Devotions By Jan


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Closing Bell

Scripture for Today:  I Corinthians 15:52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

When that bell peals its piercing note and the sound of it drifts away, all the frantic activity comes to an abrupt halt.  Everything stops.  At least until the next day there are no more opportunities for trade on the New York Stock Exchange.  Everyone carefully listens for it as the timing can change priorities for those traders on the floor.

In today’s verse is the sound, not of a bell but of a trumpet.  It is the last trumpet and signals a stop as well to all frantic activity.  It is a sound that will signal the end of all time as we know it.  This trumpet announces the resurrection and it will be heard all over the world.  When it is blown, those believers who have died will receive their new incorruptible bodies.  Those believers still living at the time will also be changed.  Death will forever be swallowed up in victory!  What a day that will be!

Reading about this future event affects me TODAY.  Knowing this truth helps me stay steadfast, immoveable, and prioritizing my service to Him (verse 58).  Looking towards the resurrection and eternity convinces me that my work for the Lord is never futile or in vain.  I want to be listening for and anticipating this sound.  It closes the opportunity to serve Him here on earth.  But look what it opens!  An eternity of rest and reward with the Lover of my soul!

Thank you Lord, for the change that is coming!

 

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“CAVU”

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.”

Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited, or CAVU, is an aviation term that pilots use to indicate good flying weather.  But it is also used as slang to mean anything sought after or desirable.  For the late President George H.W. Bush, this term described his approach to life.  He had the acronym on a plaque in his office.  And on his 80th birthday he described his life as CAVU, “thanks to my family and friends.”

Today’s verse gives us a look past the ceiling of the sky to something beyond.  It is only visible to our spiritual eyes.  But like the former president, this unobstructed view of Heaven is to describe our approach to life.  We have been raised up with Christ from the old life to the new.  We are to set not only hearts but also our minds (verse 2) on what is there.  Christ is there, seated at the right hand of God.  Our focus is to be on this reality more than on the temporal things of earth.

I can only “see” beyond the things of this earth by being in His Word.  The truths read and studied there lift my sights to what is eternal.  I frankly could not smile without being reassured in His Word of what is to come.  Life can be pretty awful sometimes.  Knowing that God has planned what eye cannot see, ear cannot hear or even what our minds cannot imagine (I Cor. 2:9) is an enormous comfort when things are so sad and so hard.

Thank you Lord, that, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim,” when I see You.

 

 

 

 

 


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A Christmas Carol

Scripture for Today: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

This particular version of the classic tale by Charles Dickens was filmed in 1938 and stars Reginald Owen as the unloveable Scrooge.  It was the first major adaptation of a Dicken’s novel and it took some liberties with the story, having each Christmas spirit appear in one night rather than in three.  But the message of Christmas being a time to give liberally to others finally gets through to the stingy Scrooge.  He begins to care.  He begins to love.  And so he begins to give.

Today’s often-quoted and beloved verse explains the reason for God offering His Son.  He gives because He loves.  He loves all of mankind, regardless of race, religion or culture.  The offer of His Son was to give us a way to spend all eternity with Him.  It was His love that motivated such a sacrifice of His one and only Son.  And it is only through faith in His sacrifice for sin that eternal life can be ours.

The birth of Christ was a gift for everyone because our need for a Savior is universal.  We all need Him.  No one is exempt from their need of a Savior to forgive and give life. One day I invited Him to be mine and it was the best and most important decision I have ever made!  And because He loved me first, I can love Him in return.  One of the best ways I can love Him is by showing His love to others.  He loves so He gives.  I want my love for others to show itself in selfless giving.  Not only at Christmas but everyday!

Thank you Lord, that You gave.

 


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FastPass to Santa

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

There is nothing worse for a mom of young children than standing in a long line to see Santa!  What starts out with happy anticipation quickly turns into whining and complaining.  Feet hurt, tummies rumble and the need for a  bathroom trip is desperately trying to be ignored!  Thankfully with the FastPass, made with a simple on-line appointment, one can sail past all those waiting to the head of the line!

There is a throne that we can approach any time.  Today’s verse describes our access to the throne of Heaven.  It can be approached with confidence for those that belong to Him.  There is never any waiting as He is always available.  His ears are attentive to our cries (Ps. 34:15).  His throne is a throne of grace, ready to give us what we do not deserve.  And His mercy and grace are given at exactly the right time when we most need it!  He will never turn us away or redirect us to the end of the line!

How amazing that He is the God of the universe and yet so approachable!  I am so glad He does not wait until I am worthy before I approach, or I could never be near Him.  He responds my cries for help.  He understands when I feel like giving up.  When all I want to do is cry in His presence, He understands that too.  He empathizes with everything I feel because He experienced weakness as well (verse 15).  And He responds with amazing grace and mercy!  What a wonderful God we serve!

Thank you Lord, for allowing me in Your presence anytime, anywhere!

 


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Keepsake

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 1:12 “…nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

A “keepsake” is defined as a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it.  This sand footprint was made to be a keepsake.  At first glance it seemed as an odd choice.  How could something made of sand keep for any length of time?  But in scanning the instructions, I saw that plaster of paris was used, so that it was not as fragile as I first thought.

Today’s verse is about committing something to God’s care.  He keeps it.  He keeps it safe and secure.  It is something that will last into eternity; our soul.  Paul is persuaded that God is able to guard what was entrusted to Him.  He was so convinced of his future in Heaven that he was fearless in his defense and spread of the Gospel.  Paul was able to face imprisonment and even death with a calm assurance.  He knew where he was going and could stay loyal to the One who was keeping his soul secure.

I am so grateful that He keeps my soul.  Even now, I have already died and my life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)  Being persuaded of this makes a difference to how I go through this journey.  With my eternal destiny decided I can lose my life for His sake.  And in doing so, I find life! (Mark 8:35)  Having this assurance helps me hold on a little less tightly to all that is earthly.  He is guarding for me a hope and future beyond anything that I can imagine.

Thank you Lord, for keeping me secure.


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Giving Thanks

Scripture for Today: Revelation 5:12 “In a loud voice they were saying, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.'”

I love that Thanksgiving precedes a time of crazy wanting, shopping and buying!  Instead of focusing on all that we do not have, Thanksgiving is a time of remembering just how blessed we already are.  For the believer, there is a Recipient to our thanks, Jesus Christ.  It is from Him that all blessings flow!  We direct to Him all of our gratitude.  It is to Him that we give thanks, with our lips and with our hearts.

Today’s verse describes the scene in Heaven where Jesus as the Lamb of God is given all the honor, glory and praise that is His due.  There is no one who is more deserving.  The phrase, “I cannot thank you enough,” will for the first time be absolutely true!  We can never thank Him enough for our salvation and what it cost Him.  We will spend all eternity praising Him and even then, it will never be enough.

The Lord does not engage in false humility as we do saying, “Oh, don’t mention it.”  He accepts our continual praise and gratitude because He deserves it.  I can never come to the end of thanking Him because He continually gives.  I can never thank Him too much because I am so undeserving.  I do not merit any of what He so graciously gives me.  Every good and perfect gift in my life is a direct result of His love and grace towards me.  He deserves my thanks for even my next breath and heartbeat.

Lord, may my life be characterized  by gratitude.


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Paradise Lost

Scripture for Today: Luke 23:42-43 “….’Jesus, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom.’  And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'”

I am heartbroken when seeing images of the ongoing fire in Paradise, California.  To date, 146 thousand acres are burned and the town itself devastated.  So many structures were destroyed, over 11 thousand.  But most importantly, 71 souls have been lost.  And with over 1,000 unaccounted for, that number is sure to rise.  The survivors run the spectrum of emotions, from thankful to bitter.  I cannot imagine this pain of loss but I was saddened to hear one survivor blame God and ask how He could allow a town with the name, “Paradise” to burn.

Today’s verse is a promise of Paradise for a thief.  He hung on the cross next to Jesus because he deserved to be there.  He did not deserve Paradise.  But Jesus made a way.  He offers Paradise anew as mankind has lost it.  With the sin and banishment of Adam and Eve from the garden, Paradise can no longer exist on this earth.  There will always be fire, natural disasters, evil, sickness and death.  God did not intend life to be like this.  We brought it on ourselves.  But He did give us a solution in the sacrifice of His Son.

There, in Paradise, I will live life as it was meant to be.  There will be no pain, no sin, no guilt nor ugliness.  There will be no regrets or dashed expectations!  There will only be unending joy in His presence!  It is so hard to imagine.  But one thing is sure.  It will be so much better than my imagination!

Thank you Lord, that because of You, Paradise can be found again!