Devotions By Jan


A Mark of Impatience

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:32 “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”

It was not one of my stellar moments. The workers had promised they would put up all my wall hangings for me. I waited. Patiently I thought. After all, it was a low priority in our renovation. I could wait some more….until I couldn’t and I went ahead without them! I thought I understood the instructions on the adhesive I used and how to test it. I obviously did not as the lack of plaster attests! Every time I pass that wall I am reminded of my impatience!

Today’s verse values the patient person more than a successful strong warrior. Self-control is more admired than someone who conquers a city. And both patience and self-control are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a believer. (Gal. 5:22-23) Throughout Scripture we are told to “wait on the Lord.” When He makes a promise, we can absolutely rely on His faithfulness to come through. Like Sarah who was promised a son in her old age, it is when we try to “help God out” that we get ourselves in trouble.

I don’t like to wait. I often want to tell the Lord why now is so much better than later! But nothing He does is without plan or purpose. Certainly, He can fulfill all His promises at any time He chooses. But He chooses to make me wait and it’s for my benefit; to build my trust, to make me patient, to work on my self-control! My, what a lot of work He has!

Thank you Lord, for being patient with me!

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The Court Jester

Scripture for Today: Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

This week some will celebrate April Fool’s Day by tricking friends and making them laugh. In medieval times, the royals had the luxury of having a court jester always available to make one laugh. He was also called a “fool” and would wear brightly colored clothes and bizarre hats in a motley pattern. His job was simply to entertain. His was a privileged position in the court as he could mock and revile without penalty.

Today’s verse describes a different sort of fool; the one that in his heart says that there is no God, mocking the very idea of God. But his Creator says He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). This fool may not be easily recognized as his foolishness is hidden in his heart. He may be revered for his doctorates or admired for his sophistication. But God sees them as a fool and even laughs at the wicked! (Ps. 37:13) And the fool is eventually revealed to others by his behavior.

It is never my place to call anyone a “fool” as in a curse (Matt. 5:22) as I cannot see what is in the heart. That is better left to the One who can. However, my own behavior can be very revealing and I know when I am being foolish with my decisions. When I choose to do things my own way instead of the Lord’s, I am being foolish. When I decide I know better I feel chagrin at the mess I make of things. Better to obey His Word even if I look the fool to the world!

Lord, keep me from being foolish today.

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Falling in Love?

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 am all for falling in chocolate as I will admit to being a chocoholic, especially loving the dark varieties. But I wouldn’t want to give up falling in love! This expression has been around at least since the 1590’s when Edmund Spenser wrote a poem entitled, “The Faerie Queen.” The phrase seems to suggest that this falling is entirely involuntary, unplanned and unexpected. But if one can fall IN love, perhaps one can just as easily fall OUT of it!

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! The love relationship between the Lord and one who comes to Him in faith is absolutely a choice and absolutely overwhelming. He took the initiative in loving us first (I John 4:19) and loving us to the end. (John 13:1)

Unlike human flawed and fickle love, God’s love for me reaches to the skies! (Ps. 57:10) And unlike any earthly relationship, He will never disappoint. (Is. 49:23) That is because His love does not depend on me and my performance 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! 

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Roller Coaster Regret!

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

What could possibly have motivated us to get in that roller coaster? Perhaps it was our daughter’s reassurance that it was a “mild one.” Maybe it was wanting to appear younger to our grandson. But it had been decades since our last ride and we had forgotten what that heart-stopping motion was like! We are all smiles here in the “before” shot, but the “after” picture would have captured us pale, wide-eyed and stumbling out!

Today’s verse describes the exact opposite of that “moving experience.” Paul is encouraging the believers in Corinth to let nothing move them. They are to stand firm and resolute in their desire to live their lives in service to the Lord. For these early Christians, persecution and the threat of death could easily dissuade them. They are reassured that even death would have no sting (verse 55) and their labor for the Lord would be worth it as they looked forward to ultimate victory.

Very difficult circumstances can threaten to move me. My faith can be shaken to its core by unanswered prayer, devastating news or physical challenges. But the Lord asks me to stand firm in my faith without knowing the “why” behind what is happening. Unmet expectations have the potential of making me cynical about faithfulness to Him. But when I look ahead to the reward He promises, then I know that living for Him will never be in vain.

Lord, keep me standing firm.

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Earth Wobble

Scripture for Today: Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

It has long been thought that the earth’s rotation has been gradually slowing. But in July of this year, there was a slight wobble and that day turned out to be the shortest day on record! In fact, a faster rotation seems to be the trend and if continued may result in a “drop second,” subtracting a full second from our twenty four hour day!

Today’s verse reminds the believer that salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The day is fast approaching and the darkness is nearly over. We are exhorted to wake up as there is an urgency to “do this.” We are to be actively loving (verses 8-10) as well as arming ourselves with light and so putting aside deeds of darkness (verses 12-14). In other words, we are to look like Christ to those around us. Others may be asleep but we are to be awake and sober. (I Thes. 5:6)

The door of opportunity is slowly closing even without dropping a second of a twenty four hour day. Living life carefully and making the most of every opportunity is wise (Eph. 5:15-16). I do get lulled and lazy in using my time for Him. And I do need those wake-up calls. I find that being aware of His presence and unconditional love motivate me to be obedient and used by Him. Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus does not make me perfect but it does make me aware of the hour!

Lord, wake me up to use this day for You.