Devotions By Jan


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Loyal Dog

Scripture for Today: Psalm 117:1-2 “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples. For great is His steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

Poor Madison.  Because of the Camp Fire in Paradise California, he lost his home, and perhaps his brother Miguel, and maybe even his owner.  Regardless, he waited patiently at the burned out site for almost a month in hopes of something changing.  Although not seeing him, an Animal Rescue Volunteer kept checking the property and leaving food and water.  Finally, the evacuation orders were lifted and the owner and the dog’s brother returned.  What a sweet reunion there was between the owner and this faithful dog!

Today’s verse describes a faithfulness that has no equal.  The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  His love for His own never fails and is perfectly expressed in His unending faithful commitment.  There is no waning.  There are no breaks or interruptions.  His faithfulness has no end as He is eternal and unchanging.  Praising Him is the very least we can do in response to such incredible faithfulness!

There is nothing that I can rely on as sure, steady and consistent as His love.  I waver and I am fickle but His faithfulness and commitment to me are solid.  It is the foundation to my life and without it I would be utterly lost.  I can live in reliance on His faithfulness (Psalm 26:3).  His love gives me purpose.  His love gives motivation to live each day.  His love is my support when everything around me is falling apart.  Thankfully, His love is faithful and will never change.

Thank you Lord, that I can count on Your faithful love today, and tomorrow.

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Scripture for Today: Psalm 127:2 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for He grants sleep to those He loves.”

I never thought of a dog as being a sleep aid!  But in fact, a recent study by researchers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York found that women sleep better with a dog in their bed!  Apparently, both cats and humans are equally disruptive to a woman’s sleep.  I can think of some other disruptions too!  But dogs are less likely to wake their owners.  Dogs provide a feeling of comfort and security.

Today’s verse comes from a psalm written by Solomon who has lots to say about vanity.  It is vain to make life all about acquisition.  He should know as he did not deny himself any possession or pleasure (Eccl. 2:10-11).  Yet when he surveyed all that he had toiled to achieve, it was meaningless.  God chooses to bless His loved ones and does so apart from our own toil, even in sleep.  The Bible is full of verses on being a good conscientious worker and not a sluggard.  But toiling incessantly is not the goal of life.

Living with a constant stress that interferes with sleep is not God’s plan.  This world is so fast-paced seeming never to stop.  One is always in a hurry to do more, be more and produce more.  But when I put God’s Kingdom above everything else, God blesses me with everything needed (Matt. 6:33).  I belong to Him and I trust His care and provision.  I can rest easy knowing He is faithful to provide.  He is the One who provides even those feelings of comfort and security.

Thank you Lord, that there will be sweet sleep tonight, knowing You love me.


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Pet Adoption

Scripture for Today: John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

I could never visit an animal shelter.  I would want to bring at least half of the animals home with me!  I have the same problem when visiting a pet store.  As tempting as it is, one thing that keeps me grounded is knowing that I have not prepared for one.  There are so many considerations including: whether the pet will fit with my lifestyle and whether my living arrangements will be suitable.

Today’s verse talks about a place that is being prepared for the eventual arrival of the believer to his eternal home.  Every consideration has been taken.  The One preparing this place knows about every desire, preference and need.  That is because He is the Creator and knows us better than we know ourselves.  This place will be exactly what we did not know we wanted!  And when we finally arrive, this prepared place will immediately be “home” more than any other place we have ever lived.

The particulars are not so important to me.  The details will be fabulous but what will make this place He has prepared so special is the fact that it is in His house!  He will be residing there as well.  His continual and uninterrupted presence will make this place “home.”  It will be my forever home and that illusive contentment I have been chasing all my life will be mine!  What other home could be decorated with perfect love, peace, joy and satisfaction?  It is there waiting for me to move in, and when I do, I will feel settled for the very first time.

Thank you Lord, that You love me enough to prepare a place for me!


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Restless Dogs

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.”

This poor pug looks grumpy and sleep-deprived!  Have you ever seen a dog circle and circle his bed before finally laying down?  Or there’s the dog that paces back and forth.  The restless dog will repeatedly adjust his sleep position, unable to lie still.  The reason for this behavior could be the pain of arthritis or a sign of doggy anxiety.  But this restlessness is not just a problem for dogs!  Everything can be positive in life and yet one can still have a restless spirit.

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.

Lord, may I feel that heart rest today.

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Busted!

Scripture for Today: Numbers 32:23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”

Poor thing.  No one wants to see a dog in this kind of distress.  At least in his predicament he is not thirsty as I imagine he was going for the water in the bottom of the jar.  Probably he stuck his head in there on the sly.  Surely, his owners would have loudly discouraged his behavior had they seen it.  But there was no hiding what he had done after the fact!

Today’s verse concerned the Israelites who had made promises to God and were thinking about putting their own interests first before fulfilling them.  Moses reminded them of their obligations and the Lord’s specific commands.  They did the right thing and were rewarded with possession of the land.  Probably, the warning Moses gave the people was added motivation!

I would like to think that I am always motivated to obey the Lord out of my love and gratitude to Him for all He has done for me.  But to be brutally honest with myself, sometimes it is the idea of this accountability to the Lord that motivates me.  He is my Father and I am His child.  He is not going to allow me to continually and blatantly disobey Him.  The Lord will lovingly but surely discipline those He loves (Heb. 12:6).  My sin will find me out and be obvious to myself and others if I ignore all His attempts at correction and conviction.  He will allow the consequences of my wrongdoing to humble me to my knees.  But what love and restoration I find there!

Thank you Lord, for loving me and forgiving me in spite of myself!

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


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Newborn Puppies

Scripture for Today:Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.”

The chihuahua puppy looks so tiny and vulnerable sitting on an outstretched hand.  This breed of dog is only four inches long at birth.  Puppies seem especially vulnerable and helpless during their first few days.  They are not only blind but deaf, toothless and unable to regulate body temperature.  To cuddle their mother and siblings and to nurse, they depend on their sense of touch and smell.  Their eyes do not open until their second week.  Life gets suddenly much larger when these tiny puppies can begin to explore and discover their world.

Today’s verse describes eyes that are opened to wonderful things in God’s law.  Our eyes can miss what is positive in God’s commandments.  Those wonders can easily escape us.  This verse is a prayer that God would open spiritual eyes to see God’s law differently.  This entire psalm goes on to extol and praise God’s law.  The author’s eyes have been opened to see a long list of wonderful things: blessing, purity, delight, strength, understanding, knowledge, good judgement, freedom and comfort, to name just a few!  God answered the author’s prayer.

I do not often feel this way about God’s law.  Instead of seeing “wonderful things,” in His law, I sometimes see it as negative and restrictive.  My eyes need to be opened!  I want to see those same wonders in His law, especially the comfort and blessing!  God’s law is given with love and with the desire to make life work for me.  I need my eyes open to explore and discover how God wants me to live and to see it as wonderful!

Open my eyes today, Lord.

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


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Walking the Dogs

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 17:24  “A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.”

In walking our daughter’s dogs, there are two different lengths for the leashes.  Both dogs are fairly obedient but Paco, the smaller black one, needs the shorter leash.  He was an abandoned stray and we are not sure what he lived through before becoming part of the family.  But whatever it was, he thinks he can take on any other dog he sees and lets them know it!  He also is very distracted by any and every smell he encounters, which makes for lots of pulling on that leash.  His cooperation does not come easily!

Today’s verse describes a fool whose eyes wander away from what is wise.  Wisdom is like that shorter leash that keeps the discerning person from wandering.  The fool is easily distracted away from wisdom.  Wandering aimlessly is how the adulteress is described and she does not even know it. (Prov. 5:6)  Some wander away from the faith because of their love of money (I Tim. 6:10).  Without the shorter leash of wisdom we wander all over the mountains and hills, following the wrong shepherds and forgetting where our resting place is (Jer. 50:6).

Christ is the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24).  I know that connecting to Him is wise.  He is the One who keeps me on the right path.  The problem is that I am “prone to wander…prone to leave the God I love.”  I am so easily distracted.  I pull on that leash to go check something out and end up going in the wrong direction.  When I trust in my own understanding or ideas, I am out of step with Him.  His direction and His pace are always the best.

Lord, make me wise by following You.