Category: <span>thoughts by Donna Mitchell</span>

…I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me…John 14:30-31

The first time I read the word “exactly” in this passage I prayed, “Really Lord, exactly?” No room for doing my own thing now and then or obeying you most of the time? I felt His reply in my heart: nope.

Jesus completely obeyed His Father all the time and modeled what a relationship with His Father is to be like. Wherever Jesus went, what He spoke and taught, and even the miracles He did, came from His Father. In John 5:30, Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing…I seek, not to please myself but him who sent me.”

Jesus modeled a posture He wants for all of us — complete obedience to the will of the Father motivated by love. In John 14:1-15, Jesus comforts His disciples and explains that they will continue to have a close relationship with Him after he is gone. Jesus declares that if you love me then you will obey me — not as a legalistic requirement of being His disciple but as an act of love.

Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:26b, 27). Exact obedience to the Father keeps us closely relying on His power even though we are tempted to wander and demand our own will.

Father God, I love you and with all of my heart want to obey you without compromise or resistance. Draw me close, give me ears to hear your instructions and obey you. I am completely dependent on you for life, power, strength, guidance, and instructions. Above all else, may my desire be to do your will for your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

By Donna Mitchell
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I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.”  John 16:12-14

When I first trusted Jesus as my Savior and asked Him to be Lord of my life, He began to transform my life beyond what I thought possible — rebuilding my life’s foundation and values on God’s word. The Spirit of God guided me and spoke to my heart. Jesus became more real to me. I was changing so rapidly I thought, “Oh my goodness, at this rate I should be perfect in about 10 years!” Ha! (Yes, my naivety still makes me laugh out loud!)

What I didn’t realize is that getting to know and follow Jesus is a life long journey. The Lord always has much more to say to us. At every stage of growth and maturity, there are things we cannot yet bear. Thankfully, He continues to lead us into all truth if we allow Him. As we respond to the Spirit of truth and apply/obey what He shows us, then He reveals more.

Are our hearts willingly surrendered and ready to embrace truth? Do we have ears to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us? Or do we close ourselves off when we don’t want to hear what He says or obey or align our lives with His truth?

I have never heard God’s voice audibly, but He speaks to my innermost being through His Word by His Spirit. I thank God He speaks. The Lord promises that His sheep hear His voice. Are we truly listening?

Father God, thank you that you speak. You promise to lead us into all truth. Oh, Lord, please give us ears to hear you and hearts that are responsive to you. Help us be willing to surrender, to let you lead and willingly embrace your will over our own. Open our eyes that we might see you and our ears that we might hear you. Help us hear the much more you have to say to us…. In Jesus’ powerful and precious Name, AMEN!

By Donna Mitchell
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On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
1 Corinthians 12:22

Do you sometimes feel like you are not needed? You are. Paul explains that the body of Christ includes many parts — all needed and necessary. Each Christ follower is given gifts and has a role to play in the overall health and make-up of the Body. Paul declares, “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

God has combined the members of the body and, as Paul goes on to say in verse 25, “has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.”

Our society values tolerance, equality, and belonging. Yet, we applaud strength, accomplishment, production, excellence, intelligence, and outstanding performance. There are many people who feel “less than,” like they don’t measure up and never will — no matter how hard they try.

God’s Kingdom is contrary. God’s call to reach the “least of these” reflects the Father’s heart. The Lord has equipped the Body — longing for unity, love, honor and respect — to reflect a beautiful picture of His heart. He calls us to reach society’s marginalized — those who may constantly feel like they are insignificant, undervalued, and have no contribution to make for the greater good.

How we treat the powerless and infirm reflects our heart. By comforting those in crisis, we learn about the depth of the love of God. Serving those who cannot repay us teaches us about humility and gentleness. Indeed, “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

Lord, give me a heart like yours. Give me eyes and ears to see others around me as an indispensable part of your body. Help me love with humility and gentleness and treat others with dignity and respect. Help me to honor others and reflect your heart! Amen.

By Donna Mitchell
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Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.” 1 Peter 3:13-15a (NLT)

In 1 Peter, the editor’s subtitle for this section is “Suffering for Doing Good. I remember being afraid to ask Jesus to be the LORD of my life. Instinctively, I knew that He would call me to a changed life. I wanted to invite Jesus into my life but I didn’t want to leave my life to follow Him. Human nature doesn’t want to suffer or struggle — especially for doing what is good and right.

Peter reminds us that the Lord calls us to worship Christ as Lord of our lives — and this has multiple implications. Peter says that worshiping Christ as Lord of our lives means turning from evil to do good. Worship is willingly suffering for doing the right thing — even if it means being mocked. Worship is always being prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have. Worship is keeping a clear conscience, with the reminder that it is better to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil.

Worship Christ as Lord, letting Him into every corner of your life — anything less is not true worship. Sometimes, we think of worship as music we play or songs we sing on Sunday mornings. However, the Lord calls us to worship Him as our Lord over every area of our life. He is our King. He is the standard of good. He is the One we worship, adore, and please.

Are you willing to suffer to do good and to worship Christ as the Lord of your life?

Father God, your calling is clear — worship Christ as Lord of my life. I bow before you once again and declare that you are my Lord. Lord, help me turn from what is evil and do good today. Search me O God, that my conscience may be clear. I choose to worship you as my God and King. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

By Donna Mitchell

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2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus Said: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

But he said to me, ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Are there areas in your life you have begged God for relief? Paul begged the Lord three times to take away what was causing him to struggle deeply. We aren’t told exactly what it was. It could have been a physical or emotional weakness. However, it was causing severe physical or mental suffering. Paul referred to it as a messenger of Satan to torment him. Can you relate to being in a season of life in which you feel so tormented that it’s hard to find pleasure in what usually brings you joy?

In light of Paul’s suffering, Jesus’ answer to his plea is not initially comforting. However, when Paul realized the implications, his outlook on what was tormenting him changed so much he was ready to boast gladly about his weaknesses. He chose to find pleasure in them because he knew it meant that Christ’s power would “rest in him” — in other words, that it would dwell in his soul. Paul wanted Jesus’ power.

Paul accepted his current reality, including the suffering, and he stopped begging for relief. He took all the grace that Jesus would give him. Paul said in verse 10 that, “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Jesus says His grace is sufficient – no matter what you are going through physically or mentally. You can delight in your weakness. For when you are weak, then He is strong. Are you relying on Jesus’ all sufficient grace to get you through your suffering?

Lord, thank you that your power is made perfect in my weakness. Thank you for the grace to persevere in my current reality. Help me to gladly accept all the grace that you want to give to me. May your power rest upon me for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

By Donna Mitchell
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Do you have Jesus in your life?   Would you like to have a relationship with Him? If you do,  you can start today by committing and submitting your life to him. It starts with a simple heart felt prayer:

Lord, thank You for dying so we can be set free from all of guilt and sin — no matter how big or small.  Your blood has erased all of our sin. Thank You so much! Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen


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ordinary men

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13

Peter and John were unschooled, ordinary men. They weren’t superheroes or endowed with gifts and charisma that made them stand out in a crowd. In fact, they were so ordinary that the rulers and elders of the people knew instinctively that the courage they witnessed in Peter and John must be from another source. Their courage was so astonishing that others assumed they had to have been with Jesus.

Later in Acts 4, these same ordinary men faced interrogation and threats to their well-being if they continued to witness about Jesus. What ensued was incredible. They responded by telling the rulers and elders that they couldn’t help but speak of what they had seen and heard.

Peter and John shared their experience with their fellow believers and then they prayed, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:28-30).

They acknowledged to God that it was by His power and will that this experience happened. They asked for the Lord to display His majestic glory through them. Then they asked the Lord to enable them to speak with great boldness – not to help them run to the next town, not to be hidden from the threats, not to even remove or silence the threats – but to meet the challenge head on with even greater boldness.

What are your prayers like when you feel threatened?

Father God, thank you that you are able to give us what we need to become who we need to be in the face of our biggest challenges. Please give us the overcoming power to grasp your love, to obey your voice, and to cling to you for what is needed in the midst of whatever situation we face. Pour into us your strength and power, and may you ultimately be glorified. In Jesus’ Name! Amen.

By Donna Mitchell
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Worth the Effort

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.”  2 Peter 1:2 (AMP)

I tried many things to fill the void in my life. However, in reflection, I realize that I forfeited peace often over the years because I didn’t seek to know God more. I didn’t put the necessary effort into memorizing scripture and working at renewing my mind. I panicked instead of praying. I looked at my circumstances instead of God’s promises. Then, I decided to trust Him more and more. Peace at last flooded in.

Do you remember your first experience of the overwhelming sense of God’s presence that accompanies trusting in Jesus? When people first experience forgiveness and life in Jesus, one of their first responses may be astonishment over how much peace occurs ? especially in their minds. That is how it was with me. At first, I sensed much contentment — it was greater than anything I had ever experienced.

I soon realized that along with this contentment and a desire to follow Christ wholeheartedly comes a battle — the battle for our will and for our minds. No surprise there. Jesus promised that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33).

However, He also promised His peace could reign in our hearts, not just the first time we come to Him, but every time. We can retain that peaceful sensation no matter what bombards us in life. Growing in our knowledge of the Lord is a lifelong pursuit. Peter reminds us it is worth every effort. He says God will provide more and more grace and peace as we grow in our knowledge of Jesus our Lord.

Lord, thank you for your promise of grace and peace as we grow in our knowledge you. Teach me to know you. Write your word on my heart. Help me pray according to your will and pray through everything I need. Thank you that you hear and will answer according to your will. Thank you for the promise of your peace — beyond anything this world can give. Amen.

By Donna Mitchell


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Proof of God's Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.1 John 4:9-11

They say, “Talk is cheap.” It is easier to say you will do something than to actually do it. We say we love someone, but when we express love through sacrifice and proven actions, we communicate something truly beautiful.

A prison ministry team was walking into the prison when they met with a woman who was in obviously distress. They didn’t ignore her, but instead listened to her story, shared a meal with her, gave her a ride home, and prayed and cared for her. Upon reflection, the leader said, “Love happens when we leave our comfort zone, when we ignore what is unlovable and actually see a person who is loved and precious — even if only God loves her.

In 1 John, John explains that God loved us before we paid any attention to Him — in fact, we didn’t love God. God proved His love for us — he displayed and expressed His love in the ultimate sacrifice. God sent his Son to live and die as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We didn’t realize we needed His love or His sacrifice.

John continues to explain — God showed His love to us through the sacrifice of His Son; therefore, we should go forth and love others. Just like we didn’t know that we needed God’s love or His sacrifice, likewise, there are others all around us that need authentic sacrificial love expressed to them and proven through our words and our actions.

Father God, thank you for loving all of us, even when we are unlovable. Thank you that you love people so much that you send those who know your love to share it with those who don’t yet know you. Help us to love others sacrificially, remembering that you proved your love for us through the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. In His name we pray, Amen!

By Donna Mitchell

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devotional

“Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:10b-11

Have you ever pondered Jesus’ invitation to Peter to follow Him?  Peter had fished all night and caught nothing.  Jesus challenged him to go out into deep water and let down his nets.  Still, Peter followed Jesus’ instructions and Jesus performed a miracle — filling Peter’s nets with fish to full capacity.

Peter did not realize how drastically his life would change by saying “Yes” to Jesus’ invitation to leave everything and follow Him.

My life was similarly interrupted.  I hit my rock bottom.  I had suitcases full of mistakes and I was heading in the wrong direction.  A friend challenged me to take a risk and try following Jesus wholeheartedly for three weeks and see what would happen. I went home that night and gave my heart to Jesus and pledged to follow Him wholeheartedly.  That three-week challenge has lasted thirty-three years, and I am still following!

Peter objected, believing himself unworthy, but Jesus persisted with His invitation and encouraged Peter not to be afraid, but to just follow. Peter left everything and followed Jesus. He embraced his new calling.  Jesus used Peter’s fishing profession to explain that life would be different — that he would use some of the same skills, but from now on, would be fishing for people.

You also have been invited to a new purpose and set of priorities as a follower of Christ. How would you describe your experience of responding to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him? Have you left your life to follow Him, or have you inviting Jesus to join your life? One is discipleship; the other is living with divided loyalties.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the invitation to follow you wholeheartedly.  If there are aspects of my life that are keeping me from following you wholeheartedly, please show me. Please give me the grace to forsake my own life and to embrace what it means to follow you, making loving you and reaching out to others, my priority and purpose. Amen.

By Donna Mitchell


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.



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Assurance prayer

This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

The Book of Joshua opens by announcing that Moses is dead. The LORD speaks to Joshua and gives him an assignment — to lead the people into the promised land. Considering Moses was one of the greatest leaders ever, it was likely terrifying to take over from him.

Joshua needed encouragement and specific instruction not to be afraid and reassurance from the LORD that He would not fail or abandon him. The instruction to “be strong and courageous” is repeated as “be strong and very courageous” and then in verse 9 the LORD outlines that this is not a suggestion — it is a command. Strong words for a man who was obviously afraid and needed much reassurance.

We assume a courageous person has no fears, but the opposite is true. Even the dictionary explains that courage is the ability to do something that frightens you or strength in the face of pain or grief.

In this opening chapter, the LORD explains what will help Joshua to be strong and courageous.  The LORD gives Joshua a promise that is for us as well – “I will be with you as I was with Moses.  I will not fail or abandon you.” Obey my instructions. Study God’s word. Again the LORD closes with, “do not be afraid or discouraged,” which can be our natural tendency when hard things come. The LORD gives the reason Joshua can trust, “For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

You can be courageous today for that same reason. The LORD is with you.

LORD, thank you that you have promised us that you will be with us and will not fail or abandon us. Thank you that we can follow you, taking the courage and strength that you give in the face of fear or pain or grief. Help us study your word and take it to heart. Remind us of your faithfulness. Thank you that you are trustworthy. Give us the courage to obey you in the face of any obstacle. Thank you that we too have a reason to trust you — the promise that you will be with us wherever we go. Amen.

By Donna Mitchell

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daily devotional

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4

People try so hard in life — to change, to be successful, to impress others, to stay in control.  Many feel like they never measure up; they are disappointed in themselves.

The Christian life is union with Christ. Jesus explains this mystery in John 15 — that He is the vine and we are the branches and that apart from Him, we can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how much effort or focus we muster up or how many self-help books we read; our fruitfulness only comes from our intimate connection with Christ.

Breathe a sigh of relief. Being fruitful isn’t about trying harder. It’s all about abiding in Christ: relying on His word, depending upon His power and strength, obeying His voice and instructions, and most of all, remaining in His love.

Rather than pushing ourselves to change or to be more fruitful, the effort we are called to make is to feed on His word and to love and obey Jesus. He is the Gardener. He prunes our lives so we can be more fruitful. He is committed to remaining in us. He knows that apart from Him, we can bear no fruit. He is committed to bringing much fruit from our lives for the Father’s glory! We are loved just as much as the Father loves Jesus.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).

Jesus proved His love for us by giving His life on our behalf. He calls us His friends. He has chosen and appointed us to bear fruit that will last.

Lord, thank You for calling me friend, for choosing and appointing me to bear much fruit for the Father’s glory. Help me to remain in and abide in You. Feed me with Your word, fill me with your life-giving power, transform me from the inside. Make me more like you. Have your way; help me to love You by obeying You! Amen.

By Donna Mitchell

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