Devotions By Jan


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Light Treatment

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth.)”

It was hard to see our granddaughter having to go through light treatment for her jaundice.  But the light was necessary to break down the excess bilirubin in her blood.  She was surrounded with that light above and below.  That special light in the blue and green spectrum changed the bilirubin molecules so that they could be evacuated from her little three-day old body.  What a difference as the yellow tint to her eyes and skin disappeared!

Today’s verse encourages believers to live as children of light.  Darkness was our past with its evil, unrighteousness and deceit.   But now there is light because of the Lord.  His light breaks down and eliminates everything dark in us.  Believers can now live a life characterized by goodness, righteousness and truth.  His light gives life (John 1:4).  The light He shines on us changes life with its healing and warmth.  With His light we can see what is dark and in humility confess it to Him.  And we can be a light to others, bringing them to the Source.

Although so much darkness surrounds me, the light He sheds will never be overwhelmed by it.  I may feel insignificant but even a small pinpoint of light dispels darkness.  He wants me to let His light shine to those who are unwittingly living in the dark.  The fruit of His light is what will attract others to Him.  Living a life of goodness, righteousness and truth is living the life He modeled.  But it does not happen without the filling of His Spirit, and the gifts of His strength and power!

Lord, make me a light today.

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Administrative Professionals Day

Scripture for Today: Psalm 62:6-7 “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God.  He is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

Today is a day that honors all secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other support professionals.  It was formerly called Secretaries Day and was begun by the National Secretaries Association founded in 1942.  The name changed in 2000 to reflect the diversity of roles and to make it more inclusive, but maybe not so much as to include the cat!  What a great idea it is to honor those who so faithfully work behind the scenes!

Today’s verse reminds us that our salvation depends on God.  We cannot save ourselves from our sin.  He is the One who in His grace bends down to extract us from the messiness our sin creates.  But our honor also depends on Him.  In addition to redeeming our lives, He crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:4).  David even talks about how God increases honor for him in Psalm 71:21!  If believers live an honorable life, this is also due to His grace.

We all need to be appreciated and honored.  I know that when I am, those thoughtful words spur me on and motivate me to do better.  But whatever honor I receive ultimately can be attributed to God as its source.  He has created me with my talents and abilities.  He has given me opportunities and education.  He is the One who has opened up doors and placed me where I am.  If I receive any honor, it absolutely depends on Him and His grace to me.  And if I receive any honor, may it be redirected to Him!

Thank you Lord, that You create honorable lives  May my life honor You today.


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Roasting Coffee

Scripture for Today: I Peter 4:12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

That small coffee bean goes through quite a long involved process before it finally makes it into my cup!  But towards the end, just before the grinding and the brewing, there is that all-important step of roasting.  The green bean is kept moving to avoid burning and turns brown at 400 degrees.  At that point a fragrant oil is released producing that wonderful aroma and flavor.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to believers who are suffering for the name of Christ.   Rather than be surprised by the intensity of the heat, we are to see it as normal.  Suffering abuse and rejection for Him makes us participants in the suffering He endured for us! (verse 13)  The Lord promises special blessing and an evidence of His presence (verse 14).  The heat of the trial tests our faith and produces in us a stronger flavor and aroma of testimony.  There is no shame in being insulted, rejected or marginalized.  Instead, there can be praise and joy at this privilege!

The hostility I encounter at the name of Jesus Christ is surprising.  The reaction seems so unwarranted and sometimes out of character from the person I thought I knew.  The name of Jesus is a polarizing one.  There may be additional difficulties in my life for proclaiming His name, but there is also additional blessing!  The heat of the testing can make my faith stronger.  Rather than discourage me, it can make firm my resolve to live for Him.  My piddly little problems of being misunderstood do not even compare to what Jesus went through for me!

Thank you Lord, that You know and You understand.


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Chinese Lantern Festival

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.”

Today is the date for the Chinese Lantern Festival.  This time for food and family marks the end of the Chinese New Year and is also considered the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day.  This festival of flying paper lanterns began over 2000 years ago!  It is a time for moon gazing, lighting lanterns, riddles, dances, and eating rice balls. However, its origins were tied to the worship of the gods with the lit lantern representing a god’s seat.

Today’s verse tells us that God who created light, also made light to shine within the heart of the follower of Christ.  As we learn more and more of the glory of His face and presence, we begin to reflect some of His light.  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, His light shines in and through us.

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.  But even a small chink of light can make a world of difference in finding my way or helping others find theirs.  Knowing Him is knowing light.  And the light of the knowledge of Him keeps me warm and loved in a world that can be so cold and dark.  How reassuring it is to live in the light of His wonderful presence!

Thank you Lord, for Your life-giving light!

 


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S & H Green Stamps

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4 “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”

Collecting these green stamps was part of my everyday life growing up.  The disagreeable part was licking the back of them to put in the collector’s book!  These stamps were one of the first loyalty programs.  From 1930 to the late 80’s, Sperry and Hutchinson rewarded customers with stamps at grocery stores, department stores and gas stations.  They could be redeemed for a variety of products from their catalog.  I remember dreaming over certain products but my Mother redeemed them for more practical choices.

Today’s verse redeems something infinitely more important than stamps!  God redeems our lives.  He brings us up from the pit and restores dignity with the gift of His unconditional love and compassion.  He redeems us from the “realm of the dead” and takes us to Himself (Ps.49:15).  And He didi it at an enormous cost to Himself!  Not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18-19).  He gave Himself to redeem us (Titus 2:14).  No one can redeem the life of another (Ps. 49:7-9)  He did for us what none of us could do for ourselves!

The only reasonable response to being redeemed is praise!  And part of expressing that praise is for the redeemed to say so!! (Psalm 107:2)  He is my personal Redeemer!  Nothing obligated Him to pull me up from that pit.  His love and compassion for me are completely unearned!  Not only does He give me what I do not deserve but He does not treat me as my sins do deserve (Psalm 103:10).  What amazing love, what incredible compassion that He would give His life in exchange for mine!

I am redeemed and how I do love to proclaim it!


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Together

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

How heart warming it is to see people come together in times of grief!  This picture however, is not of a funeral but a wedding.  There is joy for the newly married couple but also grief at the imminent passing of the bride’s father.  This group of believers may be very different from one another.  But what unites them is their shared joy and pain.  Not only is each individual helped but the one they are surrounding is uplifted by this show of oneness and support.

In today’s verse there is both suffering and joy.  Both emotions can be shared within Christ’s body, the Church even though we show and experience emotion in different ways.  The weight of emotion is not quite as heavy when it is shared.  That sharing brings us together and emphasizes our oneness.  We are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).  Doing so makes our unity that much stronger.  And when we are one, people can see Christ in us (John 17:20-23).

There is nothing worse than feeling strong emotions and having no one with which to share them.  Both intense joy and grief can increase feelings of isolation when they are not shared.  But when I can relate in this way with other believers, I connect on another level.  My little part of the body feels more integrated.  And what is really amazing is that this connection between believers somehow glorifies Christ and He is seen more clearly in me and in all of us!

Thank you Lord, for the connection I can have with other believers.


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100 Years

Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:11 “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely, I will remember Your wonders of old.”

Meet Joseph Ambrose, a veteran of World War I.  At age 86 he was honored at a Veteran’s Day parade in 1982.  His old-fashioned uniform is surprising and the emotion etched on his face is touching.  He served in a war that was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”  Sadly, that has not been the case.  Veteran’s Day this year marks the one hundred year anniversary of this war.  Memories fade as those who fought disappear with age.  But although we do not always have the details of these war stories, we can still appreciate the sacrifice their service represents.

In today’s verse Asaph declares that he will remember what the Lord has done.  And His wonders include miraculous exploits in battle!  From the drowning of Pharaoh’s army to the walls coming down at Jericho, the Lord has done battle for His own!  And He continues to do battle for us, equipping us with spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17) and helping us to stand firm.  He makes us more than conquerors as He is on our side (Rom. 8:31).

My life is to testify to others just how great and awesome my God is!  I am to sing His praises, give credit and glory to Him by my life and praise Him in prayer.  When I do, I myself become a “wonder and surprise” to many! (Psalm 71:7)  But so often, it is through the heat of battle that others take note.  It is through the difficulty that He shows Himself strong and powerful.  When others see me rise above a horrible situation, I gain credibility and a voice.

Lord, may my life remind others of all Your wonders and incredible deeds!