Devotions By Jan


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Royalty!

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:17  “Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

Meet King Henry the Third, my twenty-first Great Grandfather!  Thanks to the years of research done by my sister, we can trace our family back to the early 1200’s.  Although kindhearted, history portrays King Henry as weak and ineffectual during his reign starting in 1216.  This image is of his effigy at his tomb located in Westminster Abbey.  We are also direct descendants of the King Edwards I, II, and III.  But will this discovery garner me more respect??

Today’s verse reminds me of my identity in Christ.  I am not only a subject of the King,  I am a child of the King.   What an amazing thought!  As His child I have access to the throne room of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! (Heb.4:16)  I belong there!  Because of the grace shown by Christ’s sacrifice, God extends to me His scepter, just as King Xerxes did for Queen Esther so long ago.  His throne is called a “throne of grace” because there He dispenses His mercy and help in time of need.  Isn’t that all the time?

I am not so sure I like the part about suffering.  But in our fallen world suffering is inevitable, especially for doing the right thing.  However, I have hope and can look forward to sharing in His glory!  Would that I remember that my allegiance belongs to the King and not to the world.  He is a King full of love and grace, welcoming me to His throne room.

Lord, help me remember that I am Your child and heir.

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


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Big-Hearted Giraffe

Scripture for Today: John 5:39-40 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.”

How regal the giraffe stands!  Being the tallest of the land animals between 14 and 19 feet, these stately animals have to have strong hearts.  And they do!  Their two-foot-long heart is equal to 50 human hearts!  The giraffe’s exceptional twenty-five pound heart is able to pump blood where it belongs.  Being that their necks are six feet long, their blood pressure is two times stronger than other animals in order to push that blood all the way from heart to head.

Jesus’ reprimand to the Pharisees in today’s verse addresses the distance between heart and head.  These men were admirably using their heads, searching out the Scriptures.  But unfortunately, they were missing the point.  They closed their minds to the truth that the Scriptures were pointing to Jesus as the Messiah and they refused to come to Him.  Their hearts were not involved.   And rather than come to Jesus for the life He promised, they preferred to continue searching the Scripture apart from Jesus Christ.

It is said there are 18 inches between a human’s head and heart.  That is a long distance in the spiritual realm.  One can agree to spiritual truth intellectually without that truth ever touching the heart.  My own experience bears this out as I can agree in my head that God’s way is best and at the same time stubbornly follow my own!  Jesus understands how I am made and so commands me to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:27).  He wants all of me!

Lord, make my heart soft and obedient to all that You have taught me.


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Brainy

Scripture 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 sculpture of a brain is found in Norfolk, England.  It was created to honor a very intelligent 17th century author, Sir Thomas Browne.  It is made of marble, which reinforces to me the idea that it is difficult sometimes to change one’s mind!  Americans spent 1.9 billion on brain-improving apps!  Many of them claim to improve memory, increase IQ, and boost other cognitive skills.  Of course, engaging in different types of new cognitively demanding tasks is good for the brain!

Today’s verse talks about transforming and renewing one’s mind.  We are told to do it so it must be something that is possible.  But rather than using brain teasers and games, we are to use the transforming power of God’s Word.  Unlike any other book, God’s Word is living and active, penetrating to reveal thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12).  Reading, meditating and memorizing God’s Word allows the believer to discern what God wants of us.  His Word also helps us to resist what the world wants from us; conformity!

I find tremendous comfort in the fact that God’s will for me is good, pleasing and perfect!  Often I approach God’s will with trepidation, thinking that somehow God’s will is mysterious, unknowable, and much too difficult.  But after spending time in His Word, I have a different mindset.  He renews my mind so I can understand and be on board with what He wants of me.  And He shows me where my thinking conforms to the false ideas of the world.  He replaces those thoughts with His truth!

Thank you Lord, for changing my mind!


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Diamond in the Rough

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

A diamond in the rough does not look like much.  Yet, the finished product is stunning!  A diamond is especially valuable when it is unearthed from the ground.  Those “diamonds” that are fabricated in labs or simulated are not quite as appreciated.  It is the cost, time and effort of mining that contribute to making a diamond precious.  The mined diamond may be dirty, unformed and rough around the edges.  But in the hands of a skilled cutter it is transformed into a gorgeous faceted gem.

Today’s verse describes a life-long creative process.  God is continually at work in the heart of every believer.  He has His work cut out for Him, changing us to be like His Son.  He has pledged to continue this work faithfully right up until the moment of Christ’s return.  He never quits.  He never gives up.  One day the work Jesus is doing in me will be complete.  One day I will be like Him (I John 3:2).

He asks me to cooperate with Him.  He even creates in me the desire to cooperate! (Phil. 2:13)  It is a strange working partnership where He provides the strength and the motivation.  However He is the Craftsman doing the cutting and faceting.   And some of those cuts He makes go deep.  I often do not understand what He is doing.  But He asks me to trust His love and goodness whether I understand or not. What He is creating in me is always more beautiful than anything I could achieve.  He has promised an incredible outcome.

Thank you Lord, that I can trust  Your work in me!


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After the Rains

Scripture for Today: Psalm 65:10 “You drench its furrows and level its ridges; You soften it with showers and bless its crops.”

With the recent rains, our local hills are green and beautiful.  And the wildflowers have put on quite a show this year.  But not everything that grows is welcome!  I knew that if I did not attack our hill soon, the weeds would be much more difficult to clear.  The warm drier weather will soon arrive and that ground will harden and be unforgiving.  But for now, the ground is soft and easily gives up the roots to those nasty weeds.

Today’s verse describes the rains and what they do for the land.  This psalm describes God’s abundant blessings on this earth including His forgiveness when overwhelmed with sin (verse 3).  There was special blessing for those who God brought near to live in His courts (verse 4).  His blessings are sometimes depicted as rain on thirsty ground.  And when we realize that what is good in our lives comes from Him (James 1:17) it can soften our hearts with gratitude.  Soft hearts not only soak up His blessings but also hear and obey His voice.  But we can harden our hearts when we ignore His voice (Hebrews 4:7).

I want the soil of my heart to be soft .  I want the weeds of sin and the roots of bitterness to be easily removed.  When I stubbornly choose to ignore His convicting voice, I can almost feel my heart hardening.  I belong to Him and so I can expect Him to correct and reprimand me.  When my heart is soft and I respond with humility the experience does not have to last very long and is a lot less painful.  He is waiting to love on me with His forgiveness!

Lord, keep my heart soft towards You.

 


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Ramona’s Marriage Place

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 14:1  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.”

This adobe building in Old Town, San Diego called Casa de Estudillo or Estudillo House was once considered one of the finest homes of its day.  Built in 1827, it later came to be associated with a work of fiction entitled, Ramona.  Tourists flocked to the site, believing that the story took place there.  In the absence of the owners, the caretaker decided to capitalize on its popularity and sold pieces of the house as souvenirs!  Obviously, the state of the house rapidly deteriorated!  It was restored in 1910 and later declared a historical landmark.

Today’s verse describes a house coming down.  It is very much in the power of a woman to make or break a household.  A foolish woman needs no help to bring the house down around her head.  But a wise woman will fight for her home and her family.  She will do everything in her power to protect those precious walls.  The wise woman fears the Lord first and foremost (Psalm 111:10).  Following God’s commandments in a marriage relationship and as parents is the surest way to keep that house standing.  A foolish woman will consider God’s way as old fashioned and antiquated.  Without realizing it, the foolish woman will tear her own house down little by little.

There are cracks in my walls every now and then.  Sometimes following God’s way is just difficult.  I need His help to obey.  He has made His plan clear in His Word for all the family relationships.  And sometimes it is at odds with how our society operates.  But following His way is well worth the effort.

Thank you, Lord, that my house is still standing!  Keep me faithful to You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Walking Partners

Scripture for Today: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

These look like unlikely walking partners!  But apparently, they don’t know that!  Walking is great exercise but with a partner it can enrich the experience.  There are digital platforms that connect people.  The People Walker is one that provides safe reliable walking partners for a fee.  They advertise that with a partner, it becomes more than just a mere walk.  There is conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

Today’s well-known verse simplifies what the Lord requires of us.  It simplifies but it is not simple!  His standard for what is truly good and necessary is to always live a life that is just and to love and show mercy.  The life of a believer is a lifelong journey walking humbly with God.  Walking with God humbly would be to stay by His side, allowing Him to set the pace and direction.  It is also more than a mere walk, providing conversation, accountability, motivation, exploration, sightseeing and new experiences!

There is no possibility of me acting justly or loving mercy were it not for my Walking Partner.  His presence and power give me the desire and the ability to do what He asks of me (Phil. 2:13).  Walking with Him keeps me out of a whole mess of trouble, be it unnecessary detours or tripping over rocks.  He keeps me in that path of righteousness.  But He keeps me there by His very presence at my side.  And because He sets the pace, He knows when I need to slow down and rest.  And when the path becomes difficult, He is there to get me through.

Thank you Lord, for walking with me.