Devotions By Jan

1 Comment

Leaky Roof

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 27:15-16 “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

This happened!  After a month-long absence I woke up to the sound of raining in my closet!  It is not that it was such a strong storm but our flat roof would not drain properly.  I called on God first.  Wailed, if truth be told.  Then I called my husband, a roofer and our insurance company.  Thankfully, the drips did not reach my clothes.  But it was maddening to hear the slow and constant dripping well after the rain had finished.

Today’s verse describes a quarrelsome wife like that constant drip.  Each complaint from her lips and each nagging session can be as annoying as those continual drops of water.  Because the verse is speaking of a wife, one can assume the description comes from the husband.  In contrast to the Proverbs 31 wife who speaks with wisdom (Prov. 31:26), this wife provokes argument with what comes out of her mouth.  She speaks her mind without any self-restraint.  Any attempt at correcting her is as futile as restraining wind or grasping slippery oil.

Being quarrelsome can seem quite reasonable and even expected after a hard day.  When taking care of the needs of others means lost sleep or when the toilet backs up, a bit of nasty temper seems just the thing to blow off steam.  When pressure builds, it is often on those closest to me that I unload.  The danger for me is that being contentious can too easily become a habit.  I would much rather be characterized by a quiet gentle spirit, making me consistently approachable!

Lord, keep me sweet and peaceable despite my circumstances.



Leave a comment


Scripture for Today: Psalm 101:3 “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.”

This dog looks absolutely thrilled to be covered in mud!  Dog owners say there are three seasons for a dog; grass, snow, and mud!  There is something about that gooey slimy mud that can feel so good to a dog.  Some dogs cannot wait to roll around in it and then blithely track it all through the house!  There are all kinds of articles that deal with mud removal for dogs and training dogs to stand still for that all-important towel off.

In today’s verse David is resolved to separate himself from anything that is vile.  He avows that he will have nothing to do with faithless people.  In his house, which in his case is a palace, he is determined to conduct the affairs of his household with a blameless heart (verse 2).  David wants nothing to do with evil (verse 4).

I have the same desire to make my house an evil-free zone!  The dirty slime of sin daily enters my home by my own dirty feet but thankfully, just as for the disciples, Jesus washes them with His forgiveness (John 13).  However, additional dirt seems to make its way in the door by what  I allow my eyes to look upon with approval, ie the media.

For me, what used to be shocking no longer rattles me.  What was formerly disturbing now passes by unnoticed.  It is not that I am looking on images and story lines with approval, but I do let them take up residence without comment or resistance.  How much better to fill my mind with what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable! (Phil. 4:8)

Lord, keep me out of the mud.


Leave a comment

Speed Limit

Scripture for Today: Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

This has got to be the best kind of speed limit sign….open to interpretation!  Like many others, we tend to think that there is wiggle room with most freeway speed limits.  Popular belief says that going just five miles over the speed limit does not really count.  So imagine our surprise when we were pulled over for just that on our cross country trek!  No matter that road conditions were ideal or that we were keeping up with the flow of traffic.  The law is the law.  And whether going over the limit by one mile or ten, we were still breaking the law.

Today’s verse has bad news and good news. The bad news is that all are guilty of breaking God’s Law.  None of us can match up to the holiness and glory of a just and perfect God.  Some fall just a little short.  Others fall short by quite a bit.  No matter.  No one can stand before a holy and righteous God on one’s own merits.  But the good news is that Christ has redeemed us through His sacrifice on the cross and through His grace we have right standing with Him.

It does not matter how good I may look to others.  I am just as in need of God’s grace as the most hardened criminal.  There can be no spiritual pride when I understand that small word, “all.”  And I am so thankful for a grace that is also for “all.”  There is no difference between Jew or Gentile (verse 22) or any other distinction I could make.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace includes me.




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

Vortex Street?

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

This repeated pattern of swirling vortices looks pretty from the sky.  It is called a Von Karman Street, named after the Hungarian-American physicist.  He studied how it forms when the flow of fluid or air is separated around a blunt body, in this case the island pictured.  Of course, nature is full of vortex examples, including tornadoes, hurricanes, in rivers or even the bathtub and sink.  But what interested me was seeing a “street” of them repeating a pattern.

Today’s verse explains that though the believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, it is possible to grieve Him.  When we grieve Him we are like that blunt unmoving body impeding His work and movement in our lives.  We grieve Him with unwholesome talk (verse 29) that is not helpful to others.  And He is grieved with all forms of malice (verse 31) including bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander.  All of this grieves His heart and blocks His freedom to move and use us.  This is especially true when it becomes a repeating pattern.

Grieving Him is disappointing Him.  Growing up, I had a horror of disappointing my parents only because I loved them so much.  The same is true with the Lord.  I love Him with all my heart but I know I disappoint Him and often let Him down.  I am not proud of what comes out of my mouth sometimes.  And as long as I stay in that habit of ugly speech, His movement and power can bypass me.  But thankfully, His love will never change or waver.  His forgiveness is never withheld.

Lord, help me not to grieve You today.




Leave a comment

Follow Your Heart?

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

This saying on a poster is beautiful, and there are many like it.  We enjoy thinking of the heart as lovely and romantic, and so often it is.  We counsel each other to just follow your heart and all will be well.  Somehow, the heart will guide us to the right way, the right solution, the right love.  When we listen to our heart, we discover what we really desire.

Today’s verse has a message of warning about the heart.  The heart, which in the Bible is the seat of all our emotions and will, can deceive us.  We try to understand what our heart is saying to us.  But no one can quite understand.  One day it says one thing and the next, another.  I have often been quite sure about what I have wanted.  Then, when I have managed to receive it, I find that I did not want it after all.  That brings to mind the dog who chases after a car.  He has no clue what to do with it once he catches up to it!

My heart deceives me so following it can be dangerous.  Because I cannot cure it, I need to follow Someone who knows my heart better than I do.  The Lord searches my heart and tries it.  As my Creator, He knows what I really want and what will bring me true satisfaction and fulfillment.  He knows so much better than I do what is good for me and what is not.  He sees the pride and selfishness hiding out in my heart.  And His love and forgiveness are the cure.

Lord, do not let me be deceived today.  Help me follow Your heart.

Leave a comment

Conversation Hearts

Scripture for Today: Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Growing up, I loved these conversation hearts, giving away to that “special someone” what I could not bring myself to actually say!  And receiving these from others would communicate to me something the giver may not have intended!  Today, one can special order these candies with your own personalized message.  That way you can say exactly what you want the other to hear.  Communicating what is in the heart is not always easy.

Today’s verse gives us a reliable way to know what is in the heart of another.  What is there is evident by that person’s behavior.  Expressing emotions can be lovely but the real indicator of feelings and the state of the heart is evident in our actions.  And one action is especially telling.  What comes out of our mouths demonstrates the good or the evil found in the heart.  That sincere compliment or word of encouragement shows love.  The snide remark or the profanity that escapes our lips signals that all is not well.

What slips out of my mouth can be shameful.  I am so glad that some of it happens when there is no one to hear.  However, there is always Someone who hears.  And whether others are around or not, those nasty words signal a need for some serious heart cleaning!  Thankfully, He is full of grace and forgiveness, ready to make me clean again and give me a new start!

Lord, clean my heart and fill it with good things to say!