Devotions By Jan


The Slug

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 26:15  “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.”

The slug is a disgusting creature. It has to be part of the curse! Surely, the new earth will have no such nastiness! They munch on flowers and greenery and leave a nasty slimy trail. At our home in France they would especially come out at night and we would have to be careful where we stepped! At least they move so slowly that removing them is no problem, just very disgusting. There are plenty of products that poison them, but so does a good shake of salt!

Today’s verse describes the sluggard, not a slug. But it is easy to equate the two as both are slow. The sluggard is so lazy he cannot be bothered to lift his hand to his mouth, even to eat! Proverbs has a lot to say about the sluggard. He is mentioned fourteen times and always in a negative light. He will sleep all day and would rather beg than work. He will use any excuse not to leave the house, even an imaginary lion outside! (Prov. 22:13) 

I would not be honest if I did not admit to sometimes feeling like a sluggard, most notably after a large meal! There are those lazy moments when we are self-indulgent and quite frankly do not feel like lifting a finger! Hopefully, those moments do not characterize my life! With faith in Christ I have received a new nature. Lazy habits can be left behind with the old nature! The Lord keeps me motivated to move, to work, and to advance towards goals. He gives me purpose. He gives me energy. And He keeps me balanced. Serving and glorifying Him with my life leaves no room for laziness!

Lord, thank you for keeping me motivated!

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Scripture for Today: Psalm 125:2 “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forever.”

During our four years in Grenoble, France, we were spoiled with beautiful mountain views. The city sits in a basin, surrounded by several mountain chains. There is the Chartreuse, the Vercors and the Belledonne chains. It was nearly impossible to look up and not see mountains! Grenoble is considered the capital of the French Alps and we never tired of gazing on those magnificent mountains surrounding us! It was a constant visual prompt to consider the grandeur of our God.

Today’s verse likens the love and protection of the Lord to surrounding mountains. Jerusalem is not surrounded by a ring of peaks, but it is situated in a mountainous region. God’s care is as constant and unmoving as mountains. The permanence of mountains reminds us of His faithfulness to His unchangeable word. Those who trust in Him and His care are not shaken (verse 1) but are themselves like Mount Zion.

What a wonderful assurance to know that I am surrounded by God’s constant faithful love! There is nowhere that I can turn that I cannot see it and feel it. Like a ring of mountains, His love surrounds me. He reminds me with every mountain view just how wide, long, high and deep His love is for me. (Eph. 3:18) He especially reminds me when I read His Word with His promises of love. There is nothing I can do to remove those mountains far from me. His love is too strong! Nothing can separate me from that love. My view of it may be blocked by my own waywardness or doubts, but it continues on. His love continues today, tomorrow and for eternity!

Lord, may I feel your love today, surrounding, supporting and reassuring me.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)

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Balanced Rock

Scripture for Today: I Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

These incredible red rock formations at Arches National Park made us feel quite small and insignificant. But as impressive as they were, we were not tempted to get too close to this one, called, “Balanced Rock.” I am sure it has stood precariously balanced for a very long time. But what if it decided to give up and fall at the very moment we walked in its shadow?

Today’s verse speaks of three different and distinct parts of man. Each part of us needs to be blameless before our God. He is a God of peace and when we are set apart or sanctified for Him, we can enjoy His peace. When one part of us is not wholly committed to Him we miss out on that perfect peace He offers. We are to be blameless through and through but that is never achieved by merely our own efforts. It is His work in us. The One who calls us is faithful and HE will do it! (verse 24)

There is quite a bit of emphasis today on keeping our bodies healthy. It is an important concern but surely not more important than the spiritual health of our spirits and souls! If we were to give as much attention to the unseen part of us as the visible part, we would find a deeper enjoyment of our God of peace! I want balance. I want Him to be Lord of all of me, through and through! Should my body weaken, I do not want my soul and spirit to follow suit!

Lord, make all of me healthy!

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Meeting My Twin

Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

The unthinkable actually happened. We were visiting a chateau in the Loire Valley with friends and I crossed paths with my twin. Okay, so she was not my twin but we were wearing the same dress. My husband had to snap the picture. However, it was not for the purpose of playing the game, “Who Wore it Better?” Normally, one does not strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in French society, but in this case an exception was made! We had a good laugh and teased each other about our good taste and our different accessories.

Today’s verse comes from a psalm of David that acknowledges God’s intimate knowledge of His creation. From the very beginning in our mother’s womb, He has formed us to be exactly who we are. Our particular combination of DNA is not by chance. Each one of us, even identical twins, can say we are unique and unlike anyone else. And each of us can say that we are wonderfully made when we see all the intricacies and complexities to our bodies.

The fact that we are unique can also be said of our individual relationship with God. All men have the same need for salvation. And all believers have the same access to God through His Son, Jesus. However, each of us relate to Him a bit differently. Our personalities, life experiences, our emotions and our understanding of God’s Word all play a part in this special and unique and growing relationship. There are no cookie-cutter ways to commune with Him. Although based on what Scripture teaches, His relationship with me is unique to me. 

Thank you Lord, that You make our relationship so intensely personal!

(Look familiar? This is a reworked post from 2006!)


The Feet of a Deer

Scripture for Today: Habakkuk 3:19 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The deer at this altitude seems totally unimpressed with the view! It is because the feet of the deer are so adapted to climbing that they can reach these heights. Whether chasing other deer, evading danger or simply running, their muscular hind legs propel them forward. The front legs actually act like pivot points to make sharp turns. But it is the hooves that make it all possible. The deer can place his back feet exactly where his two front feet were, needing only two foot rests instead of four.

The prophet, Habakkuk, declares in today’s verse that the Sovereign Lord is his strength. He acknowledges by this statement that he has no strength of his own. And by calling the Lord, “Sovereign,” he recognizes that whatever his difficult circumstances may be, God is the One who is in control. Rather than focus on his limitations, Habakkuk sees God leading him to the heights, enabling him to stand confident and sure-footed! Habakkuk is not living in his circumstances, but above them!

Without God’s help and strength, I am unsure and wobbly. When the path is level I can do pretty well on my own. The problem is that my life is seldom smooth. My path is strewn with pits and obstacles. My circumstances trip me up. Instead of relying on Him, I try to maneuver on my own. In doing so, my head is down and I miss the heights with their fantastic views. I need God’s help and strength everyday.  When He answers my cry, He enables me to stand on the heights and enjoy the view of His faithfulness!

Lord, make my feet like the deer today.