Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Rabbit Trails

Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.”

We have all experienced the chagrin of having to return from a “rabbit trail” while in a group discussion!  Veering off the topic is easy to do when a story or explanation is interjected that goes nowhere.  These mazes of unrelated detail can derail a conversation and be totally frustrating for someone trying to guide a discussion.  These side trips may be interesting but can easily confuse as they add no light or clarity.  It is a confused path that leads nowhere.

Today’s verse could be thought of as a purpose statement to a life.  With a focus like this, there are not as likely to be too many distractions or rabbit trails.  Asaph declares that God holds him with his right hand, (verse 23)  guides him, and will take him one day to glory (verse 24).  He describes God as the strength of his heart (verse 26).  His relationship with God is so intimate and fulfilling that nothing in heaven or earth can compare!

My deepest desire is to have a relationship with the Lord that is just that focused!  Too easily, I get distracted by pretty baubles.  Wonderful relationships and exciting experiences make life rich, but can also draw my attention away from the One who is blessing me!  I do not want to be so diverted by good gifts that I forget the Giver.  Chasing after what the world values is a true rabbit trail leading nowhere.  Of course, I desire lots of things that are truly good.  But above all else, I want to desire Him.  He is the only one who reaches deep within me and fills me with His love!

Lord, keep me close to You today.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Crossroads

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 25 :5 “Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

We saw this enormous cross as we were driving across  the country along the Southern states.  It is probably one of the thirty built by James Potter, a man whose family is in construction and who has made building these crosses his personal mission.  What struck me is that this cross stands near a “crossroad,” giving a different slant to the meaning of the word.  The literal definition of intersecting roads is used a lot less frequently than the figurative sense used to denote choice.

Today’s verse is a prayer of David.  As with all of us he is daily faced with choice.  He asks to be guided and taught all day long.  David recognizes that he could easily take the wrong road and stray from what is true.  He reminds the Lord of His great mercy and love in the past (verse 6) and counts on Him to answer this prayer.  God promises to guide the humble (verse 9) on to His ways, which are always loving and faithful (verse 10).

Probably what keeps me from asking for God’s guidance in a decision is the assumption that I can work it all out on my own.  After all, I am reasonably intelligent, educated, and logical.  But there is no way to know and see all that He does.  The Lord can only guide me when I humbly acknowledge my limitations and ask for His help.  The path I usually take is the easiest, or the path of least resistance.  His path, though sometimes harder, is always one where I will experience His love and faithfulness!

Thank you Lord, that You are there at every crossroad!

 

 


Leave a comment

Warming Up

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 9:26 “Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.”

Being that I am not so athletic, the warm-up before exercise usually does it for me!  But in the event that I keep going, it does help to have those muscles warmed up and ready for action.  Without those gentle stretches, I am more likely to pull something and be done for the day (or the week).

Today’s verse likens our Christian daily growth to running or boxing with purpose.  To win the prize in an athletic competition, strict training and self discipline are usually required.  Paul even says that he makes his body a slave so as to control it.  None of this work is for his own glory, but for the sake of sharing the Gospel and not disqualifying himself.

The Lord knows where I need work on my faith and on my obedience.  In His loving plan to make me more like Him, He has made the race more like an obstacle course.  Those difficulties I will face tomorrow are there to strengthen my faith and trust in Him.  But it would be foolish of me not to warm up.  When I spend time in His Word and in prayer, my spiritual muscles are stretched and ready for action!

I cannot know what tomorrow may bring.  But I can at least be as prepared as I can be.  In the middle of a crisis is not the time to be looking for that verse.  I want to shore up His Word in my heart and mind today.  I want my daily conversations with Him to be so close and encouraging that I can face the unexpected with confidence.

Lord, keep me warmed up.

 


Leave a comment

Stingray Shuffle

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 5:15  “Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people).”

There have been numerous stories lately about stingrays on the California beaches.  All records were broken when 156 stingray injuries were reported in just three days!  Normally, I think of this problem as only being on the Atlantic side.  But apparently, the low tides and warm water have brought these unwanted visitors close enough to be a problem.  The prevailing wisdom is to shuffle your feet when entering the water.  The sand kicked up when walking this way will alert and scatter them.

Today’s verse tells us to be wise by walking carefully.  We walk through life with a purpose.  We walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling, pleasing the Lord (Col. 1:10).  We do not walk courting disaster as the unwise would do.  Rather than wondering just how far one can go in a particular behavior before it becomes sin, we need to walk with a healthy fear of danger.  So much heartache can be avoided when we walk through this life the way the Lord has prescribed.  Walking carefully is walking within His will, making the most every day (verses 16-17).

Walking my way instead of His does not seem so bad.  Mt problem is that I do not see that stingray in my path as it can blend in with the sand.  The only way I can be confident of my next step, and the one after that, is to know I am walking to please Him.  No decision is too small or unimportant to bring to Him for counsel (Psalm 73:24).  He guides me through His Word which touches every area of my life.

Lord, show me how to walk today.

 

 


1 Comment

Changing Tack?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:9 “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

No.  I do not know these people either.  But I sense a kindred spirit in this woman who is prudently holding onto the boom.  When a boat tacks and changes direction, that boom quickly swings to the other side of the boat.  For the unaware, it means being knocked in the head if one is in its path.  I know this from experience!  The one changing direction would, in a perfect world, let his passengers know what he was doing.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that God has a plan for how we live our lives.  He is available to be our Guide and to teach us His way, which is always the best way!  All His ways are loving and faithful (verse 10) even if it seems that He is guiding us into waters that do not look so calm.  He is there and He is good.  But it is only the humble who can be guided.  When we confidently change tack or direction without His counsel, (James 4:13-16) we are likely to be in the way of that boom!

I am excited for this new calendar year, in fact so much so that I tore Christmas down a bit early!  But at the same time, I can be fearful of what changes may be in store.  There will be changes.  There always are.  He may change some of my directions.  But if I am humbly seeking Him and His guidance, I do not have to be surprised by that boom!  And I am reassured by who He is.  All His ways are loving and faithful!  I can be peaceful as I look ahead knowing that He is completely trustworthy!

Lord, I need You to guide me.


Leave a comment

Watch Where You Sit!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

I will never forget the story.  A friend of mine grew up in some rustic conditions in Papua New Guinea.  She was used to getting up in the night to find her way half asleep to the outhouse.  Of course she carried her flashlight.  On this particular night she just happened to shine her light on the toilet opening before sitting.  Unlike the spider pictured, this nighttime visitor completely spanned the opening!  How relieved she was for the light!

Today’s verse describes the Word of God as a lamp and a light by which we find our way.  Without that light we would still be stumbling around in the darkness with no way to find God.  His Word lights the way to Him, to His holy mountain or dwelling place (Psalm 43:3).  But even after finding Him and enjoying a relationship with Him, we continue to need that light.  His Word warns of danger, snares and pitfalls (Ps. 19:11).  Following His commands even preserves our lives! (Ps. 199:93)  His Word keeps us on that path of righteousness where we can enjoy walking in the light of His presence (Ps. 89:15).

I am amazed how easy it is for me to get off track!  When I am not in His Word, I start to doubt His love and control.  When I neglect reading His love letter to me, I begin to rationalize behavior that I know deep down does not please Him.  But staying in His Word keeps me holding on tight to what I know is true (Ps. 33:4).  His Word keeps my heart  flooded with the warmth and light of His guiding presence!

Thank you Lord, for lighting the way to Your presence!

 

 


Leave a comment

Current of Air!

Scripture for Today: Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Scarves are worn everywhere and throughout every season in France.  There are heavy winter ones and smaller indoor ones to dress up an outfit.  Men wear them almost as much as women.  When the sun is strong, vendors are even on the beaches selling them.  The scarves in summer are lightweight and keep the sun off the neck and shoulders.  Scarves are worn regardless of the temperature and are especially worn when there might be a current of air.  Most of my French friends are convinced that a cold could be caught as the result of that breeze coming in the window!

Today’s verse talks about living by the Spirit of God.  The Greek word used for Spirit is “pneuma” and means to breathe or blow.  The Spirit is like the wind (John 3:8) being invisible and powerful.  But that wind can also be light and gentle, like a soft current of air.  It can be easy to miss if we are not paying attention.  Living by the Spirit is being sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.  He gives us the wisdom and understanding to know and follow what God wants (Col. 1:9).

Sometimes, the leading of His Spirit is unmistakeable as He steers me clear of compromising situations or obvious sin.  But other times I can easily miss what He wants and be “out of step.”  My own will is awfully strong and frankly, I do not always want to ask for His.  However, keeping in step with Him is far better as He makes my path straight when I acknowledge and submit to Him (Prov. 3:5-6).  His way is always better.

Lord, help me follow Your Spirit today.