Devotions By Jan


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#Me Too

Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

I have been amazed and appalled at the number of women who on our Facebook news feed have posted the “Me Too” hashtag.  This has become the rallying cry for those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.  The idea was to bring awareness to the magnitude of the problem.  And with 1.2 million tweets and millions more posting on Face Book, in six short days it has done just that.  But for many the experience was too painful to make public and would only reinforce the trauma.  However, for others it is empowering.

Today’s verse contains a truth that is even more empowering.  Nothing is hidden from God’s sight.  What is done in secret will one day be revealed.  What was thought to be covered up forever will be uncovered before the One who will mete out perfect justice.  No one will ever get away with anything.  That is a balm that can heal a lot of deep lasting wounds.

I am thankful not to have experienced such trauma and my heart goes out to those who have.  But unfortunately, I have been robbed, cheated, and have had my reputation attacked.  There is no proof.  There is no recourse.  However, I can leave the retribution to Him.  He has promised to repay and avenge the evil much better than I ever could (Romans 12:19).  He sees it all and He is the Master of transforming what is unthinkable, pouring out healing and blessing.  What was intended to harm, God is able to turn around for good (Gen.50:20).

Thank you Lord, for the justice You promise.

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Pancake Tortoise

Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:20 “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.”

We had trouble actually seeing this Pancake Tortoise at the San Diego Zoo as he was so completely flattened and wedged in the rock.  I had never heard of a tortoise that can run but this one does!  That is because his shell is lightweight and full of small holes.  The fact that his shell is thin, flat and flexible means that he can flatten himself like a pancake and hide in narrow rock crevices.  So rather than retreat into his shell like most, this guy runs to the rocks until the danger is past.

Today’s verse tells us where to hide when we feel threatened.  David was constantly under attack from within and from without.  He was the object of evil plots and slanderous tongues.  In his anguish and distress he runs to the only One who can give him shelter and safety; the presence of the Lord.  David did not withdraw into his own shell or resources.  He ran to His presence and there God hid him.

There are times to stand and face the enemy.  But there are also times to retreat and run to Him and His presence.  He has promised shelter and safety when we are just too tired and discouraged.  He protects us when we are fearful and overwhelmed.  The unkind  remarks of others can create deep wounds.  Fighting against malicious gossip that damages a reputation is practically impossible.  The only solution is to run to His presence and allow Him to take care of those “human intrigues.”  He is more than able to fight for me!

Thank you Lord, for the safety and shelter of Your presence.


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Tissue Invasion

Scripture for Today: Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This could be me this past week.  The tears have been flowing freely at the death of my Mother.  With all the tissue I have used, the trash overflows and so do I.  I know she is with the Lord and free from pain, but for me the pain of separation is just beginning.  But despite the tears, my heart is at peace with His promises and reassurances.

Today’s verse describes a day when there will be no more need for tissues.  There will be no illness of any kind.  There will be no pain or death, no separation or sadness.  Anything and everything that provokes tears will be gone forever!  What an incredible thought!

I love this verse as the Lord is intimately involved in erasing our sadness.  He Himself gets close and personal.  He takes it on Himself to wipe those tears from our eyes.  And once His loving powerful hands dry our face, those tears never return.  I can just imagine His look of infinite tenderness as He does this.  He knows all about tears.  His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death in the garden of Gethsemane.  He endured that horrible time of suffering in order to “swallow up death forever” for you and me.

Heaven is going to be a noisy place!  Those who sow a lifetime of tears will reap with songs of joy! (Psalm 126:5)  Cries of anguish will be replaced with melodies of joy.  He has promised.

Thank you Lord, that You will personally dry my tears.


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Peek-A-Boo Canyon

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 13:12 Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The Peek-A-Boo slot canyon in Zion National Park ushers the hiker into another world!  The trail twists and turns, narrows and then widens.  It is eerily quiet and the temperature drops.  Some parts are dark with overhanging rock.  But in other places one can see orange, warm red and rustic brown on the curving sandstone walls.  Some walls soar up to 100 feet and the narrowest part is only 16 inches wide!  It is like a glimpse into another dimension.

Today’s verse gives us a small glimpse of Heaven.  Paul tells believers to set their minds on what is found there.  Christ is on His throne and He sits at the right hand of God the Father.  Our minds and our hearts are to be changed by this eternal perspective.  What we see on earth does not match up with spiritual realities.  What we see, touch and feel around us can be breathtaking, but it is not eternal.  God’s incredible creation is real but it will not last.

When I set my mind and heart on the realities of Heaven, it changes how I view that awful situation.  It affects how I see my problems.  What can loom so large for me is in fact only, “light and momentary trouble.” (II Cor. 4:17)  All the hard things in this life are, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  When I think of Heaven, my heart fills with hope.  And I need that hope to get me through.

Lord, help me see even a glimpse of what is to come!


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Cocoon

Scripture for Today: Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 3:18  “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”

I wonder if this caterpillar knows what is happening to him?   His little life was perfect, happily munching leaves in the sun. But before long he finds himself in the dark and hanging on for dear life!  He only did what was natural, making a silk mat and spinning the silk to attach himself to a branch.  But now, everything seems to have stopped and all that is familiar has disappeared.  Life has not only spun out of control, but he himself is hanging upside down.  Now he waits.

Today’s verse speaks of another transformation.  It is one that is just as spectacular as a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.  We, as believers, are slowly being transformed into the image of the Lord.  Each stage of this process brings ever increasing glory, not to ourselves but to Him.  The glory and beauty come from becoming more like our Creator!  It happens on the inside as a work of His Spirit.  We do not know exactly what we will be, except that we will be like Him as His children. (I John 3:2)

In the meantime it can feel a bit dark and confusing.  This cocoon stage seems to last a lifetime and the waiting all by itself can feel exhausting.  I know He is at work in me, but it is dark and I do not always understand what He is doing and why.  But I do know that He is good and the outcome will be beautiful.  His promises are the branch to which I cling!

Lord, help me be patient for what is to come!!

 

 

 


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Bow and Arrow

Scripture for Today:  Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus.”

As a skinny-armed adolescent my archery experience was short lived at camp.  It just hurt my arms too much to pull back that bow.  Living in Europe so long I have had more opportunity than most to see archery competitions and shows.  These expositions seemed to always be a part of local village fairs.  And I have seen some impressive displays of strength and precision.  It is beautiful to watch, as long as the target was not something living!

Today’s verse describes missing the target of God’s glory.  This word for “sin” denotes falling short of the intended goal.  Some may get closer than others but all of us fall short of God’s absolute perfection.  We can strive an entire lifetime to live up to God’s standard, but we do not have the momentum to get there without His grace.  In the Archer’s hands we are stretched with His power and pointed in the right direction.  Believers are declared righteous because of Christ reaching that goal of perfection for us.

Although I am redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice, the Archer still pulls back on my bow.  I know that He uses my problems and difficulties to stretch me.  He uses the tension to mature me in my faith.  The goal is to make me more and more like His Son.  There is no pain that is wasted.  He uses it all for His plan and His glory.  I may not understand it all but I know I can trust His strong capable hands.  He knows what He is doing.

Thank you Lord, for slowly transforming me.


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Counting Stars

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

It seems an impossible task, to count the stars.  But who among us has not at least tried as a child?  I was surprised to learn that there is an answer!  9,096 stars are visible to the naked eye if one could see both hemispheres at once!  So of course, we have to divide that number in half.  Maybe the number 4,548 seems underwhelming but in fact that number becomes even less impressive with poor visibility or in lighter skies over cities.  However, with only a three-inch telescope that number jumps to about 5 million!

Today’s verse describes those who do not grumble or argue as shining stars in the sky.  Perhaps it would not be so difficult to count these stars!  Someone who does not grumble and argue stands in stark contrast to everyone else.  And the light from even just one of these stars pierces the spiritual darkness around it.  People notice when there is a sweet uncomplaining spirit in the face of adversity.  I know because my Mother is one of these stars.  Even though at 95 she has to depend on others, lose her mobility, and suffer all kinds of indignities, she does not grumble or complain.

I often wonder how best to “let the light shine” (Matt  5:16) so that people see and God is glorified.  This answer seems too simple.  But I find it is one of the hardest to live out.  Thankfully, it is God who works in me to bring about what is not natural! (verse 13)

Lord, make me a star!  Keep me sweet and uncomplaining today.