Devotions By Jan


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Rest Stop

Scripture for Today: Mark 6:31 “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat. he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place to get some rest.”

photo by Wayne S. Grazio https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotograzio/40216062413

I guess it only makes sense that seagulls would need rest stops too! These birds had been flying from the coast to Lake Miramar in San Diego, looking for something to eat. This floating water barrier made for a perfect spot to rest up, face the sun and soak in some rays before continuing their quest.

Today’s verse has Jesus showing love and concern for the well-being of His disciples. They finished their report to Him of all they had just done and taught (verse 30). Jesus must have seen the weariness etched in their faces. Perhaps their posture gave away their tiredness as well. People were coming and going and meeting the needs of others gave the disciples no chance to even eat! Their immediate need was rest, so they went away by themselves with Him to a solitary place (verse 32).

The Lord knows when I need rest. And the kind He offers is timely and meets my needs, whether I recognize them or not! The disciples needed physical rest, but also social rest, away from people. Sometimes the rest He gives me means to retreat from people as well. Rest can mean a quiet place when our senses are overwhelmed with noise. Or His rest can be while I continue working. Yoked with Him and His power, the load can be lighter (Matt. 11:28-29). But the best rest He gives me is that settled peaceful feeling in the depths of my soul.

Thank you Lord, for Your perfect rest.


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New in Twenty-Two!

Scripture For Today: Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

As we begin this new year I cannot help but think of the song written by Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Certainly, the world has swiftly changed these past few years, proving true what Plato said, “All is flux, nothing stays still.” What is considered “normal” has changed. Social expectations have changed. We have changed. And as we look to the new year it can be with some trepidation about what may change next! How will the next changes impact our lives? What if I don’t want to change?

Today’s verse is an enormous comfort. Yes, change can be adventurous and an opportunity for growth. But it almost always comes with some discomfort. However, Jesus Christ does not change. Being perfect, there is no need for any improvements. The power He had is still His. The control over nature He demonstrated is still viable. He continues to be what He always has been; faithful and true, compassionate, good and loving. And because He does not change, His Word remains. He is the solid Rock, a foundation that can weather any wave of change.

In a world that seems to shift almost daily its norms, priorities and focus, I can stand firm. He has never failed me despite major changes in my life; career changes, losing family members, gaining family members, 17 moves and more! My world changes but He does not and continues to be everything I need to face an unknown future. I can look forward to this new year as I have all the rest, with confidence that the Lord is already there, warm, loving and familiar!

Thank you Lord, that You never will change and I can always count on You.


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Is It Over??

Scripture for Today: Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance. kindness, goodness, faithfulness. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Another Christmas in the books. That warm fuzzy feeling of “goodwill toward men,” unfortunately seems to be over a bit too quickly. The extra attention given and received by family and friends has been wonderful and affirming. But now the tendency is back to business as usual. The routine and obligations of life reassert themselves and somehow the “love, joy and peace” of the season is forgotten. But it was for love that the Son of God came to earth. His coming means that peace is now possible between God and man. Could there ever be a more important reason for joy

These same words are part of today’s verse. Love joy and peace are just three of the nine aspects of the fruit of God’s Spirit living in the believer. These are to characterize the life of the one who follows Jesus.  The love I have for the Lord is to be extended to others all year long. The peace I enjoy as a result of my communion with Christ is the same peace that carries me throughout the year. And the joy that He gives in knowing my sins are forgiven is a joy that does not falter in the face of trouble.

The ornament pictured says to “believe Christmas.” It is a nice sentiment but the truth is that belief in the Christ of Christmas is what gives me love, joy and peace all the year long!

Thank you Lord, that though Christmas may be over, Your love, joy and peace are not!


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God Is With Us

Scripture for Today: Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”

This image came from a site that provides greetings to friends and families, personalizing them with a name. Immanuel or Emmanuel is not a name I hear too much except in France. There, it is used for boys or for girls but with a different spelling. But in both cases it is often shortened to “Manu.” I cannot hear the name Immanuel without thinking of this verse and its meaning; God with us.

Today’s verse is part of the angel’s message to Joseph. Not only does it reassure Joseph, but the name Immanuel also ties in to a prophecy in Isaiah 7. The wicked King Ahaz was in a tight spot, his reign threatened by two kings. God sent Isaiah with God’s promise to deliver Israel both then and in the future. Despite Ahaz, Judah and David’s line would be preserved through the coming of the Messiah! Because “God is with us” Isaiah says to be careful, keep calm, do not be afraid and do not lose heart (verse 4).

What an amazing message is wrapped up in the name, Immanuel! Because God is with me, I can stay calm, despite what is happening around me or even to me! There is no reason to be fearful because God keeps His Word. He will never leave me or forsake me (Deut. 31:6) even when surrounded by enemies! He will never leave or forsake me when facing financial challenges (Heb. 13:5). His presence is constant so I do not lose heart. I may not understand what is happening but I understand that He is there and He loves me!

I love You, Immanuel.


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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.