Devotions By Jan


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Lunar Eclipse

eclipse12027560_10207819940722658_567932720487965022_nScripture for Today: Isaiah 60:19 “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

How strange it was the other night to see the “super moon” slowly being darkened by the shadow of the earth.  It was called a “super moon” because it was at its fullest and because it was at the closest point of its orbit with the earth.  A news agency called it, “a glorious view of the heavens,” and “a glorious heavenly event.”  It was certainly rare as the next time this happens will not be until 2033.

This eclipse was a partial one so we were not left totally in the dark.  As beautiful as an eclipse or sunset can be, they leave us with less light and increasing darkness.  But one day there will no longer be any darkness at all.  The Lord will be our light and it will be everlasting.  His glory will shine as bright as day.  There will no longer be any need of the sun or the moon.

That everlasting light is not just in our future, but He has promised to place some of that light in our hearts today! (II Cor. 4:6)  It shines in our hearts to give us an inkling of His overwhelming glory.  And it is displayed in the face and presence of Christ.  The more I approach Him the brighter that light becomes!  I can “walk in the light” (I John 1:7) and experience sweet fellowship.  I want to bask in the warmth of His loving light and not obscure it with the shadows of my sin.

Lord, may I walk in the light of Your presence today.

 


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Delayed

airport-flight-delays-310x415Scripture for Today: Psalm 40:17 “But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; You are my God, do not delay.”

This happened.  Actually, experiencing flight delays happens pretty regularly.  I try to stay calm, but when a connecting flight is affected I tend to panic.  No one likes running frantically to a gate.  Being delayed because of my own lack of organization is one thing, but when the airlines delay me for whatever reason, I feel intense frustration.  I have no control and that is an uncomfortable feeling!

David was concerned about delays for a much better reason.  He was waiting for the Lord to act on his behalf in the face of enemies!  Today’s verse is a cry for help and deliverance.  David saw that he had no control in the situation.  In fact, he was humble enough to see his poor and needy state.  He was totally dependent on God’s response.  How odd that a king would say that he is poor and needy.  Yet David felt that way when overwhelmed with his troubles and sin, as well as his enemies (verse 12).

When I am feeling rich and confident in my own resources I am less likely to call out to the Lord for help.  I am tempted to feel smug and complacent when all is going well.  It is when I am surrounded by troubles, feeling the weight of my sin and feeling opposed by unbelievers that I realize just how poor and needy I am!  Perhaps, that is why God sometimes delays.  He waits for humility.  He opposes the proud but gives so much timely grace to the humble.

Thank you Lord, that Your help is never too late when I cry out to You.

 


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Sticky!

gum_on_shoe_by_ellen92Scripture for Today: Proverbs 12:16 “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”

There is nothing that annoys more quickly than stepping on a piece of gum.  It stubbornly sticks to the shoe and resists most efforts at cleaning.  There is lots of advice out there on how to remove that nasty gum, including ice cubes, WD 40 motor oil, peanut butter, and freezing the shoe in a plastic bag.  But those methods do not help when I am out and about.  I end up walking on that foot gingerly, smelling like mint until I can get back home!

Insults can stick like gum to the shoe.  We remember every harsh or unkind word.  The more publicly it is uttered, the more it sticks to our memories.  But showing annoyance at the time it is said puts us at a disadvantage.  We are called, “foolish,” when we show that the insult of another annoys us.  However, we are viewed as prudent when we can immediately overlook that insult.  When we can manage to overlook it, it will not stick to us.  Not only will others not remember it, but we ourselves have a better chance of forgetting it as well.

It is such a wonderful quality to be able to shrug off an insult.  It is even “to our glory” to overlook an offense (Prov. 19:11).  We are viewed as the better person for taking this high road.  But quite frankly, I find it very difficult to do.  It helps me to look to the model of Jesus who was insulted, reviled, mocked and misunderstood.  Yet, He did not reply in kind or hold a grudge.  He responded with an offer of forgiveness.  It did not stick!

Lord, give me the wisdom and prudence to overlook insults.


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New Scale

krups-vintage-bathroom-scales-cover-300x300Scripture for Today: I John 1:10 “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word is not in us.”

This scale reminds me of the one from my youth.  One can now buy them with the label, “Vintage” or “Retro!”  Today, ours is not so ancient as it is digital.  It is probably accurate enough, but I do not like what it says!  No matter what I do with my eating habits it always says exactly the same thing.  Perhaps it is stuck.  Perhaps I am stuck.  In any case, I would rather think that it is incorrect.  Ideally, there should exist a scale that says exactly what I want it to say!

Today’s verse is about someone who is in denial about their sin.  The one who claims that there is no problem with sin is not dealing with reality.  Rather than continue to feel the discomfort of conviction, this individual would close their eyes to truth.  But in doing so, God is made out to be a liar.  His Word and truth do not reside in those who claim to be just fine.

The first step in dealing with my sin is to recognize its ugly existence.  There is no sugar-coating it to be small and of no consequence.  Like the scale that tells the truth, so is God’s Word that makes me uncomfortable.  And just as I do not throw away the scale because of what it says, so I do not exchange His truth for something I like better.  He promises and is faithful to forgive and cleanse me from every sin (verse 9).  I just need to find the courage to admit to it!

Lord, help me to be honest with myself and admit when I am wrong.


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Keeping Score

scoreunnamedScripture for Today: Psalm 103:10 “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

One little mistake on the part of the scorekeeper could change the game.  I have done score keeping for my husband’s French basketball team and it was stressful.  I could not look away or be distracted.  Every call and change had to be correctly noted with careful attention.  I would much rather sit back and enjoy the match, especially one as close as this.  The score keeping equipment was dated and there was plenty of potential for error.  Thankfully, a mistake I made was quickly caught and corrected.

The love described in I Corinthians 13 points out that it “keeps no record of wrongs” (verse 5).  Today’s verse shows what love in action looks like on God’s part.  He does not keep a record of wrongs when sin is confessed and forgiven.  Because of His love and grace, He does not treat us as our sins deserve.  We are not repaid as we should be for our wrongdoing.  We do not deserve His wonderful forgiveness! What we deserve is judgement.  But Christ took that just punishment on Himself in our stead.

If the Lord gave me what I deserve, I would be in big trouble!  I am so grateful for His complete forgiveness.  There is no record of my wrongs.  He does not bring up my past.  Rather, He has removed my sins “as far as the east is from the west” (verse 12).

The Lord asks me to extend that same grace I enjoy from Him to others.  The past is the past and I do not want to bring it up.  A loving healthy relationship does not keep score.

Thank you Lord, that You do not keep score.  Help me not to either.


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Misnomer

pumpkins 12037982_10153624964792744_7343678008214868110_nScripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

In Southern California we are a bit mixed up.  The seasons are not so readily identifiable.  Our weather is so warm and summer-like that we continue to enjoy the summer fruits, including watermelon, even in the early days of autumn.  But the display of pumpkins is a reminder of what the calendar says.  However, calling pumpkins, “watermelons,” is a good example of a misnomer.  They may both be round and heavy but there the resemblance ends.  It is obviously the wrong label.

There are a million misnomers in our world but one that stands out is the use of the word, “love.”  We name many different emotions as love when they are not.  The description in today’s verse makes that obvious.  It might look like love.  It might feel like love, but many times it falls short of what true love is all about.  Of course, there are different kinds of love, whether they be brotherly or romantic.  But whatever we name “love” needs to resemble the qualities listed in I Corinthians 13.  This passage goes on to list many others, including the very important aspect of love never failing.

It is easy to be swayed into thinking that love means good feelings.  It is such a lovely experience when it does.  But the essence of love involves a committed decision to faithfully seek the best for the other person.  For me, that decision takes work and determination.  Oh, but the benefits are worth it!

Thank you Lord, for showing me how to love and giving me the power to do it!

 


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Losing My Head!

lifebuzz-dancer d606fe-limit_2000Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:6 “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.”

This gymnast is incredibly flexible.  With this move it looks as if she has no head!  It reminded me of the French expression, “avoir perdu la tête,” meaning to have lost one’s head.  It is used to describe feeling absolutely overwhelmed with life, to the point of losing one’s mind.  So many problems are clamoring for attention at once that one does not know where to start.  To lose one’s head is not such a pretty graceful sight as the one pictured here!

Today’s verse is repeated word for word three more times in this psalm.  Each time a different set of problems is described.  And each time the trouble and distress pushed the people to cry out to the Lord.  In His grace He responded every time with deliverance.  He delivered the hungry thirsting wanderers to a city to settle.  God delivered those experiencing hard labor by breaking their chains.  He delivered the sick and dying with healing.  And God delivered those facing danger by guiding them into a safe haven.

My problems seem small in comparison to the troubles and distress faced by so many.  Even so, the Lord waits for me to cry out to Him.  In His love and grace He desires to deliver me and show His power through that deliverance.  I do not have to tough it out alone.  I do not need to lose my head either!  I only need to cry out to Him and He answers.  And like those delivered in this text, I want to respond with thanks for His unfailing love!

Lord, You are my help and deliverer and I thank You for Your unfailing love.