Devotions By Jan

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Life Preserver

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:92-93 “If Your Law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life.”

In every large boat I have ever traveled in, there have been life preservers.  Of course, the law requires it.  The California law requires not only life jackets but a life preserver (or throwable device) if the boat is over sixteen feet long.  They need to be easily accessible but no one wants them in plain view.  No one wants to think about capsizing.

Our verse for today describes God’s Law and precepts as preserving a life.  Our troubles and afflictions can feel overwhelming.  The weight of sadness and worry threatens to submerge us.  Life seems manageable until that unexpected wave of trouble blindsides us.  Suddenly, all goes dark and we are underwater.

The psalmist had no time in the middle of a catastrophe to pull out God’s Word.  God’s Law and precepts were already known and were his delight before disaster struck.  They were firmly planted in his memory and easily recalled at the very moment he needed them.  It was in remembering and applying God’s Law that he was able to survive his trial.  They were his life saver or life preserver.

I cannot anticipate what hard thing may happen tomorrow or the next day.  But I can be ready for whatever comes by knowing and loving God’s Word today.  Knowing those promises of His love and care keep me floating.  I am not overwhelmed and submerged when I can hang on to God’s faithfulness.  His Word is not only my comfort but my survival.

Thank you Lord, that I can cling to Your Word and survive.

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10590685_10152541766293283_2864432810476582835_nScripture for Today: Psalm 62:6-7 “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God.  He is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

It was a moment of honor.  My Father was a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy during WWII.  Last week we buried him with military honor for his service all those years ago.  It was a moving moment to hear the three gun salute and taps being played.  It was an  especially touching moment to see those soldiers saluting the coffin.

The memorial service the next day was entirely different.  It was also a moment of honor as we remembered the life of a wonderful man.  But there was a difference.  In speaking of my Father, we also honored our Heavenly Father.  He had been my Dad’s rock and refuge since 1939.

Our verse for today says that salvation depends on God.  We cannot save ourselves from our sin.  He is the One who in His grace bends down to extract us from the messiness our sin creates.  But our honor also depends on Him.  In addition to redeeming our lives, He crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:4).  David even talks about how God increases honor for him in Psalm 71:21!

If my life or my Dad’s life is honorable, it is because of the Lord.  Our Creator continually works in those who belong to Him, forming His beautiful character.  The praise and honor ultimately belong to Him!  He makes a life beautiful and worth living.

It really will not be so long before I am with my Dad, worshiping and honoring together the One who gave us honor.  Thank you Lord, that You create honorable lives  May my life honor You today.


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Chair Shopping

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,”

Recently, I have been chair shopping for our small studio.  The limited space allowed me means I have to be very careful about the style and size I choose.  I especially like the older chairs with their wood carvings.  But I steer clear of those with cane bottom seats.  I am not sure of their durability.   My choice has to do double duty, used at the table and at the desk.  No arms or flared legs, no wide seats or very high backs.  It is a challenge to be so particular!

As believers, we need to be just as particular about where we sit.  Our verse for today is a progression from walking to standing and finally to sitting.  With each action there is more identification with those opposed to God.  After occasionally walking as the wicked walk, there is standing and spending more intentional time with sinners.  And finally, there is sitting down comfortably with mockers.

The consequence of this close association is a weakening of resolve to live the way God requires.  With the approval of those who do not care about God’s standards, one can easily rationalize one’s behavior.  Somehow, wrong can seem right and right can seem wrong.  In aligning ourselves with those who disobey God, we are changed.  Instead of influencing others, we ourselves are impacted to do what we know is wrong.

The problem with sitting comfortably with mockers of God is that we forfeit God’s blessing.  He pours out His unmerited favor on the one who takes a stand and lives for Him!

Lord, help me to watch where I sit!


Protecting the Head

P1100111Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

My husband and I recently visited a chateau in Murol, a small village in the Auvergne region of central France.  Their armory was impressive with many different helmets on display, spanning the centuries.  The ones pictured here are replicas from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  There was quite a variety of styles and each had a name.  But the one thing they all had in common was their ability to protect the head.

Our verse for today is part of the list of spiritual armor the believer is to wear.  We need the protection it affords when facing the enemy.  With it, we stand firm in the struggle against the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.  Without it, we are vulnerable to attack.  We are not strong on our own, but only in the Lord and in His mighty power.

The helmet is a crucial piece of equipment as a blow to the head can be fatal.  Our salvation is by God’s grace.  He has called us out of the darkness and into His light. (I Peter 2:9)  That helmet of salvation identifies us as His soldier fighting on His side, the winning side.  We may be fighting in a battle but Christ has already secured the final victory in this war.  Satan may try to attack our thinking, planting doubts and causing us to question, but our helmet is securely fastened and our salvation is sure.  Being assured of my salvation gives me the courage to stand firm and fight!  My destiny is already decided because of Christ, my Commander-in-Chief!

Thank you Lord, that no matter what the enemy may do, You assure my salvation!



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Sign Language

Scripture for Today: Matthew 16:3 “….You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Our eldest daughter worked many years with the deaf and hard of hearing as a special education teacher.  Her interest in this field was a natural outgrowth of being on a signing team in high school where she signed to Christian music.  She was so graceful with the beautiful gestures that I often teared up watching her.  This way of communicating can be a true creative art form.

I am fascinated watching a deaf conversation using American Sign Language, spelling out each word.   What is inconceivable to me is that there are different systems of sign language used worldwide rather than just one!  It only makes interpretation that much more difficult.

Our verse for today was spoken by Jesus to the skeptical Pharisees and Sadducees.  They wanted to entrap and test Jesus by asking Him for a sign from Heaven.  Because of their unbelief, Jesus told them that the only sign they would receive would be the “sign of Jonah” or the coming resurrection of Jesus.  That is sign enough.  His resurrection is irrefutable proof that He is God.  It is the ultimate sign.

Belief in this ultimate sign is an essential part of the Gospel that saves us (I Cor. 15:3-4).  When we accept His saving Gospel, our hearts are then opened to all the signs of love He gives us.  It is a sign of love that God reveals signs of the end times in His Word.  He wants us to watch for them and be ready for His return.  Having just a small inkling of what is to come reassures my heart that He is in control.

Keep me watching Lord, for all Your signs.