Devotions By Jan


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Autographed

Scripture for Today: Revelation 22:3-4 “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be written on their foreheads.”

What devotion!  This girl has the names of thirteen celebrities written on her body!  She asks her idols to sign somewhere on her arms or on her back in marker.  She then goes to her local tattooist to make her souvenir permanent.  Apparently she is choosy, allowing only those who she deems an icon to have this privilege.  The autographs she wears include Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion and Lionel Richie!

Today’s verse describes a time in eternity when those who belong to the Lord will wear His name.  And the privilege will be all ours!  We, as His servants, will have a closeness to His throne and will daily see His face.  His name will be on our foreheads, figuratively or literally.  More than an autograph, His name will mark us for all eternity as His very own.  And our service to Him will include forever reigning with Him (verse 5).

I may not have His name on my forehead now.  But hopefully, I am so closely identified with Him that I and others know that I belong to Him and He is mine!  His is a name that is above every other name (Phil. 2:9).  So exalted is this name that one day every knee will bow at even the sound of it!  He is the One who lifts my head high with His forgiveness (Ps 3:3).  When I look to Him I can be “radiant” and my face is not covered with shame (Ps. 34:5).

Lord, how unworthy I am.  Thank you for the incredible privilege of bearing Your name!

 


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The Red Carpet

red-carpet-stageScripture 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 tawdry red carpet!

Lord, keep me focused on pleasing You today.


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Salmon Run

salmon-520216Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:8-9 “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”

It is an incredibly strong instinct that drives the salmon to swim upstream to spawn.  After a few years in the ocean, the urge to lay its eggs in the exact fresh water stream where they were born drives them to make the long and arduous journey.  The salmon are so intent on their goal, they do not even stop to eat on the way.  They are so exhausted when arriving “home” that after laying their eggs, most do not survive.

Today’s verse refers to an eternal home with the Lord.  As long as we are in these earthly bodies we are not completely “at home.”  How surprising that Paul would rather be away from his body in order to be completely at home with his Lord! He not only says this but he says it with confidence.  In these bodies we groan and are burdened.  But when we are finally home, we will be clothed with a new body.  In the meantime we swim upstream.  As believers, we swim against the current as our life’s goal is to please Him.

I am often distracted from my heart’s desire to please Him.  If to please Him is the all-consuming goal of my life, then I can persevere when life gets difficult.  Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6) but I can feel His pleasure when I turn to Him in absolute trust and confidence.  Pleasing Him gives purpose to my day, even a mundane one.

Lord, there is no higher goal than pleasing You today!


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Remembering Veterans

vetsdaykochScripture for Today: Revelation 3:12  “The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will they leave it.  I will write on them the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem……and I will also write on them My new name.”

Today we honor all of our war veterans.  For many soldiers the memories of their service remain poignant and mark them for life.  But for the rest of the family, we often need help in remembering.  War memorabilia helps  to keep those memories alive.  This is especially true of a soldier’s dog tags that record his name, blood type, identification number and religion.  It is unfortunate that many of these dog tags are lost on the battleground.  How touching it is to hear stories of them being found and returned years later by caring strangers!

Our verse for today teaches that one day, believers will be “wearing” three names that will identify us.  The meaning here seems to be symbolic.  Those who are victorious and enduring to the very end will bear three names.  The name of God will show that we belong to Him forever.  The name of God’s city will show that we are citizens.  And His own new name will indicate our special relationship with Christ.

Our war is a spiritual one.  And although it may seem that a battle is lost here and there, the overall outcome of the war has already been established!  I am victorious because of Christ!  How reassuring to know that I will remain in His presence forever!  There is no way to misplace this “tag” and be lost.

Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to identify me as Your very own for all eternity!


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Speed Dating

dating600_451637660Scripture 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.”

More and more of these speed dating events are taking place around the globe.  This image is taken in Dublin.  The idea is intriguing, but when I asked my husband if I could attend one for “research” he was not too enthusiastic!  The premise is that one can know quite quickly if there is any kind of spark between two people.  Most participants make their choice within the first three seconds, so that first impression is paramount.

Today’s verse is from a conversation Jesus had with His Father.  Jesus prayed that the Father would be glorified through Him.  He acknowledges that the power to give eternal life has been granted Him from God the Father.  Then comes this surprising description of what eternal life is; it is to know Him.

Knowing God intimately will be an unending endeavor.  There will be no time limit to this relationship.  And knowing God will take forever.  There is no coming to the end of Him as He is infinite!  There will always be new and exciting facets to knowing Him.  Each day there will be breathtaking discoveries about who He is!  Knowing Him more and more each day will be fascinating and thrilling.  He will never become boring or predictable.

Eternal life is not just in the future.  Eternal life begins now and just never ends.  Knowing Him begins now although my progress is continually interrupted by my limits, distractions, and my own sinful nature.  But one day I will be face to face, no longer knowing Him just in part, but wholly, just as He knows me! (I Cor. 13:12)

Lord, may I see You and know You more today than yesterday!


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Emeralds

emerald-stone-KopyaScripture for Today: Revelation 4:3 “And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.”

The color and brilliance of these emeralds take my breath away!  This gemstone is a variety of the mineral beryl.  But what classifies it as an emerald is its deep bluish to pure green color saturation.  And the more it is transparent the more it is valuable with its shine.  The small fissures in the stone are called the stone’s “jardin” (garden).  Some are treated with oil to fill in these natural fissures.  Although the emerald has been mined for centuries, today one can buy synthetic emeralds.  But somehow it is not the same.

The shine of an emerald is the image John uses in today’s verse to describe a rainbow that encircles God’s throne.  Its brilliance will be awe-inspiring and fitting for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  But He Himself will have an appearance just as brilliant as the stunning ruby and the crystal-like jasper.  These precious stones, as beautiful as they are, do not come close to describing God’s magnificence.  His glory would be blinding if not for our new bodies with its new eyes.  We will be filled with the wonder of His beauty as we fall to our knees in worship and praise.

I need to be reminded of God’s incredible beauty and glory.  Too often I over-simplify God in an attempt to understand Him.  I can only know His reflection for now, but one day we will be face to face (I Cor. 13:12).  Then I will know Him fully, as fully as He knows me!  What a day that will be!  No more flawed impressions, wrong ideas, or ambiguity.

Lord, give me another glimpse of Your glory today.

 

 


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Incense

105214Scripture for Today: Psalm 141:2 “May my prayer be set before You like incense, may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”

This wooden figure is very much like the nutcracker, but in fact, it is an incense burner!  I love the beautiful wood craftsmanship of the Germans!  It almost makes me want to burn incense…almost.  I never got used to the smell of incense although my dorm roommates thought it was wonderful back in college days.

Burning incense has long been part of religious observances in Greece, Egypt, China and India.  It is also currently used in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and in some Lutheran churches.  In the Old Testament, burning incense was part of worship in the tabernacle and temple (Ex. 30:34).  Now, because of Christ’s sacrifice we can approach God with confidence and without the many rituals of the Law (Heb. 10:19-22).

In our verse for today, David sees his prayers rising to God like the smoke of incense.  Any way we can visualize spiritual truths is helpful in worship.  Of course, burning incense does not make us more pleasing to God.  But burning incense is a great way to “see” our prayers reaching His ears, just as lifting our hands can help us feel worshipful and closer to Him.

In Heaven there will be golden bowls of incense presented to Jesus in worship (Rev. 5:8).  The incense represents the prayers of God’s people.  Accompanied by harp music and a new song, the incense of our prayers will proclaim Jesus as the Lamb, worthy of all glory and honor!  What a beautiful thought that my prayer might be in one of those golden bowls of incense!

Lord, may my prayers always be worshipful and a sweet aroma to You.

Look familiar?  This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.