Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

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.

 


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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!

 


2 Comments

“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!


Leave a comment

Inside a Whale!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 69:15 “Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.”

Described as a modern-day Jonah, life for this wildlife photographer looked as if it might be cut short!  Filming a sardine run off the coast of South Africa, the water began to churn and before he knew it, Rainer Schimpf was swallowed up into total darkness.  But unlike the fish that swallowed Jonah for three days and three nights, this Bryde’s whale has an esophagus too small to completely swallow him.  He was spat out and lived to tell the tale!

Today’s verse expresses the sentiments perhaps felt  by this man and certainly by Jonah inside that fish.  But it is a cry for help from David as he was scared and depressed by the continual attacks of his enemies.  What he was experiencing did not last for just a moment or for three days.  What David endured continued for years.  It felt to David as if the depths of his despair would swallow him up.

Today marks the beginning of three long days of total despair as Jesus dies on the cross.  The whole land went dark as the Light of the world hung there for you and me.  But death could not swallow Him up for long.  Instead, “He will swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:8).  These three days until the resurrection represent all the waiting I do.  But I wait with hope for that time when all tears, sadness and death will be swallowed up in victory.  I wait with hope because I will one day be resurrected as well!  He is MY resurrection and MY life!

Help me Lord, to wait with joyful expectation and hope.


Leave a comment

Air Bag Fail?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.”

No, my Mother-in-law’s air bag did not deploy.  Her 1991 car had only frontal air bags in any case and none on the sides.  But we do what we can to protect ourselves in the event of a crash.  We wear our seat belts and obey the rules.  We often depend on those air bags even though there have been recalls and even though there are counterfeits out there that malfunction.  And not every airbag is even supposed to deploy in some circumstances.  But we do try to take every precaution.

Today’s verse tells us that God’s protection belongs to those who love His name.  We can rejoice because He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Knowing that He is in control means that we can have a light heart and even sing for joy.  His love and protection is always trustworthy as He has a plan for what He allows to happen.

I wish belonging to the Lord meant that I or my loved ones are never touched by evil, sickness or accident.  We live in a fallen world and it is not Paradise!  But God’s Word reassures me that He is in control.  The pain and suffering He allows is always used for His higher purposes.  None of it is “bad luck” or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I am fragile.  Life is fragile.  But I belong to the God of the universe and that calms me down.  He has already taken care of my eternity.  I can trust Him for every detail of this life.

Thank you Lord, that Your loving kindness protects me.

 


Leave a comment

“Great Rock”

Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 28:16 “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says; ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

This strange structure sits on an even stranger landscape; Burren, on the west coast of Ireland.  The name, Burren, means “great rock.”  Dry limestone rock covers this flat barren area making it resemble a moonscape.  This structure is called Poulnabrone, a portal tomb that has stood the test of time.  Originally covered with soil, it served as a collective burial site as well as a territorial marker.  All that remains today is its “stone skeleton.”

Today’s verse describes the only true and firm foundation.  The people were deluding themselves thinking that they could mock God’s words, live how they pleased and not be touched by calamity.  They were taking refuge in lies and falsehoods (verse 15&17).  They relied on themselves and their own righteousness and justice rather the foundation of God’s truth.  The “stone” we are to build our lives on is a tested precious cornerstone.  That Cornerstone is Jesus Christ (Eph.2:20) and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame (I Peter 2:6).

My whole life is like a building that is based on the Rock.  Jesus is not just an afterthought but the cornerstone from which everything else is fitted.  He is my point of reference for all truth.  Relying on my own rationale or reasoning is like building on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  When the storms of life whirl around me, I want to be remain stable.  I will not panic at whatever life throws at me because I am founded on His unshakeable and eternal truth.

Lord, keep me stable today.