Devotions By Jan



langres_portehoteldevilleScripture for Today: Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Randy and I got ourselves hopelessly lost last week. We were in Langres, a medieval village in Haute Marne with my French chorale.  The ramparts surrounding it are 3.5 kilometers long with twelve towers and nine gates.  On entering one gate we were told where to meet the bus, 500 meters to the right.  The problem was, all the gates looked so similar with the same arch.  We were panicked trying to meet up with that bus!   How could we possibly know where we were going if we had no idea where we were?  We were afraid we would have to go to each of the nine gates and check for a parking lot to the right of it!  Our bus driver very kindly circled a bit to find us!

Our verse for today is all about being lost.  It comes after three parables describing a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son.  Jesus came to this earth to seek out the lost ones.  Those lost do not understand where they are nor where they are going.  What is worse is not realizing one is lost!

Being lost in Luke’s three parables meant separation from one’s owner or one’s Father.  It is the same for us.  When we live a life separate from our Creator, we lose the sense of who we are, where we are and where we are going!  He made us to enjoy a relationship with Him.  Being found is what answers all those age-old philosophical questions.

It is amazing that Jesus loved me enough to search for me and find me!  I am no longer lost.  I am found in Him.  In His arms I am home.

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The Garden Hose

feb school home 316Scripture for Today: Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour out water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.  I will pour out My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants;”

We have been having a heat wave recently here in France.  In French it is called “canicule” for anything over 90 degrees.  There are warnings on the television news and on public service announcements to drink plenty of water.

My plants are thirsty too.  It does not take much for them to look pathetic in this heat.  I have a nice long hose that reaches most of our side yard.  But so often, the hose gets a kink in it.  In fact, the further I get from the source of the water, the more likely it is that the water stops.  It is annoying to have to run back and see where the problem is!

So often in Scripture water represents God’s Spirit.  His presence gives life and health.  With Him we flourish and grow.  Without Him, we wilt and bear no fruit.  But like a kink in a hose, I can sometimes cut myself off from that source of water; His Spirit.

The flow of water is interrupted through no problem on His part!  The water blockage comes from my own pride.  I see the good things in my life and very quickly take credit for them.  I pat myself on the back for all the good decisions I have made.  Rather than recognize the Source of everything good in my life, I somehow feel I had something to do with it!  My family genes, my financial acumen, or my level of education take center stage rather than His goodness!

May I today, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!”

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 25:12-13a  “What man is he that fears the Lord?  Him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose.  His soul shall dwell at ease…”

This guy has the right idea!  What a perfect vacation, taking one’s ease in a hammock at the water’s edge!  He is the picture of relaxation and well being.  He does not seem to have a care in the world.  There is no watch or clock in sight, not even a cell phone!

I have thought about buying a hammock for my husband to relax in the yard.  But it would be too close to the clocks and the phones.  We do not have water or palm trees, so I am not sure he would reach this level of ease!

Our verse for today talks about the ease of the soul.  Some translations use the word, “prosperity,” but looking up the Hebrew I found not only the idea of “at ease” but also the words beautiful, cheerful, pleasant, pleasure and favor.  The one who fears the Lord and follows His leading is the one who enjoys this kind of ease of the soul.

Allowing the Lord to teach me His ways makes for good choices.  The unease in a soul can be avoided when I do things His way.  Obeying is not easy, but the benefit of a soul at ease is certainly worth the effort.  When I follow Him I enjoy His love and favor.  His love remains constant but I am not in a place to enjoy it when I am not following Him.  But my soul is at ease because He is leading me and He can be trusted.

A never-ending vacation is not possible but my soul can be at ease every day!  Thank you, Lord.

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Scripture for Today:  Genesis 2:24  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Paris can be so romantic!  This newlywed couple makes a pretty picture posing in front of the pyramid at the Louvre.  But when I see a pyramid or any triangle, my mind goes back to the counsel we received as young newlyweds.  It is counsel that we have passed on to many other couples just starting out.

Our verse for today talks about becoming one.  Marriage can achieve that on so many levels.  For a believer who marries another believer, there is the potential to be united at a deeper level than non-believers can realize.  When we can share our relationship with Christ, a different kind of closeness is possible.

The triangle’s three sides represent the husband, the wife, and at the apex, the Lord.  There is the line at the base that connects man and wife.  Sharing life together, learning each other’s likes and dislikes, enjoying intimacy, these all make up that connecting line.

Both the husband and wife have their individual relationships with the Lord.  We each have our own struggles with obedience and growing faith.  But as we move along that line towards the Lord, the apex of the triangle, we also are actually moving towards each other!

I never feel closer to my husband than when I hear him pouring out his heart to the Lord when we pray together.  I feel our oneness when we together serve Him in some way.  When we share our struggles with trusting Him, I feel this oneness.  When we admit our failures and together ask Him for forgiveness, I feel this oneness.  Thank you, Lord, for making us one!

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IMG_20130718_151044Scripture for Today:  Mark 10:24b-25 “Children, how hard it is for them that trust riches to enter into the kingdom of God.  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Back in December, 1999 our family visited Cairo, Egypt.  What an experience it was to bring in the new millennium there!  Our whole family enjoyed a camel ride at the base of the pyramids.  Thankfully, none of the camels dumped us over or spit on us!

Camels are amazing in that they can carry 200 extra pounds and travel 20 miles a day.  They can drink 40 gallons of water at a time and can eat anything without injuring their mouths.  Camels can close their nostrils against wind and sand, and they store energy in their humps in the form of fat.  But one thing they are unable to do is go through the eye of a needle.

I love how God’s Word teaches through images!  In our verse for today, I can picture the shock of the disciples at this one!  He had just challenged the rich young ruler to sell all he had to follow Him.  The man felt unable to do it.  Jesus explained that those who trust in their riches were at a huge disadvantage.  They would not feel their need for a Savior.

Riches are often a blessing coming directly from God’s hand.  The problem comes when I place my confidence in my own resources rather than in Him.  Riches are uncertain (I Timothy 6:17) but the Lord is worthy of my trust.  He wants me in a place of dependance on Him.  As it turns out, knowing and loving Him is the best kind of riches!