Devotions By Jan


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Summer Breeze

Scripture for Today: John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

It is not uncommon to be approached by vendors on the beaches of France in their hopes of selling you a scarf. Scarves are worn regardless of the time of year. In the summer they are lightweight rather than heavy and are especially worn when there might be a current of air. It is commonly thought that a cold could be caught on that summer breeze!

Today’s verse talks about being born of the Spirit. Jesus is telling a very religious Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that he must be born again. The Greek word for “Spirit” is the same as that for “wind.” And God’s Spirit is like the wind being invisible, powerful and unpredictable. That wind can be light and gentle, like a soft current of air. Or the wind can be a powerful gale that abruptly changes everything. Believers are to live by the Spirit and keep in step with Him (Gal. 5:25). He gives us the wisdom and understanding to know and follow what God wants (Col. 1:9).

Sometimes, the leading of His Spirit is unmistakeable as He steers me clear of compromising situations or obvious sin. But other times I can easily miss what He wants and be “out of step.” My own will is awfully strong and frankly, I do not always want to ask for His. I use that “scarf” to avoid feeling the wind. However, keeping in step with Him is far better as He makes my path straight. When I acknowledge and submit to Him (Prov. 3:5-6) I find His way is always better.

Lord, help me follow Your Spirit today.


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Stuff Manager

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.”

Are you a “Stuff Manager” like me? At least I am more organized with my “stuff” than this homeowner! Even so I resent the time and trouble possessions require. There is shelving it, boxing it, or relegating it to either the garage or storage unit. There is bagging it for the thrift store and carting it off. Or I end up throwing out what was once a treasure with the trash. But as hard as I try, the stuff invariably piles up again!

Today’s verse talks about storing 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 as 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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A New Season

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

The vineyards of Alsace, France are breathtaking in the autumn! Rich golden color covers the hillsides and when the sun shines just right, the leaves look to be on fire! But before long these leaves turn brown, shrivel and fall to the ground, exposing gnarled bare branches. I miss being surrounded by these vineyards as they mark the passing of time. There was a sense of order and comfort knowing that each season will make its appearance in due time.

Today’s verse reminds us of the passing of time and seasons. The earth is locked into a cycle of time that has no equivalent above the heavens. The seasons are unique to us. Heaven and eternity are not bound or limited by time. And each season that God ordains in our lives has a God-given purpose for His glory. There is a time for birth or death, mourning or dancing, speaking or remaining silent, among many other activities “under heaven.” (verse 2-8)

In the blink of an eye, a new season has arrived in my life. I did not ask for the change. I was happy with the old season. But it is my Heavenly Father who ushers in a different life without a loved one. And because He has been faithful in the past, I know I can trust Jesus for this unfamiliar territory. I am confident that He will move me through this season of sadness and loss in His way and in His time. How thankful I am that there is coming a “season” that will be eternal and unchanging in Heaven! What an incredible time of reunion it will be!

Lord, keep me focused on that time without end!


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How Do You Say Goodbye?

Scripture for Today: I Thessalonians 4:13 “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

I love the way the French express their goodbyes. “Au revoir” has the idea of seeing one again right there in the word. It was a long goodbye for my Mother-in-law as she left us for Heaven. But how wonderful it was for her to have the chance to say her goodbyes to so many of her family and friends. There were tears, hand-holding and hugs. There was even a live violin concert right there in her bedroom!

Today’s verse tells us that for the believer in Christ there is a different way to grieve. We grieve with hope. The separation is painful and hard but it is temporary. Death has been swallowed up in victory! It is a passage where the perishable is clothed with imperishable and the mortal with immortality! (I Cor. 15:53-54) One day there will be an incredible reunion of laughing and singing and dancing! The sting of death will be forever removed. This sure hope makes a temporary separation bearable.

“When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart and hope to meet again.” And my hope is not just wishful thinking but a certainty!  My hope is built on Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me. It is on that cross that He triumphed over death, insuring eternal life for those who place their trust in Him. It is this hope that changes my grief. It is this hope that helps me say goodbye.

Thank you Lord, that grief does not crush me.  Thank you Lord, that Your hope is my comfort.


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See No Evil…

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The first monkey has eyes half closed. The second seems stoic and unmoving, perhaps not hearing. And the third may be speaking something, but hopefully not something evil. See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil is a well-known proverb. The idea is that we are to ignore any evil we come in contact with. Supposedly, ignoring evil keeps one virtuous. Although mass shootings are unfortunately not new, I am hearing the word, “evil” bandied about more freely by the media.

Today’s verse is part of a description of evil, its source and how to stand up against it! Evil comes from the intentional schemes of the devil (verse 11). It is not just an idea or the absence of good. Evil is the plan of Satan and although his strategy may be to use individuals, he himself is the ultimate source. To use anything other than the armor of God will be a losing proposition. It involves struggle but not against flesh and blood. Evil is a spiritual problem that can never be resolved except through God’s intervention.

Am I the only one who believes the world is getting darker and darker? Thankfully, there is ultimate victory over evil through Christ’s sacrifice for sin. And as a believer I am not without resources. Rather than ignore evil, I am to stand firm against it with objective unchangeable truth and righteous living. I am to fight back by spreading the good news of peace with God through Christ. My arsenal is faith, salvation and confidence in God’s Word.

Thank you Lord that through You, evil is overcome.