Devotions By Jan


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Kingdom Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”

Kingdom Day today is all about honoring the civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It has been done for more than three decades by holding a parade. But in these strange times of pandemic, the parade will be held virtually. When looking up “Kingdom Day,” the first suggestion was the celebration in the Netherlands! Kingdom Day for them is their commemoration of the signing of their charter in 1954.

Today’s verse speaks of a Kingdom Day that is every day! This kingdom is everlasting. God’s kingdom endures through all generations. It is never outdated or shoved to the annals of history. That is because God’s kingdom and dominion are not just a matter of talk, speeches or signed documents. It is rather a matter of power! (I Cor. 4:20) And His Kingdom is both literal and spiritual. For the believer, His Kingdom is already present in the heart and we seek to put it first in our lives as well. (Matt. 6:33) But we also long for and pray for that day when His Kingdom comes and is established on earth. (Matt. 6:10)

In the turmoil of our world today, I need to grasp this reassuring truth. Kingdoms, regardless of our political bent, will come and go. None of kingdoms of this earth are eternal. But God’s kingdom endures forever. It is a kingdom with a trustworthy King who fulfills every promise. He is trustworthy because He is faithful in all He does. This is true in the grand scheme of things but also in my little life! What an amazing privilege to be part of this kingdom!

Lord, may Your kingdom come.


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Cape Disappointment

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:24 & 27b “Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? …You are badly mistaken.'”

What an unfortunate name for this Washington State Park! For many campers, hikers, photographers and history buffs, this scenic spot is a delight! It was named by the English Captain, John Meares in 1788. He was looking for the head of the Columbia River, first mapped out by a previous explorer a few years earlier. This cape does sit at the mouth of the river, but he was disappointed. Why? Because he mistakenly believed it was only a bay.

Today’s verses are the words of Jesus to the religious Sadducees attempting to trap Him. Like the explorer, they mistakenly believed something. They mistakenly believed their own traditions over and above the Scriptures. Their beliefs even negated the power of God! Their religiosity, devoid of any real relationship with the Lord, could only lead to disappointment. These religious leaders did not believe in the resurrection and they were badly mistaken. They did not believe God’s incredible power and promise to raise us from the dead.

The hurt is deep for those disappointed by a mistaken belief. But the Lord declares that those who hope in Him will not be disappointed! (Isaiah 49:23b) Government leaders disappoint me. The Church can disappoint me. My own erroneous expectations can disappoint me. Even family and friends can disappoint. But the Lord never disappoints! He has promised to take every negative in my life and turn it around to something positive. (Rom. 8:28) Even the evil in my life at the hands of others can be turned around. (Gen. 50:20) The Lord will never disappoint as the good He intends for me cannot be thwarted!

Thank you Lord, that You never disappoint!


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Horses and Chariots

Scripture for today:  Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.”

Who remembers that famous chariot race scene in the epic movie, Ben Hur? It took five weeks to film this nine minute segment and the studio used 15 thousand extras for the crowd of spectators.  There was an infirmary created especially for this scene because of the potential for injury.  There were no injuries, however, except some bad cases of sunburn.  Three life-like dummies were strategically placed to give the appearance of bodies run over by the chariots.

Horses and chariots were important instruments of war in biblical times.  The winning side in a battle were often those with the best built chariots and the swiftest horses.  In today’s verse, one can choose to place their confidence in their horses and chariots or in the name of the Lord.  The choice is basically the same today.  We can choose to place our trust in our own efforts, or we can depend on the strength of the Lord.  It is the Lord who gives victory with the power of His right hand. (verse 6) To trust in oneself is no guarantee of victory.

Trusting “in His name” is trusting God Himself. He is absolutely worthy of my trust but sometimes I overestimate my own abilities and efforts. I am so prone to feelings of self-sufficiency. It seems easier to just handle things in my own strength and in my own way. The results, though, are never as good as dependence on Him. Having confidence in His goodness, control and power gives Him the open door to do some amazing things above and beyond all I could ask or or even imagine! (Eph. 3:20)

Help me Lord, to completely trust Your plan and Your power.


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Lame Duck

Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

It is an odd expression. “Lame duck” refers to sitting presidents or congress members finishing out their term while the newly elected ones prepare to take office. Originally in the eighteenth century, it was a term in the British stock exchange, a slang for someone who defaulted. Since crossing the Pond, this expression has had several meanings, including “old slow ship” in a naval context. We have used this expression in the political arena since Calvin Coolidge. However, in nature, a lame duck can continue to swim and fly.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to anyone who may feel like a lame duck, marginalized because of age or loss of position. King David, with advancing age and with the constant threat of enemies, prays to God for a continued influence. Even if all responsibilities are stripped away, David sees purpose to his life. His role may change but it is just as important to declare to the next generation all he has seen the Lord do in his life.

As a believer, there can be times I may feel like a lame duck. I may not have the same role as I previously had. Perhaps my service to the Lord is less visible or public. But whatever the changes might be, a lame duck can still swim and fly! My testimony to the next generation is so much more powerful when I can recount all He has done over the years! Speaking of God’s faithfulness and grace becomes that much more credible with my personal examples.

Make me bold, Lord, to speak of You and Your power!


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Why Celebrate?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 2:10-11 “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.”

We just finished bringing in the New Year with lots of noise, toasts and and celebration. It was a happy time of saying goodbye to a difficult year and welcoming the clean slate of the new. There was hope for peace, good health and prosperity. The celebrations seemed a bit short-lived this time around as we see the political unrest in our world. Talking about celebration appears to be completely off-subject compared to the somber mood of today.

Today’s verse is a warning to the rulers of the earth. Regardless of the amount and extent of the power held in one’s hands, they are to acknowledge and serve the Lord with fear and trembling. Wise ruling on their part can only happen as they recognize that the Lord has the ultimate rule and not them. It is God that reigns over ALL the nations. He is seated on His holy throne. (Psalm 47:8) His powerful rule is forever. (Psalm 66:7) The rulers and the ruled can celebrate this truth as His rule is righteous and just.

Regardless of the political turmoil, I can continue to serve the Lord. And as incongruous as it sounds, I can continue to celebrate His rule, being assured of His control! My God continues to reign despite chaos. He has already revealed the end plan in Revelation and His plans are never thwarted. (Psalm 33:10-11) No, I am not wearing the party hat anymore. But I can have deep-seated joy and confidence in God’s hand moving world events to bring about the future He has in mind. I can celebrate His power, His plan and His control!

Thank you Lord, for reassuring and lifting my heart!