Devotions By Jan



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 the 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. When believers are encouraged in heart and united in love, they are progressively coming to know God’s Son and in turn making their lives rich and full. 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!” Temporal wealth 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 can! How rich I am!

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

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2017)

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

Do you sometimes eat too much junk food, “by accident?” Mindless snacking can lead to the newly coined term, “snackcident.” This term presupposes regret after the fact. When the tummy starts to protest is not the time to be checking the ingredient list or fat content! Armed with information beforehand, a snackcident is much less likely to happen. However, there are always those social gatherings where it is just much easier to indulge and brave the possibility of the dreaded snackcident!

There is hunger and thirst in today’s verse for something much more satisfying than snacks, regardless of their ingredients.  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)

Lord, satisfy me with Yourself.

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Cape Disappointment

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:24 & 27b “Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? …You are badly mistaken.'”

What an unfortunate name for this Washington State Park! For many campers, hikers, photographers and history buffs, this scenic spot is a delight! It was named by the English Captain, John Meares in 1788. He was looking for the head of the Columbia River, first mapped out by a previous explorer a few years earlier. This cape does sit at the mouth of the river, but he was disappointed. Why? Because he mistakenly believed it was only a bay.

Today’s verses are the words of Jesus to the religious Sadducees attempting to trap Him. Like the explorer, they mistakenly believed something. They mistakenly believed their own traditions over and above the Scriptures. Their beliefs even negated the power of God! Their religiosity, devoid of any real relationship with the Lord, could only lead to disappointment. These religious leaders did not believe in the resurrection and they were badly mistaken. They did not believe God’s incredible power and promise to raise us from the dead.

The hurt is deep for those disappointed by a mistaken belief. But the Lord declares that those who hope in Him will not be disappointed! (Isaiah 49:23b) Government leaders disappoint me. The Church can disappoint me. My own erroneous expectations can disappoint me. Even family and friends can disappoint. But the Lord never disappoints! He has promised to take every negative in my life and turn it around to something positive. (Rom. 8:28) Even the evil in my life at the hands of others can be turned around. (Gen. 50:20) The Lord will never disappoint as the good He intends for me cannot be thwarted!

Thank you Lord, that You never disappoint!

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The Thiou River

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

We have enjoyed living near a river in every European town we have lived. In Albertville it was the Arly. We enjoyed the Loire in the Orleans area. In the Grenoble area the Drac and the Isère rivers join. We walked along the picturesque Kander river in Kandern.  In Guebwiller we were just  two hundred meters from the Lauch River.  I loved crossing the quaint bridges hanging with flower planters. Pictured here is the Thiou River in Annecy, France, considered one of the cleanest in Europe.

Today’s verse describes a river that makes a whole city glad!  It is found in the city of God where the Most High will make His abode!  On the new earth this river will be clear, pristine and never polluted. This unique river is described as “the river of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:1-2) It will be clear as crystal and flow from the throne of God right down the middle of the city!  It will be a river that leads to His very presence, He who is the only Source of life! No wonder it makes the city and all its inhabitants glad!  

Rivers and the sound of water do lift my spirits. There is something so calming about flowing water. It is beside quiet waters that my Shepherd refreshes my soul. (Ps. 23:2) Near the very end of the Bible is an invitation to this water. (Rev. 22:17) But I do not have to wait until that day for my heart to be glad. Despite negative circumstances, the Lord gives me joy. In coming to Him, God keeps me occupied with gladness of heart! (Eccl. 5:20)

Thank you Lord, that You make me glad!

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The Clinging Jellyfish

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 13:4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him, and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him and cling to Him.” (NASB)

The variety of shapes, sizes and colors among starfish is amazing! To see their long tentacles floating in water makes them seem eerie and other-worldly. This guy is one of the smaller ones being only about an inch in diameter. He is found off the coasts of the Northeastern states and can easily escape detection being almost entirely transparent. But two characteristics are notable; the orange-brown cross on their bodies and their ability to cling tenaciously to the seaweed.

Today’s verse is a command of the Lord to His people, the Israelites. Together they were to be set apart from all the nations around them and worship Him alone. In no way were the people to tolerate the worship of other gods. To love Him with all the heart and soul (verse 3) was shown by following His commands, listening for His voice, serving Him and clinging to Him. To do that they had to resist the pull of the cultures around them, holding fast to Him.

The Lord asks me to cling to Him as well. Following and obeying Him is a choice that can weaken. My world entices me to let go and live a little! The temptation to compromise and indulge myself is always present, like the current in the water, pulling me away from Him. Anything I value more than Him becomes an idol. But clinging to the worthless idols of this world means turning away from God’s love for me. (Jonah 2:8) Why would I want to let go of the love and goodness He shows me! That effort to hold fast is well worth it!

Keep me clinging to You, Lord.