Devotions By Jan


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Shower Heads

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 1:23 “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.”

Buying a shower head can be a complicated business with all the choice there is!  Not only does one choose between fixed or hand-held, but now there are a variety of special effects available, including: rain effect, massage options, waterfall effect, LED lighting or multi head showers!  Then there is the pressure and efficiency to decide.  The idea is that the shower should be a luxurious experience rather than just a tool of cleanliness!  But who doesn’t enjoy feeling pampered when using a fancy shower head?

Today’s verse refers to something being poured on us but it is not hot water.  Wisdom is being poured out and its teaching and thoughts can be pictured as cascading and drenching a person when heeded.  Wisdom in Proverbs is personified as a “she.”  We are to repent when wisdom advises and rebukes (verse 25).  She calls out to us the thing to do (verse 24) and those who disregard her risk disaster (verse 26).  But those who fear the Lord will listen to wisdom and live in safety and ease (verse 33).

All the higher education available does not guarantee that a life will be lived skillfully and with wisdom.  That is because the Source of wisdom is God Himself.  Fearing, respecting and obeying Him will avoid so much heartache and mess in my life.  So much distress and trouble is of my own making as a result of poor choices, disregarding His way for my own way.  I know myself and I know I am just one decision away from acting the fool.  I am “prone to wander.”

Lord, make me wise.  Don’t let me stray from You!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Royalty!

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:17  “Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

Meet King Henry the Third, my twenty-first Great Grandfather!  Thanks to the years of research done by my sister, we can trace our family back to the early 1200’s.  Although kindhearted, history portrays King Henry as weak and ineffectual during his reign starting in 1216.  This image is of his effigy at his tomb located in Westminster Abbey.  We are also direct descendants of the King Edwards I, II, and III.  But will this discovery garner me more respect??

Today’s verse reminds me of my identity in Christ.  I am not only a subject of the King,  I am a child of the King.   What an amazing thought!  As His child I have access to the throne room of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! (Heb.4:16)  I belong there!  Because of the grace shown by Christ’s sacrifice, God extends to me His scepter, just as King Xerxes did for Queen Esther so long ago.  His throne is called a “throne of grace” because there He dispenses His mercy and help in time of need.  Isn’t that all the time?

I am not so sure I like the part about suffering.  But in our fallen world suffering is inevitable, especially for doing the right thing.  However, I have hope and can look forward to sharing in His glory!  Would that I remember that my allegiance belongs to the King and not to the world.  He is a King full of love and grace, welcoming me to His throne room.

Lord, help me remember that I am Your child and heir.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Pizza Dough

Scripture for Today: II Cor. 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

It all seems a bit complicated.  After punching down the rising pizza dough and kneading it, the dough is further manhandled by throwing it up in the air!  It looks like an art designed to impress the onlooker.  But in fact, this process of spinning it in the air creates the round shape and allows just enough airflow for easier handling.  With this method, the dough retains more moisture making the crust softer.

In today’s verse, Paul is recounting some of the hardships he and Timothy had faced.  At the beginning of the chapter and at the end, he says, “We do not lose heart.”  It would have been completely understandable if they had!  Paul had been shipwrecked, beaten, stoned and imprisoned for his faith.  Being perplexed, he perhaps did not always understand the “why” behind what was happening.  Yet, he remained confident that the pulling and stretching was producing something of value, forming the likeness of Jesus  in him (verse 10).

When I am faced with hard times, I often feel perplexed.  I usually cannot explain why the Lord allows certain difficulties in my life.  But He promises that all the pulling and stretching will be producing a “weight of glory” one day (II Cor. 4:17).  All that is painful or devestating is only a “light affliction” compared to what lies ahead.  I can be confident that even when panicked and confused, He is in control and His control is good.  How good of Him to reassure me!

Thank you Lord, that You use it all to make me more like You.  Help me not to lose heart.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Laugh Track

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

In the days of early television when everything was live, there was no need for any kind of canned or prerecorded laughter.  But later that instant feedback was lacking.  The solution became the laugh track.  The mixing of prerecorded laughs included the housewife giggles, the belly laugh, and the guy who gets the joke early.  For years the  laugh track was used and over used.  Thankfully, it is now not as prominent.  Along with many others I find the sound fake, distracting and an annoying intrusion.

Today’s verse is about someone who laughs at the future.  This woman is clothed with strength and dignity as she lives her life with wisdom (vs.26).  She works vigorously (vs. 17) and she is not idle (vs. 27).  The public praises her because of her works (vs. 31) and more importantly she is praised by her children and husband (vs. 28).  But what is most surprising about this “super woman” is that she laughs at the days to come.  Her heart is light because she fears the Lord (vs. 30).

My tendency is to fear rather than laugh at the future.  I do not know what changes may be in store for our country or personally for my life.  Rather than have a light heart, I often have this vague disquiet about what lies ahead.  But when my heart is steadfast and trusting in His power and sovereignty, than I do not fear bad news (Ps. 112:7).  How much better to laugh at the future and fear God than to fear the future and laugh at the idea of God’s control!  He is directing it all and because that is true, I can be glad.

Thank you Lord, for Your loving control of my future!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 


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Conch Shell

Scripture for Today: Psalms 85:8  “I will hear what God the Lord will say.   For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones.  But let them not turn back to folly.”

It is said that one can hear a wooshing sound resembling the sound of ocean waves when placing a conch shell to the ear.  The sound is thought to be one’s own blood rushing in the brain with every heartbeat.  Or some believe that ocean sound is just the surrounding sound resonating within the shell.  In either case, the shell would have to be vacant before I would let it anywhere near me!  This conch shell was empty but now has a crab taking up residence!

Today’s verse talks about hearing something else; what God has to say.  It begins with a statement of intention, “I will.”  There are a myriad of sounds out there clamoring to be heard.  But listening to the Lord through His Word is worth the effort and discipline.  He speaks peace to those that belong to Him.  So many times I have come to Him in prayer totally agitated and stressed.  He speaks peace.  He calms me down and listening intently I hear reminders of His love and control in my circumstances.  I get in that troubled state usually because I have not been listening to Him in the first place!

Not only do I hear Him speak peace, but listening to Him keeps me from folly or from doing something foolish.  If I am honest with myself, I realize I am quite capable of doing all kinds of foolish things with impeccable rational!  Listening to Him daily through His Word is the best way to avoid my own folly.  And I need the peace and calm He offers.

Lord, keep me listening to You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Aurora Borealis

Scripture for Today: Psalm 65:8 “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy.”

These light shows are eerie and breathtaking!  I have seen them in the countryside of Vermont and from the airplane window flying over Iceland.  These bright dancing lights are most often pale green and pink, although they have also lit the skies in shades of red, yellow, blue and violet.  They can take the form of clouds, patches, arcs and shooting rays.  But what I find most impressive are the rippling curtains they sometimes form!  I understand that they can be explained away as gaseous particles from the earth colliding with charged particles from the sun.  But that does not lessen the awe I feel when seeing this creative wonder of our God.

Today’s verse tells us that the whole earth is filled with awe at His wonders.  From the mountains He has formed to the stilling of the roaring seas, He answers us with His awesome and righteous deeds. (verses 5-7)  And because we see His incredible creative power in nature, we have hope.  He not only stills the roaring waves but also stills the turmoil of nations (vs. 7).  He stills the turmoil in our hearts as well, calling forth “songs of joy” where there were none.

Seeing the light of the Aurora Borealis or the beautiful light of a sunset reminds me that Jesus is Light as well (John 8:12).  His light dispels the darkness and gloom that can gather in my heart when faced with an impossible situation.  His power has no limits.  He can heal my heart when overwhelmed with crushing emotion.  He can bring back the joy when I turn to Him and trust His power.

Thank you Lord, that for You nothing is impossible!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Loving Horses

Scripture for Today: Psalm20:7  “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.”

The bond between a horse and its owner can be so special.  Through lots of time and patient training, the horse and owner can have a relationship like no other.  It may be that a horse races up to see you, neighs a greeting at the sight of you, or follows you everywhere wanting your attention.  Their loyalty and intelligence is impressive.  After much time spent together a high degree of trust can be established and they can remember you after months of separation.

In today’s verse, one can choose to place their confidence in their horses and chariots or in the name of the Lord.  I am so glad that now horses are not used so much for war, but in biblical times they were important to battle effectively.  Victory or defeat was largely determined by who had the sturdiest chariots and the swiftest horses.

The choice presented in this verse is basically the same today.  I can choose to place my trust in my own efforts and resources, or I can depend on the strength of the Lord.  It is the Lord who gives victory with the power of His right hand (verse 6).  To trust in myself is no guaranty of victory.  It is trusting in His name and who He is that changes the outcome of my battle.  However, I cannot trust who I do not know.  It is only through a close relationship with Him that I can develop that trust.  The more I get to know Him, the more likely I am to absolutely depend on Him.  The more time I spend with Him, the more I am convinced of just how trustworthy He is!

Lord, keep me close and trusting You.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.