Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

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!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Clams

Scripture for Today: I Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Sometimes, even in death, a clam will not open up!  The advice is to refrain from eating any clam that does not open during the steaming process.  That adductor muscle is awfully strong, holding the two shell halves together.  This is how they protect themselves from their predators; the fish, eel, snail or starfish.  The expression, “to clam up” comes from the idea of a clam shutting down at the approach of danger.

Today’s verse encourages the believer to open up to others about the hope that is in them.  Part of revering Christ as Lord is being willing and prepared to answer questions from others about our faith.  Rather than “clamming up,” we are to be vulnerable and transparent with people that are interested.  There is always the danger of being misunderstood or even rejected.  But as long as communication is done with gentleness and respect for the viewpoint of the listener, than God is glorified.

When I speak to others of Christ, there is always the potential to encounter hostility, even with those who ask.  Dealing with hostile reactions requires His wisdom which is pure, peaceable and gentle(James 3:17).  I am told to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).  I am also told to bless others when I am reviled and mocked (I Corinthians 4:12).  But what I do not want to do is clam up, just because I may be ridiculed.  I want to be bold, to declare out loud the very best thing that has ever happened to me…His love and salvation!

Lord, help me to be open about my faith today!

 

 


Leave a comment

A One-Hit Wonder

Scripture for Today: Job 5:9 & Job 9:10 “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”

A “one-hit wonder” is something that achieves mainstream popularity and success for a very short time.  It is usually for only one piece of work, whether it be in the area of music or sports.  A good example of a one-hit wonder is the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men back in 2000.  In fact, this song made it into the top ten list of one-hit wonders (making it even more wonderful?)

What a contrast with the wonders God performs!  Today’s verse explains how unfathomable and numerous are God’s wonders!  This verse is even repeated in the book of Job for emphasis.  His wonders are awe inspiring and remind us just how big He is and just how small we are.  David states that God’s wonders are too many to declare (Psalm 40:5).  Everything He does is a wonder of love and grace towards us.  Whether it be His incredible creation, a miraculous healing, or a changed heart, it is all “wonderful” in the true sense of the word!

I sometimes think I get used to His wonders and even take them for granted.  When that happens I lose the awe and worship that is due Him.  He deserves all the glory, credit and recognition for the sun coming up this morning.  The Lord wants me to tell the next generation of His praiseworthy deeds, His power and the wonders He has done in my life (Psalm 78:4).  But how can I proclaim aloud His praises and tell of all His wonderful deeds if I do not even recognize them?

Lord, open my eyes today to Your wonders and the wonder of who You are!

 


Leave a comment

The Ring-Tailed Lemur

Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 2:15-16  “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…..”

These sweet-looking lemurs are known for their black and white striped tails and apparently enjoy sunbathing!  Originally from Madagascar, they have powerful scent glands.  They use their distinctive odor to communicate and to dominate.  The lemurs will mark their territory by their scent, but they will also try to “outstink” each other during mating season!  They do this by rubbing their smelly secretions all over their tails and then by waving them in the air to establish dominance!

Today’s verse speaks of differing reactions to our “smell” or influence.  To those God is calling to Himself, we have a pleasing aroma.  These are people in our lives that seem to be open and friendly.  They know of our relationship with Jesus and continue their contact with us.  We can and do pray that the Lord is continuing to draw them to Himself and that He will use our fragrance.  But there is another group that are in the process of rejecting the Savior.  Quite frankly, we stink to them.  We can be as friendly as humanly possible but they are continually offended by our stench!

I am a people pleaser and it bothers me when I am rejected because of my faith in the Lord.  Yet, I understand that the claims of Jesus do have a polarizing effect on people.  The lines are drawn and there is no middle ground when it comes to saving faith in Christ.  I am just thankful that for those God is drawing to Himself, I can be a pleasing aroma.

Lord, keep me faithful to You.


2 Comments

The Hope Chest

chest-open_0Scripture for Today:Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

I never owned a hope chest, although I hoped!  It was a tradition that was already obsolete by the 1950’s.  The practice of filling a hope chest with items useful in setting up house came from Europe around the 18th century.  A young girl’s “trousseau” consisted of handmade bed linens, table linens and embroidered items.  I often wondered what happened to that hope chest and its contents when it was clear that marriage had passed one by.  Perhaps giving it away signaled the end of hope.

Today speaks of a hope that never puts us to shame.  Unlike unfulfilled hope in a human love, our hope is placed in a love that has already been poured into the heart of a believer.  The Holy Spirit is our seal of ownership, guaranteeing what is to come! (II Cor. 1:22).  Hope in this sense is a sure thing with no possibility of disappointment or shame.  This hope grows stronger and stronger as we see the Lord come through for us when experiencing suffering (verse 3).  Hope grows by persevering through that impossible situation.  Our hope is obvious to everyone through the strength of character that comes from hanging in there (verse 4).

Hope that is based on the wrong thing can be wishful thinking that makes the heart sick when unfulfilled (Prov. 13:12).  My hope is sure being based on God’s faithful promises.  My longing for love is absolutely fulfilled in my relationship with my Creator.  He never disappoints and I am never put to shame.  He always comes through and someday I will see the glory of God up close and personal!

My hope will forever be in You, Lord.

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


Leave a comment

Another World

img_20161001_112154Scripture for Today: John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I wish this man would turn around so I could see the shock on his face when he realizes that not all is as it appears!  This image reminds me of the movie, “The Truman Show” with Jim Carey where he unknowingly lives in an artificial domed world.  The man in this image would never have known there was another world had he not been curious and courageous enough to lift that curtain!

Today’s verse is spoken by the Lord, our Good Shepherd.  Those who belong to Him are pictured as sheep who enter only through Jesus, the Gate.  They have freedom to go in and out and find green pasture.  But there is another group who do not belong to Him and are fooled by the “thief,” or Satan.  They are fooled into thinking that this life and what we see is the only reality, when in fact there is another whole world.

Satan does not want anyone lifting that curtain and seeing the spiritual realm.  By hiding the reality of the abundant life Jesus offers, he steals from men their capacity to enjoy their days to the fullest!  With eyes blinded we miss out on what is real and eternal, until the Lord opens our eyes (Acts 26:18).  Without realizing it, so many are content to live with the pigs and eat their scraps rather than feasting and partying at the Father’s table! (Luke 15:11-25)

I am so grateful for Jesus giving me a life that includes that other unseen world.  This world is just not enough.  But He is!

Thank you Lord, for the full abundant life You give me!

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


Leave a comment

Majority Rules

majorityrulesScripture for Today: Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

This looks like an interesting game.  The winner is the one with the most points, earned by voting in the same way as the majority does on various questions.  There is ample opportunity for lots of debate and laughter, especially when it is obvious that the one losing vote is clearly correct but the majority carry the day!  The reasoning behind one’s vote does not change the outcome.  The important thing is to be part of the ruling majority!

Today’s verse describes a majority of people who enter through a wide gate and follow a broad path.  It is perhaps an easier choice and one is certainly in good company with so may others making this same choice.  It is easy in life to be lulled into a false sense of security when surrounded by so many others of the same opinion.  What is so sad is that the majority does not rule in this case and is not right in their choice.  The consequences of following the majority could not be more serious as this path leads to destruction.

The good news is that there is a small gate and a narrow road that leads to life (verse 14).  Jesus has said clearly that He is the gate by which we enter (John 10:7).  He is also the one and only way (John 14:6).  But the ones who follow this way will always be in the minority.  It is not a comfortable position to be different than the majority around us.  But how much better it is to be uncomfortable and on the right path.

Lord, thank you for showing me the way to life through You.

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