Devotions By Jan

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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.

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Lamb or Lion?

Scripture for Today: John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.'”

The lamb walking up to the cross does not seem threatening at all! He is small, white and vulnerable. The lion, however, gives pause. He is near the cross but has stopped short of it. That ferocious ruling lion is sitting, seemingly to wait. As we commemorate Good Friday or Holy Friday today, we are seeing only the lamb. For some who do not see the lion, today may not mean much. But the lion is one and the same as that weak sacrificial lamb.

Today’s verse was spoken by John the Baptist who recognized the One who was to be the Lamb of God. This Jesus would be led like a lamb to the slaughter for our sins, taking on our punishment (Is. 53:7). But the sacrificial lamb becomes the lion as He rules over and conquers death three days later! Jesus is called the “Lion of Judah” who has triumphed! (Rev. 5:5) Jesus will one day return, not as a humble baby but a triumphant eternal King of Kings.

What looks like defeat on this solemn day is actually the precursor to amazing triumph! Jesus would emerge from that grave a victor over death. He is revealed as a strong, ruling lion who is to be feared. When He returns He will right all wrongs and establish justice. I am so grateful to be forgiven but that does not mean that I will not tremble in His holy presence! Yes, Jesus is approachable as the Lamb, but He is also awe inspiring as the Lion.

Thank you Lord, for being the Lamb of God today, and also a Lion to be feared.

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Almond Blossoms

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 1:11-12 “The word of the Lord came to me; ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ ‘I see the branch of an almond tree,’ I replied. The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.'”

The vineyards in the Alsacian countryside of France may still lie dormant. But the almond trees are in full bloom! Their delicate pink blossoms waft to the ground with the slightest breeze, leaving a sweet smelling carpet. Those fragile blossoms are a promise of what is to come. Their appearance signals that the almond harvest will follow.

Today’s verse is part of a conversation the prophet Jeremiah had with the Lord. At first glance the thread of the conversation does not seem obvious. Although it is reassuring to know that God’s word will always be fulfilled, what does God watching have to do with the almond tree? I love how the Lord plays with language in this verse! The Hebrew for “watching” sounds like the Hebrew word for “almond tree.” The Lord is reassuring this prophet and us too that His word is faithful and true. He will fulfill every promise.

When I see justice delayed or evil men prospering, it is easy to doubt God’s word. When I see God’s promises seemingly unfulfilled, I can easily grow impatient. Although my timetable may be different, His word will be fulfilled. No matter how many promises God has made, they are YES in Christ (II Cor. 1:20). And He has promised so much that is still in the future. Thankfully while I wait, He has given me those almond blossoms to reassure me that He has not forgotten. He is watching to make sure every word of every promise is fulfilled.

Thank you Lord, that You are watching.

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What Time Is It?

Scripture for Today: Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

Time changes can be so annoying. Even just a one hour difference can completely throw us off! Daylight Saving Time has arrived and I find I am always checking the clock. I am not sure when to be tired or when to be hungry. But I am not the only one confused. This time change is used in over 70 countries and affects one billion people every year! It was first used in Canada in 1908. Throughout history, the changes have varied between two hours, 20, 30 or 40 minutes!

Today’s verse talks about an hour that has already come; the hour to wake up from spiritual slumber. The night is almost over and the day is about to arrive. This is something for which we need to be prepared. We are to understand our times, the present time and the time that is to come. Thankfully, God’s Word gives us signs for what is coming. Although there are lots of different ideas about how to interpret them, one thing is sure; our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed!

It is easy for me to be sleepy and to believe that things will always continue as they are. I need to “wake up” and realize that my time is limited. Knowing that Christ’s return could happen at any moment changes my priorities and how I live. When I live with this certainty, it makes me want to live a pure life that pleases Him (I John 3:2-3). I want to live wisely, making the most of every opportunity the Lord offers me (Eph. 5:15-16). I need to keep an eye on that clock!

Lord, wake me up today!