Devotions By Jan

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Satisfaction Guaranteed?

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

It happened again.  A news report described the chagrin of a customer buying online what she thought was a great deal on a chair.  The chair looked study enough being made of wood.  And at 5$ what could go wrong?  Apparently, she did not read the fine print describing the dimensions of what was in fact a dollhouse item.  She could have sent it back for reimbursement but instead kept it on her desk as a reminder to always read the fine print!

Today’s verse could be like that fine print that we forget to heed.  Satisfaction is not guaranteed for any of our purchases except for bread.  Bread here is a symbol for what is daily essential for life.  Jesus declared Himself the “bread of life” (John 6:35).  He satisfies the hunger of our souls and He does this daily.  Trying to find that satisfaction in anything else just does not work!  But listening to Him and His Word is a food worth any price.  And what is so amazing is that we are invited to come and buy without money and without cost! (vs. 1)

I often do not recognize my hunger.  There are days when I am soul sick because I am feeding on what does not satisfy.  Those fancy pastries the world offers are a big distraction.  But instead of feeling full and satisfied, I am left feeling a little queasy.  However when I go to Jesus, He more than satisfies what my soul craves.  He offers Himself: His love, His peace, His joy.

Thank you Lord, that You satisfy!

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Scripture for Today:  Psalm 119:49-50 “Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

This bowl went from broken to beautiful!  The art of golden joinery is the definition of the Japanese word, “kintsugi.”  Fragmented and broken pottery or ceramics are repaired in this process by filling the holes and cracks with a resin mixed with gold, silver or platinum.  What used to be broken pieces thought to be worthless become a thing of beauty!  The very brokenness makes the item become more precious and valuable!

Today’s verse is a comfort and reassurance when going through suffering.  There is hope.  The author of this psalm was experiencing ridicule (vs. 51).  There was intense pressure from the wicked and perhaps he felt himself cracking from it. He vows to stay faithful to the Lord through it all.  In the night he reminds himself of who God is (vs. 55) and he resolves to stay the course.  Through all the pain he remains hopeful because of God’s promises.

It is hope that brings me through the darkest times of my life.  I can feel forgotten, rotten and dead inside just like David did when he described himself as “broken pottery” (Ps. 31:12).  But then, there are the promises of God.  Whatever feels broken He can repair.  More than that, He transforms our very brokenness into something useful and a thing of beauty.  Nothing is too hard for Him or beyond the skill of His capable hands.  He works in the good where everything went bad.  That stupid decision, that utter failure or that shame at letting Him down is all part of a pattern that He redeems and makes beautiful.  This is my hope.

Thank you Lord, that Your promises give me hope.



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Death Zone

Scripture for Today: Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

What an awe-inspiring scene this is on Mount Everest!  The grandeur and magnificence of these mountains have drawn many experienced climbers to its heights.  But unfortunately, ten climbers have already died this year alone.  They were found in what is called the “death zone” where oxygen is scarce.  Anywhere above 26,000 feet is part of that zone where the air is so thin that even supplemental oxygen is sometimes not enough.  The human body is just not made to function at the cruising altitude of a 747!

Today’s verse recognizes the source of life and breath.  It is the Spirit of God who created us.  It is the breath of the Almighty that gives us life.  At the very dawn of mankind, it was God who breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (Gen. 2:7).  There is no life apart from His breath.  And just as this is true in the physical sense, so it is true spiritually  The Spirit of God breathes life to our souls.  Where before we were dead, He has made us alive (Eph. 2:5).

My relationship with Christ is as necessary to me as the air I breathe!  But frankly, I do not always feel His presence.  Perhaps there are “death zones” for me where the spiritual air is scarce.  He promises to never leave me (Heb.13:5) but I can be indifferent to Him.  I can be gasping for breath when I immerse myself in the world and its values.  But when I turn back to Him, He breathes into me renewed love and forgiveness.  “This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me.”

Come Holy Spirit and breathe on me today.

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Hungry Bear

Scripture for Today: I Peter 2:2-3 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

The news recently reported on this would-be-intruder.  The voracious appetite of this bear pushed him to try all the windows and doors of this home in Avon, Connecticut.  He must have smelled the brownies baking inside, but thankfully was unable to gain entry!  While hibernating he felt no hunger or thirst, but as soon as he emerges from his den, his craving for food is all-consuming!  And no wonder after losing up to 33% of his body weight!

Today’s verse speaks of another kind of craving.  Just as newborn babies crave milk, the believer is to feel that same pressing need for God’s Word.  Before placing our faith in Christ, our souls feel no hunger or thirst for spiritual things.  But when coming to Christ we come out of that hibernation and stupor with an appetite!  We have tasted how good the Lord is and nothing else will satisfy!  The milk represents basic truths.  After growing on this the believer moves on to the solid food of teaching on righteousness (Hebrews 5:13-14).  With solid food we can better distinguish good from evil.

The less I avail myself of God’s Word, the more I feel like a hibernating bear.  It is so easy for me to slip into that comfortable non-challenging stupor.  God’s Word awakens me and keeps me sober and alert (I Thes. 5:6).  Reading His love letter to me keeps me craving more.  The more I read and study, the more I can taste His goodness in my life!  And conversely, the less I am into His Word, the less I feel His presence.

Lord, create in me a craving for Your Word today.

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Full of Prunes

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:18b-19 “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord”

People smile at the mention of prunes.  They are known especially as a laxative but they help generally with digestion as well.  In fact, prunes are high in antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are good for bone health, skin and hair!  My Mother would often tell me that I was “full of prunes,” when as a child I would say or do something silly!  I guess being full of prunes was not such a bad thing after all!

Today’s verse tells the believer to be filled with God’s Spirit.  The Holy Spirit resides in each of those who have turned to Christ in faith.  God has put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit. guaranteeing what is to come (II Cor.1:22).  But being filled with Him means giving more of ourselves over to Him to work in and through us.  When we are filled with His Spirit, we overflow with praise and song with others and heartfelt music to Him!

The problem comes when I am filled with other things.  How can He fill my heart when it is full of bitterness or a refusal to forgive?  How can He have room to display His fruit when I am full of jealousy and envy?  My stubbornness and pride put Him in a tiny corner of my heart where He is barely noticed.  Then I wonder why I am just not feeling His presence and power.  Holding on to those heart-filling obstacles means that the song and praise fall silent.  But oh how wonderful the change when I confess and rid my heart of what is blocking Him!

Lord, fill me to overflowing today!