Devotions By Jan


Star of Bethlehem

Scripture for Today:  Daniel 12:3  “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

The starry sky can be so beautiful and awe inspiring.  I can just imagine the night sky near the time of Christ’s birth.  The star of Bethlehem, faithfully followed over miles and miles, led the wise men to exactly where Jesus was living as a young child.  There are those who want to explain away this miracle by pointing out some astronomical phenomenon.  However one may want to explain it, it remains unexplainable!  This star actually went before them and positioned itself over the exact location where they could find Jesus.

Our verse today teaches that those who are wise shine like the night sky.  Those who lead others to righteousness are likened to stars.  Of course, I have no wisdom or righteousness of my own.  I Corinthians 1:30 says that Christ became for me wisdom from God and righteousness.  He is my source.

The star of Bethlehem led those wise men to Wisdom and Righteousness in the person of Jesus.  Those who lead others to Christ today are doing the same.  In a sense, I can also be a star with the light of my life pointing others to Him.  If I shine at all, it is for Him.  My desire is that my light, like that star, lead others to the Source of wisdom and righteousness.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world.  What a privilege to be a part of His light and to guide others to Him!  Have a blessed light-filled Christmas!

(a re-post from Christmas 2012)


Home for the Holidays

Scripture for Today:  II Corinthians 5:8  “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

I love the sappy Christmas carol with the words, “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays.”  I am blessed to have my whole family here in France with me this year; my son, my two daughters, and their husbands, AND my baby grandson!  It is a rare event.  Somehow, as the kids grow into adults, coming together gets more and more complicated.  Oh, and then there is the ocean between us.

I asked my 90 year-old mother on the phone if she thought Christmas is celebrated every year in heaven.  She laughed at the idea and then said that they probably are celebrating every day up there!  But I do wonder if those that have gone before us mark the day in some way.

Our verse for today expresses Paul’s preference to be “home with the Lord” rather than at home in his body.  I love the idea of HOME.  It brings to mind love, warmth, and shelter.  This holiday season I am working hard to make our home warm and welcoming for the family’s arrival.  But Paul believes that being home with the Lord is far better than living here on earth.

There are friends and relatives of mine already with the Lord.  I miss them.  But they are home.  What is more, they are home for the holidays, in their true home.  The holidays they are enjoying far outshine what we can do to celebrate here on earth.  No budget, no tiredness, no dashed expectations, no overindulgence!

It is true, there is no place like home for the holidays.  How much more this is true for our eternal home!



Scripture for Today:  Luke 2:18-19  “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

The manger scene or crèche is a common sight during Christmas time as France is a traditionally Catholic country.  Many of them include figurines called, “santons.”  They are beautifully crafted from a clay found in the region of Provence.

Santons (little saints) were first made in the late 1700’s during the French revolution.  At that time churches were forced to close and the large nativity scenes were forbidden.  So these small clay figures were used instead.

I especially like this santon of Mary as she looks so pensive.  Our verse today speaks of Mary pondering.  She pondered and reflected over all that the shepherds had said.  Pondering means to recall to mind or simply to remember.  I am sure that throughout the life of her Son, she re-visted in her mind the miracles surrounding His birth.  Remembering those miracles helped Mary to face all kinds of difficulties in her life.

Just before opening our gifts on Christmas morning, our family reads aloud the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke.  It is a tradition I enjoy as it helps me to ponder and remember.  But there are opportunities to ponder in my heart every day.

I have not personally experienced the miraculous the way Mary did.  No angels or signs in the sky to ponder.  But He has done a miracle in my life that is spectacular.  He has called me to Himself.  He has forgiven me and made me pure.  That is a miracle!

May I keep remembering and pondering the miracle of His salvation for me!


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Out of Power

electric-power-lines-with-blue-sky-and-daytime-moonScripture for Today:  I Chronicles 29:12  “Wealth and honor come from You.  You are the ruler of all things.  In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”

We had a power outage this morning.  I forget how dependent I am on electricity, especially for my morning routine.  I automatically go to the coffee maker expecting coffee.  I try to turn on the lights to put on my make-up.  I have to stop myself from sitting down to the computer.  It is annoying to have my routine interrupted.  The upside is that we walked into town for our coffee (and a pastry)!

We have these outages fairly frequently and some of them have put us in a panic!  One time we and a team of young people were scheduled to leave for the airport at 3:00 am.  The electric gate would not open to allow us to leave!

In our verse today I am reminded that it is the Lord who grants us strength and power for life.  I do not often recognize this fact.  It is easy to think that I am the one who makes things happen.  But in fact, strength and power are in His hands.

I need His strength.  When working without His power, things do not turn out quite the same.  It is like trying to live without electricity.  But when I plug in to the strength that He offers, I am energized to do what He asks of me in a day.  His power gives me a desire to do His will.  Philippians 2:13 says that He is at work in me to create the power and desire to do what pleases Him.

Thank you Lord, that in the spiritual realm there is no power outage with You!


Reflected Light

moon-at-night-1Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 42:8  “I am the Lord: that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.”

Often when my children were young we would see a big bright moon in the sky and chant the little ditty, “I see the moon and the moon sees me.  God bless the moon and God bless me!”

The moon can be so beautiful and it inspires so many romantic scenarios!  But what is interesting about the moon is that it has no light of its own.  The light that it shines is the reflected light from the sun.  In fact, the side of the moon that is not facing the sun is always cold and dark.

In our verse today, there is only one Source of light or glory and that is the Lord.  We can not claim any glory as originating in ourselves.   The Lord does not share His glory.  But He does want us to reflect it.  It is our purpose here on earth to shine in this darkness and point others to Him.  But it is HIS glory and light that we are reflecting.

To take this illustration further, we all have a dark side!  Just like the moon, whatever is not facing the light can not reflect it.  I can not reflect His glory when I claim that glory for myself.  The dark side is the part of me that takes credit when it rightfully belongs to His work in me.

I do not want any cold or dark sides to me.  I want all of me to shine!  I want to give Him the glory for any and all accomplishments.  I want Him to have the credit for anything that is good in my life.  May I reflect His glory today!