Devotions By Jan


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Block Chain

Psalm 55:19 “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change – He will hear them and humble them because they have no fear of God.”

You can try but you cannot change it!  That is the idea behind the “block chain.”  It is a digital ledger that is designed so that transactions made with bit coin and other cryptocurrency are meddle-proof and unable to be deleted.  The block chain is an accounting method that verifies transactions and creates a record that cannot be changed.  Because everything is unique and traceable, it cannot be copied.  Because this system is “immutable”, it generates trust and truth.

Today’s verse tells us that God does not change.  He is “immutable” and this attribute also generates trust and truth!  His character is irrevocable.  Who He was in times long past is who He still is today!  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8).  He does not need to change, grow, mature or self-correct because He is perfect.  His Word and promises are binding and permanent!  He hears the cries of the righteous because He has promised and He will humble those who have no fear of God, because He has promised.

I never have to worry that God will change His mind about me.  I never have to doubt His unfailing love that does not change.  He has promised His presence for “always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)  I do not have to question whether He is going to show up or not!  The fact that He does not change strengthens my trust in Him.  How relieved I am that I do not have a God who is capricious and unpredictable!  He is my solid, immoveable and immutable rock and I can trust Him completely.

Lord, strengthen my trust in You today.

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Crossed Fingers

Scripture for Today:  “II Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

It is said that crossing the middle finger over the index finger as a gesture for luck or God’s favor became popular during wars in the 14th to 15th centuries.  Much later, those crossed fingers were made to silently ask for luck in getting away with a lie!  I still remember crossing my fingers behind my back as a little girl when lying, somehow feeling that in doing so the lie would not count!

Today’s verse teaches that all of God’s promises will be answered with a resounding “YES” in Christ.  The number of promises God has made is not a factor.  What God promises He fulfills as He cannot lie.  He is always faithful to His word.  There are no crossed fingers behind His back!  Some promises in God’s Word are made to a particular person or group of people.  Some promises are made with conditions attached.  But in any case, He can be counted on to honor His word.

Regardless of how I am feeling, what God declares is always reliable and trustworthy.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that He is not like me; fickle.  If He were capricious, life would not be worth living.  I am so glad that He is not and I can always count on HIm.  I can and do build my life on His promises, trusting that He is faithful.  When I live with this kind of confidence, I am living out my “Amen” to His word and my life can give Him the glory He deserves!

Thank you Lord, for Your precious promises to me.  Help me believe them today.


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False Alarm!

Scripture for Today:  II Peter 3:4 “They (the scoffers) will say, ‘Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'”

The noise was deafening as I quickly sat bolt upright in bed!  The smoke alarm sounded at 3:30 am.  In principle I am glad to know it works.  However, there was no smoke and it was a false alarm.  My husband quickly unscrewed the thing and took it into the garage to try to stop it.  The neighbors were none too happy as it continued to sound.  As it lay there, finally silent (and destroyed) we learned a valuable lesson.  Never try to figure out the workings of a smoke detector in the middle of the night!

There are no false alarms with God’s warnings.  He keeps all of His promises whether they be positive or negative.  His warnings are clear in Scripture, but as today’s verse shows, there will always be those who scoff.  He gives His warnings of judgement to be heeded.  He is not willing that any should perish! (verse 9)  He waits to mete out His justice out of incredible patience.  There are no false alarms with Him, only a desire that all come to repentance while there is still time to do so.

How gracious the Lord is to give warning!  How loving He is to wait.  As there are loved ones in my family who continue to rebel, I am so so thankful that He waits.  But His Word is sure.  There is coming a day of judgement and reckoning, although it is not a popular topic.  However, because of His grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, I am grateful I do not have to fear that day.

Thank you Lord, for sounding the alarm and I pray more would heed it!

 


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Eiffel Tower?

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

This reproduction of the famous Eiffel Tower sits at a round point down the street from us in the small town of Buhl, France.  No one would mistake it for its huge counterpart but I wondered why it was built there.  I learned that the Eiffel Tower could very well be called the Koechlin Tower as Maurice Koechlin, born in Buhl was the one who had designed it as an employee of Mr. Eiffel.  As this monument is said to be the most visited in the world, it is too bad that Koechlin did not get his name associated with the tower.

Today’s verse speaks of the name of the Lord as a different kind of tower, a fortified one.  His name represents all that He is and His character.  Running to Him as our tower of safety is an image of placing all our hope and faith in His power to protect and deliver.  This is in stark contrast to the rich who imagine that their wealth is a wall too high to scale (verse 19).

His name is Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11) and He has promised safety and protection from the wicked (Ps. 37:17).  When I run to Him, it is in faith, knowing that He will be true and faithful to His Word.  I am safe knowing that no evil can touch me without His knowledge and permission.  And certainly, no evil can touch my soul, that which I have committed to Him.  He is able to keep my soul against that day (II Tim. 1:12).  What comfort this is in a world where sometimes it seems that evil has the upper hand!

Thank you Lord, for being my safety and security!

 


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The Swiss Alps

img_20160928_165357Scripture 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.”

Our recent week of conference in the Swiss Alps already seems like a lifetime ago.  I never tire of gazing on those majestic mountains, seen here from the gondola window.  Their height, their stability and their looming presence over the village is a constant reminder of just how small I am!  Their timeless watch over the inhabitants below bring to mind the awesome power in the hand of their Creator.

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 which 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!

Lord, may today be a day when I can shout, rejoice and sing because You care for me!

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


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The Scattered Leaves

Scripture for Today: I Chronicles 29:18 “Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of Your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to You.”

I love the colors of fall.  But seeing leaves scattered all over the place, not so much.  When they become wet, those leaves are more difficult to gather, sticking to the ground and becoming slippery.  Soon they lose their pretty color and become a soggy brown mess.  But even when conditions are dry, raking and gathering them become quite a chore.  One good gust of wind is all that is needed to send them scurrying away from the rake.

Today’s verse is a prayer of David’s during the collection of gifts for the building of the temple.  After David gave liberally of his gold and silver to its construction, he encouraged the people to do the same.  They responded generously and together they praised the Lord.  Their generous giving revealed the thoughts and desires of their hearts.  David prays that their thoughts and desires continue to be loyal to the Lord.

Much like wind-blown leaves, my thoughts and desires can be scattered all over the place.  When I spend time in God’s Word, it is as if the verses serve as a big rake, gathering my thoughts to a place they should be.  Love of the world and consumerism can quickly blow my thoughts and desires into corners they do not belong.  Spending time with Him lines up my priorities and keeps my loyalty to Him undivided.  I want to keep those God-honoring thoughts and desires in my heart where they belong.  And I want to express them by generous giving.

Lord, keep my thoughts and desires from wandering away from complete loyalty to You!

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


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Elephant Feet

Scripture for Today: I Samuel 2:9  “He keeps the feet of His godly ones.  But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.”

One would think that it would take a serious problem to bring down the mighty elephant.  But in fact, the single most important ailment of the captive elephant is the foot-related problem.  With limited movement their soles and nails do not naturally wear down and need constant cutting back.  If abscesses, nail infection and arthritis are not guarded against, any of these seemingly inconsequential problems could bring down this amazingly strong animal.

Today’s verse is part of a song by Hannah.  She is leaving Samuel, her precious son, at the temple to serve as she had promised.  Surprisingly, her heart is exalting in the Lord instead of melting in sorrow at the separation!  Hannah is affirming the truth of the sovereignty of God.  She understands that God will protect her little boy.  He will be keeping the feet of His godly ones, protecting their comings and goings.  It is not the strong and mighty ones that will prevail.    The wicked can only count on stumbling around in the darkness.

It is a tremendous comfort to know that the Lord sees every step before I take it.  He makes firm the steps of those who delight in Him (Psalm 37:23).  I can even walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) without fear knowing He sees, He knows and He is right there beside me.  As His own, I walk in His light and will prevail through His strength.  Whatever I may face today, this truth will not change.  I can step out that front door with confidence in His loving sovereignty.

Thank you Lord, for Your intimate knowledge and care for me.

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