Devotions By Jan


Unexpected Love

Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:21 “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.”

Katya is speechless as she accepts a bouquet of pink and white flowers from the Ukrainian president. She is lying in a Kyiv hospital as a victim of gunfire, there because she saved the life of her younger brother. Tears flow as she accepts this unexpected tribute. No, it is not easy to do the right thing as the President said. The city all around them is under siege experiencing the horrors of war. Yet somehow, a glimmer of love shines through.

Today’s verse finds David in a city under siege as well. He is surrounded by his enemies. But even there, he is confident that the Lord will hear his cry for mercy. (verse 22) In the worst of circumstances David recognizes the wonders of God’s love. He asserts that God sees and he is not “cut off from His sight.” David trusts in God’s promise to preserve those that are true to Him. (verse 23) This psalm ends with a challenge to those who hope in the Lord to be strong and take heart.

Can I find evidence of the wonders of God’s love in the middle of the most dire and awful circumstances? Or am I only convinced of God’s love when everything is safe and goes smoothly? He has promised that His love is from everlasting to everlasting to those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:17) That does not necessarily mean that I will escape a violent death. But it does mean that my life is in His hands as He has already numbered my days. (Ps. 139:16) Whether in wartime or in peace, my loving Lord will bring me safely home to Him.

Thank you Lord, for the hope I have in You.

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Hope Springs Eternal

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Photo by Rick Cameron

The saying, “hope springs eternal” is certainly true for Ellie, the dog! The ripened acorns are fragrant and entice Ellie to sniff but not enough so that she actually tries them. Still, she will sniff each and every acorn just to be sure! This saying comes from a poem written in 1734 by Alexander Pope called, “Essay on Man.” The complete phrase ends with “in the human breast.” For all of us, hope is a motivating emotion that keeps us from giving up.

Today’s verse is part of a psalm that is all about hope. It is a hope that is well placed, being in God the Savior. It is a hope that is not just momentary but lasting all day long. And it is because of this hope that David can be confident of God’s guidance and truth. He affirms that those who hope in God will never be put to shame (verse 3). And David can call on God for His protection because his hope is in the Lord (verse 21).

This hope and confidence is not just for David! Because my God is the “God of hope”, I can experience joy and peace. (Rom. 15:13) My hope is continuous on this earth, but someday my hope will be realized in Heaven when I am with Him face to face! It is this hope that motivates me to stay the course. Hope in Him is sure and will never put me to shame. To put my hope in anything or anyone else is never as sure. Hope in the Lord not only motivates but anchors my soul in truth!

Thank you Lord, that hope in You will never disappoint!

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Blind Trust?

Scripture for Today: Romans 15:13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

These tiny newborn birds have their mouths open wide in anticipation of the next morsel of food from their mother.  These little birds are so new that their eyes have not yet opened.  They cannot see their mother but they sense she is there.  They have no choice in the menu but seem confident enough to eat and swallow without question what the mother provides.  Theirs is a blind trust.

Today’s verse describes the joy and peace that is ours when we trust the One who is totally trustworthy! When we trust His provision we overflow with hope. This hope comes through the power of His Holy Spirit. It may sometimes seem like a “blind trust” as we cannot understand the work of God completely (Eccl. 11:5). We do not see the path of the wind or how the bones are formed in the mother’s womb. There is so much we do not understand. Like these newborn fledglings, we trust our Heavenly Father without knowing all the details.

What is reassuring about my trust is that it is not really blind. I know the One in whom I place my trust and that makes all the difference! When I cannot understand what He is doing, I can still trust that He will be true to His character: loving, good, faithful and true. I can trust that He will be true to His Word.  He is never random or capricious. I can open my mouth wide to receive whatever it is He has in store for me.

Thank you Lord, for the joy and peace that comes from trusting You.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014.)

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Clinging to a Web

Scripture for Today: Job 8:13-15 “Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What they trust in is fragile. What they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web but it gives way. They cling to it, but it does not hold.”

This frosted spider web almost looks like something crocheted! It is so beautiful and intricate. I would be more enthusiastic about webs if they did not involve hidden lurking spiders! It is said that spider silk is stronger than steel. And by some criteria that is true. Most spider silk has a high tensile strength comparable to that of a high grade alloy steel. The “tensile” strength refers to the largest stress that a material can stand before breaking. The spider silk is one of God’s wonders in creation as it can stretch up to five times its relaxed weight before breaking.

Today’s verse is part of a conversation between Job and one of his three friends, Bildad. Much of what his three friends said was discouraging for Job as they assumed his trials were a result of some hidden sin. But the observation Bildad makes in this verse is absolutely true. Those that forget God and do not trust in Him find themselves relying on a spider’s web! Trusting on anything or anyone other than the Lord is a fragile trust that will eventually give way. 

My own ideas, my own strength or even my own resources are like relying on that spider web. It will only hold me up temporarily. It is just too flimsy and fragile. The Lord tells me not to even lean on my own understanding but to trust Him. (Prov. 3:5-6) How much better to lean on the One whose power and might can hold me up in any circumstance!

Thank you Lord, that I can rely on You and Your strength!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)