Devotions By Jan


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Woody

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Meet Woody (the one on the left!). This well-loved quarter horse belonging to our cousin was cared for and cherished for thirty seven and a half years! This particular breed is listed along with four others as likely to live the longest. But that just makes their departure so much more devastating. Woody’s gentle loving spirit will be sorely missed. But what was especially heart-wrenching was learning of those last moments. The vet allowed Jenny to lay down over Woody’s heart as it slowed and stopped, assuring him of her love.

Today’s verse is all about the heart. Not only is it the seat of our emotions and will but the heart determines everything in life. It is with our hearts that we ultimately make our decisions. Everything we do flows from what our heart is telling us to do. If we could just understand our hearts then we can faithfully follow it and all will be well. Except that the heart is deceitful and no one can understand it (Jer. 17:9). That is why we are told to carefully guard the heart.

How do I guard my heart? Because it is deceitful I need the truth of God’s Word to have any kind of perspective. When I face a life-changing decision, I do not trust my fickle heart. It is through my prayers, petitions and thanksgiving that I can guard my heart and mind with the peace God promises (Phil. 4:7). His peace replaces the anxiety and second guessing. With every beat of my heart, His peace reassures me of His love and presence!

Lord, guard my heart with Your truth and Your peace.


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Queen for a Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 90:4 “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by or like a watch in the night.”

I risk dating myself by admitting to watching this television program as a child. The contestants would share their difficult circumstances and the audience would vote on who was most deserving to be crowned, “queen for a day.” Much was made of the crown, robe and roses and the lucky lady was given gifts and paid nights out. In contrast, much is made today (and rightly so) of the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, seventy years on the throne!

Today’s verse gives us another perspective on the passage of time, be it a day or seventy years. The One who created time is not bound by it. He sits above the heavens and in the light of eternity His view is completely different than ours! A thousand years to the God of the universe is just a blink of the eye. And the span of our years, however many there are, is nothing before Him (Ps. 39:5). Our years pass too quickly, and then we “fly away.” (Ps. 90:10)

It all sounds pretty negative until I realize what is ahead! Queen Elizabeth’s faith in Christ means that she is now in a different Kingdom where she herself bows the knee to the King of Kings! And my faith in Christ also means an eternity with my Creator and the Lover of my soul! In the meantime, this same psalm tells me to number my days (verse 12) and so live wisely. My days are to be spent focused on serving my King. And being “heavenly minded” means I can be of the most earthly good!

Lord, may this day be lived for You.


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Heat Wave

Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:4 “For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Just as our thoughts turn to the new school year, shorter days, and the reappearance of pumpkin spice, along comes a heat wave! In our part of the world it seems to happen every year about this time, but it always surprises me! The usual precautions are taken, those taken the last few months, as we wait for that last gasp of summer to finish. The heat has a way of demotivating us, putting on hold all those preparations for the fall.

In today’s verse David describes himself as being sapped of strength. It is as if he is experiencing the heat of summer. David is feeling this way, not because of the weather but because he is feeling bad about his sin. The conviction he was experiencing felt like the pressure of a hand on him day and night. But that discomfort lasted only as long as he was silent about it. The minute he came clean with God, he felt the huge relief of forgiveness. God forgave him of his sin and even the guilt he felt about it (vs 5).

I wonder how long it took David to realize why he was feeling as he was. If he were anything like me, it may have been awhile! I sometimes grow so used to my own sin that I become calloused and even unaware. But eventually, that lack of joy and peace with the Lover of my soul becomes obvious. There is never a good enough reason to put off that badly needed confession. Despite the discomfort, the relief felt when I rise from my knees makes confession worth it!

Thank you Lord, that You are faithful to forgive.