Devotions By Jan


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The Wombat

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.”

The wombat is one strange marsupial.  This burrowing animal from Australia carries its young in a pouch facing backwards so as not to get dirt in the young one’s eyes!  Their backside is covered with a thick hide impervious to the claws of predators.  When chased they will dive into their tunnel with their rump sticking out and stay that way until their predator gives up!  They are said to have the largest brain of any marsupial.  Maybe that is why a group of them are called a “wisdom.”

Today’s verse is one of many that warn us not to consider ourselves wise.  This is a danger as it can lead to the conviction that we know better.  This brand of pride considers rules as being for other people to follow and not applying to us.  Those that see evil as good, dark as light and bitter as sweet are the same people who are “wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (Isaiah 5:21)

It is easy for me to think that wisdom comes from my own schooling or perceived mental prowess.  But God’s Word makes clear that the source of wisdom is the Lord.  I demonstrate wisdom when I am humble enough to follow and obey Him in every area of my life.  But the minute I consider myself wise is the same minute I risk becoming foolish (Prov. 26:12).  To become or remain wise is simply the by-product of humble, dependent obedience to my Creator.  It is in living life God’s way that there is any possibility of becoming wise.

Thank you Lord, that right relationship with You makes me wise.  Keep me humble, submissive and close to You today.

 

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Light Treatment

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth.)”

It was hard to see our granddaughter having to go through light treatment for her jaundice.  But the light was necessary to break down the excess bilirubin in her blood.  She was surrounded with that light above and below.  That special light in the blue and green spectrum changed the bilirubin molecules so that they could be evacuated from her little three-day old body.  What a difference as the yellow tint to her eyes and skin disappeared!

Today’s verse encourages believers to live as children of light.  Darkness was our past with its evil, unrighteousness and deceit.   But now there is light because of the Lord.  His light breaks down and eliminates everything dark in us.  Believers can now live a life characterized by goodness, righteousness and truth.  His light gives life (John 1:4).  The light He shines on us changes life with its healing and warmth.  With His light we can see what is dark and in humility confess it to Him.  And we can be a light to others, bringing them to the Source.

Although so much darkness surrounds me, the light He sheds will never be overwhelmed by it.  I may feel insignificant but even a small pinpoint of light dispels darkness.  He wants me to let His light shine to those who are unwittingly living in the dark.  The fruit of His light is what will attract others to Him.  Living a life of goodness, righteousness and truth is living the life He modeled.  But it does not happen without the filling of His Spirit, and the gifts of His strength and power!

Lord, make me a light today.


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Bummer Lamb

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 40:11 “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”

This sweet lamb being bottle fed could very well be what is called in agricultural terms a “bummer lamb.”  These are lambs that need special attention and care having been rejected by their mothers.  If the shepherd does not intervene, the lamb would die.  Some shepherds go so far as to bring the lamb into their home and raise him there until strong enough to join the rest of the flock.

Today’s verse is such a beautiful depiction of the Lord.  This tender picture is sandwiched between two verses describing God’s power; His ruling power and His creative power.  How amazing it is that His tenderness can co-exist with that incredible power!  The Lord is our Shepherd and cares about each of His sheep individually.  He carries them when they feel weak, not under His arm or even on His back, but close to His heart.  Our Shepherd leads and guides His sheep but does it oh so gently for the ewes with their young ones.

In a world that can sometimes seem so cold and harsh, it is this quality of His love that I so appreciate.  I especially need His tenderness when I am sore from beating myself up.  I need His tenderness when I feel hurt and rejected.  His gentleness is like a balm for my soul.  Close to my Shepherd’s heart I feel warm and cherished.  His arms hold me up when I just can’t anymore.  There is a time for His rod and staff.  But there is a time for His tenderness.  And He knows exactly what I need.

Thank you Lord, for Your gentle care today.


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Eating Alone

Scripture for Today:  Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

I wonder if this man feels a bit conspicuous eating all alone.  Having a meal by one’s self in public can feel lonely.  The same thought must have occurred to three young twenty-somethings in Oxford, Alabama.  One of them approached an older widow eating on her own in a coffee shop and struck up a conversation.  They made such a connection that they invited her to their table and had a great time talking over their meals!  This simple act of kindness blossomed into an unlikely friendship.

Today’s verse uses the image of standing at the door,  knocking and dining.  These words are said by Jesus to the church at Laodicea.  His message is full of warmth and makes clear His desire for relationship.  What better way to become close than to share a meal around the table!  He awaits our arrival at the door.  He does not come in until we hear His voice and open that door.  We open it to show our same desire for relationship.  I am sure His knock and His voice are loud enough to hear.  But I can see how one might miss it.  The distractions of life can drown out the sound.

I am amazed that He wants to dine with me!  What a warm intimate thought!  All the good conversations happen around a meal.  And He is the Bread of life and the water that satisfies my thirst.  I do not want to miss out by being too busy.  He is waiting for me on my doorstep.

Lord, may I listen for your knock and open the door today!

 


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Administrative Professionals Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 62:6-7 “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God.  He is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

Today is a day that honors all secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other support professionals.  It was formerly called Secretaries Day and was begun by the National Secretaries Association founded in 1942.  The name changed in 2000 to reflect the diversity of roles and to make it more inclusive, but maybe not so much as to include the cat!  What a great idea it is to honor those who so faithfully work behind the scenes!

Today’s verse reminds us that our salvation depends on God.  We cannot save ourselves from our sin.  He is the One who in His grace bends down to extract us from the messiness our sin creates.  But our honor also depends on Him.  In addition to redeeming our lives, He crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:4).  David even talks about how God increases honor for him in Psalm 71:21!  If believers live an honorable life, this is also due to His grace.

We all need to be appreciated and honored.  I know that when I am, those thoughtful words spur me on and motivate me to do better.  But whatever honor I receive ultimately can be attributed to God as its source.  He has created me with my talents and abilities.  He has given me opportunities and education.  He is the One who has opened up doors and placed me where I am.  If I receive any honor, it absolutely depends on Him and His grace to me.  And if I receive any honor, may it be redirected to Him!

Thank you Lord, that You create honorable lives  May my life honor You today.


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Mountain Lion Attack

Scripture for Today: I John 4:10 “This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I cannot imagine the horror a mother felt when seeing her seven-year-old son pinned to the ground by a mountain lion!  Her son was playing in the yard of their home on Vancouver Island in British Columbia when she heard the commotion.  Like any loving mother, she rushed out to save him, throwing herself on the lion.  She vainly tried to pry open his jaws clamped firmly on her son’s arm.  Thankfully, her screams for help caused the young famished lion to run.  Because of her willingness to sacrifice herself, her son emerged needing only some stitches on his arm and head.

Today’s verse speaks of another sacrifice also motivated by love.  God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die in our place (John 3:16).  There is no greater love than this; than to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13) and that is what the Lord did for us.  Jesus not only paid the price for sin by enduring physical pain but also the pain of separation from the Father.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  What an incredible price He paid to demonstrate His love!

When I think of the cost of His sacrifice I am humbled and overwhelmed that He could love me this much!  God so loved me that He gave.  He gave to save me from certain and eternal death.  He gave in order to begin a love relationship that will last into all eternity.  He gave, not because I deserve Him but because of His amazing grace!

Lord, thank you for reminding me of Your incredible love, especially today.

 


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New Found Family!

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 2:11 “Both the One who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

How very strange!  A California woman had thought she was an only child.  As a teenager she learned she was “donor-conceived” but it was not until recently that her curiosity about the donor father motivated her to take a DNA test.  To her surprise she found she had 22 half brothers and sisters!  She no longer feels like she does not fit in.  She feels she belongs after meeting up with her siblings and discovering her smile on other’s faces.

As different as this donor family is, today’s verse speaks of a family that is even more unique.  It is made up of spiritual brothers and sisters of all tribes and nations.  It is a spiritual family that spans centuries.  And more are being added each day.  Our backgrounds often have little in common.  Our world views, political views, or our education can all be radically different.  Like our own families, this spiritual family is made up of imperfect people.  But the one thing that unites us is that we have the same Heavenly Father who has set us apart as His own.

The Lord has created me with a strong need to belong.  I do not feel that I fit in with those who are indifferent to Christ or mock His name.  But I need to belong somewhere.  That is why God’s family is so important to me.  I have brothers and sisters around the world.  All the things that would normally separate us are overcome by the uniting bond of Christ’s love.  And when there is unity, “how good and pleasant it is…” (Psalm 133:1).

Thank you Lord, for Your family.