Devotions By Jan

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Banished Words

Scripture for Today: Luke 16:17 “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

Every year since 1976 Lake Superior State University has issued a list of banished words.  These words are nominated from around the world.  They include pet peeves from everyday speech.  But they also come from news, education, and advertising, among other fields.  The 2019 list includes: yeet, collusion, ghosting and accoutrements.  Their list is comprised of words that are misused, overused or useless!

Today’s verse speaks of the permanence of God’s Word.  In contrast to the falling out of favor and banishment of words, the Word of God stands forever (Psalm 119:89).  It would be easier for all of heaven and earth to disappear than for even one little part of His Law to be null and void.  What God says stands for all eternity.  There are no mistakes and there is never a need for revision.  His Word is always relevant throughout the centuries.  Because His Words are inspired by His Spirit, they communicate unchangeable truth.  The standards of the Law are not changed by popular opinion or a nominating committee!

How convicting and comforting His Word can be!  It is convicting because it exposes my heart and motives (Heb. 4:12).  And His Law shows me how woefully I do not measure up.  Thankfully, Jesus Christ kept the Law and perfectly fulfilled it.  His righteousness is mine through faith in His work and sacrifice (Romans 3:22).  But His eternal Word is also comforting.  It is truth that never changes and strengthens my faith (Romans 10:17).  His Word reminds me of His love and faithfulness.  His Word gives me an unshakeable hope that is an anchor for my soul.

Thank you Lord, that Your Word is forever and worthy of trust.




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Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

How heart warming it is to see people come together in times of grief!  This picture however, is not of a funeral but a wedding.  There is joy for the newly married couple but also grief at the imminent passing of the bride’s father.  This group of believers may be very different from one another.  But what unites them is their shared joy and pain.  Not only is each individual helped but the one they are surrounding is uplifted by this show of oneness and support.

In today’s verse there is both suffering and joy.  Both emotions can be shared within Christ’s body, the Church even though we show and experience emotion in different ways.  The weight of emotion is not quite as heavy when it is shared.  That sharing brings us together and emphasizes our oneness.  We are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).  Doing so makes our unity that much stronger.  And when we are one, people can see Christ in us (John 17:20-23).

There is nothing worse than feeling strong emotions and having no one with which to share them.  Both intense joy and grief can increase feelings of isolation when they are not shared.  But when I can relate in this way with other believers, I connect on another level.  My little part of the body feels more integrated.  And what is really amazing is that this connection between believers somehow glorifies Christ and He is seen more clearly in me and in all of us!

Thank you Lord, for the connection I can have with other believers.

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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.