Devotions By Jan

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Fresh Strawberries

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

There is nothing better than the surprise of biting into an especially sweet fresh strawberry!  I am surprised as I have grown accustomed to strawberries that are not as flavorful being picked too soon.  But when they are local and picked at exactly the right time, the flavor is amazing!  I will sometimes buy less-than-sweet strawberries for their pop of color and still enjoy them.  I will even use frozen strawberries on occasion.  But it is never the same as that fresh sweet strawberry with the juice and texture exactly right!

Today’s verse likens God’s words to that kind of sweetness.   His words are like honey for the soul.  Whether we hear them from a Bible teacher, a song or a devotional, it is always sweet.  But there is a different more intense flavor when we discover a nugget of truth for ourselves in His Word.  The taste is better and sweeter when He speaks to us directly from His Word without any other intermediary.  It is just picked.  It is fresh and there is a special sweetness.

I am encouraged by others’ teaching.  God uses the study and clear exhortation of Bible scholars in my life.  There is a myriad of wonderful study guides.  They are all sweet and have their place.  But there is a more satisfying and intense flavor to His Word when I take the time to open it on my own.  It is especially sweet when the Lord meets me and speaks to me directly.  His Spirit is so personal, guiding me into a truth for that moment and for my exact need.

Lord, I need Your sweet words.  Make them fresh for me today.




Energy Drinks

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

I am amazed at all the energy drinks flooding the market!  The amount of sugar and caffeine they contain can have you flying high all day.  They promise mental and physical stimulation.  Some even purport to increase muscle strength and endurance, although there is no scientific proof to support the claim.  There are some concerns over possible health risks so I personally don’t drink them.  I am more into coffee which as the saying goes, “makes people do stupid things faster and with more energy.”

Would that spiritual energy could be found in a simple drink!  Today’s verse encourages believers to be zealous in their service to the Lord.  Our spiritual fervor is to be high so as to persevere and not give up when the hard times come.  We are to keep fueled, tanked up, or aflame, not burning out.  That enthusiasm we started with is to continue pushing us forward.

How do I keep to that level of zeal?  How do I resist lagging behind and taking it easy?  When I do not see results from my service, I lose my enthusiasm.  When I do not see that it makes much difference, I can easily lose heart.  There is only one way to be refueled and rediscover that joy and motivation to serve Him.  It is by asking for the Spirit’s filling (Eph. 5:18).  His filling gives me strength to keep on keeping on!  His power provides that excitement and motivation to advance His agenda today.  His filling even helps me to face Mondays!

I do not need to fill up with an energy drink.  I need to fill up with His Spirit!  Thank you Lord, for being the source of my zeal and fervor.

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Earth Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 24:1-2 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”

Today is Earth Day.  It was founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to increase public awareness for all living things, and because of concerns over the environment and pollution.  So many good things have resulted including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.  The goal this year and for the next five years is to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide to commemorate its 50th year anniversary!

Protecting our environment is such a good thing although we differ as to how that is played out.  For the believer, we have a mandate from the Creator of this world to take care of it and have dominion (Gen. 1:26).  But we are only stewards.  The earth is the Lord’s.

Our earth is so amazing and full of wonder that it is difficult for me to understand how one can deny God’s existence.  Creation is a visual aid that leads me to faith.  He proves Himself over and over in what He has made.  All the time and chance in the world could not produce the minute details in nature!  The earth is His handiwork.  But as beautiful as the earth is, He is even more beautiful!  As awe-inspiring as nature is, He inspires even more awe!  I love our earth because it moves me to worship the Creator!  But I do not belong to the earth.  This is temporary.  Here, I am an alien and stranger (Heb. 11:13 & 16).  I am to long for the “better country” that is coming; the heavenly one.

Thank you Lord, for creating such a beautiful world and for the perfect one in my future!



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Scripture for Today: John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

Climbing up was frightening.  But rappelling down was fun!  It felt a bit like I imagined flying to be!  All the stress of finding footholds and keeping my balance were not quite as important as I let the harness, rope and anchor do the work for me.  At the time I did not understand how the equipment worked, but I did have confidence in the instructor.  I was able to relax and enjoy that breathtaking descent!

Today’s verse is a life-changing reassurance from the Lord.  No one who belongs to Him can be snatched out of His hand.  No one is more powerful as He is greater than all.  In His powerful hand we are safe and secure.  Eternal life has been given to the believer who comes to Him in faith.  Though this life may be cut short, no one can touch the soul.

If my Savior does not allow anything to compromise my eternal security, than I can be absolutely sure of the smaller challenges too.  He is not going to let me go.  He will not relax His grip on me.  Nothing that happens in my life is outside His loving control.  I am never in a free fall.  His hands are more secure than any rock climbing harness.  Being sure of this allows me to enjoy the ride!  He is never ever going let me go.

Thank you Lord, that I can relax in the love and safety of Your hands.

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Messy Roomate

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

Clothes strewn everywhere.  Dust inches thick.  Important papers and keys impossible to find.  And yet, the effort to clean and organize a room sometimes seems like just too much trouble.  Enter a roommate and everything changes.  No longer is there freedom to live as one pleases.  I am lucky to never have had a roommate quite as messy as pictured.  But I admit there were times that I myself came close to being that messy roommate.

Today’s verse reminds the believer that his body is indwelt by God’s Spirit, making it a temple.  No longer can we treat our bodies without regard for the Other who lives there.  He is holy and His standards for cleanliness are much higher and purer than ours.  Because He lives within us, we are to keep the place honorable for Him.

The longer God’s Spirit resides in me, the more I see the dirt that before went unnoticed.  He shines a light in all the cobwebbed corners.  He reveals what is under the couch cushions.  What passed for clean before does not quite make the standard for Him.  He wants me to pursue holiness and purity in my thoughts as well as my actions.  He wants me to be responsible in my diet choices.  Misusing my body in any way affects Him too.  My body no longer belongs to me but to Him.  Thankfully, He shows love, forgiveness and grace when I come to Him for that deep cleaning.

Lord, help me to honor Your presence by treating my body as Your temple.