Devotions By Jan


Buyer’s Remorse

Scripture for Today: Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

It’s not that I hate buying online. The convenience of it is wonderful when everything goes right. But when there is a problem, the back and forth with the company, the mailing back of the item or delays in being reimbursed can be very frustrating. Then there’s the decision as to whether it is worth it or not to buy again online. Sometimes it seems easier to just get in the car and shop the old fashioned way!

The purchase in today’s verse will have no buyer’s remorse! This parable told by Jesus points out the incredible value inherent in the kingdom of heaven. It is a treasure that is worth far more than everything a man can exchange for it. It is a treasure that is worth the effort of finding as it is eternal. It is ready and waiting in heaven where it is protected. (Matt. 6:20) But this treasure is also enjoyed now with knowing the King of this kingdom!

I sometimes forget that my little pile of baubles has no value at all compared to the treasure of knowing Him! Paul considered everything in his life a pile of garbage when measured against the surpassing worth of knowing Christ! (Phil. 3:8) What an incredible exchange God offers: light for darkness, forgiveness for guilt, rest for weariness, hope for despair, and peace for chaos. He asks of me all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) And HE is a worth giving my all!

Thank you Lord, for being my treasure.


A New Voice

Scripture for Today: Psalm 29:4 “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”

I am excited to one day hear my Mom’s voice in Heaven. Half of her voice box was removed due to cancer while pregnant with me! My older siblings all remember her natural, true voice but I have never heard it. The doctors told her she would only be able to speak in a whisper. Thankfully, that was not the case. But her voice was raspy and tired easily. Although she left us 5 years ago, today would have been her 100th birthday. But now her voice is perfect and strong, singing praise to her Lord.

Today’s verse describes another voice. Although we have never physically heard it, we will recognize it immediately! It is a powerful and majestic voice that thunders. It is a voice that breaks huge cedar trees into pieces. God’s voice can strike like lightening and can shake a desert! His voice is so powerful that it twists oaks and strips forests bare! (verses 5-9) There is no mistaking this voice and the only response possible is to cry, “Glory!” (verse 9)

What an incredible description of His powerful voice! When He speaks, there are no arguments! His word was all that was needed to create the world into existence. And every word of His is faithful and true. It is a voice that I can trust with my earthly life and for my eternity. No voice in heaven or earth is more powerful. Yet, He sometimes chooses to communicate in a gentle whisper as with Elijah and I could miss it! One day His voice will be unmistakeable. But here and now I need to listen for those whispers of love and assurance.

Lord, keep me listening for Your voice today.

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Home for the Holidays?

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:8 “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

I love the carol, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.” Much of my decorating for Christmas is done in the hopes of making my house seem more “homey.” The right ambiance and the painstaking emphasis on feeling tones are all done with the hopes of creating a sense of HOME. But of course, the important element is the people there to enjoy it! Everything can be in its place. The decorations can be perfect. The right carols can be playing and the air filled with wonderful scents of cinnamon. But without loved ones there, it all falls flat.

Today’s verse expresses Paul’s preference to be “home with the Lord” rather than at home in his body. Even if conditions on this earth were perfect, there would always be a sense that we are not home yet. Paul believed that being home with the Lord is far better than living here on earth. That’s because to be home is to be with Him. HE Himself is our “home.”

There are family and friends of mine already with the Lord. I miss them. But they are home. What is more, they are home for the holidays, in their true home. The holidays they are enjoying far outshine what we can do to celebrate here on earth.  No budget, no tiredness, no dashed expectations, no overindulgence! Those in Heaven have no trouble keeping Jesus front and center! It is true, there is no place like home for the holidays. How much more this is true for our eternal home!

May Christ be my “home” during this holiday and every day!

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“Stay Grounded”

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There is a worldwide movement today called, “Stay Grounded.” The idea is to swear off flying, making that commitment for a year at a time. Normally, 2% of all carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to this form of travel. Some intend to remain flight free forever in an attempt to be eco-conscious. For these folks, slow travel is the way to go, preferring boat or train for long distances. For me personally, it would be quite a sacrifice to be grounded as my perspective often changes while up in those clouds!

Today’s verse encourages the believer to change perspective from the earthly to the eternal. Our thinking and our feelings are to be changed by an eternal perspective. What we see on earth does not match up with spiritual realities. What we see, touch and feel around us is not eternal. These things are real but they will not last. When we set our minds and hearts on the realities of Heaven, it changes how we view that difficulty. It is reduced it to only “light and momentary trouble.” (II Cor. 4:17) 

I need to see the hard things in my life as smaller than they appear. I do not want my thoughts and feelings to be grounded and restricted to the temporal. My perspective needs to change to what is eternal and lasting in order to see past the problems I face today. What is above is far more worthy of my heart and mind! He is there.

Change my perspective, Lord. Help me see You today instead of my problems.

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Scripture for Today: Psalm 39:6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.”

It has got to be one of the easiest costumes to put together! And that old white sheet hanging out in the cupboard is finally being put to good use! The ghost costume allows for a coat to be worn underneath in a cold climate with none being the wiser! However, all that material slipping around can trip up its wearer. But it does the job. And in rushing from house to house candies are happily heaped up!

Today’s verse describes another kind of phantom. He doesn’t appear just once a year but spends a lifetime accumulating wealth. It is a vain goal as he does not even know what will become of it after he leaves this earth. To place our hope and confidence in what we own is foolish as our wealth can quickly sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle (Prov. 23:5). What a contrast to the one whose hope is in the Lord (verse 7). The riches of His love, care and faithfulness are eternal.

I am a mere phantom with no real substance when my focus is on what will not last. I want my life to be lived on a different plane with a deeper meaning. I want to live with eternity in view but I get so distracted by what I can see and touch. Spending all my energies on the temporal keeps me from that true life. My heart needs to be with the treasure and reward that last, that which is stored up in Heaven (Matthew 6:21-22). As C.T. Studd wrote, “Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Lord, keep me from being “ghostly!”