Devotions By Jan


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Froggy Atmosphere

Scripture for Today: Psalm 148:13 “Let THEM praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”

We thought when we stopped to eat at this small restaurant in Chenecy-Buillon, France, that the sign pictured the frog because of it being on the menu.  But in fact, their dialect’s word for frog was used to refer to an old town legend.  The story is that the Lords and Ladies of the past were bothered by the noise of the frogs in the local pond.  The frogs were so loud the noble families were unable to sleep.  So the local peasants were prevailed upon to pat and slap at the water all night to quiet them!

Today’s verse is a call to praise the name of the Lord.  His name is higher and more worthy of praise than any other.  His name is to be lifted up as the splendor of the Lord is higher than anything on earth or in the heavens.  Of course, this praise is to come from mankind.  But in addition, creation is to praise Him; sea creatures, the weather, the mountains and hills, wild animals, cattle, small creatures and birds (verses 7-12).  Certainly, the humble frog is included!

All of creation exists in some way to bring glory to the Creator.  If a lowly frog with its incessant croaking can bring praise to Him, then certainly I can as well.  Whether I am in fine voice or have a frog in my throat, His praise is to be on my lips.  We left that restaurant full of rich food.  But I can be just as satisfied when with my mouth I can sing praise to Him! (Psalm 63:5)

Lord, may everything I do and say today give You praise.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2018)


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Flapjack Octopus

Scripture for Today: Psalm 36:6 “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, Your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.”

It is obvious how this octopus got its name with its flat appearance.  This flapjack octopus was made famous by the character, Pearl, in the animated film, Finding Nemo.  Like Pearl they can be pink, but they can also be anywhere from transparent to deep red.  Unlike the film, this interesting creature can only live in very deep waters, 500 to 1,500 meters.  If they were to rise to be near the surface of the water they would turn into pink mush!

Today’s verse uses two extremes to describe the Lord’s righteousness and justice; the highest place on earth and the deepest.  His righteousness and justice are that encompassing!  There is no place on this earth where one can be outside His reach.  Even in the depths, He is there (Psalm 139:8).  All of earth is His creation and He has absolute control over it.  And because He is sovereign, His justice will prevail.  We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness will dwell as He has promised (II Peter 3:13).

How often I am discouraged to see the guilty go unpunished!  How disheartening it is to see God mocked and to even see the wicked prosper!  But God is just and there will be a day when every wrong will be put right.  He hears that betrayal.  He knows what that cheater did.  He sees what is done in secret.  Nothing, no matter how small, escapes His notice.  Because I can count on His ultimate justice, my heart is reassured.  My heart is especially peaceful to know that God’s justice concerning me was satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice!

How thankful I am Lord, that You are always just!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2018)


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The Limelight

Scripture for Today: Psalm 36:9 “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”

Before the advent of electricity, theaters would use limelight to illuminate the stage.  A sharp point of oxyhydrogen flame was directed at a cylindrical block of lime, causing a tiny area of it to become incandescent.  The result was a bright white light.  However, it needed almost constant attention.  Someone was needed to continually adjust the block as it burned.  Since the invention of electricity this method is no longer used.  The saying, “being in the limelight,” is usually the only time we hear this word.

Today’s verse speaks of another source of light.  It will never be replaced with something better as this light gives life and enables us to see.  He does not illuminate a stage but a lifetime with the Light of His presence (John 8:12).  God has made His light to shine in our hearts, to give us the knowledge of Him (II Cor. 4:6).  His light not only shows us who He is but it is also an expression of His priceless and unfailing love (Psalm 36:7).

Just like the limelight, the light of His presence needs constant attention.  Being in His Word intensifies that light He gives.  His light is warm and loving, giving me closeness to Him and direction for my day.  Without it, I can easily stumble around and lose my purpose.  I can even get quite accustomed to the dimness and shadows.  But the further I wander from His light, the more negative and discouraged I become.  But oh what a difference when I return to the source of Light!  Not only does His light dispel darkness in my heart and mind but it also draws others to Himself!

Lord, keep me in Your light today.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2017)


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The Pledge

Scripture for Today: Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.”

by clotho 98 at https://www.flickr.com/photos/clotho98/4948369338

The gesture pictured on this magazine cover is a common one in North America among scouts. Before a girl or boy can become a scout a pledge must be voiced. “On my honor I promise to do my best….” Following are three praiseworthy statements regarding duty, helpfulness and obedience. The principles written in the scout’s honor pledge are lofty and difficult to consistently follow. It is interesting to have the disclaimer as part of the pledge…”to do my best.” There is resolve and commitment but a recognition as well that one cannot perfectly fulfill this pledge.

Today’s verse is a wonderful assurance that everything God says is right and true. He is faithful to His Word and there is no need for any disclaimer! He never says, “I will try to do my best,” or “I will do the best I can.” He is powerful enough to make all His words become a reality. If He says something will happen, then it will. We never have to wonder whether He will go back on His Word. We never have to wonder if what He says is right. His purpose statements are not just good intentions but unshakeable truth.

I can and do build my life on His Word, being that it is rock solid truth. He will always perfectly fulfill His pledge to me. His Word is not only faithful and true but powerful beyond comprehension! After all, it was by His Word that the heavens were made! (verse 6) In a world where words are cheap and promises are broken, how amazing it is to be able to count on everything He says! And what He says is so good and loving.

Thank you Lord for the certainty that everything You say is right and true!


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Variegation

Scripture for Today: Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Photo Credit: Haroon Mughal https://www.flickr.com/photos/mughal113/35151517152/in/photostream/

The Persian Carpet Flower is a beautiful example of “variegation” meaning a variety of color on the same plant. This flower can bloom anywhere from white to pale yellow. It is overlaid with different shades of burgundy, sprinkled with red and brown spots. These colors call to mind a Persian carpet, thus its name! This flower needs to be handled with care because of its bristly trailing stems full of small spiky thorns.

Today’s verse tells us that God created mankind in His own image. God is not one-sided and simplistic. Eternity will not be long enough to know Him completely! But the fact that He created us to resemble Him in some small way means there will be “variegation.” We all share the capacity to worship Him. We all share the ability to reason, feel emotion and exercise our wills. But we also acknowledge our differences, whether it be race, color, language or culture. This variation within mankind is meant to bring glory to our Creator!

Just as the Persian Carpet Flower needs to be handled with care because of its thorns, we too need to handle our differences with care. The problem is that our sin has marred God’s image in us. Rather than celebrating our differences, they are used to divide. Thankfully, the Lord can change my heart in how I see others. In a world so divided, I need to listen carefully to Him; to what He says about me and what He says about those who are around me. It is only then that I can hope to love others as He does.

Lord, help me to love others as You do.