Devotions By Jan


1 Comment

The Super Bowl of Food!

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

Did you know that the biggest diet day for men is the day after the Super Bowl?  That makes sense as Super Bowl Sunday is the second most eating day behind Thanksgiving!  In fact, the average football fan gains ten pounds during the entire season!  There is something about couch time that encourages snacking.  And the more crunch there is, the more the chewing can release pent up tension as that player tries for the field goal!  And of course there are extra bites to celebrate…or to commiserate!

There is hunger and thirst in today’s verse for something much more satisfying than football snacks.  Those that hunger and thirst for righteousness will be full 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.  And of course, I hunger and thirst again.  But I do not want my life to be characterized by always wanting.  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 has promised life to the full (John 10:10).  This “blessedness” means that I can overflow with hope (Rom. 15:13) and with joy (II Cor. 8:2).  I want to be able to say with the Psalmist, “my cup overflows!” (Psalm 23:5)

Fill me up with You, Lord.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Too Many Tabs?

Scripture for Today:Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”

How many tabs do you have open right this minute?  There are all kinds of solutions out there for organizing all those open tabs into one single tab.  It is said that having too many open at once is not good for the health of one’s computer.  Perhaps there is an increased risk of a crash or reboot.  In any case, I enjoy having them all open in front of my eyes when immersed in a project.  But many times I am just lazy and need to close what is not immediately relevant.

Today’s verse, if put into computer language, is about having only one tab open.  All of David’s attention is on the Lord.  Above all else he wants to enjoy His presence.  David asks of the Lord only one thing.  Nothing is quite as important than spending time in His presence and enjoying His beauty.  All else pales in comparison to the importance of his relationship to the Lover of his soul.

It is hard for me to have this same mindset.  With so many roles to fill and expectations to meet, multiple tabs are always open.  But what is most important is spending time in God’s presence.  It is not just an obligation but a pleasure!  When I spend time with the Lord, whether individually or with others, I feel as if my day has value.  All the other tabs can close when I gaze into His loveliness.

Keep me seeking You, Lord, above all else.


Leave a comment

Hockey Stick

Scripture for Today: Luke 12:15 “Then He said to them, ‘Be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'”

There are some players in this picture that seem more prepared than their fellow hockey enthusiasts.  They are the ones with their hockey sticks touching the ice.  Regardless of where the hockey puck is, they have their sticks in position and at the ready.  That puck can come out of nowhere and with lightening speed, catching a player off guard.  The smart player will keep his hockey stick touching the ice as much as possible.

Today’s verse is a warning from Jesus to a crowd of listeners.  It was a specific response to a question about making an inheritance fair.  Jesus follows this warning with a parable about the rich fool whose goal in life is to store up more and more things, to the point of building bigger storehouses.  There are different kinds of greed to guard against.  And knowing that a life of significance is not found in possessions is one of the ways we can keep our “hockey stick on the ice” and be on our guard!

Greed is sneaky and insidious.  It is something that I need to guard against or it will influence my thoughts and my behavior.  Regardless of how much I have, the world tells me that more is better.  But in God’s economy, I am to be, “rich towards God.” (verse 21)  And I can be on guard by being in His Word and reminding myself of what really constitutes life; a loving trusting relationship with my Creator.  If I am greedy for anything, may it be more of Him, more of His love and beauty in my life!

Lord, be my defense against greed today.


Leave a comment

Climbing Mountains

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 2:22 “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?”

I love a good challenge.  Having worthy goals can stimulate and engage us.  Without them we can become bored and disinterested in life.  But it is not always easy to balance the need for new mountains to climb and the ideal of being content.  When the summit is reached, there can be a sense of deep satisfaction at the accomplishment.  The problem comes when that feeling dissipates.  And from the summit we see new mountains to climb.  Do we stop climbing and find contentment on our summit?  Or can we be content while continually seeking new mountains to climb?

Today’s verse from King Solomon asks a good question.  Why do we work?  Why do we strive and toil?  Whether it is for altruistic or selfish motives, what is our purpose for our mountain climbing?  After all of Solomon’s accomplishments he concluded that though his “heart took delight” in what he had done (vs. 10) he felt it was meaningless.  A life of significance that is meaningful has nothing to do with reaching our financial or vocational goals.  But it has everything to do with relationship.

There is no higher more satisfying goal than to know Jesus personally.  It is a relationship that is all consuming and never ending. Knowing Him is not only a life-long process, but an eternity-long process.  Our God is so grand and awesome that one can never come to the end of knowing Him!  He is the life-giver, the life-sustainer and the reason for which I live.  Knowing, loving and serving Him is the mountain I climb.  I will never reach the summit and that is fine with me as He gives me such joy along the way!

Lord, let me climb higher today!

 

 


Leave a comment

Forever Young

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

This image communicates such a contrast between young and old, vibrant and struggling.  However, for a 60+ year old man from the Netherlands, this was not how he saw himself.  In his head and spirit, if not in his body, he was still young.  On a job application he put his age down as 49.  When he was called on it, he explained that this was how he felt inside!

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!  There is satisfaction in remembering each of the good things that are already ours.  He forgives, He heals. He redeems, and He crowns us with His love and compassion (verses 3-4).  Those intangible benefits provide a satisfaction that constantly renew the spirit.

If I did not know His love and compassion I would feel prematurely old.  And realizing all His good gifts is a lift and renewal to my spirit!  Focusing on HIs benefits means there is no longer 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 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!  Remembering His benefits is the best way I know to feel young!

Thank you Lord, that You satisfy and renew me.


Leave a comment

Hawker Centers

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

This young man looks confused as to which food stand to choose.  He is standing in a “Hawker Center,” in Singapore where he can find many different inexpensive hot foods.  These centers are the government’s solution to the mobile food carts on the streets.  The street hawkers would often attract customers with loud cries, chants or banter.  Of course, this practice is not unique to Singapore.  I have heard “hawkers” even in the Latin Quarter of Paris!

Today’s verse is an invitation to eat and drink but with no monetary gain the one offering.  This is an invitation to come quench one’s thirst and satisfy one’s hunger without any cost!  But somehow, we miss this invitation.  Instead of being satisfied with no cost, we spend money on what does not satisfy (verse 2).  Instead of listening for the invitation, we fill ourselves with what is not good.  Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life.  And to the woman at the well, Jesus offered a water that would end thirst!

The noise of other offers drown out this invitation.  Too often I am distracted by the world’s ideas of what will satisfy.  I am duped into spending money, time and energy on what in the end brings no satisfaction at all.  Even though I know better, I am lured into mainstream thinking and carried away by consumerism.  Instead of meeting the deepest needs of my soul, I content myself with the trappings of success.  Then I wonder why I feel so impoverished.  My God and Creator is the only One who truly satisfies.

Lord, may I respond to Your gracious invitation today.


Leave a comment

Eden

Scripture for Today: Psalm 36:8 “They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights.”

This hidden gem on the Havasupai Reservation is called the desert’s “Garden of Eden.”  One can only access it by a ten mile descent by foot or mule.  I made this trek as a teenager with a group of others.  I can still remember the awe I felt when coming across the cascading turquoise water!  It was a welcomed sight after the dry, hot and dusty trail.  We had to pack in our own water for drinking, but splashing in the water was a relief from the relentless sun.

Today’s verse mentions rivers of delights.  The Lord’s presence is described as a dwelling place where there is feasting and abundance.  His presence quenches the thirst of our souls.  His unfailing love (verse 7) is a refuge and a delight.  The Garden of Eden in Scripture was a literal place near four rivers given as landmarks (Gen. 2:10-14).  The word, “Eden” in Hebrew means “delight.”  And there, His presence was a delight to Adam and Eve.  It was His presence that made it not only a garden but a garden of delight.

That same delight in my Lord’s presence is still possible.  Because He has paid the penalty for my sin, I can walk and talk with Him in that garden of delight.  There is delight when I can forget about past failures.  I am delighted to realize that nothing can ever separate me from His love.  No other relationship can give me the level of consistent delight that He offers!  My Garden of Eden is a deep, peaceful place of relationship.  He is always there, waiting for my return.

Help me Lord, to find that place of delight today.