Devotions By Jan


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Restless Dogs

Scripture for today: I John 3:19 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.”

This poor pug looks grumpy and sleep-deprived!  Have you ever seen a dog circle and circle his bed before finally laying down?  Or there’s the dog that paces back and forth.  The restless dog will repeatedly adjust his sleep position, unable to lie still.  The reason for this behavior could be the pain of arthritis or a sign of doggy anxiety.  But this restlessness is not just a problem for dogs!  Everything can be positive in life and yet one can still have a restless spirit.

Today’s verse talks about a heart that is at rest.  When we know and are convinced that we belong to the truth, there is a resting settled feeling in our hearts.  In His presence, we feel His peace, knowing that we belong to Him.  No longer are our hearts restless, wandering or searching.  When we belong to Him, our hearts can no longer condemn us as He is greater than our hearts (verse 20).  We can have confidence before God as He knows everything and He knows our hearts better than we do ourselves!  When we believe in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our hearts are finally at rest (verse 23).

When my heart is at rest, there is a confident peace.  He does not want my heart to be restless or troubled (John 14:27).  His Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am God’s own (Rom.8:16) and reassures my heart.  How good He is to give me that heart at rest!  And how much I want that for friends and family members who live restless lives without Him.

Lord, may I feel that heart rest today.

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Pack Rat

Scripture for Today:Matthew 6:20-21  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This garage is definitely the work of a pack rat.  In fact, it looks like it could possibly have rats!  No, this is not our garage, fortunately.  We try very hard to clear out and sort on a regular basis.  It is never easy to let things go, but I have a horror of ending up like this picture!  As it is, I think we are the only ones in our cul-de-sac able to fit two cars in our garage!

Today’s verse talks about treasure without actually defining it.  It is treasure found in Heaven and cannot be destroyed.  Here on earth everything is temporal.  And one day everything will pass away to make way for the new earth (Matt. 24:35).  Yet, we all have the tendency to store up things even when we realize that, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b”).  There is something about the tangible that reassures us, provides a sense of security and even adds to our feelings of self-worth.

It is a sobering thought to realize that the objects I treasure are not going to last.  The lasting treasures are found in Heaven where my heart and focus need to be.  That treasure is not gold, the streets are paved with it.  It is not precious stones as those are just building materials for the gates.  Crowns will be readily given up and placed at the feet of Jesus.  The true lasting treasure is the loving presence of Jesus.  And that is a treasure I can enjoy today!

Lord, I want to treasure You.


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The Morning Glory

Scripture for Today: Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.”

This beautiful flower is  just like its name.  At night it closes, perhaps to keep in the moisture, perhaps to keep out damaging insects.  Then with the light of dawn, it opens its petals and appears in all its glory!  The name Morning Glory actually refers to over 1000 species of flowers that do this same thing.  The species pictured has blossoms shaped like funnels and come in purple, pink or white.  They grow on vines that climb all over a fence or trellis.

Today’s verse looks to the morning, not only as the start to a new day, but also to the hope of God’s unfailing love.  It is a hope that is never disappointed as God is faithful to all HIs promises.  Our trust is well placed in His unfailing love.  No other love is so constant.  No other love is so wide, long, high or deep as His love (Eph. 3:18).  And He demonstrates His unfailing love for us by showing us the way we should go.  His love guides and protects in that brand new day.

The word of his unfailing love may not always be found in my circumstances.  The word of His unfailing love may not always be found in my feelings.  The word of His unfailing love is most consistently found in the Bible.  Starting my day with the reminders of His love reassures me that He is there.  He is waiting for me to wake up so He can show me again.  Because I can trust His love, I can entrust to Him my life!

Thank you Lord, that Your love never fails me.

 

 


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A One-Hit Wonder

Scripture for Today: Job 5:9 & Job 9:10 “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”

A “one-hit wonder” is something that achieves mainstream popularity and success for a very short time.  It is usually for only one piece of work, whether it be in the area of music or sports.  A good example of a one-hit wonder is the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men back in 2000.  In fact, this song made it into the top ten list of one-hit wonders (making it even more wonderful?)

What a contrast with the wonders God performs!  Today’s verse explains how unfathomable and numerous are God’s wonders!  This verse is even repeated in the book of Job for emphasis.  His wonders are awe inspiring and remind us just how big He is and just how small we are.  David states that God’s wonders are too many to declare (Psalm 40:5).  Everything He does is a wonder of love and grace towards us.  Whether it be His incredible creation, a miraculous healing, or a changed heart, it is all “wonderful” in the true sense of the word!

I sometimes think I get used to His wonders and even take them for granted.  When that happens I lose the awe and worship that is due Him.  He deserves all the glory, credit and recognition for the sun coming up this morning.  The Lord wants me to tell the next generation of His praiseworthy deeds, His power and the wonders He has done in my life (Psalm 78:4).  But how can I proclaim aloud His praises and tell of all His wonderful deeds if I do not even recognize them?

Lord, open my eyes today to Your wonders and the wonder of who You are!

 


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Say Yes to the Dress

Scripture for Today:  Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

I guess I am a traditionalist.  My opinions are usually very different than the preferences shown by the soon-to-be-brides on the television show, “Say Yes to the Dress.”  I always prefer a white wedding dress to any other color.  It is not that the bride needs to have been lily white in her past.  It just seems that this solemn occasion marks a new and exciting beginning.  The commitment at the altar before God and witnesses can be viewed like clean slate.

Today’s verse gives hope that each day can be a new start.  The Lord’s compassion is renewed for His own every morning.  Regardless of what happened the day before, He is faithful to His commitment towards us.  Because of His unfailing love, we receive from Him His amazing grace.  We do not deserve forgiveness, but He continues to offer it to those who come clean with Him.

His renewed compassion gives me that new start every morning.  He washes me whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).  He continually clothes me in dazzling white with each pardon.  Each morning I can start again.  That is what His forgiveness does for me.  I do not have to put on dirty clothes.  My past mistakes and failures are never an issue with Him.  He promises to not even remember them (Heb. 10:17).  How wonderful to begin each day with a clean slate!  Because of what Jesus did for me on that cross I can count on His continued faithfulness each and every morning.  He thinks I look good in white!

Thank you Lord, for Your pure perfect pardon.

 


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The Ring-Tailed Lemur

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 2:15-16  “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…..”

These sweet-looking lemurs are known for their black and white striped tails and apparently enjoy sunbathing!  Originally from Madagascar, they have powerful scent glands.  They use their distinctive odor to communicate and to dominate.  The lemurs will mark their territory by their scent, but they will also try to “outstink” each other during mating season!  They do this by rubbing their smelly secretions all over their tails and then by waving them in the air to establish dominance!

Today’s verse speaks of differing reactions to our “smell” or influence.  To those God is calling to Himself, we have a pleasing aroma.  These are people in our lives that seem to be open and friendly.  They know of our relationship with Jesus and continue their contact with us.  We can and do pray that the Lord is continuing to draw them to Himself and that He will use our fragrance.  But there is another group that are in the process of rejecting the Savior.  Quite frankly, we stink to them.  We can be as friendly as humanly possible but they are continually offended by our stench!

I am a people pleaser and it bothers me when I am rejected because of my faith in the Lord.  Yet, I understand that the claims of Jesus do have a polarizing effect on people.  The lines are drawn and there is no middle ground when it comes to saving faith in Christ.  I am just thankful that for those God is drawing to Himself, I can be a pleasing aroma.

Lord, keep me faithful to You.


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How Many Steps?

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:11-12  “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

If 10,000 steps are needed daily to keep in shape, then reaching that quota would be no problem when visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia!  This beautiful medieval town on the southern coast sits inside ancient walls.  Its historic old town is charming and filled with stone steps.  A team of young people took it upon themselves to actually count them.  Including the stone steps on the city walls, the grand total is 5,423!  No wonder the picture shows two tourists sitting down on those steps to rest!

Today’s verse talks about our steps.  When walking in the way of wisdom they are not hampered.  When walking straight paths we can even run without stumbling.  Wisdom gained from God’s Word and instruction makes the path more doable.  God’s Word is our source of wisdom allowing us to see our feet and making our steps sure.  Steps are hampered when we rely on our own understanding rather than taking Him at His Word (Prov. 3:5-6)

I do not normally think of running up and down steps, but I do find myself running headlong into decisions without asking for the Lord’s guidance first!  The resulting “stumble” is God’s way of reminding me that there is a better way……His way!  A stumble and boo-boo on the knee is uncomfortable but not life-threatening.   But how much more agreeable my life can be without all the band-aids on skinned knees.  I am to give “careful thought” to the path I choose (Prov. 4:26).  His wisdom is always there and available.

Lord, please guide my steps today.