Devotions By Jan

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forget-me-notScripture for Today: Psalm 103:2 “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”

This sweet blue flower was described by Henry Thoreau as “unpretending” and “modest.”  Their name is said to come from an old German legend where God named all the plants.  But this tiny one cried out, “Forget me not, O Lord!”  So God replied, “That shall be your name.”  They are small being only one centimeter or less in diameter.  King Henry IV used this flower as a symbol during his exile in 1398.   And ladies in medieval times wore this flower as a sign of faithful love.

Today’s verse tells us to “forget not” all His benefits.  This passage goes on to list just a few including forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, compassion and satisfaction.  David is reminding his soul to praise the Lord for what He has done for him and to remember.  David knew of God’s ways with Moses and His miraculous deeds with the people of Israel.  He also experienced God’s grace in his own life.  But like so many of us, his soul was forgetful and needed reminding.

How could I forget these incredible benefits in my own life?  It is really very easy.  I forget His forgiveness when I am plagued with guilt.  I forget His healing when doubt clouds my prayers.  When I feel worthless I forget that He thought enough of me to redeem my soul.  I forget His love when I beat myself up.  When I wonder if He cares what I am going through I am forgetting His compassion.  I forget that only He satisfies the deepest longings of my soul when I look for that satisfaction elsewhere.

Lord, do not let me forget today.

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

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Unlikely Friends

Scripture for Today: “You are My friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”

Meet Bella, the Black Labrador and Bubbles, the African Elephant.  They are practically inseparable taking walks and swims together at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.  Bella was abandoned there as a puppy and this unlikely friendship developed over a shared love of the water.  Bubbles could throw his considerable weight around and crush Bella if he had a mind to.  Instead, he enjoys frolicking with Bella and allowing her to use him as a diving board!

Today’s verse describes another unlikely friendship.  Jesus calls those who trust Him friends.  Unlike human friendship where the footing is on an equal basis, Jesus still commands in this relationship and we still obey.  But it is a much richer relationship than just master and servant.  He has chosen to reveal to us what the Father wants to accomplish.  We are part of His plan.

Jesus calls us His friends because He has openly shared with us His business.  God’s plan and will are clearly spelled out in His Word.  I wish I knew more details, but it is amazing that He lets me know anything at all!  He daily communicates His love to me and I have the freedom to tell Him absolutely anything.  Sometimes my friendship with Jesus seems one-sided as I do lots and lots of talking but maybe not so much listening!  Thankfully, He is a patient faithful Friend!  And unlike any human friendship, His love is steadfast and enduring (Psalm 57:10).

What a friend I have in You, Lord!

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

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Conch Shell

Scripture for Today: Psalms 85:8  “I will hear what God the Lord will say.   For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones.  But let them not turn back to folly.”

It is said that one can hear a wooshing sound resembling the sound of ocean waves when placing a conch shell to the ear.  The sound is thought to be one’s own blood rushing in the brain with every heartbeat.  Or some believe that ocean sound is just the surrounding sound resonating within the shell.  In either case, the shell would have to be vacant before I would let it anywhere near me!  This conch shell was empty but now has a crab taking up residence!

Today’s verse talks about hearing something else; what God has to say.  It begins with a statement of intention, “I will.”  There are a myriad of sounds out there clamoring to be heard.  But listening to the Lord through His Word is worth the effort and discipline.  He speaks peace to those that belong to Him.  So many times I have come to Him in prayer totally agitated and stressed.  He speaks peace.  He calms me down and listening intently I hear reminders of His love and control in my circumstances.  I get in that troubled state usually because I have not been listening to Him in the first place!

Not only do I hear Him speak peace, but listening to Him keeps me from folly or from doing something foolish.  If I am honest with myself, I realize I am quite capable of doing all kinds of foolish things with impeccable rational!  Listening to Him daily through His Word is the best way to avoid my own folly.  And I need the peace and calm He offers.

Lord, keep me listening to You today.

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

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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.”

In the town of Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy, this monument stands  as a silent tribute to the faithfulness of one called, Fido, meaning “faithful one,” in Latin.  Each day this dog would accompany his owner to the bus stop and then meet him there again at its close.  But everything changed in 1945 when the owner died in a city-wide bombing.  Even so, Fido would faithfully continue his trips to the bus stop.  This continued for the next fourteen years until the day he died, waiting at that bus stop.

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.

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


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The Bench Seat

Scripture for Today:  Hebrews 3:5  “Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.'”

The classic cars are great for one very personal reason; they often have that bench-style seat!  Instead of being separated from my Honey by bucket seats, I can snuggle up close.  I have heard it said that one can see how long a couple has been married by the distance the wife puts between herself and the driver.  Of course, the driver has not moved.  But the wife would sometimes inch her way towards the door a little more each year!

In today’s verse Jesus promises never to leave us or abandon us.  He does not move.  His love remains constant.  It is because of the promise of His presence and care that we can be free of money worries.  Rather than loving money we love Him.  Rather than looking for contentment elsewhere, we find it in His love.

There are times I feel very far from the Lord.  I know He is there but I do not sense His presence.  Without even being aware, I find I have inched toward that door.  It has happened through my own neglect of His Word.  Or I have simply let drop my conversations with Him.  He has not moved.  I have.  Inching away from Him leads to feeling discontented. I start looking out the car window at all the things I think I should have.  Because He has not moved, the solution is simple.  Through His Word and through our conversations I come back to where He is.  He waits for me and He promises to be there.

Thank you, Lord, that you never move!

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Mistaken Identity

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 44:5 “Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”

They took the wrong man off life support!  It happened in Chicago where a man was unrecognizable due to facial bruising and the ventilator tubing.  Rather than identify him through fingerprints, the staff used a mug shot.  The man’s sisters were called and because they had not had much contact with their brother, they took the word of the hospital staff and made the decision to remove him from life support.  Imagine the surprise of the family when later their brother just walked in the door!

There will be no such confusion for those who belong in God’s family!  Today’s verse talks about a time in Israel’s history where there was an influx of proselytes.  This verse describes the very public manner in which they made their profession of their new attachment to the one and only true God.  Some of these new converts went as far as writing on their hand, “the Lord’s.”  Just as a slave was branded with the name of his master or the soldier was marked with the name of his commander, so the new convert was identified with God and the people of God.

I am the Lord’s.  I belong to Him and have devoted my life to Him.  It seems the only logical response to His commitment to me.  He has engraved me on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).  And on the palms of His hands are also the scars of the nails as He took my place on the cross.  What other response is there to such an unfathomable love?

Thank you Lord, that I belong to You.


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Father’s Day

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:15 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Our children never called their Dad, “Father.”  We were not quite so formal in our house.  He was always “Dad” or “Daddy.”  My husband was and is an involved father.  And I wanted to especially honor him on Father’s Day for the love, discipline, model and wonderful influence he has been with our children.  His role continues even though our children are now parents themselves.

Today’s verse teaches that the believer has been adopted into a spiritual family where we call the God of the universe our Father.  Not only do we address Him this way, but we can have such a close relationship that we can even call Him “Abba” or “Daddy.”   This is no fearful slave-master relationship.  It is not a relationship of do’s and dont’s and rules.  It is a relationship of love and service.  It is a relationship that can grow ever stronger with time and last into eternity.  Not everyone has had the privilege of a good relationship with their earthly father, but for the believer, the Heavenly Father is the perfect father we never had!

He adopted me because of His grace, not because I deserved to be chosen.  I did not deserve to be wanted as His own.  It boggles my mind to realize that I will always be His child.  And He is always approachable.  Nothing is too small for His notice.  It is an incredible thought that He waits for me to crawl up into His lap.  His desire is to love on me, to protect me and to teach me about Himself.

Thank you Lord, for being my Father.