Devotions By Jan


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Eating Light?

IMG_20121117_190433Scripture for Today:  Hebrews 5:13-14  “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

The other day we went out to dinner with another couple.  Ignoring the inviting aromas of pizza and pasta, I decided I would eat “light.”  The holidays are coming and there will be too many occasions to overindulge.  I honestly thought I was being “good” to order a salad.  My mistake was to not have asked more questions of our waitress!  Between the toasts, the cheese and the lardons fumés, there was nothing light about my salad.  And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway!

There are times in approaching God’s Word that I just want something “light.”  Maybe I feel rushed.  Or maybe I am feeling pretty good about myself.  No conviction today, please.  Perhaps I just want a message for someone else but not for myself.  A promise would make me feel good.  I am sometimes not sure I want to look up any cross references or dig at all.  A little light reading of something I am already familiar with would be just the thing.

Our verse today is in no way discounting “milk.”  It is necessary and foundational for the new christian.  There are times when even a mature believer will go “light” and only have what is basic or a reminder in Scripture reading.  The problem comes when one has ONLY milk and does not progress to “solid food.”  Always eating “light” does not allow for good spiritual growth.  Too much light eating will result in a failure to distinguish between good and evil.

Lord, help me not to go “light” on Your Word today.


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What’s on the Other side?

IMG-20120208-00098Scripture for Today:   I Corinthians 2:9  “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.”

I found this rock wall formation mysterious looking.  It marks the boundary on one side of a private community beach called Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach, CA.  Through these openings one can see what is on the other side.  Of course, how much of what one sees depends on where one is standing.

The other side looks very much the same as the Three Arch Bay beach.  I can imagine that in the distant past there was no view of the neighboring beach.  But after centuries of the elements wearing away at the rock wall, we have a limited view of the other side.

In our verse today, no one has seen the “other side.”  No eye has seen, no ear has heard.  In fact, man has yet to imagine everything that the Lord is preparing for those who love Him.  Our imagination just can not grasp how wonderful heaven will be!  Our experiences and minds are just too limited to understand all that is ahead!

However, in Scripture, He does give us a little idea, a little glimpse.  The last chapters of Revelation give us a few descriptions of the other side.  When I read them I am left with more questions than answers.  But one thing is sure….it is all good!

I love the fact that the Lord is actually preparing  for my arrival!  (see also John 14:3)  Maybe He does not give me the details because He wants me to be surprised!  So for now, I trust in His love and preparations for “the other side.”


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Rewards

IMG_20121210_105052Scripture for Today:  Colossians 3:23-24  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

We all love to be rewarded and recognized for what we do!  My husband has collected a number of trophies over the years for winning basketball tournaments.  They sit proudly on the top shelf of a bookcase in our study.  On the rare occasions when I dust them, I think about those happy proud moments when he was honored along with his team.

The Lord understands our need for recognition and reward and how they help to motivate us.  But there is a reluctance to talk about rewards.  It is like we are embarrassed that we need them.  There is the idea that somehow working for reward is a motive that is suspect.  And yet, the teaching of rewards is found throughout Scripture.

Our verse for today is quite clear about linking reward to our motivation to work hard.  It is for Him that we  work and not for the approval and recognition of men.  It is always nice, of course, to have that pat on the back from men too.  But it does not always come.

There are many times that others do not see what we do, or in seeing, say nothing in the way of thanks or appreciation.  Those words of approval are important to keep us going.  We are just made that way. That is why we need to be reminded of God’s rewards.  He sees.  He knows.  He is pleased with our service to Him.

His approval, His approbation, His reward keep me going.  Please Lord, may I one day hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”


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Whiter than Snow

IMG_8034Scripture for Today:  Psalm 51:7  “Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

We had a beautiful snowfall this morning.  There is something special about waking up to a whitewashed landscape.  All the sad bare trees suddenly look festive.  Add hot chocolate and all is right with the world!

Our landlord, Mr. Hell, is a big help (yes, that is his name!  See “What’s in a Name” Aug.27, 2012).  He clears the long alley way out to the street with his tractor.  Before long, the snow no longer looks so clean and white.  There are foot prints, tire tracks and Tiger’s paw prints all sullying its brightness.  As the snow melts and mixes with the mud beneath, the white gets lost in grey.

Our verse today says that I can be whiter than snow.  The Lord’s forgiveness makes me that way.  My sin makes my heart dirty.  My guilt makes it dark.  But the Lord promises full cleansing when I confront and confess my sin.  His forgiveness makes everything white and bright again.

Like the snow outside, the whiteness of my heart does not seem to last very long!  Sin creeps back in little by little, dimming the white and changing it to grey.  Before long it is too noticeable to ignore.  The washing of my heart needs to be a daily routine.  Just as the washing of the disciples’ feet in John 13 is a daily necessity, so is my daily confession.

How wonderful to experience the new freshness of bright white snow!  How amazing that God’s forgiveness does the same for me!  His patient and consistent pardon means that each day can have a new white beginning.  One day, that whiteness will last forever.


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My Fortress

IMG_20121124_133640Scripture for Today:  Psalm 91:2  “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

I was so impressed with this fortress amid these cliffs!  It seemed very safe and secure.  Anyone trying to approach unawares would be seen.  The advantage of height here is obvious.  I do not know the history of this fortress but the fact that it is still standing says something about its safety.

Our verse today talks about God being our fortress, a place of refuge and security.  Because of His strength and power I can be safe.  I can trust in Him.

We do have enemies, perhaps not the same kind that David had to face.  But there are many times when I am attacked.  It can come from many different quarters.  I could be attacked by a temptation.  But God promises me a way of escape (I Cor.10:13).  I may be attacked by the Satan himself, but I have God’s armor so I can stand and fight (Eph.6:11).  With this image of a fortress, from what am I safe?

I run to God, my Fortress, when I am being attacked by depression, anxiety, and despair.  I run to His presence when I am being attacked by worry , doubt, or fear.  In His arms I am reassured when assailed by  feelings of hurt or betrayal.  In Him I find the courage to face the world again.  In my quiet time with Him I am strengthened against all these attacks.

The verse says, “I will say of the Lord…”  And I am saying it here.  I want to testify to what God as my Fortress does for me.  Nothing else in this life is as trustworthy as HE is.