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 Awkward Cargo. (#jammed daily devo day 5)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 5: Where we Fit in.

“I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be His own holy People. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” Romans 1:7 (NIV)

jammed-day-5-imageA small city of lights appeared on the horizon as I pulled into the parking lot. Without wake, the crew guided a bulky cargo ship through the river’s mouth at sunrise, disturbing only the birds.

How can we be called ‘His own holy people ?’ God is holy.

Paul’s simple greeting reached out to people carrying a heavy load. Early Christians faced an uphill battle, but Paul’s sentiments assured them nothing is too heavy for God to carry. Faith grants us an unworldly peace that doesn’t jive well with modern realism, but Jesus navigates the river without stirring up waves.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit begins to increase our holiness from that moment. The cross covers what we can’t carry with grace.

Faiths may look different on everyone, but it’s found by the same wooden waypoint. Take heart in the awkwardness of the journey, knowing that below surface level all of humanity is wired to arrive at the same port. If you feel like you stand out, don’t fit, or have “gone mad” (as Alice suspected of her dreams of wonderland…), look to your Captain, and keep sailing home.

Father, You are not just capable of carrying our heaviness, but desire to lift it off of our shoulders. It’s not easy to feel like we don’t fit in. Help us to look to You in faith for comfort and guidance. Thank you for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to allow us to come to you. Forgive us for running away from Your help, and bless us with the power of the Holy Spirit to recognize Your will for our lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.

jammed-tweet-blueShare 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

Megs

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The Launch (#jammed daily devo, day 148)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 148: Always in the water.

“For a good man may fall seven times and get back up again…” Proverbs 24:16

Living by the lake is refreshing, and getting out on the water in a boat is rejuvenating. image-148There’s something about traveling on top of the water, a feat that we cannot pull off alone, that is exhilarating and freeing. It’s been many years now since we’ve owned a boat of our own, but the feeling of watching it launch lingers.

In a climate where the lake is frozen in the winter, watching it thaw into it’s bluest color before the shallow water is kicked up and dredged is like magic. The anticipation of that first chilly boat ride sits in the sore muscles from waxing and painting and getting it ready …for a summer full of freedom …until something breaks.

But, oh! That first day it’s launched back into the water, and our living space is suddenly doubled as an escape from routine life returns.

Today’s verse speaks of resilience. No matter how many times we are yanked from the water with dinged props, leaks, hull holes and electrical problems …He launches us back into the water with a splash of new hope. The beginning part of this wisdom saying even speaks of God protecting the place where we dwell:

Do not lie in wait like the wicked against the place where the righteous live;
do not assault his home.
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again,
but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:15-16

How great is our God to protect us. Though evil presses in on our world, He will always reign champion. And so will we. His way is love. That’s why Jesus is so important. Jesus is the Way God provided for us to re-launch over and over again. He is the Reason we are forgiven for our repetitive sin. The Love that welcomes us back to the water, again and again. No shame …just love. He is here.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You for launching us into the water to give us new life. Forgive for not accepting the Way to You. Help us to believe in Jesus more and more every day, chasing after a heart like His. 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 Launch Day,

Megs

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The Tilt (#jammed daily devo, day 136.)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 136: Fleeting time. 

Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path” Proverbs 23:19 (NIV)

There are some amusement park rides I used to be able to handle better than others. The image-136tilt-o-whirl is one of those rides. Cannot handle it at all. I will ride it, but it’s embarrassing.

It makes me scream like an idiot …my kids think it’s hysterical.

I’m fine with the mild spinning …but when it jerks me completely out of my time zone I feel like I’m going to throw up and pee all at once. Thankfully, the tilt-o-whirl only spins for a little over a minute.

Some situations in life are not so forgiving, and some situations spin out of control. Today’s verse reminds us to guard our hearts in order to avoid spinning out.

Listen, my son, be wise,
    and steer your life on the right course.
 Do not spend time with heavy wine drinkers
    or those who gorge themselves on meat.
 For both the drunk and the glutton will end up broke,
    sleeping life away, and clothed in rags.” Proverbs 23:19-21 (VOICE)

Following Jesus doesn’t mean we can never drink wine or eat meat, but God doesn’t just throw out examples for lack of importance. We all carry the weight of temptation, and all let it surface and spin on occasion. There are a multitude of things that intend to trip us in this life, and  no-one realizes how hard the ride spins until a struggle suddenly jerks us out of our lives.

Jesus died to pull us out of those moments and into His grace. No guilt. No shame. Just up and out. Sometimes again and again …leaving a mess in our wake and a life to repair.

But we must let Him pull us up. It’s the only way out. He is Life.

These verses today can be hard to digest, and please realize that there is a big difference between judgement and disassociation. The way to discern unhealthy situations is through prayer and time in the Word.  Today’s overly-tolerant society makes it difficult to say “no,” when surrounding company asks us to hop on a ride that we know will make us sick.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise Your teaching us how to water good friendships. Thank You for placing people in our lives to both encourage and test us. Forgive us for failing to conduct ourselves with grace in times under pressure, and bless us with the strength to live a life under Your guidance, 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

Happy Spinning,

Megs

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The Measuring Stick (#jammed daily devo, day 135)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 135: Measurements.

Your future with Him will be certain,
    and you will not have hoped in vain.” Proverbs 23:18

It’s not a proud parental moment for my husband and I, but it really was a funny one. Theimage-135 negotiations on the kitchen floor over which shoe arrangement would allow my daughter to reach the top of the measuring stick. The switching into said shoes out of the line of sight of the one holding the measuring stick. The sight of our daughter walking up to that stick and congratulating herself on a job well-grown.

She laughed and cheered and rode that ride many times in a row…until the next person took their seat with the stick, and she failed to reach the top.

“But I just rode this like ten times!” she wailed, and we shushed her over and out of earshot to explain what had been smashed down by gravity and a few laps through line. She’s too little to go upside down and have limbs flailing out into the open sky, but sometimes we feel like we need to cut her a break. It will most likely backfire on us someday …but this was a family bonding experience we will never forget.

Today’s verse instructs us not to be envious. We sure might have planted a seed of height envy in our daughter, and many times in raising our daughters we look back and wish we would have let them grow in their own time. Plus, she now feels entitled to do what she isn’t allowed to yet. Double oops.

The cost of envy on a grander scale is much bigger than wobbly shoes and growing up too fast. Envy is a seed of entitlement.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
 There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:17-18

It’s as if we’re wired to want what we cannot have. The urge to strive isn’t bad if directed in how can we serve God’s purpose here on earth.  We must always be in conversation with Him, through faith in Jesus, on where to place our efforts.

When striving to attain what someone else has, we run the risk of missing what God has planned for us. His plan is good. He is good. He is love. His plan is better than ours. And another’s life won’t look the same on us.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for measuring sticks.  Thank You for giving us the Bible to measure our goals up with Your will. We confess that we try to force our way all too often, and ask for Your wisdom in knowing what to aim for in this life. 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 Measuring,

Megs

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The "Open" Day! (#jammed daily devo, day

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 134: When there’s more to do.

My son, if you live wisely,
    then my life will be fulfilled.
My very soul will jump for joy
    when you speak what is true and right.” Proverbs 23:15-16

Cold or warm, sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy, windy or sweaty …the first “open” day of image-134the season at the local amusement park is the most awesome and exciting day of the Spring. Living in close proximity to a place that is non-stop fun is …non-stop. From the day it opens until the day it closes, my feet feel like they have to be trodding the “fun” pavement in good weather and bad. The unseasonably warm days when there’s nothing to do but hang out on the front porch and play in the back yard disappear into thin-air when the gates fly open and the rides start spinning.

Except on the days when discipline trumps the decision to have fun.

Today’s Scripture encourages parents to hold the course of discipline. Though we mess it up, sometimes, the existing effort to instill it warrants applause when our children shock us on occasion with their good behavior.

The tricky part about discipling kids is trying to figure out an effective enough plot to hang over their head that doesn’t inflict pain upon, or steal parental fun, when it has to be enforced.

The first bad choice is often mine …

“If you two don’t stop fighting there is no way we are going to that park, today.” I threaten.

And what do you think happens …everytime? All out sisterly war. Insults, slapping, pinching, whining, tattling ….bleh. Make my ears bleed and I want out of my house! But …I trapped myself there with the crazies when I said …

Through my parental debacles and sunny summer days spent in solitary confinement with the crazy sisters, they have learned that respecting each other gets them farther than causing the meltdown of the century over who did what first.

Parents, trudge through the things that slip out of our months and discipline them. Our mistakes will not trump our efforts to raise good, godly children who are respectful to themselves and each other. When children conquer their fear of humility and hop on, it’s a ride they never want to get off of.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for amusement parks that thrill us and scare us at the same time. Thank You for life’s ups and downs, and the consistent way You discipline us. We confess that we do not have the will to be constant with our kids, and make mistakes all of the time in raising them on account of our own sinful nature. Regardless of the mistakes we make, bless our efforts to raise them to Your feet, and may they always hear Your voice over ours. 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 Amusement-ing,

Megs

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The Ankle Clicks (#jammed daily devo, day 132)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 132: Reminded.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12

The pink morning sky made my feet light as I hurried to the end of the pier. Warm image-132morning air, boats leaving the river, and the first orange glint of the sun …made me want to run.

Click …click …click …

Recalling the sound of the spin of my ankle around it’s joint the day before, I remembered why that wasn’t a possibility. Some days it’s hard to be grateful for slower steps.

“Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed.” Proverbs 23:12 (VOICE)

We have to come to terms with the fact that we aren’t in charge of defining who we are, and why and when life happens.

Today’s verse layers adversity in hope. “Instruction” and “discipline” aren’t fun experiences. Some are more painful that physical pain, others are make life almost unbearable. When stripped of everything we think we need, we realize how much we can depend  on Him. Jesus holds our hand when we run, and He holds it when we walk and wait and hope and seek. The grip is just as tight. Jesus’ handshake is firm and confident.

“ears to words of knowledge …”

“attentive to be well-informed…”

It’s hard to accomplish either of those things when rushing by life too fast. It’s not always easy to understand why life’s pace is slowed for some and sped up for others. The dangers in looking around in comparison come so naturally to all of us. Entitlement has little in common with God’s good and just system of judgement. The way He loves us is perfect.

In this season of walking, we learn to love who we are with or without all the things we love to do. He is still who He says He is even when we can’t do what we want to do.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for walking and running. Thank You for the different paces of life and seasons of growth. Some hurt more than others. Please forgive us for focusing on the negative attributes of hard experiences. Bless our hearts to embrace the unexpected changes in our life that You will for us. 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 Walking,

Megs

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The Twinkle Lights (#jammed daily devo, day 125)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 125: Sparkling.

Do not move an ancient boundary stone
    set up by your ancestors.” Proverbs 22:28

“Let’s read under the twinkle lights, mommy,” my daughter often asks. At bedtime, we sit image-125underneath a fairy wonderland of flowers and toole, sparkles and twinkle lights …and we read His word. Through her VeggieTales devotional book, we bond and laugh and share a piece of His peace. It’s a safe place for a little girl who is sometimes afraid to fall asleep. It’s a quiet ending to a hectic day …a comforting routine for a growing little soul.

God is good to give us boundaries. During the time today’s verse was written, boundaries were very important to the survival of nations. God’s people had certain claims to certain territories, and the Bible is very exact at what the boundaries of those lands were to be. It seems boring to read about, unless we appreciate His hand of protection.

boundaries-The agreed limits to the lands of an invidivudal or people. Designated by God and protected by law, both national and local boundaries could be subject to dispute. Dictionary of Bible Themes

Old Testament boundaries prepare us for New Testament living. Jesus came speak to us and to show us where there were and how to live within them. Much more than landlines and borders, these were ways of living. There is no limit to God’s love, but we must choose to live within it.

boundaries- something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent. Merriam-Webster

Jesus fixed our limitations by doing what we cannot do. By going where we cannot go. The cross provided us a way to come to God. He is our Boundary. Within His grip of grace, we are living in God’s infinite love. The boundaries of a life walked on this path do not block out pain, hardship, or injustice. They don’t protect us from the consequences we earn. But they do allow us to live life as it was always meant to be lived.

My daughter will grow out of her twinkle-light paradise one day …but I pray she will grow into the His loving boundaries.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for boundaries. Thank You for sending Jesus to show us where to go and how to live. We confess all of the times we overlook Him and seek to set our own limits. Bless us to seek Your will 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 Line-drawing,

Megs

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The Long'er' Days (#jammed daily devo, day 124)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 124: The right amount of time.

“Don’t gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…” Proverbs 22:26 (MSG)

“I want …I want …I want. Can we …can we …can we? Why not …why not …why not?” …the joyous image-124hymn of shopping with kids.

Raising kids to be fiscally responsible is difficult but necessary. So, does anyone want to tell me how to do it? I’m surely not done reaping the consequences for my financial irresponsibility.

This common thread produces fear in our lives, because we not only lack understanding but lack complete control …something humanity has a natural craving for. If I don’t do something soon …disaster awaits, just like this verse warns.

Do not be a person to guarantee someone else’s loan
 or put up collateral for the debts of an acquaintance;
For if you do and you can’t repay,
won’t you risk having your bed ripped out from under you?” Proverbs 22:26-27

Beyond the ability to tithe and pay bills on time is the need to be generous. Everyone is wired with a want to help. To give. Failure to work to be generous can fail our children’s understanding in how to give.   Giving when there are debts to pay can lend a sinking feeling of obligation and legalism, which will not satisfy the desire of our hearts to give.

“It is far better to give to those in need or lend without interest” MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV)

When we let a fear of numbers affect our obedience the consequences are sure to bite us. Taking financial responsibility is not about strength and weakness in numbers, it’s about putting God at the center of them. And the time is now.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the lessons You teach us through numbers. Thank You for wiring us to crave generosity, and forgive us our lack of preparation to properly do so. Bless our financial states to reflect Your purpose. 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 Number Crunching,

Megs

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The TV Junkie (#jammed daily devo, day 116)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 116: Turn it off.

 A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace.” Romans 8:6

Screens are a crazy bad for kiddos. I can attest to this by the crazed look in my daughters’ image-116eyes when I de-screen them. There are days that we are all lazy, and I let them become zombies in front of the TV or their tablets …and I always regret it. They seem less relaxed after relaxing in front of media all day.

Today’s verse offers advice on what to focus on, and I think it’s applicable to the struggle we all have to maintain a a balance with our access to technological entertainment.

Are we focused on it? There’s a difference in being entertained and having it become the sole focus of our existance. Anyone that’s ever yanked a tablet away from a kid before they are done with it has witnessed first hand the evidence of intense focus that was interrupted.

What are we’re supposed to be focused on? “…a mind focused on the Spirit …”

It’s not something to be seen, but experienced. When properly executed, if flows through us like water, and when the flow is interrupted, we feel like we’re going to fall. It begins with Him and ends with Him. And for it remain uninterrupted, so does our focus.

Here’s a few simple ways to keep the reel rolling throughout the day:

  1. Get up and read God’s Word. Even five minutes is beneficial.
  2. Talk to God. Conversation …about what’s actually going on in your life …not just what you think He might want to here or what we feel like owning up to at the moment.
  3. Write it down or listen to it. I tuck verses away places I know I’ll see them because I am horrible at memorization. Listening to praise music is a good way to keep rolling too.

Be present in life’s moments, but always be focused on Him.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for setting a desire to know You in us. Thank You for the many simple ways we can absorb and apply Your Word daily. WE confess that we are driven by apps more than Your Words more often than we’d like to admit, and pray that You will bless us to uphold little ways each day to hold You in focus, first. 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 Focusing,

Megs

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Stay encouraged!