Devotions By Jan


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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.


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A New Season

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

The vineyards of Alsace, France are breathtaking in the autumn! Rich golden color covers the hillsides and when the sun shines just right, the leaves look to be on fire! But before long these leaves turn brown, shrivel and fall to the ground, exposing gnarled bare branches. I miss being surrounded by these vineyards as they mark the passing of time. There was a sense of order and comfort knowing that each season will make its appearance in due time.

Today’s verse reminds us of the passing of time and seasons. The earth is locked into a cycle of time that has no equivalent above the heavens. The seasons are unique to us. Heaven and eternity are not bound or limited by time. And each season that God ordains in our lives has a God-given purpose for His glory. There is a time for birth or death, mourning or dancing, speaking or remaining silent, among many other activities “under heaven.” (verse 2-8)

In the blink of an eye, a new season has arrived in my life. I did not ask for the change. I was happy with the old season. But it is my Heavenly Father who ushers in a different life without a loved one. And because He has been faithful in the past, I know I can trust Jesus for this unfamiliar territory. I am confident that He will move me through this season of sadness and loss in His way and in His time. How thankful I am that there is coming a “season” that will be eternal and unchanging in Heaven! What an incredible time of reunion it will be!

Lord, keep me focused on that time without end!


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How Do You Say Goodbye?

Scripture for Today: I Thessalonians 4:13 “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

I love the way the French express their goodbyes. “Au revoir” has the idea of seeing one again right there in the word. It was a long goodbye for my Mother-in-law as she left us for Heaven. But how wonderful it was for her to have the chance to say her goodbyes to so many of her family and friends. There were tears, hand-holding and hugs. There was even a live violin concert right there in her bedroom!

Today’s verse tells us that for the believer in Christ there is a different way to grieve. We grieve with hope. The separation is painful and hard but it is temporary. Death has been swallowed up in victory! It is a passage where the perishable is clothed with imperishable and the mortal with immortality! (I Cor. 15:53-54) One day there will be an incredible reunion of laughing and singing and dancing! The sting of death will be forever removed. This sure hope makes a temporary separation bearable.

“When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart and hope to meet again.” And my hope is not just wishful thinking but a certainty!  My hope is built on Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me. It is on that cross that He triumphed over death, insuring eternal life for those who place their trust in Him. It is this hope that changes my grief. It is this hope that helps me say goodbye.

Thank you Lord, that grief does not crush me.  Thank you Lord, that Your hope is my comfort.


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See No Evil…

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The first monkey has eyes half closed. The second seems stoic and unmoving, perhaps not hearing. And the third may be speaking something, but hopefully not something evil. See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil is a well-known proverb. The idea is that we are to ignore any evil we come in contact with. Supposedly, ignoring evil keeps one virtuous. Although mass shootings are unfortunately not new, I am hearing the word, “evil” bandied about more freely by the media.

Today’s verse is part of a description of evil, its source and how to stand up against it! Evil comes from the intentional schemes of the devil (verse 11). It is not just an idea or the absence of good. Evil is the plan of Satan and although his strategy may be to use individuals, he himself is the ultimate source. To use anything other than the armor of God will be a losing proposition. It involves struggle but not against flesh and blood. Evil is a spiritual problem that can never be resolved except through God’s intervention.

Am I the only one who believes the world is getting darker and darker? Thankfully, there is ultimate victory over evil through Christ’s sacrifice for sin. And as a believer I am not without resources. Rather than ignore evil, I am to stand firm against it with objective unchangeable truth and righteous living. I am to fight back by spreading the good news of peace with God through Christ. My arsenal is faith, salvation and confidence in God’s Word.

Thank you Lord that through You, evil is overcome.