Devotions By Jan


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Trivial Pursuit

Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:2-3 “You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.”

Trivial Pursuit is probably one of my least favorite board games.  Somehow, the questions on popular culture and general knowledge have a way of stumping me and making me look stupid!  Yet it has enjoyed much success having sold over a 100 million games in 26 languages and in 17 different languages!  I console myself with the thought that the one who wins is simply the one who knows the most trivia!

Today’s verse describes God’s intimate knowledge of us.  He knows not only our physical movements but the direction of our thoughts as well.  God is so big that the smallest most trivial detail does not get past Him!  He knows when, where and why a swallow falls to the ground and He knows just how many hairs are currently on my head.  Our powerful God is not only Lord of the universe but also cares about the puny unimportant minutia of our lives.  His omniscience is all inclusive.

I find enormous comfort and assurance to know He is intimately involved in the details of my life.  Because of His love and grace, I do not have to hide from this knowledge.  And His intimate knowledge of me means I can live without fear.  I can move confidently through my day, knowing He is there.  He knows and He cares, even when it is something so small that has me worried.  Rather than get nervous over what could happen, I can trust Him.  There is nothing too small for His notice.  There is nothing too trivial.

Thank you Lord, that I can come to You over the smallest thing.


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Taking it Easy?

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

This image has rest and relaxation written all over it!  I can imagine that the couple pictured have lived a busy and productive life, maybe with several career changes.  Perhaps they have stopped punching a clock.  The hard part of raising a family is behind them.  They have paid their dues and are now enjoying their “golden years.”

Today’s verse is looking forward to this stage of life.  But rather than thinking about well-deserved rest and relaxation, David still has a “to do” list in mind.  He looks forward to declaring to the next generation all that the Lord has done for him.  There is still a story to be told to others of all of God’s miracles seen in a lifetime!  With age, the story becomes longer and richer and more credible.

I know He will never leave me or forsake me (I Kings 8:57)  He has shown Himself faithful to me time and time again! Declaring His power and His greatness is a privilege belonging especially to those of a certain age.  In testifying to His faithfulness throughout a long life, others are encouraged to persevere in the faith.  In this sense, there is no retirement when it comes to speaking to the next generation of God’s greatness!  And it is often in looking back over the years that we see more clearly His miraculous hand!  I know my children and my grandchildren are watching me.  They will never see perfection but my prayer is that they will hear from me praise and testimony to God’s power!

Lord, keep me praising You to others.

 


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Walking Partners

Scripture for Today: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

These look like unlikely walking partners!  But apparently, they don’t know that!  Walking is great exercise but with a partner it can enrich the experience.  There are digital platforms that connect people.  The People Walker is one that provides safe reliable walking partners for a fee.  They advertise that with a partner, it becomes more than just a mere walk.  There is conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

Today’s well-known verse simplifies what the Lord requires of us.  It simplifies but it is not simple!  His standard for what is truly good and necessary is to always live a life that is just and to love and show mercy.  The life of a believer is a lifelong journey walking humbly with God.  Walking with God humbly would be to stay by His side, allowing Him to set the pace and direction.  It is also more than a mere walk, providing conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

There is no possibility of me acting justly or loving mercy were it not for my Walking Partner.  His presence and power give me the desire and the ability to do what He asks of me (Phil. 2:13).  Walking with Him keeps me out of a whole mess of trouble, be it unnecessary detours or tripping over rocks.  He keeps me in that path of righteousness.  But He keeps me there by His very presence at my side.  And because He sets the pace, He knows when I need to slow down and rest.  And when the path becomes difficult, He is there to get me through.

Thank you Lord, for walking with me.


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Looking Through the Kaleidoscope

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:19  “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This beautiful image was taken through an iPhone lens fitted to the eye hole of a kaleidoscope.  I used to look through them as a child, fascinated with the different colors, shapes and patterns.  The kaleidoscope was originally invented in 1815 as part of a scientific experiment on light polarization before becoming a popular toy.  It is amazing how those mirrors inside can change loose pieces of glass, beads and pebbles into amazing vibrant patterns!

Today’s verse is an encouragement to look at life differently.  Rather than focus exclusively on the past and what God has done, we are to rotate that kaleidoscope and see the new image the Lord wants to produce.  We can miss the new thing He wants to create in our lives.  To us it may not look like much.  Our lives can seem like random bits and pieces.  Our lives can even resemble a wilderness or wasteland.  But He has a purpose in bringing it all together in a new and exciting pattern!

He makes a way.  The Lord is a Master at taking the broken pieces of my life and fashioning them into something beautiful.  Sometimes, all I see are the ups and downs of the past.  So often I miss seeing how they are fitting together.  I do not always see the new thing He is creating.  But He is faithful to His promise to work all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).  He is continually creating His character in me.

Thank you, Lord, that no detail of my life is beyond Your reach to produce something beautiful!


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Powerful Arms

Scripture for Today:  Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You.”

This statue in Colmar, France was sculpted by Bartholdi, the same artist who created the Statue of Liberty.  It is called, “Les Grands Soutiens du Monde” or “The Great Supports of the World.”  There are three figures representing three lofty ideas: two arms of justice, one arm of work and one arm of patriotism.  They are depicted walking and supporting the world with their powerful arms.  I appreciate the artistic sentiment behind this sculpture.  But unfortunately, sometimes those arms get a bit weary and drop.

Today’s verse reminds us of God’s incredible power and control. How reassuring it is to know that planet earth has much stronger arms holding it up!  The powerful arm of the Sovereign Lord brought about the creation of the heavens and the earth.  What is more, His arm is outstretched still!  Creation around me attests to His amazing power.  The night skies above overwhelm me with His majesty.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  All He needs to do is to stretch out His arm.

I forget that when I get overwhelmed with my little world.  Yet, He is able and willing to again stretch out His arm in my life.  All things are possible with God (Mark 10:27).  For Him there are no limits of time or space or any other constraint.  He established the laws of nature and can just as easily put them aside for His purpose.  Those arms not only create but they hold me up when I feel weary.  Those are the arms that tenderly carry me when I just can’t anymore.

Thank you Lord, that I can lean on and trust Your powerful arms.


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Light Treatment

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth.)”

It was hard to see our granddaughter having to go through light treatment for her jaundice.  But the light was necessary to break down the excess bilirubin in her blood.  She was surrounded with that light above and below.  That special light in the blue and green spectrum changed the bilirubin molecules so that they could be evacuated from her little three-day old body.  What a difference as the yellow tint to her eyes and skin disappeared!

Today’s verse encourages believers to live as children of light.  Darkness was our past with its evil, unrighteousness and deceit.   But now there is light because of the Lord.  His light breaks down and eliminates everything dark in us.  Believers can now live a life characterized by goodness, righteousness and truth.  His light gives life (John 1:4).  The light He shines on us changes life with its healing and warmth.  With His light we can see what is dark and in humility confess it to Him.  And we can be a light to others, bringing them to the Source.

Although so much darkness surrounds me, the light He sheds will never be overwhelmed by it.  I may feel insignificant but even a small pinpoint of light dispels darkness.  He wants me to let His light shine to those who are unwittingly living in the dark.  The fruit of His light is what will attract others to Him.  Living a life of goodness, righteousness and truth is living the life He modeled.  But it does not happen without the filling of His Spirit, and the gifts of His strength and power!

Lord, make me a light today.


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The Amen

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever . Amen.

How unusual!  A teenage couple from Jacksonville, Florida, were swept out to sea as a riptide pulled them 1.5 miles from shore.  No matter which way they swam they kept getting further and further out!  Exhausted, they floated on their backs, fearing the end was near.  They called out to God for help and shortly after were spotted and rescued by a passing boat.  Ironically, the boat was named, “Amen.”

We normally tack on an “amen” at the end of prayers without much thought to its meaning.  But in Scripture the “so be it” is used as a statement of confirmation.  In today’s verse, it follows a burst of praise from Paul.  He glorifies and praises God for His deliverance from evil and His promise to eventually bring him safely into His kingdom.  Paul had been beaten, shipwrecked and persecuted.  Although his life was not free of hardship, Paul remained confident that his future was secure and that nothing could touch his soul.  Evil would never win.

I have the same confidence and my whole life can be an “amen.”  Evil will not win in my life either as He has saved me completely (Heb.7:25).  I have been rescued from the power of evil and no attack can touch my soul.  Nothing can snatch me from His hand (John 10:29) and nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).  He has promised and what He says is true and sure.  No matter how many promises He has made they are all “Yes” in Christ (II Cor. 1:20) so I can continually say, “Amen.”

Thank you Lord, for the confidence You give!