Devotions By Jan


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“Great Rock”

Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 28:16 “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says; ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

This strange structure sits on an even stranger landscape; Burren, on the west coast of Ireland.  The name, Burren, means “great rock.”  Dry limestone rock covers this flat barren area making it resemble a moonscape.  This structure is called Poulnabrone, a portal tomb that has stood the test of time.  Originally covered with soil, it served as a collective burial site as well as a territorial marker.  All that remains today is its “stone skeleton.”

Today’s verse describes the only true and firm foundation.  The people were deluding themselves thinking that they could mock God’s words, live how they pleased and not be touched by calamity.  They were taking refuge in lies and falsehoods (verse 15&17).  They relied on themselves and their own righteousness and justice rather the foundation of God’s truth.  The “stone” we are to build our lives on is a tested precious cornerstone.  That Cornerstone is Jesus Christ (Eph.2:20) and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame (I Peter 2:6).

My whole life is like a building that is based on the Rock.  Jesus is not just an afterthought but the cornerstone from which everything else is fitted.  He is my point of reference for all truth.  Relying on my own rationale or reasoning is like building on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  When the storms of life whirl around me, I want to be remain stable.  I will not panic at whatever life throws at me because I am founded on His unshakeable and eternal truth.

Lord, keep me stable today.

 

 


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The North Star

Scripture for Today:  Exodus 15:13 “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.”

For centuries the North Star, or Polaris, has been helping travelers get their bearings.  Whether traversing a dry uncharted desert or sailing through waters without a horizon in sight, the North Star has kept travelers from losing themselves.  Because it is located nearly at the north celestial pole, it marks the way due north.  It is bright but only the 50th brightest star above us.  The North Star is famous for holding nearly still while the entire northern sky turns around it.

Today’s verse reminds us of the fact that the God of this universe is willing to lead and guide His people.  He shows us the way because of His amazing unfailing love.  He uses His incredible strength to lift us up out of the deep slimy pit of mud and mire and to set our feet back on firm solid ground (Psalm 40:2).  His love for us never falters, even when we ignore His leading and fall away.  We may step out of His will but we never step out of His care.  His correction and instruction light the way back to His presence (Prov. 6:23).

What a precious thought that He cares enough to see every wayward step.  He does not want me to go through life unclear and confused about my direction.  He has redeemed me and I am HIs.  His love will never fail me, even when I am not looking up for His direction.  In my pride I may think I have it all together when in fact I may be inadvertently putting distance between us.  His guidance keeps me warm and close.

Lord, keep me looking to You for each step.


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Honeycomb

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

The honeycomb is honey in its purest form.  Those chunks of comb are wonderfully chewy and sweet.  Cutting off a chunk and smearing it over baked goods is always a good idea.  The lighter the color of the comb the sweeter it is.  The darker colored comb has an earthier flavor.  The problem of course, is getting past those pesky bees to get to their sweet work.  Their perfectly joined hexagons are so painstakingly constructed.  Bees for good reason have been called, “heaven-instructed mathematicians.”

Today’s verse likens gracious words to the sweetness of the honeycomb.  Gracious words are words that touch the soul of a person and bring healing where there is hurt.  They are spoken with the intent of building up the other person.  In a world where so many use words to criticize, demean and gain power, the gracious word is about reaffirming someone’s worth.  Our conversation is to always be full of grace, just like a seasoning (Col. 4:6).  We are told to avoid unwholesome talk and say only what is helpful and encouraging (Eph. 4:29).

Words like that are all too rare.  But one place I always find words that are sweet is in God’s love letter to me (Psalm 19:10)  His words are sweet because they tell me I am important to Him.  His words touch my soul and heal those damaged secret places inside.  And He wants my speech to be just as gracious to those around me.  Encouraging words have made such a difference for me.  Why do I hesitate?  It costs me nothing to be gracious but makes my words so much more valuable.

Lord, I need Your help today to make my words sweet and gracious.


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Meteor Sighting

Scripture for Today: Psalm 43:3 “Send me Your light and Your faithful care, let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell.”

Our friends in Tallahassee were treated to an incredible sight a few days ago.  A meteor crashed through earth’s atmosphere lighting up the sky.  The five seconds it took to streak across the night turned the whole area into daylight.  One witness said it was if someone had turned on stadium lights!  This chunk of space rock is called a “meteoroid” when floating in space.  But as soon as it hits earth’s atmosphere it is called a “meteor.”  And should it strike the surface it becomes a “meteorite.”  In any case, the light it generates is impressive!

Today’s verse is a prayer for light.  We need His light to guide us back to the altar, back to His presence.  When we wander away it is easy to lose the way back to Him.  Our souls become downcast and disturbed (verse 5).  Without His light, everything seems somber, confusing, and even despairing.  Disquieting thoughts and doubts keep us feeling alienated.  But His light and His care brings us back into His comforting presence.  It is at His altar that we find what we need.  He is our joy and delight (verse 4).

How quickly it can get dark!  But it does not have to stay that way.  I have but to move back to His light-giving presence.  His Word is that light to my feet, leading me back to Him (Psalm 119:105).  Knowing Him better and better allows that light to grow inside (II Cor. 4:6).  And with that light comes confidence and courage.  Hope is reborn in His light!  Darkness will not win.

Thank you Lord, that Your light brings me back to You!


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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.