Devotions By Jan

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The Grace Building

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should build with care”

Built by the Grace brothers in the 1920’s as their premiere retail store, this building in Sydney, Australia epitomized the optimism of that period.  But with the Great Depression of 1930, it did not live up to expectations.  In 1943 it was used as a headquarters by General MacArthur.  It remained in the possession of the government until purchased and transformed into a hotel.  There is grace in this building’s past in it being repurposed over and over again!

Today’s verse likens a believer’s life to a building.  This is also a “grace building” as the foundation is Christ Jesus Himself. (verse 11)  Each believer builds his life with care, making sure that one has the sure and strong foundation of the grace and forgiveness of the Lord.  Any other foundation will cause a building to topple.  This building can withstand any damaging storm.  A life built on Christ can experience all kinds of setbacks but there is always His grace with which He rebuilds and repurposes!

My foundation is not always visible to others.  But when the storms hit, (and they seem to be sweeping through quite often) I know I will not be shaken.  Christ keeps my life stable.  Even if mountains are shaken and hills removed, His unfailing love is my foundation and I will not be shaken! (Isaiah 54:10)  Building my life on Christ and His incredible grace means I can face tomorrow and the next day with confidence!  No other foundation can compare and He has proved faithful over and over!

Thank you Lord, that because of You and Your grace, I can stay standing.

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Stork Sightings

Scripture for Today:Psalm 84:2 “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

How fun to be back in the land of the storks!  Here on the French/German border I see them daily on my walks and they always take my breath away, soaring above my head or foraging in the fields.  There are lots of beliefs and legends surrounding this magnificent bird.  In ancient Egypt a stork was used as a hieroglyph for the “Ba”or “soul.”  And in Germany storks have long been protected because of the belief that their souls were human!

Today’s verse describes a soul that yearns and even faints for the presence of the Lord.  The soul of man is created to have intimate relationship with his Creator.  The courts of the Lord are a lovely place (verse 1).  Being in His courts for even just one day is better than a thousand days anywhere else! (verse 10)  We are told to “dwell” in His house as a sparrow and swallow would nest in her home (verse 3).  This is not just a Sunday church experience but a daily closeness with Him.  Those that dwell in His house are happy and blessed, praising Him for His goodness (verse 4).

I know I am far from His house or presence when I am dissatisfied and negative.  When I am feeling far away from my Creator, there is a lack of joy and praising Him is not a natural impulse.  When I have had enough of my own company I feel my soul being drawn again to His wonderful and lovely presence.  I yearn for those soft sweet whispers of love and reassurance.

Thank you Lord, that You always welcome me back to Your presence!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)

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A Blue Door

Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with Me.”

There are not too many people knocking on our door during these days of self-isolation.  But according to the design experts I may have the wrong colored door!  Each color communicates something different.  Red shouts welcome. Purple signals privilege.  Yellow says positivity while green says ambition.  Orange is called for if one wants to communicate  warmth and wisdom.  A blue door represents trust, loyalty and stability.

Regardless of the color, today’s verse tells us there is Someone who stands at the door and knocks.  These words are an invitation from the Lord to open the door to Him.  His message is full of warmth and makes clear His desire for relationship.  What better way to become close than to share a meal around the table!  He awaits our arrival at the door.  He does not come in until we hear His voice and open that door.  We open it to show our same desire for relationship.

I am sure His knock and His voice are loud enough to hear.  But I can see how I might miss it.  The distractions of life can drown out the sound.  My busy schedule keeps me from hearing His voice.  That knock of His becomes just one more noise in the general din of busyness.  Sometimes it is hard to really believe that He wants to dine with me!  But what a warm intimate thought!  I do not want to miss out for any reason.  He is waiting for me on my doorstep.

Lord, may I listen for your knock and open the door today!

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Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”  

It must be odd to walk on a sandbar, surrounded by water and yet staying dry.  There are many famous sandbars in our world, many of which are found in the Philippines.  But the Haulover Sandbar in Biscayne Bay, Florida, enjoyed some notoriety when a baby grand piano suddenly made its appearance!  It was a true mystery how it got there.  It turns out that it was an artistic photo shoot done by a young man for his school application!  Had the piano stayed there, it would have eventually sunk or been overtaken by water.

Today’s verse describes something just as ludicrous; constructing a house on sand.  Hearing God’s Word but not applying it makes the foundation of our lives as precarious as sand.  Jesus assures the listeners that the crash of that house is inevitable.  In contrast, those that DO put into practice God’s Word will enjoy stability as their foundation is solid Rock.

The sand can represent words of shifting cultural norms.  They are easier to follow but the result is ruin.  God’s Word is true and eternal, unaffected by what is modern or popular (Ps. 119:160).  Building my life on the objective truth of His Words does not happen just by knowing and quoting it.  I can study those words for a lifetime but if I do not obey them as authoritative, then that next storm may just bring me down.  His words are practical and speak to every area of my life.  Applying them is a question of humility to do things His way and not my own!

Lord, keep me off that sand!

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Winchester Mystery House

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 3:6 “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”

Poor Mrs. Sarah Winchester.  Her San Jose home was always under construction as she was told that evil spirits would leave her alone if she never stopped building.  After the untimely death of her daughter and husband, she felt that she could be next.  This sprawling mansion at the time of her death in 1922 boasted 160 rooms, 2,000 doors (some leading nowhere) and 10,000 windows, 47 stairways (a few climbing to nothing), 47 fireplaces, 6 kitchens, and 13 bathrooms!

Today’s verse describes believers as God’s house.  This house is solid being held together not with stone and mortar but with confidence and hope.  It is held up with the truth, acting as pillars (I Tim. 3:15) and as a foundation.  God’s house or “household” is the church.  In this building there are no staircases or doors leading nowhere.  Every component has a purpose to bring glory and honor to the Builder.  The honor is not so much in the building itself but in the Builder.  And Christ, as the building manager is faithful over all and trustworthy.

Holding firmly to His plan for this building is not always easy.  Losing confidence and hope is a real temptation when because of conflict, cracks seem to appear in the walls.  But Christ is faithful even when I am not!  He continues to work on me to make me more like Him.  He strengthens my weaknesses and fills me with the fruit of His Spirit.  Where discord reigned, I can with His help respond with love and patience.  We need each other to collectively bring glory to Him who is worthy!

Help me Lord, to honor You today.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministries.