Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Look familiar?

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 111:2 “Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.”

Perhaps this bystander would never have noticed the woman’s outfit had he not just bought something with a similar pattern.  Have you ever observed that whatever new experience we have, we tend to suddenly see more of the same around us?  Just like noticing the same make and color of the car we recently bought, we tend to see everywhere whatever our current focus is.  This phenomenon is called “reticular activating system” or RAF.  Like a gatekeeper to one’s brain, it sorts through one’s experiences, dismissing some as irrelevant, while letting through information on that which we are already focused on.

David declares in today’s verse that the works of the Lord are great.  He calls God’s deeds glorious and majestic (verse 3).  He then goes on to list a few of those works: providing food and remembering His covenant, giving them the lands of other nations, and providing redemption.  David is focused on God’s works so he sees them everywhere.  He is seeing confirmation of who God is in all His works.  And because this is David’s focus, he is seeing God’s works everywhere.

There are times I see God’s hand everywhere in my life.  My spiritual senses seem heightened and I am more aware of what He is doing.  This most often happens after spending time in His Word.  When I am focused on His truth, I suddenly see confirmation after confirmation!  It could be in seeing His creativity in nature.  It could be in a chain of unusual circumstances.  I am reassured of His intimate love in the simple memory of a song lyric.  What a delight to see His works over and over!

Lord, keep me focused and seeing You today!

 

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Looking Up

Scripture for Today: Acts 1:11 “‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven.'”

Do you see what I see in these clouds?  A friend took this (thanks Kristen) and she did not even have to suggest what was there.  Facing to the left of the screen is what looks like a huge gorilla head.  She calls it a monkey blowing kisses!  Perhaps one has to use one’s imagination.  But I love looking up in the clouds and seeing different shapes and what they suggest.

Today’s verse was addressed to the disciples by two angels at the occasion of Christ returning to Heaven.  They had just seen Him taken up into the sky and then hidden by a cloud (verse 9).  These angels reassured them that He would be coming back, and in the same manner.  Somehow at Christ’s return, clouds will be involved.  Jesus Himself foretold that He would come on the “clouds of Heaven” (Matt. 26:64).  And one day, every eye will see Him coming with the clouds (Rev. 1:7).

Whether I see strange clouds or not, I want to keep looking up.  It is then that I am reminded of His faithfulness which reaches to the skies (Ps. 36:5).  That huge expanse of sky is His creation and nothing is too hard for Him.  He always keeps His word and I can trust Him.  What He says He will do, He will do.  When I see those clouds overhead, I want to say with firm conviction, “Maranatha,” the Lord is coming!  He has promised.

Lord, keep me looking up today.


Leave a comment

Magic Mushrooms

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death – but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

These mushrooms look innocent enough.  But the psilocybin in them can alter the mind just as LSD does.  A recent book by Michael Pollan explores the testing of psychedelics as a treatment for depression, fear and anxiety, especially as a result of a terminal cancer diagnosis.  He even went so far as to experiment on himself!  His conclusion was that these psychedelics appear to help with what he calls a “psycho-spiritual distress.”  He also believes that there really is nothing else for people in that situation.

Today’s verse talks about two states of mind.  One mind is governed by the flesh and one is governed by the Spirit of God.  The mind that is governed or controlled by the flesh is the mind without God and without the peace of God.  There is not only physical death but spiritual death in store.  In contrast, the mind governed by the Spirit is life both here and eternally after death because there is peace with God through His Son, Jesus.

I cannot speak personally about facing death.  And I do not want to minimize what that suffering may be like.  But it is often in the sobering moments facing one’s own mortality that there is a last chance for establishing peace with God through the forgiveness offered by His Son.  To take away that last opportunity by altering one’s state of mind seems cruel.  I know there is peace and assurance facing death.  I have seen it.  And when it is my turn, I am confident because He has promised a perfect peace for a mind that is steadfast, trusting in Him (Isaiah 26:3).

Thank you Lord, that I can live and die without fear.


Leave a comment

Justify, the Racehorse

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

The horse racing world is all abuzz with the newcomer named, Justify.  This three-year-old colt just won two of the three Triple Crown races; the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.  He is now in a good position to win all three when he competes at the Belmont Stakes in June.  As is the custom, he has only had his name since the age of two.  Perhaps the owner feels that the $500,000 paid for this horse is completely justified!

Today’s verse tells us that we were justified, as well as washed and sanctified by the Lord.  After having been found guilty of a whole list of wrongdoing, God would have been justified to mete out immediate judgement.  Instead, He washed us clean of all the filth, set us apart for Himself, and justified us.  He sees us through the righteousness of His Son, just as if we had never sinned.  We are justified through our faith in what He did on that cross for us.

I cannot justify myself.  I have tried and it does not work.  I may be able to justify my behavior to others.  But before God who sees my heart, there is no justification for what I do.  I am without excuse before a holy and righteous Judge.  If I were to continue in my denial of guilt, there could be no forgiveness.  All He asks is that I come clean with Him.  When I do, that guilt is erased and I am justified before Him.

Thank you Lord, for doing what I could never do.


Leave a comment

The Gift of Life

Scripture for Today: I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Donating blood is not something I enjoy doing!  That is why I am so impressed by James Harrison, an Australian man who has been donating blood every week for the last 60 years!  At 81 he has decided to stop, but not until he had saved the lives of 2.4 million babies!  No wonder he is called the “Man with the Golden Arm.”  His blood has unique disease-fighting anti-bodies that have helped pregnant women.  These were women with a condition where their blood attacked their unborn baby’s blood cells.  His blood was truly a gift of life!

Today’s verse talks about the blood freely given by Another.  This blood also saves lives and was given out of love and compassion for our condition.  The blood of Christ saves us once for all from the eternal punishment for our sin.  His blood makes it possible to walk in light rather than darkness.  His blood makes it possible to walk with others in sweet fellowship, rather than discord.  His blood cleanses and purifies us from sin and its consequences.

He shed His blood so I would not have to.  His blood saved my life.  My faith in His blood pays for all of my ugly sin (Romans 3:25).  More than just a needle in the arm, His gift of blood cost Him everything; separation from the Father, the mockery and violence of others, and His life.  How amazing and deep the love that motivated Him!  And how unworthy I am to be a recipient of such a precious life-changing gift!

Lord, how grateful I am for Your gift of life!

 


Leave a comment

“Work Sets You Free”

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.”

What a sobering experience it was to tour the Dachau concentration camp.  This gate. like the one at Auschwitz, screams the absurdity that “Work Sets You Free.”  The horrifying truth was that the only freedom for those prisoners was found in death.  The saying comes from the title of a novel by a German author.  In that story, thieves and gamblers discovered their redemption through labour.

Today’s verse teaches a truth that for some is counter-intuitive.  Very clearly it states that salvation does not come through our work or efforts.  We want to think that somehow, something we did contributed to being saved.  But no matter how hard one works to earn Heaven, man will always fall short of the perfect standard of God’s holiness.  We cannot free ourselves from the damning chains of sin without God taking the initiative.  His grace or unmerited favor, is what frees us.  Salvation itself is free and a gift from God.  Because this is true, none of us can boast about having anything to do with it!

My gratitude towards God grows by leaps and bounds when I grasp this truth.  It is all grace and it is amazing!  There is tremendous freedom in my spirit to be assured that my salvation depends on Him and not my efforts.  Without this truth, I would always be in a state of fear and worry about my eternal destination.  Putting my faith and trust in what HE did on that cross rather than in what I can do makes me free indeed!

Thank you Lord, that Your gift of grace saves me.


Leave a comment

Smallest Chameleon

Scripture for Today: James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

This little guy is thought to be the smallest chameleon ever discovered.  From the tip of his tail to his nose he measures just one inch!  He is found in Madagascar and this species is threatened with de-forestation.  He is too cute to disappear with his weird rotating eyes and curly tail.  He, like his bigger counterparts, can change his color pattern when under stress.

Today’s verse explains that not only is everything good in our lives a gift from our Heavenly Father, but He is a God that does not change.  With the Lord there is no changing or shifting shadows.  He is the same powerful miraculous God yesterday, today and forever!  (Hebrews 8:13)   He does not improve with age as He is perfect.  He does not change His plans for us as He already knows the end from the beginning.  We however, are constantly in a state of change.  Our circumstances change, our thinking changes and our abilities change with age.  Emotions change with the weather!

It is a comfort to know He does not change.  I feel an enormous sense of security in this assurance.  I do not serve a capricious God.  He will always be true to His word and to who He is.  I do not have to worry if He will be faithful or not, holy or not, just or not.  I can ALWAYS count on Him.  The fact that there is no shadow of turning with Him means that He is worthy of my trust and confidence tomorrow as well as today.

Thank you Lord, for being who You are and for always being true to Yourself!