Devotions By Jan


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Bookworm

Scripture for Today: Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

An avid reader is often called a “bookworm” and the idea is sweet.  But the other meaning of this word is pretty disgusting!  The term refers to any insect that bores or tunnels through a book, leaving behind some pretty serious damage.  They can range from silverfish to termites, although most of these insects are beetles.  Oddly enough, none of the culprits are worms!  Sometimes it is not the paper that they are after but rather the leather or the glue in the binding.

It is odd to think that there will be books in heaven, but according to today’s verse there are.  One book is singled out as incredibly important; the book of life.  It will be used at the Great White Throne Judgement and will determine one’s eternity!  Being judged according to one’s deeds is the future of those who reject salvation through Jesus.  There is nothing worse.  No one will be able to stand on their own merit.  “There is none righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)  And the deed that condemns is choosing one’s own way of “good deeds” over the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

It is because of God’s promise that my name is written in the book of life.  Praise God there is no condemnation for me because I have accepted His sacrifice! (Romans 8:1).  What amazing love!  I am so thankful that there is no fear of judgement because of His saving grace!

Lord, thank you for writing my name in Your book.

Photo credit: Dominic Mason https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bookworm_Grub_and_the_damage_done.jpg


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Gift Exchange

Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.”

I love a Christmas party when there are gifts involved!  Whether it be an ornament exchange or even a white elephant exchange, there is the anticipation of bringing home something different or unexpected.  The only problem for me comes when I bring home something a whole lot nicer than what I brought!

Today’s verse teaches that there is nothing we can exchange with God for our salvation.  Very clearly it states that salvation does not come through our work or efforts.  We want to think that somehow, something we did contributed to being saved.  But no matter how hard one works to earn Heaven, man will always fall short of the perfect standard of God’s holiness.  Trying to exchange our righteous deeds for His free gift of salvation does not work.  Those good deeds are just “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  Salvation is a gift from God.  There is nothing I can offer Him in exchange!  Because this is true, none of us can boast about having anything to do with it!

My gratitude towards God grows by leaps and bounds when I grasp this truth.  It is all grace and it is amazing!  There is tremendous freedom in my spirit to be assured that my salvation depends on Him and not my efforts.  Without this truth, I would always be in a state of fear and worry about my eternal destination.  Putting my faith and trust in what HE did on that cross rather than in what I can do makes my heart light!

Thank you Lord, for Your incredible gift of grace!


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Jerusalem Cricket

Photo by Jeff Turner

Scripture for Today: I John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”

Legend has it that a priest while living among the Navajo misinterpreted their name for this big-headed insect.  They called it “Skull Head” but he heard “Skull Hill.”  This put in mind the name, Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified.  But this cricket is also called Red Skull, Old Bald-Headed Man and Child of the Earth.

Today’s verse speaks of the Father’s great love for His own.  It is a love that He lavished on us to the extent that He even calls us, “children of God.”  No longer do we belong to the world.  Our identity has been changed forever as His children.  We call Him Father and we call other believers in this worldwide family, brothers and sisters.  The world often fails to recognize this family as they do not know the Father.  And it is only through faith in Christ, His Son that we can belong to this family (Gal. 3:26).

I am a child of God.  What an amazing humbling truth!  As His child I no longer belong to the world or conform to it (Romans 12:2).  No longer am I led by the current thinking or fad but instead I am led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14).  Because I have received Him and believed on His name, He has graciously made me His (John 1:12).  I am not always such an obedient child.  There are times each day when I let down my Father.  But unlike any human family relationship, I can always count on His love and forgiveness.

Thanks you Lord, for making me Your child.

 


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You Are Invited!

Scripture for Today: Revelation 22:17  “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”  And let the one who hears say, “Come.”  And let the one who is thirsty come;  let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”

Everyone likes to receive invitations, to know that our presence is wanted.  The invitation pictured here (click to enlarge) is for women in Orange County, California who enjoy a fabulous Christmas Brunch and are interested in hearing me speak!

In today’s verse there is a very special invitation given in the very last chapter of God’s Word.  It is extended by two different sources: the Holy Spirit, and the Bride who is the Church.  We have the privilege of cooperating with Him in getting out this invitation.  It is given to those who recognize their thirst and the need to satisfy it with the Living Water, Jesus Christ.  Although there is no cost to us, it cost Jesus everything to extend it.

Normally, an invitation includes a date, a time and a place.  The fact that this invitation is issued at the very end of time is another example of God’s patience and desire that ALL come to repentance (II Peter 3:9)  The time?  II Corinthians 6:2 says that NOW is the time of salvation.  There is no ending time listed as eternity has no end.  The place is His presence.  It is amazing that He wants me in His presence forever.

Like all good invitations, this has an RSVP.  He awaits our response.  Some invitations say, “regrets only.”  The regret that comes from refusing to come is a regret that will be eternal.  I am so thankful to have heard Him say, “Come.”

Thank you Lord, for inviting me.  Help me be faithful in inviting others.


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Bold as a Lion

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

It was in the back of the Edinburgh Castle that my cousin found the origin of our family name, Leonardy, belonging to my maternal grandmother.  It is a very old name originating in Gascogne, France.  The original bearer of this name was thought to be as bold as a lion.  So the name meaning, “lion-bold” was given to this individual.  Although my Grandmother married into this name, she certainly showed courage living to the ripe old age of almost 105!

Today’s verse describes the righteous as being as bold as a lion.  This is in contrast to the wicked whose guilt makes them fearful.  The wicked flee even though they are not being pursued.  Knowing in their heart that they are deserving of punishment, they run.  In contrast are the righteous or those who are in right standing with God.  They are not running and they are not fearful because they are assured of God’s forgiveness.  This position of righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22).  Being seen as righteous in God’s eyes makes us bold and not fearful of punishment as Christ took on Himself our sins and the wrath they deserve.

My faith does make me bold.  I am not being pursued for my wrongdoing.  And it is not presumption to take Jesus at His Word that I am “righteous.”  It is a gift given through His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  What confidence and boldness in facing any struggle in life or even in death!  My eternity has been secured by Him.  The question of my guilt has been settled.  That makes me bold to approach His throne for all the mercy and grace I need (Heb. 4:16).

Thank you Lord, for the boldness You make possible!


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Co-Parenting App

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”

These two sheep seem to be communicating just fine.  But for many divorced parents, the communication between Mom and Dad continues to be as explosive as when married.  In an effort to stay out of court, some judges mandate that the parents try a co-parenting application.  The idea is to reduce conflict and improve communication through custody calendars, records for shared expenses and a private messaging center.  A warning appears when the app senses abusive language or sarcasm.  The application is sometimes called a “robot mediator.”

Today’s verse talks about the only mediator needed between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.  He is the only One who is uniquely qualified as both fully man and fully God to be that mediator.  Jesus as the sinless Great High Priest, ever lives to make intercession for us to the Father.  He is there at the right hand of God for that very purpose (Romans 8:34).  Every time Satan accuses us, Jesus intercedes.  Every time we feel unworthy because of our sin, Jesus intercedes with the reminder that He paid for that sin.

Jesus, being my mediator, assures me that I can enter that heavenly throne room and approach with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).  Because of the blood of Jesus I can receive mercy and find grace for every need (Hebrews 10:19).  No one else can do that for me!  How incredible it is that I can draw near to the God of the universe because of my faithful Mediator!  He is the bridge that spans the chasm of sin that once separated us.  Because of Jesus, I can enjoy a communication and closeness unparalleled.

Thank you Lord, for being my perfect loving Mediator.


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Miracle Baby

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.”

You may wonder why this sweet baby boy has dirt under his fingernails.  No, he was not playing in the dirt, but in the dirt is where authorities found him, loosely buried with sticks and soil in the forest.  The man who put him there was tripped out on drugs and felt the baby was too heavy to carry.  Thankfully, he was apprehended and the baby saved.  It was a true miracle that the baby was found and survived 40 degree temperatures for nine hours!

Today’s verse tells us that nothing is too hard for the Lord.  The great power of His outstretched arm has brought into existence the heavens and the earth.  Anything else would seem to take less effort!  Surely, if He can blanket our sky with stars and shake our earth at will, than there is no problem beyond His reach.  By seeing and appreciating His power in creation, we can be assured that absolutely nothing is too hard for Him!

Anything that is caused by the power of God is a “miracle.”  Sometimes, I put my own definition to the word.  Often I think of miracles only in terms of the visible and spectacular.  But even more astonishing than a healing that confounds doctors, or an accident that should have taken a life is the heart that is changed.  His power creates new clean hearts that love and obey Him.  To be able to let go and forgive someone who has done the unthinkable is a miracle!  His power has and continues to change me and it is all His doing!

Lord, help me to trust that nothing is too hard for You.