Devotions By Jan


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Eucalyptus Tree

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you have 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.”

It seems that with every report of strong winds in our area, we hear of eucalyptus trees falling and causing damage.  These beautiful trees can grow as much as ten feet in a year and can even reach the height of a six story building!  Their root system is strong to support all that growth, if they have enough soil.  Their taproots need to have at least six feet of soil to be well anchored.  Without that depth they are vulnerable to wind damage.

Today’s verse talks about being rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened by our faith and characterized by thankfulness.  Extending our roots into the deep soil of His strength makes us able to stand firm in any wind storm.  Standing tall in the world’s eyes can be deceptive if roots are shallow.  The philosophies of this world and human tradition (verse 8) make up that shallow soil.  Roots have no opportunity to grow there and a strong gust of wind reveals that weakness.  In contrast, the one who is strengthened by His power is rooted and established in His love (Eph. 3:17).

My root health is something no one sees but Him.  I can seem strong, pray beautiful prayers and say all the right things.  But when that huge gust of wind comes, I can so easily topple over.  I need to be nourished by His Word and strengthened by His promises before the winds arrive.  He will help me withstand them.

Lord, strengthen my roots by the power of Your Word.

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Scuba Diving

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

This sport seems especially adventuresome and thrilling!  The idea of descending into the depths and being one of the privileged few to see what most do not, must be a heady experience!  The SCUBA acronym means “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus” and is the most important piece of equipment to be able to breathe underwater.  The training is rigorous to be certified as mishandling the equipment could mean running out of air, being unable to breathe.  This possibility more than anything else, keeps me from participating!

Today’s verse talks about what the breath of God accomplishes.  First, the breath of the Almighty gives life (Job 33:4).  Then the breath of Jesus gives us His Spirit (John 20:22).  God’s breath allows us to live spiritually whereas before we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1).  But He does not stop there.  His breath gives us His Word, inspired or “God-breathed.”  It is only through His Word that we are able to determine what is right and what is wrong.  His breath gives physical life, spiritual life and the ability to live the best kind of life.

In the middle of unrest and upheaval, one truth stands clear and unchanged; none of us can live without the breath of God.  It is His breath in His God-breathed Word that shows me how to live.  His Word shows me where my heart is wrong.  His Word corrects my prideful thoughts.  And His Word shows me what action He wants me to take.  No other treatise, article or book has this same power!

My prayer today: “Breathe on me, breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.”

 


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Anemone Stinkhorn

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 52:10 “The Lord will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”

This Anemone Stinkhorn fungus almost looks diabolical!  It is also called the Sea Anemone Fungus and Starfish Fungus, looking so much like those creatures.  Its name in Greek means “disgust, juice, red.”  And its most disgusting feature is its putrid smell which attracts flies who carry its spores.  But what fascinates me are those spreading arms, ranging from six to ten and dividing into two tentacles each.

Today’s verse describes just one arm, an arm that is powerful and holy.  God’s arm is laid bare so that His strength, might and deliverance are seen by all the nations.  This arm brings salvation to His people and all will see it.  Because of God keeping His word to the Israelites, they will again know and honor His name (verse 6).  Those ruling over them had been mocking God and God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7).  His arm is not too short to save (Is. 59:1) and the demonstration of His power would reach the ears of all the nations.

The Lord continues to bare His arm as He intervenes in my life.  Nothing is too hard for Him regardless of the illogical limits I tend to place on Him.  He continues to deliver His own.  He continues to answer impossible prayers, stumping the doctors.  He is mighty to save from dangers I do not even recognize.  His outstretched arm keeps me from what would have been a nasty fall.  Half the time, His intervention goes unnoticed.  But He wants me to trust and lean on that arm, “safe and secure from all alarm.”

Lord, help me recognize Your arm today.

 

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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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Dutch Chocolate Iris

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.”

This is a surprising color for an iris!  But in fact, the iris comes in an array of different colors, including a deep purple that looks black.  It makes sense that the word, “iris” originally meant “rainbow” in Greek.  In the language of flowers, Iris symbolizes eloquence.  And its three petal segments are said to represent faith, wisdom, and valor.

There is faith and wisdom in today’s verse as well as courage to speak the truth.  There is not however any eloquence.  Wise sounding words can be empty.  Persuasive words can be negated by hypocrisy.  But Paul explains that his message did not need either as his words were a demonstration of the power of the Spirit.  Paul never claimed to be eloquent in his speech.  Because he spoke simply, God’s power was evident.  And he resisted the temptation to speak only what “itchy ears” wanted to hear (II Tim. 4:3).

My faith does not rest on a fancy discourse or the latest fad or book.  Human wisdom can never replace the power of God’s Words.  It is not what exact words are used but God’s Spirit who helps me understand (verse 12).  He is the One that explains spiritual realities to me (verse 13).  And His Spirit uses my words of testimony even when I am not eloquent.  I may not feel strong or confident in sharing.  But thankfully, His power does not depend on my word choice!  “My faith  has found a resting place” and it is not in device or creed!

Thank you Lord, that my faith rests on Your power.