Devotions By Jan

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Nail Biting

Scripture for Today:  Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I wonder if this feline is feeling anxious.  Probably not as nail biting is part of normal cat behavior.  Our Tiger does it too even though we try to keep up with trimming those nails.  It’s a bit unsettling to watch him chew at them.

Nail biting is considered an oral compulsive habit.  Some research shows that thirty percent of children and forty five percent of adolescents have a problem with this compulsion.  Most outgrow it but unfortunately, five percent of these young people continue the habit into adulthood.  I passed through this phase myself for a short time.  What starts as a stress reliever can so quickly become a mindless habit!

Our verse for today addresses the problem of anxiety.  That gnawing feeling of unrest and worry can drain us of energy.  Anxiety also causes me to doubt God’s control and goodness.  Being anxious is a sure sign of a lack of trust.  But according to this verse, there is no situation that warrants anxiety.  Whatever I am anxious about, the answer is to bring it to God in prayer.

It seems odd to see the “with thanksgiving” phrase as part of that prayer.  I used to think it was there to assure that my prayer would not seem so demanding!  But in fact, when I thank the Lord for all of what He has already done in my life, I start to feel the anxiety lessen.  In enumerating all His gifts and blessings, and all the ways He has come through for me in the past, my heart begins to relax.

Thank you Lord, that I can relinquish to You every anxiety and enjoy Your peace!

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.

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Blind Man’s Bluff

IMG_5980Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

I never much liked the game, “Blind Man’s Bluff” growing up.  It was uncomfortable not being able to see.  I always feared falling over my own two feet or running headlong into someone else and hurting myself.

This game has a long history with different versions dating back to Ancient Greece.  It was also a favorite pastime in the Victorian Era of the 1800’s.  There is an old Japanese version where the “it” must tag others not only blindfolded but carrying a full cup of tea!  Maybe that would be a good training exercise for waitress work!

Our verse for today talks about a blindness that is spiritual.  What is so sad is that the person described does not realize his blindness, nor his poverty and nakedness.  Being wealthy has caused this person to feel self-sufficient and not in need of anything.  What is so beautiful in this passage is that Christ proposes a remedy for this blindness.  He offers salve for the eyes to restore spiritual sight.  He also offers refined gold coming from Him, which represents true eternal riches.  Christ gives us white clothes to cover our nakedness.  Those white clothes are a symbol of His righteousness obtained for us.

There is no reason for me to continue to be poor, blind or naked.  Christ has taken the initiative to change my pitiful state when I repent of all my wrongdoing.  When I let go of of my pride and denial, I can open the door of my heart in answer to His knock.

Lord, may I always realize my need and open the door to You.

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.

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Classical Music

classical_sheet_music_by_xxediiexx-d3cna89Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I was surprised to learn recently that one of our daughters does not enjoy classical music.  I grew up with courses in music appreciation, piano, and in a home filled with the sounds of classical music.  I am sure I could appreciate some of the intricacies better than I do, but I have always enjoyed it.  When I asked her why she does not like it, her answer actually made sense.  She resents getting in a calm peaceful place with one movement, only to be shaken up with the next movement in a faster tempo.  I understand this sentiment but most every piece, regardless of its different moods and movements, will have a theme that is always repeated in some form.  I enjoy listening for it and recognizing its reappearance.

Our verse for today can be a theme that reoccurs throughout a life.  Whatever a believer does, it is to be to the glory of God.  That covers a lot of movements and moods.  There are moments of the day where there is frenzied activity and one can hardly catch one’s breath.  Then there are calm slow relaxing times.  Always appreciated are the pauses and rests.  There are discordant parts of life where the melody can sound abrasive only to be followed by some soothing sounds.  Regardless of the style, a theme ties it all together.

If something as mundane as eating or drinking can be done for God’s glory than most anything in life can be done for Him.  This is the recurring theme I want for my life!

Lord, may You be glorified in every mood and every movement!

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.


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Lightning Strikes

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 31:19  “How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You, that You bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You.”

This photo seems to picture someone totally unconcerned about possible danger.  We recently had a huge thunderstorm where the crack of the lightning overhead sent our cat scurrying for cover under the bed!  That animal instinct is smarter than the reaction of some humans!

The traditional thinking is that one does not need to seek cover until the lightning is closer than five miles.  However, recent studies have cautioned that the best time to seek shelter is the moment you can hear the thunder.  But sometimes one is out in the open without any refuge possible.  In that case, one study suggests that putting one’s self in a prostrate position is the safest course of action.  That stance is automatically a reverent and submissive one to the Creator of the lightning.  It sounds like an excellent idea!

Our verse for today describes the Lord as our refuge.  Our trust in Him is rewarded with all kinds of good things in life, some of which He stores up for a future time.  How reaffirming it is to receive those good things in the sight of all!  The context promises vindication from false accusations for those who fear Him.  Fearing Him is to be in awe of His greatness, power and majesty.  In the shelter of His love we find safety, protection and peace of mind.  Whatever crisis I am facing, I can run to Him.  He welcomes me into the refuge of His love with wide open arms.

Thank you Lord, that You hold me tight and give me comfort in the storm.

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.


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Making Hay

MG_2482Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:12-13a “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light…”

Living in our area, surrounded by fertile fields, these large rolls of hay are a common sight.  Of all the shapes possible when forming bales, the cylinder shape is thought to be the most economical and a favorite for those raising cattle.  The large ones are quite heavy at 2300 pounds.

I was surprised to learn that some bales of hay, if too moist when baling takes place, can actually catch fire!  Micro organisms begin breaking down the moist plant fibers and produce heat in the process.  If there is oxygen present and the temperatures rise enough, that bale of hay can spontaneously combust!

Our verse for today is also about burning up hay!  There will be a day when the works of all believers will be evaluated for the purpose of reward.  The foundation believers build their lives on is Jesus Christ.  But what materials we use to build our lives can vary.  What is done for God’s glory is considered gold, silver, and costly stones.  The works that are rewarded are those done to further His Kingdom.  The wood, hay and stubble are works done with selfish motives or for our own glory.  The context  teaches that the quality of our work is revealed by fire.  Whatever survives that fire is rewarded.

The old saying, “making hay while the sun still shines” means to take advantage of every opportunity and not waste time.  But I do not want to be building with hay or anything else that does not bring glory to Jesus!  Lord, keep me focused on living my life for You.

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.