Devotions By Jan


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Sleep Aid

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

There all kinds of methods to help one fall asleep.  The newest of these are videos on YouTube done by a teenage boy!  They are viewed by half a million women who find that his role play of a whispering caring boyfriend is just what is needed to fall asleep!  The idea is to talk you down for the night and tuck you in with soothing words.  Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) explains that tingling static-like sensation that helps to relax and can lead to sleep.

Today’s verse describes a sleep that is sweet.  There is no fear of the ruin that can overtake the wicked (verse 25) as this is the sleep of the one who lives wisely, with sound judgement and discretion (verse 21).  Sleep is just one of the many benefits of wise living.  There are no worries about the consequences of foolish decisions to keep one awake.   And for the one who belongs to the Lord, there is the reassurance that He grants sleep to those He loves (Psalm 127:2).  Sleep can be sweet when we are aware that the Lord is at our side (verse 26).

Sleep can often be an issue for me for a variety of reasons.  Thankfully, the Lord is at my side.  His reassurance of love and care can calm me down and soothe me to sleep better than any sleep aid!  He knows exactly what keeps me awake or what worries me.  He knows when my thoughts are racing for no good reason.  It is often the thought of Him that soothes me as well as my prayers to Him in the middle of the night.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of sweet sleep.

 

 


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Teddy Bears

Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

The teddy bear got its name from President Theodore Roosevelt as a result of a bear hunting trip in 1902.  The resulting political cartoon inspired the creation of the first teddy bear.  Originally made to look similar to a real bear, it has evolved to be a comforting presence for many children.  In fact, a program called “Teddy Bear Cops” was created to distribute teddy bears to children in the midst of crisis.  It was found that the teddy bear would calm them down.

In today’s verse David is speaking to his own soul in an attempt to calm down from the despair he feels.  He had plenty of reason to have a soul disturbed within him.  He was under constant attack from his enemies.  Rather than focusing on his circumstances or giving in to despair, the psalmist reminds himself of the hope he has in God.  Because of that hope, he could look forward to a future where praise for God would come again to his lips.

It is true that God’s promises tend to calm me down.  I can get so worked up and panicky in the middle of a problem.  I need the quieting influence of God’s voice through His Word.  He reminds me that He is in control.  He reassures me of His presence.  He upholds me with declarations of His love.   He calms and quiets me much like the teddy bear does for the child.  A calm and quiet spirit is not natural in the middle of crisis.  Thankfully, I have Someone who does the supernatural for me.

Thank you Lord, for Your calming presence.


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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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Waiting in Line

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I have never met a person who enjoys waiting in line.  I know I do not, especially when I constantly check the time or shift position to be more comfortable.  I tell myself I have better things to do.  The time seems to drag, I am bored, frustrated and wishing I had brought something to occupy my mind.   But the wait is bearable when two things are true: the wait will be worth it and something worthwhile can happen during the wait.

In today’s verse David is waiting for the Lord to act on his behalf.  He is surrounded by enemies, the wicked and his foes (verse 2).  David remains confident while he waits because he believes he will again see the goodness of the Lord (verse 15).  To see the goodness of the Lord once more makes the waiting worthwhile.  And something David is doing while waiting is making that wait bearable; he is in the Temple gazing on the beauty of the Lord (verse 4).  That long wait is doable as David finds strength and takes heart in the Lord’s presence.

There are different ways to wait for God to answer my prayer.  I can question, doubt or tap my foot in impatience.  I can wonder if He hears me or if He even cares.   I can give up and stop asking.  Or, like David I can be strong through the wait and take heart.  It is worth the wait when I can be confident of again seeing proof of His goodness.  And the time waiting is never wasted when it is spent in His presence and in gazing on Him.

Lord, may I never doubt Your goodness and Your timing.  Help me wait with confidence!


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Patient Dumping

Scripture for Today: John 6:37 “All those the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.”

Patient dumping is not new but recently there has been more attention given the problem.  The term refers to the premature discharge of Medicare or indigent patients for economic reasons.  It usually happens to a homeless or mentally ill person who is uninsured or unable to pay for treatment.  They are discharged to the streets, to a bus stop, to a homeless shelter or to another hospital.  There have been fines leveled at hospitals and corrective measures taken.  But too often, the problem continues.

Today’s verse tells us that the Lord will not turn anyone away who comes to Him!  He does not deny access.  He does not abandon or turn away anyone who comes to Him in faith.  No one is denied forgiveness because they are “too far gone” or guilty of some terrible sin.  No money is no problem as we come freely at His invitation to come (Isaiah 55:1).  He is faithful to forgive those who come to Him in confession (I John 1:9).  He forgives and gives us a new clean heart and it is all undeserved.

I may not be homeless or mentally ill but I am undeserving.  I come to Him with no merit of my own.  I do not deserve even a glance from Him let alone His favor!  But He welcomes me with open arms because of His incredible grace!  Regardless of my emotional state, regardless of the shame I feel, He is there and invites me to come.  Even when it has been awhile since I last came, He will always welcome me and will never turn me away!

Thank you Lord for Your faithful constant love.


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Car Wash

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:25-26 “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word.” 

It was eerie going through the car wash and having that huge spinning material slap at the car!  We were in a place where a red fine dust had covered the car and my meticulous husband would have none of it!  Normally, he does all the washing by hand, making sure to clean all the hard-to-reach places.  How nice to just sit there and have the machines do the work automatically for you!

Today’s verse uses the image of washing with water to describe what God’s Word does for a believer.  Out of love, Christ sacrificed His life for the Church.  He makes it possible for the believer to be holy, set apart for Himself and cleansed.  One day we will be presented as radiant, having no stain, wrinkle or blemish!  And it is all grace, a wonderful gift received through faith (Eph.2:8-9).  But in the meantime, there is work to do!  God uses His Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us to be righteous (II Tim. 3:16).

I find that when my only time in the Word is during a sermon, that washing of the Word may miss a few spots!  It is the daily wash that I need.  He knows just the areas where more water is needed.  There may even be times where a power wash is called for!  It is through His Word that I even see the dirt and feel His conviction.  How faithful He is to cleanse me completely when I humble myself and ask! (I John 1:9)  How refreshing that daily wash can be!

Lord, thank you for the loving cleansing power of your Word!


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Pregnant Male

Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:2  “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This creature is unlike any other in nature.  It is the male sea-horse who carries the eggs for the female!  The female will deposit her eggs in a special pouch he carries.  There, he fertilizes the eggs with his sperm, and carries them for two to four weeks until he gives birth.  Their babies are called “fry” and there can be as many as 1000 at a time  The female has it easy.  Her part is to swim up to the male each morning during gestation  and give him a special greeting!

Today’s verse talks about helping each other to carry our burdens.  Doing so fulfills the law of Christ which is to love one another.  These burdens are the unfortunate result of our sin (verse 1).  They are different from His  burden which is light (Matt.11:30).  Rather than look askance at the one fallen in sin thinking we would never do that, we are to do all we can to lift him up and lighten his burden.  We all carry around the memories of past failures.  Understanding how the Lord has forgiven us helps us extend that same grace.  In love, we want to help with words of encouragement and affirmation.

It costs me something to help carry the burden of another.  It means that I take time out to pray, give godly counsel and practical help.  It might mean hours on the phone.  Sin can complicate a life.  The consequences can be very burdensome with broken relationships and poor self-image.  But that burden can be lighter when I come along side.  It is one of the best ways to show love!

Lord, help me be willing to carry another’s burden.

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