Devotions By Jan


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Divided Heart

Heart+Shaped+Jewelry+Case+in+Red+LeatherScripture for Today: Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”

I need one of these.  My jewelry tends to become a mangled mess!  My chains are especially hard to keep straight as they marry each other when I am not looking!  These divisions keep everything organized and untangled.

When it comes to the heart, divisions are not such a good thing.  Our verse for today is a prayer for an undivided heart.  The idea is that the heart needs to be  whole and wholly committed.   When our hearts are completely His, we can fear and worship His name and all He represents.  When our hearts are undivided we are teachable, walking the way He chooses and in His truth.

The tendency though is to keep parts of our hearts separate.  It is difficult to give Him all of ourselves.  There is fear for what He may ask of us.  There is selfishness in wanting to go our own way.  What if He asks us to give something or someone up?  My goals, my desires, my hopes and dreams are in that part of the heart that is difficult to relinquish.

The context gives the reason for giving all of our heart to Him.  His love towards us is described as a great love (verse 13).  There is no greater love on earth!  Giving all of our heart poses no risk whatsoever.  We can trust Him with the deepest part of ourselves.  He does not hurt.  He does not disappoint.  He showed this great love by delivering us from eternal death and separation from Him.

Keep my heart undivided, Lord.  Take all of it and make it Yours today.

 


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Footstool

beautybeastfootstoolScripture for Today: Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy.”

It only makes sense that the lowly footstool, if created from an animal, would be made from a dog!  The humble serviceable and anxious-to-please canine seems a good choice for such a lowly position.  Without protest, he patiently allows his owner to prop his feet on his back.

Poor Sultan, the castle pet dog in “Beauty and The Beast,” was transformed into a footstool by the Enchantress.  Here, retaining some of his canine features. he looks to be bowing down, ready to receive a pair of feet!

Our verse for today speaks of God’s footstool.  In worshiping there at His feet, we abase ourselves and lift Him up.  For the Lord, Heaven is His throne and all the earth is His footstool (Isaiah 66:1).  We are so beneath the holy, omnipotent and eternal God that it is a privilege to even be near His footstool.  We bow in humble adoration at the name of Jesus and offer our lives in service to Him.  Not so for the unbelievers.  His enemies stand in rebellion.  But Scripture says that one day, Christ’s enemies will serve as His footstool whether they want to or not!  Jesus sits at the right hand of God and awaits that day (Heb. 10:13).

His footstool is a place of worship.  The Samaritan woman was confused about where the proper place of worship should be (John 4:20-24).  Jesus made it clear that true worshipers are those who worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.  His footstool is a place where the truth is obvious that He is God and we are not.

Like Mary I want to sit at His feet, learn from Him and worship there.  Lord, may my worship exalt You today!


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Looking Down

florida-aerial-from-airplane-windowScripture for Today: Isaiah 51:6 “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke. The earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But My salvation will last forever, My righteousness will never fail.”

I do a lot of flying and although the novelty has worn off long ago, I never tire of looking out that small window at the ground beneath me.  Invariably, my thoughts turn to the Creator and I wonder that He could care about man.  We seem so small and insignificant from such a height.

Our verse for today teaches that neither the heavens nor the earth will last forever.  Because sin entered the picture, the earth, the skies and mankind will one day come to an end.  If one were to stop reading mid verse, it would leave us without hope.  Thankfully, the verse continues with a promise.  God’s salvation does not have an end.  It continues forever.  His righteousness will never fail.  One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth where sin cannot enter the picture.

When I am up above the clouds, I have no trouble forgetting that the Lord is my Maker, “who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth.” (verse 13)  Nothing is too hard for Him.  He not only has a plan for a new heaven and earth, but for a new me without sin.  In looking down from a great height, it is easier to remember His incredible power.  But no matter where I am I can always lift my eyes to the heavens and be reminded.

Thank you Lord, for Your salvation and righteousness.  Looking up or looking down, remind me today of Your power and control.


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Connect the Dots

Adjective Connect the Dots framed_doneScripture for Today: Philippians 1:9-10 “And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

Connecting the dots activity pages can be simple or complicated.  This one uses adjectives to be put in alphabetical order.  When done correctly, this pretty image of a bird appears.  Normally, the simple numeric ones for younger children have a few helps with part of the image provided.  But as a child matures, he can handle something more complex with no helping images to guide him.  Of course, done incorrectly, the image becomes distorted or does not appear at all!

Our verse for today is a prayer of Paul’s.  When God’s love grows in a heart, so does knowledge and insight.  These allow us to discern the best way to choose.  We are less likely to make mistakes and can demonstrate a love that is pure and blameless.  There are continual opportunities to make an unwise choice.  We are often just one choice away from messing up the picture.  Thankfully, God’s grace is there and helps us to get back on the right track.  Overall, the life of a believer is connecting the dots, slowly showing an image; the image of Christ in us!

I am so glad God gives helping images to guide me and complete the picture.  He reveals in His Word what His image looks like.  His beautiful image is produced in me by the fruit of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  There are days when His image is clearer than others!  But He does continually work in me, deepening His love and giving discernment!

Lord, give me knowledge and insight to make the right choices!

 


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Patterns

P3Scripture for Today: Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Sewing patterns scare me.  They feel complicated and produce immediate stress.  Even though I come from a family who loves sewing, I never quite got the hang of it.  I will never forget the C grade I received in junior high school for the skirt I sewed.  There were mistakes everywhere because I did not do well following the pattern.  I did not think it so important to follow it so exactly.  I think that grade even showed some grace!

A pattern that is much easier to follow is the pattern of the world’s thinking.  That pattern can be adopted almost without conscious thought.  I am surrounded by people following secular thinking patterns.  They are not all bad.  There is beautiful thought out there.  But more often, the world’s thinking produces some ugly results.  Some examples: “If it feels good, do it.”  “Just follow your heart.”  “As long as I don’t hurt anyone.”  “One time won’t kill you.”  That pattern produces crooked seams, unmatched design and upside down zippers.

Our verse for today describes another kind of thinking with a renewed mind.  This pattern of thinking produces only what is good, pleasing and perfect.  The pattern is God’s will.  Following it takes special care and attention.  It starts with worship.  This worship is a daily renouncing of our own way (verse 1).  It is only in that daily submission that we can follow the different pattern of doing things God’s way.

Help me Lord, to follow Your pattern and have in my life all that is good, pleasing and perfect.

 


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Paralyzed!

tumblr_m7101xyXNn1qd16kro1_500Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:23-24 “Yet I am always with You. You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me to glory.”

This poor little raccoon is paralyzed with indecision!  His little brain is probably thinking, “Run left or right? Go forward or turn around?”  Fear has made him immobile.  By the time he figures it out it may be too late.  I feel much like this confused raccoon when faced with too many choices.  Whenever I am in the States, all I have to do is visit the cereal aisle of a store to feel the same way!

Our verse for today is a wonderful promise.  The Lord is always at the side of a believer.  He offers His hand and His counsel.  He is there to help with every decision, even the small ones.  When making a decision, one can feel overwhelmed by the different options.  The fear of choosing incorrectly can completely block us.   In consequence, decisions are postponed or sometimes left to others.  Being paralyzed with indecision gives God no opportunity to guide us.  As verse 22 describes, we can be senseless ignorant beasts, caught in the headlights.

I am thankful for a patient and understanding God.  We are never left on our own in making choices.  He offers His guidance.  He reaches out His hand to steer us in the right direction.  But it is up to me to see my own indecision and reach for His hand.  What a beautiful image it is to see that hand continuing to guide me all the way through life and into eternity!

Thank you  Lord, for Your hand and Your counsel.  Please guide me in every decision today.


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Neglected

IMG_20140801_050547Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:15-16 “I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees.  I will not neglect Your Word.”

I have always been partial to the Volkswagon Bug ever since owning one in my single days.  It was a 1963 model with a round window in the back!  However, I do not know much about car maintenance.  Had I remained single and kept that car, I wonder if it would eventually look like the one pictured!

My husband will attest to the fact that I do not know how to change a tire or change the oil and I detest filling up.  He very kindly does those things for me.  I think the “idiot” light on the dash was named after me!

The neglect of a car can be serious and contribute to its demise.  But the neglect of God’s Word can be just as serious!  Just as a car needs regular tune-ups and good maintenance to run well, so we need to be in God’s Word.  Without God speaking to us, we begin to be run down and all the wear and tear of life becomes obvious.

David’s love of God’s Word is the subject of the longest Psalm.  Our verse for today expresses that love and respect for God’s decrees.  He not only reads them but he meditates and considers them.  Bible reading is like that.  God’s truths can penetrate our thoughts throughout the day.  His Word is life changing, slowly transforming our minds and hearts.  God’s thoughts renew our minds (Rom 12:2) so that we live as we were meant to live, continually new and shiny!

When I neglect God’s Word, I start looking like that car.  I know that my own ugly thoughts are not His.  Lord, keep me motivated to stay in Your Word.