“God- The Strength of Our Heart”

 
 
strength of my heart
 
 
 
Philippians 4:12-13
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
 
 
 
 
Paul wrote that he had learned the secret of  being content. I love how this version used the word
secret. Being content is a beautiful way to live. The dictionary defines secret being used in this context as a method, formula, plan, etc., known only to the  initiated or the few: the secret of happiness; a trade secret.
 
 
 
 

If you are a believer you are one of “the few”, and within us we embrace a precious secret to strength. We can say that by the strength  of the Lord we can be content no matter what is going on around us. Paul  understood this, and he spoke with the authority as well. He said, “…for I have  learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in  need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being  content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry.whether living in  plenty or in want…I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

 
 
 
 

I think it is important to note that Paul said two times here that he had  learned contentment. Contentment does not just fall on your lap like a ripe  apple from a tree. Contentment is developed through decision making in times  of crisis or problems you face. It is when you learn the secret of contentment that you can look to the Lord and proclaim “I CAN DO everything through Him who strengthens me. Sometimes when we face needs in this life and we decide to be content until the manifestation, God can work in us and also on our behalf. It is those times that we realize after we get through the trial that the situation gave us new insights and we became stronger because of it.

 
 
 
 

Let us not call upon His strength to just escape and run away from our needs but rather to be strengthened to walk through them. Let us bare the testimony  that Paul wrote ” I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me.” It is as we do this that we can truly say that we can do all through Him who strengthens us!  May we rejoice in God for He is the strength of our hearts!



“The Light that Dispels All Darkness”

light overpowers
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 You walk in a dark room, and the first thing you do is reach for the light switch. An electrical storm zaps your electricity, and what do you do? In our home we have a box that has flashlights, and batteries and also two lanterns where we know to go for that we can bring light to the situation. We want to know we are prepared for such a situation.  We know that in the midst of darkness there must be a means of seeing in order that you do not stumble.
 

Now let us think about what would happen if your electricity went out and you had a box full of flashlights but there were not batteries. You have what it takes to bring light but these flashlights are worthless without what gives them their ability to overcome the darkness you are experiencing.

 

Today I just want to share about the dark in this world, and how we as believers fit wonderfully into this picture.   Our world in which there are those that still do not know Him, live in darkness.   Sadly, they do not know how dark their world really is.    Many have compensated with the light that only our enemy the devil can offer.   We are the vessels that must stay full of everything God is so that we can bring true light to the hopeless, confused, and the fearful around us.

 
 
 
2 Corinthians 4:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

So you see God desires that we promptly and obediently bring light to this present darkness on earth. Let our prayer be today that we would desire to be vessels for His use that we may bring glory to Him!

” Lord, you provide the flame for my lamp.
You, God, turn the darkness around me into light.”
Psalm 18:28



“God’s Will For Every Believer”

prayer matters
by Dona Hake

Paul said in 1 Thessalonians to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.    Many might say, “I do not know what God’s will is for me?”   Well, here it is in part.   God desires that we guard our joy for it is the Lord’s strength for us to live. It is is will that we stay hooked up to Him by prayer, and in the midst of ALL circumstances we look up to Him and give thanks.  

There will be days in which we must remind ourselves to rejoice even when we do not feel like it. May we look to Him in prayer at the beginning of our day, and as much as we can during the day.   Prayers can be spoken from your heart at any given time and at any place.    God did not intend prayer to be only for problems but a means of sweet fellowship with Him.  This is God’s will for us to do so I encourage you today to do so. I leave you with this prayer that flows with what I have been sharing.

Prayer is so simple.
It is like quietly opening a door and slipping into
the very presence of God
there, in the stillness,
to listen for His voice,
perhaps in petition
or only to listen,
it matters not,
just to be there,
in His presence
Is prayer.
Anonymous



“Simply Pray”

 
seeing as God sees
 
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.  Have you ever had someone share with you that you were on their heart, and they simply prayed for you.    You may inquire of the time in which they prayed, and you knew that it was at that moment you may have been in a struggle.   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 and support to those around us. I find this scripture interesting as well to be  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 away, 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.
 
 

Today I encourage you to keep your ears and eyes open to those around you. Never take the position that you have to know all the facts and understand every detail  before you can pray. If you being prompted in your heart to pray…simply 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!



“He Upholds Us”

he upholds his sheep

by Dona Hake
 
 
 
I love to speak of the Lord watching over me, walking along side of me, and leading me.   Today I want to share about how the Lord wants to uphold us at all times, and it is because of His watchful and caring eyes.   Many of the Psalms written by David were written from his heart as a shepherd.  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, and 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 probably one of my favorite facts about a shepherd and his sheep that brings such a beautiful analogy of the Psalm to us. “Cast down” 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 and He most assuredly will uphold you!


“Don’t Give Up!”

power of determination
by Dona Hake

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against

you until it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never

give up then, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

I love this quote. It makes me wonder how many times that I have given up on something or someone just when the tide was ready to turn. Determination is when you come to a decision or you fix yourself on a purpose, and nothing is going to hold you back.

I cannot help but think of Peter as he stepped out of the boat upon the Lord’s command. “Come Peter!” I can only imagine what was going through Peter’s mind as he looked down and saw himself walking on the water. His faith was at work and he was defying the impossible. Yet when his mind became focused on the wind, waves and the turbulent storm, he began to sink. Jesus reached out His hand to Peter, took a firm hold and kept him above water. The thing that always hit me the hardest with this account was that Peter was only an arm’s reach away from Jesus. Peter was almost there but circumstances caused his heart to weaken in faith and determination.


How many times are we just an arm’s reach away from the finish line of success in that which we are setting ourselves. How many times is the tide ready to turn, and we throw up our hands and give up. We must apply faith, persistence, and determination to all we set ourselves to do. As we fix our eyes on Jesus with determination and faith in our hearts, He will enable us to do the impossible. It is as we do this that we can share the testimony of what we learned in our accomplishment to those that need this same word of encouragement!
 

“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for

after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”

Galatians 6:9 TLB



“God’s Timing Is Always Correct”

 
 
Gods timing
 
 
I found an interesting quote today in one of my prayer books.

 

“I have learned to thank God for

answering some of my
prayers with “no” or “not now.”

Sometimes we may be interpreting our prayers as unanswered when God really is at work, but at His time and pace. When I read this I immediately began to think how we are so used to getting everything fast. You ride through the drive through window to buy your lunch, and no sooner you pay there is a bag in your hand. I have literally had my salads all but upside down in my bag because they were thrown into the bag for speed sake. Nothing like ordering a salad, and they worked so hard to get it to you so fast that they put no utensils in the bag. In the name of *instant* and *I want it right now!* things can suffer at times.

In the society of everything going quick and instant I find more impatience than ever. On and on I could go about how our expectations of timing can be off in areas in which we just need to patiently wait for God to move in our lives as He wills.

May we never feel that everything we pray about has to arrive from Heaven instantly. The Lord has a perfect timing for everything under the sun and as we live to obey and respect His will, we also will learn to abide by His timing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (CEB)

” There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens…”



“Eternity In the Heart and Mind of Man”

 
 
god alone
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
 
 
 
I think this scripture is so awesome. I love how it tells us that God has planted eternity in every heart and mind that has ever lived. We are born with the choice of whom we will look to to satisfy our every need. Within the heart of man is a longing that only God can satisfy yet man who chooses to fill his voids apart from Christ will never be fulfilled.  I can remember someone saying that there is a whole in every man’s heart that only God can fill.    Until one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord of their life, there will always be a yearning for more and an emptiness in the soul of that person.
 
 
 
 
I like how the New Life Version translated Ecclesiastes 3:11:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has put thoughts of the forever in man’s mind, yet man cannot understand the work God has done from the beginning to the end.”
 
 
 

I particularly want you to look at “man cannot understand the work God has done from the beginning to the end.” The beauty of this fact is that this makes God who He is!   He is beyond us figuring Him out, nor should we try to comprehend His ways.    His ways and thoughts are beyond our ways.

 
 
 
Let us trust Him today with all of our hearts.    Let us also rejoice that because
we know Him, we can live in all of the beauty and abundance that He desires for us.
I praise God that He did plant eternity in every man’s heart and mind.   Lord, we ask
that You lead us in our actions and words that we would be a testimony to those around us that have not yet made that choice for You.     God, you have planted eternity within those hearts
that are still empty….oh that they would see their need for a Savior!


“Embracing God In Prayer and His Word”

 
 
 
where do I turn
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
“Which is the right decision in this circumstance?”    “Should I go or shouldn’t I?”     “What is my next step?”    Many times our hearts cry out with these words for we may be facing tough or not so tough decisions.   I don’t know about you but I value embracing that I know God is directing my decisions, and I have a knowing in my heart that I am doing the right thing.  
 
 
 
 
Everyday we have choices and decisions  before us.  Today I want to encourage your heart in simply meditating upon the truths and power of the written Word.   Every answer or direction is there for us. It is as we keep ourselves full of His Word and spend time in prayer with Him that our choices and decisions will be guided by Him.
 

Within the Word of God is a wealth of testimonies of those that have gone before us. Their lives can encourage us to be strong when fear and weakness are trying to overtake our hearts. The Psalms are full of words to encourage your heart every time you read them. Many of the Psalms were written by those that may have been depressed, weary or their lives were endangered yet they chose to call out to the Living God and praise His holy Name! Allow them to escort your heart to praise the living God in your time of questions and great need.     The Proverbs are so beautiful and profound and they can serve to bring wisdom to our heart as we may be facing a time of decision making. 

The Proverbs exhorts us to cherish His instruction and knowledge above anything. We are to value it above anything this world puts a price on.

 
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 knowledge and instruction. Lord, help us to continue to grow in valuing your written Word.   We thank You that You desire to give us answers to our every question and prayer.   Help us to be discerning over our time that you have blessed us with that we may be diligent to keep our time with You and the reading of Your Word, for it is there that You will meet us and keep us in all our ways.   

 


“Anchored By Your Single-Mindedness”

 
 
 
singleminded
 
James 1:6-8 (The Voice)
“The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded
commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like
those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind.
Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue
them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your
compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.”
 
 
 

I really love how this translation brings such great insight into the importance of being single minded. This scripture warns us of leaning on our own understanding and placing our wisdom above God’s. God desires that we be totally devoted in our hearts and minds to His wisdom only that we may be anchored with a single mind. Let us look closer to the one verse here in James…

 
 
 

“The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your
compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.”

 
 
 

May we press into our faith as we are loyal to God and His Word.   We shall not be dizzy and confused for we have set our course, and we will be able to decisively move forward in the plan and will of our Father.   Just as a compass leads us and keeps us on track, being single-minded with all that God has for us will also keep us wise, discerning and very sensitive to the voice of the Lord at all times. Our spiritual “compass” will keep us  centered in His will, and we will remain strong, steady, and focused in the midst of any storms that may come our way.  We thank You Lord that as we draw upon Your grace and seek Your face that You will help us to stay single minded in our commitment to You.




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!