The Education (#jammed daily devo, day 322)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 322: Thankful for knowledge.

Clever people go after knowledge to obtain it,
    and wise people attune their ears to hear it. Proverbs 18:15

Already tempted to imagine what my daughters’ college choices should look like, and 322becoming dangerously obsessed over their elementary education at times, I need to be  reminded of how unqualified I am to make those kind of life choices for my kids.

If we’re not careful, we can push our kids into the people we know instead of letting them grow into the people God has made them to be.

Through a brief flashback, my life is a witness to the truth of this verse. Knowledge and career can be attained in the pursuit of an education, but the full gravity of our growth lies so much deeper …and higher.

A purple and gold tri-fold board at a college fair led me to a small country town. I spent my high school years trying to figure out how to earn my way on that campus. Even though I was accepted, the cost was more than my academic achievements could afford.

It felt like torture accompanying a friend recruited to play footfall there my Senior year.  I found my feet creeping up to the desk where the receptionist stood, and heard my voice ask her if there were any more scholarships I could apply for.

“Do you participate in any sports?” she asked.

“I just started running last year…” 

A few minutes later, Coach sat down to talk to me, and I left that day with a better understanding of my potential.

Days later, I picked up my powder blue phone to hear his voice offering me a scholarship.  Through the screeching and screaming as I ran down the stairs to tell of my victory …my life shifted.

Ashland University was a breaking off of who everyone else told me I had to be …and a chance to become the woman God had always made me to be. It was hard, and in so many ways I failed. But through my mess, I became the first in my family to earn a college degree.

Putting the dreams of my daughters’ lives in perspective, my own journey reminds me to be open to where He is calling them …and to enjoy the unfolding of the good plan He has for their lives.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for college educations, and thank You for taking us on journeys in life that we have to look back to fully understand. Bless our hearts to relax back into Your arms. 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 Educating,

Megs

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The Pier (#jammed daily devo, day 321)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 321: Thankful for the sunrise.

“The skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1

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“Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!”

I’ve already rolled over twice before my alarm sounds that it’s time to rise. The first
light of the sun arising is all the assurance my heart needs to know that God is with me.
Always and everyday, His Light pierces through the horizon to awake all. We never question if the next day will come, and often let it slip in and out without really realizing how fleeting it …and all of our days …are.

Stride after stride, season after season, morning after morning, sunrise after sunrise …I look for Him in the sky …and He meets me there. On the edge of the pier at the mouth of the river, looking out at the vast great lake it flows into, my mind longs to drift out to the sea and into the sky. I ache for the comfort and joy of His arms.

Knowing that His brushstrokes paint the sky and His Light bounces off the water strengthens me to turn and walk back into the day He has planned and prepared for me to face. Through the sky, we somehow bond even though we’re realms a part.

The colors of the sky and the horizon as it meets the water are doodled over the pages of my childhood journals. He’s been guiding my life all along, telling me to straighten up …calling me to lead. I know what each morning means, and appreciate every stream of light and color as I walk down the pier to meet Him.

One day I’ll walk out to the end of that pier and soar over the gate, skimming on top of the water, and sailing up over the clouds to meet His embrace. Until then, daybreak is enough to fill my heart. Knowing it’s coming. Knowing He’s coming. That I am His. And He’s with me. #sweetJesus

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the sunrise. Thank You for meeting me there each morning. Forgive me for the days when the weather and my laziness keep me from coming, and help me to seek You more each day I head back down the pier.  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 Sky-gazing,

Megs

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The Bossy Cow (#jammed daily devo, day 320)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 320: Thankful for my friend.

“A friend loves at all times.” Psalm 17:17 (NIV)

Side by side, with our arms up in the air and our souls light under the weight of His 320presence, we sang praise to the One at the core of our lives …and our friendship. The older I get, the more I realize how rare it is to find a friend to seek Christ with throughout life. Someone who meets my enthusiasm with excitement and encourages me in my faith. We share a thousand inside jokes like the one in today’s title.

Friendship can fleet and fade over the years, but ours seems to grow stronger still with time. We’ve both been through hard times and trials, and our friendship has been God’s way to hug us through some things that no one else could. We became AU Eagle teammates twenty years ago, and we’ve not stopped laughing for much since then. She took me to FCA, where I began to study the Bible and connect with my faith and my Father like never before. I have confidence in our friendship because He brought us together.

A true friend loves regardless of the situation,
    and a real brother exists to share the tough times.” Psalm 17:17 (VOICE)

My life was riddled with wrong choices in those collegiate years, and afterwards I continued to chase after anyone’s plans for my life but His. But Kate was there for me when I wanted to disappear from my past and everyone in it in the wake of my divorce. Looking for me, searching for me, and never giving up on me …she found me and pulled me back to face what wasn’t going to disappear. Over ice cream, we’ve built so many bridges back to Him …in search of Him.

Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Psalm 17:17 (MESSAGE)

When she suffered from post partum depression, we sought Him together through it. Prayed her through and praised her entry back into the light …and full night’s sleep …and her first marathon. Through the storms of married life and motherhood that He has pulled us through, and the rock of our joy that He is after every trial …we sang side by side that day. The people God places in our lives are not always blood-related, but they do become our Christian family. They are the people who build us up in Him, so that we can be better people to everyone else.

“A friend is always loyal.” Psalm 17:17 (NLT)

It’s not good to go through life alone, and because Kate is my friend …I know God has given me someone on this earth that will be my voice of reason. She will pray me through the troughs in the waves, and laugh with me eternally in this life and the next.

There are few things greater, and more heart filling and soul soothing, than a God-placed friend. It’s the closest thing to Jesus’ loyalty and love that we get to feel on this earth. We took a road trip recently, to the Outcry Tour, and stopped talking only to worship and sleep. In all of my efforts to be friends with everyone …Kate, you have been the friend that has taught me the most about what true friendship is. Thank you for being my friend …through all of my craziness and all my bad choices. Here’s to an eternity of laughter.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the friends You place our lives. Thank You for my Kate. Your Kate. Bless our friendship to honor You always, and our lives to reflect Your Son …our King …Jesus. 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 “Thankful for Kate” Day,

Megs

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The Arms in the Air (#jammed daily devo, day 319)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 319: Thankful for hands-up.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath! Psalm 104:33

319

The weight of God pressed into my stomach, onto my shoulders, and consumed my
whole head and heart. I’d never felt the presence of God like that, and didn’t want it to end. In a sea full of 10,000 other people, my ears ringing with praise and my arms in the air, God spoke into my heart …

“Straighten up.” “Straighten up!” “STRAIGHTEN UP!!!”

Since then, I’ve been praying into what in the world that means, and watching in awe as He peels back His answer one layer at a time.

When we come together seeking His presence, He is there, and it’s a phenomenal feeling. I remember wanting to bottle it up before I went back out into the world where we are few and set a part. For a moment, a piece of home rained down on my head and seeped in to fill my heart. 

“Straighten up….”

Up my arm went, determined to feel the same presence …needing to feel that same presence …the following Sunday in church. One of a few instead of lost in a sea of arms, mine trembled! The fear of people thinking I was out of my right mind caused my voice to tremble out of tune and away from the harmony. But He met me there, with that same heavy feeling of stability. He held me stable.

He holds me up.

Straighten up to meet Him in worship, and feel His strength surge through like a storm. Standing us up, dragging us through, cheering us on …He is there.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather,  Praise You for worship, and thank You for meeting us there and holding us up. Help me to be brave and seek You always in worship …with arms up. 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 Arming up,

Megs

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The Loud Little Voices (#jammed daily devo, day 318)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 318: Thankful for singing kids.

This is the truth: unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Watching kids worship is soul filling. As our little worship team takes the stage each318 month, their elementary smiles looking back at me as we try to remember all the movements we put to the words. It fills my heart to the brim.

“That was awesome!!!” I called out, and caught my breath between songs.

It’s God’s extravagant blessing on my life that two of those sweet smiles are that of my daughters. They look up at me for assurance, not knowing how much I look back at them for the hope.

Children teach us, if we’re humble enough to look and listen. Adult life is busy and rushed, but childhood is wide open. Even for the kids that have suffered so much injustice and heartache in their little lives, they possess a resilient, God-given innocence that shines through so to meet us when we invest our time in their lives.

God places us to make a difference, but also to absorb a lesson. Where children are, there is always much to learn. Especially when it comes to worship. They aren’t embarrassed to jump up and down and try silly dance moves. They yell and sing and praise God and thank Jesus.

We all need to be in the presence of God … to sing loud …jump up and down …and have faith like a child.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for our children’s worship team! Thank You for placing me in the presence of kids that help me learn more about who I am in You. Help me to honor You always through my ministry to them. 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

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The Questions (#jammed daily devo, day 317)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 317: Thankful for the ability to ask.

When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” John 13:27

317

How must Jesus have felt, even though He knew what Judas was about to do, when the
time came for him to betray Him. The hurt that we can all relate to after a trusted friends betrays us …lies to us …plays with our hearts as if we’re not as important as God says we are …and then acts like it’s our fault. Hurt can be a bitter seed that becomes dangerously toxic when it grows.

Jesus was never at risk of falling victim to the devil’s bitter roots. But we are. Sometimes, there is no way to see it coming. Other times, He will guides us around. Eventually, we all travel through a mess of hurt. It’s life’s inevitable fall. There is a real evil out there after our souls. Today’s verse says that “Satan entered into him.” That’s terrifying! But think of how easy it is to doubt …question …wonder …ask …

When life is unfair. When people die. When we’re sick. When we lose our jobs. When we lose our friends. When we lose our minds.

But the devil has no chance to gain the ground of our heart when we believe in Jesus Christ, Our Savior. He can harass us and make a mess of our lives, but he cannot get in. When we accept Jesus we are sealed with the Spirit from that moment on. God defends us.

How can we see the devil’s schemes? We ask.

God will remind us of His truth, and we will be able to discern true intentions from manipulative ones. Our God wants us to ask, seek, knock, wonder, and come to Him for help.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather,  Praise You for welcoming our questions, and thank You for strengthening our faith as You answer. Help us to see evil for what it is, and separate ourselves from it as You have called us to be. 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 Cedars and the Leaders (#jammed daily devo, day 316)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 316: Thankful for music.

“Let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!” Judges 9:15b

The best rock band of all time is my favorite rock band of all time. It’s not just because 316they stay out and away from trashy headlines and pompous agenda pushing …their music grabs me. It’s deep …and it comes from the artists’ intent on making the world a better and more peaceful place from the abilities their platform enables.

One of their songs inspired me to look further into the Cedars of Lebanon. These trees were extremely valuable, and in this verse, symbolize leadership. The trees are a part of symbolic parable involving a plot to deceive Gideon, which is exactly what happened.

In U2’s song “Cedars of Lebanon”, also uses the imagery of these majestic trees to allude to the realities of political leadership.

It is sung in the character of a war correspondent who is “squeezing complicated lives into a simple headline” and who “observes “this shitty world” where the aroma of a rose “lingers and then it just goes”. Wikipedia 

(I’m in no way giving a U2 song Biblical legs to stand on, but I love the way they think so deeply about the songs they put out there for us to marinate on.)

All Biblical leadership fell in time. Even King David. There will only ever be one King that will reign for ever. King Jesus. All other leaders in this world …even those with best intentions …will struggle with jealousy, power, arrogance, control …sin. Their intentions will never single handedly save the world. Only One is capable of peace. Because He is Peace. And He’ll be back. Tune in to Him. #KingJesus

jammed-click-to-tweetFather,  Praise You for King Jesus. Thank You for artists that push us to think about our world from different points of view, and for people that truly try to instill peace and make a difference. Help us all to be brave enough do our part, and always align what we hear and see to 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 Measuring,

Megs

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

 

The Fig Tree (#jammed daily devo, day 315)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 315: Thankful for prayer.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Slumped down on the kitchen floor in a heap of tears, I cried up …315

“Why ….I don’t understand …this is so hard …this hurts so much….”

In the depths of my soul, I knew He could hear me and trusted His ways over mine, but life hurts more than my eyes can see past sometimes. Some moments are crushing …and that’s when our faith kicks in.

In today’s verse, Jesus curses a fig tree, and though it has leaves the fruit is no more. There is some theology about the swiftness of judgement that Jesus is illustrating, but today we are going to look at the way Jesus’ encourages His disciples …and us …to have faith and pray.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. Mark 11:21

Many times we pray but don’t expect God to answer directly. He isn’t always going to, because His direct answers don’t look the same as our expectations. But Jesus tells us to pray as if our mountains will move …and He will move them. Believe that He can, and it will happen.

When we believe in Jesus He begins to grow our line of sight. We’re OK with what we can’t see, and become better at trusting Him. Our prayers become proclamations, when we marinate our minds in His Word. We know He will answer, and aren’t worried about how we think He should. Believing prayer allows room for God to work.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and thank You for the channel of prayer He opened up for us. Forgive us for our lack of faith …even when we pray. Bless us to trust You 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 Praying,

Megs

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The Four Winds (#jammed daily devo, day 314)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 314: Thankful for home.

 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

There are times in all of our lives that leave us feeling stuck, no matter if we’ve lived in 314the same place all of our lives or moved around a lot. No matter how much we come and go, or stay in place, He will gather us up and take us home.

This verse in Matthew is extra encouraging for this Northern Ohio girl. There are days that I embrace the changing seasons, and then there’s Spring. Those months from March to May, and sometimes into June, the season sometimes forgets to change. The sun is out, the days are long, and it’s still 40 degrees. Those are the days that I wonder why God put me in Ohio …or if somewhere along the way I didn’t somehow miss His calling to go South …or anywhere else …than the state I’ve lived all of my years in.

This verse today reminds us that we didn’t miss anything. That we are right where He wants us to be. When we seek Him out in prayer and in His Word everyday, we can rest in knowing that if He wants us to move, He won’t let us miss it.

God tells us not to worry, and for those of us who want to serve God with all of our hearts, we feel we’re never doing enough. Every sermon that tells us to GO leaves us ready to go somewhere!

Go! OK, God! Where?! I’m ready! Send me!

And He sends me home …to my house …

Sometimes Kingdom work is close to home.

In the end, it won’t matter and we won’t care where we lived out our days on the earth. When we finally head home, we’ll understand what it feels like to undoubtably know we are where we belong.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the desire to Go! Thank You for blessing us with amazing experiences in pursuit of Your will of our lives. Help us to be open and grateful wherever You place 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! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Home-ing,

Megs

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

 

The Crossfire (#jammed daily devo, day 313)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 313: Thankful for friends.

You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. 1 Corinthians 5:11 (MSG)

“I just don’t have respect for Christians that drink.”313

So much for sharing a casual drink among friends.

“It’s judgmental not to hang out with people just because they drink or swear.”

Anyone else feel like a friendship yo-yo at times?

It’s not our place to judge anyone, but especially not in our line of duty to lace words into ears that are not ready to hear. Only God can soften hearts. However, today’s verse addresses an aspect of Christian friendship that the non-confrontational soul in me wants to scatter and run from.

It’s uncomfortable to check someone else’s behavior. Especially for Christians! Who are we to judge? We certainly don’t want our mistakes drug out into the light, so why is it our job to correct our Christian friends? Paul explains it best in the Message translation of today’s verse in context with the verses that surround it.

 I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn’t make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous. I didn’t mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue- or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You’d have to leave the world entirely to do that!

But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory.

You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior.

I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house. 1 Corinthian 5:9-13 (MESSAGE)

It’s a lot, and it seems really judgmental and hypocritical on the surface, which is why it’s a terrifying thing to stand up for what we believe in. But as the famous saying states …if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Take these verses into the mirror first, and then to prayer. God promises to give us the words we need when we need them.

Ignoring the sin actually makes the lives of the sinners worse. -VOICE notes

Life isn’t always about understanding things, and our perspective sight doesn’t always allow us a view as to why God asks certain things of us. But we can trust His intentions are always good.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for godly friendship. Thank You for the friendships we are blessed with in this life where we don’t have to worry about being judged for who we are in You. Forgive us for judging others, and for not standing up for what we believe in because of peer pressure. Help us to be strong and firm in our 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 Friending,

Megs

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