The Long Leash (#jammed daily devo, day 290)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 290: Room to run.

 Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.” Hebrews 10:24-25

“WHOA!!!! CHERRY!!!!” day 290

For some reason, though we pass triple the amount of geese every morning when we walk the pier, that afternoon my dog had decided it was the perfect time to teach them all a lesson with her vicious doodle-self barreling after them …my arm yanked along in tow.

“Crazy doodle!!!” I hollered as I shortened her leash. She looked up at me with her really sad and “I’m sorry” eyes.

“Sorry, girl,” I told her, “back to the short leash …you can’t be trusted!”

Today’s verse keeps us on a short leash, because we can’t be trusted. We’re all human, and though we all have good intentions, they fail us. Intentionality is fleeting unless it has been marinated in God’s wisdom. 

Not giving up meeting together: The Greek word translated “giving up” speaks of desertion and abandonment. -NIV Study Bible Notes.

The community in this verse was under siege. Christians were not always allowed to meet, and small groups were suspicious to the government that wanted to eradicate them. The world hasn’t changed as much as we’d like to hope it has. Radical hate and genocide still run rampant in this world. It’s not fair. But what will we do in the face of persecution and threats?

When we stop meeting together …when we stop meeting with God in His Word …when we forgo daily prayer to rush into the day’s routine …we begin to forget. That’s why these meetings are so important. Because not long after we forget, we run the other way. We run the other way, and then we abandon what we once knew. It’s not that far-fetched. Peter denied Jesus, and we do, too.

But when we meet together, we are promised that God is with us. When we stand in worship to praise Him, He is there. When we gather together to seek Him in His Word, He is there. The Spirit moves us, and we remember. We are reminded. Of God’s love for us. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to save us. And the Spirit’s constant presence in translation.

When we meet together, we keep ourselves on a short leash, so we don’t sprint off to chase things that don’t even hit our plane of sight when we’re close to Him.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for church communities and those that gather in Your name. Thank You for the magic that happens when the Spirit moves through those rooms and our hearts. Forgive us for neglecting to take the time to spend with the One who created time. Help us to trust Your hand on the minutes of our days. 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 Gathering,

Megs

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

Advertisements

The Disconnect (#jammed daily devo, day 289)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 289: Unplug.

“Grasp both sides of things and keep the two in balance; for anyone who fears God won’t give in to the extremes.” Ecclesiastes 7:18 VOICE 

day 289

Ultimatums result in separation. We seem to be built with a warning system that
sounds all alarms when we’re challenged to choose between one extreme an another. Especially, when it comes to people. It’s a good alarm to let sound, because deep down we know we’re all created equal. We all fight for equality in some regard. It makes sense that when it’s threateningly stripped from one soul that ours would start to ache a little.

The compassionate love of our Father causes us to care for others. 

Today’s verse advises us to “grasp both sides of things…” There is indeed two sides to every story. A convicting of sin, and a compassion to forgive. It’s important to follow God’s leading to keep conviction and compassion in balance.

It’s not fair in our eyes. “Some people” just don’t get it. “Some people” have murdered others. “Some people” don’t deserve justice. “Some people” are not as good as others. We feel more comfortable with a system like that. One that allows us to “do” something about our circumstances in life. But there’s no “doing” to be done that will ever out-do what Jesus did on the cross.

He came to save everyone. We’re all born under the same cursed mess of sin Eve started in the garden with that apple, and we all have the same opportunity to be snatched from it’s punishment of death by Jesus’ gift of grace.

for anyone who fears God won’t give in to the extremes.”

We live in a world pushed to extremes, and it pushes us. It leaves no room for miracles or compassion. It’s choice after choice. But when we choose to walk with Jesus, we leave room for His love to move in our lives.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for leveling the playing field. Thank You for guiding our innate system of guilt and judgement into Your loving arms through the cross. We confess, we are extremely tempted to rate and scale others’ lives, and pray that You protect us from the discouragement that comparison leads 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 Unpicking,

Megs

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

 

The Cool Kids (#jammed daily devo, day 288)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 288: Blessedly cast out.

“But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:10 VOICE

Hands gripped tight to the steering wheel as sheets of rain stole my view of the road, I day 288couldn’t get to the volume fast enough. It had been years since I watched The Breakfast Club, and my memory rushed to keep up with the rainy roads and running mouths on the screen.

Passionate about finding and focusing on the good that God has put in all of us, I am not a fan of the “cool kid” mantra. What makes one person cool over another? Insecurity. Every time. Muting the volume, skipping scenes and trying to drive at the same time, it was the premise of that movie I was after.

Those who toil only for themselves—for whatever reason—lead meaningless and difficult lives. NIV Study Bible Notes

Today’s verse interrupts a very famous passage about the positive impact of encouragement that one person can have on another. But in the text comes a warning to those who choose to go it alone. Not the kid who’s been bullied at school, home or both. This verse calls out the loud and the proud.

The ones who create the cliques and run the “show.” The bad influences, the pressure applicators, and the experts of guilt trips. The people who feel superior to others, and whom we all hate to admit being a little intimidated by. The ones who desire the title of “cool” and “popular,” over “kind” and “compassionate.” Sooner or later, the prideful will fall alone. It’s simply not the way God designed us to be.

Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10 NIV

We are called to be an extension of love, but never a doormat. Look around and find someone to encourage. Set a pace of kindness and compassion. When we allow others the freedom of security in who they are, Christ’s love takes them from there.

Popularity is a smoke screen.  The kind and compassionate young people that walk the halls of our local high schools are not outcasts. How could they be? People flock to that kind of love. It’s inspiring to be around. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we can focus on being kind and forget about being “cool.” We can trust Him to defend us, love us, and guide us. And when we do, we blaze the trail of Love we were placed here to pave.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for kind and compassionate people after Your own heart. Thank You for the positivity they bless everyone around them with. Forgive us all for the moments we are tempted to think of ourselves as better than anyone else, and bless us with the strength and perseverance to bring up a tribe of kindness in our wake …in Your name. 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 Kind-ing,

Megs

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

 

The Little Hugs (#jammed daily devo,day 287)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 287: Small but fierce.

“I took a moment to take it all in.” Proverbs 24:32

day 287

Little arms outstretched and wide-open smiles of excitement always greet me when I
substitute at the local elementary school. The feeling is mutual.  There’s so much to learn from little people. It’s no wonder God tells us to have faith like a child.

It’s easy to forget the spark of Light that gave us life. The Father that knit talents and strengths into the core of who we are. We are tempted to assume accomplishment for our life’s acheivements in a jaded and entitled society.

In today’s verse, Solomon is talking about a field that he has passed. Good soil, that hasn’t been cared for to produce the potential it is capable of.  We, too,  become satisfied with what we can do and account for.

But, we’re sent to love …and love is a verb. It requires us to work with our gifts so that we may be in the position God purposefully placed us to be …an extension of love to the people He’s placed in our paths. What are we doing with what He’s given us?

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. Proverbs 24:32

There will never be a time when there’s nothing left for us to learn. God’s Living Word is endlessly teaching us, because each day brings a different challenge or triumph for Him to walk us through. Setting Him aside as if there’s nothing left to learn is like taking the groceries out of our car and throwing them right in the trash …as if there’s no use in walking out the steps in between.

He is life, and He’s given a piece of it to us so that we may love Him back and seek His presence. No matter how many meals we waste, He’ll embrace us. Jesus made that possible on the cross. It’s never too late to start working with what He’s given us. It’s never too late to open His book. It’s never to late to pray His Son into our hearts.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for little people and the lessons their hugs seal in our souls. Thank You for the endless opportunities You give us to be forgiven through Jesus’ death on the cross. Forgive us for taking credit for the life You’ve woven into the threads of who we are. Bless us to get up and follow Christ, so we may see and know the good plans You promise 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 Learning,

Megs

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

 

The Wellies (#jammed daily devo, day 286)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 286: Keeping our feet dry.

Complete your work outside, and get your fields ready for next season;
after that’s done, build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Sheets of chilly Autumn rain streamed down unto the saturated course, and my wellies 22212725661_5429246674_zsquished with every stride. Rain rolling off their noses and mud sucking the shoes off of their feet, they slid and trekked through the mud. It was my favorite kind of race-day. The kind of day when talent is shelved for guts, and mud makes champions.

We can all run atop a dry and even course, but it’s in the depths of the hills and the chill of uncooperating weather, that our true grit is revealed.

None of my cross country runners knew that they were preparing for this race all season long, but I did. I knew something they didn’t. I’d been up and down these muddy slopes before, and I remember the triumphant feeling of shelving the mile-splits and running after the competition through that mud. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re preparing for until we’re knee-deep in a mud  …trying to keep our shoes from being sucked off.

Today’s verse is about trusting what God says about preparation. He knows what’s coming. He’s numbered our days. His plan for us is good, and His will for our lives is perfect …even though it sometimes looks like a big shoe-sucking mud puddle.

Get your fields ready:  Plan carefully and acquire the means as you build your house.- NIV Study Bible Notes

Distance runners plan carefully. We know we have to run far, but we can’t get there all at  once. Miles must be accumulated a little bit at a time, week after week, as we prepare our legs and strengthen our bodies and our lungs to handle the heavy load. We must plan carefully in life, too. Making drastic increases in any area of our lives cause red flags to fly.

Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Proverbs 24:3

Wisdom doesn’t come easy for a distance runner. At first, we’re not sure we’ll survive that first three mile run. Our lungs burn and our legs have no idea what’s happening. That first race, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the finish. It seems impossible, and we feel a little defeated. But in time, as we run a little farther, and survive to see another finish line …what we know starts to trump how we feel.

We have to let what we know trump how we feel.

house. Symbolic of the life of an individual or a family.- NIV Study Bible Notes

We become what we prepare to build. And the truth we stand on must be rock solid, because everything that flows from the heart that we guard will provide the foundation on which we build our house.

Jesus died so that we can have an impenetrable foundation and an immovable confidence to build our house on. Him. The Cross. The grace He gave us when He gave up  His last breath is the very foundation our lives are built on. Anything else is just shoe-sucking mud.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for runners! For distance runners! Thank You for giving me the opportunity to run and to coach, so that the lessons I learned would affirm the wisdom You planted. Forgive me …and forgive us all …for thinking that the athletic and academic feats we accomplish come from our own strength. Bless us to build our homes on rock sold truth …on Your Truth. 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 Mud running,

Megs

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