Devotions By Jan

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Following the Recipe

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 119:137-138 “You are righteous, Lord, and Your laws are right. The statues You have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.”

I love following a good recipe that is tried and true.  And if I want a German dish to be authentic I would go to the trouble of translating those instructions (as well as converting the measurements).  I would not worry about all the verbs being in the command form.  It is a recipe after all.  I do not expect it to say, “please beat the eggs.”  Or “would you mind chopping the nuts.”  But I am not offended.  The directives are there to obtain a good, tasty result!

Today’s verse describes God’s directives.  Sometimes they can seem very blunt.  There is no softening of what God requires of us.  But His commands are always with a good goal.  They are always for our good and for our protection.  We know that because HE is good.  What He commands is fully trustworthy and an expression of His love and care.  This is why David could say that they are a joy to the heart and light to the eyes, sweeter than honey and more precious than gold! (Psalm 19)

If God’s commandments are really for my good, then why am I always trying to change the recipe?  Because that is in fact what I sometimes try to do.  I think I know better or that somehow I am an exception to the rule.  Maybe I can “sort of” follow the instructions but introduce a variation which makes it easier on me.  The result is never as good.  His way is always the best and I am the one who benefits when I carefully follow what He wants.

Lord, thank you for Your love expressed through your commands.

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Book Signing

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I highly recommend my friends’ book, Strangers Like Angels!  This saga, written by Alec and Jan Forman,  follows the first-hand account of their Land-Rover travels in the 70’s.  Their year-long adventures took them through the Sahara Desert, tropical rainforests in Africa, Europe, then Nepal and Afghanistan.  My book copy is especially valuable as it is signed by the authors!

In today’s verse Jesus is described as an author, the Author of our faith.  He is the One who creates and initiates.  He is the One who makes faith possible.  He is also the perfecter or finisher of our faith, carrying the story through to the very end.  He has written the conclusion and I already know the ending to my story.  It is not shrouded in mystery but revealed in His Word.  It is a triumphal ending where faith becomes sight and I will be with Him forever!

As the Author of my faith, He wrote the introduction.  He planned exactly who I am, the family He wanted me to have, and the way I would come to Him in faith for salvation.  But right now, I am living the unknown part, the chapters in between.  This is the part that can seem so uncertain.  Not only that, I want to tell Him what to write.  But as the Author of my faith, He is also its perfecter and there is no need to edit anything!  I can trust that He knows what He is doing with my life.

Thank you Lord, for authoring my story and my future.

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Turkish Coffee

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

It is a careful multi-step process to make an authentic cup of Turkish coffee.  If there are not at least a few grounds in the bottom of the cup I would be suspicious!  The coffee is very finely ground, preferably in a brass grinder.  The cevre or metal long-handled pot can be brass or copper.  But just as important as the equipment is the process of boiling the coffee twice, building a foam and allowing the powder to settle before serving.  All I know is that the resulting caffeine high can last me the entire day!

Would that spiritual energy could be found in a simple drink!  Today’s verse encourages believers to be zealous in their service to the Lord.  We are to keep our spiritual fervor so as to persevere and not give up when the hard times come.  We are to keep fueled, tanked up, or aflame, not burning out.  That enthusiasm we started with is to continue pushing us forward.

How do I keep to that level of zeal?  When I do not see results from my service, I lose my enthusiasm.  When I do not see that it makes much difference, I can easily lose heart.  There is only one way to be refueled and rediscover that joy and motivation to serve Him.  And that is by the Spirit’s filling (Eph. 5:18).  His filling gives me strength to keep on keeping on!  His power provides that excitement and motivation to advance His agenda today.  His filling even helps me to face a mundane routine.  I do not need to fill up with coffee.  I need to fill up with His Spirit!

Thank you Lord, for being the Source of my zeal and fervor.


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Deep Water

Scripture for Today: John 4:10 “Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

Did you know that over 60% of the earth is covered by deep water more than a mile in depth?  How wonderful it would be to scuba dive and enjoy all the varied colors of the coral and of the fish!  Even in the extreme depths far from sunlight there is life found in the cold sweeps and hydrothermal vents.  There is a whole other world when one goes deeper!

Today’s verse is from the story of the woman at the well.  Jesus offers her water that will so satisfy her that she will never thirst again.  The woman’s response is understandable.  She keeps the discussion on a physical rather than spiritual plane.  But if she had known who it was that was speaking to her she would have realized that there was a deeper meaning.  He wanted to satisfy her deeper longings and not only her physical need.

My requests and prayers to the Lord often stay on the physical plane.  It is understandable to ask Him for a physical healing.  He understands when I ask for help with finances or a miracle that would change my circumstances.  But He wants me to go deeper with Him.  He wants me to recognize and ask Him for what I cannot see or touch or measure.  He offers to fill me up with the fulness of Him.  He wants me to ask for His peace, His power and the assurance of His presence.  Filling these deeper needs carry me through all the rest!

Thank you Lord, for giving me what I truly need; more of You.


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No Entry

Scripture for Today: Psalm 10:4 “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”

The plumage of the peacock is breathtaking!  That gorgeous tail  exhibited for the benefit of the peahen measures over five feet!  Because of the wing size, the peacock cannot stay airborne for long.  Instead he will run, hop and flutter a bit.  But the peacock has every reason to be proud with his magnificent tail on display.  However, it must be a bit awkward to move around when his big tail fans out!  In this image the sign says, “no entry.” Apparently there is no room for him!

Today’s verse is part of a passage describing the wicked.  In the thinking and in the pride of the wicked there is no room for any thought of God.  He does not seek the Lord as he feels he has no need of Him.  His life is easy and prosperous (verse 5).  He lives his life his own way, scorning God’s laws.  He feels he can get away with it believing God never sees (verse 11).  What this man does not realize is that his pride tops the list of sins that are detestable to the Lord (Prov. 6:16-17).

It is only because of the grace and salvation of Christ that I am not counted among the “wicked.”  However, that does not mean that I do not struggle with pride.  Every time I disobey what God has clearly commanded, my pride is showing in thinking I know better!  Pride has crept in when I neglect to seek Him with my whole heart.  When there is room for every thought except thoughts of Him, then pride has kept me from realizing His presence.

Lord, fill my mind and heart today with thoughts of You.