Devotions By Jan


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GQ Magazine’s Recommendation

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:12  “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.”

The Gentlemen’s Quarterly, a fashion magazine for men, just published an article putting the Bible on a list of 21 classics not worth reading!  The Bible was called foolish, repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, and ill-intentioned.  The novelist, Jesse Ball, conceded that there were some interesting parts but that, “overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”

Somehow, someone has missed the point!  Today’s verse describes the Bible as having a very piercing point as it is sharper than a two-edged sword.  Unlike any other book in history, the Bible is living and active as it is the very Word of God.  It is unique in that man did not produce it.  Although human writers were used, it is “God-breathed” and Spirit-inspired.  No other book can make that claim.  Because the Bible judges our deepest desires and thoughts, it often comes under attack.

Dividing soul from spirit and joints from marrow is an image that makes me shudder.  And yet, it is the kind of action needed to get through to my deceitful heart (Jer.17:9).  The Word exposes what to me is comfortably hidden.  I do not want to be uncomfortable reading His Word.  But so many times it is necessary to feel His conviction and be shown the truth about myself.  Thankfully, His Word does not leave me bruised and bleeding.  His Word also comforts, heals and encourages.  By reading His Word I can enjoy a restored relationship with the Divine Author.

Create in me a clean heart, O God……even when it hurts!

 

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Coconut Worm Larvae

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” 

Perhaps they taste like chicken.  But is it really necessary to eat them alive?  The coconut worm larvae has a sweet coconut taste and are especially creamy when eaten raw!  This dish is considered a delicacy as street food for the Vietnamese.  I do not feel sorry for these small creatures as they easily bring down a mighty palm tree with their voracious appetite.  With their powerful jaws, they burrow holes up to a meter long in the trunk of a palm, eventually killing their host.

Today’s verse describes sin as “deceitful.”  It can slowly excavate holes in our faith and if left unchecked, can bring down the believer, leading him to a place of unbelief.  The sneaky nature of sin does its work inside where no one sees.  It can eventually hardened a heart.  That is why believers need one another to daily encourage each other to right living.  To delay even a day can put our hearts at risk.

Sometimes my sin can seem so puny and harmless.  There may even be some temporary sweetness that comes from it.  And that’s the deceitful part.  But I know how weak I am and that I am not above participating in any sin, especially in my thought life.  It does help me to be around other believers who can encourage me to stay the course.  And having the opportunity to build up someone else’s resolve serves to bolster my own faith as well.  More than anything, I want my heart to stay soft towards His Spirit.  And I want to stand firm to the very end!

Lord, I need to be encouraged today!

 

 

 


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False Ring Tones

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, Lord You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.”

Imagine, hearing that ring tone sound continuously even though you know your contact is there and waiting for your call.  How frustrating to have pre-arranged a conversation and no one picks up!  T-Mobile deceived millions of their customers by creating false ring tones.  They were used to make customers believe their calls were connecting when in fact they were not.  Rather than hear silence, they were hearing a misleading ringtone.  The company was fined 40 million dollars for this illegal practice.

Today’s verse is an encouragement that the Lord always hears our prayers.  Even when it seems there is only silence, He is there and He hears our every cry.  King David made it a practice to bring his requests to the Lord first thing in the morning.  The Lord knows the moment we are awake and open our eyes (Ps. 139:2).  He knows our thoughts before they are even voiced.  He is attentive and waiting for our thoughts and prayers to turn to Him.  David did not seem bothered by the silence that followed.  Not hearing the answers right away, he would wait with faith and expectation.

God’s silence does not mean that He does not hear or does not care.  His silence is so often the method He uses to grow my faith and trust.  I can “hear” His silence with peace and confidence knowing that He has heard my prayer and is working out His plan.  Like David, I can leave the burden of that request with Him and start my day with a lighter heart.  He is at work even when I do not see it.

Lord, help me to wait expectantly!

 

 

 

 

 


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Barbie’s Last Name

Scripture for Today: I Peter 4:16 “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Who would have thought it, that the Barbie doll has a last name!  Apparently, Barbie herself recently tweeted out the big revelation.  She and her two sisters wished everyone a Happy Siblings Day from the Roberts sisters.  According to novels published by Random House in the 60’s, Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.  The Ken doll’s full name is Kenneth Carson.  I, for one, will sleep better tonight having that mystery cleared up for me.

Today’s verse talks about proudly bearing a name.  It is a name that is above all other names.  But it is also a name that could provoke hostility from others.  Being a Christ follower carries the risk of being scorned, mocked and even persecuted.  But there is special blessing promised for those who are insulted because of the name of Christ (verse 14).  How polarizing the name of Jesus is!  The names of other religious leaders do not get the same reaction.

I wear the name of Jesus when I live like He did.  I wear the name of Jesus when I speak of Him to others.  And I wear His name when I exemplify His character through His Spirit.  Wearing His name identifies me as belonging to Him.  Even if it draws negative attention, I am not to be ashamed.  Suffering for His name is a privilege.  I wonder if I am identified so closely with Christ that people see a difference in me.  I hope so.  I pray so.

Thank you Lord, for the privilege of bearing Your name!


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Meghan Markle’s Purse

Scripture for Today: Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in Heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

Being the fiancée of Prince Harry, there is a lot of interest in anything Meghan Markle wears or carries.  The purse Meghan carried at their first official royal event following their engagement sold for 675$.  People were so taken with her look that this same purse sold out on the company’s web site in eleven minutes!  But as with any purse, it will eventually show wear and tear or fall out of fashion.  Before long, it will be passed down to someone else or find its way to a thrift shop.

Today’s verse makes reference to a purse that will never wear out.  Jesus uses this image to illustrate our treasure in Heaven.  This treasure is eternal and will never fail or disappoint.  There is no chance of it being stolen or eaten by moths.  Because this is true, we can freely give to the poor from our earthly treasures.  Jesus reminds His disciples that they have already been given the Kingdom of God.  Because He has taken care of our every need, we are not fearful and can be generous in our giving (verse 32).

How I spend my money is a true litmus test of where my heart is and what I value.  I do not want my purse stuffed with what is inconsequential or with what the world says is important.  I want to use my money and influence to grow His Kingdom and please Him.  I already know that I cannot “out-give” the Lord as He provides everything I need.

Lord, may You be the true Treasure of my heart.


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Revolving Door

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:2 “…through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

This resembles very closely the revolving door at my French grocery store.  There seems to be plenty of room to maneuver, that is until a couple of carts and people are added!  Rather than roll into someone or bang the sides, I have on occasion taken one turn too many!  The “revolving door” is used in idiomatic expressions to mean that one can end up inadvertently where one started.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that through His Spirit, God has set us free from the law of sin and death.  Sin no longer has power and authority over the believer.  Where once we were in bondage to repeat over and over the same sin, through Him we can break that cycle.  Of course, temptation is still a struggle.  But the believer has His promise that the temptation will never be more than we can bear and He will provide a way out of it without sinning (I Cor. 10:13).  There is choice and there is power available to do the right thing.

It does seem that I am sometimes covering the same ground over and over.  When my patience is again being tested, I am glad when there is no one near to hear my knee-jerk reaction!  In my own power I am destined to a life of repeating the same mistakes.  But when I stop and look to Him and His power, there is a different outcome.  I can respond to testings and trials in a way that pleases Him.  When through dependance on Him I do it right, I absolutely feel free and I feel His pleasure!

Thank you Lord, for Your life-changing Spirit!


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Bless You!

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” 

Our cat, Tiger, would sometimes have a sneezing fit and would always look very surprised when it happened.  I never felt obligated to say the words, “bless you.”  After all, I figured it was usually the cat making everyone else sneeze.  There are many ideas on the origins of blessing people after a sneeze.  Some believed the sneeze had to do with evil spirits leaving the body.  Others felt it was the soul momentarily escaping the body.  My favorite is the belief that the heart temporarily stopped during a sneeze!

Today’s verse declares that the source of every spiritual blessing is Jesus Christ.  He has blessed every believer with unmerited favor and goodness.  The blessings He gives are not tangible but spiritual.  And because that is true, these blessings are eternal.  They include His choosing us, adopting us, redeeming us and forgiving us (verses 4-7).  He has blessed us by sealing us with His Holy Spirit and has promised us an inheritance (verse 13-14).  These blessings are not seen with our physical eyes but they are more real than things that are!

I need to be reminded of His blessings, especially when I see non-believers seemingly prosper around me.  Like David, I can feel discouraged and tempted to be envious (Psalm 37:1-2).  But their success is temporary and my inheritance is eternal!  Spiritual blessings are the ones that matter.  And the blessing of being His very own outweighs anything else.  I can live this life with faith and love because they spring from the hope stored up for me in Heaven! (Col. 1:5)  How blessed I am!

Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see Your blessings today..