Devotions By Jan


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Physically Fit?

SeatCoverz-2Scripture for Today: I Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

Of course being physically fit is important.  I am not athletic but having a husband that is helps me see the value of keeping those muscles firm.  However, no matter how active one is throughout life, there comes a time when the body breaks down.  Hopefully, it will be later rather than sooner when one has led an active life.

My Mother at the age of ninety-two has finally agreed to use a walker.  She is in good company with others doing the same.  The dining hall where she lives looks like a small parking lot filled with walkers!  Being physically fit has a different and limited meaning at that advanced age!

Our verse for today compares the value of physical fitness with spiritual fitness.  The one will last only a limited time.  The other will last as long as life does, and then some more, into eternity!  Godliness has value for every situation life presents.  Being godly shapes an entire life.  The value of a godly life is in being like the Lord.  His character reproduces itself in us as we submit and obey Him.  Rather than growing weaker with age, godliness can grow stronger.

Just as staying physically fit takes determination and effort, so does cultivating godliness.  It is not in our nature to produce it on our own.  Godliness is something that the Lord produces in us as a natural result of closely following His commands.  But that takes prolonged and intense effort.

Lord, I may not finish physically strong, but may I be more godly tomorrow than I am today!

 

 

 


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Snails

SnailMesodonClausus01Scripture for Today: John 14:2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

For some, snails are a delicacy.  When I see a snail in my garden, I do not think of eating it.  I am annoyed at all it eats.  They are disgusting creatures who I suppose have their place in the food chain.  But one advantage snails have is they never have to move!  They carry their house on their back.  No change of residence, no packing boxes and no moving van.

I am feeling very nostalgic about the home in which we currently live but are soon to leave.  As I go through every cupboard and closet, I come across items that bring to mind precious memories of our eight years here.  Our time in this home of over one hundred years has been unique.  Will I ever again have a home that creaks as much, sleeps as many or has as many stairs?

Our verse for today talks about a future home that awaits those who belong to the Lord.  Jesus told His disciples that during their coming separation, He would be preparing a place for them.  As Jesus prepares a place for me, I wonder what it will be like.  For one, it will be eternal.  There will be no need to move.  When I enter this dwelling place prepared especially for me, I imagine breathing a deep sigh of relief and contentment.  It will immediately feel like home because I will be with its Builder!  No earthly house can ever compare to that sense of coming home.  It will be so perfect.  It will feel so right.

Thank you Lord, that my future “dwelling place” will be my true home!

 

 


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Dandelions

dandelion-bouquetScripture for Today: Psalm 103:17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and His righteousness with their children’s children.”

How sweet it is  when a child painstakingly picks those dandelions and offers them as a bouquet!  There is pride on his face for thinking of it.  There is hope there too, that you will recognize the effort and be grateful for his gesture of love.  The problem comes almost immediately as those flowers begin to wilt in his hot little hand.  One hates to disappoint a child and so we put them in water in hopes they will last a little longer.

Our verse for today is a contrast between what will last and what will not last.  Mortals are pictured as grass and like the flower in the field (verse 15).  We flourish for a short time and then are no more.  Like the dandelion, our lives can be full of beauty but oh so short.

How incredible is the contrast with God’s love for His own!  His love is from everlasting to everlasting.  It does not wilt.  His love is evident now and continues without interruption into eternity.  And it is so much more beautiful than the lowly dandelion!

God’s love does not disappoint.  When a bouquet is offered there is the expectation that eventually it will die and be thrown out.  But with the love of God, there is no end.  His love and compassion never fail and they are renewed every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).  The constancy of His love is amazing when compared to tired fickle human love!

Whether a bouquet of flowers is offered for a birth, a wedding, or a funeral, its life will be a short one.  As they wilt, may I be reminded of God’s everlasting love.


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The Best Inheritance

gavel testament document and bags with dollar signScripture for Today:  Ecclesiastes 7:11 “Wisdom. like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.”

Death can be a nightmare of paperwork.  There are legal death certificates. There are important notices to banks and government offices.  And there is also a death tax to pay.  Of course, there is one document that is prepared ahead of time; the last will and testament.  Much thought goes into this piece of paper and it reflects a life of monetary achievements.  Sometimes the life of a beneficiary of this document is changed significantly.  But there is another kind of inheritance that does far more in impacting a life.

Our verse for today describes wisdom as being an inheritance.  It is the best kind of inheritance as it cannot be eaten up by moths and rust.  No thief can steal it away and it is exempt from any taxes!  There is nothing more precious to hand down to one’s descendants.  More than material goods, its possession can change a life significantly.

Wisdom is a spiritual inheritance as it finds not only its beginning in the fear of the Lord but its continuation (Prov. 1:7).  When we fear, respect and obey our Creator, our lives reflect it with wise choices.  When we fear and worship the Lord we are able to live skillful godly lives.  Not only are our own lives blessed by this love and obedience for God, but others close to us are blessed as well.  The model of wise living is an inheritance for those who follow.  This influence can last for generations!

The inheritance of wisdom is something my own Father has passed down to me.  My prayer is that I will be able to leave this same inheritance to my children and grandchildren.  Lord, make me wise today!


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Meteors

MYANMAR-ASTRONOMY-METEOR-SHOWER-PERSEIDSScripture for Today: Psalm 103:11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him.”

Pictured here are folks enjoying the Perseid meteor shower over Sieversdorf, Germany.  The light show happens annually between mid July and mid August.  This meteor shower is composed of fragments from the comet, Swift Tuttle.  These create what is called a “Perseid cloud” as a stream of debris is formed.   The unofficial name is, “the tears of Saint Lawrence” as the peak of activity coincides with the date of his martyrdom.  Rather than think of a man when looking up, I cannot help but think of the amazing creativity of our God.

Our verse for today compares the height of the heavens with the size and grandeur of God’s love for us.  The meteors burn up just fifty miles above our heads, but the distances when talking about the heavens are mind boggling.  How amazing that the vastness of the heavens is a picture of the size of God’s love for us!

It is so difficult to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love Christ has for me (Eph. 3:18).  It goes beyond my limited knowledge.  It eludes my finite comprehension.  Just as distances boggle my mind when gazing at the heavens, so His love for me boggles the mind.  How could He love me so much?  Does He not see my failings, my weaknesses and my black heart?  I am too small and insignificant to deserve this unconditional love.  But believing it changes everything.  His love and forgiveness makes me the “apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8) and makes my life worth living.

Thank you Lord, for Your incredible surprising love.  Remind me today as I look up at the sky.


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Life Preserver

life-preserverScripture for Today: Psalm 119:92-93 “If Your Law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life.”

In every large boat I have ever traveled in, there have been life preservers.  Of course, the law requires it.  The California law requires not only life jackets but a life preserver (or throwable device) if the boat is over sixteen feet long.  They need to be easily accessible but no one wants them in plain view.  No one wants to think about capsizing.

Our verse for today describes God’s Law and precepts as preserving a life.  Our troubles and afflictions can feel overwhelming.  The weight of sadness and worry threatens to submerge us.  Life seems manageable until that unexpected wave of trouble blindsides us.  Suddenly, all goes dark and we are underwater.

The psalmist had no time in the middle of a catastrophe to pull out God’s Word.  God’s Law and precepts were already known and were his delight before disaster struck.  They were firmly planted in his memory and easily recalled at the very moment he needed them.  It was in remembering and applying God’s Law that he was able to survive his trial.  They were his life saver or life preserver.

I cannot anticipate what hard thing may happen tomorrow or the next day.  But I can be ready for whatever comes by knowing and loving God’s Word today.  Knowing those promises of His love and care keep me floating.  I am not overwhelmed and submerged when I can hang on to God’s faithfulness.  His Word is not only my comfort but my survival.

Thank you Lord, that I can cling to Your Word and survive.


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Honor

10590685_10152541766293283_2864432810476582835_nScripture for Today: Psalm 62:6-7 “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God.  He is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

It was a moment of honor.  My Father was a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy during WWII.  Last week we buried him with military honor for his service all those years ago.  It was a moving moment to hear the three gun salute and taps being played.  It was an  especially touching moment to see those soldiers saluting the coffin.

The memorial service the next day was entirely different.  It was also a moment of honor as we remembered the life of a wonderful man.  But there was a difference.  In speaking of my Father, we also honored our Heavenly Father.  He had been my Dad’s rock and refuge since 1939.

Our verse for today says that salvation depends on God.  We cannot save ourselves from our sin.  He is the One who in His grace bends down to extract us from the messiness our sin creates.  But our honor also depends on Him.  In addition to redeeming our lives, He crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:4).  David even talks about how God increases honor for him in Psalm 71:21!

If my life or my Dad’s life is honorable, it is because of the Lord.  Our Creator continually works in those who belong to Him, forming His beautiful character.  The praise and honor ultimately belong to Him!  He makes a life beautiful and worth living.

It really will not be so long before I am with my Dad, worshiping and honoring together the One who gave us honor.  Thank you Lord, that You create honorable lives  May my life honor You today.