Devotions By Jan


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Maine Lobster

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

Does this Maine lobster have a new shell or an old shell?Apparently, there is quite a difference in the taste.  The lobster will moult and shed their shells to reveal a larger one underneath.  If you happen to eat one with a new shell, it will be sweeter and more flavorful than an old-shelled lobster.  As a lobster grows into their newly formed shell, there is a gap between the meat and the shell.  This gap is filled with seawater allowing it to marinate the meat.  The result is the sweetest and most tender meat!

Today’s verse teaches that the old can be changed into the new.  Such a profound and lasting change can only happen through the work of God’s Spirit.  The old way of thinking and behaving changes when one is “in Christ.”  A new desire to live for Him changes priorities and one’s direction.  In Christ there is power to change through His Spirit.  No longer is one stuck in a pattern of thinking and feeling.  Where once there was a resistant heart of stone, with forgiveness there is now a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

Despite all the books on self help out there, change on the inside cannot be addressed except by our Creator.  This is a monumental change from spiritual death to life!  Being spiritually dead means there was nothing I could do for myself.  All this is from God. (verse 18)  Being made new was the only way God could reconcile me to Himself through His Son.  And by being made new in Christ, I can change to sweet and tender!

Thank you Lord, that You make me new.


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Delicate Arch

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.”

The Delicate Arch is one of the over 2,000 found in Arches National Park in Utah.  Other notable arches have names like Landscape Arch, Double Arch and Broken Arch.  Their odd formations are the result of centuries of erosion carving layer and layer of rock away.  They look like they could last forever with their impressive height, this one standing 46 feet tall.  But in fact, each arch is fated to one day fall as did the Wall Arch in 2008.

There is another Rock that will never fall or face erosion.  Today’s verse describes our God as a Rock.  His perfection will never change.  Everything He does is perfect and just.  Most of all, this Rock is faithful and can be counted on to always and forever be there, strong and solid.  He will never do wrong as He is upright and just.  He is THE Rock and there is no one like Him (Ps. 18:31).  Because He is my rock, “I will never be shaken.” (Ps. 62:2)  “He is my rock of refuge to which I can always go.” (Ps. 71:3)  And most of all, God is the “Rock of my salvation.” (Ps. 95:1)

How reassuring to be reminded of His permanence.  Nothing will ever change Him or His promises to me.  Even when I am unfaithful, He will always remain faithful and true to Himself.  In a world where everything is in a constant state of change, He continues perfectly unchanged.  I can run to Him for everything I need.  Being a rock, He gives me the stability I need.

Thank you Lord, that I can always count on You!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Sheepish

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

What was that racket?  My husband was in the middle of his shower when he heard some bizarre noises!  It sounded as if someone was rearranging the furniture, but there was also loud bleating, shouting and running footsteps.  How bizarre to see this sheep in the living room knocking into things with a crazed look in his eyes!  He had run in from our rural French street into the open doors, with his handlers in hot pursuit!  It took three of them to hold him down and get him under control!

What a perfect way to illustrate the truth of today’s verse!  This sheep was not where he was supposed to be.  He had certainly gone his own way, ignoring his keepers and the other sheep.  His headlong movements could have hurt him and it took some pretty drastic measures to correct him.  I am sure he was none too happy to be bound with that rope.  And we are just like that sheep.  We turn our back on the Shepherd thinking we know better.

How loving and gracious God is to take on Himself the punishment of my silly rebellion.  Jesus paid the ultimate price of my sin, giving me peace with God (verse 5).  And as a forgiven “sheep” I have the enormous privilege of following my Shepherd.  His way is so much better than my own.  He does not lead by prodding me from behind and I don’t just see His back ahead of me.  No, He walks beside me.

Thank you Lord, for turning me back to You and Your way.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Cherry Picking

Scripture for Today: Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely through His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Two cherry laden trees sat untouched half way through my vineyard walk.  Every day I would check on their progress.  Today the cherries were not only at their peak but some were even rotting on the branches.  It seemed the most natural thing to do to help myself to a few hand fulls.  The sweet juice dripped all over my fingers, staining them red and purple.  Although I was sure the owner would not mind, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I could be caught “red-handed” as technically I had taken something not belonging to me!

Today’s verse explains that we are all red-handed.  “Sin had left a crimson stain” on all of our hands as we are all guilty of breaking God’s perfect law.  There is no way to remove that stain on our own.  But thankfully, one pair of hands are not red but nail-scarred.  Because of His amazing grace we are justified or declared righteous through what Christ did on that cross.  He sacrificed Himself freely out of love for us and not because we deserved it.

I want clean hands and a pure heart.  It is only then that I can enjoy Him, receive blessing and vindication from Him (Ps. 24;3-5).  But there is no cleansing without the humility to admit guilt and come clean with the Lord.  Rather than hiding my hands behind my back, He invites me to discover grace and forgiveness.  He is faithful and just to always forgive and give me a clean start. (I John 1:9)

Thank you Lord, that I can always come clean with You.

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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“Who You Gonna Call?”

Scripture for Today: Romans 10:12-13 “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

The film, Ghostbusters, made famous the question, “Who you gonna call?”  The answer to this question is obvious if one is trying to be rid of Slimer, this ghost!  Ghostbusters are called to investigate and eliminate paranormal activity with their fancy high-tech equipment!  This 1984 comedy enjoyed so much success that it ranks within the top forty highest-grossing films of all time!

Today’s verse talks about calling on the name of the Lord.  Calling on Him for salvation is a prayer that is always heard and always answered.  When we call on Him He richly blesses us.  He loves to answer this cry of faith as He is gracious, righteous and full of compassion (Psalm 116:4-5).  Calling on His Name is an act of humility, recognizing who He is and recognizing our own unworthiness.  When we call on His name we are calling on His power to forgive and restore.  He promises to answer all, Jew and Gentile alike.

It seems too simple.  But in fact, my pride gets in the way.  Like so many, I prefer to call on the prevailing wisdom of the day to absolve me of guilt.  I prefer to call on my own manufactured pseudo-goodness.  Calling on His Name means agreeing with Him that my heart is black and He is the only One who can do anything about it.  How thankful I am that He is forgiving and good, abounding in love! (Psalm 84:5)  How blessed I am that He has answered me!

Thank you Lord, for answering with love and grace every time I call.

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)