Devotions By Jan


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Bread-Loving Zebra

Scripture for Today: Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”

I did not know that zebras ate bread. This one was very excited to eat it from my hand at the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Washington! Not only did the zebras approach for some bread but llamas, yaks, elk and deer did as well! Of course, each animal was provided appropriate balanced food. But the bread was their special treat and they did not hesitate to stick their heads all the way into the car for it!

Today’s verse describes Job’s view of God’s words as treasure. Their value surpassed even the everyday basic necessity of bread! Job had the same esteem for God’s decrees as David had years later when he said they were more precious than gold (Psalm 19:10). And Job was careful not only to know God’s commands but to obey them. He did not understand all the reasons behind the tragedies he was living, but he did understand that he was being tested (verse 10). Because of his obedience to God’s Words, he declared, “I will come forth as gold.”

This high regard for God’s Word is a goal worth having. In seeing the Bible as authoritative and in obeying it, I can have confidence when being tested as well. His Word is precious because it shows me the very best way to live this life. And it is to this same Word that I cling when facing difficult times. His promises give me strength. His Words give me hope. His Word nourishes my soul more than any food could for my body.

Thank you Lord, for the treasure of Your Word.


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Anchorman

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 18b-19a “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

capital 21 chanel, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The word, “anchorman” used to mean the last man of a tug-of-war team or one who runs last in a relay race. Now, it means a host for a television program. A recent promotional for a major news program goes further by describing their anchorman as someone who calms and steadies when emotions are high, fears overwhelm and we are at a tipping point!

Today’s verse describes an anchor that does much more! This is an anchor for the soul that is firm and secure. Our anchor is our hope and it will not change or move. We as believers are encouraged when we take hold of this anchor of hope set before us. We hope in the unchanging and sure promises of the Lord and His Word. We have an anchor that calms and steadies regardless of the turbulent circumstances that engulf us! Nothing is as sure and reliable as this anchor.

It is almost comical to think of a newscaster being someone who can calm and steady us! Often when I see the news, my experience is just the opposite. But my heart is steady and calm in reminding myself of God’s precious promises and control. World events will not overwhelm. Circumstances do not shake my faith. It is not that my faith is so strong, but the One in whom it is placed is all-powerful! He has promised. With my eyes always on Him and His promises, I will not be shaken (Ps. 16:8).

Thank you Lord, that my hope in You anchors me.

REMINDER: my blog posts now appear just once a week on MONDAYS! Please feel to peruse the archived blogs on the right of the screen for more.


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A Flintstone House

Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ad/Flintstone_House.jpg/800px-Flintstone_House.jpg

This bizarre-looking structure is part of the Radwaniyah Presidential Complex in Baghdad, Iraq. For years it was shrouded in mystery behind stone walls until the US occupation of the site in 2003. It was dubbed the “Flintstone House” by the soldiers, not realizing that it was in fact a playhouse built for the children associated with Saddam Hussein. At one time, it had running water, a real kitchen and elevators. It may have been solidly built with stone, but its foundation was shifting sand and the end of the Iraqian leader is well known.

Today’s verse describes a fool as someone who builds his house on sand. Hearing God’s Word but not applying it makes the foundation of our lives as precarious as sand. Jesus assures the listeners that the crash of that house is inevitable. In contrast, those that DO put into practice God’s Word will enjoy stability as their foundation is solid Rock.

That sand can represent our own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. They are easier to follow but the result is ruin. God’s Word is true and eternal, unaffected by what is modern or popular (Ps. 119:160). Building my life on the objective truth of His Word does not happen just by knowing and quoting it. I can study those words for a lifetime but if I do not obey them as authoritative, then that next storm may just bring me down. His words are practical and speak to every area of my life. Applying them is a question of humility to do things His way and not my own.

Lord, keep me off that sand!


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Hibiscus

Scripture for Today: II Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

The hibiscus is such an exotic-looking flower. It is large and showy and comes from a large family comprising several hundred species. This flower is also called the “rose of sharon” and mentioned in the Bible (Song of Songs 2:1) But those bright colorful blooms are short-lived, typically blooming for only one day. Once finished blooming, the flower will close up and drop off. One day of vibrant color and life. Just one day.

Today’s verse reminds us of the eternal nature of our God. He is not bound by time constraints. He is outside of time. A day can be like a thousand years or a thousand years can pass by like a day. So perhaps in God’s sight, that bloom lasts a thousand years! This reminder served to encourage the believers that God is not slow about fulfilling His promise to return. When it seems so, it is because in His love and patience He waits to include more of us in His family.

I need this reminder. I get weary of waiting to see everything fulfilled that He has promised. But His Word is always true and sure. And it is in the waiting that my faith is tested and tried. In the meantime, God gives me so many gracious reassurances of His love and direction! Over and over He has come through in what can only be called a “God thing!” I know and can be confident that every promise regarding the future will be fulfilled in His perfect timing!

Thank you Lord, that You are true to Your Word!


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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.