Devotions By Jan


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Buyer’s Remorse

Scripture for Today: Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

It’s not that I hate buying online. The convenience of it is wonderful when everything goes right. But when there is a problem, the back and forth with the company, the mailing back of the item or delays in being reimbursed can be very frustrating. Then there’s the decision as to whether it is worth it or not to buy again online. Sometimes it seems easier to just get in the car and shop the old fashioned way!

The purchase in today’s verse will have no buyer’s remorse! This parable told by Jesus points out the incredible value inherent in the kingdom of heaven. It is a treasure that is worth far more than everything a man can exchange for it. It is a treasure that is worth the effort of finding as it is eternal. It is ready and waiting in heaven where it is protected. (Matt. 6:20) But this treasure is also enjoyed now with knowing the King of this kingdom!

I sometimes forget that my little pile of baubles has no value at all compared to the treasure of knowing Him! Paul considered everything in his life a pile of garbage when measured against the surpassing worth of knowing Christ! (Phil. 3:8) What an incredible exchange God offers: light for darkness, forgiveness for guilt, rest for weariness, hope for despair, and peace for chaos. He asks of me all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) And HE is a worth giving my all!

Thank you Lord, for being my treasure.


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Sanctuary of Truth

Scripture for Today: I Timothy 3:15 “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

This ornate shrine stands 345 feet tall on the edge of a sea near Pattaya, India. It is made entirely of teakwood using an ancient Thai carpenter style, using no nails as they would rust in the sea air. Built in 1981 it houses thousands of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Under one roof is found centuries of disparate beliefs from Southeast Asia. But the question is whether truth is found under this roof.

Today’s verse describes the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth. Both the pillar and the foundation are images of support and reinforcement for the truth of God’s Word. And when the “deep truths” of the faith are kept (verse 9) it will be evidenced by godly conduct. We know we are of the truth when Jesus Himself is the Source of godly living (verse 16). There is no system of thought or philosophy that can change a heart. There is no godly living without the life of the only true God.

I do not need to look for truth elsewhere. I have found the truth in Christ who declared that He Himself IS truth (John 14:6). And by His own words, His truth is exclusive. There is no other name by which we are saved (Acts 4:12). And yet, His invitation is inclusive extended to all who would come to Him in faith (John 12:46). His truth is my pillar and foundation as it holds me up and sustains me. Regardless of the shifting ideas of this world, my faith remains firm, upheld by a Person who is Truth.

Thank you Lord, for being my firm foundation!


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Bewitched!

Scripture for Today: Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

With just eight seasons, the Bewitched show has become an icon of television history! We have the privilege of knowing the Murphy twins, Diane and Erin, who played the role of Tabitha. This show, running from 1964 to 1972 made the top 20 in its first five seasons. Its declining popularity toward the end of its run is sometimes blamed on the unexplained and sudden switch of the character, Darrin. There is even a term used to reference an unpopular switch; “the Darrin Syndrome.”

Today’s verse uses the term,” bewitched” to describe the switch the Galatians had made. They were bewitched or fooled into switching from the Gospel of grace to a system of works. A group of legalistic Judaizers convinced this group of converted Gentiles that the death of Christ was not sufficient. They believed that certain ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were still binding. They were adding works to the Gospel of grace. Paul reminds the Galatians that observing the Law did not earn them the Holy Spirit or right standing with God. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice is what was essential.

It is so easy to be “bewitched” today. How many religions fool their adherents to believe that it is through our own efforts that we are saved or can please God? Why switch to a never-ending treadmill of works that does not erase my sense of guilt? I am never good enough. There is always more I should be doing. I am so thankful for His grace.  God’s standard of righteousness was fully met in my Savior and the debt of my sin has been fully paid!

Thank you Lord, that You paid it all and there is nothing more to add!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2016)


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Pennies

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

I am one of those rare people who still bend down to pick up a lost penny, bad or not! The phrase, “a bad penny always turns up,” was coined in the mid eighteenth century. Pennies used to be more valuable and because they were easily counterfeited, the “bad ones” would continually circulate, turning up in a pocket or purse. “Turning up like a bad penny,” came to mean someone or something unwanted, turning up repeatedly and unexpectedly.

Today’s verse reassures the believer that God’s forgiveness of sin is complete. He chooses to no longer remember our sins. Because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin, the penalty has been paid and God’s justice is satisfied.  Those sins are blotted out forever. When He forgives, He does not bring it up again. But like a bad penny, the thought of them for the believer can turn up at the most unwanted and inopportune times. Thankfully, that is never the case for the Lord. Of course, He is all knowing and so forgets nothing. But the idea is that He does not call it to mind with censor and judgement.

I would love to be able to “remember my sins no longer.” But the memories remain. Thankfully, God’s Word is full of reassurances of unconditional love and complete pardon. The Lord graciously softens and blurs memories of past failures. If guilty memories occasionally do reappear, He is there to build me back up. If nothing else, those remembrances can serve to remind me that I am not perfect, but His forgiveness is!

Thank you Lord, that Your grace chooses not to remember what is forgiven!

(Look familiar? This is a repost from 2018)


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Worn Out Welcome

Scripture for Today: II Peter 1:11 “…and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My welcome mat is looking a bit sad. The welcome seems worn out with time although it is not that old. There is an old truism written by Benjamin Franklin and found in his Poor Richard’s Almanack. It says that fish and visitors stink after three days! If that is true I have stunk plenty of times. The idea is that after three days, a fish left out will smell and the welcome of a visitor may wear out.

Today’s verse is about crossing over the threshold from an earthly life into the eternal kingdom of God. I am not so sure there is a mat needed to mark that entrance! However, there will be a “rich welcome” for those who have placed their faith in the saving work of Jesus. And there is no other entrance except through Him (John 14:6). A rich welcome must mean that no one enters quietly or unnoticed. Each arrival will be a celebrated home-coming and marked with a warm welcome. Perhaps the believer will experience the same kind of welcome as the Prodigal Son. When he returned to his Father’s house, his Father ran out to greet him.  He welcomes him with the best robe, a ring and sandals. And there is a feast and celebration all done to welcome him!

I wonder what is done to welcome believers into that eternal kingdom. No way do we slip in unnoticed. I imagine one’s “rich welcome” means being greeted by family and friends who arrived before us. But the richest welcome of all would be to be greeted and held in the warm embrace of the Savior! And this welcome will never wear out!

Thank you Lord, for the rich welcome in my future!