Devotions By Jan


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Restless Leg Syndrome

Scripture for Today: I John 3:19 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.”

Restless legs shown here are no longer a problem!  I am not quite sure what the artist was trying to convey with this display, but these legs will not be moving any time soon!  Perhaps everyone feels at some point that tingling uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs while trying to sleep.  How annoying to feel that itchy, creepy crawly feeling.  Moving seems to at least temporarily give relief.  But I tend to be less sympathetic when being kicked!

Today’s verse talks about a heart that is at rest.  When we know and are convinced that we belong to the truth, there is a resting settled feeling in our hearts.  In His presence, we feel His peace, knowing that we belong to Him.  No longer are our hearts restless, wandering or searching.  When we belong to Him, our hearts can no longer condemn us as He is greater than our hearts (verse 20).  We can have confidence before God as He knows everything and He knows our hearts better than we do ourselves!  When we believe in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our hearts are finally at rest (verse 23).

When my heart is at rest, there is a confident peace.  He does not want my heart to be restless or troubled (John 14:27).  His Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am God’s own (Rom.8:16) and reassures my heart.  How good He is to give me that heart at rest!  And how much I want that for friends and family members who live restless lives without Him.

“Jesus, I am resting resting in the joy of what Thou art.”  Lord, may I feel that heart rest today.

 

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Currency Exchange

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

It was not so long ago that I came across this old bill tucked into an inner pocket of some jeans.  It looked like it had been through the wash a few times.  But that was not a big problem as it was still in one piece.  The problem was its worth.  I remember using it for the equivalent of roughly five dollars, depending on that day’s currency rate.  Of course, with the advent of the euro, the worth of this bill is only in the memories it evokes.

Today’s verse asks a very good question.  Why do we spend our money on what does not really satisfy?  In God’s economy, all of our money is worthless as it cannot buy what truly satisfies us.  He invites us to come, buy, eat and drink, all without money!  The bread that satisfies is Jesus Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:48).  Jesus calls Himself the  “living water” that quenches our thirst for meaningful life and significance (John 4:10).

This is an invitation to come and to listen.  But His voice competes with the noises of this world telling me differently.  Everyday I am bombarded with the message that happiness is just one purchase away!  But I know in my heart of hearts that true satisfaction goes deeper, where He is found.  He offers what is truly good, delightful and rich!  He offers a satisfaction that has nothing to do with my bank account or how hard I work!

Lord, help me find the satisfaction You offer me today.

 


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Black Hole

Scripture for Today: Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Theory has it that falling into a black hole would stretch one out like a long piece of spaghetti!  These strange phenomena in space cannot really be seen, being black.  But scientists know they are there from the gravity pulling on the stars and gasses surrounding it.  They are thought to be the result of collapsed stars and their gravitational pull is extremely powerful.  The black hole grows enormous as nearby dust and gas fall into it.  That black hole grows larger but never becomes full!

Today’s verse describes where satisfaction is to be found.  God’s love does not change or falter.  It is unfailing and can be the best beginning of the day.  God’s love satisfies the relentless searching of our souls.  When we are satisfied with His love, our lives are marked by songs of joy and gladness.  Without His love, the search for satisfaction can be like that black hole.  We can grab at whatever we can grasp to fill the hole inside ourselves.  But nothing else can quite fill that void.  We are made for close intimate relationship with our Creator.

The minute my eyes fly open in the morning is the best time to appreciate and revel in His love!  Before the distractions and obligations of the day begin, I want to acknowledge His love and care.  He has given me another day of life.  He is there to walk through the day with me, His presence being my security.  His love will never fail me.  He has promised.  Thinking on this truth brings satisfaction to my day before it even begins!

Lord, satisfy me today with Your love.

 


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Screaming Baby

Scripture for Today: Psalm 131:2 “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

We had a young family with three children over for dinner.  Everything was calm, quiet and smooth.  Then something changed.  The two-month-old baby decided he was hungry and wanted his Mother.  The noise emitting from his mouth put all of our teeth on edge!  Gone were my impressions of a relaxed “chill” baby.  He wanted to nurse and he wanted to now!  His Mother could not move fast enough!

Today’s verse describes contentment.  One would think that the picture of contentment would be the nursing baby as he is immediately calmed and quiet.  But true contentment is the older child.  He stays close to his mother but he is not worried or agitated.  He knows from experience that his mother is there and aware.  He is peaceful and calm knowing she will meet his need.  His need does not overwhelm him and he can patiently wait.  There is confidence and trust instead of a lot of noise.

This definition of contentment recognizes needs and wants and even desires.  Regardless of my circumstances, there is no way I can live life without them.  There is so much more I want in my life and those desires may not be wrong at all.  Contentment is not the absence of desires but a desire for His presence and love over-riding them all.  At the end of the day, my contentment is not found in changed circumstances but in a Person.  I can calm and quiet myself too, knowing He is there and will meet my needs.  I can trust that He “gives unto each day what He deems best.”

Lord, help me to live that contentment today.

 

 

 

 


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Jackpot!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:16 “Long life is in her (Wisdom’s) right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace,”

At this writing, the Mega Millions jackpot stands at 540 million dollars!  The one winning this inconceivable amount will have beat some pretty incredible odds.  The odds of winning are roughly one in 259 million!  The standard response is, “Well, someone has to win.”  Eventually, of course.  But the jackpot has climbed this high as there has not yet been a winner.  And at each drawing the number of participants increases, making the odds of winning even more difficult to beat!

Today’s verse talks about having riches and honor in one’s left hand.  The right hand holds long life.  It is not lottery winnings that fill the hands but wisdom.  The advantages that wisdom gives a life is likened to what wealth can do for a person.  But even this comparison falls short as wisdom is better than riches.  How much better to get wisdom than gold! (Prov. 16:16)  Wisdom gives us what money cannot buy; long life, honor, pleasant ways and peace.  Skillful godly living makes life absolutely rich!

It is so hard to think in this way.  With wisdom there is no instant gratification!  Wisdom does not give me any covetous looks from my neighbors.  There is no recognition or envy.  And life is not necessarily easier with wisdom.  But I tend to think all that could be the case if I were just a little richer!  However, the benefits and advantages of living wisely are not taxed, stolen, or frittered away as money can be.  My life is rich because of Him who is the Source of Wisdom.

Thank you Lord, that with Your love and salvation, I have already won!


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Unfair!

Scripture for Today:  Matthew 20:15 “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous.”

Whether it is pizza, cake or pie it is important to cut those pieces evenly!  Those who get the larger pieces feel special but the one with that skinny piece may feel a bit slighted.  If my hostess is the one doing the paying, the cutting and the serving I certainly cannot say anything.  But I may be thinking, “It isn’t fair.”

Today’s verse comes from a parable Jesus told about workers who had come in early in the day.  They had made a contract with their employer to work for a certain sum of money.  Then at the very last hour of the day a second group begins work and they are paid the same amount.  Understandably, the first group was unhappy.  It was  unfair.  The employer reminds these disgruntled workers it is his money and he can be generous if he chooses.

It is not uncommon to have the same thoughts about God.  It seems there are times He is generous with someone so much less deserving than ourselves.  Perhaps we have worked harder and longer and feel we should be compensated differently.  Rather than rejoice at the generous blessings given to another, we grumble that we deserve more.  It is just unfair.

I am so glad God does not listen to this.  If I got what was fair I would be completely lost.  The wages of my sin is death (Romans 6:23) and I cannot say I deserve anything else.  Eternal life is unfair as I have not earned it.  I am so thankful that He gives me His mercy and not what is fair.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace is so much better than fair!


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Boxing Day

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 28:27 “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.”

Today is Boxing Day, celebrated every December 26th by the British and the Canadians.  And no, it has nothing to do with actual boxing!  These days it has lots to do with shopping and finding the best deals, much like the American Black Friday.

There are many ideas about its origins but most agree that it began as St. Stephen’s Day when gifts were given to the poor.  Its name could have something to do with the Alms Box at the back of churches, emptied and distributed on this day.  The carol, Good King Wenceslas, was written by John Mason Neale in 1853 about a King in the 10th century who gives food to a poor family on St. Stephen’s Day.  The song concludes with, “Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”

This same idea is found in today’s verse.  Those who are generous find themselves lacking nothing.  Conversely, those who are stingy and do not share their wealth with the poor can find themselves in need.  Not only before the holidays begin but also the day after Christmas is an opportune moment to be thinking about those who are less fortunate.  After opening the huge pile of presents, there is often the problem of where to put it all!  We find that cupboards, closets, and garages are already full.

There is so much joy in giving!  And what I have experienced over the years is that God always provides for my needs.  The more I give to others, the more I experience His blessing!  The Lord continually surprises me!

Thank you Lord, that there is no “outgiving” You!

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post from December 2016)