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

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

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



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

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

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


Devotional for Friday, December 16, 2016
“In God Alone I Rest”
in God alone I rest
by Dona Hake
Yesterday we meditated upon leaning upon our Lord patiently as we wait for Him.   Psalm 37:-7   Amplified Bible, Classic Edition   “Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him…”
If you were to lean against something unstable in the natural you could feel apprehensive to lean the full weight of  your body for fear of it not holding you up.   Let us remember that our Lord is a strong rock, He is an anchor, and when we lean on Him, we can  completely lean ourselves on Him and  rest in Him.   Today I want to encourage your heart to maintain a sweet rest in your Heavenly Father.  Daily responsibilities and cares can just take it out of us if we are not seeking His face and casting our cares upon Him.    When you are overwhelmed, weary and anxious, are you quick to run to Him?   We can only deepen the revelation of this truth within our hearts.    
Matthew 11:28
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened,

and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]”
As the Lord desires to relieve and refresh us He also desires our diligence.  We must attend to our hearts as He has commanded us to.   We must guard our hearts and keep them full of His Word.  Just as you have to continue to deposit money in your checking account to continue writing checks, we also have to continue to deposit the things of the Spirit within our hearts and minds.     We cannot live off of the the testimonies of yesterday, even though they do encourage our hearts.   We cannot expect our faith from yesterday is to be lived upon today.    We must go to Him quickly and diligently. We must continue to go deeper and deeper with our Lord, for it is in that place that we will experience complete strength, hope,  rest, and a faith that continues to grow strong.
If we are honest with ourselves we may see that  there are times when we are pushing the boundaries of our bodies and minds to the place in which we so often experience a weariness.     As we continue to grow in the depths of all that He is, we must make every effort to make Him  our dwelling place.     It is there that there is strength and peace beyond any comprehension exists. We will  indeed experience a peace that passes all understanding!   I believe that God wants us to live in a place called rest that ONLY He provides. So what is this rest? Here is one definition that I loved…
Rest:   relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.
Let us abide under the shadow of His wings…may we live there, hang out, stay there….God wants us to remain before Him. He does not desire we come and go as we please. He does not desire that we come to Him when only life’s problems come up, but He desires we remain. It is as we rest in that place that we really do experience His rest!
“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him,”
Psalm 62:5 HCSB


Devotional for Thursday, December 15, 2016
“Leaning Yourself Upon the Lord”
trusting Jesus
by Dona Hake

Proverbs 3:5 (AMP)
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart

and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”
Some days it can be tempting to just see things through how you are perceiving them. We can tend to view things from the “glasses” of our formed opinions and thoughts and we can fall short of seeing things as God sees them. If we are leaning on our own understanding we are seeing things as we have concluded them to be.    We are forming opinions on our past experience or our own expectancy.  We need to remember that God is always seeing the bigger picture, and He sees how all is working together for the good if we trust in Him.
Now if we are leaning on God and trusting in Him, it is truly a wonderful thing. Leaning upon God will bring rest to our souls. Sometimes in the midst of life’s hard blows it can cause us to be weary and tired. I was so blessed as I read verse 7 of this Psalm for it brings even more understanding to trusting in our Lord.


Psalm 37:-7   Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.”

Have you ever been so tired and you stopped to just lean against something, and once you felt strength to go again you then proceeded. The psalmist was encouraging the reader to stop and lean on God and do it with patience. Today I encourage you that if you are needing rest and refreshment in your soul to STOP, BE STILL, AND PATIENTLY LEAN YOURSELF UPON HIM! Wait patiently as He refreshes, strengthens and restores your soul. God is good!




Devotional for Wednesday, December 14, 2016
“His Kindness In Us”
kindness given
 by Dona Hake
You never know how the Lord wants to use us in our day.   I look expectantly for opportunities to chat with people.   I especially love trying to get people that seem a tad grumpy, and get them talking with me.   I have found that they usually are not purposing to be that way…they just are because their hearts are hurting.
Yesterday, I was purchasing some gift cards for Christmas and the clerk was ringing me up.   We were both chatting and talking about how we were not ready for Christmas.   Then she blurted out the hurt of her heart…”I hate Christmas, and I cannot wait till it is over.”   I calmly responded, “Really?”  She began to share how her husband died on Christmas six years ago and it is just still so hard and painful.   It was so so sad.
I have found in situations like this that all an individual needs is someone to listen to the pain of the heart.  They need to be handled lovingly, gently, and all so kindly.    It is not our business to decide how long it should take for another to deal with something.  We just need to be there for them and speak words of healing and pray as we feel led .   As I left her register I looked at her and thanked her for helping me, and I wished her a Merry Christmas anyway.She no longer seemed grumpy and she smiled at me as we parted.  
Maybe those were the kind words and listening ears she needed to get her through another day that she dreaded.   I do not know, but I know this…God wants to use each and everyone of us to touch hurting people in our path.   I encourage you today to be ready to be used of the Lord to share His kindness, love, and much needed words that someone may need to hear .  
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving

better and happier. Be the living expression of

God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness

in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

— Mother Teresa
Lord, we ask you to help us to be vessels of Your kindness this day.   Help us to recognize and seize opportunities to give kindness to the one in need.    May we submit to Your plans for us that we can be used by You to touch someone’s heart.   We thank you that we can be the living expression of Your wonderful love to the one that needs it most.


Devotional for Tuesday, December 13, 2016
“Being Confident of This Very Thing”
As WE press on
by Dona Hake
Is there anything too hard for our God? He is great and greatly we should praise Him each and everyday! Do you feel at times that your life, and it’s problems are too hard for God?  When problems and issues get out of hand in our lives we can certainly feel overwhelmed by them, but let us return to Him and encourage our faith and our hearts. No matter how difficult our life may seem at the moment…remember this…God is able, and He IS the mighty and living God!     Paul spoke with confidence in Philippians.
Philippians 1:6 (JUB)

“…being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun

a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Today I leave you with a confession for you to speak and edify yourself!
His mercies are new to me every morning , His grace is sufficient for me, His joy is my strength, His love keeps my heart, The fruit of His patience promises to help me to be longsuffering. My youth is renewed as the eagles as I wait upon Him, He promises to never leave me, and in His presence I stand in  abounding joy. From the windows of Heaven comes an abundance so big that I cannot even begin to contain it. Any sin, no matter how big or small is forgiven as I humble myself to Him with a truly repentant heart.
In this I am confident…a good work has begun in
me and He promises to complete it!




Devotional for Monday, December 12, 2016
“His Faithful Love Is Always Toward Us”
as deep as the sea
by Dona Hake
Psalm 42:8 (CEB)
“By day the Lord commands his faithful love;
by night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.”

This scripture reminds me that from the time I awaken till I lay my head down to sleep that I should simply praise His Name because He commands His faithful love toward me.    As I ponder this I think about all that can happen in a day that can distract me from meditating upon His love.  Sometimes we  encounter difficult situations and pressures within our day that make it hard to keep praise to Him in our hearts.  Yet, the Lord desires that there is an offering of praise proceeding from our hearts no matter what is going on around us.  As His faithful love is constantly toward us, we too should be loving Him with all of our being!

Psalm 113:3 (CEV)
” From dawn until sunset
the name of the Lord
deserves to be praised.”
May we ask Him for a greater understanding and revelation that He is with us all the time as He promises to never leave or forsake us. No matter what happened today or what you have to face tomorrow…NOTHING can keep you from offering praise to the Living God! So today, think about the great oceans and their depth…His love for you is deeper than the deepest sea!
“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. ”
Romans 8:39 (The Message)


Devotional for Saturday, December 10, 2016
“Peace Is the Presence of God”
Peace rules and reigns
by Dona Hake 
“Peace is not the absence
of trouble. Peace is the
presence of God.”
How tempting it can be for one to think that if all is going their way that this is how we experience peace.   One can also think that if we just go to a place where it is quiet, and we leave our problems behind, that this is peace. The truth is that we could run to the quietest place in the world, but if there is turmoil and frustration in our heart and mind, we will take it with us. Not only does it go with us, but it continues to rage on in our heart. We will find the only true peace is in the presence of our loving God.  The truth is that along with His presence that  He has promised us is the ultimate peace. Let us look at the following scripture, and I encourage you to read this translation slowly, and let it touch your heart.
John 14:27 (AMP)
“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
Let us look closer at some specific words of this translation in John 14:27, “…Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves…” It sounds to me like we have some effort to be made on our part doesn’t it? Today I encourage you to discipline your heart and mind to look and purpose yourself to stay in the presence of your Lord and Savior Jesus.
Psalm 16:11 (CEB)

” You teach me the way of life.
In your presence is total celebration.
Beautiful things are always in your right hand.”

12. 9. 16

Devotional for Friday, December 9, 2016
“Consistently Following His Statutes”
oh that my actions
  by Dona Hake
To be consistent is constantly adhering to the same principles or course.  Oh how our Lord desires that we consistently reflect His ways, and we most certainly will as we adhere to His Word and walk in His will!    The psalmist’s words in Psalm 119  spoke of his heart’s desire to reflect all that was right and good that he could represent God according to the decrees he knew. We too should desire this. The Amplified version of this scripture shares the secret to doing this in four words. We need to truly hear, receive, love, and obey His Word.
Psalm 119:5   (AMP)

“Oh, that my ways were directed and established

to observe Your statutes
[hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]!”
Have you ever heard something, and it went in one ear and out the other? We have all been guilty of that one. Yet, God wants us to be cautious that we do not do that when we hear the living Word of His truth. May we hear it, and take hold of it, and receive it to be our very own revelation. As we hold fast to it, love, and obey it, we will indeed reflect His decrees. Let us be faithful to read and study His Word. It is as we meditate and reflect upon the Word that it will grow within our hearts.
“I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.”
Psalms 119:15 NLT
Lord, we ask you to help us to remember that as we are here on this earth, You desire to live in and through us. We are Your vessels, and we long to radiate and reflect Your life, light, and love in all that we do. Keep us humble Lord, and show us those things that would hinder us from reflecting You fully. We thank you for Your great and awesome works that You plan to do through us. Lord, “You are good and kind and do good; teach me Your statutes.” Psalms 119:68 (Amp.)


Devotional for Thursday, December 8, 2016
“My Soul Will Sing Praise”
It was on my heart to share a bit differently with you today.  Yesterday a dear friend of mine shared something on Facebook, and it was so touching and powerful.   I have known her for many years, and I had the blessing and joy to photograph her wedding.   I also have seen her walk through some very difficult storms.   Several years ago I stood with her at the casket of her younger sister.   It was only weeks before her death  that Amber’s sister and I were out buying a new camera together.   She shared her dreams with me and desired for me to mentor her in photography.  And there I stood with Amber seeing this young woman’s life ended in such a tragic way.    It was one of the most painful things I have ever walked through watching a family lose their precious loved one like this.   Now Amber faces the challenge of dealing with Autism in her youngest daughter.
Today I am sharing with you Amber’s post from yesterday.   This young woman’s strength and leaning on the Lord has been a powerful testimony to many.   Every time she shares with me I feel more challenged in my faith.    I pray this will bless you as it blessed me.   With Amber’s permission and blessing I share with you her precious words:
“It’s really hard to believe it has almost been a year since this moment. One of the hardest times of my life feeling so helpless to help my child. I didn’t realize how much those fifteen days in the hospital over the holidays affected my heart until the Christmas music came on and a lump started rising up in my throat. Getting emotional over Christmas music isn’t me. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year but I found this year that the loss of my sister around Christmas and the hardship of enduring Christmas with Riley’s special needs has made this holiday hard for me.
Revisiting the Ronald McDonald house last week brought back the old familiar feelings of feeling so lonely there last Christmas and wanting to be at home. And this year taking Autism head on and loving Riley where she is at, I realized I can’t shop for her the same way I would for any other four year old. I’ve had to shop for her at the pet store. Many tears shed but I realize the reason this year has been so dark for me is because I have been grieving over what isn’t and focusing on what hasn’t happened and looking at my pain instead of how far I’ve come.
Little Riley in her hospital bed after her surgery.
I took my eyes briefly off the One who has been holding me through all this. That is what this season is about, celebrating the One who gave all, who is Jesus. And if there is one thing I have learned from the losses I have endured and the hardships of having a child with special needs it is to not take things for granted, be thankful for the little things and realize that life is not about stuff, doing things “for” your kids, planning and trying to fit everything into a nice neat box, but it is being present in relationships, enjoying every moment unscripted, and going with the flow and learning to enjoy life in the midst of things. 
I went from being an organized, have it all together Pinterest mom to letting go of control and learning to love people where they are at and being more present in everyday moments. It shouldn’t take hardship and tragedy for us to learn these things but for me I am glad that God has changed me. I don’t want to wait until everything is perfect and all my goals are achieved to start enjoying life.
Christmas might look different for us this year, but change is ok. I now know that hosting dinners and shopping for gifts pale in comparison to holding my loved ones close and giving thanks that I still have them. And it’s also about getting my eyes off of us and our problems and giving. For many people the holidays are hard. So give back, to those in need, especially to those who are lonely and grieving, and hold your loved ones close and don’t let the hustle bustle of the season keep you from seeing what is right in front of you. ❤️”   Amber Snyder
I shared with Amber that we will be standing with her and her family that Riley will be totally healed.  I know she would appreciate your continued prayers, so I encourage you to do so.   You know my friends, when I read things like this it reminds me to keep life in perspective as to what is really important.   Especially at this time of the year I see way too many people getting anxious over having to have things perfect.   For some people things may never be perfect for their losses bring unbearable pain to them especially over the holidays.   
I encourage you to day to walk as close to Jesus as you know how.   Believe for opportunities to reach out and be a blessing to a heart that may be hurting, and may your soul sing praise to Him.    God bless 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!