Devotions By Jan


2 Comments

Building Forts

Scripture for Today: Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”

Kids can make a fort out of just about anything!  All that is needed is a little imagination and a few props.  There was not only room enough in this fort for my two grandsons but their mother as well.  Surprisingly, she stayed in there after the boys lost interest.  Maybe not so surprisingly!  It was quiet and peaceful there.  It was even warm with the protection from drafts.  After even just a few minutes inside, she came out looking happily refreshed!

Today’s verse describes God as a fortress and refuge.  David’s house was being watched by Saul’s men as they laid in wait to ambush and kill him.  David prays for deliverance not only from his enemies (verse 1), but from their slander, curses and lies (verses 10 & 12).  He recognizes that God is his strength and that he can rely on Him (verse 10).  David’s confidence in God being his strength, fortress and refuge is so strong that he can sing!  He praises God in song for His strength and His love.

In times of trouble, I need the warmth and protection of HIs strength and love.  Actually, I just need Him all the time.  But it is when faced with hard times that I realize my need.  His presence fortifies and strengthens my resolve to stand firm and resolute.  His love reminds me that He is in control and will not allow me to be overwhelmed.  His strength can be mine when I run to Him for shelter.  I am His.  I belong to Him and whatever I am facing, nothing is too hard for HIm.

Lord, I will sing today of Your strength and love!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Chased by a Moose!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 57:3 “He sends from Heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – Gods sends forth His love and His faithfulness.”

Some snowboarders at a ski resort in Breckenridge, Colorado got the surprise of their lives when chased by a moose!  The animal looked calm enough but at one point must have felt threatened as they zipped by on their boards!  Just before charging, the ears of a moose are laid back and the hairs on its hump are raised.  If pursued by a moose, it is recommended to either run or take cover behind something solid like a tree.

Today’s verse speaks of being hotly pursued.  David is running from an enemy that is intent on destroying him; Saul.  Unlike a moose whose charge is sometimes only a warning, this pursuit was to the death!  David cries out to the Lord for mercy.  He takes cover in a cave and God protects David out of His love and faithfulness.  Because David’s heart is steadfast he can sing and make music in the middle of disaster (verse 7).  His trust and confidence is so strong that he describes God’s love as reaching to the heavens and His faithfulness to the skies (verse 10).

I am amazed at David’s trust in God while being so relentlessly pursued!  Rather than respond with fear or complaint, David looks past his circumstances to the love and faithfulness of God.  His situation sure did not stimulate this praise.  And sometimes, neither does mine.  It can be hard to praise Him when faced with unnerving conflict and injustice.  But when I call to mind His love for me I can be confident.  When I remember His faithfulness my heart can take courage.  He will fight for me.  He will vindicate me.

Lord, remind today of Your love and faithfulness.

 


Leave a comment

Chicken Feet

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:33 “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He causes me to stand on the heights.”

I have loved our excursions in the Alps of Haute Savoie, France.  And once we have even surprised a herd of Ibex mountain goats.  But we have never come across a brood of chickens on those heights!  Even though some breeds have an extra toe, none could grip, climb and keep their balance on a mountainous terrain.  The feet of deer and mountain goats are sure-footed and allow them to scale the heights.

Today’s verse comes from David’s song of praise for God’s deliverance from Saul.  He begins it saying, “I love You Lord, my strength.”  He describes God as His shield, rock, fortress, and stronghold.  David recognizes that it is God giving him strength to stand on the heights of victory over his enemies (verse 32).  His feet are as sure-footed as the deer and David even thanks God that his ankles do not give way (verse 36).  It is God who helps Him and makes him great.

When I look down at my feet, I see chicken’s feet!  Without His help and strength, I am unsure and wobbly.  When the path is level I can do pretty well on my own.  The problem is that life is seldom smooth.  My path is strewn with pits and obstacles.  My enemies are often the unseen ones of doubt, discouragement, fear and frustration.  They trip me up.  I need God’s help and strength everyday.  When He answers my cry, He infuses strength in my soul to face the hard times.  He not only gets me through but He gives me victory!  How incredible to stand on the heights and enjoy the view of His faithfulness!

Lord, make my feet like the deer today.


2 Comments

Watering Can

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Will owning this $35,000 watering can from Tiffany’s make the water somehow superior for my plants?  Perhaps at that price, watering my artificial plants will bring them to life!  This “must-have” is made of sterling silver and copper and makes a statement.  It is saying, “I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it!”  This watering can is a limited edition and is part of a line called “Everyday Object” collection.  Unfortunately, it will not be a part of my everyday!

Today’s verse is about a different kind of water drawn up from a well of salvation.  The container is not at all important but what it contains is!  What is drawn up from the well represents strength, trust and the ability to be without fear with God as our Defender (verse 2). God is our salvation as He has turned from His justifiable anger and instead comforts us when we turn to Him for forgiveness (verse 1).  When drawing from this well, we do so with joy and anticipation!

I love the illustration of water as it is essential not only to life but to eternal life!  Jesus has quenched the thirst of my soul for love, significance, and beauty.  How amazing it is that His water also allows me to move through life without fear!  As my Savior He is also my Defender (Romans 8:31).  When I feel weak, He strengthens me.  When I am feeling under attack, He defends me.  He is more than worthy of my trust.  Nothing can separate me from His love and without fear, I can face each new day with joy and anticipation.

Lord, I need to draw from Your well today.

 


1 Comment

Crowning This New Year

Scripture for Today: Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with Your good blessings and You leave abundance in Your wake.”

This crown belongs to Queen Elizabeth and being that it weighs three pounds, the quote from Shakespeare must be especially true for her; “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”  It is so heavy that the Queen will practice wearing it a few days before having to don it for an official ceremony.  But the crown is impressive with its valuable jewels.  More than that, it impresses as a symbol of power and authority.

Today’s verse describes a power and authority much larger than that of an earthly monarch!  We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  It is in His power to crown a year with His blessing and abundance!  He came in order to give His followers a life that is abundant (John 10:10).  He promises His blessings for those who are obedient to Him.  His eyes search over the entire earth to see whose hearts are fully committed to Him, in order to strengthen them (II Chron. 16:9).  He looks to bless His own with good things as a Father does for his son (Matt. 7:11).

How reassuring to be His own and face this new year with trust and confidence in His provision!  I do not know what the new year will hold, but like the saying says, “I know who holds the future.”  He is worth trusting.  He will crown this new year with His goodness toward me.  I know this with every fiber of my being because He has promised, and He has been so faithful in the past.  Whatever this new year may hold, I can look forward to the eventual fulfillment of every hope and every dream.

Happy New Year to all my readers and may you experience blessing this New Year!


Leave a comment

The Secretary Bird

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:38 “I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.”

Do not let this stately bird with beautiful eye lashes fool you!  The Secretary Bird is an accomplished hunter who corners its prey in the tall grass of Southern Africa.  From a standing position they will use five times their body weight (an average of 8.9 pounds) to kick and stomp on a snake.  More than just stunning the snake, they jump, kick and stomp on it until the neck or back is snapped.  As I am not a fan of snakes, I do not feel too sorry for them.  But the whole process seems a bit ruthless.

Today’s verse seems a bit ruthless as well.  David is describing what happened in battle when the Lord delivered him from his enemies.  It was kill or be killed and David recognizes that it was God who armed him with strength (verse 39).  Instead of taking credit, David praises and exalts God for avenging him and saving him from his enemies. (verses 46-48)

The image of victory in battle seems far removed from my everyday life.  Yet, each time I succeed in resisting temptation, it is a victory.  Each time I do the right thing when it would have been so much easier to compromise, it is another battle won!  I am in a continual battle against forces that I cannot see (Eph. 6:12).  Ruthlessness is called for with an enemy that wants to destroy me.  I dare not underestimate him.  And as with David, there is no victory without God’s strength.  He graciously gives me His armor along with His strength and mighty power.

Thank you Lord, that in You there is victory!


Leave a comment

The Sea Otter

Scripture for Today:Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

The little furry face of the sea otter looks too cute to be related to the weasel.  The otter is made for the water and spends most of his time there.  His feet are webbed, his fur is water repellent and his nostrils and ears close up in the water.  Despite their fur being the thickest of any animal, they often float on the surface, even falling asleep in this position.  They look so calm and peaceful, without a care in the world.

Today’s verse is a wonderful promise of support for God’s chosen ones.  Those He has redeemed for all eternity need have no fear of sinking in the water of this world’s troubles.  He gives strength and help.  He upholds us with His powerful and righteous hand.  Regardless of how deep that water is, we have no cause for fear.  His steady love and power will hold us up and keep our head above water.

Moving through hard times, I need to hear this.  There are times I feel as if I am sinking but I am not.  He has never let me down.  And I know He has a plan and purpose for those difficulties.  But I feel dismay and fear even so.  I paddle as if my life depended on it.  I panic and swallow water when I could be trusting Him and floating on the surface.  He is holding me up from underneath where I cannot see.  His powerful right hand is there and I can relax in His control.

Thank you Lord, for Your strength and support!