Devotions By Jan


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Tree of Life

Scripture for Today: Genesis 2:9 “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

In buying this Tree of Life on turquoise-like stone, I was not aware of all its symbolism! I just liked it because it was pretty. Since then I learned that the tree of life is a mystical symbol linked to religion, philosophy and spirituality. For some, it is a picture of how everything in life is connected. For others it stands for personal growth, beauty, and strength.

Today’s verse reveals the original and best meaning of the tree of life. As with all of creation, its source was the Creator. This tree was a beautiful fruit-bearing tree found in the center of the garden of Eden. Unlike the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam was free to eat from this tree. But after the Fall, the way back to the tree was barred (Gen. 3:22-24) as it would lead to an eternal life in man’s pitiful fallen state.

What happened to this tree? The tree of life is now shaped as a cross! Eternal life is mine when I place my trust in Christ’s sacrifice for my sin! Those who have the Son have eternal life (John 3:36). But the tree of life not only reminds me of the garden and the cross, but it also turns my attention to the future I have in Heaven. The tree of life reappears there and I will one day eat of its fruit and experience an abundant life that will last forever! (Rev. 2:7)

Thank you Lord, for Your incredible gift of life!


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Sweet Pea

Scripture for Today: John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

This unassuming flower was offered as a thank you to our hostess. Their strong fragrance of honey, orange and jasmine are as pleasing as their colorful delicate petals. The poet, Keats, is thought to be the first to use the name, Sweet Pea. It was very popular in the 1800’s and it has come to symbolize many lofty ideas including; chastity, strength, truth, and gratitude. But what surprised me most was its association with goodbyes.

In today’s verse, Jesus is preparing His disciples for the coming goodbye. He tells them that He is leaving to go to the Father. But He does not want their hearts to be troubled with this goodbye (verse 1). He reassures them that the Holy Spirit will be coming to live within them (verse 17) and they will not be left as orphans (verse 18). And this goodbye is only temporary as He will be coming back and there will never again be a separation.

What an incredible comfort this is! My relationship with the Lover of my soul need never be interrupted. With His Spirit He is always present. But for those human relationships, goodbyes can be so painful. In moving so often I have had to experience many. And of course, the most painful are the ones that are forever. But one day, there will be no more goodbyes. That is one word that will have no place in the heavenly vocabulary! There will be some incredible reunions as well as new friendships. They will be so much sweeter without that pain of separation.

Thank you Lord, that in Your home there will be no more goodbyes!


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Dogecoin

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead for his reward.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/z0/19815634245

What started out as a joke in 2013 has now become the fourth largest crypto by market value! With that logo of Shiba Inu from the “Doge” meme it is hard to take seriously at first glance. But in the world of cryptocurrency it is gaining momentum. At this writing its value has climbed to 55 cents. But many are skeptical and cautious. One of the main differences between this and the bitcoin is that the total supply is uncapped. It is unlimited!

What we value determines how we live. For Moses in today’s verse, he did not value what most would. He was able to turn his back on the riches of Egypt and leave his privileged position. He did this in obedience to God’s call even though it would mean disgrace and loss of recognition by the royal family. He could do this because he was looking in faith toward his eternal reward. Like Paul, Moses could count every advantage as “garbage” compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8)!

Do I value knowing Christ just as much? Like the fluctuating market where values rise and fall, the value I assign to Him can change. His worth far exceeds anything on earth but my priorities sometimes veer towards what is “garbage” in comparison. I am so easily distracted by what the world values. But when I arrive at my eternal home where streets are made of gold and gates of precious stones, I will laugh at what I thought was so important here!!

Lord, keep me valuing what has true worth!


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Confused Bees

Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

It was only a ten-minute grocery stop for a man in New Mexico. He had left the window down and on returning, calmly left the parking lot. But it was immediately apparent that something was not right. That something turned out to be a swarm of 15,000 bees who had taken over his back seat! After voicing his surprise he called 911. This swarm had probably split from another colony, following another queen, and looking to find a new location.

Today’s verse likens wisdom to the sweet taste of honey. Finding wisdom is worth the effort as it will mean a future hope. There was no future for those bees in choosing that car. Nor is there much hope of a positive future for the fool who discounts God’s words. But the one who is wise is the one who treasures His words, finding them “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103) God’s Word is what makes wise the simple (Psalm 19:7). And with wisdom one makes the best decisions, including where to relocate!

Gaining wisdom is a lifelong process involving not only reading and knowing His word, but intentionally putting it into practice. I cannot read His Word like an advice column that I can take or leave. God’s Word is not just full of  suggestions on how I should live. It is authoritative. God’s precepts give me not only a good course of action but the very best one! I have no wisdom of my own but I can walk in His wisdom when I submit to His way! Living wisely means there is hope for my future!

Lord, make this day sweet by helping me be wise.


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Rose of Jericho

Scripture for Today: Luke 24:7 “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”

This unusual plant in its happy state is a beautiful green with tiny white flowers. Pictured here is its dried out state. This plant, also called “Resurrection Plant,” is able to survive long periods of time with no water. This small grey plant will curl its branches and seed pods inward in a dry season for even years at a time. Then the ball it forms, if still rooted, will open when moistened. What was seemingly dead and gone comes back to life!

Today’s verse comes from Luke’s amazing account of Christ’s resurrection. Two men in dazzling white spoke this to the women who had come early in the morning to the Lord’s tomb. I wonder which shock was greater; the absence of Jesus’ body or the presence of these angels! When the angels announced, “He is not here. He has risen,” they remembered the Lord’s words. When these women reported this to the disciples they were understandably incredulous! They were grieving. They had given up hope and felt lost without their beloved Lord.

When I read this account I wish I could have told the disciples during those three dark days, “Just wait!” As the truth of Jesus’ resurrection finally dawned on them, grieving was turned into shouts of joy! Their hope was no longer dead but had revived. The fact of the Lord’s triumph over death does the same thing for me! Death is only a temporary separation because He lives. His resurrection has proved not only His love but His power as God. HE is my hope and it is a hope that cannot die!

Thank you Lord, that because You live I have hope.