Devotions By Jan


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Yesterday Today and Tomorrow Plant

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.”

If you do not like a particular color of this flower, all that is needed is to wait a day!  The flowers on the Yesterday Today and Tomorrow plant are unique in that they change color.  They first bloom as a purple or violet.  The next day, that same bloom becomes a pale lavender.  The following day, its color changes to white!

In a world where everything seems to be in a constant state of change, it is comforting to know that our Savior does not change.  Today’s verse teaches that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  These flowers may experience changes that are beautiful but Jesus is perfectly beautiful and needs no improvement!  Everything that we need to know about the Lord is revealed in His Word.  He does not change nor does His revelation.  His message transcends time and is always current.  The God in the Old testament is the same God as in the New.  His faithfulness and power shown then is the same faithfulness and power He shows today.

I need Him to be constant and not capricious.  I need Him to be faithful to His Word and unchangeable.  What was proven true in times past continues to be true today and will be true tomorrow.  He is perfect and perfection has no need of change.  There is no reason for me to worry that a promise will no longer be valid.  His compassion is daily renewed because He will always be faithful to who He is and to His Word (Lam. 3:23).  He never changes and I can build my life on this rock-hard solid truth!

Thank you Lord, that You do not change and I can always count on You.


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Rosa Carte Blanche

Scripture for Today: Titus 2:12 “It (grace) teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

This beautiful rose did not grace our earth until its creation in 1982.  The rose begins as a dark pink bud, opening as a pale pink bloom and then fading to near white.  Its name, “Carte blanche” (blank page) was an idiom attributed to King Charles II of France.  He gave his workers a blank page with his signature, allowing them freedom as to how a task was completed.

Some may believe that grace gives us “carte blanche” to do what we please.  But today’s verse gives insight into the role grace plays in the life of a believer.  At the start, grace, or God’s unmerited favor, is how we are saved (Eph. 2:8-9).  But it does not stop there.  Grace continues to impact our lives, teaching us to say no to what is ungodly and worldly.  Grace, rather than give us carte blanche to do whatever we like, teaches us to be self-controlled.  Grace motivates believers to lead godly upright lives.  It is God’s favor that provides a way out of temptation (I Cor. 10:13).

His grace is greater than all my sin.  There is not a single sin that He is not willing to forgive!  But rather than presume on His grace, I want to live up to it.  I do not want His grace for me to be in vain.  He knows I blew it yesterday.  He knows I will blow it today.  His grace means that my relationship with Him continues.  I want to grow in grace (II Peter 3:18) and understand God’s grace (Col. 1:6) but I know it will be a life-long process.

Thank you Lord, that You show grace to me.

Photo Credit: Anna reg/CC BY-SA https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosa_Carte_Blanche.jpg

 

 

 

 

 


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The Easter Lily

Scripture for Today: Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Growing up, my Mother’s Easter table was often graced with this lily.  This beautiful flower is also called, “white-robed apostles of hope.”  There is symbolism in the white color representing the purity of Christ.  The trumpet shape of the flower brings to mind the trumpeting of the message of resurrection.  But what impressed me was that all this beauty could come from a dirty unremarkable bulb.  For at least three years its bulb stays underground in the dark before bursting forth to flower.

Today’s verse comes from a discussion Jesus had with the Pharisees asking for a sign.  Here, Jesus predicts the three days He will spend in the heart of the earth following His death.  Those three days were not unlike what Jonah experienced.  It was during those three days that despair was so keenly felt by all who had hoped in Christ.  It looked as if Satan had won.  All who had looked to Jesus to be their deliverer must have felt betrayed and defeated.

What a comfort to know that the darkest days I could ever experience are only a “momentary affliction” compared to the glorious future He has prepared for me! (II Cor. 4:17) Whether it is three dark days, three years or thirty, it is a time of waiting until I burst forth, flowering for an eternity because of His resurrection!  How amazing it is that because of His victory over death,  I can wait patiently with hope.  His resurrection changes me giving me new life, eternal life and life that can be abundant!

Lord, because of You I have hope!

 

 


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Thorny Cactus

Scripture for Today:  II Corinthians 12:7 “….Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me.”

These thorns look wicked!  And they seem so innocent surrounded by those delicate yellow flowers.  The spiny surface of a  cactus plant seems incongruent with the fragile beauty of a flower petal.  For the unsuspecting, those thorns could be overlooked when reaching for the flowers and could inflict some real pain.

In today’s verse, Paul is describing a thorn in the flesh.  It was sent by Satan in order to torment him.  But in God’s hands it was used for a good purpose; to keep Paul from becoming conceited.  Paul had received some incredible visions and revelations from the Lord and the temptation was to boast and feel that he was better than others.  Some believe his thorn was a physical ailment.  Others believe it could be a person as enemies and neighbors are described as thorns (Numbers 33:55 and Ezekiel 28:24)

A relationship that has gone sour, a conflict that goes unresolved, or a family member that has no interest in reconciliation can all be like a thorn in the flesh.  But whether it is a broken relationship or a broken body, the pain and discomfort from those thorns are a constant reminder that I am weak.  Thankfully, He uses the thorns for good in my life as well.   It is through thorns that I discover that His grace is all I need (verse 9).  For me those beautiful flowers are evidence of Christ’s power resting on me despite my weakness!

Thank you Lord, that I can delight in Your strength regardless of the “thorns” in my life!


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Dandelion Seed

Scripture for Today: Psalm 66:16 “Come and hear all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

Pictured here is the bane of anyone trying to grow their lawn!  I am sure my parents were not too thrilled with me when as a child I would blow on the dandelion seedhead!  After the dandelion flowers, the head, petals and stamen dry up and fall off.  The bracts curve backwards and a parachute ball opens into a sphere.  The mature seeds attach to white fluffy “parachutes”.  A bit of wind or the breath of a child is all that is needed to send the seeds flying!

Today’s verse encourages using our breath to tell of all God has done for us!  Just as the dandelion spreads its seed, so the believer can influence others to praise and worship the Lord.  But also like the dandelion, dispersing that seed comes after dying.  The believer has died and his life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).  We no longer live for self but for Him (II Cor. 5:15).  And it is often after a strong wind of adversity that our praise and faithfulness to Christ is clearly seen.

I want to make a difference.  I want to leave a legacy.  I want to have an influence in this world for the Lord.  But the dying to self is the part that is oh so difficult.  The accolades and recognition of man are often times too important.  And that wind can be plenty uncomfortable.  However, it is my faithfulness to Him in the hard times that validates my faith and makes it credible to others.  Regardless of very negative circumstances, I can always tell others of His love and goodness.

Thank you Lord, for all You have done for me!