Devotions By Jan


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Giant Jenga!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:24 “though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord is the stay of his hand.”

I would hate to have been the one to make this jenga tower fall!  The giant version has been showing up for different social events but I have never seen one.  My grandsons enjoy building the smaller version on the coffee table.  But at their age they are more interested in making it fall as quickly as possible.  Of course, the idea is to build the tower one brick at a time, placing the brick on the top without the tower falling.  It takes an eye for balance and a steady hand.

Today’s verse is a promise that the Lord will establish the steps of the one who belongs to Him.  If there is a fall, it is a controlled one.  It will not be a free-fall, being cast headlong.  The Lord’s hand is involved and He breaks the fall with His hand.  Regardless of how many bricks are pulled out from under us, He is there.

This is a wonderful assurance for me that the Lord is my true support.  I may feel that my stability rests on my work, my plans or my finances, when in fact, none of those are holding me up.  Circumstances change, and sometimes with no warning at all.  Rather than feeling panic I can remain confident.  No bad news can shake me as my heart is steadfast and trusting in Him (Ps. 112:7).  And even if He were to allow me to teeter and fall, His open loving hand is there to soften the landing.  In His unfailing love, He stands me back up, brushes me off and strengthens my faith through the whole ordeal.

Thank you Lord, for holding me up.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Mud Bath

Scripture for Today: Psalm 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.”

Although these majestic creatures are so huge and ugly, I am saddened to think that they soon could be extinct.  The horn of the rhinoceros, because of its purported medicinal properties, make them a target for poachers.  When the rhino is not foraging or resting in the shade of a tree, he can be found wallowing in the mud.  The mud cools them down in a hot climate and it also protects them from insects.  The mud works as a sun block as well.

Today’s verse gives a different view of mud.  Along with the mire it is a slippery place for human feet.  David cried out to the Lord when he found himself figuratively in that slimy pit.  There was no way out and the Lord did not respond immediately.  David waited patiently ( verse 1).  In that time of waiting he did not turn to the proud or to false gods for help (verse 4).  David continued to trust while waiting.  And he praises the Lord for lifting him out of the mess and giving him a firm stable place to stand.

It often feels as if the Lord does not immediately come when I cry to Him.  He sometimes asks me to wait as well.  Of course He hears me cry to Him.  He sees my predicament and He cares.  But He also wants my faith and trust in Him to grow and strengthen.  So many times it is in the waiting that this happens.  And His delay means that others see and can praise Him with me when rescue comes! (verse 3)

Lord, help me wait with patience.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Floating

img_20170212_151120Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

The Dead Sea was an ideal place to float with no effort at all!  My husband and I were there twenty-two years ago and the experience of floating on that water was unique.  The salt content at 29% (as compared to oceans with 4%) made the water so dense that sinking was practically impossible!  It was as if we were being held up from underneath.

Today’s verse is a wonderful promise of support for God’s chosen ones.  Those He has redeemed for all eternity need have no fear of sinking in the water of this world’s troubles.  He gives strength and help.  He upholds us with His powerful and righteous hand.  Regardless of how deep that water is, we have no cause for fear.  His steady love and power will hold us up and keep our head above water.

Moving through hard times, I need to hear this.  There are times I feel as if I am sinking but I am not.  He has never let me down.  And I know He has a plan and purpose for those difficulties.  But I feel dismay and fear even so.  I paddle as if my life depended on it.  I panic and swallow water when I could be trusting Him and floating on the surface.  He is holding me up from underneath where I cannot see.  Walking by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7) means I take Him at His word regardless of how dire my circumstances are.  He is there and there is no way He is letting me go under.

Thank you Lord, for holding me up!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 


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Unlikely Friends

Scripture for Today: “You are My friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”

Meet Bella, the Black Labrador and Bubbles, the African Elephant.  They are practically inseparable taking walks and swims together at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.  Bella was abandoned there as a puppy and this unlikely friendship developed over a shared love of the water.  Bubbles could throw his considerable weight around and crush Bella if he had a mind to.  Instead, he enjoys frolicking with Bella and allowing her to use him as a diving board!

Today’s verse describes another unlikely friendship.  Jesus calls those who trust Him friends.  Unlike human friendship where the footing is on an equal basis, Jesus still commands in this relationship and we still obey.  But it is a much richer relationship than just master and servant.  He has chosen to reveal to us what the Father wants to accomplish.  We are part of His plan.

Jesus calls us His friends because He has openly shared with us His business.  God’s plan and will are clearly spelled out in His Word.  I wish I knew more details, but it is amazing that He lets me know anything at all!  He daily communicates His love to me and I have the freedom to tell Him absolutely anything.  Sometimes my friendship with Jesus seems one-sided as I do lots and lots of talking but maybe not so much listening!  Thankfully, He is a patient faithful Friend!  And unlike any human friendship, His love is steadfast and enduring (Psalm 57:10).

What a friend I have in You, Lord!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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The Red Carpet

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 12:28 “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

For many the red carpet represents fame, fortune and accolade.  Since the twenties the red carpet has been associated with Hollywood stardom, showcasing our film stars.  Getting the “red carpet treatment,” is a saying dating back to 1902 when special train passengers were welcomed aboard an exclusive express car.  But looking back further, the red carpet dates back to ancient Greece and was reserved for royal feet.  The red color was special as the dye was difficult and expensive to make from the cochineal insect.

I do not ever expect to walk on the red carpet.  But according to the verse for today, I can be on a path that leads to immortality.  I am not receiving accolades from the media or any official recognition.  But there is One watching where I put my feet.  I am stepping on a way of righteousness.  That righteousness does not come from me but from Christ. The path is red with His blood as He made a way for me, living a sinless life because I could not.

Because of the cross, my path leads to an eternity with Him!  There, all the accolades and glory will go to Him.  He deserves all my praise and gratitude.  The one-dimensional tributes and trophies given here will pale in comparison to the eternal reality that awaits.  He wants me to persevere in doing what He wants, staying on that path in order to receive what He has promised (Heb. 10:36).  It is just not important that there is no recognition here.  I would rather walk on those streets of gold than any special red carpet!

Lord, keep me focused on pleasing You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Fido

Scripture for Today: Psalm 117:1-2 “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples. For great is His steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

In the town of Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy, this monument stands  as a silent tribute to the faithfulness of one called, Fido, meaning “faithful one,” in Latin.  Each day this dog would accompany his owner to the bus stop and then meet him there again at its close.  But everything changed in 1945 when the owner died in a city-wide bombing.  Even so, Fido would faithfully continue his trips to the bus stop.  This continued for the next fourteen years until the day he died, waiting at that bus stop.

Today’s verse describes a faithfulness that has no equal.  The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  His love for His own never fails and is perfectly expressed in His unending faithful commitment.  There is no waning.  There are no breaks or interruptions.  His faithfulness has no end as He is eternal and unchanging.  Praising Him is the very least we can do in response to such incredible faithfulness!

There is nothing that I can rely on as sure, steady and consistent as His love.  I waver and I am fickle but His faithfulness and commitment to me are solid.  It is the foundation to my life and without it I would be utterly lost.  I can live in reliance on His faithfulness (Psalm 26:3).  His love gives me purpose.  His love gives motivation to live each day.  His love is my support when everything around me is falling apart.  Thankfully, His love is faithful and will never change.

Thank you Lord, that I can count on Your faithful love today, and tomorrow.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 


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Merry-Go-Round

Scripture for Today:  Ecclesiastes 1:9  “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

I am so glad my grandsons are not too old for the merry-go-round.  I enjoy them too as there are no heart-stopping descents or speeds that take my breath away!  The movement is gentle, the music is appealing and the views of folks enjoying themselves all make the ride pleasant.  But of course, after a little bit the sameness starts to get to me.  When the novelty begins to wear off, I begin looking at my watch.

Today’s verse recognizes that there can be a sameness to our days which can be a challenge.  The same view may present itself again and again.  The same experience with only a few variations can have us thinking, “deja vu.”  There is the feeling of “been there, done that.”  What has been done before will be done again.  Life can feel like it is going around in circles.

Unlike Solomon I can view life differently when I include the Lord.  There may be “nothing new under the sun” but the One who gives purpose to my life is above the sun!  I do not always understand His purpose but it is a comfort to know that there is one!  I can take pleasure in the thought that He had plans for this day even before I was born.  I can face the routine and sameness of each day because there just may arise a new opportunity to serve Him, if I am looking for it!  My relationship with Christ can make each day different.  My communion and conversation with Him can be fresh and new each day.  I am climbing off that merry-go-round.

Thank you Lord, for making life full and meaningful!