Devotions By Jan


1 Comment

Notre Dame

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.”

How heartbreaking to see Notre Dame of Paris engulfed in flames!  People in the streets sobbed. sang, and prayed as they watched the 250 feet flames rise in the skies.  This iconic historical landmark meant so much to so many.  It seems inconceivable that something that has solidly stood for almost nine centuries could fall prey to fire.  This image of the cathedral no longer represents reality as the spire has toppled.  The news story is so recent at this writing that the extent of the damage is not yet known.

Today’s verse is an incredible reassurance in the face of this bad news.  The church of the living God does not consist of man-made materials.  The structure is not the church.  Though roofs, walls and spires may fall, the church continues.  Truth continues.  And the universal church is a pillar and buttress of truth.  The pillars on the inside hold up the truth.  The buttress jutting out on the exterior also support truth on the outside.  Jesus said that the gates of hell will never prevail against the church He has built (Matt. 16:18).

God’s Church is where He resides and He has taken up residence in the hearts of believers (I Cor. 6:19).  The church is made up of a believers in the past, present and future.  Together, we are to stand for the truth in a world where the Deceiver is actively at work.  The permanence of a building pales in comparison to the fact that God’s truth will prevail in the end!

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


Leave a comment

A Champion

Scripture For Today: Matthew 22:17b & 21b …Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? …give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Joe Louis has been called the greatest prize fighter of all time and for good reason.  He reigned as heavyweight champion from 1937-1949, the longest span of any titleholder.  When asked by a reporter who hit him the hardest Joe Louis replied, “Uncle Sam’s taxes.”  He had raised $90,000 by charitable fights, personally seeing none of it.  The IRS later credited these amounts as taxable income.  Although most proceeds went directly to his handlers, he owed over one million in taxes and interest by 1950.  Hit hard indeed!

Today’s verse is appropriate on the deadline for filing taxes.  The Pharisees were looking to trap Jesus with His words.  As the Romans were an occupying force, they asked if it was right to pay taxes to them.  These self-righteous religious leaders called Jesus a “man of integrity” but Jesus understood the evil intent of their hearts.  He asked whose image was on the coin and when they answered Caesar’s, Jesus responded with this familiar verse.

The question for me is never if I agree with the government’s policies.  If I only paid taxes to a government I agreed with then my bill would be significantly reduced!  But my obligation to the government pales in comparison to what I owe the Lord.  His image is not on my coin but on my heart.  I bear His image as His child and I owe Him everything; my whole heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).  I cannot ever repay Him for what He did for me on that cross.  He bought me with an incredible price (I Cor. 6:20).  I owe Him everything.

Thank you Lord, for paying the price I could not.


Leave a comment

The Border Collie

Scripture for Today:  John 16:8   “When He  comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement……”

This beautiful border collie has everyone’s rapt attention!  Unlike the “heeler” dogs who nip at heels, this breed is called a “header.”  He goes to the front of the animal to turn or stop its movement.  It is common for a border collie to stand in front of a large group and use what is called a “strong eye” to stare them down into submission!

Today’s verse talks about the role of the Holy Spirit.  Like the header dog that nudges the sheep in the right direction, so we need Him to direct and lead.  We are like sheep and left to ourselves would go astray (Is. 53:6).  We all need the Shepherd’s rod and staff for correction and for getting us out of danger!  His Spirit brings the conviction of what is wrong, what is right and the consequences a behavior brings.  The Spirit incites the positive godly guilt that leads to repentance (II Cor. 7:9.)

The Lord is my Shepherd but the Holy Spirit is like that border collie.  I love that the indwelling Holy Spirit brings comfort, power and His fruit in my life (Gal. 5:22-23).  However, the guilt and conviction from Him is not a comfortable experience.  The quicker I listen and obey, changing direction, the sooner the experience is over.  But that temporary discomfort is well worth avoiding that fall over a cliff!  His desire is always for my good.  As my Shepherd He leads me in the paths of righteousness where I can find quiet waters to refresh my soul (Psalm 23).  That is why His conviction as a rod and staff can actually bring me comfort!

Lord, help me see Your correction as proof of Your love..


Leave a comment

Air Bag Fail?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.”

No, my Mother-in-law’s air bag did not deploy.  Her 1991 car had only frontal air bags in any case and none on the sides.  But we do what we can to protect ourselves in the event of a crash.  We wear our seat belts and obey the rules.  We often depend on those air bags even though there have been recalls and even though there are counterfeits out there that malfunction.  And not every airbag is even supposed to deploy in some circumstances.  But we do try to take every precaution.

Today’s verse tells us that God’s protection belongs to those who love His name.  We can rejoice because He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Knowing that He is in control means that we can have a light heart and even sing for joy.  His love and protection is always trustworthy as He has a plan for what He allows to happen.

I wish belonging to the Lord meant that I or my loved ones are never touched by evil, sickness or accident.  We live in a fallen world and it is not Paradise!  But God’s Word reassures me that He is in control.  The pain and suffering He allows is always used for His higher purposes.  None of it is “bad luck” or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I am fragile.  Life is fragile.  But I belong to the God of the universe and that calms me down.  He has already taken care of my eternity.  I can trust Him for every detail of this life.

Thank you Lord, that Your loving kindness protects me.

 


Leave a comment

“Great Rock”

Scripture for Today:  Isaiah 28:16 “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says; ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

This strange structure sits on an even stranger landscape; Burren, on the west coast of Ireland.  The name, Burren, means “great rock.”  Dry limestone rock covers this flat barren area making it resemble a moonscape.  This structure is called Poulnabrone, a portal tomb that has stood the test of time.  Originally covered with soil, it served as a collective burial site as well as a territorial marker.  All that remains today is its “stone skeleton.”

Today’s verse describes the only true and firm foundation.  The people were deluding themselves thinking that they could mock God’s words, live how they pleased and not be touched by calamity.  They were taking refuge in lies and falsehoods (verse 15&17).  They relied on themselves and their own righteousness and justice rather the foundation of God’s truth.  The “stone” on which we are to build our lives is a tested precious cornerstone.  That Cornerstone is Jesus Christ (Eph.2:20) and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame (I Peter 2:6).

My whole life is like a building that is based on the Rock.  Jesus is not just an afterthought but the cornerstone from which everything else is fitted.  He is my point of reference for all truth.  Relying on my own rationale or reasoning is like building on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  When the storms of life whirl around me, I want to be remain stable.  I will not panic at whatever life throws at me because I am founded on His unshakeable and eternal truth.

Lord, keep me stable today.