Devotions By Jan


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Caving

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:57 “You came near when I called You and You said. ‘Do not fear.'”

I cannot imagine doing what this man is doing!  Exploring underground caves and caverns is called “caving,” “spelunking,” or “potholing,” and is not for the claustrophobic!  The caves with shaft entrances as pit caves or vertical caves would especially be missing from my bucket list!  But the draw is strong for those who love exploring what is off the map and true wilderness.  To walk into the fear, the dark and the unknown can be a rush when done on one’s own terms.

Today’s verse comes from someone who finds himself in a pit (verse 55) and the prophet Jeremiah is not there on his own terms.  He is put there by his enemies.  There is no special equipment or preparedness to insure his safety.  He calls in desperation on the name of the Lord and God heard his plea for relief.  Then comes today’s verse.  God came near.  God’s presence was the answer to Jeremiah’s fear.  His circumstances had not changed but the Lord reassures Jeremiah that HE will take up his case. (verse 58)

There are many reasons I can find myself in a pit.  Times are dark when feeling outnumbered by those who mock the Name I love.  I can feel vulnerable to subtle attack, knowing that I am in the minority.  The darkness becomes especially thick when I doubt that God knows and cares.  Fear can be a constant companion when leaving God out.  But with assurance of His presence, both the darkness and the fear flee.  He answers my cries.  He responds to my pleas for help and takes up my case.  Wickedness may surround me but will never overwhelm as He will right every wrong and bring final justice!

Thank you Lord, for calming every fear.


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The Condor

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:25-26 “For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

This vigilant squirrel is right to keep an eye on the condor flying overhead!  But perhaps he does not need to worry too much as the condor will only feed on a carcass.  They are scavengers and I suppose they have their place in the scheme of things.  But to me they are disgusting because of their eating habits, not to mention their grunts, growls and hissing!  There are two species of vultures to which the condor refers and they are associated with death in Scripture.

Today’s verse speaks of death as an enemy.  It is an enemy that touches every one and each time brings with it unspeakable sorrow.  It is an enemy mankind has brought on ourselves by our own sin and rebellion against God (Rom. 6:23).  But thankfully, death will one day be vanquished forever.  There will be a time when there will be no more mourning or death (Rev. 21:4).  The pain and sorrow of separation will in the future be a distant memory.  Death will take its rightful place, fully vanquished and overcome under His feet.

I know this is true as Jesus has already vanquished death for Himself when He rose up from the grave.  And God has already made me alive spiritually when I was dead in my sins (Eph. 2:5).  But what is true in a spiritual sense will one day be true in a physical sense as well!   I will enjoy a new body that will never wear out (I Cor. 15:54) and death will be “swallowed up in victory!”  No more funerals, obituaries or burials!  And best of all, no more goodbyes!

Thanks you Lord, for the coming victory over death.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Peek-A-Boo Canyon

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:12 Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The Peek-A-Boo slot canyon in Zion National Park ushers the hiker into another world!  The trail twists and turns, narrows and then widens.  It is eerily quiet and the temperature drops.  Some parts are dark with overhanging rock.  But in other places one can see orange, warm red and rustic brown on the curving sandstone walls.  Some walls soar up to 100 feet and the narrowest part is only 16 inches wide!  It is like a glimpse into another dimension.

Today’s verse gives us a small glimpse of Heaven.  Paul tells believers to set their minds on what is found there.  Christ is on His throne and He sits at the right hand of God the Father.  Our minds and our hearts are to be changed by this eternal perspective.  What we see on earth does not match up with spiritual realities.  What we see, touch and feel around us can be breathtaking, but it is not eternal.  God’s incredible creation is real but it will not last.

When I set my mind and heart on the realities of Heaven, it changes how I view that awful situation.  It affects how I see my problems.  What can loom so large for me is in fact only, “light and momentary trouble.” (II Cor. 4:17)  All the hard things in this life are, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  When I think of Heaven, my heart fills with hope.  And I need that hope to get me through.

Lord, help me see even a glimpse of what is to come!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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“Beam Me Up!”

Scripture for Today: Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

“Beam me up, Scotty!”  This phrase, although part of pop culture, was never actually uttered exactly this way on any Star Trek episode or movie!  But how great that these characters could escape any and all dangerous situations just by being transported back up to the ship from the planet’s surface!  At just the right moment, they would disappear before startled eyes and escape any unpleasantness.  I often wish I could do the same thing!

Paul had a very different view of facing hard times.  Today’s verse explains that we can actually glory or be positive about what we are facing.  We are not plucked out of that suffering.  We are left here to face it with God’s help.  We may never know exactly why we were not spared that suffering, but we do know it can produce something positive; perseverance, character, and hope.  And that hope does not put us to shame (verse 5).  We are not transported immediately to Heaven after our salvation because we are slowly being shaped and molded here on earth.  The perseverance, character and hope He produces allows us to resemble Him.

I do not look for or want any suffering.  I would much rather produce that perseverance, character and hope some other way.  But it comes through the hard times when my faith is stretched.  Jesus went through so much more than I ever will so I know He understands and cares.  He will never put me through more than I can withstand.  I can trust His heart and His purpose for me.

Thank you Lord, that You use every pain to bring me closer to You!

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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A Scorpion’s Sting

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I hope I am never stung by this disgusting creature or any variety of scorpion!  But the Indian Red Scorpion is said to have the most lethal sting.  One could die if not treated within 72 hours of being stung.  They are quite hardy and can live up to a year without food or water.  Because they are very sensitive to light, they stay hidden during the day and only come out at night.  One good thing about them is that they can glow in the dark!

Today’s verse describes death as a “sting.”  Death will no longer have the victory when the mortal is changed into immortality (verse 54) and the perishable becomes imperishable.  Death seems to have the victory for now, but in fact, Christ’s empty grave means that death has been swallowed up in victory!  The venom of that grief is no longer lethal as we look to the life to come.  We share in Christ’s victory over death.  We have hope that death is not the end as we look to the One who conquered and defeated death forever!

The news is disturbing as I hear of senseless and violent death.  I can feel overwhelmed with news of terminal cancer in friends and loved ones.  Yet, as much as I grieve, I can grieve with hope, knowing that for the believer, He has promised that the very best is ahead of me.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, death and evil do not win.  No despair can erase this truth.  No tragedy nullifies my hope.  In Christ alone, there is “No guilt in life, no fear in death; This is the power of Christ in me.”

Thank you Lord, that my hope means death no longer stings.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)