Devotions By Jan

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The Shadow of His Hand

Shadow_of_Hand_on_Beach_-_by_Örjan_Lindén_2009Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 51:16 “I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.'”

On a burning hot day I am looking to walk in the shadow of buildings or trees.  I will go out of my way to avoid direct sunlight and I look for those shadows.  They give relief and make the walk so much more pleasant.

The shadow of a person can evoke a variety of emotions.  When one thinks of a shadow, it can sometimes be in a context of fear!  If the presence is menacing than it follows that the shadow of that presence is as well.  But a shadow can be reassuring and even comforting when it comes from a loving presence.

Our verse for today uses the image of the shadow of God’s hand.  It is a powerful hand that has established the heavens and the earth.  The context of this verse describes how His hand is able to loose chains and set captives free.  Because He covers us with the shadow of His hand, there is no reason to be fearful of man (verse 12).  What can man do?  God’s power and presence gives comfort rather than fear to those who belong to Him.

The shadow of His hand reassures me of His love and protection.  His shadow reminds me that I belong to Him.  I am His and He is mine!  His shadow is evidence that He is at work in my life.  He has set me free!  His care and blessing are shadows of His loving presence!

Thank you, Lord, for helping me sense even the shadow of Your hand!

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Finding Peace

funny_road_signs_1Scripture For Today: John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

This road sign pictures perfectly how I feel about roundabouts or traffic circles!  Too many times around gets me dizzy and frustrated.  Yet, they are commonplace in Europe and I am seeing more and more of them in the States.  Finding one’s destination looks impossible following this particular sign!

The world gives us lots of advice on how to find peace of mind.  We are told to search for it by many different methods including time alone, imagination exercises, quiet moments and even choosing peace of mind by an act of the will.  Finding it does appear to be a challenge as it seems so elusive.  But according to our verse for today, we are neither to find it, imagine it, or choose it.  Peace of mind is a gift.  Peace of mind comes from the Prince of Peace Himself.

The peace Jesus offers us is not at all like the world’s idea of peace.  A temporary peace that comes from the absence of turmoil or difficulty is a poor substitute.  True peace of mind is having a heart untroubled and unafraid in the midst of whatever life brings.  The peace He gives is a calm assurance that He is in control and that it is a good control.  He will never leave me or abandon me.  He is there to sustain me and bring me through.  His peace assures me and reminds me of that bright future that awaits!

I do not have to search for peace to find it.  He is the source.  Thank you Lord, for Your gift of peace.

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Tissue Invasion!

kleenex154logoScripture for Today: Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This could be me this past week.  I am rarely sick but this cold has been a challenge to the kleenex!  The trash overflows and so do I.  I cannot complain too much as a cold is a small thing when compared to more serious illness.  Even so, going through boxes of tissues is hard on the nose.  I am resolved to buy the better softer brand for the next time!

There will be a next time.  But our verse for today describes a day when there will be no need for tissues.  There will be no illness of any kind.  There will be no pain or death, no separation or sadness.  Anything and everything that provokes tears will be gone forever!  What an incredible thought!

I love this verse as the Lord is intimately involved in erasing our sadness.  He Himself gets close and personal.  He takes it on Himself to wipe those tears from our eyes.  And once His loving powerful hands dry our face, those tears never return.  I can just imagine His look of infinite tenderness as He does this.  He knows all about tears.  His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death in the garden of Gethsemane.  He endured that horrible time of suffering in order to “swallow up death forever” for you and me.

Heaven is going to be a noisy place!  Those who sow a lifetime of tears will reap with songs of joy! (Psalm 126:5)  Cries of anguish will be replaced with melodies of joy.  He has promised.

Thank you Lord, that You will personally dry my tears.


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fashion unnamedScripture for Today: John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

I was intrigued by the saying on this store window.  This high-end women’s clothing store suggests that the goal of living is to dress well, using their brand of course.  For some, fashion is tied in to self-image and a sense of well being.  Fashion can occupy a huge place in one’s thoughts.  The “fashionista” follows the latest trends and spends a good portion of income to stay current.

Walking by this saying did make me think.  What do I live for?  Anyone who knows me would not guess fashion!  But it is the age-old question posed by many philosophers over the centuries.  Why am I here?  What is my purpose in life?

Our verse for today gives the answer to the question.  Eternal life for the believer begins in the here and now.  Life, whether in the future or the present is consumed with one goal; to know Him.  It is a goal that never grows old and tired.  And because God is so immense, it is a goal that can never be completely realized.  How amazing to spend an entire earthly life in the quest to know Him as He reveals Himself little by little in His Word and through His Spirit.

When I am with my Savior in heaven the goal continues to know Him completely.  Knowing God personally and up close will be an adventure that is eternal!  I will never come to the end of knowing Him.  He is that vast and deep!

Knowing the Lord little by little while on earth, gives meaning and purpose to my life that nothing else can!  This is what I live for!

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The “Trust Fall”

trustScripture for Today: Psalm 118:13 “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.”

Team building exercises in a group often include the “trust fall.”  It is not a very comfortable experience to fall back with the anticipation that others will come through and catch you.  For this exercise to succeed, everyone has to take their role seriously.  The scene in this photo has an important element missing.!  The young man has the fall perfectly executed, but there is no one to catch him.  Those two women are obviously not very trustworthy!

Our verse for today is a call to praise for God’s deliverance from enemies.  The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things (verse 16) one of which was protection from falling.  Enemies push hard.  But our God is trustworthy and catches us when we are about to fall.  This psalm is full of shouts of victory and triumph over enemies.  He is our strength and salvation.  He does not disappoint.

Enemies today push just as hard.  The scorn and mocking of a colleague at work may destabilize us.  Someone we were counting on for help may let us down.  We are thrown off balance when a friend betrays a confidence.  We are blindsided by someone who publicly denounces us.  I am disappointed and surprised when pushed around by the very one I trusted.  Better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans (verse 8).  The Lord will never betray my trust.  He is always there to help and place me firmly back on my feet.  How wonderful to know that I can always count on Him.

Thank you Lord, that even when pushed, You will not let me fall when I place my trust in You.