Devotions By Jan


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Bones

Scripture for Today: Ezekiel 37:5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

This must be what happens when there is just too much exercise and dieting!  I recently had a bone scan done but I am fairly sure I did not look like this skeleton.  With osteoporosis in my family I need to be concerned about good bone health.  There are lots of preventative measures to take.  Weight-bearing exercise is recommended as well as a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.  I am thrilled to see ice cream and frozen yogurt on the high-in-calcium list!  Although vitamin D is important, I would prefer getting it from the sun rather than a pill.  The next time I enjoy ice cream in the sunshine, I can do it without a shred of guilt!

Today’s verse comes from a vision the Lord gave His prophet, Ezekiel.  The bones represent the nation of Israel.  Their bones were dried up as their hope was gone and they were cut off.  God promised to put flesh on those bones and give life through His Spirit.  It was an image of what He would do for them, bringing them back to their land.

There is no life without His Spirit.  We are all dead in our sins without His life-giving Spirit.  Those who reject Jesus Christ are like dried up bones, without hope and cut off from a vital relationship with their Maker.  But with His breath comes true life.  In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  The breath of His Spirit moves me to a living loving relationship with Him.

Thank you Lord, for breathing true life into me!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2017)


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Palm Reading

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 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) 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.


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Gibbon Arms

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 59:1 “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.”

These adorable-looking gibbons can boast as having the longest arms of any primate, relative to body size. This small ape lives in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia and he can be seen swinging gracefully between branches. Their arms are longer and stronger than their legs. They can move so easily from branch to branch. When they walk they will often hold their arms up over their heads. But I especially like what this black gibbon is doing with his arms!

Today’s verse turns our attention to the arm of the Lord. It is long enough to save the most sinful and rebellious. No one is out of His reach to save. It is His outstretched arm that made the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too hard for Him. (Jer. 32:17) His arm is long enough to reach into the darkest night and save us from drowning in despair. His arm is long enough to save from any physical danger. But most important of all, His arm is long enough to extract a soul from the kingdom of darkness and lovingly place that one in His Kingdom of light!

What wonderful power is in His arm! It is amazing that this same powerful arm wants to wrap itself around me! I am safe and secure there. Nothing can touch me except what He allows. I know and am persuaded that He is able to keep my soul, committed to Him, for now and for all eternity. (II Tim. 1:12) There is no power greater than His that can separate me from His love! (Rom. 8:38-39) His powerful arm is long enough to save me and to keep me!

Lord, help me trust Your arm today.


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Navy Seal Creed

Scripture for Today: James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

“Forged by Adversity” is one of the creeds of the Navy Seals. This image of the Navy Seal Trident represents what can only be worn by those who have earned it through their arduous training. The US Navy Website has this quote; “I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time.”

Today’s verse talks about adversity in the form of testing and trial. When going through it, one is blessed by God for persevering and not giving up. The Christian life is not exempt from any kind of hardship, although we think we should be! The Lord uses many kinds of tests to forge us into a tool of righteousness that He can use. When we stand firm when rocked by adversity, we do not just get a special trident to wear. The Lord promises a “crown of life” to those who stay true to their love for HIm.

Adversity forges my faith by using fiery trials or ordeals. (I Peter 4:12) I wish my faith grew stronger some other way. But it is in the middle of crisis that I look up and cry for His help. It is when I am too weak that He shows Himself strong. When I come to the end of my own resources, He responds by supplying my needs out of the riches of His glory! He turns my adversity into blessing and more reasons to love Him!

Lord, help me to persevere.

 


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Bubble Coral

Scripture for Today: Psalm 55:8 “I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

It is easy to see why this coral is called, “Bubble Coral.” Its skeleton mass is covered with water filled bubble-shaped polyps. These bubbles contain large numbers of single-celled algae that need that safe and stable environment to grow. The bubbles expand during the day and retract at night, regulating the amount of light it receives. The coral depends on that algae for most of its nutrients. Without those bubbles the coral would not thrive and grow.

Today’s verse tells us that there is a shelter that is removed from whatever tempest or storm we are experiencing. Like the bubble, it is a place of safety and refreshment and it is essential to our spiritual growth. It is a place of protection and there are times we need to hurry there! David longs for this bubble of protection when danger surrounds him and he does not know who to trust. Had he wings like a dove, he would fly away to find rest. (verse 6) Had he a choice, David would flee to the desert. (verse 7) Instead, he turns to the shelter of God’s presence. (Psalm 31:20)

I find that I need to hurry to His protective and nourishing presence daily. Like David, my thoughts can trouble me. (verse 2) The shelter of His presence keeps me removed from the tempest and storm. He does not mean for me to cower in fear at the plots of the wicked. In His sheltering presence I find the peace I so desperately need when turmoil surrounds me. There, my faith is nourished in a, “safe and stable environment.” How wonderful to have such a place available to me every day!

Lord, may Your sheltering presence keep me far from the tempest and storm