Devotions By Jan


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A Dangerous Path

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:35-36 “You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.”

This is not a path that I would willingly take!  In all of our hiking adventures in France and Switzerland, we have never chosen a path quite so precarious.  We have enjoyed some breathtaking views, but always at a safe distance from the edge.  To walk along such a narrow path seems to invite disaster.  The vertigo, the tension and the possibility of a lethal misstep would over ride any pleasure in the view.

Today’s verse comes from a psalm of David praising God for His deliverance from enemies.  David affirms that he has kept God’s ways (verse 21) and that God’s way is perfect (verse 30).  The path God gave David to walk was a broad path where his footing could be sure.  Despite the attacks from enemies, David praises God for giving him strength and making his way perfect (verse 32).  God has enabled David to stand on the heights like the deer (verse 33).  This is a path of righteousness that is not only broad but spacious (verse 19).  On this broad path he has a clear view of God’s faithfulness.

I have a choice about what kind of path to take through life.  The path of righteousness is thought to be the more difficult arduous one.  There are restrictions there that bring out the rebel in me.  But in fact, the path of righteousness is the one most sure.  There, my steps are not hampered and I can even run without stumbling! (Prov. 4:11-12) Guilt and sin can narrow my path making it uncomfortable.  But in following His perfect way, I can look up and enjoy the view of His hand and His faithfulness.

Lord, keep me following Your perfect way today.

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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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Zorbing

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 26:7 “The path of the righteous is level; You, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”

It looks like a giant hamster ball!  In fact that is one name for the extreme sport of zorbing.  The idea is to roll down a hill, enjoying the sensation while being  protected.  This plastic ball is actually two balls, one inside the other.  The “zorber” rolls head over heels being strapped in (or not) and sloshes around when water is added.  More control is possible the more level the ground is.

Today’s verse describes a path that is level and smooth.  It is not that way as a result of our own efforts.  It is level and smooth because of what the Lord does for the righteous.  Without His intervention, life is full of ups and downs and unwelcome jolts to our progress.  On our own, the path we take not only becomes rough and uncomfortable but also takes us in the wrong direction! (Isaiah 53:6).  But in living out the righteousness that He gives us through Jesus Christ, we can have a totally different ride!

I wish this verse meant that there would never be any problems for the believer.  The Lord affirmed that there will be trouble in this world (John 16:33).  But in choosing to follow His Word, we at least avoid additional and unnecessary problems of our own making.  Sin complicates a life and disobedience and rebellion make for a very bumpy ride.   Thankfully, in His grace the Lord will sometimes smooth over even those rough patches.  When He allows the jolts, He brings us through with new dependence on Him.

Lord, I need You to smooth out what looks like rough road ahead.  Thank you that I can trust You.

 

 

 

 

 


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Chicken Feet

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:33 “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He causes me to stand on the heights.”

I have loved our excursions in the Alps of Haute Savoie, France.  And once we have even surprised a herd of Ibex mountain goats.  But we have never come across a brood of chickens on those heights!  Even though some breeds have an extra toe, none could grip, climb and keep their balance on a mountainous terrain.  The feet of deer and mountain goats are sure-footed and allow them to scale the heights.

Today’s verse comes from David’s song of praise for God’s deliverance from Saul.  He begins it saying, “I love You Lord, my strength.”  He describes God as His shield, rock, fortress, and stronghold.  David recognizes that it is God giving him strength to stand on the heights of victory over his enemies (verse 32).  His feet are as sure-footed as the deer and David even thanks God that his ankles do not give way (verse 36).  It is God who helps Him and makes him great.

When I look down at my feet, I see chicken’s feet!  Without His help and strength, I am unsure and wobbly.  When the path is level I can do pretty well on my own.  The problem is that life is seldom smooth.  My path is strewn with pits and obstacles.  My enemies are often the unseen ones of doubt, discouragement, fear and frustration.  They trip me up.  I need God’s help and strength everyday.  When He answers my cry, He infuses strength in my soul to face the hard times.  He not only gets me through but He gives me victory!  How incredible to stand on the heights and enjoy the view of His faithfulness!

Lord, make my feet like the deer today.


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Free $100K!!

Scripture for Today:Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then , how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Imagine receiving $100K just for putting down your smartphone!  Vitaminwater is offering $100K to abandon your smartphone for one full year.  At the end of the year, a lie detector test is taken.  Not so easy as 92% of millennials use a smartphone and 43% check it at least every twenty minutes!  For those ages 18-34, using their smartphone for entertainment eats up over two hours a day!  The participant will be chosen based on how they say they will use the extra time in their day without all the scrolling and swiping!

Today’s verse stresses the importance of making the most of every opportunity.  Doing so makes us wise.  When we fritter away the day or the week, we assume there will be many more ahead of us.  But the days are evil and life can be cut short.  However, missed opportunities are not an issue for the believer who is carefully living to please Him and do His will (verse 17).  In being filled with His Spirit (verse 18) we can make the most of our days.

I probably miss opportunities to serve Him all the time.  My mind and spiritual senses can be dulled by any number of activities, none of which are negative in themselves.  Wise living is intentional living and I need to always remind myself of the purpose of my life.  When I am wise, I am looking for those opportunities He places squarely in my path.  He gives me the energy and the motivation to, “fulfill His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:13)  I only have this one life to offer Him and I do not want to have any regrets over missed opportunities.

Help me Lord, to live wisely today.


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Bird Box Challenge

Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

Netflix, Canada has just issued a warning begging people not to do the Bird Box Challenge.  People are endangering themselves and others by reenacting the the movie, Bird Box, in real life.  They are going through their day blindfolded as the movie characters did.  However, in real life there are no dangerous monsters trying to capture people through one’s eyesight!  The only danger comes from being blindfolded!

Today’s verse talks about a blindness that is spiritual.  What is so sad is that the person described does not realize his blindness, nor his poverty and nakedness.  Being wealthy has caused this person to feel self-sufficient and not in need of anything.  What is so beautiful in this passage is that Christ proposes a remedy for this blindness.  He offers salve for the eyes to restore spiritual sight (verse 18).

There is a strong tendency for me to be blind to my need of the Lord when all is well and finances are looking good.  When life is comfortable, I start to feel self-sufficient.  Before long, I take credit and think it is all of my own doing.  Pride seeps in and I become poor, blind and naked in my soul.  There is no reason for me to continue this way.  Christ has taken the initiative to change my pitiful state when I realize my need and turn to Him.  When I let go of of my pride and denial, I can open the door of my heart in answer to His knock (verse 20).

Lord, may I always realize my need and open the door to You.


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“Walking the Line”

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 2:26-27 “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

It was 1956 when the famous country singer, Johnny Cash, sat backstage and wrote the song, “I Walk the Line.”  As a newlywed, he wrote it as a pledge to his wife.  The lyrics are all about personal responsibility and avoiding temptation.  I love the line, “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”  This expression has long been used to mean behaving or abiding by moral standards.  Or in other words, walking the straight and narrow.

Today’s verse tells us to think carefully about where and how we walk through life.  We do not walk close to edge, courting disaster as the thoughtless might.  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 falling.  We need to stay away from that tempting edge.  We do not turn to the left or to the right.  We stay right in the middle and away from temptation.  In other words, we walk the line.  Walking on a dangerous edge gives no room for error.  One moment of inattention or one small misstep can mean disaster.

When I am walking the line, I feel His pleasure.  Walking in obedience to His commands is how I show my love for Him (II John 1:6).  And His commands make the path smooth, straight and manageable.  It is when I veer left or right and start to compromise on His standards that life becomes more difficult.  Thankfully, He offers His forgiveness and helps me get back on track.

Lord, help me love You by walking the line today.