Devotions By Jan


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Face Masks

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

Fashion statements show up in some of the unlikeliest places!  A seamstress friend in France is selling these face masks in a variety of materials.  Of course they do not give the same protection as the medical surgical masks.  But in an area of the world where the COVID virus is gaining momentum, they provide the wearer with at least a sense of security.  This little piece of whimsical material may not be any kind of guarantee.  But the one wearing it can hope to be a little more shielded.

Today’s verse describes the Lord as our shield.  He can be counted on and so can His Words!  Everything God has said and everything He has promised is true and worthy of our trust.  And taking refuge in Him is the best way to be shielded from whatever life can throw at us.  He provides His protection to those who run to Him for it.  There is confidence with this shield of divine control.  Nothing, no matter how small or how big can get through this barrier.

Nothing else can give me this kind of refuge.  I cannot count on the words of limited scientific discoveries.  I cannot count on the words of the media.  I cannot count on the words of the government.  But I can trust God’s Word.  I run to God to shield me from evil, from spiritual attack or the attack of an unseen virus.  His shield will not allow anything to touch me without His permission and without His using it as part of His plan.  What comfort in this thought, that I am shielded by the love and control of my Creator!

Shield me today, Lord.


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Wash Your Hands!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 26:6 “I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Your altar, O Lord.”

It is an endearing scene when a raccoon looks to be washing his hands!  Perhaps the raccoon has better hygiene than some humans!  Does he care that his hands (and food) are clean?  One would not think so when seeing him rummage through filthy garbage.  In fact, this little guy has poor eyesight and needs to wet his food in order to “see” it better.  What is so surprising is that even without water they mimic washing in the air!

Today, we are reminded constantly to do what we should have been doing all along; wash our hands.  Today’s verse also speaks of washing the hands, not in water but in innocence.  The hands washed in innocence are contrasted to the hands of the sinners (verse 10).  Their hands are full of bribes and wicked schemes.  But the hands washed in innocence belong to the one whose heart is pure (Psalm 73:13).  And these hands can be innocent because of God’s gift of grace through His Son’s sacrifice.  Once our hands were dirty, but now we are washed by Christ (I Cor. 6:11).

It is only because of His washing that I can approach God’s altar or presence.  My feeble attempts to clean myself up first have no affect.  The stain of sin is too deep and pervasive.  But because of Jesus I can be viewed in God’s eyes as innocent.  He took on Himself all the guilt of my dirty hands.  My hands can now be lifted up in praise, folded together in prayer and open to give and to serve Him.

Thank you Lord, for hands cleansed of wrong doing.

 

 


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Social Distancing

Scripture for Today: Psalm 26:5 “I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.”

A very recognizable trait in most any cat is their aloof behavior!  The idea of “social distancing” would not pose a problem for most cats.  They love their niche on the cat tree and their space for an undisturbed cat nap.  Calling for a cat to come often produces a cold shoulder and or a blank stare.  How different from the enthusiastic response of the dog!  But that aloofness disappears when they hear that can open or smell fish or chicken cooking.

In this era of “social distancing” to avoid contagion, today’s verse speaks of a more serious contagion.  We are told to actually hate associating with a group of wicked people!  David refused to even sit with them.  The very beginning of Psalms describes the one who is happy or blessed as the one who will not walk, stand or sit with the wicked (Psalm 1:1).  A close association with those who mock God can have a negative influence on our behavior.  To be seen aligning ourselves too closely with the wicked can also ruin our reputation as one belonging to the Lord.

I need to take seriously this kind of “social distancing.”  I would like to think that my faith is too strong to be weakened by anybody.  But I know myself and so does He or He would not warn me.  It is already too easy to compromise my standards or rationalize my wrong behavior.  I do not need to go looking for a group of people doing the same thing!  Where I want to walk, stand, or sit is with other believers who also want to please God.

Lord, keep me from evil influence!

Photo by Nick Chalkiadakis on Unsplash


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Bufflehead Duck

Scripture for today: Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

This duck is remarkable with its beautiful colors!  The name of the Bufflehead was derived from “buffalo head” due the male’s odd puffy head shape.  But what interested me was his feeding habits.  He rarely feeds with only his head submerged but instead will completely submerge himself.  Many times a whole flock will all surface dive at the same time!  This energetic feeder is “all in.”

Today’s verse describes one who is all in!  God’s command did not allow for any half measures.  He wants a love that is total and complete with no holding back.  We are to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, and strength.  When Jesus cited this command He added “all your mind” as well (Mark 12:30).  This is a commitment like no other.  God’s commands are to be on our hearts and impressed on the next generation through living them everyday in the home (verses 6-9).  The love He wants is one that involves our entire being.

It is because He loves me that He wants all of me.  But to give the Lord my all is a life-long challenge.  It means trusting Him not to hurt or disappoint.  And to completely relinquish all of me to Him also means the giving up of my own control.  But He has the right to ask this of me.  He so loved and so proved His love for me by His sacrifice, that it is ludicrous for me to hold back anything!  And I find that when I can be “all in” there is a closeness and warmth unlike any human relationship!  It is worth the effort!

Lord, may my love for You involve my entire being.

 


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Sheltering in Place

Scripture for Today: Psalm 91:1-2 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'”

A new phrase has crept into our everyday vocabulary in the wake of this nasty worldwide virus; “shelter in place.”  The idea is to limit exposure and to slow the spread of what for some can be fatal.  This is new territory and the questions and challenges can seem overwhelming.  Cabin fever, FOMO or fear of missing out, and fear of possible financial challenges to come can all create a pervading sense of unease.  That loss of connection is especially unnerving.

Today’s verse is a promise of rest from the anxieties of this unique time.  When we make the Most High our shelter we find rest in His presence.  Rather than trust in four walls, self-isolation, or the government, we can trust in God’s reassuring presence.  This is not just a place to drop in but to dwell.  Sheltering in this place gives the rest and peace so needed in the face of the unknown.  The best four walls around me are His care, His compassion, His comfort, and His control.

The best part of sheltering in His presence is that this can happen anywhere!  For now, my world has become so much smaller, but He has not!  His peace guards my heart and my mind (Phil. 4:7) regardless of where I am.  I never want to leave the shelter of His presence.  Nearer Still Nearer’s lyrics from 1898 say it best.  “Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast. Shelter me safe in that ‘haven of rest.'”

Thank you, Lord, for being my shelter and my rest.