Devotions By Jan



Scripture for Today: Psalm 111:4 “He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.”

Photo by Peter Lee

This week, North Americans remember on Memorial Day those soldiers who have fallen to secure our freedom. We need these special days to remember. Memories fade without them or without a physical memento to remind us. These dog tags hang in the Old North Memorial Garden near the Old North Church in Boston, MA. They commemorate those who have lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Today we can identify remains through DNA. Even so, dog tags are still issued. They serve as an important reminder of sacrifice.

And we need important reminders. Today’s verse teaches us one of the many ways the Lord shows us His grace and compassion. He helps us remember. He knows that we are forgetful. We continually need His reminders of the wonders He has done. He brings them to mind at the most opportune time; when we are depressed and our soul is downcast (Ps. 42:6) and when we are on our bed and all is quiet. (Ps. 63:6) We find comfort when we remember His Word. (Ps. 119:52)

My tendency is to forget what I have studied in His Word, what I have seen and experienced of His wonders. Over time, they fade from my heart. (Deut. 4:9) if I am not careful and watch myself closely. It seems to be my default setting. But when I forget, I will need to learn it all over and over again, rather than growing in my faith! I may not have dog tags, but I have His many reminders through His Word and His personal reassurances of His faithfulness in the past!

Thank you Lord, for Your reminders.


A Mark of Impatience

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:32 “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”

It was not one of my stellar moments. The workers had promised they would put up all my wall hangings for me. I waited. Patiently I thought. After all, it was a low priority in our renovation. I could wait some more….until I couldn’t and I went ahead without them! I thought I understood the instructions on the adhesive I used and how to test it. I obviously did not as the lack of plaster attests! Every time I pass that wall I am reminded of my impatience!

Today’s verse values the patient person more than a successful strong warrior. Self-control is more admired than someone who conquers a city. And both patience and self-control are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a believer. (Gal. 5:22-23) Throughout Scripture we are told to “wait on the Lord.” When He makes a promise, we can absolutely rely on His faithfulness to come through. Like Sarah who was promised a son in her old age, it is when we try to “help God out” that we get ourselves in trouble.

I don’t like to wait. I often want to tell the Lord why now is so much better than later! But nothing He does is without plan or purpose. Certainly, He can fulfill all His promises at any time He chooses. But He chooses to make me wait and it’s for my benefit; to build my trust, to make me patient, to work on my self-control! My, what a lot of work He has!

Thank you Lord, for being patient with me!

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What Palms Tell You

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:15-16a “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

Palm reading is generally thought to be a superstitious belief but it continues to enjoy some success for those who want to believe. There are different types of palmistry practiced but the idea is to interpret one’s future by looking at the heart, head, life or fate lines. Classic palmistry has its roots in Greek mythology where a god or a goddess is related to different areas of the palm or fingers.

Today’s verse talks about God’s palm and what is written there! The Lord is reassuring the Israelites that He will never forget them. As unusual as it may be for a mother to forget her child, He will never forget His own chosen people. A mother may not have compassion for her child, but the Lord will comfort His people and will have compassion on them. (verse 13) Those that God loves He will never abandon. Those that He loves are engraved on the palms of His hands.

How reassuring it is that the Lord will never forget me! His thoughts towards me are as numerous as all the grains of sand in the world. (Psalm 139:18) That means I can never catch Him NOT thinking of me! His palms are engraved with my name and no one can snatch me out of those loving powerful hands! (John 10:28) Not only is my name there but also the scars that prove His love for me. My heart, hand, life or fate are all in His control as I belong to Him. What an amazing confidence and peace His love makes possible!

Thank you Lord, that You will never forget me.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2020)

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Hurricane-Force Winds

Scripture for Today: Job 8:2-3 “How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?”

The images of hurricane damage are impressive! Ian, the most recent, wreaked havoc in Florida with maximum wind gusts over land reaching as high as 140 mph! To put that number in perspective, wind gusts are considered severe beginning at 58 mph. So many interviewed described that wind like the noise of an approaching train. Roofs were sheered off and boats lifted in the air. Trees were flattened and power lines were downed in an instant.

Today’s verse describes words spoken like a blustering or mighty wind. And just as hurricane-force winds can do so much damage, so our words can be damaging to others. Job is struggling with what was happening to him. Despite the suggestions of his three friends, Job was not aware of any obvious sin for which God was punishing him. Understandably, it did not seem fair. Job’s questions came from the anguish of his spirit and the bitterness of his soul (7:11). But Job’s words could be damaging if they questioned the justice of God.

So many times I do not have a clue as to what God is doing or why. In my life or in the lives of others it can seem that God is not dealing fairly. If I were to widely and publicly put into question God’s justice and fairness, my words could wreak havoc to the faith of someone else. If I express to others that He is unjust, then my words can cause untold damage around me. My response needs to be absolute trust in His righteousness, justice and control, whether I understand or not.

I may wonder what You are doing, Lord. But may I always cling to the truth of Your justice!

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Who Cares?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:18 “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.”

Eduardo Diez Viñuela
CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is the beautiful Rio Cares, a river in Northern Spain. It is known in that region because of the spectacular canyon it forms. All along this 34 mile river is a walking path. And kayakers enjoy descending this river during the summers. It is also known for the quality of salmon in its waters. The Cares river can be said to “care” as it delights the eyes, as well as provides recreation, sustenance and peaceful respite.

Today’s verse describe another place where we find care, the Lord’s care. The blameless are those who because of forgiveness, enjoy a restored relationship with their Creator through Christ. It is the Lord’s care that insures that in times of disaster the believer does not wither (verse 19). But like the disciples in the storm-tossed boat, we can wonder if God really does care (Mark 4:38). Or like Martha, we can feel overwhelmed with work and accuse Jesus of not caring (Luke 10:40).

The Lord invites me to put the weight of all my cares on Him because He does care for me (I Peter 5:7). Whether it be physical, emotional, social or spiritual needs, He is big enough to care and provide for each one. He does not withhold any good thing from those who belong to Him (Psalm 84:11). He knows what is truly good for me and what is not! Rather than just a few hurried minutes, I need to spend my day in the Lord’s care. It is in trusting Him that I can avoid those feelings of being overwhelmed.

Lord, I give You all my cares today.