Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Gabbara

My Defining Moment 

Define It | Devotion #3: My Defining Moment
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

I had been running from God for a long time. Although it was 28 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a long slow drive home from work on a snowy night in February. I worked in an office during the week and then worked at our business on the weekend. I was newly married, and our blended family gave us five kids. The kids were always fighting, and we were always fighting about the kids. The “happily ever after” was not all that happy for any of us.

It was on my mind to go to church that Sunday. Maybe that would help. But I was already tired, so like I had been doing for way too long, I reminded myself how busy my life was and told myself that I deserved at least one day to sleep in for as long as the kids would allow. The radio was on in the car, and I was wandering through the stations. “Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed.” All of a sudden, my thoughts were jolted by the words coming from the radio.

It had been a very long time since I had knelt at the altar in a little church and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I know without a doubt that Jesus came into my life that day. His love flooded my heart and soul. But somehow I had spent ten years living my life without giving Jesus much thought, and I was a wreck.
The slow-moving traffic kept me crawling along for what seemed like forever. I could not get the words to that song to stop running through my head. “Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed.”

The song was called, “Asleep in the Light.” As a girl, I had invited the Light of the World to come into my heart, yet I had been “asleep” and ignored God for years. Suddenly, I could not live without Him another minute. I pulled my car into a parking lot and begged the Lord to forgive me and let me come back to Him. I made a mess of my life on my own, and I needed Him desperately. I found Jesus again that night.  It was real, personal, and the most powerful overwhelming presence of God I have ever known. I had given my heart to Jesus when I was a little girl; I gave Him my life that snowy night in February. 

My life was forever changed that night. I was rescued by a Savior that had never stopped loving me. My family was still a broken mess, but I was determined to walk with Jesus. With Him, we had a chance to make it.

We went to church that Sunday, I took my children and began to pray for my husband. My family needed to learn about Jesus. He is the only one who can save us from our sins and redeem our lives. I wanted them to experience God’s forgiveness, steadfast love, and faithfulness. God was there; He had always been there, waiting for me to let Him be a part of my life.

“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all
who call upon you.” Psalm 86:5

Interprets Prisoners’ Dreams 

Joseph in Prison • Devotion #2: Interprets Prisoners’ Dreams
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

Do you dream at night? I do not dream very often, but my husband has crazy dreams all the time. There are many mornings that he wakes up to tell me of the wild adventure he had during the night. He will often ask me what I think his dream meant. After I tell him that I have no idea, we laugh and decide that maybe he should watch less TV before bed.    

Scattered through the Bible, we see God speaking to people through their dreams. In the book of Genesis, we meet Joseph. He had dreams that seemed crazy to his family. His brothers, the sun, moon, and stars were bowing before Joseph. They certainly did not understand what that meant and hated the thought that Joseph might rule over them. But, God would use dreams and interpretation of dreams in incredible ways in Joseph’s life. 

Because of jealousy and anger towards him, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was later put in prison for a crime he did not commit. I wonder if the dreams God had given him so long ago ever came to mind?

Scripture tells us in Genesis chapter 40 that while in prison, the king’s cupbearer and baker were also imprisoned with Joseph. One day he noticed they were sad and asked why. The men were upset because they both had dreamed the night before and were not able to go to the professionals that were used to interpret dreams. Joseph said that true interpretation would come from God, and asked them to tell him their dreams.  

The Lord helped Joseph that day to know the meaning of the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker. One man heard that he would return to his previous position with the king. God told Joseph that the other man would be killed within three days. Could it be that his dream was a warning of an immediate decision he needed to make about his faith in God?

Much time would pass before Joseph would see the fruition of the dreams he had as a teenager. He would go through years of trying times before he saw the great plan that God had for his life as ruler over Egypt. Through it all, Joseph honored God and helped others. God blessed Joseph and those around him.  

Sometimes God sends dreams in the night, and sometimes He whispers them into our heart. What are you dreaming? Even if the dream is unclear, continue to seek God and follow Him; He is always faithful, and His ways are perfect.

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30

Who did Eve Blame? 

Adam & Eve • Devotion #2: Who did Eve Blame?
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

I do not remember exactly what happened, but I do remember my response, “Your sister did not do that. She is a baby, and she cannot walk.” The blame game comes easy and starts early. My son must have been about two because my daughter was an infant when her brother blamed her for something that he did. My son loved his baby sister; he did not want to hurt her. However, he also did not want to be in trouble. Somehow, just as we see Satan do in Genesis chapter 3, my little one knew how to twist the truth. 

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’” Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)

I had often wondered how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before sin crept in to find them. One day the serpent came with his twisted truth and Adam and Eve did eat from the tree that God told them not to. Later when they heard God walking in the garden, the hiding and the blaming began.

“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” Genesis 3:11-13 (NKJV)

Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. In the blame game, everyone is talking, but no one is taking responsibility. Eve quickly followed the example of Adam and shifted the blame to someone else. Eve disobeyed God, Adam followed along, and their days would never be the same. They now knew good and also the evil from which God had tried to protect them.  

In Deuteronomy 30:16, God promises us life and blessings when we keep His commandments. Because of Adam and Eve’s choice in the garden we are all born into sin. Just like them, we all play the blame game. We blame our past, our circumstances, our lack of knowledge, and others. In 2 Corinthians 11:3 we are told that our minds can be led astray by the serpent’s lies. The more grounded we are in Christ, the better we will be able to withstand the deceptions of the serpent. Satan is busy; his plan is always to find ways to twist the truths and promises of God, to cause us to stumble and even fall away from the Lord.  

Trust in the Lord, keep His commandments, and do not put yourself in a place where you find yourself blaming someone or something for your decisions and actions.  

Miss-sigh-ah

Easter • Devotion #5: Miss-sigh-ah
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’” John 12:12-13 NIV

Can you imagine with me? It was Passover; the city was crowded with people who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. Jesus was coming into the city. People all over the area had listened to His teaching. They witnessed the miracles He had done. There were lame people who now walked, blind who could see, people who had been healed of demon possession, and all kinds of diseases. Word would have spread through the city that Jesus had raised a man from the dead a few days earlier. Crowds of people walked along shouting and praising Him as Jesus made His triumphal entry into the city.  He did not come on a powerful horse, but humbly on a donkey. Jesus came not as a king but as a servant. Crowds of people shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Then, just days later, the fickle crowd shifted; Jesus would be condemned to go to the cross as the crowd cried “Crucify Him.” The One who came in the name of the Lord was among them, and they missed it.

The Pharisees baffle me the most. They spent their lives studying the scriptures and looking for the Messiah.  How could they miss all the signs they were constantly asking Jesus? He fulfilled every prophecy; Jesus spoke into their lives through His teachings and the parables. The people among them who had been healed gave them physical, tangible evidence that Jesus was the One for whom they were watching and waiting. When you read the New Testament, the Pharisees were always around. They were constantly trying to test Jesus, trying to find ways that He was breaking the laws of Moses to which they clung so tightly. No matter what Jesus did or said, they argued with Him and demanded that He show them a sign from Heaven. How did they not see that He was their sign from Heaven? In the end, they plotted the death of Jesus. The King of Kings was among them, and they missed it.

“But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep.  How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.” Luke 19:41-42a NLT

Only Jesus offers the way to true peace, but so many missed it. They missed it then, and so very many miss it today. So many look but do not see, they hear but do not listen. Jesus wants to come into your life and bring you triumph over your sins.  Do not miss Him!

Child-like Faith

Requests • Devotion #4: Child-like Faith
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

My Grandson does not hesitate when it comes to praying. Before meals or when he hears of someone who is sick or one of the members of our family has pain or a problem, he immediately folds his hands and bows his head and prays. He does not care if we are out somewhere or at home, he just prays. He does not take time to worry about things or analyze them and try to figure out how he can solve it; he just gives it to the Lord. It is refreshing to have the innocent, bold, and unhindered faith of a child.

When Jesus gave us the model of how to pray in Matthew chapter 6, He tells us to ask God for our daily bread. One commentary that I read described the “bread” as all of life’s necessities.

“Give us today our daily bread.”  Matthew 6:11 NIV

When the Israelites were lost and wondered in the wilderness, God provided bread from Heaven, called Manna, every day for them to eat. It was only good for one day.  They had to collect it every morning. God wanted them to depend on Him every day! He wants us to depend on Him every day, too. Just like we need to eat every day, we need God every day. God wants us to count on Him in all areas of our lives and have a relationship with Him daily.

“I am the bread of life.” John 6:48 NIV

 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”  Psalm 68:19 NIV

Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life. He cares about all the details in our lives and wants us to cast all our cares on Him. He hears our every prayer and wants us to bring all of our needs to Him. We, too, can have that bold, childlike faith! God is waiting to hear from us. The Bible is filled with promises from the Lord that tell us that He hears us, sees us, and cares for us. Do not be weighed down by the cares of this life, spend some time with God every day, take your requests to Him, and let Him fill you with His love and peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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



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