Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Misty

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you.”

After living in Europe so many years, we have ridden our share of Alpine gondolas or cable cars.  It is always exciting to be suspended over deep gorges and valleys.  It is always a rush to be teetering over herds of cows with their bells around their necks.  Although the destination is usually a peak or high point on a mountain, the view going up is just as important.  It is always a letdown to have that view obscured by the mist.

Today’s verse is a call to return to the Lord.  The prophet, Isaiah, is reminding the people of how useless their false gods are.  Fabricating and worshipping a block of wood reveals to what point their “eyes are plastered over so they cannot see” or understand (Verse 18).  Their sins were like a cloud that obscured their vision.  Their rebellion created a mist that blocked their view of the True God and His love and power.  Despite their betrayal in turning away from the One True God, He is inviting them to return to Him.

I know where I am going.  My destination is already secured.  I can say that as my salvation is based on His finished work on the cross and not my own works.  But the views on my way there can be obscured by that mist of my own sin.  I miss out on those breathtaking vistas of His power, love and beauty when I turn away from Him.  Life is not quite so exciting when my view of the eternal is shrouded by my own rebellion.

Lord, thank you for sweeping away the clouds and mist and allowing me to enjoy You!

Advertisements


2 Comments

DIY Fail!

Scripture for Today:  Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” 

What happened here?!  This do-it-yourself tile job has a serious flaw.  Someone was not paying attention!  There is no question that there is a clear pattern to follow.  Perhaps the worker laying the tile was not paid and this was the way he sought revenge.  Or perhaps there was drinking on the job and vision was impaired.  Or maybe it was just a style choice, although I find that last explanation hard to believe!  All that is needed to fix this is for that one tile to be turned.

Today’s verse was part of a sermon given by Peter to the Israelites.  They had been living a pattern of behavior shared by their ancestors.  After enjoying a time of blessing, they would rebel and ignore the prophets.  When punishment followed, they would cry to God in repentance.  He would forgive and restore them and renew His blessings.  Then, before too long the pattern would be repeated.  Peter pointed out how God fulfilled everything foretold through the prophets when He sent His Son, Jesus. (verse 18)

I am so grateful for Christ’s incredible patience with me!  I find myself following this same pattern of turning away from Him.  In my pride and self-sufficiency, I think I know better how to live my own life.  When things start following apart, and they do, I finally turn back to Him in humility and cry for help.  He is always there.  He is always ready to forgive and restore.  His love is unconditional and unchanging and He waits for me to turn to Him.  Then I can enjoy once again that “time of refreshing.”

Refresh me today, Lord.


Leave a comment

“Walking the Line”

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 2:26-27 “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

It was 1956 when the famous country singer, Johnny Cash, sat backstage and wrote the song, “I Walk the Line.”  As a newlywed, he wrote it as a pledge to his wife.  The lyrics are all about personal responsibility and avoiding temptation.  I love the line, “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”  This expression has long been used to mean behaving or abiding by moral standards.  Or in other words, walking the straight and narrow.

Today’s verse tells us to think carefully about where and how we walk through life.  We do not walk close to edge, courting disaster as the thoughtless might.  Rather than wondering just how far one can go in a particular behavior before it becomes sin, we need to walk with a healthy fear of falling.  We need to stay away from that tempting edge.  We do not turn to the left or to the right.  We stay right in the middle and away from temptation.  In other words, we walk the line.  Walking on a dangerous edge gives no room for error.  One moment of inattention or one small misstep can mean disaster.

When I am walking the line, I feel His pleasure.  Walking in obedience to His commands is how I show my love for Him (II John 1:6).  And His commands make the path smooth, straight and manageable.  It is when I veer left or right and start to compromise on His standards that life becomes more difficult.  Thankfully, He offers His forgiveness and helps me get back on track.

Lord, help me love You by walking the line today.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

A Door

Scripture for Today: Hosea 2:15a “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”

This picturesque scene shows the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island in Wisconsin.  It looks so calm and peaceful, yet it has historically been a dangerous passage.  There are remains of ships scattered beneath the surface.  The strait is known as “Death’s Door,” not because of shipwrecks but as a reference to a battle in the early 1600’s.  One third of the Ho-Chunk tribe was lost during a storm on a failed raid against the Pottawatomie tribe.

Today’s verse speaks of another door described as a “door of hope.”  The prophet Hosea was directed by the Lord to marry Gomer, a prostitute.  His life with her was to be a real-life example of what God’s people were doing when they rejected their God and ran off with other idols.  The Valley of Achor was the setting for the sin of Achan in Joshua 7:24-26 that had caused so much trouble for the Israelites.  This verse says that calamity can be turned to joy!  What was once a symbol of despair could be turned transformed into hope.

What a beautiful picture of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness!  His love has no limit and with my repentance and His forgiveness there is always hope!  The Lord uses the most intimate relationship to illustrate just how wide, long, high and deep His love is for me.(Eph. 3:18)  And when I turn away from that love in rebellion or by being friends with the world (James 4:4) I am just as much an adulterer as Gomer was to Hosea.  How thankful I am that there is that door of hope, standing open and welcoming me back!

Thank you Lord, that You are my hope.


1 Comment

Weathervane

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 103:12-13  “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those that fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

I imagine if these gentlemen continue drinking long enough, they will not care which direction they go!  This weathervane can be seen in Piddlehinton in the United Kingdom.  There are lots of different whimsical figurines that can be part of the weathervane including ships, cats, and often the rooster.  The important thing is that it sits up high, catches the wind and indicates its direction.

Today’s verse reminded me of the weathervane.  Just how far is the east from the west?  They never meet.  They cannot meet as there is no junction point.  God chose this image to teach us that He has removed our sin an infinite distance from us.  And He did that because of His love.  It cost Him His life on the cross to do that for us.  Satan can try to bring us down with memories and accusations, but it is to no avail.  Who can possibly condemn us (including ourselves) when God has chosen us and Christ intercedes for us?  No one.  (Rom. 8:33-34)

There is lots of confusion about the nature of true love.  But one measure is complete forgiveness.  God’s love for me is so great it reaches to the heavens.  His love is so pure that He never revisits what He has forgiven.  I am so thankful I can live this day and every day without the crushing weight of guilt.  There is NO condemnation because I am in Christ. (Rom. 8:1)  What more proof of His love do I need?  Isn’t this the biggest proof?

Thank you Lord, for Your amazing love and forgiveness.

 


Leave a comment

Say Yes to the Dress

Scripture for Today:  Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

I guess I am a traditionalist.  My opinions are usually very different than the preferences shown by the soon-to-be-brides on the television show, “Say Yes to the Dress.”  I always prefer a white wedding dress to any other color.  It is not that the bride needs to have been lily white in her past.  It just seems that this solemn occasion marks a new and exciting beginning.  The commitment at the altar before God and witnesses can be viewed like clean slate.

Today’s verse gives hope that each day can be a new start.  The Lord’s compassion is renewed for His own every morning.  Regardless of what happened the day before, He is faithful to His commitment towards us.  Because of His unfailing love, we receive from Him His amazing grace.  We do not deserve forgiveness, but He continues to offer it to those who come clean with Him.

His renewed compassion gives me that new start every morning.  He washes me whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).  He continually clothes me in dazzling white with each pardon.  Each morning I can start again.  That is what His forgiveness does for me.  I do not have to put on dirty clothes.  My past mistakes and failures are never an issue with Him.  He promises to not even remember them (Heb. 10:17).  How wonderful to begin each day with a clean slate!  Because of what Jesus did for me on that cross I can count on His continued faithfulness each and every morning.  He thinks I look good in white!

Thank you Lord, for Your pure perfect pardon.

 


Leave a comment

Lightening Rod

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His wounds we are healed.”

What a spectacular sight when it happens!  But in fact, the Eiffel Tower  is struck by lightening about ten times a year.  It happened again just recently on May 30th at 2:00am.  Around that time, France experienced a few days with record rainfall and lots of storms throughout the country.  (We were affected being stuck 3 days, trying to fly in!) The tower has lightening rods at the top, so it attracts the lightening and protects quite a large space around it.  The Parisians are safer with that large hunk of metal absorbing the electricity.

Today’s verse reminded me of a lightening rod or conductor.  The cross absorbed all of God’s wrath against sin.  Jesus, who was sinless, took the punishment on Himself that was rightfully ours to bear.  He was pierced, crushed and wounded, all in our place.  Because of His sacrifice, He was able to absorb all of God’s righteous anger against sin.  To talk about God’s wrath is not a comfortable topic.  Yet, without realizing God’s hatred against all wrong-doing, we do not understand how deep is His grace in taking our place!

I am guilty of sometimes treating sin lightly.  I have an amazing ability to minimize its seriousness, at least when it comes to me!  My sin is never as serious as someone else’s!  But when I examine my heart in the light of God’s holiness I become overwhelmed.  When I realize the pain and agony He suffered, then I understand how unworthy I am to have His mercy and grace poured out on me!

I am forever grateful to You Lord, for taking my place.