The Playhouse (#jammed daily devo, day 142)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 142: Emptiness.

“The wise are mightier than the strong.” Proverbs 24:5

We thought we would never be able to drag them out of it. The log cabin playhouse stole a image-142piece of my husband’s pristine lawn in the hopes of years of treasured memories of playtime. We waited for it to be built …waited for it to be delivered, and then celebrated it’s arrival. It was painted, decorated, and decked out.

“It’s too hot in there….” and back into the actual house they went.

My husband and I were defeated! We couldn’t believe it! We’ve threatened to turn it into a man-cave, a mommy-office, and a storage shed …sell it to someone else …nothing. They go in there when they feel like it, but we don’t feel like it’s enough time spent for what we spent.

Today’s verse reminds us that wisdom trumps strength. Bigger is not always better, proven by the loads of fun had with the cardboard box in the front yard as opposed to the actual ginormous playhouse in the back yard.

There is also a lesson in will to be learned from the mightiness of wisdom. Anyone with strong-willed children (who refuse to play in the grand playhouse, for example) know that yelling at the problem isn’t going to change the problem.

Wisdom takes more effort to attain and execute. It’s on the job experience and extra prep work. It’s the early morning workouts and the spin of presentation on the project.

When I let my daughters rearrange their house the way they wanted it to be, they played in it more. And not just, “Hey, don’t you think that chair will look good over here?”….wink wink. No, I actually let go and let them make it their own.

Jesus wants us to let go of life’s control, and reach for His hand. He’s chasing after our hearts, but not badgering us to surrender them. We hold that card. We can choose life anytime we want by welcoming Him into our life as our Savior. God loves us perfectly, which is why He knows that wisdom is better than strength.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for love. Thank You for wisdom. We confess our attempt to stronghold the truth, and pray for the strength of Your Spirit over our own intentions. 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 Wising-up,

Megs

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The Balloon Lady (#jammed daily devo, day 141)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 141: Outdated.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

There’s a balloon lady that sits on a shelf in my house, but it’s not the first shelf, or home,image-141 she’s been placed in. Passed down through family, she has a touch of nostalgic charm that reminds me of all things innocent and childlike. Before I knew some things had more value than other, or some people would mean more to me than most.

The people that mark our hearts the most may have already passed from this place. Others surround us now. There are still more we have yet to meet. God places people purposefully in our lives, and that’s what today’s verse aims to tell us. (Thankfully!!!…these thirty sayings have been weighing me down the last few posts!)

“The positive benefits of wisdom, understanding and knowledge may be the literal furnishings of the house, or symbolically the character and relationships that fill out the family who live there.”-Zondervan Bible Commentary

When we’re growing up, dreaming of the family we might have one day, God is beginning to prepare our hearts for those people and those days. In this life or the next, God has big plans and specific agendas for each of our lives. Including our family …and our friends.

This verse motivates our hearts to seek wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Who doesn’t want to fill their rooms with “rare and beautiful treasures?!” Especially after the last few #jammed devos! Yes! How do I do this? Show me the way!

There is only one way to accumulate wisdom, understanding, and knowledge  …Jesus. He is the only Way to the Father …to Love …and to Life. Time in conversation with Him and in reading His Word will illuminate the lights He places around us. #friendship

One day someone else’s eyes will gaze upon our earthly treasures. What will they see?

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Your house with many rooms. Thank You for Jesus, so that we may all come and live with You in heaven someday. We confess that we do not always focus on the Way, but instead yield to our way. Bless us with Your Holy Spirit to remind us of Your Way. 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 House-hunting,

Megs

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The Loose Articles (#jammed daily devo, day 140)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 140: One of a kind.

Do not envy evil people
    or seek their friendship.” Proverbs 24:1

“Please secure all loose articles …” the instructional speakers droned as seatbelt were image-140fastened and restraints secured. “…we will not be responsible for anything lost or damaged.”

 Amusement parks recover treasure troves of lost things from people who thought their valuables were secure.

We’re often not as secure as we think we are.

Today’s verse warns of friendship with the wrong people. And once again, it aggravates me to read something I don’t want to read. I want to be friends with everyone. God loves all of us, so why can’t I? God is judge, so why do I have to limit who I’m exposed to?

It’s all about us …and what we stand to lose.

God knows what we can handle and what we cannot. Whether it’s exposure to the destructive behavior or walking closer to temptation than God knows we can handle …we’re better off listening to the One who knows every thread of our being and thought in our heads. Jesus came to rescue us from the things we can’t handle. The longer it takes to embrace His omnipotent sovereignty, the more damage we do to our lives.

God gave His people rules in the Old Testament, and they were never capable of following them. He knows no set of rules will ever be enough to protect us from ourselves. That’s why Jesus gave up His seat in heaven to walk the earth. The Word made flesh. Jesus walked out the rules. A living Example.

How many times has someone told you something …then showed it to you to prove it to you …and you still don’t believe them…

We all do it! He knew we would. And that’s why He died. No bitterness, no shame, no guilt, no legalistic rules. God guides us by His Word and Wisdom, but gives us the power to choose. Why? Why love us so much to let us choose wrong?

In our lost moments we find Him. When we fall He catches us on the way down. He heals our hurts. When we walk with Jesus, we can be friends with everyone …but not everyone all of the time. Each friendship has a purpose, and it isn’t to add to the friend collection. It’s divine.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for friends! Thank You for warning us to walk with You. Forgive us for forgetting that Jesus came to do what we are incapable of …be a good judge of character! Bless our hearts with compassion for all people, and to leave the people placing up to 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 Losing,

Megs

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The "You Know Who." (#jammed daily devo, day 139)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 139: Ongoing and unending.

“You know who.” Proverbs 23:30a

image-139

WHY did I want to study these Wise Statements? Alcohol has affected my entire life from just about every possible angle, and this passage is specifically about a man with a drinking problem. I promise you, no one is more uncomfortable digging up this verbiage than I.

Though I think it can be applied to a broad range of other things that are just as uncomfortable to talk about,  God doesn’t pull specific examples like this …put them in an ancient text …and make them applicable in this era in vain. Read through this passage with eyes and hearts open beyond alcoholism . Looking inward, what traits do you recognize?

 Who is wallowing in anguish? Who is full of sorrow?
    Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?

Who has bruises and can’t remember where they came from?
    Who has bloodshot eyes?

 You know who: those who stay up late finishing off the wine,
    those who can’t stop savoring spiced wines.

Look away from the enticing beauty of wine, the deep red hue;
    ignore how it shimmers in the cup
    and glides down your throat.

 Eventually, when you least expect it, it strikes like a snake;
    it stings like viper venom.

Your vision will blur, and you’ll imagine strange things;
    you will say crazy, hurtful things and regret it later.

 You will reel and stagger as if caught on a wave of seasickness,
    as a sailor who holds on to a mast for dear life.

You will say, “They slapped me, but it didn’t hurt.
    They beat me, and I didn’t feel a thing!

Whenever I wake up from this stupor,
    I’ll have another drink!”

Proverbs 23:29-35

The biggest mistake we make as people, and especially as Christians, is discounting the possibility that things could, are, and will affect us. It isn’t to the left or to the right that we find peace or solution. It’s not in fixing other people or even ourselves. It’s letting go and letting God. It’s gripping Jesus’ hand tight enough to keep us from falling. When I look back and see how many times and how close I came to total destruction, I know there’s no way I made it out alive on my own. He pulled me out. Grace.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for pulling us out of our pitfalls. Thank You for grace, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. Forgive us for forgetting that Your lessons are always for our hearts, and bless us to strengthen our faith more 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! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Pit-crawling out,

Megs

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The Fearless (#jammed daily devo, day 138)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 138: Fear is weak.

“an immoral woman is a narrow well.” Proverbs 23:27

“Did you have fun?” I asked my daughter after she rode the tallest roller coaster she is image-138permitted to ride at her height.

“I closed my eyes the whole time,” she said, pale as a ghost.

It took her the entire summer to open her eyes for the entire ride. When she finally let herself see what was happening, it wasn’t as scary.

The verse from Proverbs today is not one I would have ever chosen to write on, had I not set out to cover the “thirty wise statements.”

Sometimes, when we face the things we are the most afraid of, they become a little less scary. This verse is about an immoral woman. Who wants to talk about that? That’s scary, because I can relate to her. Maybe in facing it with you, here today, the fear of my past mistakes will lose a little power over my life.

The end of my first marriage planted a seed of fear in me concerning what the Bible says about divorce, and what people say about divorced people. The fights in those two brief years were awful, and I ran into the next chapter of my life before closing the book. Divorce and adultery. All of the sudden I wasn’t good enough for the church I grew up in, and that made me question my faith and my worth.

My life today is a testament to God’s grace and blessing, not my good choices. Re-married ten years this summer, I know that a lot of the problems we have today are still remnants of consequences. But I have also experienced the forgiveness and healing of Jesus. Our blessed life is a result of His good grace. In dying on the cross for my poor choices, He lent me another chance at life.

Mistakes can’t be erased, only souls redeemed. When I watch bad things happen to good people, I know I deserve it over them. My mistakes are on the list of top Ten Commandments never to break. If you join me in that club, I want to encourage you today. Jesus isn’t keeping score, so throw the tally list of mistakes away …amplify His voice over all others …and grab onto His hand for dear life. He will pull us out of the well.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for redeeming us from our messes. Thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that we can be redeemed and restored. Forgive us for letting fear take root in our hearts because we are afraid You won’t forgive us. Strengthen us to trust You. Help us to have faith. 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 Restoring,

Megs

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The Bench (#jammed daily devo, day 137)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 137: The wrong spot.

“Make your parents happy
 Proverbs 23:22

“Oh, no, MOM!” my daughter wailed, “our bench is gone.”may correction

We’d been stopping eat lunch on our favorite bench since she was just a little toddler. Things change and life moves …and so did our bench.

Today’s section of Proverbs encourages us to discipline our children. Every parent wishes for their child to make good decisions, hang on our every wise word, follow our rules, and respectfully make us proud.

But what happens when the bench moves? When they move away from us? When they grow up? What happens then? Will they retain all of the wisdom we’ve tried to instill upon them in the short time we’ve had them under our noses? Will our arms remain open as their lives drift beyond our understanding and control?

Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Proverbs 23:23

The above verse gives us three keys to parent with wisdom:

wisdom-  knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action. dictionary.com

When we tell our children the Truth, we are giving them the opportunity to digest wisdom. If we simply respond, “because I said so,” we rob them of the ability to learn how to discern right from wrong. When we go to God’s Word with our kids, He begins to move in their hearts. They will eventually figure out that we don’t know everything, nor are we entitled to make mistakes without apology. Honesty, humlity, and apology build a foundation for formative wisdom.

instruction- education. (dictionary.com)

It’s not only important for our children to hear the Word of God from us, but it’s important for them to hear it from their peers. A solid church family, Sunday school, after school program, youth groups, Christian camps …it’s important to let them learn the Word of God, and how to build a community of fellowship, too.

insight-an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding. (dictionary.com)

Sometimes, the lightbulb pops on mid-verse. After praying about a specific situation, the Word will open right up and address it. God’s Living Word is alive and active, and our kids need the savvy to navigate the pages of the Bible. We can help them build a solid foundation simply by reading a short devotion a day with them, and praying with them often.

When we teach our children how to go to God, it prepares their hearts to lean on Christ. They will make mistakes, and it will hurt to watch. Trust that He will always be after their hearts …making their triumphant moments all the more sweet.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the applicable nature of Your Word. Thank You for helping us though life and leaving us with the Holy Spirit to help us interpret and remember what we read and experience. Forgive us for lecturing our children with our ways, and help us continuously point them to Yours first. 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 Word-ing,

Megs

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The Tilt (#jammed daily devo, day 136.)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 136: Fleeting time. 

Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path” Proverbs 23:19 (NIV)

There are some amusement park rides I used to be able to handle better than others. The image-136tilt-o-whirl is one of those rides. Cannot handle it at all. I will ride it, but it’s embarrassing.

It makes me scream like an idiot …my kids think it’s hysterical.

I’m fine with the mild spinning …but when it jerks me completely out of my time zone I feel like I’m going to throw up and pee all at once. Thankfully, the tilt-o-whirl only spins for a little over a minute.

Some situations in life are not so forgiving, and some situations spin out of control. Today’s verse reminds us to guard our hearts in order to avoid spinning out.

Listen, my son, be wise,
    and steer your life on the right course.
 Do not spend time with heavy wine drinkers
    or those who gorge themselves on meat.
 For both the drunk and the glutton will end up broke,
    sleeping life away, and clothed in rags.” Proverbs 23:19-21 (VOICE)

Following Jesus doesn’t mean we can never drink wine or eat meat, but God doesn’t just throw out examples for lack of importance. We all carry the weight of temptation, and all let it surface and spin on occasion. There are a multitude of things that intend to trip us in this life, and  no-one realizes how hard the ride spins until a struggle suddenly jerks us out of our lives.

Jesus died to pull us out of those moments and into His grace. No guilt. No shame. Just up and out. Sometimes again and again …leaving a mess in our wake and a life to repair.

But we must let Him pull us up. It’s the only way out. He is Life.

These verses today can be hard to digest, and please realize that there is a big difference between judgement and disassociation. The way to discern unhealthy situations is through prayer and time in the Word.  Today’s overly-tolerant society makes it difficult to say “no,” when surrounding company asks us to hop on a ride that we know will make us sick.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise Your teaching us how to water good friendships. Thank You for placing people in our lives to both encourage and test us. Forgive us for failing to conduct ourselves with grace in times under pressure, and bless us with the strength to live a life under Your guidance, 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

Happy Spinning,

Megs

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The Measuring Stick (#jammed daily devo, day 135)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 135: Measurements.

Your future with Him will be certain,
    and you will not have hoped in vain.” Proverbs 23:18

It’s not a proud parental moment for my husband and I, but it really was a funny one. Theimage-135 negotiations on the kitchen floor over which shoe arrangement would allow my daughter to reach the top of the measuring stick. The switching into said shoes out of the line of sight of the one holding the measuring stick. The sight of our daughter walking up to that stick and congratulating herself on a job well-grown.

She laughed and cheered and rode that ride many times in a row…until the next person took their seat with the stick, and she failed to reach the top.

“But I just rode this like ten times!” she wailed, and we shushed her over and out of earshot to explain what had been smashed down by gravity and a few laps through line. She’s too little to go upside down and have limbs flailing out into the open sky, but sometimes we feel like we need to cut her a break. It will most likely backfire on us someday …but this was a family bonding experience we will never forget.

Today’s verse instructs us not to be envious. We sure might have planted a seed of height envy in our daughter, and many times in raising our daughters we look back and wish we would have let them grow in their own time. Plus, she now feels entitled to do what she isn’t allowed to yet. Double oops.

The cost of envy on a grander scale is much bigger than wobbly shoes and growing up too fast. Envy is a seed of entitlement.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
 There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:17-18

It’s as if we’re wired to want what we cannot have. The urge to strive isn’t bad if directed in how can we serve God’s purpose here on earth.  We must always be in conversation with Him, through faith in Jesus, on where to place our efforts.

When striving to attain what someone else has, we run the risk of missing what God has planned for us. His plan is good. He is good. He is love. His plan is better than ours. And another’s life won’t look the same on us.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for measuring sticks.  Thank You for giving us the Bible to measure our goals up with Your will. We confess that we try to force our way all too often, and ask for Your wisdom in knowing what to aim for in this life. 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 Measuring,

Megs

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The "Open" Day! (#jammed daily devo, day

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 134: When there’s more to do.

My son, if you live wisely,
    then my life will be fulfilled.
My very soul will jump for joy
    when you speak what is true and right.” Proverbs 23:15-16

Cold or warm, sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy, windy or sweaty …the first “open” day of image-134the season at the local amusement park is the most awesome and exciting day of the Spring. Living in close proximity to a place that is non-stop fun is …non-stop. From the day it opens until the day it closes, my feet feel like they have to be trodding the “fun” pavement in good weather and bad. The unseasonably warm days when there’s nothing to do but hang out on the front porch and play in the back yard disappear into thin-air when the gates fly open and the rides start spinning.

Except on the days when discipline trumps the decision to have fun.

Today’s Scripture encourages parents to hold the course of discipline. Though we mess it up, sometimes, the existing effort to instill it warrants applause when our children shock us on occasion with their good behavior.

The tricky part about discipling kids is trying to figure out an effective enough plot to hang over their head that doesn’t inflict pain upon, or steal parental fun, when it has to be enforced.

The first bad choice is often mine …

“If you two don’t stop fighting there is no way we are going to that park, today.” I threaten.

And what do you think happens …everytime? All out sisterly war. Insults, slapping, pinching, whining, tattling ….bleh. Make my ears bleed and I want out of my house! But …I trapped myself there with the crazies when I said …

Through my parental debacles and sunny summer days spent in solitary confinement with the crazy sisters, they have learned that respecting each other gets them farther than causing the meltdown of the century over who did what first.

Parents, trudge through the things that slip out of our months and discipline them. Our mistakes will not trump our efforts to raise good, godly children who are respectful to themselves and each other. When children conquer their fear of humility and hop on, it’s a ride they never want to get off of.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for amusement parks that thrill us and scare us at the same time. Thank You for life’s ups and downs, and the consistent way You discipline us. We confess that we do not have the will to be constant with our kids, and make mistakes all of the time in raising them on account of our own sinful nature. Regardless of the mistakes we make, bless our efforts to raise them to Your feet, and may they always hear Your voice over ours. 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 Amusement-ing,

Megs

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The Reading Glasses (#jammed daily devo, day 133)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 133:Unneeded.

“Do not withhold discipline from children.” Proverbs 23:13 (VOICE)

They are still a permanent part of my pen holder. During a season riddled with health image-133issues, I obtained a set of reading glasses to correct odd headaches. Looking at a screen through different lenses didn’t cure me like it had many others. The only solution that proved to work was stepping away from the screen. But I had work to do!

God gives us the perfect amount of time to live …each day. The discipline to listen to God as He guides us through life is essential in finding what works.

Today’s verse reminds us how important it is to discipline our children, and that corporal punishment is OK. This is something society is definitely not OK with. As with anything in life, we should prayerfully consider all things …including parenting. There isn’t one blanketed way that works for each child. Even children from the same household need to be seen differently when disciplinary measures are considered.

Look at each child through a different pair of glasses, as each one is unique. The heart of parental discipline is learned by taking the time and effort to know the children God has entrusted us with. He made our children. It would behove us to ask Him what is best on their account.

Sometimes, we just need to take a break from the screen. Walk away, no matter how pressing we think the issue is or how offensive their behavior was. Until God gives us a clear understanding on how to handle our children, and other disputes in life, it’s best to remain calm and silent in prayer.

Do not withhold discipline from children,
    since corporal punishment will not kill them.
 In fact, it may be that kind of punishment
    that will save them from an early grave.” Proverbs 23:13-14

I have discovered that a quick flick to the forehead zips my kids lips faster than any other method of silencing them. One flick. Nice and hard. To the middle of their foreheads. Shocked faces. Instant quiet. Pray hard into finding what works.

Ask Jesus for leading, and then listen to it. Look through His lenses for your life. He died for our misbehavior. Try to extend that grace in return.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for this verse, and thank You for our children. They challenge and grow us like none other! We confess our tempers and impatience regarding them, and ask for Your hand in guidance to discipline them in a way that leads them to Your feet. 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 Flicking,

Megs

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