Devotions By Jan


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Conspiracy Theories

Scripture for Today: John 18:37b  “…In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”

I have seen an eclipsed moon, a blood moon, a super moon, and a blue moon.  But never once have I suspected that perhaps the moon was not there!  There is a conspiracy theory saying not only that the moon landing was a hoax, but that the moon no longer exists.  What we are seeing is just a hologram!  It is all a cover-up, hiding the awful truth that either the moon was destroyed or colonized by aliens!

Today’s verse was the Lord’s response to Pilate’s questions.  Jesus not only testifies to truth but He tells us that He IS truth (John 14:6).  The truth of Jesus is in stark contrast to the lies purported by the Father of lies, who has so deluded the world (John 8:44).  It is easy enough to distinguish the absence of truth in most of these conspiracy theories.  But when it comes to the spiritual realm, believers are to protect themselves by a belt of truth (Eph. 6:14).  Jesus teaches us truth through His Word (John 17:17 ) and through His Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13).

I want to stand on the side of truth and that can only happen as I listen to Him!  There are plenty of dissenting voices clamoring for my attention.  But if those voices deviate in any way from what the Lord has clearly stated, then I am not to listen.  Truth is not subjectively discovered.  It is an absolute in a Person.  I dare not trust the changing ideas of truth found elsewhere.  His truth stands forever and I want to forever stand on the side of truth!

Thank you Lord, that You are truth.

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Clear Air Turbulence

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12-13a “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….”

Recently, the wisdom of keeping one’s seat buckle clasped was uncomfortably illustrated for passengers!  A drink cart literally hit the ceiling along with the heads of many who were not buckled in.  Clear-air turbulence was the cause which differs from regular turbulence in that it is more difficult to detect without the presence of clouds.  Better to be firmly belted in than tossed around the cabin!

Today’s verse talks about remaining firm in a spiritual battle with the belt of truth buckled.  And like clear air turbulence, the day of evil can come when one least expects it!  The believer lives in a world where the evil one tries to destabilize and knock us down with his lies (John 8:44).  He does this by planting doubts in our minds just as he did with Eve, asking if God really did say what He did.  The only way to combat his lies is to know, love and trust the truth of God’s Word.

Being convinced of the truth allows me to stand my ground and not be moved, no matter how violent the turbulence.  Not only that but there is less chance of being deceived when I am daily in His Word.  Those lies can look very convincing and are often made to look more attractive than the truth.  I dare not trust in my own reasoning or wisdom which so often is flawed.

Will this be a day of evil turbulence?  Lord, keep me firmly buckled in with the truth of Your Word.

 


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Waffle House Index

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:49-50 “Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this; Your promise preserves my life.”

The Waffle House chain in the Southern states is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Because they are normally open non-stop, it would take a very severe storm to close them.  That is why FEMA calls these restaurants the “Waffle House Index.”  The government knows an area has been hit especially hard if it was enough to shut down a Waffle House!  Their menu could be called a list of “comfort foods” with plenty of carbs, grease and sugar.  When eating there at 3am, the diner may very well be in need of some comfort!

There is suffering in today’s verse, but there is also comfort.  And that comfort is very closely linked with hope; hope in the word and promise of the Lord.  There is comfort in remembering His promises of help, of strength, of vengeance and of reward.  All His promises are comforting when times are so dark.  And God comforts us in ALL our troubles, even the ones of our own making! (II Cor. 1:4).  He comforts those who are downcast and depressed for reasons that are inexplicable (II Cor. 7:6).  He is the God of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3).

He sees when I am overwhelmed with fear and worry.  He cares when I am feeling too sad to get up from bed.   Better than indulging in comfort food, He gives me the amazing comfort of His love and goodness.  He brings to mind a song lyric.  He uses a long-forgotten verse.   And so often, He gives comfort through the encouragement of other believers.  He knows better than anyone else how to lift my head and my spirits.

Lord, I need Your comfort today.


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Banished Words

Scripture for Today: Luke 16:17 “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

Every year since 1976 Lake Superior State University has issued a list of banished words.  These words are nominated from around the world.  They include pet peeves from everyday speech.  But they also come from news, education, and advertising, among other fields.  The 2019 list includes: yeet, collusion, ghosting and accoutrements.  Their list is comprised of words that are misused, overused or useless!

Today’s verse speaks of the permanence of God’s Word.  In contrast to the falling out of favor and banishment of words, the Word of God stands forever (Psalm 119:89).  It would be easier for all of heaven and earth to disappear than for even one little part of His Law to be null and void.  What God says stands for all eternity.  There are no mistakes and there is never a need for revision.  His Word is always relevant throughout the centuries.  Because His Words are inspired by His Spirit, they communicate unchangeable truth.  The standards of the Law are not changed by popular opinion or a nominating committee!

How convicting and comforting His Word can be!  It is convicting because it exposes my heart and motives (Heb. 4:12).  And His Law shows me how woefully I do not measure up.  Thankfully, Jesus Christ kept the Law and perfectly fulfilled it.  His righteousness is mine through faith in His work and sacrifice (Romans 3:22).  But His eternal Word is also comforting.  It is truth that never changes and strengthens my faith (Romans 10:17).  His Word reminds me of His love and faithfulness.  His Word gives me an unshakeable hope that is an anchor for my soul.

Thank you Lord, that Your Word is forever and worthy of trust.

 

 

 


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Rainbow Cake

Scripture for Today: Romans 16:19 “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.”

There is a twist in the new season of the television show, The Bachelor.  Everyone is talking about his complete inexperience.  Some think it wonderful.  Others are scratching their heads.  The young woman interviewed before meeting him had her doubts.  She felt that no one could know if a person was the right one without a trial run.  She described her life as a “rainbow cake,” having tried many colors and flavors!

Today’s verse flies in the face of that kind of thinking.  Wisdom comes from knowing and practicing what is good according to God’s standards.  Believers are to be totally innocent and even naive when it comes to evil.  Unlike Eve, we do not have to touch or eat evil to recognize it (Genesis 3).  God has made His laws clear and they are established, not to ruin our fun but to protect our vulnerable hearts and give us the best life possible.  There is even delight in the path of His commands (Ps. 119:35)

The only thing I miss out on when saying, “no,” to temptation is the heartache that can come with it.  The prevailing thought changes with the times but His standards are eternal.  What the world says is wise is absolute foolishness in God’s eyes when it deviates from His law (I Cor. 1:20)  How is it that the creature thinks he knows better than the Creator?  I do not want my life to be a rainbow cupcake.  I want it to be the pure unsullied white of His righteousness.  I want to be sweet, naive and innocent.

Thank you Lord, that Your forgiveness makes that possible!

 

 


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Adulting Classes

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Adult classes are being offered to millennials who somehow missed learning some of life’s basic skills.  Folding a fitted sheet is perhaps one of the less important ones.  At least I would like to think so as I am not so good at it!  These classes include sewing, cooking, check writing, laundry and cleaning, writing resumes, and managing relationships.  What used to be taught through high school classes or passed on by family members is now often taught through seminars and conferences.

Today’s verse tells us there are levels of spiritual maturity as well.  Those believers who have finished with “milk” and have progressed to solid food are those who are experienced and skilled in living righteously.  Those who still need milk are those believers who are “not acquainted” with righteousness (vs 13).  Spiritual maturity then has little to do with church attendance or even how many years one has been a believer.  Spiritual maturity has to do with distinguishing between good and evil.  This discernment comes through training by constant use of God’s Word.

Isn’t it clear what is good and what is evil?  Don’t I recognize the difference?  When I am relying on my own reason and logic I can be deceived.  Between changing norms and everyone doing what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 21:2) the lines can be blurred.  Somehow, good does not seem so good or evil so very evil (Isaiah 5:20).  Satan is a master of deception and I am pretty good at rationalizing my behavior.  How thankful I am that He is holy and His standards unchanging….and that He forgives me!

Lord, grow me up today.  Help me recognize even the smallest nuance of evil.


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Training Wheels

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 4:7 “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourselves to be godly.”

If I were to ever try and maneuver a big heavy motorcycle, I would probably have to resort to what this lady is doing!  Training wheels on a motorcycle seem ridiculous but maybe it would save me a lot of scrapes and bruises!  I can still remember learning to ride a simple bike with training wheels.  The first time I tried riding without them was a wobbly milestone moment!  Mom or Dad had to be close enough to grab me in case I fell or I would not have attempted it!

Today’s verse reveals that to be godly takes training.  Paul was addressing the false Gnostic ideas that condemned marriage and certain foods.  Perhaps this group thought such heresies would give them a shortcut to godliness.  But godliness, or conduct that honors God, can only come through knowledge of the Truth (Titus 1:1)  The Lord has already provided everything needed for the believer to live a life of godliness through our knowledge of Him (II Peter 1:3).  There is no shortcut to knowing, studying, meditating and obeying the Scriptures, which give us our training in righteousness (II Tim. 3:16).

The training never stops.  I can never come to the end of knowing Him and there will always be more to learn.  But just as I can progress from spiritual milk to spiritual meat, so I can eventually let go of those training wheels and not fall over!  Rather than depending on someone else’s study, I can study on my own and hear His very personal message to me!  HIs Word shows me how beautiful He is!  And His Word shows me how to live a beautiful life that honors Him!

Help me Lord, to honor You today.