Devotions By Jan


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Straddling

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”

There is nothing so frustrating as being behind a driver who is straddling two lanes!  My first inclination is to pass him and get well away.  But I sure would not try to pass in either of the two lanes he is using.  Chances are he would decide on my lane just as I am passing!  Better to bide my time and wait until he makes his intentions clear.

The choice of a traffic lane is one of a myriad of choices we make in a day.  But far more important is our choice of whether we turn toward or away from the Lord.  Today’s verse makes it clear that there is a choice to be made.  There is no possibility of “straddling lanes.”  We either turn our hearts toward God in obedience or we turn away from Him in rebellion.

I love how this verse reveals God’s loving heart as He urges us to choose life and blessing.  He reassures us that what He asks is not too difficult or beyond reach (verse11-14).  He promised life, blessing, and protection for the Israelites ready to cross over into the Promise Land.  And today He promises an abundant life for all those who belong to Him (John 10:10).  Choosing Him is choosing a life consumed with loving Him, listening to His voice and holding fast to Him (verse 20).  Choosing Him is living a life that is worth living.  The Lord is my life.  I cannot even imagine living life without Him!

Thank you Lord, for giving me the choice and the privilege of choosing You!

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

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All Directions

Scripture for Today: Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law My servant Moses gave you.; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

These signs are common in France.  Apparently, everywhere I want to go is to the left!  “All Directions” is actually a helpful indication when trying to change course.  It helps to know how to change direction when confused.  Details come later.  This sign at least points toward major streets from which one can exit the area.  By following it, one can avoid going around in circles and getting tied up with one-way streets.

Today’s verse calls for strength and courage.  This is the charge the Lord gave directly to Joshua as he took over as leader of the Israelites.  The law came through Moses but was not to be considered invalid at his death.  Obedience to the law was to continue.  And following it would bring blessing and success.  But there was plenty of temptation to turn away from it.  A few steps to the left or to the right would be detrimental.  The verse warns us to be careful not to turn away from what God had said.

There are signs everywhere encouraging me to turn off with promises of an easier route.  The sign, “All Directions” is everywhere.  Surely, there is more than one way.  Try this route, or maybe that one is just as valid with less trouble.  There are roads that are narrow that lead to life or there are roads that are wide that lead to destruction (Matt 7:13-14).  How important it is for me to choose well!

Give me strength and courage Lord, to carefully follow Your way!

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


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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.