Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Block Chain

Psalm 55:19 “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change – He will hear them and humble them because they have no fear of God.”

You can try but you cannot change it!  That is the idea behind the “block chain.”  It is a digital ledger that is designed so that transactions made with bit coin and other cryptocurrency are meddle-proof and unable to be deleted.  The block chain is an accounting method that verifies transactions and creates a record that cannot be changed.  Because everything is unique and traceable, it cannot be copied.  Because this system is “immutable”, it generates trust and truth.

Today’s verse tells us that God does not change.  He is “immutable” and this attribute also generates trust and truth!  His character is irrevocable.  Who He was in times long past is who He still is today!  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8).  He does not need to change, grow, mature or self-correct because He is perfect.  His Word and promises are binding and permanent!  He hears the cries of the righteous because He has promised and He will humble those who have no fear of God, because He has promised.

I never have to worry that God will change His mind about me.  I never have to doubt His unfailing love that does not change.  He has promised His presence for “always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)  I do not have to question whether He is going to show up or not!  The fact that He does not change strengthens my trust in Him.  How relieved I am that I do not have a God who is capricious and unpredictable!  He is my solid, immoveable and immutable rock and I can trust Him completely.

Lord, strengthen my trust in You today.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Case Closed

Scripture for Today:  Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

“Case Closed” is the English title given to this ongoing Japanese detective manga series where an amateur detective is transformed into a child and helps solve crime.  But in a larger sense the phrase, “case closed,” is said after any question, debate or mystery has been solved or answered.  It is meant to be final and not able to be amended or varied in any way.  It puts a stop to any more discussion.

Today’s verse could be viewed as a case closed.  It is a wonderful assurance for the one who has placed their faith in Jesus.  There is no fear of this case being reopened.  The believer is justified, or declared righteous, not because of his own deeds but because of being credited with Christ’s righteousness (Romans 4:22-25).  The just punishment that we deserve has been fully met by His death on the cross.  The righteousness Jesus achieved has been laid to our account!

It has been decided.  I do not have to live in fear and doubt.  He declared, “It is finished,” on that cross.  How amazing that I can stand before Him, declared righteous!  Satan tries his best to try and pry open a case that is eternally closed by making accusations.  But it is to no avail.  God’s mighty hand has closed the affair and I have peace with God, now and forever.  My heart is not troubled because of my guilt and sin.  His forgiveness and declaration has established heartfelt peace, relief, and the joy and hope of heaven!  What God has declared is a case closed and His Word is final.

Thank you Lord, for Your precious assurance!

 


Leave a comment

Big Ears

Scripture for Today: Mark 4:23 “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”

A baby’s little ears are so sweet.  However, they will look completely different at age 80, and perhaps will not look so sweet!  Because ears seem bigger and longer with age, there is a common misconception that they continue to grow.  But in fact, it is just that the elastin fibers in the cartilage begin to breakdown, making them stretch and sag.  In any case, having bigger-looking ears does not translate into better hearing!

Today’s verse is a phrase used only by Jesus and He said it eight times in the Gospels to get His listeners’ attention.  Of course His listeners have ears and can hear.  Yet, He understands how easily we are distracted from really listening and responding.  Jesus goes on to say that we are to consider carefully what we hear.  We are responsible and accountable for what we have heard Him say.  He wants from us a response to what we have heard.

There are a multitude of sounds all clamoring for my attention during the day.  Some of these sounds are inevitable, and many of them I can disregard.  When sleeping, our ears continue to hear sounds.  It is just that the brain disregards most of them so we can continue sleeping.  But there is a still small voice that, like Elijah, I need to discern.  The question I need to ask myself is, “Do I really want to hear what He is saying.?”   I do not want to hear Him ask what is uncomfortable or difficult.  But then I would not hear His whispers of love either.

Lord, I really do want to hear You.  Please speak to me today.


Leave a comment

Crossed Fingers

Scripture for Today:  “II Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

It is said that crossing the middle finger over the index finger as a gesture for luck or God’s favor became popular during wars in the 14th to 15th centuries.  Much later, those crossed fingers were made to silently ask for luck in getting away with a lie!  I still remember crossing my fingers behind my back as a little girl when lying, somehow feeling that in doing so the lie would not count!

Today’s verse teaches that all of God’s promises will be answered with a resounding “YES” in Christ.  The number of promises God has made is not a factor.  What God promises He fulfills as He cannot lie.  He is always faithful to His word.  There are no crossed fingers behind His back!  Some promises in God’s Word are made to a particular person or group of people.  Some promises are made with conditions attached.  But in any case, He can be counted on to honor His word.

Regardless of how I am feeling, what God declares is always reliable and trustworthy.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that He is not like me; fickle.  If He were capricious, life would not be worth living.  I am so glad that He is not and I can always count on HIm.  I can and do build my life on His promises, trusting that He is faithful.  When I live with this kind of confidence, I am living out my “Amen” to His word and my life can give Him the glory He deserves!

Thank you Lord, for Your precious promises to me.  Help me believe them today.


Leave a comment

A Mooring

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

These large ships are moored in a historical spot; the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor, Northern Ireland.  It is historical as it was the launchpad for D-Day landings.  Originally called “North Pier,” it was re-named after the General inspected the troops there.  These moorings are brightly colored yet unimpressive in the grand scheme of things.  However, without their stabilizing presence, those ships, large as they are, would just drift off.

Today’s verse reminds me of a mooring.  Because the Lord is present, because He is ever at my right hand, I will not be moved.  The weather makes no difference.  The movement of the water is a non-issue.  When firmly tied to the mooring of His presence, I can be steadfast and immoveable in my faith.

The problem comes when I hold on tight to something that moves.  God does not.  My own “can do” attitude or my own positive thoughts are not stable.  My emotions are all over the place!  Support and understanding from friends can even disappoint.  They are well meaning but not consistent.  There is only one true source of stability in my life; my Heavenly Father.

The mooring does not move, but sometimes the “rope” of my faith gets a bit frayed.  The only way I can stay close and connected to Him is through His Word.  That is the way I, “Set the Lord continually before me.”  So many other good things compete for my attention.  But when I make reading His Word my priority, I am holding on to His Word, His promises and a deepened awareness of His presence!

Lord, keep me holding on!


Leave a comment

Chickens and the Compost Pile

II Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

A chicken is in “hog heaven” if he can work a compost pile.  Rather than being fed at a common trough where the food is already prepared and laid out, the chicken is happier when he can hunt and peck his own dinner!  He can scratch and search without fighting the others.  Sorting through the compost for those favored morsels is actually healthier for the chicken.  A friend of mine told me that his chickens prefer eating this way and it helps flatten the pile in just minutes!

Hearing my friend’s story, I could not help but think of today’s verse.  God’s Word is our spiritual food and we want to correctly handle it.  Whether we listen to a sermon or follow a well-thought out study guide, we want to ingest God’s Word for good spiritual health.  Just as newborn babies grow through milk, so we grow spiritually through the pure milk of his Word (I Peter 2:2-3).  But as we grow, we eat differently.  Not every meal needs to be pre-prepared.  God has given to us His Spirit to teach and guide us into His truth.  Nothing causes a growth spurt as much as the work of our own personal study!

I enjoy a good meaty sermon and appreciate all the hard work put into it.  There are a number of authors I enjoy and respect that help me dig into Scripture.  But somehow, when I find that treasure, that tasty morsel on my own, my faith is strengthened.  The Lord is giving me exactly what I needed when I needed it.

Thank you Lord, for rewarding my study with the tastiest morsels!

 


Leave a comment

Message in a Bottle

message12.05.17-mjs_ft_message-in-a-bottle_27865657_582_388Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”

The idea of putting an important message in a bottle is nothing new.  There are records of it being done as far back as 310 BC!  But the story of a British WWI soldier, sending a message in 1914 was especially touching.  It did not discuss enemy movements, or a shipwreck story nor was it an experiment to test the movements of the currents.  It was a love note addressed to his wife.  This soldier died two days later and although the wife had since died by the time it was discovered in 1999, his daughter at the age of 86 was thrilled to have it!

Today’s verse describes the Lord’s love for us as everlasting.  Much more dependable than a floating bottle, He has written His message of love in the Bible that dates back centuries.  It is a timeless message of a love that is kind and unconditional.  The everlasting nature of His love draws the receptive and searching heart.  But like the passerby pictured, too many walk by that message, never stopping to investigate.  He has been faithful to communicate His love clearly, but the message is not always received.  Or the message is misheard to be, “I will love you if…”

His love for me changes how I look at myself.  I am important enough for Him to actually write down how He feels about me!  Of course my husband’s love and my family’s love is important.  But nothing is as wide, long, high or deep as His love (Eph.3:18).  It is always kind.  It will never fail.  And He loves me in spite of who I am!

Thank you Lord, for Your everlasting love!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.