12.26.16

 
Devotional for Sunday, December 26, 2016
“The Power of Expectation”
 
 
wise-men-b
 
by Dona Hake
 
Hope you had a beautiful Christmas Day.  Today it is on my heart to share with you the story of the three wise men that traveled with great expectation  to see the newborn King.   I love just imagining what it must have been like.   I wonder what went on in their hearts as they set out on this long journey.   One thing for sure and that is they knew what to follow and it was the grand star in the sky.  Let us read from the scriptures about these three wise men that traveled to see our Lord for the first time.  The Word tells us that they saw the same star they had seen in the east, and they followed it. The star went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was.  They were very happy and excited to see the star.
 
Can we just try to imagine how their hearts must have been overjoyed as they neared what was under that grand star.   Finally they knew in their hearts that they were going to meet this King that they knew was prophesied to come. 

Matthew 2:11    Easy-to-Read Version

11 The wise men came to the house where the child was with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened the boxes of gifts they had brought for him. They gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 
 

I always wondered why the gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   These gifts must have had significance.   I felt to research the song written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1857.    I thought that John Henry Hopkins’ interpretation of the gifts was interesting.

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.

 
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshiping God on high.
 

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia!, Alleluia!,

I enjoyed meditating upon this carol and how this composer saw each gift’s significance. The GOLD was an acknowledgement of Jesus becoming the King of all Kings!  The King that would never cease to reign.   FRANKINCENSE is a sweet smelling incense that he seemed to see as symbolic of our prayers, our voices and our worship to Him.   MYRRH being bitter is symbolic to the life and love of our Lord.   There would be bitterness in the sorrows, bleeding and dying that   He would face as He walked in God’s perfect will as He laid down His life at the cross.
 
I encourage you today to praise the living God that loved you so much that He chose to send His only Son just for you!   May we remember that His purpose was to come and set the captives free.   He came that we might be forever redeemed from sin and it’s destruction.  Let us worship Him everyday with sweet praise and adoration.   Let us live in great expectancy of the wondrous things that He has in store for us as we serve Him all the days of our life.
 
 


12.25.16

 
 
Devotional for Sunday, December 25, 2016
“Give Glory To Him!”
 
hark the herald angels sing
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
I have enjoyed studying  different Christmas songs and have been blessed by the lyrics of many.   “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, having been written by Charles Wesley.  Today I want to look at the first and third verses of this beautiful and joyful song. Certain words I have italicized for they really blessed me, and I want you too to look at them closely.
1st verse

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

 

3rd verse

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
 
God’s perfect plan for humanity laid in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes.   Hark the herald angels sang  “Glory to the newborn King!”    This child was not just a baby, He was the one that came to set the captives free.  Glory to the newborn King!      This was not just an ordinary birth…it was a child that would bear the Name “Prince of Peace”.    Glory to the newborn King!    He was the Son of Righteousness that brought His light and life to us.   He rose with healing in His wings.   The most important thing He brought to a lost and dying world was a second chance.  “Born to give them second birth”…..Hark! The herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King!”
 
 
This song just really touches and encourages my heart!    Today let us give glory to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!   God bless you and I hope you have a beautiful Christmas Day!


12.24.16

 
 
 
 
Devotional for Saturday, December 24, 2016
“He Illumines Our Darkness!”
 
 
light in darkness sept 30 2014
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Today I am sharing a memory with you that  a gentleman shared with me.  It was  his  dreadful experience in a snow storm.  He said 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.  It reminds me of those times in life that when trouble suddenly hits that we can know that our faithful loving God has promised to protect us and lead us on a path out of that trouble. 
 
Today let us consider those times in which we are blindsided by life’s unannounced difficult circumstances that render us helpless, and our hearts are tempted to fear.    There are those times that we are going about our business and out of no where we are hit with having to make a difficult decision.   It may be so difficult that our mind and heart are in total confusion.   You cannot see in front of you nor can you see what is behind you.
 
God’s Word tells us in Psalm 119:105  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”   “The psalmist also proclaims in Psalm 119:112 “I have resolved to obey your laws forever, at every step.” I believe this kind of resolve in our heart will always cause us to hold fast to God no matter what we see 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.
 
 
“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 us to hold fast to God no matter what we see 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.
 
  Lord, we thank you for Your light and divine direction in those times in which we need to see  which way to go. Thank you Lord for being our Great Compass as You guide us with Your light.  In Jesus Name! Amen.


12.23.16

 
 
Devotional for Friday, December 23, 2016
“Here Is Where He Looks”
 
 
creation Oct 2014
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Isaiah 66:2 (AMP)
“For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.”
 
Yesterday we meditated upon the magnificence of our God!   Today we are looking at a scripture of His proclamation of what He has done in the work of His hands, and He proceeds to say what He is looking for.  He says, “but here is where I will 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?  You see this scriptures tells us that our magnificent God has spoken wondrous things into existence but the humble and broken heart only happens when man decides to permit it to happen.  The humble heart is the act of man’s will, and it is a beautiful thing in the eyes of the Lord.  It is only the humble heart that trembles, respects, and honors His Word and reveres His commands.
 
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 that God is well pleased with the humble heart.    Know that He is waiting to use that humble heart for His special purposes to bring forth His glory. Think about it…He made it all and in all it’s grand beauty He is still watching for those who desire to be willing and obedient above all else. I encourage you today to think about how He desires to use you as you purpose to remain humble and reverent to His Word.
 
 
 


12.22.16

 
 
Devotional for Thursday, December 22, 2016
“Meditate Upon His Magnificence”
 
Psalm 145 November 4
 
by Dona Hake
 
Psalm 145:1-3
“I will lift my praise above everything to You, my God and King!
I will continually bless Your name forever and always.
My praise will never cease—
I will praise You every day;
I will lift up Your name forever.
The Eternal is great and deserves endless praise;
His greatness knows no limit, recognizes no boundary.
No one can measure or comprehend His magnificence.”
 
As Christmas day comes closer I am hoping you are all thinking and meditating upon the very real meaning of what it is about.   In the hustle and bustle of preparing for the day I have purposed to stop often and think about the magnificent thing did for us as God sent His only Son. How magnificent it was that He sent an angel to appear to Mary to proclaim that she would carry Jesus in her womb.    Think about the night the shepherds were about their business of caring for their sheep, and in the night sky there appeared the angels to announce the birth of Jesus.   I love thinking about His amazing grace and forgiveness.  How could we live without it? So many are the works of our God, and they truly are magnificent!!!!
 
Today I am encouraging you to think about how wonderful and good the Lord has been to you. Day in and day out He faithfully meets us as we open our eyes each morning. He is always there for us throughout our day. Even when we fall and mess up, again He is faithful. As the psalmist writes in verse three, God is much greater than anyone can understand!
 
The psalmist writes here that the Eternal is great and He deserves endless praise!  Have you ever tried to figure out the word “eternity.” I have, and it never ceases to leave me speechless and in awe. This is just one of the many wondrous things about God that are far above and beyond our comprehension. Have you pondered how great His love is toward you today? Is it not the most wonderful thing to know that He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you? Have you stopped and thanked Him today for His forgiveness and paused to try to figure out the depth of His compassion that forgiveness brings to you? I marvel as I think about how He not only forgives us but He totally washes us clean and restores our souls.   Oh that our praise toward Him for the salvation of our souls be great for He is greatly to be praised!
 
 
 
Oh the awesomeness and beauty of His divine attributes…His grace and mercy recognizes no boundaries and they are new each morning as we face new challenges. No, we will never be able to totally comprehend His greatness, but we can always continue to offer thanks and worship to Him for all that He is to us! Give thanks to the Lord for there is no measure of His magnificence!  Our Loving Heavenly Father deserves endless praise for His greatness knows no limit!!!
 


12.21.16

 
 
Devotional for Wednesday, December 21, 2016
“Response To God’s Ability”
 
responding to His ability
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
Corrie ten Boom simply yet profoundly put it this way…
 
 
“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”
 
Many times  we are faced with things that God has asked us to do,  and  we can discourage ourselves because we tend to try to accomplish them our own ability.  We feel deep down we are to do something yet there may be times in which we lack the confidence we need because we are so focused on our inability or where we are lacking.  Simply put…we are looking at ourselves, our lack, and inabilities rather that God.
Philippians 4:13 (AMP)
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”
 
Today I encourage you to look up and draw from Him.   Take hold of His abundant grace that He desires to impart to you.  Draw upon heavenly possibilities and God making you able through Him.  If you are dealing with something that seems too big for you, set aside your thoughts and plans.  Ask Him to infuse you with His strength and His thoughts on the matter.    The Lord loves when we do things with our whole heart and soul yet we need to keep check that we are NOT drawing upon our own wisdom or how others say it is to be done.   Remember, respond to His ability with faith in your heart for this is what truly counts!
 
 
 


12.20.16

 
Devotional for Tuesday, December 20, 2016
“Seeing the Not So Obvious Beauty Around Us”
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Today I will be sharing with you from some creative inspiration I experienced yesterday.   I belong to a photography group on Facebook, and I have come to know some very talented and sweet photographers from all over the world.   Our prompt for Monday was ~nature~.   One of the other members from Canada was chatting with me online the other evening, and I expressed to her that I was not sure if I would post for ~nature~ for things are so drab in my backyard right now.  I actually came to the conclusion to not even try.    So on Monday  morning as I was having my coffee I was challenged by a memory of a teachable moment I had with a photographer that I once worked with. We shot in a studio and did Senior Portrait photography for Seniors in the area in which I live.
 
Every once and a while we would encounter those precious young people that were not comfortable in front of our lens. You know…they felt everything was not perfect, and they we so insecure. They just did not want their picture taken.
 
This  photographer spoke these words to me, and I will never forget them… “Dona, anyone can photograph a beautiful person….it is those that are not comfortable with who they are that are challenges.  We must be able to capture who they are, and that is what beautiful truly is.” I believe that I really developed in that studio and learned how to truly photograph a person. I took that bit of  wisdom and learned in a big way how to get an insecure teenager to laugh and relax with me, and I was able to capture who they were…not who they compared themselves to. I used to love hearing them say, “I love these pictures of myself!!!”
 
So yesterday in the drab surroundings of my backyard I grabbed my camera, my puppy dog and her favorite ball and headed into the freezing cold temps to capture something beautiful!  It was my pursuit to find something that stood out as different and beautiful.   Believe me, I had to looked so closely for almost everything was dead and there was not much color to capture.   I just knew if I looked closely enough I would surely see it…and there it was!
day-19-nature-copy-web-sharp
 
There in the midst of berry bushes that had lost every leaf I saw  these pretty little green leaves refusing to die and drop off in freezing cold temps. In the midst of my not so colorful backyard, I just thought they stood out as something beautiful!    I learned a spiritual lesson from this as well.   It challenged my heart to the truth that sometimes there may be circumstances or people that are hard to deal with.  Sometimes it is just very hard to see the good, and we have to look extra hard, for it is there for us to see…if we just purpose ourselves to see.  You know that God sees something beautiful in all of us even though we may not feel so good about ourselves.   We too need to look for that beauty in people  the same way.   In difficult circumstances we may find it hard to see something positive yet our God turns such circumstances into opportunities for us to watch Him do wonderful things.
 
Today I encourage you to look a little closer at your surroundings.   You may just see something you have not noticed before.   Take extra time with that person that may seem so difficult, the Lord may just show you something that you are missing because you are so focused on the negative.   Our God is good and He has many surprises for us to discover as we look at this world through His eyes!
 


12.19.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Monday, December 19, 2016
“Living Wisely”
 
Praying Child Christian Stock Photo
 
by Dona Hake
 
 

Psalm 111:10

“To obey the Lord is the fundamental principle for wise living; all who carry out his precepts acquire good moral insight .  He will receive praise forever.”
 
 
Today I want to share with you about the value of living every day of your life wisely as you commit to serve the Lord. In Proverbs 3:5-6 the Word admonishes us to trust in Him and lean NOT on our own understanding.  Last week I can remember exhorting you in a devotional to patiently lean upon the Lord as you wait for Him.   But here in Proverbs 3:5-6 we are being warned of the danger of what we ARE NOT to lean on, and that is our own understanding.   Oh how tempting it can be to just relax in our faith, and just lean on our knowledge and what our physical eyes are telling us.  You know at times it can be very tempting to just rely on what we may think we should do rather than trusting God to speak to us.  This scripture will serve to keep us humble and growing in our walk with Him.  
 
Leaning on God for all that we need is so vital, and it must be our pursuit for this is very much a part of living wisely and being a doer of the Word!    Living by faith will always challenge us in the realm of thinking we have to see, feel or understand things with our minds.  Sometimes we want so badly to understand things that we are walking through, and there are times we may be putting  too much focus on figuring things out.  
 
Understanding things can be beneficial at times but remember, peace does not come because we understand a problem but rather peace comes from knowing we serve the One that can solve our problem. May our hearts be reminded that His peace surpasses our understanding, and it surpasses the ways and thoughts of man.   Even in the midst of turmoil going on within us, we can hold fast to a peace that permeates our soul, and keeps us from being tossed around by the circumstances we are facing. 
 
Lord we ask You this day to help us to live wisely before You.   We thank You that as we seek to obey Your Word that we are on the path to wise living, and walking in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake.   We ask that You help us discern right from wrong, and we ask Your Holy Spirit to help us in those times that we are tempted to lean on our own understanding.   In Jesus Name, amen!
 


12.18.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Sunday, December 18, 2016
“We Carry This Treasure Within Us”
 
 
shepherds story
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
The other evening I took my Granddaughters to a live Nativity that a church was doing in a town nearby.     The girls were filled with so much excitement and anticipation.  On the way I decided to share with them about the story of the birth of Jesus.   I was trying to help them envision what it must have been like for the shepherds out in their dark fields as they watched over their sheep and out of no where an angel appeared to them.  Then we talked about the journey of the three wise men as they followed the star to the place where Jesus was born.  I love interacting with children about stories in the Bible.   It is so refreshing to my heart to hear their questions and reactions!
 
 
I too love pondering what it must of been like being a shepherd watching over my sheep, and in the dark of  the night an angel of the Lord appeared  out of nowhere to announce the birth of Jesus.  I can only imagine what they felt, their excitement, amazement, and anticipation!    Let us read from the scriptures about that glorious night.
Luke 2:8-18 Amplified
“In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.
For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord the Messiah.
And this will be a sign for you by which you will recognize Him:
you will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of
the heavenly host angelic army praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,And on earth peace among men
with whom He is well-pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds began saying one to another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem,
and see this wonderful thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the Baby as He lay in the manger. And when they had seen this,
they made known what had been told them about this Child,
and all who heard it were astounded and
wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
 
The shepherds had an immediate and decisive response…”Let us go,  and see this wonderful thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us!”   I can assure you that there was no doubt among them, and they began to seek that which they were told, and they did it immediately with great anticipation!   I love how the scriptures say that they went in a hurry too.   Wouldn’t you have gone in a hurry?    If you were there among the shepherds, and saw this glorious angel of the Lord that just declared the birth of the Savior…would you have moved quickly to seek Him out?    I know I would have!
 
Even though we were not there on that dark evening among the shepherds to see the Angel of the Lord hear of the proclamation of His birth, we have been given His light to flow from our lives,  a guiding light that may lead someone to their Savior.  
 
Will you be that Light to the one that needs to see hope?    Will you be the vessel in which His words of wisdom can flow when He calls upon you to speak?    I encourage you today to  think about this as you think about  the gift of God’s only Son.  Think about how He desires to flow through you with His wonderful light that you also may lead someone to Him that their life can be eternally changed.   We carry this wonderful light in earthen vessels, let us shine brightly for His glory for we carry this treasure within us!
2 Corinthians 4:5-7   Easy-to-Read Version

“We don’t tell people about ourselves. But we tell people that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we tell them that we are your servants for Jesus. God once said, “Let light shine out of the darkness!”[a] And this is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts to let us know that his own divine greatness is seen in the face of Christ.

We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us.“

 
 
 


12.17.16

 
 
 
 
Devotional for Saturday, December 17, 2016
“The Fragrance of Our Lord”
 
 
sweet fragrance
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
Fragrance is anything  having a pleasant scent or aroma; something sweet-smelling; sweet-scented such as a fragrant rose.   During the summer  we have an abundance of honeysuckle bushes around our property, and there were days as I have already walked  with my dog and  I was amazed at the beauty of their sweet smelling fragrance.  If there is a beautiful fragrance in the air, it makes one just want to stop and enjoy it or you may try to figure out where the smell is coming from.    God’s Word speaks of His paths being fragrant with His attributes, and as we walk in His Word, we too will give off the beauty of that fragrance.    Let’s read this scripture from the the Living Bible…
 
Psalm 25:9-10 (TLB)
“He will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to Him.
And when we obey Him, every path He guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and His truth.”
 
Today I want you to meditate upon the truth that as you humbly turn to Him, He will teach us His ways, and we will desire to walk in the paths that will cause a wonderful fragrance of Christ to emanate from our spirit  to those that know Him and also those that do not know Him.
 
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (TLB)

But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume.
As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us.”

 
I believe that this fragrance will cause people to be inquisitive about our joy, our love, and our peace.    I believe this fragrance is part of the light that only He can shine through us.   I believe that God can use this to draw the lost to Him.  May we release our faith that the Lord is using us everyday to reach people whether they know Him or not.   Many times we may never know how God is using the testimony of our love, deeds, and prayers that we offer up on behalf of people.
 
Lord, we thank You today that as we humbly look to You in all of our ways that You will teach us how to walk in Your paths.   May that fragrance touch the hearts of even those that seem hardened and unreachable.   We thank You for we know You are able to do above and beyond all that we dare ask or think as You  permit us to be used as You desire! In Jesus Name, amen.
 
 



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!