Devotion

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:7-8

This devotion is for those who have loved ones or people close to you who do not believe in Jesus. For me, this would be the rest of my immediate family and several friends. When I try to explain what life is like with Jesus, they can’t understand because they haven’t experienced it. Sort of like trying to tell someone what it’s like to fall in love. They can imagine it, they can watch it on television, but until they fall for that special person, they can’t understand.

Sometimes I get discouraged as I wait for my loved ones to fall in love with Jesus. Part of the reason for this is because no one knows the true dynamic interaction which happens inside a person. Each person has a choice and must choose Jesus or not. And yet God also says He is the one to open hearts (John 6:44).

Are my loved ones not choosing God or is it not the time He has chosen to open their hearts? Either way, the wait seems too long for me. When I get anxious or impatient, I try to remember the verse above. This verse says that if we remain close to Jesus, we can ask whatever we wish and we will receive it—as long as it’s in God’s will. Since God wants none to perish (2 Peter 3:9), then the salvation of our loved ones must be in His will.

Keep believing. Practice patience as you trust God’s timing. Stay close to Jesus and earnestly pray for those who need Him.

Dear Lord, we release our loved ones to You. You love them even more than we do. Let our lives show them the joy of knowing You. And bring them to You in Your time. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Conference!

This week, I’ll be at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer’s) Conference! I’ll be having a great time visiting with other writers who totally understand the craziness of this writing life (and who don’t judge me when I talk to myself…ahem… I mean my characters). There’s also wonderful classes to help me make every novel my best one. So, I’m taking the rest of the week off because my brain will be like jelly after shoving all that information in at once.

Have a  great week and I’ll see you here next Tuesday, September 22nd, with a new devotion.

Blessings,

Janice

Devotion

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles an creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:7-8

The other day I betrayed a confidence. Not on purpose, and it was actually out of excitement for the other person, but my tongue slipped just the same. The shame of it ate me up inside for days.

James understood how hard it is to tame the beast in our mouths. Over the years I’ve seen the reality of Luke 6:45—For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

What we harbor in our heart comes out of our mouths. Of course, we try to control it, keep a lock on our lips, but when we let our guard down even just a little, what’s in our hearts comes out through our mouths.

I tend to have a dry sense of humor, some might even say sarcastic. Years ago the remarks which would slip from my mouth would be sharp and cutting, not meant to hurt anyone, but certainly not kind. My heart overflowed and sewage came out. God has dealt with many of those heart issues in me and I’m grateful that my slips now come from excitement and happiness, although I still need to listen closer for the inner promptings of the spirit telling me to keep my mouth shut.

If you have trouble, as I do, wrangling the beast we call a tongue, try committing this scripture to memory. It has done amazing things in my life.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Dear Lord, cleanse my heart, so my words can honor You. I give You the keys to my heart, so You may be the gatekeeper of my mouth. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Amazing Eyes

170299448_58cd484b32_mOur eyes are nothing short of amazing, astounding and awesome. Here are some facts about your eyes you might not have known:

  • Computer usage won’t damage your eyes. According to the American Academy of Opthamology, the feeling you have of eyestrain after using a computer has more to do with dry eyes than with actual strain. While using a computer, most people blink less often than normal, causing their eyes to dry out.
  • It’s very rare, but two blue-eyed parents can produce a brown-eyed kid and two brown-eyed parents can produce a blue-eyed kid.
  • Your eyes are not full size at birth. This one was a surprise even to me. At birth your eyes are approximately 16 millimeters wide and they grow to 23 millimeters by age three. They will be full grown at about 24 millimeters wide by the time you hit puberty—a size that is slightly smaller than a gumball.
  • The length of your eye determines what type of eyesight you have. Nearsighted people have longer eyeballs, while farsighted people have shorter ones. Even a change as small as a millimeter will change the prescription for your eyes.
  • Having 20/20 vision isn’t the same as having “perfect” vision. What it means is that you can see at 20 feet what an average person can see at 20 feet. The best recorded vision was about 20/10, meaning what most people can see at 10 feet, this person could see at 20 feet.
  • The visual center of your brain (the occipital lobe) is actually located in the back of your head. If you fall hard and hit the back of your head, it’s possible to go temporarily blind as a result.

How did our amazing eyes form? To fit the timeline of evolution, many evolutionists subscribe to the theory that eyes evolved spontaneously multiple times. This is the only way to account for the development of the eye in many different and divergent branches of the evolutionary tree.

But this isn’t a theory that makes much sense. The eye is only useful as a complete structure. What evolutionary advantage would non-functional parts have to cause them to evolve once, much less multiple times?

What makes more sense is that the eye is an awe-inspiring structure that speaks to the beautiful design of our creator.

References: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/vision_facts_myths.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/20/eye-facts_n_4441884.html

Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/19013087@N00/170299448″>eye_1</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Devotion

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:12-14

I watched a TV show the other night where this guy took on a challenge to get a date from any girl using only baby talk. You can probably guess he didn’t have any luck at all. A grown man talking like a baby wasn’t attractive.

And yet, when my youngest daughter says “nola bar” for granola bar, I think it’s the cutest thing in the world. Why? Because she isn’t supposed to know better. She isn’t mature.

When we examine ourselves, can we say we are spiritually mature? After accepting the amazing gift of salvation, our spiritual work isn’t done. God wants us to grow and mature in our faith. The author of Hebrews makes this point in the verse above.

Maybe you’re a new Christian and you’re exactly where you need to be. But if you’ve been a Christian for a while, God has a plan to help you grow. This could mean getting involved in Bible Study, Mens/Womens groups, Journey groups or even starting a daily time with God. It doesn’t matter where you start from, just move toward Him.

Dear Lord, thank you for the way you have made us to need You. Help us to stretch our spiritual wings and soar. Keep us growing, keep us humble and above all keep us focused on You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Science of Generosity

dreamstime_s_33068655The Bible says to love others as you would love yourself (Matthew 22:39). I don’t know about you, but I treat myself pretty well. If I work hard, I get a Starbucks coffee. When I’ve got a function coming up, I get a new dress. But am I as generous with others as I am with myself?

I usually try to be and when I am generous with others, it makes my day so much happier. From experience, most people know the joy that comes from being generous and claim it as a life principle, often without realizing God told us to live that way.

And guess what? Scientists have started to look into the neuromechanics (did I just make up a word?) of generosity. Recent research has linked the good feeling that comes when we’re generous to a chemical in our brain called oxytocin—the so-called love hormone. Turns out our brains are flooded with this chemical when we give to people generously, which is partly why giving feels so good.

Some people might say this is an evolved trait that came when we realized that we could live longer lives if we cooperated in community. But I don’t buy it. Those who look out for themselves alone usually get along just fine in the world and sometimes they prosper. I can’t see any selective advantage to generosity. In fact, the tendency to give away more than you must should be a negative selection factor because it leaves you with fewer resources to survive. Plus, if you help everyone else survive, then you have more competition for limited resources.

No, this reward for generosity didn’t come from evolution. The oxytocin is a gift from God to encourage us to follow His word. Proving once again, God’s ways are the best ways to live.

 

References: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795.php, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moral-molecule/200911/the-science-generosity

Photo Credit: ID 33068655 © Nicoleta Ionescu | Dreamstime.com

Devotion

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 13:20

Who are you walking with? Are your closest friends walking down a spiritual path?

We are called to be a light to those who don’t believe in Jesus. Some people think this means we should walk with unbelievers to show them we care.

I agree, to a point. Of course we should show everyone Jesus’ love, but we cannot tread down a path of unrighteousness and stay pure before God.

While we must not condemn unbelievers for what they do, we also cannot condone sinful behavior. If we’re walking with God, then we will be strong enough to come beside them, turn them gently and guide them in a different path.

Dear Lord, give us your love for those who don’t know you. Help us to look past their behavior and into their souls. And give us the strength to turn them to You and away from sin without falling into sin ourselves. In Jesus’ name, amen.