Devotions By Jan


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Sheepish

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

What was that racket?  My husband was in the middle of his shower when he heard some bizarre noises!  It sounded as if someone was rearranging the furniture, but there was also loud bleating, shouting and running footsteps.  How bizarre to see this sheep in the living room knocking into things with a crazed look in his eyes!  He had run in from our rural French street into the open doors, with his handlers in hot pursuit!  It took three of them to hold him down and get him under control!

What a perfect way to illustrate the truth of today’s verse!  This sheep was not where he was supposed to be.  He had certainly gone his own way, ignoring his keepers and the other sheep.  His headlong movements could have hurt him and it took some pretty drastic measures to correct him.  I am sure he was none too happy to be bound with that rope.  And we are just like that sheep.  We turn our back on the Shepherd thinking we know better.

How loving and gracious God is to take on Himself the punishment of my silly rebellion.  Jesus paid the ultimate price of my sin, giving me peace with God (verse 5).  And as a forgiven “sheep” I have the enormous privilege of following my Shepherd.  His way is so much better than my own.  He does not lead by prodding me from behind and I don’t just see His back ahead of me.  No, He walks beside me.

Thank you Lord, for turning me back to You and Your way.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Pill Bugs

Scripture for Today: Psalm 17:17 “Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes.”

I thought I was just sweeping up dirt on my patio.  But when the dirt started fleeing the pile I knew differently!  The pill bug is the common name for a variety of wood lice called, “Armadillidum vulgare.”  As a child I liked calling them , “roly polies” as they would roll up into a ball when I mishandled them.  Their shells look like armor but it is because of their segmented bodies that they can roll up into a ball to protect themselves.

Today’s verse is a cry for help as David’s enemies had tracked him down, surrounded him and were trying to destroy him.  He calls out to the Lord, recognizing that God’s powerful right hand is his best protection.  As David had already experienced when confronting Goliath, he could not trust in the armor offered him (I Sam. 17:38-39).  His trust was in the power and love of God.  That was his refuge from where God would demonstrate His power to save.  God answered his prayer, not only for protection but for vindication! (verse 2 & 15).

Rolling up into a ball at the first sign of trouble is my natural inclination.  When going through something difficult I tend to go quiet, push people away and isolate myself.  But the Lord wants to be my refuge in time of trouble (Ps. 59:16).  He never intends for me to go it alone.  I need to run to Him to show me the wonders of His great love and reassure me.  His refuge is strong like a rock but as soft as the downy underside of a bird’s wings.

Thank you Lord, for being my sure and constant refuge.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Giant Clam

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:2 “By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

It is called a “giant clam” for good reason.  This is the largest of the mollusks on earth.  It can grow up to 500 pounds and can measure up to four feet!  Just think of all the clam chowder it could produce! The giant clam is not endangered although it is classified as vulnerable as it has been over harvested for food and decoration.  What struck me is that the giant clam has only one chance to chose its home.  Once it has fastened itself to a spot on a reef, it will sit there for life.

Today’s verse encourages the believer to hold firmly to God’s Word.  By the Gospel or “good news” of salvation we are saved from the punishment our sins deserve.  It is on the truth of God’s Word that we take our stand (verse 1).  When we commit our lives, our future and our eternal destiny to what God says, we flourish and grow.  There is no reason to attach ourselves to some other philosophy or system of thought.  His Word gives hope, encouragement and all the nourishment our faith needs to grow and thrive.

Trusting in my own ideas and reasoning gets me in trouble.  The waves of the sea or the blowing winds can toss me about making me unstable (James 1:6).  But when I put my entire confidence in what the Lord says about a matter, I know I am on firm footing.  The decrees of the Lord are firm (Psalm 19:9) and make me firm as well.  I want to attach myself to Him and make His truth my home!

Lord, keep me in Your Word and remembering Your truth today.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Floundering

Scripture for Today: “II Corinthians 5:15 “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”

This fish continued his valiant fight for life even after being pulled from the water.  I enjoy seafood so much but I hate thinking about how it got to be on my plate!  In the end, this fish flopping and floundering did him no good.  The word “floundering” was perhaps influenced in the 1590’s by the Dutch word, “flodderen” meaning to flop about.  Later this verb referred to being completely unable to decide what to do or say.

Today’s verse gives a goal and direction to life.  Rather than flounder through life following different visions and dreams, there is a sense of purpose.  This goal in life does not change with the times or fashions of the day.  It is not a goal that could disappoint but a purpose that is deep and lasting.  There is no ambiguity.  We are to live our lives for the Lord Jesus who died and was raised again for us.  Living to please ourselves leaves us empty and unfulfilled.  Solomon found that living for any desire or pleasure was meaningless and like chasing after wind. (Eccl. 2:10-11)

It breaks my heart to see family and friends floundering, living for the next relationship, the next adventure or the next big purchase.  A whole life can be spent on the dubious goal of pleasing one’s self.  But living for the Lord is always an adventure of faith!  He gives that sense of purpose to my life.  Living for His purposes gives a satisfaction and a significance like nothing else can.

Thank you Lord, that in sacrificing Your own life, You have made mine worth living!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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The Serval

Scripture for Today: Psalm 62:11-12 “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that You, O God, are strong, and that You, O Lord, are loving. Surely You will reward each person according to what he has done.”

This cat is all ears!  The serval is a wild African cat believed to be the ancient ancestor of the cheetah.  Their ears are the largest of any cat. They live in tall grass and are not as likely to see their small prey.  So their ears are huge to hear what they cannot see.  The ears of a serval are so sensitive they can recognize sounds made by animals moving in their underground tunnels!  But it was for their grace and strength that the ancient Egyptians worshiped them.

Today’s verse was written by David, a very wealthy and powerful king.  His ears were attuned to God’s Word.  Rather than trust in his own strength and riches, David acknowledges that only God has real power.  David had been listening to many things God had spoken to him personally, but these two truths kept him in an attitude of trust.  Not only does God have all the power but it is used to fight for and protect those He loves.

I need to be listening for these same truths.  Unwittingly, I put God in a box with my thinking, forgetting just how formidable He is.  I need to remember that He is all powerful and nothing escapes His perfect justice.  But how thankful I am that His power is coupled with His love!  His sacrificial love has made a way for me to escape the punishment my sins deserve.  Nothing and no one can prevail against me or separate me from this incredible love  (Romans 8:38-39).

Lord, help me hear Your reassurances of power and love today!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)