Devotions By Jan


Yield Sign

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

It looks complicated.  I would have to stop a minute to figure out who would have to yield to whom!  It looks as if the bike has to yield to everyone and the horse and rider to no one!  But I do not suppose there are many intersections to worry about on this trail.  If there were confusion I would think common sense would go a long way.  Regardless, yielding is often the safest choice.  When maneuvering through those huge traffic circles in Europe, I do not argue with a yield sign!

Today’s verse tells us we are to yield or submit to the Lord in each and every way we choose to take.  By acknowledging His control, His superior knowledge and His goodness, we travel a path much less complicated by twists and turns.  He makes our paths straight, unencumbered by lengthy unnecessary detours.  We reach our destination in good time, or in His time.  When we give way to Him rather than insisting on our own plan, we find He had a better idea all along!

Yielding my will to His is so often a struggle.  Even knowing that my own understanding is limited, I stubbornly resist.  I like being the one who makes the decisions.  Trusting Him with all my heart is scary without having some measure of control.  But He promises that when I do, He will make my paths straight, choosing the best way.  No time will be lost in making U turns or encountering dead ends.

Thank you Lord, that I can fully trust Your heart of love for me!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)

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Beyond the Storm

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”

With all the technology at our fingertips, we are often forewarned of a storm on its way.  Other times a storm seems to descend suddenly with little or no warning at all.  With our many road trips we are sometimes stuck with no option except to go through its path.  But I am not too concerned when I can see the skies clearing ahead.  Just the thought of the storm being temporary helps me calm down and get through it.

Today’s verse talks about walking in the dark with no light at all.  There is no vision of clear skies ahead.  This happens for even those that fear and obey the Lord.  When those confusing dark times come, we are to trust in His name and who He is.  We are to rely on God rather than our senses or our intelligence.  Walking by faith has nothing to do with what we can see ahead that reassures us (II Cor. 5:7).  We are given no “light at the end of the tunnel” on which to focus.

I cannot see that patch of blue ahead.  But I can remain calm in the middle of a storm.  Trusting and relying on the Creator of that storm keeps me serene.  He is trustworthy and He is in control.  I have no reason to be fearful for what the future might hold.  And the only light I really need in that darkness is the heart conviction of how good and gracious He is.

Thank you Lord for Your reassuring presence even in the dark.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing through reposting!)

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Laughing Hyena

Scripture for Today: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hearing the spotted hyena laugh never fails to at least elicit a smile from me if not a laugh of my own!  Their maniacal “laugh” can be heard when hyenas are agitated or showing aggression.  One can especially hear it when there is a feeding frenzy.  As the hyena is not certain when they will eat next, they gorge themselves whenever they can.  No joy or happiness here.  This is no laughing matter!

Today’s verse speaks of a deep seated joy that is accompanied with peace.  Unlike happiness which depends on happenings, this joy comes from God through His Spirit (Gal. 5:22)  Because of its divine Source, the result of being filled with this joy is an overflowing hope.  However, it is through the conduit of trusting Him that believers experience this joy with peace.  As we trust Him we are filled with a joy and peace that has little to do with our circumstances.

Our world is daily changing and with it, our plans as well.  When things abruptly fall apart, so does my sense of well being.  Tears, disappointment and even anger are my immediate reaction.  But when I stop to consider God’s sovereignty in everything, I am reassured.  I continue to be disappointed but at the same time I can take heart.  The more I can manage to trust Him and His plan, the more I can experience this unexplainable joy.  When my heart trusts Him then my heart can “leap for joy.” (Ps. 28:7)  Circumstances do not need to defeat or define me.

Thank you Lord, that YOU are my hope.  YOU are my peace.  YOU are my joy.

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My Father’s Gift

Scripture for Today:Matthew 7:9-10 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”

My Dad loved to bowl which may explain how this happened.  For months as a young girl, I dropped many not-so-subtle hints about the expensive doll I had seen advertised.  That Christmas morning, trembling with excitement, I made a beeline for that big narrow box tagged with my name.  What keen disappointment I felt when unwrapping a toy bowling set instead of a doll!  My Father gave it out of love but it was not the good gift I was expecting.

Today’s passage explains that our Heavenly Father gives good gifts to His children when we ask Him (verse 11).  In answer to our prayers, He gives to His own exactly what is good for us.  He is not random nor is He arbitrary.  Our Father is a perfect Father.  He sees past what may be selfish or frivolous requests.  He answers the deeper need we sometimes do not even see.  And what is so amazing is that our Father is the unrecognized Source of much that is good in our lives!

I have heard people quip, “Be careful what you pray for, you just may get it.”  The idea is that we will be sorry we ever asked.  That does not describe my perfect heavenly Father.  What He gives me is out of love and always for my good.  If I mistakenly ask for a stone or a snake, He has committed Himself to giving only what is good for me.  I can trust His goodness in all of His answers.  I am so glad He sees what is good for me when I cannot.

Thank you Lord, for being a good good Father!

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Moeraki Boulders

Scripture for Today: I Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one beside You; there is no Rock like our God.”

These strange spherical boulders on the Koekohe Beach in New Zealand have fired the imagination for years.  The varied names given them include: eel pots, hooligan gallstones, giant gobstoppers, alien brains, bowling balls of the giants and dinosaur eggs!  There are over fifty of them and the biggest one weighs seven tons!  Their strange appearance makes for a unique landscape.  They are made of mud, fine silt and clay, cemented together by calcite, layer upon layer over many years.

Today’s verse is part of Hannah’s prayer as she dedicates her young son, Samuel, to full-time service in the temple.  This is the child she had prayed for so ardently, being barren and snubbed.  Although she was giving up Samuel, her heart rejoiced being vindicated before her enemies (verse 1).  She felt delight at God’s deliverance and praises Him for being her holy and unique Rock.  Throughout Scripture our God is pictured as a Rock.  What an image of His strength and permanence!  Layer upon layer of faithfulness to His Word makes for a sure foundation.

I never need to worry whether my Rock will be there tomorrow or the day after.  He is immoveable and unchanging.  He is my strength, and my refuge.  Being my Rock, He is a place of strength and refreshment for my flagging spirit.  The surface of this rock has a cool touch when I am too warm from stress and anxiety.  But that same rock surface is warm from the sun and comforting when I am feeling cool and indifferent.  I know He is faithful to meet my every need as I have “proved Him ore and ore.”

Lord, be my Rock today.