Devotions By Jan

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Jump for Joy

Scripture for Today: John 21:7b “…As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped in the water.”

I used to think that when fish jumped out of the water they were jumping for joy!  I have learned otherwise and yet still prefer to think it could be true.  Fish may jump to feed on flying insects, to propel themselves upstream for spawning, to escape predators or to rid themselves of sea-lice.  We jump at the chance.  We jump down one’s throat or jump ship.  We may jump on the bandwagon or in our family, jump in the shower.  But the best jumping is when we jump for joy!

Today’s verse has someone jumping into the water, and it certainly seems as if there were joy involved!  Not surprisingly, the disciples did not immediately recognize the resurrected Jesus after a fruitless night of fishing.  But when the Lord  miraculously filled their net, they knew who it was.  Peter could not wait to get to Jesus.  Rather than row the boat with the disciples that last one hundred yards to shore, he jumped in!

Would that I would jump at the chance to meet with the Lord with that much enthusiasm!  Can I say with David that He fills me with joy in His presence? (Psalm 16:11)  To be honest, not always.  But when I recognize His miraculous hand in my life, I do jump up and run to Him with a grateful heart.  It may not be a net full of fish, but His miracles are everywhere in my life; the miracle of His love and grace, His forgiveness and protection, and too many more to list!

Lord, may I jump at the chance to meet You today!



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Champing at the Bit

Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:13 “But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His plan to unfold.”

This horse is the picture of impatience, champing at the bit.  He looks a bit nervous or excited with those wide eyes.  And that is exactly when a horse may grind his teeth against the bit.  He champs on it rather than chomps as the bit fits into a toothless ridge.  Champing means to grind one’s teeth.  In any case, the phrase (using champing or chomping) has come to refer to impatience to get started.

Today’s verse refers to the Israelites who quickly forgot God’s miracles.  When the Lord dried up the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians, they responded with songs of praise.  But soon after, they forgot what He had done when faced with the next crisis.  They preferred to “champ on the bit” rather than wait and see what the Lord had in mind.  God had given them the promise of their own land, but they had to wait for His plan and His timing.  And waiting is hard, so they complained.

God gave a promise to David that he would be king.  But he had to stop and wait for the Lord to work it out.  Sarah was given the promise of a son, but she waited years and years for the miraculous way God would bring it about.  Over and over we wait for God to unfold His plan for us.  We have the promises.  We believe.  But we do not have the details.  God so often asks me to stop my own efforts and wait for Him to work.  He wants me to wait as a show of faith that I believe Him.

Lord, help me to wait with joy and expectation for Your perfect plan.



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Eiffel Tower?

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

This reproduction of the famous Eiffel Tower sits at a round point down the street from us in the small town of Buhl, France.  No one would mistake it for its huge counterpart but I wondered why it was built there.  I learned that the Eiffel Tower could very well be called the Koechlin Tower as Maurice Koechlin, born in Buhl was the one who had designed it as an employee of Mr. Eiffel.  As this monument is said to be the most visited in the world, it is too bad that Koechlin did not get his name associated with the tower.

Today’s verse speaks of the name of the Lord as a different kind of tower, a fortified one.  His name represents all that He is and His character.  Running to Him as our tower of safety is an image of placing all our hope and faith in His power to protect and deliver.  This is in stark contrast to the rich who imagine that their wealth is a wall too high to scale (verse 19).

His name is Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11) and He has promised safety and protection from the wicked (Ps. 37:17).  When I run to Him, it is in faith, knowing that He will be true and faithful to His Word.  I am safe knowing that no evil can touch me without His knowledge and permission.  And certainly, no evil can touch my soul, that which I have committed to Him.  He is able to keep my soul against that day (II Tim. 1:12).  What comfort this is in a world where sometimes it seems that evil has the upper hand!

Thank you Lord, for being my safety and security!


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Salt Blocks

Scripture for Today: Matthew 5;13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

As a city girl, just about everything having to do with animals and their care is a surprise for me!  The salt block was one such surprise.  I am always being told to limit my intake of sodium for better health.  But for these horses, that salt they are busily licking gives them added nutrition necessary for optimum health.  They require two to four tablespoons per day to keep their sodium levels where they should be.  Without it, the blood will not hold enough water and the kidneys are affected.

Today’s verse tells us that as believers we are called the salt of the earth.  We are to have an influence on those around us.  Our tasty contribution to this world is to draw attention to the Father and His glory (verse 16).  We sprinkle our surroundings with acts of love and kindness that point to Him.  But we can lose that saltiness by living for our own comfort and pleasure.  We can lose our saltiness by taking credit for the good things we have done rather than giving Him the praise that is due Him.

For me to be salt and an influence for Christ, I need to be out there in the world.   Salt does no good sitting on the shelf with all the other salt shakers.  But there is always the risk of losing my saltiness.  Living to serve others is not always a comfortable way to live.  I am faced everyday with the temptation to live entirely for myself.

Lord, make my testimony strong and salty for You.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


Something’s Missing!

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 1:8 “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.”

This bizarre bronze statue was created by Bruno Catalano and can be seen in Marseilles, France.  The artist, having been a sailor for twenty years, created his idea of a world citizen.  Every time he personally left a place, he felt he left pieces of himself behind.  Perhaps most everyone can relate as, “Everyone has missing pieces in his life that he won’t find again.”  This is a much more artistic way of expressing the lyrics of, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco!”

Today’s verse is something a world traveler may eventually feel.  In the beginning of exploring our world, there is much to see, hear and experience.  King Solomon had all the resources needed to experience life to the fullest.  Every desire to see and hear was fulfilled.  And yet those experiences did not fulfill him.  The desire to see more is always there.  The longing to hear more is never satisfied.  There is something missing.  The search for something new exotic and different becomes wearisome.  It does not fulfill something deep within.  There is still an emptiness.

I suppose one could call me a world traveler after having visited close to twenty-five countries.  I am privileged to have seen and heard a lot!  I know a number of people who are “minimalists” decrying the accumulation of things and instead filling their lives with seeing and hearing experiences.  But eventually it all becomes wearisome without that relationship with the Creator.  He is the One who fulfills my life, filling in all the empty places.

Thank you Lord that Your love and presence is more satisfying than anything I can see or hear!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.

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Musical Instrument

kent-piano15136013_10100441682641394_3392491044137909679_nScripture for Today: Romans 6:13 “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourself to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.”

Fascination with musical instruments can start awfully young as proven by our grandson.  Even before the age of two, this little guy is drawn to all kinds.  He will spend inordinate amounts of time on the piano.  He strums his Dad’s guitar, his ukulele, or his “air guitar” if nothing else is available!  And being separated from his toy saxophone is a painful experience! When hearing music played by an orchestra he calls out the violin, the flute, the trumpet and the drums!

Today’s verse talks about the different parts of our body as being instruments, either used for righteousness or wickedness.  Being a disciple of Jesus means offering one’s whole body to Him in complete surrender (Romans 12:1-2).  To do this is a reasonable response to the gift of being brought “from death to life.”  Because our bodies are the temple of His indwelling Spirit (I Cor. 6:19) they are meant for the Lord and the Lord for our bodies (verse 13).

I love that my body can be used as an instrument of righteousness.  I can be His hands when I share with others in need.  I can be His feet when I approach those who are hurting and offer His comfort.  I can use my energy to do what will glorify Him.  Sometimes I get discouraged with the unending temptations that seem to come with this body.  But through Him and His strength, this body can be an instrument He can use.

Lord, today make my body an instrument You can use.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.



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The Sea Turtle

Scripture for Today: Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”

My grandson was entranced with this sea turtle off the coast of Hawaii!  His family had specifically risen early and gone to where they were known to congregate.  But rather than going out to them, this gentle reptile came up close and personal!  If it had been on land it probably would have been a female nesting.  When laying her eggs, the sea turtle will shed large sticky tears that wash off excess salt from their bodies and prevent sand in the eyes.

Today’s verse mentions tears that can be a prelude to songs of joy.  Being filled with joy can follow a time of long arduous preparation and waiting.  The Lord fulfilled His promise to the Israelites to bring them back from captivity and restore their health.  Other nations took note and God was glorified!  After many tears, their mouths were even filled with laughter! (verse 2)  Despite the weeping and waiting they could say, “The Lord has done great things for us!” (verse 3)

The Lord has given me a similar promise.  In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and one day that joy will be overflowing!  All tears will be wiped away from my eyes (Rev. 21:4).  All the waiting and longing and disappointment will come to an end.  The new song He has put in my mouth (Psalm 40:3) will continue on into Heaven.  It is my firm hope and conviction that I will be trading in my tears for astonished and eternal joy!  I look forward to the time when the sowing will be over.  But even here and now in the midst of tears I can say, “The Lord has done great things” for me!

Lord, I praise You for a future without tears.