Devotions By Jan


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Mountain Lion Attack

Scripture for Today: I John 4:10 “This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I cannot imagine the horror a mother felt when seeing her seven-year-old son pinned to the ground by a mountain lion!  Her son was playing in the yard of their home on Vancouver Island in British Columbia when she heard the commotion.  Like any loving mother, she rushed out to save him, throwing herself on the lion.  She vainly tried to pry open his jaws clamped firmly on her son’s arm.  Thankfully, her screams for help caused the young famished lion to run.  Because of her willingness to sacrifice herself, her son emerged needing only some stitches on his arm and head.

Today’s verse speaks of another sacrifice also motivated by love.  God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die in our place (John 3:16).  There is no greater love than this; than to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13) and that is what the Lord did for us.  Jesus not only paid the price for sin by enduring physical pain but also the pain of separation from the Father.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  What an incredible price He paid to demonstrate His love!

When I think of the cost of His sacrifice I am humbled and overwhelmed that He could love me this much!  God so loved me that He gave.  He gave to save me from certain and eternal death.  He gave in order to begin a love relationship that will last into all eternity.  He gave, not because I deserve Him but because of His amazing grace!

Lord, thank you for reminding me of Your incredible love, especially today.

 

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The Border Collie

Scripture for Today:  John 16:8   “When He  comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement……”

This beautiful border collie has everyone’s rapt attention!  Unlike the “heeler” dogs who nip at heels, this breed is called a “header.”  He goes to the front of the animal to turn or stop its movement.  It is common for a border collie to stand in front of a large group and use what is called a “strong eye” to stare them down into submission!

Today’s verse talks about the role of the Holy Spirit.  Like the header dog that nudges the sheep in the right direction, so we need Him to direct and lead.  We are like sheep and left to ourselves would go astray (Is. 53:6).  We all need the Shepherd’s rod and staff for correction and for getting us out of danger!  His Spirit brings the conviction of what is wrong, what is right and the consequences a behavior brings.  The Spirit incites the positive godly guilt that leads to repentance (II Cor. 7:9.)

The Lord is my Shepherd but the Holy Spirit is like that border collie.  I love that the indwelling Holy Spirit brings comfort, power and His fruit in my life (Gal. 5:22-23).  However, the guilt and conviction from Him is not a comfortable experience.  The quicker I listen and obey, changing direction, the sooner the experience is over.  But that temporary discomfort is well worth avoiding that fall over a cliff!  His desire is always for my good.  As my Shepherd He leads me in the paths of righteousness where I can find quiet waters to refresh my soul (Psalm 23).  That is why His conviction as a rod and staff can actually bring me comfort!

Lord, help me see Your correction as proof of Your love..


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Air Bag Fail?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.”

No, my Mother-in-law’s air bag did not deploy.  Her 1991 car had only frontal air bags in any case and none on the sides.  But we do what we can to protect ourselves in the event of a crash.  We wear our seat belts and obey the rules.  We often depend on those air bags even though there have been recalls and even though there are counterfeits out there that malfunction.  And not every airbag is even supposed to deploy in some circumstances.  But we do try to take every precaution.

Today’s verse tells us that God’s protection belongs to those who love His name.  We can rejoice because He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Knowing that He is in control means that we can have a light heart and even sing for joy.  His love and protection is always trustworthy as He has a plan for what He allows to happen.

I wish belonging to the Lord meant that I or my loved ones are never touched by evil, sickness or accident.  We live in a fallen world and it is not Paradise!  But God’s Word reassures me that He is in control.  The pain and suffering He allows is always used for His higher purposes.  None of it is “bad luck” or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I am fragile.  Life is fragile.  But I belong to the God of the universe and that calms me down.  He has already taken care of my eternity.  I can trust Him for every detail of this life.

Thank you Lord, that Your loving kindness protects me.

 


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Honeycomb

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

The honeycomb is honey in its purest form.  Those chunks of comb are wonderfully chewy and sweet.  Cutting off a chunk and smearing it over baked goods is always a good idea.  The lighter the color of the comb the sweeter it is.  The darker colored comb has an earthier flavor.  The problem of course, is getting past those pesky bees to get to their sweet work.  Their perfectly joined hexagons are so painstakingly constructed.  Bees for good reason have been called, “heaven-instructed mathematicians.”

Today’s verse likens gracious words to the sweetness of the honeycomb.  Gracious words are words that touch the soul of a person and bring healing where there is hurt.  They are spoken with the intent of building up the other person.  In a world where so many use words to criticize, demean and gain power, the gracious word is about reaffirming someone’s worth.  Our conversation is to always be full of grace, just like a seasoning (Col. 4:6).  We are told to avoid unwholesome talk and say only what is helpful and encouraging (Eph. 4:29).

Words like that are all too rare.  But one place I always find words that are sweet is in God’s love letter to me (Psalm 19:10)  His words are sweet because they tell me I am important to Him.  His words touch my soul and heal those damaged secret places inside.  And He wants my speech to be just as gracious to those around me.  Encouraging words have made such a difference for me.  Why do I hesitate?  It costs me nothing to be gracious but makes my words so much more valuable.

Lord, I need Your help today to make my words sweet and gracious.


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Fear of Holes

Scripture for Today: Haggai 1:6 “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put clothes on, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

These lotus seed pods do not mean to be frightening.  But for those who suffer from “trypophobia” or a fear of holes, the sight of them can trigger all kinds of symptoms including: discomfort, goosebumps, eye strain, distress, crawling skin, panic attacks, sweats, nausea, and body shakes.  This is not a phobia that is officially recognized.  But as with other phobias, the preferred treatment is exposure therapy in an attempt to change one’s response.

There was a response that needed changing in today’s verse.  The  returned exiles were to rebuild their temple.  But instead of making this a priority, they concentrated on building up their own homes.  Somehow, the time was never right to work on God’s house (verse 2).  There was always something more to do for themselves.  The prophet, Haggai, spoke to them God’s word; “Give careful thought to your ways.”  Because of their selfish living, they were not experiencing God’s blessing!  They could never have their fill.  There were holes in their purses.

I can fall into this same way of thinking.  How easy it is to put myself and my own comfort and convenience first!  But when I do, that elusive contentment with what I have is no where to be found!  “Holes in my purse” drain away any sense of fulfillment.  The Lord calls me to put Him first (Matt. 6:33).  Living for Him brings such blessing that everything He gives me can be enough.  I want Him and His incredible love to be my “enough.”

Lord, help me to put You first today.


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Transplant Shock

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Did you know that a tree can feel “shocked” when it is transplanted?  Moving a tree from its original comfort zone to a new location can cause stress with dying branches or brown leaf tips.  That shock may be evidenced by late spring budding or premature fall color.  It can take a year or more for a tree to recover as when moved it will have a smaller root system.  Reestablishing its roots will mean the difference to its survival.

Today’s verse describes how as believers we are rooted in a different soil.  No longer are we in the soil of the world, but we have been transplanted.  Those who have received Christ as Lord and Master live their lives for Him.  Being rooted and built up in Him means that faith is continually strengthened as we learn and grow. Being transplanted from the world into Him is made evident by our thankful spirit.  Unlike the Israelites who longed to return to Egyptian soil when things got difficult, we are to be thankful.

In this new soil, He has given me everything I need to thrive and live a godly life (II Peter 1:3).  I do not need to look over my shoulder at the world’s soil and wonder if it is better.  The Lord has rooted and established me in His love (Eph. 3:17).  Because of His unconditional and perfect love I can thrive and grow.  Rooted in His love makes me strong and beautiful!

Lord, grow my roots deeper and deeper into Your incredible love.


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A Loving Heart

Scripture for Today: Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

There is something very special about the bond one can have with a horse!  That touch, caress and hug can do something for one’s heart as well.  The cardiologist, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, explained that feelings of love can affect one’s heart.  This is true whether it be a romantic love or love for children, parents, or even for pets.  Those feelings of love can relax and dilate blood vessels and can lower blood pressure.

Today’s verse teaches that for the one who has placed their faith in Jesus, God’s love has been poured into the heart by His Spirit.  Any other love on this earth comes from the outside.  But God’s love is unique as it reaches to the inside and fills our hearts.  His love actually resides on the interior.  There is nothing hidden from His love.  He knows our deepest thoughts and desires.  He understands all of our motivation and fear.  Because He lives and loves from our hearts, He knows what makes us mad or makes us cry.

There is no other love as intimate or knowledgeable.  How amazing that He could love me knowing all the junk in there!  I can be completely honest and open with Him as He knows it all anyway.  And yet, He still loves me!  He does not love me because, but in spite of myself!  As my Creator, He knows that I cannot survive without loving and being loved.  When every kind of human love fails, how wonderful to know that His love never will.

Thank you Lord, for placing Your constant love in my heart.