Devotions By Jan


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“Who You Gonna Call?”

Scripture for Today: Romans 10:12-13 “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

The film, Ghostbusters, made famous the question, “Who you gonna call?”  The answer to this question is obvious if one is trying to be rid of Slimer, this ghost!  Ghostbusters are called to investigate and eliminate paranormal activity with their fancy high-tech equipment!  This 1984 comedy enjoyed so much success that it ranks within the top forty highest-grossing films of all time!

Today’s verse talks about calling on the name of the Lord.  Calling on Him for salvation is a prayer that is always heard and always answered.  When we call on Him He richly blesses us.  He loves to answer this cry of faith as He is gracious, righteous and full of compassion (Psalm 116:4-5).  Calling on His Name is an act of humility, recognizing who He is and recognizing our own unworthiness.  When we call on His name we are calling on His power to forgive and restore.  He promises to answer all, Jew and Gentile alike.

It seems too simple.  But in fact, my pride gets in the way.  Like so many, I prefer to call on the prevailing wisdom of the day to absolve me of guilt.  I prefer to call on my own manufactured pseudo-goodness.  Calling on His Name means agreeing with Him that my heart is black and He is the only One who can do anything about it.  How thankful I am that He is forgiving and good, abounding in love! (Psalm 84:5)  How blessed I am that He has answered me!

Thank you Lord, for answering with love and grace every time I call.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Sandcastles

Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

I doubt that this sandcastle was built by a small child.  It seems too involved and complicated, perhaps needing some special molds and skills.  Sandcastle-building has become quite the art form with annual competitions all over Southern California.  Some of the competitions have been taking place for more than fifty years!  The entries are elaborate and take painstaking precision.  The results are impressive but no longer there.  These fantasy castles and kingdoms are eventually reclaimed by the ocean.  What a shame to see all that creative work washed away!

Today’s verse speaks of a kingdom that is eternal.  It does not erode with time.  What effort is invested in this kingdom will endure.  We are promised that when spending our lives living for God’s kingdom, we will be able to live our lives without worrying about tomorrow (verse 34).  The  mundane pursuits of food and clothing become less important.   Life is more than food and the body more than clothes (verse 25).  Seeking His kingdom means living for Him and for values that are eternal.

The most important component of any kingdom is its king.  Seeking God’s kingdom is to live as His subject and submit to His rule.  When I live for Him and His purposes, this gracious King takes care of the details.  But I sometimes get distracted by building my own little sandcastles.  I want my own kingdom, however small, in the hopes of having some say and control.  I want to be the one in charge!  But my pathetic kingdom is never as good as His.  And I do not want to waste my time on what will not last!

Lord, keep me focused on living for You.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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The Sea Lion

Scripture for Today: Psalm 98:7 “Let the sea and everything in it shout, along with the world and those who live in it.”

We heard Diamond, the sea lion, long before we saw him.  His bark was loud and deep and seemed to echo off the walls of his Sea World habitat.  The workers told us he was easily the loudest of the sea lions.  This playful intelligent mammal is known for their noisy barking.  I remember hearing sea lions bark when living near the beach in Southern California.  Late at night when traffic noise subsided the noise of their barking floated up to the house quite often.

Today’s verse is a beautiful poetic passage describing the reaction of creation at the Lord’s return.  Not only does every living thing in the sea shout for joy but the sea itself will shout as well!  Because the rivers clap their hands and the mountains sing in unison before the Lord, the earth will be shouting for joy along with the sea (verse 8).  Why all this exuberant response?  God comes to judge (verse 9) and when He does, everything unfair will made fair.

There is a certain deep satisfaction when seeing right prevail.  When watching a film where the tension builds, there is often a concluding scene where evil is thwarted and justice prevails.  If not literally, I am at least jumping up inside and shouting for joy!  I want to see the “bad guys” lose.  Part of belonging to the Lord is hungering and thirsting for righteousness (Matt. 5:6).  One day that longing will be completely fulfilled when He comes to judge.  God will right every wrong.  Everything done in secret will be revealed (Luke 12:2).  The unrepentant heart will face His exacting justice.

Thank you Lord, for Your perfect justice and the forgiveness You have given me!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Eucalyptus Tree

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

It seems that with every report of strong winds in our area, we hear of eucalyptus trees falling and causing damage.  These beautiful trees can grow as much as ten feet in a year and can even reach the height of a six story building!  Their root system is strong to support all that growth, if they have enough soil.  Their taproots need to have at least six feet of soil to be well anchored.  Without that depth they are vulnerable to wind damage.

Today’s verse talks about being rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened by our faith and characterized by thankfulness.  Extending our roots into the deep soil of His strength makes us able to stand firm in any wind storm.  Standing tall in the world’s eyes can be deceptive if roots are shallow.  The philosophies of this world and human tradition (verse 8) make up that shallow soil.  Roots have no opportunity to grow there and a strong gust of wind reveals that weakness.  In contrast, the one who is strengthened by His power is rooted and established in His love (Eph. 3:17).

My root health is something no one sees but Him.  I can seem strong, pray beautiful prayers and say all the right things.  But when that huge gust of wind comes, I can so easily topple over.  I need to be nourished by His Word and strengthened by His promises before the winds arrive.  He will help me withstand them.

Lord, strengthen my roots by the power of Your Word.

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Beyond the Storm

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”

With all the technology at our fingertips, we are often forewarned of a storm on its way.  Other times a storm seems to descend suddenly with little or no warning at all.  With our many road trips we are sometimes stuck with no option except to go through its path.  But I am not too concerned when I can see the skies clearing ahead.  Just the thought of the storm being temporary helps me calm down and get through it.

Today’s verse talks about walking in the dark with no light at all.  There is no vision of clear skies ahead.  This happens for even those that fear and obey the Lord.  When those confusing dark times come, we are to trust in His name and who He is.  We are to rely on God rather than our senses or our intelligence.  Walking by faith has nothing to do with what we can see ahead that reassures us (II Cor. 5:7).  We are given no “light at the end of the tunnel” on which to focus.

I cannot see that patch of blue ahead.  But I can remain calm in the middle of a storm.  Trusting and relying on the Creator of that storm keeps me serene.  He is trustworthy and He is in control.  I have no reason to be fearful for what the future might hold.  And the only light I really need in that darkness is the heart conviction of how good and gracious He is.

Thank you Lord for Your reassuring presence even in the dark.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing through reposting!)