Devotions By Jan


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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!


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Kingdom Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”

Kingdom Day today is all about honoring the civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It has been done for more than three decades by holding a parade. But in these strange times of pandemic, the parade will be held virtually. When looking up “Kingdom Day,” the first suggestion was the celebration in the Netherlands! Kingdom Day for them is their commemoration of the signing of their charter in 1954.

Today’s verse speaks of a Kingdom Day that is every day! This kingdom is everlasting. God’s kingdom endures through all generations. It is never outdated or shoved to the annals of history. That is because God’s kingdom and dominion are not just a matter of talk, speeches or signed documents. It is rather a matter of power! (I Cor. 4:20) And His Kingdom is both literal and spiritual. For the believer, His Kingdom is already present in the heart and we seek to put it first in our lives as well. (Matt. 6:33) But we also long for and pray for that day when His Kingdom comes and is established on earth. (Matt. 6:10)

In the turmoil of our world today, I need to grasp this reassuring truth. Kingdoms, regardless of our political bent, will come and go. None of kingdoms of this earth are eternal. But God’s kingdom endures forever. It is a kingdom with a trustworthy King who fulfills every promise. He is trustworthy because He is faithful in all He does. This is true in the grand scheme of things but also in my little life! What an amazing privilege to be part of this kingdom!

Lord, may Your kingdom come.


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The Thiou River

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

We have enjoyed living near a river in every European town we have lived. In Albertville it was the Arly. We enjoyed the Loire in the Orleans area. In the Grenoble area the Drac and the Isère rivers join. We walked along the picturesque Kander river in Kandern.  In Guebwiller we were just  two hundred meters from the Lauch River.  I loved crossing the quaint bridges hanging with flower planters. Pictured here is the Thiou River in Annecy, France, considered one of the cleanest in Europe.

Today’s verse describes a river that makes a whole city glad!  It is found in the city of God where the Most High will make His abode!  On the new earth this river will be clear, pristine and never polluted. This unique river is described as “the river of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:1-2) It will be clear as crystal and flow from the throne of God right down the middle of the city!  It will be a river that leads to His very presence, He who is the only Source of life! No wonder it makes the city and all its inhabitants glad!  

Rivers and the sound of water do lift my spirits. There is something so calming about flowing water. It is beside quiet waters that my Shepherd refreshes my soul. (Ps. 23:2) Near the very end of the Bible is an invitation to this water. (Rev. 22:17) But I do not have to wait until that day for my heart to be glad. Despite negative circumstances, the Lord gives me joy. In coming to Him, God keeps me occupied with gladness of heart! (Eccl. 5:20)

Thank you Lord, that You make me glad!


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Hanging It Up

Scripture for Today: Psalm 137: 1-2 “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps.”

I love decorating the Christmas tree with musical instruments. We have a set of white porcelain ones that stand out against the greenery. For me, Christmas is all about the music. The old classics are always my favorite with their rich descriptions of the Gospel message. It makes me smile and tear up to hear the old ones played in the malls as many have no idea of the profound truths they are hearing. (unfortunately, only with instruments) Harp music is something I especially associate with the joy of Christmas and the world-changing message of the angels.

Today’s verse has the captive Israelites hanging up their harps in the poplar trees. They did not do it for decoration but as a sign that they were done with singing. Their captors had demanded of them songs of joy. (verse 3) Their response? How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? (verse 4) What these captives did not realize is that all those who live by faith are foreigners and strangers on earth. (Heb. 11:13) We can continue to sing songs of joy when we look to that better country, a heavenly one. (Heb. 11:16)

I am not quite ready to hang up my harp just yet, although there are definitely days that I think of it. Quite frankly, the fear, negativity, isolation, and the surrender of some Christmas traditions can steal songs of joy. But I can choose to focus on what will never be stolen from me; my true country ahead! There, unending songs of joy will fill the corridors and resound in every corner!

Restore to me Lord, the joy of my salvation!


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The Condor

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:25-26 “For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

This vigilant squirrel is right to keep an eye on the condor flying overhead!  But perhaps he does not need to worry too much as the condor will only feed on a carcass.  They are scavengers and I suppose they have their place in the scheme of things.  But to me they are disgusting because of their eating habits, not to mention their grunts, growls and hissing!  There are two species of vultures to which the condor refers and they are associated with death in Scripture.

Today’s verse speaks of death as an enemy.  It is an enemy that touches every one and each time brings with it unspeakable sorrow.  It is an enemy mankind has brought on ourselves by our own sin and rebellion against God (Rom. 6:23).  But thankfully, death will one day be vanquished forever.  There will be a time when there will be no more mourning or death (Rev. 21:4).  The pain and sorrow of separation will in the future be a distant memory.  Death will take its rightful place, fully vanquished and overcome under His feet.

I know this is true as Jesus has already vanquished death for Himself when He rose up from the grave.  And God has already made me alive spiritually when I was dead in my sins (Eph. 2:5).  But what is true in a spiritual sense will one day be true in a physical sense as well!   I will enjoy a new body that will never wear out (I Cor. 15:54) and death will be “swallowed up in victory!”  No more funerals, obituaries or burials!  And best of all, no more goodbyes!

Thanks you Lord, for the coming victory over death.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)