Devotions By Jan

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Morning Star

Scripture for Today: Psalm 8:1 “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.”

That “Morning Star” is the last to disappear before the sun rises. Venus is also called the “Evening Star” as it is the first star to appear after the sun sets. Of course Venus as a planet is not a star, shining the brightest and outshining the four other planets doing roughly the same thing. Regardless of which planets deserve this distinction, the rising and setting of our sun is the main event, far out shining anything else!

Today’s verse reminds us that we see the glory of the Lord, our Lord, when we gaze up into the heavens. The heavens declare His glory without using any words. (Psalm 19:1-4) The God of the Bible is even described as being like the sun (Psalm 84:11) as He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5) Jesus is called the Morning Star (II Peter 1:19. Rev. 22:16) and as His followers we ourselves are called “children of light.” (I Thes. 5:5)

Like the planets, I cannot produce any light of my own. Any light I generate is a reflection of His glory! And just as the light of the planets disappear when the superior light of the sun arrives, so I am to give Him the glory He so deserves. And when the darkness seems to be winning, I can still shine with the light of the Gospel and point others to Him. I want today to be about my Light. He is the source of every gift, talent or success. He is my Lord and Creator and deserves all the glory!

Lord, keep my light shining for You.

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Roller Coaster Regret!

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

What could possibly have motivated us to get in that roller coaster? Perhaps it was our daughter’s reassurance that it was a “mild one.” Maybe it was wanting to appear younger to our grandson. But it had been decades since our last ride and we had forgotten what that heart-stopping motion was like! We are all smiles here in the “before” shot, but the “after” picture would have captured us pale, wide-eyed and stumbling out!

Today’s verse describes the exact opposite of that “moving experience.” Paul is encouraging the believers in Corinth to let nothing move them. They are to stand firm and resolute in their desire to live their lives in service to the Lord. For these early Christians, persecution and the threat of death could easily dissuade them. They are reassured that even death would have no sting (verse 55) and their labor for the Lord would be worth it as they looked forward to ultimate victory.

Very difficult circumstances can threaten to move me. My faith can be shaken to its core by unanswered prayer, devastating news or physical challenges. But the Lord asks me to stand firm in my faith without knowing the “why” behind what is happening. Unmet expectations have the potential of making me cynical about faithfulness to Him. But when I look ahead to the reward He promises, then I know that living for Him will never be in vain.

Lord, keep me standing firm.

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Artificial Intelligence

Scripture for Today: Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

Artificial Intelligence is front and center these days with the popularity of the GPT chatbot. This computer program uses vast amounts of internet text to answer questions and perform tasks while itself not knowing anything! Its conversational style, creativity and authoritative replies are blowing minds! The problem however is that the GPT chatbot can generate misleading information as well. As with any information, it is always best to verify it from the original source before relying on it.

Today’s verse talks about going a step further than knowledge. As important as intelligence is in so many domains, wisdom is what will affect our day to day living. Wisdom is skillful living and its beginning is found in a correct relationship to the God of the Bible. We are wise when we live like HE is God and we are not. We are wise when we realize our own limitations and His unlimited power. He is all-knowing and absolutely infallible. Obeying what He says is right and true will make us wise.

Artificial intelligence cannot help me live my life with skill and godliness. It can make me knowledgeable but not wise. I have the beginning of wisdom in my relationship with God through Christ. But to grow in wisdom is to accept His invitation to approach Him and actually ask for it in the decisions I make! (James 1:5) He is the limitless and infallible source of every answer I need! He even promises to make wise the simple! (Psalm 19:7)

Remind me Lord, to turn to You today for wisdom.

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What Palms Tell You

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:15-16a “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

Palm reading is generally thought to be a superstitious belief but it continues to enjoy some success for those who want to believe. There are different types of palmistry practiced but the idea is to interpret one’s future by looking at the heart, head, life or fate lines. Classic palmistry has its roots in Greek mythology where a god or a goddess is related to different areas of the palm or fingers.

Today’s verse talks about God’s palm and what is written there! The Lord is reassuring the Israelites that He will never forget them. As unusual as it may be for a mother to forget her child, He will never forget His own chosen people. A mother may not have compassion for her child, but the Lord will comfort His people and will have compassion on them. (verse 13) Those that God loves He will never abandon. Those that He loves are engraved on the palms of His hands.

How reassuring it is that the Lord will never forget me! His thoughts towards me are as numerous as all the grains of sand in the world. (Psalm 139:18) That means I can never catch Him NOT thinking of me! His palms are engraved with my name and no one can snatch me out of those loving powerful hands! (John 10:28) Not only is my name there but also the scars that prove His love for me. My heart, hand, life or fate are all in His control as I belong to Him. What an amazing confidence and peace His love makes possible!

Thank you Lord, that You will never forget me.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2020)



Scripture for Today:  Philippians 3:12  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

There is no mystery at all as to why driftwood is called driftwood. It is simply wood that has drifted. The wood comes to be in the water through flooding or storms breaking off tree branches. Or it could be there as a result of logging. In any case, the wood drifts aimlessly at the whim of the waves. When and where it washes up on to shore seems completely arbitrary. Just like for some people, circumstances push and prod to move a body from here to there with no clear goal in mind.

In today’s verse, Paul lives his life with a specific goal in mind. He wants to gain Christ (verse 8) be found in Christ (verse 9) and to know Christ (verse 10). Paul not only wanted to know Jesus and His power, he was ready to suffer for His sake. He was willing to completely deny himself and take up his cross to follow Him (Luke 9:23). His goals would last a lifetime and make his life significant. There would be no aimless drifting through life for him!

As I face a New Year, it seems as good a time as any to stop and think about my goals. Making resolutions that are forgotten by the Spring are not helpful. But to live a life that is intentional will mean that I do not drift aimlessly. I find that with passing time, the years seem to fly by quicker than they used to. What is my purpose? I can think of no loftier one than to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him. Like Paul, I want to press on with goals that are eternally significant!

Lord, keep me from drifting today or this year!