Devotions By Jan


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Frustrated and Needing Help!

Dear Subscriber,  You are important to me!  There have been multiple glitches with WordPress and I need your help to resolve them.

Obviously, if you are receiving this blog post in your email inbox, then all is well.  However, I need to determine who is NOT receiving them.  So by process of elimination, would you take a second and reply to this post with the two words, “Got it.”  (This way I can avoid sending out quite so many emails one by one!)

Thanks so much and God bless, Jan

 


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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.

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

 


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Checkers

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

The game of Checkers has been around a lot longer than the 1950’s pictured here.  Checkers is thought to be the oldest game in the world dating back over 4,000 years!  According to inscriptions found in the temple of Thebes, Egyptian kings took time out from overseeing the construction of the pyramids to play checkers!  Lots of famous people have since had a fondness for the game including past presidents, noted scientists and popular sport heroes.  Whoever the player may be however, it is certain that they have a “checkered past.”

Today’s verse is a wonderful reassurance for all of us who regret those black squares that mark our past.   No one is immune from having that checkered past as all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23).  But the Lord has promised a forgiveness and pardon that is complete.  He blots out every sin and chooses to not remember them.  He no longer holds against us all of our failures and disobedience.  Jesus took on Himself the punishment for each of those sins.

I would love to be able to “remember my sins no longer.”  But the memories remain.  And Satan loves to whisper in my ears his accusations.  Thankfully, God’s Word is full of reassurances of unconditional love and complete pardon.  The Lord graciously softens and blurs memories of past failures.  If guilty memories occasionally do reappear, He is there to build me back up.  If nothing else, those memories remind me that I am not perfect, but His forgiveness is!  When I remember a checkered past I can also remember that His grace is greater than all my sin!

Thank you Lord, for wiping out and forgetting my sin forever!

 

 

 


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Pregnant Male

Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:2  “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This creature is unlike any other in nature.  It is the male sea-horse who carries the eggs for the female!  The female will deposit her eggs in a special pouch he carries.  There, he fertilizes the eggs with his sperm, and carries them for two to four weeks until he gives birth.  Their babies are called “fry” and there can be as many as 1000 at a time  The female has it easy.  Her part is to swim up to the male each morning during gestation  and give him a special greeting!

Today’s verse talks about helping each other to carry our burdens.  Doing so fulfills the law of Christ which is to love one another.  These burdens are the unfortunate result of our sin (verse 1).  They are different from His  burden which is light (Matt.11:30).  Rather than look askance at the one fallen in sin thinking we would never do that, we are to do all we can to lift him up and lighten his burden.  We all carry around the memories of past failures.  Understanding how the Lord has forgiven us helps us extend that same grace.  In love, we want to help with words of encouragement and affirmation.

It costs me something to help carry the burden of another.  It means that I take time out to pray, give godly counsel and practical help.  It might mean hours on the phone.  Sin can complicate a life.  The consequences can be very burdensome with broken relationships and poor self-image.  But that burden can be lighter when I come along side.  It is one of the best ways to show love!

Lord, help me be willing to carry another’s burden.

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


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Broken Bisque

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

These broken pieces of bisque look pretty pathetic.  For whatever reason they did not survive their first firing during the process of becoming beautiful pottery.  The first firing is to strengthen the clay.  Their glazing, unique colors and design can only be applied after this important step.  When touring a Polish pottery factory I remember seeing a huge bin full of broken bisque pieces.  Our guide explained that rather than throw them out, they would melt them all down to start again.

When hearing this explanation, I could not help but think of today’s verse.  Paul is confident that God will continue His work in the hearts of believers.  He has a goal for each of us to grow more and more like His Son.  And even though the process is life-long, what He starts, He promises to finish.  Just as pottery needs firing to be strengthened, so our faith is built up by the “fiery trials” we experience (I Peter 4:12).  When life heats up with impossible situations or insurmountable obstacles, it becomes clear just where we are weak. With each testing of our faith, we ideally become more confident of His control and goodness.

I wish it were always true that I come through those trials without cracking or breaking.  But I certainly cannot say that.  Thankfully, my failures do not change the plan or the eventual outcome.  I can be confident too that the Lord will use it all and He knows what He is doing with me.  One day, I will be like Him! (I John 3:2)

Lord, keep me trusting You, especially in the hard times.

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


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Jewelry

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 2:32 “Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet My people have forgotten me, days without number.”

This is not my jewelry box.  My way of storing jewelry is not quite this organized!  Instead of a box I have shallow drawers where all my jewelry marry each other and get jumbled.  Although I am not so organized, I do remember where each piece came from.  I remember who gave me the item and the circumstances surrounding the gift.  Many times the value of my jewelry comes not from the price tag but from the memories associated with it.

Today’s verse tells us how unnatural it is for a young woman to forget her jewelry.  Yet, says the Lord through His prophet Jeremiah, My people have forgotten Me.  And He has so much more value than the most expensive elaborate jewelry!  How could they forget the One who provided for them, protected them from enemies, and caused their crops to grow?  Unfortunately, this happened often as they continually rebelled against God, turning to idols and to the ways of neighboring countries.  The Lord declares that they will not be helped by them (verse 37).

Forgetting God’s goodness and power is not something unique to the Israelites!  When everything is going well and life is good, I know I do the same thing!  I begin to take my health for granted.  When things run smoothly I tend to feel complacent, forget to thank Him or even take the credit.  I forget how intimately involved He is in every aspect of my life.  It is when I am in trouble that I cry out to Him and understand just how dependent I am on His goodness and power.

Lord, don’t let me forget You today!

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


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The Toadfish

Scripture for Today: I Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

We saw some interesting fish at the Wood Hole Aquarium in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this Oyster Toadfish among them.  He was so ugly that he fascinated me!  He had a face only a mother could love!  But these fish have proven quite useful.  Biologists have sent the oyster toadfish into space to study the effects of gravity on our balance system!  These experiments were part of an effort to understand motion sickness, important for the astronaut.  And one benefit of their grotesque appearance is the fact that humans do not readily eat them, although they taste good!

Today’s verse reminds us that outward appearance is not the most important value.  Samuel was to choose the first king for the Israelites under God’s direction.  Samuel was naturally drawn to the tallest most handsome son of Jesse.  But the Lord reminds Samuel that appearance is not everything but the heart is.  As with many of the Lord’s principles, we get this one totally backwards.  The appearance and image is everything whereas the hidden unseen heart takes second place.

I am so influenced by what is on the outside.  If someone has their hair, make-up and clothes together, I automatically think that everything is in order on the inside.  I can easily adopt this attitude towards myself as well.  Then comes the surprise of conviction when the Lord taps me on the shoulder and tells me that my heart is ugly with sin.

Lord, make me beautiful on the inside where You are looking.

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