Devotions By Jan

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The Court Jester

Scripture for Today: Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

This week some will celebrate April Fool’s Day by tricking friends and making them laugh. In medieval times, the royals had the luxury of having a court jester always available to make one laugh. He was also called a “fool” and would wear brightly colored clothes and bizarre hats in a motley pattern. His job was simply to entertain. His was a privileged position in the court as he could mock and revile without penalty.

Today’s verse describes a different sort of fool; the one that in his heart says that there is no God, mocking the very idea of God. But his Creator says He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). This fool may not be easily recognized as his foolishness is hidden in his heart. He may be revered for his doctorates or admired for his sophistication. But God sees them as a fool and even laughs at the wicked! (Ps. 37:13) And the fool is eventually revealed to others by his behavior.

It is never my place to call anyone a “fool” as in a curse (Matt. 5:22) as I cannot see what is in the heart. That is better left to the One who can. However, my own behavior can be very revealing and I know when I am being foolish with my decisions. When I choose to do things my own way instead of the Lord’s, I am being foolish. When I decide I know better I feel chagrin at the mess I make of things. Better to obey His Word even if I look the fool to the world!

Lord, keep me from being foolish today.

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New Season, New Life!

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

It is a stunning sight to see these Monarch Butterflies cluster together at their sanctuary in Pacific Grove, California! I remember visiting there with my family as a young girl and being wowed by their sheer numbers! Their annual 3,000 mile migration begins in Southern Canada and ends in Mexico, with this springtime stopover. This is the longest migration of any insect. Imagine a caterpillar trying to cover that distance!

Today’s verse is a promise for those who are “in Christ.” Discarding the old, that person has become an entirely new creation. No longer do old habits and ways of thinking limit progress. With sleek bodies and strong wings, long distances can be covered with each new day showing us new vistas. Placing our faith in the saving work of Christ changes us. And this transformation is completely from God Himself (verse 18) who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.

So many refuse this offer of new life. They cannot see beyond their caterpillar stage and seem content to crawl along the ground rather than fly! But every Spring I am reminded of the new life He has given me. My old life is dead and buried. I have been changed forever! I am not at all tempted to return to the form of that caterpillar. He has given me wings, color, sweet nectar and new life! And it was all accomplished by His Spirit and not at all by my own efforts.

Thank you Lord, for Spring and new life in You!

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Precious Jewels

Scripture for Today: Zechariah 9:16 “The Lord their God will save his people on that day, as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.”

In a long-ago Sunday School class, I learned that I was a precious jewel. The children’s hymn, “When He Cometh” told me so. “When He cometh, when He cometh, to make up His jewels, All His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own.” This is one of 300 hymns written by William Cushing in 1856. There are only four gems in the world that are categorized as “precious:” diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald. As a child I remember feeling confused that I could sparkle and be precious to the Lord!

Today’s verse was surely the origin of this long-ago hymn. Although the context is specific to the people of Judah, we know that believers today in His Church are precious in His sight, seen as His beautiful bride (Eph. 5:25-27), and His treasure (Matt. 13:44) and even His inheritance! (Ps. 33:12) God values us so much that He bought us as His own at a huge cost to Himself, the sacrifice of His Son! It is His love and grace that makes us so precious in His eyes.

These beautiful precious gems become this way after some pretty intense cutting and polishing. It is over a long course of troubles and difficulties that God is refining me to sparkle and shine like He intends. It helps to know that He thinks I am worth the trouble. I don’t always see progress in His work on me. But I do know that one day, His work on me will be finished. The Lord sees the final product and it will be worth it all!

How amazing it is to know that I am PRECIOUS in Your sight!

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The Lowly Lizard

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 30:28 “…a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”

I have always thought of lizards as friends. They eat those nasty insects after all. But I have quite a different feeling about them if they manage to find their way into my house! And certainly they have no place on this chess board, hanging out with the kings and queens. One would think that their presence indoors would be due to some terrible lapse in housekeeping. But of course, all that is needed is an open door for them to slip in unnoticed.

Today’s verse comes from a passage about four of God’s creatures described as wise: the ant, the hyrax or rock badger, the locust and the lizard (verses 24-27). The lizard is easily caught, even by a child. Yet he manages to find his way into a very secure place; the king’s palace. What a strange sight to see him where he does not belong! But he does not know that.

The incongruity of a lizard in a palace is the same incongruity of any blessing in my life! If I have wisdom, it is from fearing the Lord. If I find myself lunching with an American President’s brother, it had nothing to do with me! If I have rubbed shoulders with television celebrities or found myself in social events way above my station in life, it is all a grace I cannot explain. But far above these one-dimensional examples, God invites me to come freely into His throne room (Heb. 4:16) and enjoy His grace!

Thank you Lord, for the grace you show this lowly lizard!