Devotions By Jan


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Don’t Wink at Me!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 35:19 “Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.”

I am not too sure what this owl is winking about but he looks a bit devious! When we wink it can imply conspiracy or some secret intent. Or winking can be positive when it shows sympathy or encouragement. Sometimes the wink says, “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” But then again, winking all day could be from the grapefruit juice at breakfast that was squirted in the eye !

In today’s verse the wink is malicious. David is being slandered and falsely accused by his enemies. He cries to the Lord to come to his defense and vindicate him. David as king is a constant target for his enemies and regardless of how fair and righteous he is, those enemies will continue to accuse him without cause. He pleads with the Lord to contend for him so that in the end the Lord Himself will be exalted.

The world hated Jesus so it only follows that the world would also hate those who follow Him (John 15:18). So I should not be surprised at slander and false accusation. But even more serious are the accusations of the Enemy who lies and brings charges against God’s own. My struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). It is Satan who is behind the slander. He tries to destroy my testimony and my service. He will even endeavor to convince me that I am unloved and worth nothing. Well, Satan can wink all he wants but the Lord reassures me of His love and my worth!

Thank you Lord, that in You I have victory over every enemy!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2016)


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The Kookaburra

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity: she can laugh at the days to come.”

I only knew about this bird from the children’s song growing up. So I was curious to see this Australian bird at the zoo. She was a lot bigger than I imagined being 18 inches long. Her beak is 4 inches long and with it she can eat chickens, ducklings and even some small snakes! She is monogamous and she defends her territory. Often, her young will remain with her to help raise the next year’s brood. But most surprising is her loud laugh!

Today’s verse describes a woman whose qualities raise what seems to be an impossible standard for others! This description of the perfect wife and mother was given by the Queen Mother to her son, King Lemuel. The passage describes a woman of “noble character” fit for royalty (verse 10). After an extensive list of characteristics the conclusion is that charm and beauty are less important than fearing the Lord (verse 30). Fearing the Lord makes it possible to “laugh at the days to come.” There is a light heart even when facing the unknown future.

Of all the qualities listed for this perfect woman, this ability to laugh at the days to come has got to be the most difficult for me. It is a litmus test of my faith in God and His plan for me. To laugh at the days to come does not mean I do not prepare for them. But it does mean that I can trust Him for the unexpected. I can trust Him for what is around that blind curve. Whatever He allows to happen, He will carry me through it. Whatever the challenge of the days to come, He is enough.

Thank you Lord, for giving me a light heart.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2019.)


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The Toucan

Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:15 “My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long – though I know not how to relate them all.”

Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones at https://www.flickr.com/photos/12587661@N06/8558971831

The Toco Toucan is a feast for the eyes with its large colorful beak! Its beak is so large it accounts for one third of its body. With that impressive beak he plucks and peels fruit and through it regulates his body temperature. A noisy creature, he makes croaking frog and rattling sounds and he will cluck with his bill. The Toco Toucan is said to be one of the noisiest birds in the world.

In today’s verse, David is using his mouth to praise God for His righteous deeds and for his saving acts. To speak of every one of them he would have to use his mouth all day long! They are without measure or too numerous to count. David’s mouth is filled with praise (verse 8) from his birth (verse 6) and since his youth (verse 17). Even when he is old and gray, David sees himself declaring God’s power to the next generation (verse 18). David is noisy with praise to God all through his life.

I can be just as noisy as this bird but perhaps not always with praise to God! I can easily be like the Israelites in the desert, grumbling and complaining about what I do not have. My noise can be all about the need for attention and recognition. I can get real noisy about “my rights” when I feel they are being ignored. But when my “noise” is about God’s goodness and grace, His power and glory, my noise becomes like a beautiful melody that gives Him praise!

Lord, make my life a litany of praise.


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The Pelican

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 15:4 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

How can something be so majestic and wonderful and yet make me laugh at the same time? The pelican is an impressive bird, soaring overhead with a huge wing span. But up close and personal, that large elastic throat pouch of theirs looks amusing. However, God in His creativity designed that pouch to catch up to three gallons of water with their prey. They then throw back their heads and squeeze the water out of the sides of the pouch, leaving the fish ready to be swallowed. A pelican will swallow lots of things from fish and crustaceans to tadpoles and turtles. If they are hungry enough, they might even drown and swallow a seagull! Having all that water with their catch allows them to swallow just about anything!

Today’s verse contrasts one who is discerning to the one who is a fool, swallowing anything! The discerning heart will seek knowledge and wisdom. The fool, however, seems to be satisfied with foolish things. The fool has no discernment and will swallow whatever folly the world presents, whether it is in the form of mindless television, slick magazines, or the latest fad.

I do not want to be a fool. I want to be discerning in what I “swallow.” Feeding on God’s Word gives me that discernment as it teaches me what is truth. But it requires effort on my part. I am to seek this knowledge rather than just mindlessly going through my day. It is intentional living. I want to be mindful as to what I will allow myself to accept.

Lord, make my heart discerning as I feed on the Truth of Your Word. Don’t let me swallow anything else!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)


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The Grandala

Scripture for Today: Job 12:7 and 9 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you…Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” 

Photo by Nick Athanas at https://www.flickr.com/photos/antpitta/42774409555

Could this bird be any bluer? The Grandala lives across Northeastern India and its scientific name means, “sky-colored grand wing.” But I have never seen a sky the color of this electric cobalt blue! They gather in large flocks and fly at high elevations. But they can be seen up close at lower elevations when they feed on berries. And if they could talk, what might they say?

Today’s verse suggests what birds and animals might say if they had the power of speech. They would proclaim who their Creator is! They would all acknowledge who it is that gives and sustains their lives and the lives of all mankind (verse 10). Unlike some people who would rather believe that creation results from a formula of time and chance, they would acknowledge the hand that brought them into being. It is through God’s creation that He makes plain His power and divine nature (Rom. 1:20).

The hand of the Lord has done this! So often, I do not recognize that the hand of the Lord has done so many wonderful things in my life! I am quick to think that life is good because of my own choices or that my hand brought it about. But when I see the wonders of nature I am reminded of His incredible power and creativity! Mankind had nothing to do with it! And the work of His hands far exceeds any of my puny efforts without Him. This bird knows it. And I need to be reminded too!

Thank you Lord, for nature’s reminders of You!