Devotions By Jan

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Bread-Loving Cat

Proverbs 6:25-26a “Do not lust in your heart for her beauty, and do not let her captivate you with her alluring eyes.  For on account of a prostitute one is brought down to a loaf of bread…”

photo credit: Julie Corsi at

This is not our cat, Tiger, but it very well could be. We were always careful to close the kitchen door when any food was left out. Tiger was not very discriminating in his tastes and would try just about any “people food!” As long as it was forbidden, it was somehow worth the effort to climb up on the counters or table and brave our displeasure.  Of course our cat, being French, was spoiled with the availability of baguette!

Today’s verse uses the image of a loaf of bread to describe the impoverished state of a man who visits a prostitute.  He not only wastes his money on something that does not really satisfy, but he also cheapens what is meant to be beautiful within the commitment of marriage. In allowing himself to be captivated by lust, he impoverishes his very soul. What could be romantic, noble and satisfying is reduced to something as ordinary and common as a piece of bread.

The warning in this verse can also apply to what goes on in my heart and mind. Jesus puts the standard very high teaching that secret lust is as serious as actual sexual sin (Matt. 5:28). The standard is put so high in order to safeguard what is meant to be beautiful. Rather than think of God’s Law as restrictive, I see His way as being what is most satisfying. Sexual immorality impoverishes whereas following God’s plan enriches and deepens a relationship.

Lord, protect my heart and mind from cheapening what You mean to be rich and satisfying.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)

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The Pelican

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 15:4 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

How can something be so majestic and wonderful and yet make me laugh at the same time? The pelican is an impressive bird, soaring overhead with a huge wing span. But up close and personal, that large elastic throat pouch of theirs looks amusing. However, God in His creativity designed that pouch to catch up to three gallons of water with their prey. They then throw back their heads and squeeze the water out of the sides of the pouch, leaving the fish ready to be swallowed. A pelican will swallow lots of things from fish and crustaceans to tadpoles and turtles. If they are hungry enough, they might even drown and swallow a seagull! Having all that water with their catch allows them to swallow just about anything!

Today’s verse contrasts one who is discerning to the one who is a fool, swallowing anything! The discerning heart will seek knowledge and wisdom. The fool, however, seems to be satisfied with foolish things. The fool has no discernment and will swallow whatever folly the world presents, whether it is in the form of mindless television, slick magazines, or the latest fad.

I do not want to be a fool. I want to be discerning in what I “swallow.” Feeding on God’s Word gives me that discernment as it teaches me what is truth. But it requires effort on my part. I am to seek this knowledge rather than just mindlessly going through my day. It is intentional living. I want to be mindful as to what I will allow myself to accept.

Lord, make my heart discerning as I feed on the Truth of Your Word. Don’t let me swallow anything else!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)

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No Way!!

Scripture for Today: Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

What a shock to find yourself 49 billion dollars in debt! But that was the nasty surprise that awaited a young woman recently on returning home after a night out. I can just imagine the chaotic scene that followed after checking her bank balance on her phone at 2 am. Of course it could be nothing but a technical glitch by the bank. And in fact, the whole matter was cleared up in the morning. At least, it made for a good story!

There is a much more important debt in today’s verse. It can never be completely paid and it is the debt of love. It is a continuing debt as no one can say they have paid it in full. Perfectly loving others completely fulfills the Law. This is because all of the Law is summed up in loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (verse 9). Adultery, murder, theft or covetousness would never be a part of showing love as love will never do harm to a neighbor (verse 10). There is only One who has been able to fulfill the Law with a perfect love; Jesus.

Perfect love would not describe me. It is not so much what I do not do to my neighbor as in these obvious sins. It is rather the good I fail to do for my neighbor. Being selfish and self-centered keeps me from loving and serving like Christ did. Thankfully, Jesus has made His love available to me in the person of His Spirit. His filling and control can change my heart from self-centered to others-centered..

Lord, fill my heart with Your love today.

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Sand Berm

Scripture for Today: Psalm 124:1, 4-5 “If the Lord had not been on our side-let Israel say-the flood would have engulfed us ; the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.”

Louisiana GOHSEP at

This sand berm was built with the help of some heavy earth-moving equipment on the coast of Louisiana. It did not need to be especially high but just enough to protect the marshlands from an oil spill. The building of sand berms along the coast of Southern California is a yearly necessity for those times when tides are high. Extra protection is especially needed for those vulnerable low-lying beaches to avoid flooding! Residents are preparing now for the predicted evening tides of seven and a half feet.

Today’s verses describe a flood of waters that threaten to engulf David and his people. The sweeping torrent and the raging waters were an image to represent the opposition of their enemies. With the words, “let Israel say,” David encourages the Israelites to recognize from whom their help comes! They were saved from their enemies because of the help in the name of their Lord. He is the One with power as He is the Maker of heaven and earth (verse 8)

How important it is to be on the right side of that berm! If God is for me, who and what can stand against me? (Romans 8:31) He who controls the wind, the waves and the water levels of opposition in my life will be my ultimate protection. My sense of safety or well-being cannot come from any other quarter. Despite feeling overwhelmed with what looks like evil taking ground in our world, I can feel peace. How reassuring it is to know that I am on the side of the Victor!

Thank you Lord for Your protection.

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Scripture for Today: Proverbs 27:19 “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

This fox looks a little confused! The light and angle of the water is just right for him to see his reflection. Perhaps he is enthralled with himself or maybe he is startled to think he is not alone! I wonder how long he stood there looking at himself. Perhaps he stood rooted to the ground just until the image was distorted by a ripple in the water or a falling leaf.

Today’s verse likens the reflection of water to the way the heart of man is reflected in how he lives. It seems a very obvious statement. But there are so many things that muddy the waters and distort that reflection. A polished image on the outside can even be a distraction as to the state of our hearts. Add a suit and tie, a classy car, and a smooth tongue and assumptions are made as to the character of a man. A practiced smile and impeccable manners can go a long way to misrepresent who we really are. But eventually, like still waters reflect an image, so our hearts are revealed in the way we live our lives.

My heart is just as desperately wicked as described in Jeremiah 17:9. I am often deceived into thinking that I am really a pretty good person. But that is deception. I continually need His grace and forgiveness for all the hidden sins. The image I project to the world is lost on the Lord! He sees every ugly thought in my heart. The amazing thing is that He loves me anyway. He waits for me to turn my heart to Him for cleansing. He is always faithful to do it! And  when He does, His image in me is beautiful!

Lord, make my heart beautiful today.