Devotions By Jan


Open Up!

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have a friend who is fascinated with doors! And being a world traveler, she sees quite a wide variety! This one is found in Charleston, South Carolina. What a beautiful city rich in history and in architectual interest. I don’t imagine a wide body could pass through this door without turning sideways! But what struck me was the absence of a door handle! The occupant has perfect control over who is granted entry.

Today’s verse has peace being the very effective guard at the door of our hearts and minds. It is the peace of God that keeps out anxious thoughts and worries. Without the door handle they have no entry when they have been given over to God in prayer (verse 6). This is a peace so unconnected to our circumstances that it defies logic and understanding! There is no possible intrusion into our minds and hearts when our thoughts are consumed with what is: true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable (verse 8). It is our choice what we allow to come through that door!

I have lots of negative worrisome thoughts that are so often knocking to get in! I know that if I allow them entry, any chance of peace will be out the window! But I unintentionally allow those fearful thoughts access when I dwell too long on politics, news items, gossip or the “what ifs.” The Lord gives grace for the realities I face and not for my overactive imagination! But when I bathe my worries in prayer and lift my thoughts out of the mundane and on to spiritual truths, I find His peace.

Lord, guard my heart and mind today.

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Scripture for Today: Hebrews 18b-19a “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

capital 21 chanel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The word, “anchorman” used to mean the last man of a tug-of-war team or one who runs last in a relay race. Now, it means a host for a television program. A recent promotional for a major news program goes further by describing their anchorman as someone who calms and steadies when emotions are high, fears overwhelm and we are at a tipping point!

Today’s verse describes an anchor that does much more! This is an anchor for the soul that is firm and secure. Our anchor is our hope and it will not change or move. We as believers are encouraged when we take hold of this anchor of hope set before us. We hope in the unchanging and sure promises of the Lord and His Word. We have an anchor that calms and steadies regardless of the turbulent circumstances that engulf us! Nothing is as sure and reliable as this anchor.

It is almost comical to think of a newscaster being someone who can calm and steady us! Often when I see the news, my experience is just the opposite. But my heart is steady and calm in reminding myself of God’s precious promises and control. World events will not overwhelm. Circumstances do not shake my faith. It is not that my faith is so strong, but the One in whom it is placed is all-powerful! He has promised. With my eyes always on Him and His promises, I will not be shaken (Ps. 16:8).

Thank you Lord, that my hope in You anchors me.

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Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:18 “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.”

Tillman at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What an unusual name for a city! Carefree in Arizona, is a beautiful rural and well-to-do place near Black Mountain. Residents there enjoy the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. There are only about nineteen hundred homes in just eight square miles and they can boast having the largest sundial in the world! Because it sits at a higher elevation Carefree benefits from cooler temperatures. The clean air and light traffic give this town an aura of peace and tranquility.

Today’s verse describe another place to spend one’s days: under the Lord’s care. Because He cares, the blameless can enjoy a life that is not weighed down with care. The blameless are those who because of forgiveness, enjoy a restored relationship with their Creator through Christ. It is the Lord’s care that insures that in times of disaster the believer does not wither (verse 19). His care means that even in time of famine, He will provide plenty. In a sense, His care means that we can be “carefree.”

The Lord invites me to put the weight of all my cares on Him because He does care for me (I Peter 5:7). Whether it be physical, emotional, social or spiritual needs, He is big enough to care and provide for each one. He does not withhold any good thing from those who belong to Him (Psalm 84:11). He knows what is truly good for me and what is not! And unlike the homes in Carefree, the incredible inheritance He has promised will last forever! I can be carefree looking forward to my “forever home.”

Lord, I give You all my cares today.

ANNOUNCEMENT: beginning today my blog posts will appear just once a week on MONDAYS! Please feel to peruse the archived blogs on the right of the screen for more.

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Pageant of the Masters

Scripture for Today: Luke 8:24 “The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.”

What a beautiful experience to attend the Pageant of the Masters! This ninety-minute extravaganza features what’s called, “living art.” Classical and contemporary art is reproduced on a grand scale with live people taking the place of some of the picture’s painted people. Can you tell in this image of Waterloo Chess Set, which are which? With a narrator and orchestration, it brings alive the art of the masters!

Today’s verse calls the creator of our entire world a “Master.” The disciples fear for their lives as a violent storm assaults their boat. But the Creator of that storm calmly sleeps through it. These experienced fishermen believe they will drown and wake Jesus, calling Him. “Master.” Jesus demonstrates His mastery over the wind and water by rebuking and calming that storm. Surely, He is a Master when even the winds and waves obey Him! (verse 25) After this amazing miracle, Jesus asks His disciples, “Where is your faith?”

When waters are smooth and the wind is just a gentle breeze, I start to think that I am the “master” or the “captain of my ship.” But when those inevitable storms sneak up on me, I know I do not control a thing! The Lord is the real Master. He not only holds the whole world in His hands but also my small insignificant life! When I trust Him and what He is doing, I am not afraid. Faith cannot sit in the boat when all the seats are occupied with fear.

Lord, keep my faith strong and confident in my Master.

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Sweet Kisses

Scripture for Today: Psalm 85:10 “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

Something like the chocolate kiss was first produced by Henry Oscar Wilbur in 1894 and called the “Wilbur Bud.” But it was Milton Hershey who made this chocolate drop into a sweet kiss thirteen years later. Hershey was a master at marketing and packaging the kiss. But perhaps its amazing success and longevity is due in part to its name, trademarked in 2000. There is debate on how it became known as a “kiss.” Perhaps it came from the kissing sound made from the nozzle dispensing the chocolate on to the conveyor belt.

Today’s verse brings righteousness and peace together in a kiss. Righteousness and peace are often mentioned together in Scripture. Peace is in fact the result or fruit of righteousness (Isaiah 32:17). The Kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness and peace (Romans 14:17). And peace, as well as faith and love, belong to those who pursue righteousness (II Tim. 2:22). Righteousness or right standing with God is essential to having peace with God and in turn with others. He is the Source and our only hope of true lasting peace.

There is no peace in my heart when I am ignoring the Source or actively rebelling against what He wants. But when I do pay attention to His commands, I feel His peace flood my heart like a river (Isaiah 48:18). Yes, righteousness and peace are not only kissing but locked together in a firm embrace. I cannot have one without the other, try as I might. But His peace is worth pursuing by staying in right relationship with Him. And one day, sin and ugliness will no longer interrupt this peace!

Lord, may I feel Your peace today.