Devotions By Jan


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Creature Comforts

Scripture for Today:  Matt. 8:20  “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.'”

This cat is not letting a little thing like a bed, pillow or comfy blanket stop him from his nap!  He doesn’t seem to mind that the concrete is hard or that the wood chips may poke at him.  Me, on the other hand, I enjoy my creature comforts.   My poor children did not have any camping experiences until they were adults.  If I have a choice, I choose the comfortable bed and pillow.

This is why today’s verse is so shocking!  Jesus describes Himself as having no place to lay His head.  Jesus gave up the comforts of hearth and home to be on the road, sharing the good news of salvation and meeting people’s needs.  Jesus was speaking to a teacher of the law who declared he would follow Jesus anywhere.  But perhaps this teacher was being overly optimistic or unrealistic.  Jesus knew that His itinerant ministry would pose a problem for this man.

The cost of following God’s individual plan for me may mean I will have to relinquish some creature comforts.  How inconsequential they seem when compared to what He gave up for me!  Thankfully, as my Creator, He knows my limits.  He will not call me to do something that He would not empower me to do (Phil. 2:13).  But am I willing to follow Him whatever He asks me to give up?   I hope I can say, “Yes” to whatever He asks of me.  He is trustworthy.  But there is one “creature comfort” I could never do without and that is the reassuring comfort of His presence and blessing.

Lord, thank you for what You gave up for me!


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Cat Grooming

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 7:1  “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

If it seems that cats are always licking themselves, you are right as they spend fifty percent of their awake time in some form of grooming!  Their rough tongues and teeth are used to maintain healthy skin, remove loose hair, dirt and parasites.  They learn this behavior very early and are often self grooming by the time they are weaned.  But in addition to the obvious benefits, this daily ritual is also, “an emotional feel good behavior.”

Today’s verse talks about the effort we are to make in being uncontaminated, not only in the body but in the spirit too.  Our motivation to keep ourselves morally pure is a special one as our bodies are the temple of God (6:16).  His desire is to live with us, walk among us and be a Father to us.  Because of these promises, He wants us to keep ourselves holy or set apart for Him.  We keep ourselves pure and uncontaminated from the world by being completely separate from its morals and values.  There is no fellowship between light and darkness (verse 14).

Although I am pretty good at noticing dirt on someone else, I do not always see the dirt on myself!  My less-than-clean spirit is so well hidden from others that it is easy for me to ignore.  I can be asymptomatic but still be contaminated and contaminate others!  Keeping myself pure comes as a result of that daily examination and confession.  He brings to light those dark places I have swept to the corners.  And He so freely and lovingly restores me that this can also be an “emotional feel good behavior!”

Lord, purify my heart today.

 


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Social Distancing

Scripture for Today: Psalm 26:5 “I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.”

A very recognizable trait in most any cat is their aloof behavior!  The idea of “social distancing” would not pose a problem for most cats.  They love their niche on the cat tree and their space for an undisturbed cat nap.  Calling for a cat to come often produces a cold shoulder and or a blank stare.  How different from the enthusiastic response of the dog!  But that aloofness disappears when they hear that can open or smell fish or chicken cooking.

In this era of “social distancing” to avoid contagion, today’s verse speaks of a more serious contagion.  We are told to actually hate associating with a group of wicked people!  David refused to even sit with them.  The very beginning of Psalms describes the one who is happy or blessed as the one who will not walk, stand or sit with the wicked (Psalm 1:1).  A close association with those who mock God can have a negative influence on our behavior.  To be seen aligning ourselves too closely with the wicked can also ruin our reputation as one belonging to the Lord.

I need to take seriously this kind of “social distancing.”  I would like to think that my faith is too strong to be weakened by anybody.  But I know myself and so does He or He would not warn me.  It is already too easy to compromise my standards or rationalize my wrong behavior.  I do not need to go looking for a group of people doing the same thing!  Where I want to walk, stand, or sit is with other believers who also want to please God.

Lord, keep me from evil influence!

Photo by Nick Chalkiadakis on Unsplash


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Watch and Wait

Scripture for Today: Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.”

Have you ever seen a cat watch and wait for his prey?  The total concentration is surprising as they lay in wait.  Every muscle is tensed and the pupils are wide in anticipation.  The patient focus of a determined cat is amazing!  Our cat, Tiger, used to spend much of his time in the yard crouched in readiness.  And often, just before he pounced his whole back end would quiver in excitement!

Today’s verse is a statement of faith and trust of the one who cries out to the Lord for mercy.  Faith is most evident when there is waiting involved for a response.  And when we wait it is with our whole being, putting our hope in His sure and infallible Word.  We wait for the Lord to act more than the wait of the watchmen (verse 6).  They guard a sleepy city by watching and peering into the distance as they wait for the morning.  Our wait will not last forever.  As morning comes for the watchmen ending their shift, so we will eventually see His Word fulfilled!

I have been watching and waiting for a response to a particular prayer request for thirteen years!  My morning has come with His incredible answer!  I could wait with hope because of His unfailing love and His full redemption (verse 7).  But there remains more reasons to watch and wait with unfulfilled promises in my life.  I am encouraged though to persevere having seen Him respond!  One day there will be no more watching and waiting.  One day, there will be no more need to hope as every hope will be realized in His presence!

Lord, thank you that I can wait with hope.


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Walking the Cat!

Scripture for Today: James 3:7-8 “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

When our cat Tiger was young we were worried about him running away.  We tried putting a leash on him so he could be with us while we worked in the garden.  You can imagine how that worked out!  He was more likely to hang himself on it than be safe in the yard.  But I suppose like Pavlov’s dogs, any animal can be trained to some extent.  There are some cases where cats will consent to the leash but not ours!

Today’s verse talks about the impossibility of taming the tongue.  Unlike animals, there is no taming it.  It is wild and unpredictable.  It is full of evil and poison.  The potential it has to destroy people is sobering.  The fact that it is restless suggests to me that it is very often in motion, almost looking for trouble.  What comes out of the mouth reveals what resides in the heart (Matt. 15:18).  No man can tame the tongue because the root problem is a heart issue.

Too many times I have tried and failed to control my tongue.  Too late I see the look of hurt and disappointment on another’s face.  My regret does not call back those words.  They hang in the air and echo in my memory.  But there is hope with the Creator of that tongue.  God’s Spirit offers His control for the uncontrollable.  He changes the root problem; my heart.  And He gives me the ability to check my tongue and control that outburst!

Lord, tame my tongue today!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.