Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Gabbara

Abigail

Lesson Eight | Devotion #6: Abigail
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

“Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.”  1 Samuel

Abigail is described as intelligent and beautiful.  The King James Version describes her husband, Nabal, as “churlish.”  We would call him a jerk!  He was stingy, rude, badly behaved, and harsh.  The Message says, “Foolishness oozed from him.”   

Abigail did not let the bad behavior of her husband influence her in the way she treated others.  One day Abigail heard that her foolish, ungrateful husband had caused their very lives to be in danger.  Like superheroes do when trouble is coming, she flew into action and changed the world around her.

My great-niece was visiting next door at my sister’s house recently.  She spent most of her visit dressed in Wonder Woman attire.  She swam through deep waters (in the pool), she put out the fire (the candles on her birthday cake), and deflected danger with the bands on her wrists.  Danger was coming towards Abigail, but she did not need Wonder Woman, she used the Lord’s super power – wisdom and kindness.

Abigail was wise, she knew and trusted the Lord.  David sent his men to Nabal because they needed food.  When they took a request from David to Nabal, he insulted them and sent them away.  Soon Abigail heard that David planned to destroy her husband and everyone in his household.  Abigail hurried to bring them food, and plenty of it.  She fell on her face before David and took responsibility for her husband’s inexcusable behavior.  From her heart poured gratefulness for the protection that David and his men had given her shepherds and servants.  Abigail knew of God’s protection of David and his men.  She reminded David of God’s strength and goodness in his life.

Abigail had a beautiful countenance when approaching David.  Her beauty was not just in her appearance, but also in her gracious words.  She showed kindness to David.  She cared about the need of food for his men.  Abigail pleaded with him not to participate in vengeance, but to allow God to bring the trouble to his enemies.  She reminded David that he fought the battles of the Lord, and not to let evil as was in her husband be found in him.

David did allow Abigail’s family to live.  God blessed Abigail for her faithfulness and trust in Him.  Using wisdom and kindness, and depending on her knowledge of God, Abigail’s quick actions and humble words saved her family.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”   James 1:5 NIV

Jael

Lesson Four | Devotion #6: Jael
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

I will get the hammer.

My grandsons are eleven and eight. They are typical little boys who love superheroes, villains, and fighting crime. They come to our house with their “guys” as they call them. These range from superheroes to monster looking guys, transformers, and ninja turtles, and they fight for justice right there on the coffee table.

Anyone who says the Bible is boring just has not read enough of it.  God often gives us exciting and surprising twists, turns, and gory details in the Scriptures.

The story of Jael is one of those surprising, I-did-not-see-that-coming, stories. She was a true superhero, or as we are calling them in this book, a World Changer!  I love to surprise my grandsons with stories of battles and victory that they cannot believe are in the Bible.  I yearn for them to know and understand that our Lord, the One True God is the Mightiest of them all.  He can help us win the battle when we have Him on our side.

Jael’s story is told in just a few verses in chapter four of the book of Judges.  She was in her tent when the villain came to her. His name was Sisera; he was the General of the Canaan army.  Jael was kind to him. She offered him milk to drink, gave him a blanket and a place to rest. However, when he was asleep, courageous and brave Jael drove a tent stake through his head.  Yes, she nailed his head to the ground.

“Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. ‘Come,’ she said, ‘I will show you the man you’re looking for.’ So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead. On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.”  Judges

Sisera the General was dead! Just as was foretold by the prophetess, Deborah, the victory of that battle would go to a woman.  Jael helped change the world around her. God used her to help the Israelites bring peace to the land for the next 40 years.

“So may all your enemies perish, LORD! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”    Judges

God’s Word is full of exciting stories and ordinary people that were used in extraordinary ways.  God wants to use you, too!

Deborah

Lesson Four | Devotion #3: Deborah
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

The book of Judges tells us of a fascinating time in the story of the Israelites.  According to chapter 2, it only took one generation without a strong leader who was following the Lord for God’s chosen people to forget all that He had done for them.   The Bible says they did not obey the Lord’s commands and worshiped other gods.  So God allowed the Israelites to be defeated in battle and to be ruled by their enemies. Just as it so often continues with God’s children today, the Israelites were caught in a cycle: Follow God, stray away in disobedience, experience defeat, beg for forgiveness, and come back to God.

Because the Lord is always faithful to love and help His children, He heard their cries for help.  It was during a time of repentance that the Lord appointed the first judge to rescue the Israelites.  The judges were special leaders who heard their legal cases and lead them into battle and helped them defeat their enemies.

One of those judges was a woman.  Chapter four introduces us to Deborah.  She was a wife, a prophetess, a counselor, and a judge in Israel.   She sat under a palm tree and gave God’s people counsel.   The Bible tells us that Deborah also became a military leader when God told her to send Barak into battle against the Canaanites.  Deborah told him exactly how the Lord would help him defeat the king’s army.  Barak however, refused to go into battle without Deborah.  Barak’s refusal to go without her tells me of the strength and trust in the Lord that Barak saw in Deborah.  She was someone who obeyed the Lord.

As I think about this story, I am reminded of a song called Trust and Obey, that I learned in church when I was a girl. “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory he sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still and with all who will trust and obey.”  The chorus continues, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Such simple instruction with a profound message: Trust God and obey His Word and we will find happiness.

Sprinkled throughout the Bible, God surprises us with women such as Deborah who completely trusted the Lord and was willing to do what He asked of her, even going into battle.

Like so many women today, Deborah wore many hats.  She was a wife, she worked, she counseled others, and most important, Deborah was a follower of the Lord who trusted and obeyed His commands.  Sometimes we get to sit under the palm trees and sometimes we have to go into battle and fight.  When the battle is won, continue to follow the example of Deborah who sang a song of victory to the Lord.   Get a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes reading Judges chapters 4 and 5, and find your strength in the Lord through the story of Deborah, a woman who trusted and obeyed.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

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



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