Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Candle in the Wind

Scripture for Today:II Timothy 1:6 a “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you….” 

The original lyrics of “Candle in the Wind” referred to Marilyn Monroe.  The song was written by Bernie Taupin who was inspired by the words of the title, referring to Janis Joplin.  He saw Marilyn as a metaphor for all those who enjoy fame but then die young.  More familiar is the later version by Elton John, done as a tribute to Princess Diana.  But both versions have the same concluding lines: “Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.”

Today’s verse reminds the believer that residing in him is the Holy Spirit (verse 7).  He Himself is an undeserved gift as are His fruit and His spiritual gifts for service.  The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was likened to tongues of fire coming to rest on each of the believers (Acts 2:3).  Paul encourages Timothy to fan the flame of this gift of the Spirit.  We know this flame is being fanned when we are not timid about our faith.  We know this flame is burning brighter when we see power, love and self-disciple in our lives (verse 7).

These legendary icons will live on for a time but eventually burn out.  What an assurance to know that there is no such fate for the Spirit of God in me!  His flame is eternal and He has given me eternal life as well.  But while here, I want my light to shine, not for my own glory but for His!  I need His power to be bold for Him.  I need His love when loving is difficult.  And I need His help with self-discipline when I feel out of control!

Thank you Lord, for the flame of Your Spirit.


Leave a comment

Ducks in a Row

ducks-in-a-row-webScripture for Today: I Corinthians 1:12 “….One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.'” 

These ducks seem to have it figured out who the leader is and who will bring up the rear.  No one seems to be jostling for position.  None of the followers look as if they are trying to redirect the line.  When flying in a formation or swimming in a line, I can understand that progress forward is easier with the lead doing all the work.  But by waddling on the ground there does not seem to be an advantage to being in a line.

Today’s verse was written by the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth.  The believers there were dividing themselves into factions.  Each group followed a different church leader.  Paul turns their thoughts and loyalties to the One who could bring them together in unity.  After all, it was not Paul crucified.  They were not baptized in his name but in the name of Jesus (verse 13).  When we all have our eyes fixed on Jesus, following Him, we will remain united.

Splitting up into separate groups seems like the natural thing to do.  Somehow, my pride gets in the way of unity.  It is too easy for me to major on differences rather than celebrating common ground with other believers.  But I do want my allegiance to be to Christ first.  I find that in following Jesus Christ above all else, I bond with others who do the same, regardless of church affiliation, regardless of race, age or locale.  Lines of division disappear and we are united in the same line.

Thank you Lord, that following You above anyone else brings sweet unity with others!

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


Leave a comment

The Elephant Seal

Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 8:1  “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up but love edifies.”

This seal looks as if he has an oblong balloon attached to his face!  He is called an “elephant seal” as his snout can inflate and resemble a trunk.  When putting on a mating display, the male will inflate his nose with lots of air and then compete with other males in a snorting contest!  For some northern species, the trunk can extend as much as a foot.  I am not too sure why snorting attracts the female!

Today’s verse describes a knowledge that can puff us up.  Knowledge can make us arrogant.  Knowledge can make us so prideful that we end up tearing others down.  Usually, knowledge in Scripture is presented in a positive light.  It is often mentioned with wisdom and understanding.  All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3).  But this knowledge is one without love.  That kind of knowledge makes us ugly.  Someone who is puffed up with knowledge always has to be right and everyone has to know about it.  The person puffed up with their knowledge makes others feel small and foolish.  It is a poisonous attitude that isolates us.

My own spiritual pride says that this is a real problem in OTHER people!  I never see myself as puffed up.  The following verse says, ” If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know.”  No one has a corner on knowledge except God Himself.  Rather than focusing on how knowledgeable I am, my concern ought to be loving others.  If that is my focus, my size stays the same!

Lord, forgive my pride and make me loving.

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

 


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.

 


2 Comments

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.