Devotions By Jan


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Ramona’s Marriage Place

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 14:1  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.”

This adobe building in Old Town, San Diego called Casa de Estudillo or Estudillo House was once considered one of the finest homes of its day.  Built in 1827, it later came to be associated with a work of fiction entitled, Ramona.  Tourists flocked to the site, believing that the story took place there.  In the absence of the owners, the caretaker decided to capitalize on its popularity and sold pieces of the house as souvenirs!  Obviously, the state of the house rapidly deteriorated!  It was restored in 1910 and later declared a historical landmark.

Today’s verse describes a house coming down.  It is very much in the power of a woman to make or break a household.  A foolish woman needs no help to bring the house down around her head.  But a wise woman will fight for her home and her family.  She will do everything in her power to protect those precious walls.  The wise woman fears the Lord first and foremost (Psalm 111:10).  Following God’s commandments in a marriage relationship and as parents is the surest way to keep that house standing.  A foolish woman will consider God’s way as old fashioned and antiquated.  Without realizing it, the foolish woman will tear her own house down little by little.

There are cracks in my walls every now and then.  Sometimes following God’s way is just difficult.  I need His help to obey.  He has made His plan clear in His Word for all the family relationships.  And sometimes it is at odds with how our society operates.  But following His way is well worth the effort.

Thank you, Lord, that my house is still standing!  Keep me faithful to You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Walking Partners

Scripture for Today: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

These look like unlikely walking partners!  But apparently, they don’t know that!  Walking is great exercise but with a partner it can enrich the experience.  There are digital platforms that connect people.  The People Walker is one that provides safe reliable walking partners for a fee.  They advertise that with a partner, it becomes more than just a mere walk.  There is conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

Today’s well-known verse simplifies what the Lord requires of us.  It simplifies but it is not simple!  His standard for what is truly good and necessary is to always live a life that is just and to love and show mercy.  The life of a believer is a lifelong journey walking humbly with God.  Walking with God humbly would be to stay by His side, allowing Him to set the pace and direction.  It is also more than a mere walk, providing conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

There is no possibility of me acting justly or loving mercy were it not for my Walking Partner.  His presence and power give me the desire and the ability to do what He asks of me (Phil. 2:13).  Walking with Him keeps me out of a whole mess of trouble, be it unnecessary detours or tripping over rocks.  He keeps me in that path of righteousness.  But He keeps me there by His very presence at my side.  And because He sets the pace, He knows when I need to slow down and rest.  And when the path becomes difficult, He is there to get me through.

Thank you Lord, for walking with me.


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A Peaceful Commute

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness: quietness and assurance forever.”

I feel anything but peaceful while driving the crowded freeways of Southern California.  Seeing a license plate like this one might just calm me down.  But if it were on the car that just cut me off, maybe not!  There would be more chance of a peaceful commute if everyone (including myself) obeyed the rules of the road.  Peace is not what I am feeling when my hands tighten on that wheel!

Today’s verse associates peace with righteousness.  It is not normally the first place we look for peace.  But the result of following God’s commandments is peace with Him and peace with others.  There is quietness and calm confidence when we are obedient to Him.  When we pay attention to His commands our peace is described as a river (Is. 48:18).  But this righteousness is not possible without God’s Spirit (verse 15).  God gives His righteousness to those who have faith in His Son, Jesus (Rom. 3:22).  The peace that comes from righteousness is nothing we can manufacture on our own.  And this beautiful peace is seen in a quiet calm confidence.

There is tremendous peace in knowing that I am right with Him.  And there can be no peace with others until I have that vertical relationship.  When I am rebelling against Him, all of my relationships are at risk to suffer.  I cannot be loving, kind and forgiving towards others when I ignore the Source of those fruits (Gal. 5:22-23).  There is no peace without loving and obeying Him.  But when I am close to Him, there is assurance and quiet confidence regardless of my circumstances.  By submitting to His authority I have the best chance at peace with others.

Lord, may I feel Your peace today.


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FOMO

Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is a phenomenon unique to our technology-filled days.  We stay connected to each other 24/7 just because we can.  But how annoying it is to have a face-to-face conversation interrupted because of FOMO.  The constant checking of social media is often motivated by not wanting to miss out on someone or something more exciting!

There is one relationship, one place and one communication that we never want to miss!  Today’s verse  warns us that this is possible when we adhere to a form of religion without a true relationship.  The people addressed in this verse did all kinds of good works for God but missed out on obeying Him.  The Lord sees the heart of the one who glibly calls Jesus “Lord” and “Master” without submissively bowing the knee.  The true test of relationship is obedience to His expressed will in the pages of His book!  The one who loves Him will obey Him. (I John 2:5)

When I truly love someone I will want to serve and please him.  To ignore what God says or what God wants is not love at all.  I do not want to miss out on the most meaningful, satisfying relationship there is!  His messages of love and forgiveness are not to be missed!  A “fear of missing out” on His blessings is a good kind of fear that causes me to examine myself to see that I belong to Him.  A life of obedience not only leads to a deep relationship but to an eternity with Him!

Lord, I want to obey You today.


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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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The North Star

Scripture for Today:  Exodus 15:13 “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.”

For centuries the North Star, or Polaris, has been helping travelers get their bearings.  Whether traversing a dry uncharted desert or sailing through waters without a horizon in sight, the North Star has kept travelers from losing themselves.  Because it is located nearly at the north celestial pole, it marks the way due north.  It is bright but only the 50th brightest star above us.  The North Star is famous for holding nearly still while the entire northern sky turns around it.

Today’s verse reminds us of the fact that the God of this universe is willing to lead and guide His people.  He shows us the way because of His amazing unfailing love.  He uses His incredible strength to lift us up out of the deep slimy pit of mud and mire and to set our feet back on firm solid ground (Psalm 40:2).  His love for us never falters, even when we ignore His leading and fall away.  We may step out of His will but we never step out of His care.  His correction and instruction light the way back to His presence (Prov. 6:23).

What a precious thought that He cares enough to see every wayward step.  He does not want me to go through life unclear and confused about my direction.  He has redeemed me and I am HIs.  His love will never fail me, even when I am not looking up for His direction.  In my pride I may think I have it all together when in fact I may be inadvertently putting distance between us.  His guidance keeps me warm and close.

Lord, keep me looking to You for each step.


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A Three-Legged Race

Scripture for Today:  Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

They were doing so well, outrunning all the others on their combined three legs!  But all it took was a small deviation to the right or to the left without the cooperation of the other to bring down this duo.  There is no hope of winning the prize unless the two runners can move together in sync.  The only way to be coordinated in their movements is to have complete agreement on their direction and their speed.  The most important agreement to make is on who will lead and who will follow.

Today’s verse is in a little-known book of prophecy.  Out of God’s love for Israel, he warns them of coming judgement through his prophet, Amos.  He asks obvious questions of cause and effect to point out that their sin will be punished (verses 3-6).  Two cannot walk together unless they can agree on their pace and their route.  As a nation, they were collectively going in the wrong direction.  Rather than walking toward the Lord in confession they were willfully walking away from Him in their sin.

I want to be intentional about who my walking companions are!  My direction is very different than that of the world.  If I am yoked with unbelievers than I will be tripping and falling all over the place (II Cor. 6:14).  I want to walk in sync with the Lord and follow Him.  That can only happen as I humbly agree with Him in confession.  When I do, that walk is sweet and satisfying.  He chooses just the right path and keeps me from stumbling.  Walking with Him through life gives me purpose and fulfillment.

Lord, don’t let me wander.   Keep me walking close to You.