Devotions By Jan


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Fly Casting

Scripture for Today: Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

It looks complicated.  I cannot imagine the skill and dexterity it must take to fly cast correctly.  If it were me, I would have that line wrapped around me and everyone else!  Fortunately, there are lessons, classes and YouTube video instruction available.  Among the basic principles is the idea that every casting stroke is a smooth acceleration followed by an abrupt stop.  The better the “stop” the better the transfer of energy and the more efficient the cast.

Today’s verse describes a different kind of cast.  The form is not so important but we do want to get those cares and worries as far away as possible from us!  The Lord invites us to cast all of our care on to Him.  When we do, He will strengthen and sustain us.  Casting all our cares on to Him means an abrupt stop to those worrying thoughts and imaginings.  Leaving them with Him means that we can stand firm in our faith, regardless of the shaky ground.  He will never let the righteous, or those in right standing with Him, be shaken.

What a beautiful promise to claim when it seems like my world is falling apart!  He is there, waiting and willing to takes those cares off my shoulders. It is through prayer that I do the casting (Phil. 4:6).  I do not need to carry them.  Those worries do not have to weigh me down.  He invites me to give them all to Him.  No, He asks me to stop and throw them on Him!  And what sweet relief comes when I do!

Lord, keep me casting every one of my worries and cares on to You

 

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Vortex Street?

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

This repeated pattern of swirling vortices looks pretty from the sky.  It is called a Von Karman Street, named after the Hungarian-American physicist.  He studied how it forms when the flow of fluid or air is separated around a blunt body, in this case the island pictured.  Of course, nature is full of vortex examples, including tornadoes, hurricanes, in rivers or even the bathtub and sink.  But what interested me was seeing a “street” of them repeating a pattern.

Today’s verse explains that though the believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, it is possible to grieve Him.  When we grieve Him we are like that blunt unmoving body impeding His work and movement in our lives.  We grieve Him with unwholesome talk (verse 29) that is not helpful to others.  And He is grieved with all forms of malice (verse 31) including bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander.  All of this grieves His heart and blocks His freedom to move and use us.  This is especially true when it becomes a repeating pattern.

Grieving Him is disappointing Him.  Growing up, I had a horror of disappointing my parents only because I loved them so much.  The same is true with the Lord.  I love Him with all my heart but I know I disappoint Him and often let Him down.  I am not proud of what comes out of my mouth sometimes.  And as long as I stay in that habit of ugly speech, His movement and power can bypass me.  But thankfully, His love will never change or waver.  His forgiveness is never withheld.

Lord, help me not to grieve You today.

 

 

 


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Restless Leg Syndrome

Scripture for Today: I John 3:19 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.”

Restless legs shown here are no longer a problem!  I am not quite sure what the artist was trying to convey with this display, but these legs will not be moving any time soon!  Perhaps everyone feels at some point that tingling uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs while trying to sleep.  How annoying to feel that itchy, creepy crawly feeling.  Moving seems to at least temporarily give relief.  But I tend to be less sympathetic when being kicked!

Today’s verse talks about a heart that is at rest.  When we know and are convinced that we belong to the truth, there is a resting settled feeling in our hearts.  In His presence, we feel His peace, knowing that we belong to Him.  No longer are our hearts restless, wandering or searching.  When we belong to Him, our hearts can no longer condemn us as He is greater than our hearts (verse 20).  We can have confidence before God as He knows everything and He knows our hearts better than we do ourselves!  When we believe in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our hearts are finally at rest (verse 23).

When my heart is at rest, there is a confident peace.  He does not want my heart to be restless or troubled (John 14:27).  His Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am God’s own (Rom.8:16) and reassures my heart.  How good He is to give me that heart at rest!  And how much I want that for friends and family members who live restless lives without Him.

“Jesus, I am resting resting in the joy of what Thou art.”  Lord, may I feel that heart rest today.

 


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Follow Your Heart?

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

This saying on a poster is beautiful, and there are many like it.  We enjoy thinking of the heart as lovely and romantic, and so often it is.  We counsel each other to just follow your heart and all will be well.  Somehow, the heart will guide us to the right way, the right solution, the right love.  When we listen to our heart, we discover what we really desire.

Today’s verse has a message of warning about the heart.  The heart, which in the Bible is the seat of all our emotions and will, can deceive us.  We try to understand what our heart is saying to us.  But no one can quite understand.  One day it says one thing and the next, another.  I have often been quite sure about what I have wanted.  Then, when I have managed to receive it, I find that I did not want it after all.  That brings to mind the dog who chases after a car.  He has no clue what to do with it once he catches up to it!

My heart deceives me so following it can be dangerous.  Because I cannot cure it, I need to follow Someone who knows my heart better than I do.  The Lord searches my heart and tries it.  As my Creator, He knows what I really want and what will bring me true satisfaction and fulfillment.  He knows so much better than I do what is good for me and what is not.  He sees the pride and selfishness hiding out in my heart.  And His love and forgiveness are the cure.

Lord, do not let me be deceived today.  Help me follow Your heart.


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Conversation Hearts

Scripture for Today: Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Growing up, I loved these conversation hearts, giving away to that “special someone” what I could not bring myself to actually say!  And receiving these from others would communicate to me something the giver may not have intended!  Today, one can special order these candies with your own personalized message.  That way you can say exactly what you want the other to hear.  Communicating what is in the heart is not always easy.

Today’s verse gives us a reliable way to know what is in the heart of another.  What is there is evident by that person’s behavior.  Expressing emotions can be lovely but the real indicator of feelings and the state of the heart is evident in our actions.  And one action is especially telling.  What comes out of our mouths demonstrates the good or the evil found in the heart.  That sincere compliment or word of encouragement shows love.  The snide remark or the profanity that escapes our lips signals that all is not well.

What slips out of my mouth can be shameful.  I am so glad that some of it happens when there is no one to hear.  However, there is always Someone who hears.  And whether others are around or not, those nasty words signal a need for some serious heart cleaning!  Thankfully, He is full of grace and forgiveness, ready to make me clean again and give me a new start!

Lord, clean my heart and fill it with good things to say!


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A Heart in Pieces

Scripture for Today: Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”

I am not a “puzzle person” but even I can put this simple one together!  Hearts of every kind flood the store aisles for Valentine’s Day.  But I am not too interested in them unless chocolate is somehow involved.  I do like the romantic idea of a heart being in pieces with only one individual able to put it all together.

Today’s verse is a prayer for an undivided heart, one that is made up of just one piece.  The idea is that the heart needs to be whole and wholly committed.   When our hearts are completely His, we can fear and worship His name and all He represents.  When our hearts are undivided we are teachable, walking the way He chooses and in His truth.

God’s love is described as a “great love” (verse 13).  There is no greater love on earth!  Giving Him all of my heart poses no risk whatsoever.  I can trust Him with the deepest part of myself.  He does not hurt.  He does not disappoint.  But my tendency is to keep parts of my heart separate.  I sometimes fear what He may ask of me.  What if He asks me to give up something or someone?  My goals, my desires, my hopes and dreams are that piece of the heart I want to hold back.  It makes no sense.  He has already proved His great love for me by dying in my place and giving me an eternity with Him.  What more could He do?  And what am I afraid of?

Keep my heart undivided, Lord.  Take all of it and make it Yours today.


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Desire of the Heart

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”

I am amazed to see the variety and quantity of heart shaped boxes of chocolate displayed on the shelves for Valentine’s day!  I am a recovering “chocoholic” so I dare not linger long in front of those tempting displays!  If addiction means intense craving, loss of control, or continued use despite negative consequences, than that could be me if I am not careful!  According to the Nielson consumer study group, in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold!  There is something about that “dark master…the cocoa bean” that creates strong desire!

Today’s verse mentions a desire of the heart.  It is much deeper than any other desire.  A desire for God’s glory completely changes a life.  Wanting His name to be known means saying,”Yes, Lord” to what He asks of us.  Wanting His name to be more prominent than our own means we will follow Him.  His glory in our lives will be evident by the way we walk, following His commandments.

The best way my husband loves me is when he praises me to others!  In turn, I honor him at every opportunity.  I want him to be recognized for all his hard work and sacrifice.  It is the same principle with the Lord.  I show Him that I love Him when I praise Him to others!  I show I am jealous for His name and glory when I walk in a way that honors Him.  It is the best way I can love my Lord.

Lord, You are the desire of my heart!  Help me to live that truth today!