Devotions By Jan


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Cupcake

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 119: 97 “Oh how I love Your Law.  I meditate on it all day long.”

This bunny reminds me of the one we used to have in Grenoble.   Cupcake had a beautiful long-haired coat and would sit on our laps like a cat.  But he was a bit of a free spirit too.  We would allow him to roam the enclosed back yard.  The problem was that every time we opened the door to the detached garage, he would make a run for it!  In his little bunny brain he was sure that freedom lay just beyond that door!  One day he made it and we never saw him again.  I sometimes wonder if it was a car on that street or a hawk from the mountains above us that did him in!

Today’s verse expresses love for God’s Law.  This is not the usual sentiment when thinking about law.  One can understand feeling respect but love seems a bit extreme.  However, God’s Law makes one wise, gives understanding and insight and keeps us from evil.  God’s Law gives us boundaries for our protection.  Unfortunately, we tend to constantly push at those boundaries, not understanding that they are there for our protection.

My independent spirit is SO strong!  I do not enjoy anyone telling me what I can or cannot do.  There’s a rebel lurking inside of me!  I want my own way, even if that way leads to ruin and despair.  My Creator must just shake His head at me when I am as foolish as Cupcake was.  His Law is really another expression of His loving care for me.  His arms are the Law that enclose me.  When I obey Him our communion is sweet.  Loving His Law is part of loving Him.

Lord, change my heart to love Your Law.


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Forever 21

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:96“To all perfection I see a limit but Your commands are boundless.” 

I have always been intrigued by the name of this store.  Would I want to be 21 forever?  Who does not want to turn back the clock and “re-do” the past, perhaps appreciating what once we took for granted?  But to be stuck at 21 without any chance at change or growth does not appeal.  To be any age forever would be to stagnate.  And of course this store is not forever, especially as they are considering filing for bankruptcy.

Of course, there are very few things in life that are forever.  But today’s verse tells us that God’s Word is eternal, not having the boundaries of time.  Everything else we can name has a limit and an end.  What man can come up with may seem perfect and complete.  But it will end.  In contrast, God’s Word has no limits.  It is broad, boundless and viable for every age.  And it is without end.  It will continue into eternity.  Not one letter or stroke of the pen will disappear before heaven and earth do! (Matt. 5:18)  God’s Word is forever, unlike anything we can touch on this earth.

Because His commands are boundless, they will always speak to my circumstances.  I cannot say that God’s Word does not have the answer in whatever dilemma I face.  His words are not bound by time OR by scope!  His words give wisdom, comfort and guidance to every challenge in my life.  No other book can do what God’s eternal word claims to do.  But how easily I am distracted by other voices.  Or I do not give His Word the time and study to find those answers.

Lord, keep me in Your boundless, relevant and eternal Word.

 

 

 


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The California Poppy

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

What could be more breathtaking than a boring brown field suddenly coming to life with a vibrant carpet of red?  The spring rains in California change the landscape into a burst of color with the blooming of this state flower.  Not only is it beautiful but it has many uses.  Its leaves are used medicinally, its pollen cosmetically and its seeds are used in cooking. If you pick one, this simple fragile flower will lose its petals almost immediately.  And without the sun, the flower folds into itself each night or on a cloudy day.

Today’s verse is part of that very long psalm extolling the wonders of God’s Word.  His Word gives light and understanding, even to the simple.  The light of His statutes and commands allows us to be who we are meant to be.  Obeying Him and His way warms us and causes us to grow and be beautiful.  Without the light of understanding, we close up and shrivel.   When the clouds of darkness or disobedience block the warmth of His light, we suffer without even knowing why.

It takes faith and trust to obey Him.  Our way seems better and easier.  Certainly, life would be less complicated if a believer could just do as he pleases.  At least that is how we reason.  However, the more I compromise His standards, the darker my day becomes.  The light of His loving words and counsel to me fall on deaf ears as I close in on myself.  But when I choose obedience, despite the cost, then my spirit opens to a renewed closeness to His heart.

Lord, keep me in the light of Your Word!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 


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Slowed Down

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:31-32 ” I hold fast to your statues, Lord, do not let me be put to shame.  I run in the path of your commands for You have broadened my understanding.”

These runners chose a strange place to run.  Their path took them right through the mud.  The slipping and sliding have them covered with it.  If the goal was to get as dirty as possible then they nailed it!

It only makes sense that for the serious runner, the ground chosen would be free from mud or any other kind of obstacle that would slow progress.  That piece of lifted concrete, that hole or dip in the ground, or that unfortunate rock can trip us up and we fall flat on our face.

Today’s verse mentions running in the path of God’s commands.  This path has none of those unfortunate obstacles.  It is smooth and flat.  The path of God’s commands may be challenging, but there is nothing that God places there to trip us up or cause us to fail.  He is  interested in our success.  He wants us to reach great speeds and distances.  Maybe we can even enjoy the endorphins of the “runner’s high!”

The more we run according to His way, the more He broadens our understanding of what He wants and why it is the best course.  To be on that path with others is a tremendous encouragement but sometimes it feels as if we are running all alone.  Regardless, I do not want to follow a more popular path and be put to shame.  I want to remain resolute and determined to obey, regardless of the cost.

Lord, keep me from veering off Your path today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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Face Blindness

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:58 “I have sought Your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise.”

Imagine seeing everyone, even those closest to you, as strangers!  Those dealing with the neurological disorder “prosopagnosia” or face blindness, sometimes do not even recognize their own faces in the mirror!  Those who have this disorder use other techniques to distinguish people including: voice, gait, hairstyle, clothing, body type or context.  Brad Pitt and Jane Goodall are among the 2.5% of Americans who suffer from this problem, which sometimes runs in families.  Not remembering names can be annoying but how much worse this would be!

Today’s verse comes from the longest psalm in the Bible.  The author values God’s law and precepts more than life and makes following them his life’s mission.  With the same ardor he seeks God’s face with all of his heart.  And in seeking God’s face he asks for God to remember His promises and be gracious to him.  One of His promises is that the upright or those in right standing with Him will see His face (Psalm 11:7).  To those who wholeheartedly seek Him, He reveals Himself, His character and His love.  He is the rewarded of those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

He is worth the effort of seeking and searching!  He rewards such effort with more and more revelation of Himself!  Nothing on earth can compare to Him.  I cannot see His face with anything but spiritual eyes.  But one day I will be face-to-face in His literal presence.  But even today I can recognize His face shining on me (Numbers 6:25) when I see all the ways He has been gracious to me.  With all my heart I want to seek His face more today than I did yesterday.

Lord, help me recognize Your face.