Rebecca Duvall

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Hope

31 HopeI’m thankful for the hope I receive through my faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ~ 1 Peter 1:3

I’m confident in the strength, wisdom and power I receive daily from the Holy Spirit, which was given to me by Jesus, through the gift given to the world by God. I know I cannot do the things I do, such as write, speak, love and live with passion, on my own. It’s only with the guidance, wisdom, courage and strength given to me through the Holy Spirit by Jesus that’s allowed by God.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

I cannot see these things being given to me, but I am sure I am receiving these gifts by God, because there is no one else able to give such gifts to another.

My belief, my hope, is that every circumstance, whether good or bad, will be used for good by God. There is a silver lining to every situation, even if we can’t see or understand it. We must trust God, who is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent-all powerful, all knowing and everywhere.

31 Romans 12-12

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for the hope we have through Your Son, Jesus, who You sent for us. I pray You would open the eyes and heart of those who don’t understand what the death of Your Son on the cross means, so they may truly grasp the love You have for them, Amen.

Laughter

30 laughterYesterday, on date night, we watched the newest Hunger Game movie. It was intense and extremely scary. Thankfully I had my man with me to protect me. I’m sure he had a good laugh watching me freak out in the theater. It’s a good thing we were sitting in the very back of the theater. I kept closing my eyes, covering my eyes and looking anywhere except the ginormous movie screen. I was tempted to leave the theater with the excuse I had to use the restroom, but was afraid I’d miss something important.

A time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 CEB

Earlier today we watched something I could calmly sit through. Well, I don’t think calmly is the right word. It was something I could sit through without getting scared. Oh, and for reference, I think the Indiana Jones movies are all scary. Back on topic, we watched Ellen Degeneres: Here and Now from 2003. She’s not scary, but very funny. Who makes you laugh?

A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing ~ Proverbs 17:22 AMP

I’m thankful for the gift of laughing. I enjoy laughing, especially with family and friends. Not just the kind of laughing that happens from watching something funny on television, but the kind of laughing that happens when your being silly.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a Christmas party. We each brought a gift for the gift exchange where you could steal gifts from one another. The gift I opened had silly Santa hats in it and then later, after my husband’s gift was stolen, he ended up with a gift with two more silly Santa hats. My husband was about to put the Santa hat on, when I said he should wear the elf hat. The moment he put on the hat I started laughing and could not stop. He looked absolutely ridiculous in the hat, but what made it hilarious were the funny faces he kept making. It was awesome! He owned the fact that he looked ridiculous and went with it. Now that was funny. I laughed so hard that night. It was in deed a fun night filled with amazing food, great fellowship and lots of laughter created by silliness. When was the last time you laughed because of something silly?

RobReb2015

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter and how it brings healing and joy to our heart. I pray we would let our guards down more often and be silly, Amen.

Entertainment

28 EntertainmentI finally went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the movie almost everyone is talking about. I think it was a good movie with a lot of action. Sadly, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t want to give anything away to those who have not seen it yet, but I never like to see any bad guys win in any part of any movie, even if it’s not real. Remember, I like sunshine and rainbows, all the time.

I’m thankful for those who have created such amazing technology and the ways it’s used to entertain. My daughter is studying animation, so I get to hear a little about the time it takes to create anything animated. I’m thankful for the gifting and patience of those who spend hours creating characters and stories to entertain us.

Star Wars might just be a movie, but it’s similar to real life; the struggle between bad and good. We each deal with this internal struggle from time to time. The desires the world tells us we need to be concerned with and the desires God gives us. Some disregard the desires God gives us, because they can’t understand them. Others struggle because they try to understand them but can’t. Others seek the desires given to them by God and find them, because they don’t try to understand them. What is God asking of you that you can’t fully understand?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for allowing our minds to think in such creative ways. I pray this creativity would be used to glorify and honor You, Amen.

Teachers

27 teachersI’m thankful for those who teach. I’m thankful for those who teach children in preschool all the way up to college. They dedicate their lives to helping others better themselves. They are encouragers and motivators. When we struggle with understanding, they remind us we can do it. They are creative and inspiring. When the typical way of learning doesn’t work for us, they come up with new exciting ways to teach.

As things change, they continue to improve their teaching skills to better teach others. They seek to continue their education so their students are being taught the latest and greatest. Teachers can have an amazing impact on our lives, if we let them pour out their knowledge without resistance.

I’m thankful for the patience of a teacher and how they go above and beyond to help us understand what they are teaching. They give of their time, talents and money to better those put in their care as a student.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;” ~ Romans 12:6-7

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for those you enable with the ability to pass on wisdom and knowledge. I pray we would always treat them with respect and show our gratitude for the ways they are teaching us, Amen.

 

 

First Responders

26 first responderI’m thankful for Firefighters, Law Enforcement and Paramedics that come to our aid when we are in need. They see us when we are at our worst, but give their very best. They train long and hard to make sure they are prepared to help, no matter what the situation. They put themselves in harms way to keep us safe. They go toward the problem, while we run away from it.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

I’m thankful for the many ways First Responders keep us from harm. I’m thankful for the ways they help when tragedy, of all kinds, hits. How has a First Responder helped you or a loved one this past year?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom, strength and courage you equip all first responders with. I pray we would show our appreciation and support for their service to the communities, Amen.

Jesus

25 babyJesusI’m thankful for the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, my Lord and Savior. Have you chosen Jesus as your Lord and Savior? I’m thankful for the gift of eternal life in heaven I have been given because of Him. Have you received the gift of eternal life?

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~ Luke 2:8-14

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the greatest gift of all, Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray all the world would know and understand the true meaning of this day, Christmas, Amen.

Joseph & Mary

24 joseph maryI’m thankful for the obedience of Mary and Joseph when the angel Gabriel told them about the baby they would have. I wish I were as obedient to God as they were. I know I can be, but it’s so hard. It can be very difficult not to worry and let fear of what might happen take over and rule my mind. I’m thankful for the inspiring story of Joseph and Mary’s faith.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. ~ Luke 1:26-38

Back in Mary’s day, a woman becoming pregnant before marriage was a sin, punishable by death. I would have been freaking out if I were Mary. Did Mary freak out? No, she simply asked a question so she could better understand what the angel Gabriel was talking about. I can’t fathom trying to comprehend having the Holy Spirit ‘come upon me’ causing me to become pregnant. Not even today. I think that explanation would bring hundreds of questions into my mind, leading me to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Mary did nothing even close to this. She answered calmly (I say calmly because there’s no exclamation point at the end of her answer) “My it be as you have said”.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. ~ Matthew 1:18-25

Then there’s Joseph and how he reacted to the news. Joseph was worried about how Mary would be treated, so he was going to quietly divorce her. I love that he was concerned for her, so sweet. Since he was to stay with Mary, not divorce her, an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream. The angel explained the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was fulfilling what God spoke of through the prophet Isaiah. Can you imagine waking up from a dream about the actual crazy circumstances going on in your life and thinking ‘oh, okay, time to take Mary home as my wife’ without a second thought?

I think the humble obedience of Joseph and Mary should be an example to all of us, how we should respond when God speaks to us. Joseph and Mary were protected and taken care of for their obedience. How has God blessed you for your obedience?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Joseph and Mary, who are examples of true obedience to You. Lord I pray we would seek clarity to know you better, not question due to disbelief, Amen.

 

God’s Creation

23 cherry blossomThe last few nights there have been some amazing sunsets with vibrant swirls of yellow, orange and red. It takes my breath away. Can you picture the colors of a recent sunrise or sunset in your mind that you had the pleasure of experiencing?

One of my favorite parts of God’s creation is the changing of the seasons. In the spring when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom and a gentle breeze hits. It looks like it’s snowing on our street when this happens. That’s my kind of snow, beautiful without the chill. In the fall, I’m surrounded by the brilliant bright colors in the trees. It stops me in my tracks! What’s your favorite part of the changing of seasons?

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. ~ Genesis 1:31-2:1

The beauty of God always surrounds us, day and night. This should cause us to fall to our knees and praise Him. Why don’t we? Have we become so occupied with ourselves that we fail to see God’s glory all around us?

23 fall tree

I’m thankful for the rain that quenches the thirst of the earth and all that’s in it. I’m thankful for the sun and the life, and warmth, it brings to the earth and all in it. I’m thankful for the lakes, rivers, mountains and fields where we can come together and play, regardless of the season. Which is your favorite season to get out and play? Where is your favorite place to play? I prefer to play in the warm summer months. I don’t have a preference where I play, as long as it’s somewhere I can soak in the heat of the day.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wonders you have surrounded us with here on Earth. I pray we would not forget You are the creator of all the earth, Amen.

Sales Clerks

22 shopping bagsHave you been out shopping lately? Of course you have, it’s Christmas time! It’s crazy out there! Last weekend, I made the mistake of going to a mall on a Sunday afternoon. All I had to do was return something. I thought it would be a quick in and out. Wow, was I wrong!

First, we circled the parking lot, for what felt like forever. When I was about to give up and head home, someone pulled out in front of me. Of course I was on the far side of the mall, needing to walk, what felt like miles, to enter. The store we had a return in was on the other side of the mall, so we had to slowly squeeze our way through the crowds of people. I think Disneyland would have been less busy.

We finally made it into the store and immediately got in line. There were two lines leading to four cashiers. I watched as each customer made it to the cashier and the interaction they had with them. It seemed that no matter what the customer’s demands, they always had a smile on their face and bent over backwards to meet their demands. Yes, I do realize this is the way a cashier should be, but the attitude and expectations of some of the customers was a little much.

22 Luke 6-35

I’m thankful for the sales clerks who remain helpful and friendly, regardless of what crazy things I might need. I hope these sales clerks know they help make my holiday merry and bright. The kindness they show me fills me with the desire to help another.

22 Proverbs 3-3

Doesn’t it make you feel good when a cashier tells you to have a nice day? It always brings a smile to my face. Unfortunately, I don’t always respond to their kindness the way I should, which is “thanks, I hope you have a nice day too!” My mind gets stuck on the next errand or thing I need to do and I miss out on the opportunity to bring a smile to their face. How do you respond when a sales clerk says something nice to you? If they don’t tell you to have a nice day, do you tell them to?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the kindness you offer us through your Son, Jesus. I pray we would, under all circumstances, offer kindness to those we encounter throughout our days, Amen.

Pastors

21 ShepherdAs I’ve mentioned before, the church my family and I attend are between Pastors. We’ve had the pleasure of listening to a different person preach each week. Some are Pastors, and some are not. The most important thing to me in a sermon is that it’s the word of God. I think everyone who’s preached has done a good job at writing their sermon based on the Bible. I’ve enjoyed having a variety of speakers, but have to say, I am looking forward to consistency in the way the message is delivered.

21 Jeremiah 3-15

I’m thankful for the ability to go to church every Sunday morning and be taught the word of God. I’m thankful for the pastor who not only teaches the word of God, but also helps those listening know how the message from long ago applies to our lives today. I’m thankful for the Pastor who paints a vivid picture in my head of the scripture being taught. I’m thankful for the Pastor who includes me in this picture and then helps me see how God is speaking to me through it. I’m thankful for those who answer the call to shepherd His people.

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. ~ Acts 20:28

Today’s sermon was about the birth of John the Baptist, Luke 1:57-80. The point of today’s sermon that I took home was when the mouth of Zechariah was opened he began to praise God. Zechariah’s mouth was closed because He didn’t believe the angel Gabriel when he told him his wife would have a son. It was to remain closed until the birth of his son took place. We were pointed to the fact that Zechariah didn’t complain or whine about what he just went through, no, he praised God. It made me think of the times I’ve failed to praise God when He’s delivered me from difficult situations. When was the last time you praised God for the miracles He provides? What was your ‘take away’ from the last sermon you heard?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for those You call to shepherd Your people. I pray we would be open to how You are using them to speak to us, Amen.

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