Devotions By Jan


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The Oyster

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

It was during our visit to our son’s “Classe de Mer” in France that we and all the students were served freshly caught oysters as part of their dinner. My husband was thrilled but I and most of the children were not! To me it tasted pretty much like ocean water. The oyster is called a “filter feeder” and will filter up to twenty gallons of water a day in the wild. By filtering that water of algae, dirt and nitrogen pollution, they transform its clarity and quality.

In today’s verse we are to filter out what is evil and only allow in what is good. In that way our love for others is sincere. Calling something “love” that is tainted with self-interest is an insincere love, allowing evil to cloud it.  Recognizing sincere love can only happen when I filter out what the world defines as love. The love portrayed in novels and films can parade as real but when evil and disobedience to God’s standard are mixed in, it falls short and often leads to hurt and disappointment.

My love for someone is sincere only when it filters out what is evil and impure. This picture of sincere love has little resemblance to what is around me. I need to filter out impatience, selfishness, pride, envy and an unforgiving spirit.  For my love to be sincere, I need to cling to faithfulness, speaking truth and showing honor. God’s Word tells me how to view love. God’s Word tells me when love is sincere. Without His Word, I would not be able to discern what is truly good and what sincere love looks like!

Lord, make my love sincere and good today.


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Sun Ripened Tomatoes

Scripture for Today: James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

There is nothing worse than biting into that beautiful red tomato and tasting nothing! A tomato picked too soon will eventually please the eye but not the taste buds. I understand why a tomato is picked too soon. When green they are hardier for transport. But picked prematurely changes their taste to be less than flavorful. A sun ripened tomato picked at just the right moment is so sweet and juicy I can understand how it is categorized as a fruit!

Today’s verse tells us what it takes to be mature in our faith. It is the tests and trials that grow our faith, producing that staying power so important to our maturity. It is often a long process that cannot be rushed. Trying to avoid trouble would only keep us green and hard longer. It is through the hard times that we learn new dependance on the Lord. It is because of responding in faith to those tests that we burst with flavor. The times of crisis work in the believer a maturity and completeness not gained any other way.

I want to be mature. I want to be complete, lacking nothing in my faith. But I sure do not like the method of getting there. Yet I know by experience that it is in the hard times, when I come to the end of my own resources and ingenuity, that I learn trust. I see God come through in the most unexpected ways and my faith is strengthened. That dependance on Him comes from staying put, connected to the vine that is Him. That finished work in me makes me “Son-ripened!

Thank you Lord, for strengthening my faith.


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Anchorman

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 18b-19a “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

capital 21 chanel, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The word, “anchorman” used to mean the last man of a tug-of-war team or one who runs last in a relay race. Now, it means a host for a television program. A recent promotional for a major news program goes further by describing their anchorman as someone who calms and steadies when emotions are high, fears overwhelm and we are at a tipping point!

Today’s verse describes an anchor that does much more! This is an anchor for the soul that is firm and secure. Our anchor is our hope and it will not change or move. We as believers are encouraged when we take hold of this anchor of hope set before us. We hope in the unchanging and sure promises of the Lord and His Word. We have an anchor that calms and steadies regardless of the turbulent circumstances that engulf us! Nothing is as sure and reliable as this anchor.

It is almost comical to think of a newscaster being someone who can calm and steady us! Often when I see the news, my experience is just the opposite. But my heart is steady and calm in reminding myself of God’s precious promises and control. World events will not overwhelm. Circumstances do not shake my faith. It is not that my faith is so strong, but the One in whom it is placed is all-powerful! He has promised. With my eyes always on Him and His promises, I will not be shaken (Ps. 16:8).

Thank you Lord, that my hope in You anchors me.

REMINDER: my blog posts now appear just once a week on MONDAYS! Please feel to peruse the archived blogs on the right of the screen for more.


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Carefree

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:18 “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.”

Tillman at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What an unusual name for a city! Carefree in Arizona, is a beautiful rural and well-to-do place near Black Mountain. Residents there enjoy the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. There are only about nineteen hundred homes in just eight square miles and they can boast having the largest sundial in the world! Because it sits at a higher elevation Carefree benefits from cooler temperatures. The clean air and light traffic give this town an aura of peace and tranquility.

Today’s verse describe another place to spend one’s days: under the Lord’s care. Because He cares, the blameless can enjoy a life that is not weighed down with care. The blameless are those who because of forgiveness, enjoy a restored relationship with their Creator through Christ. It is the Lord’s care that insures that in times of disaster the believer does not wither (verse 19). His care means that even in time of famine, He will provide plenty. In a sense, His care means that we can be “carefree.”

The Lord invites me to put the weight of all my cares on Him because He does care for me (I Peter 5:7). Whether it be physical, emotional, social or spiritual needs, He is big enough to care and provide for each one. He does not withhold any good thing from those who belong to Him (Psalm 84:11). He knows what is truly good for me and what is not! And unlike the homes in Carefree, the incredible inheritance He has promised will last forever! I can be carefree looking forward to my “forever home.”

Lord, I give You all my cares today.

ANNOUNCEMENT: beginning today my blog posts will appear just once a week on MONDAYS! Please feel to peruse the archived blogs on the right of the screen for more.


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Bewitched!

Scripture for Today: Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

With just eight seasons, the Bewitched show has become an icon of television history! We have the privilege of knowing the Murphy twins, Diane and Erin, who played the role of Tabitha. This show, running from 1964 to 1972 made the top 20 in its first five seasons. Its declining popularity toward the end of its run is sometimes blamed on the unexplained and sudden switch of the character, Darrin. There is even a term used to reference an unpopular switch; “the Darrin Syndrome.”

Today’s verse uses the term,” bewitched” to describe the switch the Galatians had made. They were bewitched or fooled into switching from the Gospel of grace to a system of works. A group of legalistic Judaizers convinced this group of converted Gentiles that the death of Christ was not sufficient. They believed that certain ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were still binding. They were adding works to the Gospel of grace. Paul reminds the Galatians that observing the Law did not earn them the Holy Spirit or right standing with God. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice is what was essential.

It is so easy to be “bewitched” today. How many religions fool their adherents to believe that it is through our own efforts that we are saved or can please God? Why switch to a never-ending treadmill of works that does not erase my sense of guilt? I am never good enough. There is always more I should be doing. I am so thankful for His grace.  God’s standard of righteousness was fully met in my Savior and the debt of my sin has been fully paid!

Thank you Lord, that You paid it all and there is nothing more to add!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2016)