Devotions By Jan

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Hope Springs Eternal

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Photo by Rick Cameron

The saying, “hope springs eternal” is certainly true for Ellie, the dog! The ripened acorns are fragrant and entice Ellie to sniff but not enough so that she actually tries them. Still, she will sniff each and every acorn just to be sure! This saying comes from a poem written in 1734 by Alexander Pope called, “Essay on Man.” The complete phrase ends with “in the human breast.” For all of us, hope is a motivating emotion that keeps us from giving up.

Today’s verse is part of a psalm that is all about hope. It is a hope that is well placed, being in God the Savior. It is a hope that is not just momentary but lasting all day long. And it is because of this hope that David can be confident of God’s guidance and truth. He affirms that those who hope in God will never be put to shame (verse 3). And David can call on God for His protection because his hope is in the Lord (verse 21).

This hope and confidence is not just for David! Because my God is the “God of hope”, I can experience joy and peace. (Rom. 15:13) My hope is continuous on this earth, but someday my hope will be realized in Heaven when I am with Him face to face! It is this hope that motivates me to stay the course. Hope in Him is sure and will never put me to shame. To put my hope in anything or anyone else is never as sure. Hope in the Lord not only motivates but anchors my soul in truth!

Thank you Lord, that hope in You will never disappoint!

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Dog Obedience School

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 9:23b “…But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust Him or obey Him.”

This dog must have passed his dog obedience course with flying colors! Would that dogs obeyed their owners to this extent! I am not too sure I would enjoy grasping that wet bag handle though! Typically, the dog obedience school trains dogs to come when called, stay, sit, lie down and walk nicely on a leash. That last behavior is especially important. No one wants a dog lunging or pulling on a leash. A dog who walks attentively next to his owner is less likely to become fearful in new situations.

Today’s verse describes the disobedience of the Israelites when commanded to take the land the Lord had given them. God had promised victory had they gone up and taken possession. But they were fearful. To obey this command would involve trusting God’s promise. It would seem risky to take Him at His word. So instead of trusting and obeying, they chose to rebel.

Obeying God’s commands is not always easy or comfortable. I usually have an idea that seems better and with less bother. But doing things my way is really saying that I do not trust Him. I do not trust Him to work things out for my benefit. Can I really trust Him to meet every need? Can I truly trust Him to be enough? Will He really come through? There is no question of me obeying Him if I do not trust Him. My obedience comes out of a place of absolute trust.  Like the old hymn says, “What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.”

Lord, help me to trust You more today than I did yesterday.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)



Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead for his reward.”

What started out as a joke in 2013 has now become the fourth largest crypto by market value! With that logo of Shiba Inu from the “Doge” meme it is hard to take seriously at first glance. But in the world of cryptocurrency it is gaining momentum. At this writing its value has climbed to 55 cents. But many are skeptical and cautious. One of the main differences between this and the bitcoin is that the total supply is uncapped. It is unlimited!

What we value determines how we live. For Moses in today’s verse, he did not value what most would. He was able to turn his back on the riches of Egypt and leave his privileged position. He did this in obedience to God’s call even though it would mean disgrace and loss of recognition by the royal family. He could do this because he was looking in faith toward his eternal reward. Like Paul, Moses could count every advantage as “garbage” compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8)!

Do I value knowing Christ just as much? Like the fluctuating market where values rise and fall, the value I assign to Him can change. His worth far exceeds anything on earth but my priorities sometimes veer towards what is “garbage” in comparison. I am so easily distracted by what the world values. But when I arrive at my eternal home where streets are made of gold and gates of precious stones, I will laugh at what I thought was so important here!!

Lord, keep me valuing what has true worth!

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Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

Today, the last day of the year 2020, it seems appropriate to look back and remember all that has passed. The saying, “Hindsight is 20/20,” is from the mid 1900’s and combines the idea of understanding a past event with good vision. It describes that clarity in regarding our past choices and contrasts it with the uncertainty felt when the choice was made. Often it is only in looking back that we understand an outcome with information not formerly available to us.

Today’s verse reveals that hindsight is never needed by our God. He is great and mighty in power. And there are no limits to His understanding. He does not need to look back over 2020 to make plans for 2021! He never wishes He could change an action taken in the past as all His ways are perfect. (Deut. 32:4) He would never regret His own perfect decisions nor would He be surprised at their outcomes. There is no need for God to look back to improve His understanding of events. He is all-knowing and eternal, seeing all from outside the confines of time.

What a mighty God I serve! There is nothing He does not understand. He is aware of every thought, every motive and every circumstance. How unsearchable is the depths of the riches of His wisdom! (Rom. 11:33) And this is why I can trust Him for 2021. He not only completely understands the past but He already sees what is ahead. There is a plan already in place, globally and personally. (Jer. 29:11) My understanding will always be limited. But I can trust my All-Knowing Father and face the future with confidence.

Thank you Lord, for everything ahead in this new year.

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The Alpha Dog

Scripture for Today: Revelation 1:8 “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'”

One of these wolf dogs is clearly showing traits of being the “alpha dog.”  Other members of a pack, called, “beta dogs,” will show submission to him.  The alpha will be the dominant dog, the first and most important member.  In a domesticated dog, these alpha traits may appear as refusals to follow the owner’s commands.  He may exhibit alpha behavior on a walk by forcing his owner to follow his pace!

Today’s verse calls the Lord God, the Almighty, the “Alpha ” and the “Omega.”  These two designations would be familiar to the readers as the first and last letter of their Greek alphabet.  “In the beginning, God…”  He is the beginning of everything and no one precedes Him.  He is the end and will bring human history to a close.  No one comes after Him.  He is the first and most important with no limits to His power and knowledge.  All of history, all of the present and all of the future is directed and controlled by Him.

Knowing this gives me the correct view of myself.  I am to be a “beta,” submissive to Him and willing to follow.  He directs and He sets the pace.  I do not obligate God but He commands me.  When I try to lead I get myself in all kinds of trouble.  Just as Jesus called others to, “Follow Me,” so He continues to ask this in my life.  As the Alpha, He sees what is ahead.  And as the Omega He sees from the beginning to the absolute end.  I can trust Him for what is happening in the now.

Lord, keep me faithfully following You.