Devotions By Jan

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Scripture for Today: I Peter 1:4b-5 “This inheritance is kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last times.”

This yellow protective suit makes me smile, especially as the wearer has seemingly incorporated it into his daily routine!  But this “HAZMAT suit wanna-be” looks less scary than the real thing.  The hazard materials suit is meant to shield against chemical, nuclear and biological agents as well as fire and high temperatures.  The suit can only be worn up to two hours as it is hot and poorly ventilated.

Today’s verse tells us that the believer is shielded at all times by God’s power.  Our faith is that shield, the same piece of armor that protects us from our enemy, Satan (Eph. 6:16).  God’s power insures that the inheritance of our future salvation is kept safe and secure in Heaven.  Nothing can touch it.  No chemical, nuclear or biological agent is greater than His power.  But this does not mean that we will not “suffer grief and all kinds of trials.” (verse 6)  What it does mean is that there is a future and a hope.

There is lots of uncertainty in our covid-conscious world right now.  We are all wondering what measures are needed to protect ourselves and for how long.  It is sobering to see how quickly the world can change and how powerless we can feel.  But the one thing I am sure of is God’s power to protect, to guard and to save.  His plans for me are never frustrated.  Even though I may be touched by suffering and trial, He has secured for me an untouchable inheritance that is eternal.

Lord, I am so thankful for Your power to save!

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A Blue Door

Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with Me.”

There are not too many people knocking on our door during these days of self-isolation.  But according to the design experts I may have the wrong colored door!  Each color communicates something different.  Red shouts welcome. Purple signals privilege.  Yellow says positivity while green says ambition.  Orange is called for if one wants to communicate  warmth and wisdom.  A blue door represents trust, loyalty and stability.

Regardless of the color, today’s verse tells us there is Someone who stands at the door and knocks.  These words are an invitation from the Lord to open the door to Him.  His message is full of warmth and makes clear His desire for relationship.  What better way to become close than to share a meal around the table!  He awaits our arrival at the door.  He does not come in until we hear His voice and open that door.  We open it to show our same desire for relationship.

I am sure His knock and His voice are loud enough to hear.  But I can see how I might miss it.  The distractions of life can drown out the sound.  My busy schedule keeps me from hearing His voice.  That knock of His becomes just one more noise in the general din of busyness.  Sometimes it is hard to really believe that He wants to dine with me!  But what a warm intimate thought!  I do not want to miss out for any reason.  He is waiting for me on my doorstep.

Lord, may I listen for your knock and open the door today!


Bleeding Heart Flower

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”

One can immediately see how this flower got its name!  The larger petals resemble a heart and the bottom of it even looks like blood dripping down!  These perennial flowers have been growing wild for centuries in Asia.  But it has only been since the 1800’s that the Bleeding Heart has been cultivated in the Western world.  It is not only used as a symbol for love but also for the compassion we are to feel for those that suffer.

Today’s verse describes our God as one of comfort and a Father of compassion.  He knows and feels with us our sadness and pain.  His heart bleeds for the brokenness of our world.  But He did not stop there.  He did something about it by paying for the sin that allowed this brokenness to enter our lives.  He knows when our souls are “downcast within us” even when no one else is aware.  His comfort is a balm to the sorrow that our suffering brings.

He sees when I am overwhelmed with fear and worry.  He cares when I am feeling too sad to get up from bed   Better than physical comfort, He gives me the amazing comfort of His love and goodness.  He knows better than anyone else how to lift my head and my spirits.  He brings to mind a song lyric.  He uses a long-forgotten verse.   And so often, He gives comfort through the encouragement of other believers.  His heart bleeds for me and He asks me to have that same heart for the suffering of others.

Thank you Lord, for Your precious comfort and help me share it with others.

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My Wrestling Opponent

Scripture for Today: Psalm 13:2 “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”

This is not a sport I normally watch.  But I have learned to appreciate it a bit more when learning about strategy.  Each move is calculated to pin the opponent on his back, shoulders blades touching the mat for at least two seconds.  Sometimes, no one gets pinned in which case the winner is the one with the most points doing the following: the Take Down, the Escape, the Reversal, and the Near Fall.  With the Reversal move you are on the mat but you come up from underneath and regain control.

Today’s verse has David wrestling with his thoughts.  He feels that God has abandoned him and is hiding His face.  His enemies seem to have the upper hand.  These thoughts are bringing David down to the mat with sorrow.  But by the end of the psalm David wins this wrestling match with a Reversal!  His thoughts have him on the mat but not for long.  David comes up from underneath his thoughts and regains control.  He does this by declaring the truth of God’s unfailing love and by rejoicing in the fact of his salvation!  Telling himself the Truth has given David the victory.

These days I feel as if I am having to wrestle with my thoughts.  My fears, doubts and uneasy reflections have often pinned me down in this strange time of self-isolation.  How long?  How long will I be sad?  But Reversal is possible when I turn to the Lord and His words of comfort.  Two seconds of Truth is all it takes to pin down those negative thoughts!

Thank you, Lord, for the victory Your Truth brings!

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Contact Tracing

Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:2-3 “You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.”

Technology is now being developed to trace our physical contact with those who may be infected with the COVID virus.  The idea is to control the spread through identifying those with whom an infected person has had close contact.  The app, due to come out in mid-May, would be in partnership with public health authorities.  And the challenge will be to do this in a privacy-preserving way!

Today’s verse can either be viewed with anxiety or comfort!  The Lord is aware of our every movement.  He knows when we leave the house.  He knows when we retire for the night.  Whether we stand or sit He is mindful.  How incredible that the God of the universe is familiar with all our habits or any change of schedule!  Not only is He aware of our movements, He knows exactly what we are thinking!  This is a knowledge too wonderful to even grasp (verse 6) and more extensive than any technology could achieve!

Does this knowledge make me uncomfortable?  Because I belong to Him and am under no condemnation (Rom. 8:1) I can answer, “no.”  The fact that the Lord is aware of my every movement and my every thought gives me comfort.  He uses this knowledge to love me and care for me.  Because of His love and grace, I do not have to hide from this knowledge.  His intimate knowledge of me means I can live without fear.  I can move confidently through my day, knowing He is there.  Rather than get nervous over what could happen, I can trust Him.

Thank you Lord, that You know.