Devotions By Jan


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Catching Fire!

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

I never learned how to make fire in any badge-earning program or camp.  It seems like such a “macho” activity!  In learning about making fires I was surprised to see so many methods, some of which seem quite unorthodox.  The lens-based methods include the use of flint and steel, fire from ice, a soda can and chocolate bar or batteries and steel wool.  But the friction-based method is the most difficult and what usually comes to mind.  Spinning a spindle against a fireboard creates the friction that produces the ember.

Our verse for today talks about believers gathering together for the purpose of stimulating each other to show love and be involved in good works.  When we rub elbows with other believers, there can be friction.  We can rub each other the wrong way.  There can be personality differences that cause friction.  But there is a positive side to this friction.  We are stimulated and encouraged to do our best for the Lord.

The Lord knew we needed to be around other believers.  On our own we have the tendency to become lax in our Christian walk.  On our own we tend to become self-centered.  Being around believers that are living out their faith is stimulating.   Seeing the enthusiasm of believers to invest in the lives of others serves as a spark to get my fire going!  My spark may seem small and insignificant, but it can be catching.

Thank you Lord, that together we do make a difference for You.

 

 


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New Birth

Scripture for Today: John 3:5-6 “Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'”

I am quite sure that the baby growing in my daughter’s tummy is unaware of the life that awaits him.  As far as he knows, he is experiencing all there is to life now.  He does not realize there is something more.  His little needs are being met.  He feels comfortable and protected being fed without effort.  But there is a whole world out there he is yet to see.  Before long, he will open his eyes to light and sound that he never knew existed.

Our verse for today is in the context of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.  Jesus is saying one must be born again, born into true life, born into real life!  Jesus says HE is that life (John 14:6)  Those who have not experienced this new birth believe they are living life.  But in fact they are not living true life  which is only found in Christ.

Jesus goes on to say that the Light has come into the world (verse 19).  How marvelous to see a newborn open his eyes for the first time and gaze into the love of his mother!  In the same way, when one is born anew, we can see Him with our spirits and we also see Love.  With this new birth comes hearing new sound; the sound of His voice!  All our spiritual senses are in play.  A whole other dimension in life has opened up to the one who comes to Jesus.  This is living!

Thank you Lord, that Your Spirit gives me true life!


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Teeter-Totter

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 75:6-7 “No one from the east or from the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.  It is God who judges.  He brings one down.  He exalts another.”

It has been a long time since I have seen one of these teeter-totters in a public park.  I remember playing on them as a child and coordinating my movements with a friend so we could enjoy the up and down motion.  More often than not, there were some rough landings.  Not all of them were accidental!  I managed to survive this now outdated playground equipment.  Being that it is considered a safety hazard there are very few still seen today.

Our verse for today teaches that it is our sovereign God who brings down one person and lifts up another.  Regardless of our origin we can not exalt ourselves.  This psalm of Asaph declares that God puts down the wicked and lifts up the righteous.  He has the right to do so and He does it with justice.

When we try to exalt ourselves we can make a mess of things.  That is because all who exalt themselves will be humbled (Luke 14:11).  There is nothing better than hearing compliments and praise from someone else for a job well done.  When one sings their own praises all that is heard is pride.  How much better it is to leave the matter of recognition to the Lord.

God does promise to exalt us in due time.  We are to hope in Him and faithfully keep His way as we wait to see that happen.  Not only will we see ourselves exalted but we will see the wicked destroyed (Psalm 37:34)  It is a comfort to know this.  He is just and I can trust Him.

 

 


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Erasers

388213_cookie_eraser_round_brownScripture for Today: Luke 16:17 “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

I had no idea that erasers came in this form, looking good enough to eat!  If little ones were around who could not read, these erasers would probably end up in their mouths!  The erasers I grew up with were just the boring grey or pink kind.  When our children were growing up in the French schools, they were not asked to bring pencil erasers.  That is because they were required to write in pen and had special pen erasers.  But regardless of the type or form of eraser, we all need them for the many mistakes we know we will make.

Erasers are definitely needed for a few man-made laws still on the books.  It is against the law in North Dakota to serve beer and pretzels at the same time.  You can be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer in Florida.  And it is a crime to molest butterflies in California!

Our verse for today describes the permanence of God’s Word.  His moral Law is without any mistake.  God is perfect and He does not make them, not in any area.  There is no need for erasers.  There is no need to revise or change His Law in order to be relevant.  What He says stands for all eternity.  His Law can not be explained away as being something true for another time but not for our day.  It is all valid and always will be.  Being inspired by God makes this Law different than any other standard.

Thank you Lord, that Your Law makes clear what is right or wrong.  And thank You for fulfilling that Law for me.

 

 


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Camouflage

IMG_20140625_193115Scripture for Today: Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….”

A quick glance at this scene and one might miss my husband standing there!  His clothes just happened to blend in perfectly with the castle wall over which he is looking.  Of course, it helps that he is wearing the military style camouflage shorts.  In battle today, just as in the day when these castle walls were guarded, camouflage was important to blend in and avoid detection.

Nature is full of beautiful stunning scenes of animals and insects that God designed to blend in and camouflage with their surroundings.  I ignored all those images in favor of my husband!

Our verse for today is a bold statement of Paul’s that is the very opposite of the camouflage idea.  Paul is not concerned about blending in with his surroundings.  He wants to be detected.   He wants to stand out from the crowd.  And believing in the Gospel of Christ in the midst of a non-believing world will do just that.  There is no shame in standing out for something so powerful.  There is no shame in being different from others when it can mean the salvation of a soul.

It is a strong inclination blend in and belong.  It is uncomfortable to draw the eye or incite the comments of others.  Worry over what others think can sometimes nullify our testimony.  But rather than the approval of men, my overriding desire is the approbation of the Lord.  He scorned the shame to hang naked on a cross for me (Heb. 12:2).  How could I possibly be ashamed of a few odd looks or comments?

Lord, may I scorn shame in any form.  Keep me bold with the Truth!