The Child Among His Children (#jammed daily devo, day 362)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 362: His arrival.

Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified! Luke 2:9 (VOICE)

The tickets were paid for long in advance, but I had mentally ducked out of the plans I DECJAM28had spun into existence several times as the date crept up.  What’s the point of standing in worship under bright lights, as opposed to at church on a Sunday or in my ears-buds walking down the pier?

When “God is in this place,” as He promises to be when we gather to worship Him together, He’s omnipotently arranged something. We can pretty much count on that. God calls us to “go,” and walking with Jesus will illuminate the purpose of every chance experience.

For the shepherds in the field that witnessed God’s angels, purpose was layered into the very thread of who God knew they were.  Let’s look at the feelings the shepherds felt.

Suddenly –happening or coming unexpectedly; changing angle or character all at once. (Merriam-Webster)

The shepherds were instantly changed when the sky lit-up. They couldn’t unsee what they saw, un-feel what they felt, or un-hear what they heard. Jesus doesn’t need to prep our hearts for His arrival. In an instant admission of belief, we are changed forever. Suddenly, we see. In fact, we’re blinded. There’s no going back.

front- facing forward; directed forward. (dictionary.com)

The shepherds weren’t startled because the angels crept up behind them. They were right in front of them. Do we know that God faces us? That we can face Him? Christ Jesus, the child among His people. The ones He choose to die for …to look at, face to face.

light- something that makes things visible or affords illumination (dictionary.com)

Light allows us to see where we are going, but the light of the Lord Jesus allows us to see who we are. In a dark world, Christians can be joyful because He allows us to see His light. The light came to us on Christmas, when God’s glory came to earth.

terrified- to fill with terror or alarm; to make greatly afraid.

In order to understand the awe, coupled with the fight-or-flight shock that accompanied the shepherds reaction, here is terror defined:

terror- intense, sharp, overmastering fear

Sometimes our greatest terror is sprung from a fight within us and around us. Knowing and being able to feel and witness God’s glory in that moment in the field announcing Jesus’ birth, the shepherds felt the overwhelming awesomeness of God. Yet, something in them told them to be afraid. When we experience fear, we can determine where to steer it by remembering who God is. The shepherds choose to obey. They headed the angels and went to see Jesus, and told everyone about His birth.

How often do we let our fear fuel our self-doubt? But if we let our awe of God drive us to obedience, we get to experience Jesus.

The shepherds witnessed the Son of God. The very glory that turned the darkness of night into shocking brightness, come to earth.

The Child among His children.

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Father, Praise You for the obedience of the shepherds. Thank You for choosing those of simple stature in society to witness the Savior of the world lying in a manger. Forgive us for overlooking the circle of light that took place on Christmas, as Jesus’ glory came to earth. Bless us to appreciate and obey the awe-striking moments of opportunity You illuminate in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Shimmering,

Megs

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The Brightened Dark. (#jammed daily devo, day 361)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 361: Finally here.

“…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…”

Luke 2:9

If we succumb to a fast paced life that isn’t suited to shelving schedules and opinions to DECJAM27stand and welcome God’s presence, we will miss a marvelous piece of the Christmas story.

Chills run down our spine as we worship together. What did the shepherds feel as angels appeared when Christ was born? What was it like to stand in the very presence of God when they visited baby Jesus? What we read about their indescribable experience is only a glimpse of how it affected them.

 

Jesus was born, walked the earth, and died so we could stand in awe of our most holy God.  It’s to be sought after. It’s in us. To be surrounded by the Lord’s glory doesn’t have to come in the form of heavenly angels, but it did for the shepherds.

glory (doxa) – opinion, judgment, view. – Strong’s

At the first glance of glory defined, we can see why they were terrified. What an immense feeling to be immediately taken from the dark and exposed to the light.

doxa- opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone (in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory)- Strong’s

Always a good opinion. 

Being in God’s presence pulls all of the good that we are to the front of our minds …because that’s how He sees us. He sees the image of Him that He created, suffering for the curse of sin. He knows us apart from and beyond our struggles. A plight we can’t even relate to yet on this earth.

“splendour, brightness” (Strong’s)

Past the all-consuming and fascinating brightness of the sun, the moon and the stars, is glory. The Glory that the Shepard’s witnessed was the arrival of God’s glory on earth in Christ.

  1. a thing belonging to God
  2. the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
  3. a thing belonging to Christ  (Strong’s)

“God in this place.” Even in worship with our eyes shut we can feel Him brightening us. Even if we’re only removed from our suffering temporarily …it’s enough. Enough to get us through to the other side, with a glimpse of what we’re to do for the Kingdom in the meantime.

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Father, Praise You for the Christmas angels that terrified the shepherds. Thank You for coming low so that we can know Your presence. Forgive us for wallowing in the heartache and struggle of this world, and help us to let go and just be in Your presence through worship and service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Squinting,

Megs

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The Garbage (#jammed daily devo, day 360)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 360: Yesterday’s Mess.

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.“Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2:13

DECJAM26

There are few things more embarrassing than “day after Christmas” trash.  The unwrapping of all we received sits on the curb for all to see. It’s tree lawn sadness.

Jesus was whisked into the craziness of the world right away. Right after the wise men leave (which Biblically was a little bit after Jesus’ actual birthday), the Savior’s family had to flee. King Herod had lost his minded ordered a slaughter of baby boys (under the age of 2) out of a jealous rage that a new King of the Jews was born.

So off to Egypt they fled, and didn’t come back until that crazy king was dead.

The day after Christmas can feel a little exhausting. After all the build up and planning and celebrating and singing …we’re left in a vegetable like state until school and routines start back up in full swing after the new year.

What do we do with the days in between?

Let the story sink in. Stretch to see the tree lawn littered with trash.

We could be on the run tomorrow. On to life’s next big ordeal, suffering, or season. For today, let’s sit with Him, and let His love settle in. Let it sit on the curb for all to see, through the gratitude our life reflects this Christmas, the proof of all we’ve received.

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FAther, Praise You for downtime with our families and friends at Christmas. Thank You for leaving space in our schedules to sit in Your presence. Forgive us for rushing into the commercialism of the holiday season, and help us to remember those who are less fortunate and lonely at Christmas. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Sitting,

Megs

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The Wreath (#jammed daily devo, day 359)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 359, Merry Christmas!

 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.” Luke 2:6

Merry Christmas, readers! On this morning, how can we not reflect upon the beautiful DECJAM25baby Jesus? For, as today’s verse celebrates, “the time came for her baby to be born.”

The time came! In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon lists that there is time for every human emotion and activity under the sun. But what we cannot ever get a grip on is God’s timing. The Author of time will reveal everything in His time.

The Christmas wreath that hangs on my door each Christmas season welcomes everyone at my doorstep into Christmas wonderland. There are baby Jesus’ and Santa’s everywhere! The Halls are Decked! But the intriguing thing about that wreath is it’s circular shape.

It’s a circle.

Christmas kicks off the biggest celebration of the circle of life in all of history. Finally, after an entire Biblical testament of prophesy, Jesus splashes onto the page in the flesh. Right on schedule. Right where God said He’d be. Just how it was supposed to be. We could study the Bible our entire lives and God would never run out of new things to reveal to us through it.

That circular wreath symbolizes everlasting life. In a circle. Whether we are running around on earth or skipping happily through heaven, life since Jesus’ birth means death isn’t the end for Christians. It’s, in fact, only the beginning.

Maybe this is the first time you’ve looked at Christmas this way. Commercialism has had you in it’s grip and you’ve succumbed to the “why are we skipping Thanksgiving for a retail holiday” hum drum. Don’t. Don’t let anything steal away from Christmas. It only can if you allow it to. Because Christmas is Christmas. It’s Jesus. It’s Him coming to earth to live and die for our sins so that we can go to heaven. It’s all about gifts. His gifts. The gifts He gave us. Grace, Heaven, to be in the presence of God, and to live with the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us.

Yes …freak out a little. It’s cool!

The Gospels of Luke and Matthew record Jesus’ birth. You can read them here (LUKE  MATTHEW) if you’re not familiar with the story. Welcome Him in to your Christmas story. Welcome Him into your life. The magic of Christmas never fades when Jesus takes up residence in our hearts.

I’d like to pray for you, specifically, today.

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Father, Praise You for Christmas, and the miraculous circle of new life that began when Jesus came down to earth. His birth means everything to us, and we thank You for sending Your one and only Son to us. Father, there are people reading this today who have never heard or read the Christmas story before. Ignite their hearts as they discover who You are through the birth of Your Son. Help them to ease into conversation with You, asking Jesus to come in and take over their lives …vowing to follow Him all the days of their lives and onto heaven. We praise You, God. Thank you for loving us for who we are, right now, and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Merry Christmas!!!

Megs

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The Christmas Bird (#jammed daily devo, day 358)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 358: Keepsakes.

“We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

There is a little statue that sits on my desk. It’s a blue bird with a Christmas hat. I think it DECJAM24was stuck in a Christmas planter sent to my Grandma one year, and she noticed I liked it and told me to take it. Now, it reminds me of her endless generosity and love for her family. For me. Christmas was her favorite, and she was mine.

The wisemen charted stars and knew that when they saw Christ’s star rising, He had been born. From a scientifically proven stand point, they showed up. No cell phones or computers …google maps or Facebook updates. They just saw the star, knew what it meant, and went to see Jesus.

Not having all of the pieces of the puzzle, but enough of them to get there.

Life is full of pieces, and through prayer and time in God’s Word, He will convict and change our hearts on at a time. We won’t be whole until we meet Him in heaven. This little bird on my desk is a piece of my Grams. Until I get to heaven to hug her again, a glance at it brings back how loving her feels. I don’t want to forget how much I love her. It’s like that little bird stores it for me.

God blesses our lives with memories so that we can hold on hope. Christmas is one of them. We have heard the story so many times, that we can almost picture ourselves in the scene. It’s a familiar truth and love that gives us hope. He came. He was here. Now, He’s in heaven …and for all those that believe in Him, we’ll be there someday, too.

Until then, we hold onto the pieces, and work on our own …keeping our eyes on the star in the sky.

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Father, Praise You for Christmas. Thank You for guiding us through this life, and forgive us for focusing on it more than the one to come in heaven. Bless us to love those around us, and to be a reflection of Your love, to everyone that knows who we are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Piecing,

Megs

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"What Does it Mean?" Christmas Series, Week 4: Merry.

Welcome to Week 4 of the Christmas Series, “What Does It Mean?” This week, we What Does It Mean Study Guide Cover picaregoing to study the word, “Merry.” Download the Free Printable PDF Study Guide, and follow along on this Advent journey to a better understanding of commonly used “Christmas” words. Happy Christmas!

What Does it Mean Study Guide best pdf

 

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The Cast Call (#jammed daily devo, day 357)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 357: Callbacks.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 

The story of Christ’s birth tells of ordinary people who loved God, and ended up together DECJAM23on what would be the night that changed the face of the earth forever. Humanity …we long for benchmarks, standards, and qualifications. If we were in charge, the people that were picked to be Jesus’ earthly parents would not have been Mary and Joseph. They were ordinary. And Jesus would not have been born in a manger. That’s too simple …and not sanitary.

Humanity would have had Jesus born unto royalty and into a castle …not in a stable under the stars.

Tryouts. Auditions. We’re constantly having to live up to each others’ standards.

Jesus wasn’t worried about any of them. His appearance was common. His birth was common. His parents were common. Yet, the angels still lit the sky on the night He was born.

Someone once told me that no one else can tell my story. Human life is like that. It’s so intricate and unique, one to the next, that no one story is ever duplicated fully. If that’s not a miracle in and of itself …

We like to compare, thinking it will give us a certain amount of stability to know where we stand. But God knows us all. Loves us all. Jesus knew us all before we were born. Perhaps the greatest thing we can learn from Jesus’ arrival on earth is that greatness isn’t packaged the way we think it has to be. That a humble and quiet life is heard at the same volume as the loud and flashy ones.

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Father, Praise You for Christ’s humble birth, and thank You for loving every person the same on this earth. Forgive us for seeking favoritism and elevation among others, and bless our hearts to receive and give Your authentic love. In Jesus ‘ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Lane-Walking,

Megs

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The Yellow Gold (#jammed daily devo, day 356)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 356: True Colors.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2

The light caught my wedding bands and exposed the yellow gold purging through as theDECJAM22 white gold finish began to wear off again. The wear reflects the reality of life that has settled in long after the magical carriage ride and pretty white dress.

There are days that the light exposes more of ourselves than we want to see. Ten years can pass without a long glance in the mirror, and suddenly we don’t recognize the reflection anymore when we linger a little longer. Time has a way of wearing on the human soul in two directions at once. As the fleeting memory reel runs in the back, the hope of the future runs ahead. Life rarely goes as we plan, but God is never surprised.

Christmas is proof of that.

Christmas was always the plan.

Jesus was born at the time, place, and in the care of the people God planned. God is a planner. God is prepared. Today’s verse allows us the freedom to cry out to Him when we are lost. When we don’t recognize who we are anymore, in the mirror’s reflection or inside of our own minds.

“God who fulfills His purpose for me.”

He will fulfill His purpose for us.

When we can feel it happening, we cry out in praise and celebration. When we’re at a frustrating crossroad or in a pit of suffering, we cry out in need of our Healer to pull us through.

Just as sure as that baby boy breathed His first earthly breath right on time in that manger, our lives will fulfill the purpose He places us here for.

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Father, Praise You for lifting us up over and over again. Thank You for brushing off our shiny surfaces and loving us for who we are, all dulled and worn out underneath. Forgive us for wallowing or becoming discouraged as we get older. Bless our hearts to feel Your comfort and Your encouragement. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Re-coating,

Megs

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The Presents (#jammed daily devo, day 355)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 355: Christmas presents …and limits.

“Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11b

“He came! HE CAME!!!”DECJAM21

The piles of presents under the tree and the magical looks on my kids’ faces as they ran down the stairs will be etched into my heart forever. It was a gift to us to be able to give to them more than they needed, expected, or could imagine.

Jesus received gifts from the three kings. Today’s verse tells us that they opened their “treasure chests.” They gave the best they could to the King who would give them more than all of the treasure on the earth could ever compare to.

When I looked up the definition of “treasure,” I found three separate ways to define it. Appropriate, because gifts …treasure …can be defined in so many different ways and at different angles.

treasure- a (1) :wealth (such as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded; (2)wealth of any kind or in any form: riches. b: a store of money in reserve.

In one part of this definition, wealth is defined as “in any form” and/or “money.” How do we measure our treasure? Is it something we can store up, earn, or use as currency? Can we trade it, simply flaunt it for what we (and others) know it’s worth statistically?

treasure- 2:something of great worth or value; also :a person esteemed as rare or precious
A chipped glass that used to have a match from a best friend who’s no longer on this side of heaven … It has a friendship quote etched in the glass. Ironic that one broke, and she’s gone now. Treasure.
“Be a leader,” he instructed me over and over. He’s no longer here, but his words …his life in pursuit of his Savior …are as real as they ever were. Treasure.
treasure- 3:a collection of precious things
Anything with a handprint on it gets tossed in the “save” box. Pieces of wrinkled up paper with stories they wrote about their family, or their Jesus.
Treasure. The refrigerator is littered with artwork, and the office is piled high with memories.
Treasure.
The wise men, as they were called, realized that no treasure they gave the King of Kings would be enough. They were wise, after all. But they still gave their best, brought their best, and before they gave anything at all …they worshipped Him.
Christmas is Christmas. The baby boy who came to earth. Who was the Word and is the Word. The greatest Gift of all time. Humanity is always striving for more …treasure. No matter how much we give, we will never out-give the Giver.
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Father, Praise You for loving us. Thank You for giving to us extravagantly, and forgive us for letting commercialism steal any meaning from that baby in the manger. Bless us to pay the love of Christmas forward, extravagantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Stepping,

Megs

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The Mom (#jammed daily devo, day 354)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 354: Aim for average.

Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. Luke 2:29 NLT

Motherhood is ridiculous. It completely changes us from the inside out. The outside DECJAM20starts falling a part, and the inside grows more rapidly than our emotions can keep up with. Every concern about what society wants to squeeze the outside of us into disappears when the inside catches a glance of the reason(s) we’re able to claim motherhood to begin with.

Imagine the lessons Mary learned as the mother of the Son of God. She was still just a mom! A very special person, but just a mom. A faithful servant, chosen by God. She just said, “OK” to her God. Few of us know exactly how much children will change us until they get here. I can’t imagine Mary knew the grand scope of the way her heart would be moved by heaven from the manger to the cross.

The most important part of motherhood is being there, and she was. From His birth to His death on the cross …from one pendulum of pain to another, she was there. How was she there for Jesus? Just like we are there for our children. God purposely places our children in our care.

Do we, as mothers, know how much like Mary we are?

By simply saying, “OK” to God, each day of motherhood, we are honoring Him and guiding them to His feet.

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Father, Praise You for Mary, and the wonderful example of Motherhood she gives us. Thank You for motherhood. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to drown in the sheer hardship of if, and embrace the purpose that You laid in us. Bless us to guide our children to Your feet, and to teach them to listen to Your voice over all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Stepping,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

Stay encouraged!