Devotions By Jan


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The Roadrunner

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 20:24 “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?”

The roadrunner is in the cuckoo family but he doesn’t say, “cuckoo” or “beep beep.”  This long-legged bird is built for speed and can even outrun humans!  The roadrunner is believed to have special powers to make the listener feel tired when hearing his call!  Some Indian tribes believe he can protect against evil spirits.  Their distinctive “X” tracks supposedly confuse the spirits as to which direction they are taking!  I wonder if the roadrunner is himself confused when seeing his own tracks?

Today’s verse acknowledges that the Lord directs the steps of those who belong to Him.  But often, the one directed has no idea of His direction!  The question expresses what is often felt:  How can anyone understand their own way?  It often is puzzling.  We do not have the same vantage point and we can never understand it all.  We are told in any case not to lean on our own understanding but to acknowledge Him so that He can direct us (Prov. 3:5-6).

Because I cannot see what lies ahead, I need to trust the One who is already there and knows the way.  If I were to wait until I understood the reasons behind every directive, I would be at a standstill and make no progress!  But I can be confident of my direction even without full understanding.  That is because I trust Him.  His eyes are always on me and the twists and turns are not random.  He has a loving purpose for me in every change of course.  And His direction is always towards a more loving relationship with Himself!

Lord, help me to trust You completely!


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Blowfish

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 9:24 “but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

The blowfish looks pretty comical when puffed up.  In fact one of his names is “pufferfish.”  This unusual fish has a very elastic stomach, able to quickly ingest huge amounts of water and air.  In doing so they become several times their normal size and so avoid becoming someone’s next meal.  When puffed up, their spines make them look like a pointy ball.  This fish gives new meaning to the idea of being puffed up and full of one’s self.

Today’s verse describes a different kind of boasting that does not puff us up or make us disagreeable.  Boasting that draws attention to the Lord, to His kindness, justice and righteousness is the best kind of boasting!  The Lord is honored and glorified when we extol His beautiful attributes to others.  Even the small understanding we have of His character is something that He reveals to us from His Word.  He is the One who gives understanding. (Prov. 2:6)

It is in God and not in myself that I am to make my boast all day long. (Psalm 44:8)  This is my way to exalt and praise Him.  When I see His many kindnesses to me, none of which I deserve, then I want to tell others!  Look what He did for me today!  Do you see how He righted that wrong?  I am in awe of His purity and justice and they motivate me not to compromise.  All the praise for anything that is good and positive in my life goes to Him!

Thank you Lord, that I can boast in You!

 

 


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Orb Weaver

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:18 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.”

There is no tangled web here with the orb weaver although there is a goal to deceive  This docile spider meticulously weaves his web in a perfectly shaped orb.  As much as I dislike any kind of spider, I can appreciate them taking care of those pesky insects.  What is so surprising is the larger ones will actually manage to deceive and ensnare the occasional frog or hummingbird!

Today’s verse is a loving warning not to be deceived.  There is an accepted and valued standard of wisdom in our world which differs from godly wisdom.  Worldly wisdom, which does not include the fear of God, can lull one into a false sense of security and directly into a web of deception.  It is only in becoming “fools” in the world’s eyes that we can know Christ who is called, “the power and wisdom of God.” (I Cor. 1:24)  No one can boast of wisdom without God, who “makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” (I Cor. 18:20)

The wisdom of God is not found by my own study.  It is not found by how many Bible verses I can recite.  Wisdom cannot be found “in the land of the living.” (Job 28:13)  True wisdom starts by the fear and obedience of its Source, God Himself.  Knowing Him, loving Him and obeying Him makes me wise.  Any other source is suspect.  When I turn to Him in making a decision, that is wise.  When I submit my will to His, that is wise.  When I choose His Word as the foundation for my life, that is wise!

Lord, do not let me be deceived.

 

 


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Maine Lobster

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

Does this Maine lobster have a new shell or an old shell?Apparently, there is quite a difference in the taste.  The lobster will moult and shed their shells to reveal a larger one underneath.  If you happen to eat one with a new shell, it will be sweeter and more flavorful than an old-shelled lobster.  As a lobster grows into their newly formed shell, there is a gap between the meat and the shell.  This gap is filled with seawater allowing it to marinate the meat.  The result is the sweetest and most tender meat!

Today’s verse teaches that the old can be changed into the new.  Such a profound and lasting change can only happen through the work of God’s Spirit.  The old way of thinking and behaving changes when one is “in Christ.”  A new desire to live for Him changes priorities and one’s direction.  In Christ there is power to change through His Spirit.  No longer is one stuck in a pattern of thinking and feeling.  Where once there was a resistant heart of stone, with forgiveness there is now a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

Despite all the books on self help out there, change on the inside cannot be addressed except by our Creator.  This is a monumental change from spiritual death to life!  Being spiritually dead means there was nothing I could do for myself.  All this is from God. (verse 18)  Being made new was the only way God could reconcile me to Himself through His Son.  And by being made new in Christ, I can change to sweet and tender!

Thank you Lord, that You make me new.


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Caving

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:57 “You came near when I called You and You said. ‘Do not fear.'”

I cannot imagine doing what this man is doing!  Exploring underground caves and caverns is called “caving,” “spelunking,” or “potholing,” and is not for the claustrophobic!  The caves with shaft entrances as pit caves or vertical caves would especially be missing from my bucket list!  But the draw is strong for those who love exploring what is off the map and true wilderness.  To walk into the fear, the dark and the unknown can be a rush when done on one’s own terms.

Today’s verse comes from someone who finds himself in a pit (verse 55) and the prophet Jeremiah is not there on his own terms.  He is put there by his enemies.  There is no special equipment or preparedness to insure his safety.  He calls in desperation on the name of the Lord and God heard his plea for relief.  Then comes today’s verse.  God came near.  God’s presence was the answer to Jeremiah’s fear.  His circumstances had not changed but the Lord reassures Jeremiah that HE will take up his case. (verse 58)

There are many reasons I can find myself in a pit.  Times are dark when feeling outnumbered by those who mock the Name I love.  I can feel vulnerable to subtle attack, knowing that I am in the minority.  The darkness becomes especially thick when I doubt that God knows and cares.  Fear can be a constant companion when leaving God out.  But with assurance of His presence, both the darkness and the fear flee.  He answers my cries.  He responds to my pleas for help and takes up my case.  Wickedness may surround me but will never overwhelm as He will right every wrong and bring final justice!

Thank you Lord, for calming every fear.