Devotions By Jan


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#Me Too

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

I have been amazed and appalled at the number of women who on our Facebook news feed have posted the “Me Too” hashtag.  This has become the rallying cry for those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.  The idea was to bring awareness to the magnitude of the problem.  And with 1.2 million tweets and millions more posting on Face Book, in six short days it has done just that.  But for many the experience was too painful to make public and would only reinforce the trauma.  However, for others it is empowering.

Today’s verse contains a truth that is even more empowering.  Nothing is hidden from God’s sight.  What is done in secret will one day be revealed.  What was thought to be covered up forever will be uncovered before the One who will mete out perfect justice.  No one will ever get away with anything.  That is a balm that can heal a lot of deep lasting wounds.

I am thankful not to have experienced such trauma and my heart goes out to those who have.  But unfortunately, I have been robbed, cheated, and have had my reputation attacked.  There is no proof.  There is no recourse.  However, I can leave the retribution to Him.  He has promised to repay and avenge the evil much better than I ever could (Romans 12:19).  He sees it all and He is the Master of transforming what is unthinkable, pouring out healing and blessing.  What was intended to harm, God is able to turn around for good (Gen.50:20).

Thank you Lord, for the justice You promise.

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Pancake Tortoise

Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:20 “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.”

We had trouble actually seeing this Pancake Tortoise at the San Diego Zoo as he was so completely flattened and wedged in the rock.  I had never heard of a tortoise that can run but this one does!  That is because his shell is lightweight and full of small holes.  The fact that his shell is thin, flat and flexible means that he can flatten himself like a pancake and hide in narrow rock crevices.  So rather than retreat into his shell like most, this guy runs to the rocks until the danger is past.

Today’s verse tells us where to hide when we feel threatened.  David was constantly under attack from within and from without.  He was the object of evil plots and slanderous tongues.  In his anguish and distress he runs to the only One who can give him shelter and safety; the presence of the Lord.  David did not withdraw into his own shell or resources.  He ran to His presence and there God hid him.

There are times to stand and face the enemy.  But there are also times to retreat and run to Him and His presence.  He has promised shelter and safety when we are just too tired and discouraged.  He protects us when we are fearful and overwhelmed.  The unkind  remarks of others can create deep wounds.  Fighting against malicious gossip that damages a reputation is practically impossible.  The only solution is to run to His presence and allow Him to take care of those “human intrigues.”  He is more than able to fight for me!

Thank you Lord, for the safety and shelter of Your presence.


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Thunderstorm!

Scripture for Today: Job 37: 3, 5 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, and His lightnings to the ends of the earth.  God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.”

It was quite the show!  The storm woke us with peals of rolling thunder and flashes of light that lit up our room at the Mesa Verde National Park.  We must have watched it for a good hour, marveling at the force and grandeur of that storm!  As it moved overhead, we jumped at the deafening cracks of thunder and the room even seemed to shake!  How thankful we were not to be outside in it.  We felt safe and protected.

Today’s verse likens thunder to God’s mighty voice.  The fear that a clap of thunder can evoke is the fear I ought to feel at God’s powerful Word.  The Law was given to the Israelites in the midst of thunder and lightning.  It inspired such fear in the people that they insisted that Moses approach God in their place.  It is that fear which leads to obedience and wisdom (Psalm 111:10).

There are times that I lose that sense of fear at God’s greatness.  But all it takes to remind me is a huge storm that unleashes its fury!  God is bigger than the biggest storm.  His power transcends everything!  I am so thankful that my fear of Him does not include fear of punishment!  Jesus took on Himself all the condemnation I deserve.  But my fear of Him is one that inspires knee-bending awe of His greatness and power.  His thunderous mighty voice reminds me just how small and powerless I am.  And His voice is accomplishing so much I do not understand.

Thank you Lord, that I can trust Your voice.


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He is My Fortress

Scripture for Today: Psalm 91:2  “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

Touring the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado fired our imagination with scenes of a very different kind of life!  The overhanging cliffs afforded the Ancestral Pueblo people some protection from enemies.  But they also built fortress-style buildings as look-outs and for added protection.  These structures were built in the late 1190’s and served their purpose.  But in the end, it is thought that the enemy of drought drove them from their homes.

Today’s verse talks about God being our fortress and a place of refuge and security.  Because of His strength and power I can be safe.  I can trust in Him.  We do have enemies, perhaps not the same kind that David had to face.  But there are many times when I am attacked.  It can come from several different quarters.  I could be attacked by a temptation.  But God promises me a way of escape (I Cor.10:13).  I may be attacked by the Satan himself, but I have God’s armor so I can stand and fight (Eph.6:11).  When do I run to a fortress?

I run to God, my Fortress, when I am being attacked by depression, anxiety, and despair.  I run to His presence when I am being attacked by worry , doubt, or fear.  In His arms I am reassured when assailed by  feelings of hurt or betrayal.  In Him I find the courage to face the world again.  In my quiet time with Him I am strengthened against all these attacks.  The verse says, “I will say of the Lord…”  And I am saying it here.  I want to testify to what God as my Fortress does for me.


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Desert Soil

Scripture for Today: Colossians 1:16b-17 “…all things have been created through Him and for Him. He (Christ) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

The views in the Utah National Parks are truly breathtaking!  Around every corner is another amazing scene of cliffs, arches, and odd rock formations.  One thing that seems unimpressive is the unforgiving soil being so dry and barren.  But in fact, it is teeming with activity, due to the microscopic cyanobacteria one eighth of an inch below that surface.  There are signs to keep off this fragile crust.  This bacteria is binding the sand and soil particles together, creating a place for algae, moss and fungi to grow.

Today’s verse is a powerful statement to the absolute creative control Jesus has in every part of nature.  Despite what one believes about how this earth came into being, these verses say categorically that Christ was involved in the process.  Everything created has been created through Him and for Him.  No power is above Him and in Him and that power, all things hold together.  From the exact tilt of our earth to the crust on the desert floor, He holds it all together.

Because He can and does hold things together on such a grand scale, I can be confident that He holds me and my life together as well.  His creative power holds me squarely and securely in His hand (John 10:28).  Nothing is out of His control today even if I feel like things are flying apart.  He even scrutinizes the path ahead, knowing what is around the next corner (Psalm 139:3).  When I am feeling overwhelmed, He holds together what I cannot.  He knows the end from the beginning and I can trust Him with every detail.

Thank you Lord, for holding me together.


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Delicate Arch

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.”

The Delicate Arch is one of the over 2,000 found in Arches National Park in Utah.  Other notable arches have names like Landscape Arch, Double Arch and Broken Arch.  Their odd formations are the result of centuries of erosion carving layer and layer of rock away.  They look like they could last forever with their impressive height, this one standing 46 feet tall.  But in fact, each arch is fated to one day fall as did the Wall Arch in 2008.

There is another Rock that will never fall or face erosion.  Today’s verse describes our God as a Rock.  His perfection will never change.  Everything He does is perfect and just.  Most of all, this Rock is faithful and can be counted on to always and forever be there, strong and solid.  He will never do wrong as He is upright and just.  He is THE Rock and there is no one like Him (Ps. 18:31).  Because He is my rock, “I will never be shaken.” (Ps. 62:2)  “He is my rock of refuge to which I can always go.” (Ps. 71:3)  And most of all, God is the “Rock of my salvation.” (Ps. 95:1)

How reassuring to be reminded of His permanence.  Nothing will ever change Him or His promises to me.  Even when I am unfaithful, He will always remain faithful and true to Himself.  In a world where everything is in a constant state of change, He continues perfectly unchanged.  I can run to Him for everything I need.  Being a rock, He gives me the stability I need.

Thank you Lord, that I can always count on You!

 

 


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Pill Bugs

Scripture for Today: Psalm 17:17 “Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes.”

I thought I was just sweeping up dirt on my patio.  But when the dirt started fleeing the pile I knew differently!  The pill bug is the common name for a variety of wood lice called, “Armadillidum vulgare.”  As a child I liked calling them , “roly polies” as they would roll up into a ball when I mishandled them.  Their shells look like armor but it is because of their segmented bodies that they can roll up into a ball to protect themselves.

Today’s verse is a cry for help as David’s enemies had tracked him down, surrounded him and were trying to destroy him.  He calls out to the Lord, recognizing that God’s powerful right hand is his best protection.  As David had already experienced when confronting Goliath, he could not trust in the armor offered him (I Sam. 17:38-39).  His trust was in the power and love of God.  That was his refuge from where God would demonstrate His power to save.  God answered his prayer, not only for protection but for vindication! (verse 2 & 15).

Rolling up into a ball at the first sign of trouble is my natural inclination.  When going through something difficult I tend to go quiet, push people away and isolate myself.  But the Lord wants to be my refuge in time of trouble (Ps. 59:16).  He never intends for me to go it alone.  I need to run to Him to show me the wonders of His great love and reassure me.  His refuge is strong like a rock but as soft as the downy underside of a bird’s wings.

Thank you Lord, for being my sure and constant refuge.