Devotions By Jan


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Blowfish

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 9:24 “but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

The blowfish looks pretty comical when puffed up.  In fact one of his names is “pufferfish.”  This unusual fish has a very elastic stomach, able to quickly ingest huge amounts of water and air.  In doing so they become several times their normal size and so avoid becoming someone’s next meal.  When puffed up, their spines make them look like a pointy ball.  This fish gives new meaning to the idea of being puffed up and full of one’s self.

Today’s verse describes a different kind of boasting that does not puff us up or make us disagreeable.  Boasting that draws attention to the Lord, to His kindness, justice and righteousness is the best kind of boasting!  The Lord is honored and glorified when we extol His beautiful attributes to others.  Even the small understanding we have of His character is something that He reveals to us from His Word.  He is the One who gives understanding. (Prov. 2:6)

It is in God and not in myself that I am to make my boast all day long. (Psalm 44:8)  This is my way to exalt and praise Him.  When I see His many kindnesses to me, none of which I deserve, then I want to tell others!  Look what He did for me today!  Do you see how He righted that wrong?  I am in awe of His purity and justice and they motivate me not to compromise.  All the praise for anything that is good and positive in my life goes to Him!

Thank you Lord, that I can boast in You!

 

 


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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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Smoky Skies

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood; but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

With these fires enveloping so much of Washington, Oregon and California, the skies have become dark and somber with the ash.  Midday can seem like early evening and the sun has trouble piercing the gloom.  A pall of dark smoke hangs over land far away from the actual fire.  The lack of normal light is a constant reminder of our fire-beleaguered world here in the west.

There is a dark world in today’s verse, and it is our world.  Making it dark are unseen rulers, authorities, and powers that are in direct opposition to the Light of Jesus and to His “children of light.”  No, we do not see these spiritual forces of evil, but we know they are there as we see their effect.  Thankfully, we are not without recourse.  Because of God’s armor, we can stand firm against this dark world.  Believers have God’s truth, not only as our first line of defense (belt of truth verse 14) but also as our only and best offense. (sword of the Spirit, the Word of God verse 17)

I have no courage to stand.  Who am I to plant myself firmly against such an array of opposition?  But God tells me that my strength is in the Lord and in His mighty power. (verse 10)  He has given me truth and the truth is that the battle belongs to the Lord.  I am on the winning side!  Although this world is dark, following Jesus means I will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life! (John 8:12)

Thank you Lord, for being my strength and my light.

 


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Kiwi Bird

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.”

I am not sure the Kiwi bird knows who he is!  He has wings but cannot fly.  His inch-long wings are useless, hidden under his feathers.  And those feathers are so thick that they resemble hair!  His long beak has nostrils at the end of it.  His habits and look are so similar to a mammal that he is referred to as an “honorary mammal!”

Today’s verse  identifies believers in Jesus Christ as, “children of God.”  The only reason we can be called that is because of His love and grace and not because of any merit of our own.  But unfortunately, there is some confusion as to how we are viewed.  The world does not know us.  They have trouble with recognizing us as God’s children because they do not know our Father.   Our habits and look may seem similar to the non-believer but there is an important distinction on the inside.  We are new creatures in Christ! ( II Cor. 5:17)

Those I rub shoulders with may well understand that I am different.  But that realization serves no purpose if I do not demonstrate a resemblance to the Father and His Son.  The whole purpose of my life is to bring glory and recognition to Him!  I want the beauty and characteristics of Christ to be so evident in my life that it is clear to whom I belong!  For many, the first introduction to the Father is through the lives of His children.

Lord, help me to be faithful to live like Your child.


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Sun Dogs

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

I recently saw two sun dogs as the sun was setting over the Puget Sound in Washington.  These rainbow-patches of light will sometimes appear on either side of the sun when it is low in the sky.  The crystals in the cold air act as prisms, bending the rays of light passing through them.  It is thought they are called “sun dogs” as these lights to the left and right of the sun follow it around as a dog follows its master.

Today’s verse tells us that God who created light, also made light to shine within the heart of the follower of Christ.  This light shines as we get to know Him.  As we learn more and more of the glory of His face and presence, we begin to reflect some of that light ourselves.  The light within the believer causes him to shine like stars in contrast to a “warped and crooked generation.” (Phil. 2:15)  As we follow that Giver of light, we reflect Him.

I cannot generate any of this light on my own.  If there is any light at all coming from me it is all a reflection of Him!  It can only happen as I follow Him and stay close, just as those sun dogs do!  But even a small chink of light can make a world of difference to finding my way or helping others find theirs.  And the light of the knowledge of Him keeps me warm and loved in a world that can be cold and dark.

Thank you Lord, for Your life-giving light!

(Look familiar?  Summer reposing while reposting!)