Devotions By Jan


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What Palms Tell You

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:15-16a “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

Palm reading is generally thought to be a superstitious belief but it continues to enjoy some success for those who want to believe. There are different types of palmistry practiced but the idea is to interpret one’s future by looking at the heart, head, life or fate lines. Classic palmistry has its roots in Greek mythology where a god or a goddess is related to different areas of the palm or fingers.

Today’s verse talks about God’s palm and what is written there! The Lord is reassuring the Israelites that He will never forget them. As unusual as it may be for a mother to forget her child, He will never forget His own chosen people. A mother may not have compassion for her child, but the Lord will comfort His people and will have compassion on them. (verse 13) Those that God loves He will never abandon. Those that He loves are engraved on the palms of His hands.

How reassuring it is that the Lord will never forget me! His thoughts towards me are as numerous as all the grains of sand in the world. (Psalm 139:18) That means I can never catch Him NOT thinking of me! His palms are engraved with my name and no one can snatch me out of those loving powerful hands! (John 10:28) Not only is my name there but also the scars that prove His love for me. My heart, hand, life or fate are all in His control as I belong to Him. What an amazing confidence and peace His love makes possible!

Thank you Lord, that You will never forget me.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2020)


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Where Are You Looking?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedera_baltica/29107323717/in/photostream/

This Long Eared Owl can turn his head every which way. Because his head is connected with just one socket pivot instead of our two, he can turn his head almost 360 degrees. It may be that many of us are turning our heads to look behind us, being that this is the last week of the year. The excitement of Christmas day is passed and the hoopla of the New Year’s celebration is ahead of us. What a perfect time to slow it down and reflect on this last year and the changes it has brought. We remember both the good and not so good. And hopefully, in looking back we gain wisdom.

Today’s verse reveals that God never needs to look back to gain wisdom. He is great and mighty in power. And there are no limits to His understanding. He does not need to look back over 2022 to make plans for 2023! He never wishes He could change an action taken in the past as all His ways are perfect. (Deut. 32:4) He would never regret His own perfect decisions nor would He be surprised at their outcomes. There is no need for God to look back to improve His understanding of events. He is all-knowing and eternal, seeing all from outside the confines of time.

What a mighty God I serve! There is nothing He does not understand. He is aware of every thought, every motive and every circumstance. How deep are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge! (Rom. 11:33) And this is why I can trust Him for 2023. He not only completely understands what I cannot about the past but He already sees what is ahead. There is a plan already in place, globally and personally. (Jer. 29:11) My understanding will always be limited. But I can trust my All-Knowing Father, looking back with gratitude and facing the future with confidence.

Thank you Lord, for understanding my past and my future.


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The Core

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Picnicking with my French friend in the rolling hills of Alsace, I was surprised to see her completely finish her apple, core and all! I had always heard that apple seeds were poisonous. I have since learned that they do indeed contain “amygdalin” which releases cyanide into the blood stream. But it would take eating 40 cores to reach a fatal dose. Perhaps, the health benefits of eating just one entire apple outweigh any risk.

Today’s verse speaks of the “core” or the inner being of a person. Physical training exercises that strengthen the core are important to good health. Spiritually, we need strength as well. But our source of strength does not have much to do with what we eat or how we exercise. We are strengthened in our spiritual core by the Spirit indwelling the believer. It is out of the inexhaustible riches of His power that He makes us strong. All the spiritual disciplines are important to grow in faith. But in the end, it is His power that gives us the strength to keep on keeping on.

I need to know this for the times I am feeling especially weak in my faith. In a period of apathy or of doubt, I need His Spirit to strengthen and reassure me, there in the secret parts of me that no one sees. When I cry out for His help, He hears and He answers. After experiencing His renewed strength, it would be ludicrous to boast about MY efforts or MY spirituality! I am a clay jar, fragile and weak so that His power is obvious to others!

Thank you Lord, for the daily strength available in You.


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EV Charging

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:27-28 “Cause me to understand the way of Your precepts, that I may meditate on Your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word.”

by Ivan Radic https://www.flickr.com/photos/26344495@N05/50952695061

The electric vehicle charging station is making its appearance more and more frequently in daily life. This change to an alternate source of power has its share of controversy. But it seems that this change is here to stay in one form or another. And as the situation evolves, there is one truth that everyone can agree on and that is the continuing need for sustainable energy. Regardless of the form it takes, no one wants to read the word, “Empty” on that dashboard!

Today’s verse reminds us that God’s Word can be our “charging station.” It is His Word that strengthens a soul. Understanding how He wants us to live, thinking long and hard about what He has already accomplished and spending time in praising Him gives solace to a soul lethargic with sadness. It is sadness that can so quickly deplete our strength. But He promises that through His Word our souls are strengthened.

My alone time with the Lord is my charging station, renewing my strength and even lifting my spirits. But I do not need to wait until I am dangerously low on power to come to Him! I do not want that needle anywhere near empty before turning to His Word for the encouragement I need. Being “charged up” not only strengthens me but puts me in a state of readiness for whatever challenge is around the corner. It is only in being connected to Christ and His Word that I can be at full strength to face whatever this day may bring!

Lord, fill me with Your strength today.


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“Strong Arm” Saguaro

Scripture for Today: Psalm 89:13 “Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.”

This majestic Saguaro not only dwarfs its visitors by its size but can boast of a long life, some of them being as old as 200 years! Recently, the “Strong Arm” Saguaro in Marana, Arizona fell over, all forty feet of it! Its thirty-four arms lay broken and dusty on the floor of the Tortolita Preserve. What an undignified end to what is considered an impressive symbol of the Sonoran Desert!

Today’s verse describes another arm that will never face a similar fate. The arm of God is so powerful that by it He created the heavens and the earth (Jer. 32:17). His outstretched arm has accomplished great and awesome deeds (Deut. 4:34) and by the incredible power of His arm He redeems and saves those who reach out to grasp it (Ex. 6:6). His strong arm scatters His enemies (vs. 10) but strengthens those who belong to Him (verse 21). But not only are His arms powerful, they are tender as well. He gathers us in His arms and carries us close to His heart (Isaiah 40:11).

God’s powerful arms would actually evoke fear if it were not for His love. God’s unlimited power is part of what makes Him God. But I am grateful that because of His great love and grace, those arms operate for me and not against me (Rom. 8:31). The same power demonstrated in His arm is the same power that keeps my soul entrusted to Him! (II Tim 1:12) Nothing is too hard for Him and I can absolutely trust what His powerful arms are doing in my life.

Thank you Lord, that Your powerful arms keep me close to Your heart.