Devotions By Jan


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Morning Star

Scripture for Today: Psalm 8:1 “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.”

That “Morning Star” is the last to disappear before the sun rises. Venus is also called the “Evening Star” as it is the first star to appear after the sun sets. Of course Venus as a planet is not a star, shining the brightest and outshining the four other planets doing roughly the same thing. Regardless of which planets deserve this distinction, the rising and setting of our sun is the main event, far out shining anything else!

Today’s verse reminds us that we see the glory of the Lord, our Lord, when we gaze up into the heavens. The heavens declare His glory without using any words. (Psalm 19:1-4) The God of the Bible is even described as being like the sun (Psalm 84:11) as He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5) Jesus is called the Morning Star (II Peter 1:19. Rev. 22:16) and as His followers we ourselves are called “children of light.” (I Thes. 5:5)

Like the planets, I cannot produce any light of my own. Any light I generate is a reflection of His glory! And just as the light of the planets disappear when the superior light of the sun arrives, so I am to give Him the glory He so deserves. And when the darkness seems to be winning, I can still shine with the light of the Gospel and point others to Him. I want today to be about my Light. He is the source of every gift, talent or success. He is my Lord and Creator and deserves all the glory!

Lord, keep my light shining for You.


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Drifting

Scripture for Today:  Philippians 3:12  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

There is no mystery at all as to why driftwood is called driftwood. It is simply wood that has drifted. The wood comes to be in the water through flooding or storms breaking off tree branches. Or it could be there as a result of logging. In any case, the wood drifts aimlessly at the whim of the waves. When and where it washes up on to shore seems completely arbitrary. Just like for some people, circumstances push and prod to move a body from here to there with no clear goal in mind.

In today’s verse, Paul lives his life with a specific goal in mind. He wants to gain Christ (verse 8) be found in Christ (verse 9) and to know Christ (verse 10). Paul not only wanted to know Jesus and His power, he was ready to suffer for His sake. He was willing to completely deny himself and take up his cross to follow Him (Luke 9:23). His goals would last a lifetime and make his life significant. There would be no aimless drifting through life for him!

As I face a New Year, it seems as good a time as any to stop and think about my goals. Making resolutions that are forgotten by the Spring are not helpful. But to live a life that is intentional will mean that I do not drift aimlessly. I find that with passing time, the years seem to fly by quicker than they used to. What is my purpose? I can think of no loftier one than to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him. Like Paul, I want to press on with goals that are eternally significant!

Lord, keep me from drifting today or this year!


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What a Drip!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 27:15-16 “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

Last night at my desk, I kept hearing a constant drip. I looked up. Nothing. It took me a moment to realize that rain was leaking into the fireplace. After verifying on hands and knees with a strong flashlight, I saw that I was right. I didn’t want to be right! After extensive work on our roof we were confident that this recent rainstorm would pose no problem! There is probably nothing more maddening than continual repair addressing the same issue!

Today’s verse describes a quarrelsome wife like a constant drip. Each complaint from her lips and each nagging session can be as annoying as those continual drips of water. Because the verse is speaking of a wife, the description may very well come from the husband. In contrast to the Proverbs 31 wife who speaks with wisdom (Prov. 31:26), this wife provokes argument with what comes out of her mouth. She speaks her mind without any self-restraint or filters. Any attempt at correcting her is as futile as restraining wind. Those attempts to calm her down are like trying to grasp slippery oil.

It can seem quite reasonable and even expected to be quarrelsome after a hard day. When I am surprised by very negative circumstances beyond my control, a bit of nasty temper seems just the thing to blow off steam. But when pressure builds, it is often on those closest to me that I get ugly. The danger for me is that being contentious can too easily become a habit. I would much rather be characterized by a quiet gentle spirit than being a big drip!

Lord, keep me sweet and peaceable despite my circumstances.


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Orange and Black Predictions!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 23:18 “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

When I see orange and black, I think of fall and Halloween decor. But for some, the orange and black of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar predict the future! According to folklore, the wider the orange band, the milder the upcoming winter. But the thicker the black band, the harsher the coming winter. And its placement plays a role. If more black is near the head, as in the photo, the beginning of winter is harsh but ends with mild weather. Who knew? Certainly, knowing the future is supposed to give us an edge.

Today’s verse reassures that there is a future and a hope. This reassurance is given to those that are zealous for the fear of the Lord (verse 17). Fearing the Lord is a lifestyle of awe, respect and obedience to the God of creation. Those that are zealous to follow His commandments and walk that path of righteousness can be sure of their future. There is hope in looking towards an unknown future because that hope is firmly placed in God’s Word and His promises.

“Hope that is seen is no hope at all,” (Romans 8:24). I cannot see into the future but I can see Him with eyes of faith. He is already there and nothing is random. I may not understand the plan He has for today or tomorrow but I can be peaceful about that unseen future because of my hope in Him. He promises that nothing will ever separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39). And He has promised me eternal life before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2). Regardless of the challenges I may face in the future, this hope will never be disappointed!

Thank you Lord, that my hope is realized in You.


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Repairs and Renovations

Scripture for Today: Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

I have heard some real horror stories about the repair and renovation process! Thankfully, so far we do not have one of our own. However, two observations on the process ring true for me; the work always takes longer than expected and the cost is higher than anticipated! In watching the progress, I have had to readjust my expectations. Patience is not my strong point and what I really want is for the work to be finished yesterday!

Today’s verse speaks about being glad to enter the house of the Lord. To be with other believers and worship our Lord together is a glad event. However, we ourselves are in the process of some serious renovation in that house. There may be some rough edges on people that need sanding down to make smooth. There may be a hanging hinge on a door which makes opening up difficult to do. Perhaps, there are “damaged” people in that house that need repair. Can I really be glad to enter a house like that?  Wouldn’t it be better to come in after all the renovations were complete?

I can be glad to enter the Lord’s house knowing that God is working in others just as He is working in me.  He promises to continue working right up to the day of His return (Phil. 1:6). The on-going changes He is producing in others are the same kinds of renovations He is doing in me. As believers, we are all in the process of change and growth into the very image of His Son. It is a renovation that we live with, knowing that the outcome is worth it!

Lord, help me to be patient with Your work in me, and in others!