Devotions By Jan

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Scripture for Today: II Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

This dog attack looks pretty frightening.  I would not want to be the one at the receiving end of those sharp teeth!  He could do real damage and even take a life.  But as one can see from the photo, this dog has not run amok.  He may have that urge to bite but there are some restraints and protections in place.

Recently, evil seems to have run amok in our world.  When we see senseless murderous attacks on innocents we wonder where our world is headed.  Laws, governments and any security measure known to man cannot guarantee personal safety.  Those intent on evil will always find a way.  And next time there is an attack, I might be in the very path of that evil.  But regardless of what flaming arrows the Enemy might launch my way, I have the shield of faith to protect me. (Eph. 6:16)  My soul cannot be touched by evil.  It belongs to the Almighty God who is sovereign over all.  As today’s verse says, the Lord will bring me safely into His Kingdom.

How could I sleep at night without the beautiful assurance this verse gives me!  Without His promises it would be too easy to succumb to depression and pessimism when I see the terror and fear around me.  But I know He has placed His restraint on evil in the world through His Holy Spirit and His people.  And one incredible day, the Lord will establish justice and peace when He establishes His Kingdom.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Come quickly!

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Dog Obedience School

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 9:23b “…But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust Him or obey Him.”

This dog must have passed his dog obedience course with flying colors!  Would that dogs obeyed their owners to this extent!  Typically, the dog obedience school trains dogs to come when called, stay, sit, lie down and walk nicely on a leash.  That last behavior is especially important.  No one wants a dog lunging or pulling on a leash.  A dog who walks attentively next to his owner is less likely to become fearful in new situations.

Today’s verse describes the disobedience of the Israelites when commanded to take the land the Lord had given them.  God had promised victory had they gone up and taken possession.  But they were fearful.  To obey this command would involve trusting God’s promise.  It would seem risky to take Him at His word.  So instead of trusting and obeying, they chose to rebel.

Obeying God’s commands is not always easy or comfortable.  I usually have an idea that seems better and with less bother.  But doing things my way is really saying that I do not trust Him.  I do not trust Him to work things out for my benefit.  Can I really trust Him to meet every need?  Can I truly trust Him to be enough?  Will He really come through?

There is no question of me obeying Him if I do not trust Him.  My obedience comes out of a place of absolute trust.  Like the old hymn says, “What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.”

Lord, help me to trust You more today than I did yesterday.

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Neighborhood Parties

Atanase-2-ParisScripture for Today: Proverbs 14:21 “It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.”

In 1999 a young Parisian had a vision.  He was concerned that there was such a disconnect between neighbors.  When he heard of an elderly neighbor found dead after four months in a nearby apartment, he established what is called, “Fête des Voisins” or Neighborhood Parties.  At the end of May or the beginning of June neighbors come together in yards, streets, and courtyards to share a meal.  Such a simple idea has spread to 36 countries with over 20 million participants!  Out of these gatherings has come a renewed community life.  Marriages have been established, some have found work, and grandmothers have felt less isolated.

Today’s verse has something to say about our attitude towards our neighbors.  Living in close quarters with people different from ourselves is rife with possibilities for conflict.  Not only are we told not to despise our neighbor, but we are to actually love them as much as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27).  What an impossible challenge that seems!

Jesus explained that loving our neighbor is the second greatest command after loving God.  When I love the Lord with my whole heart, soul, strength and mind I am in a better place to love my neighbor.  In fact, the way I demonstrate my love for Him is by how I treat my neighbor and respond to his needs.  Loving God finds its expression in the love and kindness I show those around me.  Today’s verse promises blessing to the one who is kind to the needy.  Regardless of the imposition and inconvenience it may be, I am always blessed when I make the effort.

Lord, give me opportunity today to show Your love to my neighbors.

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Scripture for Today: I John 5:11 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

I had no idea that there is a National Punctuation Day!  It was established in 2004 and since then has been celebrated every September 24th.  The idea is to promote correct usage of punctuation.  The founder encourages people to send in pictures of everyday errors they encounter.  A rich source is maybe the Facebook news feed!  Without strategically placed commas, one can say some pretty outrageous things!

I recently heard a pastor use punctuation marks to describe life.  Because of eternal life in Christ, the believer does not end his life with a period.  It is not over.  There is more.  The life of the believer ends with a comma.  It is just a brief pause as he crosses over to his eternal home.  His life continues on and in fact, the period never even makes an appearance!

Eternity is the only way to make sense of life.  God has set eternity in the human heart. (Eccl.3:11)  We long for it to be true and there is something deep inside us that hopes that it is.  When we see a life cut short, when we grieve over the early death of an innocent child, we know that cannot be all there is.  And we are right!

Today’s verse tells us that we can know we have eternal life.  God does not keep us wondering.  He assures us that this life is found in His Son, Jesus.  We can know because He said it.  We can know because He promised.  What Christ did on that cross made possible a relationship that continues on into eternity!

Thank you Lord, that death is not the end.


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Label Maker

vintage labele3c665929d7ca66da41dd3bba3d94e07Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:1 “But now, this is what the Lord says — He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel; ‘Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.'”

I did not realize our label maker was vintage!  It does look strange but it gets the job done, marking items with our name.  We do it because we have the silly optimism that those same items when loaned to others will have a better chance of making it back to our home!  We do not try to label everything with our name, just the little treasures we would like to have returned to us.

Today’s verse reassures us that the Lord knows us intimately.  He has called us by name and we as believers belong to Him.  The verse refers specifically to the nation of Israel but it is true of all those who are His own.  He calls His own sheep by name (John 10:3).  He not only formed and created each one of us, but He has bought us back at a tremendous price to Himself! (I Cor. 6:20)  He thought us valuable enough to call us by name, redeem our lives and mark us as His very own forever! (Rev. 3:12)

Because of His intimate knowledge and love for me, I do not have any reason to fear.  If God is for me, who can be against me? (Rom. 8:31)  Plenty of people I suppose but they will not get far.  I belong to the Creator of the universe and nothing and no one can separate me from His love! (Rom. 8:35-39)  No one will ever touch my soul.  He has labeled me as His very own!

Thank you Lord, that You know my name and make me Yours!