The Sunny Side (#jammed daily devo, day 48)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 48: Grace smiles warmly. 

 “Keep being kind to those who waver in this faith.” Jude 22post-image-48

In today’s verse, Jesus’ brother Jude warns us not to use God’s guaranteed forgiveness as an excuse to stop growing.

diakrinō means “to judge, distinguish, evaluate” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

judge: (transitive verb) to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises (intransitive verb) to form an opinion. (Merriam Webster)

One of the differences between a transitive and intransitive verb is that one owns an object and one doesn’t.

“And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.” Jude 22 (NLT)

“When applied to oneself, it can mean to “doubt” or “waver.”-Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

distinguish- (transitive verb) to perceive a difference in: mentally separate (intransitive verb) to perceive a difference in.(Merriam-Webster)

Notice that, just like judge, the transitive verb is more defined than the intransitive.

“Be merciful to those who doubt;” Jude 22 (NIV)

“…to make distinctions shows a lack of true faith.” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

evaluate- (transitive verb) to determine or fix the value of. (Merriam-Webster)

This time, no intransitive verb. Evaluate is attached to an object. The secondary definition Merriam-Webster lists states:“to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study.”

Why did diakrinō pop up in a verse about kindness? God is teaching us by exposing our tendency to “diakrinō ,” and warning us not to buy into it. Christianity is not about pointing fingers, or making excuses for the mistakes we make. When we attach ourselves to kindness instead, it’s impossible to judge, distinguish, or evaluate another life alongside our own.

“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.” Jude 22:23

diakrinō is used in a technical legal sense in Paul’s exhortation for believers to refrain from suing one another. (1Cor6:5)-Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

We see fault in others when we are blind to our own. It’s all over social media, but it’s not new. I love that the Bible deals with “believers suing one another.” Christians are not exempt from bad behavior. We are still sinners! That doesn’t change, but we shouldn’t exploit that as an excuse to justify the wrong we know we do.

No one walk with Christ will look the same as another. God printed every finger different, why would His love towards us be any less perfect, or personal?

“If you can’t be kind …be quiet.” Toby Mac

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for creating each of us different, and loving us all perfectly. Thank You for reminding us how important it is to be kind. Forgive us for pointing fingers at others and making excuses for our own bad behavior. Bless our hearts to soften toward others and be convicted of our own sin. Help us to repent and change each day of our lives, until we hug You in heaven.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

How can you be kind to someone today? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Checking,

Megs

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The Tangled Doodle (#jammed daily devo, day 47)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 47: Grace detangles.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless.” 1 Corinthians 1:17post-image-47

To say we were excited to celebrate our first Christmas as dog owners this past year is an understatement. Cherry-dog wore a sweater from November to January. What we thought was adorable …really was …but it cost us. Literally.

When we took her sweater off to pack it away with Christmas, we found deep tangles in her fur. I spent hours trying to unravel her fur with a comb and her head on my lap, to no avail. Poor girl had to lose most of her long, warm hair in the cold of winter on account of our bad choice.

Jesus taught in parables to keep His message simple. Not because it’s a simple message, but because He wanted all to hear, understand and know God’s love. To know Him. To know life.

Peter is alluding to the same sentiments. He knew that baptizing people was out of his lane, but that preaching the gospel was right smack in it. He was passionate about placing his words in position for all to hear and understand, not tangling them up with complicated jargon and useless sentiments.

The danger in complicating God’s message is that we will confuse others. I pray that my words here are an encouragement to all who read them, and my love for Jesus and honest ache for all to know Him jumps off the screen. Grace detangles any mess in the way of a heart longing to know Jesus. #Godisbigger

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for words! Thank you that we are able to communicate so easily with each other, and share Your word freely here in this space. Forgive any miscommunication on account of my human heart, and bless this space to build love for You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What’s the worst mess you’ve ever had to untangle? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Detangling,

Megs

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The R's (#jammed daily devo, day 46)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 46: Grace cannot be outgrown.

“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.” Acts 2:41post-image-46

My youngest daughter has never been able to make an “R” sound. It makes everything sound cuter than it should. Even the annoying meltdowns are a bit endearing when the “r” sound is completely absent from the conversation.

When she walked down the hallway to enter First Grade this year, she began to find her “r” sound. And as sad as it is to hear her old voice fade into memory, her new one is equally endearing …and demanding. Didn’t change her personality.

Today’s verse is all about people finding their “r” sound. Well, not really, but it’s all about them realizing they were doing something that they never realized was wrong. That their way of thinking was radically wrong. On the way to accepting Christ, these people were so blindsided by the difference in thinking, that it was like listening to a conversation missing major consonant sounds.

This verse from Acts recounts a day when Peter and the apostles were preaching to the crowd. Mind you, people back in Biblical days thought Christians were just as wacky as the world thinks they are today. So be encouraged. Peter tells this particular group on this particular day:  In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. ” 

Before we know Christ, Christians sound like their missing consonants.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the way we develop physically and spiritually. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and Your creation is just as it is intended to be. Nothing surprises or shocks You. You were, are, and ever shall be, omnipotent. Forgive us for missing key sounds, and bless our souls with Your Spirit to enlighten our hearts to Your Living Word. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What sounded crazy to you at first, but is commonplace now? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Sounding,

Megs

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Book Review: Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of Modesty for Tweens

This book came at the perfect time for my pre-teen fourth grader!

I’m not even sure she realized the comparisons that were already starting to pop up on her radar and amongst her peers. This vulnerable age requires unique guidance, and Dannah Gresh does a phenomenal job at meeting girls where they are at. In this new phase of their lives, she guides them by providing powerful Scriptures and breaking them down in a way that they can easily apply them to their everyday lives. For example, Gresh incorporates Titus 2:12, “God wants us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures and live good, God-fearing lives day after day,” to open up a discussion about living according to God’s standards versus the world’s.

“So, grab the cute dress. Sew some funky patches onto your worn-out jeans. Have a facial night with your BFF! These things aren’t bad or sinful in and of themselves, but BE CAREFUL about why you like them.” – Dannah Gresh, Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of Modesty.

My daughter picked this book up and started glancing through it before I finished it and  passed it on to her. The way that it is put together, weaving eye-grabbing graphics, pulled-out quotes and verses, and cute cartoon character pictures, grabbed her interest immediately. Plus, what pre-teen girl isn’t curious about secrets?

As a parent, I feel better equipped to meet my daughter in conversation about modesty on her level. Thank you for your faithfulness to write this book, Dannah!
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.)

The Clips (#jammed daily devo, day 45)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 45: Find a way to attach grace.

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”Galatians 3:27post-pic-45

My hair is a hot mess these days. I often can’t remember when I last washed it. Most of the
time it’s smashed under a hat or up in a messy bun. Like apples off the tree, my girls are no different. We just don’t have a lot of hair priority over here. Too busy. Too busy for hair maintenance. Grant us grace.

That’s just what God does. When our hair blows in our face He tosses us a clip to swipe it quickly out of our eyes and keep going. Like little grace clips, He attaches a piece of Himself to us and urges us forward. “Keep going… I’ve got this …you just keep going.”

How often do we swoop in and pick up the minor details for our kids, spouses, and friends? Expecting nothing in return, just a little grace on a day when they need it …because we remember the day we needed ours.

Jesus is the clip that holds the hair our of our eyes. He wants nothing more than to hold our hand when we are absolutely blinded, exhausted, or both and pull us though whatever we’re going through.

He is grace. God is good.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for Jesus. Praise You for grace. Thank You for scooping us up when we fall like we do our little toddlers. You mend our scraped knees and broken hearts. You are love. You are love. You are love. Forgive us for rushing passed Your hand. Bless us to grip it tighter each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s you favorite “messy hair day” do? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Clipping,

Megs

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The Blanket (#jammed daily devo, day 44)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 44: The Warm Blanket of Grace.

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. And while he was praying, the heavens opened.” Luke 3:21post-image-44

“Mom!!!!!” The shrieks that came from upstairs were panicked.

“What’s the matter?” I was out of breath from skipping stairs as I rushed in to make sure my little nugget was unscathed.

“I can’t find my blankie bear…..” she sobbed. Big, huge, eyes welling over with sobs.

“Why she hadn’t simply come downstairs to look for it?” I wondered.

Back down the stairs I trudged, and swooped up her blanket from the floor next to the dog bowl ..which makes perfect sense in so many ways, and back up to her room to save the day right before bedtime.

“OK, everything ok, now? Good nigh-“

“MOM ….Bible….” she cut off.

Blankets are warm and comforting, but so is God’s Word. There is something so sweet about it, that even my six-year-old is moved to crave more of it each day. When I want so badly to skip that last step in the bed-time routine and skip downstairs to a quiet house, God pulls me back in closer for a super-close encounter.

As we read and pray together each day, something continues to grow. A desire for Jesus will grow in a child’s heart, beyond and sometimes in spite of our efforts.  When we pray and read His Word with our children, heaven opens up just a little bit …

Jesus is chasing after her. And I love Him so much for that.

jammed-tweet-blueJesus read the Scriptures, and He prayed. When He was baptized, God spoke to Him from heaven. A Father telling a Son He is proud of Him. Just like I do when I tuck my girls in, but on an infinitely larger scale.

Father, Praise You for connecting with us in such special ways. Thank You for Your Living Word, and Your Son, Jesus. Forgive us for forgetting to include reading Your Word in our daily routine, and bless us to seek after You there more and more each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is your favorite Bible story? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Reading,

Megs

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The Low-Flying Plane (#jammed daily devo, day 43)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 43: Grace is Stable.

“Yes. I am coming soon.

To which we say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20post-image-43

Anymore, it’s nerve-wracking to witness a low-flying plane.

“Why so low?”

“Is everything ok?”

“I wonder where it’s going…”

And the memories flood back of the lives changed forever and the course of the world headed into a disarray it will never recover from.

Grace grants us stability in an unstable atmosphere. It doesn’t magically make the world safer, but it does assure us that after it gets worse …it will be better. We know who wins.

In today’s verse, we hold onto the end. The very last verse of the Bible assures us He is coming soon.

And until then, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.” Rev. 22:21

In the wake of chaos, we’re left with a lot of worry about what might happen again. And sometimes, we’re right. And sometimes, it does happen. The worst. The worst becomes someone’s reality everyday, and we will all have to live through a season of “worst” on this earth. We’re promised it won’t be easy, and that we won’t understand.

Just like discoveries are made in slow progress, though the study of God’s Word and obedient steps of faith in stride with Jesus we hold onto the hope of our Father and find happiness in this life.

jammed-tweet-blueUntil “soon…”

Father, Praise You for time, and the perfect way You string together our days. Thank you for revealing what is necessary for us to know in Your perfect time. Forgive us for filling in the blanks with doubt, and bless us with hearts of pursuance in Your Living Word. 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 Hoping,

Megs

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The Goggles (#jammed daily devo, day 42)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 42: Clear Vision Requires Graceful Sight.

“I ritually cleanse you through baptism as a mark of turning your life around. But someone is coming after me, someone whose sandals I am not fit to carry, someone who is more powerful than I. He will wash you not in water but in fire and with the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 3:11 (VOICE)post-image-42

Finding a pair of goggles that don’t leak allow us to see things clearly underwater. The
water stings our eyes without a protective cover, and they itch and burn for hours afterwards.

When John baptized with water, he realized that he could only symbolize what Christ would accomplish.  He could see glimpses of what would happen next, but was not privy to the sight until Jesus walked into the water one day for John to baptize Him. When God spoke though those clouds, “this is my Son, with whom I’m well pleased,” the goggles dropped right onto John’s face and he saw clearly what had been told.

Swimming through life without Christ will make our eyes sting and burn. It’s not possible for us to see the dream God has for our lives on our own. We don’t have to wait for goggles to see clearly, we just have to open our eyes. Jesus is here. Now. A simple prayer to ask Him into our lives will clear our vision forever.

jammed-tweet-blueJesus, I believe in You. I accept You as my Savior. Forgive me for my sins and walk with me forevermore. Amen.

Did you just pray that prayer for the first time? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Seeing,

Megs

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The Chill-Bumps (#jammed daily devo, day 41)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 41: Grace pops up to alert us.

Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.  John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4b-5post-image-41

Warm layers keep the chill out in the winter, but a chilly summer breeze can catch us off-guard. “Chill bumps” surface from head to toe in attempt to alert us that we need to take cover …get a blanket …go inside …scoot closer to the fire.

Grace alerts us akin to chill bumps, like the time I witnessed a baptism at church …warm as can be …with chill bumps. Or, watched my daughter take the stage for the first time (who am I kidding …each and every time) …chill bumps. Before I hit “send” on a big project,  sometimes my nerves prompt a prayer … and chill bumps.

I believe grace has an alert system, and chill bumps rise up even when we’re not cold.

“During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

Talk about chill bumps. Jesus died. Jesus rose. Then, He appeared to the apostles …who probably had chill bumps. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, the Holy Spirit lives in every heart that is home to Him.

When we pray to understand God’s Word, it is the Spirit that quickens us to understand …to see things we otherwise cannot and will not see. It is the movement of the Spirit in and out of our lives that loves to wow us as we sense the presence of Someone much bigger than us.

There is more to life than our line of sight. Life with Jesus is life as it was meant to be. Faith in what we cannot see is more than just the belief that more exists. It is faith and confidence that He is.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for Your Holy Spirit.  You are faithful to make Your presence known to us. Forgive us for our silence, and bless us with courage and faith to call out and cry out to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

When is the last time you experienced chill bumps? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Chill Bumps!

Megs

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The Squid Hat (#jammed daily devo, day 40)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 40: Grace is more predictable than we think.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord,one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-post-image-40

Squeezed through rows of squishy plastic poop balls with eyes, rubbery octopus tentacle
finger puppets, shell necklaces of every unnatural color imaginable, and high powered fluorescents exposing the junk my kids love to collect, my eyes landed on the bottom shelf of hats.

“Look at these, girls!” I beckoned.

We rolled over laughing as one daughter suddenly appeared to have her head bitten off by a shark and the other turned into a squid with legs. It’s been my favorite thing to do since I can remember, laughing over the possibility of purchasing such nonsensical creations attached to the notion of , “who would buy this?”

Most of the time, I do. Marketers unite. Unearthing these little treasures in our house months later always ushers in the return of laughter and makes an unworthy purchase worth it all over again. This day would be no different.

 

Today’s verses bind us together. “One” is written seven times in these two verses. Seven, in the Bible, is the number of perfection. I love how the VOICE commentary adds to the tenderness of Paul’s plight in this text: “Paul encourages them to do whatever it takes to hold onto the unity that binds people together in peace.” 

One …body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism …

All of these things have nothing to do with what our hands are capable of creating.

“…one God and Father is over all and through all and in all.”

Jesus lives. Jesus unifies. A heart home to Him holds the key to unity. A walk behind the trail of His earthly sandals leads us to the peace God longs for all of us to reach.

 “..that unity is founded on God’s oneness and work in the world.” (VOICE)

Whether you rock a squid hat or just laugh at the girl who does, we all have something uniquely special that unites us in His name.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the unique way You created all of us. Thank You for grace, and the way it  washes over us.. Forgive us for mocking those whom You created and help us to live in unity. Bless us with peaceful, Christ-like hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s the wackiest souvenir you’ve ever brought back from vacation? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Souvenir-ing,

Megs

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