Devotions By Jan

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Repurposed Door

repurposed-doors-turn-old-vintage-doors-into-an-outdoor-swingScripture for Today: Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death,”

I am intrigued with all the “do-it-yourself” projects and renovation programs on television.  The new word I hear over and over is the word, “repurposing.”  This porch swing is a good example.  It is made out of a door that has been “repurposed.”  Some people just have an eye for seeing the potential in a discarded item, giving it new life in a new context.  There is a whole new purpose given to something that used to be used up and thrown out.

Today’s verse describes the “repurposing” of Paul.  He thought he had life figured out.  But after the Lord revealed Himself to Paul, his whole life had a new purpose.  The One he was persecuting now became the One he served with  all of his heart.  The focus changed and he counted everything in his life as “garbage” compared to the value of knowing Jesus.

Paul not only wanted to know Jesus and His power, he was ready to suffer for His sake.  He was willing to completely deny himself and take up his cross to follow Him (Luke 9:23).  His whole existence had a new purpose.  Losing a life for His sake means finding it (Matt. 16:25).  He had been repurposed.

What is my purpose?  Because I belong to Him, I want the goals in my life to match up with His.  Knowing Him is the most worthwhile purpose there is!  And God prepared in advance a whole plan of good works for me to accomplish. (Eph. 2:10)  I, like every believer, have been “repurposed” to love and serve Him.

Lord, keep me living life on purpose!

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Black Friday Deals

blackfridayScripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 1:8 “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing nor the ear its fill of hearing.”

Does anyone else see the irony of spending one day in thankfulness for what we have while the next day madly dashing out for what we do not have?  The lure of Black Friday and the possible deals available is a strong one.  There are plenty of testimonials to incredible savings to be had if one chooses to brave the crowds, the traffic and the odd hours.  And of course, the deal is the thing, not whether it is needed or not.  The thrill of having something on sale is hard to resist.

Our verse for today came from King Solomon.  He was able to lay his hands on and enjoy just about anything he could wish.  His wealth was staggering.  Whatever collection intrigued him, he could add to it to his heart’s content.  He was so rich he denied himself nothing his eyes desired (Ecclesiastes 2:10).  And yet, he concluded that it was all wearisome beyond description.  The eye never sees enough.  The ear never hears enough.

The point of saturation never really comes. Whether it is experiences or objects, there is always longing for more and more.  It is never enough.  Solomon concluded that more was meaningless, chasing after the wind.  The world is just not enough.  That is because we were created for something more.  That something more is Someone.  It is in my relationship with the Jesus Christ that I find meaning and satisfaction.  Regardless of how many beautiful things surround me or how many adventures I have lived, it is the Lord who makes my life worthwhile!

Thank you Lord, that You are infinitely more than enough!

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With Thanksgiving

cats-turkey-dinner-thanksgivingScripture for Today: Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

The smell of the turkey cooking in the oven would drive our Tiger crazy.  He was sure all the Thanksgiving preparations had something to do with that lovely cooking smell and his stomach.  Where before he would be stand-offish in typical cat fashion, he would now rub up on my legs and deign to actually notice me!  His pitiful meows were carefully orchestrated for maximum effect.  Of course, when he realized the cooked turkey was off limits to him, he felt I am sure, just like the cat pictured here!

Today is a day where we stop to give thanks.  The heavy laden table reminds us of all the good things we enjoy and we are grateful.  It is a time to reflect on what is positive in our lives, starting with family and friends.  We look back on the previous year and we are thankful to have come through so thoroughly blessed!

Today’s verse includes the practice of thanksgiving.  Rather than looking back to blessings already given, this is a gratitude that looks forward.  Thanking the Lord for what He will do in answer to our requests is an evidence of faith.  We give thanks in advance of His answers, knowing that He loves and cares for His own.  Our gratitude is expressed for what is not yet realized.

The Lord has promised me peace when I pray like this (verse 7).  I can relinquish to Him every stress, every worry and every anxious thought.  I can get up from my knees with a light heart full of thanksgiving for what He will do.

Thank you Lord, for the peace that comes from thanking You.

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Eye Chart

eye chart il_570xN.419576299_ehuhScripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

Eye charts are not supposed to be too clear.  They are purposefully more difficult to read with each line.  I was so thankful for the eye chart revealing an important problem for my Mother recently.  The letters usually just spell out gibberish and nothing more, but what an important tool for pinpointing problems!  However, I have never seen an eye chart spelling out a secret message.  I would love to see a message like the one pictured here!

Today’s verse talks about living our lives using our spiritual senses rather than our physical ones.  We do not order our lives based only on what can be seen.  There is a whole spiritual dimension to life that is only seen when the “eyes of our heart” are enlightened (Eph. 1:18).

If I were to live by only what I could physically see, I would miss out on the message of this eye chart.  I would miss out on “seeing” just how much the Lord loves me.  I hold on to this truth and many others by faith.  Faith is the sure confidence in what cannot be seen (Hebrews 11:1).  Faith gives me the confidence to know and be assured of His love.

How good He is to continually bolster that faith with all kinds of evidences of His love!  Someone else might call it a blessing, a happy coincidence or good luck.  But I know better.  Every good and perfect gift that I see in my life can be attributed to Him and His love. (James 1:17)  Every reason I have to be thankful is another reminder of His love.  I “see” His love in a hundred different ways everyday.

Thank you Lord, for allowing me to see Your love with eyes of faith!

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The Gavel

Court-gavel Scripture for Today: Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The tapping of a gavel in a courtroom can mean different things.  When tapped twice, everyone is to rise.  When it is tapped three times, all are to be seated.  There can be repeated vigorous tapping to restore order.  One tap may be used to declare a matter settled and finished.  With the tap of a gavel comes all the power of that court.  When that gavel is brought down there is a decision made.  And that symbol of authority brings with it a certain finality.

In the courts of heaven, the gavel comes down with unquestionable authority.  God has every right to proclaim someone guilty or not guilty.  He is our righteous Judge and all His judgements are true and just.  Today’s verse is a wonderful assurance for the one who has placed their faith in Jesus.  There is no fear of that gavel coming down.  The believer is justified, or declared righteous, not because of our own deeds but because of being credited with His righteousness (Romans 4:22-25).  The just punishment that we rightly deserve has been fully met by His death on the cross.  The righteousness Jesus achieved has been laid to our account!

It has been decided.  The gavel has already come down.  I do not have to live in fear and doubt.  He declared, “It is finished,” on that cross.  How amazing that I can stand before Him, declared righteous!  There is peace with God now and throughout eternity.  My heart is not troubled because of my guilt and sin.  His forgiveness and declaration has established heartfelt peace, relief, and the joy and hope of heaven!

Lord, how can I ever express my gratitude?


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Play Doh

Homemade-Play-doh-500Scripture for Today: Isaiah 29:16 “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?”

There is nothing better than a brand new set of play doh!  At least that is how my grandsons think.  It must feel good to start fresh with unmixed colors and clay that has not dried out to be rock hard.  The shapes my young grandsons form take some imagination to identify.  But in their funny creative minds they see a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre.  Grandma is obliged to ooh and ahh!

Today’s verse reminds us that there is a Potter who has formed and fashioned us, His clay, for His purposes.  God, as our Creator, has the right to form and mold us as He desires.  His reasons for how He has made us are well beyond our understanding.  But His creation has no right to challenge Him as if He did not have absolute knowledge and authority.  That is upside down thinking!

What a ludicrous scenario to imagine clay talking back to the potter!  But that is just what happens when a nonbeliever denies God’s existence.  He shakes his fist and declares that God did not create him and that he knows better than the omniscient One.  What a display of ridiculous pride!

It takes humility to submit to the Potter’s hand and become all that I am meant to be.  Pride makes me dry and hard in His hands.  Thankfully, He is patient and continually works in me with creative hands, making me like His Son.

Lord, while I am waiting yielded and still, mold me to be like You.

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Self Control

self control12208634_10153746210601912_774308151025824597_nScripture for Today: Titus 2:12 “It (grace) teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

This dog understands the word, “No!”  I am amazed at his self-control sitting there right next to that meat.  I wonder how long that lasted?  With smelling it, seeing it, and imagining that first bite, the dog must be trembling with the effort to refrain from gobbling it up in a moment!  I do not think the owner was too far away as the tension mounted.

Today’s verse is surprising.  The grace that normally comes to mind is the grace that offers salvation, that amazing unmerited and undeserved favor from God. (verse 11)  But this grace is a grace that teaches.  This grace allows the believer to live a godly life that pleases the Lord.  And like saving grace, it is completely unmerited.  We do not earn the ability to live a self-controlled life.  It is a gift that is part of the evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:23).  We cannot take credit for staying away from sin.  We cannot take credit for our obedience to God.  It is all grace.

I am so thankful for the gift of self-control without which my life would be a mess.  His Spirit enables me to say “No” to temptation.  His Spirit gives me the power to turn my back on ungodly desires and choose obedience.  And despite the occasional slip, He has changed my heart to want what is right.  My highest desire is to honor Him with my choices.  And it is with His help that I can achieve that desire even just a little.

Thank you Lord, that Your self-control is another evidence of Your grace!