Devotions By Jan

Leave a comment


Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:14 “I rejoice in the lifestyle prescribed by Your rules as if they were riches of all kinds.”

My Mother-in-law is a huge fan of Elvis Presley, so it only makes sense that she would love to visit his Graceland home.  This opulent mansion sits on fourteen acres in Memphis, Tennessee.  The museum it has become attracts over 600,000 tourists each year from all over the world.  It is the second most visited home in America after the White House.  Of course, Elvis enjoyed all the goodies that go with fabulous wealth.  One funny fact is the buzzer he had under his dining room table, there to summon the kitchen staff.  His lifestyle was the envy of many, but it is said that his choices led to his untimely death at forty-two.

Today’s verse talks about an entirely different lifestyle.  It is one that brings joy, although one would not think so at first glance.  It is a life that follows rules.  Where is the joy in that?  We normally feel that a happy life is one that is not bound or restricted by rules of any kind.  But His rules are different.  His rules make possible a full, rich and abundant life.  Guilt plays no part of it when we enjoy His forgiveness.  Worries about tomorrow do not destroy our peace.  Following God’s way brings blessings that are as enjoyable as riches of all kinds!

It is so difficult to stop equating financial ease with happiness.  It is a message I constantly hear.  I know better but I still am influenced by this very prevalent thinking.  Even harder to grasp is the idea that God’s rules can make life work and bring joy.  But this is what He promises.

Thank you Lord, for the riches You give in following Your way!

Leave a comment

Calloused Hands

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:69-70 “Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep Your precepts with all of my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in Your law.”

As a young girl, I must have held that pencil too tightly when learning to write.  Ever since, I have lived with a callous on my finger where the pencil pressed.  It used to be tender years ago.  But as I continued writing, the callous got harder.  Now I hardly notice that hard bump that slightly deforms my finger.  It does not give me any trouble and it allows me to write any way I want.

Today’s verse uses the word, “callous,” to describe a heart that is unfeeling.  This heart used to be soft and tender, able to feel pain and conviction.  But now, by repeating a response over and over, it has become callous and insensitive.  It has built up protective tissue around it and remains hard and unchanged.  The arrogant wicked do not keep God’s law.  They are sure to know better and likely feel they are above the law.  They maybe did not start out that way but grew callous over the years.

What a contrast the author makes to himself!  His heart is soft and yielding, not only keeping God’s law but delighting in it.  I want my heart to be just that soft.  But delighting in His Word is an acquired taste.  It comes from continually reading and thinking on it.  Just as callouses are formed from a repetitive activity, so a soft heart that delights in the Lord comes from repeatedly spending time with Him.  My heart is so prone to becoming hard and stubborn, wanting my own way.

Lord, keep my heart soft and yielded to You.

1 Comment

White Wedding

Scripture for Today:  Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

June is a month traditionally thought of as the best time for a wedding.  The days are longer, the sun makes its appearance more often and schedules change for the summer.  It just seems the perfect time for new beginnings.  The white colors of the wedding ceremony suggest a clean slate.  The lyrics of Billy Idol’s song, White Wedding, repeat the words over and over; “It’s a nice day for a white wedding.  It’s a nice day to start again.”   It only seems right that this momentous step is symbolized by the color white.

Today’s verse gives hope that each day can be a new start.  The Lord’s compassion is renewed for His own every morning.  Regardless of what happened the day before, He is faithful to His commitment towards us.  Because of His unfailing love, we receive from Him His amazing grace.  We do not deserve forgiveness, but He continues to offer it to those who come clean with Him.

His renewed compassion gives me that new start every morning.  He washes me whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).  He continually clothes me in dazzling white with each pardon.  Each morning I can start again.  That is what His forgiveness does for me.  I do not have to put on dirty clothes.  My past mistakes and failures are never an issue with Him.  He promises to not even remember them (Heb. 10:17).  How wonderful to begin each day with a clean slate!  Because of what Jesus did for me on that cross I can sing for a better reason, “It’s a nice day to start again.”

Thank you Lord, for Your pure perfect pardon.


1 Comment

Daddy’s Here!

IMG_20130423_164817Scripture for Today:  Romans 8:15 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

The artist, Norman Rockwell, has certainly captured the joy of homecoming between daughter and father in this image.  Our children may be brunettes rather than blonds.  And Randy did not wear the suit and hat.  But the feeling tones remind me of when our children were small and there was joyful reunion when Daddy walked through that door!

I remember when my own Father would come through the door after a long business trip.  My Mother would be relieved as things settled back to normal.  The homecoming often included little gifts from his travels.  I did not fear his coming as our relationship was a positive one.  I understand that not everyone can say that and I know I am blessed.

Our verse for today describes God as our Father.  This concept of God can be marred by negative memories and disappointments from our own earthly fathers.  But He chooses that image of Father to communicate love, care and belonging.

Jesus addressed God as His personal Father in prayer and invites us to do the same.  God, being named our Father, makes Him approachable and endearing.  This relationship is intended to be intimate and tender.  He is our perfect and loving Daddy.  It is by grace that we are adopted as His very own.  He wanted us and He chose us.  There is no fear in approaching my loving Father.  But so often I am too proud, too independent or too busy to come and crawl up into His lap.

Lord, help me to remember, Daddy’s here!

Look familiar?  This is a re-post from 2013 in honor of Father’s Day.

1 Comment

The Spotted Dalmatian

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:27 “That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things (that she might be holy and faultless).”

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians always come to my mind when seeing one of these sweet dogs.  They come from the Dalmatia province in Croatia and were used in the past to run alongside a carriage and ward off highwaymen.  Now their high energy and agility make them a perfect choice for hunting, guarding, and circus performing.  The dalmatian is also known as a firehouse mascot.  They love to be in the middle of the action.  But what makes those dalmatians so adorable are their spots!

My spots are not so cute.  But today’s verse says that one day I will be spot-free!  No more age spots.  It is true that I will have a whole new glorified body for eternity.  However, this verse is speaking of the spots and wrinkles as sin.  Because of what Jesus did on the cross, I can look forward to being completely without sin in heaven.  As part of His Church, I will be presented to God without spot or wrinkle.

Christ’s love and sacrifice sets me apart and makes me clean.  Being washed by the water of His Word is a life-long process, but with a promised result of being one day holy and faultless before Him.  What a day that will be!  No more guilt or shame.  No more self-condemnation.  And no more interruption to a perfect closeness with my Lord.  I am tired of my own sin.  Those spots and wrinkles are plenty ugly.  But the future is all glorious splendor.  Spot, wrinkle, and all ugliness of any kind will be gone forever!

Thank you Lord, for Your cleansing perfect forgiveness!