Devotions By Jan

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The Court Jester

Scripture for Today: Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

This week some will celebrate April Fool’s Day by tricking friends and making them laugh. In medieval times, the royals had the luxury of having a court jester always available to make one laugh. He was also called a “fool” and would wear brightly colored clothes and bizarre hats in a motley pattern. His job was simply to entertain. His was a privileged position in the court as he could mock and revile without penalty.

Today’s verse describes a different sort of fool; the one that in his heart says that there is no God, mocking the very idea of God. But his Creator says He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). This fool may not be easily recognized as his foolishness is hidden in his heart. He may be revered for his doctorates or admired for his sophistication. But God sees them as a fool and even laughs at the wicked! (Ps. 37:13) And the fool is eventually revealed to others by his behavior.

It is never my place to call anyone a “fool” as in a curse (Matt. 5:22) as I cannot see what is in the heart. That is better left to the One who can. However, my own behavior can be very revealing and I know when I am being foolish with my decisions. When I choose to do things my own way instead of the Lord’s, I am being foolish. When I decide I know better I feel chagrin at the mess I make of things. Better to obey His Word even if I look the fool to the world!

Lord, keep me from being foolish today.

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Oh Rats!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

(photo credit:

The ship was crossing the channel, taking all of our family to England from France for a house exchange. We were thankful that no one suffered any sea sickness, there were no sudden squalls and we did not see rats making for the exits! Of course, if we had, we would have been plenty worried. It is a common belief that rats know when to flee a sinking ship. Some research seems to indicate that animals can pick up “infrasonic” sound pulses created by storms and earthquakes, giving them a head start toward safety. If I saw rats running for their lives, I would consider that a warning and follow!

Today’s verse promises reward for keeping God’s laws and decrees. That is the positive side. The negative side in this verse is that they also serve as a warning. Like the rats headed for the exit, God’s commandments give us warning. They let us know when we are headed toward trouble. God, in His grace, alerts us through His Word so that we can avoid needless heartbreak. Following His way rather than our own keeps us out of harm’s way.

My sin can hurt. It complicates my life and results in brokenness. But it does not have to be that way when I pay attention to His warning signs. It is so unpopular to speak of absolutes in the realm of right and wrong but these are not my words. God delineates very clearly in His Word between what is good and evil, black and white, dark and light. He makes it clear so I do not add senseless pain and guilt to my life.

Help me Lord, to see Your commandments as positive and loving.

(Look familiar? This is a re-post from 2016)


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.


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!