Devotions By Jan

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The Percolator

Scripture for Today: Psalms 77:11-12  “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

At the risk of dating myself I will admit to using this outmoded method of coffee-making!  I can still remember church potlucks where the percolators were gigantic to serve a crowd.  The idea was to brew the coffee by cycling boiling water over and over through the coffee grounds using gravity until the coffee taste reached the desired strength.  The spurting sound or “perking action” will only stop when the coffee is ready to drink.  Rushing the process was never a good idea and just made the taste weak.

Today’s verse talks about remembering, meditating and musing on all of the Lord’s wondrous works.  Memories are short.  One can hear of, read about and even experience the miracles the Lord has done and yet forget them entirely.  Meditating is like cycling that water over and over.  The truths in Scripture need to be meditated on again and again before they have an impact on our lives.

There are plenty of moments in the day where my mind is inactive or on “pilot.”  It takes an effort of the will to turn my mind to spiritual things and reflect on His goodness.  It not only takes effort but time.  The more I cycle the same truths through my heart and mind, the stronger my faith becomes!  I cannot hear testimonies of God’s power too many times.  I cannot hear God’s promises too many times.  With each remembrance my faith grows stronger.  And there are no loftier thoughts than thoughts of Him.  He is worthy of all my thoughts.

Lord, keep me meditating on You and Your Word all day.


Snatched Away!

Scripture for Today: John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

I was minding my own business, sitting in my beach chair and eating my sandwich.  While eating slowly and enjoying my family I suddenly saw and felt a seagull knock into my hand!  He had swooped in from behind and while in flight, grabbed my sandwich in his beak, leaving behind a pecking print on my thumb!  He quickly made short work of my lunch but not without cackling at me, adding insult to injury!  I was amazed at how quickly he could dive in from behind and snatch it right out of my hand!

Today’s verse serves as a reassuring promise and a sobering reminder of danger.  The danger comes from Satan who would like nothing better than to snatch and destroy the unaware.  But those who belong to Jesus are in His hand.  Nothing and no one can ever snatch us out of that hand.  The Father is greater and more powerful than any foe and we are secure and protected.  If God is for us, who can be against us ? (Romans 8:31).

He has promised that I will never perish and what God says is always true.  Every sin is removed by His sacrifice when I turn to Him in faith.  Doubts or guilty feelings do not change the fact that He has given me eternal life.  No other sacrifice is required.  I am secure and peaceful in His wonderful grip.  No circumstance will ever pry those fingers open.  His power and promise mean I can trust those hands.

Thank you Lord, that I can never be snatched away from You!


Smoky Skies

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood; but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

With these fires enveloping so much of Washington, Oregon and California, the skies have become dark and somber with the ash.  Midday can seem like early evening and the sun has trouble piercing the gloom.  A pall of dark smoke hangs over land far away from the actual fire.  The lack of normal light is a constant reminder of our fire-beleaguered world here in the west.

There is a dark world in today’s verse, and it is our world.  Making it dark are unseen rulers, authorities, and powers that are in direct opposition to the Light of Jesus and to His “children of light.”  No, we do not see these spiritual forces of evil, but we know they are there as we see their effect.  Thankfully, we are not without recourse.  Because of God’s armor, we can stand firm against this dark world.  Believers have God’s truth, not only as our first line of defense (belt of truth verse 14) but also as our only and best offense. (sword of the Spirit, the Word of God verse 17)

I have no courage to stand.  Who am I to plant myself firmly against such an array of opposition?  But God tells me that my strength is in the Lord and in His mighty power. (verse 10)  He has given me truth and the truth is that the battle belongs to the Lord.  I am on the winning side!  Although this world is dark, following Jesus means I will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life! (John 8:12)

Thank you Lord, for being my strength and my light.


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The Napoleon Fish

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

The large face and fleshy lips of the Napoleon Fish give this gentle giant creature a peculiar look.  That knob on his forehead gives him his name, resembling Napoleon’s cap.  This coral reef fish living in the Indio Pacific region grows to over six feet and can weigh 418 pounds!  Each scale is as big as an adult’s palm.  Encountering him may seem frightening, but they are friendly, curious and easy to approach.

Today’s verse encourages the believer to be courageous and strong.  When we stand firm in our faith and are on our guard, we can experience this confident courage.  Part of being on our guard is understanding who the real enemy is and not allowing appearances to deceive us.  Sometimes an obstacle can seem threatening and elicit fear when in fact, its size is not the problem.  More problematic is the size of our faith!  Like the Israelites, we can cower before giants and fail to believe God’s promises of victory!  Believers are not to give in to fear as fear of man can prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Prov.29:25)

There are many potential dangers to life and limb.  But more importantly, there are dangers that can weaken our faith.  It is our faith that keeps us from a debilitating cycle of fear and worry.  God has promised me a sure and certain future with Him.  No one can snatch me from His hand (John 10:28) and nothing can separate me from His love. (Romans 8:38-39)  The One who resides in me is greater than my already-defeated foe who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

Thank you Lord, that regardless of scary circumstances I can remain strong and courageous in You.


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The Majestic Kea

Scripture for Today: Psalm 79:13 “Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.”

Meet the majestic Kea, the only alpine parrot in the world!  Residing in New Zealand, this olive green bird is a flash of scarlet color when in flight and is considered highly intelligent.  They have adapted well to hikers, learning how to get into windows and doors and undo packs to steal food.  They even attack the rubber on cars.  But more concerning are their attacks on sheep!

There is an attack on sheep referred to in today’s verse.  Neighboring nations were hurling contempt at God and His people. (verse 12)  Much like scoffers would do later (II Peter 3:3-4 ) they were asking, “Where is your God?” (verse 10)  The cry of this psalm is that God would avenge them and protect His name from this mockery.  Then, as His sheep, they would praise Him forever, proclaiming His praise to the current generation and the ones to follow.

The attacks on God’s own occur in every generation.  Mockers belittle the God of the universe and do their best to ridicule His people.  It would seem that as sheep, I am exposed and defenseless.  But in fact, God will not be mocked.  The God of the universe is also my Shepherd who shepherds the flock with justice. (Ezekiel 34:16)  He is also the Shepherd who judges. (verse 17)  That means that He will deal with those who attack with mockery, false rumors or anything else.  What reassurance to know that God will take care of every injustice!  And what a comfort to know that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow and give Him the praise that is due Him!

Thank you Lord, that You see and take care of every worldly attack!