Devotions By Jan

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Falling in Love

chocolate-a19de532014ed9ad141b3e71154e499eScripture for Today: Psalm 89:2 “I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.”

I had to chuckle when I saw this same saying inscribed over the doorway of a cafe!  I admit that I am a “chocoholic” but I do have my standards.  I am most tempted with the dark and only in certain forms.  Indulging in that creamy satisfying taste never lets me down.  Chocolate always lives up to my expectation.  But before long, I would have to “fall” into it again to have that same satisfying experience.  The expression, “falling in love,” makes love seem haphazard and unintentional.  If we can fall in, perhaps we can climb out as well.

Today’s verse speaks of a love that stands firm forever.  It is a love that is constant and true because of the One who is doing the loving!  Beginning this relationship does not involve falling into it, unless we are falling to our knees in repentance and humility!

It is understandable that love can disappoint.  Love between flawed humans is in a constant state of flux.  Our ever-changing emotions make our love unreliable.  But there is a love that does not change.  God’s love is so great that it reaches to the skies! (Ps. 57:10)  He will never disappoint.  That is because His love does not depend on me but on His faithful promise.  His faithfulness to His Word is untouchable there in Heaven itself!

What a huge comfort to know that the Lord is never going to give up on me!  Nothing is going to change His love.  God is Love in its most beautiful and purest form.

How amazing it is that You can love me, Lord!  Help me believe it on this Valentine’s Day!

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Globe Skimmer Dragonfly

dragonfly-species-may-be-the-longest-distance-flier-out-thereScripture for Today: Ephesians 4:3 “Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

Who would have thought that this one and a half inch insect could travel non-stop between India and Africa?  For some of these globe skimmer dragonflies, their transcontinental flight is a “suicide mission.”  What could possibly motivate them to make such an arduous journey of 4,400 miles?  They migrate from the dry season to a wet one in order to mate.  The large surface of their wings allows them to glide and conserve energy.  And having two sets of wings working independently means they do not have to beat them as often.

Today’s verse tells us that believers have harmony and oneness because of God’s Spirit.  He provides peace and that peace gives us power to accomplish much!  Just as those two independent sets of wings work together to cover long distances, so believers need one another.  Through the power of the Spirit, we have the same mind and the same love.  We can be united and intent on one purpose (Phil. 2:2).  But this unity is something we strive to keep and it is something to be preciously guarded.  It is not our natural tendency to work together.

Which wing is the most important of those four?  Which one is in the front and which in the rear?  Working together can only happen when we are humble, gentle, patient and loving (verse 2).  When I worry about who gets the credit then I am out of sync.  When I am easily annoyed with someone else’s lapse, or am harsh in correcting another, than I lose ground.  I might be content with the result but maybe we could have gone much much further.

Lord, keep us together!



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Delete Button

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

I am very glad for that delete button when I make some silly mistake or when I just need to start all over.  And there are times when I would like to press a button and just delete the last twenty four hours!  Sometimes I look back on a day that was completely busy and yet wonder how nothing on my list was accomplished.  I can be working hard all day and still feel that my day was not well-spent.

Today’s verse tells us our labor is not in vain if it is “in the Lord.”  Being convinced of this truth motivates us to stand firm.  We can give ourselves fully to the “work of the Lord,” knowing that what is done for Him is never in vain.  But it seems there is plenty of work in the day that doesn’t fit that category, plenty of work that is mundane or even trivial.  However, the work of the Lord can be anything that is done in His name (Col. 3:17).  Every activity of the day then can be dedicated to Him.  Every chore can be an act of service and praise directed to Him!

What a difference when I have this mindset.  Suddenly, my insignificant work becomes significant.  Its value comes from Him and it is lifted to a higher plane.  It is no longer vain or meaningless.  The line blurs between the secular and the sacred.  When the day is dedicated to Him, it becomes a day well-spent!

Lord, keep me motivated knowing that my work for You is never in vain.


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Snow Covered Palms

Scripture for Today: Psalms 92:12  “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree.  He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

This is not normally how I think of a palm tree!  Palm trees are usually associated with warm balmy climates.  Seeing a palm tree often brings to mind vacation spots where life is relaxed.  These palm trees in Saudi Arabia were likely surprised to find themselves covered in snow!  But they weathered the cold wet stuff with no problem.

Today’s verse describes the righteous as flourishing like a palm tree.  And flourish is a great description of what these stately trees do as some species grow to 60 meters high.!  Their leaves are said to be the largest of any plant at 25 meters long and 3 meters wide.  And some of their species have the largest seeds of any plant weighing 15-30 kilos each.

The righteous one when planted in the house of the Lord, can expect this kind of growth, flourishing in the courts of our God (verse 13).  But we do not grow like the palm tree when we are planted in the world.  The soil there is toxic.  We need to be rooted and grounded in His love and grace because we are not righteous on our own.  Our righteousness comes from faith in Christ.

That crisis in my life can feel just like a cold shock.  My body stiffens and my eyes grow wide with it.  But even when that unexpected cold front dumps snow on me I can still flourish because of Him.  He keeps me strong and rooted.  I am in His courts and there is no better place to be!  Better is one day there than a thousand elsewhere! (Psalm 84:10)

Keep me flourishing, Lord.  Keep me near You.

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Emotional Support Animal

Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:1-2a “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…”

You see them more and more.  The “emotional support animal” is often a dog but can really be any animal.  They are allowed anywhere the public is but only with a doctor’s prescription.  They differ from service animals as there is no special training to do any work or task.  All that is required is that the animal provide a calming effect for the owner suffering from mental, emotional or psychiatric disabilities.  Their very presence is meant to bring comfort.

The truth of today’s verse brings a comfort far greater than any animal can give.  God Himself is our refuge and strength.  Regardless of the trouble faced, He is there to help.  His very presence is the source of protection, strength and comfort.  Realizing His presence keeps us from giving in to fear.  He is bigger and more powerful than any challenge.

When tragedy strikes someone close, I often do not know what to say.  But it is not what we say that brings comfort but the fact that we show up.  Our presence is what counts.  The person in crisis draws strength just from us being there.  How much more true is this principle with God’s presence.  Burrowing my head in an animal’s fur can only console me so much.  Crying on the shoulder of a friend or family member is important but does not go deep enough.  But when it is my Heavenly Father there, He can and does touch my soul with His loving presence.  He reassures me of His love and control.  He gives me hope.

Thank you Lord, that when troubles loom large, You are there.