The Bother (#jammed daily devo, day 225)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 225: Keep asking.

“Do not ever swear an oath.” Matthew 5:34August 13

If I had a dollar for every time my kids assured me beyond a shadow of a doubt they did something I asked them to do, my husband and I would be able to retire.

Why is your homework still in your folder?

I thought you said you cleaned your room?

Weren’t you supposed to pick up all of the yard bombs?

I told you to shut the door.

What are you doing?

Matthew knew what he was talking about when he wrote “don’t make an oath.”

oath-a solemn, usually formal calling, upon God -or a god -to witness to the truth of what one says, or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says.

An oath isn’t just a promise. As ornery as my kids are, they aren’t swearing to God that they’ve completed their chores …at least, not yet. But, many of us let that verbiage fly out of our mouths everyday without a thought of what we’re actually saying.

What begins with a simple attempt to honor something becomes a tangled up mess of misrepresentation and consequence. Dishonesty doesn’t stand up well to the Truth. And the  Truth, God’s Word, tells us not to “swear to God.” Beyond just curse words, we are called to honor our word by honoring His Word. It’s the premise of honestly committing to something we genuinely thing we can uphold.

“Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.'” Matthew 5:37

That’s a seemingly simple solution that is hard to live by amidst the pressure that we put on ourselves concerning our reputation with others, and our pride within. But when we walk with Christ and spend time in God’s Word, the Spirit will strengthen us to straighten out our words.

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Father, Praise You for the promises You keep. Thank You for meeting us in Your Word and preparing our hearts to receive it. We confess that we do not always stop to recall Your guidance before we speak, and ask that You send Your Spirit to help alert 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! 


Happy Speaking,


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The Bare Feet (#jammed daily devo, day 222)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 222: No shoes … no problem.

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything August 10you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

There are so many pairs of shoes in my house …yet every morning it’s the same routine.

“Where are your shoes?!”

My daughters never have their shoes on when it’s time to leave the house. They look at me like I am some sort of alien creature from another planet to have expected them to put something on their feet before they walk out the door.

How can they forget to put their shoes on? It boggles my mind. Whether it’s cold, wet, or summer out …to go anywhere requires shoes.

Today’s verse is telling us to put our shoes on before we go out the door and into the world. But not literal shoes …well, those are good too, but our faith. When we walk out into the world it helps to have our faith on.

Though Christ never leaves us, we tend to forget about Him when we starting walking out into the world. Soon we look down and wonder why our feet are all cut up. When we neglect to remember Him all day long, we walk without Him … hurting our ‘feet.’

“…live righteously, and He will give You everything You need.”

Spending time with God in the Word each day is like putting on a brand new pair of cushy running shoes before leaving the house. He’s protecting the ground that we walk on, and less likely to let whatever we run into that day cut us to bits …emotionally, mentally, maybe even physically.

Light your path with the Word before going out into the day. 

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Father, Praise You for protecting us in this life. There are things that we come up against each day that we don’t even realize, and we thank You for watching out for us. Forgive us for running out into the world with bare feet, and bless us to remember to carve out time to spend with You each day. 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 Trodding!


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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.
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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! 


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The Seeds (#jammed daily devo, day 167)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 167 Watch it Grow.

 It is important for all people to live out faith in the circumstances they know.” 1 Corinthians 7:20JUne 16

“Bloom where you’re planted …”

The words spoke loudly from the wall above the chalkboard. Their melody is still stuck sweetly in my ears, accompanied by the smell of skittles wafted to my seat from the candy jar on her desk. The gravity of those words aren’t necessary to explain to a sixth grader, but there presence planted a seed.

Today’s verse beckons us to sit still and listen. When we are ready to go for God, it’s important to wait for our navigation system to pick up a signal through prayer and the Word before packing up our lives and hopping in the car to drive out of town.

“The call to faith is not a call to abandon your life, family, neighborhood, and culture. We must play with the hand God deals us, not look for a new deck. He works through faith to redeem broken lives and wasted years, not to provide a change of scenery. Even in the worst circumstances, faith can change the believer from the inside.”

When we wrestle with direction, it helps to look around at the faces God has placed around us. Sometimes, the urgency to “Go!” is accurate. But I believe, moreover, that God is purposeful in where He puts us.

When we lead little lives to the feet of God to the best of our ability, we can be assured that seeds have been planted. Passing His Truth to our kids is urgent, but our execution is not going to be perfect. Little bits of God’s truth will come alive in conversation when we, ourselves, are watering Truthful seeds every day. God honors time spent seeking His presence.  

When we walk with Jesus, even our failures can plant seeds. Seeds are spilled out into our children’s hearts when we speak God’s Truth into their lives.

We must remember that it’s religion that seeks to press people into a particular mold, not Jesus. He wants us to bloom where we are planted. In His love. With Him as our Savior. That’s where we are authentically loved and truly belong.

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Father, Praise You for loving us where we are at! Thank You for placing us purposefully and surrounding us with people in which You plan for us to plant seeds. Please forgive us for wishing for a place and for people that You do not will for our lives. Help us to live out our witness as You have perfectly planned 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! 


Happy Planting,


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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.

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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! 


Happy Chance-ing,


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The Invisible Fire.

My little girl’s tears streamed onto my cheeks as she hugged me tight. Fearful that in the darkness of night our house would catch on fire, unreasonable emotion gripped her blotchy red face. Her pierced blue eyes searched mine for an answer …for comfort …for reassurance …all of which I was unqualified to promise her.invisible-fire-2

The anxieties we answer to in this life grab us much like Lauren’s sweet six-year-old heart, that can’t bear the thought of being separated from her teddy bear. Life is fragile. We want to look around and depend on each other to get through things that may never happen. We want to believe that everything is going to be ok, but it’s simply not always going to be. In fact, we’re promised that it will get much worse.

We can help our children cope with fear and anxiety by teaching them to pray these Words of God:

“Do not worry.” Matthew 6:34

“Do not fear.” Isaiah 41:10

invisible fire 4.jpg

Step Back.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

Our duty as parents is not to have all the answers, but to point to the One who does. We can aim to protect our children but we cannot promise them safety. Only God is sovereign to make good on the assured direction of their future.

“Lauren, can I pray for you?”

She nodded ‘yes’ through slowing sobs.

“Lord, you tell us not to fear, and not to worry. But that’s hard. We need Your help. Help Lauren not to worry, and not to be afraid. Let her rest in knowing how much you love her. God we pray that You protect and bless our home. Keep it and us safe. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

My godly duty as her mother is to reassure that she is loved …not just by me, but far invisible-fire-3greater. Her little heart needs to hear that He is good, that she can trust Him, and that He he cares about her fears and worries.

“Jesus explains the futility of such worry for one’s life (Mt 6:25), time (6:27, 34), clothes (6:28), and even what one will eat (6:31). Such a focus is not only a wasted effort on something that one cannot change (cf. Lk 12:25), but it leads to unhealthy anxiety.” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

If the thing I want to be able to promise will never harm a hair on her head singes her life, He will get her through. He will love her. He will grow her. He will never leave her side.

Through the calamity of this world, God does not promise Christians a free pass from pain. He gifts us the grace, peace and hope to keep walking through it. We grip Him in fear, look to Him in awe, and trust Him with it all …through it all.

Let Go.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Night after night my little Lo cried at bedtime, afraid our house would catch on fire. Night after night we prayed together, and repeated those truths to her tiny heart and my overwhelmed one. Until one night, her brave blue eyes stared right into mine and with a small, still voice, wondered:

“Mom, can I say a special prayer?” I nodded, misty-eyed.

“Dear God, Please bless us and don’t let our house catch on fire. Keep everyone in our family safe, and my teddy and blankie and all of my toys. We love you God and Jesus, Amen.”

Our great God hears the prayers of tender little hearts, and understands their fears.


Sometimes it takes months, years, decades, lifetimes …before the discipline to turn to God first replaces our knee-jerk reaction to solve humanity’s dysfunctional fears and worries. But I believe that when God’s truth repeated is alive,  powerful, and in motion.

My greatest prayer as a mother is that my daughters will know that God loves them perfectly, even when I do not.

“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses.“ Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 41:10-20

Prayer becomes powerful conversation. The grace of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as allows us to experience a power that is not of this world. Discernment of text that is much more that black and white letters on a page. It’s much more than a good story. He is God.  He was here. And now His Spirit lives in us.

Invisible fire, indeed.

Happy praying,



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