Devotions By Jan


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Through the Ages

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 15:54 “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true; ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.'”

This image from the Imagerie d’Epinal, France hangs on our wall.  For me it brings back memories of our tour of the ancient time-honored printing process.  This image was done by François George in 1826 and depicts the stages of life.  Each stair step corresponds to an age of life from birth to death.  The first fifty climb the steps but after that it is all downhill!  Under the stairway is the supernatural showing both eternal destinations.

Today’s verse reminds us that the bodies we have are perishable and mortal.  But they will not always be so!  One day, believers will be clothed with another kind of body, one that will never perish and will be immortal!  Death that for now seems to have the upper hand, will one day be forever defeated.  Death will be swallowed up in victory! (Isaiah 25:8)  The sting of death will no longer be felt (verse 55).  It is for this reason that we can stand firm in our faith and give ourselves fully to God (verse 58).

It does not matter where I am on that staircase.  Whatever age I am and whatever my body is doing in its slow downward progression, I have hope of an amazing future!  He has promised me an eternity with Him and the best is still ahead of me.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, death and evil do not win.  No despair can erase this truth.  No tragedy nullifies my hope.  In Christ alone, there is “No guilt in life, no fear in death; This is the power of Christ in me.”

Thank you Lord, for Your promise!


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Feng Shui

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:1 “Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The principles of “feng shui” have been around for centuries with a  history covering more than 3,500 years.  The words translate as, “wind – water.”  This philosophy believes that there are mystical energies that need to flow unimpeded.  Whether it be a building, a grave, or the placement of furniture, it is thought that their orientation affects one’s feeling of well-being and energy, producing positive vibes and even attracting wealth!

Today’s verse tells us where Christ is seated.  His place is on the right hand of God interceding for us.  This verse gives us an orientation for our minds and hearts.  Being raised with Christ, we are dead to what is earthly and alive to what is spiritual.  Our minds and hearts can now focus on Christ and what is eternal.  The result is not a positive vibe or a fluctuating sense of well-being.  The result of this new orientation toward Christ is a whole list of Christ-like characteristics; compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness. patience, forgiveness and love (verses 12-14).  Rather than some mystic flow of energy, there can be peace in the home.

It is hard to direct my thoughts towards what is unseen.  The “seen” offers too many distractions!  But there are many moments of “dead air” throughout my day.  I may be waiting in line, driving the car, or doing any mindless task and lose an opportunity to think on Him.  But a line of Scripture, the lyrics of a song or the beauty of nature can redirect my thoughts back to Him.  And He is always there.  He always welcomes me.

Thank you Lord, that thinking on You is the best part of my day.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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The Red Carpet

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 12:28 “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

For many the red carpet represents fame, fortune and accolade.  Since the twenties the red carpet has been associated with Hollywood stardom, showcasing our film stars.  Getting the “red carpet treatment,” is a saying dating back to 1902 when special train passengers were welcomed aboard an exclusive express car.  But looking back further, the red carpet dates back to ancient Greece and was reserved for royal feet.  The red color was special as the dye was difficult and expensive to make from the cochineal insect.

I do not ever expect to walk on the red carpet.  But according to the verse for today, I can be on a path that leads to immortality.  I am not receiving accolades from the media or any official recognition.  But there is One watching where I put my feet.  I am stepping on a way of righteousness.  That righteousness does not come from me but from Christ. The path is red with His blood as He made a way for me, living a sinless life because I could not.

Because of the cross, my path leads to an eternity with Him!  There, all the accolades and glory will go to Him.  He deserves all my praise and gratitude.  The one-dimensional tributes and trophies given here will pale in comparison to the eternal reality that awaits.  He wants me to persevere in doing what He wants, staying on that path in order to receive what He has promised (Heb. 10:36).  It is just not important that there is no recognition here.  I would rather walk on those streets of gold than any special red carpet!

Lord, keep me focused on pleasing You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.


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The Westbury White Horse

Scripture for Today: Revelation 19:11 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war.”

This huge white horse has been standing on this hill outside Westbury in Wiltshire, England since at least 1742.  It can be seen for miles as it measures 180 feet tall and 170 feet wide.  It was originally done in chalk and needed constant restoration but has been covered over with concrete since 1950.  Folklore says that when the nearby church clock strikes midnight, the horse goes down to the spring below to drink!

Today’s verse mentions a white horse seen by John as part of God’s revelation.  But more important than the white horse is its unique rider, He who is Faithful and True.  This is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (verse 16) and He bursts on the scene as a mighty unstoppable warrior bringing judgement and justice.  Following Him are the armies of Heaven, also riding white horses and dressed in white linen.  What an incredible sight which signals the beginning of a thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth!  He is Faithful and True to fulfill every outstanding prophecy about His coming Kingdom!

I could not love Him or worship Him if He were not absolutely faithful and true to His Word.  But He is.  The word of the Lord is right and true.  He is faithful in all He does (Psalm 33:4).  He will defeat evil.  He will bring righteousness and justice.  He will reward faithful service and right living.  I can stand firm knowing He is faithful and true.  Others may renege on their word, and even loved ones may break promises.  But I can always count on Him.

Thank you Lord, that I can rely on your faithfulness even today.


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Make a Name for Yourself

Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:5b “I will never blot out the name of that person from the Book of Life but will acknowledge that name before my Father and His angels.” 

This REO Speed Wagon from 1941 was the inspiration for a family name!  My friend’s husband was named after Uncle Reo, the 13th child in his family.  The father was not allowed to take his newborn home until he had a name.  So, looking out the hospital window he saw his neighbor go by in a REO truck and took the name from its side!  (REO actually stands for Ransom E. Olds, founder of Oldsmobile).  This name continues in the family as the daughter’s name!

Today’s verse tells us that unlike names on earth that may eventually die out, there will one day be names that will never be blotted out.  These are names that remain in the Book of Life.  The ones who are victorious are the ones whose names will remain.  Not only that, Jesus will acknowledged those names before God the Father and the angels.  The victorious ones are those who will be dressed in white, like those from the Church of Sardis who remained faithful.  Those who have placed their faith in Jesus are the victorious ones! (I John 5:4)  God gives us this victory through His Son (I Cor. 15:57).

My name is only in the Book of Life because of Him.  Because of His unmerited favor towards me, He has written it there.  Nothing and no one has the authority to blot out my name except Him and He has promised to never blot it out.  Nothing will ever separate me from His undeserved love (Rom. 8:37-39).  My name is written in permanent ink because of His victory over sin and death!

Thank you Lord, for the victory I have in You!

 

 


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Caribou

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:13 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

Caribou seem to always be on the move.  They are called the “Nomads of the North” for good reason.  The caribou lay claim to the longest terrestrial migration on the planet!  Some of these beautiful animals, also called reindeer, travel up to 2,737 miles per year!  Different factors affect the timing of their movements but the migrations in general follow the seasons.  Perhaps the reason the caribou have survived tough conditions for so many thousands of years is the fact that they keep moving.

Today’s verse is in a chapter that lists the great men and women of faith.  What is true of all of them is that they were looking for a country of their own.  They were not comfortable where they were.  In a sense they were nomads.  Rather than becoming too comfortable where they were, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God (verse 16).

As believers our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil.3:20) and we are not to feel too comfortable in whatever country we live.  I am not home yet.  But there are times when I am so steeped in this world and its values that I forget that this is not my home.  As much as I want to live comfortably here, I can become too complacent and forget to have that eternal perspective.  By living like a stranger or foreigner here, I can keep my eyes on my forever home!

Lord, keep me looking forward to my true home.


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The Ice Queen

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

This 77 year old grandmother from Texas looks secure in this photo, perched upon an “ice throne” on her vacation in Iceland.  However, seconds later a wave washed in and dislodged this chunk of ice on the shore.  She knew she was in trouble when her “throne” began to rock back and forth.  Before she could react, the wave swept her out to sea and she had to be rescued!  Thankfully, although she was shaken, she was unharmed!

Today’s verse talks about receiving a Kingdom that thankfully cannot be shaken.  The Israelites had already experienced the earth shaking at Mount Sinai when God warned them.  And one day God will again shake the earth and even the heavens with warning and judgement (Rev. 6:12-14).  Only God’s Kingdom will remain, a Kingdom that will be immovable and eternal.  This Kingdom will include a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).  It is with this perspective that we can worship the God of the universe as He should be worshipped, with reverence and awe.

It is sobering for me to think of the instability and temporary nature of every created thing around me.  But what awaits in God’s Kingdom is infinitely better and more beautiful!  What’s more, there will be no more shaking, sinking or waves of trouble that overwhelm and destabilize.  I want to build my life on what is eternal and not swept out to sea!  Seeking His Kingdom and rule first gives my life a stability not dependent on the swirling circumstances around me.

Lord, I am so thankful that because of Your grace, You have made me part of Your Kingdom!