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! 


Happy Bucket Listing,


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Stay encouraged!

The Assembled.


A virtue coming from God. Merriam-Webster 

“Girls, – one at a time,” I pleaded while the dog darted from the room with a box corner in tow. (Anything remotely paper-like …it’s ridiculous.)

“DDDAAAADDDDD!!!!!! POCKET KNIFE!!!!” my youngest demanded. (Everything must be sprung free from all restrictive packaging immediately.)

“Lauren,” her big sis noted, “you just opened two in a row, it’s my turn.”

the-assembled-tweet-1The New Year brings change, some planned, some swift. Resolutions that are well-calculated goals, and struggles that are desperately lifted up. Like a youthful Christmas morning, it’s hard to maintain composure throughout the changes of heart, or shifts in life’s direction. But grace can be maintained when intentions are drafted in the right light.

Impatient Assembly

Christ is there when the aim to achieve is beyond our ability to reach.

“Dad!” my six-year-old demanded, “please put my Lego castle together.”

Legos still send me into a tantrum. We all have our “Legos” don’t we?  The things we know need to be put together, but lack the execution required to admire a finished product.assembled-image-1

Patience must be fostered into maturity. Only the Creator, Himself can snap a resolution into fruition. Do we realize the pieces that are dumped out onto the table when we aim to grow? Our Father is astute to the steps He drafted.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thes. 5:28

Grace exudes wisdom. It doesn’t throw a half-assembled Lego tower across the room because a step was skipped. Wise people know that serves no purpose.

Lauren trusts her Dad to assemble what she cannot, because she’s seen him do it before.

God-gifted, by Jesus’ death on the cross, grace allows inquire upon God to calm reactions beyond our control.Wisdom is born from the release of our expectations into the hands of His guidance.

Patient Assembly

My oldest daughter, graduated from watching and helping her dad, now follows hundreds of steps to put thousands of tiny little blocks together.

“Do you know the best advice that Daddy ever gave me on building Legos?” she replied to my amazement, “He told me to make sure it was facing the same way as the picture in the directions.”

Grace in the face of a frustrating process is a gift to behold.

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


Paul reaches out through ancient words to bless hearts budged by the Holy Spirit. We won’t be fully assembled until we embrace our Father in heaven. Grace is not an automatic setting we can activate without the love of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The pressure is off. We’re not dysfunctional, we’re just not capable …alone.

Before setting resolutions beyond what we’re crafted to achieve, let’s ask the Father to guide our resolve. Dreams are pieces of God’s destiny. Waypoints along each illumined path. God can be trusted with our assembly.assembled-tweet-3

Look back on this past year and revel in the blocks He’s built, or dumped back onto the table to be reassembled. God is not looking to change us into different, more ‘compliant’ people. He’s looking to cover what we can’t handle with grace.

I resolve to receive the full scope of God’s grace in 2017. How about you?

Happy 2017! #greatgrace17


This post may be linked up with the following amazing writer’s:

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!