Devotions By Jan


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Stranded!

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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/26344495@N05/50952695061

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.


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Panda

Scripture for Today: James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

I love that my Mother-in-Law is nicknamed, “Panda.” I am not sure how this name originated for this petite 95-year-old Chinese woman. But there is one glaring similarity! Pandas eat all the time! They eat 30-45 pounds of bamboo per day. Because the bamboo is low in nutrition and pandas digest a very low percentage of what they eat, they must consume huge quantities. They are constantly eating. And at Panda’s end of life stage, she cannot digest too much at once. So she too seems to constantly nibble!

Today’s verse talks about two ways one can feed on God’s Word. One can merely listen to it and be deceived into thinking that is sufficient. Or one can not only listen to God’s Word but actually apply it and put it into practice. In obeying God’s Word, there is change, growth and good spiritual health.  However, merely listening is much easier to do. There can be momentary feel-good reactions to a poetic passage or a challenging story of faith. But it is when we respond to His commands with submission and obedience that we truly grow.

What I have “eaten” of God’s Word over the years is now being put to the test of obedience. Large quantities of head knowledge do not go far enough. The Lord wants me to put into practice what I know He wants of me. And what He wants now is unselfish servanthood for Panda. Listening, reading, memorizing, meditating and communicating God’s truth is important. But He wants more. He calls me to obedience. It may be a hot tea rather than that cup of cold water. But serving Panda is serving Him!

Lord, don’t let me be deceived. Keep me obedient.


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A New Voice

Scripture for Today: Psalm 29:4 “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”

I am excited to one day hear my Mom’s voice in Heaven. Half of her voice box was removed due to cancer while pregnant with me! My older siblings all remember her natural, true voice but I have never heard it. The doctors told her she would only be able to speak in a whisper. Thankfully, that was not the case. But her voice was raspy and tired easily. Although she left us 5 years ago, today would have been her 100th birthday. But now her voice is perfect and strong, singing praise to her Lord.

Today’s verse describes another voice. Although we have never physically heard it, we will recognize it immediately! It is a powerful and majestic voice that thunders. It is a voice that breaks huge cedar trees into pieces. God’s voice can strike like lightening and can shake a desert! His voice is so powerful that it twists oaks and strips forests bare! (verses 5-9) There is no mistaking this voice and the only response possible is to cry, “Glory!” (verse 9)

What an incredible description of His powerful voice! When He speaks, there are no arguments! His word was all that was needed to create the world into existence. And every word of His is faithful and true. It is a voice that I can trust with my earthly life and for my eternity. No voice in heaven or earth is more powerful. Yet, He sometimes chooses to communicate in a gentle whisper as with Elijah and I could miss it! One day His voice will be unmistakeable. But here and now I need to listen for those whispers of love and assurance.

Lord, keep me listening for Your voice today.


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Sanctuary of Truth

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 3:15 “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

This ornate shrine stands 345 feet tall on the edge of a sea near Pattaya, India. It is made entirely of teakwood using an ancient Thai carpenter style, using no nails as they would rust in the sea air. Built in 1981 it houses thousands of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Under one roof is found centuries of disparate beliefs from Southeast Asia. But the question is whether truth is found under this roof.

Today’s verse describes the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth. Both the pillar and the foundation are images of support and reinforcement for the truth of God’s Word. And when the “deep truths” of the faith are kept (verse 9) it will be evidenced by godly conduct. We know we are of the truth when Jesus Himself is the Source of godly living (verse 16). There is no system of thought or philosophy that can change a heart. There is no godly living without the life of the only true God.

I do not need to look for truth elsewhere. I have found the truth in Christ who declared that He Himself IS truth (John 14:6). And by His own words, His truth is exclusive. There is no other name by which we are saved (Acts 4:12). And yet, His invitation is inclusive extended to all who would come to Him in faith (John 12:46). His truth is my pillar and foundation as it holds me up and sustains me. Regardless of the shifting ideas of this world, my faith remains firm, upheld by a Person who is Truth.

Thank you Lord, for being my firm foundation!