Devotions By Jan


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Stunned by the Cold

Scripture for Today: Matthew 24:12-13 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

The recent frigid temperatures in Texas have had some surprising victims! Over 5,000 sea turtles have had to be rescued off the coast. The cold has stunned the residents of Texas, causing all kinds of power outages and clean water problems. But the cold has literally stunned these turtles! The extremely low temperatures mean that these sea turtles can no longer move, eat, or keep their heads above water. They have grown too cold.

Today’s verse is part of the response Jesus gives to his disciples’ questions regarding the end times. Just as with birth pangs, there will be signs that will signal the end of the age. (verse 3) Those signs are disturbing. But perhaps the most disturbing is that love will grow cold. When there is no love there is no regard for one’s neighbor and there is no check on wickedness. But when there is love for one another, “..love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8) Without love, sin runs rampant.

I am so glad this hard passage ends on a positive note! Those who stand firm to the end will be saved! I will not stand firm without drawing from His strength! My knees become weak when it seems as if evil is winning. When I see God’s justice delayed and the wicked prosper, it is easy to give up. When so many around me are deceived by so-called science and humanism, I could easily throw in the towel. But the story is not over yet, and the ending will be a triumphant one when HE returns on the clouds with power and great glory! (vs 13)

Lord, keep me standing firm.

 


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Hanging On

Scripture for Today: Psalm 63:8 “I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.”

The koala, although a marsupial, looks like a cute cuddly teddy bear. He can hold on to those smooth-barked gum trees and even sleep there 18-20 hours a day without any worry of falling off. That is because he has two opposable thumbs on his fore paws that allow a sure grip. He also has big toes that are set at an angle to the foot, giving him a vise-like hold. They cling so well to the tree that they leave scratches on the bark.

Today’s verse tells us that we can cling to the Lord because He upholds us with His right hand. David writes this psalm while in the desert of Judah. He remembers and thinks on his bed, not about his enemies but about God’s love that he considers better than life! (verse 3) He clings to the truth that God is his help. (verse 7) David is confident of the end his enemies face. He may be in a clinging position now, but he knows that they will be destroyed and he will rejoice! They, as liars, will be silenced but he will glory in the Lord. (verse 11)

I feel as if I am barely hanging on when surrounded by those who oppose Jesus Christ and when surrounded by liars. But what I am clinging to makes all the difference! The piece of wood to which I cling is the cross! Jesus, by His death on the cross, has won the victory over every enemy! I cling to Him as He is the THE truth in a world full of liars. (John 14:6) His Word is eternal. His promises are true. He is the One who holds me up when I cling to Him.

Lord, keep me hanging on to You.


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Kingdom Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”

Kingdom Day today is all about honoring the civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It has been done for more than three decades by holding a parade. But in these strange times of pandemic, the parade will be held virtually. When looking up “Kingdom Day,” the first suggestion was the celebration in the Netherlands! Kingdom Day for them is their commemoration of the signing of their charter in 1954.

Today’s verse speaks of a Kingdom Day that is every day! This kingdom is everlasting. God’s kingdom endures through all generations. It is never outdated or shoved to the annals of history. That is because God’s kingdom and dominion are not just a matter of talk, speeches or signed documents. It is rather a matter of power! (I Cor. 4:20) And His Kingdom is both literal and spiritual. For the believer, His Kingdom is already present in the heart and we seek to put it first in our lives as well. (Matt. 6:33) But we also long for and pray for that day when His Kingdom comes and is established on earth. (Matt. 6:10)

In the turmoil of our world today, I need to grasp this reassuring truth. Kingdoms, regardless of our political bent, will come and go. None of kingdoms of this earth are eternal. But God’s kingdom endures forever. It is a kingdom with a trustworthy King who fulfills every promise. He is trustworthy because He is faithful in all He does. This is true in the grand scheme of things but also in my little life! What an amazing privilege to be part of this kingdom!

Lord, may Your kingdom come.


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Cape Disappointment

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:24 & 27b “Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? …You are badly mistaken.'”

What an unfortunate name for this Washington State Park! For many campers, hikers, photographers and history buffs, this scenic spot is a delight! It was named by the English Captain, John Meares in 1788. He was looking for the head of the Columbia River, first mapped out by a previous explorer a few years earlier. This cape does sit at the mouth of the river, but he was disappointed. Why? Because he mistakenly believed it was only a bay.

Today’s verses are the words of Jesus to the religious Sadducees attempting to trap Him. Like the explorer, they mistakenly believed something. They mistakenly believed their own traditions over and above the Scriptures. Their beliefs even negated the power of God! Their religiosity, devoid of any real relationship with the Lord, could only lead to disappointment. These religious leaders did not believe in the resurrection and they were badly mistaken. They did not believe God’s incredible power and promise to raise us from the dead.

The hurt is deep for those disappointed by a mistaken belief. But the Lord declares that those who hope in Him will not be disappointed! (Isaiah 49:23b) Government leaders disappoint me. The Church can disappoint me. My own erroneous expectations can disappoint me. Even family and friends can disappoint. But the Lord never disappoints! He has promised to take every negative in my life and turn it around to something positive. (Rom. 8:28) Even the evil in my life at the hands of others can be turned around. (Gen. 50:20) The Lord will never disappoint as the good He intends for me cannot be thwarted!

Thank you Lord, that You never disappoint!


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Horses and Chariots

Scripture for today:  Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.”

Who remembers that famous chariot race scene in the epic movie, Ben Hur? It took five weeks to film this nine minute segment and the studio used 15 thousand extras for the crowd of spectators.  There was an infirmary created especially for this scene because of the potential for injury.  There were no injuries, however, except some bad cases of sunburn.  Three life-like dummies were strategically placed to give the appearance of bodies run over by the chariots.

Horses and chariots were important instruments of war in biblical times.  The winning side in a battle were often those with the best built chariots and the swiftest horses.  In today’s verse, one can choose to place their confidence in their horses and chariots or in the name of the Lord.  The choice is basically the same today.  We can choose to place our trust in our own efforts, or we can depend on the strength of the Lord.  It is the Lord who gives victory with the power of His right hand. (verse 6) To trust in oneself is no guarantee of victory.

Trusting “in His name” is trusting God Himself. He is absolutely worthy of my trust but sometimes I overestimate my own abilities and efforts. I am so prone to feelings of self-sufficiency. It seems easier to just handle things in my own strength and in my own way. The results, though, are never as good as dependence on Him. Having confidence in His goodness, control and power gives Him the open door to do some amazing things above and beyond all I could ask or or even imagine! (Eph. 3:20)

Help me Lord, to completely trust Your plan and Your power.