"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 3

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. – Ephesians 5:20 AMP

A friend of mine bought a hummingbird feeder. He enjoyed it so much he suggested I set one up, too.

After much deliberation at the hardware store, I bought one with a picture on the box of a half dozen hummingbirds flying around it. Excitedly, I boiled water, added the sugar – measuring it to the last granule. I cooled the mixture, filled the feeder, hung it up, and waited…and waited.

After a few days, the water grew cloudy. Not one bird visited the feeder. “What’s so great about this?” I muttered as I took down the feeder, filled it up with fresh nectar, and hung it up again.

It seemed like a long time, but was, in fact, only a few days later when the first hummingbird showed up.

I held my breath, afraid to move a muscle, and watched when the tiny, iridescent bird that seemed to appear out of nowhere began to dip into the sweet nectar. He then quickly disappeared.

When a beautiful hummingbird graced me with its presence, I had to stop everything to watch it gobble up the liquid I had so carefully prepared. I found myself standing at the patio door several times a day waiting for my next visitor. Soon I had ‘regulars’ I could identify by their markings.

But I wanted more. I wanted them to flock around the feeder like the picture on the box. As if in answer to a whispered prayer, two showed up at once. How precious, I thought – until they began to fight over the feeder!

As I watched them, I realized I could identify with them. I had fallen into the trap of greediness; I had eagerly awaited the arrival of one bird, and then wanted two.

At times, I fight the tendency to be a greedy Christian. I pray and ask for a blessing. God graciously answers, and then I want more. I suspect I’m not the only one. He could send a ‘flock’ of blessings, and we would still be greedy.

How many times has the Lord blessed us, and before we even thank Him, we cry out for more? Are we are like the little birds? Do we look heavenward and cry, “Bless me, bless me”?

There’s nothing wrong with making requests of God. Paul told the Philippians, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

But I’ve been guilty of having a long list of prayer requests. Where is my list of prayer praises? I try to remember to thank God first before I start asking for anything.

And I thank God for the tiny hummingbirds that taught me a lesson about greed.

Prayer: Lord, You are my ruler and have all power over my circumstances. Thank you for the many blessings You’ve provided for me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Grandma’s Special Stove

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV

My niece is remodeling her kitchen. Her four-year-old son, Chase, heard her talking to the contractor about which stove to buy. After the worker left, Chase came running up to Michelle. “Mommy, you have to get one just like Grandma’s!”

Michelle asked him why, to which he replied, “Because everything that comes out of it tastes delicious!”

Chase credited the stove with far too much power. I’m certain Grandma Shirley would think so, too, since she’s the one who created the scrumptious concoctions that went into the oven.

How many times do we fail to give God credit when He uses mankind to accomplish His will? Just as the stove is only a vessel used to cook a meal, we are vessels used by God.

I know of people who’ve traveled hundreds of miles to have a particular man or woman pray for them to be healed. God does use men and women in the healing ministry, but the true Healer is Jesus.

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:16-17 NIV

Chase credited the stove with creating the meals, and at times, we credit man with the healing, instead of the Healer Himself.

We eat out so much these day I have to dust my stove occasionally. I’d really love to have one like Chase imagined.

Prayer: Lord, You alone are good. I praise You for Your goodness, for Your healing power, and for blessings, which come from You alone. I humbly ask You to use me as Your willing vessel. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Peace of God

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8 NIV

Have you ever been overwhelmed with life’s circumstances? When life gets the better of me, I turn to God for help and I know He’s there to comfort me. He did in the wee hours of one morning in May 1998.

On Sunday, my husband, Don, preached two sermons with characteristic enthusiasm – something akin to an aerobic workout. The day before, he’d jogged, planted roses, and prepared his messages – not bad for a 48-year-old man.

But that night, I found Don still up at one o’clock in the morning sitting in the dark. After much probing, he admitted, “I feel pain in my back and up into my jaw.”

“I’m calling 9-1-1,” I said.

Don protested. “I’ll be fine.”

Our daughter, Leah, walked in about that time. After I explained the situation, she marched in to confront her daddy. “Dad! Your dad died from a heart attack at the age of 49. Do you want to take that chance?”

We convinced him to let me drive him to the emergency room, and I prayed all the way. What if he collapses? Oh, Lord, please help me get him to the hospital!

Within a few hours, filled with tests and bad news, I found myself following an ambulance to a nearby city. A specialist waited to do quintuple by-pass surgery on Don. I filled out what seemed to be enough forms to paper my house, made arrangements for our children, and called work, family, and friends. I found out I could stay in the hospital, so I made my ‘reservation’ for a room.

After his visitors left, Don and I prayed, and I went upstairs to my room. Imagine my dismay when the nurse took me to an abandoned wing of the hospital to a room several doors down the hallway, far enough that no one could hear me if I called. It was nearly two o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. I hadn’t slept since Saturday night.

I fell exhausted into bed, but couldn’t sleep. The enormity of the situation hit me, and I began to sob. I’d never felt so alone. It dawned on me – what if Don didn’t make it through this very serious surgery? What would I do without him? God, help me!

As if a warm blanket enveloped me, the Holy Spirit seemed to cover me, and then expanded to fill the room. I felt the presence of the Lord as I’d never experienced before.

Paul told the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

That morning, I experienced the peace of God. I presented my request to God, and He gave me strength to go on. He is faithful, and I am never alone. He will be there for all those who call on His name.

And Don came through surgery and is back to his ‘aerobic’ preaching!

I praise You, Lord, for Your omnipresence and the peace You bring when I call upon Your Name. Thank You. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

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Thanks so much for subscribing to the mailing list for Devotionals by Donna. I don't send out daily emails or anything like that - just a short note when I post something new! God bless you. - Donna

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Leader and the Lamb

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." - Revelation 7:17 NIV

I’ve been blessed as I’ve watched televised clips this week of the late President Ronald Reagan. In many of the interviews, he witnessed of his faith in God. During his time in the White House, the country went through a tumultuous and changing period. With President Reagan at the helm, he promised Americans “the best is yet to come” – reassuring words from the leader of the free world.

This week, Ronald Reagan’s body has been lying in state on two coasts, and tens of thousands of people have passed by the casket. As I’ve watched the elaborate funeral proceedings for this beloved man, I recall the events surrounding the death of the greatest Leader of all time – Jesus Christ.

After his death on the cross, Jesus’ body was whisked away to be put in a borrowed tomb. The Bible records only two women came to His resting place the third day. What joy they felt when they realized Jesus had risen!

President Reagan may have given the American people hope in the midst of turmoil for a better country, but Jesus gives all people hope and a perfect eternal home.

On earth, President Reagan met with world leaders and dignitaries on a regular basis. I’d like to think upon his arrival in heaven, he’s already met with Jesus – the greatest Leader of all time.

Prayer: Oh, God, thank you for your guidance. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me in a straight path. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 2

“and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Ephesians 4:27 NIV

As a newly hatched ‘bird nerd’ (see Bird Nerd), I took advice from my sister-in-law concerning the type birdfeeder to buy. “Donna, get the kind where those pesky squirrels can’t eat all the food.”

We’d already been battling squirrels setting up house in our attic, so the last thing I wanted to do was feed the critters.

I watched my favorite shopping channel and ordered a birdfeeder guaranteed to be ‘squirrel-proof.’ When it arrived, I filled it with food, hung it in the tree by the deck, and watched for my first visitor. Within minutes, one had arrived. Can you guess what it was? Yep. A fat, furry squirrel.

He climbed onto the deck railing. There he sat with his fluffy tail twitching, ready to pounce, trying to determine if he could jump from rail to feeder. He decided he couldn’t reach it. He scampered off, and in a few seconds, I saw him working his way through the branches. Sure enough, he stretched out his body and made a swipe with his forepaw.

The top of the birdfeeder has a smooth, plastic dome over it. When the squirrel touched it, it swung back and forth. He saw he couldn’t get a foothold on the thing, and gave up. It worked!

In Bird Nerd, I likened the birdseed to blessings from God. When I saw the squirrel trying to steal food not meant for him, it reminded me of how the devil tries to steal our blessings. The apostle Peter compared the devil, not to a squirrel, but to a lion, ready to pounce. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8 NIV)

Satan not only wants to steal your blessings, he’s looking to devour your soul. But just like the dome over my feeder kept the thief at bay, God promises protection for His children. In II Thessalonians 3:3 Paul states, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

I’m sure the squirrel has been back. They don’t give up easily. And the devil is the same way. He will continue to attack. But God has promised us if we submit to Him, when we resist the devil, he will flee from us. (I Peter 5:8) Isn’t that a glorious promise?

Now if only I could figure out how to keep the squirrels out of my attic.

Prayer: Lord, You are so good to me. You not only provide for the salvation of my soul, but also protect and bless me in so many ways. I am grateful. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
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