Devotions By Jan

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The Lowly Lizard

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 30:28 “…a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”

I have always thought of lizards as friends. They eat those nasty insects after all. But I have quite a different feeling about them if they manage to find their way into my house! And certainly they have no place on this chess board, hanging out with the kings and queens. One would think that their presence indoors would be due to some terrible lapse in housekeeping. But of course, all that is needed is an open door for them to slip in unnoticed.

Today’s verse comes from a passage about four of God’s creatures described as wise: the ant, the hyrax or rock badger, the locust and the lizard (verses 24-27). The lizard is easily caught, even by a child. Yet he manages to find his way into a very secure place; the king’s palace. What a strange sight to see him where he does not belong! But he does not know that.

The incongruity of a lizard in a palace is the same incongruity of any blessing in my life! If I have wisdom, it is from fearing the Lord. If I find myself lunching with an American President’s brother, it had nothing to do with me! If I have rubbed shoulders with television celebrities or found myself in social events way above my station in life, it is all a grace I cannot explain. But far above these one-dimensional examples, God invites me to come freely into His throne room (Heb. 4:16) and enjoy His grace!

Thank you Lord, for the grace you show this lowly lizard!


The Velvet Glove

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

After my Mother-in-law’s passing, I discovered a whole pile of her old gloves. Her tiny hands had enjoyed over the years the feel of leather, wool, and velvet. I would love for gloves to be back in fashion as they cover age spots, callouses and prominent veins! But the “velvet glove” hides something else entirely. This term refers to covering a strong and unyielding will or determination. The velvet represents a superficial gentleness masking what is underneath.

Today’s verse reminds believers to be clothed in what would signal to the world our identity as God’s own. The soft velvety characteristics are sincere. They appear when we bear with one another’s faults (verse 13). We are compassionate, kind, humble. gentle and patient with others when we are able to forgive. And that forgiveness is only possible when we realize what Christ had to do to forgive us! (verse 13)

My own will can be very strong. But I can easily mask it with an insincere show of gentleness and studied courtesy. However, the Lord sees my heart. Having the right spirit is something only His Spirit can accomplish in me. I need to allow His fingers to fill that glove and move me in the direction He wants. His way is so much better than my own and the submission He asks of me allows my love for others to be sincere.

Clothe me Lord, with Your love and forgiveness.


Heat Wave

Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:4 “For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Just as our thoughts turn to the new school year, shorter days, and the reappearance of pumpkin spice, along comes a heat wave! In our part of the world it seems to happen every year about this time, but it always surprises me! The usual precautions are taken, those taken the last few months, as we wait for that last gasp of summer to finish. The heat has a way of demotivating us, putting on hold all those preparations for the fall.

In today’s verse David describes himself as being sapped of strength. It is as if he is experiencing the heat of summer. David is feeling this way, not because of the weather but because he is feeling bad about his sin. The conviction he was experiencing felt like the pressure of a hand on him day and night. But that discomfort lasted only as long as he was silent about it. The minute he came clean with God, he felt the huge relief of forgiveness. God forgave him of his sin and even the guilt he felt about it (vs 5).

I wonder how long it took David to realize why he was feeling as he was. If he were anything like me, it may have been awhile! I sometimes grow so used to my own sin that I become calloused and even unaware. But eventually, that lack of joy and peace with the Lover of my soul becomes obvious. There is never a good enough reason to put off that badly needed confession. Despite the discomfort, the relief felt when I rise from my knees makes confession worth it!

Thank you Lord, that You are faithful to forgive.

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Scripture for Today: Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

With just eight seasons, the Bewitched show has become an icon of television history! We have the privilege of knowing the Murphy twins, Diane and Erin, who played the role of Tabitha. This show, running from 1964 to 1972 made the top 20 in its first five seasons. Its declining popularity toward the end of its run is sometimes blamed on the unexplained and sudden switch of the character, Darrin. There is even a term used to reference an unpopular switch; “the Darrin Syndrome.”

Today’s verse uses the term,” bewitched” to describe the switch the Galatians had made. They were bewitched or fooled into switching from the Gospel of grace to a system of works. A group of legalistic Judaizers convinced this group of converted Gentiles that the death of Christ was not sufficient. They believed that certain ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were still binding. They were adding works to the Gospel of grace. Paul reminds the Galatians that observing the Law did not earn them the Holy Spirit or right standing with God. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice is what was essential.

It is so easy to be “bewitched” today. How many religions fool their adherents to believe that it is through our own efforts that we are saved or can please God? Why switch to a never-ending treadmill of works that does not erase my sense of guilt? I am never good enough. There is always more I should be doing. I am so thankful for His grace.  God’s standard of righteousness was fully met in my Savior and the debt of my sin has been fully paid!

Thank you Lord, that You paid it all and there is nothing more to add!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2016)



Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

I am one of those rare people who still bend down to pick up a lost penny, bad or not! The phrase, “a bad penny always turns up,” was coined in the mid eighteenth century. Pennies used to be more valuable and because they were easily counterfeited, the “bad ones” would continually circulate, turning up in a pocket or purse. “Turning up like a bad penny,” came to mean someone or something unwanted, turning up repeatedly and unexpectedly.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that God’s forgiveness of sin is complete. He chooses to no longer remember our sins. Because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin, the penalty has been paid and God’s justice is satisfied.  Those sins are blotted out forever. When He forgives, He does not bring it up again. But like a bad penny, the thought of them for the believer can turn up at the most unwanted and inopportune times. Thankfully, that is never the case for the Lord. Of course, He is all knowing and so forgets nothing. But the idea is that He does not call it to mind with censor and judgement.

I would love to be able to “remember my sins no longer.” But the memories remain. Thankfully, God’s Word is full of reassurances of unconditional love and complete pardon. The Lord graciously softens and blurs memories of past failures. If guilty memories occasionally do reappear, He is there to build me back up. If nothing else, those remembrances can serve to remind me that I am not perfect, but His forgiveness is!

Thank you Lord, that Your grace chooses not to remember what is forgiven!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2018)