Devotions By Jan


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Big Bang Theory

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

It was interesting to read of all the evidence for the expansion of our universe.  The “big bang” theory says that roughly thirteen billion years ago our universe began as a concentrated single point which then expanded quickly through an explosion to what it is today.  This theory begins with a certain “something” as does the theory of macro-evolution.  With this theory everything evolves over billions of years from a single celled organism.  Both theories have difficulty in explaining how that first “building block” could ever come into existence.

Today’s verse has no such difficulty.  As an all-mighty all-powerful Creator God, He can create something from nothing.  He calls into being something visible just by His word.  He had no need to start with something that had previously existed.  Everything that has been created, visible and invisible, in heaven or on earth, has been created through Him, in Him and for Him (Col. 1:16).

No one was there at the beginning except God Himself (Gen. 1:1).  None our scientists or philosophers or poets were there to explain how our world came into being.  To believe any of the theories taught today takes faith.  And believers understand the earth’s beginnings by faith as well.

It all boils down to where I place my faith.  By science I can understand so many wonderful things.  But it is by faith that I understand that God created our world.  His creativity and attention to detail continually amazes me and prompts me to worship.  And if I can believe He created my world, than I can believe that He created me and loves me!

Thank you Lord, for being my Creator.

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Disguised!

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 26:23 “Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.” 

In a modern household, it is no longer the style to have much silver plated items in drawers or on tables.  I was offered my Mother’s silver plated dessert tray but turned it down.  I knew that there would be lots of maintenance to keep it clean and shiny.  Silver can so easily become tarnished and dark, losing its shine.  But with proper care, silver can be an eye-catching piece of decor.  However, I could not see myself buying special cleaning products and taking time to polish the silver!

Today’s verse talks about a different kind of silver.  Not only is it of inferior quality but it is covering something mundane and of little value.  Silver dross is used as a symbol in Scripture for what is base and worthless.  This silver includes impurities that float to the surface in the melting process.  It catches one’s attention but flaws are seen on closer examination.  Fervent or smooth talking lips are just like that silver.  Flattering words and warm expressions of friendship can hide an evil heart.

A vow of friendship.  A declaration of love.  A promise made.  Or a pretense of good will.  It can all be “silver dross” hiding a much different agenda.  The hurt caused by this kind of duplicity can be life changing.  We all have stories.  We have all been victims.  But there is One who will never be untrue.  His Word is always trustworthy.  He calls me His friend (John 15:15).  He affirms for me an unending love (Psalm 103:17).  He keeps every promise (II Cor. 1:20).  And His plans for me are good (Jer. 29:11).

Thank you Lord, that Your Word is pure silver and always trustworthy.

 

 


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Temples in Taiwan

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

One can almost smell the musty interior mixed with the perfume of burning incense when looking at this temple.  When spending a summer in Taiwan in 1980, we saw many of these places of worship.  This one is the Longshan Temple in Taipei and it is one of the largest and oldest.  The worship taking place inside is a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist and for deities like Mazu.  Although very beautiful it made me sad, lacking the presence of the One and only True God.

Today’s verse explains where God’s Spirit lives today.  Rather than a physical building, God has chosen to reside by His Spirit in the hearts of His followers.  Our bodies become His temple.  What an amazing thought!  And what a privilege.  His presence is constantly with the believer.  He has purchased our freedom from sin and judgement by His death on the cross and we belong to Him.  Because this is true, we strive to honor Him with our bodies.  We honor Him by staying away from sexual impurity (verse 18).

It is difficult for me to understand just how holy and pure God is.  I need to grasp the truth that He is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) to be worshiped with reverence and awe.  Instead of rationalizing what I do, see or think about, I want to keep my “temple” clean and pure because He is there.  I do not want impure thoughts to inhabit the same place as Him.

Lord, help me keep Your dwelling place clean today.

 


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Tatting Lace

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In going through my Mother’s things my sister and I found some beautiful tatting.  As I am not talented in this area, I did not realize the effort that goes into creating this handiwork.  This method of making lace dates back to the early 19th century.  It seems a complicated and detailed process of forming a pattern of rings and chains.  There are gaps left between stitches that form “picots” along the outer edges.  All these knots and loops make for an intricate pattern of beautiful lace.

Today’s verse calls us God’s handiwork.  We are created for a very specific purpose.  God has prepared in advance the good works we are to do.  All those knots in our physical make-up, and all those loops in our personality and skill set are there for a purpose.  Nothing is by chance.  The works we are to do are matched up to the way He made us.  He knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  He wove us together before we ever saw the light of day (Psalm 139:15).  Each of us are uniquely made for Him.

As a believer, this verse gives purpose to my life.  I never have to wonder why I am on this earth.  My salvation is a gift (verses 8-9) and not earned by my works.  But my purpose in life is also a gift, and an incredible privilege.  He created me with everything I need to spend my life in service to Him.  He uses all my imperfections, my background, my family advantages and disadvantages.  He uses my talents and weaknesses.  He uses it all to serve Him.

Lord, show me how to serve You today.


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Royalty!

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:17  “Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

Meet King Henry the Third, my twenty-first Great Grandfather!  Thanks to the years of research done by my sister, we can trace our family back to the early 1200’s.  Although kindhearted, history portrays King Henry as weak and ineffectual during his reign starting in 1216.  This image is of his effigy at his tomb located in Westminster Abbey.  We are also direct descendants of the King Edwards I, II, and III.  But will this discovery garner me more respect??

Today’s verse reminds me of my identity in Christ.  I am not only a subject of the King,  I am a child of the King.   What an amazing thought!  As His child I have access to the throne room of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! (Heb.4:16)  I belong there!  Because of the grace shown by Christ’s sacrifice, God extends to me His scepter, just as King Xerxes did for Queen Esther so long ago.  His throne is called a “throne of grace” because there He dispenses His mercy and help in time of need.  Isn’t that all the time?

I am not so sure I like the part about suffering.  But in our fallen world suffering is inevitable, especially for doing the right thing.  However, I have hope and can look forward to sharing in His glory!  Would that I remember that my allegiance belongs to the King and not to the world.  He is a King full of love and grace, welcoming me to His throne room.

Lord, help me remember that I am Your child and heir.


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Beyond the Storm

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”

With all the technology at our fingertips, we are often forewarned of a storm on its way.  Other times a storm will descend suddenly with little or no warning at all.  With our many road trips we are sometimes stuck with no option except to go through its path.  But I am not too concerned when I can see the skies clearing ahead.  Just the thought of the storm being temporary helps me calm down and get through it.

Today’s verse talks about walking in the dark with no light at all.  There is no vision of clear skies ahead.  This happens for even those that fear and obey the Lord.  When those confusing dark times come, we are to trust in His name and who He is.  We are to rely on God rather than our senses or our intelligence.  Walking by faith has nothing to do with what we can see ahead that reassures us (II Cor. 5:7).  We are given no “light at the end of the tunnel” on which to focus.

I cannot see that patch of blue ahead.  But I can remain calm in the middle of a storm.  Trusting and relying on the Creator of that storm keeps me serene.  He is trustworthy and He is in control.  I have no reason to be fearful for what the future might hold.  And the only light I really need in that darkness is the heart conviction of how good and gracious He is.

Thank you Lord for Your reassuring presence even in the dark.

 


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Pregnant Male

Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:2  “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This couple is unlike any other in nature.  It is the male sea-horse who carries the eggs for the female!  The female will deposit her eggs in a special pouch he carries.  There, he fertilizes the eggs with his sperm, and carries them for two to four weeks until he gives birth.  Their babies are called “fry” and there can be as many as 1000 at a time  The female has it easy.  Her part is to swim up to the male each morning during gestation  and give him a special greeting!

Today’s verse talks about helping each other to carry their burdens.  Doing so fulfills the law of Christ which is to love one another.  These burdens are the unfortunate result of our sin (verse 1).  They are different from His  burden which is light (Matt.11:30).  Rather than look askance at the one fallen in sin thinking we would never do that, we are to do all we can to lift him up and lighten his burden.  We all carry around the memories of past failures.  Understanding how the Lord has forgiven us helps us extend that same grace.  In love, we want to help with words of encouragement and affirmation.

It costs me something to help carry the burden of another.  It means that I take time out to pray, give godly counsel and practical help.  It might mean hours on the phone.  Sin can complicate a life.  The consequences can be very burdensome with broken relationships and poor self-image.  But that burden can be lighter when I come along side.  It is one of the best ways to show love!

Lord, help me be willing to carry another’s burden.