Devotions By Jan


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Twins?

IMG_9349Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:14  “I will praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

The unthinkable actually happened.  We were visiting a chateau in the Loire Valley with friends and I crossed paths with my twin.  OK, so she was not my twin but we were wearing the same dress.  Normally, one does not strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in French society, but in this case an exception was made!  We had a good laugh and teased each other about our good taste and our different accessories.

More than once, I have almost stopped someone on the street, thinking they were someone else.  Looking similar is big business for the celebrity look-alikes.  But in fact, there are always differences between us, even among identical twins.  Each one of us is unique.

Our verse for today comes from a psalm of David that acknowledges God’s intimate knowledge of His creation.  From the very beginning in our mother’s womb, He has formed us to be exactly who we are.  Our particular combination of DNA is not by chance.  Each one of us can say we are unique, unlike anyone else.

The same can be said of our relationship with God.  Although all believers have the same access to God through His Son, Jesus, each of us relate to Him differently.  Our personalities, life experiences, our emotions and our understanding of God’s Word all play a part in this special and unique relationship.  There are no cookie-cutter ways to love and commune with Him.  His relationship with me is unique to me.  His relationship with you is unique to you.

He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Thank you Jesus, for being my King and my Lord.


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German Baths

_big_img__1324368350Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 9:27 “But I buffet my body and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit.”

I so enjoyed a day at the baths recently.  They have these centers in France but the closest and nicest is just over the border into Germany.  The indoor pool has strategically placed jets along the walls.  Each one is at a different height to pummel a different part of the body.  Their force is so strong it took the polish right off my toe nails!  I felt a bit beat up but good at the same time, a bit like a wet noodle!

As the water buffeted my body, it reminded me of our verse for today.  Paul was using an image of something much less pleasant; a boxing image.  He likened the self discipline he wanted to beating his body into submission.  The context is one of strict training for a race.  Without self discipline one can easily disqualify oneself.  Paul does not want to run aimlessly but with purpose.  He runs in such a way as to win the prize; a crown that will last forever.  To do that he must make his body his slave, rather that be enslaved by his body.  Paul understood his own weaknesses and the potential to become unfit.

If I am honest with myself, I see that I too could become unfit.  So many times I do the very thing I do not want to do! (Rom. 7:15)  The struggle never stops to be obedient and submissive to God’s will.  The flesh is so strong.  Buffeting my body is simply to tell it, “no!”  So much easier said than done!

Lord, help me say “no” to what does not please You.

 


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Diamonds Are Forever?

1317437055_84 Carat DiamondScripture for Today: Psalm 119:96  “I have seen that everything has its limits and end; but Your commandment is exceedingly broad and without limits, into eternity.”

The phrase, “A diamond is forever,” is recognized by over 90% of Americans.  It was coined in 1947 by Frances Gerety as part of an advertisement.  Being that a diamond is one of the hardest substances known to man, it seemed appropriate.  The diamond is made up of carbon, one of the smallest atoms that can be bonded.  With high enough temperatures these atoms compress with some very strong bonds, making the diamond incredibly durable.  The thought is that a diamond is literally forever.  The first diamond in my wedding ring was not forever.  It somehow worked its way out of the setting and is gone forever.  My current diamond already has a longer life, coming from my Grandmother’s ring from the early 1900’s.  But I know that this diamond will not last forever.

Our verse for today teaches that everything has a limit and an end.  Our treasures on earth are vulnerable to moths and rust and thieves (Matt. 6:19).  With the advent of the new earth, everything in the old earth will pass away and be replaced by the new (Rev. 21:1).  So in fact, diamonds are not forever!  But something is!

God’s Word has no limits.  It is broad, viable for every age.  And it is without end.  It will continue into eternity.  Not one letter or stroke of the pen will disappear before heaven and earth do! (Matt. 5:18)  God’s Word is forever, unlike anything we can touch on this earth.  It only makes sense to make His Word my treasure.

Thank you Lord, that Your Truth is forever.  May I love and appreciate it just like precious treasure.


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Fast Food

fast-food-nationScripture for Today:  Psalm 119:97 “Oh, how I love Your law!  I meditate on it all day long.”

In our hurried world, there are more and more opportunities to eat and run!  In this photo there is not much to indicate where one is!  Every city is looking much the same as any other with these fast food chains.  The temptation to eat hurriedly and “grab a bite” seems to always present itself.

The French culture is not about eating.  The culture here is about dining!  Food is to be prepared with care and attention to detail.  It is only in eating slowly that food is savored and appreciated.  With this cultural value, the people here have discerning palettes.  I am often surprised when my guests can taste a particular ingredient in my cooking!

Our verse for today is from a psalm that extols God’s Word.  Law, precepts, statutes, commands, decrees and ordinances all refer to God’s Word and they are sweet to the taste (verse 103).  For the psalmist, loving His Word means taking time to think on it all day long.  Meditating on its truth takes time.  The idea of meditating is to call something to mind over and over.

Life was hard in biblical times.  Everything took time.  There were no fast food choices, or any other time saving helps.  Big blocks of time for reading were maybe not an option.  But one thing is sure.  One always has the time to meditate on God’s truth.  Calling to mind a particular verse or promise is something that can be done in the midst of everyday activity.

Yes, life is incredibly busy and fast-paced.  But we always have the choice on which thoughts we choose to dwell.  Lord, keep my mind on You throughout this busy day!

 


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Tarnished

IMG_3695Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 7:1  “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

I am thrilled and proud of my latest thrift store find!  It is a silver-plated candy dish, much smaller than the tray pictured.  It did not look like much as it was so tarnished and dark.  But it was heavy and I loved its design so out came the polish.  It took time to rub.  It not only needed lots of product but lots of elbow grease as well.  Little by little the dish began to shine.  Working on it outside, I had to at one point look away as it caught and reflected the dazzling sun!  The end result was worth all the effort and it now sits proudly on my buffet.

That dull gray or black film coating is a product of a chemical reaction between a metal and a non metal compound.  In our verse for today Paul is teaching that we need purifying.  In the world we are contaminated, slowly becoming tarnished and losing our shine.  As believers, we are to be separate from the world.  In keeping ourselves untarnished from sin we are promised a close fellowship with God as a Father.

Those who belong to the Lord have a new nature.  We are no longer made of the same material.  We are metal, and we need to avoid that “chemical reaction” with non metal.  Thankfully, God has made provision for those times when we sin and compromise.  His cleansing is available when we confess, and He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Lord, keep me untarnished today.  May I shine for You!


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Graduation

IMG_20140519_172411Scripture for Today: Job 28:20-21a “Where then does wisdom come from?  Where does understanding dwell.  It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing…”

It is that time of year again when many families celebrate the graduation of one of their members.  Our first daughter’s high school graduation was memorable for several reasons.  The graduates of this European Christian school surprised their parents with a rose when leaving the stage.  I was doing great keeping a check on my emotions until then!  After that, the tears flowed.  She was our first to leave the nest and move to the other side of the ocean.

But there was another reason why I remember this graduation from so long ago.  The speaker repeated a phrase over and over; “If you want knowledge, go to college.  If you want wisdom, go to God.”  This simple but profound statement has stayed with me.  In our verse for today Job poses the question as to where wisdom can be found.  This beautiful poetic passage explores the different possibilities.  Job concludes that only God understands the way to wisdom (verse 23).  He ends the discussion with the often repeated truth, “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.” (verse 28, Psalm 111:10, Prov. 1:7)

Both my husband and I come from families where higher education is a valued priority.  But as impressive as four doctorates may sound, it all pales in comparison with God’s wisdom.  To know how to choose well and live life with skill is not something learned in a university.  It is learned from God.  It is learned through intentional obedience to His commands and precepts.  David understood that it is God who teaches wisdom (Psalm 51:6).

May I sit at Your feet and learn from You today, Lord.  Make me obedient and wise.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post from 2014)


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Location, Location, Location

10338811_10152386886079886_7110413096868332962_nScripture for Today: Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

When looking to buy real estate, it has been said that there are just three things that matter most; location, location, location!  The views enjoyed here make for a fabulous location, although I am not so sure about the access roads!

It will not be long before we will be changing location.  Change can be difficult.  The next location will have its advantages and disadvantages.  I wonder if I will be as happy and content in the new place.  The views will be different.  The climate and the neighbors will all change.  There will certainly be new challenges that come with settling in and adapting to different circumstances.

Our verse for today talks about the one who can rest content.  This verse in other versions says, “abides satisfied,” “rests secure,” or “serene.”  The fear of the Lord leads to a life that is content and serene, not fearing potential trouble.  When I think about changes ahead, I can move forward with a calm spirit.  Because I fear, worship, and serve the God of the universe, location is not such a big factor.

Whether I am on one side of the ocean or the other should not determine my contentment.  My satisfaction comes not from location, but from my relationship with the Lord.  He takes care of all matters of the heart.  He knows what makes me happy and has every power to fill my life with good gifts (James 1:17).  My role is to follow Him rather than my heart.  Because He is moving me, the new location will be nothing but positive!

Lord, help me remember that You are my contentment, regardless of my location.