Devotions By Jan


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Caving

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:57 “You came near when I called You and You said. ‘Do not fear.'”

I cannot imagine doing what this man is doing!  Exploring underground caves and caverns is called “caving,” “spelunking,” or “potholing,” and is not for the claustrophobic!  The caves with shaft entrances as pit caves or vertical caves would especially be missing from my bucket list!  But the draw is strong for those who love exploring what is off the map and true wilderness.  To walk into the fear, the dark and the unknown can be a rush when done on one’s own terms.

Today’s verse comes from someone who finds himself in a pit (verse 55) and the prophet Jeremiah is not there on his own terms.  He is put there by his enemies.  There is no special equipment or preparedness to insure his safety.  He calls in desperation on the name of the Lord and God heard his plea for relief.  Then comes today’s verse.  God came near.  God’s presence was the answer to Jeremiah’s fear.  His circumstances had not changed but the Lord reassures Jeremiah that HE will take up his case. (verse 58)

There are many reasons I can find myself in a pit.  Times are dark when feeling outnumbered by those who mock the Name I love.  I can feel vulnerable to subtle attack, knowing that I am in the minority.  The darkness becomes especially thick when I doubt that God knows and cares.  Fear can be a constant companion when leaving God out.  But with assurance of His presence, both the darkness and the fear flee.  He answers my cries.  He responds to my pleas for help and takes up my case.  Wickedness may surround me but will never overwhelm as He will right every wrong and bring final justice!

Thank you Lord, for calming every fear.


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Snatched Away!

Scripture for Today: John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

I was minding my own business, sitting in my beach chair and eating my sandwich.  While eating slowly and enjoying my family I suddenly saw and felt a seagull knock into my hand!  He had swooped in from behind and while in flight, grabbed my sandwich in his beak, leaving behind a pecking print on my thumb!  He quickly made short work of my lunch but not without cackling at me, adding insult to injury!  I was amazed at how quickly he could dive in from behind and snatch it right out of my hand!

Today’s verse serves as a reassuring promise and a sobering reminder of danger.  The danger comes from Satan who would like nothing better than to snatch and destroy the unaware.  But those who belong to Jesus are in His hand.  Nothing and no one can ever snatch us out of that hand.  The Father is greater and more powerful than any foe and we are secure and protected.  If God is for us, who can be against us ? (Romans 8:31).

He has promised that I will never perish and what God says is always true.  Every sin is removed by His sacrifice when I turn to Him in faith.  Doubts or guilty feelings do not change the fact that He has given me eternal life.  No other sacrifice is required.  I am secure and peaceful in His wonderful grip.  No circumstance will ever pry those fingers open.  His power and promise mean I can trust those hands.

Thank you Lord, that I can never be snatched away from You!


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No Fear

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I do not normally think of myself as a fearful person, but then I am not trying to do what this woman is doing, hanging over the Hong Kong skyline!  She is either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid to take such a risk!  The hammock seems to suggest ease and relaxation, which has got to be far from what she is feeling!  Even so, it is a sure bet that she does not suffer from acrophobia!

Today’s verse is an encouragement to not fear.  I am to put my trust in God.  His presence keeps me from being dismayed at dizzying heights.  He strengthens.  He helps.  And most importantly, He upholds me with His righteous right hand!  Whether I am facing insurmountable odds, or the presence of evil, I do not have to give in to fear.

The stronger my faith is in Him, the less problem I will have with fear.  In Matthew 8:26 Jesus challenges His disciples with the question, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Their boat being pummeled by a storm seemed reason enough.  But had they had more trust in Him, fear would not have been an issue.  I do the same thing when faced with scary circumstances.  The level of fear I am feeling is a barometer of just how much I am trusting Him.  But with God for us – who (or what) can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)  Through Him, we are more than conquerors, even over our own fears!

Thank you Lord, that because of You, I do not have to fear.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Pancake Tortoise

Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:20 “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.”

We had trouble actually seeing this Pancake Tortoise at the San Diego Zoo as he was so completely flattened and wedged in the rock.  I had never heard of a tortoise that can run but this one does!  That is because his shell is lightweight and full of small holes.  The fact that his shell is thin, flat and flexible means that he can flatten himself like a pancake and hide in narrow rock crevices.  So rather than retreat into his shell like most, this guy runs to the rocks until the danger is past.

Today’s verse tells us where to hide when we feel threatened.  David was constantly under attack from within and from without.  He was the object of evil plots and slanderous tongues.  In his anguish and distress he runs to the only One who can give him shelter and safety; the presence of the Lord.  David did not withdraw into his own shell or resources.  He ran to His presence and there God hid him.

There are times to stand and face the enemy.  But there are also times to retreat and run to Him and His presence.  He has promised shelter and safety when we are just too tired and discouraged.  He protects us when we are fearful and overwhelmed.  The unkind  remarks of others can create deep wounds.  Fighting against malicious gossip that damages a reputation is practically impossible.  The only solution is to run to His presence and allow Him to take care of those “human intrigues.”  He is more than able to fight for me!

Thank you Lord, for the safety and shelter of Your presence.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Lap Cat

 

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:12  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

This is not our cat.  Tiger would never consent to sit in our laps, let alone relax and sleep there.  I tried so hard to make him a lap cat, but he would have none of it!  There is something soothing about having that little heater rest on one’s knees.  But when a cat is that relaxed and contented I feel pinned in place, not wanting to disturb him by getting out of the chair.

Today’s verse is about experiencing contentment regardless of our circumstances.  Having every need and desire fulfilled is no guarantee to having contentment.  Nor is experiencing lack a recipe for discontent.  Paul knew what he was talking about as he lived both of these scenarios.  What is encouraging is that contentment can be learned.  It is not always our first reaction but with enough practice it can be.  There is a secret to learning this contentment and that secret is found in our relationship to Christ.  He gives me the ability to find contentment in Him.

What this suggests to me is that when I am feeling disgruntled and deprived, I just need to crawl back up into His lap!  Rather than focusing on the negatives in my life, I turn to Him.  Reminding myself of who He is and all the blessings He has already given me helps me find that lap of contentment.  For me, it is really a choice as to where I am focusing my thoughts.

Lord, help me to find that elusive contentment in You.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)