Devotions By Jan


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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!


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Plane Trees

Scripture for today: John 13:10 “Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.'”

I love seeing these ornamental plane trees lining the roads in France.  They grow quite tall and quickly, providing welcomed shade.  They are especially used in urban areas as they do so well in the dirty air.  The plane tree is impervious to the smog as their bark routinely peels off.  The dirty bark is exfoliated and in its place, the inner shades of white, grey, green and yellow show through.

Today’s verse talks about ridding ourselves of dirt.  Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet, a custom normally relegated to the servants.  He uses this image to teach, not only about the humility He expects of believers, but also about keeping our hearts cleansed of sin.  With the exception of Judas, the disciples had already bathed in His complete forgiveness.  But journeying through daily life, feet pick up the dirt of wrong choices, bad habits and failures to withstand temptation.  It is a daily exercise to agree with Him in confession and allow Him to wash our feet.

Agreeing with the Lord about my wrong thoughts or behavior is not always easy or comfortable.  But there is a wonderful sense of renewal when I can stop being defensive and own up to it.  Yes, He has already bathed me in complete forgiveness.  Every sin I have done, past, present and future has been paid for on that cross.  I am under no condemnation for my sin (Romans 8:1).  But when I allow my feet to remain dirty, I am the one who misses out on blessing and closeness with my Lord.

Lord, keep me clean and close to You today.

 


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Naming Cockroaches

Scripture for Today:Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

These cockroaches have a name; the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.  But for those that keep them as pets, they probably have an additional name such as Bob or Linda.  However, for just two dollars you can name a cockroach at the Hemsley Conservation Centre near London for Valentine’s Day.  No, the cockroach is not the love of your life but the EX love of your life!  The first names will appear on a roach board next to the cockroach enclosure.  Participants who exact this revenge will receive a certificate and a half-price entry!

Today’s verse can be convicting.  It is repeated throughout Scripture that we are not to take revenge (Romans 12:19).  That job is done much better by the Lord who sees hearts and is righteous.  However, holding a grudge is something that we feel entitled to do, reminding ourselves that it is not OK what was done to us.  Unfortunately, holding a grudge just keeps the memory alive and keeps the offender at arm’s length.

So often, the guilty one is unaware of that unforgiving spirit I harbor.  It certainly does nothing to him.  The pain I continue to feel becomes self-inflicted and can become more important than the original offense.  But to forgive and forget seems as if I am letting that person get away with something.  The closer the offender is to me the deeper the wound.  It is impossible to forgive and let go without the Lord.  Because He forgives me and does not hold a grudge, He empowers me to do the same.  It can only happen as I continually give it to Him.

Lord, help me to relinquish my hurt to You.