Devotions By Jan


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Doing the Splits

Scripture for Today: I John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

Jean-Claude Van Damme’s amazing split between two trucks has been seen on YouTube by 68 million people!  This stunt, performed for a commercial, was done in only one take.  Although there was a safety line and two platforms for his feet, this incredible feat could not have succeeded had Jean-Claude not been in amazing physical shape.  Even so, the splits done between two moving trucks over hard pavement was risky.  The drivers had to be attentive to keep the distance constant.  A small difference in direction on the part of one truck would see Jean-Claude likely injured on the ground.

Today’s verse talks about two choices available; loving the world or loving the Father.  These two options are diametrically opposed.  Straddling the two is not even possible as they go in different directions.  Loving the world means being consumed by all that feels good, all that looks good and all that will feed our pride (verse 16).  Loving the world is adopting its value system.  But all of these desires as well as the world will one day be gone.  However, those who love the Father and live for Him will live forever (verse 17).

I do not want to love something that is here today and gone tomorrow.  I want to love and be loved and have it last.  The world offers everything but delivers nothing.  How easy it is to be swept up in the pursuits of gratifying myself.  But there is no satisfaction found in any worldly desire.  That is because I am made for the Father’s love.  He fills me and completes me, making life full! (John 10:10)

Lord, I choose Your love above all!

 

 


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Yield Sign

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

It looks complicated.  I would have to stop a minute to figure out who would have to yield to whom!  It looks as if the bike has to yield to everyone and the horse and rider to no one!  But I do not suppose there are many intersections to worry about on this trail.  If there were confusion I would think common sense and common courtesy would go a long way.  In any case, yielding is often the safest choice.  When maneuvering through those huge traffic circles in Europe, I do not argue with a yield sign!

Today’s verse tells us we are to yield or submit to the Lord in each and every way we choose to take.  By acknowledging His control, His superior knowledge and His goodness, we travel a path much less complicated by twists and turns.  He makes our paths straight, unencumbered by lengthy unnecessary detours.  We reach our destination in good time, or in His time.  When we give way to Him rather than insisting on our own plan, we find He had a better idea all along!

Yielding my will to His is so often a struggle.  Even knowing that my own understanding is limited, I stubbornly resist.  I like being the one who makes the decisions.  Trusting Him with all my heart is scary without having some measure of control.  But He promises that when I do, He will make my paths straight, choosing the best way.  No time will be lost in making U turns or encountering dead ends.

Thank you Lord, that I can fully trust Your heart of love for me!


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Beyond the Storm

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”

With all the technology at our fingertips, we are often forewarned of a storm on its way.  Other times a storm will descend suddenly with little or no warning at all.  With our many road trips we are sometimes stuck with no option except to go through its path.  But I am not too concerned when I can see the skies clearing ahead.  Just the thought of the storm being temporary helps me calm down and get through it.

Today’s verse talks about walking in the dark with no light at all.  There is no vision of clear skies ahead.  This happens for even those that fear and obey the Lord.  When those confusing dark times come, we are to trust in His name and who He is.  We are to rely on God rather than our senses or our intelligence.  Walking by faith has nothing to do with what we can see ahead that reassures us (II Cor. 5:7).  We are given no “light at the end of the tunnel” on which to focus.

I cannot see that patch of blue ahead.  But I can remain calm in the middle of a storm.  Trusting and relying on the Creator of that storm keeps me serene.  He is trustworthy and He is in control.  I have no reason to be fearful for what the future might hold.  And the only light I really need in that darkness is the heart conviction of how good and gracious He is.

Thank you Lord for Your reassuring presence even in the dark.

 


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Chocolate Citroen

chocolate-citroenScripture for Today: Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

My husband is passionate about cars and I am passionate about chocolate.  This creation seems to cover all our bases!  My husband always turns his head to see one of these “Deux Cheveaux” go by.  But my head turns at any sign of chocolate.  This Citroen is made of 2,645 pounds of chocolate so both our heads turn!  It was created by eleven students in France as part of a project at their school for restaurant management.  This masterpiece took 4,000 hours of painstaking effort and the result is impressive.

Satisfaction with both cars and chocolate is not so easy to find.  Today’s verse tells us where true satisfaction can be found.   This psalm is a prayer of Moses.  After recounting all the times the Lord disciplined the Israelites in the desert, Moses recognizes that God’s love remained faithful and constant.  The people had experienced “trouble and sorrow” over many years.  Now Moses prays for the satisfaction that comes from God’s unfailing love.  That satisfaction will bring them joy and gladness every day, despite the hard times.

Chocolate, cars, or any other earthly passion can fail to consistently bring me satisfaction  But God’s love does not fail.  His love and compassion are renewed every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).  When I am feeling an emptiness and lack inside, lots of good things can be a temporary distraction.  But nothing can reach that deeper longing of my soul like an awareness of His love.  That reassurance not only satisfies but replaces the emptiness with a song of joy!  And what a wonderful way to begin a day, to be satisfied in the morning!

Lord, thank you for Your love that never ever fails me!

 


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Oil Dipstick

engine_oil_dipstickScripture for Today:  Ephesians 5:18b-19 “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord,”

If our car maintenance were up to me, we would be in real trouble.  I am one of those women who are totally at sea when opening the hood of a car.  Even so, my husband put the tiniest bit of faith in me to research and find a particular dipstick on line for his upcoming trip to the cold eastern states.  He wanted a dipstick that was heated so there would be no issues with the weather in getting an accurate reading.

Today’s verse provides us with an accurate reading on whether we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  We are filled with Him when we are filled with praise and thankfulness.  The Spirit’s presence in our lives is evident when our hearts are filled with song for all that He has done for us.  The “oil of praise’ keeps us in good running shape.  Like the car, we will start to grind, seize up and then completely stall without the Spirit’s filling.  We burn out.  But when we are filled with Him than we are also filled with song.

I can almost feel myself sputtering and slowing down when I am complaining and negative.  When I cannot acknowledge and thank Him for all of His blessings, everything seems to grind to a halt.  But when my heart is filled with gratitude, not only do I gain new impetus praising Him, but I will want to share that praise with others.  When I am filled with praise I am filled with Him!

Lord, may today be a day of making music in my heart to You.

 


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That Pothole

Pothole_1911993bScripture for Today: Isaiah 26:7 “The path of the righteous is level; You, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”

There is nothing worse than seeing that pothole too late!  The resulting thud and bounce matches what my heart does!  Unfortunately, this scenario is quite common in California.  Among the top ten cities ranked nationwide, California’s cities take the top four places.  Insurance companies often have claims involving pothole damage to the tires and suspension.  It is especially a problem in states with lots of snow, which makes the problem in California that much more surprising.

The verse for today describes a path that is level and smooth.  It is not that way as a result of our own efforts.  It is level and smooth because of what the Lord does for the righteous.  Without His intervention, life is full of ups and downs and unwelcome jolts to our progress.  On our own, the path we take not only becomes rough and uncomfortable but also takes us in the wrong direction! (Isaiah 53:6).  But in living out the righteousness that He gives us through Jesus Christ, we can have a totally different ride!

I wish this verse meant that there would never be any problems for the believer.  However, we are told we will have troubles in this world (John 16:33).  But in choosing to follow His Word, we at least avoid additional and unnecessary problems of our own making.  Sin just hurts and complicates life, whether  our sin or that of someone else.  But in His grace the Lord will sometimes smooth over even those rough patches.  When He allows the jolts, He brings us through with new dependence on Him.

Lord, I need You to smooth out what looks like rough road ahead.  Thank you that I can trust You.

 

 


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Still Attatched!

car-photo-2006-chrysler-pt-cruiser-fuel-gas-pump-failScripture for Today: Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

This poor driver seems unaware that the gas nozzle and hose are still attached to his car!  Unfortunately, the same kind of thing happened to my husband while traveling in Italy.  He paid for his fuel inside the store and started to drive off, not realizing that he had failed to remove the nozzle and hose.  Two things happened; the station owner came screaming after him, and the nozzle and hose clunked noisily to the pavement!  At least the error was discovered immediately rather than miles down the road!

Our verse for today tells us our spiritual progress can be hindered.  Sin can also entangle us in running our race and needs to be immediately confessed so we are not slowed down.  But we can be hindered by things that are not necessarily sin and those we are told to “throw off.”

What are those things that hinder our race?  As the next verse speaks of keeping our eyes on Jesus, it could be anything that distracts our focus.  Like the nozzle and hose still attached, these things keep us from making the Lord and His Word our priority.  Jesus is our example of perseverance.  He was not distracted by any other priority.  He was not hindered by opposition or the cross.  He did not grow weary or lose heart.  He finished the race, anticipating the joy of what lay ahead!

There is joy ahead for me too!  Help me Lord, to throw off anything that keeps me from faithfully finishing the race!

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.