Devotions By Jan


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Orb Weaver

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:18 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.”

There is no tangled web here with the orb weaver although there is a goal to deceive  This docile spider meticulously weaves his web in a perfectly shaped orb.  As much as I dislike any kind of spider, I can appreciate them taking care of those pesky insects.  What is so surprising is the larger ones will actually manage to deceive and ensnare the occasional frog or hummingbird!

Today’s verse is a loving warning not to be deceived.  There is an accepted and valued standard of wisdom in our world which differs from godly wisdom.  Worldly wisdom, which does not include the fear of God, can lull one into a false sense of security and directly into a web of deception.  It is only in becoming “fools” in the world’s eyes that we can know Christ who is called, “the power and wisdom of God.” (I Cor. 1:24)  No one can boast of wisdom without God, who “makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” (I Cor. 18:20)

The wisdom of God is not found by my own study.  It is not found by how many Bible verses I can recite.  Wisdom cannot be found “in the land of the living.” (Job 28:13)  True wisdom starts by the fear and obedience of its Source, God Himself.  Knowing Him, loving Him and obeying Him makes me wise.  Any other source is suspect.  When I turn to Him in making a decision, that is wise.  When I submit my will to His, that is wise.  When I choose His Word as the foundation for my life, that is wise!

Lord, do not let me be deceived.

 

 


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The Percolator

Scripture for Today: Psalms 77:11-12  “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

At the risk of dating myself I will admit to using this outmoded method of coffee-making!  I can still remember church potlucks where the percolators were gigantic to serve a crowd.  The idea was to brew the coffee by cycling boiling water over and over through the coffee grounds using gravity until the coffee taste reached the desired strength.  The spurting sound or “perking action” will only stop when the coffee is ready to drink.  Rushing the process was never a good idea and just made the taste weak.

Today’s verse talks about remembering, meditating and musing on all of the Lord’s wondrous works.  Memories are short.  One can hear of, read about and even experience the miracles the Lord has done and yet forget them entirely.  Meditating is like cycling that water over and over.  The truths in Scripture need to be meditated on again and again before they have an impact on our lives.

There are plenty of moments in the day where my mind is inactive or on “pilot.”  It takes an effort of the will to turn my mind to spiritual things and reflect on His goodness.  It not only takes effort but time.  The more I cycle the same truths through my heart and mind, the stronger my faith becomes!  I cannot hear testimonies of God’s power too many times.  I cannot hear God’s promises too many times.  With each remembrance my faith grows stronger.  And there are no loftier thoughts than thoughts of Him.  He is worthy of all my thoughts.

Lord, keep me meditating on You and Your Word all day.


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Smoky Skies

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood; but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

With these fires enveloping so much of Washington, Oregon and California, the skies have become dark and somber with the ash.  Midday can seem like early evening and the sun has trouble piercing the gloom.  A pall of dark smoke hangs over land far away from the actual fire.  The lack of normal light is a constant reminder of our fire-beleaguered world here in the west.

There is a dark world in today’s verse, and it is our world.  Making it dark are unseen rulers, authorities, and powers that are in direct opposition to the Light of Jesus and to His “children of light.”  No, we do not see these spiritual forces of evil, but we know they are there as we see their effect.  Thankfully, we are not without recourse.  Because of God’s armor, we can stand firm against this dark world.  Believers have God’s truth, not only as our first line of defense (belt of truth verse 14) but also as our only and best offense. (sword of the Spirit, the Word of God verse 17)

I have no courage to stand.  Who am I to plant myself firmly against such an array of opposition?  But God tells me that my strength is in the Lord and in His mighty power. (verse 10)  He has given me truth and the truth is that the battle belongs to the Lord.  I am on the winning side!  Although this world is dark, following Jesus means I will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life! (John 8:12)

Thank you Lord, for being my strength and my light.

 


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Nicobar Pigeon

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

The iridescent colors of the Nicobar pigeon are remarkable!  The long black and purple “hackles” flowing down from his neck reach a back of green and blue.  The wings are a combination of green, rust red, blue and coppery orange.  Unfortunately, this bird living on islands in Southeast Asia is classed, “near threatened.”  One factor is that he is hunted for his “gizzard stone” used in jewelry making!  That stone helps him digest hard nuts and seeds by grinding them down.

Today’s verse explains that the person without the discernment coming from God’s Spirit will not be able to accept, understand or “digest” God’s Word.  The Bible is considered “foolishness” by those who do not have the Spirit.  Without the help of God’s Spirit, no one is able to grasp spiritual truth.  It is His Spirit that opens up hearts and minds.  The Source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding is the Holy Spirit.  He breaks down infinite profound truth so that it can be discerned by even the simple!

Knowing this truth should help me understand why non-believers so easily dismiss God’s Word.  All they can see is foolishness.  The rich treasure of God’s truth can only be recognized and appreciated by the help of God’s Spirit.  Every time I open His Word, I can delve deeper because of His help.  How incredible it is to have new insights shown me in a passage I thought I had exhausted!  I am so grateful for every glimmer of truth He shows me as it brings me closer to Him!

Thank you Lord, for helping me digest Your Word.


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Counting Jelly Beans

Scripture for Today: Matthew 18: 21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'”

It was pure guess work.  I tried being methodical as a prize would be awarded for this baby shower-party-game.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered trying to count the jelly beans in this jar.  But in fact, my counting left something to be desired as my total was way off.  Someone else walked away with the coveted prize.  I would have been happy to walk away with the jelly beans!

Today’s verse is about something we are not to count; how many times to forgive someone.  Peter perhaps felt he was being generous to suggest forgiving seven times as the current thinking among the Pharisees was three times.  That makes Jesus’ answer all the more surprising.  The idea was not to forgive seventy-seven times or even seventy times seven.  The idea is that forgiveness is not to be counted at all.  Forgiveness is to be immeasurable.

My memory is so faulty on some subjects but somehow, the memories of when and how I have been wronged are very clear.  Forgiving someone more than once for the same offense is also too easy to remember.  I have had to say to my husband, “I am sorry, forgive me,” countless times over more than 40 years of marriage.  And I have had to forgive him too, many times without number.  It is so difficult to “forgive from the heart” (verse 35) over and over again.  And yet, I cannot think of a better way to show true love.  This is exactly what the Lord has done in forgiving me countless times.

Thank you Lord, that You do not count.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)