Devotions By Jan


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The Sea Otter

Scripture for Today:Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

The little furry face of the sea otter looks too cute to be related to the weasel.  The otter is made for the water and spends most of his time there.  His feet are webbed, his fur is water repellent and his nostrils and ears close up in the water.  Despite their fur being the thickest of any animal, they often float on the surface, even falling asleep in this position.  They look so calm and peaceful, without a care in the world.

Today’s verse is a wonderful promise of support for God’s chosen ones.  Those He has redeemed for all eternity need have no fear of sinking in the water of this world’s troubles.  He gives strength and help.  He upholds us with His powerful and righteous hand.  Regardless of how deep that water is, we have no cause for fear.  His steady love and power will hold us up and keep our head above water.

Moving through hard times, I need to hear this.  There are times I feel as if I am sinking but I am not.  He has never let me down.  And I know He has a plan and purpose for those difficulties.  But I feel dismay and fear even so.  I paddle as if my life depended on it.  I panic and swallow water when I could be trusting Him and floating on the surface.  He is holding me up from underneath where I cannot see.  His powerful right hand is there and I can relax in His control.

Thank you Lord, for Your strength and support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reunification Centers

Scripture for Today:  Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We do not have to imagine it.  Too often we see children separated from their families as a result of natural disasters or man-made violence.  These children can be traumatized for their entire lives, especially when there is a delay in reuniting them with their parents.  The Reunification Centers exist for the purpose of bringing together those who belong together as quickly as possible following a disaster.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  The list of possibilities seems very inclusive.  In each of these scenarios, one might imagine that God stopped caring.  But just in case something was missed, Paul says nothing in all creation has the power to separate us from the Lord’s love.  Certainly not height nor depth as His love is described as so wide, long, high and deep! (Eph. 3:18)

I can know this love even though it goes beyond my understanding (Eph. 3:17-19).  I can be rooted and established in this love even when facing unthinkable tragedy.  He knows.  He is there and His comfort is real.  The Lord has promised to never leave me or forsake me.  There is no need for reunification as He has never left!  I do not need to wonder if He is still there or if He still loves me.  I may never understand the “why’s” but I can be convinced of His unfailing and faithful love.

Thank you Lord, that I am never separated from You!

 


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100 Years

Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:11 “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely, I will remember Your wonders of old.”

Meet Joseph Ambrose, a veteran of World War I.  At age 86 he was honored at a Veteran’s Day parade in 1982.  His old-fashioned uniform is surprising and the emotion etched on his face is touching.  He served in a war that was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”  Sadly, that has not been the case.  Veteran’s Day this year marks the one hundred year anniversary of this war.  Memories fade as those who fought disappear with age.  But although we do not always have the details of these war stories, we can still appreciate the sacrifice their service represents.

In today’s verse Asaph declares that he will remember what the Lord has done.  And His wonders include miraculous exploits in battle!  From the drowning of Pharaoh’s army to the walls coming down at Jericho, the Lord has done battle for His own!  And He continues to do battle for us, equipping us with spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17) and helping us to stand firm.  He makes us more than conquerors as He is on our side (Rom. 8:31).

My life is to testify to others just how great and awesome my God is!  I am to sing His praises, give credit and glory to Him by my life and praise Him in prayer.  When I do, I myself become a “wonder and surprise” to many! (Psalm 71:7)  But so often, it is through the heat of battle that others take note.  It is through the difficulty that He shows Himself strong and powerful.  When others see me rise above a horrible situation, I gain credibility and a voice.

Lord, may my life remind others of all Your wonders and incredible deeds!


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Pumpkin Waste

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 1:5  “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

After today, there will be the problem of what to do with that carved pumpkin.  Breaking it up and adding it to a compost pile can enrich the soil.  The insides can be turned into wonderful smoothies, butter, bread, soup, and of course, pie!  The shell can be turned into potpourri, and the pumpkin puree is supposed to be  good for the skin!  Pumpkins are even deemed safe for feeding birds and animals!  In any case, disposing of pumpkins is only a problem for a country with an abundance.

Today’s verse also talks about abundance; the abundance of suffering and the abundance of comfort.  Because of sin and our fallen world, there will be suffering for the believer.  Whether it is loss of health, income, or loss of loved ones, the Christian is not exempt.  But where there is abundant suffering,  God promises a comfort from Him that is just as abundant.  The abundant life of John 10:10 is not an easy painless life.  But it is an abundant one because He is there; the God of all comfort (verse 3).

The future looms ahead of me with all sorts of potential suffering.  There will be age-related sufferings as the body breaks down.  There will be the deaths of older family members and friends.  Whatever suffering is in store, I can trust the Lord to come through for me.  His comfort will make all of it bearable.  I do not have to worry ahead of time or imagine the unimaginable.  When it is needed, His comfort will be there.

Thank you, Lord, that I can trust You to be the abundant comfort I need exactly when I need it!


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Smashed!

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

I was not sure why Smashburger chose the name it did for their hamburgers.  I had visions of them sitting on them, making them flat enough to actually fit in one’s mouth!  Of course, the health department would surely have something to say about that!  But there is a specific smashing process using a special tool to flatten the pre-prepared meatball.  This tool is used to press hard for a full ten seconds, but no more than ten.  More than that would squeeze out the juices and cause it to dry out.  The result is a cooking time of three minutes rather than eight.

In today’s verse, Paul is recounting some of the hardships he and Timothy had faced.  At the beginning of the chapter and at the end, he says, “We do not lose heart.”  It would have been completely understandable if they had!  Paul had been shipwrecked, beaten, stoned and imprisoned for his faith.  Being perplexed, he perhaps did not always understand the “why” behind what was happening.  Yet, he remained confident that the pressing down he felt was producing something of value in him.

When I am facing hard times I am usually perplexed.  I cannot explain why the Lord allows certain difficulties in my life.  But He promises that all the pressing and crushing will be producing a “weight of glory” one day (II Cor. 4:17).  All that is painful is only a “light affliction” compared to what lies ahead.  Even when panicked and confused, my Father reassures me  that He is in control and His control is good.

Help me Lord, not to lose heart.


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Tremors

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8-9 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.”

That shaking of the hands can be scary.  Some folks find that with age they can no longer write legibly, tie shoelaces, shave or put on make-up without shaking.  These “essential tremors” can sometimes affect the voice box or the head.  I remember my Grandmother shaking her head yes and no without it meaning anything.  Thankfully, these kinds of tremors do not signal the onset of Parkinson’s disease.  Although it is not dangerous, it must be frustrating to live with this condition.

Today’s verse talks about a faith that cannot be shaken.  David affirms that it is the Lord who gives him security (verse 5).  He acknowledges that with the Lord close at His right hand, he can rest secure.  The right side of a man is the side where God assists in battle.  He is there to do battle for us (Psalm 109:31) and to be our strength!  David’s faith cannot be shaken as long as he keeps his eyes always on the Lord.

Whether tremors are in my future or not, I know that my body will eventually weaken with age.  But physical weakness does not mean that my faith needs to follow suit!  My circumstances may be anything but stable, but I can still rest secure, knowing that He is in control and His control is always good!  My confidence In Him means I can be glad, regardless of what is rocking my world!  Because of Him I will not be shaken!

Thank you Lord, for Your constant presence at my right hand!


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Iceberg

Scripture for Today:  I Timothy 1:19 “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”

I can understand these men getting as close as they dare to this iceberg.  It is impressive, especially with its beautiful blue tint.  However, there is more to this iceberg than meets the eye!  I would be concerned that some jagged piece of it hidden below the surface may capsize the boat!  This iceberg is termed a “bergy bit” as it is roughly the size of a house.  But, of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg as about 90% of an iceberg is found under water.

Today’s verse is Paul’s charge to young Timothy.  Although Timothy had been raised by a believing Mother and Grandmother, he is encouraged to hold on tight to the faith with a good conscience.  The possibility of “shipwrecked faith” was a danger for Timothy even though he was a leader in the church.  The believer is never exempt from the threat of wrong doctrine or the temptation to sin.  All that is needed to be vulnerable to shipwreck is to think that it could never happen!

I want to hold on tightly to my faith.  There are so many unseen and hidden dangers that can put me at risk when I become overconfident.  I want to hold on tightly when I am rocked by circumstances that make no sense and tempt me to doubt.  I need to hold on firmly to the word of life so as not to capsize (Phil. 2:16).   I do not want to be stuck on a sandbar and out of commission.  I want to finish this journey right to the end!

Lord, keep my faith strong and my conscience clear.