Devotions By Jan


Leave a comment

Unexpected!

cigarette2Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Looking closely at this image, one sees discarded cigarettes doing something very unexpected.  They are sprouting!  Something as dirty and off-putting as litter is actually transforming itself into something positive.  These cigarettes were invented by a creative British man, tired of ugly litter.  He decided to make biodegradable filters that contain wild flower seeds and called them, “Cigg Seeds.”  What a clever idea!  Who would have thought that something thrown away and trampled on could turn into something beautiful!

Today’s often quoted verse came to mind.  I have heard it said so many times it tends to lose its impact.  But this is a beautiful truth that gives the believer hope.  We are not spared the ugliness and heartaches in life.  Despite the fact that the wicked seem to prosper (Jer. 12:1) they are not spared either as their final destiny is destruction (Ps. 73:17).  Even so, following the Lord never insures a trouble-free life. However, there is a difference.  God takes those awful negative circumstances and miraculously brings about something worthwhile.

Because of this promise, I have hope.  I may feel cast aside, dirty, and trampled on but God is not done yet.  He can and He does transform me and cause new and beautiful growth in my soul.  He is good and everything He does is right and good.  I can trust that His purpose for me is good as well, even and especially when I cannot see it.  The good He is producing is something that lasts into eternity; becoming like His Son.  There is nothing more beautiful or worthwhile.

Thank you Lord, for the unexpected ways You create the good in my life!

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

A Fork

Scripture for Today: Psalm 34:8-9 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His holy people, for those who fear Him lack nothing.”

I can understand a fork in the road, but a fork in a lake confuses me, especially a literal one!  This  twenty six foot fork stands upright in Lake Geneva, Switzerland.  Sculpted by a Swiss for the tenth anniversary of a food museum in Vevey, it graced the shoreline for two years before coming down amidst controversy.  After ten years, it made its return in 2008 and has now been approved to stay permanently.

I see this fork as an invitation to taste and see how magnificent the water and surrounding Alps are for the soul.  Being around such beauty is refreshing, especially after city noise and congestion.  Perched right on the water and the home of Charlie Chaplin, Vevey is one of my favorite places in Switzerland.  The problem comes when I have to leave and I lose that sense of calm and peace nature gives me.

Today’s verse is also an invitation to “taste and see.”  Unlike the temporary good feeling being in nature brings, taking refuge in God’s strength and beauty is nothing I have to leave behind.  His goodness and blessing keep me satisfied in the deepest part of me.  Not only am I able to enjoy to the fullest His creation, I can at the same time commune with the Creator!  He is so good that I lack nothing.  Every spiritual blessing is already mine (Eph. 1:3) and He satisfies my deepest desires for love, peace, beauty, and significance!  How amazing He is!  Taste and see, but with a spoon, so as to enjoy every drop!

Lord, thank you for the satisfaction You give me!

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


1 Comment

Newborn Puppies

Scripture for Today:Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.”

The chihuahua puppy looks so tiny and vulnerable sitting on an outstretched hand.  This breed of dog is only four inches long at birth.  Puppies seem especially vulnerable and helpless during their first few days.  They are not only blind but deaf, toothless and unable to regulate body temperature.  To cuddle their mother and siblings and to nurse, they depend on their sense of touch and smell.  Their eyes do not open until their second week.  Life gets suddenly much larger when these tiny puppies can begin to explore and discover their world.

Today’s verse describes eyes that are opened to wonderful things in God’s law.  Our eyes can miss what is positive in God’s commandments.  Those wonders can easily escape us.  This verse is a prayer that God would open spiritual eyes to see God’s law differently.  This entire psalm goes on to extol and praise God’s law.  The author’s eyes have been opened to see a long list of wonderful things: blessing, purity, delight, strength, understanding, knowledge, good judgement, freedom and comfort, to name just a few!  God answered the author’s prayer.

I do not often feel this way about God’s law.  Instead of seeing “wonderful things,” in His law, I sometimes see it as negative and restrictive.  My eyes need to be opened!  I want to see those same wonders in His law, especially the comfort and blessing!  God’s law is given with love and with the desire to make life work for me.  I need my eyes open to explore and discover how God wants me to live and to see it as wonderful!

Open my eyes today, Lord.

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


2 Comments

The Caring Hand

Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:16&19a “You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him.”

This surprising sculpture rises from the ground and gently wraps its fingers around a tree.  It is found in Glarus, Switzerland and was created by Eva Oertli.  She named it “Hand,” but it has since been called by appreciative on-lookers as, “The Caring Hand,” for obvious reasons.  One could say that the message of this sculpture is a call to be responsible and caring about the environment.  But it called to my mind our amazing Creator.

Today’s verse is a beautiful depiction of God’s special care for His creation.  He opens His hand to satisfy and fulfill desires.  His open hand is the source of nourishment and support.  His care sustains us (Psalm 55:22).   There is not a bird that falls to the ground outside of that care (Matt. 10:29).  His care extends to all of creation.  And His special individualized care is offered to those who would fear Him.

When I was growing up, my parents used a paddle to spank us children rather than their hand.  They (like we) did not want the open hand to be associated with punishment but with love.  For those who fear the Lord, we can always associate His open hand with love and care.  All our punishment has already been paid by Jesus.  His hands were pierced so that He could open His hands with love.

My desires are often all over the place.  But as His child, my deepest desire is to love the Lord and serve Him.  He opens His hand to me every day.  He offers me strength, encouragement and hope.  He offers me joy, contentment and peace.

Thank you Lord, that You take care of me.

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


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.


4 Comments

The Swiss Alps

img_20160928_165357Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:13 “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.”

Our recent week of conference in the Swiss Alps already seems like a lifetime ago.  I never tire of gazing on those majestic mountains, seen here from the gondola window.  Their height, their stability and their looming presence over the village is a constant reminder of just how small I am!  Their timeless watch over the inhabitants below bring to mind the awesome power in the hand of their Creator.

There is reason for the heavens to shout, for the earth to rejoice and for the mountains to burst into song.  Today’s verse gives the reason; the comfort and the compassion the Lord gives to His hurting people.  He is not unmoved by our pain.  He does not ignore our cries.  He hears us in the night when we smother our tears.  He sees when the heart is hurting and we want to give up.  He offers His comfort and compassion which is unlike any other.

He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3).  He uses His Word to reassure my heart.  He uses the care and concern of friends and family.  He uses the lyrics of a long-forgotten song in the most unlikely moment to bring me a measure of peace.  His compassion never fails me.  His comfort and compassion are renewed every morning when I wake up to a new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).  What a wonderful reason for those mountains to burst into song!

Lord, may today be a day when I can shout, rejoice and sing because You care for me!

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.