Devotions By Jan

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Lame Duck

Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

It is an odd expression. “Lame duck” refers to sitting presidents or congress members finishing out their term while the newly elected ones prepare to take office. Originally in the eighteenth century, it was a term in the British stock exchange, a slang for someone who defaulted. Since crossing the Pond, this expression has had several meanings, including “old slow ship” in a naval context. We have used this expression in the political arena since Calvin Coolidge. However, in nature, a lame duck can continue to swim and fly.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to anyone who may feel like a lame duck, marginalized because of age or loss of position. King David, with advancing age and with the constant threat of enemies, prays to God for a continued influence. Even if all responsibilities are stripped away, David sees purpose to his life. His role may change but it is just as important to declare to the next generation all he has seen the Lord do in his life.

As a believer, there can be times I may feel like a lame duck. I may not have the same role as I previously had. Perhaps my service to the Lord is less visible or public. But whatever the changes might be, a lame duck can still swim and fly! My testimony to the next generation is so much more powerful when I can recount all He has done over the years! Speaking of God’s faithfulness and grace becomes that much more credible with my personal examples.

Make me bold, Lord, to speak of You and Your power!

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Pumpkin Season

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”

With availability all year round for some produce, the concept of “in season” or “out of season” can sometimes no longer apply!  But for the pumpkin, there is no question of when it is in season!  I see the fields off the freeway dotted with orange and they have invaded the grocery stores.  In fact, in warm Southern California, it is about the only indication that autumn has arrived!

Today’s verse talks about something that is not to change regardless of the seasons, and that is sharing the truth of God’s Word.  It is always timely and speaks to every season, every year and every century!  There is an urgency to this command as there will come a time when people will not put up with biblical truth. (verse 3)  Paul encourages young Timothy not to wait for some other time that seems more favorable.  The time is now to correct and rebuke with truth while they will still listen.  Hearing the truth of God’s Word will encourage the hearer when done with patience and careful instruction.

Because people are not so open to hearing God’s truth, I tend to forget to be prepared for those small windows of opportunity to share when they will still listen.  God continues to draw people to Himself, even in the middle of an increasingly hostile-to-the-Gospel culture.  It is “not easy and pleasant to hear” about one’s need (verse 3)  And more often than not, those around me may turn their ears away from the truth. (verse 4) But the Lord only asks me to be faithful to share the truth of His incredible forgiveness.

Help me Lord, to be prepared and available.




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Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 9:24 “but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

The blowfish looks pretty comical when puffed up.  In fact one of his names is “pufferfish.”  This unusual fish has a very elastic stomach, able to quickly ingest huge amounts of water and air.  In doing so they become several times their normal size and so avoid becoming someone’s next meal.  When puffed up, their spines make them look like a pointy ball.  This fish gives new meaning to the idea of being puffed up and full of one’s self.

Today’s verse describes a different kind of boasting that does not puff us up or make us disagreeable.  Boasting that draws attention to the Lord, to His kindness, justice and righteousness is the best kind of boasting!  The Lord is honored and glorified when we extol His beautiful attributes to others.  Even the small understanding we have of His character is something that He reveals to us from His Word.  He is the One who gives understanding. (Prov. 2:6)

It is in God and not in myself that I am to make my boast all day long. (Psalm 44:8)  This is my way to exalt and praise Him.  When I see His many kindnesses to me, none of which I deserve, then I want to tell others!  Look what He did for me today!  Do you see how He righted that wrong?  I am in awe of His purity and justice and they motivate me not to compromise.  All the praise for anything that is good and positive in my life goes to Him!

Thank you Lord, that I can boast in You!



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True or False Morel?

Scripture for Today: Matthew 23:28 “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

This mushroom can fool people.  There is a false and a true variety and knowing the difference can save one from dizziness and sickness.  There are some minor differences to look for on the exterior but the most telling difference is the inside.  If you slice a true morel mushroom from top to bottom it will be hollow inside.  The false morel will be full of cotton-like fibers and chucks of tissue.

Today’s verse is part of the seven woes spoken by Jesus to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees.  These strong words point out their hypocrisy.  They had a form of external righteousness but their insides were full of wickedness.  As religious leaders their hypocrisy not only kept them out of Heaven but kept others from entering as well!  Their lives resemble cups and dishes carefully cleaned on the outside but filthy inside with greed and self-indulgence. (verse 25)  These men were like white-washed tombs, so beautiful on the outside but the filthy inside was full of dead bones. (verse 27)

These verses are sobering as today there are false believers as well.  Their outsides are beautifully religious.  But the inside is well hidden to all except the Lord’s eyes who sees it all.  However, these verses are also a challenge to me to be authentic in my faith.  My secret hidden sins are not seen by others and I can easily pretend to be in right relationship with Him when my heart has wandered.  He waits for me to agree with Him about my sin so He can continually cleanse me. (I John 1:9)

Lord, keep me from hypocrisy by being honest with You.

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Kiwi Bird

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.”

I am not sure the Kiwi bird knows who he is!  He has wings but cannot fly.  His inch-long wings are useless, hidden under his feathers.  And those feathers are so thick that they resemble hair!  His long beak has nostrils at the end of it.  His habits and look are so similar to a mammal that he is referred to as an “honorary mammal!”

Today’s verse  identifies believers in Jesus Christ as, “children of God.”  The only reason we can be called that is because of His love and grace and not because of any merit of our own.  But unfortunately, there is some confusion as to how we are viewed.  The world does not know us.  They have trouble with recognizing us as God’s children because they do not know our Father.   Our habits and look may seem similar to the non-believer but there is an important distinction on the inside.  We are new creatures in Christ! ( II Cor. 5:17)

Those I rub shoulders with may well understand that I am different.  But that realization serves no purpose if I do not demonstrate a resemblance to the Father and His Son.  The whole purpose of my life is to bring glory and recognition to Him!  I want the beauty and characteristics of Christ to be so evident in my life that it is clear to whom I belong!  For many, the first introduction to the Father is through the lives of His children.

Lord, help me to be faithful to live like Your child.