Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Gabbara

Perfect Timing

Delivery on Time • Perfect Timing
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

Are you a good waiter? You know, are you good at waiting for something? How do you wait for news, something to happen, something to be delivered, or something exciting that is coming up? Do you wait patiently? Do you get weary in the waiting? Do you wait expectantly? Are you a complainer, or do you just wait quietly? You might be one who tells everyone why you are waiting!

Imagine you have heard about something, heard about it your whole life. It is something your parents told you about it, your grandparents told them about it, and everyone around you knew about it. The Lord was sending One who would save His people, but no one knew exactly whom it was or when He would come. The prophets said the Messiah was coming. Over the years, God provided in miraculous ways and showed His people mercy and faithfulness, and some waited with expectation for the fulfillment of God’s Word. However, time kept moving, and no one came. Their faith faded, and most forgot God’s promises.

More than 700 years passed after Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would send a sign, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). In the Gospel of Matthew, that prophecy was fulfilled when the Lord told Joseph in a dream that Mary would bear a son and call His name Jesus.

The prophet, Micah, prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days”

Mary and Joseph did not live in Bethlehem Ephrathah, the city of David, but because God’s timing is always perfect, that is where they were when the time came that Mary, the virgin, would deliver her child, Jesus the Son of God.

Galatians‬

It was the “fullness of time,” timing that was perfectly and meticulously planned by God. Prophecies that were given hundreds of years before were perfectly fulfilled in God’s timing.

Jesus is the One for whom they were waiting. He came to save us all. In God’s perfect time Jesus died on the cross, conquered death, and rose again.

Prophecy also tells us that Jesus the Christ will come again. Jesus said that He has gone to prepare a place for us. We talk about it with others, we tell our children about it, and our grandparents told us about it. Expectantly, in faith, we tell others of His love while we wait.

Will you be ready when Jesus comes again? The Bible tells us that no man knows the day or the hour when Jesus will come again, but we can trust He “is” coming! He will come to gather those who have chosen Him as Savior and judge those who have not. Do not wait! If you have not asked Jesus to come into your life, forgive you of your sins, and be your Savior, there is no better time than right now. Today is the perfect time.

How Can It Be?

Mary • Devotion #3: How Can It Be?
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, ‘God with us’).”  Matthew 1:23

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’  And the angel departed from her.”  Luke 1:38

Mary sat alone thinking to herself, “How can it be?  Was he really an angel?  Am I really going to have a baby?  How can it be?  I have never known a man, yet,

I believe that nothing is impossible with God.  I know His Word is true.  He has done great and mighty things.  But, why me?  I am an ordinary girl.  How can it be?”

That was months ago, and now she was great with child. As they made their way toward Bethlehem, Mary’s mind wandered, “I am so far from home. Where will I deliver the child?  He is not just a child; this baby is the Son of God. How can it be?”

There was no room in the inn, but the innkeeper allowed her and Joseph to stay in the stable.  There, Mary delivered her baby.  As the angel had instructed, they would call him JESUS.  Mary whispered his name, “Jesus” as she looked into His beautiful face.  He was extraordinary, He was her child, yet the angel said, “He would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High.” And, “the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” I am just a girl; how can it be?

The shepherds came in the night.  An angel told them where to find the baby who would be swaddled in cloths and lying in a manger.   They said there was a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, “‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’   Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  She wondered still, how can it be?

Mary held her sweet baby and remembered her prayer, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”    She whispered in her heart, “I am your servant, and you are God!  That is how it can be!”

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”   Isaiah 9:6

Fallen – His End #1

Devils and Demons | Satan’s End
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to Pastor Caleb

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  Revelation 12:7-9

“But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Revelation 12:12b

“…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Revelation 20:10

It is not a question or something that we can debate, we all know that one day we will leave this world. The problem in every mind is “where will we go?”.

The Bible is very clear in telling us that when our time on earth is done, we will continue to live forever. Whether we live forever in Heaven with God the Father or in Hell separated forever from God, is a decision we must make while we are here. Our days are short.  We must make a choice to choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior, so that we may join Him in Heaven forever. If we do not choose Jesus, then we have rejected Him, and the Bible says that the penalty is to be separated from God forever in Hell. We must make sure that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and secure our eternity in Heaven with God.

Satan, the angel called Lucifer, has waged war against God.

Satan knows the Bible, and he knows his days are short.

My brother-in-law works for the Oakland County sheriff’s department. I was thinking about situations that he has been in when a gunman is barricaded in a building. The outcome is inevitable. Either the gunman will surrender, be arrested, and go to jail, or at times when the situation escalates, and gunfire begins, the gunman’s great standoff very often ends in his death.  Yet, in his pride and anger, the gunman somehow convinces himself that he can control the situation and manipulate another outcome.

Satan knows the Bible very well. He quoted Scripture to Jesus when he tempted Him on the mountain. Somehow, in his pride and anger, he chooses to wage war against God and all of Heaven.  He must know that his fate has already been sealed and his final sentence is to be cast into the Lake of Fire, where there will be torment night and day forever.  Hell was created for Satan and his demons. Unfortunately, all of those who do not choose to have a personal relationship with Jesus will be there with them.

Satan knows the end is coming. We are on a timetable, too. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows the number of our days.  Our days were planned in advance for us before we were ever formed. Do not let your day slip by without choosing life, choosing Jesus. Do not fight the fight of pride and anger along with Satan. The Bible tells us that God wants to give us life, abundant life, not just now, but forever in Heaven with Him.   

We are created with free will. According to the Scriptures in Revelation 12, the angels must have been created with free will as well.  I try to imagine what it would have been like to have been set up as an angel, living in Heaven with God, surrounded by His beauty and holiness. There is no sin and life is perfect. My brain struggles to comprehend it. So, I definitely cannot imagine how Lucifer (aka Satan, the devil) could think that he could be as God.  I also cannot imagine, knowing that our end is inevitable, Heaven or Hell, why everyone would not choose Jesus.  Have you made your choice?

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 

Contentment #1 – Tea Cups and Treasures

Contentment #1 – Tea Cups and Treasures
Debbie Gabbara | Community Center Director

When I was a little girl, I loved the rare occasions to go into my great aunt’s house. She did not have any children, and busy little girls were not often invited in.  Her house was filled with beautiful delicate treasures that she had collected in her travels around the United States. She had shelves filled with pretty cups and saucers, and all sorts of fun salt-and-pepper shakers. There were puppies, peacocks, bunnies, and even a toaster that had a white piece of toast for the salt and a black piece of toast for the pepper. On the walls were plates from all the different states that she and my great grandparents had visited. I was fascinated by everything! 

My aunt was a tall, stern German woman. She had no patience for curious little girls. However, my little sister and I loved the opportunity to get to have a glimpse at all her treasures, so we followed the rule to look but never touch.  Unfortunately, the most important thing that I never got the opportunity to see or touch was my aunt’s heart. Money and things were very important to her.  Sadly, having a relationship with a curious little girl was not.  As an adult, I made a few attempts to invite her into my life, but she never let me into her’s. 

1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”  

About ten years ago, my aunt passed away. Her funeral was held at a small church near her home. I was surprised as the pastor told stories of a kind woman who was well liked and involved in her church.  I was sad I never knew that lady.  I would have loved to sit and talk with her to hear about what God was doing in her life and share with her the joy I had found since fully committing my life to Christ.  Just as the verse says, her casket was empty. None of the things that she cared so much about went with her into eternity.  My prayer that day was that she had opened her heart to Jesus and found contentment in the greatest gain – Salvation. 

Since she had no children, my aunts invited my cousins and me to come when they cleaned out her house.  I felt terrible to think about taking something for myself, but all her beautiful things were going to be sold at an estate sale, so I chose a couple of the things that had been so precious to her.

Now on a shelf in my dining room, I have a salt-and-pepper shaker, a camel with two monkeys riding on his back. It makes me smile whenever I see it because it is so silly.  I also have a couple of those beautiful, delicate cups and saucers to remind me of my great aunt and great grandmother.  At the end of her life, her pastor spoke of a faithful woman that I never knew.  I pray that one day we will be together in heaven and I will get to hear the story about what was really important.  The story of how she came to know Jesus as Lord and accepted Him as her Savior. 

Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!

Christ #4 – Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
Debbie Gabbara | Community Center Director

I have always LOVED Easter!  When I was a little girl, my family all went to church together, and Easter was a very special day!  Yep, Easter was the day I got to wear my new dress, hat, and shoes to church.  What girl doesn’t love new clothes!  I loved church, and I loved Jesus, yet as a little girl, I did not really understand all that God had done for me.

Luke 24:46 (NKJV)
“Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day.”

For several years my husband, Larry, and I helped with the Passion Play at Faith Church (now known as the River Church, Waterford location).  Together we took care of all of the props for the play.  He worked the back of the stage, and I worked the front of the stage.  Sitting for weeks in the audience watching every move of the cast it was incredible to see the love of Jesus come to life. 

As they worked through the scenes, I watched everything making sure the audience would see and not see things the way they were supposed to.  At the end of each night, the props had to be placed where they would need to be for the next performance. As I walked around the stage placing everything, my mind would walk through the play.  I often thought about the significance of the cross that had been carried to the back as I gathered up the whip they would beat Jesus with, and the hammer and nails, spikes really, that they would use to show how my Jesus was put on that cross. 

What no one ever saw were the tears I cried in the dark during all those rehearsals and performances as I watched them portray the beating Jesus suffered and listened to the hammer striking the cross.  No, the whip and the blood were not real for our play, but my heart would become so filled with gratitude to think of all that Jesus, the Son of God, my Lord, went through for me. The Bible says that He willingly lay down His life for each one of us.  Nails were put into His hands and feet.  Jesus suffered and died on the cross.  However, death on a cross was not the end for Jesus, and I always knew that my favorite scene was coming…

The darkness would be taken over by the bright light in the tomb, the stone was rolled back, and the Angel would sing, and then, there He is, CHRIST IS RISEN! 

1 Corinthians 15:20a (NKJV)
“But now Christ is risen from the dead…”    

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”  



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