Devotions By Jan


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Bones

Scripture for Today: Ezekiel 37:5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

This must be what happens when there is just too much exercise and dieting!  I recently had a bone scan done but I am fairly sure I did not look like this skeleton.  With osteoporosis in my family I need to be concerned about good bone health.  There are lots of preventative measures to take.  Weight-bearing exercise is recommended as well as a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.  I am thrilled to see ice cream and frozen yogurt on the high-in-calcium list!  Although vitamin D is important, I would prefer getting it from the sun rather than a pill.  The next time I enjoy ice cream in the sunshine, I can do it without a shred of guilt!

Today’s verse comes from a vision the Lord gave His prophet, Ezekiel.  The bones represent the nation of Israel.  Their bones were dried up as their hope was gone and they were cut off.  God promised to put flesh on those bones and give life through His Spirit.  It was an image of what He would do for them, bringing them back to their land.

There is no life without His Spirit.  We are all dead in our sins without His life-giving Spirit.  Those who reject Jesus Christ are like dried up bones, without hope and cut off from a vital relationship with their Maker.  But with His breath comes true life.  In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  The breath of His Spirit moves me to a living loving relationship with Him.

Thank you Lord, for breathing true life into me!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2017)


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Jumping to Conclusions

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Who would have thought that this distorted flat and elongated sculpture could actually be the frog pictured in the mirrored cylinder? I would not have! I would jump to the conclusion that the one had very little to do with the other. This is an example of “mirror anamorphosis.” It was developed during the Ming Dynasty in China. A curved mirror is placed before a sculpture or drawing to transform the flat distorted image into an undistorted one!

Today’s verse likens our spiritual growth to seeing only a reflection in a mirror. Our perspective is suspect as we do not see what we finally will be. We only know in part what will be the finished product of God’s work in us. What we will be has not yet been made known to us (I John 3:2) but we do know that we will not be just a new and improved version of ourselves. Better than that, we will resemble Christ!

I am fully known by my Creator. He knows me a whole lot better than I know myself. It is amazing that He loves me just the way I am. But He has more for me. He is slowly transforming me to be more like Him. My image of myself and that mirror are both flawed. But one day I will not only be complete but I will understand all that is blurry and distorted here. I can be content with only knowing “in part,” because I can trust Him and His work in me!

Thank you Lord, for the “future me!”

(Photo by Richard Ivey @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anamorphic_frog_sculpture_by_Jonty_Hurwitz.jpeg)


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I’d Rather Have Jesus

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:18 “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

This song was written by George Beverly Shea in 1933. He was encouraged by his mother to put music to a poem she liked by Rhea Miller. It was her hope that in putting together this hymn, her son would find new direction for his talent. And in fact he did, touring the world as a soloist with Billy Graham. I cannot hear it without remembering the joke of a former boyfriend. He said if we ever got married, he would sing this as I came down the aisle!!

Today’s verse made me think of this song that says “I’d rather have Jesus than anything.” To Paul, the surpassing worth of knowing Christ made him willing to consider everything else in his life as a loss. This beautiful and satisfying relationship with Christ has made all his past accomplishments seem as worthless garbage.  But gaining Christ was something that could not happen as long as he valued his accomplishments, past or present, more than the Lord. 

When I care too much about the world’s approbation somehow I forfeit having more of Christ. So often I am confronted with choice. Would I rather have Jesus or am I valuing anything as more important than Him? Can I say that I would “rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today?” My answers make all the difference to the choices I make. His kingdom takes precedent over any other concern. I want to make His will my focus and not my own. Gaining Christ makes any sacrifice worth it!

Lord, I choose You.


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Rocky Road Ice Cream

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:26-27 “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.”

It was 1929 and the country was in the midst of the Great Depression when this ice cream was invented. This innovative flavor was thought to have originated with William Dryer. One day he used his wife’s sewing scissors to cut up walnuts and marshmallows to add to his chocolate ice cream. He gave it the name , “Rocky Road,” as the financial landscape was so bleak.

Today’s verse tells us to be thoughtful about what path we choose. We do this by being steadfast and resolute to follow a path of righteousness. We are warned not to turn off this path to the right or to the left. It may be tempting to turn off our narrow path on to a wider one. We may feel that another path has fewer rocks or obstacles. It would be tempting to change paths to one that goes downhill rather than uphill. But the way of the wicked leads only to destruction. (Psalm 1:6)

It is more effort to follow a rocky road. Living a life following God’s commandments will not always be smooth. It is challenging and requires steadfast commitment to Him as the other path choices can seem easier. But His way leads to life. He knows when to lead me to still waters and green pastures. He knows when to restore my soul so I can keep going. His presence and help keep me from falling into a trap of compromise. I would rather have a rocky road with Him than a smooth easy road without Him!

Lord, keep me steadfast and determined to obey.


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Palm Reading

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:15-16a “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

Palm reading is generally thought to be a superstitious belief but it continues to enjoy some success for those who want to believe. There are different types of palmistry practiced but the idea is to interpret one’s future by looking at the heart, head, life or fate lines. Classic palmistry has its roots in Greek mythology where a god or goddess is related to different areas of the palm or fingers.

Today’s verse talks about God’s palm and what is written there! The Lord is reassuring the Israelites that He will never forget them. As unusual as it may be for a mother to forget her child, He will never forget His own chosen people. A mother may not have compassion for her child, but the Lord will comfort His people and will have compassion on them. (verse 13) Those that God loves He will never abandon. Those that He loves are engraved on the palms of His hands.

How reassuring it is that the Lord will never forget me! His thoughts towards me are as numerous as all the grains of sand in the world. (Psalm 139:18) That means I can never catch Him NOT thinking of me! His palms are engraved with my name and no one can snatch me out of those loving powerful hands! (John 10:28) My heart, hand, life or fate are all in His control as I belong to Him. What an amazing confidence and peace His love makes possible!

Thank you Lord, that You will never forget me.