Devotions By Jan

Leave a comment

Wink Wink

Scripture for Today: Psalm 35:19 “Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.”

I don’t normally think of cats as bullies but this one sure looks the part!  When we wink it can imply conspiracy or some secret intent.  Or winking can be positive when it shows sympathy or encouragement.  Sometimes the wink says, “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”  But then again, winking all day could be because of the grapefruit juice that was squirted in the eye during breakfast!

In today’s verse the wink is malicious.  David is being slandered and falsely accused by his enemies.  He cries to the Lord to come to his defense and vindicate him.  David as king is a constant target for his enemies and regardless of how fair and righteous he is, those enemies will continue to accuse him without cause.  He pleads with the Lord to contend for him so that in the end the Lord Himself will be exalted.

I wonder who my enemies are.  Jesus told His disciples to expect opposition.  The world hated Jesus so it only follows that the world would also hate those who follow Him (John 15:18).  So I should not be surprised at slander and false accusation.  But even more serious are the accusations of the Enemy who lies and brings charges against God’s own.  Paul says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).  Satan tries to destroy my testimony and service.  He will endeavor to convince me that I am unloved and worth nothing.  Well, Satan can wink all he wants but the Lord reassures me of His love and my worth!

Thank you Lord, that in You I have victory over every enemy!


Leave a comment

Chinese Noodles

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 8:12 “Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before Him.”

We recently celebrated the Chinese New Year with my Chinese Mother-in-Law and menu choices were very important to her!  To insure that the coming year would be positive, fish was ordered to symbolize abundance. Chicken had to be part of the meal as it represents prosperity and the noodles were a must as they stood for long life.  The longer the noodle perhaps the longer the life!  All I know is that there is no graceful way to eat those noodles!

Today’s verse contains the words of Solomon, a king to whom was given great wisdom.  He notes that a wicked person may live a long time, but somehow there will always be something lacking.  Those who fear the Lord have His promise that their lives will be better for it.  Fear and reverence for our Maker gives us a quality of life that makes it worth living!

Long life is found in the right hand of Wisdom (Prov. 3:16).  And wisdom is exemplified by our fear and obedience to God (Ps. 111:10).  One command in particular comes with a promise of life going well and being long; honoring your Father and Mother! (Eph. 6:2-3)  Sin and rebellion complicate life and have the potential to shorten it.  But the goal is not so much long life, as a life that is well lived and better!  How gracious the Lord is to promise me a better life when I fear and obey Him!

Lord, regardless of the length of my life, I praise You for making it a better one!  Keep me faithful to obey You today.

Leave a comment

“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I had no idea until now that the game of pulling off daisy petals has its origin in France!  It is called, “effeuiller la marguerite,” and the idea of course is to determine if the object of your affection returns your love.  The phrase, “he loves me, he loves me not,” is repeated with the removal of each petal until with the last petal comes the answer.  This phrase exists in thirty three languages so this game seems to be worldwide.  I remember playing it as a young girl but this cat does not seem too interested in playing it!

I never have to play this game with God.  Unlike human relationships, there are no games involved.  He has made a commitment to love me and He never goes back on His promise.  Our verse for today reassures me of the permanence of His love.  There is no dark power that can interfere with His love.  There is no possible event in my future that can change His love.  Death itself cannot destroy His indescribable love for me.

Does He love me more today than yesterday?  Will He love me more tomorrow than today?  As He is love by His very nature, the answer is “no.”  His love is a perfect love that cannot be improved upon.  The answer is always, “He loves me.”

Thank you Lord, for Your perfect love.

Leave a comment

The Lemming

Scripture for Today: Exodus 23:2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.”

This sweet little creature is so misunderstood!  The myth out there that lemmings commit mass suicide is just that, a myth.  It is true that the lemming will migrate in large groups when their population becomes too dense.  And sometimes there are unfortunate accidents as they follow one another into a body of water too large or into a terrain too steep.  The term, “lemming suicide,” is unfounded but often used as a metaphor describing people who unquestioningly follow the crowd, even at their peril!

Today’s verse commands the Israelites not to follow the crowd in doing wrong.  The temptation to fall in with the majority is a strong one.  But this tendency has the potential to pervert justice, especially in the court setting.  The crowd mentality makes impartial judging impossible!  The crowd mentality is a force that can sweep an individual to go against his conscience.  There is something about being on the side of numbers that silences that voice of doubt or caution.  “Might makes right,” is the thinking of those who are in power and are the majority.  By blindly following the crowd one risks to forgo the blessing God promises to those who follow Him!

I find it difficult to stand up and do differently than everyone else.  It is much easier to fall in with the crowd.  But as a believer, the Lord wants me to consider my ways and turn my steps to His statues (Psalm 119:59).  The steps of the crowd are taking them away from the path of life.  Those green pastures and quiet waters are in the opposite direction!

Lord, keep me from following the crowd today!


Leave a comment

Snowy Owl

Scripture for Today: James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

This pure white plumage on the Snowy Owl is remarkable!  We do not see them too often as they breed on the Artic tundra and only migrate south in search of lemmings.  They are unlike other owls in that they hunt and are active both day and night.  But it is their snow white appearance that makes them stand out!  The females never become completely white, but the males become progressively whiter as they age.

The owl has long been associated with wisdom in Greek and Roman mythology and in Aesop’s Fables.  Perhaps it is because owls are always asking questions!  Today’s verse lists several descriptions of wisdom, beginning with the word, “pure.”  Wisdom is first of all pure.  That makes sense as the beginning of wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord and following His precepts (Ps. 111:10).  The one who is wise is the one who is careful to follow God’s way.  That purity demonstrates itself in the list of characteristics that follow.

Funny, I do not usually link the words, “wise” and “pure” together.  Like so many, I think of the wise as educated, successful, well-respected, well-read and continually learning.  But fearing the Lord and the purity that comes from obeying Him is the “wisdom that comes from heaven.”  It may not be the wisdom widely recognized by the world, but who am I trying to please?  It is not what I know but Who I know that gives me the possibility of living wisely.  He is the source of true wisdom and a life well-lived.

Lord, thank you for giving me wisdom to live life Your way.