Devotions By Jan


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Tremors

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8-9 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.”

That shaking of the hands can be scary.  Some folks find that with age they can no longer write legibly, tie shoelaces, shave or put on make-up without shaking.  These “essential tremors” can sometimes affect the voice box or the head.  I remember my Grandmother shaking her head yes and no without it meaning anything.  Thankfully, these kinds of tremors do not signal the onset of Parkinson’s disease.  Although it is not dangerous, it must be frustrating to live with this condition.

Today’s verse talks about a faith that cannot be shaken.  David affirms that it is the Lord who gives him security (verse 5).  He acknowledges that with the Lord close at His right hand, he can rest secure.  The right side of a man is the side where God assists in battle.  He is there to do battle for us (Psalm 109:31) and to be our strength!  David’s faith cannot be shaken as long as he keeps his eyes always on the Lord.

Whether tremors are in my future or not, I know that my body will eventually weaken with age.  But physical weakness does not mean that my faith needs to follow suit!  My circumstances may be anything but stable, but I can still rest secure, knowing that He is in control and His control is always good!  My confidence In Him means I can be glad, regardless of what is rocking my world!  Because of Him I will not be shaken!

Thank you Lord, for Your constant presence at my right hand!


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A Door

Scripture for Today: Hosea 2:15a “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”

This picturesque scene shows the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island in Wisconsin.  It looks so calm and peaceful, yet it has historically been a dangerous passage.  There are remains of ships scattered beneath the surface.  The strait is known as “Death’s Door,” not because of shipwrecks but as a reference to a battle in the early 1600’s.  One third of the Ho-Chunk tribe was lost during a storm on a failed raid against the Pottawatomie tribe.

Today’s verse speaks of another door described as a “door of hope.”  The prophet Hosea was directed by the Lord to marry Gomer, a prostitute.  His life with her was to be a real-life example of what God’s people were doing when they rejected their God and ran off with other idols.  The Valley of Achor was the setting for the sin of Achan in Joshua 7:24-26 that had caused so much trouble for the Israelites.  This verse says that calamity can be turned to joy!  What was once a symbol of despair could be turned transformed into hope.

What a beautiful picture of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness!  His love has no limit and with my repentance and His forgiveness there is always hope!  The Lord uses the most intimate relationship to illustrate just how wide, long, high and deep His love is for me.(Eph. 3:18)  And when I turn away from that love in rebellion or by being friends with the world (James 4:4) I am just as much an adulterer as Gomer was to Hosea.  How thankful I am that there is that door of hope, standing open and welcoming me back!

Thank you Lord, that You are my hope.


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Pet Adoption

Scripture for Today: John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

I could never visit an animal shelter.  I would want to bring at least half of the animals home with me!  I have the same problem when visiting a pet store.  As tempting as it is, one thing that keeps me grounded is knowing that I have not prepared for one.  There are so many considerations including: whether the pet will fit with my lifestyle and whether my living arrangements will be suitable.

Today’s verse talks about a place that is being prepared for the eventual arrival of the believer to his eternal home.  Every consideration has been taken.  The One preparing this place knows about every desire, preference and need.  That is because He is the Creator and knows us better than we know ourselves.  This place will be exactly what we did not know we wanted!  And when we finally arrive, this prepared place will immediately be “home” more than any other place we have ever lived.

The particulars are not so important to me.  The details will be fabulous but what will make this place He has prepared so special is the fact that it is in His house!  He will be residing there as well.  His continual and uninterrupted presence will make this place “home.”  It will be my forever home and that illusive contentment I have been chasing all my life will be mine!  What other home could be decorated with perfect love, peace, joy and satisfaction?  It is there waiting for me to move in, and when I do, I will feel settled for the very first time.

Thank you Lord, that You love me enough to prepare a place for me!


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Chip on the Shoulder

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath.  But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

This picture made me laugh!  It is not quite what a “chip on the shoulder” refers to but certainly brought the old saying to mind.  It used to mean the practice of placing a wooden chip on the shoulder.  It was done as a provocation to fight.  The idea was to knock it off as a signal for the fight to begin.  A feeling or conviction was so deeply held that to disagree meant that one would be challenged.  Examples of this practice are seen in old British movies in the early twentieth century.

Today’s verse gives a different response to the one with a chip on his shoulder.  Anger can be diffused with a gentle answer.  To respond in any other way to an argumentative person would only serve to stoke the fire of his anger.  Challenging his logic may very well fall into the category of “harsh words.”  When emotions run high is not the time to reason with a belligerent person.  However, it is always a good idea to calm the situation with a gentle soothing word.

It has been said that, “the best way to knock off the chip on your neighbor’s shoulder is to pat him on the back.”  Soft gentle answers can help validate someone who feels they have been unfairly treated.  The problem is that I want to be seen as right.  It is my pride that makes it so difficult to respond with gentleness and not try and prove my point.  I need His Spirit to keep me calm in the face of the one so angry if there is to be any “turning away of wrath”!

Lord, make my words soft and gentle today.

 


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Iceberg

Scripture for Today:  I Timothy 1:19 “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”

I can understand these men getting as close as they dare to this iceberg.  It is impressive, especially with its beautiful blue tint.  However, there is more to this iceberg than meets the eye!  I would be concerned that some jagged piece of it hidden below the surface may capsize the boat!  This iceberg is termed a “bergy bit” as it is roughly the size of a house.  But, of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg as about 90% of an iceberg is found under water.

Today’s verse is Paul’s charge to young Timothy.  Although Timothy had been raised by a believing Mother and Grandmother, he is encouraged to hold on tight to the faith with a good conscience.  The possibility of “shipwrecked faith” was a danger for Timothy even though he was a leader in the church.  The believer is never exempt from the threat of wrong doctrine or the temptation to sin.  All that is needed to be vulnerable to shipwreck is to think that it could never happen!

I want to hold on tightly to my faith.  There are so many unseen and hidden dangers that can put me at risk when I become overconfident.  I want to hold on tightly when I am rocked by circumstances that make no sense and tempt me to doubt.  I need to hold on firmly to the word of life so as not to capsize (Phil. 2:16).   I do not want to be stuck on a sandbar and out of commission.  I want to finish this journey right to the end!

Lord, keep my faith strong and my conscience clear.