Devotions By Jan

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Money Grows on Trees?

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 3:17b-18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

My parents always told me that money does not grow on trees!  Imagine my surprise to learn that there have been found particles of gold on the leaves of some eucalyptus trees!  The incredibly long roots of this tree, up to 8.2 feet, delve up to 130 feet.  In Australia, some of these eucalyptus trees have pilfered gold from ore deposits underground and have transported them to their leaves!  The concentration of gold is only 46 parts per billion.  Still, it is amazing that some trees have rooted themselves in something so precious!

Today’s verse encourages the believer to be rooted and established in something even more precious; the love of Christ.  Just as the leaves of the eucalyptus tree reveal secrets hidden underground, so the “leaves” of the life of a believer reveal where he is planted.  The love of Christ is so vast and nourishing that our lives reflect Him as He develops His fruit in us.

Being rooted and established in His love is essential to my well-being.  His love is what allows me to grow and thrive.  Without it, I would shrivel up.  Being grounded in His love makes loving others possible.  This immeasurable love is my reason to be.  But if I am honest with myself, there are times I am not feeling it.  In those moments I need to delve deeper into His Word.  I take more time to listen to Him.  I watch for those sweet affirmations through prayer in my spirit.  I so often need those reassurances and He never disappoints!

Lord, keep me rooted in Your love today!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)

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Playing Darts

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:16 (ESV) “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”

When I think of the game of darts I think of the pubs and taverns all over England. But the history of darts goes much further back to medieval times. To keep skills sharp, English archers started throwing shortened arrows during peace time. This pastime eventually moved indoors during inclement weather. The shortened arrows became the precursor to today’s darts. Of course arrows, whether short or long, can do great damage, especially when the tips are coated in pitch and set on fire!

Today’s verse describes a very important piece of the armor of God. The shield of faith is our defense against the flaming darts or arrows of Satan. He will use whatever he can to cause the believer to doubt God. Those darts of doubt could be the result of unanswered prayer. The darts may be the result of questions that remain unanswered. Or those darts could be doubts that question God’s character. Is He really good? Does God truly care? When we take up the shield of faith, we can smother those flames that challenge our faith.

When I take up my shield of faith, I can be confident of what I cannot see. My shield of faith makes me bold, resolute and unwavering in my sure hope. Challenges to my faith come every day in the scorn of unbelievers. But even more disturbing are those negative circumstances that tempt me to forget His promises. I take up that shield of faith every time I take up God’s Word! Those flaming darts can do nothing more than fizzle out!

Thank you Lord, that faith in You is my protection!

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The Whimbrel

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 2:10 “these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Half the fun of walking close to the water on Southern California beaches is watching the Whimbrel.  He is very recognizable with his striped head and long curved bill.  When he flies it will be just over the water or ground.  More often I see him running near the water’s edge.  He uses that long bill to pick and probe in the sand, finding crustaceans, insects and worms.  He will dig deep in the wet sand to reach his dinner.

Today’s verse teaches that there are deep things of God that His Spirit searches and reveals to us.  These things cannot be physically seen, heard or even imagined (verse 9).  These are things that God has prepared for those who love Him and can only be known through His revelation.  No one can know the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (verse 11).  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts ( Isaiah 55:8) yet His Spirit resides in the believer.  And it is only through God’s Spirit that we can have even a small inkling of all that God has prepared for us.

When the Spirit reveals the deep things of God it is through His written Word.  I need to dig deeper to know Him more.  I do not want to be satisfied with surface knowledge.  His Spirit wants to reveal more of Himself to me.  But too often I am rushed or distracted and do not take the time to dig deeper or listen to that still small voice.  The deep things of God are so deep it will take all of eternity to know Him.  But how incredible to start now!

Lord, keep me going deeper.

(Look familiar? This is a repost from earlier this year.)

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Honey for Roots

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:102-103 “I have not departed from Your laws, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

The sweetness of honey is not just appreciated by our taste buds. Honey is also helpful in creating new plants from cuttings! Infections can be avoided at the site of the cut by dipping it in a honey and water solution. This is because honey has antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties that save the cutting from rot and infection. This gives the plant cutting a chance to actually form new roots.

Today’s verse tells us that God Himself is involved in teaching us His way through His Word. His laws are sweeter than honey as they keep us close to His heart. Life is sweeter when we obey the Lord and experience His incredible blessing. With the honey of His law we are able to avoid the rot and corruption of the world around us and grow deeper into Him. We want to be grounded and rooted deep in His nourishing love. (Eph. 3:17) Following His law helps us stay healthy, strong and vibrant in our faith.

It seems odd to think of laws and commandments as something sweet! I normally resist anyone telling me what to do and what not to do. But God’s laws are different. They are always true, right and the best to follow. They allow me to live the best kind of life possible, helping me to avoid the snares and pitfalls sin presents. But most importantly, following His way allows me to stay in a closer relationship to the Lover of my soul. I want to be able to say with the psalmist, “I have not departed from Your laws.”

Lord, keep me close to You.


Orb Weaver

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:18 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.”

There is no tangled web here with the orb weaver although there is a goal to deceive  This docile spider meticulously weaves his web in a perfectly shaped orb.  As much as I dislike any kind of spider, I can appreciate them taking care of those pesky insects.  What is so surprising is the larger ones will actually manage to deceive and ensnare the occasional frog or hummingbird!

Today’s verse is a loving warning not to be deceived.  There is an accepted and valued standard of wisdom in our world which differs from godly wisdom.  Worldly wisdom, which does not include the fear of God, can lull one into a false sense of security and directly into a web of deception.  It is only in becoming “fools” in the world’s eyes that we can know Christ who is called, “the power and wisdom of God.” (I Cor. 1:24)  No one can boast of wisdom without God, who “makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” (I Cor. 18:20)

The wisdom of God is not found by my own study.  It is not found by how many Bible verses I can recite.  Wisdom cannot be found “in the land of the living.” (Job 28:13)  True wisdom starts by the fear and obedience of its Source, God Himself.  Knowing Him, loving Him and obeying Him makes me wise.  Any other source is suspect.  When I turn to Him in making a decision, that is wise.  When I submit my will to His, that is wise.  When I choose His Word as the foundation for my life, that is wise!

Lord, do not let me be deceived.