Devotions By Jan


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A Scorpion’s Sting

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I hope I am never stung by this disgusting creature or any variety of scorpion!  But the Indian Red Scorpion is said to have the most lethal sting.  One could die if not treated within 72 hours of being stung.  They are quite hardy and can live up to a year without food or water.  Because they are very sensitive to light, they stay hidden during the day and only come out at night.  One good thing about them is that they can glow in the dark!

Today’s verse describes death as a “sting.”  Death will no longer have the victory when the mortal is changed into immortality (verse 54) and the perishable becomes imperishable.  Death seems to have the victory for now, but in fact, Christ’s empty grave means that death has been swallowed up in victory!  The venom of that grief is no longer lethal as we look to the life to come.  We share in Christ’s victory over death.  We have hope that death is not the end as we look to the One who conquered and defeated death forever!

The news is disturbing as I hear of senseless and violent death.  I can feel overwhelmed with news of terminal cancer in friends and loved ones.  Yet, as much as I grieve, I can grieve with hope, knowing that for the believer, He has promised that the very best is ahead of me.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, death and evil do not win.  No despair can erase this truth.  No tragedy nullifies my hope.  In Christ alone, there is “No guilt in life, no fear in death; This is the power of Christ in me.”

Thank you Lord, that my hope means death no longer stings.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Yield Sign

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

It looks complicated.  I would have to stop a minute to figure out who would have to yield to whom!  It looks as if the bike has to yield to everyone and the horse and rider to no one!  But I do not suppose there are many intersections to worry about on this trail.  If there were confusion I would think common sense would go a long way.  Regardless, yielding is often the safest choice.  When maneuvering through those huge traffic circles in Europe, I do not argue with a yield sign!

Today’s verse tells us we are to yield or submit to the Lord in each and every way we choose to take.  By acknowledging His control, His superior knowledge and His goodness, we travel a path much less complicated by twists and turns.  He makes our paths straight, unencumbered by lengthy unnecessary detours.  We reach our destination in good time, or in His time.  When we give way to Him rather than insisting on our own plan, we find He had a better idea all along!

Yielding my will to His is so often a struggle.  Even knowing that my own understanding is limited, I stubbornly resist.  I like being the one who makes the decisions.  Trusting Him with all my heart is scary without having some measure of control.  But He promises that when I do, He will make my paths straight, choosing the best way.  No time will be lost in making U turns or encountering dead ends.

Thank you Lord, that I can fully trust Your heart of love for me!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Chivalry

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:3b-4 “…in humility be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.”

Chivalry is many times thought to be an outmoded idea.  But my husband still gallantly opens doors and pulls out chairs for me.  I always appreciate it as it makes me feel special, however he does stop short of throwing down his coat over a puddle!  The word, “chivalry,” was originally used to refer to qualities expected of a knight; courage, generosity, and courtesy, especially towards women.

Today’s verse does not use the word, “chivalry,” but certainly has the idea of treating others well.  Our concern should not be only for our own interests.  A believer is to be concerned about the interests of others as well.  To treat others’ needs as more important than our own can only come from an attitude of humility.  And that humility is not something that comes naturally.  What comes naturally is to put oneself first.  The following verses point to Jesus as our example and how far He humbled Himself for us.

It is not easy to ask interested questions of another and not have them return the favor.  It is difficult to allow another to go first when pressed for time.  To be genuinely happy for another’s success takes a humility I do not always feel!  Yet, this is what Jesus asks of me.  My life is in His hands along with all my interests, goals and needs.  I can afford to be gracious and others-centered.  He has all my desires and interests at heart and I can trust Him.

Lord, help me show the kind of self-sacrificing love You showed to me!

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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“Who You Gonna Call?”

Scripture for Today: Romans 10:12-13 “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

The film, Ghostbusters, made famous the question, “Who you gonna call?”  The answer to this question is obvious if one is trying to be rid of Slimer, this ghost!  Ghostbusters are called to investigate and eliminate paranormal activity with their fancy high-tech equipment!  This 1984 comedy enjoyed so much success that it ranks within the top forty highest-grossing films of all time!

Today’s verse talks about calling on the name of the Lord.  Calling on Him for salvation is a prayer that is always heard and always answered.  When we call on Him He richly blesses us.  He loves to answer this cry of faith as He is gracious, righteous and full of compassion (Psalm 116:4-5).  Calling on His Name is an act of humility, recognizing who He is and recognizing our own unworthiness.  When we call on His name we are calling on His power to forgive and restore.  He promises to answer all, Jew and Gentile alike.

It seems too simple.  But in fact, my pride gets in the way.  Like so many, I prefer to call on the prevailing wisdom of the day to absolve me of guilt.  I prefer to call on my own manufactured pseudo-goodness.  Calling on His Name means agreeing with Him that my heart is black and He is the only One who can do anything about it.  How thankful I am that He is forgiving and good, abounding in love! (Psalm 84:5)  How blessed I am that He has answered me!

Thank you Lord, for answering with love and grace every time I call.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Sandcastles

Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

I doubt that this sandcastle was built by a small child.  It seems too involved and complicated, perhaps needing some special molds and skills.  Sandcastle-building has become quite the art form with annual competitions all over Southern California.  Some of the competitions have been taking place for more than fifty years!  The entries are elaborate and take painstaking precision.  The results are impressive but no longer there.  These fantasy castles and kingdoms are eventually reclaimed by the ocean.  What a shame to see all that creative work washed away!

Today’s verse speaks of a kingdom that is eternal.  It does not erode with time.  What effort is invested in this kingdom will endure.  We are promised that when spending our lives living for God’s kingdom, we will be able to live our lives without worrying about tomorrow (verse 34).  The  mundane pursuits of food and clothing become less important.   Life is more than food and the body more than clothes (verse 25).  Seeking His kingdom means living for Him and for values that are eternal.

The most important component of any kingdom is its king.  Seeking God’s kingdom is to live as His subject and submit to His rule.  When I live for Him and His purposes, this gracious King takes care of the details.  But I sometimes get distracted by building my own little sandcastles.  I want my own kingdom, however small, in the hopes of having some say and control.  I want to be the one in charge!  But my pathetic kingdom is never as good as His.  And I do not want to waste my time on what will not last!

Lord, keep me focused on living for You.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)