Devotions By Jan


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Coxswain Rowing

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:19  “They have lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

As I look out the window at Buzzard’s Bay I see the rowing teams practicing from the nearby private academy.  The only one who seems to know where the boat is going is the coxswain who sits in the stern facing the bow.  This member of the team does not row but his role is crucial.  It is only with his specific calls that the rowers can make any progress.  He is responsible for steering the boat and for coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers.  Without him, there is no unity.

Today’s verse speaks of the Church as a body with a head.  That Head is Christ (Col. 1:18).  If we lose our connection with Him we have lost the ability to work together.  We each have a role to play as members of this body, and there is no growth without Him.  He is the One who directs and leads.  He is the One who steers us in the right direction.  He has the same call for all of us and that is to glorify Him.

There is a temptation to think I am really something!  I may think I know a better way to move forward.  But with this attitude I lose connection with the Lord and I lose connection with other members.  That is because it is Christ who holds us together.  He sees where I am going but asks me to operate by faith and trust Him.  When I am listening for His calls I find unity with other believers doing the same thing!

Thank you Lord, for the progress You make possible!

 

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Powerful Arms

Scripture for Today:  Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You.”

This statue in Colmar, France was sculpted by Bartholdi, the same artist who created the Statue of Liberty.  It is called, “Les Grands Soutiens du Monde” or “The Great Supports of the World.”  There are three figures representing three lofty ideas: two arms of justice, one arm of work and one arm of patriotism.  They are depicted walking and supporting the world with their powerful arms.  I appreciate the artistic sentiment behind this sculpture.  But unfortunately, sometimes those arms get a bit weary and drop.

Today’s verse reminds us of God’s incredible power and control. How reassuring it is to know that planet earth has much stronger arms holding it up!  The powerful arm of the Sovereign Lord brought about the creation of the heavens and the earth.  What is more, His arm is outstretched still!  Creation around me attests to His amazing power.  The night skies above overwhelm me with His majesty.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  All He needs to do is to stretch out His arm.

I forget that when I get overwhelmed with my little world.  Yet, He is able and willing to again stretch out His arm in my life.  All things are possible with God (Mark 10:27).  For Him there are no limits of time or space or any other constraint.  He established the laws of nature and can just as easily put them aside for His purpose.  Those arms not only create but they hold me up when I feel weary.  Those are the arms that tenderly carry me when I just can’t anymore.

Thank you Lord, that I can lean on and trust Your powerful arms.


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The Amen

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever . Amen.

How unusual!  A teenage couple from Jacksonville, Florida, were swept out to sea as a riptide pulled them 1.5 miles from shore.  No matter which way they swam they kept getting further and further out!  Exhausted, they floated on their backs, fearing the end was near.  They called out to God for help and shortly after were spotted and rescued by a passing boat.  Ironically, the boat was named, “Amen.”

We normally tack on an “amen” at the end of prayers without much thought to its meaning.  But in Scripture the “so be it” is used as a statement of confirmation.  In today’s verse, it follows a burst of praise from Paul.  He glorifies and praises God for His deliverance from evil and His promise to eventually bring him safely into His kingdom.  Paul had been beaten, shipwrecked and persecuted.  Although his life was not free of hardship, Paul remained confident that his future was secure and that nothing could touch his soul.  Evil would never win.

I have the same confidence and my whole life can be an “amen.”  Evil will not win in my life either as He has saved me completely (Heb.7:25).  I have been rescued from the power of evil and no attack can touch my soul.  Nothing can snatch me from His hand (John 10:29) and nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).  He has promised and what He says is true and sure.  No matter how many promises He has made they are all “Yes” in Christ (II Cor. 1:20) so I can continually say, “Amen.”

Thank you Lord, for the confidence You give!


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Take A Number!

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I see fewer and fewer of those machines where one takes a number.  But when they are in use I am not sure it makes the waiting any easier.  But then, the purpose is more about keeping people from cutting in line than my ease.  It does  make sense when the waiting area is small and having any kind of line would crowd everyone.  But what is really annoying is not seeing the machine until after having waited some!

Today’s verse is all about waiting.  David is waiting to see God’s goodness.  He is seeking His face for mercy and help.  David knows that there can be no courage or bravery on his part without that wait.  He waits with expectation that God will come through for him.  His hope is based on God’s character and God’s promises to him.  Despite his circumstances, David remains confident that he will see the goodness of the Lord (verse 13).

When I wait to see God’s goodness I want to wait the way David did.  I do not want to focus on that problem.  Instead, I want to think about who God is; my Light, my Salvation, my Refuge.  Like David I want to remember God’s promises to me (verse 8).  But some waits are so long and difficult.  When there seems to be no evidence of change or when a solution seems impossible, waiting for God’s plan to unfold is a stretch.  But He gives me strength even for the wait.  His promises and reassurances give me confidence.  And when I look back on this wait, I will say that God showed me His goodness.

Keep my heart strong, Lord, while I wait for You.

 


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The Westbury White Horse

Scripture for Today: Revelation 19:11 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war.”

This huge white horse has been standing on this hill outside Westbury in Wiltshire, England since at least 1742.  It can be seen for miles as it measures 180 feet tall and 170 feet wide.  It was originally done in chalk and needed constant restoration but has been covered over with concrete since 1950.  Folklore says that when the nearby church clock strikes midnight, the horse goes down to the spring below to drink!

Today’s verse mentions a white horse seen by John as part of God’s revelation.  But more important than the white horse is its unique rider, He who is Faithful and True.  This is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (verse 16) and He bursts on the scene as a mighty unstoppable warrior bringing judgement and justice.  Following Him are the armies of Heaven, also riding white horses and dressed in white linen.  What an incredible sight which signals the beginning of a thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth!  He is Faithful and True to fulfill every outstanding prophecy about His coming Kingdom!

I could not love Him or worship Him if He were not absolutely faithful and true to His Word.  But He is.  The word of the Lord is right and true.  He is faithful in all He does (Psalm 33:4).  He will defeat evil.  He will bring righteousness and justice.  He will reward faithful service and right living.  I can stand firm knowing He is faithful and true.  Others may renege on their word, and even loved ones may break promises.  But I can always count on Him.

Thank you Lord, that I can rely on your faithfulness even today.


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Overpacked!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 30:8b-9 “…but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.”

How is it that we can check the maximum measurements with the airline, carefully measure our carry-on and still somehow end up wrestling our bag into that impossibly small bin?  With the fees tacked on for checked luggage, the challenge is to fit more and more into our carry-ons.  As annoying as it is to wait for that passenger to stuff it in, I always sympathize with their dilemma.  Such are the woes for those of us who have too much!

Today’s verse recognizes the danger of having too much or not enough.  Too much and we tend to forget God, being entirely self-sufficient.  When we have plenty and everything is good, why pray?  There is no need to depend on Him for anything.  Jesus warned that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom (Mark 10:25).  To have plenty or more than enough keeps us from realizing our spiritual needs.  But to constantly be in need for the basics of life can make one bitter towards God.  Neither extreme is good.

I am so thankful to belong to One who takes care of daily need.  He does not give me too much.  He only gives me what I need.  He knows much more than I do what I can handle and what I cannot!  He is good and His grace is sufficient.  I do not need to wish or yearn for anything except more of Him.

Thank you Lord, that Your provision today will be perfect!

 


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“Eggstravaganza”

Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:10 “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.”

I wonder if the sugar high has worn off yet!  Easter seems to be missing something if it does not include lots and lots of sweets.  Those wonderful plastic eggs that are so determinedly sought after yield up colorful jelly beans, usually the only kind of bean that gets children excited!  The search for those eggs is almost as sweet as eating their yummy contents.  The younger the child the more obvious their hiding places and even so, some of those in plain sight get passed over.

Today’s verse talks about seeking for the Lord.  It is not that He is hiding.  It is just that it takes eyes of faith to see Him.  And He wants to be discovered.  He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6). But it is a search that requires faith and trust.  Knowing His name, who He is and His incredible character helps us trust Him.  His faithfulness and that empty tomb help us to continue seeking Him.  He promises never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

He is ready to be sought and found.  He waits for me to turn to Him when I am in trouble.  He promises to be my refuge and stronghold (verse 9).  And just like those eggs scattered for the youngest searchers, He is there is plain sight.  When I seek Him He is ready to reveal Himself and deepen our relationship.  But so often I am too busy, distracted or full of doubts to do the seeking.  I need to slow down and listen to my heart say, “Seek His face!” (Psalm 27:8) as David’s heart told him.

Thank you Lord, for allowing me to find You!