Devotions By Jan


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Sheepish Students

Scripture for Today: John 10:4 “When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.”

I am not sure how much sheep can learn.  They are said to be pretty dumb.  But apparently that could change for 15 lucky sheep who were recently enrolled in school!  Classes were at risk of closing due to a lack of students in a small village of four thousand in Crêts en Belledonne, France.  In an effort to keep the classes open, a local shepherd registered fifteen of his sheep, providing birth certificates and names!  Now with increase enrollment the concerned parents could assert their rights and save the classes!

Sheep do not know very much.  But today’s verse points out one thing sheep know very well and that is the voice of their shepherd.  Others may try to call to them to follow but unless it is the voice of their shepherd, they pay them no mind (verse 5).  Those sheep that belong to the Good Shepherd know and recognize His voice and follow Him.  With His voice He leads, guides and protects from danger.  It is a trustworthy voice.

Not only is the Lord’s voice recognizable but He calls each sheep by name! (verse 3)  And when He speaks to me, I will know it is Him.  He will never say anything in opposition to what He has already said in His Word, the Bible.  His voice does not condemn as he has already laid down His life as payment for my sin.  His voice will never accuse or tear down.  His words are full of love, even when He says something difficult to hear.  His voice is soft and tender as He draws me closer to Himself.

Lord, please let me hear Your voice today.

 

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FOMO

Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is a phenomenon unique to our technology-filled days.  We stay connected to each other 24/7 just because we can.  But how annoying it is to have a face-to-face conversation interrupted because of FOMO.  The constant checking of social media is often motivated by not wanting to miss out on someone or something more exciting!

There is one relationship, one place and one communication that we never want to miss!  Today’s verse  warns us that this is possible when we adhere to a form of religion without a true relationship.  The people addressed in this verse did all kinds of good works for God but missed out on obeying Him.  The Lord sees the heart of the one who glibly calls Jesus “Lord” and “Master” without submissively bowing the knee.  The true test of relationship is obedience to His expressed will in the pages of His book!  The one who loves Him will obey Him. (I John 2:5)

When I truly love someone I will want to serve and please him.  To ignore what God says or what God wants is not love at all.  I do not want to miss out on the most meaningful, satisfying relationship there is!  His messages of love and forgiveness are not to be missed!  A “fear of missing out” on His blessings is a good kind of fear that causes me to examine myself to see that I belong to Him.  A life of obedience not only leads to a deep relationship but to an eternity with Him!

Lord, I want to obey You today.


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Coxswain Rowing

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:19  “They have lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

As I look out the window at Buzzard’s Bay I see the rowing teams practicing from the nearby private academy.  The only one who seems to know where the boat is going is the coxswain who sits in the stern facing the bow.  This member of the team does not row but his role is crucial.  It is only with his specific calls that the rowers can make any progress.  He is responsible for steering the boat and for coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers.  Without him, there is no unity.

Today’s verse speaks of the Church as a body with a head.  That Head is Christ (Col. 1:18).  If we lose our connection with Him we have lost the ability to work together.  We each have a role to play as members of this body, and there is no growth without Him.  He is the One who directs and leads.  He is the One who steers us in the right direction.  He has the same call for all of us and that is to glorify Him.

There is a temptation to think I am really something!  I may think I know a better way to move forward.  But with this attitude I lose connection with the Lord and I lose connection with other members.  That is because it is Christ who holds us together.  He sees where I am going but asks me to operate by faith and trust Him.  When I am listening for His calls I find unity with other believers doing the same thing!

Thank you Lord, for the progress You make possible!

 


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Powerful Arms

Scripture for Today:  Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You.”

This statue in Colmar, France was sculpted by Bartholdi, the same artist who created the Statue of Liberty.  It is called, “Les Grands Soutiens du Monde” or “The Great Supports of the World.”  There are three figures representing three lofty ideas: two arms of justice, one arm of work and one arm of patriotism.  They are depicted walking and supporting the world with their powerful arms.  I appreciate the artistic sentiment behind this sculpture.  But unfortunately, sometimes those arms get a bit weary and drop.

Today’s verse reminds us of God’s incredible power and control. How reassuring it is to know that planet earth has much stronger arms holding it up!  The powerful arm of the Sovereign Lord brought about the creation of the heavens and the earth.  What is more, His arm is outstretched still!  Creation around me attests to His amazing power.  The night skies above overwhelm me with His majesty.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  All He needs to do is to stretch out His arm.

I forget that when I get overwhelmed with my little world.  Yet, He is able and willing to again stretch out His arm in my life.  All things are possible with God (Mark 10:27).  For Him there are no limits of time or space or any other constraint.  He established the laws of nature and can just as easily put them aside for His purpose.  Those arms not only create but they hold me up when I feel weary.  Those are the arms that tenderly carry me when I just can’t anymore.

Thank you Lord, that I can lean on and trust Your powerful arms.


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Bride’s Veil Waterfall

Scripture for today:  II Corinthians 3:15-16  “Yes, down to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts.  But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.”

It takes some effort to reach the “Velo de Novia” or Bride’s Veil at El Chiflon, Mexico.  It is the farthest of five falls but the most majestic at 120 meters high.  The best part may be the pool of blue-green water it forms at its base, perfect for swimming.  The way the water cascades down the rocks does resemble a bridal veil.  But what impresses most is the tremendous sound of the pounding water as it rushes down the steep hill.

Today’s verse talks about a veil that is quiet and discreet, so much so that it goes unnoticed.  It is a veil that blinds people spiritually.  It was there even though these people were listening to the Word of God.  The veil was keeping them from understanding.  It was obstructing their view of the Truth.  The veil remained there until they turned to the Lord in repentance.  Once that happened, the veil was no longer an issue.  It was then stripped off and taken away.

There are many times I do not understand God’s Word and those times push me to study and dig deeper.  But this is something different.  The veil that can cover a mind and heart is a veil of unbelief.  The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14) and that veil can only be removed by the Lord when I turn to Him in faith.  What a wonderful moment it is when He lifts that veil and I see Him face to face, my loving Groom.

Thank you Lord, for removing the veil.


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The Wombat

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.”

The wombat is one strange marsupial.  This burrowing animal from Australia carries its young in a pouch facing backwards so as not to get dirt in the young one’s eyes!  Their backside is covered with a thick hide impervious to the claws of predators.  When chased they will dive into their tunnel with their rump sticking out and stay that way until their predator gives up!  They are said to have the largest brain of any marsupial.  Maybe that is why a group of them are called a “wisdom.”

Today’s verse is one of many that warn us not to consider ourselves wise.  This is a danger as it can lead to the conviction that we know better.  This brand of pride considers rules as being for other people to follow and not applying to us.  Those that see evil as good, dark as light and bitter as sweet are the same people who are “wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (Isaiah 5:21)

It is easy for me to think that wisdom comes from my own schooling or perceived mental prowess.  But God’s Word makes clear that the source of wisdom is the Lord.  I demonstrate wisdom when I am humble enough to follow and obey Him in every area of my life.  But the minute I consider myself wise is the same minute I risk becoming foolish (Prov. 26:12).  To become or remain wise is simply the by-product of humble, dependent obedience to my Creator.  It is in living life God’s way that there is any possibility of becoming wise.

Thank you Lord, that right relationship with You makes me wise.  Keep me humble, submissive and close to You today.

 


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A Good Egg

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Imagine my surprise when on opening an egg carton this verse greeted me; “This is the day which the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  As the day had started differently with my grandson impatient for his breakfast, it was a welcomed reminder.  Suddenly, the unaccustomed chaos around me with his mother in the hospital was not quite so  serious.  Instead of scrambled thoughts with the scrambled eggs, I was able to focus my thoughts on just who had made this day!

Today’s verse is such an encouragement.  God’s compassions are new every morning.  And certainly a new day is a mercy and compassion from Him that we do not deserve.   Each day of life is a gift regardless of the struggle it can be.   Each day of life can be a reason for gladness when we recognize His hand and His mercies throughout the day.  His faithfulness to us, to His word and to His promises is totally undeserved.

My day starts out a whole lot better when I recognize His compassion.  On waking I realize that He has again spared me and granted me life.  One day, my eyes may not fly open with the morning light.  But He has given me this day.  He created it and He has plans for today.  I can be confident that He knows what it holds and His mercy and compassion will carry me through it.  His compassions are new and not warmed up leftovers from yesterday.  How incredible is His faithful love for me!  And how undeserving I am!

Thank you Lord for today/