Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Sleep Aid

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

There all kinds of methods to help one fall asleep.  The newest of these are videos on YouTube done by a teenage boy!  They are viewed by half a million women who find that his role play of a whispering caring boyfriend is just what is needed to fall asleep!  The idea is to talk you down for the night and tuck you in with soothing words.  Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) explains that tingling static-like sensation that helps to relax and can lead to sleep.

Today’s verse describes a sleep that is sweet.  There is no fear of the ruin that can overtake the wicked (verse 25) as this is the sleep of the one who lives wisely, with sound judgement and discretion (verse 21).  Sleep is just one of the many benefits of wise living.  There are no worries about the consequences of foolish decisions to keep one awake.   And for the one who belongs to the Lord, there is the reassurance that He grants sleep to those He loves (Psalm 127:2).  Sleep can be sweet when we are aware that the Lord is at our side (verse 26).

Sleep can often be an issue for me for a variety of reasons.  Thankfully, the Lord is at my side.  His reassurance of love and care can calm me down and soothe me to sleep better than any sleep aid!  He knows exactly what keeps me awake or what worries me.  He knows when my thoughts are racing for no good reason.  It is often the thought of Him that soothes me as well as my prayers to Him in the middle of the night.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of sweet sleep.

 

 


Leave a comment

Teddy Bears

Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

The teddy bear got its name from President Theodore Roosevelt as a result of a bear hunting trip in 1902.  The resulting political cartoon inspired the creation of the first teddy bear.  Originally made to look similar to a real bear, it has evolved to be a comforting presence for many children.  In fact, a program called “Teddy Bear Cops” was created to distribute teddy bears to children in the midst of crisis.  It was found that the teddy bear would calm them down.

In today’s verse David is speaking to his own soul in an attempt to calm down from the despair he feels.  He had plenty of reason to have a soul disturbed within him.  He was under constant attack from his enemies.  Rather than focusing on his circumstances or giving in to despair, the psalmist reminds himself of the hope he has in God.  Because of that hope, he could look forward to a future where praise for God would come again to his lips.

It is true that God’s promises tend to calm me down.  I can get so worked up and panicky in the middle of a problem.  I need the quieting influence of God’s voice through His Word.  He reminds me that He is in control.  He reassures me of His presence.  He upholds me with declarations of His love.   He calms and quiets me much like the teddy bear does for the child.  A calm and quiet spirit is not natural in the middle of crisis.  Thankfully, I have Someone who does the supernatural for me.

Thank you Lord, for Your calming presence.


Leave a comment

“Jesus Shoes”

Scripture For Today: Matthew 14:28-29 “‘Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come,’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

Would you pay 3 thousand dollars for these Jesus shoes?  Only two dozen were made and they sold out within minutes.  Even though they are Nike Air Max 97s, they are distinctive for a very special reason.  They have been injected with holy water from the Jordan River and blessed by a priest!  Their production was in response to ridiculous brand collaborations.  But for some, the idea of walking on water was too good to pass up!

Today’s verse refers to the only two people who have ever truly walked on water; Jesus and Peter.  The disciples were in their boat on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus approached them, walking on the water.  Seeing their fear He reassured them that He was not a ghost.  Peter speaks up wanting further proof and figures that if it were really Jesus He could allow him to walk on water as well.  What faith to step out of that boat!  What confidence in the miraculous power of Jesus!

Jesus does not invite me to walk on water.  But He does often ask some very hard things.  He asks me to trust Him when all I can see is troubled water.  He desires me to come closer to Him when all I can see are reasons to panic.  Just as Jesus told the disciples not to fear, so He encourages me to have courage.  He asks me to come closer even when it is scary and I get a little wet.  His closeness makes all the difference!

Thank you, Lord, for the confidence Your presence gives me.

 


2 Comments

Love Letters

Scripture for Today: Psalm 33:22 “May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”

What a treasure trove it was when my sister came across love letters written by our parents during World War II!  I am now thankful that my Mother saved every scrap of paper.  These letters are windows into their souls!  In the earliest letters the words were a bit stilted, surprisingly on Mom’s part.  It was my quiet reserved Dad who expressed his love so well!  They are now with their beloved Lord, but their love story lasted seventy one years!

Today’s verse describes a love that spans centuries.  This love is an unfailing love that not only lasts forever but delivers our souls (Psalm 6:3-4).  It is a priceless love (Psalm 36:7) its value surpassing any human attempt at romance.  And when we pin our hope on His unfailing love, His eyes are on us! (Psalm 33:18)  We are the better for always being mindful of this incredible love (Psalm 26:3).  We are told to even meditate on this love (Psalm 48:9).  And we do that by immersing ourselves in the words of the greatest love letter ever written, the Bible.

In writing this I was amazed at all the references to God’s love in Scripture!  I was reassured of His unfailing love and could feel it wash over me.  So often when reading the Bible I get bogged down in the details of study.  I get distracted by all the injunctions I find there.  I am so sidelined by word studies or cultural references that I forget the main point.  Reading His Word is reading His personal love letter to me.  His love is behind every list of blessing, every faithful miracle, every promise and even every warning.

Thank you Lord, for reassuring me of Your unfailing love!

 


Leave a comment

KAOS or CONTROL?

Scripture for Today: Romans 6:20 “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.”

The old television series, “Get Smart” ran from 1965-1970 and was a favorite of my family growing up!  KAOS (not an acronym) was a international organization of evil.  It was the job  of Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 to thwart their sinister threats to the world.  Their organization was called CONTROL (also not an acronym) and was a secret government counterintelligence agency.  It makes sense to me that the evil ones were KAOS or chaos, while the good guys were CONTROL or under control!

Today’s verse talks about being a slave to sin.  That is the condition of anyone without God’s freeing power.  Sin enslaves and creates all kinds of chaos and complications to a life.  But this same verse alludes to the control we can experience with righteousness.  Because of the grace of God, we can be taught to say “No” to ungodliness and live self-controlled godly lives (Titus 2:12).  Rather than be controlled by sin, we can be controlled by righteousness, leading to holiness and eternal life (Romans 6:22).  And self-control is an evidence of the presence of God’s Spirit in the believer (Gal. 5:22-23).

It is obvious to those around me when I am out of control!  There is chaos in my thoughts, emotions and behavior.  But when I am submitted to the Lord and filled with His Spirit, there is a measure of self-control that was not there previously.  He brings order from disorder.  There is a sense of calm and peace when I allow Christ to have His way.  That illusive self-control is really just allowing Him to have the full control that is His right.

Lord, please be the One in control of my day.


Leave a comment

Waiting in Line

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I have never met a person who enjoys waiting in line.  I know I do not, especially when I constantly check the time or shift position to be more comfortable.  I tell myself I have better things to do.  The time seems to drag, I am bored, frustrated and wishing I had brought something to occupy my mind.   But the wait is bearable when two things are true: the wait will be worth it and something worthwhile can happen during the wait.

In today’s verse David is waiting for the Lord to act on his behalf.  He is surrounded by enemies, the wicked and his foes (verse 2).  David remains confident while he waits because he believes he will again see the goodness of the Lord (verse 15).  To see the goodness of the Lord once more makes the waiting worthwhile.  And something David is doing while waiting is making that wait bearable; he is in the Temple gazing on the beauty of the Lord (verse 4).  That long wait is doable as David finds strength and takes heart in the Lord’s presence.

There are different ways to wait for God to answer my prayer.  I can question, doubt or tap my foot in impatience.  I can wonder if He hears me or if He even cares.   I can give up and stop asking.  Or, like David I can be strong through the wait and take heart.  It is worth the wait when I can be confident of again seeing proof of His goodness.  And the time waiting is never wasted when it is spent in His presence and in gazing on Him.

Lord, may I never doubt Your goodness and Your timing.  Help me wait with confidence!


Leave a comment

Pickle Fork

Scripture for Today: John 15:4 “Remain in Me, as I remain in you. No branch can bear fruit of itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”

I love looking out the window of an airplane, even if I am over a wing.  I don’t normally think about how that wing is attached to the plane.  But if I did, I would just assume the connection was good at what is called the “Pickle Fork.”  That is the name of the juncture between the wings and fuselage.  Lately, the new generation of the Boeing 737 has been showing cracks in exactly that spot!

Today’s verse teaches how vital our connection is with the Lord.  Just as there can be no fruit in a branch separated from the vine, so there can be no good result when a wing detaches from the fuselage.  This verse tells us to remain in Him, meaning that sometimes we do not.  Our independent spirit and sense of self-sufficiency can create some serious cracks!  The separated branch or wing can look good to others but without that essential connection, there is no purpose to it being there.

To remain in constant communication with the Lord takes focus.  To always be aware of His presence and love takes deliberate effort.  But when I spend time in His Word and my thoughts are directed toward Him, I see my day take on purpose as He works through me.  Nothing I can accomplish will have any eternal significance without His amazing productive power.  I can almost feel those cracks forming when I do not spend time with Him.  But when I stay connected I see results that I know do not come from me alone.

Lord, keep me connected and crack free!