Devotions By Jan

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Oh Rats!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

(photo credit:

The ship was crossing the channel, taking all of our family to England from France for a house exchange. We were thankful that no one suffered any sea sickness, there were no sudden squalls and we did not see rats making for the exits! Of course, if we had, we would have been plenty worried. It is a common belief that rats know when to flee a sinking ship. Some research seems to indicate that animals can pick up “infrasonic” sound pulses created by storms and earthquakes, giving them a head start toward safety. If I saw rats running for their lives, I would consider that a warning and follow!

Today’s verse promises reward for keeping God’s laws and decrees. That is the positive side. The negative side in this verse is that they also serve as a warning. Like the rats headed for the exit, God’s commandments give us warning. They let us know when we are headed toward trouble. God, in His grace, alerts us through His Word so that we can avoid needless heartbreak. Following His way rather than our own keeps us out of harm’s way.

My sin can hurt. It complicates my life and results in brokenness. But it does not have to be that way when I pay attention to His warning signs. It is so unpopular to speak of absolutes in the realm of right and wrong but these are not my words. God delineates very clearly in His Word between what is good and evil, black and white, dark and light. He makes it clear so I do not add senseless pain and guilt to my life.

Help me Lord, to see Your commandments as positive and loving.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2016)

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Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.”

I thought it odd to see this huge palm tree being trucked to a different home. The new owners must have gone to quite a bit of trouble and cost to transplant such a huge tree. The driver told us that the price tag to move and transplant it was $10,000! How awful if this majestic tree were to fail to take root in its new home!

Today’s verse describes how as believers we are rooted in a different soil. No longer are we in the soil of the world, but we have been transplanted. Those who place their faith in Christ as Lord and Master live their lives for Him. Being rooted and built up in Him means that faith is continually strengthened as we learn and grow. Being transplanted from the world into Him is made evident by our thankful spirit.

The Lord has gone to enormous lengths to transplant me. He has sacrificed Himself and bought me at a great price (I Cor. 6:20).  He has taken me out of the darkness and transplanted me in the light (Eph. 5:8). He has given me everything needed to live a godly life in Him (II Peter 1:3). I want my roots to go deeper and avoid the deceptive toxic soil of the world. In Him I am built up and my faith grows stronger, especially as I overflow with gratitude for all He has done for me!

Thank you Lord, for transplanting me in You! 

(Look familiar? This post is based on one from 2017)

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Falling in Love?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 89:2 “I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”

I am all for falling in chocolate as I will admit to being a chocoholic, especially loving the dark varieties. But I wouldn’t want to give up falling in love! This expression has been around at least since the 1590’s when Edmund Spenser wrote a poem entitled, “The Faerie Queen.” The phrase seems to suggest that this falling is entirely involuntary, unplanned and unexpected. But if one can fall IN love, perhaps one can just as easily fall OUT of it!

Today’s verse speaks of a love that stands firm forever. It is a love that is constant and true because of the One who is doing the loving! Beginning this relationship does not involve falling into it, unless we are falling to our knees in repentance and humility! The love relationship between the Lord and one who comes to Him in faith is absolutely a choice and absolutely overwhelming. He took the initiative in loving us first (I John 4:19) and loving us to the end. (John 13:1)

Unlike human flawed and fickle love, God’s love for me reaches to the skies! (Ps. 57:10) And unlike any earthly relationship, He will never disappoint. (Is. 49:23) That is because His love does not depend on me and my performance but on His faithful promise. His faithfulness to His Word is untouchable there in Heaven itself! What a huge comfort to know that the Lord is never going to give up on me!  Nothing is going to change His love.  God is Love in its most beautiful and purest form.

How amazing it is that You can love me, Lord! 


The Velvet Glove

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

After my Mother-in-law’s passing, I discovered a whole pile of her old gloves. Her tiny hands had enjoyed over the years the feel of leather, wool, and velvet. I would love for gloves to be back in fashion as they cover age spots, callouses and prominent veins! But the “velvet glove” hides something else entirely. This term refers to covering a strong and unyielding will or determination. The velvet represents a superficial gentleness masking what is underneath.

Today’s verse reminds believers to be clothed in what would signal to the world our identity as God’s own. The soft velvety characteristics are sincere. They appear when we bear with one another’s faults (verse 13). We are compassionate, kind, humble. gentle and patient with others when we are able to forgive. And that forgiveness is only possible when we realize what Christ had to do to forgive us! (verse 13)

My own will can be very strong. But I can easily mask it with an insincere show of gentleness and studied courtesy. However, the Lord sees my heart. Having the right spirit is something only His Spirit can accomplish in me. I need to allow His fingers to fill that glove and move me in the direction He wants. His way is so much better than my own and the submission He asks of me allows my love for others to be sincere.

Clothe me Lord, with Your love and forgiveness.