Devotions By Jan


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The Vole

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 17b-18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Cute?  The vole is the bane of anyone trying to grow trees and plants or anything with a bulb!  They burrow underneath the ground and munch on the roots of trees and plants.  The vole is related to the mouse and is the most prolific of all the rodents.  They are active all year long, day and night.  Their presence goes undetected underground, that is until leaves start to wither and there is no fruit.

Today’s verse talks about being rooted and established in God’s love.  Having roots is essential to grow in faith and enjoy good spiritual health.  But those roots are compromised by niggling doubts.  Like those nasty voles, our doubts can burrow underneath where we cannot see them and gnaw on those roots.  We start to doubt His love.  Before long what is happening below the surface starts to be visible in the flower that droops.  God’s love has not changed but we are no longer drawing from it to produce fruit.

God’s love for me is wider, longer, higher and deeper than I can realize on my own.  I need His power to really grasp this truth.  But when I do, His love nourishes me and makes me strong.  When I live out the truth of His love, my faith and confidence flourish.  Those voles do not have a chance to erode anything.  The Lord is so good to continually reassure me of His love.  Regardless of how I feel, His love is constant and true.

Thank you Lord, for holding me up with Your love.

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My Heart’s Desire

Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”

I am amazed to see the variety and quantity of heart shaped boxes of chocolate displayed on the shelves for Valentine’s day!  I am a recovering “chocoholic” so I dare not linger long in front of those tempting displays!  If addiction means intense craving, loss of control, or continued use despite negative consequences, than that could be me if I am not careful!  According to the Nielsen consumer study group, in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold!  There is something about that “dark master…the cocoa bean” that creates strong desire!

Today’s verse mentions a desire of the heart.  It is much deeper than any other desire.  A desire for God’s glory completely changes a life.  Wanting His name to be known means saying,”Yes, Lord,” to what He asks of us.  Wanting His name to be more prominent than our own means we will follow Him.  His glory in our lives will be evident by the way we walk, following His commandments.

The best way my husband loves me is when he praises me to others!  In turn, I honor him at every opportunity.  I want him to be recognized for all his hard work and sacrifice.  It is the same principle with our Lord.  We show Him that we love Him when we praise Him to others!  We show we are jealous for His name and glory when we walk in a way that honors Him.  It is the best way I can love my Lord.

Lord, You are the desire of my heart!  Help me to live that truth today!


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Financial Infidelity

Scripture for Today: Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You.”

Is financial infidelity as bad as physical infidelity?  For more than half of those surveyed, the answer was a resounding Yes!  Keeping financial secrets from one’s significant other communicates a severe lack of trust.  Money issues are the second biggest cause for divorce after infidelity.  And only 52% of those surveyed believe that their partner was totally honest with them when  it comes to money.  Deceit in this area cuts out from under one’s feet the important foundation love needs to survive; that of trust.

Today’s verse describes a love that is faithful.  God’s love for His own is right and just and would never cheat or deceive.  His love is completely trustworthy being a perfect love.  When others are not faithful with us, it is easy to believe that loyalty just cannot be found anymore (Psalm 12:1).  And the truth is, we are all weak and flawed.  Our love for one another is not a perfect faithful love.  We disappoint each other and we destroy trust.  But God’s love will never disappoint!  His faithfulness reaches to the skies and His love is always faithful and trustworthy.

A love that will last for eternity takes faithfulness to a whole new level!  God’s love is like no other.  Not only did He initiate this love, but He shows it to the very ones who put Him to death!  His love thankfully does not depend on my response.  He so loved that He gave (John 3:16).  And He has never stopped loving or giving!  That is a love I can count on.  His love holds me up when others let me down.

Thank You Lord for Your faithful love.  Help me to believe it today.

 


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Singing Stress Away

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:4-5 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith and one baptism.”

Have you ever noticed how singing with others can lift a mood?  A study was recently done saying 96% of those participating in singing groups felt less stress in their lives.  Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin, relieving anxiety and stress.  And this wonderful effect is amplified in a group.  In fact, music vibrations can be felt by each member, moving through bodies simultaneously.  When this happens, everyone’s heart beats can even become synchronized!

Today’s verse stresses oneness and unity.  With all the possible divisions between believers, it is good to be reminded that our hope and faith make us one.  When we meet together for corporate worship rather than worshipping on our own, we can sense this unity through song.  Singing together brings us together, getting our minds off our differences and turning our thoughts toward the Savior we have in common.  Together, we are to hold unswervingly to that “one hope” we profess (Heb. 10:23).  Meeting together and singing together encourages our faith and spurs us on to love and good works (Heb. 10:25).

Discouragement can so easily overtake me when I give up meeting together.  I need to be stimulated and strengthened in my faith.  We all need to lift one another up and give one another support.  I need that deeper connection that comes from being with people of like mind.  Lifting my voice up in song with other believers makes, “having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind,” a reality! (Phil. 2:2)  Although every tongue and nation will sing with one voice in Heaven, I need those moments of “oneness” today.

Thank you Lord, for those precious moments of unity!

 

 


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Waffle House Index

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:49-50 “Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this; Your promise preserves my life.”

The Waffle House chain in the Southern states is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Because they are normally open non-stop, it would take a very severe storm to close them.  That is why FEMA calls these restaurants the “Waffle House Index.”  The government knows an area has been hit especially hard if it was enough to shut down a Waffle House!  Their menu could be called a list of “comfort foods” with plenty of carbs, grease and sugar.  When eating there at 3am, the diner may very well be in need of some comfort!

There is suffering in today’s verse, but there is also comfort.  And that comfort is very closely linked with hope; hope in the word and promise of the Lord.  There is comfort in remembering His promises of help, of strength, of vengeance and of reward.  All His promises are comforting when times are so dark.  And God comforts us in ALL our troubles, even the ones of our own making! (II Cor. 1:4).  He comforts those who are downcast and depressed for reasons that are inexplicable (II Cor. 7:6).  He is the God of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3).

He sees when I am overwhelmed with fear and worry.  He cares when I am feeling too sad to get up from bed.   Better than indulging in comfort food, He gives me the amazing comfort of His love and goodness.  He brings to mind a song lyric.  He uses a long-forgotten verse.   And so often, He gives comfort through the encouragement of other believers.  He knows better than anyone else how to lift my head and my spirits.

Lord, I need Your comfort today.


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Sinkhole Rescue

Scripture for Today:   Psalms 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Poor Ruby.  They say curiosity kills the cat, but dogs are curious too!  This sweet Golden Retriever was on a walk with her owner and seeing something new, a sinkhole, she approached to check it out.  Ruby fell in and spent several unhappy hours there before being rescued.  Thankfully, she was not injured and was happily reunited with his worried owner.

Today’s verse describes depression like a horrible pit.  The floor of that pit is a miry clay where one cannot get any traction.  The only escape is for the Lord to lift David out in answer to his cry.  It did not happen immediately.  David had to wait patiently for God to act (verse 1).  And the pit did not disappear.  It still exists as there is always the temptation to climb back in o that pit of sadness and self-pity.  But God set David’s feet on the Rock of Himself, giving him a sure standing on His faithfulness.

That slippery clay of emotion keeps me from a firm footing.  I want to stand on the truth of God’s Word and His character.  Regardless of how I feel, He does not change nor do His promises.  Sometimes, when the miry clay is especially thick, I cannot even pray or read His Word.  When I am in the pit of despair, the only solution is to cry out to Him for help.  I cannot pull myself up by self-talk.  How gracious He is to hear my cry and to “put a new song in my mouth.” (verse 3)  He changes my pit into praise!

Thank you Lord, for not leaving me in the pits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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S & H Green Stamps

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4 “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”

Collecting these green stamps was part of my everyday life growing up.  The disagreeable part was licking the back of them to put in the collector’s book!  These stamps were one of the first loyalty programs.  From 1930 to the late 80’s, Sperry and Hutchinson rewarded customers with stamps at grocery stores, department stores and gas stations.  They could be redeemed for a variety of products from their catalog.  I remember dreaming over certain products but my Mother redeemed them for more practical choices.

Today’s verse redeems something infinitely more important than stamps!  God redeems our lives.  He brings us up from the pit and restores dignity with the gift of His unconditional love and compassion.  He redeems us from the “realm of the dead” and takes us to Himself (Ps.49:15).  And He didi it at an enormous cost to Himself!  Not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18-19).  He gave Himself to redeem us (Titus 2:14).  No one can redeem the life of another (Ps. 49:7-9)  He did for us what none of us could do for ourselves!

The only reasonable response to being redeemed is praise!  And part of expressing that praise is for the redeemed to say so!! (Psalm 107:2)  He is my personal Redeemer!  Nothing obligated Him to pull me up from that pit.  His love and compassion for me are completely unearned!  Not only does He give me what I do not deserve but He does not treat me as my sins do deserve (Psalm 103:10).  What amazing love, what incredible compassion that He would give His life in exchange for mine!

I am redeemed and how I do love to proclaim it!