Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Table Settings

Scripture for Today: Psalm 78:19 “They spoke against God; they said, ‘Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?'”

I love a pretty table setting!  Somehow, all that attention to detail makes the food taste better.  When I have company over they may ask to help set my table.  But that is something I always reserve for myself.  However, this  outlet for creativity can be overdone.  This table looks a bit crowded as there seems to be no place for the dishes.  The flowers are perhaps too tall to see other table guests!

Today’s verse talks about the Lord Himself spreading a table.  It was no picnic being in the wilderness year after year.  The Israelites complained and repeatedly put God to the test.  How gracious He was to rain down manna, called the “grain of heaven” and the “bread of angels” (verse 24-25).  They gorged themselves on meat that He provided.  Yet, their hearts were not loyal.  Though He provided for their needs again and again, they continually forgot His power (verse 42).  How exasperating it must have been for the Lord to hear the question posed in our verse when He had proven Himself over and over.

I imagine that though the Lord loves me, He must sometimes be exasperated with me!  Can He really meet this need?  Will He come through for me this time?  Can I completely count on Him for that?  To even have such thoughts reveals that I have forgotten His power.  He has already shown Himself faithful time after time.  Yes, He can and does spread a table in the wilderness!  When all seems dry and desolate, He provides above and beyond all we can ask or think! (Eph. 3:20)

Thank you Lord, for spreading a table for me and meeting my every need!

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


Leave a comment

Chimney Swifts

Scripture for Today: Job 12:7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;”

It was a real show!  In my sister’s yard in Portland, we arranged our chairs to watch as hundreds of small swifts circled in the air.  They would gather in small groups, adding new members as they swooped around the rooftops.  After about twenty minutes of this confusing ballet, someone in the group deemed it time to drop, fluttering, into the chimney.  All it took was one to begin a mass entrance!  How did they know when to begin?  How did they choose their leader?  Somehow, they were communicating with each other to orchestrate this orderly nightly processional.

Today’s verse points out that animals and birds can teach us!  If these birds could speak, what would they tell us?  Each one of them knows that, “In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (verse 10)  They are not at all confused about where they came from and Who it is that gives life and breath.  Their existence depends entirely on their Creator.  Perhaps that is the meaning of their high-pitched chattering calls!

These birds can testify to truth that escapes many people!  He is not far from any of us as, “in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)  Not one sparrow is forgotten by God (Luke 12:6) and the swallow nests in the shelter of God’s presence (Psalm 84:3).  In God’s sight we are worth so much more than these tiny flying creatures.  His care is so obvious in my life.  How silly of me to doubt!  Regardless of my circumstances, He is there and He is faithful.

Thank you Lord, for your constant unfailing love.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


Leave a comment

Love or Chocolate?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 89:2 “I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.”

I had to chuckle when I saw this same saying inscribed over the doorway of a cafe!  I admit that I am a “chocoholic” but I do have my standards.  I am most tempted with the dark and only in certain forms.  Indulging in that creamy satisfying taste never lets me down.  Chocolate always lives up to my expectation.  But before long, I would have to “fall” into it again to have that same satisfying experience.

The expression, “falling in love,” makes love seem half-hazard and unintentional.  If we can fall in, perhaps we can climb out as well.  Today’s verse speaks of a love that stands firm forever.  It is a love that is constant and true because of the One who is doing the loving!  Beginning this relationship does not involve falling into it, unless we are falling to our knees in repentance and humility!

It is understandable that love can disappoint.  Love between flawed humans is in a constant state of flux.  Our ever-changing emotions make our love unreliable.  But there is a love that does not change.  God’s love is so great that it reaches to the skies! (Ps. 57:10)  He will never disappoint.  That is because His love does not depend on me but on His faithful promise.  His faithfulness to His Word is untouchable there in Heaven itself!

What a huge comfort to know that the Lord is never going to give up on me!  Nothing is going to change His love.  God is Love in its most beautiful and purest form.

How amazing it is that You can love me, Lord!  Help me believe it today.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


Leave a comment

Updated

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 13:8-9a “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”

My phone and computer both love to suggest updates in the middle of my busiest times!  I never like being interrupted as it takes time to prepare and complete the update.  But I do understand the importance of adding new features and protecting against viruses and spam.  Some of the updates alter a site so much that I need to re-learn how to navigate it.  However, the extra effort is usually worth it.

In a world where technology is in a constant state of change, it is comforting to know that my Savior does not need an “update.”  Our verse for today teaches that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is perfect and needs no alterations!  He is always up to date with what is happening.  There is never a need for a new and improved version.  There is never a connection issue or a lack of response.

Everything that we need to know about the Lord is revealed in His Word.  He does not change nor does His revelation.  His message transcends time and is always current.  The God of the Old testament is the same God as of the New.  His faithfulness and power shown then is the same faithfulness and power He shows today.

I need Him to be constant and not capricious.  I need Him to be faithful to His Word and unchangeable.  What was proven true in times past continues to be true today.  He is perfect and perfection has no need of change.

Thank you Lord, that You do not change and I can always count on You.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


Leave a comment

Vintage Scale

Scripture for Today: I John 1:10 “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word is not in us.”

This scale reminds me of the one from my youth.  One can now buy them with the label, “Vintage” or “Retro!”  Today, ours is not so ancient as it is digital.  It is probably accurate enough, but I do not like what it says!  No matter what I do with my eating habits it always says exactly the same thing.  Perhaps it is stuck.  Perhaps I am stuck.  In any case, I would rather think that it is incorrect.  Ideally, there should exist a scale that says exactly what I want it to say!

Today’s verse is about someone who is in denial about their sin.  The one who claims that there is no problem with sin is not dealing with reality.  Rather than continue to feel the discomfort of conviction, this individual would close their eyes to truth.  But in doing so, God is made out to be a liar.  His Word and truth do not reside in those who claim to be just fine.

The first step in dealing with my sin is to recognize its ugly existence.  There is no sugar-coating it.  And trying to make it small and of no consequence. just does not work.  Like the scale that tells the truth, so is God’s Word that can make me uncomfortable.  And just as I do not throw away the scale because of what it says, so I do not exchange His truth for something I like better.  He promises and is faithful to forgive and cleanse me from every sin (verse 9).  I just need to find the courage to admit to it!

Lord, help me to be honest with myself and admit when I am wrong.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


1 Comment

Flying Buttress

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 3:15 “If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

The flying buttress pictured here is part of the Notre Dame of Paris.  In the 1100’s the architects built these supports for many of the Gothic cathedrals.  Normally, a buttress was built as an integral part of the side walls for additional support.  The flying buttress not only supported the heavy stone roof but also allowed for more light.  With the supports arching away from the building, more of the walls could be made of windows, making the interior lighter and brighter.

Today’s verse describes the Church as a pillar and buttress of truth.  Both of these structures serve as an image of support and reinforcement for the truth of God’s Word.  Truth has the strength and power to sustain and strengthen.  Being bolstered by the truth allows believers to bear up against the lies of the Deceiver.

The support of a pillar can be found on the interior or exterior of a building.  But the buttress is clearly on the exterior.  It is more vulnerable to the elements and more easily seen.  Standing for the truth out in the world can make one a target for persecution.  But in the end, the truth does stand.  Jesus said that the gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church that He has built (Matt. 16:18).

The structure is not the Church.  The pillars or the buttresses are not the Church.  The roof and walls may fall down over time.  But still His Church overcomes because He resides in believers (I Cor. 6:19).

Lord, keep me standing for the truth of Your Word.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


Leave a comment

The Hills Are Alive!

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:13 “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.”

Such a well-known scene!  Julie Andrews sings, “The Hills Are Alive,” in the movie, The Sound of Music, filmed in the Alps surrounding Salzburg, Austria.  We had the privilege of seeing many of the movie locations around the city of Salzburg, but nothing compared to the majestic peaks of those Alps!  It seems incongruous to call them “hills” in the song.  But according to the lyrics, they are alive “with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years.”

There is reason for the heavens to shout, for the earth to rejoice and for the mountains to burst into song.  Today’s verse gives the reason; the comfort and the compassion the Lord gives to His hurting people.  He is not unmoved by our pain.  He does not ignore our cries.  He hears us in the night when we smother our tears.  He sees when the heart is hurting and we want to give up.  He offers His comfort and compassion and it is unlike any other.

He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3).  He uses His Word to reassure my heart.  He uses the care and concern of friends and family.  He uses the lyrics of a long-forgotten song in the most unlikely moment to bring me a measure of peace.  His compassion never fails me.  His comfort and compassion are renewed every morning when I wake up to a new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

What a wonderful reason for those mountains to burst into song!  May today be a day when I can shout, rejoice and sing because He cares for me!

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)