Devotions By Jan


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#Me Too

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

I have been amazed and appalled at the number of women who on our Facebook news feed have posted the “Me Too” hashtag.  This has become the rallying cry for those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.  The idea was to bring awareness to the magnitude of the problem.  And with 1.2 million tweets and millions more posting on Face Book, in six short days it has done just that.  But for many the experience was too painful to make public and would only reinforce the trauma.  However, for others it is empowering.

Today’s verse contains a truth that is even more empowering.  Nothing is hidden from God’s sight.  What is done in secret will one day be revealed.  What was thought to be covered up forever will be uncovered before the One who will mete out perfect justice.  No one will ever get away with anything.  That is a balm that can heal a lot of deep lasting wounds.

I am thankful not to have experienced such trauma and my heart goes out to those who have.  But unfortunately, I have been robbed, cheated, and have had my reputation attacked.  There is no proof.  There is no recourse.  However, I can leave the retribution to Him.  He has promised to repay and avenge the evil much better than I ever could (Romans 12:19).  He sees it all and He is the Master of transforming what is unthinkable, pouring out healing and blessing.  What was intended to harm, God is able to turn around for good (Gen.50:20).

Thank you Lord, for the justice You promise.

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Lap Cat

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:12  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

This is not our cat.  Tiger would never consent to sit in our laps, let alone relax and sleep there.  I tried so hard to make him a lap cat, but he would have none of it!  There is something soothing about having that little heater rest on one’s knees.  But when a cat is that relaxed and contented I feel pinned in place, not wanting to disturb him by getting out of the chair.

Today’s verse is about experiencing contentment regardless of our circumstances.  Having every need and desire fulfilled is no guarantee to having contentment.  Nor is experiencing lack a recipe for discontent.  Paul knew what he was talking about as he lived both of these scenarios.  What is encouraging is that contentment can be learned.  It is not always our first reaction but with enough practice it can be.  There is a secret to learning this contentment and that secret is found in our relationship to Christ.  He gives me the ability to find contentment in Him.

What this suggests to me is that when I am feeling disgruntled and deprived, I just need to crawl back up into His lap!  Rather than focusing on the negatives in my life, I turn to Him.  Reminding myself of who He is and all the blessings He has already given me helps me find that lap of contentment.  For me, it is really a choice as to where I am focusing my thoughts.

Lord, help me to find that elusive contentment in You.


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Thunderstorm!

Scripture for Today: Job 37: 3, 5 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, and His lightnings to the ends of the earth.  God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.”

It was quite the show!  The storm woke us with peals of rolling thunder and flashes of light that lit up our room at the Mesa Verde National Park.  We must have watched it for a good hour, marveling at the force and grandeur of that storm!  As it moved overhead, we jumped at the deafening cracks of thunder and the room even seemed to shake!  How thankful we were not to be outside in it.  We felt safe and protected.

Today’s verse likens thunder to God’s mighty voice.  The fear that a clap of thunder can evoke is the fear I ought to feel at God’s powerful Word.  The Law was given to the Israelites in the midst of thunder and lightning.  It inspired such fear in the people that they insisted that Moses approach God in their place.  It is that fear which leads to obedience and wisdom (Psalm 111:10).

There are times that I lose that sense of fear at God’s greatness.  But all it takes to remind me is a huge storm that unleashes its fury!  God is bigger than the biggest storm.  His power transcends everything!  I am so thankful that my fear of Him does not include fear of punishment!  Jesus took on Himself all the condemnation I deserve.  But my fear of Him is one that inspires knee-bending awe of His greatness and power.  His thunderous mighty voice reminds me just how small and powerless I am.  And His voice is accomplishing so much I do not understand.

Thank you Lord, that I can trust Your voice.


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He is My Fortress

Scripture for Today: Psalm 91:2  “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

Touring the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado fired our imagination with scenes of a very different kind of life!  The overhanging cliffs afforded the Ancestral Pueblo people some protection from enemies.  But they also built fortress-style buildings as look-outs and for added protection.  These structures were built in the late 1190’s and served their purpose.  But in the end, it is thought that the enemy of drought drove them from their homes.

Today’s verse talks about God being our fortress and a place of refuge and security.  Because of His strength and power I can be safe.  I can trust in Him.  We do have enemies, perhaps not the same kind that David had to face.  But there are many times when I am attacked.  It can come from several different quarters.  I could be attacked by a temptation.  But God promises me a way of escape (I Cor.10:13).  I may be attacked by the Satan himself, but I have God’s armor so I can stand and fight (Eph.6:11).  When do I run to a fortress?

I run to God, my Fortress, when I am being attacked by depression, anxiety, and despair.  I run to His presence when I am being attacked by worry , doubt, or fear.  In His arms I am reassured when assailed by  feelings of hurt or betrayal.  In Him I find the courage to face the world again.  In my quiet time with Him I am strengthened against all these attacks.  The verse says, “I will say of the Lord…”  And I am saying it here.  I want to testify to what God as my Fortress does for me.


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Peek-A-Boo Canyon

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:12 Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The Peek-A-Boo slot canyon in Zion National Park ushers the hiker into another world!  The trail twists and turns, narrows and then widens.  It is eerily quiet and the temperature drops.  Some parts are dark with overhanging rock.  But in other places one can see orange, warm red and rustic brown on the curving sandstone walls.  Some walls soar up to 100 feet and the narrowest part is only 16 inches wide!  It is like a glimpse into another dimension.

Today’s verse gives us a small glimpse of Heaven.  Paul tells believers to set their minds on what is found there.  Christ is on His throne and He sits at the right hand of God the Father.  Our minds and our hearts are to be changed by this eternal perspective.  What we see on earth does not match up with spiritual realities.  What we see, touch and feel around us can be breathtaking, but it is not eternal.  God’s incredible creation is real but it will not last.

When I set my mind and heart on the realities of Heaven, it changes how I view that awful situation.  It affects how I see my problems.  What can loom so large for me is in fact only, “light and momentary trouble.” (II Cor. 4:17)  All the hard things in this life are, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  When I think of Heaven, my heart fills with hope.  And I need that hope to get me through.

Lord, help me see even a glimpse of what is to come!


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Giant Sequoia

Scripture for Today:Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

The “General Sherman” sequoia is by volume the largest known living single-stem tree on earth.  It stands proudly at 275 feet tall and is 36 feet in diameter.  Those standing at its base must feel completely awed by its grandeur.  One would think this giant of a tree impervious to the footsteps of us mere mortals.  But in fact, a fence is built around the base.  It is there to protect its shallow roots from being stepped on and trampled!  Damage to its roots could have serious consequences!

Today’s verse talks about where we place our roots.  We have a choice.  We put down roots in the nourishing soil of Christ’s love and so be built up and strengthened (Eph. 3:17).  Or we can plant ourselves in the toxic soil of hollow and deceptive philosophies, based on human tradition (verse 8).  Strong deep roots in Him will take no account of human foot traffic!  Faith remains strong and vibrant when Christ is the object of that faith.

I will not grow strong and firmly planted when I read, see or listen to prevailing thought that discounts God and His Word.  I am surrounded by godless philosophy and it is a struggle to be intentional about what I allow to influence me.  The more I compromise, the more shallow and vulnerable my convictions become.  Shallow roots mean I am swaying with the next wind storm of trial.  I want to stay strong and continue growing deep roots in Him.

Lord, keep me in You and in Your Word.

 


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Paradise

Scripture for Today: Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'”

The word, “paradise” conjures up so many lovely mental images.  For me, paradise would be someplace quiet and calm with plenty of places to relax and enjoy sunshine and a stunning view.  Paradise would be a place where stress would not exist and troubles would float away with each receding wave.  It would not be too hot or too cold.  Sand would stay where it belonged.  Throw in a personal servant seeing to my every need and I will have arrived!

In today’s verse an entirely different place is meant by Paradise.  The thief on the cross came to believe that Jesus is God in the last moment of his life.  Jesus assures him that he will be with Him in Paradise that very day.  His sincere faith in Jesus as the Son of God was all that was needed to save his soul.  Paradise is His Kingdom and nothing can adequately describe what we will find there.  What is prepared for those who love Him is beyond what eye can see or ear hear, or even what minds can imagine (I Cor. 2:9).

My ideas of Paradise fall so short of the incredible and indescribable reality!  When I allow myself to dream of what awaits, I see my circumstances a little differently!  But Paradise would not be worth much without His presence.  Jesus promised this forgiven thief that he would be with Him.  He is LOVE and His presence will be the paradise for which every human heart has longed.

Thank you Lord, for giving me just a taste of Paradise with Your love here and now.