Devotions By Jan


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Chair Shopping

IMG_3235Scripture 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!


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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

ASL LoveScripture 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.


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Seat Belts

Airline-Seat-Belt-BuckleScripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12-13a “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….”

Part of air travel means listening to the list of safety procedures.  I know it is important but I cannot help but smile inside every time a seat belt buckle is explained!  It just seems a bit too obvious!

At the last cabin check before take-off, the flight attendant with whom my husband had been teasing came by saying, “Your seat belt is buckled, Mam?  You Sir, can undo yours!”  Thankfully, this particular flight had very little turbulence but as advised, we kept it buckled.

Our verse for today describes the very first item of the armor of God.  The context tells us that the believer is in a spiritual warfare needing spiritual armor.  Without it, we cannot stand firm in the face of evil.  We stand our ground first with the Truth.  Like a seat belt well buckled, the truth keeps us stable in the event of turbulence.  The day of evil turbulence will certainly come and usually without any warning.  That belt needs to be in place and buckled at all times!

The enemy plants doubt in our thinking and as with Eve, asks if God really did say what He did.  The only way to combat destabilizing doubt is to know, love and meditate on God’s Truth in His Word.  Being convinced of the Truth allows us to stand our ground and not be moved, no matter how violent the turbulence.

Will this be a day of evil turbulence?  Lord, keep me firmly buckled in with the Truth!

 


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Letting Go

peaceful-state-of-mindScripture for Today: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I am not ready to let my Dad go.  Even though he has enjoyed a long life of ninety-two years and suffers from severe dementia, I still want him around.  Regardless of the circumstances and age of a loved one, it always seems too soon to let them go.

I know I am being selfish.  Everything wonderful awaits him in Heaven.  This butterfly reminds me of the new life and new body he is enjoying.  He is now experiencing “astonished joy!”

Our verse for today promises joy and peace for the one who puts their trust in Jesus.  Instead of experiencing despair, God fills the heart with hope.  Even when anticipating death, there is hope.  It is not natural.  It is supernatural and it is the Holy Spirit who produces this hope.  It can only happen through His power.  And it can only happen as we trust in Him.  The more I can trust Him and His plan, the more I can experience the joy and peace coming from this hope.  How can anyone face suffering and death without the sure hope we have in Jesus and the eternal home He has planned?

I am sad.  But there is peace and joy as I think of where my Dad is now, and that one day we will be reunited.  It is never the end.  I thank my wonderful Heavenly Father for this living hope that sustains me.  May this same hope sustain you, the reader, in whatever you are facing today.

 


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Newborn Kittens

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:7  “For we walk by faith , not by sight.”

Most every year growing up, our Chin-Chin had a beautiful litter of Siamese kittens.  She knew that the cardboard box full of clean rags in the hall closet was for her.  Those sweet kittens did not look like much when first born.  But as they grew older they also grew cuter!

How much those newborns needed their mother, not only for nourishment but for personal hygiene and safety!  Kittens do not open their eyes until after a week old making their dependance on their mother that much more important.  Their vision remains poor until ten weeks old.  These cute balls of fur stumble around and knock into things until their sight develops.

Our verse for today is short but profound.  Like the newborn kitten, we stumble around and knock into things trying to figure out life.  We try to walk using our own logic and understanding and we do not do so well.  The Lord means for us to depend on Him and walk in faith.  The context is between two verses speaking of confidence.  When we take steps in faith they are confident steps.  The One in whom we place our confidence is willing and able to guide, direct and reassure.

The context teaches walking in faith in a particular situation; death.  It is in facing the death of a loved one or our own death that our faith is truly tested.  The Lord means for me to have confidence in His Word and promises when facing eternity.  Although I cannot see, I can deal with life or approach death with sweet kitten-like dependence on the Lord.  There is confidence and peace rather than anxiety and fear.

If I see nothing ahead but You Lord, it is enough.


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Anchored

4257rusty_anchorScripture for Today:  Psalm 16:8  “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

(A re-post during a time of troubled water)

I have always loved the movement of the ocean.  In my college years I took sailing as an elective class.  The more waves there were the more I enjoyed the ride and the challenge.  Thankfully, I have never had a problem with sea-sickness, unlike some members of my family!  During those classes I always had the teacher with me and we would only go out in fair weather.  There was no need for an anchor to ride out a storm or keep us immobile.

Would that my life would be the same kind of smooth sailing!  Instead, the water is often choppy and the skies threatening.  The ride is not always so pleasant.  With disturbing news comes all kinds of movement.  Everything seems to spin out of control and one’s only thought at a time like that is to hold on tight.

The problem comes when I hold on tight to something that moves.  God does not.  My own “can do” attitude or my own positive thoughts are not stable.  My emotions are all over the place!  Support and understanding from friends can disappoint.  They are well meaning but not consistent.  There is only one true source of stability in my life; my Heavenly Father.  Our verse for today reminds me that with His presence at my right hand, I will not be moved.

He is my hope and the anchor of my soul (Hebrews 6:19).  He does not lie and He will do what He has promised to do.  My Anchor is sure and steadfast.  The water may continue to be choppy and the skies threatening, but my Anchor will hold me steady.  Lord, keep me holding on!