Devotions By Jan


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Coffin Homes

Scripture for Today: John 14:2 “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?”

I cannot imagine living in such cramped conditions!  The housing crisis in Hong Kong is so dire that it has been ranked the least affordable housing market in the world for seven years.  More than 200,000 residents live in subdivided units.  And some of them are so small that they are called, “coffin homes.”  In some shoebox spaces there is no place to step and one cannot stretch out legs for sleep.

Today’s verse speaks of rooms that are being readied for the arrival of God’s children.  Each is being especially prepared by our loving Father.  The number of rooms in His house are too numerous to even be counted!  Yet, I imagine that each one is stamped with the personality of the one who is to live there.  The space will be all we would ever want.  The rooms will be perfect.  The style will suit us.  The comforts will be exactly right.  But the best part is that there will be uninterrupted time with the Owner of the house!

I love that the Lord uses this image of a house.  It will feel more like home than anything we have ever experienced on earth.  The idea of a perfect home is not the size or the number of rooms but the love and warmth that this place can encompass.  Just because it is perfect does not mean that it is cold or impersonal.  It will be filled with love and laughter and eternal joy in His presence!  There will be music and running and skipping on those golden sidewalks!

Thank you Lord, for the room You are preparing for me!

 

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Pet Adoption

Scripture for Today: John 14:2 “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?”

I could never visit an animal shelter.  I would want to bring at least half of the animals home with me!  I have the same problem when visiting a pet store.  As tempting as it is, one thing that keeps me grounded is knowing that I have not prepared for one.  There are so many considerations including: whether the pet will fit with my lifestyle and whether my living arrangements will be suitable.

Today’s verse talks about a place that is being prepared for the eventual arrival of the believer to his eternal home.  Every consideration has been taken.  The One preparing this place knows about every desire, preference and need.  That is because He is the Creator and knows us better than we know ourselves.  This place will be exactly what we did not know we wanted!  And when we finally arrive, this prepared place will immediately be “home” more than any other place we have ever lived.

The particulars are not so important to me.  The details will be fabulous but what will make this place He has prepared so special is the fact that it is in His house!  He will be residing there as well.  His continual and uninterrupted presence will make this place “home.”  It will be my forever home and that illusive contentment I have been chasing all my life will be mine!  What other home could be decorated with perfect love, peace, joy and satisfaction?  It is there waiting for me to move in, and when I do, I will feel settled for the very first time.

Thank you Lord, that You love me enough to prepare a place for me!


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Forced Perspective

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The Leaning Tower of Piza is not the only place in Europe where tourists practice their “forced perspective” photography!  This booted giant woman looks as if she is crushing the Louvre Pyramid.  This technique manipulates our human visual perception with the use of optical illusion.  The result is often surprising, making an object appear larger, smaller, closer or farther away than it really is.

Today’s verse is all about perspective.  Paul tells believers to set their minds on things above.  Our minds and our hearts are to be changed by an eternal perspective.  What we see on earth does not match up with spiritual realities.  What we see, touch and feel around us is not eternal.  These things are real but they will not last.  When we set our minds and hearts on the realities of Heaven, it changes how we view that difficulty.  It affects how we see our problems.  What can loom so large in our perspective is only “light and momentary trouble.” (II Cor. 4:17)  All the hard things in this life are, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

This perspective is not forced but it sure makes Heaven seem a little bit closer.  The things of this earth can seem much smaller with a heart set on what is above.  And sometimes, I need to see the hard things as smaller than they appear.  I need to change my perspective to what is eternal and lasting to see past the problems I face today.

Change my perspective, Lord.  Help me see You today instead of my problems.


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Pack Rat

Scripture for Today:Matthew 6:20-21  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This garage is definitely the work of a pack rat.  In fact, it looks like it could possibly have rats!  No, this is not our garage, fortunately.  We try very hard to clear out and sort on a regular basis.  It is never easy to let things go, but I have a horror of ending up like this picture!  As it is, I think we are the only ones in our cul-de-sac able to fit two cars in our garage!

Today’s verse talks about treasure without actually defining it.  It is treasure found in Heaven and cannot be destroyed.  Here on earth everything is temporal.  And one day everything will pass away to make way for the new earth (Matt. 24:35).  Yet, we all have the tendency to store up things even when we realize that, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b”).  There is something about the tangible that reassures us, provides a sense of security and even adds to our feelings of self-worth.

It is a sobering thought to realize that the objects I treasure are not going to last.  The lasting treasures are found in Heaven where my heart and focus need to be.  That treasure is not gold, the streets are paved with it.  It is not precious stones as those are just building materials for the gates.  Crowns will be readily given up and placed at the feet of Jesus.  The true lasting treasure is the loving presence of Jesus.  And that is a treasure I can enjoy today!

Lord, I want to treasure You.


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The Emerald

Scripture 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 this emerald 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.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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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!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


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Salmon Run

Scripture 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.  But 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, keep me focused on pleasing You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.