Gina (Akao) Decker

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Prayer Devotional: Day 133

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

The pandemic has brought on a whole new set of fears, but instead of letting fear overcome our thinking, we can remind ourselves that God has blessed us with a sound mind, capable of reason. He loves us, and He is more powerful than any illness.

During my husband’s first week at work in New Mexico, he took an at-home COVID-19 test after he developed chills and a fever. We suspected it was COVID-19, but instead of panicking, we quarantined immediately the five days required by the CDC, and waited it out in our hotel. He was allowed to work remotely.

My husband and son still have a cough, but by the grace of God, they had a relatively short case, and fevers went away after only three days. My son was only mildly sick.

During the time it took to acquire an at-home COVID-19 test, which wasn’t easy, I could have let fear get the better of me, but instead, I trusted in the Lord and followed the guidelines that I knew I needed to in order to take the necessary precautions to make sure I did everything in my power to reduce the spread of the virus.

I even wiped down every surface in our hotel room with Clorox wipes before we checked out after the quarantine was over to make sure I did everything possible to ensure that the maids who would be cleaning our room later would not have as big of a risk. I even opened the hotel windows to ventilate the room and clear as much of the virus out as possible.

During that incredibly stressful week, I didn’t get COVID-19 because I had gotten my booster shot. According to the CDC guidelines, those who had both their vaccination shots plus their booster shot were not required to quarantine, which allowed me to place a contactless grocery order for pickup during our prolonged hotel visit.

All things considered, it could have been worse. God protected me from getting sick, allowing me time to take care of my husband and son as they recovered. Our God is a powerful God! Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 129

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NKJV

God is love and also models love for us.

The love of God, our spouse, and our children are the most important priorities we can have. Our families can sometimes undergo some strain, especially in difficult and stressful times such as the pandemic.

When we are tempted to say something rude or speak before we think, we can pause and ask ourselves what Jesus would say if He were in our shoes. He went through everything that we go through, and then some, but He didn’t sin. He endured till the end. He gives us strength to get through whatever we are going through.

God loves us beyond compare. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 128

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2 NIV

I have to be careful that my Italian temper doesn’t get the better of me. I am half Japanese and half Italian, and every once and a while, my Italian temper comes out.

My Japanese side tends towards the stereotype of hard-working, logical thinking. Whereas my Italian side tends towards the emotional and creative side.

Stereotypes notwithstanding, God urges us to be patient, humble, and gentle.

When we let our tempers flare, we need to pause and reevaluate the situation. Could we have acted out of love instead of frustration? Could we have delayed reacting and instead whisper a prayer for God to give us patience? We all make mistakes. Could we discuss the situation with a counselor or trusted friend so that we can avoid reacting out of anger the next time a frustrating situation comes up?

At times, even Jesus felt anger, frustration, and sadness, just like any other human, but He did not sin. He did not let His temper override His message of salvation.

When we feel ourselves getting out of whack, we need to pause, look to God, and appreciate the natural environment around us that we sometimes take for granted.

During my travels during my move, I passed through Arches National Park yesterday. I marveled at the grandeur of the landscape that God had created. I recalled what God told Job when Job complained about his suffering: where was Job when God created the world? It helped Job to keep his troubles in perspective after God reminded Job that God’s power is much greater than any problem or illness. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 115

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. – 1 John 4:11 KJV

God is the essence of love. During the holiday season, it is easy to feel frazzled when traveling through snow or difficult conditions.

We can be patient and love ourselves as much as we love others. Self compassion means understanding our hardships, yet instead of feeling discomfort, finding a way to remedy the situation. We can show compassion towards ourselves and love towards everyone we encounter. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 114

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” – John 16:28 KJV

Jesus prepared His disciples emotionally before He departed. They must have felt sad that He was leaving, and perhaps uncertain of what the future would hold.

As I said goodbye to my friends and family whom I had visited this holiday season, I felt some mixed emotions: both joy and sadness. As my husband, son, and I prepare to move from Idaho to New Mexico, we will be further away from family.

Social distancing during the pandemic in and of itself brings more distance, albeit necessary.

Jesus did not abandon His loved ones. He told them that He would send them the Holy Spirit to comfort them. They may not have comprehended what the gift of the Holy Spirit would mean at the time, but they did receive comfort and guidance when the time came.

Although we may be physically far away, our love and support of one another remains strong. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 78

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God loves us and never loses faith in us. Likewise, as we read His Word and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, our love and faithfulness grow stronger.

The Holy Spirit will never guide us in the wrong direction. God doesn’t always answer us at the time we expect, but He will always give us the answers to the questions in our hearts. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 69

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30 NIV

When we love the Lord with our hearts, our souls, and our minds, He gives us the strength, energy, and financial resources to accomplish what He has in mind for us.

We need not be bored, listless, or directionless, because God will always reveal to us in due time how much our lives have purpose.

Our work belongs to the Lord. That is reason to do a good job as best we can. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 51

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15 NIV

God’s love for us goes beyond our comprehension. Jesus loves us and died for us so that we might live.

There is nothing that we can do to equal that sacrifice, but we can live with a grateful heart. When we express our gratitude by following God’s law, it’s not out of obligation. We don’t have to follow His commandments; we follow His law because the more we love like Jesus, the more our desires change.

Instead of being critical of others, when we love like Jesus, our relationships improve.

The ten commandments benefit us. They are not a set of arbitrary rules that God gave us.

When we honor our fathers and mothers, our lives are happier and longer. The Lord is pleased when we love Him so much that we desire to love the way He does, a little more each day.

Although we can never earn our way into heaven, we can love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

We want to be like Him, not because we fear consequences, but because we appreciate that He died for us, no matter what. He loves us more than anything else in the world. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 50

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8 NIV

In a world of never-ending change, one thing is constant: Jesus loves us and saved us.

It doesn’t matter whether we gave our lives to Jesus a long time ago or if we are new to Christianity. Jesus loves us no matter what. He will never break our hearts. He will always offer us living water.

Sometimes we find ourselves thinking about people whose actions gave us grief in the past. When we find ourselves grumbling about the past, we can remind ourselves to love one another the way Jesus loves us. He forgives us, and we can forgive others, no matter what they have done. God is a God of redemption. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 48

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: – Ephesians 1:4 KJV

God put a lot of thought into choosing us to receive His eternal inheritance.

Time is a different experience for God than it is for us, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He knows what will happen even before we are born, and even before He created the world.

God’s choices are not rushed by deadlines or expirations. He chose us, and His choice counts.

We may not know a lot about what God was thinking before He created the foundation of the world, but we know one thing for sure: anyone who is saved by grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can have hope for a future in Heaven without sin, death, or sorrow.

God is love, and the love we experience today is only an inkling of what God can give. Amen.

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