Devotions By Jan


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Recipes

Scripture for Today :                  

Deuteronomy 10: 12-13  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”

It felt really good to be asked for a recipe the other day.  It is more often the case that I am asking my French friends for their recipes!  It is not easy to convert all my American measures into the metric system, however.  And of course, the cooking vocabulary is very precise.  But I felt flattered enough to stick with the translation.

I did not worry about all the verbs being in the command form.  It is a recipe after all.  I did not bother writing, “please beat the eggs.”  Or “would you mind chopping the nuts.”  But no one is offended.  We are directive because we know that it is for a good result.  We follow the commands to obtain that positive result.

Our verse today is full of commands.  There is no softening of what God requires of us.  But His commands are always with a good goal.  They are always for our good and for our protection.  We know that because HE is good.  It follows that His commandments are too.

The attitude that King David had towards God’s commandments was one of delight in keeping them!  He understood that His directives were an expression of His love and care.  If God’s commandments are really for my good, then why am I always trying to change the recipe?

(Thanks to Catherine Koning for this recipe idea!)

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Pass the Salt

Scripture for Today:  Matthew 5:13                               

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

It may seem like I have a lot of salt shakers but in fact, compared to the collection my sister used to have, this is nothing!  I do not always put them on the table though.  I like to think that the food I have prepared for my guests is already perfectly seasoned.  In fact, one of my pet peeves is when guests salt their food before even tasting it.

Before refrigeration salt was necessary for preserving food.  But there are so many other uses for salt.  It can set colors or brighten them.  It can prevent fruit from browning.  Salt keeps the ants away; they do not like to walk on it.  Salt can “de-ice” the roads.  It keeps flowers fresh.  Salt even calms down a BBQ fire, reducing the flames and smoke.  And salt has numerous cleaning properties.

As believers we are called the salt of the earth.  We are to have an influence in our world.  But we can lose our saltiness by conforming to our world.  When we adopt the values of those around us, we lose our influence.

For me to be salt and an influence for Christ, I need to be out there in the world.   Salt does no good sitting on the shelf with all the other salt shakers.  But there is always the risk of losing my saltiness.  The pull of this world’s system is strong.  I am faced everyday with the temptation to compromise my standards.  My prayer today is that my testimony stays strong and yes, salty!


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Promises

Scripture for Today:  II Corinthians 1:20  “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

We live in an area of France where there is a fair amount of rain.  The upside is that we can enjoy the rainbows too!  This one is a double, although the second one is very faint.

When I see a rainbow, I think about God’s promises.  What a beautiful reminder it is that unlike us, God keeps His Word.  He has promised to never again send a world-wide flood to judge mankind.  But I not only think of this promise, but of others too.

Our verse today talks about the many promises of God.  And there are so many in Scripture.  Every one of
them is sure.  The word “amen” means “so be it.”  Because of His faithfulness we can have the confidence that it will be!  Our “amen” expresses this confidence.

My favorite promises have to do with His love for me.  It is eternal and never changes.  He does not love me more tomorrow than today because His love is unconditional.  His love for me does not improve with time as He IS love.  His love is already perfect and an attribute of who He is.

There are so many other promises He gives us as His children: joy, peace, strength, victory over sin, His presence, meeting our needs…….the list goes on.  They are all YES.  Our verse tells us that we glorify God by agreeing with Him that He will fulfill His promises.

Normally, I am a sun-loving Californian.  But let it rain.  The next time I see a rainbow I will say, “Amen!”


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Waiting

Scripture for Today:  Psalms 37:9  “For evildoers will be cut off.  But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.”

My crock pot has definitely seen better days!  The only setting that still works is “high” but it is still incredibly slow.  But then that is the idea.  The flavors have the time to really develop and intensify.  Smelling the dish cook for an entire day makes my mouth water in anticipation.  But I have to wait.

My Mother used to say that, ” good things come to those who wait.”  That is certainly a spiritual truth as well.  Our verse today talks about waiting for our inheritance.  The inheritance promised to believers in the New Testament is not literal land, but a heavenly reward that is eternal.  (I Peter 1:4)  But it is all in the future, which means having to wait.

Waiting is not something I enjoy doing.  I get impatient.  Waiting in long lines is the worst.  What really angers me is to see someone cut in line!  The other day in the “10 articles or less” line, I spoke (nicely) to the woman ahead of me.  She had a cart filled to the brim.  She corrected me, pointing to the sign above.  It was actually indicating the cash register next to us.  Oops.

There are evildoers all around us that seem to prosper.  There are those who profit by dishonest means and seem to get away with it.  However, they will be cut off.  Their riches are temporal.  In contrast, the inheritance belonging to God’s children is beyond the reach of change and decay.  It is unsullied and unfading.

No, I do not like to wait.  But it sounds like waiting for the Lord is well worth the wait!


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Scars

Scripture for Today:  I Peter 2:24  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”

The human body is amazing.  It can take such abuse and still function.  My husband, after years of basketball, has had four knee operations, two on each knee.  We tease each other that one knee is German and one knee is French!  He continues to play to this day but he will always have the scars.

I have a scar on my hand dating back to pre-teen days.  I was angry at my Mother at the time, so angry I could hardly see straight.  I walked into our glass side door, thinking it was open.  I can not look at that scar without thinking of my loss of control!

The Lord is so good to heal us from our injuries and from our diseases.  He promises us a glorified body one day that will never need healing again.  Our verse today talks about the price He paid for our physical and spiritual healing, His death on the cross.  We have been healed.  But sometimes scars are left behind.

I wonder why He allows those scars to remain.  They usually fade with time but why have them at all?  Perhaps, the scars are there to remind us of His healing in our lives.  They remind us of His goodness and grace.  We look at our scars and remember how we have failed and how much we need Him.  Our scars keep us humble.

We all have scars, seen or unseen.  Normally, scars are not so pretty.  But if they remind us of His love and forgiveness, if they remind us of His grace and healing, then they can be  beautiful!


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Meditating

Scripture for Today:  Psalms 77:11-12  “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;  surely I will remember your wonders of old.  I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds.”

There are plenty of cows in our area of France.  But then for a country with so many varieties of cheese, it stands to reason they would be everywhere!  It is fun to hear  the cow bells clanging.  Sometimes I feel like I live in the setting of a novel.

These cows are eating but it will be a very long time before they are finished.  Chewing their cud seems to take forever.  Their hay and grass is brought up from their stomachs back to their mouths to be chewed again, and again!  Their food is not completely digested until it has been brought up 62 times!

Our verse today talks about remembering, meditating and musing on all of the Lord’s wondrous works.  Memories are short.  One can hear and read of the miracles the Lord has done and yet forget them entirely.  Meditating is like chewing cud.  The truths in Scripture need to be digested again and again before they have an impact on our lives.

There are plenty of moments in the day where my mind is inactive or on “pilot.”  It takes an effort of the will to turn my mind to spiritual things and ruminate on His goodness.  But what a blessing when I do!  If it takes the cow 62 times to digest something, I wonder how long I need to meditate on a verse for it to “stick!”  I have the feeling it is more than 62 times!  There are no loftier thoughts than thoughts of Him.  He is worthy of all my thoughts.

Lord, keep me meditating on You and Your Word throughout this day.


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A New Day

Scripture for today:  Psalm 118:24  “This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

This is an interesting billboard, completely blank.  Its size gives it enormous capacity for influence.  It could be just about anything.  All the potential is there to create something.

I like to think of this new day like that blank billboard.  Each day is God’s creation.  Each day has potential.  We can rejoice and be glad at the start of each new day.  The Lord has created it and He has something specific in mind for me today.  This is not just positive self-talk but Scriptural Truth.  He has plans for me this day.  All twenty four hours are at His disposal.  My billboard for today will not be blank for long as He begins creating.

Everyone around me sees what God is creating in me today.  My billboard influences others.  People who do not know Him, and would in fact not be interested in opening a Bible, are nonetheless watching me.  My day has the potential to influence others for Him

There are days I wake up with a less-than-positive attitude.  I may think I know what is ahead for the day and it is not a subject for joy and gladness.  All the obligations facing me can bring me down, if that were my focus.  But the message in this verse is that God gave me this day.  He created it.  He is in control of my day.  He has plans for it that I may know nothing about!  I can face the day with joy regardless of what it might or might not hold.  Why?  Because He is in it, and in His presence is “fulness of joy.”