“What Is Grace?”

what is grace
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
I love how our Loving God knows what we need before we understand that we even have a need or a problem. He knows the answer to every problem we face, and He understands our weaknesses as humans. As God created the heavens and the earth, His fingers worked it all like a wonderful tapestry. It all has reason and purpose, and know this…there is not one thing created without reason. Every star in heaven was placed by His hand, the seas obey their boundaries by His command, He formed and breathed life into the Man he formed. Oh what a Mighty God!
 
 
Today I want to share with you that before man was even created, the Word of God says that grace was here and for good reason. Remember this, God has a divine purpose for every thought He thinks and everything He does. Here is part of the scripture I want you to read and ponder…
 
 

…that grace was given to us through Christ Jesus before time began.”
2 Timothy 1:9 ERV

Now let’s read the whole verse with the part you just read…
 
 
 
“God saved us and chose us to be his holy people, but not because of anything we ourselves did. God saved us and made us his people because that was what he wanted and it was because of his grace. That grace was given to us through Christ Jesus before time began.”
 
 
 
Before time began it was in the mind of God to have a holy people to call His own. He knew man would need His help so the provision of grace through Jesus Christ was already planned in God’s mind. He created us in His wisdom to do wonderful things while we live on this Earth yet we have abilities that have limitations. We may be strong but our strength has it’s limitations. Quite simply, God created us with one great need, and that need is for Him to be a part of every breath we take and every purpose we pursue. Oh that we stay aware that we must live this life by the grace of God!
 
 
 

I want to share a sweet definition of grace that I came across.

“Grace: the freely given,
unmerited favor of God;
the Spirit of God operating
in humans to regenerate
or strengthen them.”
 
 
 

Grace…none of us deserve it from God but He desires to infuse you with it! He desires this day to regenerate and strengthen you with it. God is so good!

 
 


“Power In Our Words”

power of words
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
The Lord desires that we stay mindful of the power of our words.   Our tongue has  the power to encourage, heal and build up.  What a blessing we are when we seek to be used in such a way.   Yet our words can cause hurt and pain if we are not keeping a guard on our thoughts which always come before the words are spoken.
 
 
  Our words can encourage another’s heart so greatly that we could make someone feel like they are on a mountain top.  Words are capable of building up and encouraging a a heart, and our words can also move mountains in our life if we dare to fill our hearts with faith and believe for mountains to move.    There is also the very negative force that words can bring and that is to hinder the heart of someone because you have spoken from a heart of negativity.  Negative words can tear down another’s heart and cause them to doubt themselves, and lose hope.  I find it sad to know that our words could even destroy another’s dreams.   Did you ever meet someone that is full of potential yet negative words from their past have frozen their steps from going forward into the purposes God has for them?  There are those that go through life with negative “mountains” in their life because of negative words spoken over them. This is so sad, yet it should serve to remind us to keep our mouths shut when we are tempted to speak negative things to people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today I encourage you to think about the words that proceed from your mouth. Think as well about the power of your words when your heart is filled with faith.  The mountains that may be hindering your life can be moved as you speak words of faith.   Father, help us to be mindful to speak words of faith and encouragement throughout our day.   Remind us to keep our meditations sweet and pure in Your sight, and we ask that You would put a guard over our lips that our words would speak good and edifying things.  In Jesus Name!
 
 

”The truth is, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, mountain, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, then God will do it for you.”  Mark 11:23  ERV



“But the Lord Looks At the Heart”

god sees heart
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
1 Samuel 16:7(ERV)
“… God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the
outside, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 (VOICE)
“… for the Eternal One does not pay attention to what humans value.
Humans only care about the external appearance, but the Eternal considers
the inner character.”

 

Today I want you to consider seeing yourself and others as God sees. Many times we can be guilty of judging a person or situation by the outward appearance. We stop at that and this is so very wrong. The old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” is so very true. Many times we do not give people a chance simply because we are not looking closely and deeply into their heart.

 

I believe as we pray diligently and ask God for His wisdom into every matter He will begin to open our eyes and impart His sight to us. I find it so sad that many times we fall short of being merciful and forgiving because we are just being wise in our own eyes in our judgments of people and situations. Let us be cautious in this matter as we encounter people. Let us seek to see as God sees.
I pray today that you will look to Him and let His eyesight become yours. I believe as we do this we will begin to see ourselves grow in God’s mercy and His forgiveness like never before.



“His Word Is Light To Our Night”

night-seasons-300x200
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
 

The image you see today is one that I photographed on a cold, snowy winter night a few years ago.   I love the challenge of shooting in darkness with my very special low light lens.   I love the  beauty of how natural the image looks.    I received this lantern as a gift, and I can remember visualizing on some snowy evening that I would light it and photograph it.   This image inspires me to think about how God’s Word is a light to me in those night seasons of my life.   He has promised to illuminate my path no matter how dark it seems, and I praise the Living God that He always keeps His Word!
 

This is the time of the year where we all hear everyone exclaim how the days just go by so fast and darkness is approaching us earlier and earlier each day.    What we can all relate to though is that there are “night seasons” in our lives that come without warning, and they bring darkness or they cause you uncertainty.    Jesus said that in this world we would experience trials and tribulation, but our hearts are not to be troubled by this.  We can rejoice that as  we hold the Word of life and light, we need not fear any dark times.   In Psalm 23:4 in the Good News Translation we can read what David exclaimed about valleys that were dark and how our precious Shepherd would lead us.
 

 

“Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.”

 
 
As we hold the light of God’s Word and instruction before us, even the darkest of times can be illuminated with understanding and direction.    Rather than focusing on the darkness let us focus on the light we have to break through the darkness.  As we can see ahead, we also see victory in the midst of the battle. Winning the battles we face all begins as we are infused with His strength, direction and courage to go forward.
 
 
 
 
2 Samuel 22:29 (MSG)

 

” Suddenly, God, your light floods my path,

God drives out the darkness.

I smash the bands of marauders, .

I vault the high fences.

What a God! His road

stretches straight and smooth.

Every God-direction is road-tested.

Everyone who runs toward him”

 

I love the part of the verse that says that every God-direction is road-tested! As we trust in Him, we can be assured that His light going before us will always illuminate our path.

 



“Are You Guarding Your Heart?”

are you guarding your heart
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
I would like you to look at the art that I chose today.   It is sheep out in a pasture and they are grazing in lush green grass.   This picture makes me think of how our Good Shepherd watches over us, yet there is the devil who roams about seeking way he can set us up to fall and devour us.   He watches for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.   No, we do not live in fear of the tactics of the devil, but dear friend we must be wise and very diligent to make sure we are guarding our hearts at all times.   We must be ever so careful to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are keeping our hearts guarded with our diligent input of God’s Word and prayer.
 
 
Proverbs 4:23 (AMP)

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and

above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”
 
 
We see from this scripture that our heart is able to contain springs of life from which we can draw.   God wants our hearts to be full of Him and His life giving presence.   I can remember recently becoming preoccupied with something on my mind that was troubling me.    I can remember how the Lord ministered to my heart so sweetly yet firmly that because I was preoccupied with something that my heart was unguarded.   I began to think about how diligent we are to make sure our doors to our homes are locked.   We have passwords for our logins on different sites we visit on our computers, and we are encouraged to make them so difficult in order that we are not hacked.  We have become so knowledgeable in realms of taking care of our bodies that we be healthy, and we strictly try to follow the dos and don’ts.    Those thoughts led me to examine my diligence of guarding my heart that the evil one does not try to rob from me.   My heart was convicted about going greater extremes to see that my heart was guarded and not left vulnerable to anything that would rob my peace and joy.
 
 
In the book of Philippians Paul wrote how we can keep the peace of God guarded in our hearts.   This was his advice…
 
 
Philippians 4:6-9Easy-to-Read Version

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have.  And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.

 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. 9 And do what you learned and received from me—what I told you and what you saw me do.

And the God who gives peace will be with you.
 
 
 
When we purpose to think on good things we are being proactive in guarding our hearts, and keeping them in the peace of God.    I know for myself that when my heart is full and I mean FULL of God’s peace and faith, I face the problems of this life in His strength.   Today I encourage you to watch over your heart and your thoughts.   Make sure you are not walking about your day with a heart that is unguarded, for God desires to keep it with His loving peace.♥


“When I Am Weak…”

when I am weak
 
by Dona Hake
 
 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

 

8 “I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. 10 Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.”
 
 
 

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 for he was in his own ability and weariness was upon him.    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 his need to just allow God’s strength to arise in his situation.   Even though he was weak, the revelation came to him through this experience that in his weakness, God was able to show Himself strong and mighty.   One translation of this portion of scripture 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.

 
 
 
 

 

In another translation Paul  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. 
 
 
 
 
 Today we ask you Lord to reveal to us areas in which we still try to live in our own strength.  Cause us to see your grace and strength in everything we do no matter how big or small it may be.  We praise you for your abundant grace that you have made available for us to draw upon.  You are so good to us Lord!
 
 
 
 


“With All Your Heart”

with all your heart
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Proverbs 3:5-6
Contemporary English Version

 

“With all your heart
you must trust the Lord
and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow.”
 
 
 
It was an evening of very slow traffic due to freshly fallen snow.   I made a decision to go a certain way home because I thought it was the safest, and it ended up adding an hour onto my travel time.  Upon turning onto the main road I found  the road was blocked due to an accident and they were detouring all cars.   The problem for me was they were directing me onto a road I had never been on before.  It was dark, and visibility was bad which made matters worst.   I had absolutely no clue where I was, and became a bit nervous about it.   Since I did not even know the street I was on, I could not even program anything into my GPS.    I remembered that there was a compass on my iPhone and that was the best thing for me at that point.    I could at least see I was heading in the right direction, and that is all I needed, and I eventually got back on track.
 
 
In my time of having no clue of what to do, I had peace in knowing that at least I was going the right direction.  So it is in this life when we are in those places where everything seems new, strange, or confusing.   Fear can so easily grip our hearts when we feel we do not even know where we are in spirit.   We just need to get our direction back, and allow the peace of the Lord to minister to our hearts so that we can be guided by His divine direction.
 
 
 
I love the translation of this scripture that I am sharing with you today.   Our judgements can seem so right at times.   Our judgements can seem so logical yet God is not seeing our judgements as the right thing to do.   Praise God that He is well able to clear the road ahead of us, and we can begin to see clearly again and make some sense out of things, and go in His divine direction.   
 
 
 
 
Lord, help us this day to lean upon you in the smallest of matters for all things that concern us really do matter to You.   We thank you for your divine direction and provision as we walk beside You this day.  In Jesus Name!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


“Faith and Doubt Have Voices”

Faith and Doubt have voices
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Do we really believe what we believe?   Sometimes the circumstances of life will tempt us to look away from our faith and be tempted to doubt, therefore we are set up to be double minded.   When one is double minded their faith will not work.    Let us look at a wonderful scripture in James that will encourage our hearts in the importance of being anchored in our faith!
 
 
 
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.”
 
 
 

When we are single minded toward God we will react in faith in any given situation. If we are not single-minded it is because we are more than likely depending on our own wisdom, and we need to get knowledge of what God’s Word has to say about our situation.   Another way one falls to being double minded is pride.  If one fails to totally submit themselves to the Word of God they will always be tempted to rely on their knowledge or experience. God sees us to be in a dangerous place when we are not living by faith in Him, and trusting in our knowledge of how something should come about. It is sad that if one does not totally submit their life to the Lord yet feel and  assume that all should work out in the end just because they are a believer.
 
 
 

I really love how this translation brings an even greater insight in the very last sentence of this portion of scripture in James 1:8… “The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy
and confused.”
 
 
 

The danger of not being single minded can cause severe consequences. Just as a compass keeps you on track, being single-minded with all that God has for you will also keep you wise, discerning and very sensitive to the voice of the Lord in the midst of trouble. Your spiritual “compass” will keep you right on target and you will remain strong, steady, and focused in the midst of a storm. This “compass” is vital because if you are in a problem, the last thing you need is to feel spiritually dizzy, confused, and not knowing which direction to turn.
 
 
 

When we are weak spiritually and our emotions are a wreck from the trial we are walking through we may find ourselves more susceptible to confusion and wrong thinking. Much of the time this is where the voice of doubt originates from. When we are not established in truth before the storm comes, we will be in trouble when we are in the midst of a trial. I am going to leave you with a poem that I absolutely love because of it’s powerful message.
 
 
 

Doubt sees the obstacle, faith sees the way;
Doubt sees the darkest night, faith sees the day;
Doubt dreads to take a step, faith soars on high;
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
FAITH answers “I”
(Anonymous)
 
 
 

Keep your spiritual ears tuned to the Spirit of God and keep your faith strong in Him. Give no place to the voice of doubt. Allow it no room in your thoughts. I pray that this devotional has been a blessing to you today!
 
 
 


“The Determined and Persevering Heart”

the determined and persevering heart
 
by Dona Hake
 
Have you ever determined yourself to do something and then “bottomed out” and
given up? It happens to all of us. After the decision is made an obstacle or
opposition stands before you and you weaken, give up and feel guilty that you
did not stick it out.
 
 

Any decision you make whether it be to do something or stop doing something
must be coupled with determination and perseverance. In this life I guarantee
you that there will always be obstacles in our paths. If we seek His wisdom we
can begin to see that many times obstacles can just be those “pauses” in which
we learn and grow, as we seek Him in the midst of it all. No matter how big
the obstacle, if you have make a decision to do something, hold fast to the
decision to persevere until you have accomplished your desire.
 
 

Winston Churchhill said it this way, “The nose of the bulldog is slanted
backwards so he can continue to breathe without letting go.” I love this because
many times it is just a matter of not letting go. Dig in, hold fast, and don’t let
go!!! Do what you have decided to do no matter how tough the fight. Draw
upon the strength and wisdom of the Lord for He is well able to help you
accomplish that thing you have determined yourself in. 
 
 
 
1 Corinthians 15:58 (AMP)
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].”
 
~~~~~♥~~~~~
 
 
 
 


“Fear Not, For He Is Your God”

fear not
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
Isaiah 41:10 (The Voice) So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be
dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you. I am here with
My right hand to make right and to hold you up.

The King James Version says, “Fear not, do not look anxiously about you for I
AM your God…”
 
 
Looking anxiously about  gives implication of  fear, panick or uneasiness in one’s heart and soul. It is good to know that our loving Heavenly Father is there for us in those times to come under us and lift us up and hold us closely. He will sit us on the solid rock where we will not be moved and He is able to keep us.
 
 
 
 
Today as I share this scripture I have a memory of an experience I had with my  parrot one day.  It is a great little story and analogy to help you see our  God coming to our rescue when we are in trouble.  She was roaming about on the outside of her cage.  I permit her to do this at times, and I watch her closely.   She usually is very happy just to sit on top of her “little world” and watch me and my husband.   One day she decided she was going to try to get on the pie safe which is about six  inches from her cage.    I happened to be watching her, and I was curious what she was going to do.  As she went to carefully go from her cage to the piece of furniture she slipped on the finish of the wood and began to panick, squawk loudly, and flutter her wings really fast.  I calmly walked over to her and spoke softly and put my hand under her so she could rest on me and feel safe again.   She was so sweet as she looked at me with such a sense of safety and relief.  After I felt she calmed down, I put her back on her cage.
 
 
 
 
This  reminded me how sometimes we can get ourselves in trouble and we lose our”footing.” You know…those times when you get a little over confident and you get into your own ability and from there you get yourself in trouble. There are also those times that you are stepping out on faith and you really have yourself out on the “limb” and it can cause fear to grip your heart. It is very easy to 
panic, get in anxiety, and be fearful.
 
 
 
 
Isn’t it good to know that our loving Heavenly Father is right there ready to hold out His mighty right hand to calm us, and His loving voice speaks to our heart and we feel safe again. Psalm 91:4 (TheVoice)    “Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers, will protect you under His great wings; His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you.”
 
 
 
I pray that you will see Him today as the One that is always nearby you and only an arm’s reach away to rescue you in your time of need or trouble. Only He can calm our hearts when we are in anxiety and fear. We serve a loving and caring God. He is so good. I pray you will have a day that is prosperous and blessed!



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!