Devotions By Jan

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Lunar Eclipse

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 60:19 “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

How strange it was to see the “super moon” slowly being darkened by the shadow of the earth.  It does not happen too often and it was spectacular to see!  It was called a “super moon” because of its fullness and because of its position at the closest point of its orbit with the earth.  A news agency called it, “a glorious view of the heavens,” and “a glorious heavenly event.”  It was certainly rare as the next time this happens will not be until 2033.

This eclipse was a partial one so we were not left totally in the dark.  As beautiful as an eclipse or sunset can be, it leaves us with less light and increasing darkness.  But one day there will no longer be any darkness at all.  The Lord will be our light and it will be everlasting.  His glory will shine as bright as day.  There will no longer be any need of the sun or the moon.

That everlasting light is not just in our future, but He has promised to place some of that light in our hearts today! (II Cor. 4:6)  It shines in our hearts to give us an inkling of His overwhelming glory.  And it is displayed in the face and presence of Christ.  The more I approach Him the brighter that light becomes!  I can “walk in the light” (I John 1:7) and experience sweet fellowship.  I want to bask in the warmth of His loving light and not obscure it with the shadows of my sin.

Lord, help me to walk in the light of Your presence today.

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

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False Advertising

Scripture for Today: I John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

This sign made me smile!  Strictly speaking, it is not “false advertising” as it is completely true!  But the unsuspecting passer-by is lulled into thinking there is something special about this offer.  I am always disappointed with sales that offer a discount “up to” a certain percentage.  Those two little words, often in smaller print, mean that most items can be normally priced.  One is lured inside with high expectations of a good deal.  But blatant examples of false advertising abound with some leading to lawsuits.

There is someone who is an expert at false advertising.  He offers the world in exchange for the soul.  Satan is the master deceiver who pretends that this world is all there is.  He advertises with glitz and glamour and the promise of something for nothing.  He convinces people that the greatest and best goal in life is to fulfill each and every desire.  We have earned it.  We deserve it.  We can have it all and there is no cost!

Today’s verse tells the truth.  The world and all its desires will not last forever.  This is not it.  There is something more and it is infinitely better.  The world is only temporary and gaining all of it means nothing if I forfeit my soul (Mark 8:36).  It is so easy to be distracted by the “here and now” and lose that eternal perspective.  What awaits me defies my imagination!  What the Lord has prepared for His own makes this world, as beautiful as it is, a poor shadowy substitute.  Every desire in Heaven will be pure, satisfied and fulfilled!

Help me Lord, to see this world as temporary and live my life for You.

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

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What Not To Pack!

Scripture for Today: John 14:6 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a  place for you?”

Regardless of my destination, I invariably pack more than I need!  I like having choice.  Plus, I like being prepared for several possible scenarios.  And so often the weather predictions are not quite right.  So, I over pack and find myself sitting on the suitcase to get it to close completely.  Sometimes as much as half of what I packed I did not use.  Each time this happens I vow I will pack more reasonably next time!

Today’s verse is about a destination where no packing will be involved!  Everything will be provided as Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare the perfect place.  What is amazing to me are not the things that are needed.  Those will be provided for and beyond our wildest expectations.  What amazes me are rather the things we will not need!  No pocket flashlights are required as the Lord Himself will be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19).  Forget the sunscreen as I can bask safely in His presence.  Those small packets of tissue can be left behind as God will personally wipe away every tear.  In fact, I can leave behind my water bottle as Jesus will provide wonderful springs of living water (Rev. 7:17).  The first aid kit will not be needed as there will be no more sickness of death.  And my wardrobe choices will be taken care of in those beautiful white robes! (Rev.7:9)

His preparations are perfect and complete.  Am I prepared to meet Him?   Because of His grace and with a heart that is cleansed with His forgiveness I can say, “Yes.”

Thank you Lord, for meeting every need today and for eternity!

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

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Feeling Down

Scripture for Today: Psalm 126:6 “Those who go out weeping carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

In all my years living in Europe, I had never seen a European Weeping Beech tree.  But recently in Rhode Island, on the grounds of the Château sur Mer in Newport I saw this incredible sight!  The drooping branches were so thick, the trunk was not even visible.  The English call it the “upside down tree!”  I am familiar with the Weeping Willow, but apparently there are several species of trees that are called, “Weeping,” if they grow pendulous branches.  That sad weepy look is so strange looking.  I am not sure I would want such a sad looking tree in my yard.

Today’s verse describes a weeping that ends in joy!  What an amazing reversal promised to the Israelites!  The Lord would bring back their captives and restore their fortunes causing all the neighboring nations to sit up and take notice.  The Lord will be known as having done great things for them.  All those tears are replaced with laughter and songs of joy!

This promise has many layers as we too can look forward to a time when our weeping and sorrow will be transformed!  Laughter and joy will echo in the halls of Heaven as I enjoy a hope that is realized forever!  Weeping will be a distant memory.  Everything sad and awful will seem light compared to the weight of glory that I will one day enjoy! (II Cor. 4:17)

So much sadness in this life now, but before long, “One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase!”  Better than anything I can dream, His joy and recompense will exceed every expectation!

Thank you Lord, for the songs of joy yet to be sung!

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

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House vs. Home

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 have lived in a variety of houses on both sides of the ocean.  Not all of them have really felt like “home.”  The essential element was not the window flower boxes, a fire in the hearth or baking smells wafting from the kitchen.  For me the word denotes a feeling of permanence, being settled and enjoying warm loving family relationships.  Being that we were many times on the move, my husband would often tell me that “home” is where I am.

Today’s verse tells us where our true home is.  We are at home when we are in the presence of the Lord.  One day that will happen literally as He has thoughtfully and lovingly prepared a place for us (John 14:2).  What will make this place home will not be the size of the mansion or its appointments.  It will be the fact they we will be forever with Him.  There will be no interruption to this warm loving relationship.  It will be permanent and we will feel settled.

No matter how wonderful some of my houses have been, none of them have given me a feeling of satisfaction.  There is always a nagging sense of being unsettled.  Sure, it is nice to come back after time away.  But that feeling of coming home quickly wears off.  I know for a fact that I am not home yet.  When I finally feel at home will be when I enter my eternal home!  But for now, I can enjoy a small taste of home when I sense His presence.

Lord, You are my home.  Help me find contentment in You.

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

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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.