Devotions By Jan


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House vs. Home

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:8 “We are of good courage, I say. and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

I have lived in a variety of houses on both sides of the ocean.  Not all of them have really felt like “home.”  The essential element was not the window flower boxes, a fire in the hearth or baking smells wafting from the kitchen.  For me the word denotes a feeling of permanence, being settled and enjoying warm loving family relationships.  Being that we were many times on the move, my husband would often tell me that “home” is where I am.

Today’s verse tells us where our true home is.  We are at home when we are in the presence of the Lord.  One day that will happen literally as He has thoughtfully and lovingly prepared a place for us (John 14:2).  What will make this place home will not be the size of the mansion or its appointments.  It will be the fact they we will be forever with Him.  There will be no interruption to this warm loving relationship.  It will be permanent and we will feel settled.

No matter how wonderful some of my houses have been, none of them have given me a feeling of satisfaction.  There is always a nagging sense of being unsettled.  Sure, it is nice to come back after time away.  But that feeling of coming home quickly wears off.  I know for a fact that I am not home yet.  When I finally feel at home will be when I enter my eternal home!  But for now, I can enjoy a small taste of home when I sense His presence.

Lord, You are my home.  Help me find contentment in You.

(Look familiar?  This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)


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Satisfaction Guaranteed?

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

It happened again.  A news report described the chagrin of a customer buying online what she thought was a great deal on a chair.  The chair looked study enough being made of wood.  And at 5$ what could go wrong?  Apparently, she did not read the fine print describing the dimensions of what was in fact a dollhouse item.  She could have sent it back for reimbursement but instead kept it on her desk as a reminder to always read the fine print!

Today’s verse could be like that fine print that we forget to heed.  Satisfaction is not guaranteed for any of our purchases except for bread.  Bread here is a symbol for what is daily essential for life.  Jesus declared Himself the “bread of life” (John 6:35).  He satisfies the hunger of our souls and He does this daily.  Trying to find that satisfaction in anything else just does not work!  But listening to Him and His Word is a food worth any price.  And what is so amazing is that we are invited to come and buy without money and without cost! (vs. 1)

I often do not recognize my hunger.  There are days when I am soul sick because I am feeding on what does not satisfy.  Those fancy pastries the world offers are a big distraction.  But instead of feeling full and satisfied, I am left feeling a little queasy.  However when I go to Jesus, He more than satisfies what my soul craves.  He offers Himself: His love, His peace, His joy.

Thank you Lord, that You satisfy!


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Bent Out Of Shape!

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:14-15a “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure , ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation…'”

It is a mystery!  No one knows why this grove of about 100 pines in Poland became so bent and crooked!  Each tree sharply bends towards the North for three to nine feet before curving back upright.  They were planted in 1930 and no one is around to explain.  As nearby trees grow normally, the best explanation is that it was done by man to ready the wood for curved ship-building parts.  Although, I personally like the alien explanation!

Today’s verse describes a whole generation as being warped and crooked.  Being “bent out of shape” is the natural state of those who follow their own way rather than God’s way.  The works of the Lord are perfect and He is perfectly upright (Deut. 32: 4-5)  Those who belong to Him have His righteousness and stand upright as well, just as those surrounding straight trees.  One of the most telling differences between the children of God and the surrounding crooked generation is doing everything without grumbling or arguing.

We all grumble, complain and argue.  I find it difficult to imagine never indulging in doing this.  But the idea is that a believer is not to be characterized by this behavior.  If I really believe that the Lord is in control of my life, then it stands to reason that He allows those complaint-inducing circumstances!!  I can complain about being stuck in traffic or I can trust God’s timing for my day.  I can pine away about what I do not have, or I can thank Him for all He does give me.

Lord, You are so good to me.  Keep me from complaining today.


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The Leprechaun

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:2 “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ.”

Today is a day for all things Irish.  And the leprechaun has been part of Irish folklore for centuries.  Our American ideas have changed him a bit as originally he is said to wear red.  The leprechaun in the beginning was a much scarier figure who would warn off people from sacred sites for their protection.  Now he is all about making shoes, granting wishes and hiding his gold at the end of he rainbow.  This leprechaun does not look so happy counting his gold!

Today’s verse talks about different riches.  They are described as “full” and have nothing to do with wealth in the traditional sense.  These riches involve understanding and knowing a Person, Jesus Christ.  Progressively coming to know God’s Son makes a life full and rich.  This kind of wealth is eternal rather than temporal.  Wealth of this kind cannot be stolen or taxed.  It is a wealth that has no limit.  The riches of Christ are boundless! (Eph. 3:8)

My riches are not tangible.  Their value is not easily recognized by the world.  Even so, I would never trade them for that “pot of gold!”  It cannot compare with the surpassing value of knowing and loving my Savior.  The closer I am to Jesus, the richer I am.  The further away I move from Him, the more impoverished I become.  Knowing, Him, loving Him and serving Him enriches me like nothing else!  How rich I am!

Thank you Lord, for the boundless and endless riches I find in You!

 


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Chocolate Citroen

chocolate-citroenScripture for Today: Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

My husband is passionate about cars and I am passionate about chocolate.  This creation seems to cover all our bases!  My husband always turns his head to see one of these “Deux Cheveaux” go by.  But my head turns at any sign of chocolate.  This Citroen is made of 2,645 pounds of chocolate so both our heads turn!  It was created by eleven students in France as part of a project at their school for restaurant management.  This masterpiece took 4,000 hours of painstaking effort and the result is impressive.

Satisfaction with both cars and chocolate is not so easy to find.  Today’s verse tells us where true satisfaction can be found.   This psalm is a prayer of Moses.  After recounting all the times the Lord disciplined the Israelites in the desert, Moses recognizes that God’s love remained faithful and constant.  The people had experienced “trouble and sorrow” over many years.  Now Moses prays for the satisfaction that comes from God’s unfailing love.  That satisfaction will bring them joy and gladness every day, despite the hard times.

Chocolate, cars, or any other earthly passion can fail to consistently bring me satisfaction  But God’s love does not fail.  His love and compassion are renewed every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).  When I am feeling an emptiness and lack inside, lots of good things can be a temporary distraction.  But nothing can reach that deeper longing of my soul like an awareness of His love.  That reassurance not only satisfies but replaces the emptiness with a song of joy!  And what a wonderful way to begin a day, to be satisfied in the morning!

Lord, thank you for Your love that never ever fails me!

 


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Lost Luggage

luggagesScripture 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 became for him 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.

 


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Oil Dipstick

engine_oil_dipstickScripture for Today:  Ephesians 5:18b-19 “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord,”

If our car maintenance were up to me, we would be in real trouble.  I am one of those women who are totally at sea when opening the hood of a car.  Even so, my husband put the tiniest bit of faith in me to research and find a particular dipstick on line for his upcoming trip to the cold eastern states.  He wanted a dipstick that was heated so there would be no issues with the weather in getting an accurate reading.

Today’s verse provides us with an accurate reading on whether we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  We are filled with Him when we are filled with praise and thankfulness.  The Spirit’s presence in our lives is evident when our hearts are filled with song for all that He has done for us.  The “oil of praise’ keeps us in good running shape.  Like the car, we will start to grind, seize up and then completely stall without the Spirit’s filling.  We burn out.  But when we are filled with Him than we are also filled with song.

I can almost feel myself sputtering and slowing down when I am complaining and negative.  When I cannot acknowledge and thank Him for all of His blessings, everything seems to grind to a halt.  But when my heart is filled with gratitude, not only do I gain new impetus praising Him, but I will want to share that praise with others.  When I am filled with praise I am filled with Him!

Lord, may today be a day of making music in my heart to You.