The Lie Detector (#jammed daily devo, day 251)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 251: Honest grace.

 If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom.” John 8:31-32 

Anyone with children can relate to the desire for access to a lie-dectector. The look of day 251bewilderment becomes them when we accuse them of withholding the truth. They glance in our direction as if we’ve lost our minds. We know what’s true! So, why do they stronghold us? Why don’t they just admit they’re wrong and apologize?

It’s hard to admit we’re wrong. So, how do we we ensure we’re operating in truth? Truth is more difficult to execute that it seems.“Tell the truth,” is a lot harder than we sometimes like to admit.

We are really good at telling the truths we like to admit to and want to be responsible for, but claiming hurt we’ve caused and retracting false statements and ugly gossip aren’t things we’re know for excitedly admitting and confessing out loud.

Today’s verse tells us to listen for His voice and spend time in His Word. Prayer and time in the Word are irreplaceable ways to guide our hearts on a truthful and honest path. It’s only when we are talking to Him that we can listen for His response. And it’s only when we are looking at His Words that we can allow the Living Word into our hearts to translate the truth.

Jesus says when we operate in this fashion, “we are truly His disciples.” Our walk with Jesus will be humbly honest when we seek Him with all of our hearts. It doesn’t just happen. Seek is a verb. Pray is a verb. Abide is a verb. He promises to meet us there, but we have to go.

Wafting through life unknowingly hurting people with dishonest intentions, or living a door mat existence because we can’t sense when to move on from being toyed with, is much less joyful than living a life full of Christ.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for Your Word! Thank You for guiding us in truth! Forgive us for our blindness to it, and our dishonest notions to others. Help us to seek you, pray, and abide in Your Word to live within Your will for 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 Lie-detecting,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Practice Poms (#jammed daily devo, day 211)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

212: Pass it down.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,July 31

‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NLT)

 “Mom!!!! I got her old pom-poms!!!”

One of my daughter’s favorite babysitters scooped her up and carried her into mini-cheer practice. It’s a sweet bond between two sweet girls …and now mine has her old pom-poms. They sit in her room in a treasured place. Old practice poms that now inspire my little girl’s dreams.

We must be careful to encourage our children’s dreams. A mix between believing with all of our heart they can do anything, and preparing them for the reality of life’s tendency not roll with their plans.
Today’s verse gives us some sage advice. Jesus reminds us that even God-given dreams cannot live on their own. We cannot live on our own. If we were capable of executing life without destruction, we would not have needed a Savior. The Word made flesh, born in a manger to walk amount us, stood on earth and spoke these words:
“People do not live by bread along, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 
Jesus knew all of us before we knew Him. He knows a thing or two about we need. We starve our souls when we don’t spend time taking in His Truth.
“Every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Every time we crack open our Bibles, we are being nourished. Our physical needs must be met, but our souls will out-live our bodies no matter if we live starved or full.
As my daughters grow, we read the Word together. He is at the root of all our problem solving. Jesus, and what He would do …and what He would say …guides us. They will need that basic instinct to turn to Him, or their dreams will starve. God holds much more in store than the peaks He provides. More than we can ask or image. But, we must be well-fed.
#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug
Father, Praise You for Your Word! Thank You for Truth. We confess that we starve ourselves many times, trying to toil through our lives without reading and prayerfully considering what You have to say. Forgive us, Lord, and bless us to seek You first in all that we do. 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 Friend-ing

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Make-up. (#jammed daily devo, day 210)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 210: Take care of what’s underneath.

“During that period, there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what seemed right to them.” July 29Judges 21:25

“Mom,” my youngest daughter informed, “I’m going to play with all of my make-up today.”

Her Saturday plans were spread out all over her bedroom floor. Every free sample and clearance kit I had ever passed to her was cracked open and ready.

“Let’s make a space for that today so you don’t have to sit on the floor,” I suggested.

I gave up telling her ‘no’ and instead taught her how to blend so she didn’t look so scary when she caked eyeshadow and blush on in a rainbow of colors. She’s not allowed to wear it out of the house, and knows she doesn’t need it to be pretty. But, she likes to play with it.

Today’s verse comes from Judges, a time when God’s people had very little restraint and sporadic leadership. “Everyone did what seemed right to them.” Pictures pre-schoolers running around the playground with a full face of make up on. That would be ridiculous, right? There has to be some limit …for them at this time, there wasn’t. And it got them into a lot of trouble …over and over again. The Promised Land was being wrecked.

There’s a lot of pressure for Christians to remain relevant. It’s important to be able to relate to the next generation and our job to reach them for Christ. To help hurting people, we have to be where they are at.

Relevancy often lies in the stories we are too scared to share. Human pain and suffering is something Christians are not immune to. Many of us can look back on a time when our lives looked like something out of the book of Judges. No rules and whatever we wanted.

Let’s remember not to extract our ‘relevant’ stories in our efforts to reach others with the love of Jesus. Our passion for our Savior’s love runs as deep because of what we’ve been through. Remaining relevant is remembering where we were before He pulled us up.

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Father, Praise You for who we are. Thank You for the struggles that each of us wear in this life. We confess forgetting and shoving them down into our past …and pray that You inspire us to pull our truth out to cross bridges …to get to hurting people …and love them for You. 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 Friend-ing

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Right Stuff (#jammed daily devo, day 165)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 165: Step by Step.

“They took some ragged sandals and patched them. They dressed in threadbare clothes—all so it June 14would look as though they had come from far away. Even the food they carried was dry and moldy, as though it had been carried a long distance.” Joshua 9:5

It takes two notes of a New Kids on the Block song to transport me back to the fluorescent colored days of my 90’s childhood. Watching them re-emmerge decades into adulthood makes me want to break out all of my old dance moves. There were no ragged sandals on those boys back in the day, but I plead the fifth on threadbare clothes. Back in the teeny bopper magazine days posters of their faces covered my walls and buttons with their pictures littered my jean jacket.

Today’s verse tells of some old-school trickery. Who would’ve thought that the ‘right stuff’ would be ragged sandals, threadbare clothes, and moldy food. They knew Israel was under oath from God not to make a covenant or show favor with anyone in the land. (Duet 7:2).

The Gibeonites were their neighbors …and knew they would be destroyed. They had just witnessed what Joshua did to Jericho …the famous story where the army marched around the city until the walls came down. They were scared, and figured the only way to get Israel to strike a treaty with them was to pretend to be somebody else, and it worked!

When we strive to be accepted for people we are not, we suffer anxiously until the wool eventually falls off the eyes were trying to despise. And the wool always falls off. 

Gibeonite Leaders (to Joshua):  We knew for a fact that the Eternal One, your True God, had told His servant Moses that He would give you all of this land and that you would destroy all of the people in it. We were so afraid of you that this seemed the best thing to do.  But now we are in your hands. Do to us what seems fair and just to you, and we will accept it. Joshua 9:24-25

They Gibeonites were grateful to be spared, and happy to serve in whatever capacity Joshua assigned to them, having successfully spared their lives. Meanwhile, Joshua was left scratching his head. He had failed to consult God …a familiar pattern of old …that once again landed God’s people in a sticky situation.

Old memories serve as great reminders of growth, but…

It’s important to remember who you are and what you’re fighting for. Joshua 9 (VOICE)

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for memories, and thank You for the lessons that You teach us through them. We confess, it’s easy to get caught up in the past …for better and for worse. Help us to make smart decisions now, learning from where You have brought us from and looking forward to where You are sending us to. 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 Remembering,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Second-Chance Mom (#jammed daily devo, day 152)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 152: Grace gives second chances.

“The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Oh, crap, she’s out there without a helmet on, again.June 1

“Lo! Put your helmet on!” I yelled out the window.

Tucked back on a cul-de-sac, I never wore a bike helmet as a kid, but we live on the corner of a busy road. Every car that zooms around the corner as they ride along precariously on two wheels and wobbly roller skates triggers me to double-check the front window for their whereabouts.

“Lo! Seriously …go get your unicorn helmet!” But even the fun and flashy helmet wasn’t swaying her independence on this particular day, so I began to countdown. Girl hates to be timed.

“THREE …TWO …ONE.” Still unaffected.

“OK, in the house!” I boomed, as I pulled her off her bike and walked her back into the house.

“MOM!!!!” she stomped all the whole way, and then started jump-pounding on the floor as I stood and watched.

“Does this ever get you what you want …ever one time …has this worked for you?”

Even the dog was watching her in wonder at this point. She took a deep breath, and as she looked at my eyes, hers filled up with fresh tears. My girl had returned to planet earth.

“Can I just have one more chance?” she asked, her fury of rage having been replaced by an expression of tender-hearted apology.

And that’s where my daughters get me, every time. I’m a second chance mom. And they know it.

“OK, if you put your helmet on, yes.” I granted, and out the door she flew to the tune of “I love you mommy you’re the best mommy ever.”

I want to be a second chance mom, because I live under the grace of God’s willingness to give second chances. Within disciplinary reason, my daughters always get a second chance, especially if they ask for it. If I can teach them anything about forgiving themselves, God has done something good with my life.

In the heat of disciplinary moments, pull out today’s verse: “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” When little people and life frustrate us, it’s important to get out of our heads and into His Word. To understand why it’s so important to clutch today’s verse over our own plausibilities, let’s look at the second half of the it:

“Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Like putting on a bike helmet to protect our heads, putting on God’s Word and relying on it to cut through (the sword) the madness and highlight the Truth allows us to protect our souls …helmet-like.

“The helmet protected the soldier and, under certain circumstances, helmets provided a striking symbol of military victory.” NIV Notes 

Our victory relies on the Helmet. Maybe it’s uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not a habit we grew up with. Maybe it makes us feel uncomfortable and sometimes seems to cramp our style …but it’s worth wearing lest we fracture our skulls and leave the very stuff of our souls exposed to the darkness attempting to crack it open.

The Greek Word for ‘helmet’ is, perikephalaia, the protection of the soul which consists in (the hope of) salvation. The hope of salvation is Jesus. Through Him, we can absorb the Word. Through the gift of the Spirit that Jesus died to give us, we can remember and apply what we’ve read to our real lives.

Jesus is our Second Chance. He granted Grace to us on the cross. To be a second chance person, like Him, we need to put on the Helmet, and cut through to the Truth with the Sword.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the power of Your Word. Thank You for the way parenthood allows us a unique way to absorb and apply it to our lives. We confess getting caught up in our own masquerade of ‘authority,’ and pray forgiveness from You, who truly and justly holds it all. Bless our lives to be full of Your Truth, and fortify us with the strength to stand on It firmly in defense. 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 Chance-ing,

Megs

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

 

 

Stay encouraged!

Pushed.

The circle of guilt will push you around unless it’s kept in check with truth.

“Stop pushing me!”

If you have more than one kid, this is a phrase you are no doubt familiar with.

“MOM!” my little one exclaims, getting ready to launch into a string of tattles, “Bri Bri is being so mean!!!!”

Once again, my daughters decided to break out all of the behavioral stops.  In a giant crowd of people, they decided to stoop to the ground to draw in the dirt with rocks.  Soon after, they began arguing about which space was who’s…which then escalated into throwing the rocks at each other…one missing and hitting someone else in the leg.  Then, they stood up to push each other with their full strength.  After I ignored the little ones cries, she decided to take matters into her own hands…

“MOM!” my older daughter wailed, “Lo Lo just punched me in the stomach!!!”

I said my good-byes to adult conversation, and went about my way chasing my little monsters back to the van.

These situations used to happen to me a lot.  I never could figure out how to handle the embarrassment, and the watching eyes, when my little girls misbehaved in public.  When rocks started flying, that circle of guilt came rushing back in an instant, reminding me why I try to avoid exposing this kind of life strife in the first place.

“I’m a horrible mom.”IMG_8585

“Why don’t my kids listen to me?”

“I teach them manners…they get along at home…”

“What am I doing here in the first place, when I should be at home doing things with my kids?”

“They’re all going to talk about me when I turn around and leave.”

“Why am I so insecure as a person as a mother?”

“What’s wrong with the way I am that is bleeding down into a problem that my kids now have?”

“#fail.”

“I can’t do this.”

The swift walk to the car, whilst gripping bother daughter’s pinch points, would usually end with this mom taking away every privilege under the sun.  I always felt like I was losing my mind as I switched from smiling goodbyes to “most disappointed I’ve ever been in you face” so quickly my kids would laugh at first.  Which just made me even more upset and feeling disrespected.  Then another circle would begin to whir…

“How can you pray so much…read the Bible so much…go to church…listen to praise music and sermons all the time….and possess no patience to discipline your daughters with compassion?”

From one circle to the next.

That’s how life can be sometimes.  Actually, if I’m being honest, that’s how many of my days can be consumed and wasted if I allow that particular thought progression to keep gaining ground.  Over every failure, opportunity I’ve walked away from, friendship that has ended, time of life that has passed…I circle…

and circle…

and circle…

…until I’m so dizzy that I have trouble focusing on the direction God is leading me.

Life has a way of replaying the highlight real after a corner you’ve decided to turn starts to fade into the distance….shut it down.  Remain in God’s Word daily, and run to it in refuge when the outtakes feel humiliating all over again.

Circles will push you around, and there are plenty of people who will to jump on board the ship of thoughts until it’s over capacity and sinking fast.

Do not let these thoughts push you around, and don’t blame them on other people.

  1.  Running to others in doubt to find direction in their words.
  2. Letting emotions lead.
  3. Expecting others to build my confidence.
  4. Waiting to be asked.
  5. Ignoring opportunities to grow.

“Do you!” preached Pastor Steven from Elevation Church.

Do you.

IMG_8574Not what other people think you should do, or what you think another person wants you to do.  Spend the time with God and do what He wants you do to.  Listen for the few voices that encourage you…and turn up their volume.  I wish I had.

I wish I could take back a ton of decisions I made in lack of patience to wait on a sure word from God first.

A ton.

So, what to do with that circle?

Drown in the guilt?  Regret? Shame?  Keep replaying criticism until the track starts to skip?

Or, run to God.  Run it by God.  Give Him a chance to talk without interrupting.

“That’s it,” I said to my girls after the rock throwing incident ended in a stomach punched, “you’d better run!”

I took off chasing my two beautiful daughters, for-going that they just embarrassed me in a crowd of people yet again.

“I’m going to tickle torture you!!!!” I yelled and took off running after my two screeching daughters…one who dropped to the ground before I could even get to her, and the other ran just out of reach and the put up her dukes on defense.

In that moment on that day I choose not to be the crazy mom pinching my daughters all the way to the car and grounding them for the rest of their lives.  I choose instead to have compassion on them.  My daughters do so many things right every day.  They get along really well 95% of their lives.  Once in a while, the headache we all get from discipline just isn’t necessary.

And I have heard God say to me,

“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children, or you’ll crush their spirits.” Colossians 3:21

IMG_8586God clearly stresses the importance of discipline, as well.   Proverbs 22:6 states,

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

But I’ve been crushed in spirit.

I’ve walked away crushed in spirit.

I’ve quit, because I just don’t feel like there’s anything left to be crushed.

God has never answered me in crushing moments with a voice of condemnation.  Never led me to a verse that said, “I told you so” even though he probably did, over and over.  In time, He’ll always show me the err of my ways and help me grow out of that stage of my life.  Help me apologize if I need to…humbly go back and finish what I quit if it’s His will.   But never, no never, in times of crisis of heart, is He a Father lacking compassion for the child He loves so immensely.

I’m that child.  You’re that child.

Turn that voice up.

Let those thoughts  push you around.

Live in that circle.

Happy Tickle-Torturing,

Megs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay encouraged!