The Feeds (#jammed daily devo, day 174)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 174: Scroll to find the light.

“Disabled Man: Kind Sir, I wait, like all of these people, for the waters to stir; but I cannot walk. If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water’s edge each time it is stirred.” John 5:7 (VOICE)June 23

The man in today’s verse is discouraged. He’s let what’s happening around him, and what other people are doing, affect his faith that Jesus can heal him. He’s talking to Jesus. Hello ..Savior of the world …God’s only Son …spotless Lamb … but the man’s mind has become so clouded by what’s streaming past his line of sight that he can’t fathom the miracle that is about to happen to him.

Social media numbs us like this. Even when we realize it’s a collective highlight real, we still look and look and look until comparison seeps in to our skin and starts to make us itch for something we don’t have …to live somewhere God hasn’t placed us …to have a career we weren’t called to …to look like we weren’t made to …to believe what’s not true …and behave like we don’t believe in anything.

When we live by social media standards, it begins to chip away at our self-worth. When we live by God’s standards, we light up the dark. After much frustration with social media and a temporary removal from it …I decided to stay in the fight. Because that’s what it is. That’s where the people are. That’s where hurt people are, disguised as happy highlight reals, and crying out to acquaintances for help.

Where ever God’s people gather together to seek Him and know Him …He is there. Even amoungst social media. The God that created people and communication in the first place is surely present amoung so many of His children. Children that Jesus died to save. People He knit from the inside out. People that are purposed to serve and follow and glow in the dark.

Don’t back down from the fight. When it get’s ugly, get in the Word. Stay in prayerful conversation. But don’t leave it pitch black out there.

 …“someone must carry me into the pool…”

 “without a helping hand, somebody else beats me to the pool ever time…”

We can’t help the blind and the poor if we hide from them. Not everyone that needs us is on social media …but a lot are.

Be there because He’s there.

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Father, Praise You for social media. Thank You for the many languages and ways in which we communicate with each other …and You. Forgive us for running away when it gets hard and annoying. Forgive our judgement on others. We are called to be there, and be light. Send your Spirit to strengthen us to do just that, all the days of 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 Scrolling,

Megs

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The Triple Apology (#jammed daily devo, day 173)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 173: Keep confessing.

“Keep up your courage.” Acts 27:22

It takes three apologies to extract sincerity from my kids.June 22

The first apology is accusatory, as they try to squirm their way out of whatever they’ve gotten themselves into. The second is compliant, knowing that if they don’t utter those two very important words, a yard full of dog poop awaits them. Finally, after they have drifted around to the dock  ownership  …they are able to focus on the effects of what they’ve done, shake the automatic defense mode into remembering their manners, and sincerely apologize for the feelings they’ve hurt.

Children are not the only ones that have a problem taking ownership for their mistakes. It seems to be a natural inclination of humanity. Entitlement comes automatically, and pride is always prepared to start swinging …but humility, courage, confession, and repentance? Not so automatic.

In today’s verse, we find Paul encouraging this ragged boat of prisoners and administrators to rally with courage. He’s encouraging them, despite the fact that they still fail to take ownership in their part of the problem.

 I was correct in my warning, so I urge you to believe me now…”

Those words come flying out of my motherly mouth multiple times a day. We undoubtably know when we’re right and when we’ve been wronged …

“…none of you will die. We will lose the ship, but we will not lose one life. “

Every life was spared despite their disobedience.

Our lives will be spared, despite our disobedience …because of the Cross.

“So keep up your courage, men!” -Acts 27:22 (VOICE)

Grace has nothing to do with what we can do, and everything to do with what Jesus did. Death on a cross, to spare our lives. Why? Because God is love.

Whether we look upon stormy situations as North wind crashing upon someone else’s shore, or our beach being drowned in a torrent of wind and waves, Jesus calms the storm and encourages us to …

Keep up your courage …and apologize.

Keep up your courage …and change.

Keep up your courage …and remain humble.

Keep up your courage …and forgive.

Keep up your courage …and keep following Him.

Bravery isn’t always the picture of an armed soldier claiming victory over his enemies, but a shipwrecked soul with formidable faith in the One who holds them together int he storm.

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Father, Praise You for courage. Thank You for making us brave in the face of humiliation and torment. Forgive our hesitation to take ownership over the calamity we cause, and forgive those who have offended us. Please bless our lives with humility and bravery, as we follow 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 Courage Keeping,

Megs

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The Eye Fur (#jammed daily devo, day 172)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 172: Make sure you can see.

 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.” Acts 27:23

“Cherry.” Despondent…June 21

“Cherry, look at me.” Slight head tilt in my direction..

“I know you can hear me …look at me.”

These conversations with my dog happen a lot when her hair conveniently grows over her eyes and blocks her vision of my scowling face when she’s told to do anything she doesn’t feel like doing. Much like a chid, I know she hears me …but she doesn’t always listen without seeing the whites of my eyes.

Today’s verse is part of a shipwreck. Paul is out on a boat with the prisoners, and amidst a terrible storm, he hears from God. Instead of turning their heads and on their heals to listen to what God said to Paul, the men went about their ways …and the ship wrecked.

We often don’t believe second-hand information. Gossip is much too big of an epidemic to trust a voice we can’t see. We can blindly trust God’s voice. Paul tried to explain that to the men on the ship, as we might attempt to explain our faith to those that surround us. They may look at us like we’re delivering second hand gossip …misinterpreted information, or glorified stories.

“an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve…”

Paul tried to explain to them, but telling them wasn’t going to be enough. In fact, even after they all survived a shipwreck, they still handed Paul over as a prisoner. Even the most epic stories of survival aren’t enough to prove faith to those who can’t ‘see.’

Paul knew who he was. “…the God to whom I belong…”

Paul was called. “…and whom I serve.”

When we know Whose we are, and answer His call to serve, we are never alone. From the moment we accept Christ as our Savior, He stands beside us. So close, we can feel Him , we can hear Him …we can almost see Him.

There are many things in life that can block our sight like my dog’s eye fur. Ambition, goals, pain, poverty, heartache, pride … cut them out of your line of sight, and focus on the One who doesn’t need to be seen to change the course of our stars forever. Many witnessed Jesus when He walked the earth. They saw Him. They hugged Him. They heard Him speak and witnessed miracles like we imagine they looked in movies.

But we were created to have faith in what we cannot see. “Blessed are those who have not seen …and yet believe …

…for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” – John 20:29

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Father, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You for Paul’s faith and Luke’s faithfulness to write this story down. We confess our lack of faith in what we cannot see, when everything do see attempts to drown out the Focus of our faith. Please bless our hearts to believe more every day in what we cannot see, and to hear Your voice with certainty as we follow 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 Seeing,

Megs

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The Bee-Sting (#jammed daily devo, day 171)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 171: When the fear hurts more than the pain.

“When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, ‘This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.'” Acts 28:4 (NIV)June 20

Bees freak out in the pouring rain …and so do kids. The combination is a dangerous one. Freaking-out bees plus flipping-out kids is a recipe for disaster. The shrill scream and terrified face belonged to me, and she reached out her soggy, stung self for some momma comfort.

“Let me see it,” I said as I gently attempted to move closer to the sting.

“NO DON’T TOUCH IT MOMMY DON’T TOUCH IT AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

Today’s verse tells the story of Paul, freshly landed off a ship wreck, warming himself by the fire …and getting bit by a ferocious snake. He was drenched, banged up, but happy to be alive. My reaction would have been sheer terror, a la my child’s bee sting experience. But he was calm.

The people around him thought for sure he’d done something to deserve death. But Paul knew better. He knew and trusted God. Often times we go through some crazy stuff when we follow Christ. Stuff people don’t know how we survive. Things that make people think maybe we must have had it coming to us. But God …

My daughter never did let me look at or even come near the bee sting. I held her and rocked her, standing in a parking lot drenched to the core and trying to embrace every word of the praise music blasting out of the speakers to keep my patience in tact for my little one.

When my husband showed up to pick her up, we were both crying. I was overwhelmed …and she was terrified. But God …

When I returned to the concert, with the youth worship team and the other leaders, I was reminded why we go through the crazy things we go through for God. My little bee-sting survivor returned with her Daddy later on, and we all worshipped Him together.

And Paul …well, he just shook that snake off into the fire.

Sometimes, we need to shake it off and get back out there so we don’t miss the next amazing experience God has planned for our lives.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for snakes and bees. They are terrifying, and they can hurt us! But sometimes, we need to be humbled and shown that we are stronger and more fit to survive than we think. That with You, all things are possible. Thank You. Forgive us for living small, and help us to have huge 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 Shaking,

Megs

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The Purple Cat (#jammed daily devo, day 170.)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 170: In the back pocket.

“In this way…” Acts 27:44June 19

Reaching over to buckle my seat belt, an oblong object dug into my leg through my pocket.

“Who’s purple cat is this?”

There’s always a toy in my pocket, and crap in my car. Fast food toys, pencils, broken crayons, books, papers, stickers on the seats and the windows as my youngest decorates her space …

No one in their right mind before they have kids every imagines a day when it will be acceptable to allow kids to eat in the car …let along bring -and leave- ‘stuff’ in it.

Today’s verse reminds us that our way is not always THE way. 

It’s a part of the story of a shipwreck where everyone lives, but the ship goes down. The ship went down, because the captain navigated his way instead of listening to Paul, who spoke God’s way. I wonder how many regretted the captain’s decision, as they floated to shore on pieces of the ship. Fragments of the whole.

“The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.” Acts 27:44

The fragmental evidence I find in my pockets and littered in my car are fallout from a ship that has wrecked, ran around, been through multiple replacement props, sunk once or twice, and had to use the emergency flares.

This ship …my ship …has always been a hot mess. Yet, God somehow rights it over and over again. I may have a purple cat jabbing me in the knee and my car might be trashed, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m OK with it. I’ll take it. It blesses me. All of it. Because, through my entire mess of way, He never left me once. In fact, He died so He’d never have to leave me. And I’m glad. Because without Him, I would have drowned long before that purple cat got lodged in my pocket.

His way or the highway, I say. Even though I speed up the off-ramp from time to time in a panic or a weak moment, Jesus is the light of my life. I want to listen to Paul. I don’t want to wreck my ship. I treasure it’s messy pieces. I want to stay His course until I navigate all the way home to Him.

“In this way…”

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for my mess of a ship! Thank You for salvaging it over and over again. I confess that I don’t always feel like a precious vessel. Please remind me when I’m too hard on myself, that You are not. Following Your stars 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 Navigating,

Megs

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

 

 

The Radio Station (#jammed daily devo, day 169)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 169: Tune in.

 Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily.” James 1:19 (VOICE)

Static.June 18

The satellite radio subscription had finally run out, and I was left with static. Regular radio has a slightly different sound than satellite. Not to mention the frustrating existence of commercials and morning talk shows opinions. Maybe it’s because I’m a Cleveland sports fan …it’s probably because I’m a Cleveland sports fan … 

Today’s verse warns us not to get worked up into a rage. (Yep. That counts me out of talk- radio for football season, that’s for sure.) When we become accustomed to what we like to listen to, we get aggravated when the frequency changes. 

“Listen,” James instructs. This part of the verse is also translated, “but everyone must be quick to hear …” (NASV)

Are we listening to how we are supposed to live?

We’re a product of what we’re listening to, and often that voice is not a healthy influence. Beth Moore taught me, in one of her Bible studies, that what we listen to can subconsciously influence our day. It’s wise to be wary of what we’re listening to.

Listen- 1. to pay attention to sound. 2. to hear something with thoughtful attention : give consideration. Merriam-Webster

Listening isn’t just a sound, it’s a premise. Yes, we hear the wind …but we don’t often consider it. The conversation we tune in to, however, has the ability to harness our attention …and sway it.

The Greek word for ‘hear,’ is akouoto comprehend, to understand. Strongs #191

It’s not just the startle of sound that alerts us to attention.  Listening to what we hear affects how we grow and what we know. Many things pass by our ears and eyes each day, but we have the power to choose which ones we let into our hearts.

Listen to Jesus.

He didn’t exactly take any crap from people who attempted to slight Him or His Father, nor did He take everyone’s word at face value. Why? What was guiding His bold speech in regard to the Pharisees …and to Judas? What made Him so confident that fleeting words couldn’t shake Him?

He heard the Word. He knew it. Like that back of His hand. As if it was the very essence of who He was. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The Word made flesh.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for Your Word! Thank You for sending the Word to us in the flesh to live out the Truth. Forgive us for allowing falsities to seep into our heart, and uphold us to discern everything we hear with Your Word and 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 Listening,

Megs

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The Day-Dreams (#jammed daily devo, day 168)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 168: Growing a dream.

“This, beloved, is the truth: until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter, not one pen stroke,
will disappear from the sacred law—for everything, everything in the sacred law will be fulfilled and accomplished.” Matthew 5:18 (VOICE)

God is with us, but won’t live for us. June 17

Today’s verse assures us that everything He has promised in His Word is Truth. It will happen. Truth will happen. He wins. This life will be hard, but we will come Home.

In the meantime, we day-dream.

On days when I can’t feel the sun on my face, I feel His embrace in the most beautiful daydream …the first embrace of heaven.  The dreams that God places in our hearts are too big for us to accomplish without Him. It hurst when we try to. He promises to do “more than we can ask for or imagine in this life.” So, I guess it makes sense that it’s a struggle to reach for what we can’t see the end of. We don’t know what our end-goal looks like. Only God does.

As a parent, that makes it hard to coach kids on how to achieve dreams. Today’s verse allows insight, not only to how to manage the pursuit of our dreams, but direct them in theirs. As we pray out the purpose of each dream, one obedient step at a time, we start to see pieces of God’s plan for our lives.

The Greek word for letter in this text is iota:

  1. the Hebrew letter `, the smallest of them all
    1. hence equivalent to the minutest part

Even the smallest promises of God’s Word will come true. Things that are so small and minute …that have happened and are happening … Imagine how much we miss because we are so focused on looking for something huge and unimaginable. But the process of getting to heaven is a lifetime daily pursuit of holiness.

The mundane things I hate to do, but feel God urging me to be obedient to. Even the smallest things …I should do. Children learn great lessons watching the adults in their lives work hard with the talents they’ve been given. The opportunities that we are allowed in this life mirror no one else’s. 

As we chase our day-dreams in hard times and wonderful pursuits, let’s remember to rely on God’s Word as our compass. Jesus died to lend us the Spirit’s translations of prayer and God’s Word. By following the Lamp of Truth, we will see God illuminate our dreams in real life.

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Father, Praise You for dreams! Thank You for the Light that guides us, and the sacrifice He made to light the Lamp. Forgive us for taking turns down desperate streets, and reroute us to seek You first in all that we do. 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 Dreaming,

Megs

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

 

The Seeds (#jammed daily devo, day 167)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 167 Watch it Grow.

 It is important for all people to live out faith in the circumstances they know.” 1 Corinthians 7:20JUne 16

“Bloom where you’re planted …”

The words spoke loudly from the wall above the chalkboard. Their melody is still stuck sweetly in my ears, accompanied by the smell of skittles wafted to my seat from the candy jar on her desk. The gravity of those words aren’t necessary to explain to a sixth grader, but there presence planted a seed.

Today’s verse beckons us to sit still and listen. When we are ready to go for God, it’s important to wait for our navigation system to pick up a signal through prayer and the Word before packing up our lives and hopping in the car to drive out of town.

“The call to faith is not a call to abandon your life, family, neighborhood, and culture. We must play with the hand God deals us, not look for a new deck. He works through faith to redeem broken lives and wasted years, not to provide a change of scenery. Even in the worst circumstances, faith can change the believer from the inside.”

When we wrestle with direction, it helps to look around at the faces God has placed around us. Sometimes, the urgency to “Go!” is accurate. But I believe, moreover, that God is purposeful in where He puts us.

When we lead little lives to the feet of God to the best of our ability, we can be assured that seeds have been planted. Passing His Truth to our kids is urgent, but our execution is not going to be perfect. Little bits of God’s truth will come alive in conversation when we, ourselves, are watering Truthful seeds every day. God honors time spent seeking His presence.  

When we walk with Jesus, even our failures can plant seeds. Seeds are spilled out into our children’s hearts when we speak God’s Truth into their lives.

We must remember that it’s religion that seeks to press people into a particular mold, not Jesus. He wants us to bloom where we are planted. In His love. With Him as our Savior. That’s where we are authentically loved and truly belong.

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Father, Praise You for loving us where we are at! Thank You for placing us purposefully and surrounding us with people in which You plan for us to plant seeds. Please forgive us for wishing for a place and for people that You do not will for our lives. Help us to live out our witness as You have perfectly planned us to. 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 Planting,

Megs

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“Losing the Cape,” by Dan Stanford, Book Review

“Losing the Cape,” by Dan Stanford, is an empowering message to embrace our inner ordinary as extraordinary. In a society that pushes us to strive for general acceptance by taking on the form of multiple molds, this book encourages us to pull away from the pack with our own unique set of super-hero qualities.

“Before our parents ever saw us on an ultrasound screen, God saw every challenge and opportunity that we would ever face. ‘We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ (Ephesians 2:10) You already have what you need. Where God guides, He provides. This is what God is hinting at when He asks Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ (Exodus 4:2)” – Dan Stanford, “Losing the Cape.”

This book a practical push forward for the everyday person. The pat on the back and small step in godly confidence that most of us need in our everyday, very busy, millennial lives. Stanford addresses issues of holding onto safety as a idol, being a good steward of the place that God has put us in and the people He’s placed around us, and how our faith in Christ an indwelling power of the Holy Spirit provides super-hero strength.

“We become out of balance when too much emphasis is placed on going to church rather than on being the church.” Dan Stanford, “Losing the Cape.

The analogies and references to many common super-hero stories made the topics addressed in this book refreshing and fun, and surprisingly easy to apply to everyday life …even thought we’re not actual super-heroes.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a quick read that made me laugh and challenged the organization of my daily thought life …which I greatly needed.

Happy Reading!

Megs

(I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

The Right Stuff (#jammed daily devo, day 165)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 165: Step by Step.

“They took some ragged sandals and patched them. They dressed in threadbare clothes—all so it June 14would look as though they had come from far away. Even the food they carried was dry and moldy, as though it had been carried a long distance.” Joshua 9:5

It takes two notes of a New Kids on the Block song to transport me back to the fluorescent colored days of my 90’s childhood. Watching them re-emmerge decades into adulthood makes me want to break out all of my old dance moves. There were no ragged sandals on those boys back in the day, but I plead the fifth on threadbare clothes. Back in the teeny bopper magazine days posters of their faces covered my walls and buttons with their pictures littered my jean jacket.

Today’s verse tells of some old-school trickery. Who would’ve thought that the ‘right stuff’ would be ragged sandals, threadbare clothes, and moldy food. They knew Israel was under oath from God not to make a covenant or show favor with anyone in the land. (Duet 7:2).

The Gibeonites were their neighbors …and knew they would be destroyed. They had just witnessed what Joshua did to Jericho …the famous story where the army marched around the city until the walls came down. They were scared, and figured the only way to get Israel to strike a treaty with them was to pretend to be somebody else, and it worked!

When we strive to be accepted for people we are not, we suffer anxiously until the wool eventually falls off the eyes were trying to despise. And the wool always falls off. 

Gibeonite Leaders (to Joshua):  We knew for a fact that the Eternal One, your True God, had told His servant Moses that He would give you all of this land and that you would destroy all of the people in it. We were so afraid of you that this seemed the best thing to do.  But now we are in your hands. Do to us what seems fair and just to you, and we will accept it. Joshua 9:24-25

They Gibeonites were grateful to be spared, and happy to serve in whatever capacity Joshua assigned to them, having successfully spared their lives. Meanwhile, Joshua was left scratching his head. He had failed to consult God …a familiar pattern of old …that once again landed God’s people in a sticky situation.

Old memories serve as great reminders of growth, but…

It’s important to remember who you are and what you’re fighting for. Joshua 9 (VOICE)

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for memories, and thank You for the lessons that You teach us through them. We confess, it’s easy to get caught up in the past …for better and for worse. Help us to make smart decisions now, learning from where You have brought us from and looking forward to where You are sending us to. 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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