Devotions By Jan


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Elephant Feet

Scripture for Today: I Samuel 2:9  “He keeps the feet of His godly ones.  But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.”

One would think that it would take a serious problem to bring down the mighty elephant.  But in fact, the single most important ailment of the captive elephant is the foot-related problem.  With limited movement their soles and nails do not naturally wear down and need constant cutting back.  If abscesses, nail infection and arthritis are not guarded against, any of these seemingly inconsequential problems could bring down this amazingly strong animal.

Today’s verse is part of a song by Hannah.  She is leaving Samuel, her precious son, at the temple to serve as she had promised.  Surprisingly, her heart is exalting in the Lord instead of melting in sorrow at the separation!  Hannah is affirming the truth of the sovereignty of God.  She understands that God will protect her little boy.  He will be keeping the feet of His godly ones, protecting their comings and goings.  It is not the strong and mighty ones that will prevail.    The wicked can only count on stumbling around in the darkness.

It is a tremendous comfort to know that the Lord sees every step before I take it.  He makes firm the steps of those who delight in Him (Psalm 37:23).  I can even walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) without fear knowing He sees, He knows and He is right there beside me.  As His own, I walk in His light and will prevail through His strength.  Whatever I may face today, this truth will not change.  I can step out that front door with confidence in His loving sovereignty.

Thank you Lord, for Your intimate knowledge and care for me.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.

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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.”

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.

Our sin hurts.  It complicates a life and results in brokenness.  But it does not have to be if we heed His warning signs.  It is unpopular to speak of absolutes but they are not my words.  God delineates quite 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 a positive loving gesture from You.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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The Persimmon

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you; If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

I recently rediscovered persimmons.  Remembering their strange bitter aftertaste, I thought I did not like them.  What I had not realized is that there are several varieties.  The one I disliked so much was the Hachiya  pictured here.  They have a pointed bottom and are mushy inside.  But the Fuyu variety with the flat bottom is wonderfully sweet and can be eaten like an apple.  However. even the Hachiya can be tasty when baked in pudding, cookies and breads.

Today’s verse likens wisdom to the taste of sweetness in honey.  Finding wisdom is worth the effort as it will mean a future hope.  There is not much hope of a positive future for the fool who discounts God’s words.  But the one who is wise is the one who treasures His words, finding them “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103)  God’s Word is what makes wise the simple (Psalm 19:7).  And with wisdom one makes the best decisions, starting with obeying His Law.

Gaining wisdom is a lifelong process involving not only reading and knowing His word, but intentionally putting it into practice.  His Word does not read like an advice column that one can take or leave.  God’s Word is not just full of  suggestions on how to live.  It is authoritative.  God’s precepts give me not only a good course of action but the very best one!  I have no wisdom of my own but I can walk in His wisdom when I submit to His way!  Living wisely means there is hope for my future!

Lord, make this a sweet day by helping me be wise.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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Musical Instrument

kent-piano15136013_10100441682641394_3392491044137909679_nScripture for Today: Romans 6:13 “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourself to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.”

Fascination with musical instruments can start awfully young as proven by our grandson.  Even before the age of two, this little guy is drawn to all kinds.  He will spend inordinate amounts of time on the piano.  He strums his Dad’s guitar, his ukulele, or his “air guitar” if nothing else is available!  And being separated from his toy saxophone is a painful experience! When hearing music played by an orchestra he calls out the violin, the flute, the trumpet and the drums!

Today’s verse talks about the different parts of our body as being instruments, either used for righteousness or wickedness.  Being a disciple of Jesus means offering one’s whole body to Him in complete surrender (Romans 12:1-2).  To do this is a reasonable response to the gift of being brought “from death to life.”  Because our bodies are the temple of His indwelling Spirit (I Cor. 6:19) they are meant for the Lord and the Lord for our bodies (verse 13).

I love that my body can be used as an instrument of righteousness.  I can be His hands when I share with others in need.  I can be His feet when I approach those who are hurting and offer His comfort.  I can use my energy to do what will glorify Him.  Sometimes I get discouraged with the unending temptations that seem to come with this body.  But through Him and His strength, this body can be an instrument He can use.

Lord, today make my body an instrument You can use.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.

 

 


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Bald is Beautiful

Scripture for Today: Psalm 40:12 “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head and my heart fails within me.”

This man is getting his head shaved for a very special reason.  He along with 119 other Airmen went bald to support a little boy who had cancer.  As a fashion statement, not everyone can pull it off but this kind of bald is always beautiful!  For those who are battling cancer, losing one’s hair can be a terrible blow to one’s self-esteem and make their treatment that much harder.  I am glad society is more accepting of the bald look if only to make it easier for those who have no choice.

Today’s verse is a heartfelt admission of guilt.  David is feeling overwhelmed by his sin likening their number to the hairs on his head.  His sins have created immeasurable troubles for him and his heart drops at just the thought of them.  Perhaps he cannot see for the tears he sheds as he realizes his guilt.  David turns to the Lord for mercy (verse 11).

I confess that I do not often have this kind of awareness about my own sin.  I am a master at minimizing their gravity.  I am very good at rationalizing them.  My sin is never as serious as someone else’s!  But when I examine my heart in the light of God’s holiness I become just as overwhelmed.  It is when I see how black my sin is that I can appreciate His grace and forgiveness!  He is merciful to me over and over.  Whatever sadness I feel over my sin He replaces with joy and a light heart with His forgiveness!

Thank you Lord, for Your incredible mercy to me!


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Molehills

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.”

I can easily make a mountain out of a molehill.  This expression is as old as the hills and has been around since the 16th century.  That loose soil thrown up by a small burrowing mole is pretty insignificant when compared to the height and stability of a mountain.  To make a big deal out of something small is to make too much of what is really a minor issue.  Yet I find it easy to do.  The Finnish have a similar saying, “to turn a fly into a bull.”  The Germans express this idea by saying, “to make an elephant out of a fly.”

Today’s verse corrects my perspective on those molehills.  The Lord is the God of all mankind and nothing is too hard for Him.  His power and might are obvious when looking at the the heavens and the earth.  Everything is small and insignificant when compared to His great power.  Nothing is too hard for Him to accomplish when He can speak into being an entire universe!

So why do my obstacles seem insurmountable?  I see His power in creation.  I see His power in the miracles He has done for great men of faith in the Bible.  I know He can do anything He wants.  But does He want to help me?  Will He outstretch His arm for me?  He already has.  He has outstretched two arms on that cross and used His power to save my soul.  And the same power that raised Christ from the dead daily works in my favor.  I can trust Him to tackle any problem I face.

Thank you Lord, that nothing is too hard for You!


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Little Heart Cockle

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The scientific name for this shell is “corculum cardissa” but I prefer the common name, “little heart cockle” as it certainly resembles a heart!  This mollusk lives in the Indio-Pacific region which is why I have never seen one.  The shells vary in color but they have a pattern formed from transparent mass and nontransparent mass.  Much of their shell is thin and translucent making them fragile. Yet they are often found intact on the surface of the sand among coral debris and broken shells.

Today’s verse is the response Jesus gave to a teacher of the law who asked Him which is the greatest commandment.  Following this commandment would make all other commandments a non-issue.  When the Lord has all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, then He also has our obedience to all other commands.

The tendency though is to keep parts of our hearts separate.  It is difficult to give Him all of ourselves.  There is fear for what He may ask of us.  There is selfishness in wanting to go our own way.  What if He asks us to give something or someone up?  My goals, my desires, my hopes and dreams are in that part of the heart that is difficult to relinquish.  However, giving Him all of my heart poses no risk at all.  I can trust Him with the deepest part of myself.  He does not hurt my heart and He never disappoints.  He has already given all He could for me.  My only reasonable response is to give everything back to Him!

Lord, take all of my heart and make it Yours today.