Devotions By Jan


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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.

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Cloudy

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to Me for I have redeemed you.”

Poor little guy.  It looks as if he can hardly see with those cataracts.  Certain breeds are more prone to this condition.  This cloudy vision can start very young with just a pinpoint that no one even notices.  But with age it can progress to cover the entire lens.  Disease, old age and trauma to the eye are all culprits, but the most common cause is hereditary.  For dogs as with humans, vision becomes cloudy.

The clouds in today’s verse are a picture of our offenses.  Our sins are also described as morning mist.  Both clouds and mist can cloud our spiritual vision.  The clouds for the Israelites in this text came from their worship of idols.  As a result, they lost sight of who the one true God really is.  But God promised not to forget them.  He is loving and ready to forgive those who turn to Him.  He sweeps away everything that blocks our view of Him.

My trouble is that I get used to a cloudy view!  It can happen so slowly and subtly that I am not even aware that my view of Him is fuzzy.  I think I see Him just fine.  But in fact, my view is shrouded by my own stubborn will and rebellion.  Thankfully, with humility and confession my renewed relationship with Him brings clarity!  I can, like David, gaze upon His beauty (Psalm 27:4).  And He is beautiful!  His beauty is made up of light, glory and grace.  And the more I see Him, the more I want to love Him and serve Him.

Lord, thank you for sweeping away the clouds from my eyes!


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The Dung Beetle

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” 

There is good reason why this is called a “dung beetle” as these little guys feed on feces!  They can be seen rolling balls of it bigger than themselves.  They will roll it long distances to bury them for the eggs they will hatch.  Seeing one of these struggling uphill reminds me of the Greek mythological figure, Sisyphus.  His punishment in Hades was to roll a large boulder uphill.  At the summit it would repeatedly roll back down so that the struggle begins again.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to keep on keeping on!  God sees and takes note of every work done to help other believers.  These good works are in response to the needs around us.  But they are done with a motivation that is pure and unsullied.  They are done to show the Lord how much we love Him.  Believers are to be diligent (verse 11) and not give in to the temptation of letting go (verse 12).  These verses remind us that there is reward for our diligence (verse 12).

It can be discouraging to feel that we are not seeing any result for our work.  It can feel like pushing that boulder uphill.  But God is not unjust.  He sees and remembers each and every act of service I do out of love for Him.  It may not be recognized or appreciated here.  Regardless of people’s response, my motivation is to please and honor Him out of my love for Him.  Meeting the needs of others is a concrete way I can show the Lord my love.

Thank you Lord that You see, You remember, and You reward.


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Free $100K!!

Scripture for Today:Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then , how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Imagine receiving $100K just for putting down your smartphone!  Vitaminwater is offering $100K to abandon your smartphone for one full year.  At the end of the year, a lie detector test is taken.  Not so easy as 92% of millennials use a smartphone and 43% check it at least every twenty minutes!  For those ages 18-34, using their smartphone for entertainment eats up over two hours a day!  The participant will be chosen based on how they say they will use the extra time in their day without all the scrolling and swiping!

Today’s verse stresses the importance of making the most of every opportunity.  Doing so makes us wise.  When we fritter away the day or the week, we assume there will be many more ahead of us.  But the days are evil and life can be cut short.  However, missed opportunities are not an issue for the believer who is carefully living to please Him and do His will (verse 17).  In being filled with His Spirit (verse 18) we can make the most of our days.

I probably miss opportunities to serve Him all the time.  My mind and spiritual senses can be dulled by any number of activities, none of which are negative in themselves.  Wise living is intentional living and I need to always remind myself of the purpose of my life.  When I am wise, I am looking for those opportunities He places squarely in my path.  He gives me the energy and the motivation to, “fulfill His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:13)  I only have this one life to offer Him and I do not want to have any regrets over missed opportunities.

Help me Lord, to live wisely today.


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A Child is Born

Scripture for Today: Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

It is all about HIM!  We celebrate lots of things today; family, friends, and reunions.  We celebrate with lights, music, decorations and food.  But in all the good things, we can neglect the whole point of today.  Today, God became man to save us.  He not only was but IS the Messiah.  He not only was but IS the Lord!

He is my “Wonderful Counselor,” giving me the wisdom and guidance I so desperately need each day.  He is my “Mighty God,” and He displays His power everyday in my life.  He is my “Everlasting Father,” caring for me now and for eternity.  He is my “Prince of Peace,” as I can now have peace with God because of His sacrifice for me.  I am HIs and He is mine.

This baby was born “to you.”  He was born to make possible a personal and intimate relationship with each one of us.  He was born “to you” and not just for someone else.

Do you know Him?

May you experience His love and presence in a new and special way today!

And have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 


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FastPass to Santa

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

There is nothing worse for a mom of young children than standing in a long line to see Santa!  What starts out with happy anticipation quickly turns into whining and complaining.  Feet hurt, tummies rumble and the need for a  bathroom trip is desperately trying to be ignored!  Thankfully with the FastPass, made with a simple on-line appointment, one can sail past all those waiting to the head of the line!

There is a throne that we can approach any time.  Today’s verse describes our access to the throne of Heaven.  It can be approached with confidence for those that belong to Him.  There is never any waiting as He is always available.  His ears are attentive to our cries (Ps. 34:15).  His throne is a throne of grace, ready to give us what we do not deserve.  And His mercy and grace are given at exactly the right time when we most need it!  He will never turn us away or redirect us to the end of the line!

How amazing that He is the God of the universe and yet so approachable!  I am so glad He does not wait until I am worthy before I approach, or I could never be near Him.  He responds my cries for help.  He understands when I feel like giving up.  When all I want to do is cry in His presence, He understands that too.  He empathizes with everything I feel because He experienced weakness as well (verse 15).  And He responds with amazing grace and mercy!  What a wonderful God we serve!

Thank you Lord, for allowing me in Your presence anytime, anywhere!

 


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Froggy Atmostphere

Scripture for Today: Psalm 148:13 “Let THEM praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”

We thought when we stopped to eat at this small restaurant in Chenecy-Buillon, France, that the sign pictured the frog because of it being on the menu.  But in fact, their dialect’s word for frog was used to refer to an old town legend.  The story is that the Lords and Ladies of the past were bothered by the noise of the frogs in the local pond.  The frogs were so loud the noble families were unable to sleep.  So the local peasants were prevailed upon to pat and slap at the water all night to quiet them!

Today’s verse is a call to praise the name of the Lord.  His name is higher and more worthy of praise than any other.  His name is to be lifted up as the splendor of the Lord is higher than anything on earth or in the heavens.  Of course, this praise is to come from mankind.  But in addition, creation is to praise Him; sea creatures, the weather, the mountains and hills, wild animals, cattle, small creatures and birds (verses 7-12).  Certainly, the humble frog is included!

All of creation exists in some way to bring glory to the Creator.  If a lowly frog with its incessant croaking can bring praise to Him, then certainly I can as well.  Whether I am in fine voice or have a frog in my throat, His praise is to be on my lips.  We left that restaurant full of rich food.  But I can be just as satisfied when with my mouth I can sing praise to Him! (Psalm 63:5)

Lord, may everything I do and say today give You praise.