Devotions By Jan


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Thrown Away

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 10:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”

Her husband thought he was being helpful.  His wife came in late from the baby shower given her.  She dutifully emptied the car of all the gift boxes containing all the sweet gifts for their unborn baby.  She stacked them in the corner of the garage and went to bed.  As usual, she heard the garbage truck come by early the next morning but thought nothing of it.  That is until she realized that her helpful husband cleared out the garage that morning.  Thinking the boxes were empty, he inadvertently threw away all the gifts!

Today’s verse speaks of something that believers are never to throw away; our confidence.  This is not a confidence in ourselves.  This confidence is the full assurance that faith brings (verse 22).  Confidence is ours because of Christ’s sacrifice, giving us direct access into God’s presence (verse 20).  We have confidence to draw near to God because Christ has sprinkled our hearts clean from a guilty conscience.  These believers were facing physical suffering and confiscation of their property.  But confidence was still possible in looking forward to what was promised.

It is much easier to doubt and question than to remain confident.  When everything seems dark and hopeless, I am tempted to let go.  But when I remember His faithfulness I can regain that confidence.  He is faithful to His word and His promises.  He wants me to hold unswervingly to this hope I profess (verse 23).  With confidence in His love I can persevere, even when circumstances are so negative.  He has promised that my confidence placed in Him will be richly rewarded!  Already, He is rewarding me with more of Himself.

Lord, keep me confident and holding on.

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Walk Ins Welcome

Scripture for Today: Psalm 118:19 “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.”

This store name may give some potential clients pause!  Considering the reaction of one’s mother to a tattoo may just dissuade some customers.  But the billboard is very welcoming with the words, “Walk Ins Welcome.”  Normally this means no appointment needed.  Maybe no mental preparation either!  Those three little words appeal to impulse buying and probably account for much of their sales.  One is always welcomed to spend money!

Today’s verse is a psalm of praise for salvation.  The gates of righteousness stand wide open for those who have cried out to God for His salvation (verse 21).  Only those who have accepted Christ’s righteousness can enter these gates.  On our own merits, no one can enter.  We have no righteousness of our own (Eccl. 7:20).  But our faith in the Righteous One and His sacrifice for sin is credited as righteousness (Rom. 4:5).  We cannot just walk in.  It is because of His righteousness those gates are opened.  And for believers, a rich welcome awaits us into the eternal kingdom (II Peter 1:11).

The Lord is, “my one defense, my righteousness.”  I can stand before those imposing gates of righteousness with full assurance.  Not because of my efforts but because of His incredible grace to me!  A rich welcome must mean that no one enters quietly or unnoticed.  When I enter those gates it will be a warm home-coming marked with a rich welcome.  It is rich because I will be greeted by friends and family who will have gone before me.  But it will be especially rich when I am greeted and held in the warm embrace of the Savior!

Thank you Lord, that by Your righteousness I am welcomed!

 


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Clear Air Turbulence

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12-13a “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….”

Recently, the wisdom of keeping one’s seat buckle clasped was uncomfortably illustrated for passengers!  A drink cart literally hit the ceiling along with the heads of many who were not buckled in.  Clear-air turbulence was the cause which differs from regular turbulence in that it is more difficult to detect without the presence of clouds.  Better to be firmly belted in than tossed around the cabin!

Today’s verse talks about remaining firm in a spiritual battle with the belt of truth buckled.  And like clear air turbulence, the day of evil can come when one least expects it!  The believer lives in a world where the evil one tries to destabilize and knock us down with his lies (John 8:44).  He does this by planting doubts in our minds just as he did with Eve, asking if God really did say what He did.  The only way to combat his lies is to know, love and trust the truth of God’s Word.

Being convinced of the truth allows me to stand my ground and not be moved, no matter how violent the turbulence.  Not only that but there is less chance of being deceived when I am daily in His Word.  Those lies can look very convincing and are often made to look more attractive than the truth.  I dare not trust in my own reasoning or wisdom which so often is flawed.

Will this be a day of evil turbulence?  Lord, keep me firmly buckled in with the truth of Your Word.

 


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Sinkhole Rescue

Scripture for Today:   Psalms 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Poor Ruby.  They say curiosity kills the cat, but dogs are curious too!  This sweet Golden Retriever was on a walk with her owner and seeing something new, a sinkhole, she approached to check it out.  Ruby fell in and spent several unhappy hours there before being rescued.  Thankfully, she was not injured and was happily reunited with his worried owner.

Today’s verse describes depression like a horrible pit.  The floor of that pit is a miry clay where one cannot get any traction.  The only escape is for the Lord to lift David out in answer to his cry.  It did not happen immediately.  David had to wait patiently for God to act (verse 1).  And the pit did not disappear.  It still exists as there is always the temptation to climb back in o that pit of sadness and self-pity.  But God set David’s feet on the Rock of Himself, giving him a sure standing on His faithfulness.

That slippery clay of emotion keeps me from a firm footing.  I want to stand on the truth of God’s Word and His character.  Regardless of how I feel, He does not change nor do His promises.  Sometimes, when the miry clay is especially thick, I cannot even pray or read His Word.  When I am in the pit of despair, the only solution is to cry out to Him for help.  I cannot pull myself up by self-talk.  How gracious He is to hear my cry and to “put a new song in my mouth.” (verse 3)  He changes my pit into praise!

Thank you Lord, for not leaving me in the pits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Building Forts

Scripture for Today: Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”

Kids can make a fort out of just about anything!  All that is needed is a little imagination and a few props.  There was not only room enough in this fort for my two grandsons but their mother as well.  Surprisingly, she stayed in there after the boys lost interest.  Maybe not so surprisingly!  It was quiet and peaceful there.  It was even warm with the protection from drafts.  After even just a few minutes inside, she came out looking happily refreshed!

Today’s verse describes God as a fortress and refuge.  David’s house was being watched by Saul’s men as they laid in wait to ambush and kill him.  David prays for deliverance not only from his enemies (verse 1), but from their slander, curses and lies (verses 10 & 12).  He recognizes that God is his strength and that he can rely on Him (verse 10).  David’s confidence in God being his strength, fortress and refuge is so strong that he can sing!  He praises God in song for His strength and His love.

In times of trouble, I need the warmth and protection of HIs strength and love.  Actually, I just need Him all the time.  But it is when faced with hard times that I realize my need.  His presence fortifies and strengthens my resolve to stand firm and resolute.  His love reminds me that He is in control and will not allow me to be overwhelmed.  His strength can be mine when I run to Him for shelter.  I am His.  I belong to Him and whatever I am facing, nothing is too hard for HIm.

Lord, I will sing today of Your strength and love!


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Chased by a Moose!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 57:3 “He sends from Heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – Gods sends forth His love and His faithfulness.”

Some snowboarders at a ski resort in Breckenridge, Colorado got the surprise of their lives when chased by a moose!  The animal looked calm enough but at one point must have felt threatened as they zipped by on their boards!  Just before charging, the ears of a moose are laid back and the hairs on its hump are raised.  If pursued by a moose, it is recommended to either run or take cover behind something solid like a tree.

Today’s verse speaks of being hotly pursued.  David is running from an enemy that is intent on destroying him; Saul.  Unlike a moose whose charge is sometimes only a warning, this pursuit was to the death!  David cries out to the Lord for mercy.  He takes cover in a cave and God protects David out of His love and faithfulness.  Because David’s heart is steadfast he can sing and make music in the middle of disaster (verse 7).  His trust and confidence is so strong that he describes God’s love as reaching to the heavens and His faithfulness to the skies (verse 10).

I am amazed at David’s trust in God while being so relentlessly pursued!  Rather than respond with fear or complaint, David looks past his circumstances to the love and faithfulness of God.  His situation sure did not stimulate this praise.  And sometimes, neither does mine.  It can be hard to praise Him when faced with unnerving conflict and injustice.  But when I call to mind His love for me I can be confident.  When I remember His faithfulness my heart can take courage.  He will fight for me.  He will vindicate me.

Lord, remind today of Your love and faithfulness.

 


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Banished Words

Scripture for Today: Luke 16:17 “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

Every year since 1976 Lake Superior State University has issued a list of banished words.  These words are nominated from around the world.  They include pet peeves from everyday speech.  But they also come from news, education, and advertising, among other fields.  The 2019 list includes: yeet, collusion, ghosting and accoutrements.  Their list is comprised of words that are misused, overused or useless!

Today’s verse speaks of the permanence of God’s Word.  In contrast to the falling out of favor and banishment of words, the Word of God stands forever (Psalm 119:89).  It would be easier for all of heaven and earth to disappear than for even one little part of His Law to be null and void.  What God says stands for all eternity.  There are no mistakes and there is never a need for revision.  His Word is always relevant throughout the centuries.  Because His Words are inspired by His Spirit, they communicate unchangeable truth.  The standards of the Law are not changed by popular opinion or a nominating committee!

How convicting and comforting His Word can be!  It is convicting because it exposes my heart and motives (Heb. 4:12).  And His Law shows me how woefully I do not measure up.  Thankfully, Jesus Christ kept the Law and perfectly fulfilled it.  His righteousness is mine through faith in His work and sacrifice (Romans 3:22).  But His eternal Word is also comforting.  It is truth that never changes and strengthens my faith (Romans 10:17).  His Word reminds me of His love and faithfulness.  His Word gives me an unshakeable hope that is an anchor for my soul.

Thank you Lord, that Your Word is forever and worthy of trust.