Devotions By Jan


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Tissue Invasion!

kleenex154logoScripture for Today: Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This could be me this past week.  I am rarely sick but this cold has been a challenge to the kleenex!  The trash overflows and so do I.  I cannot complain too much as a cold is a small thing when compared to more serious illness.  Even so, going through boxes of tissues is hard on the nose.  I am resolved to buy the better softer brand for the next time!

There will be a next time.  But our verse for today describes a day when there will be no need for tissues.  There will be no illness of any kind.  There will be no pain or death, no separation or sadness.  Anything and everything that provokes tears will be gone forever!  What an incredible thought!

I love this verse as the Lord is intimately involved in erasing our sadness.  He Himself gets close and personal.  He takes it on Himself to wipe those tears from our eyes.  And once His loving powerful hands dry our face, those tears never return.  I can just imagine His look of infinite tenderness as He does this.  He knows all about tears.  His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death in the garden of Gethsemane.  He endured that horrible time of suffering in order to “swallow up death forever” for you and me.

Heaven is going to be a noisy place!  Those who sow a lifetime of tears will reap with songs of joy! (Psalm 126:5)  Cries of anguish will be replaced with melodies of joy.  He has promised.

Thank you Lord, that You will personally dry my tears.

 


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“Fashionista”

fashion unnamedScripture for Today: John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

I was intrigued by the saying on this store window.  This high-end women’s clothing store suggests that the goal of living is to dress well, using their brand of course.  For some, fashion is tied in to self-image and a sense of well being.  Fashion can occupy a huge place in one’s thoughts.  The “fashionista” follows the latest trends and spends a good portion of income to stay current.

Walking by this saying did make me think.  What do I live for?  Anyone who knows me would not guess fashion!  But it is the age-old question posed by many philosophers over the centuries.  Why am I here?  What is my purpose in life?

Our verse for today gives the answer to the question.  Eternal life for the believer begins in the here and now.  Life, whether in the future or the present is consumed with one goal; to know Him.  It is a goal that never grows old and tired.  And because God is so immense, it is a goal that can never be completely realized.  How amazing to spend an entire earthly life in the quest to know Him as He reveals Himself little by little in His Word and through His Spirit.

When I am with my Savior in heaven the goal continues to know Him completely.  Knowing God personally and up close will be an adventure that is eternal!  I will never come to the end of knowing Him.  He is that vast and deep!

Knowing the Lord little by little while on earth, gives meaning and purpose to my life that nothing else can!  This is what I live for!


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The “Trust Fall”

trustScripture for Today: Psalm 118:13 “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.”

Team building exercises in a group often include the “trust fall.”  It is not a very comfortable experience to fall back with the anticipation that others will come through and catch you.  For this exercise to succeed, everyone has to take their role seriously.  The scene in this photo has an important element missing.!  The young man has the fall perfectly executed, but there is no one to catch him.  Those two women are obviously not very trustworthy!

Our verse for today is a call to praise for God’s deliverance from enemies.  The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things (verse 16) one of which was protection from falling.  Enemies push hard.  But our God is trustworthy and catches us when we are about to fall.  This psalm is full of shouts of victory and triumph over enemies.  He is our strength and salvation.  He does not disappoint.

Enemies today push just as hard.  The scorn and mocking of a colleague at work may destabilize us.  Someone we were counting on for help may let us down.  We are thrown off balance when a friend betrays a confidence.  We are blindsided by someone who publicly denounces us.  I am disappointed and surprised when pushed around by the very one I trusted.  Better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans (verse 8).  The Lord will never betray my trust.  He is always there to help and place me firmly back on my feet.  How wonderful to know that I can always count on Him.

Thank you Lord, that even when pushed, You will not let me fall when I place my trust in You.


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Jellyfish Lake

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:10 “All Your works praise you, Lord; Your faithful people extol You.”

“O my God, it’s beautiful!” was the first thing out of the mouth of a meteorologist as she broke the surface of Jelly Fish Lake.  I can understand her reaction as the underwater camera panned the millions of jellyfish who had been her swimming partners.  This lake is found on Eil Malk Island in Palau.  It once had an outlet to the sea but is now closed off.  Over time, these golden jellyfish lost their sting making snorkeling through them possible.  These fascinating creatures are always moving as they follow the sun’s arc across the sky.  Swimming through them must be an eerie and unforgettable experience!

Our verse for today proclaims that all of God’s creation praise their Maker.  Perhaps this is what prompted the reporter to exclaim as she did.  The millions of golden jellyfish extol the greatness and creativity of their Maker by their very presence.  Even at such a remote location, God demonstrates His artistic power in creating something that most of us will never even see.  Even if man does not recognize how they came to be, God’s eternal power and divine nature are revealed through what He has made (Romans 1:20).

All of the beauty and majesty of the Lord’s creation is intentional.  His intention is to reveal Himself to those who would seek Him.  All of His creation is like a huge megaphone announcing to those who would listen, “I am here.  This is for you and I love you.”  Those golden jellyfish following the sun are a reminder to me to continually stay close to the warmth of the Son’s presence and light.

Thank you Lord, for revealing how wonderful You are through Your wonderous works!


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“To the Moon and Back”

19890-Purple-MoonScripture for Today: Ephesians 3:18 (that you) …”may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

I am seeing the quote everywhere as a home decoration; “To the Moon and Back.”  The original quote begins with, “I Love You…”  This quote is found in the children’s book, “Guess How Much I Love You.”  It is a sweet story by British author, Sam McBratney relating a conversation between two hares.  Each exchange uses larger and larger measures to describe their love for each other.  The story ends with this superlative.

Our verse for today describes a love that cannot be quantified!  There is no limit to God’s love.  It is wider than one can ever imagine.  It is deeper than anyone can ever plunge.  The distance to the moon and back is not long or high enough to describe God’s love!  There is no limit because He Himself is Love (I John 4:8).

Paul prays for power to grasp the unmeasurable nature of God’s love.  The Holy Spirit gives that power to grasp something so limitless (verse 16).  It is through His Spirit that we can know a love that surpasses knowledge.  He whispers His love to me.  He quiets me with His love (Zeph. 3:17).  His love is like no other.  He loved me when I was His enemy and estranged from Him.  He loves me in spite of and not because of who I am.  His love is not only unconditional but limitless.  Earthly love often can not hold it together for a simple lifetime.  God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting.  I will be enjoying that love for eternity!

To the moon and back is much too short.  Thank you Lord, for Your immeasurable love for me!


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In God We Trust

pennyunnamedScripture for Today: Proverbs 11:28 “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.”

My neighbor recently held a garage sale and I came away with this bracelet.  Perhaps at her price I was not really out a dollar as there are eleven coins making up the bracelet!  It is surprising that our coins still bear the inscription, “In God We Trust.”  Despite some controversy this motto has been in continuous use since 1909, having been passed by Congress in 1865 at the request of the people.  This affirmation of faith came at a difficult time in American history; during the Civil War.

It seems incongruous to see the idea of trusting God on our coinage.  In fact, it would be more truthful to say that we trust in our own wealth.  Our verse for today talks about trusting in our riches.  It is a natural inclination both then and now.  With riches comes a sense of control and independence.  Trusting in our riches means we are trusting in ourselves with very little need for God.

Riches in themselves are not wrong but are sometimes even a sign of blessing in Scripture.  I do not often feel rich, but in the eyes of many from an impoverished world I am.  Unfortunately, being rich can be a pitfall.  It is easy for me to trust in my own resources rather than the One who provided them.  This verse tells me that if I continually trust in riches, I will eventually fall.  They will not hold me up.  But the Lord promises that I will thrive when I trust in Him.  I do not need riches to thrive, I need Him!

Help me Lord, to practice what is written on that penny.


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Selfies

BN-GK369_0113st_G_20150113111148Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

I am not sure what this young woman pictured here is thinking.  It seems she is taking the selfie idea a bit too far!  But I cannot be too critical as we recently bought the selfie stick ourselves.  My husband has always taken great pictures but has sometimes complained that when he dies, there will be no pictures of him!  That is because he is always the one behind the camera.  I am glad that now there will be more pictures where he is included.

Our verse for today talks about the one who is consumed with vain conceit, thinking only about self and obsessed with getting ahead.  People like this create relationships with others only if that person can be of some use.  This is the person who talks incessantly about himself.  Their world revolves uniquely around them.  Being in a friendship with this individual can be a very unsatisfying experience as there is no give and take.

The change of heart the Lord makes in us allows us to look to the interests of others and not just our own (verse 4).  It is in being humble that I can sincerely value others above myself.  My example of humility is Christ Himself, who laid aside all His divine rights and privileges to serve to the utmost.  How much it must hurt His heart to see me grasping on to my rights in selfish pride as I ignore the need of another.  As His own, my world no longer revolves around me.  My world revolves around Him and living my life for Him.

Lord, make me humble enough to forget myself and to look to the needs of others.