Devotions By Jan

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God.  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.  When I awake, I am still with You.”

I love living in Alsace, but I do miss the beach!  There are some beautiful lakes in our region but nothing like the sandy beaches of California.

There are a few drawbacks to sand.  It is so fine and plentiful that it tends to get everywhere!  I am still shaking out sand from my walking shoes used last year on the beach!  But I do enjoy the warm soft sand on bare feet.

Our verse for today compares the number of granules of sand to the number of thoughts God has for us.  And in fact there is no comparison, as His thoughts towards us far outnumber all the sand in the world.  What an image!

If His thoughts to me are as numerous as the verse says, then there is never a time when He is not thinking of me.  That means that at the very moment I am thinking of Him, He is already thinking of me.  If His thoughts toward me are more numerous than all the sand in the world, then He was thinking of me well before my life here began.  He was even thinking of me before the foundation of the world! (Eph. 1:4)

I am humbled by the realization that He was thinking of me, me personally, when He hung on that cross.  I am overwhelmed by His constant and precious thoughts to me.  He thought of me when He spread that gorgeous rainbow over the sky the other day.   In preparing a place for me He is thinking of me (John 14:3)

Oh, that I would think of Him more often today!

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Beautiful Hands

Scripture for Today:  John 10:28-29  “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from My Father’s hand.”

Young hands are beautiful hands.  As we get older, spots and raised veins appear.  Arthritis can swell the knuckles and hands do not look as beautiful as they once did.  Hands have a way of giving away our age.  Too bad gloves are not in style!

The Scriptures tell us that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  Even so, the Bible is full of references to God’s eyes or arms or hands to help us understand Him.  And I love to think of His hands and the fact that as His child, I am held there, safe and secure.

Our verses for today describe His hands as being more powerful than any others.  There can be no sudden sneaky move on the part of the enemy that can snatch me out of His hand.  I, myself, can not cause Him to let go.  My faith in Him put me there.  His power and love keep me there.

His are the hands that formed the universe.  The hand that holds me is the same hand that stilled the waters and calmed the seas.  Those hands touch and heal.  And His hands are scarred with the proof of His love.  They are hands that I can trust.  He will not let me go.

My life is in His hands, but more than that my eternity is in His hands!  If life is suddenly cut short, that does not change the pressure of His hand as He walks me into His very presence.  His hands are beautiful.

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 16:8-9  “I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell in security.”

I have lived through my share of earthquakes, being from California.  They are unsettling, to say the least.  Thankfully, I have never experienced injury or damage.  For whatever reason, most of the ones I have lived through have been when the weather was very hot.  We used to call it, “Shake and Bake!”

There was one earthquake in particular I remember.  The epicenter apparently was a lot closer to the television studio than to us.  The newscaster dove under his desk during an aftershock that we did not feel.  How strange to see the cameras still rolling and no one there!

Our verse for today is a beautiful affirmation of the fact that our lives are in God’s hands.  No evil or natural disaster is going to thwart His plan for our individual lives.  Whether it is a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake, we do not need to live in fear.  In faith we realize His comforting presence, regardless of the circumstances.

For the believer who trusts God’s plan and control, there is gladness, rejoicing, and security.  Instead of fear, there is confidence which cannot be shaken.  We know that He is good.  We know that our eternal home is real.  We set Him continually before us and look to Him in faith.

When I see any kind of natural disaster, terrorist act, or any evil plot of man, I am reminded that life is fragile and temporary.  A sudden catastrophe could rock my world.  But I can stay strong in my faith.  Because of Him, I will not be shaken!

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Scripture for Today: Isaiah 26:3  “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You…”

When our daughter was little we surprised her with the gift of a hamster.  He was a cutie but his nocturnal habits were annoying.  He would sleep all day and get on his wheel at night, making a racket!

There are times when I feel like that hamster.  No, I do not sleep all day.  But for whatever reason, my thoughts start running around in my head the minute I lay it on my pillow.  Maybe I had too much sugar or caffeine in my day.  Maybe my hormones are going nuts.  I can be incredibly tired but the running of my thoughts through my head keeps me awake.

I would like to say that my sleep-defying thoughts are deep and profound.  It would be understandable if worrying thoughts were the culprit.  But more often than not, my thoughts are just mundane, silly and repetitive.  Something in my brain just does not turn off.

Rather than adding frustration to this scenario, I can direct my thoughts to something worthwhile.  If something is to be continually running through my mind, I rather it would be Scripture.  That is when the words of our verse can be a comfort.

I can lay down to sleep with thoughts of Him.  He knows when I am having trouble sleeping.  He knows my schedule for the next day.  I can trust Him even in the middle of sleep deprivation.  He will get me through the next day, even if I am up all night!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful intimate relationship.  When I can not sleep, may I relax and rest in thoughts of You.

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Scripture for Today:  Acts 4:13   “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus.”

We use lots of highlighters in our reading.  They are great for drawing attention to a particular passage.  They come in lots of colors but I am partial to the yellow.  The highlighter has been around since 1963.  But now there are ways to highlight texts on a computer screen as well.  I did not realize that the fluorescent colors (on paper) actually will glow under a black light.

Our verse for today describes two men who were uneducated and ordinary; Peter and John.  What made them remarkable and amazing is that they had spent time with Jesus and it showed.  Like a highlighter, the fact that they knew Jesus drew attention to their lives!  Because of their closeness to Jesus, they were able to live and testify with boldness.  Christ made that much of a difference in their lives.

Christ is the power and wisdom of God.  I am thankful that He chooses what is foolish to confound the wise!  He chooses the weak to confound the mighty!  (I Cor. 1:27)  That means that what was said about Peter and John can potentially be said about me as well!  It is Christ in me that sets me apart and makes me different.

I want Jesus to be seen in my every-day life.  He is to have the attention and the glory for everything positive.  It does not matter that I did not attend an Ivy League school.  It makes no difference that I am not a big name.  It is His life in me that makes life worth living!

Lord, highlight my life with Your presence today!