Devotions By Jan


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Occupied Octopus

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.”

The octopus, delicacy as it is to some, disgusts and fascinates me!  If ever there was a creature with many parts, this one wins!  He has three separate hearts and obviously has his eight arms.  What is really fascinating is that their arms have a mind of their own!  Two thirds of their neurons reside in their arms and not in their heads!  That means the arms can be solving a problem, like how to open a shellfish, while their owner is busy doing something else, perhaps scoping out a cave.  Talk about multi-tasking!

In today’s verse David prays for a heart that is undivided.  He wants to be wholly committed to the Lord but like so many of us, our lives can tend to be compartmentalized.  But 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, there is focus that unifies all of life’s activities!  When we are wholly committed to Him, we are teachable and able to follow all His ways in reverent obedience.

I tend to think that some of my activities are spiritual and some are not.  But when all is done with the intent of honoring Him, there is no separation.  Life does not need to be fragmented.  Each and every activity is given value and focus when my heart is fixed on Him.  With an undivided heart, I can rely on His faithfulness regardless of how much is going on at once!

Lord, despite all the busyness, keep my heart wholly yours.

 

 


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Orb Weaver

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:18 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.”

There is no tangled web here with the orb weaver although there is a goal to deceive  This docile spider meticulously weaves his web in a perfectly shaped orb.  As much as I dislike any kind of spider, I can appreciate them taking care of those pesky insects.  What is so surprising is the larger ones will actually manage to deceive and ensnare the occasional frog or hummingbird!

Today’s verse is a loving warning not to be deceived.  There is an accepted and valued standard of wisdom in our world which differs from godly wisdom.  Worldly wisdom, which does not include the fear of God, can lull one into a false sense of security and directly into a web of deception.  It is only in becoming “fools” in the world’s eyes that we can know Christ who is called, “the power and wisdom of God.” (I Cor. 1:24)  No one can boast of wisdom without God, who “makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” (I Cor. 18:20)

The wisdom of God is not found by my own study.  It is not found by how many Bible verses I can recite.  Wisdom cannot be found “in the land of the living.” (Job 28:13)  True wisdom starts by the fear and obedience of its Source, God Himself.  Knowing Him, loving Him and obeying Him makes me wise.  Any other source is suspect.  When I turn to Him in making a decision, that is wise.  When I submit my will to His, that is wise.  When I choose His Word as the foundation for my life, that is wise!

Lord, do not let me be deceived.

 

 


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The Baobab Tree

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:3 “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”

The Baobab tree growing in Madagascar, India, Ceylon and Australia is remarkable for its size.  Some boast a girth of over 100 feet!  It is also remarkable for its age as carbon testing results indicate it can live to be 3000 years old!  This hardy tree cannot be easily killed even when burned or stripped of bark as it responds by growing new bark.  But what impresses me most is its ability to store massive amounts of water, up to 1,189 gallons!

The tree described in today’s verse is a picture of the one who delights in the law of the Lord, making it the subject of meditation day and night. (verse 2)  In contrast to the wicked who are pictured as chaff (verse 4) this person thrives.  Water is never an issue because of where he is planted.  Rather than being planted in the soil of this world’s ideas of right and wrong, this person enjoys God’s blessing because of his love and obedience to God’s objective truth.  He is planted in the right place and can enjoy growth, fruit, and significance!

To delight one’s self in laws and commandments seems a strange concept.  But when meditating on the good purpose behind God’s laws and also on the Giver of law, then I can at least come to appreciate what others see as restrictive.  He gives His laws to me to show me the best way and least painful way to live.  It is out of His protective love for me that He gives me His standards.  When I follow what He says is right and wrong, there is blessing.

Lord, keep me strong, fruitful and following You.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Pomegranate

Scripture for Today:  Colossians 1:11 “being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”

As a child I tired quickly, trying to pop out those pomegranate seeds one by one!  I would get more of the staining juice on my hands than in my mouth!  Unlike other fruits, it is the seeds or “arils” that are eaten.  But de-seeding a pomegranate takes either some know-how, some patience, or both.  However it is done, this sweet red fruit is well worth the effort.  I love them sprinkled on a salad or made into a glaze over roasted duck!

Today’s verse indicates from where patience comes.  It is through the strength and power of the Lord that we can live with a patient attitude.  It is His “glorious might” that makes it possible to have great endurance and patience.  To live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way (verse 10) will take patience and endurance.  But thankfully, we do not muster it up on our own.  It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in us (Gal. 5: 22).  It is also the result of having our faith tested and seeing the Lord come through for us. (James 1:3)

For me, the biggest test of patience is waiting for the Lord to answer my prayers, my way.  His timing is rarely my own.  And I tend to treat my prayers as “unanswered” if I don’t receive the answer desired!  How many times I have worried, full of anxiety while awaiting His response!  But being impatient serves no purpose and certainly does not obligate Him to hurry!  I know He is pleased when I wait for His answers and promises with a patient calm heart.

Lord, help me to patiently trust You more.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Yield Sign

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

It looks complicated.  I would have to stop a minute to figure out who would have to yield to whom!  It looks as if the bike has to yield to everyone and the horse and rider to no one!  But I do not suppose there are many intersections to worry about on this trail.  If there were confusion I would think common sense would go a long way.  Regardless, yielding is often the safest choice.  When maneuvering through those huge traffic circles in Europe, I do not argue with a yield sign!

Today’s verse tells us we are to yield or submit to the Lord in each and every way we choose to take.  By acknowledging His control, His superior knowledge and His goodness, we travel a path much less complicated by twists and turns.  He makes our paths straight, unencumbered by lengthy unnecessary detours.  We reach our destination in good time, or in His time.  When we give way to Him rather than insisting on our own plan, we find He had a better idea all along!

Yielding my will to His is so often a struggle.  Even knowing that my own understanding is limited, I stubbornly resist.  I like being the one who makes the decisions.  Trusting Him with all my heart is scary without having some measure of control.  But He promises that when I do, He will make my paths straight, choosing the best way.  No time will be lost in making U turns or encountering dead ends.

Thank you Lord, that I can fully trust Your heart of love for me!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)