Devotions By Jan


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Closing Bell

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

When that bell peals its piercing note and the sound of it drifts away, all the frantic activity comes to an abrupt halt.  Everything stops.  At least until the next day there are no more opportunities for trade on the New York Stock Exchange.  Everyone carefully listens for it as the timing can change priorities for those traders on the floor.

In today’s verse is the sound, not of a bell but of a trumpet.  It is the last trumpet and signals a stop as well to all frantic activity.  It is a sound that will signal the end of all time as we know it.  This trumpet announces the resurrection and it will be heard all over the world.  When it is blown, those believers who have died will receive their new incorruptible bodies.  Those believers still living at the time will also be changed.  Death will forever be swallowed up in victory!  What a day that will be!

Reading about this future event affects me TODAY.  Knowing this truth helps me stay steadfast, immoveable, and prioritizing my service to Him (verse 58).  Looking towards the resurrection and eternity convinces me that my work for the Lord is never futile or in vain.  I want to be listening for and anticipating this sound.  It closes the opportunity to serve Him here on earth.  But look what it opens!  An eternity of rest and reward with the Lover of my soul!

Thank you Lord, for the change that is coming!

 

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911 Call from Space

Scripture for Today: Psalm 138:3 “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

It was an honest mistake.  But answering a 911 from space is maybe just a bit too much for this emergency service to handle!  Andre Kuipers, a Dutch astronaut,  admitted to this dialing mistake while on the International Space Station.  From space, a call via Houston would begin with a 9 for an outside line, then 011 for an international line.  Understandable.  But the security alert set off at the Houston Center had everyone confused!

Today’s verse is a wonderful reassurance of the access we have with the Creator of the universe.  Calling on Him is never a mistake.  A call is never dropped and His answers are timely.  In fact, He answers on the very day we call!  Whatever His specific answer is (yes, no or wait) He infuses the soul with His strength, just as a result of calling on Him.  And His strength gives us a boldness to live for Him, to love Him and to obey Him.

There are times I forget to call on Him.  It is not until I am feeling weak or in need that I remember to call.  It is easy to think that I can live life just fine in my own strength.  But the Lord knows better.  He is aware of each and every weakness.  He sees me running out of energy and resources.  The Lord is waiting for me to call.  He sees me coming and He is gracious to answer with exactly what I need.  Because of His unfailing love and faithfulness He will always answer when I call.  How good He is!

Thank you Lord, for answering with love and grace every time I call.


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Helium Shortage

Scripture for Today: Psalm 21:6 “Surely You have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.”

It had never occurred to me that there could be a helium shortage.  However, it cannot be manufactured and there is a limited supply underground.  Five years ago a tank costs 25 dollars.  Today the price tag reads closer to 300 dollars!  The concern of party balloon companies is understandable.  But the implications for the medical field are very troublesome as it is used for MRI’s as well as for research in chemistry and biology.

Today’s verse mentions something that will never run out.  There will never be a shortage of God’s blessings.  They are unending and eternal.  King David, talking about himself in the third person, lists some of the blessings he sees as coming from the Lord: victories, the desire of his heart, a crown, length of days, splendor and majesty.  What a king could understandably take credit for, King David attributes to God.  But it is not only these God-given blessings that make David glad, but more importantly the joy of God’s presence!  He knows and trusts in God’s unfailing love for him (verse 7).

How giving and generous the Lord is!  He liberally gives and gives and sometimes I am not even aware that HE is the Source!  Because of His great love for me, His blessings are unending, continuing on into eternity.  His flow of blessings may not be material.  They may not even be what I think I should have.  But they are always more than I deserve!!  But what surpasses every blessing is the joy of His presence!  Feeling HIs faithful love and presence, especially in the difficult times, is the deepest and most meaningful blessing!

Today may I “praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

 


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Loyal Dog

Scripture for Today: Psalm 117:1-2 “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples. For great is His steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

Poor Madison.  Because of the Camp Fire in Paradise California, he lost his home, and perhaps his brother Miguel, and maybe even his owner.  Regardless, he waited patiently at the burned out site for almost a month in hopes of something changing.  Although not seeing him, an Animal Rescue Volunteer kept checking the property and leaving food and water.  Finally, the evacuation orders were lifted and the owner and the dog’s brother returned.  What a sweet reunion there was between the owner and this faithful dog!

Today’s verse describes a faithfulness that has no equal.  The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  His love for His own never fails and is perfectly expressed in His unending faithful commitment.  There is no waning.  There are no breaks or interruptions.  His faithfulness has no end as He is eternal and unchanging.  Praising Him is the very least we can do in response to such incredible faithfulness!

There is nothing that I can rely on as sure, steady and consistent as His love.  I waver and I am fickle but His faithfulness and commitment to me are solid.  It is the foundation to my life and without it I would be utterly lost.  I can live in reliance on His faithfulness (Psalm 26:3).  His love gives me purpose.  His love gives motivation to live each day.  His love is my support when everything around me is falling apart.  Thankfully, His love is faithful and will never change.

Thank you Lord, that I can count on Your faithful love today, and tomorrow.


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Castle Keep

Scripture for Today: Psalm 61:3 “For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”

This castle keep is part of the Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England.  Built in 1067, it is of particular interest to me as my ancestors lived there in the mid 1200’s!  It was bequeathed by the King to Richard Fitzalan, the husband of my 18th Great Grand Aunt!  Our family lived there for 200 years, but not so often in the section pictured here.  This is the castle keep, the fortified tower.  The keep was considered one of the most impenetrable parts of the castle.  It was used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to the enemy.

Today’s verse describes God as a strong tower.  David is crying out to the Lord for help as his heart grows faint.  This is the prayer of one who is battle weary.  He cries out to God as he remembers how He has in the past been a strong tower of defense.  David needs God to be his defense against literal enemies.  He understands that it is only because of God’s love and faithfulness that there is any protection at all (verse 7).

I may not have the same enemies as David.  But I too sometimes feel my heart growing faint.  Standing up to the world’s values can be wearisome.  Fighting off temptation and compromise can wear me down.  My enemy may be called, “discouragement.”  My enemy may be called, “giving up.”  It could be that I am trying to fight on my own rather than in His strength.  He is a strong tower and I can run to Him when my heart feels faint.  He promises me His love and faithfulness just as He did to David.

Thank you Lord, for being my strength today.

 


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Crocodile

Scripture for Today:  Romans 15:4  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

How would you like to have someone follow you around and constantly tell you how great you are?  That was the role of Steve “Crocodile” Fitch for Mike Tyson, the heavy weight fighter, at the peak of his popularity.  He was a self-described master motivator or personal cheerleader.  Perhaps why he referred to himself as a crocodile had something to do with his big mouth!  He was a professional screamer and a very loud mouthpiece, given the task of dealing with the public and the press.

Today’s verse describes a better source of encouragement; Scripture.  We need its encouragement to hold on to our hope.  We need the encouragement of Scripture to endure.  Our spirits sometimes lag.  We get discouraged waiting for that answer to prayer or His promise to be fulfilled.  But God’s Word is so much more than a pep talk.  His Word is a love letter where the Lord reassures us of His faithfulness and the worth He sees in us.

The Lord so often points me to just the right passage to encourage me when I am down.  He speaks to me through His Word when I am tired and feel like giving up.  He knows just what I am feeling.  Although I appreciate the kind words of others, nothing can give me the same kind of encouragement to hope that God’s Word does.  His Word cheers me on! And I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses cheering me on as well! (Heb. 12:1)  He is on my side and He wants me to succeed.

Thank you Lord, for Your Word that keep me keeping on!

 


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100 Years

Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:11 “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely, I will remember Your wonders of old.”

Meet Joseph Ambrose, a veteran of World War I.  At age 86 he was honored at a Veteran’s Day parade in 1982.  His old-fashioned uniform is surprising and the emotion etched on his face is touching.  He served in a war that was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”  Sadly, that has not been the case.  Veteran’s Day this year marks the one hundred year anniversary of this war.  Memories fade as those who fought disappear with age.  But although we do not always have the details of these war stories, we can still appreciate the sacrifice their service represents.

In today’s verse Asaph declares that he will remember what the Lord has done.  And His wonders include miraculous exploits in battle!  From the drowning of Pharaoh’s army to the walls coming down at Jericho, the Lord has done battle for His own!  And He continues to do battle for us, equipping us with spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17) and helping us to stand firm.  He makes us more than conquerors as He is on our side (Rom. 8:31).

My life is to testify to others just how great and awesome my God is!  I am to sing His praises, give credit and glory to Him by my life and praise Him in prayer.  When I do, I myself become a “wonder and surprise” to many! (Psalm 71:7)  But so often, it is through the heat of battle that others take note.  It is through the difficulty that He shows Himself strong and powerful.  When others see me rise above a horrible situation, I gain credibility and a voice.

Lord, may my life remind others of all Your wonders and incredible deeds!