The Bucket. (#jammed daily devo, day 364)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 364: Empty Buckets

“The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5

“What if I never actually surf,” I joked, “It’s a possibility!”DECJAM30

Monday morning Bible study prepares and leads me.

“What if God just wants to teach me something through the process of preparation?”

It’s a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

I’ve trained for a marathon before, making it through the last training run, but never to the starting line. The pain of injury, embarrassment, and discouragement was miraculously never able to overtake the lessons God laced into those faithful strides and Jesus-partnered miles.

Today’s verse reminds us what our buckets should be full of …Him.

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:5-6 (VOICE)

It’s hard to keep our “gentle nature” when things are not going our way. There are things we want to be able to do, and when we can’t it’s frustrating. How do we attempt that seemingly impossible smile in the face of defeat?

“The Lord is ever present with us.”

Somehow we forget that He is there in our failed attempts, too. The discouragement we feel when we fail  is hard. But that’s not what it looks like from God’s point of view. We get so caught up in what we think it will look like to achieve the task He’s given us, that we forget to throw our timeline.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.”

How often do we do that? Stop and spin on our heals to pray. That’s not our natural reaction to failure. We limp due to our fractured state, and immediately melt down in self defeat. It can cause us to question everything about our dedication to God.

“Was I just a wimp?”

“Did I just quit …again?”

“Am I a quitter?”

“Maybe …” might be the response. “But I love you anyway, and I’m not worried about it.”

“He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”

When we set new resolutions and goals every year, none are goals we don’t intend on achieving. If talk to God about our goals before rushing to fill in our brand new planners and calendars, He’s able to readjust our perception of what the deadline should be. A goal could linger on for a long time without a check mark or a line through it …but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little closer to it with each passing year.

The key to joy in this life is know that “the Lord is near.” To our victories and our failures. Through our pain and our celebration. Every time we check something off of our bucket list, He adds something else. The point of life isn’t to check everything off and then just sit around and wait to go to heaven. The creator of time is not in the business of wasting any of it.

WE are to be good stewards of our time, not looking forward to nothing left to do …but finding joy in the pursuit of holiness.

Each day He has something for us to do. If we do the best we can to see Him in it and to bring Him along on our daily journey, we’ll never look back and wonder what the purpose for any of it was. We may not understand it …but Jesus died for us to believe in Him …not to be perfect. He’s got that covered.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for bucket lists, and thank You for growing us through every goal an aspiration You plant in our hearts to achieve. We love You. Forgive for days when we feel like the cross isn’t enough. Bless us to live lives that reflect Your love, and Your Son. 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 Bucket Listing,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Turn (#jammed daily devo, day 363)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 363: Don’t forget to spot.

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (VOICE)

“Mom! Mom!” my little ballerina leaped into the kitchen with glee, “Look how many times DECJAM29I turned!”

My tiny dancer had been determined enough to earn a lot of monetary support through her skill at the dance team’s turn-a-thon fundraiser. It was a lot more than I could do without losing all of the day’s nutrition, but she had learned how to continue turning without getting sick or falling down. A skill every ballerina has to learn …how to spot.

Spotting is simply finding a place to focus the eyes on while the rest of the body turns. The goal is to hold that gaze as long as possible, until the body demands that the head whip around with it. Then, quickly, the dancer removes their eyes from that spot for a split second, and then finds it again. The whole process is repeated for as many times as their are turns required.

God will provides us with the talent He has gifted us to work with. The challenge lies in knowing what that is, and when and how to work hard. It’s hard to find our spot, and challenging not to discount our gifts in seasons of hard work. Self-doubt can sink-in when life isn’t running in the direction we feel like going.

Today’s verse was written out of encouragement for a discouraged people, but a people that worshipped God. There is shelter and encouragement in faithful worship and willingness to keep working. 

When we venture outside of the window God has designed for us to work, it’s easy to become distracted. The world around us, and the needs that pop up daily, press us. Tuning in to God’s voice above the volume of other opinions and advisors in life is critical.

The wisdom and guidance we seek is revealed through God’s Living Word. Jesus promises never to leave us. Day by day, in search of wisdom, He will teach us and guide us. Jesus is our refuge this side of the gospel.

Looking to the next year of life and the resolutions it begs us to set, let’s challenger ourselves to pick a verse to spot as we turn the calendar over day after day. Eyes on Him maintain balance.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for being our shelter in the darkness, and our hope in times of need. Thank You for reminding us of Jesus in our lives, and in verses that we’ve never noticed Him before. We can be assured that He’s there, and ask for Your forgiveness for brushing Him aside to pursue what lies in the darkness, anyway. Bless us to be wise in working the window You have purposed us to perch upon. 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 Spotting,

Megs

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

 

Stay encouraged!

The Christmas Dolphins

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“God will take care of the hidden things …” Deuteronomy 29:29 MSG

“Mom!!!!” My seven-year-old screeched as she took off into the depths of the house,  “I have the BEST idea for Christmas cookies this year!” dec recall 12

The discomforting changes that we instinctively fight can yield a refreshing freedom to embrace new traditions.

My then-Kindergartener emerged from the basement with a play doh-cutter in her hand.

“CHRISTMAS DOLPHINS!!!!” she spat out with glee. “For Grammy and Papa.”  Though we were all sad to see them relocate to warmer climate permanantly, my daughter reminded me to allow the possibility of what could be compared to what had always been.

Today’s verse expounds upon an Israelite people that would rely on descendants to carry on their commitment to the Lord. Even Moses would turn the reigns of leadership over to Joshua before they would set eyes on their promised land.

” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden. But he makes other things known to us and to our children forever. He does it so we can obey all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 NIRV

The wisdom gained over an ancestral lifetime wasn’t automatically transferred to the recall12 dec tweet 2.png
next generation back then, nor is it now. Try as we may to listen to those that have gone before us, history tends to repeat itself. Additionally, God doesn’t make all things available to learn in this lifetime.

hidden- being out of sight or not readily apparent. (Merriam-Webster)

In the second half of this month’s verse, I believe a shred of light is cast on the most popular question human-kind raises …why? “He does it so we can obey …” He’s omnipotently given us a unique purpose in this life that we are not always privy to.

 “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” 1Corinthians 13:12 MSG

dec recall 2
Jesus is our glimpse.

When we are mangled from the latest mess of this falling landscape, He is there. As pieces of our hearts shatter irreparably, He holds onto the shards. It’s hard to imagine our Savior suffering, but Christ felt every hurt that we feel from the manger to the cross. He was mocked and shut out of social circles …beaten though innocent …judged yet perfect …tempted by the devil. And He is our bridge over the gaps we cannot fulfill within our minds upon this earth.

The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 HCSB

“The revealed things belong to us.”   We can trust that through every hurtful change …misunderstood abandonment …heart wrenching suffering and unplanned diversion,  He has given us what we need to survive. Faith in Christ allows us to loosen our grip on the injustice of “why,” in trade for the patience to wait on “Who.” The Israelites would fall and flounder over and over again, suffering at the hand of their own disobedience. But we have a hope that they did not. Jesus.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

Christmas is a celebration of our allowance into the presence of God, because of the life Jesus lived and the death He conquered to free us from the curse of sin.
image

” For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror…” 1Corinthians 13:12a NIV

Faith is being able to look into the face of unexplainable difficulty and see the goodness of God. When we look for Him, we will find Him. He is evident in creation, and waiting in His Word.

hēnnâ is an adverb meaning “here,” usually in the sense of “in this place, – Mounce Complete Expository Dictionary

He is in His Word. For Christians, He is in us. His creation reflects the beauty of His glory. He is here.

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1Peter 1:8 NIV

recall 12 dec tweet 1Though we fight unwelcome change, we want God’s will over our plan. When we allow our grasp on the concrete “why”to fade, faith in what He has hidden is overcome by what He’s revealed. We become content to abide in His secrets when we understand more about who He is. Faith is trusting our Father to hold onto the unknown answers. Christmas is honoring what we know with what we have …right now. Make the Christmas trees, wreaths, and angels …but leave room for the Christmas dolphins, too.

“…then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search tout, man cannot discover it’s meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.” Ecclesiastes 8:17

know- to perceive directly (Merriam-Webster)

comprehend- to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of (Merriam-Webster)

We don’t need to know when we comprehend “why’s” Author.

Happy Christmas,

Megs

Click here or on the image for this month’s FREE verse memory cards

Screenshot 2017-10-11 15.29.01#recall 12 verse cards, DEcember PDF

This post may be appear at the following link-up parties. Come join us!

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

 

Stay encouraged!

The Nylon Strings (#recall12, July)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word together each month! This month’s verse is:

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2

#recall12 July image 1

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”

I’m enjoying this. I love to listen to her play. Don’t criticize her for playing. Think about something else….

In the beginning stages of my daughter’s love for her ukulele, there was a lot of inward coaching I had to do in order to let her discover her own sound. It was music to my ears to hear her musical genius uncle tell her that her instrument had nylon strings …and she was  going to knock them out of tune by banging on them so hard.

“But I just like to jam,” she argued.

“Well, you need metal strings if you want to jam like that …” he explained.

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”She still wasn’t convinced.

“You heard what your uncle said,” I reminded, “if you snap a string on that uke because you’re stubborn, I’m not replacing it.”

Eye-roll …but compliance.

Oh, the sweet sound.

This month’s verse highlights the stubbornness of humanity …and God’s people. Fresh off a victory over Pharoh’s army and witness to them being swallowed by the Red Sea, there is abundant praise for God and His provision and protection.

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. -Exodus 15:1

It’s on the heals of this that this months verse is bellowed for all to hold dear forevermore:

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.#recall12 July tweet 1
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” -Exodus 15:2


How easy it is to give praise on top of the mountain of victory…
When the trumpets are blaring and the confetti is flying and the finish line tape rips across our chests and the publisher loves our idea and our children are successful ….

But it’s quite another thing to elevate our hearts to this level of praise before we witness the victory we seek. It’s not always going to look so big.

Sometimes, victory as we see it doesn’t come. God seems quiet. The nylon strings seem to be holding up just fine. So we jam on. Hard.

Until we snap.

That can look different for everyone. Temptation of all manner is waiting for opportunities like these. When we’re sitting in the pocket of victory,  we’re most likely to snap.

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2 #recall12 July Tweet 2

This month’s verse isn’t situational. Whether you are jamming on your nylon strings, staring at a snapped one, or have moved on to more durable metal strings …jam on. Because unlike an instrument, God’s song is not interrupted when we break. He doesn’t miss a beat. Whether we know it, see it, or hear Him  …He always hears …always cares …and always loves.

Our omnipotent God is unstoppable.

We are not Him, but we are made in His image.

“Music played a major role in the lives of people in biblical times. It was used in both sacred and secular activities and was most often associated with joy and celebration.”  Dictionary of Bible Themes

In Exodus 15:1-21, music celebrates victory.

victory-a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war. -dictionary.com#recall12 July image 2

Victories are not exclusive to armies and athletics. They are the stuff of our Savior. Everyday miracles and tally-mark wins. Tempers calmed and callings chased. Jesus knows what it’s like to be human, and He knows that we are not capable of handling ourselves as He …the very Son of God and Spotless Lamb …did.

We’re incapable of carrying a tune without Armor. Hand Him what you can’t handle.

He is our strength.

We were never meant to be as strong as we try to be. We were created to lean in …to Him.

In the small victories and challenging moments of this month, let’s remember this verse …and sing a song … to our Strength.

#recall12 July image 3

Father, Praise You …for You alone are our Strength and our Shield. In times of trouble and in times of naivety, thank You for protecting and upholding us with Your just hand. We confess to snapping strings in the process of seeking our own method of progress. Forgive us, and send Your Spirit to bless us and fortify our hearts with Your Word and will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Singing!

Megs

CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS.

#recall12 July memory cards

#recall12 July Verse Memory Cards PDF

This post may occasionally be linked up at the following parties. Come join us!

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

 

 

Stay encouraged!

The Great Thirty-eight. (#recall12 series, June.)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s Word each month! This month’s verse is :

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

#recall12 June image 1

“Thirty-eight is going to be great.”

God has been whispering this blessing over my life as I peer into the next year of it. The last decade of my life has been riddled with challenge and laced in blessing. Each encroaching birthday is little scarier than the last.

With each year, more are diagnosed, suffer, and pass away. The people that it’s happening to are getting closer and closer in direct contact with my life. Friends, family …cancer.

“Cancer sucks,” my 8-year-old daughter declares …and I sigh.#recall12 June tweet 1

Cancer is scary. Life is terrifying.

Parting is unfathomable.

With each passing year, I have more to lose …and that particular fear would like to plant it’s paralyzing seed right smack in the center of my heart. Fear of loss can only be overcome by perfect Love.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Lying in the first part of this month’s verse is the fan to fear’s flame. “The thief…”

thief-One that steals especially stealthily or secretly. -Merriam-Webster

The NIV Study Bible Notes declare, “His interest is in himself.” Indeed. Selfishness is akin to theft …and fear.

#recall12 June Tweet 2selfishness- Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself. Merriam-Webster

Excessive and exclusive leave no room for the devil’s care for us. He’s messing to make us miserable enough to forgo the blessings in front of us. Worry and anxiety play an important role in what he’s trying to accomplish. His hope is that our hold on the world will overshadow the joy of Jesus’ heavenly embrace.

His breath filled all things

    with a living, breathing light—
 A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched. John 1:4-5

Jesus is Life and Light. No new worry we discover to fret over is new news to Jesus, who sat with God from the very beginning of time. He knew us before birth, and I imagine that the Words He ordained to be written in the Bible for us to read were spoken with all of us in mind.

Through the darkness then, and murky bottoms now, He is Light and Life. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. Alive.

#recall12 June image 2

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE)

There is a joyful and abundant life to be lived here on earth, knowing that He wins. We win. Death may part us from our friends and family. Cancer will steal time and break hearts. There’s no need to reach for wretched news to wreck our day. But just as it surrounds us, so does He. In the sunrise, He reminds us He is here. In the smile of a child, He reminds us Life is good. Through the unexpected note from a friend or a hug from a stranger, He shows us that He cares.

Are we looking for life, or waiting for death?

“The Greek word for “life” is found 36 times in John, while no other NT book uses it more than 17 times.” NIV Notes.

Life … “zoe”in Greek, means both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life. (Strong’s Concordance.)

Someone said to me recently that sometimes doubt can mean we are actually on the right track. Knowing the full scope of what the devil is up to, that makes perfect sense. He can’t make us do anything …but he can cause us to wobble in and out of doubt and anxiety. Fear is an attack on every good thing the Father has in store for us. All of the joy that Jesus died to lend us. Life was not promised to be easy …or fair …or painless …or always happy. There are times in this life that we will barely be able to lift our heads to the sky and ask Him , “why?”

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

Let’s continue to lift our heads and hold onto hope. It’s not a fairytale wish, but it is the stuff of fairy tales. Our Redeemer King has already rescued us. Live what He saved to the fullest.

#recall12 series June image 3

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

Father, Praise You for Life. Thank You for Jesus’ gift to us. Grace surrounds us, yet we fail on so many occasions to face it. Forgive us for looking past You for comfort, and help us to fiercely follow Your Son’s footsteps each day that we are blessed with on this earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Happy Birthdays!

Megs

Click here, or on the image below, for FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS!

recall12_pdf_june_image

#recall 12 June Verse Memory Cards PDF

This post may occasionally be linked up at the following parities! Join us!

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

Stay encouraged!

The Puppy Principle (#recall12 series)

“Would you like to get well?” John 5:6b (NLT)

recall12-mar-tweet-1Sweating down the sidewalk past lunchtime, calvary of whiners in tow, I tried to focus on the petunias lining the lakefront streets. Aggravated by the lack of parental response, foot stomping and arm tugging ensued. The shrill demand escalated to a bossy holler each time my toddler strode past another furry friend.

Girl wanted a puppy. But her parents were not puppy people. Not even dog people. Barely cat people.

A happy life requires a walk of faith that fuels the good things meant for our future. This month’s #recall12 verse will show us how, in letting go, we grab who we are destined to be.recall12-mar2

1. Dreams are God-placed.

 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.” John 5:4-5

Sometimes we don’t want to get well because we don’t realize our lack. Of course this man wanted to get well. But he’d been sick for so long it was hard for him to imagine it actually happening. Instead of blind faith in the possibility, the man rehearsed a life’s worth of rationalizations competing against his opportunity to be healed.

When we don’t consult our Creator before discounting ourselves, we’re in danger of missing miraculous healing. Operating outside the will of God won’t allow us to experience the good He has plan for us.

2. Dreams are too big for us to accomplish on our own.

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6

Do we want our dreams, or God’s dream for us? Our good Father created mankind out of love. We want His dream over anything we could possibly conjure up.recall12-martweet2

This verse is an important question to ask ourselves anytime we’re in faced with decision. It has the capability to reveal sickness. Sometimes we don’t know we’re sick until we look back at how we used to feel, or forward to a timeline we can’t fill in.

3. Dreams are built into the fabric of our person.

 ‘I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.'” John 5:7

recall12-mar2How often do we operate in blind trust without knowing for certain what the future holds?To stake claim on the God-sized dreams He crafted us to accomplish, we must recognize who we are and the work we have to do.

How often to we make excuses like the man in the  passage? In his defense, he may have perceived his prose as simple matter of fact. Those of us who see the healing coming wonder, “where is your faith?” No painful situation easily attaches itself to faith. It takes discipline to have faith when it hurts …and it’s hard.

4. Dreams are work we get to do.

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!'” John 5:8

The people of Joshua Chapter 3 might have missed walking through a river on dry ground, had they sat around and asked questions first …doubted that they could …or waited to see what they would get in return for their hard work.

Imagine what the man in John Chapter 5 might have become had he said, “no, I don’t think I can…” or “Jesus, that’s impossible.”

We are the image of a God who does the impossible. It’s our belief …our faith …that needs to catch up. In relationship with our Father, a privilege Jesus gave His life for, we can continually pray for guidance. Step by step, God will illuminate the work required to meander the path of our life’s purpose.

5. Dreams don’t have to wait.

“Instantly, the man was healed!” John 5:9arecall12-mar3

When we wake up each day with intention to seek God’s design for our lives, He is faithful
to answer and send His Spirit to guide our way …right away. When we walk with Christ, we live in happiness amidst the darkness. The switch can be flipped in an instant. The winds of change are swift.

Four years after the foot stomp parade along the petunia-lined streets, the “we will never have a dog” people are total dog people. Looking back, my husband and I are still shocked at the shift of our hearts. “I’m still not a dog person,” says my husband, who searched for just the right puppy …named her …and bought her a Christmas sweater.

Stay open, in prayer, for unexpected winds of change.

Happy Puppy-Principling,

Megs

Click here or on the image below to download FREE verse memory cards! 

march-recall-12-cards-pdf

march-recall-12-cards-jpg-1Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

Stay encouraged!

The Flash Drive (#recall12 series)

recall-12-feb-1

The Holy Spirit ignites within the moment we believe in Christ, opening our eyes and ears to interpret God’s living Word. Prayer is like a flash drive containing the situational solutions to all of our problems. It’s useful to save a few key life verses on it, which is recall-12-feb-verseexactly what we’re doing here in the #recall12 series. In our struggle to find a way, God leads us to pray.

“Always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1 (NLT)

1. Persistance 

“He told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged.” Luke 18:1 (VOICE)

This month’s memory verse is a prelude to ‘The Parable of the Persistant Widow.’ Through the story of a woman seeking a judge’s verdict, Jesus taught the his followers the value in persistent and perseverant prayer.

Though our gut’s reaction is to freakishly scramble for hurried solutions, God’s presence beckons to employ a prayerful flow of continued conversation.recall12-feb-2

2. Consistence

“He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself,“I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks.  But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.'” Luke 18:4-5

If this judge “didn’t care,” he wound’t have felt it necessary to broach the topic of this widow’s plight. The prodding of his heart was not his own conscience shifting, but someone else’s prayers being upheld.

God hears us. More importantly, He tells us to keep talking. Keep praying. When frustration emerges, let’s determine to pray into it, wait for God to lead us out of it …and have faith that He will.

3. Silence 

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice?” Mark 8:6-7

God’s determination to help His people has little to do with our resolve to act rightly. He seeks to help those who seek Him, whether or not we are privy to His reality. God is not dependent upon any human behavior to justify His response. Jesus’ death on the cross gave His believers the opportunity to cry out to the Father in prayer, and trust that He hears and answers.recall12-feb-3

Gossip hurts. Isolation stings. Injury is painful. Sickness is defeating. Loss is agonizing. God’s voice can seem deafeningly quiet to us when our situation is bleak and our hearts are broken. Though we may not see and here God the way we seek to, the promise of His presence is always present. In a conversation so personal we couldn’t describe it if we wanted to, He leads us through every season in the silent wanderings of our prayers.

4. Omnipotence

(Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of God will not come through valiant efforts but as people pray, “may Your kingdom come,” with persistence and with humility.)” Luke 18:8 (VOICE)

Trust that God controls what we do not: healing, death, conception, time, creation and purpose. Ending our prayers “In Jesus Name,” declares our faith in His will over our prayer requests and our lives. We must be careful to pour our hearts out in prayer to Him and then let go. Grasping for control only causes us to sink further into our plight. But when we let go of the answer we want to hear and listen for the one He is laying out before us, miracles become visible. Coincidence connects answered prayer.

recall12-feb-2The conversations we have with the Father bleed out onto and into life.  He’s privy to our seat in the auditorium. Pop in the flash drive, transfer the data over to Him, and download His answer. It’s what Jesus died for …relationship with God.

Father, Praise You for Your listening ear and compassion for us. You tell us to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1) You are powerful to trump any form of justice set upon this earth with Your omnipotent hand. God, You ARE love. You ARE grace. 

Praise for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to pour our hearts into Your healing hands. In conversation with You, keep our eyes open and our ears attentive to Your will for our lives over our prayer requests. Surround us with Your purpose for our lives, and compassionate love when life is impossible.

Forgive us for our lack of stamina, and remind us of Jesus death on the cross. Bless Your Spirit to our hearts and minds to remember this verse today, and always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Happy Downloading,

Megs

Click here or the image below for FREE verse memory cards!feb-recall-12

00001

Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

Stay encouraged!

Fear Fighting: When You’ve Gotta Have Control

It’s my honor to host a post from one of my favorite writers, Kelly Balarie. Praise God for her
faithfulness to bring this amazing message on conquering fear out into the world! Sit back and get ready to soak up some courage … 

When I thought about fighting as a child, it was normally with my siblings. I’d sink my nails into them, they’d shriek. I’d see a injustice, like them taking my pile of lego’s and I’d tackle them. I was the oldest, so I could always win. I liked it that way.

Yet, somewhere along the lines, I think I’ve lost my power. I like winning position; I’m strong there. Yet, now, I feel like people, life, and situations are acting on me, more than I’m acting on them. For a girl who harnesses the idea of being in control, this makes me feel – well, out of control. I deeply dislike that.

Do you feel out of control? Do you feel all alone, fighting for a life that you can’t seem to wrangle to order?

I know the ache. I feel the helplessness. I relate to the struggle.

god-made-the

Certainly, I am well aware of the fact I’m not supposed to be running my life. Certainly, I know that Jesus rules. Certainly, I know that he is the one who holds power, even when I mistakenly think I do. The bible is clear on this.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21

I know I am out of control, but my mind still tells me I’m in control.

Where does a woman go when she is stuck in this place?

Just yesterday, I was frustrated at myself for over-managing my children, yet again. I’d spoken too sternly, punished too heavily and disconnected my heart immensely. The drive home from school-drop off was painful. “I’ve just got to let go of control,” I thought to myself.

My car stopped. A bus had put out its “stop” sign. Into the bus went the children. It wasn’t the children, my eye was drawn to, however, it was the parents. There they stood, arms waving, madly. Kisses blowing, in rapid succession. Bodies running after the bus as it took off. Sadness, filling their face as their little pieces of joy took off.

I realized something: God wants me to know He is with me on my journey.

He doesn’t just tell me to do and abandon me. He doesn’t kick me out the door to hustle, alone in the cold, to his purposes. He runs up, alongside me. He cheers me on as I go – with Him. He delights in the journey of us going together. He wishes me well. Like a good daddy, he has good plans for me.

He meets me and moves with me – he runs alongside me. He even goes before me.

The fight with control is not about battling it to the ground; it is knowing that God covers my future ground with me. It is realizing that as I give up my ways, He presents his. I’m not left for ruin. I’m not left alone. I’m not left behind.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:Paperback3DTemplates_5.5x8.5.indd

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers,
anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day.

kellypic
About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.

Stay encouraged!

The Smiley Faces

the-smiley-faces-pic-1“MOMMMMMM-A!!!”cried my wallowing six-year old, accompanied by her trademark stomp of dissatisfaction. “It’s doing MINUSES now …that’s too HARD….”

For days, exasperated sighs and incorrect buzzers had drifted from the kitchen counter at breakfast. But every once in a while, I would hear a jubilant yell:

“A smiley-face! I got a smiley face! I beat the teacher! Ha ha ha ha !”

It’s my hope that, somewhere in her small victory celebrations and the obsequious high-fives, the fact that she’s learning math trumps beating the “teacher” on the other side of our tablet.

The capricious people-pleaser innate to humanity seeks “the smiley-faces” from life’s the-smiey-faces-tweet-1audience. And when their approval alludes us, it can leave us feeling unworthy, unqualified, unloved, and all sorts of other “un” words. We can relieve our hearts of the burden to please others, when we start to see Him first.

1. Start

“I do not run like a man running aimlessly…”1 Cor 9:26

Paul is talking about the discipline he enforced upon his own life to serve Christ. (NIV Notes) When my life get’s hard, I tend to snap. When the side of my brain that signals I’ve earned the right to lose a little control trumps the logical side, I am libel to tell my kids to pick up there “s-word.” Or, ask them what in the “hocky-sticks” they are thinking. I might stomp up the stairs, roll my eyes at my husband, or cause my kids to flinch in fear. Anyone relate?

When the endurance of preparedness kicks in, the logical side of our brains replaces the-smiley-faces-pic-2lunacy with a pause. A moment, to just sit in the pocket of reaction and allow the memory to search out truth. If we read the truth of God’s Word day after day, it will remain alive and active to guide us on the fly.

Paul knew the cost and sacrifice of such discipline, but knew also it wasn’t aimless.

2. Stamina

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Cor. 9:24

“All the runners run” challenges me to lay down my efforts to succeed in exchange for consistency and discernment.

In a long-distance track event, I like to watch the runners who get boxed in after the lanes merge. Despite all of the preparation and experience the sport can offer, some of the best runners in the world still end up there. Against all odds, sometimes a runner jolts out of the pressure pocket like lightning …and sails back into the race. I love to root for those runners.

the-smiley-facesHave you found yourself boxed into places you’ve never wanted to be …places you prepared never to be? Let me encourage you from a place of commraderie. Human weakness will never go away, but neither will Jesus. Sometimes the only way to get the prize is to take a leap of faith. To reach out for His hand through the spikes clipping by, and let Him pull us back into the race when we’re ready to jolt.

3. Seek

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last forever.” 1 Cor. 9:25

Phil 3:14 explains that the winner of the race, in the time period Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, won money and a wreath of leaves. (NIV notes on Phil 3:14) We train awfully hard to earn promotions, win medals, buy houses, and take vacations. The incomparably majestic crowns in Heaven are going to make a free trip to Disney World equatable to a free Oreo cookie. Just one cookie. Without the milk.

the-smiley-faces-pic-3

When I get to heaven, I want God to be proud of me… like a whole reward chart overflowing with smiley-faced stickers. He’ll always love me, but I want to have endured obedience in the pursuit of holiness. I want to break free from the pack and run down that straightaway praising His name as the tape breaks across my chest. I want to win. For Him. God doesn’t paint a whole picture of what that looks like for everyone. It’s as individual as each one of us. And His is the only approval we’re intended to rely on.

Happy Seeking,

Megs

 

 

I link up at the following places. Come join in the fun!

 

Stay encouraged!

The Boo-Boos

The screech was ear piercing, and my limbs were too slow to react to what I saw. Little limbs flew over handlebars, and skidded to a stop on the concrete. Tears streamed and knees bled. I scooped my baby up to the tune of my quickly abandoned bike crashing to the ground.  My breath paused waiting for her to catch hers.The Boo Boo 1

Against my incessant warnings and her better judgement, little Lo continued to ride her purple banana-seat bike with her feet up in the air. Though she faithfully wears a helmet, it couldn’t protect her from the overflow of boo-boo’s she survived this summer from peddling standing-up to keep up with the big kids.

“It’s OK, “ I reassure her, “You’re Ok… I love you …Mommy’s got you.”

It’s infuriating to watch preventable accidents reoccur, yet we rush to the rescue every time.

When we’re little, a Mommy hug and a bandaid …or a hot pink cast signed my all of our The Boo Boo 2friends, encourages the hope of healing and the chance to ride again.  In the grown up world, scars scale beyond bloody knees and broken bones. The adult audience does not wait in angst to sign our hurts with a Sharpie. Only God’s truth is powerful enough to bind wounds completely and foster new growth from our scars.

Redemption– the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. 

Synonyms: retrieval, recovery, return. –google.com

When falling, focus on the redemptive factor of faith in Christ. The above synonyms are great stones to skip…

Boo Boo 3 Good

1. Retrieval

Retrieval-the process of getting something back from somewhere. -google.com

“For the eyes of the Lord range though the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 

The Creator of time can stretch minutes. In John 19:38, He provided the perfect timing and placement of people to retrieve His Son’s body. Do we know He takes the same care in crafting our purpose?

God pursues us.

Paul encourages, “Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared.”- Romans 8:33

 His gift of grace through Christ’s death on the cross gives us permission to peel past standardized shortcomings and embrace the promise of hope laced in every scar.

Boo Boo 4

2. Recovery

Recovery- a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost. -google.com

“Before he reached his village, his servants met him on the road celebrating his son’s miraculous recovery.” John 4:51

We often associate recovery with miraculous healing, but we see is a fraction of God’s Boo Boo 6omnipotence. Everyday battles are won on our account by our good Father.

Children, regardless of age, innately want to please their parents. Simon, in Luke 5:8-10, says,

“I can’t take this, Lord. I’m a sinful man. You shouldn’t be around the likes of me.”

It’s hard to look at fresh bruises without feeling a little ashamed.

Do we realize that’s normal?

Ephesians 2:3 reminds us that we are all guilty. Yet, in such a cycle of imperfect and repetitious behavior…through Christ …we are still redeemed.

Boo Boo 5

3. Return

Return-come or go back to a place or person. Give, put, or send something back to a place or person. -google.com

Genesis 3:19 reminds us to keep our perspective in check: “To dust we shall return.” James 5:7 urges us to be patient and wait. The word “return” in regards to Jesus’ whereabouts is mentioned 19 times in the book of Matthew …12 in Mark, 28 in Luke, and 29 in John. Jesus does a lot of returning in the gospels. Despite our cyclical sin, God hasn’t throw the towel in.

“You were bought at a price…” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23 NIV)

It cost a life for us to live. An innocent life… without sin …sacrificed in the most brutal way … to save us.

 A high price has been paid for your freedom, so don’t devalue God’s investment by becoming a slave to people.” 1 Cor. 7:23

Boo Boo 7

High price, indeed.

“In His image,”(Genesis 1:27) is so evident when we teach our kids to get back up when they fall. We tell them it’s OK. We assure them that we love them.

Throughout the vast disappointments of my life, Christ has carried me, put bandaids on my bloody knees, healed hurts too secret to share, and surrounded me in His love. Until He returns …until I am returned to Him, I will passionately pursue my redeemed place in His plan …strengthened by knowing He never gives up on me.

Happy Redeeming,

Megs

 

Stay encouraged!