Devotions By Jan


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Pyramid at the Louvre

Scripture for Today:  Genesis 2:24  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

The pyramid at the Louvre is breathtaking, especially at night when it mirrors soft lights from inside.  Since 1989, the very year we moved to France, the largest of the five pyramids has served as a spectacular entrance to the Louvre museum.  It is made up entirely of 673 diamond and triangular shaped glass panes and metal poles.  At 71 feet high and 11,000 square feet, its 95 tons of steel and 105 tons of aluminum have made this an impressive landmark!

Today’s verse teaches that God can take two entirely different people and make them one.  As the sides of a pyramid come from different directions but are joined at the top, so marriage is to unite a man and a woman, making them one. That line at the base represents our shared life.  Every marriage has that connecting line.  But for a marriage of two believers, there is the advantage of another path to closeness.  At the apex of the triangle is the Lord.  As each of us move closer to Him, we can grow closer to each other at the same time.

I never feel closer to my husband than when I hear him pouring out his heart to the Lord when we pray together.  I feel our oneness when we serve Him together in some way.  When we share our struggles with trusting Him, I feel this oneness.  When we admit our failures and together ask Him for forgiveness, I feel this oneness.  Over the last forty years I have seen us move up and down on that line towards the Lord.  But I can say with conviction that it is worth the effort!

Thank you, Lord, for making us one!


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Guarding the Queen

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 1:12 “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”  

Did you know that those guards at Buckingham Palace are actual soldiers in the British army carrying real guns?  There are four sentry guards when the Queen is in residence and only two when she is elsewhere.  In addition there are five regiments of foot guards: Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh.  Although their uniforms differ subtly, they all have the same charge to guard and protect.

Today’s verse is Paul’s declaration of faith in God’s power to guard what he has entrusted to Him, namely his soul.  During a time of discouraging imprisonment, Paul stays confident of God’s control.  He is suffering but does not feel shame for being in prison.  He shares in the sufferings of Christ but is also experiencing Christ’s abundant comfort (II Cor.1:5).  Paul knows that his soul will live on even if he does not survive.  God has promised and He is all -powerful and able to keep His word.

Knowing and being convinced of God’s power to guard my soul makes all the difference to how I live.  And it will make just as big a difference to how I die.  My eternal security rests on His finished work of perfect sacrifice.  It does not rest on me, my laundry list of good works or how I am feeling.  My soul is in His powerful hands and nothing and no one can pluck me out of there! (John 10:28).  I have no power to guard anything.  But He does.

Lord, I trust that You guard my soul!


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Fishing Lures

Scripture for Today: James 1:14 “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

Learning about fishing lures requires learning a whole new vocabulary!  There are spoons, jigs, crankbait, spinning lures and plugs.  The variety of lures is impressive with so many different materials, shapes and colors.  The whole idea is to imitate as closely as possible the movements of a fish’s natural prey.  The fish is attracted to what he believes is a tasty snack and instead is nabbed by that hidden attached hook!

Today’s verse describes someone who gives in to temptation.  God is never the author of enticing someone to evil (verse 13).  And in fact, Satan is not necessarily involved.  This verse is addressed to believers and we are dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires.  The word, “entice” is also translated as “lure.”  Beguiled by that attractive promise of something better, we deceive ourselves.  The lure is strong but the Lord is gracious and is able to help, having experienced temptation Himself (Heb. 2:18).  He will always provide a way out (I Cor. 10:13).  We do not have to bite down on something that later hurts us.

Sin can be so attractive to me, especially through media.  But not always.  Sometimes it is just easier to indulge, to compromise, or to take shortcuts that I know in my heart are not right.  But what promises to fulfill never does.  What starts out as pleasurable brings consequences I never anticipated.  My heart and its desires can be so deceitful!  But doing things God’s way and just saying ,”NO,” to that lure keeps my life less complicated and brings His blessing!  I am not missing out on anything except pain.

Lord, keep me close to You and far away from those tempting lures.


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Happy Labor Day!

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

What do you do to celebrate Labor Day?  Forget the picnics, parades, and sports events.  In Wisconsin this day has been celebrated with a Cow Chip Throwing Contest!  Labor Day is normally considered summer’s last gasp and the signal for back-to-school.  Originally, the idea was to pay tribute to the American worker, recognizing his value in strengthening our nation and economy.  Created by the labor movement in the late nineteenth century, Labor Day was a positive outcome after years of strikes protesting deplorable working conditions.

Today’s verse describes a labor of love.  This work has no day off and is never on strike!  God is continually at work in the heart of every believer.  He has His work cut out for Him, changing us to be like His Son.  He has pledged to continue this work faithfully right up until the moment of Christ’s return.  He never quits.  He never gives up.  One day the work Jesus is doing in me will be complete.  One day I will be like Him (I John 3:2) and this life-long labor will be a thing of the past!  But for now, everyday He is at work.

He asks me to cooperate with Him.  He even creates in me the desire to cooperate! (Phil. 2:13)  It is a strange working partnership where He provides the strength and gives me the goal.  The incentives are the blessings He gives for my obedience.  There are rewards promised for faithfulness and perseverance.  The best thing about this work is that it is never in vain!  He has promised an incredible outcome!

Thank you Lord, for Your labor of love in me!

 


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Frustrated and Needing Help!

Dear Subscriber,  You are important to me!  There have been multiple glitches with WordPress and I need your help to resolve them.

Obviously, if you are receiving this blog post in your email inbox, then all is well.  However, I need to determine who is NOT receiving them.  So by process of elimination, would you take a second and reply to this post with the two words, “Got it.”  (This way I can avoid sending out quite so many emails one by one!)

Thanks so much and God bless, Jan

 


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Checkers

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

The game of Checkers has been around a lot longer than the 1950’s pictured here.  Checkers is thought to be the oldest game in the world dating back over 4,000 years!  According to inscriptions found in the temple of Thebes, Egyptian kings took time out from overseeing the construction of the pyramids to play checkers!  Lots of famous people have since had a fondness for the game including past presidents, noted scientists and popular sport heroes.  Whoever the player may be however, it is certain that they have a “checkered past.”

Today’s verse is a wonderful reassurance for all of us who regret those black squares that mark our past.   No one is immune from having that checkered past as all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23).  But the Lord has promised a forgiveness and pardon that is complete.  He blots out every sin and chooses to not remember them.  He no longer holds against us all of our failures and disobedience.  Jesus took on Himself the punishment for each of those sins.

I would love to be able to “remember my sins no longer.”  But the memories remain.  And Satan loves to whisper in my ears his accusations.  Thankfully, God’s Word is full of reassurances of unconditional love and complete pardon.  The Lord graciously softens and blurs memories of past failures.  If guilty memories occasionally do reappear, He is there to build me back up.  If nothing else, those memories remind me that I am not perfect, but His forgiveness is!  When I remember a checkered past I can also remember that His grace is greater than all my sin!

Thank you Lord, for wiping out and forgetting my sin forever!

 

 

 


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Broken Bisque

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

These broken pieces of bisque look pretty pathetic.  For whatever reason they did not survive their first firing during the process of becoming beautiful pottery.  The first firing is to strengthen the clay.  Their glazing, unique colors and design can only be applied after this important step.  When touring a Polish pottery factory I remember seeing a huge bin full of broken bisque pieces.  Our guide explained that rather than throw them out, they would melt them all down to start again.

When hearing this explanation, I could not help but think of today’s verse.  Paul is confident that God will continue His work in the hearts of believers.  He has a goal for each of us to grow more and more like His Son.  And even though the process is life-long, what He starts, He promises to finish.  Just as pottery needs firing to be strengthened, so our faith is built up by the “fiery trials” we experience (I Peter 4:12).  When life heats up with impossible situations or insurmountable obstacles, it becomes clear just where we are weak. With each testing of our faith, we ideally become more confident of His control and goodness.

I wish it were always true that I come through those trials without cracking or breaking.  But I certainly cannot say that.  Thankfully, my failures do not change the plan or the eventual outcome.  I can be confident too that the Lord will use it all and He knows what He is doing with me.  One day, I will be like Him! (I John 3:2)

Lord, keep me trusting You, especially in the hard times.

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