Devotions By Jan



Scripture for Today: Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I love watching my son-in-law learning to be a father to our newest grandson.  Every day he picks up that sweet eight-pound bundle with more confidence.  He is learning to distinguish the different cries right alongside of my daughter.  It is so sweet to see all the cuddling and to watch the nurturing side of this macho man emerge.  I wonder what their future relationship will be like.  One thing is certain; once a Father, always a Father.  My grandson cannot be “unborn” out of the family.  The father-child relationship is forever.

Our verse today prophesies the birth of Jesus, giving us several names for Him.  Normally, when thinking of Jesus, the Son of God, we do not think of the title, “Everlasting Father.”  However, Jesus being God Himself, shares all His attributes even though His role is different.  Jesus is everlasting with no beginning and no end.  He is also loving and nurturing like a Father to His children.

I love the image of an attentive caring father.  A loving father understands the vulnerability and weaknesses of his child.  Jesus is the best kind of Father because He has lived the life He asks us to live.  Because He Himself entered our world as a baby, He is in a position of a special understanding.  And unlike earthly well-meaning fathers, the love of our Everlasting Father is a love that is unconditional and unending.

Thank you Lord, for being my understanding, perfect, and loving Everlasting Father.


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Wonderful Counselor

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

There was a wonderful counselor at my high school growing up.  He had a great rapport with young people and was very good at pinpointing one’s strength and weaknesses.  He gave good advice to those seeking his counsel.  It was not until much later that I learned He was a believer.  He truly cared about others and one felt that.  I remember my perfunctory visit with him but I do not remember asking many questions.  I was full of myself and did not feel I needed anyone’s advice.  I knew what I wanted and that was that.

It takes some humility to seek the advice of any counselor, and it is important to ask the right questions.  But perhaps the biggest question is to whom are we addressing our concerns!  Our verse for today talks about a Counselor who is wonderful; Jesus Christ.  He is wonderful because He knows our questions before we even voice them.  He understands our confusion and He has all the answers.

There is no counselor on earth who can completely relate to our experiences, to our circumstances and to our feelings.  But this little baby we celebrate this Christmas, grew up to experience everything we do.  He understands our confusion and He empathizes with our weaknesses because He lived it all Himself (Hebrews 4:15).

This Wonderful Counselor is worthy of my confidence.  He is such a good listener and He is always available.  And best of all, He lets me know what I need to know.

Thank you Lord, for being my wonderful counselor!


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Strong Shoulders

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I am amazed how strong the human body can become!  Bodybuilding is an all-consuming passion for some.  I feel ambivalent on the subject.  I have tremendous respect for the discipline it takes and most of the time, admire the results.  At the same time, so much attention given to the exterior makes me wonder if the interior is being neglected.  But the resulting strong shoulders must often be called upon by others.  This is the man to call for heavy lifting and moving pianos!

Our verse for today is a prophecy regarding the birth of Jesus.  His shoulders will rival those of any bodybuilder as they will be strong enough to bear any weight.  They will bear the weight of an entire government.  His Kingdom is not presently part of our world but in the hearts of His people (John 18:36).  But one day, His Kingdom will be established on earth.  He will be enthroned on the new earth and there will be but one government; His (Rev. 21:1-3).

We celebrate the first coming of Jesus with ooohs and aahs over a tiny helpless baby.  His humble beginnings can make Him seem unimportant or ineffectual for some.  But this entrance into our world is diametrically opposed to the second.  He will one day return in triumph, shouldering through clouds to descend and establish His rule.  He is the King of King and the Lord of Lords!

Christmas has so much more meaning when we bow the knee at that manger.  Today He is my strong-shouldered King!  Help me Lord, to accept Your rule in my heart.

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Falcon Mascot

unnamedScripture for Today: Job 28:20-21 “Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds in the sky.”

Our daughter teaches at a very expensive private high school with a campus that rivals those of many universities.  I have enjoyed working out in their large and posh exercise room.  Overhead hangs their falcon mascot keeping an eye on things.  The eyesight of a falcon is extraordinary, seeing two to eight times better than humans.

Our verse for today comes from a chapter describing the difficulty in finding wisdom.  It is hidden from every living thing, even and including birds of prey with their keen eyesight.  Verse 7 says specifically that no falcon’s eye has seen wisdom.  This beautiful poetic passage not only asks where wisdom can be found, but thankfully, gives the response.  But before arriving at the answer, many searches take place following the false leads of gold, silver, and precious stones.

The search continues for wisdom today and again, men follow these false leads.  It is assumed that those who prosper have a corner on wisdom.  As in these verses, we assume that wealth and wisdom go together.  Yet, David points out in Psalm 73:3 that the wicked prosper.  Are they wise?  They seem to be until one realizes their final destiny (verse 17).

The Lord makes it so clear how valuable wisdom is and where to find it.  It almost seems too simple.  Wisdom is found in fearing and following the Lord. (verse 28)  A simple concept but oh so difficult for me to live out!  He is the One and only Source and the closer I follow Him, the wiser I will be!

Thank you Lord, that You make wise living possible.  Keep me close to You.




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Hair Color

Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:36-37 “And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond that comes from the evil one.”

There is something about being the youngest in my family that inspires me to keep up the illusion of youth.  Hair color is part of that illusion.  I have been coloring so long I can hardly remember my original hair color.  Of course, with coloring I am not really changing anything.  I am only covering what is there.  The colors pictured here are a bold statement.  If I were to copy this style it would come out as a sad whimper!

Our verse for today tells us not to swear by our heads.  It is part of a passage having to do with vows and oaths.  Not fulfilling a vow made to the Lord is something very serious.  In essence it is like lying to Him.  Rather than risk that we are told to avoid making oaths at all.  It was a common practice in Matthew’s day to include oaths to add credibility to statements or promises made to one another.

Rather than making myself more believable, speaking an oath tends to cheapen my words.  That is because I do not have complete control in my life.  There will always be a possibility that I will not be able to come through.  I do not have the power to change circumstances, be it hair color or something more important.  If I want to be taken seriously my “yes” should always be truthful, as well as my “no.”

Lord, make me careful of my words.  I need You to make me a person of integrity.