Devotions By Jan


2 Comments

911 Call from Space

Scripture for Today: Psalm 138:3 “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

It was an honest mistake.  But answering a 911 from space is maybe just a bit too much for this emergency service to handle!  Andre Kuipers, a Dutch astronaut,  admitted to this dialing mistake while on the International Space Station.  From space, a call via Houston would begin with a 9 for an outside line, then 011 for an international line.  Understandable.  But the security alert set off at the Houston Center had everyone confused!

Today’s verse is a wonderful reassurance of the access we have with the Creator of the universe.  Calling on Him is never a mistake.  A call is never dropped and His answers are timely.  In fact, He answers on the very day we call!  Whatever His specific answer is (yes, no or wait) He infuses the soul with His strength, just as a result of calling on Him.  And His strength gives us a boldness to live for Him, to love Him and to obey Him.

There are times I forget to call on Him.  It is not until I am feeling weak or in need that I remember to call.  It is easy to think that I can live life just fine in my own strength.  But the Lord knows better.  He is aware of each and every weakness.  He sees me running out of energy and resources.  The Lord is waiting for me to call.  He sees me coming and He is gracious to answer with exactly what I need.  Because of His unfailing love and faithfulness He will always answer when I call.  How good He is!

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

A Christmas Carol

Scripture for Today: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

This particular version of the classic tale by Charles Dickens was filmed in 1938 and stars Reginald Owen as the unloveable Scrooge.  It was the first major adaptation of a Dicken’s novel and it took some liberties with the story, having each Christmas spirit appear in one night rather than in three.  But the message of Christmas being a time to give liberally to others finally gets through to the stingy Scrooge.  He begins to care.  He begins to love.  And so he begins to give.

Today’s often-quoted and beloved verse explains the reason for God offering His Son.  He gives because He loves.  He loves all of mankind, regardless of race, religion or culture.  The offer of His Son was to give us a way to spend all eternity with Him.  It was His love that motivated such a sacrifice of His one and only Son.  And it is only through faith in His sacrifice for sin that eternal life can be ours.

The birth of Christ was a gift for everyone because our need for a Savior is universal.  We all need Him.  No one is exempt from their need of a Savior to forgive and give life. One day I invited Him to be mine and it was the best and most important decision I have ever made!  And because He loved me first, I can love Him in return.  One of the best ways I can love Him is by showing His love to others.  He loves so He gives.  I want my love for others to show itself in selfless giving.  Not only at Christmas but everyday!

Thank you Lord, that You gave.

 


Leave a comment

A Christmas Story

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”

Little Ralphie dreams of receiving his heart’s desire for Christmas; a Red Ryder Air Rifle.  This low budget comedy filmed in 1983 has become a Christmas staple.  It stood out among all the other saccharin-sweet Christmas movies as it brought in a note of realism.  What parent has not experienced the unbridled avarice of their sweet children!  Commercialism, anticipation, disappointment and hurt feelings are all part of real Christmas in real families!  And of course, the warnings about his perfect gift came close to being realized, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Today’s verse is about another gift that cannot ever be adequately described!  It is a gift that cannot be purchased and it will never be deserved.  It is a gift that is eternal and totally without equal.  There is no question of returning it as it goes beyond every expectation!  This gift is God’s surpassing grace in the Person of His Son, Jesus (verse 14).  His unmerited favor is a gift that continues giving throughout our earthly life and into eternity!

Words cannot adequately convey how life-changing His grace is towards me.  It is indescribable!  This grace was given to me in Jesus before the beginning of time (II Tim. 1:9) and by this grace I am saved.  His grace allows me to live beyond the limits of my weaknesses (II Cor. 12:9).  And it is by His grace that He gives me eternal encouragement and good hope (II Thes. 2:16).   There are so many layers of wrapping to this gift of grace that it takes a lifetime to experience it fully.  I am so humbled by the enormity of this gift and the cost the Lord paid to offer it to me.

Thank you Lord, for this incredible gift of Your favor to me!

 


Leave a comment

Miracle on 34th Street

Scripture for Today:  Mark 8:29 “‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.'”

This heartwarming story, released in 1947, has become a classic.  The story is all about the true identity of Kris Kringle who becomes a substitute Santa at Macy’s.  Little Susan (Nathalie Wood) has been taught by her disillusioned Mother not to believe in Santa.  There is a psychological evaluation and a court case, all in the attempt to discount Kris and his claims.  The story ends with Susan becoming a true believer after her desire for a house seems to magically come about.

In today’s verse, Jesus challenges the thinking of the disciples.  They were walking with Jesus to the villages around Caesarea, Philippi.  Jesus had just healed a blind man and asks them the question, “Who do people say I am?”  Their response was John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets (verses 27-28).  Then Jesus gets personal.  But what about you?  Peter, as a spokesman for the group responds with this true and life-changing statement; “You are the Messiah.”

Mistaken identity about any individual can have serious consequences, but to miss who Jesus is has implications not only for this life but for eternity!  Jesus continues to ask each of us, “Who do you say I am?”  My answer to that question has been life-changing.  He is my Lord and my God.  Jesus coming down to earth as a baby is the most pivotal moment in history!  He became human to share His heart with me.  He became as one of us to offer His love and salvation.  His birth was a miracle that not only changed history but continues to change hearts.

May each of my readers respond with faith when Jesus asks this same question of you.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Christmas Preparations

Scripture for Today: Luke 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

We are in the midst of preparing for Christmas.  The tree is up, the house is decorated, and the presents are for the most part wrapped and tagged.  I enjoy making Christmas goodies for the neighbors and that remains to be done.  There are still the menus to decide on and some major cleaning projects nagging at me.  The news reported that Americans on average spend 38 hours preparing for Christmas! And I always tell myself that this year, I will simplify and take things a bit slower.

Today’s verse describes the humble scene of Christ’s birth.  Because of the ordered census, the inns were filled with travelers and there was no room available.  The King of Kings made His entrance into this world in a stable-like setting.  I sometimes wonder about that inn keeper.  Did he later realize who it was that he turned away?

Today, there continues to be no room for Jesus.  He does not force entry into one’s heart.  He knocks at the door of our lives (Rev. 3:20) and awaits our response.  His desire is to take up residence and begin a life-long close relationship.  What a missed opportunity for those who turn Him away!  But amid all the preparations for Christmas, am I making room for Jesus?  Somehow, the very reason for Christmas can be crowded out with all my distractions and frenzied activity.  I want my heart to be wide open to Him.  I want His presence to fill up every nook and cranny.

“O come to my heart, Lord Jesus.  There is room in my heart for Thee.”

 

 

 


Leave a comment

The Blue Devils


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

Duke is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina.  It has a long history having been founded in 1838 by Methodists and Quakers.  Their motto in English is “Knowledge and Faith.”  Their basketball team, called the Blue Devils, have an eight-episode documentary recently released.  It documents their preparation for their 2018-2019 season.  The title of this documentary is undoubtably meant to be motivational for the players, “Earn Everything.”

Today’s verse teaches an important truth that salvation is something that cannot be earned.  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.  And the problem with thinking we can earn it is never knowing if we have done enough!  Salvation is free and a gift from God.  Because this is true, none of us can boast about earning 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.  In a season of gift-giving, isn’t this the greatest gift of all!  Without this truth, I would always be in a state of fear and worry about my eternal destination.  But I do not have to worry when I place my faith and trust in what HE did on that cross!

Thank you Lord, for such an incredible, unearned gift!


1 Comment

Paradise Lost

Scripture for Today: Luke 23:42-43 “….’Jesus, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom.’  And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'”

I am heartbroken when seeing images of the ongoing fire in Paradise, California.  To date, 146 thousand acres are burned and the town itself devastated.  So many structures were destroyed, over 11 thousand.  But most importantly, 71 souls have been lost.  And with over 1,000 unaccounted for, that number is sure to rise.  The survivors run the spectrum of emotions, from thankful to bitter.  I cannot imagine this pain of loss but I was saddened to hear one survivor blame God and ask how He could allow a town with the name, “Paradise” to burn.

Today’s verse is a promise of Paradise for a thief.  He hung on the cross next to Jesus because he deserved to be there.  He did not deserve Paradise.  But Jesus made a way.  He offers Paradise anew as mankind has lost it.  With the sin and banishment of Adam and Eve from the garden, Paradise can no longer exist on this earth.  There will always be fire, natural disasters, evil, sickness and death.  God did not intend life to be like this.  We brought it on ourselves.  But He did give us a solution in the sacrifice of His Son.

There, in Paradise, I will live life as it was meant to be.  There will be no pain, no sin, no guilt nor ugliness.  There will be no regrets or dashed expectations!  There will only be unending joy in His presence!  It is so hard to imagine.  But one thing is sure.  It will be so much better than my imagination!

Thank you Lord, that because of You, Paradise can be found again!