Devotions By Jan


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Crossed Fingers

Scripture for Today:  “II Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

It is said that crossing the middle finger over the index finger as a gesture for luck or God’s favor became popular during wars in the 14th to 15th centuries.  Much later, those crossed fingers were made to silently ask for luck in getting away with a lie!  I still remember crossing my fingers behind my back as a little girl when lying, somehow feeling that in doing so the lie would not count!

Today’s verse teaches that all of God’s promises will be answered with a resounding “YES” in Christ.  The number of promises God has made is not a factor.  What God promises He fulfills as He cannot lie.  He is always faithful to His word.  There are no crossed fingers behind His back!  Some promises in God’s Word are made to a particular person or group of people.  Some promises are made with conditions attached.  But in any case, He can be counted on to honor His word.

Regardless of how I am feeling, what God declares is always reliable and trustworthy.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that He is not like me; fickle.  If He were capricious, life would not be worth living.  I am so glad that He is not and I can always count on HIm.  I can and do build my life on His promises, trusting that He is faithful.  When I live with this kind of confidence, I am living out my “Amen” to His word and my life can give Him the glory He deserves!

Thank you Lord, for Your precious promises to me.  Help me believe them today.

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A Mooring

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

These large ships are moored in a historical spot; the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor, Northern Ireland.  It is historical as it was the launchpad for D-Day landings.  Originally called “North Pier,” it was re-named after the General inspected the troops there.  These moorings are brightly colored yet unimpressive in the grand scheme of things.  However, without their stabilizing presence, those ships, large as they are, would just drift off.

Today’s verse reminds me of a mooring.  Because the Lord is present, because He is ever at my right hand, I will not be moved.  The weather makes no difference.  The movement of the water is a non-issue.  When firmly tied to the mooring of His presence, I can be steadfast and immoveable in my faith.

The problem comes when I hold on tight to something that moves.  God does not.  My own “can do” attitude or my own positive thoughts are not stable.  My emotions are all over the place!  Support and understanding from friends can even disappoint.  They are well meaning but not consistent.  There is only one true source of stability in my life; my Heavenly Father.

The mooring does not move, but sometimes the “rope” of my faith gets a bit frayed.  The only way I can stay close and connected to Him is through His Word.  That is the way I, “Set the Lord continually before me.”  So many other good things compete for my attention.  But when I make reading His Word my priority, I am holding on to His Word, His promises and a deepened awareness of His presence!

Lord, keep me holding on!


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Chickens and the Compost Pile

II Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

A chicken is in “hog heaven” if he can work a compost pile.  Rather than being fed at a common trough where the food is already prepared and laid out, the chicken is happier when he can hunt and peck his own dinner!  He can scratch and search without fighting the others.  Sorting through the compost for those favored morsels is actually healthier for the chicken.  A friend of mine told me that his chickens prefer eating this way and it helps flatten the pile in just minutes!

Hearing my friend’s story, I could not help but think of today’s verse.  God’s Word is our spiritual food and we want to correctly handle it.  Whether we listen to a sermon or follow a well-thought out study guide, we want to ingest God’s Word for good spiritual health.  Just as newborn babies grow through milk, so we grow spiritually through the pure milk of his Word (I Peter 2:2-3).  But as we grow, we eat differently.  Not every meal needs to be pre-prepared.  God has given to us His Spirit to teach and guide us into His truth.  Nothing causes a growth spurt as much as the work of our own personal study!

I enjoy a good meaty sermon and appreciate all the hard work put into it.  There are a number of authors I enjoy and respect that help me dig into Scripture.  But somehow, when I find that treasure, that tasty morsel on my own, my faith is strengthened.  The Lord is giving me exactly what I needed when I needed it.

Thank you Lord, for rewarding my study with the tastiest morsels!

 


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Message in a Bottle

message12.05.17-mjs_ft_message-in-a-bottle_27865657_582_388Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”

The idea of putting an important message in a bottle is nothing new.  There are records of it being done as far back as 310 BC!  But the story of a British WWI soldier, sending a message in 1914 was especially touching.  It did not discuss enemy movements, or a shipwreck story nor was it an experiment to test the movements of the currents.  It was a love note addressed to his wife.  This soldier died two days later and although the wife had since died by the time it was discovered in 1999, his daughter at the age of 86 was thrilled to have it!

Today’s verse describes the Lord’s love for us as everlasting.  Much more dependable than a floating bottle, He has written His message of love in the Bible that dates back centuries.  It is a timeless message of a love that is kind and unconditional.  The everlasting nature of His love draws the receptive and searching heart.  But like the passerby pictured, too many walk by that message, never stopping to investigate.  He has been faithful to communicate His love clearly, but the message is not always received.  Or the message is misheard to be, “I will love you if…”

His love for me changes how I look at myself.  I am important enough for Him to actually write down how He feels about me!  Of course my husband’s love and my family’s love is important.  But nothing is as wide, long, high or deep as His love (Eph.3:18).  It is always kind.  It will never fail.  And He loves me in spite of who I am!

Thank you Lord, for Your everlasting love!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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My Hero

heroScripture for Today: Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Having married a “Kent,” I have had my share of Superman jokes.  When naming our children, there was no question that we would avoid the name Clark or Lois!  But in fact, my husband is my hero if one counts admiration and respect!  He does not fly through the air and right all wrongs, but he is certainly a hero for putting up with me!

Today’s verse comes from a chapter referred to as a list of “heroes of the faith.”  These verses describe ordinary men and women who demonstrated tremendous faith in persevering, even when a promise was not fulfilled in their lifetime.  The criteria was not the recognition or accolades of men.  In fact, the world was not even worthy of them (verse 38).  But they are heroes because they never gave up their faith even while facing death.  Because of their faith, “God was not ashamed to be called their God” (verse 16).

There are many religious systems that require some kind of faith.  The idea of faith and spirituality is normally well received.  It is not until I refer to the object of my faith that I face opposition.  My faith is in a Person.  Not in my religion.  Not in my church.  And certainly not in my own efforts.  My faith in God and His Son, Jesus, exhibits itself in coming to Him repeatedly and earnestly seeking Him.  He rewards me by revealing Himself to me more and more.  And when I take Him at His Word, believe His promises and obey Him, I feel His pleasure.

“My faith has found a resting place,” and He is worthy.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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Newborn Puppies

Scripture for Today:Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.”

The chihuahua puppy looks so tiny and vulnerable sitting on an outstretched hand.  This breed of dog is only four inches long at birth.  Puppies seem especially vulnerable and helpless during their first few days.  They are not only blind but deaf, toothless and unable to regulate body temperature.  To cuddle their mother and siblings and to nurse, they depend on their sense of touch and smell.  Their eyes do not open until their second week.  Life gets suddenly much larger when these tiny puppies can begin to explore and discover their world.

Today’s verse describes eyes that are opened to wonderful things in God’s law.  Our eyes can miss what is positive in God’s commandments.  Those wonders can easily escape us.  This verse is a prayer that God would open spiritual eyes to see God’s law differently.  This entire psalm goes on to extol and praise God’s law.  The author’s eyes have been opened to see a long list of wonderful things: blessing, purity, delight, strength, understanding, knowledge, good judgement, freedom and comfort, to name just a few!  God answered the author’s prayer.

I do not often feel this way about God’s law.  Instead of seeing “wonderful things,” in His law, I sometimes see it as negative and restrictive.  My eyes need to be opened!  I want to see those same wonders in His law, especially the comfort and blessing!  God’s law is given with love and with the desire to make life work for me.  I need my eyes open to explore and discover how God wants me to live and to see it as wonderful!

Open my eyes today, Lord.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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Mondays

8-mondays-beatles-funny-parodyScripture for Today: I Thes. 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as human word, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

I wonder if even the Beatles hated Mondays.  The parody of this iconic picture sums up the attitude of most people.  Somehow, when that alarm jars you awake after a full weekend, the temptation to stay under those covers is oh so strong!  No wonder we hate Mondays.  Like the Mamas and the Papas’ 1966 song, “Every other day of the week is fine.”  But, “Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day!”

Today’s verse is about a work that is continual, regardless of the day of the week.  The Word of God is at work in those who believe.  When God sends out His Word, it will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11).  His Word is unlike any other book, being that it is alive and active, judging our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12).  His Word reveals who God is and who I am.  Reading His Word brings comfort and encouragement.  It is absolute truth that changes how I see my world.  His Word guides my steps and keeps me on the best path.

Of course, His Word cannot be at work in me every day of the week if I am not reading it, listening to it or singing it!  I need to hide it in my heart like the Psalmist tells me.  It is then that His Word can do its work, slowly transforming me by renewing my mind (Rom. 12:2).

Lord, keep me motivated to read and love Your Word, even on Mondays!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.