Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Gabbara

Reach • Devotion #6: Hard Work

All my life I have been motivated to work hard and do my best. I remember being about 15 years old and telling my dad about something that I wanted. He was quick to find a way for me to work to earn the money so that I could buy it. It did not come easily or quickly, but my hard work paid off. My dad was an awesome man who led by example. He was a hard worker and excelled in his work positions. He was kind and generous with my sister and me, but he also raised us to know that money did not grow on trees (I think we have all heard that one) and that hard work and responsibility would take us far in life. Of course, he was right. I have been blessed to have many wonderful instructors in my life. I have tried to work hard and be a good employee. Throughout most of my career, I was in positions where I was given the opportunity to manage, teach, and lead others to succeed. 

In 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT), we read, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 

It was always easy to work hard, it was not always easy for me to share the Gospel with others. I spent years out of the will of God. Fortunately, by the grace of God, I have spent more than twice as many years seeking the Lord and telling of His gracious forgiving love. Even when we do not know Scripture well, we can always tell of what God has done for us!

As we read through Scripture and see verses like this one in 2 Timothy, we find Paul teaching and leading Timothy as he urges him to see himself as a worker who seeks to please God and to be one “who correctly explains the word of truth.” 

Timothy had spent years learning from Paul as they traveled and preached the good news of Jesus. Here Paul is encouraging and instructing Timothy to pass on the truths of the Gospel. Paul reminds Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel. The truth may not always be easy to hear but it is always a firm foundation.

Paul penned these words in 2 Timothy 2:19 (NLT), “But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and ‘All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.’”

Just as God puts special people in our lives, God put Paul in Timothy’s life. Paul’s instruction to Timothy was that he was to be a man who would be a witness to Christ’s love by the example of his life. Paul wanted Timothy to be able to carry on in the work of the Great Commission in a responsible and effective way without getting caught up in things that would hinder his progress. 

I had a wonderful dad who taught me to work hard. God, the Father, left us a manual that teaches us all we need to know to find Jesus, the Savior. It is up to us to turn away from evil, be a good worker, and to know the Scripture so that we can boldly explain the truth of the Gospel to those around us.   

1 John 2 • Devotion #3: John Encourages God’s Children

The Bible gives us accounts all through the Old and New Testaments of God’s children in unexpected circumstances. Time after time, we find God sending someone to encourage and often rescue His people. 

We have all been in a place in our life when we have needed encouragement. In 1 John, that is exactly what John was doing for the church. He wrote this epistle to encourage God’s people. He wrote to remind them of who they were in Christ. Boy, have I had times in my life when I needed to be reminded that I am forgiven in Christ, and I have won the biggest battle in this life – the battle against Satan for my soul.

John writes, “I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one. I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one” (1 John 2:12-14 NLT).

John says his letter is written to God’s children. His letter is for us, all who have put our faith in Christ, God’s one and only Son. Even when we know in our hearts that we have everything we need in Christ, it sometimes feels like life’s challenges will overtake us. John reminds us that our sins have been forgiven, and we can do all things in Christ’s strength.

John writes to those who are mature in the faith. Romans 12:2 gives us a goal for which to strive, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Growing in the Lord changes us. Our mind is transformed when we read, pray, and trust that Christ is weaved into everything we are, all we believe, and worship.

John also writes to encourage those that he refers to as young in the faith. Young in faith could be someone that gave their life to Christ yesterday or ten years ago. Time alone does not make us mature. Growing in the Lord takes commitment and devotion. We all, young or mature in the faith, need to be reminded that the pull of the evil one is strong. John’s letter is a reminder that though the fight will always continue for God’s children, the battle has been won!

Home • Devotion #2: Wives

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  Ephesians 5:22-25 (NIV) 

When thinking about what it means to me to be a wife, my mind sometimes wanders back to when I was in the seventh grade.  We were given an assignment to write about the career we hoped to have when we finished school. I remember it being very difficult for me to decide what would be the topic of my report. All I could think was that I wanted to be a wife and mom. I was so blessed to be surrounded by incredible ladies that were a great example to me of what a godly wife should look like. I have no recollection of what career I chose for that project, but I have loved being a wife and mother. 

Marriage is not always easy; it takes work to have my husband feel that he has found a “good thing” as the verse in Proverbs says. We are both firstborns and spent most of our careers in management positions, giving direction to others. We can be bossy and regularly clash because we both know the “best” way to do something and are each confident that our method or opinion is the right one. I am often in pretty deep when I recall the verses from Ephesians and remember that I am called to submit to my husband as to the Lord. 

Learning to submit has definitely taken work on my part. The closer I grow to the Lord, the better I understand submission. We see in Scripture that Christ constantly submitted to the will of the Father. Understanding submission to be an attitude of trust has helped me to have a greater love and respect for my husband. 

Genesis chapter 2 tells us that man was not created to be alone so God made a woman, a helper for him. When we submit to our husbands, we submit to the Lord. God created wives to complete husbands. Their love for us grows when we respect them and trust them to lead us.
Proverbs 31:10 (CEV) says, “A truly good wife is the most precious treasure a man can find!” 

Gather • Devotion #5: Gather Together and Sing, Sing, Sing

“When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart.” Ephesians 5:19 (CEV)

Worshiping in a song is an important part of gathering together, and one of my favorite parts of the gathering. I love music, all kinds. You might be surprised if you wandered through my phone to find, hymns, country, and rap (not to worry, it is clean Christian rap). You would also find some southern gospel: a few classical pieces, and lots of contemporary Christian artists. Music soothes my soul, lifts my spirits, makes me happy, and brings me into quiet, reflective worship. There is something about singing in worship to the Lord that takes our hearts to a special place. 

Some cherished memories from my childhood include my dad and his friends playing music in our home. They would get out their guitars, and my mom would sing beautiful hymns. My dad did not sing, but one of his friends would often sing in harmony with my mom. One of my mom’s favorite songs was “Old Rugged Cross.” My mother loved music, and she loved Jesus! The cross was dear to her, and she clung to it through a lifetime of illness. The words of that old hymn always bring me to tears as I think about seeing my mom and dad again one day when I get to Heaven. 

Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true
It’s shame and reproach gladly bear

Then he’ll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share

And I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

The music in gatherings has changed since I was a girl. Drums and electric guitars have joined the piano on stage and the sound of the songs is now very different. One thing has not changed, the songs we sang then and those we sing now tell of a God who loves us unconditionally and has always and will always be there for us. I found one of my all-time favorite worship songs in my phone, “Lord, I need you.” It always reminds me that no matter when I have struggled, or what I have gone through, on good days and bad, my hope is in Jesus.  

Lord, I Need You

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
Where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You

Jesus, you’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Attend a gathering somewhere this weekend and follow the instruction given to us in Psalms 47:6, “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”   

Standing in The Battle

Raised Arms | Devotion 1: Standing in The Battle
Debbie Gabbara

Sometimes we all need help. Over the last few years, I have had two knee replacement surgeries. They each required months of physical therapy. In the beginning, my leg was very weak, and I needed help to stand and do the required exercises. I was so thankful for the physical therapists that would come along side me and literally hold me up. When I was not able to stand on my own, they were there to support me.

Moses was a great man of God. He went to God in his time of need. In Exodus chapter 17, we find the Israelites in battle, and Moses standing with his arms held up in appeal to God for help, “Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset” (Exodus 17:12 NLT).

If you keep reading the story here in Exodus chapter 17, you will find that whenever Moses’ arms were up, the Israelites were winning the battle against the Amalekites and when they came down, the battle would shift, and they would begin to lose ground. The Bible does not say that Moses asked for help. His friends saw that he had a need and were there to support him. Aaron and Hur saw that Moses needed help and found a way to be there for him.

People all around us are struggling in the battles they are fighting. Every day we hear about hardships in the lives of those that we know and love. That means that every day we have the opportunity to be a help to someone in some way. As we all know, it is hard to ask for help. Aaron and Hur were watching and saw that Moses needed them. If we are keeping watch, we will find ways to be a help to those around us. Sometimes we are needed to pray and encourage someone, and sometimes we are needed to stand in the battle with them and hold them up.

Proverbs 11:25 says that whoever brings a blessing will be blessed, that when we water, we will be watered. God blesses us when we bless others! Galatians 6:2 says that we obey the law of Christ when we share each other’s burdens.

Aaron and Hur stood strong in the battle as they supported their leader and friend. Who has God put in your life to whom you can be a blessing?

 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NLT)



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