Devotions By Jan

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The Big “C”

Scripture for Today: Psalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”

Tears flow as I write.  In just one short week my list of friends having to battle cancer has grown by two.  There are already too many on that list.  In this image, a woman remains calm and serene receiving the news from her oncologist.  I do not know her or her story but I am amazed at the thought that a diagnosis of cancer could be received without panic and tears.

Today’s verse is one of my life verses.  I wear it on a custom pendant.  It helps me to face an unknown future with confidence.  This psalm of David’s is in the context of warfare.  The “they” are the righteous or those in right standing with God.  The righteous will not be shaken and God honors them for their trust in Him.  Even in the darkest of times, light dawns on those who belong to Him. (verse 4)  There is no fear of bad news because hearts can remain steadfast and sure, trusting in God’s power and goodness.

The Lord wants me to live confidently, sure of His control in every situation.  If I ever hear the “C” word for myself, I know that in the end I am victorious!  His plans are good because He is good.  I may never understand the “why” behind pain and suffering, but I can always cling to His love and goodness.  “C” may stand for cancer, but it can also stand for “Confidence.”

Lord, keep my heart steadfast and confident in You.


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Dove Flower

Scripture for Today: Song of Songs 21:11-12 “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”

Happy first day of Spring!  I would love to celebrate the advent of this  season with this stunning flower.  However, this elegant plant is more often found in South America, Panama, Costa Rica and Trinidad.  The orchid has several names including Flying Egret, Holy Ghost or Dove orchid.  This beautiful white flower does look very much like a dove in flight with its fringed petals.

Today’s verse celebrates the exit of winter and the entrance of Spring.  The winter rains are finished and the brown drab earth erupts in lovely flowers.  Moods change and singing is heard as well as the cooing of doves.  Spring is a time of new beginnings, new growth and hope!  God shows His kindness to all men by sending rain, crops in their seasons, plenty of food and joy to our hearts (Acts 14:16-17).  To believers and scoffers alike, He is faithful in doing this as a testimony to who He is.

It would never even occur to me to doubt the coming of Spring, or the sun rising and setting, or the gravitational pull on our earth.  These are all things I tend to take for granted.  But that does not make them any less miraculous!  In recognizing His creative hand I can “join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”  He allows me to see His invisible qualities through what He has created (Rom.1:20).  My enjoyment of the seasonal changes is heightened when I realize the Source!  Rather than attributing nature to impersonal science, I can respond in praise to my Maker!

Thank you Lord for Spring!

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 25 :5 “Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

We saw this enormous cross as we were driving across  the country along the Southern states.  It is probably one of the thirty built by James Potter, a man whose family is in construction and who has made building these crosses his personal mission.  What struck me is that this cross stands near a “crossroad,” giving a different slant to the meaning of the word.  The literal definition of intersecting roads is used a lot less frequently than the figurative sense used to denote choice.

Today’s verse is a prayer of David.  As with all of us he is daily faced with choice.  He asks to be guided and taught all day long.  David recognizes that he could easily take the wrong road and stray from what is true.  He reminds the Lord of His great mercy and love in the past (verse 6) and counts on Him to answer this prayer.  God promises to guide the humble (verse 9) on to His ways, which are always loving and faithful (verse 10).

Probably what keeps me from asking for God’s guidance in a decision is the assumption that I can work it all out on my own.  After all, I am reasonably intelligent, educated, and logical.  But there is no way to know and see all that He does.  The Lord can only guide me when I humbly acknowledge my limitations and ask for His help.  The path I usually take is the easiest, or the path of least resistance.  His path, though sometimes harder, is always one where I will experience His love and faithfulness!

Thank you Lord, that You are there at every crossroad!



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Elaborate Headstones

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.”

If you want ideas for an elaborate headstone, many can be seen at Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont.  This city is considered the “Granite Capital of the World” supplying from its quarries most of the granite used for headstones across America.  Being that it is so plentiful, every headstone, plain or simple, is made of granite.  Perhaps the granite would last much longer than the memories of the one buried there.  Those memories may be the only hope held by some that grieve.

Today’s verse reminds the believer that death is not the end.  There was concern that those who had died before the Lord’s return would somehow miss out on the big event.  Paul reassures the church that the “dead in Christ” would rise first.  Those still living would join them in the air and so be forever with the Lord.  There is a future and a hope and death does not interfere with His program!  We are to encourage one another with this truth (verse 18).

Hope changes everything!  It has certainly changed how I grieve the death of my parents and of my friends.  It is not just my memories that keep them alive.  Though their bodies have given out, their souls continue.  I grieve with the hope and sure conviction that God keeps His promises.  It is painful to be separated.  But one day there will be a grand joyful reunion!  My hope is not built on a life well-lived.  My hope is built on Christ and His righteousness!

Thank you Lord, that You are my Hope and death is not the end!

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Québec License Plate

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:21-23  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

This license plate says, “I remember.”  But what is it that we are not supposed to forget?  This saying was coined by Eugène-Etienne Taché having carved it on to the stone entrance to the parliament building in 1883.  Some believe he wanted to keep alive the memory of the heroes in Québec’s history.  Others prefer to think of it as a jab at the British.

Today’s verse tells us to remember.  We are told to call to mind God’s GREAT love, His compassions and His faithfulness.  In doing so we can live with hope.  Although our sins condemn us, we are not consumed in righteous anger.  He has compassion on us and has provided a solution in the sacrifice of His Son.  He continues to show a compassion that never fails and is renewed every morning.  His faithfulness is as big as His love.  This is what we need to remember, especially in the dark times.  And with remembrance comes hope!

It is because of the hard times that I can say with confidence that God is loving, compassionate and faithful.  Somehow, the pressure of hard times improves my memory.  I wish it did not take trials to remember, but it does.  When I look back on the difficulties He has brought me through, I am always reminded of His love and faithfulness to me.  Today I want to call these truths to mind without the stimulus of a trial.

Lord, help me to focus on Your great love, Your compassions and Your faithfulness!

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Locks of Love

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children.”

There is something about Paris that inspires grand gestures of love.  Couples have been putting locks on the Pont de L’Archeveche to commemorate their love.  What a wonderful way to symbolize the permanence of a relationship!  However, a section of this old bridge built in 1828 has buckled and fallen under the weight of these locks.  The city has now ordered that all the locks come down for safety reasons.

Today’s verse is a promise of a love that never ends.  Unlike the best-intentioned human love, God’s love for His own does not fail or falter.  His love is everlasting because He chose us in love to be His before the creation of the world! (Eph. 1:4)  He proved His love by dying for us while we were still rebellious sinners (Rom. 5:8)  He did not wait for our response.  He loved us first and to the utmost!

The symbol of His love is more than a lock on a bridge.  The symbol of His love is that infamous cross.  It reminds me of what He went through to establish a relationship with me!  It locked up securely and forever the love we can now share!  There is no way to tear down or nullify what He has done to establish this love.  It will continue into eternity!

I feel God’s love most keenly when I am considering His power and greatness.  The fear, awe and respect that His holy character inspires makes me even more appreciative of this incredible love.  I am humbled and grateful that He, being so vast and powerful, could love someone like me!

Thank you Lord, for Your amazing love!

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Scripture fro Today: I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can bear it.”

Having visited the pottery  factories in Poland has given me a true appreciation for their products.  It was fascinating to see each artist bent over their work, hand painting or stamping their pieces with intense concentration.  Each piece is signed by the artist as well as stamped with the Polish word for “unique.”  It is true that each piece is unique.  But all the pottery went through the same process of being fired in the kiln.

Today’s verse recognizes that each believer faces the same kinds of trials and tests.  The details may vary.  The timing and even the intensity may differ.  But there is a commonality to all of the trials God allows us to face.  They are never intended to weaken us but to strengthen our faith.  In each trial we see God’s hand and His faithfulness.  And we have His promise that it will never be more than we can bear.

What I am facing is never unique.  Somewhere, someone in the world has faced nearly the same thing.  Knowing that helps me to not feel so alone.  Not only can I draw strength from the stories of others, but I can be encouraged knowing what Christ faced.  He experienced every kind of temptation and yet did not sin. (Heb. 4:15)  And because He Himself suffered when tempted, He is there to help (Heb. 2:18)  He Himself is my “way out.”  Depending on His strength and help makes all the difference.

Thank you Lord, that I do not need to do this alone.