Devotions By Jan


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A Fork

Scripture for Today: Psalm 34:8-9 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His holy people, for those who fear Him lack nothing.”

I can understand a fork in the road, but a fork in a lake confuses me, especially a literal one!  This  twenty six foot fork stands upright in Lake Geneva, Switzerland.  Sculpted by a Swiss for the tenth anniversary of a food museum in Vevey, it graced the shoreline for two years before coming down amidst controversy.  After ten years, it made its return in 2008 and has now been approved to stay permanently.

I see this fork as an invitation to taste and see how magnificent the water and surrounding Alps are for the soul.  Being around such beauty is refreshing, especially after city noise and congestion.  Perched right on the water and the home of Charlie Chaplin, Vevey is one of my favorite places in Switzerland.  The problem comes when I have to leave and I lose that sense of calm and peace nature gives me.

Today’s verse is also an invitation to “taste and see.”  Unlike the temporary good feeling being in nature brings, taking refuge in God’s strength and beauty is nothing I have to leave behind.  His goodness and blessing keep me satisfied in the deepest part of me.  Not only am I able to enjoy to the fullest His creation, I can at the same time commune with the Creator!  He is so good that I lack nothing.  Every spiritual blessing is already mine (Eph. 1:3) and He satisfies my deepest desires for love, peace, beauty, and significance!  How amazing He is!  Taste and see, but with a spoon, so as to enjoy every drop!

Lord, thank you for the satisfaction You give me!

 


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Neutrality

Scripture for Today: I John 5:12 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Les Diablerets, Switzerland is one of my favorite places in the world!  This small village in the Alps looks like a scene right out the book, “Heidi.”  The air is clean and pure.  The hiking trails beckon and the surrounding tall peaks invite me to keep looking up!  Life seems simple and unspoilt here in Switzerland and its residents have worked hard to stay out of conflict on the world stage.  I find I am ambivalent about their position, or lack of it.  I see good and bad about staying neutral.

Today’s verse makes it very clear that there is no neutral stand in one’s position on Jesus Christ.  One either has the Son in their life or they do not.  One either has life in Him or one does not.  There is no middle ground.  There is no straddling of a fence.  He does not make it possible to have it both ways.  Without Him there is no true life.  We are dead spiritually without Him.  But thankfully, Christ made us alive even when we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2:5).  His forgiveness quickens our hearts and opens our eyes!

Quite frankly, the whole spiritual dimension to my life is what makes my life worth the living!  I am incredibly blessed with the love of husband, family and friends.  I have good health and am relatively comfortable financially.  But none of that satisfies me completely.  It is the intimate, unseen relationship with the Son that gives my life the meaning I so desire.  Sharing life with the Giver of life is what true life is all about!

Thank you, Lord, for giving me life in Your Son.


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The Woodworking Plane

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”

Wood shop in high school was for the boys.  Perhaps it was just as well that I stayed away from those power tools and sharp instruments!  How the wood got to be so smooth, flat and level remained a mystery, only because I was too disinterested to find out.  But when my Dad took up woodworking as a hobby, he taught me to appreciate those smooth flawless surfaces and the effort it took to achieve.  The planer shaves off those high places in the wood, making the surface level.

Today’s verse reveals that God is continually working in us.  His goal is to mold our desires and actions to mirror His.  He has a purpose for this work and we can trust that it is a good purpose because He is good.  He is working to make us smooth and level by taking out the high places in us.  He is opposed to the proud (James 4:6) and will work to flatten those thoughts of superiority and self sufficiency.  The result is something beautiful that He can use!

Having my pride worked on hurts!  That blade is shaving off what does not belong.  It is humbling to be brought down to the right size.  He may use the reprimand of others.  He may use a miserable failure and allow me to fall flat on my face!  He often uses His Word to convict and point out areas that need flattening.  Whatever the case, it is not a comfortable experience.  But when it is all over, He gives favor to the one He has humbled.

Oh how I need Your favor today!  Lord, keep me smooth and humble.

 


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My Hero

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Having married a “Kent,” I have had my share of Superman jokes.  When naming our children, there was no question that we would avoid the name Clark or Lois!  But in fact, my husband is my hero if one counts admiration and respect!  He does not fly through the air and right all wrongs, but he is certainly a hero for putting up with me!

Today’s verse comes from a chapter referred to as a list of “heroes of the faith.”  These verses describe ordinary men and women who demonstrated tremendous faith in persevering, even when a promise was not fulfilled in their lifetime.  The criteria was not the recognition or accolades of men.  In fact, the world was not even worthy of them (verse 38).  But they are heroes because they never gave up their faith even while facing death.  Because of their faith, “God was not ashamed to be called their God” (verse 16).

There are many religious systems that require some kind of faith.  The idea of faith and spirituality is normally well received.  It is not until I refer to the object of my faith that I face opposition.  My faith is in a Person.  Not in my religion.  Not in my church.  And certainly not in my own efforts.  My faith in God and His Son, Jesus, exhibits itself in coming to Him repeatedly and earnestly seeking Him.  He rewards me by revealing Himself to me more and more.  And when I take Him at His Word, believe His promises and obey Him, I feel His pleasure.

“My faith has found a resting place,” and He is worthy.


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Handle With Care

Scripture for Today: Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

I have done enough moves to know that having the label, “Fragile, Handle with Care,” slapped on a box is no guarantee that nothing will break!  Sometimes that box with its fragile contents will be upside down, on the bottom of a stack of boxes, or dropped by well-meaning neighbors.  At least my boxes are taped shut as well as labelled, color-coded and numbered.  Even so, there are always a few items that don’t make the journey in one piece.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that the Lord is willing and able to handle all our cares.  He understands that we are fragile and easily broken.  Our bodies are like clay jars, susceptible to cracking in pieces for a reason; so that the power we live our lives by is seen to be from God and not ourselves (II Cor. 4:7)  There is no shame in admitting that we are fragile and in need of gentle handling.  It is in recognizing our weakness that we avail ourselves of His power (II Cor. 12:9).

It takes some humility to admit my need of His care.  I can only give Him my anxieties and experience that care if I humble myself first (I Peter 5:6-7).  The Lord wants to show favor, lift up and sustain those who turn to Him.  But He waits to be asked.  He waits to be needed.  I am too prone to thinking I am just fine and not needing His power.  My pride keeps me from admitting any weakness or need for care.  Until something breaks.  He picks up the pieces and because He cares, He makes things right.

Thank you Lord, for Your precious care.