Devotions By Jan


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Tree of Life

Scripture for Today: Genesis 2:9 “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

In buying this Tree of Life on turquoise-like stone, I was not aware of all its symbolism! I just liked it because it was pretty. Since then I learned that the tree of life is a mystical symbol linked to religion, philosophy and spirituality. For some, it is a picture of how everything in life is connected. For others it stands for personal growth, beauty, and strength.

Today’s verse reveals the original and best meaning of the tree of life. As with all of creation, its source was the Creator. This tree was a beautiful fruit-bearing tree found in the center of the garden of Eden. Unlike the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam was free to eat from this tree. But after the Fall, the way back to the tree was barred (Gen. 3:22-24) as it would lead to an eternal life in man’s pitiful fallen state.

What happened to this tree? The tree of life is now shaped as a cross! Eternal life is mine when I place my trust in Christ’s sacrifice for my sin! Those who have the Son have eternal life (John 3:36). But the tree of life not only reminds me of the garden and the cross, but it also turns my attention to the future I have in Heaven. The tree of life reappears there and I will one day eat of its fruit and experience an abundant life that will last forever! (Rev. 2:7)

Thank you Lord, for Your incredible gift of life!


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Fashionista

Scripture for Today: John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

fashion unnamed

I was intrigued by the saying on this store window. This high-end women’s clothing store suggests that the goal of living is to dress well, using their brand of course. For many, fashion is tied to self-image and a sense of well-being. Fashion can occupy a huge place in one’s thoughts. The “fashionista” follows the latest trends and spends a good portion of income to stay current. Walking by this saying did make me think. What do I live for? Anyone who knows me would not guess fashion! But it is the age-old question posed by many philosophers over the centuries.  Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?

Today’s verse gives the answer to the question. Eternal life for the believer begins in the here and now. Life, whether in the future or the present is consumed with one goal; to know Him (Phil. 3:10). It is a goal that never grows old and tired. And because God is so immense, it is a goal that can never be completely realized. How amazing to spend an entire earthly life in the quest to know Him as He reveals Himself little by little through His Word and through His Spirit.

When I am with my Savior in Heaven the goal continues to know Him completely. Knowing God personally and up close will be an adventure that is eternal! I will never come to the end of knowing Him. He is that vast and deep! Knowing the Lord little by little while on earth, gives meaning and purpose to my life that nothing else can! This is what I live for!

Thank you Lord, that the goal of knowing You gives my life purpose!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2015)


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Sweet Pea

Scripture for Today: John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

This unassuming flower was offered as a thank you to our hostess. Their strong fragrance of honey, orange and jasmine are as pleasing as their colorful delicate petals. The poet, Keats, is thought to be the first to use the name, Sweet Pea. It was very popular in the 1800’s and it has come to symbolize many lofty ideas including; chastity, strength, truth, and gratitude. But what surprised me most was its association with goodbyes.

In today’s verse, Jesus is preparing His disciples for the coming goodbye. He tells them that He is leaving to go to the Father. But He does not want their hearts to be troubled with this goodbye (verse 1). He reassures them that the Holy Spirit will be coming to live within them (verse 17) and they will not be left as orphans (verse 18). And this goodbye is only temporary as He will be coming back and there will never again be a separation.

What an incredible comfort this is! My relationship with the Lover of my soul need never be interrupted. With His Spirit He is always present. But for those human relationships, goodbyes can be so painful. In moving so often I have had to experience many. And of course, the most painful are the ones that are forever. But one day, there will be no more goodbyes. That is one word that will have no place in the heavenly vocabulary! There will be some incredible reunions as well as new friendships. They will be so much sweeter without that pain of separation.

Thank you Lord, that in Your home there will be no more goodbyes!


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Dogecoin

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead for his reward.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/z0/19815634245

What started out as a joke in 2013 has now become the fourth largest crypto by market value! With that logo of Shiba Inu from the “Doge” meme it is hard to take seriously at first glance. But in the world of cryptocurrency it is gaining momentum. At this writing its value has climbed to 55 cents. But many are skeptical and cautious. One of the main differences between this and the bitcoin is that the total supply is uncapped. It is unlimited!

What we value determines how we live. For Moses in today’s verse, he did not value what most would. He was able to turn his back on the riches of Egypt and leave his privileged position. He did this in obedience to God’s call even though it would mean disgrace and loss of recognition by the royal family. He could do this because he was looking in faith toward his eternal reward. Like Paul, Moses could count every advantage as “garbage” compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8)!

Do I value knowing Christ just as much? Like the fluctuating market where values rise and fall, the value I assign to Him can change. His worth far exceeds anything on earth but my priorities sometimes veer towards what is “garbage” in comparison. I am so easily distracted by what the world values. But when I arrive at my eternal home where streets are made of gold and gates of precious stones, I will laugh at what I thought was so important here!!

Lord, keep me valuing what has true worth!


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Goose Barnacles

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:21 “who by the power that enables him (Jesus Christ) to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Photo by John Turnbull https://www.flickr.com/photos/71925535@N03/6498240597/

Have you ever wondered why this barnacle is named after a goose? The long black “neck” or stalk and the white triangular “head” or body of the barnacle could perhaps remind one of a goose. But for the superstitious living in thirteenth century Europe, their appearance explained the disappearance of the geese at certain times each year. Belief that barnacles transformed themselves into geese was a fanciful way to explain bird migration.

Today’s verse talks about a transformation that is real. It is the future of every believer that one day, our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like Christ’s glorious resurrected body. Christ’s power enables Him to have all the control and to accomplish this. It is because of this incredible truth that the believer can stand firm in the faith. (verse 58) The perishable will be transformed to imperishable, the dishonor transforms to glory, the weakness becomes power and the natural will be spiritual! (I Cor. 15:43-44)

That is quite a transformation! Though my deteriorating body breaks down over time, transformation is coming! Even in the face of my eventual death, I can look forward to a new resurrected body! Death will be swallowed up in victory! (verse 56) My new body will be strong, healthy, eternal and without flaws. Hard to imagine but it is what He has promised. With this new body there will be no sinful fleshly impulses to fight against. With this new body, I will not need a pocket for tissues. But most exciting, with this new body, my eyes will see God!

Thank you Lord, for the transformation You promise!