Devotions By Jan


National Honesty Day

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 12:22 “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

Who would have thought it, that there is a National Day that encourages honesty! It was created by author and former press secretary, Hirsh Goldberg in the early 1990’s. He chose this date to counteract April Fool’s Day. This day also marks the first inauguration of George Washington (who was thought to have never told a lie). The idea is to ask each other questions and be ready for some surprisingly different answers! This day would not be needed had we all Pinocchio noses that grew with our lies!

Today’s verse lets us know what the Lord thinks of lying. Not surprisingly, the Holy One who is Himself, Truth, detests lies. The motive behind the lie does not seem to figure in to His view. The word “detests” is also translated “extremely disgusted.” In fact, lying is mentioned twice in that list of seven sins detestable to the Lord! (Prov. 6:16-19) Just as intense as His disgust is His delight in those who make the hard choice to speak and deal honestly. The Lord delights in those who fear Him (Ps.147:11) and we show that fear by our obedience.

I am embarrassed to admit that I do not always have the high standards of trustworthiness that God requires. It is too easy for me to rate lies and treat less seriously those “little white lies” or those half truths. I can rationalize leaving out an important detail that would deceive the one listening. I can intentionally give someone a totally false idea but not class it as an outright lie! I may not get caught in the lie. But I do feel a distance from the One who is Truth.

Lord, may I feel Your delight by being trustworthy today.


Birds of a Feather

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 10:18 “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and He loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

In seeing this image of a black and white stork I initially thought him quite disciplined to follow the rules of the road. But of course storks do not normally use a crosswalk. What a thought! Then I wondered if he were drawn to those black and white colors. After all, those are the same as his colors. And isn’t it true that we are drawn to and more comfortable with those who are like ourselves?

Today’s verse gives us another glimpse into the heart of God. He is especially attentive to the needs of orphans and widows. But He has a special place in His affections for the foreigner. God understands how easy it is for us humans to shun the one who is different from ourselves. But God’s perspective sees what is on the inside of man. And there, there are no differences when it comes to our need for love and significance. The Lord shows special love to the lost, lonely and displaced person. 

Having been a foreigner for many years myself, I know what it is to depend on the kindness of others in a host country. I could only get by because of those willing to reach out to others unlike themselves. Having been on the receiving end gives me a special empathy to extend love and help as He asks me to do (verse 19). Even so, it is an effort to leave my comfort zone and reach out to those different from myself.

Help me Lord, to have the same heart for the foreigner as You do.

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Rocking the Boat

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”


Everyone knows not to fidget and stand up in a boat. Those that do are at risk to lose their balance and fall overboard. Changing places with someone while in a moving boat can be especially tricky! All that moving around rocks the boat and makes everyone aboard nervous. There is much less risk of a fall overboard when calmly staying still in one place.

From today’s verse we know that the Lord does not intend for us to fidget with anxiety. Whatever is rocking the boat is included in the phrase, “in every situation.” For each and every emotion or logistic detail, He is waiting for us to give it to Him in prayer. When we do, the tension dissipates. The rocking stops. We are not falling overboard. In thanking Him, even in the difficulties, we are recognizing His hand and control. We can sit still in the boat and feel His peace that goes beyond all understanding (verse 7).

There are certainly times I feel like I am changing places in a moving boat. With our transatlantic move, everything seemed to be in upheaval. The boat was rocking many times a day as we prepared. Not only were we preparing our departure with a myriad of details but also our arrival on the other side. Sometimes, anxiety got the best of me with so much internal rocking and fidgeting that I felt I was falling. But He promises His peace when I can give it all to Him. At least on the inside I could sit still and be calm.

Thank You Lord, that You make possible a life without anxiety. Help me just sit still and enjoy the ride!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)

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Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:9 “She (wisdom) will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”


What woman does not feel more beautiful with a flower garland on her head? Even as little girls, we play with field flowers, making chains and placing them on our heads. We pretend we are princesses and prance around feeling special. There does seem to be something royal about a garland on the head as it can resemble a tiara. The bridal industry understands this and there is quite a wide choice of flower garlands for the big day.

Today’s verse describes wisdom as being that garland or crown. Wisdom in a life makes it beautiful and graceful. Wisdom, or skillful living, even brightens the face and changes its hard appearance! (Eccl. 8:1) More important than physical beauty, a wise life exudes a loveliness and grace that does not diminish with time. And that wisdom is found in obeying and loving His Word. It is the Lord who gives this wisdom as knowledge and understanding come directly from His mouth (Prov. 2:6)

Like Eve, I can desire wisdom but look in the wrong place for it (Gen. 3:6). Just because something looks good and pleases the eye does not mean it will make me wise. A life marked by wisdom will be a life that makes right choices. And I cannot discern which choices are right without God’s Word telling me exactly what they are! He is my source of wisdom, helping me lead a life without the complications and sorrow of sin. Obedience to my Creator is wise living that creates for me grace and glory!

Lord, grace my head with Your wisdom today.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)

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Jolly Green Giant

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I can still remember the days when canned and frozen foods were not so prevalent in France twenty-five years ago.  Most everything had to be made from scratch. Now, the Jolly Green Giant is everywhere.  But I have always wondered why this giant was jolly. In God’s Word, the giant, Goliath, was a mighty warrior that defied the Lord Almighty and His people. The other four giants mentioned in II Samuel 21 were not so jolly either. Each one vehemently opposed the God of the universe. None of these giants finished well having been defeated by God’s people. In each victory God gave amazing strength to square off against these impossibly large warriors. 

Today’s verse is a declaration by Paul of the strength God gives. Because of this strength, Paul was able to face a particular giant; the giant of discontent. The context speaks of learning to be content in any and every situation.  Paul could live a contented life only through the strength God gives. His contentment did not come from having lots or having little. His contentment came directly from His Creator. And his circumstances never held him back from being all that God wanted him to be.

Discontent can loom like a giant for me. Overcoming feelings of dissatisfaction can seem nearly impossible. The size of my longings for a different set of circumstances can blot out the joy of following the path the Lord has chosen for me. But with the strength God offers, I can vanquish feelings of deprivation and dissatisfaction. This is not something I can achieve on my own but only through Him. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Thank you Lord, for Your strength to cut down to size any discontent I may feel today!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)