Devotional Story on Integrity & Honesty - February

Picture Devotional Story on Integrity & Honesty
Integrity and honesty was the theme for the month of February. The women as well as the staff had so much to think and reflect on this topic. It’s such an amazing attribute but not an easy one to achieve. Like the previous attributes, we always have to look back and remember who the true master of these attributes is—because there is no way we will ever be able to live by them without the creator of all that exists to help us. This has to come from our true and authentic submission on a daily basis. It’s not an easy journey but very much attainable.
We were able to go through different bible verses to help us understand more about this topic and how we can apply it in our own lives. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’’
This verse makes it vividly clear that we can’t attain integrity without checking very carefully what is hidden in our hearts. If our hearts are full of lies that’s exactly what will come out of our mouth and it will be like poison to whoever is around us.
One of the women shared how it’s really hard to be honest if you are not used to being an honest person. People close to you will always know if you are honest because they watch you every day. Whatever you are hiding in your heart whether it's good or bad will always come out whether you like it or not.
Someone else said that if you want to test a person on integrity, give them money. We all know that there are people in our lives that we could lend money to and some we wouldn’t. We simply know that they will not pay you back and even if they eventually pay, they will first lie to you a thousand times.
One of the staff  also shared with us Phillipians 4:8, “Finally brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right ,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
As different people were sharing their thoughts on this verse we all came to this conclusion: it's all about changing our mindsets and tuning them to strive, think, and work towards what is pure and right at all times. It’s not a one time thing, we have to fight again and again to focus on prayer, reading the Bible, worship and praise as well as other helpful tools that tighten our relationship with God. Without us being in his presence on a daily basis it will be hard for us to be people of integrity and honesty.
Satan came to steal, kill and destroy—and if our relationship with God is not stable we will all be vulnerable to his attacks.
This topic has reminded me to keep coming to God in prayer on a daily basis. And like the example in Psalms 139:23-24, ask him to search my heart and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Let this be our prayer everyday.
Bible study reflections from the DuHope Artisans

First and foremost I am happy to go on this journey with the women about the book Luke. As believers, it's such an honor to have the gift of salvation because we all have something to say about what Jesus has done in our lives. The book of Luke has so much to offer about the life of Jesus when he was still living in this world, and what we can learn from him as we embark on our journey.
Chapter 1:1-25 talks about the birth of John Baptist. Both of his parents were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly but before they could give birth to him, they were barren for many years.
I asked the DuHope Artisans what they thought about this verse and they were all amazed by this old couple's faithfulness to God. How could they stay righteous and blameless in God’s eyes, yet they didn’t have a child? How did they do It? Why would God allow them to go through such a tragedy? We were trying to imagine how life might have been for them, the challenges they had to endure.
The women started sharing with me experiences in their lives where they went through difficult times and thought of finding solutions their own way instead of staying faithful to God. One of the women shared how she went to a witch doctor to find healing for her sick sister but the witch ended up taking all her money and her sister didn’t get well. But when she made a decision to turn to God and pray, He miraculously healed her.
Deep down in our hearts, most of us want to stay on the right track and focus on God as we go through life’s difficult circumstances—but we don’t always do it that way. Sometimes we come to God as the last resort.
I honestly think Zechariah and his wife had days where they felt like giving up. But I admire their courage to keep on serving God and staying committed to Him even when they didn’t know the future, or that they would at last be blessed with a baby.
When Angel Gabriel shared the news with Zechariah he didn’t believe what he was hearing so he doubted. I don’t think Zechariah’s doubts meant he didn’t believe in the existence of God in his life. We all have gone through or are still going through circumstances totally beyond our control, and we have no idea how we will find a breakthrough, yet we are Christians and we still follow Jesus.
Everything comes back to our consistent journey with our Lord Jesus. How much time do we spend in his presence? How much are we willing to pursue him on a daily basis and ask him to fill us with more strength and faith to keep going forward? We all have days where our faith is shaken, but it’s about choosing to keep on coming to Jesus even when the breakthrough seems to be on the far end of the mountain.
That’s what Zechariah and Elizabeth kept on doing. He continued his priestly duties and was righteous in God’s eyes. Just because I haven't received a breakthrough it shouldn’t stop me from being a Christian. God doesn’t stop being God when things are tough. The tough seasons should push us to seek Him more. Then, when we receive a blessing, we should come to Him with hearts full of thanksgiving.
In verse 25, when Elizabeth found out that she was pregnant she praised, “The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.''
That's a heart of gratitude right there. 
The DuHope Artisans and I were encouraged but at the same time challenged to keep igniting the fire of our salvation, faith, and patience.