Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Stunned by the Cold

Scripture for Today: Matthew 24:12-13 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

The recent frigid temperatures in Texas have had some surprising victims! Over 5,000 sea turtles have had to be rescued off the coast. The cold has stunned the residents of Texas, causing all kinds of power outages and clean water problems. But the cold has literally stunned these turtles! The extremely low temperatures mean that these sea turtles can no longer move, eat, or keep their heads above water. They have grown too cold.

Today’s verse is part of the response Jesus gives to his disciples’ questions regarding the end times. Just as with birth pangs, there will be signs that will signal the end of the age. (verse 3) Those signs are disturbing. But perhaps the most disturbing is that love will grow cold. When there is no love there is no regard for one’s neighbor and there is no check on wickedness. But when there is love for one another, “..love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8) Without love, sin runs rampant.

I am so glad this hard passage ends on a positive note! Those who stand firm to the end will be saved! I will not stand firm without drawing from His strength! My knees become weak when it seems as if evil is winning. When I see God’s justice delayed and the wicked prosper, it is easy to give up. When so many around me are deceived by so-called science and humanism, I could easily throw in the towel. But the story is not over yet, and the ending will be a triumphant one when HE returns on the clouds with power and great glory! (vs 13)

Lord, keep me standing firm.

 


Leave a comment

Zapped!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:3-4 “May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue – those who say, ‘By our tongues we will prevail, our own lips will defend us – who is lord over us?'”

Photo by Christian Ziegler at https://www.flickr.com/photos/97056632@N05/25278879752/in/photostream/

Many species of the chameleon are known for their ability to change color and blend in with their surroundings. But just as surprising are their long tongues! Their grasping and sticky tongue can uncoil to a distance equivalent to half its body length! So not only are they camouflaged but they can grab their next snack from a distance!

Today’s verse is from a prayer of David, calling on the Lord for help. The wicked are strutting about, using their tongues to lie, to flatter, to deceive and to boast. These people are so prideful they feel they can say anything to get power, to keep power and to answer to no one. They ask, “who is our lord or master?” They fear no reckoning and no accountability. They are their own masters. However, David affirms that the Lord will keep the godly safe and protected from such people. (verse 7) And what God says is flawless. (verse 6)

Words matter. The power of life and death is in our tongues. (Prov. 18:21) I have had to forgive and forget words that have damaged my reputation. Over the years I have been intentionally maligned because of my testimony for Christ. Yet, there is safety and protection in Him. He is my refuge and although I may sometimes be bruised and dinged up by the words of others, I can remain faithful to Him. He reassures me that I am His and I am loved. His flawless words build me back up and restore me.

Lord, silence those proud tongues!


2 Comments

Do I Follow My Heart?

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

This saying on a poster is beautiful, and there are many like it. We enjoy thinking of the heart as lovely and romantic, and so often it is. We counsel each other to just follow your heart and all will be well. Somehow, the heart will guide us to the right way, the right solution, the right love. When we listen to our heart, we discover what we really desire.

Today’s verse has a message of warning about the heart. The heart, which in the Bible is the seat of all our emotions and will, can deceive us. We try to understand what our heart is saying to us. But no one can quite understand. One day it says one thing and the next, another. The heart is fickle and incomprehensible. We ourselves cannot cure its deceitful nature. The only cure comes from its Maker. He sees the pride and selfishness hiding out there and His love and forgiveness are the cure.

I have often been quite sure about what I have wanted. Then, when I have managed to receive it, I find that I did not want it after all. That brings to mind the dog who chases after a car. He has no clue what to do with it once he catches up to it! Because I cannot cure it, I need to follow Someone who knows my heart better than I do. The Lord searches my heart and tries it. As my Creator, He understands my heart. He knows what I really want and what will bring me true satisfaction and fulfillment. He knows so much better than I do what is good for me and what is not.

Lord, do not let me be deceived today. Help me follow Your heart!

(Look familiar? This is a re-worked post from 2018)


3 Comments

Like a Kid

Scripture for Today:  Malachi 4:2  “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings, and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stalls.”

IMG_20130122_170840-1

I am not often around farm animals, but when I read this verse I remembered my sister’s baby goat, Sunshine. My sister and brother-in-law had built a home in rural Arkansas in the early seventies, and visiting them, I enjoyed all the four-legged “family members!” Sunshine was just like her name. She was a sweet thing who loved being fed from her bottle and enjoyed galloping around the place. She would kick up her heels when especially happy. I finally understood where our expression came from; “acting like a kid.”

Today’s verse describes calves rather than goats skipping about. The image is of sweet release from their confinement. When the Lord comes back it will be a sobering day of judgement. But for those who fear His name, there will be healing and release. Sin will be judged by Jesus, the Son of Righteousness, and He will make everything right. No evil will go unpunished and all will be brought to light. That joy at seeing right prevail is what is ahead for believers.  The joy will be so intense, we will want to kick up our heels and act like a kid! 

I can get discouraged watching sin seemingly triumph. Or I can live life skipping with joy knowing that one day, right will prevail! There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. (Matt. 10:26) God will not be mocked. (Gal. 6:7) My God is just and will exact vengeance on all evil. (Rom. 12:19) Nothing will ever get past Him. Evil will not win the day and I can look forward to every injustice being settled perfectly and forever.

Lord, thank you that You will make everything right.

(If this seems familiar, it is a reworked post from 2013!)


Leave a comment

Lame Duck

Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

It is an odd expression. “Lame duck” refers to sitting presidents or congress members finishing out their term while the newly elected ones prepare to take office. Originally in the eighteenth century, it was a term in the British stock exchange, a slang for someone who defaulted. Since crossing the Pond, this expression has had several meanings, including “old slow ship” in a naval context. We have used this expression in the political arena since Calvin Coolidge. However, in nature, a lame duck can continue to swim and fly.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to anyone who may feel like a lame duck, marginalized because of age or loss of position. King David, with advancing age and with the constant threat of enemies, prays to God for a continued influence. Even if all responsibilities are stripped away, David sees purpose to his life. His role may change but it is just as important to declare to the next generation all he has seen the Lord do in his life.

As a believer, there can be times I may feel like a lame duck. I may not have the same role as I previously had. Perhaps my service to the Lord is less visible or public. But whatever the changes might be, a lame duck can still swim and fly! My testimony to the next generation is so much more powerful when I can recount all He has done over the years! Speaking of God’s faithfulness and grace becomes that much more credible with my personal examples.

Make me bold, Lord, to speak of You and Your power!