Devotions By Jan


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Beet Juice

Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

I am not a fan of beets but dutifully served them to my family.  Not only did I dislike the taste but the juice from them was always staining clothes.  Their juice is used as dye on some fabrics, but there is another use; de-icing roads!  Apparently, when mixed with road salt, the beet juice melts the snow more effectively.

Today’s verse likens our influence to salt.  Once salt loses its taste it does not have much effect.  It cannot be made salty again.  It is thrown out and trampled underfoot.  But even salt in the form of rock salt can have some effect, clearing the road.  God in His grace can redeem a life of mistakes and blunders and use it!  We are forgiven through His blood and sacrifice.  And like that red beet juice, His forgiveness can make something useful out of something thrown out and trampled.

After completely blowing it, we can feel that God can never use us again.  But nothing is further from the Truth.  We are walking examples of what forgiveness and grace can do.  Saltiness is not perfection.  Being salty is having the courage to admit our imperfections and openly sharing what God’s grace and forgiveness has done for us!  I am salt and light in the world, not because I am perfect but because I am forgiven!  I am grateful God uses flawed people.  And if He uses me at all, it is in spite of myself and He gets all the glory (verse 16).

Thank you Lord, for Your precious grace and forgiveness!

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


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Snowflakes

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

Did you know that some millennials are called “snowflakes?”  The reason for this derogatory term is that they have a reputation for melting down in the face of opinions with which they disagree.  Some believe they are special and unique (like a snowflake).  But more than that some believe that the world owes them because they have always been handed everything their whole lives.  The snowflake generation is thought to be self-obsessed and fragile, easily taking offense.  One example of this attitude is the banning of clapping at a meeting in case it caused trauma!

Rather than easily taking offense, today’s verse talks about overlooking it completely.  The one who lets that verbal jibe slide is the one who is taking the high road.  The intended insult and humiliation loses its impact when there is no response or biting reply.  That offense may have been unintended.  Sometimes, the offense is only a perceived one.  In any case, what was nasty or negative can actually work in one’s favor when responded to with wisdom and patience.

I wish I were not as sensitive as I am.  I wish those perceived hurts would slide right off my back.  Too often, I remember every word of a past insult.  How unlike the Lord!  Jesus did not take offense and quit when He was insulted, spit upon and mocked.  He went all the way to the cross and was glorified by the Father.  Any offense I face from others is so very small in comparison.  He wants me to overlook it with grace and forgiveness.  In doing so I am well viewed by others, but more importantly, He is glorified!

Lord, make me wise and patient enough to let it go.


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Taking it Easy?

Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, ’til I declare Your power to the next generation, Your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

This image has rest and relaxation written all over it!  I can imagine that the couple pictured have lived a busy and productive life, maybe with several career changes.  Perhaps they have stopped punching a clock.  The hard part of raising a family is behind them.  They have paid their dues and are now enjoying their “golden years.”

Today’s verse is looking forward to this stage of life.  But rather than thinking about well-deserved rest and relaxation, David still has a “to do” list in mind.  He looks forward to declaring to the next generation all that the Lord has done for him.  There is still a story to be told to others of all of God’s miracles seen in a lifetime!  With age, the story becomes longer and richer and more credible.

I know He will never leave me or forsake me (I Kings 8:57)  He has shown Himself faithful to me time and time again! Declaring His power and His greatness is a privilege belonging especially to those of a certain age.  In testifying to His faithfulness throughout a long life, others are encouraged to persevere in the faith.  In this sense, there is no retirement when it comes to speaking to the next generation of God’s greatness!  And it is often in looking back over the years that we see more clearly His miraculous hand!  I know my children and my grandchildren are watching me.  They will never see perfection but my prayer is that they will hear from me praise and testimony to God’s power!

Lord, keep me praising You to others.

 


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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!