“In His Presence”

presence is His joy

by Dona Hake

Nehemiah 8:10 (Amplified)

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.”

This is one scripture I have heard many say that is one of their favorite Bible verses.   It is important that we are always purposing to stay in His presence because this is where His joy is found.     Psalm 16:11 says “In Your presence is fullness of joy.”   It is very easy to get caught up in the issues of life, get too busy  and just leave Him out of our affairs.  Let us never forget that He is called along side to help us.  His Word says that He will perfect that which concerns us.   He also knows every anxious thought that tries to torment us and rob our joy.

I like to think of being in His presence as having a constant awareness that He is listening to my thoughts and my words, and  He sees every action.    As I pray I can be fully confident that He is right there listening to me.  The more we strive to walk in His ways we will stay conscious that He is always present.  After all did He not promise that He would never leave or forsake us?  His joy in all of it’s fullness will certainly bring us every bit of strength that we need for each and every day of our lives.  Let us give thanks to Him that He has promised to be our faithful friend and He is always present with  us!

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“God Is Looking…”

Contrite Spirit

By Dona Hake

I marvel at God’s creation! I can remember being at Niagara Falls and The Grand Canyon and it caused me to release a deep breath in awe of God. How did He do it? These ponderings should always position us to be reminded of how great our God is! In the book of Isaiah is is written

“My hand made all these things
and brought them into being, says the Lord.
But here is where I will look:
to the humble and contrite in spirit,
those who tremble at my word.”

As God in Heaven proclaims what He did with the work of His hands He goes on to say, “but here is where I look…” I do not know about you but I want to know what God is looking for. After all the beauty and wonder of His creation He is still looking? I love this because it is reminding us that God’s eyes are moving to and fro watching for the one that will ALWAYS put Him and His Word first and reverently respond to what He says. He is looking for those that even when they mess up they admit they are wrong and receive His forgiveness. He is watching for the man and woman that desires to be humble and respect His Word above their own opinions and thoughts. He is watching you and your heart.

Let us be reminded today that His eyes are looking and watching for the one who will listen and hear what He is speaking. Know that He is waiting for someone that He can use for His purposes. Think about it…He made it all and in all it’s grand beauty He is still watching for those of a humble and contrite spirit. I encourage you today to think about how He desires to use you as you purpose to remain humble and reverent to His Word.

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“Continuing In His Light”

light in darkness

by Dona Hake

I was speaking with a gentleman yesterday and he was sharing how scared he was in a recent snow storms.  He was driving down the road and without warning he encountered a “white out.”    This occurs when the light reflected off the snow equals the light coming through the clouds.  He said what was most frightening was that he had no recollection of what was behind him so he feared stopping.  He was completely blinded with absolutely no visibility in front of him.  As I listened to him I could see how unnerving that had to have been.

God’s  Word tells us in Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  As I ponder this scripture and this man’s story it causes me to be mindful that sometimes in life all can seem normal and just out of nowhere an unexpected problem or danger can hit.  With no warning at all you may be faced with a decision that could affect many around you.

It is vitally important that we take seriously that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are connected with the light of His Word that we can know exactly what to do in such situations.   It is in those times that it seems like everything around you can just become dark.  The temptation to fear what your next step should be could cause fear to grip your heart.  Again, as we are walking along side of Him, we know all too well that He is faithful to show us exactly what to do.

light God is light in him no dark

 “The psalmist proclaims in Psalm 119:112  I have resolved to obey your laws forever, at every step.”  I believe this kind of  resolve in one’s heart  will always cause him to hold fast to God no matter what he sees or cannot see.    This is the man that will not be moved by circumstance but in faith in God alone.    We can be assured that our faith will be met by a God of total light because in Him is NO darkness at all.

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“When He Touches My Heart”

Heart He touches my

by Dona Hake

Last evening I was putting some wicker baskets away and after I hung them I was almost certain that I had gotten a splinter from one of them.   I could not see the splinter because it was so tiny so    I went down to my office where I have a magnifying glass with light behind it.  Sure enough there was a splinter that I would never been able to see without magnification.  The thought of taking a sterile needle and digging it out made me cringe, yet to leave it there would just cause an even more painful problem.  I decided to remove that splinter and even though it was painful, I was so glad it was out.

This reminds me of how many times the Word of God will expose things within us that are ever so tiny.  Sometimes there are things in our hearts that we think are okay to leave alone.  He well understands that our problems start as a seed and if let go it will gain momentum and cause us painful consequences.  We can choose to leave these “little things”  alone and bear painful consequences or allow Him to deal with it.    Sometimes the dealings of getting our hearts right isn’t always the most comfortable, but when it is taken care of, the healing will surely begin.

Hebrews 4: 12 – 13 (PHILLIPS)
” For the Word that God speaks is alive and active;

it cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword:

it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet,

to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being: it exposes

the very thoughts and motives of a man’s heart.

No creature has any cover from the sight of God;

everything lies naked and exposed before the

eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

I am so thankful that His Word is able to cut  right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of our heart.  No one knows us better than the God that has made us!   He loves us so much and desires to lovingly deal with our hearts that we may continue to go forward and grow in Him.

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“He Hears Our Voice”

Prayer God hears

by Dona Hake

I would like to 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.    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 serve to remind us that in trying circumstances we absolutely must call on the Lord for our help and we must purpose to remind ourselves of His love and care over us.  As he said, “Return to your rest, my soul for the Lord has been good to you…”   We too need to remind ourselves of 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!

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“The Power of Perseverance”

perseverence

by Dona Hake

While driving yesterday I saw something that I never saw before.  With gusts of wind of 40 m.p.h. I looked up and saw a large bird flying.  What was very odd at one point is that even though it was flapping it’s wings it was literally not moving forward.  It dawned on me that it was flying against the gust of wind.  Every so often it would go forward and then it was just flapping it’s wings but going no where.  I saw a wonderful analogy in this as I pondered what I saw.

That bird was doing all it knew to do.  Although the strong winds were coming against this bird’s flight, he just continued flapping it’s wings.  He was not moved by the fact that he was going no where at certain points nor did he look like he was panicking.  He  kept doing the only thing he knew to do.  He never once looked like giving up, he  just kept persevering against the wind.

Many times in life when the winds of trouble come against us and serve to slow us down or stop us, we too need to just keep doing all we know to do.  As we make the decision to stand in faith, it is almost a guarantee that we will be tested, yet God can keep us standing firm and unmovable.

Ephesians 6:13 (AMP)
“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that

you may be able to resist and stand your ground

on the evil day [of danger], and, having done

all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”

Just know that as you remain steadfast in your faith and His purposes that He is able to keep you in the difficulties and obstacles and He will cause us to rejoice in the victory!

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“Lay Down Your Burdens”

slide-02

by Dona Hake

Look closely at this picture and notice the burdens this individual is giving to the Lord.    Maybe you can put yourself in this image and think about the burdens you may be carrying.    You know, the Lord does not want us to try to carry any burdens.  He came to set us free from those things and as we make the decision to turn them over to Him, He promises to help us with them.

Psalm 55:22
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee…”

I like the absoluteness of this scripture…”HE SHALL SUSTAIN THEE…”   Burdens will hold you down.  Burdens will keep you from moving forward into your dreams.  Burdens will flat out keep you from being free. God desires that you give Him every burden in order that He may anchor you in His hope and He also promises that you will not be shaken or moved.

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Matthew 11:29-30  (NLV)
“Follow My teachings and learn from Me.

I am gentle and do not have pride.

You will have rest for your souls.

For My way of carrying a load is easy and My load is not heavy.”

I just want to encourage you to make sure you are not carrying burdens.  Your help is from Him and all you have to do is ask Him to take that burden.  He promised He would and He is faithful to do that which He said in His Word.

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“His Unfailing Love”

love unfailing

by Dona Hake

As a little girl I can remember one of my Grandmothers having a wall plaque and it had three powerful words written on it…”Jesus Never Fails.”    Those three words always intrigued me.   I would wonder how He could be so perfect and how impossible it seemed that there was someone that could not fail.  His unfailing love just seemed too hard for me to comprehend.   Just the thought of someone never messing up and always being there for me just seemed too great and unreachable.

“…but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in Him.”

Psalm 32:10b  NIV

As you purpose to trust Him with all of your heart He promises to surround you with His unfailing love.    Amazing isn’t it?  Just to try to fathom that His love is incapable of failing.    His love knows only faithfulness.  His love has no beginning and it has no end.   Because His love has no limits,   He promises to always be there as our  faithful Friend.

 

When you feel like no one understands or you  feel like you are standing alone, know this…if you put your trust in Jesus, He promises to never fail you, leave you or forsake you.   A God of perfect love desires to come along side of you  and encompass you with the beauty of His never ending, unfailing love.

 

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“Peace Can Belong To Us!”

peace in abundance

by Dona Hake

What does it mean to have abundant peace? This sounds like such a treasure doesn’t it? Daily our lives face disruptions that serve to dampen the peace that we strive to hold fast to. I do not know about you but when I feel His peace in the midst of turmoil it is the most wonderful thing to know. Face it, sometimes it seems like all is going well and suddenly it goes downhill fast. It is only His peace that can minister to your heart and mind and that very peace will keep you afloat. The Psalmist speaks that if we love God’s instruction, we will have abundant peace that BELONGS to us.

Psalm 119:165 (HCSB)
“Abundant peace belongs to those
who love Your instruction;
nothing makes them stumble.”

Peace in abundance means that it is present in great quantity; more than adequate and over sufficient! I love the “more than adequate” because sometimes in stressful situations, you not only need peace for yourself but extra to share with those around you. That peace that belongs to you not only keeps you but it can spill out and touch hearts around you.

There is one thing the Lord asks that we do and that is to love His Word. I believe that loving His Word means to embrace it no matter what is going on around us. Loving His Word means looking daily to it for our instruction in the way that we are to walk. His Word is our instruction manual for life. As we love His Word and make a decision to do what it says, He promises that abundant peace belongs to us. I thank Him for that peace!

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“The Power of Simplicity”

Simplify

by Dona Hake

This image is probably one of my favorites of flowers that I have ever shot. It certainly is not the most beautiful flower I have ever seen, but the image speaks a quiet and beautiful message to my heart. One damp, overcast day I was driving and it caught my eye. Standing alone it reminded me to stop and observe the simple beauties of life. You know, we could probably all admit that we do not do this enough. I am purposing more and more to just keep as much simplicity in my life that I can.
As I try to keep myself reminded to keep things simple, I am ever on guard to see when my mind is tempted to be cluttered with unnecessary things. If we allow certain thoughts to stay too long in our minds, they can be birthed into cares. We just need to decide which thoughts are worthy of remaining in our minds. The Bible tells us to think good things, things that are honest, truthful, full of virtue, etc… These are the thoughts that you want to take permanent residence in your mind. They are well worthy of keeping!

1 Peter 5:7 reveals another secret to keep our heart and mind in a state of peace and simplicity.

1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties,

all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all]

on Him, for He cares for you affectionately

and cares about you watchfully.”

The beautiful secret this translation speaks is to cast the WHOLE of your care. Have you ever cast (or at least convinced yourself that you did) your care to find you keep thinking about it? If we do not cast the whole care toward Him, we therefore hold onto a bit of it. This will never be conducive to a quieted mind. I believe as we purpose to keep our mind and hearts refreshed, clean and in order, we will enjoy what simplicity really means. Lord, help us to rid of the unnecessary things that keep our attention and take up room in our hearts and minds. God bless you!

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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!