Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Walking Partners

Scripture for Today: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

These look like unlikely walking partners!  But apparently, they don’t know that!  Walking is great exercise but with a partner it can enrich the experience.  There are digital platforms that connect people.  The People Walker is one that provides safe reliable walking partners for a fee.  They advertise that with a partner, it becomes more than just a mere walk.  There is conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

Today’s well-known verse simplifies what the Lord requires of us.  It simplifies but it is not simple!  His standard for what is truly good and necessary is to always live a life that is just and to love and show mercy.  The life of a believer is a lifelong journey walking humbly with God.  Walking with God humbly would be to stay by His side, allowing Him to set the pace and direction.  It is also more than a mere walk, providing conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

There is no possibility of me acting justly or loving mercy were it not for my Walking Partner.  His presence and power give me the desire and the ability to do what He asks of me (Phil. 2:13).  Walking with Him keeps me out of a whole mess of trouble, be it unnecessary detours or tripping over rocks.  He keeps me in that path of righteousness.  But He keeps me there by His very presence at my side.  And because He sets the pace, He knows when I need to slow down and rest.  And when the path becomes difficult, He is there to get me through.

Thank you Lord, for walking with me.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Deepfake Technology

Scripture for Today:  I John 4:1  “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Imagine seeing your face on social media saying something with your voice that you have never said!  This kind of video manipulation is called “deepfake technology.”  The term refers to videos that use artificial intelligence technology, superimposing multiple images.  The result makes people think you said or did something you did not!  There are subtle signs that give it away such as unrealistic blinking and facial movement.

Today’s verse encourages believers to take a closer look at those claiming to be prophets of God.  False prophets can look authentic and even use Scripture, but they do not speak for God.  There are several tests that reveal whether a prophet is false.  A false prophet denies the deity of Jesus (I John 4:2-3).  He is false when he says he knows God but does not obey God’s commands (I John 2:4).  A true prophet will be one that obeys God’s Word.  His life will match his words.  And the false prophet will not teach God’s truth but his own version of it.  None of these tests have anything to do with their apparent success in the world, the size of their audience or even the miracles performed.

I am so grateful to know the Source of truth (John 14:6).  But that does not mean that I cannot be fooled.  When I rely on my own flawed reasoning or rationale, I can get myself into trouble.  It is His Spirit that guides me into truth through His Word (John 16:13).  The more I know and meditate on His truth the more easily I will be able to spot a fake!

Lord, keep me far from anything false.


Leave a comment

Looking Through the Kaleidoscope

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:19  “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This beautiful image was taken through an iPhone lens fitted to the eye hole of a kaleidoscope.  I used to look through them as a child, fascinated with the different colors, shapes and patterns.  The kaleidoscope was originally invented in 1815 as part of a scientific experiment on light polarization before becoming a popular toy.  It is amazing how those mirrors inside can change loose pieces of glass, beads and pebbles into amazing vibrant patterns!

Today’s verse is an encouragement to look at life differently.  Rather than focus exclusively on the past and what God has done, we are to rotate that kaleidoscope and see the new image the Lord wants to produce.  We can miss the new thing He wants to create in our lives.  To us it may not look like much.  Our lives can seem like random bits and pieces.  Our lives can even resemble a wilderness or wasteland.  But He has a purpose in bringing it all together in a new and exciting pattern!

He makes a way.  The Lord is a Master at taking the broken pieces of my life and fashioning them into something beautiful.  Sometimes, all I see are the ups and downs of the past.  So often I miss seeing how they are fitting together.  I do not always see the new thing He is creating.  But He is faithful to His promise to work all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).  He is continually creating His character in me.

Thank you, Lord, that no detail of my life is beyond Your reach to produce something beautiful!


Leave a comment

A Peaceful Commute

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness: quietness and assurance forever.”

I feel anything but peaceful while driving the crowded freeways of Southern California.  Seeing a license plate like this one might just calm me down.  But if it were on the car that just cut me off, maybe not!  There would be more chance of a peaceful commute if everyone (including myself) obeyed the rules of the road.  Peace is not what I am feeling when my hands tighten on that wheel!

Today’s verse associates peace with righteousness.  It is not normally the first place we look for peace.  But the result of following God’s commandments is peace with Him and peace with others.  There is quietness and calm confidence when we are obedient to Him.  When we pay attention to His commands our peace is described as a river (Is. 48:18).  But this righteousness is not possible without God’s Spirit (verse 15).  God gives His righteousness to those who have faith in His Son, Jesus (Rom. 3:22).  The peace that comes from righteousness is nothing we can manufacture on our own.  And this beautiful peace is seen in a quiet calm confidence.

There is tremendous peace in knowing that I am right with Him.  And there can be no peace with others until I have that vertical relationship.  When I am rebelling against Him, all of my relationships are at risk to suffer.  I cannot be loving, kind and forgiving towards others when I ignore the Source of those fruits (Gal. 5:22-23).  There is no peace without loving and obeying Him.  But when I am close to Him, there is assurance and quiet confidence regardless of my circumstances.  By submitting to His authority I have the best chance at peace with others.

Lord, may I feel Your peace today.


1 Comment

Grumpy Cat

Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:3 “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”

The viral star known as “Grumpy Cat” died this past week at age seven.  She had been quite the sensation as the subject of memes, appearing in commercials, doing sponsorships and appearances, even starring in a movie.  Her claim to fame?  Being a sour puss.  That permanent scowl earned her owners up to 100 million!  That angry and sad face was actually due to an underbite and feline dwarfism.  I am glad to know that in fact she could have  been happy.

Today’s verse talks about being glad, rejoicing, and being happy and joyful.  This enviable emotional state is a direct result of realizing what God does for us.  He blows away our enemies like smoke (vs. 1).  He is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows.  He even cares for the lonely, placing them in families (vs. 5-6).  He is continually showing favor to those who belong to Him.  He daily bears us up and He is our salvation (vs.19).

Perhaps the words “happy” and “glad” do not always characterize a believer.  I have my share of depression and sadness in the face of longterm difficulties.  Whether it be financial woes, health concerns, or the loss of relationship, there are plenty of reasons to have a grumpy face.  But in His presence, it can all change.  “Before God” I can be glad and rejoice at what He has done for me.  Nothing can change His love and the hope He gives.  When sadness threatens, I want to run to Him as in His presence is “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).  In His presence I am reminded of all He has done for me.  He turns it around.

Thank you Lord, that You chase away my sadness.

 


2 Comments

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.

 


Leave a comment

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.