Devotions By Jan


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Slip Cover

Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And You forgave the guilt of my sin.”

My couch was only three years old and from a reputable company.  And yet, being made of bonded leather, it slowly “unbonded” with cracking and chipping.  Being that it was structurally sound I decided to invest in a good slip cover.  The difference was immediate!  I sit on it and it does not move.  And best of all, those obvious flaws are covered and it looks brand new!

Today’s verse tells us that we can very successfully cover up our flaws.  By not acknowledging our disobedience and rebellion against the Lord, we do our best to hide our imperfections.  And it can even seem successful.  Like Adam and Eve who immediately covered themselves with fig leaves after their disobedience, we too have that have the tendency to hide the problem.  As long as we do so, forgiveness is unavailable.  The Lord waits for us to come clean with Him and admit our sin.  And when we do, He is gracious to forgive not only the sin but even the guilt it produces!

Eventually, the cover starts to slip when I try to hide my disobedience.  Sure, I can look good on the outside, but He is not fooled.  He sees all the problems underneath.  My cover up leaves me struggling with feelings of guilt and shame.  He knows and I know what I am hiding.  But with sincere confession, He forgives the sin and the guilt.  There is no longer the need for covering up as He makes me absolutely new! (II Cor. 5:17)

Thank you Lord,  that You know what is underneath and You love and forgive me anyway.

 

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Hockey Stick

Scripture for Today: Luke 12:15 “Then He said to them, ‘Be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'”

There are some players in this picture that seem more prepared than their fellow hockey enthusiasts.  They are the ones with their hockey sticks touching the ice.  Regardless of where the hockey puck is, they have their sticks in position and at the ready.  That puck can come out of nowhere and with lightening speed, catching a player off guard.  The smart player will keep his hockey stick touching the ice as much as possible.

Today’s verse is a warning from Jesus to a crowd of listeners.  It was a specific response to a question about making an inheritance fair.  Jesus follows this warning with a parable about the rich fool whose goal in life is to store up more and more things, to the point of building bigger storehouses.  There are different kinds of greed to guard against.  And knowing that a life of significance is not found in possessions is one of the ways we can keep our “hockey stick on the ice” and be on our guard!

Greed is sneaky and insidious.  It is something that I need to guard against or it will influence my thoughts and my behavior.  Regardless of how much I have, the world tells me that more is better.  But in God’s economy, I am to be, “rich towards God.” (verse 21)  And I can be on guard by being in His Word and reminding myself of what really constitutes life; a loving trusting relationship with my Creator.  If I am greedy for anything, may it be more of Him, more of His love and beauty in my life!

Lord, be my defense against greed today.


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Rainbow Cake

Scripture for Today: Romans 16:19 “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.”

There is a twist in the new season of the television show, The Bachelor.  Everyone is talking about his complete inexperience.  Some think it wonderful.  Others are scratching their heads.  The young woman interviewed before meeting him had her doubts.  She felt that no one could know if a person was the right one without a trial run.  She described her life as a “rainbow cake,” having tried many colors and flavors!

Today’s verse flies in the face of that kind of thinking.  Wisdom comes from knowing and practicing what is good according to God’s standards.  Believers are to be totally innocent and even naive when it comes to evil.  Unlike Eve, we do not have to touch or eat evil to recognize it (Genesis 3).  God has made His laws clear and they are established, not to ruin our fun but to protect our vulnerable hearts and give us the best life possible.  There is even delight in the path of His commands (Ps. 119:35)

The only thing I miss out on when saying, “no,” to temptation is the heartache that can come with it.  The prevailing thought changes with the times but His standards are eternal.  What the world says is wise is absolute foolishness in God’s eyes when it deviates from His law (I Cor. 1:20)  How is it that the creature thinks he knows better than the Creator?  I do not want my life to be a rainbow cupcake.  I want it to be the pure unsullied white of His righteousness.  I want to be sweet, naive and innocent.

Thank you Lord, that Your forgiveness makes that possible!

 

 


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Watering Can

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Will owning this $35,000 watering can from Tiffany’s make the water somehow superior for my plants?  Perhaps at that price, watering my artificial plants will bring them to life!  This “must-have” is made of sterling silver and copper and makes a statement.  It is saying, “I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it!”  This watering can is a limited edition and is part of a line called “Everyday Object” collection.  Unfortunately, it will not be a part of my everyday!

Today’s verse is about a different kind of water drawn up from a well of salvation.  The container is not at all important but what it contains is!  What is drawn up from the well represents strength, trust and the ability to be without fear with God as our Defender (verse 2). God is our salvation as He has turned from His justifiable anger and instead comforts us when we turn to Him for forgiveness (verse 1).  When drawing from this well, we do so with joy and anticipation!

I love the illustration of water as it is essential not only to life but to eternal life!  Jesus has quenched the thirst of my soul for love, significance, and beauty.  How amazing it is that His water also allows me to move through life without fear!  As my Savior He is also my Defender (Romans 8:31).  When I feel weak, He strengthens me.  When I am feeling under attack, He defends me.  He is more than worthy of my trust.  Nothing can separate me from His love and without fear, I can face each new day with joy and anticipation.

Lord, I need to draw from Your well today.

 


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Closing Bell

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

When that bell peals its piercing note and the sound of it drifts away, all the frantic activity comes to an abrupt halt.  Everything stops.  At least until the next day there are no more opportunities for trade on the New York Stock Exchange.  Everyone carefully listens for it as the timing can change priorities for those traders on the floor.

In today’s verse is the sound, not of a bell but of a trumpet.  It is the last trumpet and signals a stop as well to all frantic activity.  It is a sound that will signal the end of all time as we know it.  This trumpet announces the resurrection and it will be heard all over the world.  When it is blown, those believers who have died will receive their new incorruptible bodies.  Those believers still living at the time will also be changed.  Death will forever be swallowed up in victory!  What a day that will be!

Reading about this future event affects me TODAY.  Knowing this truth helps me stay steadfast, immoveable, and prioritizing my service to Him (verse 58).  Looking towards the resurrection and eternity convinces me that my work for the Lord is never futile or in vain.  I want to be listening for and anticipating this sound.  It closes the opportunity to serve Him here on earth.  But look what it opens!  An eternity of rest and reward with the Lover of my soul!

Thank you Lord, for the change that is coming!

 


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Cloudy

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to Me for I have redeemed you.”

Poor little guy.  It looks as if he can hardly see with those cataracts.  Certain breeds are more prone to this condition.  This cloudy vision can start very young with just a pinpoint that no one even notices.  But with age it can progress to cover the entire lens.  Disease, old age and trauma to the eye are all culprits, but the most common cause is hereditary.  For dogs as with humans, vision becomes cloudy.

The clouds in today’s verse are a picture of our offenses.  Our sins are also described as morning mist.  Both clouds and mist can cloud our spiritual vision.  The clouds for the Israelites in this text came from their worship of idols.  As a result, they lost sight of who the one true God really is.  But God promised not to forget them.  He is loving and ready to forgive those who turn to Him.  He sweeps away everything that blocks our view of Him.

My trouble is that I get used to a cloudy view!  It can happen so slowly and subtly that I am not even aware that my view of Him is fuzzy.  I think I see Him just fine.  But in fact, my view is shrouded by my own stubborn will and rebellion.  Thankfully, with humility and confession my renewed relationship with Him brings clarity!  I can, like David, gaze upon His beauty (Psalm 27:4).  And He is beautiful!  His beauty is made up of light, glory and grace.  And the more I see Him, the more I want to love Him and serve Him.

Lord, thank you for sweeping away the clouds from my eyes!


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Most Sinful Cities?

Scripture for Today: Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Do you live in a sinful city?  A study was done recently by WalletHub ranking American cities by their level of sin.  The areas judged were Anger and Hatred, Jealousy, Excesses and Vices, Greed, Lust, Vanity and Laziness.  It was interesting to see how each of these categories led to overt crimes or social ills.  Here is their list of the top ten: (number one being most sinful) 1. Las Vegas 2. Los Angeles 3. New York 4. Houston 5. St Louis 6. Atlanta 7. Miami 8. Philadelphia 9. Chicago 10. Orlando.

Today’s verse helps to level the playing field.  All is a pretty inclusive word!  There is not a city, village or hamlet on this earth that is not affected by sin.  And the reason these cities are sinful has very little to do with what city ordinances allow or do not allow.  The reason cities are sinful is because they are full of sinful people.  The hard truth taught in Scripture is that all of mankind stands guilty of sin before the Lord.  We all fall short of the glory of His perfection.

I am so thankful that this hard truth does not stop there!  Just as all have broken God’s laws, so all have the opportunity to be freely forgiven and declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice!  I have been bought back from sin’s ownership because of His love and grace!  I am a sinner but I am a sinner that is saved by His grace.  I do not deserve it.  But because of His unmerited favor, I am “in Christ” (Rom. 8:1) and my sin no longer condemns me!

Thank you Lord, for forgiving me.