Devotions By Jan


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Block Chain

Psalm 55:19 “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change – He will hear them and humble them because they have no fear of God.”

You can try but you cannot change it!  That is the idea behind the “block chain.”  It is a digital ledger that is designed so that transactions made with bit coin and other cryptocurrency are meddle-proof and unable to be deleted.  The block chain is an accounting method that verifies transactions and creates a record that cannot be changed.  Because everything is unique and traceable, it cannot be copied.  Because this system is “immutable”, it generates trust and truth.

Today’s verse tells us that God does not change.  He is “immutable” and this attribute also generates trust and truth!  His character is irrevocable.  Who He was in times long past is who He still is today!  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8).  He does not need to change, grow, mature or self-correct because He is perfect.  His Word and promises are binding and permanent!  He hears the cries of the righteous because He has promised and He will humble those who have no fear of God, because He has promised.

I never have to worry that God will change His mind about me.  I never have to doubt His unfailing love that does not change.  He has promised His presence for “always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)  I do not have to question whether He is going to show up or not!  The fact that He does not change strengthens my trust in Him.  How relieved I am that I do not have a God who is capricious and unpredictable!  He is my solid, immoveable and immutable rock and I can trust Him completely.

Lord, strengthen my trust in You today.

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Lightening Rod

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His wounds we are healed.”

What a spectacular sight when it happens!  But in fact, the Eiffel Tower  is struck by lightening about ten times a year.  It happened again just recently on May 30th at 2:00am.  Around that time, France experienced a few days with record rainfall and lots of storms throughout the country.  (We were affected being stuck 3 days, trying to fly in!) The tower has lightening rods at the top, so it attracts the lightening and protects quite a large space around it.  The Parisians are safer with that large hunk of metal absorbing the electricity.

Today’s verse reminded me of a lightening rod or conductor.  The cross absorbed all of God’s wrath against sin.  Jesus, who was sinless, took the punishment on Himself that was rightfully ours to bear.  He was pierced, crushed and wounded, all in our place.  Because of His sacrifice, He was able to absorb all of God’s righteous anger against sin.  To talk about God’s wrath is not a comfortable topic.  Yet, without realizing God’s hatred against all wrong-doing, we do not understand how deep is His grace in taking our place!

I am guilty of sometimes treating sin lightly.  I have an amazing ability to minimize its seriousness, at least when it comes to me!  My sin is never as serious as someone else’s!  But when I examine my heart in the light of God’s holiness I become overwhelmed.  When I realize the pain and agony He suffered, then I understand how unworthy I am to have His mercy and grace poured out on me!

I am forever grateful to You Lord, for taking my place.

 


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Crossed Fingers

Scripture for Today:  “II Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

It is said that crossing the middle finger over the index finger as a gesture for luck or God’s favor became popular during wars in the 14th to 15th centuries.  Much later, those crossed fingers were made to silently ask for luck in getting away with a lie!  I still remember crossing my fingers behind my back as a little girl when lying, somehow feeling that in doing so the lie would not count!

Today’s verse teaches that all of God’s promises will be answered with a resounding “YES” in Christ.  The number of promises God has made is not a factor.  What God promises He fulfills as He cannot lie.  He is always faithful to His word.  There are no crossed fingers behind His back!  Some promises in God’s Word are made to a particular person or group of people.  Some promises are made with conditions attached.  But in any case, He can be counted on to honor His word.

Regardless of how I am feeling, what God declares is always reliable and trustworthy.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that He is not like me; fickle.  If He were capricious, life would not be worth living.  I am so glad that He is not and I can always count on HIm.  I can and do build my life on His promises, trusting that He is faithful.  When I live with this kind of confidence, I am living out my “Amen” to His word and my life can give Him the glory He deserves!

Thank you Lord, for Your precious promises to me.  Help me believe them today.


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A Mooring

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

These large ships are moored in a historical spot; the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor, Northern Ireland.  It is historical as it was the launchpad for D-Day landings.  Originally called “North Pier,” it was re-named after the General inspected the troops there.  These moorings are brightly colored yet unimpressive in the grand scheme of things.  However, without their stabilizing presence, those ships, large as they are, would just drift off.

Today’s verse reminds me of a mooring.  Because the Lord is present, because He is ever at my right hand, I will not be moved.  The weather makes no difference.  The movement of the water is a non-issue.  When firmly tied to the mooring of His presence, I can be steadfast and immoveable in my faith.

The problem comes when I hold on tight to something that moves.  God does not.  My own “can do” attitude or my own positive thoughts are not stable.  My emotions are all over the place!  Support and understanding from friends can even disappoint.  They are well meaning but not consistent.  There is only one true source of stability in my life; my Heavenly Father.

The mooring does not move, but sometimes the “rope” of my faith gets a bit frayed.  The only way I can stay close and connected to Him is through His Word.  That is the way I, “Set the Lord continually before me.”  So many other good things compete for my attention.  But when I make reading His Word my priority, I am holding on to His Word, His promises and a deepened awareness of His presence!

Lord, keep me holding on!


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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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Calling All Cows

Scripture for Today: John 10:4-5 “When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Seeing these cows on my walk reminded me of 30 black and white dairy cows in Normandy.  In 1943 their owner left them in a field as the Germans were advancing.  He was able to return for them but some French opportunists had taken them for their own.  They challenged my friend’s grandfather to prove the cows were his.  So he told them to call the cows over.  Of course, the cows just looked at those interlopers and did not budge.  But when the true owner called them, they all immediately got up and approached!

Today’s verse describes the same phenomenon but with sheep.  Jesus was addressing the Pharisees but they were not understanding His meaning.  Jesus then identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (verse 11 & 14).  Those that are His sheep know and recognize His voice and follow Him.

Not only is the Lord’s voice recognizable but He calls each sheep by name! (verse 3)  And when He speaks to me, I will know it is Him.  He will never say anything in opposition to what He has already said in His Word, the Bible.  His voice does not condemn as he has already laid down His life as payment for every sin.  His voice will never accuse or tear down.  His words are full of love, even when He says something difficult to hear.  His voice is soft and tender as He draws me closer to Himself.

Lord, let me hear Your voice today.


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That Pothole

Pothole_1911993bScripture for Today: Isaiah 26:7 “The path of the righteous is level; You, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”

There is nothing worse than seeing that pothole too late!  The resulting thud and bounce matches what my heart does!  Unfortunately, this scenario is quite common in California.  One would not think so as California does not deal with lots of snow as do other states.  But even so it is a problem and one that can result in some expensive repairs.  Insurance companies often have claims involving pothole damage to the tires and suspension.

Today’s verse describes a path that is level and smooth.  It is not that way as a result of our own efforts.  It is level and smooth because of what the Lord does for the righteous.  Without His intervention, life is full of ups and downs and unwelcome jolts to our progress.  On our own, the path we take not only becomes rough and uncomfortable but also takes us in the wrong direction! (Isaiah 53:6).  But in living out the righteousness that He gives us through Jesus Christ, we can have a totally different ride!

I wish this verse meant that there would never be any problems for the believer.  However, we are told we will have troubles in this world (John 16:33).  But in choosing to follow His Word, we at least avoid additional and unnecessary problems of our own making.  Sin just hurts and complicates life, whether our sin or that of someone else.  But in His grace the Lord will sometimes smooth over even those rough patches.  When He allows the jolts, He brings us through with new dependence on Him.

Lord, I need You to smooth out what looks like rough road ahead.  Thank you that I can trust You.

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