The Jesus Emoticon (#jammed daily devo, day 228)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 228: The funny One.

 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. ” Galatians 6:7August 16

In the age where digital communication trumps verbal, we use emojis to show people how we feel. There are universal emojis that we all relate to. They break language barriers! Who would have thought? A smile is a smile …and a smiling piece of poop seems to be funny no matter where in the world we call home.

Knowing God’s hand is in everything, I googled “Jesus emoticon” one day …and sure enough, someone else had thought of it, too. There He was, with hearts in His eyes and a great big, welcoming smile.

When I first read today’s verse, I thought maybe God was busting me out for my Jesus emoji use. I’m sure people do use that emoji to mock Him, but I use it because it’s truly how I feel. And the youth that I lead think it’s hilarious because they relate to life through emojis …and this one is spot on how we all feel when we meet together. Like Jesus is there. With hearts in His eyes and a big smile on His face.

A Friend.

Be certain that God knows who intends to mock Him. He sees through everyone’s show, and every intention. But He also knows the hearts of those who intend endearing praise. 

Yet they do but deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who is perfectly acquainted with their hearts as well as actions. Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Authenticity is not perfection.He already knows who we really are, and when we relax into the reality that we need to hand over our issues to Him, we become more authentic people.

Hypocrisy in religion is the greatest folly as well as wickedness, since the God we have to do with can easily see through all our disguises. Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Jesus came to earth to be authentic, and allow us to live in the same way, too. He’s perfect. We’re not. No one is suprised by that. And it’s OK. When we aim to be authentic while we walk with Christ, God honors our efforts.

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Father, Praise You for perfect love. The love that we feel when we know Christ. When we know You. Thank You for being present among us when we gather together to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting to be real with the world about Whose we are, and strengthen us, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, to be know as humble servants saved by Christ. 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 Emojis!

Megs

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The Bird Snow (#jammed daily devo, day 227)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 227: Not always apparent.

Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish,August 15
 and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.” Proverbs 3:6 (VOICE)

Trying not to spark a fluttering mass of possible poop bombs, I unavoidably observe the birds each morning as I walk the pier.

When the wind blows too strongly for them to float peacefully in they air, they retire their haphazard flight paths to huddle on the sand together. Knowing they are not strong enough to control themselves in the wind, they all wait patiently, facing the same direction.

Today’s verse reminds us that we are, indeed, limited, in everything we do. Nothing we accomplish is by our own strength, otherwise pride would take over and we would be under the impression that we are entitled to everything we have, and have accomplished.

“Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish,”

everything- all that exists, all that relates to the subject, all that is important -dictionary.com

God sets limitations on us because He knows us. He is responsible for our talents and our blessings, so that “no one can boast.” There is no personal achievement that we have put passed His all-knowing hand. He knows us better than anyone else. When we walk with Christ, He shows us exactly what He means. We begin to see ourselves as He sees us.

It’s hard to swallow our pride and go against the grain of the prideful world we live in, that pats us on the back and praises our genius. God promises to bless a humble walk in the footsteps of His will. 

“He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.”

We’re guaranteed no easy paths in life …no easy life. In fact, we’re promised it will be difficult. But the smooth and strait road lies in the Peace of His presence as we travel life.

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Father, Praise You for the way You knit us from the start. Thank You for blessing the road we travel when we seek You first. Forgive us for accepting credit that belongs to You, and help us to grow in humility as we serve You and walk behind 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 Travels,

Megs

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The Never-Ending Game (#jammed daily devo, day 226)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 226: It’s OK to keep continuing…

“He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his ownAugust 14 authority.” Acts 1:7

We have a never ending game of Monopoly going on at our house. By the time we have the time to pull the game back out and finish debating who’s turn it is, where the houses go, and the amount of money sitting in free parking …it’s about time to bag it all up again and pack it away until we have time to play again.

I have no idea if we’ll ever finish that game.

Today’s verse speaks not of a game, but of life …and it’s end as we know it. These bodies are temporary and Revelation tells us what to expect …but God is holding the details in His trusted hand.

“It is not for you to know.”

Sometimes life is put on pause for our own good.  Parents are wise to keep some things from their child’s mind and eye until they are mature enough to handle it. Take cell phones and tablets, for instance. Children do not need access to the Internet all of the time. It’s as addictive as substance abuse, scientifically proven by discovering the same chemical is released when we get a new message as when we take a hit, a glance, or a drink.

God is good, all of the time. That’s who He is. A good Father. Who knows that we already have more than we can handle on this earth without a constant lean into Him. Through Jesus, we are forgiven and restored, but not entitled to know all that He knows. We were made to trust Him with the lives He has given us to live …until He calls us home.

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Father, Praise You for all of creation, and especially humanity. Thank You for protecting us from what You know we can’t handle knowing. We confess our frustration and obsession with pinning down specifics to times and events that You have not revealed, and ask that You increase our trust in You and faith in 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 Trusting,

Megs

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The Thinking Cap (#jammed daily devo, day 224)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 224: Humble our way of thinking.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.August 12
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Does anyone else remember being told to put their “thinking cap” on? As if, for some reason, the apparatus with which we think with can ever be removed from our heads. It’s nonsensical, but we all know what it means. To pay attention. To concentrate. Reel it in. As I tell my kids when I want to know they are listening, “look at my eyeballs.”

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.”

There’s no lack of concentration on our Father’s behalf. He doesn’t need to put His thinking cap on and He’s always laser focused on what we’re saying. His omnipotence is part of who He is. He promises to hear us, and He is who He is.

“My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

There’s no “cap” we can put on to understand God’s ways. Think about what we are capable of imagining. We are creative beings by nature because we are crafted in His image. And we’ve come up with some pretty amazing things out of the stuff of imagination. Invention, innovations, medical discoveries, unbelievable works of art and crazy special effects! Technology alone illustrates the power of our imagination …and on and on. Far beyond that …are God’s ways. They are unreachable.

As unreachable as the heavens.

“Just as the heavens are higher than the earth …”

His thoughts are higher.

His ways are higher.

So high, that we need a Savior just to  bridge the gap of communication between us and Him.

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Father, Praise You, for Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Thank You for the bridge that Jesus’ death on the cross provides us. We confess that we sometimes think we know better. Bless us to humbly seek and trust You all of our days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Friend-ing

Megs

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The Short Span (#jammed daily devo, day 223)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 223: Pay attention.

 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of August 11every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)

As I followed the trail of candy wrappers out of the kitchen, through the family room and up the stairs to her room …I understood why my daughter can’t sit still

“Lauren…..” I called out ….

Laughter answered. Not just any laughter …mischievous, I-just-got-away-with-something …incessant giggly laughter.

It’s a recurring problem. She resorts to peppermints when there’s no other candy in the house. And then no one can get anything done until the sugar wears off and the Lo Show takes it’s final bow.

Today’s verse reminds me that its important not to walk through life acting as if we’re on a sugar high.It cautions us to be wary of this type of behavior, and not to encourage or attribute to it. “Don’t live like fools.” “Don’t act thoughtlessly.”

It’s easy to fly off the handle when we consider every piece of threatening information as  a plausible threat to our lives,  and let it seep under our skin and affect us like a piece of candy affects my daughter. Let’s not react to “what-ifs” as if they are real. 

“Be careful how you live…” -We don’t go flying out into the heat without sunscreen, and reading God’s Word everyday is like applying SPF to our hearts.

…”like those who are wise” -Wise people don’t run around like chickens with their heads cut off, blowing up everyones phones and crying hysterically …even when tragedy does befall them …let alone at just the thought of it. When we walk with Christ each day, we can calmly breathe in and out of any situation …

“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” -These are “evil” days, so we should expect it to be lurking around every corner. Not in paranoia. But in preparation. Knowing Who we trust with our lives and Whose we are.

“Understand what the Lord wants you to do.” -Pray in every situation. It’s in His Word and it’s the answer to how we accomplish the trusted direction of His will for our lives.

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Father, Thank You for providing us with a way to stand up under the pressure of this world. Praise You for Your Son, Jesus, and all He has done to pave the way for our forgiveness. We confess, we do not always run every situation by You, and are often not in the Word enough to know how to respond. Bless us to seek You, listen to You, and follow 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 Candy Wrapper Picker Upping,

Megs

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The Bare Feet (#jammed daily devo, day 222)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 222: No shoes … no problem.

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything August 10you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

There are so many pairs of shoes in my house …yet every morning it’s the same routine.

“Where are your shoes?!”

My daughters never have their shoes on when it’s time to leave the house. They look at me like I am some sort of alien creature from another planet to have expected them to put something on their feet before they walk out the door.

How can they forget to put their shoes on? It boggles my mind. Whether it’s cold, wet, or summer out …to go anywhere requires shoes.

Today’s verse is telling us to put our shoes on before we go out the door and into the world. But not literal shoes …well, those are good too, but our faith. When we walk out into the world it helps to have our faith on.

Though Christ never leaves us, we tend to forget about Him when we starting walking out into the world. Soon we look down and wonder why our feet are all cut up. When we neglect to remember Him all day long, we walk without Him … hurting our ‘feet.’

“…live righteously, and He will give You everything You need.”

Spending time with God in the Word each day is like putting on a brand new pair of cushy running shoes before leaving the house. He’s protecting the ground that we walk on, and less likely to let whatever we run into that day cut us to bits …emotionally, mentally, maybe even physically.

Light your path with the Word before going out into the day. 

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Father, Praise You for protecting us in this life. There are things that we come up against each day that we don’t even realize, and we thank You for watching out for us. Forgive us for running out into the world with bare feet, and bless us to remember to carve out time to spend with You 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 Trodding!

Megs

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The Eighteen Wheels (#jammed daily devo, day 221)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 221: Spare wheels

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 August 9

Eighteen wheelers are scary to pass. Ever since I was sixteen, I have cringed rolling past one on the highway. It’s all those shredded tires on the side of the road that remind me that one of those eighteen wheels could pop off and fly into my car at any give moment. Or the images of flipped semis and second hand accounts of barely survived crashes with fallen asleep drivers.

The worst of the what-ifs threaten to paralyze and scare us.

Today’s verse reminds us that our hearts will be with what we treasure.

treasure- wealth stored up or hoarded. Merriam-Webster.

Pretty accurate definition of treasure if you’ve seen the all the pirate movies. It’s always buried, and someone is always intent on keeping it all to themselves once it’s found. Pirates are always swindling treasure out of each others hands after they’ve teamed up to find it together.

heart. The center of one’s being, including mind, will and emotions (NIV Notes)

It’s kind of hard to shove literal pieces of gold into a place like that.

The treasure that Mathew is speaking of is not something we have to fear the loss or damage of or something pirates race to in the movies, nor the paycheck that we scramble for week after week.

It’s Jesus. And once we begin to walk with Christ, there is nothing that can steal it or destroy it. When we discover our Treasure, our heart finds it’s way there, too. Each day, becoming more and more like the One we follow.

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Father, Praise You for protecting us on the highways of life. Thank You for guarding our hearts as no one else can, and forgive us for taking it for granted. Bless our hearts to become more and more like Jesus’ 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 Driving,

Megs

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The Cat Fights (#jammed daily devo, day 220)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 220: Don’t growl about it.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all August 8your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

“STOP.”

My dog tried to act like she didn’t hear me.

“Cherry ….” I warned.

“Grrrrrrr……..”

“Quiet!” I yelled. “Get over here and lay down!”

She sauntered over and landed on my feet …with a sarcastic huff as she let out all of the breath she was saving to bark at the cat that torments her from across the street.

It’s all day long, until we move upstairs to go to sleep …where she growls at that cat from the change in scenery. Every once in a while she will jerk me out of a dead sleep to warn that cat not to cross the street. It’s rediculous. And on occasion, she sleeps on the other side of my shut door because of it.

Today’s verse talks about loving God with all that we know how to love Him with. It’s hard to focus Him 24/7. Like my dog is constantly distracted by that cat, we are thrown off by all kinds of calamity throughout our day. There never seems to be enough time. Life goes too fast, except when it’s easy for a minute.

When we are tempted to lose focus, we can simply look up and ask for help. He’s there, waiting to lend a hand in reminder of why we love Him so much. Attention spans are fickle, so we have to keep reeling them in over and over again …and giving them back to Him.

There are a lot of cats across the streets of our minds. Things that temp us to stew and people that we don’t feel like forgiving. There are situations out of our control and delays we don’t understand. Through it all, Christ’s hand reaches down to remind us that we are His.

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Father, Praise You for this day and this time to reflect on Your Word. Thank You for Jesus’ grip on our hands. Forgive us for wanting to growl and grimace at life, and help us to stay focused on You and follow Jesus …today, and 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 Praying,

Megs

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The Window Birds (#jammed daily devo, day 219)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 219: Right there.

No one is righteous—not even one.August 7
 There is no one who understands the truth;
 no one is seeking after the one True God.
 All have turned away; together they’ve become worthless.
 No one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12 (VOICE)

They were back. Those early birds that chirp in the dark hours of morning, to announce a day on it’s way. It’s always the first thing I hear when they’re there …even before my alarm clock. In the North, they disappear for a while, and the silence is kind of sad. I miss their happy little conversations before the traffic picks up and the day drowns them out.

Today’s Scripture reminds me of the silence left behind when the birds fly South. For some, the silence has never been broken by the Voice sent to save us all. The conversation hasn’t started and they simply don’t know. It’s as sad to me as the silence of a cold winter morning …void of life.

The return of the birds doesn’t make life better or easier, but it does take our minds to a cheerier place.

A Christ-led life doesn’t make life any easier, but it does make life worth living. He grants us Peace, Hope, and Light. On the dark, cold, and quiet days of winter He warms us and encourages us.

Today’s verse reminds us that none of us seek what is good without Jesus. We are incapable of it, and blinded by pride when we think we’re just fine without Him. IF that were true, He would not have come here …would not have died on the cross.

“No one.”

When we are tempted to compare, let’s remember Whose we are and Who we follow … and that without Him, we are simply lost.

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Father, Praise You for creating us to rely on You. Thank You for the way You guide us out of our own peril and into the arms of Christ. Forgive us for comparing ourselves to others …thinking even for a second that we are better or worse than anyone else. You are able to love us all perfectly. Help us to know You better 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 Bird Listening,

Megs

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The Summer Gloves (#jammed daily devo, day 218)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 218: Purposed differently.

“Even though no one (except Jesus) owns me, I have become a slave by my own free will to August 6everyone in hopes that I would gather more believers.” 1Corinthians 9:19 (VOICE)

 In the North, we associate gloves with the cold weather …which may sometimes last from fall to summer …go away for a few weeks …and then return all over again. But as a dance mom, we quickly learn, that gloves are always everywhere.

Some things have a broader purpose that we don’t catch, because we aren’t used to applying them in that way.

Paul is talking about his purpose in this verse above today. People can have a purpose that we don’t recognize if we don’t understand what’s happening in their hearts. No one is making Paul spread the gospel around. He’s doing it out of the Love living in his heart.

It’s a concept as foreign as wearing gloves when it’s ninety degrees outside. If we don’t relate to why, we can’t understand how. 

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, it makes sense. Maybe not the glove part, but absolutely the telling people about Jesus part.

“I have a become a slave by my own free will…”

That’s a tough statement to understand outside the confines of a Christ-led life. There’s nothing else we’d rather do than share the Love we witness when He resides in our heart. We start to understand compassion, as we learn of His compassion for us.

The Living Word comes alive for us …and the gloves come off.

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Father, Praise You for loving us perfectly. Thank You for calling us to follow Jesus in Your perfect time. Forgive us for taking our faith for granted, and help us to be courageous in spreading the Love of Christ. 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 Living,

Megs

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