Devotions By Jan

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Lunar Eclipse

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 60:19 “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

How strange it was to see the “super moon” slowly being darkened by the shadow of the earth.  It does not happen too often and it was spectacular to see!  It was called a “super moon” because of its fullness and because of its position at the closest point of its orbit with the earth.  A news agency called it, “a glorious view of the heavens,” and “a glorious heavenly event.”  It was certainly rare as the next time this happens will not be until 2033.

This eclipse was a partial one so we were not left totally in the dark.  As beautiful as an eclipse or sunset can be, it leaves us with less light and increasing darkness.  But one day there will no longer be any darkness at all.  The Lord will be our light and it will be everlasting.  His glory will shine as bright as day.  There will no longer be any need of the sun or the moon.

That everlasting light is not just in our future, but He has promised to place some of that light in our hearts today! (II Cor. 4:6)  It shines in our hearts to give us an inkling of His overwhelming glory.  And it is displayed in the face and presence of Christ.  The more I approach Him the brighter that light becomes!  I can “walk in the light” (I John 1:7) and experience sweet fellowship.  I want to bask in the warmth of His loving light and not obscure it with the shadows of my sin.

Lord, help me to walk in the light of Your presence today.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)

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Not Feeling It

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:3 “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

My poor husband recently had a rotten tooth extracted and with the local anesthetic, he felt and looked much like this dog!  But the upside is that there was no pain during the procedure.  He did not feel a thing!

Feeling physical pain is sometimes easier than dealing with strong feelings and emotions.  Over the years I have often heard it said that, “feelings are neither good or bad.”  They are somehow neutral and natural.  It is what we do with them that can result in something negative or positive.  Feelings and emotions drive us to do so many wonderful or horrible things.

Today’s verse seems to support the idea that our feelings are normal and natural.  When we feel jealousy, we are following our normal human inclination.  However, some feelings, though understandable, are absolutely wrong in God’s sight.  Jealousy is one.  Our God is a jealous God but we are never given that right.  Hate is another.  The hate does not even have to lead to action to be wrong (Matt. 5:21).  When one lusts for someone other than a spouse, it is as wrong as the actual act of adultery (Matt. 5:27-28).  Feelings matter.

Of course not all feelings are wrong.  But just because it feels normal does not mean that the Lord approves.  My heart is deceitful and ready to excuse every feeling for whatever reason (Jer. 17:9).  My heart is all about those feelings that motivate and shape my life.  Controlling them, dealing with them and sometimes confessing them is only possible through His Spirit!

Lord, help me evaluate my feelings in the light of Your Word.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)

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Scripture for Today: Psalm 40:17 “But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; You are my God, do not delay.”

This happened.  Actually, experiencing flight delays happens pretty regularly.  I try to stay calm, but when a connecting flight is affected I tend to panic.  No one likes running frantically to a gate.  Being delayed because of my own lack of organization is one thing, but when the airlines delay me for whatever reason, I feel intense frustration.  I have no control and that is an uncomfortable feeling!

David was concerned about delays for a much better reason.  He was waiting for the Lord to act on his behalf in the face of enemies!  Today’s verse is a cry for help and deliverance.  David saw that he had no control in the situation.  In fact, he was humble enough to see his poor and needy state.  He was totally dependent on God’s response.  How odd that a king would say that he is poor and needy.  Yet David felt that way when overwhelmed with his troubles and sin, as well as his enemies (verse 12).

When I am feeling rich and confident in my own resources I am less likely to call out to the Lord for help.  I am tempted to feel smug and complacent when all is going well.  It is when I am surrounded by troubles, feeling the weight of my sin and feeling opposed by unbelievers that I realize just how poor and needy I am!  Perhaps, that is why God sometimes delays.  He waits for humility.  He opposes the proud but gives so much timely grace to the humble.

Thank you Lord, that Your help is never too late when I cry out to You.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)

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Flying Buttress

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 3:15 “If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

The flying buttress pictured here is part of the Notre Dame of Paris.  In the 1100’s the architects built these supports for many of the Gothic cathedrals.  Normally, a buttress was built as an integral part of the side walls for additional support.  The flying buttress not only supported the heavy stone roof but also allowed for more light.  With the supports arching away from the building, more of the walls could be made of windows, making the interior lighter and brighter.

Today’s verse describes the Church as a pillar and buttress of truth.  Both of these structures serve as an image of support and reinforcement for the truth of God’s Word.  Truth has the strength and power to sustain and strengthen.  Being bolstered by the truth allows believers to bear up against the lies of the Deceiver.

The support of a pillar can be found on the interior or exterior of a building.  But the buttress is clearly on the exterior.  It is more vulnerable to the elements and more easily seen.  Standing for the truth out in the world can make one a target for persecution.  But in the end, the truth does stand.  Jesus said that the gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church that He has built (Matt. 16:18).

The structure is not the Church.  The pillars or the buttresses are not the Church.  The roof and walls may fall down over time.  But still His Church overcomes because He resides in believers (I Cor. 6:19).

Lord, keep me standing for the truth of Your Word.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)

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False Advertising

Scripture for Today: I John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

This sign made me smile!  Strictly speaking, it is not “false advertising” as it is completely true!  But the unsuspecting passer-by is lulled into thinking there is something special about this offer.  I am always disappointed with sales that offer a discount “up to” a certain percentage.  Those two little words, often in smaller print, mean that most items can be normally priced.  One is lured inside with high expectations of a good deal.  But blatant examples of false advertising abound with some leading to lawsuits.

There is someone who is an expert at false advertising.  He offers the world in exchange for the soul.  Satan is the master deceiver who pretends that this world is all there is.  He advertises with glitz and glamour and the promise of something for nothing.  He convinces people that the greatest and best goal in life is to fulfill each and every desire.  We have earned it.  We deserve it.  We can have it all and there is no cost!

Today’s verse tells the truth.  The world and all its desires will not last forever.  This is not it.  There is something more and it is infinitely better.  The world is only temporary and gaining all of it means nothing if I forfeit my soul (Mark 8:36).  It is so easy to be distracted by the “here and now” and lose that eternal perspective.  What awaits me defies my imagination!  What the Lord has prepared for His own makes this world, as beautiful as it is, a poor shadowy substitute.  Every desire in Heaven will be pure, satisfied and fulfilled!

Help me Lord, to see this world as temporary and live my life for You.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)