Devotions By Jan


1 Comment

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.

Advertisements


1 Comment

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!


Leave a comment

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!

 


Leave a comment

Crocodile

Scripture for Today:  Romans 15:4  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

How would you like to have someone follow you around and constantly tell you how great you are?  That was the role of Steve “Crocodile” Fitch for Mike Tyson, the heavy weight fighter, at the peak of his popularity.  He was a self-described master motivator or personal cheerleader.  Perhaps why he referred to himself as a crocodile had something to do with his big mouth!  He was a professional screamer and a very loud mouthpiece, given the task of dealing with the public and the press.

Today’s verse describes a better source of encouragement; Scripture.  We need its encouragement to hold on to our hope.  We need the encouragement of Scripture to endure.  Our spirits sometimes lag.  We get discouraged waiting for that answer to prayer or His promise to be fulfilled.  But God’s Word is so much more than a pep talk.  His Word is a love letter where the Lord reassures us of His faithfulness and the worth He sees in us.

The Lord so often points me to just the right passage to encourage me when I am down.  He speaks to me through His Word when I am tired and feel like giving up.  He knows just what I am feeling.  Although I appreciate the kind words of others, nothing can give me the same kind of encouragement to hope that God’s Word does.  His Word cheers me on! And I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses cheering me on as well! (Heb. 12:1)  He is on my side and He wants me to succeed.

Thank you Lord, for Your Word that keep me keeping on!

 


1 Comment

Reunification Centers

Scripture for Today:  Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We do not have to imagine it.  Too often we see children separated from their families as a result of natural disasters or man-made violence.  These children can be traumatized for their entire lives, especially when there is a delay in reuniting them with their parents.  The Reunification Centers exist for the purpose of bringing together those who belong together as quickly as possible following a disaster.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  The list of possibilities seems very inclusive.  In each of these scenarios, one might imagine that God stopped caring.  But just in case something was missed, Paul says nothing in all creation has the power to separate us from the Lord’s love.  Certainly not height nor depth as His love is described as so wide, long, high and deep! (Eph. 3:18)

I can know this love even though it goes beyond my understanding (Eph. 3:17-19).  I can be rooted and established in this love even when facing unthinkable tragedy.  He knows.  He is there and His comfort is real.  The Lord has promised to never leave me or forsake me.  There is no need for reunification as He has never left!  I do not need to wonder if He is still there or if He still loves me.  I may never understand the “why’s” but I can be convinced of His unfailing and faithful love.

Thank you Lord, that I am never separated from You!

 


2 Comments

Pumpkin Waste

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 1:5  “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

After today, there will be the problem of what to do with that carved pumpkin.  Breaking it up and adding it to a compost pile can enrich the soil.  The insides can be turned into wonderful smoothies, butter, bread, soup, and of course, pie!  The shell can be turned into potpourri, and the pumpkin puree is supposed to be  good for the skin!  Pumpkins are even deemed safe for feeding birds and animals!  In any case, disposing of pumpkins is only a problem for a country with an abundance.

Today’s verse also talks about abundance; the abundance of suffering and the abundance of comfort.  Because of sin and our fallen world, there will be suffering for the believer.  Whether it is loss of health, income, or loss of loved ones, the Christian is not exempt.  But where there is abundant suffering,  God promises a comfort from Him that is just as abundant.  The abundant life of John 10:10 is not an easy painless life.  But it is an abundant one because He is there; the God of all comfort (verse 3).

The future looms ahead of me with all sorts of potential suffering.  There will be age-related sufferings as the body breaks down.  There will be the deaths of older family members and friends.  Whatever suffering is in store, I can trust the Lord to come through for me.  His comfort will make all of it bearable.  I do not have to worry ahead of time or imagine the unimaginable.  When it is needed, His comfort will be there.

Thank you, Lord, that I can trust You to be the abundant comfort I need exactly when I need it!


Leave a comment

Tremors

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:8-9 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.”

That shaking of the hands can be scary.  Some folks find that with age they can no longer write legibly, tie shoelaces, shave or put on make-up without shaking.  These “essential tremors” can sometimes affect the voice box or the head.  I remember my Grandmother shaking her head yes and no without it meaning anything.  Thankfully, these kinds of tremors do not signal the onset of Parkinson’s disease.  Although it is not dangerous, it must be frustrating to live with this condition.

Today’s verse talks about a faith that cannot be shaken.  David affirms that it is the Lord who gives him security (verse 5).  He acknowledges that with the Lord close at His right hand, he can rest secure.  The right side of a man is the side where God assists in battle.  He is there to do battle for us (Psalm 109:31) and to be our strength!  David’s faith cannot be shaken as long as he keeps his eyes always on the Lord.

Whether tremors are in my future or not, I know that my body will eventually weaken with age.  But physical weakness does not mean that my faith needs to follow suit!  My circumstances may be anything but stable, but I can still rest secure, knowing that He is in control and His control is always good!  My confidence In Him means I can be glad, regardless of what is rocking my world!  Because of Him I will not be shaken!

Thank you Lord, for Your constant presence at my right hand!