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.

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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

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

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 362: His arrival.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

terror- intense, sharp, overmastering fear

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

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

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

The Child among His children.

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

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Shimmering,

Megs

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The Wreath (#jammed daily devo, day 359)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 359, Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

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

It’s a circle.

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

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

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

Yes …freak out a little. It’s cool!

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

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

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

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

#greatgrace17

Merry Christmas!!!

Megs

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

 

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

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 358: Keepsakes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Piecing,

Megs

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The Presents (#jammed daily devo, day 355)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 355: Christmas presents …and limits.

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

“He came! HE CAME!!!”DECJAM21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Stepping,

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

Noel …What Does It Mean? (Christmas Series, Week 1.)

What Does It Mean Study Guide Cover pic

Welcome to Week 1 of the Christmas Series, “What Does It Mean?” This week, we are going to study the word, “Noel.” Download the Free Printable PDF Study Guide, and follow along on this Advent journey to a better understanding of commonly used “Christmas” words. Happy Christmas!

What Does it Mean Study Guide best pdf

 

Megs

 

Stay encouraged!

The Fringe (#jammed daily devo, day 341)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 341: Knowing Grace.

These are just the beginning of all that he does,
    merely a whisper of his power.” Job 26:14a

“Mom,” my younger daughter asked, “can you read these directions to me?”DECJAM6 (1)

No, don’t think it’s cute. Kid can read. It’s not cute anymore …now, it’s laziness.

“You know how to read them,” I point out, “you just don’t feel like it.”

I heard the compliant seat-settling from the other end of the house, and a mumbling sound of directions being read. She’s right on the fringe of being a super grown up kid …and she’s not quite sure how she feels about it. She still wants to need me, sometimes.

Today’s verse states how powerful and magnificent God is. Job is wrestled, knowing  God could have ended His suffering in a heartbeat if it would have been s in His omnipotent will, too. Which he also wrestles with …why it was in God’s will for Him to suffer? Why was he allowed to suffer unjustly?

“Why won’t you just read me the directions, mom?!” came an entitled bark from a tiny desk chair.

“Because I believe you can, and it’s time you do.” I simply state.

There are times throughout Job’s massive wrestle with suffering that He was on the fringe of something …

“If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay hi hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would fritter me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” Job 9: 33-35

On the fringe.

But we know this side of the Gospel what Job was not privy to in Old Testament life.

Jesus.

How many times has God answered my “can’t you just do this” prayer with “I believe you can get through it, and it’s time you do.”

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Father, Praise You for being here, and planting the hope of Jesus throughout the entire Old Testament …and our lives. Thank You for the way Your word weaves in and out of our lives like the perfect song …with us every chord. Forgive us for turning a blind ear to your wisdom, and being lazily disobedient with tasks You charge us to. Bless  us and heal us and equip us with godly confidence, Lord. 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 Doing,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

What Does It Mean? (Christmas Advent Series, Intro.)

Christmas Series Graphic

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The world comes into focus as we discover Christmas. Each year God peels back a layer, rich with newly appreciated memories and formative ones of the present. I look forward to it more and more …and begin to celebrate, decorate, and sing carols earlier and earlier with each passing year …in anticipation of the magical way God reveals Himself during the Christmas season.

There’s something uniquely grand about the birthday celebration that greed attempts to block out and political correctness to subdue. Carefully crafted by it’s Creator, and grandly announced by angels, it’s impossible to squelch the hope of the entire planet birthed.

What does it mean?

Jesus.

Join me as I unwrap new presents of this Christmas’ presence …in the Christmas Series …”What does it mean?” Follow this 4-part series by downloading the free Study Guide that accompanies the videos/posts below!

Happy Christmas,

Megs

Click below or on the image to download the free “What Does it Mean” Study Guide!

What Does it Mean Study Guide best pdf

What Does It Mean Study Guide Cover pic

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The Hair Bows (#jammed daily devo, day 340)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 340: Wrapped up.

“God is with us.” Matthew 1:23

Perhaps in an attempt to prove to the world that my house is not a total catastrophe in Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 7.41.31 PMthe morning, on occasion I neatly pull my girls’ hair back and slap a big bow on their heads. Looks like we’re all put together, and no one has to know about the soggy cereal meltdown…

“I love your bow!”

And we all smile. Mission accomplished. IF only life could wear a big bow.

In the context of today’s verse, Joseph received instructions of who Jesus was going to be, and his role as His earthly father. He awoke from his dream in obedience.

“Why can’t God just tell me what to do in a dream?” I can’t help but thinking.

“If He would just speak to me directly like that  …it would be so easy to know what I should be doing!” Like putting a big, God-handed bow on my day …my life.

We look around at each other in comparison and assume that everyone else’s situation is better and easier than ours, unless they are obviously homeless on the street. And even then, on really bad days, we are tempted to believe that even they are somehow better off than we are.

I don’t believe it was easy for Joseph to obey God. But he did. That’s a lesson that we can apply to our lives everyday, all day. How many inclinations do we have to do the right thing each day, that we pass up or pass by? How many grudges are we choosing to hold onto? Habits are we refusing to break? Times we fail to listen?

The hard part of obedience – that’s where a lot of Christians fall short of walking in their calling. We can see it …feel it …but then it gets hard. Then we have to work alongside people. And people are imperfect. And we are imperfect. And so …we give up.

Missing between the part when Joseph woke up from his dream and the recording of his obedience, is everything in between. Sometimes, we have to rely on divine understanding to conquer our biggest hurdles.

“God is with us.”

That’s what they would call Him, Scripture says. That’s what we call Him, now. He’s with us. So what is stopping us from being obedient? He came here to allow us the opportunity to walk in God’s purpose for our lives despite of our grudges, binges, and imperfections.

So, what is stopping us from waking up to obedience?

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Father, Praise You for Jesus, and the opportunity His death allows our lives. Thank You for teaching us through this text today that You are with us, empowering us and convicting us …changing us. Forgive us for fighting You, and running disobediently towards our own solutions. Forgive us for quitting when the tasks You assign get hard, and people are hard to deal with. Bless us to see our own imperfection, and accept Your grace so that we may extend it to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Dreaming,

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

The Goal. (#recall 12 series, November)

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

“I will reach my goal.” Luke 13:32b

By looking at this verse from three different angles, we will learn more about why Jesus said this, and how to apply His statement to our everyday lives.

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1. What Did The Fox Say?

“Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ Luke 13:32 (NIV)

The original Greek word for fox is alopex, used in this month’s verse to describe a sly and crazy man. (Strongs) Jesus was referring to King Herod, a king extremely paranoid about someone stealing his throne. The apostles advised Jesus to flee.

“Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” Luke 13:31

Herod’s father, King Herod the Great, executed many of his own family members …and all of the first born sons upon knowledge Christ’s birth. Some of our earthly suffering is a product of what we were marinated in as children. Herod inherited his fathers’s paranoia, and he was threatened by Jesus’ rising popularity. Even the head of his own household became a follower.

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“Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,  and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;  Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.” Luke 8:1-3

Joanna’s significant standing in the royal house, and as one of Jesus’ followers, is evidenced by her mention alongside the apostles and Mary. Despite King Herrod’s attempts to secure the loyalty of his people, they were continually drawn to Jesus.

2. Too Busy.

“Tell that fox that I’ve no time for him right now.” Luke 13:32a (MESSAGE)

Jesus knew His Father had the final number on His earthly days, not King Herod. The nov image 3
One and only Son of God sat beside His Father at the Creation of the world, and as each of us were created and crafted.  Though He experienced human feelings and emotions, nothing about the way people were, or Herod was, surprised Jesus.

“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43 

 

It’s what He was put on earth to do, what He does now, and will for all time. It’s Who He Is. Jesus is mission minded.

3. Confidently Called.

The original Greek for the word ‘goal’ in this month’s verse is ‘teleioo’. It means to complete …perfect. (Strongs) Not just to finish, but to perfectly complete. Perfection alludes humanity, but it’s who Jesus is. His purpose was undeterred by the sinful nature that distracts us from perfecting God’s will in our lives.

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Luke 9:22 

nov image 2‘Teleioo’ is used one other time, in Luke 2:43, where the English word “full” appears.

As they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it.”

Jesus was accustomed to confused looks, and the paranoia that led religious leaders to reject Him and family to question Him. But their misunderstanding didn’t stop Him from accomplishing His purpose.

“I’ll reach My destination.” Luke 13:32b (VOICE)

Jesus breathes His purpose into our lives. We are an extension of His love on earth as we spread His gospel of hope. Following Christ is joyful and purposeful, but can also be alienating. We will be misunderstood by many, and bring ridicule upon our shoulders. Go, anyway.

“I will accomplish my purpose.” Luke 13:32b (NLT)

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The fleeting feeling of acceptance by society pales in comparison to knowing how our story ends. After this life, there will be no pain. His smiling face and warm embrace will be ours to bask in for the rest of eternity.

Jesus accomplished His purpose. He reached His goal. On the cross, Jesus won the most important victory of all time …our freedom.

Hold onto this verse, and follow Him hard.

 

Click here or on the image below for free memory verse cards!
November Verse Cards PDF

November memory cards, Screen Shot

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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, 

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