Devotions By Jan


2 Comments

See No Evil…

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The first monkey has eyes half closed. The second seems stoic and unmoving, perhaps not hearing. And the third may be speaking something, but hopefully not something evil. See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil is a well-known proverb. The idea is that we are to ignore any evil we come in contact with. Supposedly, ignoring evil keeps one virtuous. Although mass shootings are unfortunately not new, I am hearing the word, “evil” bandied about more freely by the media.

Today’s verse is part of a description of evil, its source and how to stand up against it! Evil comes from the intentional schemes of the devil (verse 11). It is not just an idea or the absence of good. Evil is the plan of Satan and although his strategy may be to use individuals, he himself is the ultimate source. To use anything other than the armor of God will be a losing proposition. It involves struggle but not against flesh and blood. Evil is a spiritual problem that can never be resolved except through God’s intervention.

Am I the only one who believes the world is getting darker and darker? Thankfully, there is ultimate victory over evil through Christ’s sacrifice for sin. And as a believer I am not without resources. Rather than ignore evil, I am to stand firm against it with objective unchangeable truth and righteous living. I am to fight back by spreading the good news of peace with God through Christ. My arsenal is faith, salvation and confidence in God’s Word.

Thank you Lord that through You, evil is overcome.


2 Comments

Big Boy Pants

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avanguardisti.jpeg

We have a saying in our home that my husband uses when faced with a difficult or unpleasant task; ” I’ll just put on my big boy pants!” Although not heard so often, the idea comes from an earlier era. In the 1910’s and 1920’s, wearing long pants was a true rite of passage. Sometime during the teen years, knee pants, knickers or knickerbockers worn as a boy are exchanged for long pants. This signals to others a certain recognized maturity. So to wear big boy pants today is to do the responsible mature thing!

Today’s verse is Paul’s confident assertion that Christ gives him strength. This strength enables him not just to do the responsible mature thing but to find contentment in whatever situation he finds himself. It is Christ’s offered strength that is the secret to Paul’s contentment (verse 12). Not only does God give strength for the task but He also gives a sense of contentment throughout the ordeal. And it is in abiding and connecting ourselves to the Source of strength that we can rise to the occasion and be effective (John 15:5).

I tend to lean on my own resources. There is a certain “can do” attitude that I expect of myself. But to have a contented heart when the going gets tough is truly a gift of strength from the Lord. When I am overwhelmed by circumstances I cannot change, I need His supernatural strength to be settled and peaceful inside. His contentment has nothing to do with whether today was a good day or a bad day. What a beautiful gift His contentment is! Regardless of the difficulty, He makes my heart light.

Lord, I need Your strength today.


Leave a comment

Eye Lashes in the Sky

Scripture for Today: Job 37:12-13 “At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them. He brings the clouds to punish people or to water his earth and show his love.”

Betty Flowers https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/9040974523

This incredible image shows scud clouds hanging from underneath a thunderstorm. They almost look like lace as they grace the sky above Wallops Island, Virginia. Also pictured is a roll cloud which resembles a horizontal tube. The air spins inside the roll clouds creating the lacy look of the scuds hanging from it. What an imaginative scene! Does anyone else see eye lashes?

Today’s verse reminds us of God’s creative power as He is the one who designs these tableaus. It is at His direction that the clouds swirl around to form what we see overhead. And the clouds stand ready to do His bidding. Our powerful God commands the clouds. His duel purpose is to punish people or to show love in watering the earth. All of His creation is under His control and responds to His directives. Nothing is outside His authority. And as a perfectly just God, it is His prerogative to punish or to bless.

I am eternally grateful to have God’s love and blessing. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for my sin, I am under no condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and do not need to fear His punishment. His blessing means an eternity with Him. But He has also given me every spiritual blessing here and now! (Eph. 1:3-8) So even when I see clouds that are not so beautiful but dark and menacing, I can be confident of His love and care. I can look up with assurance that He knows exactly what is happening.

Thank you Lord, for Your loving control in my life!


4 Comments

A New Voice

Scripture for Today: Psalm 29:4 “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”

I am excited to one day hear my Mom’s voice in Heaven. Half of her voice box was removed due to cancer while pregnant with me! My older siblings all remember her natural, true voice but I have never heard it. The doctors told her she would only be able to speak in a whisper. Thankfully, that was not the case. But her voice was raspy and tired easily. Although she left us 5 years ago, today would have been her 100th birthday. But now her voice is perfect and strong, singing praise to her Lord.

Today’s verse describes another voice. Although we have never physically heard it, we will recognize it immediately! It is a powerful and majestic voice that thunders. It is a voice that breaks huge cedar trees into pieces. God’s voice can strike like lightening and can shake a desert! His voice is so powerful that it twists oaks and strips forests bare! (verses 5-9) There is no mistaking this voice and the only response possible is to cry, “Glory!” (verse 9)

What an incredible description of His powerful voice! When He speaks, there are no arguments! His word was all that was needed to create the world into existence. And every word of His is faithful and true. It is a voice that I can trust with my earthly life and for my eternity. No voice in heaven or earth is more powerful. Yet, He sometimes chooses to communicate in a gentle whisper as with Elijah and I could miss it! One day His voice will be unmistakeable. But here and now I need to listen for those whispers of love and assurance.

Lord, keep me listening for Your voice today.


Leave a comment

God Is With Us

Scripture for Today: Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”

This image came from a site that provides greetings to friends and families, personalizing them with a name. Immanuel or Emmanuel is not a name I hear too much except in France. There, it is used for boys or for girls but with a different spelling. But in both cases it is often shortened to “Manu.” I cannot hear the name Immanuel without thinking of this verse and its meaning; God with us.

Today’s verse is part of the angel’s message to Joseph. Not only does it reassure Joseph, but the name Immanuel also ties in to a prophecy in Isaiah 7. The wicked King Ahaz was in a tight spot, his reign threatened by two kings. God sent Isaiah with God’s promise to deliver Israel both then and in the future. Despite Ahaz, Judah and David’s line would be preserved through the coming of the Messiah! Because “God is with us” Isaiah says to be careful, keep calm, do not be afraid and do not lose heart (verse 4).

What an amazing message is wrapped up in the name, Immanuel! Because God is with me, I can stay calm, despite what is happening around me or even to me! There is no reason to be fearful because God keeps His Word. He will never leave me or forsake me (Deut. 31:6) even when surrounded by enemies! He will never leave or forsake me when facing financial challenges (Heb. 13:5). His presence is constant so I do not lose heart. I may not understand what is happening but I understand that He is there and He loves me!

I love You, Immanuel.