Devotions By Jan


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Jerusalem Cricket

Photo by Jeff Turner

Scripture for Today: I John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”

Legend has it that a priest while living among the Navajo misinterpreted their name for this big-headed insect.  They called it “Skull Head” but he heard “Skull Hill.”  This put in mind the name, Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified.  But this cricket is also called Red Skull, Old Bald-Headed Man and Child of the Earth.

Today’s verse speaks of the Father’s great love for His own.  It is a love that He lavished on us to the extent that He even calls us, “children of God.”  No longer do we belong to the world.  Our identity has been changed forever as His children.  We call Him Father and we call other believers in this worldwide family, brothers and sisters.  The world often fails to recognize this family as they do not know the Father.  And it is only through faith in Christ, His Son that we can belong to this family (Gal. 3:26).

I am a child of God.  What an amazing humbling truth!  As His child I no longer belong to the world or conform to it (Romans 12:2).  No longer am I led by the current thinking or fad but instead I am led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14).  Because I have received Him and believed on His name, He has graciously made me His (John 1:12).  I am not always such an obedient child.  There are times each day when I let down my Father.  But unlike any human family relationship, I can always count on His love and forgiveness.

Thanks you Lord, for making me Your child.

 


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Military ID

Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:12  “The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will they leave it.  I will write on them the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem……and I will also write on them My new name.”

On the dog tags worn by the military we honor today, there is marked the name, the identification number, the blood type and the religion of the soldier.  This one is special, marking the date when the soldier went missing in action in Vietnam in 1972.  How special for the family to be presented with these replacement dog tags as the originals were never found!  This brave soldier was honored with a medal having given his life to save others.  Although the family is happy to have these, they continue to look for the originals, hoping to hang them on their tree this Christmas.

Today’s verse teaches that one day, believers will be “wearing” three names that will identify us.  The meaning here seems to be symbolic.  Those who are victorious and enduring to the very end will bear three names.  The name of God will show that we belong to Him forever.  The name of God’s city will show that we are citizens.  And His own new name will indicate our special relationship with Christ.

How reassuring to know that I will remain in His presence forever!  There is no way to misplace this “tag” and be lost.  Christ has marked me as His very own forever!  Because of Him there is victory in this spiritual battle and sin will never separate me from His presence ever again!

Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to identify me as Your very own for all eternity!


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Stupid Directions!

Scripture for Today: James 4:6 “But He gives us more grace. That is why the Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'”

The other day while finding our way in the mountains, our GPS got totally confused.  Her voice stayed confident as she told us take the second exit at the round point where there was none!  There were several times that had we obeyed her, we would have turned right into the mountainside!  After listening to her continue to give us outrageous directions, we finally just turned her off!  Thankfully, we had an old fashioned map as a back up.  But not once did she apologize!  She never said, “I was wrong and you were right!”

Today’s verse talks about more grace that is given to the humble.  As undeserving as we are, those who can come clean with the Lord about their failures experience His favor.  But there is something in all of us that bristles at the thought of admitting our errors.  Sometimes, the only way it can happen is if we can point to extenuating circumstances!  Or we can maybe admit we were wrong if someone can share our chagrin.  It is never a comfortable experience.

As uncomfortable as it is to be humbled, His grace makes it worth it!  I would much rather live in His favor than have Him be opposed to me.  But each time I allow pride, stubbornness and determined independence from Him to creep into my day, I am foregoing His desire to bless me.  Half the time I do not even realize it is happening as I am so full of it!  How good of Him to bring me to my knees!

Forgive me my pride, Lord.  Oh how I need your grace today!


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Multi-Tasking

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name.”

Multi-tasking can be a valuable life skill, from the office worker juggling several projects at once to the busy mother handling multiple demands.  But of course, one place multi-tasking does not belong is behind the wheel!  We have all been there, driving distractedly with either last minute grooming, texting, phoning or even eating at the wheel.  However, driving is one of those activities that for safety’s sake requires undivided attention.

Today’s verse is part of a prayer of David’s.  He understands that in following God’s way he will be walking in His truth and relying on His faithfulness.  But to do that David prays for a heart that is undivided.  David wants to be wholly committed to the Lord but like so many of us, his heart is distracted.  God does not want just some of our attention, but all of it!  We are to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, and strength (Deut. 6:5).  And when our hearts are completely His, we can fear and worship His name and all He represents.

Loving Him with all of my heart is the only possible response to what He has done for me.  He has shown me a “great love” (verse 13) that has delivered me and made me alive!  My heart can be full of love for family and friends but this love for Him is something different and something all-consuming.  It is a love that reaches down to my soul and it is a love that will be eternal.  The more of my heart that I give Him, the more this love grows!

Keep my heart undivided, Lord.  Take all of it and make it Yours.

 


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Incognito

Scripture for Today: Psalm 38:9 “All my longings lie open before You, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from You.”

Dressing up in costumes is something that many of us never seem to outgrow!  Whether it is resembling a character from a book, film or simply from the imagination, going incognito is fun!  Regardless of whether it is for a fall festival, a play or a street fair, dressing up adds to the excitement.  For a time, we can forget who we are and become someone else.  And especially when the face is covered, we can conceal our true identity.

Today’s verse makes it clear that there is nothing hidden from the Lord.  With Him, our true identities are never concealed.  David acknowledges his sin (verse 18) being overwhelmed with guilt and groaning “in anguish of heart.” (verse 8)  He pours out his complaint that his friends have turned on him.  He ends this psalm with a cry for help and a plea that God would not forsake him as well.  Every longing and every sigh is seen by the One who knows our hearts and thoughts.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

I wonder if sometimes I pretend to be someone I am not in my private prayers.  If all is open and bare before Him then there is no need to sanitize my prayers.  The good the bad and the ugly are all there.  He knows just what I am feeling and He waits for me to be honest with Him.  He does not censor my words or rebuke me for wrong theology.  He hears my frustrations and my ill-concealed doubts.  Nothing shocks Him and I am thankful that He loves me no matter what.

Thank you Lord, that I can completely be myself with You.


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Bold as a Lion

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

It was in the back of the Edinburgh Castle that my cousin found the origin of our family name, Leonardy, belonging to my maternal grandmother.  It is a very old name originating in Gascogne, France.  The original bearer of this name was thought to be as bold as a lion.  So the name meaning, “lion-bold” was given to this individual.  Although my Grandmother married into this name, she certainly showed courage living to the ripe old age of almost 105!

Today’s verse describes the righteous as being as bold as a lion.  This is in contrast to the wicked whose guilt makes them fearful.  The wicked flee even though they are not being pursued.  Knowing in their heart that they are deserving of punishment, they run.  In contrast are the righteous or those who are in right standing with God.  They are not running and they are not fearful because they are assured of God’s forgiveness.  This position of righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22).  Being seen as righteous in God’s eyes makes us bold and not fearful of punishment as Christ took on Himself our sins and the wrath they deserve.

My faith does make me bold.  I am not being pursued for my wrongdoing.  And it is not presumption to take Jesus at His Word that I am “righteous.”  It is a gift given through His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  What confidence and boldness in facing any struggle in life or even in death!  My eternity has been secured by Him.  The question of my guilt has been settled.  That makes me bold to approach His throne for all the mercy and grace I need (Heb. 4:16).

Thank you Lord, for the boldness You make possible!


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No Entry

Scripture for Today: Psalm 10:4 “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”

The plumage of the peacock is breathtaking!  That gorgeous tail  exhibited for the benefit of the peahen measures over five feet!  Because of the wing size, the peacock cannot stay airborne for long.  Instead he will run, hop and flutter a bit.  But the peacock has every reason to be proud with his magnificent tail on display.  However, it must be a bit awkward to move around when his big tail fans out!  In this image the sign says, “no entry.” Apparently there is no room for him!

Today’s verse is part of a passage describing the wicked.  In the thinking and in the pride of the wicked there is no room for any thought of God.  He does not seek the Lord as he feels he has no need of Him.  His life is easy and prosperous (verse 5).  He lives his life his own way, scorning God’s laws.  He feels he can get away with it believing God never sees (verse 11).  What this man does not realize is that his pride tops the list of sins that are detestable to the Lord (Prov. 6:16-17).

It is only because of the grace and salvation of Christ that I am not counted among the “wicked.”  However, that does not mean that I do not struggle with pride.  Every time I disobey what God has clearly commanded, my pride is showing in thinking I know better!  Pride has crept in when I neglect to seek Him with my whole heart.  When there is room for every thought except thoughts of Him, then pride has kept me from realizing His presence.

Lord, fill my mind and heart today with thoughts of You.