Devotions By Jan


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Cape Disappointment

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:24 & 27b “Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? …You are badly mistaken.'”

What an unfortunate name for this Washington State Park! For many campers, hikers, photographers and history buffs, this scenic spot is a delight! It was named by the English Captain, John Meares in 1788. He was looking for the head of the Columbia River, first mapped out by a previous explorer a few years earlier. This cape does sit at the mouth of the river, but he was disappointed. Why? Because he mistakenly believed it was only a bay.

Today’s verses are the words of Jesus to the religious Sadducees attempting to trap Him. Like the explorer, they mistakenly believed something. They mistakenly believed their own traditions over and above the Scriptures. Their beliefs even negated the power of God! Their religiosity, devoid of any real relationship with the Lord, could only lead to disappointment. These religious leaders did not believe in the resurrection and they were badly mistaken. They did not believe God’s incredible power and promise to raise us from the dead.

The hurt is deep for those disappointed by a mistaken belief. But the Lord declares that those who hope in Him will not be disappointed! (Isaiah 49:23b) Government leaders disappoint me. The Church can disappoint me. My own erroneous expectations can disappoint me. Even family and friends can disappoint. But the Lord never disappoints! He has promised to take every negative in my life and turn it around to something positive. (Rom. 8:28) Even the evil in my life at the hands of others can be turned around. (Gen. 50:20) The Lord will never disappoint as the good He intends for me cannot be thwarted!

Thank you Lord, that You never disappoint!


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The Thiou River

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

We have enjoyed living near a river in every European town we have lived. In Albertville it was the Arly. We enjoyed the Loire in the Orleans area. In the Grenoble area the Drac and the Isère rivers join. We walked along the picturesque Kander river in Kandern.  In Guebwiller we were just  two hundred meters from the Lauch River.  I loved crossing the quaint bridges hanging with flower planters. Pictured here is the Thiou River in Annecy, France, considered one of the cleanest in Europe.

Today’s verse describes a river that makes a whole city glad!  It is found in the city of God where the Most High will make His abode!  On the new earth this river will be clear, pristine and never polluted. This unique river is described as “the river of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:1-2) It will be clear as crystal and flow from the throne of God right down the middle of the city!  It will be a river that leads to His very presence, He who is the only Source of life! No wonder it makes the city and all its inhabitants glad!  

Rivers and the sound of water do lift my spirits. There is something so calming about flowing water. It is beside quiet waters that my Shepherd refreshes my soul. (Ps. 23:2) Near the very end of the Bible is an invitation to this water. (Rev. 22:17) But I do not have to wait until that day for my heart to be glad. Despite negative circumstances, the Lord gives me joy. In coming to Him, God keeps me occupied with gladness of heart! (Eccl. 5:20)

Thank you Lord, that You make me glad!


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The Clinging Jellyfish

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 13:4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him, and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him and cling to Him.” (NASB)

The variety of shapes, sizes and colors among starfish is amazing! To see their long tentacles floating in water makes them seem eerie and other-worldly. This guy is one of the smaller ones being only about an inch in diameter. He is found off the coasts of the Northeastern states and can easily escape detection being almost entirely transparent. But two characteristics are notable; the orange-brown cross on their bodies and their ability to cling tenaciously to the seaweed.

Today’s verse is a command of the Lord to His people, the Israelites. Together they were to be set apart from all the nations around them and worship Him alone. In no way were the people to tolerate the worship of other gods. To love Him with all the heart and soul (verse 3) was shown by following His commands, listening for His voice, serving Him and clinging to Him. To do that they had to resist the pull of the cultures around them, holding fast to Him.

The Lord asks me to cling to Him as well. Following and obeying Him is a choice that can weaken. My world entices me to let go and live a little! The temptation to compromise and indulge myself is always present, like the current in the water, pulling me away from Him. Anything I value more than Him becomes an idol. But clinging to the worthless idols of this world means turning away from God’s love for me. (Jonah 2:8) Why would I want to let go of the love and goodness He shows me! That effort to hold fast is well worth it!

Keep me clinging to You, Lord.


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At the End of the Roll

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

Who would have thought it! First folks were hoarding toilet paper in this time of pandemic. And now, so many months down the line, the hoarding has moved to paper towels! There are similarities in the material being disposable paper and in being on a roll. With both there may be a sense of panic or at least concern when coming to the end of that roll! The French have a saying for running out of money; “au bout du rouleau,” meaning to be at the end of the roll.

For the believer, we need not ever panic when it comes to finances.  Today’s verse gives us a promise.  He will supply all our needs.  His store of supplies will never run out.  One can never come to the end of the riches of His glory. Paul wrote this verse while in prison.  He experienced all kinds of hardship and yet he was able to affirm this truth.  God took care of all his needs.  I am sure that while traveling on his mission trips, he saw God supply all his needs.

I can affirm the truth of this promise.  For the last 33 years in full time ministry my husband and I have seen God provide for all of our needs through individuals and churches.  Some times were leaner than others.  But the Lord has always come through for us. My problem is distinguishing between what is “need” and what is “want.”  God’s Word does not promise to supply all I want.  (I know, I’ve looked!)  He knows the difference.  But He loves to give good gifts and His generosity is amazing!

Thank you Lord for Your faithful care.


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Lap Cat

 

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:12  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

This is not our cat.  Tiger would never consent to sit in our laps, let alone relax and sleep there.  I tried so hard to make him a lap cat, but he would have none of it!  There is something soothing about having that little heater rest on one’s knees.  But when a cat is that relaxed and contented I feel pinned in place, not wanting to disturb him by getting out of the chair.

Today’s verse is about experiencing contentment regardless of our circumstances.  Having every need and desire fulfilled is no guarantee to having contentment.  Nor is experiencing lack a recipe for discontent.  Paul knew what he was talking about as he lived both of these scenarios.  What is encouraging is that contentment can be learned.  It is not always our first reaction but with enough practice it can be.  There is a secret to learning this contentment and that secret is found in our relationship to Christ.  He gives me the ability to find contentment in Him.

What this suggests to me is that when I am feeling disgruntled and deprived, I just need to crawl back up into His lap!  Rather than focusing on the negatives in my life, I turn to Him.  Reminding myself of who He is and all the blessings He has already given me helps me find that lap of contentment.  For me, it is really a choice as to where I am focusing my thoughts.

Lord, help me to find that elusive contentment in You.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)