Devotions By Jan


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Chivalry

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:3b-4 “…in humility be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.”

Chivalry is many times thought to be an outmoded idea.  But my husband still gallantly opens doors and pulls out chairs for me.  I always appreciate it as it makes me feel special, however he does stop short of throwing down his coat over a puddle!  The word, “chivalry,” was originally used to refer to qualities expected of a knight; courage, generosity, and courtesy, especially towards women.

Today’s verse does not use the word, “chivalry,” but certainly has the idea of treating others well.  Our concern should not be only for our own interests.  A believer is to be concerned about the interests of others as well.  To treat others’ needs as more important than our own can only come from an attitude of humility.  And that humility is not something that comes naturally.  What comes naturally is to put oneself first.  The following verses point to Jesus as our example and how far He humbled Himself for us.

It is not easy to ask interested questions of another and not have them return the favor.  It is difficult to allow another to go first when pressed for time.  To be genuinely happy for another’s success takes a humility I do not always feel!  Yet, this is what Jesus asks of me.  My life is in His hands along with all my interests, goals and needs.  I can afford to be gracious and others-centered.  He has all my desires and interests at heart and I can trust Him.

Lord, help me show the kind of self-sacrificing love You showed to me!

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Rock Climbing Adventure

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 4:26-27  “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

That’s me on that smooth surface, frantically looking for the next foothold with fear and trembling!  In my college days I did this climb with the students of a rock climbing class.  The problem was I had not taken the class and had no clue what I was doing!  But I did realize how important footholds were to make any progress up that rock.  Actually, I did not care if I made any progress.  I only wanted to survive without killing myself!

Today’s verse describes how Satan looks for a foothold using unresolved anger.  He will be able to gain ground in our lives when we continue to stew and seethe with anger.  Anger itself is not necessarily sin.  Jesus was able to be angry at sinful behavior without sinning Himself.  But for us it is the starting place for so many other sinful behaviors.  It is a foothold or opportunity for Satan to wreak havoc in our lives.  Anger can lead to hurtful words, revenge, and bitterness.  It can lead to hurt pride and broken relationships.

I often tell myself that my anger is completely justified.  But whether it is or is not, my anger usually leads to sin.  I need to let it go quickly before it gets out of hand!  Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:20).  Indulging my anger only gives the enemy a foothold and I do not want him to make progress with me.  I have no problem with seeing him fall off the rock and to the ground.

Lord, help me to daily let go of my anger.

(Look familiar? This post is based on a previous one from 2013)


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Black or White?

Scripture for Today: I Peter 2:24 “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.”

Is the zebra an animal wearing a white coat with black stripes?  Or is he an animal with a black coat striped white?  Does it matter?  All I can see are their remarkable stripes!  They are wonderful protection as it can be difficult for a predator to single out from a herd just one zebra to chase.  The zebras know to stay together against their common enemy.  There is strength and security in their unity.

Today’s verse talks about stripes that offer healing.  These stripes are much more remarkable but are anything but beautiful (Isaiah 53:2).  The stripes are the wounds Jesus suffered for our sake.  Before being put on that tree or cross,  He was beaten.  Those stripes made it possible for us to die to sin and live for righteousness.  Before Jesus took our punishment, we were soul-sick from our sin and in dire need of healing.  He accomplished by His sacrifice a healing that gives us a hope and a future!

His healing of my soul means that I am no longer powerless against the enemy of sin.  Not only am I spared the righteous judgement my sin deserves, but I am also freed from sin’s hold on me!  Because of His healing stripes, I can live a life that is righteous and pleasing to Him.  Included in that healing is the opportunity to find unity with those of a different stripe. Together in the body of Christ, we can encourage one another to stand against our common enemy.

Thank you Lord, for healing my soul.


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Scuba Diving

Scripture for Today: II Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

This sport seems especially adventuresome and thrilling!  The idea of descending into the depths and being one of the privileged few to see what most do not, must be a heady experience!  The SCUBA acronym means “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus” and is the most important piece of equipment to be able to breathe underwater.  The training is rigorous to be certified as mishandling the equipment could mean running out of air, being unable to breathe.  This possibility more than anything else, keeps me from participating!

Today’s verse talks about what the breath of God accomplishes.  First, the breath of the Almighty gives life (Job 33:4).  Then the breath of Jesus gives us His Spirit (John 20:22).  God’s breath allows us to live spiritually whereas before we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1).  But He does not stop there.  His breath gives us His Word, inspired or “God-breathed.”  It is only through His Word that we are able to determine what is right and what is wrong.  His breath gives physical life, spiritual life and the ability to live the best kind of life.

In the middle of unrest and upheaval, one truth stands clear and unchanged; none of us can live without the breath of God.  It is His breath in His God-breathed Word that shows me how to live.  His Word shows me where my heart is wrong.  His Word corrects my prideful thoughts.  And His Word shows me what action He wants me to take.  No other treatise, article or book has this same power!

My prayer today: “Breathe on me, breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.”

 


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Ultimate Sacrifice

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:33 “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important that ALL burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Today on this Memorial Day we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by so many soldiers who gave their lives for our freedoms.  If it were not for their willingness to put their lives on the line, we would not be enjoying the rights and privileges that we do.  To honor their sacrifice is only right as we are the beneficiaries of their selfless acts of bravery.

Today’s verse talks about a sacrifice that is living.  This sacrifice puts to death one’s own rights and privileges in honor of the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Christ died to free us from the penalty of our own sin.  And in response to His incredible sacrifice of love, we give Him all of our heart and strength.  Like David, our sacrifice to Him in return is a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17).  And in loving response to His ultimate sacrifice, our bodies become a living sacrifice, living out His good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2).

To live for His pleasure and to die to my own selfish desires is a constant battle.  Yet, it is what He asks of me as His child.  He is worthy of any and all sacrifice.  And when I compare my small struggles with what He went through for me, well, there is no comparison!  Because of His ultimate sacrifice of love, He has every right to demand “my soul, my life, my all.”   He has my soul.  He even has my life.  It is that “all” part that can be so difficult sometimes.

Lord, help me to surrender all!