Devotions By Jan


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FOMO

Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is a phenomenon unique to our technology-filled days.  We stay connected to each other 24/7 just because we can.  But how annoying it is to have a face-to-face conversation interrupted because of FOMO.  The constant checking of social media is often motivated by not wanting to miss out on someone or something more exciting!

There is one relationship, one place and one communication that we never want to miss!  Today’s verse  warns us that this is possible when we adhere to a form of religion without a true relationship.  The people addressed in this verse did all kinds of good works for God but missed out on obeying Him.  The Lord sees the heart of the one who glibly calls Jesus “Lord” and “Master” without submissively bowing the knee.  The true test of relationship is obedience to His expressed will in the pages of His book!  The one who loves Him will obey Him. (I John 2:5)

When I truly love someone I will want to serve and please him.  To ignore what God says or what God wants is not love at all.  I do not want to miss out on the most meaningful, satisfying relationship there is!  His messages of love and forgiveness are not to be missed!  A “fear of missing out” on His blessings is a good kind of fear that causes me to examine myself to see that I belong to Him.  A life of obedience not only leads to a deep relationship but to an eternity with Him!

Lord, I want to obey You today.

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Bride’s Veil Waterfall

Scripture for today:  II Corinthians 3:15-16  “Yes, down to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts.  But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.”

It takes some effort to reach the “Velo de Novia” or Bride’s Veil at El Chiflon, Mexico.  It is the farthest of five falls but the most majestic at 120 meters high.  The best part may be the pool of blue-green water it forms at its base, perfect for swimming.  The way the water cascades down the rocks does resemble a bridal veil.  But what impresses most is the tremendous sound of the pounding water as it rushes down the steep hill.

Today’s verse talks about a veil that is quiet and discreet, so much so that it goes unnoticed.  It is a veil that blinds people spiritually.  It was there even though these people were listening to the Word of God.  The veil was keeping them from understanding.  It was obstructing their view of the Truth.  The veil remained there until they turned to the Lord in repentance.  Once that happened, the veil was no longer an issue.  It was then stripped off and taken away.

There are many times I do not understand God’s Word and those times push me to study and dig deeper.  But this is something different.  The veil that can cover a mind and heart is a veil of unbelief.  The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14) and that veil can only be removed by the Lord when I turn to Him in faith.  What a wonderful moment it is when He lifts that veil and I see Him face to face, my loving Groom.

Thank you Lord, for removing the veil.


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Mountain Lion Attack

Scripture for Today: I John 4:10 “This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I cannot imagine the horror a mother felt when seeing her seven-year-old son pinned to the ground by a mountain lion!  Her son was playing in the yard of their home on Vancouver Island in British Columbia when she heard the commotion.  Like any loving mother, she rushed out to save him, throwing herself on the lion.  She vainly tried to pry open his jaws clamped firmly on her son’s arm.  Thankfully, her screams for help caused the young famished lion to run.  Because of her willingness to sacrifice herself, her son emerged needing only some stitches on his arm and head.

Today’s verse speaks of another sacrifice also motivated by love.  God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die in our place (John 3:16).  There is no greater love than this; than to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13) and that is what the Lord did for us.  Jesus not only paid the price for sin by enduring physical pain but also the pain of separation from the Father.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  What an incredible price He paid to demonstrate His love!

When I think of the cost of His sacrifice I am humbled and overwhelmed that He could love me this much!  God so loved me that He gave.  He gave to save me from certain and eternal death.  He gave in order to begin a love relationship that will last into all eternity.  He gave, not because I deserve Him but because of His amazing grace!

Lord, thank you for reminding me of Your incredible love, especially today.

 


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A Champion

Scripture For Today: Matthew 22:17b & 21b …Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? …give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Joe Louis has been called the greatest prize fighter of all time and for good reason.  He reigned as heavyweight champion from 1937-1949, the longest span of any titleholder.  When asked by a reporter who hit him the hardest Joe Louis replied, “Uncle Sam’s taxes.”  He had raised $90,000 by charitable fights, personally seeing none of it.  The IRS later credited these amounts as taxable income.  Although most proceeds went directly to his handlers, he owed over one million in taxes and interest by 1950.  Hit hard indeed!

Today’s verse is appropriate on the deadline for filing taxes.  The Pharisees were looking to trap Jesus with His words.  As the Romans were an occupying force, they asked if it was right to pay taxes to them.  These self-righteous religious leaders called Jesus a “man of integrity” but Jesus understood the evil intent of their hearts.  He asked whose image was on the coin and when they answered Caesar’s, Jesus responded with this familiar verse.

The question for me is never if I agree with the government’s policies.  If I only paid taxes to a government I agreed with then my bill would be significantly reduced!  But my obligation to the government pales in comparison to what I owe the Lord.  His image is not on my coin but on my heart.  I bear His image as His child and I owe Him everything; my whole heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).  I cannot ever repay Him for what He did for me on that cross.  He bought me with an incredible price (I Cor. 6:20).  I owe Him everything.

Thank you Lord, for paying the price I could not.


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Happy?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:3 “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”

What “smile score” would your city rate?  Jetpac City Guides did a study assigning a smile score to ten American cities.  They based their findings on 100 million photos of smiling faces in 50 cities posted on Instagram.  They relied on special software that saw patterns in the pixels to get their smile score.  Although the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis looks like a giant frown, this city topped the charts!

Today’s verse makes an association with the word, “happy” that for many is the last word to come to mind; righteous.  Those who have placed their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin can experience true happiness.  To have a heart freed from the guilt of sin is happiness.  To have experienced God’s unmerited favor regardless of a spotted past is a real reason for happiness.  To know that my future in Heaven is secured by His pardon gives a whole other meaning to the word, “happy.”  This is a happiness that cannot be shaken by any circumstance on earth!

There are many things that come my mind when thinking about the word, “happy.”  The pursuit of happiness is usually associated with the pursuit of economic stability.  The thought that happiness is just one purchase away is a hard one to dismiss from my thinking.  But I know better.  I know that material wealth does not mean happiness as seen by the heartache of many well-to-do friends.  True happiness has little to do with what is owned.  True happiness is being loved and accepted by my Creator.  His forgiveness has made my heart light!

Jesus, thank You for that happy day when You washed my sins away!


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Gift Horse

Scripture for Today: Galatians 2:21 “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”

I know one is,”Never to look a gift horse in the mouth” but the temptation is too strong with this smile!!  This old expression was first a Latin proverb attributed to St. Jerome in the early 5th century.  It referred to the practice of looking into the horse’s mouth to determine its age.  Nothing seems so wrong about that except that to do so in front of the giver of the horse is not well viewed!  It has come to mean being suspicious or critical of something received at no cost.

In today’s verse, Paul does not set aside or diminish the importance of God’s grace.  It is by God’s unmerited favor that we are made righteous.  We cannot be justified by the works of the law but only by faith in His sacrifice for sin (verse 16).  But there is something innate in our humanness that disdains what is freely given.  We want to feel that we had a part in meriting salvation.  We feel we need to work, sacrifice, or do something.  But as Paul says. if that were so than there was no reason for Christ to sacrifice Himself.

The offer of His salvation came at no cost to me but the cost to Himself was enormous!  There is nothing left to do but respond in joyful surrender.  What heartache He must feel when I set aside His grace and start to think that I am really something and deserve anything!  But when I understand how far-reaching His grace is to have taken hold of me, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thank you Lord, for Your sweet amazing grace.

 


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The Zebra

Scripture for Today: I Peter 2:24 “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.”

Is the zebra an animal wearing a white coat with black stripes?  Or is he an animal with a black coat striped white?  Scientists argue for the first description as the stripes end on their belly and the inside of the legs, the remainder being all white.  Regardless, all I can see are their remarkable stripes!  They are wonderful protection as it can be difficult for a predator to single out just one zebra to chase.

Today’s verse talks about stripes that offer healing.  These stripes are much more remarkable but are anything but beautiful (Isaiah 53:2).  The stripes are the wounds Jesus suffered for our sake.  Before being put on that tree or cross,  He was beaten.  Those stripes made it possible for us to die to sin and live for righteousness.  Before Jesus took our punishment, we were soul-sick from our sin and in dire need of healing.  He accomplish by His sacrifice a healing that gives us a hope and a future!

His healing of my soul means that I am no longer powerless against sin.  Not only am I spared the righteous judgement my sin deserves, but I am also released from sin’s hold on me!  Because of His healing stripes, I can live a life that is righteous and pleasing to Him.  I wish I could say that I always make the right and moral choice. But at least with His healing I have the opportunity to consistently do what is right.  Regardless of what my body may do, my soul is forever healed of sin!

Thank you Lord, for healing my soul.