Devotions By Jan


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“Jesus Shoes”

Scripture For Today: Matthew 14:28-29 “‘Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come,’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

Would you pay 3 thousand dollars for these Jesus shoes?  Only two dozen were made and they sold out within minutes.  Even though they are Nike Air Max 97s, they are distinctive for a very special reason.  They have been injected with holy water from the Jordan River and blessed by a priest!  Their production was in response to ridiculous brand collaborations.  But for some, the idea of walking on water was too good to pass up!

Today’s verse refers to the only two people who have ever truly walked on water; Jesus and Peter.  The disciples were in their boat on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus approached them, walking on the water.  Seeing their fear He reassured them that He was not a ghost.  Peter speaks up wanting further proof and figures that if it were really Jesus He could allow him to walk on water as well.  What faith to step out of that boat!  What confidence in the miraculous power of Jesus!

Jesus does not invite me to walk on water.  But He does often ask some very hard things.  He asks me to trust Him when all I can see is troubled water.  He desires me to come closer to Him when all I can see are reasons to panic.  Just as Jesus told the disciples not to fear, so He encourages me to have courage.  He asks me to come closer even when it is scary and I get a little wet.  His closeness makes all the difference!

Thank you, Lord, for the confidence Your presence gives me.

 


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Love Letters

Scripture for Today: Psalm 33:22 “May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”

What a treasure trove it was when my sister came across love letters written by our parents during World War II!  I am now thankful that my Mother saved every scrap of paper.  These letters are windows into their souls!  In the earliest letters the words were a bit stilted, surprisingly on Mom’s part.  It was my quiet reserved Dad who expressed his love so well!  They are now with their beloved Lord, but their love story lasted seventy one years!

Today’s verse describes a love that spans centuries.  This love is an unfailing love that not only lasts forever but delivers our souls (Psalm 6:3-4).  It is a priceless love (Psalm 36:7) its value surpassing any human attempt at romance.  And when we pin our hope on His unfailing love, His eyes are on us! (Psalm 33:18)  We are the better for always being mindful of this incredible love (Psalm 26:3).  We are told to even meditate on this love (Psalm 48:9).  And we do that by immersing ourselves in the words of the greatest love letter ever written, the Bible.

In writing this I was amazed at all the references to God’s love in Scripture!  I was reassured of His unfailing love and could feel it wash over me.  So often when reading the Bible I get bogged down in the details of study.  I get distracted by all the injunctions I find there.  I am so sidelined by word studies or cultural references that I forget the main point.  Reading His Word is reading His personal love letter to me.  His love is behind every list of blessing, every faithful miracle, every promise and even every warning.

Thank you Lord, for reassuring me of Your unfailing love!

 


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KAOS or CONTROL?

Scripture for Today: Romans 6:20 “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.”

The old television series, “Get Smart” ran from 1965-1970 and was a favorite of my family growing up!  KAOS (not an acronym) was a international organization of evil.  It was the job  of Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 to thwart their sinister threats to the world.  Their organization was called CONTROL (also not an acronym) and was a secret government counterintelligence agency.  It makes sense to me that the evil ones were KAOS or chaos, while the good guys were CONTROL or under control!

Today’s verse talks about being a slave to sin.  That is the condition of anyone without God’s freeing power.  Sin enslaves and creates all kinds of chaos and complications to a life.  But this same verse alludes to the control we can experience with righteousness.  Because of the grace of God, we can be taught to say “No” to ungodliness and live self-controlled godly lives (Titus 2:12).  Rather than be controlled by sin, we can be controlled by righteousness, leading to holiness and eternal life (Romans 6:22).  And self-control is an evidence of the presence of God’s Spirit in the believer (Gal. 5:22-23).

It is obvious to those around me when I am out of control!  There is chaos in my thoughts, emotions and behavior.  But when I am submitted to the Lord and filled with His Spirit, there is a measure of self-control that was not there previously.  He brings order from disorder.  There is a sense of calm and peace when I allow Christ to have His way.  That illusive self-control is really just allowing Him to have the full control that is His right.

Lord, please be the One in control of my day.


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Waiting in Line

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I have never met a person who enjoys waiting in line.  I know I do not, especially when I constantly check the time or shift position to be more comfortable.  I tell myself I have better things to do.  The time seems to drag, I am bored, frustrated and wishing I had brought something to occupy my mind.   But the wait is bearable when two things are true: the wait will be worth it and something worthwhile can happen during the wait.

In today’s verse David is waiting for the Lord to act on his behalf.  He is surrounded by enemies, the wicked and his foes (verse 2).  David remains confident while he waits because he believes he will again see the goodness of the Lord (verse 15).  To see the goodness of the Lord once more makes the waiting worthwhile.  And something David is doing while waiting is making that wait bearable; he is in the Temple gazing on the beauty of the Lord (verse 4).  That long wait is doable as David finds strength and takes heart in the Lord’s presence.

There are different ways to wait for God to answer my prayer.  I can question, doubt or tap my foot in impatience.  I can wonder if He hears me or if He even cares.   I can give up and stop asking.  Or, like David I can be strong through the wait and take heart.  It is worth the wait when I can be confident of again seeing proof of His goodness.  And the time waiting is never wasted when it is spent in His presence and in gazing on Him.

Lord, may I never doubt Your goodness and Your timing.  Help me wait with confidence!


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Pickle Fork

Scripture for Today: John 15:4 “Remain in Me, as I remain in you. No branch can bear fruit of itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”

I love looking out the window of an airplane, even if I am over a wing.  I don’t normally think about how that wing is attached to the plane.  But if I did, I would just assume the connection was good at what is called the “Pickle Fork.”  That is the name of the juncture between the wings and fuselage.  Lately, the new generation of the Boeing 737 has been showing cracks in exactly that spot!

Today’s verse teaches how vital our connection is with the Lord.  Just as there can be no fruit in a branch separated from the vine, so there can be no good result when a wing detaches from the fuselage.  This verse tells us to remain in Him, meaning that sometimes we do not.  Our independent spirit and sense of self-sufficiency can create some serious cracks!  The separated branch or wing can look good to others but without that essential connection, there is no purpose to it being there.

To remain in constant communication with the Lord takes focus.  To always be aware of His presence and love takes deliberate effort.  But when I spend time in His Word and my thoughts are directed toward Him, I see my day take on purpose as He works through me.  Nothing I can accomplish will have any eternal significance without His amazing productive power.  I can almost feel those cracks forming when I do not spend time with Him.  But when I stay connected I see results that I know do not come from me alone.

Lord, keep me connected and crack free!

 

 

 

 


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Lion or Kitten?

Scripture for Today: Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite characters from this 1939 film!  Even though he is the “King of the Forest” he does not think he is courageous.  He wants courage from the great Oz, not realizing that he already has it!  He mistakens his fear for lack of courage.  But courage can be defined as acting in the face of fear!

In today’s verse, Peter and John are showing courage.  They had been seized and thrown in prison by the rulers, elders and teachers of the law.  When appearing before them to give a defense, Peter, filled with the Spirit, stood fearlessly and preached Jesus.  Their accusers watching them were not only surprised but astonished that such unschooled and ordinary men would be showing such courage.  And they rightly concluded that these men had been with Jesus!  The Spirit God gives does not make us timid! (II Tim. 1:7)

I have not been called before the law to defend my faith in Christ.  But if it should ever happen, I believe God through His Spirit would give me the courage I need.  I may tremble inside but He would help me face my fears.  When I show courage in the face of any opposition, it is a sure sign that I have spent time with Jesus!  I am told to wait on the Lord and be of good courage (Psalm 27:14) because He is the One who will strengthen my heart!  Any courage I show would not come from me but from Him.

Thank you Lord, that you can make a lion out of this kitten!


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Through the Looking Glass

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.”

I am not seeing what fascinates this man looking through that magnifying glass.  Maybe it is something that is so detailed that magnifying is the only way to appreciate it.  Maybe it is something that was previously overlooked due to its small size.  In any case, whatever is magnified is obviously made to look larger than it really is.

Today’s verse corrects my perspective. The Lord is the God of all mankind and nothing is too hard for Him nor too big.  His power and might are obvious when looking at the the heavens and the earth.  Everything is small and insignificant when compared to His great power.  Nothing is too hard or too big for Him to accomplish when He can speak into being an entire universe!

What a contrast to how I see things.  Because of my own limitations, I see problems as much bigger than they really are.  And the more I focus on the problem and worry it to death, the bigger it becomes.  But for the Lord it is all small stuff.  With the power I see in His creation I understand that nothing is too hard or too big for Him to surmount.  I know He can do anything He wants.  But does He want to help me?  Will He outstretch His arm for me?  But He already has.  He has outstretched two arms on that cross and used His power to save my soul.  And the same power that raised Christ from the dead daily works in my favor.  Rather than magnify my problems I need to magnify Him!

Thank you Lord, that nothing is too hard or too big for You!