The Small Steps (#jammed daily devo, day 265)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 265: The Steps that Fit.

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He day 265suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.” 1Peter 2:21 (MSG)

Wobbling, wobbling, teetering and tottering …my first baby girl and I worked so hard for those first steps. Up and down the street to the water’s edge every day. One small step at at time, her whole fists grabbing onto my single fingers. Her chubby cheeked grin said it all. That was heaven on earth …for both of us.

The bond we have with our children begins before we feel their first move, and grows one step at a time through all of the stages and over the years. As time goes by, we fall more and more in love with the precious little human that we’ve been entrusted to raise. Our hearts become bonded for life, through the good memories and the ugly ones …the triumphs and the mistakes.

Jesus wants our fists to grab onto His fingers, and begin that same kind of a journey. Step by holy step, He longs to lead us home to heaven.

Step, in the original language it was written, translates to the Greek word, ichnos. In the New Testament, it is a metaphor of imitating the example of any one. (Strong’s) It takes courage to grab onto Jesus’ and let Him lead, but grace is free to all those who believe in Christ.

“Many believers face intense persecution, but western Christians tend not to experience anything beyond social pressure. Are we merely pursuing comfort, or are we willing to swim against culture?” -The Voice

Are we aware of what others suffer every day in other parts of the world just to get up and let Jesus lead them? To walk with Him, embrace Him, and listen to Him? To follow where He leads …

Swimming against the current is hard work. The current never lets up. It flows the same way every day, and swimming against it is not easy. We are going to have to condition ourselves, strengthen ourselves, and stay motivated to swim. The way we do that is by holding onto His whole hand …drinking in the Living Word that He speaks to us through …and staying in conversation with Him through prayer. Jesus has shown us how, and died so that we may follow Him home. 

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for the steps we have to follow in Your Living Word. Thank You for the life Jesus led on this earth and gave for our grace. Forgive us for turning our backs on the compassionate thing to do, and give us courage to swim against the current. 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 Swimming,

Megs

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The Windy Road (#jammed daily devo, day 264)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 264: Press into the wind.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the Eternal One is in this place—and I didn’t even know it!” Genesis 28:16

Well, at least I can still feel one side of my face….day 264

Battling through a long run in the dead of winter on a road where the wind is always against me no matter which direction I’m running from, the feeling in my face faded on one side and my toes were threatening to follow. I could feel the icy wind stinging and burning the tops of my legs …and I knew they’d be purple or blue by the time I got back home. Struggling to breath through a mask over my face, eyebrows no longer responding to movements as I blinked, I thanked God for the continuous movement in my legs and breath in my lungs.

Today’s verse comes on the heels of Jacob’s very famous dream. He’s seen the Eternal, and God has made Him a promise for His future and a promise that He will be there. And Jacob is overwhelmed.

Running down that road, miraculously healed from a back that was fused …I was embracing my chilly circumstances. Negative wind chills weren’t going to stop me. Nothing but God could reroute me. And He did. Though I not able to run right now, I look back on that moment …that season …and know that anything is possible for our great God. The God of miracles.

Miracles fill our minds with reminders of His presence …His love …and His grace. Remember them often. Tell of them always. 

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for miracles. Thank You for healing. We confess not noticing the blessings that You are showering upon us even in these minutes that we pray to You. Bless our lives with a full filling of Your presence. 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 No-Doubting,

Megs

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The Ladder (#jammed daily devo, day 263)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 263: Keep climbing…

He saw a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to the heavens. Genesis 28:12

day 263

Sweat dripped into my eyes as I wrestled with the metal frame. Up and off of it’s metal
hooks and around the corner of the doorway, it swayed and out-weighed me as I maneuvered the door closed and set it’s legs down firm on the rug. The joints squeaked and jolted open, threatening to pinch my fingers as I stood the ladder up and locked it into place.

Climbing up to the top of the loft, all of the work had been worth it. There’s no other way to get to that spot. It’s too high and out of reach for anything but an extra gigantic ladder than I can barely carry in and out of the house.

Today’s verse reminds me of that impossibly large ladder, and the view it yields when it’s finally put into place. This verse is part of Jacob’s ladder, a very well-known story and dream that Jacob had in the pages of Genesis about a ladder that led to heaven.

I doubt, as Jacob rested his head upon a rock to go to sleep, that he had any inkling of having a dream where God would speak to Him! He was laying down on a rock! Yet, content to. When we lay our heads down on hard situations, God breathes life into our lives again. It most certainly could be a dream where God speaks to us, but it most likely will not be. Still, we feel His movement ever so reliably through the rest that He grants us when we need it the most.

And though we may not see a ladder in a dream like Jacob did, we can rest assured that we are climbing the rungs to heaven as the days go by and our holiness is perfected in our walk through life with Christ. For God promises us, just like He promised Jacob:

 “Know I am with you, and I will watch over you no matter where you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done all I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for Jacob’s ladder. Thank You for dreams, that allow us to imagine what life has in store for us. Forgive us for chasing our own ambition, and attempting to steer our dreams in the directions we want them to go. Help us to let go and give You control. Bless our steps to follow You, so we may see an experience all the glory You have in store 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 Climing,

Megs

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The Seeker (#jammed daily devo, day 262)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 262: Sought after.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.” Matthew 6:33

WHAM! day 262

Praying my head wasn’t bleeding …I removed my hand to survey the damage. No cut. Whew. Cramped inside my daughters’ playhouse, constructing a play kitchen refrigerator out of an old cabinet, I had forgotten to duck before I rushed inside for a bathroom break.

Sometimes there’s a big wooden loft in the way of what we’re seeking. Sometimes, it’s bigger than a wooden loft and a bump on our heads, isn’t it?

seek- to go in search or quest of; to try to find or discover by searching or questioning. (dictionary.com)

There’s a lot of life to be sought after, but only one Life will point us in the right direction. All other roads will whack us on the head. Faith in Christ is crucial to cope with the up and down swings of a dangerously swerving world. But it’s important to recognize that God knows where all the landmines are. He can see where we are about to bump our heads.

Life’s not a surprise to it’s Author.

Today’s verse reminds us to seek Him first. The Greek word for seek is zeteo- to crave (Strong’s). When we walk with Christ, we understand this translation. The peace that comes from striding down life’s road with our Savior makes us crave more of what He knows. He may not always give us the direct answer we are after, or the one we want to see or hear …but He does hear …and in His sovereign and just reign over all of our lives. He promises to answer.

“all things will be given to you.”

The love God has for us doesn’t have a salary cap. It’s not limited. There is no end. What He can give us is unending and everlasting. When we seek Him and crave His presence, He grows us in holiness …piece by peace …until we arrive home in heaven.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for Your presence. Thank You for quenching our thirst for knowledge the way only You are capable of doing. Forgive us for missing Your movement while we wait for direct answers. Bless us to be open minded and soft hearted to hear and see and feel Your movement in our lives as we follow 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! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Craving,

Megs

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The Key Necklaces (#jammed daily devo, day 261)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 261: The Key to all hearts.

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.” Luke 11:52

“I found the keys! I found the keys!!!” Pandemonium erupted at the top of my staircase as day 261twenty half-grown feet pounded upwards in hot pursuit of the clue in hand.

“Look! Each one has our initial!” One shouted with glee!

“Quick!” Shouted another, “Everyone, find their key!!!”

The scavenger hunt clues led them all over the house and yard, and through all kinds of crazy antics and activities. Though it’s fun to try and stump my kids and their friends with riddles and mysterious directions, I’m forever relieved that my faith isn’t nearly as complicated. In fact, it’s not complicated at all. The Pharisees who tried to hold onto the complication of the Old Testament are put in their place in today’s verse.

” You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.” Matthew 23:13

Jesus came to set everyone free of the law, and instead some were interpreting and adding all kinds of mysterious clues and required directions to follow in order to achieve salvation. It was infuriating then, and it’s infuriating now.

There’s no denying that some people comparatively seem to “do” more of the “right” thing. But Jesus didn’t come for what we can do. He didn’t come to exalt the “right.” He came so that not one sheep would be left behind. Not one child of God. Not one believer in Him. Not one. Yet there they were …excluding the very people who Jesus came to include.

The key to Christianity isn’t in key form at all. It’s not an act we perform or a set of skills we acquire. It’s not a batch of verses we have memorized or hours of service that earn us faith in Christ.

The key to life is Christ.

That’s it. But that seemed WAY to radical to be real back in Biblical times. It seems too radical to be real …now. When we aim to compare keys, we’ll find no two are the same. It’s not a matter of which one opens the door. Each key unlocks a relationship with Jesus that looks like none other.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the individual way You unlock our love of Christ. Thank You for accepting us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Forgive us for misunderstanding Your grace, and confusing what it means to walk in a continual growth of holiness, and trying to “do” to earn what was already given to us. Bless our intentions and 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 Unlocking,

Megs

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The Fast Meal (#jammed daily devo, day 260)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 260: Quick entry, slow exit.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.” Joel 2:26

“Can I have more fish?” my daughters both looked at me with with plates extended….day 260

Second, third and fourth helpings of dinner that night had me thinking somebody had swapped my children.

“Are you even taking the time to chew this?” I asked, as barrels of laughter answered me back.

Today’s verse is a reminder of how God has provided for us in our lives. In the good times, and in the problems solved and health restored, we are quick to inhale and ask for more. But in the not so good times …in the hard places of life that are not so easy to chew and almost impossible to swallow, we rarely even finish the first helping.

In order to digest the nutrition God gives us properly, we must consider the following.

  • “You will have plenty to eat…” If we’re still standing on this earth, God is assuredly providing a way for us to be here another day. And if He’s provided another day, He’ll get us through it.
  • …”and you will praise the name of the Lord your God.” Good entrees in life call for a side or two of praise.
  • …”who has worked wonders for you…” By recognizing the miracles God has woven into our everyday lives, we acknowledge the fact that He’ll do it again! The Israelites had to be reminded constantly of the way God brought them out of Egypt and provided for them. If they were privy to forget the massive miracles that God had bestowed upon them …then we are surly prone to forget what He’s done in our lives. We must choose to remember.
  • “…never again will my people be shamed.” When Christ died on the cross, the guilt and shame and wrath we deserve for our sin was wiped out. In one last breath, He sealed those that believe in Him for good. Though our lives remain imperfect, grace forgives us over and over as we grow in holiness all the way to heaven.

When we get a good Word from God, let’s vow to write it on our hearts …to turn back and look at the way those Words have already marked our lives, and take them forward with us as the sharp sword they are …to cut through the calamity and follow Christ.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for remembrance. Thank You that we can search our memories and see the tracks and traces of Your love marked on our lives. Forgive us for falling short and turning back …for delaying and doubting, and strengthen our hearts to believe in You more and more each and every 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 Remembering,

Megs

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The Conviction (#jammed daily devo, day 259)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 259: Put it to work.

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,.” 1 Peter 1:8

“Where’s my Jesus emoji when I need it?” my fingers sent via text…day 259

That’s truly how I feel most days. He’s the reason for all of my smiley-faced messages and sunshiny stature. The reason I get up in the dark and seek Him in quiet with my warm cup of coffee. Belief blossoms into a beautiful friendship of saving faith.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him…”

God’s love requires faith, and faith is so much deeper than what we can see or understand. Faith gives feet to trust in what God has planned for our lives. Not being able to see God …not being able to witness Jesus’ miracles …doesn’t make Him any less real. Whether we believe or not, He is still in control of the universe, still sitting at the right hand of God, and loving us with a perfect love that we are incapable of understanding.

What causes us to love God though we’ve never met? He is in us. The moment we accept Jesus He seals us as His and the Spirit dwells in us from that day forward. It’s a love that we don’t have to see, feel, or hear. It’s a love we know. A love we believe. A Cross we point to.

“…and though you do not see him now, you believe in him…”

We don’t see Him now, but there is something in us from the very beginning that seeks Him. That seeks God’s presence. That seeks to abide with our Father, our Creator, and His Son. And once the Spirit begins to move in our hearts …our lives are never the same. We can’t go back. We know too much.

“…and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Inexpressible. That accurately describes the feeling of being saved from ourselves and this world. Inexpressible. How do we thank Jesus for dying on the cross for us when He didn’t have to? For coming down from heaven to show us the way …and to make a way for us to be with Him? Kind of makes us feel …convicted.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the glorious joy that You plant in our hearts! Thank You for the innate desire to be in Your presence, and forgive us for avoiding Your love at the cost of our stubborn solutions and band aid solutions to problems and trials. Bless our lives with belief in Your love. 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 Believing,

Megs

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The Assurance (#jammed daily devo, day 258)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 258: Assured.

 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13

“Three 100%’s!” My daughter slammed her folder on the counter triumphantly.  “That’s day 258three prizes!”

Though the reward system set in place seems to help encourage their best work in school …it sure has shoved us into the conversation of entitlement right alongside it.

We are all programmed to seek what we feel we deserve for our efforts. This is counter-productive to Christianity, and today’s verse provides a great platform to discuss it.

Though it might appear like Paul is giving “works” the claim to victory, “excellent standing and great assurance” goes far beyond what we do on this earth. Humanity will fail us through our individual struggles. Even Paul struggled with “doing what he hated…” Assurance comes from our heart’s ambition on His behalf. The fire that burns in us to follow Him …to “Go!” wherever He needs us to go.

assurance-a positive declaration intended to give confidence. (dictionary.com)

In Christ, we are assured victory! We know we will end our lives in His arms in heaven. But on our way home, we unlock glory on this earth when we are executing His will for our lives. Our positive declaration of faith is in the cross.

The word “confidence” is used in the New American Standard Bible in place of assurance, and the original Greek translation of that word directs us to be clear in what we believe and who we follow. Not just clear, but unabashedly confident. Not in an arrogant way, but in solid, unswerving, faith.

Our assurance is having so much confidence that we can freely say straightforwardly that Jesus is our Savior, and that He is the reason we are saved by grace and can be in the presence of God. He is the reason, by His death on the cross, that the very Spirit of God resides in our hearts to help us through this life. And not just to help us skate by …to help us soar on the wings of God’s will for our lives.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the way you weigh the works of our lives. Thank You for the will that powers our lives’ direction. We confess taking hold and becoming shaky in times of crisis and quiet. But God …You are good to us through it all, and there for us always. Bless us to be more like Jesus each day we walk this earth. 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 Healing,

Megs

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The Here and Now (#jammed daily devo, day 257)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 257: Here and now.

“I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true.” John 7:28day 257

The hallway light flicked on at 5am, and the pitter patter of sweet little feet followed by a flush and a brush and a spit gave way to a sweet face up and ready to start the day.

“Mommy,” she whispered, “you weren’t downstairs reading your Bible yet, can I read with you today?”  (God sometimes give us an easy, ‘yes,’ doesn’t He?) 

We sat there side by side in the dark early hours, reading our Bibles and writing prayers in our journals. All I kept thinking was,

‘If anything ever happens to me, I’ve done such an important part of my job as her mom. She knows how to find You, God …’

Today’s verse reminds us that if Jesus was not here on His own authority, neither are we. Our days are compassionately numbered and passionately purposed by our God. It’s easy to think of our children as our own, but most important to remember that they are here on His authority, too.

In the New American Standard Bible, the word ‘come’ is used in place of ‘here,’

“I have not come…” 

The translation of this word, erchomai, metaphorically means:

  1. to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence
  2. be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto (Strong’s)

Not only do we come to being under His hand, but we come alive. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we begin to establish our faith and discover those compassionately numbered and passionately purposed days of our lives. Being here takes on new meaning, and He is evident everywhere.

 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” John 5:25

The time was “now” then, and the time is “now” …now. Jesus is, was, and ever shall be. Here and now, we can walk into our destiny. Here and now, we can be free through Grace. Here and now, we can seek Him and find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13) Like in the dark hours of morning, quietly seeking …

We may not always say the right thing to our children. May not always set the right example. It’s impossible to say and do everything right on their behalf. But we can speak life into them here and now. And we can seek God in His Word, here and now. When we seek Him, they will notice. Here they will see Him. Now they will follow.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for the way You take our efforts to seek You and lead our children to Your feet, as well. Thank You for the authority and love You proclaim over our lives and theirs. We confess that sometimes we think we’ve blown it for them on account of our mistakes, and pray blessing over our steps …the ones they see and hear …and the ones they don’t …yet. 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 Here ….and Happy Now,

Megs

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The Times (#jammed daily devo, day 256)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 256: Grace in time.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“I can’t tell time,” my nine-year-old stated. day 256

She typically doesn’t have study much at all to maintain straight A’s. So, when she runs into something that doesn’t come naturally, she’s not sure how to swim through the effort it takes most everyone else to learn things. Telling time doesn’t come naturally to her, so she’s alluded by it a little. But time isn’t going away.

“There’s no out-running time,” I explained, “eventually you have to be able to show up for work on time, plan how long it takes you to get to dance, and to know when things open and close …how long it takes to complete things …it’s not going away.” (eye roll.)

Today’s verse seconds that motion, doesn’t it? The entity of time isn’t going away, and our ability to tell it is pretty crucial. Though God doesn’t reveal the mysterious exact time that Christ will come again …we know He will. We anticipate it and recognize the passing of days.

 His timing is our very existence.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There was a time for Christ to walk this earth. A time to witness His miracles. A time for His death on the cross. A time for our grace. Each life walks the earth in His time.

Each of us have something that seems a little too hard to conquer in our lives. The key to sailing over our hurdles is to allow Christ to lift us over them. The magic of understanding why comes in letting Him have control.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for time. Thank You for the way You organize each day and stretch the minutes of our lives. We confess that we don’t always take the time to thank You for the day we are living in, and pray that You allow us to cherish life in Your time. 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 Timing,

Megs

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