Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Teddy Bears

Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

The teddy bear got its name from President Theodore Roosevelt as a result of a bear hunting trip in 1902.  The resulting political cartoon inspired the creation of the first teddy bear.  Originally made to look similar to a real bear, it has evolved to be a comforting presence for many children.  In fact, a program called “Teddy Bear Cops” was created to distribute teddy bears to children in the midst of crisis.  It was found that the teddy bear would calm them down.

In today’s verse David is speaking to his own soul in an attempt to calm down from the despair he feels.  He had plenty of reason to have a soul disturbed within him.  He was under constant attack from his enemies.  Rather than focusing on his circumstances or giving in to despair, the psalmist reminds himself of the hope he has in God.  Because of that hope, he could look forward to a future where praise for God would come again to his lips.

It is true that God’s promises tend to calm me down.  I can get so worked up and panicky in the middle of a problem.  I need the quieting influence of God’s voice through His Word.  He reminds me that He is in control.  He reassures me of His presence.  He upholds me with declarations of His love.   He calms and quiets me much like the teddy bear does for the child.  A calm and quiet spirit is not natural in the middle of crisis.  Thankfully, I have Someone who does the supernatural for me.

Thank you Lord, for Your calming presence.


Leave a comment

The Manatee

Scripture for Today:Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 

Who would ever want to harm this gentle creature?  The Florida manatee, or sea cow, measures up to 13 feet and 1,300 pounds.  Their slow lolling nature make this large marine mammal a favorite of tourists.  But there are Manatee Zone signs saying “Slow Speed” and “Minimal Wake” in an effort to protect them.  Even so, the manatee is classed as “vulnerable.”  Their greatest threat is human as they are hunted, drown in fishing nets, face habitat degradation or collide with fishing boats.

Today’s verse reminds us that our greatest enemy is not human.  Our biggest threat is spiritual against our souls.  We protect ourselves from evil by the different pieces of God’s armor: truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. (verses 10-19)  We can stand firm against evil with the protection He provides.  We can stand with confidence as well, knowing that He not only has determined the outcome of this war, but He fights with and for us!

My courage is so non-existent that I need to enlist my husband when in combat with a spider!  There is nothing in me to inspire fear in those dark forces of evil.  Yet, the Devil will flee from me when I am wholly submitted to God (James 4:7).  I can face the dark and stand strong, never with  my puny efforts but in the power of His might!  Although this is a subject that can illicit fear, God reassures my heart.  If God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)

Thank you Lord, that my heart, mind and soul belong to You.


Leave a comment

Bulletproof Backpacks

Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:5 “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.”

What a discouraging reality that bulletproof backpacks are part of the back-to-school market!  Whether buying the backpack itself or a bulletproof insert put inside a backpack, the idea is to provide one’s child with an extra layer of protection. This measure only protects from handguns but not from any other kind of firearm.  So perhaps this product does more to ease a parent’s fear than anything else.  I always wonder if the backpack does any good if not positioned in the right direction of the threat!

I love the assurance of today’s verse!  Regardless of the direction of an immediate threat, the Lord has the righteous covered!  With His love and protection He has enclosed one behind and before.  Because He is omnipresent He completely surrounds those who belong to Him.  He has laid His hand upon the believer.  Nothing will ever happen that He does not allow and incorporate into His individual plan.  He does not intend that the righteous live their lives in fear but that their hearts remain secure (Psalm 112:8).

Whatever measures I take for my security are limited and there are never any guarantees.  I live in a fallen, broken world where evil threatens.  My security cannot be found in my environment.  My security is found in the fact that He is before me, behind me, and on all sides of me!  It may be that God would allow violence to touch me as He has allowed it for others.  But nothing can touch my soul and my eternal future with Him! (Matt. 10:28)  I have no reason to fear as He is my ultimate security and He will never disappoint!

Thank you Lord, that You lay your loving hand on me!


3 Comments

OMG!!!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”

If ferrets could talk this one might be saying what I hear all the time from surprised people; “Oh my God!” Shortened to OMG, we all know this expression as part of widespread internet chat.  One of the earlier appearances of the term was in a letter to Winston Churchill from Lord Fisher in 1917.  But more recently the rise of “Valley Speak” in the pop culture of the eighties made the expression popular.  Of course, its use usually does not include any thought of God.

Today’s verse is a wonderful promise for those who are crying out to God.  Whether a person uses the words, “oh my God,” or some other expression, the Lord sees the intent of the heart.  He knows who is calling on Him in sincerity and in truth.  He promises to be near.  He especially makes His presence felt for the one who cries out to Him in desperation.  It is especially when we are in distress that He hears our cry for help (Psalm 18:6).  He promises that His ears are attentive to the cry of the righteous (Psalm 34:15).

Those casually using the expression, “Oh my God,” may one day be using it sincerely and in truth.  When they do, the Lord will be there as He was for me.  Just recently, at a time of great distress, it was all I could say in my heart.  Over and over these were the only words that could come.  He made His presence keenly felt and with that realization I felt hope.  How good and attentive He is to His children!

Oh my God, I am so thankful that You are mine and I am Yours.


Leave a comment

Restless Leg Syndrome

Scripture for Today: I John 3:19 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.”

Restless legs shown here are no longer a problem!  I am not quite sure what the artist was trying to convey with this display, but these legs will not be moving any time soon!  Perhaps everyone feels at some point that tingling uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs while trying to sleep.  How annoying to feel that itchy, creepy crawly feeling!  Moving seems to at least temporarily give relief.  But I tend to be less sympathetic when being kicked!

Today’s verse talks about a heart that is at rest.  When we know and are convinced that we belong to the truth, there is a resting settled feeling in our hearts.  In His presence, we feel His peace, knowing that we belong to Him.  No longer are our hearts restless, wandering or searching.  When we belong to Him, our hearts can no longer condemn us as He is greater than our hearts (verse 20).  We can have confidence before God as He knows everything and He knows our hearts better than we do ourselves!  When we believe in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our hearts are finally at rest (verse 23).

When my heart is at rest, there is a confident peace.  He does not want my heart to be restless or troubled (John 14:27).  His Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am God’s own (Rom.8:16) and reassures my heart.  How good He is to give me that heart at rest!  And how much I want that for friends and family members who live restless lives without Him.

“Jesus, I am resting resting in the joy of what Thou art.”  Lord, may I feel that heart rest today.

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

 


1 Comment

Giant Jenga!

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:24 “though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord is the stay of his hand.”

I would hate to have been the one to make this jenga tower fall!  The giant version has been showing up for different social events but I have never seen one.  My grandsons enjoy building the smaller version on the coffee table.  But at their age they are more interested in making it fall as quickly as possible.  Of course, the idea is to build the tower one brick at a time, placing the brick on the top without the tower falling.  It takes an eye for balance and a steady hand.

Today’s verse is a promise that the Lord will establish the steps of the one who belongs to Him.  If there is a fall, it is a controlled one.  It will not be a free-fall, being cast headlong.  The Lord’s hand is involved and He breaks the fall with His hand.  Regardless of how many bricks are pulled out from under us, He is there.

This is a wonderful assurance for me that the Lord is my true support.  I may feel that my stability rests on my work, my plans or my finances, when in fact, none of those are holding me up.  Circumstances change, and sometimes with no warning at all.  Rather than feeling panic I can remain confident.  No bad news can shake me as my heart is steadfast and trusting in Him (Ps. 112:7).  And even if He were to allow me to teeter and fall, His open loving hand is there to soften the landing.  In His unfailing love, He stands me back up, brushes me off and strengthens my faith through the whole ordeal.

Thank you Lord, for holding me up.

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


Leave a comment

Fulfillment Centers

Scripture for Today: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Amazon distribution warehouses are called, “Fulfillment Centers.”  There are over eighty of these enormous centers worldwide.  Some of them are as large as twenty eight football fields!  During their last cyber Monday, 426 orders a second came in!  The employees pick, pack and ship with the help of robotic carts, conveyor belts, and automatic sorting systems.  One can even take tours as it is truly a sight to behold!  However, I am not sure about it being the fulfillment of all my hopes and dreams!

Today’s verse talks about being filled to the point of overflowing.  Rather than being momentarily fulfilled with the arrival of that package at the door, this verse tells us we can be filled with something much more long lasting; joy, peace and hope.  This filling comes from the God of hope and it happens when we trust Him completely.  The fulfillment He offers reaches every nook and cranny of our being.  We are not left wanting as He makes it possible to be totally satisfied as we trust Him.

I know when I am on empty.  When hope, joy and peace are just flowery words and not a reality it means I am not in a place of trust.  Or when I am filled with worry and fear, there is no place for them.  But when I turn back to Him, He is ready to fill me with Himself.  He is hope.  He is joy.  He is peace.  He embodies each of these qualities that fulfill me and make life worth living.

Lord, fill me with Yourself today.

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