Devotions By Jan


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“Special”

P1050299Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:14  “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

The word, “special” in French can mean specific, exceptional or a little odd or different, depending on the context.  I like the fact that I can play with this word and leave it up to the listener as to which meaning is intended!  My husband is special as seen by the look of surprise and wonder on the face of the statue!  At some time or other in our thirty-five years of marriage, he has fit all three meanings!

I have come to appreciate our differences.  Trying to remake my husband to be like me has never worked.  What makes him “special” can be what adds spice and interest to our lives.  But often the very thing that drew me to him is also the very thing that can drive me up a wall!  I know he can say the same about me!

How varied is God’s creation!  How boring if we were all made the same!  Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Each of us is a wonderful intentional work of His hands.  Our differences not only make life richer but reveal His incredible creativity!

I am thankful to have been intentionally created the way I am.  The exact combination of DNA that is me is not a product of chance.  God, my Creator, put me together for His purposes, first and foremost to give Him glory.  He purposed to give me my personality, looks, talents, intellect, and my spiritual gifting to love Him and serve Him.  Someday, without sin and in His presence, I will be able to be the best me!

Lord, help me embrace my differences and with them praise You as my Creator!


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No Limits?

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 1:19 “so that you can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.”

It is a mistaken idea that many people believe; that Germany has no speed limits.  It is true that sometimes there may be a stretch of autobahn without them, but it is more and more rare.  Like France, Germany has a limit of up to 130 kilometer an hour (81mpg).  It must be very frustrating for those drivers with powerful engines in their cars.

We like to think of having no limits.  With recent advances in technology and science, it seems we are pushing many of our limits.  For some, new inventions reaffirm a feeling of power and potential.  There is less and less a need for God when we feel like “gods” ourselves.

Our verse for today describes a power that is truly limitless.  When we compare our little achievements with the mighty power of the God of the universe, than we can see just how limited we are!  His power cannot be measured.  His power knows no limit.  The surpassing greatness of His power brings us to our knees in stupefied awe!  As Job 26:14 says, all of His creation demonstrates His power, yet it is but a whisper of what we hear of Him.  “Who then can understand the thunder of His power?”

What is most amazing to me is that we as believers have this power working in and for us!  It is not our power but His, working according to His will.  When I come to the end of my resources, He offers His mighty strength!

Oh how I need Your power today!  Thank you Lord, that You have no limits!

 


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Plastic Wrap

plastic-wrap-on-paintScripture for Today: Psalm 63:7-8 “Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.  I cling to You. Your right hand upholds me.”

I finally gave in.  After years of fighting with plastic wrap, I finally bought a dispenser that allows me to roll it out and cut it easily.  If there had been a hidden camera in my kitchen, it would have caught me tearing at that plastic and throwing away countless yards of the stuff as it would cling to the wrong thing.  Seriously, plastic wrap seems to have a mind of its own!  It clings to itself, my hand, or the counter, but rarely where I am putting it.

Our verse for today is about a different kind of clinging.  When we realize just how needy we are, we can give ourselves permission to cling.  The problem is that sometimes we cling to the wrong thing.  When we cling to our own resources or to others, we continue to be needy.  However, when we cling to the Lord and His strength, we find ourselves upheld by His powerful right hand.  He is our help when all else fails.  Clinging to Him and His protection changes our attitude to one of joy and song.  He is never bothered by our clinging.  He does not shake us off.  He holds us up when we feel we are falling.  He is faithful to give the help we need.

I cannot cling to Him if my hands are full.  I need to let go of all my supposed resources and depend completely on Him.  He is big enough and strong enough to be all the help I need.  As the old hymn says, “Simply to Thy cross I cling.”  Lord, help me to really believe it!


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“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I had no idea until now that the game of pulling off daisy petals has its origin in France!  It is called, “effeuiller la marguerite,” and the idea of course is to determine if the object of your affection returns your love.  The phrase, “he loves me, he loves me not,” is repeated with the removal of each petal until with the last petal comes the answer.  This phrase exists in thirty three languages so this game seems to be worldwide.  I remember playing this as a young girl but was not too convinced with either outcome.

I never have to play this game with God.  Unlike human relationships, there are no games involved.  He has made a commitment to love me and He never goes back on His promise.  Our verse for today reassures me of the permanence of His love.  There is no dark power that can interfere with His love.  There is no unforseen event in my future that can change His love.  Death itself cannot annul His indescribable love for me.  Paul was convinced of this truth and it changed his life.  He found this love when he found Jesus Christ.  And we find this incredible love in the same person!

Does He love me more today than yesterday?  Will He love me more tomorrow than today?  As He is love by His very nature, the answer is “no.”  His love is a perfect love that cannot be improved upon.  The answer is always, “He loves me.”


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Blood Test

Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:23 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

I wish there were some other way to check one’s cholesterol levels than a blood test.  They are never fun and neither is the fasting beforehand.  The waiting room experience usually increases my anxiety.  The nurse asks me which arm I prefer.  Neither, really.  I make the required fist and try to remember those relaxing techniques.  Surely it was something about breathing.  I know not to look.  Is this really necessary?  Can’t I just promise to lay off the ice cream?  It is over before I know it.  My results signaled no real problem with cholesterol or any other problems and I am thankful.

Our verse for today is also a voluntary testing, but of one’s heart, motivation and thoughts.  The One who does the testing is infinitely more patient, tender and loving than any health professional.  He goes deeper than any needle can reach and reveals what cannot be seen.  He not only reveals potential problems but He is there to deal with them.

Just as blood testing is not a comfortable experience, so this heart examination can be uncomfortable.  Seeing our failings and imperfections can burst our self-satisfied bubble and leave us vulnerable.  It is much easier to go through life without seeing the plank of wood blocking our vision (Matt. 7:3).  When He searches my heart He may find remnants of bitterness and unforgiveness thought to be already resolved.  He sees those anxious thoughts that may indicate my lack of faith.  But when He brings these things to light, He offers full and complete pardon.  The heart no longer feels heavy but light with forgiveness and reassurance!

Search me today Lord, and make my heart healthy with Your loving care.