“His Word Is Light To Our Night”

night seasons

by Dona Hake

The image you see today is one that I photographed on a cold, snowy winter night last year.  My good friend gave me this lantern as a gift and I kept visualizing an image of it hanging in my backyard after a fresh snow in the darkness of night.  The night was perfect  and the image brings so much meaning to me.

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.  I personally love all the seasons so this really does not bother me.  What we can all relate to though is the “seasons” in our lives that come without warning and they bring darkness or they cause you uncertainty.  This can cause fear and turmoil in ones heart.

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.  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.

~~~~~    ♥     ~~~~~



“Expressing a Merciful Heart”

mercy

by Dona Hake

Today I am thinking about being thankful for God’s mercy toward me.  It causes me to think about how I need to always be merciful to others as well.  It is so easy at times to fall short of patience and mercy with those around us especially those you are closest to.  After all, there is always the tempting thought that they love you so much that they will just put up with you no matter what.  Let us desire to be reminded to be merciful to everyone around us.

Matthew 5:7 (ERV)

“Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others.

    Mercy will be given to them.”

When those around us mess up and it affects us, let’s remind ourselves to show mercy to them.  Maybe they are dealing with stress that you are not aware of and it is causing their behavior.  It is in those times that wrong words may  spoken and wrong actions may be exhibited .  I am reminded of the one verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that says “Love believes the best…”   Today, I encourage you to ponder the fruit of a heart that is merciful.   God bless you.



“Simply Pray and Pray Simply”

pray simply

by Dona Hake

There is so much power in simplicity.  I believe this truth can be applied to every area of our live especially prayer.  Many times we can seem to think that because our problem is so complicated that the problem must be prayed with complicated wording and thoughts.    Do not ever judge a child’s prayer to be ineffective simply because  they did not pray the words you might have said.  God sees the heart and that is the most important thing of all.  He desires that we keep our hearts clean, and humble before Him in order that we may serve Him without inward distractions.

I would like to share a precious prayer that I found the other evening while reading one of my favorite books on prayer.  I want you to take note of how simple yet profound it really is.

“Help me to live this day quietly and easily,

To lean upon Thy great strength trustfully and restfully,

To wait for the unfolding of thy will patiently and serenely,

To meet others peacefully, and joyfully,

And to face tomorrow confidently and courageously.”

Anonymous

The beginning of the prayer is the asking to live the day quietly and easily.  I loved this.  I do not see this as a request for the easy way but rather that one’s heart would remain quiet in the midst of any confusion or difficulties that may be encountered.  How beautiful it is to wait patiently as His hand directs His will in your life and on that path you will seek to be at peace and maintain joy as you live and work with those around you.  How powerful this simple prayer is yet it will help you see your tomorrow with confidence and courage rather than dread and fear.   Remember to simply pray and pray simply.  God bless you!

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~



“Determination = Success”

succeed

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.  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 all the storm brought, 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.

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 diligence and persistence to all we set ourselves to do.    It is as we do this that we can pass on the torch 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

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~

 



“He Who Refreshes Others…”

refreshed

by Dona Hake

Isaiah 58:11 (ERV)

“The Lord will always lead you and satisfy your needs in dry lands.

He will give strength to your bones.

You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring that never goes dry.”

As we draw upon the living water from above each and everyday let us be mindful to share that water that gives life  with those around us.  Let us be thankful that the water He gives is the only water that will quench our spiritual thirst.    I love how this scripture in Isaiah says that we will be “like a garden that has plenty of water, a spring that never goes dry.”  No matter how much we draw upon it, those waters will continue to flow toward us to meet our every need!  The only requirement is that we continue to seek Him and draw upon that river of life that proceeds from Him.

This type of abundance is not just for our survival alone but it is there for us to give.  God desires to see us active in doing good for others from a heart of faith and love.  In this time of pondering what you are thankful for I encourage you really think about the abundance in your life, and how He would have you be a blessing to those around you.    Think about the many times He has rescued you from a problem that seemed unsolvable.  Thank Him for those times that you anxiety tormented you and His peace permeated you beyond your understanding.    We have so much to be thankful for and as we focus on those blessings, we will be in a position to refresh those around us.  God bless you!

If it be on your heart to share  please feel free to do so by scrolling to the bottom of the page and submit your comment.

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~



“Enjoying the Present”

past

by Dona Hake

Yesterday during my husband’s sermon he said something that just inspired my heart for this devotional.  “If you live in the past, you’ll have no current joy.”  I think one of the saddest things is seeing people live in the pain of their  past yet they have so much to be thankful for in the present moment.    If you live in the past, even when there are good things going on around you, you may be hindered from even noticing them.   The past has the ability to rob you of the good things that are in your life RIGHT NOW!   We need to stop and purposely think of each and every good thing that God has blessed us with.  If you allow your mind to dwell on the memories of the past you will miss the joy of the moment.  

Philippians 3:13 (TLB)

“No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing

all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…”

I want to encourage you today that if you are tempted to look over your shoulder into your past to stop!  Stop and look at who you are today and how far God has brought you.  Stop and think about every blessing you possess whether it be spiritual blessings, family, friends or material things.  Let us not allow the wonderful joys in our present be robbed from us because we feel we are unable to go forward.  Know this, God can heal you from the pain and scars of your past.  He can give you hope for a future, and He can bring joy unspeakable into your heart and peace that passes all understanding that will permeate your mind.  Enjoy the current joys that are around you and allow God to give you the strength to continue to move forward!

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~

 



“As Far As the East Is to the West”

Forgiven_0009_Group 1

by Dona Hake

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

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

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

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

 

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



“Maintaining Focus”

focus

by Dona Hake

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

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

Psalm 57:7 (AMP)

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

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

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~



“Thriving and Being Ruled By His Peace”

Peace rules and reigns

 by Dona Hake

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

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

Colossians 3:15-Amplified version

“And let the peace soul harmony which comes from Christ

rule act as umpire continually in your hearts deciding

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

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

one body you were also called to live…”

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

~~~~~     ♥     ~~~~~



“In His Loving Hands”

holding me

by Dona Hake

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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




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!