Devotions By Jan

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By-the-Wind Sailors

Scripture for Today:Ephesians 4:14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

Photographer: Robin Wilson
CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago on the beaches of California there washed ashore millions of these By-the-Wind Sailors! It looked as if space aliens had invaded our coasts! These blue jellyfish-like creatures belong in the water but were steered off course by the wind. Their small stiff “sail” can catch that wind and wash them up on shore. They drift along and go wherever the wind takes them. But if the tide does not pull them back into the ocean, they will rot away.

Today’s verse describes the immature believer as someone who is tossed back and forth by waves and susceptible to being blown around by the winds of false teaching. By contrast, the mature believer can discern good from evil and will not be taken in by false teachers. (Heb. 5:14) We become mature by being intimately acquainted with the One who calls Himself, “Truth.” (John 14:6) Through His Word we are, “taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.” (Eph. 4:20)

The more I study the truth of God’s Word, the more I can discern something even a little bit off. The false teaching that can so destabilize me will feed my ego, propose shortcuts, appeal to my pride and most of all, deny the deity of Christ! (I John 4:3) The Deceiver would love to slowly and steadily wash me up on shore and take me out of commission. But through staying in His Word, I can remain exactly where God wants me; humble, teachable and following His course for my life!

Lord, keep me in Your truth.

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Oh Rats!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

(photo credit:

The ship was crossing the channel, taking all of our family to England from France for a house exchange. We were thankful that no one suffered any sea sickness, there were no sudden squalls and we did not see rats making for the exits! Of course, if we had, we would have been plenty worried. It is a common belief that rats know when to flee a sinking ship. Some research seems to indicate that animals can pick up “infrasonic” sound pulses created by storms and earthquakes, giving them a head start toward safety. If I saw rats running for their lives, I would consider that a warning and follow!

Today’s verse promises reward for keeping God’s laws and decrees. That is the positive side. The negative side in this verse is that they also serve as a warning. Like the rats headed for the exit, God’s commandments give us warning. They let us know when we are headed toward trouble. God, in His grace, alerts us through His Word so that we can avoid needless heartbreak. Following His way rather than our own keeps us out of harm’s way.

My sin can hurt. It complicates my life and results in brokenness. But it does not have to be that way when I pay attention to His warning signs. It is so unpopular to speak of absolutes in the realm of right and wrong but these are not my words. God delineates very clearly in His Word between what is good and evil, black and white, dark and light. He makes it clear so I do not add senseless pain and guilt to my life.

Help me Lord, to see Your commandments as positive and loving.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2016)

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Falling in Love?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 89:2 “I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”

I am all for falling in chocolate as I will admit to being a chocoholic, especially loving the dark varieties. But I wouldn’t want to give up falling in love! This expression has been around at least since the 1590’s when Edmund Spenser wrote a poem entitled, “The Faerie Queen.” The phrase seems to suggest that this falling is entirely involuntary, unplanned and unexpected. But if one can fall IN love, perhaps one can just as easily fall OUT of it!

Today’s verse speaks of a love that stands firm forever. It is a love that is constant and true because of the One who is doing the loving! Beginning this relationship does not involve falling into it, unless we are falling to our knees in repentance and humility! The love relationship between the Lord and one who comes to Him in faith is absolutely a choice and absolutely overwhelming. He took the initiative in loving us first (I John 4:19) and loving us to the end. (John 13:1)

Unlike human flawed and fickle love, God’s love for me reaches to the skies! (Ps. 57:10) And unlike any earthly relationship, He will never disappoint. (Is. 49:23) That is because His love does not depend on me and my performance but on His faithful promise. His faithfulness to His Word is untouchable there in Heaven itself! What a huge comfort to know that the Lord is never going to give up on me!  Nothing is going to change His love.  God is Love in its most beautiful and purest form.

How amazing it is that You can love me, Lord! 



Scripture for Today: Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right but in the end it leads to death.”

It happened again, and the scientists do not know why. Up to 250 pilot whales were part of a mass stranding in the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, just days after 215 others were stranded in the same area! It is so sad to see these marine mammals wash up on remote beaches like these where they are not likely to be helped back into the water. Some possible reasons include “misnavigation”, being spooked, or following a sick leader.

Today’s verse is so important that it is repeated word for word a couple of chapters later. The way we choose to live our lives can seem absolutely right when following our own self-made compass. When the right way or the wrong way is determined by what seems to be best to us, we make something subjective that is not. Our Creator has established a “path of righteousness” that has nothing to do with how we feel about it. Following our own sense of direction or that of someone else can have disastrous consequences.

Is it sage advice to just follow my heart? I know that when I have, I have found myself in some pretty sticky situations! It is often only in retrospect that I see my own foolishness. At the time, my way always seems right. The rightness of my choices is not whether it feels good or whether it is easier. Nor is it whether or not I hurt anyone else. There is an objective standard in God’s way. When I obey Him, not only do I avoid complications but I find satisfaction and meaning in pleasing Him.

Lord, keep me motivated to always follow Your way!

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EV Charging

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:27-28 “Cause me to understand the way of Your precepts, that I may meditate on Your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word.”

by Ivan Radic

The electric vehicle charging station is making its appearance more and more frequently in daily life. This change to an alternate source of power has its share of controversy. But it seems that this change is here to stay in one form or another. And as the situation evolves, there is one truth that everyone can agree on and that is the continuing need for sustainable energy. Regardless of the form it takes, no one wants to read the word, “Empty” on that dashboard!

Today’s verse reminds us that God’s Word can be our “charging station.” It is His Word that strengthens a soul. Understanding how He wants us to live, thinking long and hard about what He has already accomplished and spending time in praising Him gives solace to a soul lethargic with sadness. It is sadness that can so quickly deplete our strength. But He promises that through His Word our souls are strengthened.

My alone time with the Lord is my charging station, renewing my strength and even lifting my spirits. But I do not need to wait until I am dangerously low on power to come to Him! I do not want that needle anywhere near empty before turning to His Word for the encouragement I need. Being “charged up” not only strengthens me but puts me in a state of readiness for whatever challenge is around the corner. It is only in being connected to Christ and His Word that I can be at full strength to face whatever this day may bring!

Lord, fill me with Your strength today.