Devotions By Jan


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Deep Water

Scripture for Today: John 4:10 “Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

Did you know that over 60% of the earth is covered by deep water more than a mile in depth?  How wonderful it would be to scuba dive and enjoy all the varied colors of the coral and of the fish!  Even in the extreme depths far from sunlight there is life found in the cold sweeps and hydrothermal vents.  There is a whole other world when one goes deeper!

Today’s verse is from the story of the woman at the well.  Jesus offers her water that will so satisfy her that she will never thirst again.  The woman’s response is understandable.  She keeps the discussion on a physical rather than spiritual plane.  But if she had known who it was that was speaking to her she would have realized that there was a deeper meaning.  He wanted to satisfy her deeper longings and not only her physical need.

My requests and prayers to the Lord often stay on the physical plane.  It is understandable to ask Him for a physical healing.  He understands when I ask for help with finances or a miracle that would change my circumstances.  But He wants me to go deeper with Him.  He wants me to recognize and ask Him for what I cannot see or touch or measure.  He offers to fill me up with the fulness of Him.  He wants me to ask for His peace, His power and the assurance of His presence.  Filling these deeper needs carry me through all the rest!

Thank you Lord, for giving me what I truly need; more of You.

 


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Love Letters

Scripture for Today: Psalm 33:22 “May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”

What a treasure trove it was when my sister came across love letters written by our parents during World War II!  I am now thankful that my Mother saved every scrap of paper.  These letters are windows into their souls!  In the earliest letters the words were a bit stilted, surprisingly on Mom’s part.  It was my quiet reserved Dad who expressed his love so well!  They are now with their beloved Lord, but their love story lasted seventy one years!

Today’s verse describes a love that spans centuries.  This love is an unfailing love that not only lasts forever but delivers our souls (Psalm 6:3-4).  It is a priceless love (Psalm 36:7) its value surpassing any human attempt at romance.  And when we pin our hope on His unfailing love, His eyes are on us! (Psalm 33:18)  We are the better for always being mindful of this incredible love (Psalm 26:3).  We are told to even meditate on this love (Psalm 48:9).  And we do that by immersing ourselves in the words of the greatest love letter ever written, the Bible.

In writing this I was amazed at all the references to God’s love in Scripture!  I was reassured of His unfailing love and could feel it wash over me.  So often when reading the Bible I get bogged down in the details of study.  I get distracted by all the injunctions I find there.  I am so sidelined by word studies or cultural references that I forget the main point.  Reading His Word is reading His personal love letter to me.  His love is behind every list of blessing, every faithful miracle, every promise and even every warning.

Thank you Lord, for reassuring me of Your unfailing love!

 


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Kookaburra Bird

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity: she can laugh at the days to come.”

I only knew about this bird from the children’s song growing up.  So I was curious to see this Australian bird at the zoo.  She was a lot bigger than I imagined being 18 inches long.  Her beak is 4 inches long and with it she can eat chickens, ducklings and even some small snakes!  She is monogamous and she defends her territory.  Often, her young will remain with her to help raise the next year’s brood.  But most surprising is her loud laugh!

Today’s verse describes a woman whose qualities raise what seems to be an impossible standard for others!  This description of the perfect wife and mother was given by the Queen Mother to her son, King Lemuel.  The passage describes a woman of “noble character” fit for royalty (verse 10).  After an extensive list of characteristics the conclusion is that charm and beauty are less important than fearing the Lord (verse 30).  Fearing the Lord makes it possible to “laugh at the days to come.”  There is a light heart even when facing the unknown future.

Of all the qualities listed for this perfect woman, this ability to laugh at the days to come has got to be the most difficult!  It is a litmus test of my faith in God and His plan for me.  To laugh at the days to come does not mean I do not prepare for them.  But it does mean that I can trust Him for the unexpected.  I can trust Him for what is around that blind curve.  Whatever He allows to happen, He will carry me through it.  Whatever the challenge of the days to come, He is enough.

Thank you Lord, for giving me a light heart.


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Flippers

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:7 “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.”

I can relate to this boy who had some trouble walking in those flippers.  There is nothing so comical as watching someone trying to walk forward in flippers, high stepping in an effort not to trip!  The ends of those flippers curl up or under and make tripping inevitable.  A simple solution would be to put them on at water’s edge.  But if that is not possible than there is another solution that avoids looking like a clown and tripping.  And that is to walk backwards!

Today’s verse talks about our lives being a walk.  Paul is pointing out the difference between our former way of walking and our walk now that we are made new.  The old way of walking was characterized by tripping up on anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language (verse 8).  This way of walking in our earthly nature included sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (verse 5).  No wonder there was tripping and stumbling!  But with being made new, we are walking backwards, sure-footed.  We may be walking differently than everyone else, but we are upright!

It is not always easy to be walking differently through life than everyone around me.  Even though I am not tripping, I am in the minority.  I am walking backwards compared to everyone else and it is an uncomfortable feeling to be mocked or misunderstood.  But this is the walk the Lord has called me to.  Thankfully, I am not alone.  His Spirit keeps me walking in a way that pleases Him.  And there are other believers doing this same walk with me.  Walking His way is so much more pleasant when I can avoid tripping and stumbling!

Lord, keep me walking Your way.

 


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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.