The Legs (#jammed daily devo day 18)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 18: God’s OK with you.

“How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of artist’s hands.” Song of Songs 7:1jammed-day-18

Today’s verse comes from the Song of Songs, a book written all about the “privileges” of
marriage, if you catch my drift. Listen, if it’s in the Bible it’s important, and the application of grace in this verse is endearing.

 “Graceful legs” in this verse describes a curvaceous woman. (NIV Study Bible.)  Even in a modern society full of acceptance,  every type of body and personality type has a cynical platform that can be Googled. We’ve all been stung by the remarks of the wrong eyes.

God embraces us, not our laziness or our athletic prowess …not our plastic parts or our stretch marks …He loves us. Yes, our bodies are important, but more important is our relationship with Him. That’s what Jesus died for.

jammed-tweet-blueGod’s endearing grace has no weight limit or mental capacity.  It’s not a ticket to sloth-life, or a pass to the Olympics sans the sweat and sacrifice. God’s grace is the hope of total acceptance, without any effort that isn’t already built into our skin. To receive grace is to live beyond a realistic capacity.

Father, Praise You! For we are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) Thank you for the encouragement packed into this passage today. We confess we do not always gaze into the mirror and see what You created. Bless our eyes to see beyond what the world sees, and onto Your gracious gift to us through Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are you most self-conscious about? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Self-embracing,

Megs

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The Creature (#jammed daily devo day 17)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 17: The Fierce Nature of God’s Grace.

“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, it’s strength and it’s graceful form.” Job 41:12

What’s graceful about a Leviathan?jammed-17

What IS a Leviathan?

Trading an ice-covered lake for breezy palm trees should have relaxed my sunrise stride, but my pulse quickened nervously with each pass of swampy high grass.

“Oh, yeah,” my Dad chuckled, “A huge crocodile was just removed from that area.”

For the rest of our visit, they all poked fun at my fear of critters, and laughed when I swore I felt eyes looking at me. After two days back in the midwest, the next set of my parents’ visitors posted a picture of a huge crocodile in the swampy grass …

“DAD!!!!!” I called him immediately. “I knew it was watching me!” I vowed never to run in Florida again for the rest of my life. #thecritterfearisREAL

A Leviathan is an ancient Nile crocodile, not graceful like the ballerina we picture gliding across the stage.

I believe what God is trying to illustrate through this awesome creature is that grace is fierce. It’s unstoppable, and adapts to survive in all climates.  The ferocity of God’s grace is manifested through His defense of our souls through Jesus’ death on the cross. What may seem harsh on this earth can only be for good, because that’s what He is.

jammed-tweet-blueGod allowed suffering in Job’s life, but not the snatching of His soul. Job still lived be over a century old. God will bring us through painful trials in this life, unexplainable horror and nonsensical attacks …and by His grace we will land in His arms. Nothing is strong enough to snatch us from the fierce grip of God’s grace.

Father, You are powerful to create a creature like the crocodile, and allow such vast knowledge and understanding to be extracted from what we deem a nuisance. Thank you for the protection your grace provides through our acceptance of Your Son, Jesus, as our Savior. Forgive us for underestimating the ferocity of Your grace. We pray that through Your Son’s authority on this earth, Your fierce grace forever defends us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Have a creature encounter to share? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy

Megs

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The Different Snowflake (#jammed daily devo day 16)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 16: Honoring Individuality.

“Because of the extraordinary grace of God at work in you, they will pray for you and long for you.” 2 Corinthians 9:14

God’s extraordinary grace attracts light …and life. Today’s verse is about extending jammed-16
kindness to those in need. Perhaps the greatest gift we could ever extend is the evidence of our faith manifested in prayer.

Snowflakes make everything sparkle, especially when the sun comes out. We are very much akin to snowflakes. Though it seems impossible that each and every human being is different, we are.

God’s Word is very clear about taking care of the poor and parentless, but we must not forget to pray about what to give, who to help, and when to do so. The way we’re meant to sparkle is unlocked through a relationship with Him. The “extraordinary grace of God at work” (2Cor4:7) bodes a continuous conversation of prayer.

Have you ever hung out with a crowd that makes you feel like you have to earn your space amongst them? Like, somehow your snowflake landed in on the wrong front lawn …or living room? You didn’t, and we aren’t required to do anything to hang out with God but accept His Son as our Savior. With that, He flings the door open, and we begin to sparkle a little bit brighter each day.

jammed-tweet-blue

Individuality can be a hard thing to find when we seek it amongst each other; but when we look to the one who built in our quirks, we begin to see the value in who we were created to be by serving those placed within our reach.

Father,  Praise You for the fire of grace lit in our hearts. Thank You that we may consult and commiserate with Your compassionate heart through prayer. We confess that we often puzzle over what to do and who we are, instead of looking up to You for peace through Christ Your Son. Bless us to react in prayer and generosity more prevalently. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Prayerfully ask God how He would like You to pay kindness forward today. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Helping,

Megs

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The Lick Attack (#jammed daily devo #15)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 15 Hug Back. 

“But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7jammed-day-15

“It’s a lick attack! It’s a lick attack!” my little girl screeched with glee as her puppy jumped
all over her, licking her face and ears and her sweet little smile. She hugs her puppy back, and I hate to admit this but I know she licks her back, too.

“She’s the kid who’s going to share her ice cream cone with her dog,” my husband said.

Let’s look at today’s verse in a slightly different light:

“Just as you are rich in everything- in faith and speech, in knowledge and all sincerity, and in the love we have shown among you- now I ask you to invest richly in this gracious work too.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 (VOICE)

The apostles paid everything they knew about Christ forward to their followers. But eventually, it was up to their audience to embrace grace and pass it on.

Lauren’s not afraid to hug her puppy back. The licking thing is a little much, but it’s endearing to watch her love on her puppy. I swear that dog smiles. And that’s probably why. She’s loved.

You know that song, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands?”

If you’re loved and you know it, hug back. Give back. Let’s pull others alongside of us and help those who cannot help themselves. Even the ones who can but just don’t want to. Help them, too. Love the people that are difficult to love, because we are loved undeservedly by God.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the faithfulness of the apostles for spreading Christ’s love. Thank you that we, too, have heard the message of Christ. We confess that we don’t always appreciate that there are corners of the world that still have not heard, and we pray that You equip us to come alongside those You place in our paths. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Hugs,

Megs

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The Green Sweater (#jammed daily devo day 14)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 14: Memory Marks. 

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)day-14

There are some memories that no fire or flood could ever pluck from my memory. Grams was my favorite person. I picked her for my Catholic School Confirmation sponsor in the 8th Grade because she was my first mentor and best friend. She was never to busy to listen to me, and I have always been a talker.

My Grandma grew up during The Great Depression. She lost her Dad when she was seven, and her mom when she was about twelve. That alone could seal a soul up for a lifetime. I’m pretty sure I remember her saying her siblings were separated. It wasn’t the last calamity she would endure in her life. Yet, through it all, she had a great handle on grace.

She prayed all the time. We prayed together. And that made all the difference.

Grace isn’t about things being perfect and life being pain free. It’s an attitude of gratitude through it all, to the One standing by our side as we travel life. The only One powerful enough to light our smiles and kindle our joy as we weather the seasons of life. The things we suffer and the weaknesses we possess are the very things God uses to perfect our holiness, until the day we hug Him in Heaven. #perspective

jammed-tweet-bluePaul really did have a physical weakness. No one is exactly sure what it was, but it was enough to keep Him humbly reliant on God.

“So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on -I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home with in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (VOICE)

Father, Praise You for my Grams, and for this space to honor her memory today. Thank You so much for placing people in our lives that mark us forever …that set an example of joy through Christ. Forgive us for overlooking the importance of our relationships, and bless us to appreciate them while we have the chance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Who is your Grams …that special person that marked your life? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Marks,

Megs

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The Sugar Deficit (#jammed daily devo day 13)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 13: Christ excites!

“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.” Acts 4:33day-13-image

“I get a prize! I get a prize!” my six-year-old delighted.

Don’t judge now, but I may have an extensive system of bribery in place to ‘encourage’ good grades in school. For every 100%, my daughters stick their paper on the fridge and choose their earned prize from the ‘prize box.’

It work like a charm until Halloween …and she could no longer sit still long enough to listen to the directions, color in the lines, or write legibly.

“Lauren,” I reprimanded, “this is unacceptable.”

I glanced over at her, sitting on the couch cradling her giant purple bowl of Halloween candy in her lap ….uh. #momfail

Poor thing just couldn’t handle all that sugar.

The apostles were jumping out of their skin to share news of the empty tomb. Imagine the carnage at the cross. Our Savior sacrificed all dignity, power, and authority to come down off that cross for a crimson covering of our sin. That would be an event worth talking about. One that would hit all the local papers and beg of eye-witness accounts, but that’s not the what the apostles couldn’t shut up about.

jammed-tweet-blueLike kids hopped up on WAY too much candy for their weight ratio to process, they couldn’t keep it from exploding out of them if they tried. The cross took over everything else, and became the spark that lit life’s passion …Christ.

Father, You are powerful to come to our rescue through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Thank you for sustaining us with the energy to walk through life in faith. We confess that we crash when the sweetness of life wears off, and pray for renewed vigor in proclaiming Christ through all seasons of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s the most sugar you’ve ever eaten and how did it make you feel? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy

Megs

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The Faithful Decade (#jammed daily devo day 12)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 12 Grace Covers Commitment.

“I can’t dismiss God’s grace, and I won’t. If being right with God depends on how we measure up to the law, then the Anointed’s sacrifice on the cross was the most tragic waste in all of history!” Galatians 2:21 (VOICE)day-12-image

The first decade of my marriage is a reflective milestone of faithful commitment. We’ve
survived the planting of the “treeline,” have disagreed about how to discipline two daughters, decided sell the boat, dropped to one income, built a house, and discovered Disney World.

Prayer has kept our marriage alive through the painful fights and agonizing “firsts.” Faith pulled us through economic meltdown, miraculously healed disease, and sad good-bye’s.  Who knew a couple of Parrotheads from Ohio could be so happy vacationing in Michigan every summer? Only God.

“By nature gifts of grace cannot be earned (Rom 11:6), for a gift earned is the opposite of a gift of grace (4:4). Grace, Christ, and salvation are so connected that those who attempt to earn righteousness have ‘fallen away from the grace’ (Gal 5:4; cf. 2:21).” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

God has dried the moss from my rocky past, making it impossible to slip back down. His grace placed me in a present that I might not have chosen had I been the one in charge, and overflowed my life with joy and love. Ten years ago, neither Jim nor I could have imagined this life …and we had big dreams.

Every time I’ve wanted to give up, I’ve given it to Him.

“Take it, Lord …I don’t know how to fix this.”

jammed-tweet-blueBy simply letting go, we embrace the grace we were made to receive.

Father, Praise You for the perfect way You teach us to lean on You. Thank You for watching over us, hearing us, and helping us. We confess that we don’t always look to You first, and pray You will help us let go of more, and let grace cover what we can’t fix. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What do you need to let go of, so that God can cover it in grace? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Giving Up…

Megs

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The Bling (#jammed daily devo day 11)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 11: Wisdom always Matches. 

“They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:9jammed-11

“…they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.” Proverbs 3:22

“She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you wth a glorious crown.” Proverbs 4:9

Outfits for the week are picked out on Sunday night. Mine is laid out the night before and my coffee is hot before alarms go off. I leave myself just enough time to hop into the car and make the allotted drive to wherever we’re going. There are no spare minutes to wait for slow moving daughters.

“Get your coat on, ” I inform.

Get your coat on!!!” I plead.

GET YOUR COAT ON.” I demand.

Wouldn’t it be easier to comply hastily to the first, cordial, request? Parents repeat themselves when something is important or urgent, and I believe God does, too.

The three verses in today’s devo all talk about a garland or necklace …adornments. Even Old Testament types valued some bling. Kings and those of stature wore them frequently, but I don’t think this message is reserved only for them. I believe the average folk of the day …the working class …the farmers …who dressed up only for special, “joyous” (NIV notes) occasions were included in the audience.

“They,” in today’s text, refers to all things wise. Those who follow wisdom “add beauty and honor to their lives.” (NIV notes)

The morning may be last place we want to cram in another task, but the repeated sentiments God leaves in His Word are worth enough for the alarm to sound with an extra five minutes to spare. A little wisdom compliments any outfit.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, You are powerful to instruct us with simple analogies, unwrapping the verses of Your Living Word like presents at Christmastime. Thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, that brought all promise and precision of your grace to life. We confess not carving out a piece of our morning for You, and pray for the discipline to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What phrase do you find yourself repeating? Share a moment when you felt like you didn’t fit in. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Five Minutes!

Megs

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The Zoomies (#jammed daily devo day 10)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 10: Set Pace with Grace: 

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” Zechariah 12:10jammed-day-10-image

“What, girl?” I asked my dog… “are you going to get it?”

Nosed pressed up against the door  and ready to launch, our Golden-doodle hit the screen head on as I slid the glass door back.

“Hang on, Cherry,” I laughed, and as I opened the screen she shot out of the house and right to the tree. Barking in frustration as “the squirrel that torments her” climbed out of her reach, she settled for darting laps around the yard. Around and around she went, chasing absolutely nothing at all …at top speed.

When the solution we grab at escapes us, the tendency to steam in circles is tempting. I often to lose my “grace,” instead of looking up.

Zechariah means, “God has remembered.” There is no need to grasp at grace; God jammed-tweet-blueremembered us before we arrived. Approximately 500 years before Christ, God speaks though Zechariah in remembrance of His Son, crucified. For what? Grace.

When we seek Him in His Word first, the pace of grace sets the tune of our day …regardless of “what torments us.”

Father,  You are powerful to set the tune and the pace of each day. Forgive us for trying to control what isn’t to be, and bless us to know the difference by seeking You in Your Word each day. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is one way God connects with You through His Word? Share a moment when you felt like you didn’t fit in. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Zooming,

Megs

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The Water Weight (#jammed daily devo day 9)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 9: Retain the Christmas Spirit.

‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16jammed-day-9-image

There’s a Christmas cactus on my desk that I fail to water most of the time. Miraculously,
it just celebrated it’s first birthday by sprouting beautiful pink flowers. I forgot about it most of the year, yet it retained enough water to survive.

Christmas overflows with the joy that Jesus’ feet trod into this earth. Though we leave the story as the decorations disappear, the babe’s promise is here. We can continue to kindle the magic of the Christmas story by reading God’s Story …Jesus is present from cover to cover.

jammed-tweet-blueHe came here so we can come to God. Not just at Christmas, but for always. Stamina to weather life well abounds, when we water our souls with His Living Word.

Father, Praise Your grace! Thank you for Your Living Word, in which we can meet You each day for encouragement and guidance. Forgive us for packing the Christmas season out of our minds, and bless us with Spirit’s power to recall it throughout the year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is the most amazing thing you’ve been able to grow? Share a moment when you felt like you didn’t fit in. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Watering,

Megs

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