Devotions By Jan

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 33:12  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”

I am happy I have a husband who plans for the future.  Our will and testament have long been written.  There is a superstition out there that says that death will quickly follow after drawing up a will.  But we are still here!

Throughout Scripture is found the encouraging promise of the inheritance that awaits believers in heaven.  Our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us (I Peter 1:4).  Everything about that inheritance far outweighs the importance of an earthly inheritance left to the family.

What is so amazing about our verse for today is that God has an inheritance too!  The Psalmist is referring to the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people and His inheritance.  God has set them apart to be His own special people.  However, in the New Testament the Church is also referred to as a holy nation and a special people (I Peter 2:9).  Because He has purchased us and shown us mercy, we too are a people set apart for Him.  We are His inheritance!

Of course, to obtain an inheritance, a death would precede it.  But because I have been bought with a price, I already belong to Him (I Corinthians 6:20).  However, I become His inheritance after my own death when I will be forever in His presence!  It is incredible that He would think of me that way!  This must be why He says in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

Can He really love me that much, that He would call me His inheritance?  He tells me,”Yes!”  I am His and He is mine.


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The Horse

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 32:9  “Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you.”

“Flicka” was the name of the horse I rode as a camp counselor at Summer Park Ranch in New Mexico.  She was sweet and calm for the most part.  She did have some intestinal problems that meant we were always at the end of the line, but I enjoyed her submissive spirit, most of the time.

Flicka had the problem of being what is called, “barn sour.”  She was fine leaving the barn for the trail.  But the minute we turned towards home, she picked up speed.  Off she would trot or even gallop in anticipation of being back at the barn to eat and rest.  As an inexperienced teenager, I had to learn how to use that bit and bridle to slow her down.  It was never easy.

In our verse today we are told not to be like the horse needing a bit and bridle.   They need to be controlled as they have no real understanding of what is good for them.  We, on the other hand, know we need the help and guidance that the Lord offers.  The context of this verse is a promise to instruct and teach us in the way we should go.  He does not force us in a certain direction with a bit and bridle.  He instead waits for quiet submission on our part to be led by Him.  I need His guidance.  There are choices ahead that I do not dare make on my own.  His way is the way I want.

Lord, keep me from following my own limited understanding.  Guide me in Your perfect way.


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Rear View Mirror

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:7   “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions.  According to Your loving kindness remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.”

I am a careful driver but I have never been very comfortable using mirrors to drive.  I do not know why.  I just do not trust them as much as seeing something directly.  There is a lot of neck turning when I am at the wheel!  Many side mirrors have the warning seen here; “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”  Perhaps it is this warning that shakes my confidence in the image I am seeing.

Our verse for today is a wonderful reassurance of the complete forgiveness we can enjoy when we confess our sins.  David is asking the Lord not to remember the sins of his youth.  It must be that David is remembering them.  Rather than looking ahead, he is looking back behind him.  His memory is making an issue of what had already been forgiven.  God’s forgiveness is close up and personal.  His love and grace are closer than they appear.  His forgiveness is bigger than we realize.  As far as God is concerned, He does not remember our sins (Isaiah 43:25).

I do not think there is a person alive who does not have some regret about his past.  There is always something said or done that should not have been!  And because memories cannot very well be erased, we remember, but our forgiving Lord does not.  However, when I think back I can choose to focus on His grace and forgiveness rather than my failure.  I can enjoy looking ahead rather than be paralyzed with guilt over the past.

Lord, if I do look behind me, may I only see the closeness of Your loving forgiveness.

(Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.)

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Scripture for Today: Habakkuk 2:1 “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved.”

The view from the ramparts of Haut Koenigsbourg seems to go on forever on a clear day!  This castle was less than an hour from our house and we often took visitors there.  Half the fun is walking these ramparts and identifying the villages in the distance!

Today it is all about tourism, but when this castle was inhabited, these ramparts were important for security.  Its elevated position gave those on watch ample time to see approaching danger and prepare to meet it.

In our verse for today Habakkuk is standing on the ramparts.  He is watching, but not for the enemy.  This prophet of God is wondering when God will deliver them from the evil and violent Chaldeans.  He is watching and waiting expectantly for God to answer.  I can just see him, shielding his eyes and squinting into the distance, thinking, “How long?”  He expects the Lord to reprove him for all his questions and his doubts.  But God does not.  Instead, he is promised that a vision is coming describing the destruction of their enemy.  “Though it tarries, wait for it; it will certainly come.” (verse 3)  So, Habakkuk still had to wait, but with a promise.

God asks me to wait too.  He allows those delays to test my faith.  Having to wait develops in me patience, calm, serenity and strength.  I am to watch and to wait on those ramparts, looking for His answers.  But I wait with His precious promises in my heart, and that makes all the difference!

Lord, help me keep watch with faith!

(Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.)

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Scripture for Today: I Timothy 6:11  “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

The video arcade game, Pac-Man , has been around since 1980 and is considered a classic.  Not only is it viewed as a landmark in video game history, but it is even part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC!

The movements of Pac-Man’s enemies seem random.  But in fact, they are predetermined.  The player knowing them has a distinct advantage.  What is surprising about the game is that it emphasizes avoiding enemies rather than fighting them.  This game is considered foundational to the stealth games that followed.

In our verse for today, there are vices from which to flee and there are qualities we are to pursue.  From the context, “these things”  refer to the love of money (verse 10).  Somehow, the love of money is a formidable enemy.  We do not try to engage it in battle.  It is the source of many other evils.  Longing for money draws us away from our faith and causes grief.  We are to flee.  We are to do everything we can to avoid this unhealthy desire that can destroy faith.

Rather than pursuing riches, our lives demonstrate other priorities!   The list in our verse sounds very much like the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  The qualities here are intangibles.  They do not normally improve our standing in the world or our social status.  But in God’s eyes, they are precious as they show that we resemble His Son.

The pull of that enemy, the longing for riches, is a strong one.  I need the help of the Spirit to see what is truly valuable in God’s economy.  Lord, keep me pursuing what is important to You!

(Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.)