trust + faith like Daniel

Daniel 6:1-28

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Here’s a picture I took when I was in Kenya this summer! Thought it tied in pretty well 😉

(I am sharing this believing that there is someone who needs to hear this today!)

We all know about Daniel and the lion’s den right? As I read this for my morning devotion the words seemed to leap into my heart. This simple yet profound story is something we can never stop learning from. I love how God’s word will ALWAYS speak to us, at any age. Younger children love this story, as adults do, God’s word meets us exactly where we are in life and will always minister to us, because his word is alive!
I don’t always have time to jot down some notes alongside my devotion but this morning I did, and when I do that the text seems to open up.

Here are a few things I want to point out.

What makes the story of Daniel and the lion’s den so real is Daniel’s relationship with God. God just opened my eyes to Daniel’s relationship and faithfulness to God. I love the way Daniel was not ashamed of his God, and everyone knew who Daniel was serving (even if they doubted his existence) Through Daniel’s relationship and boldness to worship God, God would protect him for events that were to come, only to show everyone that the God Daniel served was the living God.

We see how Daniel put his trust in God. Trust, complete… trust. Could you imagine being accused innocently and then thrown into a den of lions? Yet remaining calm and TRUSTING GOD because of your relationship with him? That faith is bold and inspiring!

Daniel 6:19-24

“Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “Long live the king!” My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouth so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.”

Daniel’s trust in God saved him, because he held his God true for who God says that he is. When we trust in God and fully lay down our fears, desires, wants, needs… our everything we allow God to be God. We allow God to be the father he says he is in our lives. When we do this we give God the glory to show us who he promises to be. This is how he came through for Daniel and received all the glory that he deserves, pointing others to see that He is the one true living God!

People saw with their own eyes the miracle that God saved Daniel from the lions without a scratch on his body, and when his accusers were thrown in the lions’ den they tore them and their families apart before they even hit the ground. See the difference in relationship with God vs not having one?

Through Daniels trust and relationship God got all the glory and through this experience it lead the King to send a message out to the people of every race and nation and language of the world! The decree declared that the God Daniel serves is the one true living God, and that he rescues his people the way God rescued Daniel from the lions.

This is so exciting! It really spoke to me today and encouraged me that my God whom I put my trust and my life in his hands is worthy and deserving of receiving all the glory. When we do this we are giving God the room to move and show us who he says he is, through our obedience and relationship in him, pursing him without fear or hesitation other people will know whom we serve and we never know how the Lord will use our everyday life situations to draw others closer to him. To show others that he is the God our father who he says he is!

I’m not sure what you are going through, if you are being accused of something you haven’t done, if there is a situation in your personal life or family, if you are struggling to place your complete trust in God because you doubt who he says he is, today is the day to place it down. To trust him and have relationship with God, to give it all to him so he can do what he needs to do to receive all the glory and bring others to him, so they see by the signs, wonders and miracles that our God is alive.

I encourage all of you to not fear, to place your trust in the one who is worthy of it all, and to have bold faith that you are not ashamed of. Have a blessed day,

Daniel 6:26-28

” I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.

For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

you are all loved!

Devon

Created with Purpose

 

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Purpose. 

This word is one the Lord has continued to speak to my heart, almost echoing inside my inner being wanted to share it with the world. To tell each person that they are Created with Purpose by a God who loves them and sent his only begotten son to die for them because they have such value and purpose here on earth.

John 3:16

Through PNN we have made a “Created with Purpose” T-shirt to be sold (today!!!) for our work in Ghana. All proceeds will continue to expand our work to rescue the most vulnerable children and place them in families where they belong. I have seen what this message can do, I have seen how it changes lives and instills hope back into the hopeless. The word purpose is a powerful one, and it brings the lost to life.

Whether you were born in New York City or Africa God has a purpose for your life! I encourage you to check the t-shirt out, support our cause, buy a shirt and wear this message hoping it’ll spark conversations with strangers or give it to a friend or family member for the upcoming holidays.

I gave one to someone I didn’t really know and the next time I saw them he was wearing it and told me how people were reading this shirt and started to talk to him about what it meant. It really brought joy that the message of God’s love and purpose is being shared! Here is the link , the shirts come in charcoal and maroon, I would love to see how you rock the t-shirt, our children in Ghana seem to be loving them already!

click here to shop t-shirts!

My prayer for these t-shirts is that this message would be more than just a t-shirt with a saying. That this saying is from the Lord and carries significance to everyone who reads it. It would either spark conversation or have people see that they matter and are created with purpose. I pray that this encourages the lost or hopeless, and reminds us even on our toughest days that God has a plan for us. That is my prayer as these t-shirts go out as they are being sold.

Hope everyone had a good weekend, I got to have my best friends come up from North Carolina, I haven’t seem them since June! Being together felt like no time has passed and soon it’ll be the New Year. This time of year always flies by too fast.

Have a wonderful week and thanksgiving! How are you celebrating the holiday?

We have so much to be thankful for 🙂

You are all loved, and created with PURPOSE!

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This is Rockson rocking the maroon t-shirt. He is so sweet and has such a humble and kind spirit. He came into our care with so much hurt and loss in his life, but God restored and healed his deepest wounds. Rockson dreams of becoming a pastor and soccer player. He loves this t-shirt and it’s message 🙂 We hope you do too!

Dev

purpose, identity and new realizations

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” Psalms 138:8

 

It has been a crazy, beautiful, exciting past 6 months to say the least. ( Can anyone else relate!? ) Side note: how are we so close to 2018! Has this year not flown by way too fast! I’m hoping to write another blog about what I learned in 2017, like I did with 2016.

I have flown on more flights than I would like to count (or hours slept/not slept on those flights 😉 drove more hours than I can remember, but met countless individuals from around the world whose stories I will never forget. Stories that I will treasure forever. 

Somewhere in these past 6 months God has done a new work inside me, showing himself in ways more profound than I have ever seen before. Seeing his hand move across the world to reach all of his creation, all of his precious children. There is no-one too far or low in the eyes of God that he will not reach.

There are many things that He has brought to my attention and almost highlighted to me, laying new burdens upon my heart. He never ceases to stop expanding it as I continue this journey with Him. Even when it doesn’t seem humanly possible that He could expand it, He does, and it humbles me each time. Through it all I came to this, and I know I already “knew” this but this never will get old, you never stop understanding this, it actually becomes more beautiful as we mature in our journeys with God, loving and emulating Christ and pursuing His will even when it looks crazy, or uncertain.

The same Jesus that we worship and love, the same blood that was shed for each of us, was shed for all of humanity. Think about that. One blood covers all of humanity. It does not pick and choose, it does not leave out, or forget. It covers each one of us. One blood for one people, that’s us, all of us.

This is so simple yet profound to not just hear or read it, but to have the chance to travel places you’d never imagine, seeing people groups you’d never heard about. And seeing these people for who God created them to be. To experience a small part of their reality, as some are “forgotten” people groups, outcasts, mistreated or left to fend for themselves. To see these people with a new heart that God has, and how our hearts starts to break for what breaks His. It’s not His will for his children to live like this, and it grieves him, the same way it grieved and broke my heart in ways I cannot even explain. And to know that Christ died for each one of them, that he covered them with his blood to have eternal life is a humbling, simple and a profound realization coming face to face with this reality.

We are all one, we all struggle and love, we all struggle to love. We make mistakes, we get impatient or jealous. We get insecure, we want what we don’t have, we are too harsh on ourselves, we choose to base worth on things that don’t matter, we all have the potential to hope and dream, we all can become something great. We all have the ability to fear, and overcome that fear. We all fail. We are all created with purpose.

Purpose in identity that Christ gives us when he died on the cross for all of humanity. I think one of the biggest things that people today struggle with is identity. They don’t know who they are, but they want to. So they try things, they spend their lives trying to figure out. When they never had to “try” in the first place.

“Who am I”, “What is my worth” “Why am I here.” 

I am excited to write another post and share how I struggled with these same questions. I wouldn’t want anyone reading this to think that I never thought this either.

The root of this issue is identity. Once we know who we are IN CHRIST, everything changes. Everything changes!

Each one of us is created with divine purpose. We aren’t just on earth right now, for such a time as this, on this very day to try to find in our own strength what the purpose is. We have it because HE gave it to us. Christ died for us out of selfless love, and because he knows we each have value. There was a price and he paid it, ask yourself, if there was no value or purpose on my life then why did God send his only son to pay such a large price? Why? Because we HAVE value and purpose, and because he loves us so much, he gives us identity in him.

Sometimes it takes jumping out of your comfort zone, loving others, using the gifts God gave you for His good to figure it out. It takes spending time in his word and reading His will for our lives. It is about spending time with the creator and lover of our soul.

I am looking forward to really sharing personal stories from my past trips to Zambia, Ukraine and Kenya and even trips I have taken here in the US. I have so much to share so you think it would be easy, but sometimes the things we feel the most are the hardest to put into words. Because even the words we try to use don’t seem adequate. There are so many things I look forward to writing about and sharing!

Is there any suggestions you have, anything you want me to focus on in particular? Any trip or experience you would like to hear about! Please comment or email me, I really would appreciate it.

You are ALL Loved,

you all have purpose, value and identity in Christ,

Dev

 

 

family + freedom and love 

This photo captures so much in eyes. I see my family. I see a family that God has perfectly knit together in his beautiful timing. I see answers to the prayers of my childhood. Each child, each face, each story, each future as unique and powerful because it points back to our Lord and what he is capable of doing in one life. 
 We truly are one big family. When we are not together we remain together in spirit and in prayer. I can say that I see them only growing more mature, wise, smart and kind each passing day. Their futures are so bright, these very faces are the future of Africa. 

There are so many powerful things I would like to share that the Lord has done on this 4 acre land plot which the Lord saved to be used for his kingdom for such a time as this. I see how this small vision has exploded to give others visions. Others who come and stay with us for a week, the ones who call this place home, the staff, partners, donors, family and friends. I see the way God takes a small vision and multiples it to something much bigger than we could even imagine possible. 

We have become family. Yesterday I saw something from a young boy who first came to our home with so much trauma. He was scared of everything. He’d just scream all the time. He was constantly tormented. It was almost impossible to console him during those episodes. We didn’t know how to help him, it seemed like anything we did he did the opposite. He didn’t get along with anyone, and was very diffucult to be with. I prayed and felt the Lord speak to my heart. Just love him. Those were the Words the Lord spoke to my heart. It wasn’t about “trying to do something special” or “trying something which a psychologist would suggest” it was simple. It’s what Christ does best. Love

Through months of pouring into this child, loving him. Whether that came in the form of a hug, just holding him like an infant despite the fact that he was 9 at the time, an affirmation or spending time one on one in God’s word his wall start to come down. He would actually ask me to hold him like a baby since no one had ever done that for him. He just wanted to be held and feel accepted and loved. He was fearing less and less, he screamed less and less. One day he accepted Christ in chapel. Then his walls came tumbling down. Behind the walls of torment and trauma was life, beautiful joyful intelligent and talented life. There was heart and compassion. There he was, the boy God created him to be. Shining joy,  beaming happiness and confidence and a quite the sense of humor! 

I remember the first time he danced. When I saw this child danced I cried. I saw the true freedom that he gained through Christ. The beautiful freedom that we enter into. I saw chains drop, I saw complete adandoment in Christ’s perfect freedom. I started to see him run and laugh. Hearing his laugh brought me to tears. This is what Christ does for us. He sets us free, through his love, as we are no longer orphans and are adopted into his family. 

Now he so is confident, bold, secure and the trauma of his past has left him. He dreams of becoming a pastor. From a child who never got along with anyone now has taken the role of loving the little ones. Although he is only 10 I see the way he is attentive to their needs. One of our four year olds cried yesterday and he was the first one to pick her up, wipe her tears away and comfort her. This is what God calls us to do because we are all one family. To love the way he loved us. Love. 

Love changes everything. Love is everything. 

Belonging in a family changes everything. Family is everything. 

Blessed to share these stories as testimonies of God’s love and goodness and his faithfulness for whom the world calls “the least of these.” 

Just wanted to share this story with everyone. God is love, and he calls us to love each other the way he loves us. Have a blessed day.

You are all loved,

From a very happy girl in Ghana, Africa