Devotions By Jan


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Cricket Shelter

Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:20 “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.”

This spiky plastic pod looks positively alien!  But in fact, it is a shelter, creating a modular farm.  And it is built just for crickets and for raising them.  These insects are harvested, dried and ground up for the production of flour.  As disgusting as it sounds, they provide three times as much protein as steak!  In areas that are impoverished, they can be another source to combat potential starvation.  The spikes help capture the wind and provide ventilation.  They can be used individually or stacked in sequence forming a line of shelters.

Today’s verse is a wonderful assurance for those who are under some serious verbal attack.  God’s presence is a shelter from accusing tongues.  He hides His own from the plots and conspiracies of men.  David is often under physical attack from his enemies.  But the damage inflicted this time is to his name and his reputation.  To combat this kind of slanderous attack he turns to God to still those lying lips (verse 18).  David ends the psalm testifying to the reader that all those who hope in the Lord can be strong and take heart (verse 24).

False accusations cause a very different kind of pain and it is often unexpected.  It is an effective attack as even the accusation standing on its own can ruin a reputation.  But God knows and He hates lying.  He promises vindication and protection by His very presence.  He stores up good things for those who trust Him to act.  Not only that, He gives to us those good things, “in the sight of all,” validating us publicly.

Thank you Lord, that trust placed in You is well placed.

 

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Conspiracy Theories

Scripture for Today: John 18:37b  “…In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”

I have seen an eclipsed moon, a blood moon, a super moon, and a blue moon.  But never once have I suspected that perhaps the moon was not there!  There is a conspiracy theory saying not only that the moon landing was a hoax, but that the moon no longer exists.  What we are seeing is just a hologram!  It is all a cover-up, hiding the awful truth that either the moon was destroyed or colonized by aliens!

Today’s verse was the Lord’s response to Pilate’s questions.  Jesus not only testifies to truth but He tells us that He IS truth (John 14:6).  The truth of Jesus is in stark contrast to the lies purported by the Father of lies, who has so deluded the world (John 8:44).  It is easy enough to distinguish the absence of truth in most of these conspiracy theories.  But when it comes to the spiritual realm, believers are to protect themselves by a belt of truth (Eph. 6:14).  Jesus teaches us truth through His Word (John 17:17 ) and through His Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13).

I want to stand on the side of truth and that can only happen as I listen to Him!  There are plenty of dissenting voices clamoring for my attention.  But if those voices deviate in any way from what the Lord has clearly stated, then I am not to listen.  Truth is not subjectively discovered.  It is an absolute in a Person.  I dare not trust the changing ideas of truth found elsewhere.  His truth stands forever and I want to forever stand on the side of truth!

Thank you Lord, that You are truth.


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The Vole

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 17b-18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Cute?  The vole is the bane of anyone trying to grow trees and plants or anything with a bulb!  They burrow underneath the ground and munch on the roots of trees and plants.  The vole is related to the mouse and is the most prolific of all the rodents.  They are active all year long, day and night.  Their presence goes undetected underground, that is until leaves start to wither and there is no fruit.

Today’s verse talks about being rooted and established in God’s love.  Having roots is essential to grow in faith and enjoy good spiritual health.  But those roots are compromised by niggling doubts.  Like those nasty voles, our doubts can burrow underneath where we cannot see them and gnaw on those roots.  We start to doubt His love.  Before long what is happening below the surface starts to be visible in the flower that droops.  God’s love has not changed but we are no longer drawing from it to produce fruit.

God’s love for me is wider, longer, higher and deeper than I can realize on my own.  I need His power to really grasp this truth.  But when I do, His love nourishes me and makes me strong.  When I live out the truth of His love, my faith and confidence flourish.  Those voles do not have a chance to erode anything.  The Lord is so good to continually reassure me of His love.  Regardless of how I feel, His love is constant and true.

Thank you Lord, for holding me up with Your love.


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Singing Stress Away

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:4-5 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith and one baptism.”

Have you ever noticed how singing with others can lift a mood?  A study was recently done saying 96% of those participating in singing groups felt less stress in their lives.  Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin, relieving anxiety and stress.  And this wonderful effect is amplified in a group.  In fact, music vibrations can be felt by each member, moving through bodies simultaneously.  When this happens, everyone’s heart beats can even become synchronized!

Today’s verse stresses oneness and unity.  With all the possible divisions between believers, it is good to be reminded that our hope and faith make us one.  When we meet together for corporate worship rather than worshipping on our own, we can sense this unity through song.  Singing together brings us together, getting our minds off our differences and turning our thoughts toward the Savior we have in common.  Together, we are to hold unswervingly to that “one hope” we profess (Heb. 10:23).  Meeting together and singing together encourages our faith and spurs us on to love and good works (Heb. 10:25).

Discouragement can so easily overtake me when I give up meeting together.  I need to be stimulated and strengthened in my faith.  We all need to lift one another up and give one another support.  I need that deeper connection that comes from being with people of like mind.  Lifting my voice up in song with other believers makes, “having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind,” a reality! (Phil. 2:2)  Although every tongue and nation will sing with one voice in Heaven, I need those moments of “oneness” today.

Thank you Lord, for those precious moments of unity!

 

 


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S & H Green Stamps

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4 “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”

Collecting these green stamps was part of my everyday life growing up.  The disagreeable part was licking the back of them to put in the collector’s book!  These stamps were one of the first loyalty programs.  From 1930 to the late 80’s, Sperry and Hutchinson rewarded customers with stamps at grocery stores, department stores and gas stations.  They could be redeemed for a variety of products from their catalog.  I remember dreaming over certain products but my Mother redeemed them for more practical choices.

Today’s verse redeems something infinitely more important than stamps!  God redeems our lives.  He brings us up from the pit and restores dignity with the gift of His unconditional love and compassion.  He redeems us from the “realm of the dead” and takes us to Himself (Ps.49:15).  And He didi it at an enormous cost to Himself!  Not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18-19).  He gave Himself to redeem us (Titus 2:14).  No one can redeem the life of another (Ps. 49:7-9)  He did for us what none of us could do for ourselves!

The only reasonable response to being redeemed is praise!  And part of expressing that praise is for the redeemed to say so!! (Psalm 107:2)  He is my personal Redeemer!  Nothing obligated Him to pull me up from that pit.  His love and compassion for me are completely unearned!  Not only does He give me what I do not deserve but He does not treat me as my sins do deserve (Psalm 103:10).  What amazing love, what incredible compassion that He would give His life in exchange for mine!

I am redeemed and how I do love to proclaim it!


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Free $100K!!

Scripture for Today:Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then , how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Imagine receiving $100K just for putting down your smartphone!  Vitaminwater is offering $100K to abandon your smartphone for one full year.  At the end of the year, a lie detector test is taken.  Not so easy as 92% of millennials use a smartphone and 43% check it at least every twenty minutes!  For those ages 18-34, using their smartphone for entertainment eats up over two hours a day!  The participant will be chosen based on how they say they will use the extra time in their day without all the scrolling and swiping!

Today’s verse stresses the importance of making the most of every opportunity.  Doing so makes us wise.  When we fritter away the day or the week, we assume there will be many more ahead of us.  But the days are evil and life can be cut short.  However, missed opportunities are not an issue for the believer who is carefully living to please Him and do His will (verse 17).  In being filled with His Spirit (verse 18) we can make the most of our days.

I probably miss opportunities to serve Him all the time.  My mind and spiritual senses can be dulled by any number of activities, none of which are negative in themselves.  Wise living is intentional living and I need to always remind myself of the purpose of my life.  When I am wise, I am looking for those opportunities He places squarely in my path.  He gives me the energy and the motivation to, “fulfill His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:13)  I only have this one life to offer Him and I do not want to have any regrets over missed opportunities.

Help me Lord, to live wisely today.


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A Child is Born

Scripture for Today: Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

It is all about HIM!  We celebrate lots of things today; family, friends, and reunions.  We celebrate with lights, music, decorations and food.  But in all the good things, we can neglect the whole point of today.  Today, God became man to save us.  He not only was but IS the Messiah.  He not only was but IS the Lord!

He is my “Wonderful Counselor,” giving me the wisdom and guidance I so desperately need each day.  He is my “Mighty God,” and He displays His power everyday in my life.  He is my “Everlasting Father,” caring for me now and for eternity.  He is my “Prince of Peace,” as I can now have peace with God because of His sacrifice for me.  I am HIs and He is mine.

This baby was born “to you.”  He was born to make possible a personal and intimate relationship with each one of us.  He was born “to you” and not just for someone else.

Do you know Him?

May you experience His love and presence in a new and special way today!

And have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!