Devotions By Jan


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Caregiver

Scripture for Today: Psalm 43:3 “Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”

The role of “caregiver” is never one that I envisioned for myself. But with the failing heart health of my Mother-in-law at 95 years old, it is a role that my husband and I have gladly embraced. Home hospice care has got to be one of the hardest kinds of care to give. But these moments at end of life are precious as we talk of Heaven, Jesus and those who have gone before. Sweet memories are made as we openly share our love.

Today’s verse speaks of a care that does more than any care we can give each other. God’s care is constant and faithful. With that care comes His light, making His presence felt. His care and light reassure us of His love. And especially when leaving this earth, His light and care lead us to His literal presence. Because He cares for us, we can cast on Him and on His shoulders all the anxiety we may be feeling (I Peter 5:7).

How incredible it is that He should care for me! He not only cares about physical ailments but He cares about my worry and fear. His light and care lead me to Himself and to a deeper intimacy with Him. No caregiver can do what He does for me or what He is currently doing for my Mother-in-law. He answers when I call. He dries my tears and encourages me with a song. He reassures me of His love and perfect plan. He reminds me of an incredible future that awaits. He calms my fears and gives me unexplainable peace.

Thank you Lord, for your amazing caregiving!


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Matching Chocolate Game

Scripture for Today: Matthew 23:3 “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

Photo credit: Jo Zimny Photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyz51/38331378485

This is my kind of matching game! And I can assure you that it would not stay in a game cupboard to be played again another day! I would be most motivated to play it if I could immediately eat the pairs I found. Judging from the time recorded for this player, perhaps that is what happened! But taking that short amount of time to actually eat the chocolate pairs seems about right!

Today’s verse talks about the importance of matching something else: our behavior with our words. Jesus acknowledges that the teachers of the Law sometimes got it right. But what they consistently did not was their day-to-day practice of what they knew was true. Those listening were to be discerning. They were not told to dismiss a message that was true to God’s Word. But they were not to follow their example of legalistic and prideful self-righteousness.

The standard of practicing what is preached is a very high one. And I can relate to Paul who shares his struggle in Romans 7:18. “…I have the desire to do what is good but cannot carry it out.” I will never be able to consistently practice what I preach, hard as I may try. How gracious God is to convict and forgive me! But when I pretend that my behavior always matches my words, then I am also guilty of hypocrisy. I need to humbly see the “mismatch” and be honest with God and authentic with others! People will see my failures but hopefully they will see humility and His forgiveness as well!

Thank you Lord, for Your patience with me!


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Passion Flower

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:2b “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

With a name like “passion flower” it would seem more logical to offer these to the love of one’s life rather than roses! The original Latin genus name is “passiflora.” In the early 1700’s missionaries in Brazil used this flower as a teaching aid to explain the crucifixion. Because of the five stamens, they called it the “flower of 5 wounds” referring to the nail wounds in the hands and feet of Jesus and the lance wound in His side. Being that today begins Passion Week, the week leading up to Christ’s resurrection, this flower reminds me of His passion to save.

Today’s verse gives us a glimpse into the passion Jesus felt as He hung on that cross. He endured the pain, the humiliation and the shame. He endured the scorn and the excruciating separation from His Father for the first time in all eternity. And He did it all for the joy set before Him. He knew that death was not the end and that three days later He would rise again! Further, He knew that He would sit down at the Father’s right hand and intercede for us (Romans 8:34).

Why was He so passionate? What was the joy set before Him? Could it have been me? He rescued me because He delighted in me (Psalm 18:19). He takes great delight in me and in His love will no longer rebuke me but rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Because of His sacrifice an eternal love relationship is now possible. Understandably it is a joy for me. How amazing that I am a joy to Him as well!

Thank you Lord, for being a passionate God!


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The Least Bittern

Scripture for Today: Luke 9:48 “…Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you who is the greatest.”

Photo Credit: Jerry Hammond

This beautiful bird is one of the smallest and lightest of the herons. Rather than wade in the water like the other herons he will hide in the reeds and cattails of the marshes. With his long toes gripping the reeds, he picks off his prey from the water’s surface. Being smaller and more vulnerable, he will hide from danger by freezing in place with his bill pointing up. And to further blend, in he will sway with the wind-blown reeds.

Today’s verse describes someone else who is smaller and more vulnerable. The disciples had been arguing among themselves as to who between them would be the greatest. Jesus corrects their thinking by presenting them a small child. It is the least among you who is in fact the greatest. Those that exalt themselves will be humbled but those who humble themselves will be exalted! (Luke 18:14) The little children were not to be kept away from Him as, “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)

This is so opposite from how I would normally think of greatness. The child is usually considered unimportant, without influence and in a humbled position. Yet, God exalts the child in His Kingdom. When I exalt myself, I am taking honor away from Whom it belongs. It is when I take the humble position, giving place and importance to others, that my Father is honored. I may feel slighted by others for doing this. But that’s okay. I’d rather have the favor He promises! (James 4:6)

Lord, keep me humble.