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Happy Children with Easter Eggs

April Devotional

Week 1

"Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.  The shame of your youth you shall forget; the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.  For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the Lord of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth."  Isaiah 54:4-5

I was filled with shame for many things, especially ending an unplanned pregnancy with abortion and childhood incest.  Isaiah 54:4-5 came alive for me in January, 1983, when I asked Angie to lay hands on me for the gift of tongues.

As she prayed, I suddenly felt the presence of God as I never had before.  I felt intense shame.  I blushed, turning a deep red.  I put my hand up across my face.  I started crying deeply, for I was ashamed to be in the presence of God in my sinfulness.  It wasn't past sins as much as who I am.

As Angie kept praying for me, I suddenly saw between God and me a Veil of Blood--the Blood of Jesus.  The words "Be not Ashamed" were written on my heart, and I came to know that God does not see me as I am.  He sees me through the Blood of Jesus.  I am redeemed by the Blood of Christ.  Through His cross and resurrection, I can come into the presence of God.  I can experience His Love.

-Barbara G.

Week 2

“Then Mary said:  ‘My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior, For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.  God who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him.’”  Isaiah 54:4-5

How precious are these words of Mary.  As I experienced God’s love, forgiveness, and joy in the heart of Jesus, my sadness and shame were displaced.  Some of it was gone instantly!  My response was one of wonder and thankfulness.  I desired to praise God with all of my being, and when I once again came upon Mary’s words, I knew they were mine as well.

Jesus is my Savior.  He has looked upon me and healed me in my lowliness and my sinfulness.  I am indeed blessed, as we all are who seek the truth of Who He Is.  God is mighty and He has done great things for me.  I am always amazed by His grace.  Holy is His Name.  His mercy is upon me always.  I am forever His.

My old unhealthy fear of Him as judge has been replaced with a healthy fear of His glory, righteousness, justice and power.  May I, like Mary, journey with God here on earth and become the woman He created me to be.  May I proclaim the greatness of the Lord forever and ever.

-Barbara G.

Week 3

"’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.  ‘Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’"  Jeremiah 29:11

In 1994, when I was in the middle of making major career changes, a young friend gave me this familiar scripture beautifully framed.  I had helped bring her into a new and fuller life in Jesus.  She knew that I was hopeful, yet fearful, of change.  How comforting it was to read these words and trust that I was within His plans.

Then my ex-husband asked for a divorce in 1996, stating that my career decisions were instrumental in his unhappiness.  It was a horrible, hurting, angry and lonely time.  Divorce was not a change I had chosen!  I questioned many things but continued to believe God’s promise of a good future whether I was single or married.

Within the pain and confusion, I drew close to God as I sought healing, forgiveness and growth within this new life.  It was difficult, but I had God, wonderful support from family, old friends, new friends, therapy and divorce recovery.  A year later I was sharing His joy and promises with others who were dealing with divorce.

I continued to trust and grow.  In 1999 I married a wonderful man who delights in me and my faith.  This is God’s good plan for us.

-Barbara G.

Week 4

“There are in the end three things that last:  faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13:13

As a young girl I had no understanding of faith, hope or love.  I felt my life begin not at birth but when I was born again.  I was the twelfth child in a family of thirteen children.  When I was about the age of seven, childhood diseases of pneumonia and whooping cough took my life.

For what seemed to be a very short but wonderful experience I encountered Jesus and experienced His love.  I’ll always remember the feeling of being separated from my body.  I was above looking down.  I could see myself lying peacefully on a hospital bed under an oxygen tent.  There were no feelings of sadness or fear.  Suddenly I was in the presence of a great light that had an image and shape of a man.

An overwhelming sense of love embraced me.  Without a word spoken, I knew He was sending me back.  I wanted to stay, but now I had a desire to live.  Jesus made himself known to me and I was given the gift of faith, of hope, and the greatest feeling of love.  That experience carried me into adulthood.

-Marilyn E.

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