Devotions By Jan

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White Wedding

wedding dress 6ab30979-0774-4e45-996f-d132ee345387~rs_768.hScripture 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.


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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.

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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!

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guardrail3Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:92-93 “If Your Law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life.”

I am sure that the driver of this car never looked at guardrails in just the same way again!  Of course they are there to protect the driver.  I cannot imagine complaining that the guardrail scratched the paint job, caused a dent, or even totaled a car.  It is there to save the driver from a bigger catastrophe.   Even if it does cause some damage, it can preserve a life.

Today’s verse describes God’s Law and precepts as preserving a life.  Our troubles and afflictions can feel overwhelming.  The weight of sadness and worry threatens to divert our path.  Life seems manageable until that unexpected catastrophe blindsides us.  Suddenly, life comes to a screeching stop.

The psalmist had no time in the middle of a catastrophe to pull out God’s Word.  God’s Law and precepts were already known and were his delight before disaster struck.  They were firmly planted in his memory and easily recalled at the very moment he needed them.  It was in remembering and applying God’s Law that he was able to survive his trial.

I cannot anticipate what hard thing may happen tomorrow or the next day.  But I can be ready for whatever comes by knowing and loving God’s Word today.  Knowing those promises of His love and care keep me from careening off the road.  I am not overwhelmed when I can hang on to God’s faithfulness.  His Word is not only my comfort but my survival.

Thank you Lord, that I can cling to Your Word and survive.

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Donating Blood

blood-donor-dayScripture for Today: I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”

After the recent horror of this latest mass murder, I was encouraged to see on the news the long lines of people waiting to donate their blood.  Hundreds came out to help the victims and their compassion warmed my heart.  Many of these volunteers were perhaps unaware that yesterday was World Blood Donor Day.  This event highlights the need for donors and is held every year on June 14th.  “Blood connects us all,” is their motto.  And certainly, giving blood saves lives.

Today’s verse talks about the blood freely given by Another.  This blood also saves lives and was given out of love and compassion for our condition.  The blood of Christ saves us once for all from the eternal punishment for our sin.  His blood makes it possible to walk in light rather than darkness.  His blood makes it possible to walk with others in sweet fellowship, rather than discord.  His blood cleanses and purifies us from sin and its consequences, in this life and in the next.

He shed His blood so I would not have to.  His blood saved my life.  My faith in His blood pays for of all my ugly sin (Romans 3:25).  More than just a needle in the arm, His gift of blood cost Him everything; separation from the Father, the mockery and violence of others, and His life.  How amazing and deep the love that motivated Him!  And how unworthy I am to be a recipient of such a precious life-changing gift!

I am so grateful Lord, for that precious flow, “that makes me white as snow.”

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The Scorpion

bark-scorpionScripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I would not want to find this disgusting creature in my shoe.  That moist and dark environment is one of their favorites.  The Arizona Bark scorpion is called the most venomous scorpion in North America.  Although most scorpions have a sting no more serious than a bee sting, this specie is considered the most dangerous, especially for children and the elderly.  The intense pain and burning sensation is sometimes followed by breathing difficulty, frothing at the mouth, vomiting and convulsions.  The quicker the access to anti-venom, the better!

Today’s verse describes death as a “sting.”  Death will no longer have the victory when the mortal is changed into immortality (verse 54) and the perishable becomes imperishable.  Death seems to have the victory for now, but in fact, Christ’s empty grave means that death has been swallowed up in victory!  The venom of that heart-rendering grief is no longer lethal as we look to the life to come.  We share in Christ’s victory over death.  We have hope that death is not the end as we look to the One who conquered and defeated death forever!

The news is disturbing as I hear of senseless and violent death.  At the same time, I can feel overwhelmed with news of terminal cancer in friends and loved ones.  Yet, as much as I grieve, I can grieve with hope, knowing that for the believer, He has promised that the very best is ahead of me.  Death and evil do not win.  No despair can erase this truth.  No tragedy nullifies my hope.  In Christ alone, there is “No guilt in life, no fear in death; This is the power of Christ in me.”

Thank you Lord, that death no longer stings.


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Weather Predictions

weather13241185_971427472978847_3957206843634190450_nScripture for Today: Psalm 119:160 “All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.”

They say that weather prediction is not an exact science.  There is much we can predict with weather satellites and the latest technology.  Still, there is a certain amount of guess work involved.  Plans are made after checking the weather, but it is always wise to have an alternate plan.  For our daughter’s outdoor wedding in Oregon, we watched the weather predictions very carefully and had that plan B ready.  The forecast pictured here would have us all preparing for the end of the world on Thursday!!

Today’s verse reminds us that nothing untrue will ever come out of God’s mouth.  All His words are true and never does He make a mistake or have to go back on anything He has said.  He does not have to change His words to fit in with a new culture or a new century.  The truth of what He says is timeless and transcends culture.  There is no new information for Him.  Nothing could ever be invented or researched that could nullify the truth of His words.  His righteous laws and precepts work for every culture, for every person and for every decade.

There is new information coming at me every day.  There are new studies and discoveries that continually change our world and how we live in it.  How reassuring it is to know that God nor His word ever changes.  What was true thousands of years ago is still true.  I can confidently live my life on a stable foundation of truth.  And He daily  blesses me for it.  If what I hear in the world contradicts His Word, I know who to believe.

Thank you Lord, that I can depend on Your absolute truth.