“Your Life Is a Gift”

your life is a gift

by Dona Hake

It is indeed a busy time of the year.  I am sure many of you have been diligently shopping for gifts for all those special people in your life.   I love hearing people  speak of being mindful that Christmas is not about the gifts we give or receive but rather our focus needs to be on a wonderful God that sent His Son as a gift to all mankind.   As He transforms my life every day I live I am forever thankful for Him and how He delivered me into a life of His ultimate love, peace and joy.  I could never live without Him.

Your life is also a gift from God and you are a gift to people around you.  When He created you within the womb of your mother, He saw purpose, He saw a future for you and He has wonderful plans for you to fulfill.

Psalm 139:14 (GW)

“I will give thanks to you

    because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.

        Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”

Now I want to add to this thought that those that are in your life are also a gift.  No…I did not say they were perfect.  God has put family and friends in our life to love us, help us and walk along side of us during the good and the bad times.  I thank God for all my precious family members, and my friends, and especially my church family.  I think the more you go on you realize that the real gifts in this life are not those that come in boxes with beautiful bows but those He has called along side of us to do His will and help us when we need help!  Sometimes we just need to stop and remind ourselves of things that are everlasting because  these are the things that truly matter.

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“The Virtue of Patience”

patience and forgiveness

by Dona Hake

When I see people exhibit patience in trying and tough situations it always strikes me as such a wonderful strength. This strength may be part of your makeup yet we all have our limits in how much we can take. Only the patience that comes from above and developed within our soul is the patience that will help us forbear tough situations and people that seem to have that wonderful ability of pushing you over the edge, and flipping your switch!

Proverbs 19:11 (ERV) 

“Experience makes you more patient, and you are most patient when you ignore insults.”

I especially like this translation of Proverbs 19:11 because I think the more you go on in life and you walk through experiences you begin to understand things more deeply. In any trying situation IF you allow the Lord to teach you, you will walk away with more wisdom under your belt. Another translation brings even a different side of understanding to patience and forgiveness.

Proverbs 19:11 (MSG) 

“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.”

Today I want to encourage you to ask Him to help you grow in patience, and then take opportunity to extend forgiveness even when you would rather not. I promise you that what you feel as you extend forgiveness will keep your soul at peace. You will be glad you did!

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“Be Patient With Yourself”

patient with myself

by Dona Hake

It is vital that we continue to walk patiently with those we live with and work with.    There is also the whole realm of patiently waiting for circumstances to change in our life, but how many times do you think about being patient with ourselves?

 

As we pursue to grow in God’s love and in His Word sometimes we focus too much on what we are NOT rather that how far He has brought us.  With any work that needs done in us there needs to be a time of waiting for His loving hand to work.  I guess there are all times we wished He would work a bit faster, but His wisdom encompasses more than we will ever understand. As He works, He promises that the transformation will indeed happen, but remember sometimes we can tend to be impatient in that which we have to wait for.

 

Be encouraged today that as you are applying yourself to do that which is right and good in His sight that His loving hand is at work in your life.  Guard yourself from focusing on your weaknesses but rather the gifts, the strengths and abilities He has blessed you with.  As we keep our hearts humble and open to Him, He will be faithful to show us the areas in which we need to give  attention.  He leads and guides us into ALL truth in every area of our lives!  God bless you.

 

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“Our Life-His Fresh Canvas”

canvas of His Hand

by Dona Hake

A few years ago I was blessed to be able to take painting lessons from an extremely talented woman. Her paintings amazed me and I would sit in awe as she would  skillfully paint in front of us for illustration sake.  I can remember the times that she would show a different painting technique and she would sense my frustration as I was trying and she would stand behind me and embrace my hand showing me how to angle my brush, etc.   I loved this experience of learning  especially the art of learning to work through struggles or what I perceived as inability.

I can remember once I had almost completed a painting and I made a big mistake.  Well…in my eyes it was a big mistake, but in the teacher’s eyes it was an opportunity.  She would always encourage us that these so called “mistakes” are our opportunities to create.  She would tell us to have fun with it and see what comes of it.  I was amazed that many of my paintings had my “mistakes” hidden under what only the eye could see.   It was only me that knew that there was originally a mistake but it was turned around as a result of reaching into those creative abilities God blessed me with.

I learned from her also a life lesson.  Many times people trash whatever they are trying to do because of a mistake.  We need to see hindrances, hurdles, or mistakes as opportunities.  It is in those times if we allow the Master Painter to work on the canvas of our heart that we may see some pretty amazing outcomes.  Along with those amazing outcomes we can walk away with knowledge and wisdom for future application in our life.

Romans 8:28

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God “

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“In His Timing”

Wait, Rest, Receive Christian Background

by Dona Hake

We are so blessed and yet I can say at times that some blessings have spoiled us. What do you mean spoil us? I am glad you asked!!! I love all the modern conveniences that I am blessed with. The microwave makes dinner come quicker, and there are days that I certainly appreciate that. We go through the drive through window and we no sooner hand our money, our bag of food is being handed to us (sometimes even thrown at us!). Short and simple…we are way too used to reaching for something and we do not have to wait for it. Modern conveniences can spoil us in a way that we forget the importance of patiently waiting.

I think this has sadly spilled over into our attitude toward our loving God and how we see Him dealing with us. We pray a prayer and if it does not happen in the timing we projected in our mind, and immediately we are tempted to think that He did not hear our prayer. Maybe He answers our prayer and it was not how you imagined and you may be tempted to be disappointed with how He decided to solve your problem.

We must always remind ourselves that He has His timing, His wisdom and His understanding of exactly how to deal with us and the issues in life that we face. I thank God for the times that God seemed to delay answering certain prayers because along the journey of my wait He was working out other issues in my life. Many times He used those waiting times to bring my eyes to focus on areas of my life that needed His divine attention in order that He may help me in another area that I was not aware of. Be encouraged when you pray and remember to wait, rest, and you will receive!

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“Take Courage”

courage

by Dona Hake

 

“Life is not a bed of roses.” How many times have you heard that? To some it may be a cliche but there is much truth in it. I have seen many individuals walk through great adversity and quite honestly they seem to exhibit characteristics of extreme compassion and they have a beauty in character. They chose not to quit or be bitter but instead they stood back up in their weariness and took hold of God’s courage. The Lord has shown us in His scriptures that we need to hold fast to endurance and when we fall (and we will) we should stand back up with every bit of strength coupled with His strength and try again.

 

There is a price to pay in this life whenever you take risks, step out on a limb, and reach for goals. Life itself can trip you up when you lose focus. Sometimes it does not go the way you planned but take courage and try again. No, it is not always easy but with the help and strength that God is always willing to extend, we are able.

 

Proverbs 24:16

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again…”

Hebrews 10:36

“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”

As we stand back up let us embrace courage and try again. Continue to do His known will, step out in new paths that He shows you, and patiently endure that you may receive the blessing of what you are hoping for!

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“…Too Glorious, Too Wonderful…”

too glorious too wonderful to believe

by Dona Hake

Have you ever have something happen to you that was above and beyond what you ever dreamed?  These are experiences that serve to bless you with a special memory for a lifetime!    Sometimes experiences such as these are hard to articulate as you try to share them with others.  Today I was reading Psalm 139:1-6 and the last words are what really stuck out to me.  “…too glorious, too wonderful to believe…”   These words explain the acts and nature of our loving Heavenly Father.

 

Psalm 139:1-6  Living Bible

 

” O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit or stand. When far away you know my every thought.  You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it.  You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.  This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe!”

 

What an awesome thought to ponder.  God examines and knows our hearts.  As we trust the greatest of all Heart Doctors we can put our life in His hands.  He knows our whereabouts at all times and every thought is known whether it becomes words or not.  We are all on a path and He knows the footsteps of each of us.  He was there when you succeeded and He stayed by your side when your failed.   His loving hand holds tightly and faithfully remains your friend in spite  of how you view yourself.   He also  walks ahead of you to guide you.   This is just way to glorious and wonderful to believe.  These are thoughts that should help us all to trust Him more and know His loving Hand is upon us.  God bless you.

 

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“Grow In His Grace”

grace growing in it

by Dona Hake

 

Now that winter has finally arrived we no longer have to concern ourselves with weeds interfering with our pursuit of a beautiful, thriving flower garden. It always amazes me how weeds just grow. They need no help at all. They will thrive, take over and eventually choke the life out of your beautiful flowers. It is interesting how some things just grow all by themselves. I have to laugh when I here someone say to a child, “You are growing like a weed!!!!” Funny expression, yet true. A child growing up is a good and positive thing yet there are certain things that grow with no help that can be destructive to our soul.

The truth of the matter is that there are many negative things in life if left to themselves that will grow and thrive without any help at all. Think about the sin of bitterness and hate and how it can grow and take root and ultimately destroy one’s soul.

2 Peter 3:18

“Be careful that you do not fall from your strong faith. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to him, now and forever! Amen.”

We must purpose to feed on His Word that we remain strong. How silly it would be if we ate a good dinner this evening and think we could survive off of that meal for the rest of the year. No, we would become weak. Our body would become depleted in it’s much needed nutrition that we need for strength to live. As we ponder that thought let us also grow in grace and in the knowledge of God’s Word that our soul may be nourished and we remain strong. An individual remains strong in their faith because they purpose to stay strong. Let us purpose to stay strong and grow in His grace.God bless you!

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“Always Before Me”

always before me

by Dona Hake

Psalm 16:8     (KJV)

“I have set the Lord always before me:

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

I can remember photographing a few weddings and their location was an area that I never traveled before.  I was always ever so thankful for my GPS because as long as I stayed on it’s path I eventually got there.    I have to say that my GPS never let me down.  There were times it seemed to direct me in a round about way  but I had no choice but to follow it.

Many times in life you may need direction.   As we keep the Lord before us He has promised to get us there safely.  He promises to show us His wisdom.  That direction  may come from His Word or a wise person He has placed in your life.     There are so many ways He comes along side of us when we do not know how to get where we need to be.  As we stay aware of His presence in the journey we can trust Him,  He is well able to get us there safely.  Trusting Him in the journey is so vitally important because He may just take you a different direction than what you expected.  I believe those are the times that we get an even greater revelation of “all things work together for the good to Him that loves God.”

I can remember leaving a wedding one cold, rainy and very foggy night.  I was so glad that I had the GPS to get me home.  I have to tell you though that I was tempted to be shaken many times as I heeded to how it was telling me to get home.  You see, it was taking me home a totally different way than I came.  It made no sense and there were some frightening moments for me being alone on roads I never traveled.  Eventually I came to a place where I could leave out a sigh of relief that I knew where I was.  Many times our spiritual journeys can be like this as well.  Jesus will never fail us…He promised that.  Know that He will always get us to our destination in His time by His direction.   God bless you.

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“…Yet God Does Not Forget…”

god does not forget

by Dona Hake

Have you ever been forgotten?  Maybe there has been a time that you are walking through some rough circumstances and you just wished someone would inquire how you are doing.  I think we can all honestly say that we have walked through such times.  I have heard people speak at times when they are going through a very rough time and their words are revealing that they even wonder if God sees what they are walking through.

I think it would be wise for us to remind ourselves ALL the time how much God loves us and He is concerned about the smallest of details in our lives.  As we keep this fresh in our minds we will be strong in this truth as we walk through difficult times.

Luke 12:6-8  (NLT)

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins?

Yet God does not forget a single one of them.

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.

So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

I watch sparrows from my window everyday and to be quite honest they can be aggressive little things.  They are pushy with the other birds and they seem to want to take it all.  They almost seem to be perfect little analogies that just maybe they are afraid of where their next meal is coming from. When we get into fear of our future or we feel we are facing things alone, we too can act irrationally, pushy and try to work through things in our own ability.  God has His eye on the sparrow and He does not forget one of them.  Out of all the parts of our body the writer speaks of the hairs on our head.  When is the last time you tried to count the hairs on your head?  I would say that God is really keeping track of me if He has my hairs counted!

Let us be reminded that God knows and sees every detail of our life.  He sees your concerns and worries and as you look to Him, He will take care of you.  I just want you to remember that many times our prayers are answered differently than what we expected.  All is good in the hands of God!

Psalm 138:8 (KJV)

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy,

O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”




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!