Devotions By Jan


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The Blue Jay

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

This clever scrub blue jay is carefully looking left and right before hiding away his treasured peanuts.  His behavior is called “caching” rather than “hoarding,” a term used for rodents.  Caching is normally more short term and seasonal.  And though he lives in a family group, he will not share.  He selfishly hides the food and retrieves it in secret!  There are no posted store signs to discourage this behavior and there is no one to see an overloaded shopping cart!

Today’s verse reassures the believer that not only is the Lord aware of shortages, but He promises to meet our basic needs.  There is never a question that God will not have enough.  Riches in Christ Jesus are infinite and not subject to the variance of supply and demand.  Paul says he is “amply supplied’ and that he even has more than enough (verse 18) thanks to their gifts.  He then assures them that because of their sharing, God will see to it that they do not lack for anything needed.

When I see shortages at the stores during this unusual time of pandemic, there is the temptation to “squirrel away” much more than I need.  To some extent, stockpiling can be a reasonable response.  But when it becomes hoarding or caching is when I have no intention of sharing with others.  I know the Lord does not honor that kind of selfish spirit.  Panic-induced hoarding can signal in me a lack of trust in my Heavenly Father.  He does not ask me to put toilet paper first, but His Kingdom (Matt. 6:33).  And when I do He takes care of all the rest.

Thank you Lord, that You meet all my needs.


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The Whimbrel

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 2:10 “these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Half the fun of walking close to the water on Southern California beaches is watching the Whimbrel.  He is very recognizable with his striped head and long curved bill.  When he flies it will be just over the water or ground.  More often I see him running near the water’s edge.  He uses that long bill to pick and probe in the sand, finding crustaceans, insects and worms.  He will dig deep in the wet sand to reach his dinner.

Today’s verse teaches that there are deep things of God that His Spirit searches and reveals to us.  These things cannot be physically seen, heard or even imagined (verse 9).  These are things that God has prepared for those who love Him and can only be known through His revelation.  No one can know the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (verse 11).  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts ( Isaiah 55:8) yet His Spirit resides in the believer.  And it is only through God’s Spirit that we can have even a small inkling of all that God has prepared for us.

When the Spirit reveals the deep things of God it is through His written Word.  I need to dig deeper to know Him more.  I do not want to be satisfied with surface knowledge.  His Spirit wants to reveal more of Himself to me.  But too often I am rushed or distracted and do not take the time to dig deeper or listen to that still small voice.  The deep things of God are so deep it will take all of eternity to know Him.  But how incredible to start now!

Lord, keep me going deeper.


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Bufflehead Duck

Scripture for today: Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

This duck is remarkable with its beautiful colors!  The name of the Bufflehead was derived from “buffalo head” due the male’s odd puffy head shape.  But what interested me was his feeding habits.  He rarely feeds with only his head submerged but instead will completely submerge himself.  Many times a whole flock will all surface dive at the same time!  This energetic feeder is “all in.”

Today’s verse describes one who is all in!  God’s command did not allow for any half measures.  He wants a love that is total and complete with no holding back.  We are to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, and strength.  When Jesus cited this command He added “all your mind” as well (Mark 12:30).  This is a commitment like no other.  God’s commands are to be on our hearts and impressed on the next generation through living them everyday in the home (verses 6-9).  The love He wants is one that involves our entire being.

It is because He loves me that He wants all of me.  But to give the Lord my all is a life-long challenge.  It means trusting Him not to hurt or disappoint.  And to completely relinquish all of me to Him also means the giving up of my own control.  But He has the right to ask this of me.  He so loved and so proved His love for me by His sacrifice, that it is ludicrous for me to hold back anything!  And I find that when I can be “all in” there is a closeness and warmth unlike any human relationship!  It is worth the effort!

Lord, may my love for You involve my entire being.

 


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Canadian Geese

Scripture for Today: Matthew 13:4  “and as he sowed some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.”

Homeowners in a Tallahassee neighborhood did not share my appreciation for these beautiful birds.  That’s because they roamed the streets, entering garages and making a nuisance of themselves.  And for anyone trying to plant a lawn, they considered the seeds as their personal lunch buffet!  But they would only go after the seeds lying on the surface.  All it takes is a fourth inch of soil to discourage them.

Today’s verse is part of the parable of the sower.  The seeds sown did not sprout and grow as they were quickly devoured by birds.  Jesus explains that those who hear the Word but do not understand it are prey to the evil one who snatches away what was sown, before it can take root (verse 19).  That seed is exposed and vulnerable without the topsoil of understanding.  The understanding of His Word keeps the seed safe, rooted and growing.  And this understanding comes from the Son of God who is true (I John 5:20).  When one quickly gets into God’s Word with the understanding He offers, than those birds have no chance to snatch it away!

How vitally important it is that the seed of salvation in me is protected by understanding His Word!  The more I read, study and meditate, the more I am protected from the deception of the evil one.  He can not snatch away what is taking root and growing.  And understanding His Word is a lifelong process.  I can never close the book and think, there….I know it completely.  It is the Spirit of His Son that speaks to me and brings to light something new each time I open it.

Thank you, Lord, that You give me Your understanding.


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Flying in Formation

Scripture for Today:  Philippians 2:1-2  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and consolation, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”

This image of perfect synchronized flying is amazing!  These birds must have the same destination in their little bird brains!  But more than that, they are flying at the same height and the same speed to get there!  No one is jostling for position or lagging behind the others.  Their united purpose brings them together and keeps them together.

In today’s verse, Paul seems to think that Christians can be united in spirit.  Not only that but he appears to be saying that believers can be in agreement, loving one another and intent on going in the same direction!  How does that happen?  When there is encouragement.  When there is consolation.  When there is fellowship and affection for one another.  We not only need the love and encouragement of other believers to keep going , but “flying together” brings honor to Christ!  It is what signals to the world that we are His disciples (John 13:35).

I am going in the same direction as so many other believers.  Like them, my desire is to grow in faith and be more like Jesus.  It is a long life-time purpose.  But going it alone is not what the Lord wants.  Just as I take notice of these three birds flying in perfect harmony, so the world sits up and takes notice of believers that are showing love and unity.  Being united and showing love to one another is something supernatural but He makes it possible!

Thank you Lord, that I do not have to do this alone!

 

Photo credit: David Joyce at https://www.flickr.com/photos/deapeajay/2694162918