12.10.16

 
 
 
 
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.)
 


12.8.16

 
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.
 
15420967_10205486510561021_1744583653175193718_n
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.
 
 


12.7.16

 
 
 
 
Devotional for Wednesday, December 7, 2016
“Seeking and Craving the Lord”
 
Pray and learn
 
 
Psalm 105:4 (AMP)

 

“Seek, inquire of and for the Lord, and crave Him and
His strength (His might and inflexibility to temptation);
seek and require His face and His presence [continually] evermore.”
 
I find this translation of this scripture very awesome, and it stirs my heart to seek and crave the Lord.   In the natural we can have food cravings.   We have all experienced it to the point that you thought you just had to have that particular food.   I shared this little story before but it fits well with this devotional.   I can remember an I Love Lucy show where a very pregnant Lucy sent Ricky out very late at night for she was experiencing some very unusual cravings for odd food combinations.   He came back with her request of ice cream, sardines, and pickles.   She mixed them all up, and ate it!   Ricky was almost sick to watch her, but that was her craving!    The point of the story is that her craving made her that she just had to have those things, and she was not happy until she got to eat them!
 
Today, I want to stir your thoughts and your heart about your cravings and desires for the things that the Lord wants us to have working in us.  As we ponder the scripture from Psalm 105:4 we  can see that as we truly seek the Lord in prayer, reading, and the hearing of His Word that there is much to be found.    Even if you have read a scripture many times over, there is always freshness and newness of life that a scripture can bring to your soul…if you allow it to.  I can remember reading an interesting quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, this is what he said,
 
“No man ever prayed without learning something.”
 
As you enter into His presence and read His Word, I encourage you to expect to learn of Him, and come to know Him in a deeper way.    Today I encourage you to crave Him and His strength.  The more we seek Him the more we will find ourselves needing to seek Him more. The more you experience HIS strength and HIS ability, the more you will crave to turn your face to Him and receive all that He is!  He desires to teach you continually and answer all the questions of your heart. Crave Him, step into His presence, and prepare yourself to learn and receive His portion for you today. God is good!
 
Jeremiah 33:3 (CJB)

“Call out to me,
and I will answer you —
I will tell you great things,
hidden things of which you are unaware.”



12.6.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Tuesday, December 6, 2016
“Abiding Under the Shelter of the Almighty”
 
he who dwells
 
by Dona Hake
 

God has provided for us His place of refuge.  He desires that we dwell there, and that we remain. In other words, we cannot allow things of this world to pull us out from that place that He has provided for us.  Let us purpose to remain in the place of His peace, love, joy, protection, and all the wonderful things He has provided in His shelter.

 
There will be things around us from day to day that will tempt us to walk out from His shelter. Many times people may choose anxiety over peace or bitterness over love, etc. This is only a few of the many choices we can make that can rob us from the hiding place and shelter He has provided. Remember, His shelter is our refuge. Next time you are tempted to get upset, instead of dwelling on the one who upset you or the circumstance, choose rather to run to Him for help, and refuge from the problem.  Choose to dwell in the shelter of the Almighty.
 
Psalm 91:1 (GW)

“Whoever lives under the shelter of the Most High
will remain in the shadow of the Almighty.”

 
In our home, my husband and I have lived by a rule since the day we were married, and that is to strive to maintain peace between us.   We continue to  do whatever it takes to maintain that peace in our home.  We never leave each other with things unresolved, and we purpose to continue doing this. 

 

”When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath
(your exasperation, your fury or indignation)
last until the sun goes down.”
Ephesians 4:26

 
You see, God  knows our human nature, and that there will be times that we will heed to anger, but the warning here is to deal with it and resolve it. We must never lay down to sleep with anger in our hearts or we will awaken with that anger still brewing, and we will surely carry it with us throughout our day. This is not God’s plan for us! God wants us to live in a place of peace in our hearts, our homes, and everywhere we go throughout our day.
 
Today I just want to encourage you to value the wonderful blessing of Him providing a place for you to dwell. Do not allow the negative things of this life to pull you from that place of love, peace, and protection that He has so abundantly blessed you with. For every problem you have, He has a solution.   All you need to do is remain in His presence, look to Him, and He will be your helper as you abide in His place of refuge. Today I encourage you to abide under the shelter of the Almighty God!  


12.5.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Monday, December 5, 2016
“The Giving of Yourself”
 
give and it shall be given
 
 
by Dona Hake
 
I would like to stir your heart today in the area of giving.   No, I am not talking about Christmas gifts or even the giving of money yet we can bless people as we give of gifts such as these.   Today I am sharing about  the giving of yourself.  God can use us in so many ways to touch lives in extra special ways everyday. There are those that need your listening ear or a word of encouragement or wisdom. In those times that the Lord lays an individual on your heart, I encourage you to stop and pray, for your obedience could make a difference in their life in that moment in time.
 

I am going to share two quotes with you that are the words of Mother Teresa. I admire the life of this loving, gracious and humble woman of God. Read and take heed.

 

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Mother Teresa

 

“God doesn’t look at how much we do,

but with how much love we do it.”
Mother Teresa
 
As we are obedient to the voice of the Lord to give what we have, He will surely bless it. Along with obedience in our giving let us do it with a heart of love. The scripture I  want to share with you now is from Luke 6:38 (ERV)
 
“Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”
 
Now I want to emphasize that your giving should never be for the sake of what you get back. When God gives back to you, it is solely for the purpose of your hands being filled to the full that you can continue to give out, and be a blessing to those in need. I encourage you today to open your hands to those around and obediently give that which the Lord has so graciously blessed you with!


12.4.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Sunday, December 4, 2016
“His Mercy Can Never Be Exhausted”
 
 
streams of mercy
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lamentations 3:22-23
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
“The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning—
great is your faithfulness!”
 
 
 
 
Oh let us rejoice and thank the Lord that His acts of mercy are NEVER exhausted.   His compassion never runs dry for it is fresh and new just for you each morning!   As we look to Him at the start of our day we can stand believing for bountiful blessings flowing from His hand into our life.    We can know that everything we will need to sustain us is ready to flow from His endless supply, and all we have to do is ask Him for it. I love knowing that I serve a God that is FULL of mercy and He promises that it never runs out nor can it be exhausted! As you meditate upon this, I encourage you to set your gaze upon Him and allow your spirit to receive all that He has for you today. We can look to Him in prayer and believe that His fullness will be upon us as we trust in Him.  I will leave this scripture and blessing for you as you go about your day!
 
 
 
 

Psalm 90:17
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
and direct thou the work of our hands upon us…”

 



12.3.16

 
 
Devotional for Saturday, December 3, 2016
“The Key To An Anchored Prayer”
 
singleminded
by Dona Hake
 
 
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.”
 
 
 
To enter your home you have a specific key for your door.   To start your car you have another.  James spoke to us in this portion of scripture about a key of great importance when we are praying and requesting something from the Lord.  That key is to be single-minded.   You see many times we insist on using our own “keys” to create solutions to life’s problems.  If we do not  focus on God’s Word, and we do not remain single-minded, we will end up  trying to solve a problem in our own understanding and our own ways.  Sadly there are many times our prayers go unanswered because of our lacking the possession of the key of being single-minded.    We must guard our hearts that we do not go adrift with our own wisdom for we will surely be tossed to and fro by the winds of life’s circumstance if we do. 
 
May we press into our faith as we are loyal to God and His Word.   We shall not be dizzy and confused for we have set our course, and we will be able to decisively move forward in the plan and will of our Father.  Just as a compass leads us and keeps us on track, being single-minded  will  keep us wise, discerning and very sensitive to the voice of the Lord at all times.  Our spiritual “compass” will keep us  centered in His will, and we will remain strong, steady, and focused in the midst of any storms that may come our way.  
 
We thank You Lord that as we draw upon Your grace and seek Your face that You will help us to stay single minded in our commitment to You.


12/2/16

 

 

Devotional for Friday, December 2, 2016
“He Lifts Me Up”
 
he upholds his sheep
by Dona Hake
 I love meditating upon the fact that my Lord watches over me, walks beside me, and He expects me to follow Him.  Today I want to share about how the Lord wants to uphold us at all times, and it is because of His watchful and caring eyes.   I found some very interesting definitions of the word uphold.   Let us meditate upon these definitions of the word uphold.
 
*to support or defend, as against opposition or criticism:
*to keep up or keep from sinking; support:
*to lift upward; raise:
 
As a shepherd, David understand how it was so important to be watchful and care for every need of his sheep.   He understood the importance of defending his sheep against any dangerous predators.   One of the most dangerous dilemmas for a sheep was if they ended up in a “cast down” position.    The alertness and swift action of the caring shepherd was important when this happened or it meant a sheep would die if left to itself.  
 
There are a handful of Psalms where David used this term “cast down.” Understanding this particular fact about a sheep brings greater understanding why the psalmist used this term so frequently in his psalms.  “Cast down” is a term used for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself. I want to make emphasis on *it cannot get up again by itself.    The poor sheep must be helped and turned right side up by the loving, strong hands of it’s shepherd.  A “cast down” sheep is a sad sight. It lays on its back, and as its feet are in the air, it struggles frantically to get back up again. Sometimes it will make little bleating cries for help and just lays there frustrated. If the shepherd does not arrive on time, the sheep will die. Since a sheep that is cast down is in such a helpless state, it is also vulnerable to attack by predators.
 
I think this is such an excellent analogy of our condition at times when the circumstances of life seem to turn things upside down in our souls, yet David would use this term within prayers such as “why are you cast down oh my soul?…hope in God.” I am sure we can all relate to those times in which we are down, feeling frustrated and helpless.  Oh thank God we have a Shepherd that always arrives on time to uphold and lift us back up!
 
 Psalm 37:24 Amplified Bible
 “Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down,
for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.”
 
I encourage you that in those times of being down and feeling helpless that you would look up for His hand. It is there for you to grasp! He will lift you up and put you on your feet again. Our Lord is a good Shepherd and He most assuredly will uphold you!
 


12.1.16

 
 
 
Devotional for Thursday, December 1, 2016
“What Have You Asked the Lord Today?”
 
jesus is understanding
 
by Dona Hake
 
 
What have you asked the Lord for today?   As you pray and seek His help first thing in the morning may I encourage you to speak and ask of Him throughout you day?   In this verse that I am sharing it speaks of the attributes of our Living God and He desires that we draw upon them.  They are His counsel, His sound wisdom, His insights, and His strength.  Let us ask Him and believe Him for these things.
 
 
Proverbs 8:14 (ESV)
“I have counsel and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.”
 
Consoling isn’t it?…to know that we can draw upon these things from the throne room of God.   We all face times in which we may not understand something that is going on in our life or we are looking to understand His Word in greater depth.    When we seek to know more, and we ask Him to help us understand, He is faithful to help us. As we search His Word He will help us understand it and apply it to our lives.   In those times where things may seem to appear  cloudy and difficult…know that He is well able to unfold to you what you need to know. He is able to bring to you the clarity that you need.
 

 1 Corinthians 2:16 (AMP)

” For who has known or understood the mind
(the counsels and purposes)
of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge?
But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah)
and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.”
 
Praise Him today that as we draw upon His  realms of understanding   we will begin to understand His Word in a greater way, and see the counsel, wisdom, insights and strength of His heart at work in our life!
 
 
 



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!