“As Far As the East Is to the West”

Forgiven_0009_Group 1

by Dona Hake

Throughout November I would like to share about things I am thankful for. I am so thankful for the price Jesus paid at the cross that I can be forgiven. Yet I think of the many times that I receive forgiveness but have a hard time forgiving myself.  Have you ever done that?

I am so thankful that He believes in fresh starts and He is so merciful to us.  Our sins can be forgiven and as far as the east is from the west, He remembers no more.

I can still remember our one little dog we had.  He was such a sensitive dog and always wanted to please us yet every once and a while he would get into trouble.  One day I returned from teaching at school and I walked through the door exhausted.  Right in the middle of the floor was a big pile of kleenex carefully chewed up and left for me to see.  Our little dog every so often would decide to exhibit his anger for being alone during the day and would head to the garbage can and do his shredding skills.  I verbally told him that he was a bad boy!  He tucked his tail, lowered his little head, and the sad eyes were just tearing me up.  “Don’t you do that again!” I said.  I proceeded to love on him and he still looked so guilty and exhibited body language for me to follow him.  Into another room he led me to another one of his carefully shredded messes.  After I scolded him for that one and warned him,  “No more of this!”  I gently reached down and pet him to let him know I still loved him.

It was not until he felt I saw it all that his conscience was clear and he went on about his little day.  I just will never forget that because it was so precious.  We too must always make sure that all we feel wrong about is taken to the Lord that we can be forgiven.  The Lord desires we be totally cleansed and He does not want us to live in guilt and torment.  Again I want to mention the importance of forgiving yourself.    I am ever so thankful for His mercy and loving forgiveness that is always there for me no matter how bad I mess up.  God is good.

 

Psalm 103:12 (CEB)   “As far as east is from west— that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.”



“Maintaining Focus”

focus

by Dona Hake

It really bothers me when I feel like I am unable to focus and keep myself totally into what I am trying to accomplish.  Focus and the ability complete a task makes one feel so great.  Recently I was photographing with one of my very nice zoom lens.  I kept noticing that it would not focus.  Rather than nailing what I wanted to photograph it kept jumping around to other things within my frame.  In the process of trying to get it to focus I was actually getting half dizzy because I would see things sharp as a tack and then all would go blurry.  It puzzled me because it just would not lock on anything.  I inquired with someone knowledgeable and they asked me to make sure that there was enough contrast.    In other words whatever I was aiming for there needed to be a relative difference between light and dark areas.

After much observation I came to the conclusion that there was something going wrong inside the lens, and it is being repaired.  I began to think about how many times we can have ourselves aimed and yet we are unable to lock into what we are to be doing.   Do you ever have those moments where all seems clear and then it all goes out of focus and blurs your “vision”?   Many times we can be doing all the right things to accomplish our goals and things we are responsible for and we struggle because we lack focus.  It is in those times that we need to stop and evaluate what may be hindering us from the inside out.  Maybe you are preoccupied with a problem or you may be thinking too much about something in the future.  Regardless of what it is we need to be able to stop on a regular basis and make sure all is at peace within us.

Psalm 57:7 (AMP)

“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident! “

When our hearts, minds, and eyes are fixed on Him we can be confident that we will remained focused to do all that is needful and everything we put our hand to will prosper!

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“Thriving and Being Ruled By His Peace”

Peace rules and reigns

 by Dona Hake

I would venture to say that maybe you have already had a good breakfast to get your day started, and it is because you know how important it is. There are certain things you purpose to eat and do to keep and maintain a healthy body.    I see such a pursuit among people  to  stay healthy, look younger, be stress free, etc…   People will do anything for their goals to be met.  Goals and priorities are so good to have because it causes you to discipline yourself for the end result that you desire.

I bet if I asked a handful of people if they would love to have peace ruling in their heart and mind that they would absolutely exclaim, “Yes!”   I love when I feel like my heart is full of His peace no matter what is going on about me.  I have yet to meet anyone that says they work toward turmoil, stress, and anxiety to always be present in their minds and bodies.  God did not design us to live in worry, stress, and fears.  Doctors will tell you the harmful physical effects this has on ones body and emotional well being.  I want to share a great scripture with you today.

Colossians 3:15-Amplified version

“And let the peace soul harmony which comes from Christ

rule act as umpire continually in your hearts deciding

and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds,

in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ’s

one body you were also called to live…”

In this scripture Paul spoke of Christ’s peace being like an umpire or referee in our hearts.  His peace will settle all unrest and arguments that go on in your mind.  Our hearts and minds are the center of all conflict because this is where our  feelings and desires clash, our hopes and fears meet ,  jealousy battles with love, etc…    Ask Him to help you listen to the umpire of your heart.  He will instruct you in a way that peace will rule and reign no matter what.  It is God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.  Blessings to you this day!

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“In His Loving Hands”

holding me

by Dona Hake

Because His hands are strong, He steadies us.  When we are down, He stands us up and strengthens us by His power.  It is then that we can stay standing and go forward.

 

Yesterday I shared about the danger of a sheep being “cast down.”    David mentions this term several times relative to his soul being cast down.  He would pray things like, “why are you cast down oh my soul…hope in God!”   The loving shepherd is ever so watchful that none of his sheep are in the “cast down” position because it only means death if not caught in time.

 

You may be wondering how a sheep ends up cast down.  This is how it transpires.  A heavy or long fleeced sheep may lie down comfortably in some hollow or depression in the ground.  As it lays on its side it may stretch out to relax and suddenly the center of gravity in the body shifts so that it turns on its back and its feet no longer touch the ground.  The sheep feels a sense of panic and starts to paw frantically.  If it lies there too long, gases begin to build up in the rumen.  All this works together in a bad way  as it cuts off the blood circulation to the extremities of the body.  If not found and lifted back up by the strong arms and hands of the shepherd the sheep would definitely die.

 

This is such an interesting analogy to ponder.  For me I can see such a parallel to what depression can do to an individual.  David’s prayer makes even more sense as he prayed “why are you cast down oh my soul?…hope in God!     Depression and any devastating experience can cause you to just “lay down” and lose hope.  Thank God for our loving Shepherd and His watchful eye.  Let us call upon Him in those times when there seems to be no hope.  Call upon Him in those times that you have fallen and you know you cannot get back up on your own.  Oh what a loving Shepherd our Lord is!

 

Please feel free to share your comments on the bottom of the page!



“He Upholds Me”

He upholds

by Dona Hake

I picture in my mind David writing the Psalms in the quietness of the night while his eye was watchful over his flock of sheep.  I am sure that his days were long days some were more challenging than others.    Sheep have a way of getting themselves in trouble, and they can be helpless as well.  A good shepherd seeks to understand every aspect of the care of his sheep.

There are a handful of Psalms where David used the term “cast down.”   This is a term used for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself.  I want to make emphasis on *it cannot get up again by itself.   A “cast” sheep is a sad sight.  It lays on its back, and as its feet are in the air, it struggles frantically to get back up again.  Sometimes it will make little bleating cries for help and just lays there frustrated.  If the shepherd  does not arrive on time, the sheep will die. Since a sheep that is cast is in such a helpless state, it is also vulnerable to attack by predators.

I think this is such an excellent analogy of our condition at times, yet David would use this term within prayers such as “why are you “cast down” oh my soul…hope in God.”  I am sure we can all relate to times that we are down, feeling frustrated and helpless.

Psalm 37:24    Amplified Bible

“Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down,

for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.”

I encourage you that in those times of being down and feeling helpless that you would  look up for His hand.  It is there for you to grasp!  He will lift you up and put you on your feet again.  Our Lord is a good Shepherd!

If you desire to comment, feel free!  I would love to hear your thoughts…scroll to bottom of page and leave your thoughts.

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“Choices God Puts Before Us”

choose

by Dona Hake

Everyday we have choices before us.  It would be interesting to take note of all the choices that we make everyday.  What shall I eat?…what shall I wear?…what words should I speak or not speak?…who should I associate with?…etc…    In life there are so many different types of choices.  Sometimes you may make a wrong choice that may just bring inconvenience. It may not matter if you choose one  route over another to travel to work but today the route you chose was full of construction, and it made you late.   These types type choices may disrupt your day  but these days will happen.  On the other hand there are choices we may make that could bring us heartache and cause us to bear painful consequences that we must bear the rest of our lives.   It is sad to see an individual’s life completely altered due to one poor choice or decision.

God has given us choices as well relative to making wise decisions based on His Word and instruction for our lives.

Proverbs 8:10-11   (NIV)

 “Choose my instruction instead of silver,

    knowledge rather than choice gold,

for wisdom is more precious than rubies,

    and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

In this scripture God is showing us that even the jewels that we could ever possess that are incredibly expensive do not measure in value to His instruction, His wisdom and knowledge.  Think about it…NOTHING we could ever desire no matter how wonderful can compare to the worth of His great riches !!

 

I invite you to leave a comment if you wish!  I would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional…just scroll to bottom of page!!! Have a blessed day, Dona

 

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“Love’s Giving Strength”

 

 

 

Love's giving strength

 by Dona Hake

 

Think about times in your life that without the help of others you would not have made it through a particular hardship.  Never underestimate the times that you have felt prompted to pray for someone and you had no idea of what they were walking through.  Simple obedience in such a matter could mean a major victory in an individual’s life.

 

God desires to use us to be a strength to those around us.  I find this scripture interesting as well as applicable to the thought I am bringing to you today.

Proverbs 20:12

“It was the Lord who gave us eyes for seeing and ears for hearing.”

He wants to use your eyes to show you what He is seeing and He wants to use your ears to hear the hearts of people around you.  Let us ask the Lord to help us to see and hear the cry of people around us.  I have had times where I might see a complete stranger and I see pain in their eyes and I walk a way and just whisper a prayer for them.  I more than likely will never see nor speak to them ever again yet I believe the Lord uses us to possibly change situations through such simple prayers.   Also, do not be fooled by those that seem so strong and happy on the outside because they may be falling apart on the inside.  Again, see people’s hearts with God’s eyes and you will not miss such things.

 

Keep your ears and eyes open to those around you.  Never take the position that you have to know all the facts before you can pray.  If you see or hear pain…just pray.  No fancy words…just pray.  God wants to use you and I to reach down and strengthen those that need our help.  God bless you!



“Sufficient Grace”

 

sufficient grace

 

In the scriptures (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)  Paul spoke of calling out to God to help him. Paul had enough of dealing with problems and he begged God that the whole issue would depart from him.  God’s response…”My grace which is my favor, my lovingkindness, and my mercy are all that you need.  My grace is sufficient against any danger and it enables you to bear this trouble manfully.  My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves MOST effective in your weakness.”

Paul’s heart was totally toward God and he realized that all he had to do was allow God’s grace to rest upon him.  One translation implies to allow God’s grace to rest as a tent pitched upon us.  What an awesome way of looking at dwelling and drawing upon His wonderful grace.

Paul then said, “when I am weak in my own human strength, then I am truly strong, able and powerful in God’s strength.” Paul saw that God’s grace was all that he needed.  He saw that it was sufficient.  God’s grace is adequate for any purpose and it is always more than enough.   God’s grace is sufficient for us as well.  May we draw upon it as we live this life.



“Allow Him To Mold You”

Allow Him to mold you

“We are just clay, and You are the potter.

 

We are the product of Your creative action, shaped and formed …”

Isaiah 68:8 (the Voice)

 

We are the clay that He has to work with.  Let us remain pliable that He is able to work and form us.    One of the very first things a potter will do with that clump of clay is center in on his wheel.  For us to be worked and formed for His purposes we could look at it this way…

 

Stay centered on His “wheel”

and you will be in the

center of His will.

 

As I pondered this devotional my heart began to think about four things that will position us that He can continue to mold us.  I already stated the first and that is to stay centered or focused on Him.  The other things would be

*stay humble before God.

*stay humble before others.

*see yourself humbly for this will guard you from self deception, which is the worst of all deceptions.

 

Let us humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord that He may continue to work and form us for His purposes.

 

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“We Are the Work of His Hands”

Potter A

If you believe that there is indeed a Creator and you know that He formed you within your mother’s womb, then this image should speak volumes to your heart.   Everyone of us are still under the molding and workmanship of the Master’s hands.  His hands are loving and they work with purpose.  Some days we might not feel all that great on the outside and things may be a bit stormy on the inside but know this…God’s loving hand is at work in your life.

 

Isaiah 64:8  (the Voice translation)

“Still, Eternal One, You are our Father.

    We are just clay, and You are the potter.

We are the product of Your creative action, shaped and formed into something of worth.”

 

Next time you feel  tempted to question your own worth I encourage you to refer to this scripture.  Next time you feel put down by others or you feel you do not measure up to the world’s “plastic” images of success, remember this…

YOU ARE the work of His hand!  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!