Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Gabbara

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

Action and Obedience

Back to Reach | Devotion #1: Action and Obedience
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

My grandmother was a huge influence in my life, and she was a beautiful example of a humble servant. She taught me that it was important to be involved in God’s work.  She was a quiet woman who taught children in Sunday School to love Jesus and know the stories of God’s Word. She taught me the importance of serving.  I am so thankful for all that I learned as I served alongside her.  

The Bible has a lot to say about serving. The Bible study notes from biblereferenceguide.com say that the word “serve,” “servant,” and “service” occur in the Bible well over 1,100 times.   The text continues, “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for servant, ‘ebed,’ contains at least two key ingredients: Action (the servant as ‘worker’) and Obedience.”

Action and Obedience: It is easy to understand that serving requires action, as you are usually actively doing something when you serve.  We do not necessarily think of obedience when we think about serving.  In His Word, God tells us over and over to serve.  Commandments require obedience.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

This verse in Ephesians is very clear.  God has work for us all to do, specific work that was prepared just for us. It is about good works! God has great expectations for each one of us.  

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

We cannot out give God! He challenges us to give generously. God wants to lavishly give back to us. Invest your time, your energy, and your talents and God will give back to you in ways that you never imagined possible.  

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

God asks us to be obedient, work willingly, and do all things as if we are doing it for Him. I know that when I get to Heaven, I want to hear my Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We are serving Christ Jesus! He went to the cross for us and paid the debt for all of our sins. We could never repay all that Jesus has done for us. We should want to serve Him well all of our days.    

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10

God will remember what we have done to serve Him. He sees the love that we share when we serve others. 

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

You have a lot to share! We all do, and it pleases God when we do!

  

What better reason could we need to serve?  



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