessed us with but we will keep them in their proper place. As we remain humble, we will always be looking to acknowledge His ways in everything that we do. He can indeed teach us to trust Him with all of our hearts and He will make those places that have seem crooked and confusing completely straight.



“No Crib For His Head”

no crib for his head
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
 
The birth of both of our sons was such a joyous time for my husband and me.    I can remember about two weeks before my due date I was having a weekly checkup and I told my Doctor that I felt I was going to go before my due date.   I can still remember him pulling out his date book.   He told me he had a fishing trip planned, and he was canceling it.   He said, “I never ignore a woman’s intuition, especially one that is pregnant!”      Sure enough I went within a few days.    When both my sons were born we choose a particular method in the hospital that our Doctor honored.    While I was in labor we had worship music playing, and my heart was kept at peace through every stage of labor.   In the delivery room I had requested the lights remain very low and the only light used was Doctor’s light for him to deliver our sons.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
As peaceful, worship music filled the room, I had also requested that everyone talked softly.  Immediately after the birth of each of our sons, our Doctor did anything necessary, and our son was handed directly to me to embrace.   After that he was handed to my husband, and placed in a bathtub of water the same temperature as the womb.   As my husband held him in the water, he prayed over him and spoke softly.   What a beautiful bonding time that was during both births of our sons as he held them for the first time.     I can honestly say that childbirth has been one of the most beautiful things that I have ever done in this life.   To witness the miracle of life being brought forth with my husband is a a sweet, joyous,  and precious memory.
 
 
 
 
So today I am reflecting on the fact that there was no room for our Savior to lay down His head after He was born.   The fact Mary was ready to give birth, and she had no clue where it was going to happen makes me wonder what her thoughts were.  I cannot even begin to imagine what this poor young woman had to deal with.  Mary and Joseph had no choice of location nor did they have nice  accommodations that we so easily take for granted.  Let’s look at what Mary had to face in her time of delivering the Son of God.     Let us read the story from the book of Luke.
 
 
 
 
Luke 2:4-6  New Life Version 

 

4 “Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in the country of Galilee to the town of Bethlehem. It was known as the city of David. He went there because he was from the family of David. 5 Joseph went to have his and Mary’s names written in the books of the nation. Mary was his promised wife and soon to become a mother.

6 While they were there in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth to her baby. 7 Her first son was born. She put cloth around Him and laid Him in a place where cattle are fed. There was no roomfor them in the place where people stay for the night.”

 
 
 
 
 
This portion of scripture reminds us that  Jesus came to this world and the only place available to lay this newborn King  was a manger, the place where animals would feed from.    I am very sure that Mary’s environment for the birth of Jesus was not very peaceful nor comfortable either.    The other evening as I was driving my Granddaughters home we stopped at a manger scene, and I shared with them what it must have been like for little Baby Jesus.   I told them it must have been noisy and stinky, and certainly not an ideal place for a newborn baby.   I always love watching their little faces when I share such things with them.     These pretty little manger scenes that we see on our Christmas cards certainly mislead us as to what it really was like.
 
 
 
 
  Today I would like you to think about how he still searches for hearts that He may reside in.  Many hearts still refuse to make room for Him.  Before we were saved, our heart was  a place that was cold, full of unrest, and  confusion. Yet Jesus was willing to come and take residence in our hearts as we invited him in. I encourage you today, as you encounter people whether it be at work or wherever in the marketplace, to think and pray how you can be used to display the love and light of the presence of Jesus Christ.  
 
 
 
 
Lord, help us to recognize the heart that is full of confusion and has great need of you, for their life is empty.   Show us how to shine the light of His love that they would see their need to open their heart and make room for our loving Savior.    Amen.
 


“It’s the Little Foxes…”

its the little foxes
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
This is written in scripture and has become cliche…”It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.”   These eight words carry much truth and can be powerful to our souls if we heed to them.      Something can be in full bloom,   and looking beautiful and healthy, yet if a little fox if permitted to roam in the vineyard, there is going to be trouble.
 
 
 
I had an upsetting experience on yesterday morning.   While preparing my oatmeal, I was  pouring in some raisins, and one  raisin fell on the floor.   My German Shepherd was standing right beside me and gobbled that  raisin up in no time.  I immediately got on my iphone and checked for what I should do.     For those of you that do not know, grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to dogs.   It can cause kidney failure.    I googled it into my phone, and I just felt I needed to give my vet a call.   As soon as I told the technician that my 75 pound dog ate one raisin, she was quick to put me on hold and get right to the doctor.   She came back to me, and said that I needed to induce vomiting on Aasha right away.  The vet felt that as big as she was that the raisin probably would not affect her, but we were not taking ANY chances on it.  I heeded to their advice and induced vomiting.
 
 
 
 
Now let’s look at the old saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”  I almost was not going to call but I just wanted to be on the safe side of the whole thing.   My vet felt the same way.     How could something so small be such a potential hazard?   Yet it can be, and I have knew of a  pet owner losing her dog to kidney failure from ingesting grapes.    I have got to say that inducing vomiting on Aasha was extremely unpleasant for me to do.    Honestly, I did not want to do it, but I love her too much not to have taken this measure.  She looked at me with those beautiful sad eyes as she kept vomiting all over my kitchen floor not once, but five times.   Even though it  made me upset to have to do it, sometimes in life you just gotta do the right thing no matter how unpleasant it is.
 
 
 
 
Now, can we look at this and use it as an analogy of how the smallest of things can be poison to our hearts and minds.    How many times do we feel we can afford one little thought, one little word to escape our lips.   Seems harmless to us, yet that one little thought or one little word could be poisonous to our soul, and cause us great pain in the end.    We must be aggressive with ourselves, and go to what ever measure we need to and rid of poisonous things in our life.  
 
 
 
Today, I encourage you to guard the vineyard of your heart and mind.   Guard it with all vigilance and care.   It is those times that when all is blooming beautifully that we can be deceived and miss those “little foxes” that are assigned to destroy us.    God is able to cause His wisdom, grace, and all that we need to keep our hearts guarded. 
 
 



6 Responses to “Devotional”

  1. Lisa Viands says:

    This is a good way of teaching the kids to forgive each other(Matt. 5:7). I like the power of this gentle scripture and lesson… Thanks!!

  2. Selena Neely says:

    Ralph &I are really enjoying your devotional together.

  3. Selena Neely says:

    Oh, what a wonderful reminder! I want to break the magnifing glass of worry and trust God for each step I take.

  4. Dona Hake says:

    It is interesting Selena how the more we worry the bigger and more magnified things get in our minds. Oh how important it is to trust our God for the smallest of things! Thank you for sharing!