Devotions By Jan


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Chicken Feet

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:33 “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He causes me to stand on the heights.”

I have loved our excursions in the Alps of Haute Savoie, France.  And once we have even surprised a herd of Ibex mountain goats.  But we have never come across a brood of chickens on those heights!  Even though some breeds have an extra toe, none could grip, climb and keep their balance on a mountainous terrain.  The feet of deer and mountain goats are sure-footed and allow them to scale the heights.

Today’s verse comes from David’s song of praise for God’s deliverance from Saul.  He begins it saying, “I love You Lord, my strength.”  He describes God as His shield, rock, fortress, and stronghold.  David recognizes that it is God giving him strength to stand on the heights of victory over his enemies (verse 32).  His feet are as sure-footed as the deer and David even thanks God that his ankles do not give way (verse 36).  It is God who helps Him and makes him great.

When I look down at my feet, I see chicken’s feet!  Without His help and strength, I am unsure and wobbly.  When the path is level I can do pretty well on my own.  The problem is that life is seldom smooth.  My path is strewn with pits and obstacles.  My enemies are often the unseen ones of doubt, discouragement, fear and frustration.  They trip me up.  I need God’s help and strength everyday.  When He answers my cry, He infuses strength in my soul to face the hard times.  He not only gets me through but He gives me victory!  How incredible to stand on the heights and enjoy the view of His faithfulness!

Lord, make my feet like the deer today.


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Too Many Tabs?

Scripture for Today:Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”

How many tabs do you have open right this minute?  There are all kinds of solutions out there for organizing all those open tabs into one single tab.  It is said that having too many open at once is not good for the health of one’s computer.  Perhaps there is an increased risk of a crash or reboot.  In any case, I enjoy having them all open in front of my eyes when immersed in a project.  But many times I am just lazy and need to close what is not immediately relevant.

Today’s verse, if put into computer language, is about having only one tab open.  All of David’s attention is on the Lord.  Above all else he wants to enjoy His presence.  David asks of the Lord only one thing.  Nothing is quite as important than spending time in His presence and enjoying His beauty.  All else pales in comparison to the importance of his relationship to the Lover of his soul.

It is hard for me to have this same mindset.  With so many roles to fill and expectations to meet, multiple tabs are always open.  But what is most important is spending time in God’s presence.  It is not just an obligation but a pleasure!  When I spend time with the Lord, whether individually or with others, I feel as if my day has value.  All the other tabs can close when I gaze into His loveliness.

Keep me seeking You, Lord, above all else.


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Slip Cover

Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And You forgave the guilt of my sin.”

My couch was only three years old and from a reputable company.  And yet, being made of bonded leather, it slowly “unbonded” with cracking and chipping.  Being that it was structurally sound I decided to invest in a good slip cover.  The difference was immediate!  I sit on it and it does not move.  And best of all, those obvious flaws are covered and it looks brand new!

Today’s verse tells us that we can very successfully cover up our flaws.  By not acknowledging our disobedience and rebellion against the Lord, we do our best to hide our imperfections.  And it can even seem successful.  Like Adam and Eve who immediately covered themselves with fig leaves after their disobedience, we too have that have the tendency to hide the problem.  As long as we do so, forgiveness is unavailable.  The Lord waits for us to come clean with Him and admit our sin.  And when we do, He is gracious to forgive not only the sin but even the guilt it produces!

Eventually, the cover starts to slip when I try to hide my disobedience.  Sure, I can look good on the outside, but He is not fooled.  He sees all the problems underneath.  My cover up leaves me struggling with feelings of guilt and shame.  He knows and I know what I am hiding.  But with sincere confession, He forgives the sin and the guilt.  There is no longer the need for covering up as He makes me absolutely new! (II Cor. 5:17)

Thank you Lord,  that You know what is underneath and You love and forgive me anyway.

 


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Hockey Stick

Scripture for Today: Luke 12:15 “Then He said to them, ‘Be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'”

There are some players in this picture that seem more prepared than their fellow hockey enthusiasts.  They are the ones with their hockey sticks touching the ice.  Regardless of where the hockey puck is, they have their sticks in position and at the ready.  That puck can come out of nowhere and with lightening speed, catching a player off guard.  The smart player will keep his hockey stick touching the ice as much as possible.

Today’s verse is a warning from Jesus to a crowd of listeners.  It was a specific response to a question about making an inheritance fair.  Jesus follows this warning with a parable about the rich fool whose goal in life is to store up more and more things, to the point of building bigger storehouses.  There are different kinds of greed to guard against.  And knowing that a life of significance is not found in possessions is one of the ways we can keep our “hockey stick on the ice” and be on our guard!

Greed is sneaky and insidious.  It is something that I need to guard against or it will influence my thoughts and my behavior.  Regardless of how much I have, the world tells me that more is better.  But in God’s economy, I am to be, “rich towards God.” (verse 21)  And I can be on guard by being in His Word and reminding myself of what really constitutes life; a loving trusting relationship with my Creator.  If I am greedy for anything, may it be more of Him, more of His love and beauty in my life!

Lord, be my defense against greed today.


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Rainbow Cake

Scripture for Today: Romans 16:19 “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.”

There is a twist in the new season of the television show, The Bachelor.  Everyone is talking about his complete inexperience.  Some think it wonderful.  Others are scratching their heads.  The young woman interviewed before meeting him had her doubts.  She felt that no one could know if a person was the right one without a trial run.  She described her life as a “rainbow cake,” having tried many colors and flavors!

Today’s verse flies in the face of that kind of thinking.  Wisdom comes from knowing and practicing what is good according to God’s standards.  Believers are to be totally innocent and even naive when it comes to evil.  Unlike Eve, we do not have to touch or eat evil to recognize it (Genesis 3).  God has made His laws clear and they are established, not to ruin our fun but to protect our vulnerable hearts and give us the best life possible.  There is even delight in the path of His commands (Ps. 119:35)

The only thing I miss out on when saying, “no,” to temptation is the heartache that can come with it.  The prevailing thought changes with the times but His standards are eternal.  What the world says is wise is absolute foolishness in God’s eyes when it deviates from His law (I Cor. 1:20)  How is it that the creature thinks he knows better than the Creator?  I do not want my life to be a rainbow cupcake.  I want it to be the pure unsullied white of His righteousness.  I want to be sweet, naive and innocent.

Thank you Lord, that Your forgiveness makes that possible!

 

 


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Watering Can

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Will owning this $35,000 watering can from Tiffany’s make the water somehow superior for my plants?  Perhaps at that price, watering my artificial plants will bring them to life!  This “must-have” is made of sterling silver and copper and makes a statement.  It is saying, “I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it!”  This watering can is a limited edition and is part of a line called “Everyday Object” collection.  Unfortunately, it will not be a part of my everyday!

Today’s verse is about a different kind of water drawn up from a well of salvation.  The container is not at all important but what it contains is!  What is drawn up from the well represents strength, trust and the ability to be without fear with God as our Defender (verse 2). God is our salvation as He has turned from His justifiable anger and instead comforts us when we turn to Him for forgiveness (verse 1).  When drawing from this well, we do so with joy and anticipation!

I love the illustration of water as it is essential not only to life but to eternal life!  Jesus has quenched the thirst of my soul for love, significance, and beauty.  How amazing it is that His water also allows me to move through life without fear!  As my Savior He is also my Defender (Romans 8:31).  When I feel weak, He strengthens me.  When I am feeling under attack, He defends me.  He is more than worthy of my trust.  Nothing can separate me from His love and without fear, I can face each new day with joy and anticipation.

Lord, I need to draw from Your well today.

 


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Closing Bell

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

When that bell peals its piercing note and the sound of it drifts away, all the frantic activity comes to an abrupt halt.  Everything stops.  At least until the next day there are no more opportunities for trade on the New York Stock Exchange.  Everyone carefully listens for it as the timing can change priorities for those traders on the floor.

In today’s verse is the sound, not of a bell but of a trumpet.  It is the last trumpet and signals a stop as well to all frantic activity.  It is a sound that will signal the end of all time as we know it.  This trumpet announces the resurrection and it will be heard all over the world.  When it is blown, those believers who have died will receive their new incorruptible bodies.  Those believers still living at the time will also be changed.  Death will forever be swallowed up in victory!  What a day that will be!

Reading about this future event affects me TODAY.  Knowing this truth helps me stay steadfast, immoveable, and prioritizing my service to Him (verse 58).  Looking towards the resurrection and eternity convinces me that my work for the Lord is never futile or in vain.  I want to be listening for and anticipating this sound.  It closes the opportunity to serve Him here on earth.  But look what it opens!  An eternity of rest and reward with the Lover of my soul!

Thank you Lord, for the change that is coming!