Devotions By Jan


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Eucalyptus Tree

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

It seems that with every report of strong winds in our area, we hear of eucalyptus trees falling and causing damage.  These beautiful trees can grow as much as ten feet in a year and can even reach the height of a six story building!  Their root system is strong to support all that growth, if they have enough soil.  Their taproots need to have at least six feet of soil to be well anchored.  Without that depth they are vulnerable to wind damage.

Today’s verse talks about being rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened by our faith and characterized by thankfulness.  Extending our roots into the deep soil of His strength makes us able to stand firm in any wind storm.  Standing tall in the world’s eyes can be deceptive if roots are shallow.  The philosophies of this world and human tradition (verse 8) make up that shallow soil.  Roots have no opportunity to grow there and a strong gust of wind reveals that weakness.  In contrast, the one who is strengthened by His power is rooted and established in His love (Eph. 3:17).

My root health is something no one sees but Him.  I can seem strong, pray beautiful prayers and say all the right things.  But when that huge gust of wind comes, I can so easily topple over.  I need to be nourished by His Word and strengthened by His promises before the winds arrive.  He will help me withstand them.

Lord, strengthen my roots by the power of Your Word.

(Look familiar? Summer reposing while reposting!)


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Scribbly Gum Tree

Scripture for Today: Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

This Scribbly Gum tree gets its name from the unusual markings all over its bark.  Each tree will have its own unique pattern of scribbles and they are put there by a small moth larvae.  Living in the bark throughout the winter, the moth will move around just under the surface, feeding on the tree’s tissue and leaving its distinctive marks.

Today’s verse describes two unschooled and ordinary men; Peter and John.  These men were ordered to give an account of themselves before the rulers and elders.   With boldness and clarity they declared the name of Jesus as being the only Source of their power and of salvation (verse 12).  They lived their lives in such a way as to leave a definite trace.  The time they had spent with Jesus showed in their lives.  There was not much to recommend them in the eyes of the world.  They were just ordinary men without even a higher education.  Yet, their time with Jesus had marked them.

I wonder how much my time with Jesus marks me.  Do people see traces of the Divine in me?  It cannot happen through my own efforts.  I know my heart and that there is nothing to recommend me.  But I have His Spirit living inside and with His movements to shape and mold me like Christ, He is slowly making changes.  They may just seem like little scribbles, but He sees the big picture of what He is producing in me!

Lord, may my time spent with You be evident in my life!

Photo credit: Ian Sutter https://www.flickr.com/photos/22616984@N07/3274188822/


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Monkey Puzzle Tree

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 20:24 “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?”

“It would puzzle a monkey to climb that!”  This is the quote that led to the popular name of this tree which happens to be the National Tree of Chili.  Its leaves are very thick and tough with an average lifespan of twenty four years!  But that is nothing compared to the longevity of this tree, living as long as one thousand years!  Its reptilian branches and its symmetrical appearance make it easily recognizable.  But that does not help the poor monkey trying to navigate it!

Today’s verse acknowledges that the Lord directs the steps of those who belong to Him.  But often, the one directed has no idea of His direction!  The question expresses what is often felt:  How can anyone understand their own way?  It often is puzzling.  We do not have the same vantage point and we can never understand it all.  We are told in any case not to lean on our own understanding but to acknowledge Him so that He can direct us (Prov. 3:5-6).

Because I cannot see what lies ahead, I need to trust the One who is already there and knows the way.  If I were to wait until I understood the reasons behind every directive, I would be at a standstill and make no progress!  But I can be confident of my direction even without full understanding.  That is because I trust Him.  His eyes are always on me and the twists and turns are not random.  He has a loving purpose in every change of course.  His direction is always towards a more loving relationship with Himself!

Lord, help me to trust You completely!


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The Redwood Tree

Scripture for Today:Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

How could anyone not be impressed with the mighty Coast Redwoods with their amazing height and longevity!  One would think that in the earthquake country where the Redwood grows they would be at risk to fall.  But they have developed a survival strategy when forced to lean due to shifting ground.  They are able to accelerate their growth on their downhill sides and so buttress themselves and remain standing!

Today’s verse talks about how we can grow and be strengthened in our faith.  We can accelerate our growth by being rooted and built up in HIm.  When we feel ourselves leaning because of shifting ground, we can shore ourselves up by being firmly planted in Him.  In a world that is constantly changing and shifting its norms and values, we can be built up by His unchanging Word.  Being rooted in the soil of fine-sounding arguments (verse 4) and deceptive philosophies (verse 8) will stunt our growth and make us unstable.

I will not grow strong and firmly planted when I read, see or listen to prevailing thought that discounts God and His Word.  I am surrounded by godless philosophy and it is a struggle to be intentional about what I allow to influence me. When I feel myself start to lean with shifting ground I want to grow my roots deeper.  I want to stand tall and firm.  I cannot do that without being buttressed by His truth in His Word.  He is my strength and if I lean at all I want to lean into Him!

Thank you Lord, that You strengthen my faith.


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Transplant Shock

Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Did you know that a tree can feel “shocked” when it is transplanted?  Moving a tree from its original comfort zone to a new location can cause stress with dying branches or brown leaf tips.  That shock may be evidenced by late spring budding or premature fall color.  It can take a year or more for a tree to recover as when moved it will have a smaller root system.  Reestablishing its roots will mean the difference to its survival.

Today’s verse describes how as believers we are rooted in a different soil.  No longer are we in the soil of the world, but we have been transplanted.  Those who have received Christ as Lord and Master live their lives for Him.  Being rooted and built up in Him means that faith is continually strengthened as we learn and grow. Being transplanted from the world into Him is made evident by our thankful spirit.  Unlike the Israelites who longed to return to Egyptian soil when things got difficult, we are to be thankful.

In this new soil, He has given me everything I need to thrive and live a godly life (II Peter 1:3).  I do not need to look over my shoulder at the world’s soil and wonder if it is better.  The Lord has rooted and established me in His love (Eph. 3:17).  Because of His unconditional and perfect love I can thrive and grow.  Rooted in His love makes me strong and beautiful!

Lord, grow my roots deeper and deeper into Your incredible love.