Devotions By Jan


Location, Location, Location

Scripture 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.

Leave a comment


IMG_20140519_171222Scripture for Today:  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

Our son loves to run.  In high school he was very good at cross country running.  The rugged terrain around our home was just right for training.  Later, he ran a few marathons and also did well.  The training for a full marathon (26.2 miles) is no little thing!  It is advised to begin training a full six months ahead of time, running at least three times a week.  So much of doing well is the result of mental toughness.  It is said that the last three and half miles of a marathon are the most difficult.

Our verse for today reveals Paul’s heart.  The image of a race for the Christian life must be a marathon.  Paul is approaching his last three and a half miles.  He is on his way to Jerusalem where he knows through the Spirit’s revelation that hardship and prison await him there.  He is compelled to go on, even when it means having to say his final goodbyes to the elders from the church in Ephesus.  Paul had only one aim in life, to communicate the wonderful grace of Christ that he had found.  It was a God-given task and he was determined to finish, no matter what.

That kind of mental toughness is incredible.  He finished his race well, staying faithful to the Lord and continuing his witness, even in prison.  His death as a martyr has earned Paul a special crown at the end of his marathon.

Can I be that tough?  Keep me determined Lord, so I can finish well.

Leave a comment

Tormenting Thorns

Scripture for Today:  II Corinthians 12:7 “….Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me.”

The weeds are getting nasty in my yard.  There are a few that hide out and attack my unsuspecting hands with their sharp thorns.  I do not like wearing gloves, especially when feeling for roots, so I am an easy target.  No matter how vigilant I am, they somehow make their way into the bunch I am pulling out.  Some even manage to attack my hands while being thrown out!  There is nothing worse than trying to dig a thorn out of a hand or finger.

In our verse for today, Paul is describing a tormenting thorn.  It was sent by Satan but in God’s hands it was used for a good purpose; to keep Paul from becoming conceited.  The text tells us that Paul had received some incredible visions and revelations from the Lord.  The temptation for Paul was to boast and feel spiritually strong because of them.

What was that thorn?  Many interpretations make that thorn out to be a physical problem.  I am wondering if it was a person in Paul’s life.  Numbers 33:55 describes Israel’s enemies as thorns in the side giving trouble.  Ezekiel 28:24 uses the image of a thorn to describe malicious neighbors!

A relationship that has gone sour, a conflict that goes unresolved, or a family member that has no interest in reconciliation can all be like a thorn in the flesh.  The pain and discomfort from those thorns is a constant reminder that I am weak and not strong.  Like Paul, my only boast should be in God’s strength.

Thank you Lord, that I can delight in Your strength regardless of the “thorns” in my life!

Leave a comment


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

I do not think I am a “germaphobic,” but I do admit having one of these hand sanitizers always within arm’s length!  My husband with his chemistry background has concocted his own solution for just pennies.  It does not smell as nice as the store bought variety but it gets the job done.  I think the concern over germs comes from his side of the family.  We bought my mother-in-law a plaque that says, “Jesus and germs are everywhere.  So wash your hands and say your prayers!”  I am not sure our preventive measures keep us healthier than anyone else, but I would like to think so!

Our verse for today talks about being uncontaminated not only in the body but in the spirit too.  There is a special motivation to keep ourselves morally pure.  The context teaches that our bodies are the temple of God (6:16).  His desire is to live with us, walk among us and be a Father to us.  Because of these promises, He wants us to keep ourselves holy or set apart for Him.

Staying healthy spiritually takes a consecrated effort.  It is too easy to be contaminated by the world’s values.  It is too easy to compromise our standards for a relationship with a nonbeliever.  But when we do, that special relationship with our Father is compromised.  I do not belong to any human being the way I belong to the Lord.  He has bought me at an incredible price and I belong to Him.

Lord, take my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body.  They are exclusively Yours.

Leave a comment

Antique Mirrors

Mirror2_blog_2Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:12 “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I would love to buy an antique mirror from France before moving.  It would be a classy remembrance of my years here but would also serve to enlarge a small living room.  The one pictured here is said to be from a French chateau in the 1800’s.  A true antique mirror will be made of mercury glass.  This would be glass blown with a double wall then silvered between the layers with a liquid silvering solution, then sealed.  Regardless of the method of fabrication, the mirror is limited in giving one a true and accurate reflection.

Our verse for today expresses this same thought.  The mirrors used in biblical times were much less accurate.  They were made of polished metal, probably bronze.  This poor reflection is an image of our very limited understanding of the Lord.  We will not truly see Him as He is until we are with Him.  It will then be a knowledge that is similar to how the Lord sees us now and knows us intimately!

One day I will see Him face to face!  What a thought!  Fanny Crosby, the renowned hymn writer, said that her consolation in being blind is that her first sight will be that of His dear face.  Will I recognize Him?  Will His face be familiar to me?  If I have listened to my heart that tells me to seek His face today (Psalm 27:8) then I will immediately know Him.

How I look forward to gazing on the wonder and splendor of His face!  Thank you Lord, for even a partial glimpse today.