Devotions By Jan


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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.


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Artificial Intelligence

Scripture for Today: Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

Artificial Intelligence is front and center these days with the popularity of the GPT chatbot. This computer program uses vast amounts of internet text to answer questions and perform tasks while itself not knowing anything! Its conversational style, creativity and authoritative replies are blowing minds! The problem however is that the GPT chatbot can generate misleading information as well. As with any information, it is always best to verify it from the original source before relying on it.

Today’s verse talks about going a step further than knowledge. As important as intelligence is in so many domains, wisdom is what will affect our day to day living. Wisdom is skillful living and its beginning is found in a correct relationship to the God of the Bible. We are wise when we live like HE is God and we are not. We are wise when we realize our own limitations and His unlimited power. He is all-knowing and absolutely infallible. Obeying what He says is right and true will make us wise.

Artificial intelligence cannot help me live my life with skill and godliness. It can make me knowledgeable but not wise. I have the beginning of wisdom in my relationship with God through Christ. But to grow in wisdom is to accept His invitation to approach Him and actually ask for it in the decisions I make! (James 1:5) He is the limitless and infallible source of every answer I need! He even promises to make wise the simple! (Psalm 19:7)

Remind me Lord, to turn to You today for wisdom.


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Repairs and Renovations

Scripture for Today: Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

I have heard some real horror stories about the repair and renovation process! Thankfully, so far we do not have one of our own. However, two observations on the process ring true for me; the work always takes longer than expected and the cost is higher than anticipated! In watching the progress, I have had to readjust my expectations. Patience is not my strong point and what I really want is for the work to be finished yesterday!

Today’s verse speaks about being glad to enter the house of the Lord. To be with other believers and worship our Lord together is a glad event. However, we ourselves are in the process of some serious renovation in that house. There may be some rough edges on people that need sanding down to make smooth. There may be a hanging hinge on a door which makes opening up difficult to do. Perhaps, there are “damaged” people in that house that need repair. Can I really be glad to enter a house like that?  Wouldn’t it be better to come in after all the renovations were complete?

I can be glad to enter the Lord’s house knowing that God is working in others just as He is working in me.  He promises to continue working right up to the day of His return (Phil. 1:6). The on-going changes He is producing in others are the same kinds of renovations He is doing in me. As believers, we are all in the process of change and growth into the very image of His Son. It is a renovation that we live with, knowing that the outcome is worth it!

Lord, help me to be patient with Your work in me, and in others!


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Stranded!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right but in the end it leads to death.”

It happened again, and the scientists do not know why. Up to 250 pilot whales were part of a mass stranding in the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, just days after 215 others were stranded in the same area! It is so sad to see these marine mammals wash up on remote beaches like these where they are not likely to be helped back into the water. Some possible reasons include “misnavigation”, being spooked, or following a sick leader.

Today’s verse is so important that it is repeated word for word a couple of chapters later. The way we choose to live our lives can seem absolutely right when following our own self-made compass. When the right way or the wrong way is determined by what seems to be best to us, we make something subjective that is not. Our Creator has established a “path of righteousness” that has nothing to do with how we feel about it. Following our own sense of direction or that of someone else can have disastrous consequences.

Is it sage advice to just follow my heart? I know that when I have, I have found myself in some pretty sticky situations! It is often only in retrospect that I see my own foolishness. At the time, my way always seems right. The rightness of my choices is not whether it feels good or whether it is easier. Nor is it whether or not I hurt anyone else. There is an objective standard in God’s way. When I obey Him, not only do I avoid complications but I find satisfaction and meaning in pleasing Him.

Lord, keep me motivated to always follow Your way!


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Earth Wobble

Scripture for Today: Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

It has long been thought that the earth’s rotation has been gradually slowing. But in July of this year, there was a slight wobble and that day turned out to be the shortest day on record! In fact, a faster rotation seems to be the trend and if continued may result in a “drop second,” subtracting a full second from our twenty four hour day!

Today’s verse reminds the believer that salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The day is fast approaching and the darkness is nearly over. We are exhorted to wake up as there is an urgency to “do this.” We are to be actively loving (verses 8-10) as well as arming ourselves with light and so putting aside deeds of darkness (verses 12-14). In other words, we are to look like Christ to those around us. Others may be asleep but we are to be awake and sober. (I Thes. 5:6)

The door of opportunity is slowly closing even without dropping a second of a twenty four hour day. Living life carefully and making the most of every opportunity is wise (Eph. 5:15-16). I do get lulled and lazy in using my time for Him. And I do need those wake-up calls. I find that being aware of His presence and unconditional love motivate me to be obedient and used by Him. Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus does not make me perfect but it does make me aware of the hour!

Lord, wake me up to use this day for You.