Devotions By Jan

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Vanilla? Really??

Scripture for Today: Job 34:3-4 “For the ear tests words as the tongue tests food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.”

Today is National Vanilla Ice Cream day! No one knows the creator and origin for this day but it appears every July which is National Ice Cream month. I am in the camp of those who prefer chocolate, part of the 17% of Americans (according to a poll from YouGov.). Those preferring vanilla number 15%. So maybe the majority is right this time! I will not even touch vanilla unless there is chocolate somehow mixed in. For me, chocolate is easily what is right and good!

Today’s verse records the advice of one of Job’s three friends about what is right and good. Elihu was eager to help Job discover the reason for his troubles. He had a lot to say but it was off the mark. Certainly, we are to test what we hear and listen with discernment. Just as we taste food to see if it has a pleasing flavor, so we “taste” what we hear to decide if it rings true. The problem is that we all have differing taste buds. What seems right and good to one can seem wrong and sour to another. Our subjectivity gets in the way of finding absolute truth.

Thankfully, we do not have to discern for ourselves what is right and good. It is not up to us to come to some sort of consensus. God’s Law goes beyond individual opinion or cultural norms. God’s Law does not change with the times. Surveys and votes do not change what God has put in place. And not only do God’s words taste good, but they are good for me!

Help me Lord, to discern what is truly right and good.

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Artisan Soap

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 5:25-26  “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the Word,”

I love going to our open market in Guebwiller, France and smelling the homemade soaps for sale! There is such variety it is difficult to choose. My favorite is lavender because I like to think its fragrance is soothing. But there are all kinds available, including lemon verbena, almond, honey and so many more. Some are made with olive oil, others with shea butter. There are soaps that have crushed flowers or herbs in them. But one thing they all have in common is that they make one clean, even the black soap!

Today’s verse describes how Christ sets apart and cleanses those who are part of His church, also called His Bride. His goal is to create in us glorious splendor! One day we will be holy and faultless, without spot or wrinkle. This soapy cleaning process starts with His sacrifice on the cross. The believer is washed in His blood and his sins are forgiven forever. Those who come to Christ in faith are washed whiter than snow and it is all His doing. 

I have had my bath but my feet still get dirty (John 13:1-10). That is when I need “spiritual soap.” And that cleansing comes from God’s Word. The Lord uses His Word to signal to me what needs to be put right in my life. It does not happen every time, but very often. When I am in His Word I am motivated to to obey Him. He uses the written Word to speak to me and our relationship becomes closer. I come away from these encounters squeaky clean and smelling good!

Thank you Lord, that one day, soap will no longer be needed!

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Edible Gold

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:10 “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”

What would make a plate of french fries cost 200$? A New York restaurant recently made the Guinness Book of World Records with their concoction. They first blanched the potatoes in expensive champagne, cooked them in pure goose fat, tossed them in truffle oil with truffle salt and topped them with shaved black truffles. But the most surprising ingredient was the dusting of 23K edible gold at 150$ a gram!

Today’s verse describes the incredible worth of God’s precepts for living. They are more precious than pure gold. Not only that, these words of God are sweeter than honey from the honeycomb. The prophet, Ezekiel, was commanded to eat God’s word and he found it sweet as honey in his mouth (Ezekiel 3:3). This image of God’s word being edible helps us relate what is spiritual to the physical world. His word is sweet for so many reasons but for Ezekiel it was because of the warnings that save lives! When He warns us about the consequences of going our own way, it is done with love.

How do I view the Bible? Do I see His commandments as negative and restrictive, or do I recognize the love behind the warnings? The sweetness of His love for me is there in its pages. The assurance of His care and control is pure gold and a reminder that is sweet to taste. Psalms 34:8 says to taste and see that the Lord, He is good! I sometimes complain that I have too much of a “sweet tooth” but when it comes to reading God’s Word, that’s a good thing!

Thank you Lord, for the incredible worth of Your Word!

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Resetting the Anchor

Scripture for Today: II Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” 

Photo by Matthew Matheson at

This rusty relic of an anchor sits above the rocky shore of Cape Breton. If anchors could talk I am sure there would be interesting stories to tell. There is quite a procedure to follow when setting an anchor. The first consideration among others is the depth of the water. But even when all steps are meticulously followed, there are times when an anchor will need to be reset. If wind, currents or tide changes cause the boat to swing over the anchor, then the anchor may have to be reset.

Today’s verse warns the believer that there is a possibility of being carried from our secure position by the wrong thinking of the lawless. These scoffers will argue that they do not see the promise of the Lord’s coming as everything continues as it always has (verse 3-4). We are to be on our guard against such arguments as God will always be true to His Word. Reminding ourselves of the veracity of His promises keeps us anchored securely in place.

If I ever feel I am drifting away, then I need to “reset my anchor” by returning to His promises. This hope in His Word is an anchor for the soul, keeping me firm and secure (Heb. 6:19). It is reminders of His faithfulness found there that keep me faithful to Him! Those fickle winds of change and popular thinking will then not move me. The constant currents of the next new thing will not budge me from the secure position He provides.

Thank you Lord, for being my anchor.

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Buckled Up!

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….”

Part of air travel means listening to the list of safety procedures. I know it is important but I cannot help but smile inside every time a seat belt buckle is explained! It just seems a bit too obvious! At the last cabin check before take-off, the flight attendant with whom my husband had been teasing came by saying, “Your seat belt is buckled, Mam?  You Sir, can undo yours!” Thankfully, this particular flight had very little turbulence but as advised, we kept it buckled.

Today’s verse describes the very first item of the armor of God. The context tells us that the believer is in a spiritual warfare needing spiritual armor. Without it, we cannot stand firm in the face of evil. We stand our ground first with the Truth. Like a seat belt well buckled, the truth keeps us stable in the event of turbulence. The day of evil turbulence will certainly come and usually without any warning. That belt needs to be in place and buckled at all times!

The enemy plants doubt in my thinking and as with Eve, asks if God really did say what He did. The only way to combat destabilizing doubt is to know, love and meditate on God’s Truth in His Word. Being convinced of the Truth allows me to stand my ground and not be moved, no matter how violent the turbulence. Knowing and resting on the truth will allow me to stay secure regardless of the turbulence that evil can produce!  

Lord, keep me firmly buckled in with the Truth!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2014)