Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Lost Luggage

Scripture for Today:  Philippians 3:8 “What is more I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

There was a time when our eldest daughter had the worst luck with lost luggage!  For at least three consecutive flights overseas the airlines lost her suitcase.  To be fair, the luggage was delivered to our door in the first few days.  But on one occasion, it took weeks and she was reimbursed for the contents and her trouble.  Seeing this room full of lost luggage makes me cringe for their owners.  What a hassle!

Today’s verse describes a loss that Paul does not consider so important.  Paul’s background was stellar as a righteous, educated and privileged pharisee.  He was full of religious zeal and entrusted with a mission.  He had the admiration and respect of the world of his day.  Yet, all that he had gained he considered garbage.  The surpassing value of knowing and loving Jesus had given Paul a different perspective.  This beautiful and satisfying relationship with Christ made all his past accomplishments seem worthless.

I tend to base my self worth and importance on past diplomas, accomplishments and recognition from others.  But gaining Christ far outweighs their importance.  If renouncing the accolades of men helps me gain Christ, then it is well worth it!  My relationship with Him is what makes my life sweet and meaningful.  It is no loss to turn my back on the world’s idea of value when I can enjoy the surpassing worth of knowing Him!  “You can have all this world.  Just give me Jesus.”

Lord, give me more of You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 


Leave a comment

Fulfillment Centers

Scripture for Today: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Amazon distribution warehouses are called, “Fulfillment Centers.”  There are over eighty of these enormous centers worldwide.  Some of them are as large as twenty eight football fields!  During their last cyber Monday, 426 orders a second came in!  The employees pick, pack and ship with the help of robotic carts, conveyor belts, and automatic sorting systems.  One can even take tours as it is truly a sight to behold!  However, I am not sure about it being the fulfillment of all my hopes and dreams!

Today’s verse talks about being filled to the point of overflowing.  Rather than being momentarily fulfilled with the arrival of that package at the door, this verse tells us we can be filled with something much more long lasting; joy, peace and hope.  This filling comes from the God of hope and it happens when we trust Him completely.  The fulfillment He offers reaches every nook and cranny of our being.  We are not left wanting as He makes it possible to be totally satisfied as we trust Him.

I know when I am on empty.  When hope, joy and peace are just flowery words and not a reality it means I am not in a place of trust.  Or when I am filled with worry and fear, there is no place for them.  But when I turn back to Him, He is ready to fill me with Himself.  He is hope.  He is joy.  He is peace.  He embodies each of these qualities that fulfill me and make life worth living.

Lord, fill me with Yourself today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.

 

 


Leave a comment

Renewed Like the Eagle

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:5 “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

These baby eaglets are completely dependent on their parents to protect and care for them.  They will fledge or fly away from their nest at ten to fourteen weeks.  But the eaglets will still hang around the nest, honing flight skills and constantly begging food for the next one to two months.  Finally, they will venture forth for a good year before returning to visit.  The soaring on those thermal air currents make the flight of the eagle seem effortless.  Even an old bird can seem young and vibrant when soaring majestically through the skies.

Today’s verse is a call to praise the Lord for all of His benefits.  David then lists several, ending with this amazing declaration.  God satisfies our desires so that even our youth is renewed like the eagle’s!  Rather than constantly flapping our wings, we ride that thermal air current, soaring in His power.  To be like the eagle means gaining new heights and flying long distances with minimal effort.

Looking to the Lord to take care of each desire is an exercise in renewal.  No longer is there an energy drain fussing about what I do not have or pining away for what I wish I had.  I am freed from discontent when I hand over my desires to Him.  He knows what I really want.  He knows what it is I truly need.  He sees what complications can come from some of my wants.  He only gives to me what is good.  I want to relinquish every desire to Him and not be dragged down from the heights where I can be soaring!

Thank you Lord, for the renewal You offer me today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


Leave a comment

S’Mores

Scripture for Today:  Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

‘Tis the season for this yummy treat!  Summer campfires are the perfect cooking method for the “s’more.”  That wonderful combination of cookie and chocolate held together by the gooey roasted marshmallow has long been a favorite.  This mouthwatering concoction is attributed to the Girl’s Scouts of the USA.  The recipe was first published in 1927 by troop leader, Loretta Scott Crew.  To quote her, “Though it tastes like ‘some more’ one is really enough!”

In today’s verse, there is no thinking about wanting some more!  Those that hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled and satisfied.  With His righteousness we do not pine for something more.  There is no feeling of missing out on something better.  A righteous life is the best kind of life.  Doing the right thing, following His way, and experiencing right standing with our Creator gives a sense of well-being that is complete.  No other kind of life can be quite as full or satisfying!

My problem is that I hunger and thirst for other things, good things, that give only temporary satisfaction.  But of course, I hunger and thirst for those things or experiences all over again.  However, I do not want my life to be characterized by wanting more.  I desperately want to experience that contentment and satisfaction He offers.  If I make the Lord the object of my longing, He will satisfy me.  He never intends for me to have an appetite that is insatiable.  That I should always pine for more must grieve His heart as He has promised life to the full (John 10:10).  The abundance He offers gives a deeper satisfaction to my soul!

Thank you Lord, that You fill my longings with Yourself.


Leave a comment

Eating Scraps

Scripture for Today: Psalms 145:15-16  “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Not a single scrap of food was wasted during the second world war.  This young girl is putting scraps into the city pig bin in Surrey, England.  The image comes from the Imperial War Museum to depict life at the “Home Front.”  All those scraps were collected and treated and then fed to the pigs.  The pigs will eat just about anything.  They are not too picky and are easily satisfied, sometimes even with food that is nasty and spoiled.  But for the famished young man feeding pigs in Luke 15, even their food looked good!  The prodigal son had traded the comfort of his Father’s presence for the pleasures the world had to offer.

Today’s verse tells us where true satisfaction can be found.  What comes from His hand brings satisfaction.  The problem comes when we turn to the world for that satisfaction.  We mistakenly think that the pleasures the world offers will somehow meet our desires when nothing is further from the truth.  Like the Prodigal Son, we end up with the pigs, mindlessly eating the scraps.

So many are deluded and living contentedly with scraps in the pigsty when they could be dining at their Father’s table.  What the world offers not only fails to truly satisfy but leaves a bitter aftertaste.  My Heavenly Father gives good gifts that satisfy my deepest and sometimes unconscious desires.  His open hand is waiting to give to those who look to Him in faith.  I can say this as He has satisfied me with a love that will never fail!

Thank you Lord, that You satisfy my deepest hunger, that of my soul.


Leave a comment

Binging

Scripture for today: I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We used to think of binging only in terms of eating and drinking.  But of course, binging can refer to indulging to excess in any activity.  Binging on a television series has become a common pastime for some.  A “binge racer” is someone who completes an entire season of a television show within a day of its release.  While living in France, friends would send us a show’s entire season.  To binge watch was a true temptation although real life usually interrupted the idea of “indulging to excess.”

Today’s verses seem to indicate that there is no such thing as excess when it comes to joy, prayer or thankfulness.  All three of these activities can be indulged to our heart’s content.  In fact, each please the Lord and are part of His desire for the way we live.  To always have deep-seated joy would include in the middle of any circumstance, even the negative ones (James 1:2).  Being in a continual attitude of prayer means that the lines of communication remain open and intact.  And to always give thanks recognizes God’s loving control in every circumstance.

I can never rejoice too much.  I can never pray more than I should.  And the Lord never tires of hearing my grateful praise!  Each of these activities can never be indulged too much.  He asks me to make them part of my every day life.  He knows how enriching they are to my day and how they direct my heart toward Him.  When I choose joy, when I take time to talk with Him and when I am grateful for every blessing, I can feel His pleasure!

Lord, keep me close to You today.

 


Leave a comment

Kentucky Derby Horse Poo

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

The horses that qualify to race in the Kentucky Derby must be the best of the best.  But I never knew this distinction would extend to their feces!  But apparently for some, owning a jar of the stuff is a rare privilege, that is if one is willing to spend 200$ a jar!  The special “nugget” is covered in resin to preserve it on some lucky owner’s mantle.  I guess one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure!

Today’s verse presents a huge contrast between what is valued in life and the superior worth of knowing Christ personally.  Paul had it all.  His background was stellar as a righteous, educated and privileged pharisee.  He was full of religious zeal and entrusted with a mission.  He had the admiration and respect of the world of his day.  But compared to having a relationship with Jesus, he considered it garbage.

Paul found that making his relationship with Christ his goal far outweighed any satisfaction the world could give him.  When I have that same goal, my whole perspective changes.  When I weigh the value of knowing Him against any of my accomplishments or possessions, the choice is clear.  He is eternal and making Him the priority has eternal benefits.  I do not want to be lured away from Him by all that glitters.  I want to let go of what will keep me distracted and far from Him.  He is worth far more than all else.  “You can have all this world.  But give me Jesus.”

Thank you Lord, for the precious value of knowing You.