Devotions By Jan

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Scripture for Today:  Lamentations 3:21-23  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  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.”

What on earth does an iron have to do with today’s topic of remembering??  Except maybe the problem of remembering to turn off the iron!  This is one of those times when speaking another language gives some fun insight.  The words “call to mind”or “remember” are translated in French as “repasser.”  This word means to pass over something again and again.  The iron in French is a “fer à repasser.”  Of course in ironing that is what we do, go over a wrinkle over and over until it’s smoothed out.

We are told in our verse to remember His GREAT love, His compassions and His faithfulness.  In doing so we can live with hope.  My problem is that I often forget.  My heart must be made of linen, a material difficult to iron.  I have to go over and over these truths to make them stick.  But if we continue with this image of an iron, we can see how it takes pressure and heat to be effective.

It is because of trials that I can say with confidence that God is loving, compassionate and faithful.  Somehow, the heat and pressure of hard times improves my memory.  I wish it did not take trials to remember, but it does.  When I look back on the difficulties He has brought me through, I am always reminded of His love and faithfulness to me.  Today I want to call these truths to mind without the stimulus of a trial.

Lord, help me to focus on Your great love, Your compassions and Your faithfulness!

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What’s in a Name?

Scripture for Today:  Phil. 2:9-10  “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

Meet our French landlords, Mr. and Mrs. Hell.  We have a hard time keeping a straight face when addressing them by name!!  But they are wonderful people.  I believe they are unaware of what their name means in English.  It means nothing in French but in German “hell” means “light” or “bright.”  Go figure.

In Biblical times much more thought was given to the meaning of a name.  In our day we are more concerned with how it sounds.  But there is one name that has a significance far beyond any other name, the name of Jesus.

In the future I will be with that mass of humanity bowing my knee at the name of Jesus with a heart full of gratitude for His salvation!  But, am I bowing my knee today?  Does my life reverence His name by recognizing His authority over me?  Quite frankly there are days when my attitude is far from submissive.  I rebelliously want my own way and I’m not even interested in hearing His name.  Those days do not turn out so well!  My prayer is that TODAY my knee will bow at His name, honoring Him with true submission.


Cultural Misfits


Scripture for today:  Hebrews 11:13b and 14 …”and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.”

Do you remember the old song on Sesame Street that says, “One of these things is not like the other.  One of these things just doesn’t belong…”  It is obvious from this photo which of us does not belong.  Living as a foreigner in France means one often feels like a “cultural misfit.”  After 23 years of living in France I am still dumbfounded by newly discovered differences in their thinking!

What is even more surprising to me is having this same out-of-place feeling when visiting the USA.  My frame of reference has changed and I have grown comfortable with what previously was strange to me.  I find it difficult to change again to the American way of thinking when there.  So in fact, I consider myself a “cultural misfit” on both sides of the ocean.

The verse for today is in a chapter that lists the great men and women of faith.  What is true of all of them is that they were looking for a country of their own.  They were not comfortable in their culture.  In verse 16 it says they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.  So in one sense, we are ALL called to be “cultural misfits.”  As believers our citizenship is in heaven and we are not to feel too comfortable in whatever country we live.  We are not home yet.

One day, I will cease feeling like a square peg in a round hole.  One day, I will belong.  One day, I will no longer have need of a passport, visa, or suitcase.  One day the same will be true for YOU.  But for now, let’s encourage one another that it’s OK to be a “cultural misfit” for Christ’s sake.