Devotions By Jan


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The Serval

Scripture for Today: Psalm 62:11-12 “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that You, O God, are strong, and that You, O Lord, are loving. Surely You will reward each person according to what he has done.”

This cat is all ears!  The serval is a wild African cat believed to be the ancient ancestor of the cheetah.  Their ears are the largest of any cat. They live in tall grass and are not as likely to see their small prey.  So their ears are huge to hear what they cannot see.  The ears of a serval are so sensitive they can recognize sounds made by animals moving in their underground tunnels!  But it was for their grace and strength that the ancient Egyptians worshiped them.

Today’s verse was written by David, a very wealthy and powerful king.  His ears were attuned to God’s Word.  Rather than trust in his own strength and riches, David acknowledges that only God has real power.  David had been listening to many things God had spoken to him personally, but these two truths kept him in an attitude of trust.  Not only does God have all the power but it is used to fight for and protect those He loves.

I need to be listening for these same truths.  Unwittingly, I put God in a box with my thinking, forgetting just how formidable He is.  I need to remember that He is all powerful and nothing escapes His perfect justice.  But how thankful I am that His power is coupled with His love!  His sacrificial love has made a way for me to escape the punishment my sins deserve.  Nothing and no one can prevail against me or separate me from this incredible love  (Romans 8:38-39).

Lord, help me hear Your reassurances of power and love today!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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In His Hands

Scripture for Today: Scripture for Today:  John 10:28-29  “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from My Father’s hand.”

What a beautiful picture of love, care and protection for the most vulnerable; a little baby!  Those strong hands cradle and soothe this little one to sleep and that peaceful smile is a trusting one.  There are no disturbing thoughts of approaching waves suddenly coming up from behind to snatch him from those hands.

Today’s verse describe God’s hands as being more powerful than any others.  Although God is spirit (John 4:24) the Bible is full of references to God’s eyes, arms or hands to help us understand Him.  There can be no sudden sneaky move on the part of the enemy that can snatch us out of His hand.  Those who belong to Him are held safe and secure in the same hands that formed the universe.  His are the hands that stilled the waters and calmed the seas.  Those hands heal with a touch.  And His hands are scarred with the proof of His love.

There is nothing I can do that would cause Him to let me go.  My faith in Him put me there.  But it is His power that keeps me there.  His are hands that I can trust and He will not let me go.  My life and all of my tomorrows are in His hands, but more than that my eternity is in His hands!  If life is suddenly cut short, those same hands will gently and lovingly bring me into His very presence.  His hands are beautiful.

Lord, help me to be aware of Your loving hands today.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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A Scorpion’s Sting

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I hope I am never stung by this disgusting creature or any variety of scorpion!  But the Indian Red Scorpion is said to have the most lethal sting.  One could die if not treated within 72 hours of being stung.  They are quite hardy and can live up to a year without food or water.  Because they are very sensitive to light, they stay hidden during the day and only come out at night.  One good thing about them is that they can glow in the dark!

Today’s verse describes death as a “sting.”  Death will no longer have the victory when the mortal is changed into immortality (verse 54) and the perishable becomes imperishable.  Death seems to have the victory for now, but in fact, Christ’s empty grave means that death has been swallowed up in victory!  The venom of that grief is no longer lethal as we look to the life to come.  We share in Christ’s victory over death.  We have hope that death is not the end as we look to the One who conquered and defeated death forever!

The news is disturbing as I hear of senseless and violent death.  I can feel overwhelmed with news of terminal cancer in friends and loved ones.  Yet, as much as I grieve, I can grieve with hope, knowing that for the believer, He has promised that the very best is ahead of me.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, death and evil do not win.  No despair can erase this truth.  No tragedy nullifies my hope.  In Christ alone, there is “No guilt in life, no fear in death; This is the power of Christ in me.”

Thank you Lord, that my hope means death no longer stings.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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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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Moeraki Boulders

Scripture for Today: I Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one beside You; there is no Rock like our God.”

These strange spherical boulders on the Koekohe Beach in New Zealand have fired the imagination for years.  The varied names given them include: eel pots, hooligan gallstones, giant gobstoppers, alien brains, bowling balls of the giants and dinosaur eggs!  There are over fifty of them and the biggest one weighs seven tons!  Their strange appearance makes for a unique landscape.  They are made of mud, fine silt and clay, cemented together by calcite, layer upon layer over many years.

Today’s verse is part of Hannah’s prayer as she dedicates her young son, Samuel, to full-time service in the temple.  This is the child she had prayed for so ardently, being barren and snubbed.  Although she was giving up Samuel, her heart rejoiced being vindicated before her enemies (verse 1).  She felt delight at God’s deliverance and praises Him for being her holy and unique Rock.  Throughout Scripture our God is pictured as a Rock.  What an image of His strength and permanence!  Layer upon layer of faithfulness to His Word makes for a sure foundation.

I never need to worry whether my Rock will be there tomorrow or the day after.  He is immoveable and unchanging.  He is my strength, and my refuge.  Being my Rock, He is a place of strength and refreshment for my flagging spirit.  The surface of this rock has a cool touch when I am too warm from stress and anxiety.  But that same rock surface is warm from the sun and comforting when I am feeling cool and indifferent.  I know He is faithful to meet my every need as I have “proved Him ore and ore.”

Lord, be my Rock today.