Who is The Devotional Writer? My name is Jan Blonk and I was born and raised in the Netherlands. Jan is the Dutch male version of John and is pronounced “yawn.” I permanently moved to the U.S. in 2001 to pursue my graduate degree program.
While I can give you some interesting and not so interesting facts about who I am and what I do, I’d rather give you my “apology” for writing. In the olden days a writer would start his book with an “apology”—not an excuse but a defense of why he wrote his book. Here’s my “apology” for being The Devotional Writer:
First (they were also known for doing a “first,” “second,” etc.), I need to daily encourage myself with God’s word, especially looking to Jesus for everything. He said: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). We’re to continually feed on Him. His “flesh” seems to refer to his entire life, from the moment he was born till He cried, “It is finished.” His “blood” is obviously referring to the blood He shed on the cross. His righteous life and sacrificial death are to be our daily, spiritual nutrition.
In summarizing the gospel—Jesus death, burial, and resurrection—Paul said that we’re to “hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Salvation and the Christian life is to “hold fast” to Jesus—to cling to Him. Or as Augustus Toplady wrote: “Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die” (Rock of Ages).
Paul wrote something similar in Colossians: “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above approach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” (Col. 1:21-23). For me, writing is one of the means to feed on Jesus and hold fast to Him.
Second, I also want to encourage others with the same encouragement I receive. Life has its many trials and difficulties. It certainly isn’t a bed of roses. However, in all our afflictions, God comforts us. He’s the “God of all comfort.” Paul wrote: “Who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). It’s an incredible thought that my afflictions are meant for me to experience God’s comfort and being able to comfort others.
Third, I believe God has given me the gift of writing and I want to use that gift. Jesus talked about giving talents: “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” Later on, “after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them,” asking what they had done with what He had entrusted to them (Matt. 25:14-30). Since I believe writing is a talent (ability) God has given me, I want to use it, asking the Lord to give the growth (see 1 Cor. 3:5-7).
Fourth, writing helps me to dig deeper into God’s word, for it causes me to ponder what it means. It’s very easy to quickly read His word each day, forgetting what I just read (see Jam. 1:22-25). Writing helps me to dig for gold, which normally is hard work but definitely worth it: “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps. 119:162). This, then, also gives me a greater perspective on what’s important in life. We can live our lives “looking at worthless things” (Ps. 119:37), or we can pursue truth (gold): “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Writing helps me to turn to God and reject the “vanity of vanities” (Ecc. 1:1).
Fifth, writing has some permanence: “Though he died, he still speaks” (Heb. 11:4). Our lives “are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Jam. 4:14). What are seventy or eighty years in light of endless ages? Moses prayed: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). We need God’s deliverance from clinging to what has no value to pursuing what has eternal value: “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Ps. 119:25).
In light of the brevity of life, I want to leave something behind that still speaks, “if the Lord wills.” We know from Isaiah that, “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). Writing about God’s word allows me to share in its permanence because it “will stand forever.” May the Lord give the growth (see 1 Cor. 5-7) and establish the work of my fingers, typing away (see Ps. 90:17).
Sixth, writing, especially on the internet, has a great reach, both in time and distance. There’s not a lot I can add to this point, except to ask God that it might please Him to use my writing for His glory and the honor of His name, and that it might please Him to use it for the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of saints. Here are my “five barley loaves and two fish” (John 6:9). May Jesus supernaturally multiply it for the feeding of many!
Lastly, I want to do so for my children and their children and their children, and so forth, till Jesus returns, leaving my convictions and encouragement with and for them. My grandfather, whose name I bear, wrote and submitted his Christian convictions to his hometown newspaper. How I wish I would be able to read what he wrote. Unfortunately he died when I was only eight, never having a chance to ask him about it. Consequently, writing has special meaning to me in light of my offspring.
When my life on earth has ended, I sincerely and prayerfully hope that my offspring will be blessed by what I wrote and, above all, look to Jesus alone for salvation and everything else: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
The Devotional Writer
P.S. for some more information about me, please visit www.christian-copywriting.com