“The Deeper the Valley…”

the deeper the valley
by Dona Hake
Sometimes we will walk through things that make us stop and realize how we cannot live life without Him. Oh that we stop and remind ourselves of this fact even when all is going well. It is only the Lord that can get us through any problem or devastating circumstance, and it is Him that all blessings flow from!
I can remember a very morning I woke up and it was a dreary day. I sat on the edge of my bed with my hands over my eyes shaking my head wondering how I would make it through the day ahead of me. I just felt so sad and down in my heart because we had to break the news to my mother that she was dying. It was one of times in my life that seemed surreal but I knew I could walk through it with the help of the Lord. I can remember God gently speaking to my heart…
“The deeper the valley, the deeper the strength.”
I immediately could see the deepest depths of darkness and sorrow all around me. It was so deep and dark yet I could see and feel God’s loving hand of strength lifting my soul up above the depths of sorrow, and His light to illuminate to guide me along with my family. There are still days that my heart returns to those words when I am facing things that may seem impossible to me. Those things that seem to have no answer or good outcome.
We can be comforted in our souls knowing that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. No matter how weary or sad our soul is, the love of God will cause us to rise above any situation. The Word says nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Romans 8:35
(The Voice) ” So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love
of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty,
danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing.”
I share with you a beautiful quote by Corey Ten Boom, “There is no pit that deep that the love of Jesus is not deeper still.” Many times I think of our frailty, and how we worry about how we will handle things that are bigger than us. There are days that we dread our tomorrows, and this is not how we as Christians are to live this life. I can remember when the Lord showed me that dread is another form of fear. Sometimes when you dread something it is merely because you feel you cannot do it or walk through it, and that in and of itself can cause fear to invade our hearts. God gives us all the grace and sufficient strength that we need for everything we face in this life.
Corey Ten Boom also said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. ” We need to stay permeated in His strength for IT IS sufficient. Guard your heart that you are not emptying today of the strength He has blessed you with.

I encourage you today to appreciate those precious family and friends in your life. Love and appreciate them whether they agree with you on everything or not. Do not live in regrets. Purpose to give as much of the love of Christ to all those around you. This is why we are here…to live, love and serve Him.

“Entrust Your Life To Him”

entrust your life to him
by Dona Hake
I want to share with you about how powerful it is for us to totally entrust ourselves to God.   He desires that we commit our lives into His care.   Psalm 23:1  David stated, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”    As we look to Him for all our needs and concerns, we will lack for nothing.  As we entrust ourselves to Him, He promises to be our all whether all is well or all is falling apart.   He is our strength when we are weak, and He is our guide when we cannot see because of the trial we are walking through.  Paul understood a perfect strength in his time of weakness and this is what he had to say about it…
2 Corinthians 12:10
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I
Paul experienced a strength that did not proceed from his human strength but by the power of the Living God!    Have you ever had a time where your human strength and emotions had come to a place of weakness, and suddenly God infused you with fresh strength in your inner man, and you received direction and strong focus.   Just as God’s peace is able to surpass our understanding, there will be times that His strength, wisdom, and focus can permeate us, and it is totally beyond what we have ever known.  It is above and beyond what we expected as we trusted in His loving care!
I encourage your heart today to know this…as you entrust yourself to Him, you are in a perfect place!   As we abide and dwell in that place of trusting in Him that we will experience great and wonderful things that are truly a testimony of God’s wonderful work within us.   Serving God is so exciting isn’t it?

“By the Grace of God”

by the grace of god
by Dona Hake
The past few days the devotionals I have created are on the power of our words.   Are we helping to encourage people around us or our words slipping out before we pause and think before we speak?

Proverbs 21:23 (the Message)

“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”
Have you ever had those times you say something and even as it is coming out of your mouth you are thinking, “oh no! …this is a big mistake, I should not be saying this.” I once heard someone say that just because you are thinking something does not mean you have to speak it. There will be times that you actually do have the right answer for the individual you are in a conversation with but it is not God’s timing for you to speak,nor is it time that they are able to handle the truth you desire to speak. Timing is everything! Many times especially in conflicts or disagreements God may ask us to be silent for that moment, and speak only to Him in prayer over the matter.
I can personally testify of times that I felt that someone just had to hear what I thought. You know that feeling when you feel you have the very answer that they need so why would they not want to hear it. When you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit silencing you, it would be wise for you to keep that individual in your heart in prayer. Ask Him for His timing that you are to deliver the words that you had on your heart. You know what?….He may not want you to be the person to speak at all. Sometimes the Lord has someone else assigned to bring a truth to that person in your life.

We must always look back and remember the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Pause and think about all the people that the Lord instrumentally used to bring you to the knowledge of Him. Even as we continue to grow it is wonderful to know that those that love us hold us up in prayer believing for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Let us be diligent to ask Him to help us everyday to continue to grow in the knowledge of His Word and may we seek Him that we speak words that build people up.

“Do Your Words Build Others Up?”

do your words build others up
by Dona Hake
My inspiration for today’s devotional comes from James 1:19 (New English
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”

 As I look at this scripture I not only think  about how valuable it is to careful to listen to a person’s words but we need to listen to their heart. Many times we are way too eager to speak words in response to someone making them feel that you did not even listen to them. 

Did you ever have times that you have walked away from a conversation and your mind kind of goes on rewind and you think about how you could of said something better. Maybe you could have been a better listener.    Maybe you have pondered what you spoke and you realize that you did not speak with wisdom.   It is so important that we realize how important and powerful our words are.  
In my life I can remember  as a child when unkind words were spoken to me. It always amazes me how words have such power to hold you back or create fear in your heart. I had negative things spoken to me even as an adult that hindered me for a long time. It caused me to be lacking in confidence and kept me from stepping out in things the Lord was desiring me to do. I am so thankful that God has helped me break through all those negative words that had me convinced that there were certain things I could not do. I am so thankful for the many times my husband has encouraged me to do things that I never thought I could do. I too am thankful for those family members and godly friends that encouraged me with positive words as well.

When we speak into an individual’s life with encouraging words we may never know how God is using us and causing a break through for them.
Colossians 4:6 (AMP)
” Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as
it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to
answer anyone [who puts a question to you.”
When we speak we should always be seeking His wisdom that we be kind, edifying and wise, then we can be able to speak or answer everyone the way God wants us to. Let us think about the words that
come out of our mouths in casual conversation. Do your words encourage people’s hearts and lift them up? Sometimes a kind word and smile to a stranger may be the only one they have received in a long time. I think about the importance of seasoning our speech as it were with salt. Salt is an enhancer, but it is also a preservative…something to ponder isn’t it?
I pray that your words that proceed from your mouth will bless and uplift those around you. I challenge you to really be a good listener, and remember to not only hear words but lean
your ear to the heart of the person speaking.    May we make a conscious effort to be building one another up with our words, our actions and our prayers.  

“What Is God’s Wisdom?”

gods wisdom what it is and what it is not
by Dona Hake
In James 3:13-18 it states the characteristics of worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom.     James said that if you are wise and understand the ways of our God that we should prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from His wisdom.   He goes on to say that if one has jealousy and there is selfish ambition in one’s heart that you should not cover it up with lying lips and boasting. I think this is an interesting thing to note because  when people exhibit lying and boasting you can count on it that there is more than likely the sin of jealousy and selfish ambition in their hearts.    This is not operating in God’s wisdom but rather the wisdom of our enemy, Satan.
One translation puts it this way and that where there is envy and strife THERE IS confusion and every evil work.    Sometimes  the trials that we walk through in this life unfortunately may  be conflicts with people. It may start out with a small problem, a disagreement, unforgiveness, etc…   It is very sad when this happens, and if people do not give such conflicts to the Lord, the outcome can  hurt and be painful. 
As we set our hearts on pursuing to live in God’s wisdom, we will handle everything His way.   The enemy will not be able to get a foothold in our affairs.     It is important that we can know within ourselves that we are really in God’s wisdom, and not our own thinking and planning.   
As I was meditating upon this devotional I began to think about how if one is allergic to certain foods or they are very conscientious about eating pure foods, they are diligent to read labels.   If there are ingredients that you know will harm you, you are deliberate and will not purchase.     As we understand what God’s wisdom is and is not, we too will quickly understand and be able to discern what wisdom we are walking in.   When the Holy Spirit tugs our heart that we are operating in worldly wisdom, we will be quick to understand, repent, and seek out to walk in His wisdom.   Today we will look at the attributes of His wisdom that we can be aware within our hearts that God’s wisdom is at work in us.

God’s wisdom is free of anything that could contaminate us. His wisdom is untainted by human thinking, and the philosophies of this world. God’s wisdom is not laced with our opinions or our past experience. It is straight from the heart of God. It is peace loving and gentle. Worldly wisdom will say that you have to continually speak your mind, be pushy and insist that you are right. When conflicts arise it should be in our heart to try to discuss the matter peaceably without arguing. In Proverbs 15:1 it says… “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
God’s wisdom  shows no favoritism and is always sincere. Worldly wisdom will tell you to take sides rather than viewing it objectively and from God’s perspective. We must always be loyal to God’s Word. If an individual is more loyal to a person than God, they will always compromise. One who is sincere is free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness and will be earnest. I love how James says then that those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and then reap a harvest of righteousness. He did not say maybe it will turn out good in the end, He said that we would reap a harvest of righteousness in our life.
James 3:18 (Amplified)
” And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and
deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make
peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord,
agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a
peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts.”
I pray that this has blessed your heart today and I encourage you to meditate upon this.    May we be diligent to seek out His wisdom in every area of our lives.   It is in His wisdom that He is able to instruct us in His will and in His ways!

“Where To Turn? What to Do?

where to turn  what to do
by Dona Hake
Today we are going to continue meditating in the first book of James.  Let us look at James 1:5…
James 1:5 (The Voice)
“If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do
is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and
never scolds you for asking.”
Many times we could be tempted to run from a test or hardship because we simply do not know which way to turn. I have heard it said that 50% of a problem solved is understanding what it is.   Many times fear can come upon us simply because we do not understand what is going on.   Once you have the knowledge of a problem, then we need the know how to deal with it.  This is why it is so vitally important that we keep ourselves full of the Word of God, stay in prayer, and know that we are purposing to stay in His presence.   Confusion will always be easy for the devil to bring into a situation when we are not staying diligent.     Being full of God’s Word will enable us to rightly discern exactly what to do in any given situation.   Saying all this, we can trust God to speak to us, and give us the exact wisdom that we need for what we need answers for.
 I am sure you have experienced in the past a time that you  were walking through a trial or a tough decision and  well meaning people would  try to give you advice, and it was based solely upon their past experiences.   There may also be those that are truly giving you wisdom that needs to be heeded to.  We must be very careful  that we are being discerning and taking that advice and making sure it is godly wisdom and not human wisdom that proceeds from past experience. Wisdom does not come from old age and hard knocks. Yes, the older you get you do learn a few things but that is not how God desires that we develop it. It begins with knowing and depending on Him and allowing Him to speak into our heart about the direction of our life, our actions and our words.

It so important that we run to the Lord and cry out for His wisdom on a daily
Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) says “I love them that love me; and those that seek
me early shall find me.”
The “seek me early” is pertaining to asking Him for wisdom before EVERY TASK! He desires we make a conscious effort in our hearts and minds to be drawing upon His wisdom from the time our feet hit the
floor when you get out of bed till you lay down at night.   I am not talking about being over spiritual either. I really do not think that God cares what I wear or what flavor of coffee I drink but I do know that He cares about a lot about my plans and thoughts for my day. I think He really wants to be in our life more than we realize.   Yesterday I knew my day was going to be quite full, and I had much to be accomplished.   Every square inch of the minutes in my day were needed to reach a goal.    I simply asked God first thing in the morning to order my steps for each thing that needed to be done.   I asked Him to help me use every minute wisely, and He was faithful to cause me to reach my goal.
If you want God to lead you than you need to understand what His wisdom is on a matter. So I
encourage you today that if you do not know what to do, ask Him.   Ask Him what He thinks about your problem or whatever it is that you are dealing with. I warn you also to be patient and keep all questions in your heart before Him. He is faithful and He will answer. He knows exactly what the right thing is for us to do in our situation and we must simply trust Him.

“But Pray and Ask God…”

but pray and ask God
by Dona Hake
Over the past few days we have been meditating upon counting it all joy when we go through various trials, and expecting our God to turn the hopeless into the hopeful.  Many times when we are in a trial we just can not see how any good could come out of it. It is those times when we are troubled and weary that we need to run to Him and lay it all before Him in prayer.   This is the very best way that we can keep ourselves guarded from our own emotions and thoughts that can surely work against us.  As He begins to minister to us  all that we need, we will be in a position to see more clearly. Many times He will begin to speak to us and show us His plan, and it is above and beyond all that we could ask or think.
When we take our cares to the Lord and pray we can expect Him to speak to us in our hearts, and instruct us in the way that we should handle our problems. We must always embrace the fact that no matter what we walk through Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake us. He sees from beginning to end, and as we trust Him we  can believe for Him to work on our behalf. I shared yesterday from  Ephesians 3:20  and I want to share it again…it says,
“Now unto Him that is able to do above and beyond all we dare ask
or think, above our highest hopes, prayers and dreams.”
I believe this scripture will help us  see that our prayer over a situation can be an amazing opportunity
for God to work on our behalf like we never dreamed. I like to look at it this way, think about a situation and what you could perceive as a good outcome, and then think how God can surpass  our expectations. I love when God turns a hopeless situation inside out, and uses it for His glory.
Again we must remember that in order for Him to work in such a way that we must be willing to give the situation to Him totally, exercise our faith, be enduring and patient. Within every trial and troublesome time there are the thoughts that we must deal with. Many times individuals just try to keep their mind occupied so they are not thinking about their troubles, and this is not God’s way to deal with our troubling thoughts and cares. This would be nothing more than just staying preoccupied, and we need to understand that God has a better way. It is necessary that we guard our hearts and minds from anxiety, and the secret is in the following scripture:

Philippians 4:6 (Easy-to-Read Version)
” Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need,
always giving thanks for what you have.”

Today I would like you to think about the times where the Lord answered a  prayer of yours, and it was not the way you expected. Many times I have found that potential problems ended in great opportunities to minister to people, and I was stronger than before. This is part of the work of the Lord in our lives as we stand strong in our faith, and endure no matter what. It is a good thing that we meditate and testify of the goodness of the Lord in our lives!

“That Moment When God…”

that moment
Yesterday my heart was once again reminded of how I need to keep proper perspective of what is going on around me.   This is something we all need to keep in check within our souls.   I can remember recently saying to myself while having somewhat of a rough week, “Remember…it could be worse…”     Sometimes I think of the horrific things people are facing in different parts of the world, and really we must be mindful that we are blessed.   We need to ever remind ourselves that God is walking with us, and He has promised to lead us in the paths that echo His Name.  
I am a part of a group on Facebook that is closed and strictly for those interested in photography.  Each day we are called upon to submit an image in accordance to the assigned prompt for the day.   I have been so blessed with this group for I am now interacting on a regular basis with people from all over the world.   Many are Americans, Canadians, Australians. some from Wales, England, Germany, and Holland.   What has really been awesome is some are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.   I was glancing through the prompt that was assigned and it was entitled  “This happened…”   My heart was touched and moved to pray when I saw this individual’s image.    She opened with her post saying “this happened”  and it was an image of a truck all but completely under the waters caused by a flood.   She first apologized for her length of explanation as she shared that her little country town had been devastated with flooding and strong damaging winds as high as 170mm.   She said her family was safe yet she had friends that lost everything.  On top of that, there was more rain on the way,  Their power had been cut off,  but would come back and then they would lose it again.     At the end of her post she said “Please hold onto those you love and spare a thought for my friends who lost everything, but we are a strong little community, and we will get through this.”
My heart went out as it hit me how devastating that must have been yet there was even more rain on the way.    She wrapped up her post with what was the most important thing that she wanted to stress. Her words caused me to once again to just be so thankful for the precious people that God has put in my life, and yes we need to appreciate and love them more and more each day.    God has put us with people, and given us each an assignment for such a time as this.   Is it always a “bed of roses”?   Absolutely not, yet we need to continue walking strong in His plan and purpose for our life.   The Lord impressed upon my heart that yes…He is well able to turn our hopeless situations inside out, but it begins with us believing that He can do so.     Sometimes the way He turns things around is not the way we planned nor it is in the timetable we expected.   Let us grow in our expectancy of Him, and what He is well able to do in our lives.
Ephesians 3:20 (AMP)
“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—”

“Your Faith Will Blossom”

your faith will blossom
by Dona Hake
I am happy to be able to bring this devotional to you today.   After days of not having use of my computer and the internet, I am very thankful that it is up and running!   

James 1:2-4 (The Voice) “Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and
sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you
embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true
patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip
you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete,
and wanting nothing.”
To be quite honest this scripture used to kind of baffle me and I would think I can not understand why James would say to count it as joy when you are going through a bad time. The more of life that I have experienced the more I understand this scripture.  If our hearts and minds are open hardships have the ability to bring new perspective, and greater appreciation for everything and everyone around you.

The first thing I want to say that really stands out to me is that we need to come to a place where we embrace hardships and tests with a right attitude. I think the hardest thing for us to do is embrace a difficulty. It seems like human nature just wants to live in a place where there is no conflict but we well know that on this earth that is not going to happen. I find it troubling when Christians want to
get angry with God and turn their eyes away from Him when things are not going their way. The truth is, we live in a fallen world but we serve a risen Savior that is well able to bring victory in every thing we face!
Jesus tells us in the Word that we will have trials and troubles and he tells us how to handle them.
John 16:33 (AMP) ” I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”    Isn’t it interesting that Jesus mentions that in the midst of tribulation, trials, distress and frustration that we are to be of good cheer or as James said it,  “Count it all joy…”
May we continue to grow in our faith as we live everyday for Him.    May we keep our eyes toward in when all is well, and may we ever keep our gaze on Him when we have hardships.   God has promised that He would equip us in this journey.   May we rest in that promise no matter what.   God is good all the time, all the time…God is Good!

“Singing In the Storm”

as the tornado hit
by Dona Hake
I am reflecting on a very precious account of an elementary school teacher, and how she kept her small children calm during a deadly tornado in May of 2013.   This story is so precious to me because the hearts and minds of little ones touch me in a very special way.   I teach small children in church, and I love the many times that they have innocently and honestly shared their little hearts with me.   Sometimes they may share their fears, sometimes it may be bad memories, and sometimes what they share is simply hilarious.   The thing that stands out to me is their hearts being open, trusting and honest.    My heart only wonders what it would be like to be with a group of small children, and having to calm them  during an approaching deadly tornado.   I would like to recall the story of this teacher, and how God helped her get her small classroom through such an event.
During the memorial service held in Moore, OK in May of 2013 Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma quoted excerpts from this portion of scripture…
Psalm 46:1-3 ”
God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready
to help us in times of trouble. So we are not afraid when the earth quakes and
the mountains fall into the sea. We are not afraid when the seas become rough
and dark and the mountains tremble.”

After the tornado killed 26 and injured hundreds, the town of Moore gathered to remember those
that lost their lives and look to God and each other for strength to go on.During the service an elementary school teacher shared  about how she handled her classroom of small children as the deadly tornado approached. She exclaimed how she did not want her children to be frightened
so she asked them if they wanted to play a game with her. She told them to move their desks against the wall and get under them. As they huddled they began to sing songs and after a few songs one little one asked to sing “Jesus Loves Me.”
As the tornado hit they were singing this song and the louder the
tornado got the louder they sang.
Even though the whole ordeal was a frightening one for this teacher and children, they lived to testify that they made it through the storm. During the memorial service these same children stood and sang “Jesus Loves Me” and received two standing ovations -once on their way in and again after they finished singing.

During the service the Rabbi Veder Harris read from the book of Kings, noting that God was not in the storm but is in the “still, clear voice within us.” I believe that even in the “storms” of this life if we stay still in our spirits and our faith strong in Him we can still hear His voice and proclaim His love for us. When we know we are hearing His voice we can always be assured that He is with us and He will bring us through.

I was so touched just trying to imagine little children in such a horrific situation huddled under desks singing at the top of their little lungs “Jesus Loves Me.” I began to think about when the storms of life come our way that this is what our reaction should be. Do our spirits hold fast to knowing and embracing that Jesus loves us as the storms  of our life get louder and louder or do we allow the storm to overtake us because of doubt and unbelief?      

I encourage you today to ponder the love of God that came through Him giving His Son.   His love is great and He is greatly to be praised.   Don’t forget, Jesus loves us, this we know, for the Bible tells us so!!!!

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!