Devotions By Jan


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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!

 

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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!


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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!


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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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A Very Long Arm

Scripture for Today:  Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You.”

I can only imagine how thrilling it must be for this astronaut to be held up in space by this robotic arm.  Is he looking around himself with wonder?  Or is he reminding himself of the viability of the mechanics.  I wonder if he is reassuring himself of the qualifications of his colleague at the controls!  To enjoy the ride at all, I imagine he has to trust that everything will work out just fine!

Today’s verse describes an outstretched arm.  The powerful arm of the Sovereign Lord brought about the creation of the heavens and the earth.  What is more, His arm is outstretched still!  He has demonstrated His power over and over.  Creation around me attests to that amazing power.  The night skies above overwhelm me with His majesty.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  All He needs to do is to stretch out His arm.

I forget that.  I get tunnel vision and get overwhelmed with my little world.  Yet, He is able and willing to again stretch out His arm in my life.  Ralph Carmichael in his song, “My Little World” expresses this thought.  “The uncharted craters of planets beyond, You know like the palm of Your hand.  And yet You’re concerned with my little world.  Oh, help me to understand.”  I need to be reminded of His powerful outstretched arm, holding up not only this earth, but my little world.  When all seems hopeless, how reassuring it is to know that nothing is too hard for Him!

Thank you Lord, that You stretch out Your arm for me!


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Ironing

Scripture for Today:  Lamentations 3:21-23  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

This picture represents my feelings about ironing!  Of course, with the synthetic materials available, there is less and less of it to do.  These days, I would hesitate to buy anything made of 100% linen!  Having to go over those stubborn wrinkles again and again is not my idea of fun.  The French word for “iron” means to pass over again and again.   And that is exactly why ironing can be such a chore!

Today’s verse is about calling something to mind, much like pressing or impressing something on our minds again and again.  We are to remember His great love, His compassions and His faithfulness.  In doing so we can live with hope.  His compassions are never at en end as every morning they are new and fresh.  Both His love and His faithfulness are described as GREAT!

I do have to “call this to mind.”  When facing something really hard, it is not my first thought.  In fact, there are times when I am tempted to doubt that love and faithfulness.  And when I do doubt, hopelessness is not far behind.  But when I remember the truth of His character and promises, my hope and confidence are restored.  I not only remember who He is but I remind myself of His incredible faithfulness in the past and I am encouraged.  Over and over He has proven His love and faithfulness to me.  That impossible situation I am facing will one day prove again just how loving and faithful He is as I look back on it.

Lord, thank you for the hope you give me!