Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Escargot

img_20160819_084054Scripture for Today: Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

This stand was a common sight at our French open market.  Eating snails is certainly not new.  Their empty shells have been found in archaeological digs suggesting that they have been eaten since prehistoric times!  They are considered a “super food,” as they contain iron, B12, magnesium, selenium, and omega 3.  Still, the idea of eating that slimy creature fills many people with disgust.  And the many steps to prepare escargots make them anything but a “fast food!”  One of the more important steps is purging the snails from anything unhealthy they have been eating.

Today’s verse speaks of our conscience being purged.  The Old Testament system of animal sacrifice served its purpose of symbolizing Christ’s death.  But how much more perfect was the sacrifice Jesus made, once for all!  His sacrifice not only cleanses us from our sin, but purges our consciences as well.  His forgiveness is complete.

Satan would like me to think otherwise.  He whispers in my ear his accusations.  He reminds me of times when I really blew it and let the Lord down.  Satan would like nothing better than to take me out of the game and put me on the sidelines.  How thankful I am that he is wrong!   My conscience has been purged.  I am a new creation in Him.  No accusation from the enemy can change this truth.  When I lay my head on the pillow at night I can sleep easily knowing that Christ has taken care of every sin and failure.

Thank you Lord, that You purge my conscience, making forgiveness complete.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Breaking Free

freedomb04c55f51dc9b7be98221b54113ab02fScripture for Today: Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This Freedom Sculpture was created by Zenos Frudakis and can be seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It depicts several people in different stages of breaking free of their molds.  The artist felt that everyone could relate to this image as the struggle to be free is a universal one, common to all mankind.

Today’s verse is put differently in another version; “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold.” Without a transformation of our minds, we stay firmly ensconced in the world’s way of thinking.  Like the last figure in this sculpture, we can so completely conform to the values and thinking of this world that we lose the freedom to follow what is best.  What the Lord wants for us is good and pleasing and perfect.  And so often, it is in direct opposiiton to the prevalent thinking around us.

I do not want to look, think and act like everyone around me and call that freedom.  But I can walk about in freedom when I intentionally seek out what God wants (Psalm 119:45).  His plan for me is not just good but perfect.  When He changes my heart and mind with His Word, pleasing Him becomes a pleasure.  Blending in by following another standard may sometimes be easier.  In fact it is usually easier to just go with the flow, but not as fulfilling.  His transformation is freeing me to become who He meant me to be, rather than a carbon copy of everyone else.

Thank you Lord, for the freedom Your transformation brings!

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


Leave a comment

Inside Out

clothingd7587cae-9b39-49de-a72f-6043d7620bf6-620x620Scripture for Today: Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

I have done this often enough when dressing in a hurry.  Wearing something inside out is even considered good luck by some.  But for your day to be lucky, it has to be done unintentionally and not corrected if pointed out by someone.  The same is said for wearing one’s socks inside out.  But rather than thinking of clothing mistakes, I like thinking of the song by Bryan Adams called, “Inside Out.”  The lyrics say, “I wanna know you like I know myself…..I wanna know you inside out.”

Today’s verse describes God’s love as being poured into our hearts.  Any other love on this earth comes from the outside.  But God’s love is unique as it reaches to the inside and fills our hearts.  His love actually resides on the interior.  There is nothing hidden from His love.  He knows our deepest thoughts and desires.  He understands all of our motivation and fear.  Because He lives and loves from our hearts, He knows what makes us mad or makes us cry.  There is no other love as intimate or knowledgeable.  He loves me from the inside out.

How amazing that He could love me knowing all the junk in there!  I can be completely honest and open with Him as He knows it all anyway.  And yet, He still loves me!  He does not love me because, but in spite of myself!  There is only one best response to this kind of unconditional love: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.”

Thank you Lord, for reminding me of Your overwhelming love.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


Leave a comment

Unmasked!

venetian-mask-colombina-carnival-of-venice-italyScripture for Today: Psalm 38:9 “All my longings lie open before You, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from You.”

Among the many kinds of Venetian masks is this elaborate one called the “Colombina,” or “little dove.”  Made of paper mache, Venetian stucco, shiny gold macrame and black feathers, it is certainly ornate and mysterious.  Based on a character from the Italian stage, beautiful women especially preferred this style as it covers only half of the face.  These masks are worn for the annual festival in Venice, Italy which is one of the oldest in Europe dating back to 1162.  Being masked gives people the opportunity to hide their identity and freely mix with those above their social standing.

Today’s verse makes it clear that there is nothing hidden from the Lord.  With Him, we are unmasked.  David acknowledges his sin (verse 18) being overwhelmed with guilt and groaning “in anguish of heart.” (verse 8)  He pours out his complaint that his friends have turned on him.  He ends this psalm with a cry for help and a plea that God would not forsake him as well.  Every longing and every sigh is seen by the One who knows our hearts and thoughts.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

I wonder if sometimes I do not wear a “mask” in my private prayers.  If all is open and bare before Him then there is no need to sanitize my prayers.  He knows just what I am feeling and He waits for me to be honest with Him.  He does not censor my words or rebuke me for wrong theology.  He hears my frustrations and my ill-concealed doubts.  Nothing shocks Him and He loves me no matter what.

Thank you Lord, that I can unburden myself with You and find sweet relief.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


2 Comments

A Bad Penny

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 due to summer ministry.


Leave a comment

Beaded Necklace

img_20161030_175353Scripture for Today: Ephesians 1:4 “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”

My sister-in-law spent hours and hours making this beautiful beaded necklace for me.  It touched me that she would put so much time in to creating this piece with me in mind.  If it was the “thought that counts,” than all that time thinking of me makes the gift that much more special!  It has survived many wearings and moves over thirty-five years.  It will be a very sad day if it ever breaks apart.

Today’s verse tells us that those who have accepted Christ as Savior were chosen before the creation of the world.  The interplay between God choosing us and we choosing Him is something I can never hope to completely understand.  But what amazes me is that the Lord had me in mind before the creation of the world!  That is quite a long time to be thinking of me!  He chose me to be blameless and holy.  Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, I am declared righteous in Him.  I am certainly not  blameless and holy by my own efforts!

He thought of me and chose me before the world ever existed.  He formed me specifically in the womb of my Mother.  And I know He thought of me on that cross as well.  How precious His thoughts are toward me, numbering more than the grains of sand on a beach (Psalm139:17-18).  No one could ever think of me more than He does!  His love is so amazing that there is never a moment in my day when He is not thinking of me!

Thank you Lord, for Your precious loving thoughts for me.

Look familiar?  This is a repost due to summer ministry.


Leave a comment

Sea Glass

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

I feel as if I have found treasure when I see that gleaming colorful piece of glass nestled in the sand!  The beaches of California are especially good for their discovery.  In their original form, I would not look at them twice.  After all, they are just shards of glass bottles or tableware.  But after years and years of being broken up and tumbled by the waves, they lose their rough edges and become smooth.  Gone is the normal sheen of glass as it is replaced by a frosty appearance.  Now they are worthy of being a piece of art or jewelry!

Today’s verse describes the life of Paul.  He was persecuted, thrown in jail, shipwrecked, and beaten.  Through all of this he was never crushed, in despair, abandoned or destroyed.  He calls his experiences, “light momentary troubles” (verse 17).  He does not lose heart because he believes they are achieving for him “an eternal glory.”  Rather than focusing on what he is going through, he sees what God is producing in him.

Whoever said that life was easy has not lived very long!  Being a follower of Christ does not guarantee me a smooth ride.  I am tossed around and pounded by the waves just as much as everyone else.  My sure hope is that He is producing something meaningful and beautiful through all the negative.  Knowing He is in control and that His control is good, keeps me from despair.  There will be no punishing pounding waves in Heaven.  All my rough edges will be gone and I will be complete!

Thank you Lord, that I can trust what You are doing in my life.