The Launch (#jammed daily devo, day 148)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 148: Always in the water.

“For a good man may fall seven times and get back up again…” Proverbs 24:16

Living by the lake is refreshing, and getting out on the water in a boat is rejuvenating. image-148There’s something about traveling on top of the water, a feat that we cannot pull off alone, that is exhilarating and freeing. It’s been many years now since we’ve owned a boat of our own, but the feeling of watching it launch lingers.

In a climate where the lake is frozen in the winter, watching it thaw into it’s bluest color before the shallow water is kicked up and dredged is like magic. The anticipation of that first chilly boat ride sits in the sore muscles from waxing and painting and getting it ready …for a summer full of freedom …until something breaks.

But, oh! That first day it’s launched back into the water, and our living space is suddenly doubled as an escape from routine life returns.

Today’s verse speaks of resilience. No matter how many times we are yanked from the water with dinged props, leaks, hull holes and electrical problems …He launches us back into the water with a splash of new hope. The beginning part of this wisdom saying even speaks of God protecting the place where we dwell:

Do not lie in wait like the wicked against the place where the righteous live;
do not assault his home.
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again,
but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:15-16

How great is our God to protect us. Though evil presses in on our world, He will always reign champion. And so will we. His way is love. That’s why Jesus is so important. Jesus is the Way God provided for us to re-launch over and over again. He is the Reason we are forgiven for our repetitive sin. The Love that welcomes us back to the water, again and again. No shame …just love. He is here.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You for launching us into the water to give us new life. Forgive for not accepting the Way to You. Help us to believe in Jesus more and more every day, chasing after a heart like His. 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 Launch Day,

Megs

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The Guilty Ears (#jammed daily devo, day 147)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 147: Ashamed.

“…wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future…”Proverbs 24:13-14

My dog’s saving grace is her puppy face. Those eyes look sad and sorry. Her ears are droopy image-147and pouty. She is a pathetic apology lying on top of my feet, looking up at me for forgiveness. It works. I love that dog. Any sign of apology earns my forgiveness …and probably a sweet little puppy cuddle and warm feet for the rest of the day.

If my dog knows when she’s in trouble that automatically, and knows how to get out of it that skillfully …imagine what my daughters do to my heart. The disciplinary struggle is real.

“wisdom is like honey for you…” the NIV version translates. “It nourishes and brings healing”- NIV Notes

When we look out for others in kindness and compassion, and act on the thoughts He inspires in our hearts …it is healing. Apology and humility are healing. When we act in wisdom by following Him, we experience the peace of Christ.

There is a funny sentiment amidst the study on this verse that is part of the thirty sayings:

“possibly copied here in error as it makes an unusual (three-lined) saying, and does not add to the idea of future.” -Zondervan Bible Commentary

Some of these sayings have been hard for me to digest, and have drug out difficult words that I didn’t feel like writing and fears and didn’t expect to face. But isn’t this verse just a reflection of God’s character. Maybe mistakenly included …but I bet not. Because He is not a God of mistakes …He is pretty funny, though. And He would stop to talk about honey and healing in the middle of a rough patch of text on wisdom.

He is the honey that nourishes and heals us. His Word, in perfect timing, binds up our bruised egos and chips off hard parts of our hearts. It hurts a little sometimes, this life and the pursuit of holiness …but it is healing …nourishing …and life lived with hope.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for honey and healing. Thank You for nourishing our soul and keeping us humble and dependent upon You. Forgive us for holding onto hard parts of our hearts, and help us to grow continually into a heart more like 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 Growing,

Megs

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The Sally (#jammed daily devo, day 146

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 146: Whole.

“Does not he who guards your life know it?” Proverbs 24:12

 The day that we took our daughters into the Disney store in Chicago is one we will never image-146forget. The big doors swung open, and we told them they each could pick one thing. In typical fashion, as opposite as they’ve always been, the youngest knew exactly what she wanted and swept Dumbo up into her arms …never to be parted again. My oldest picked up her favorite character at the time …Skeleton Jack.

“But mom…I have to bring Sally home, too!” she squealed in protest over our “pick one” rule. “They love each other, mom …please!”

We left the store, and the city, without Sally, assuming that all things Disney were everywhere. They are not. And 5 years later, when her iron clad memory still held onto the separation of her stuffed love-birds, Santa finally tracked it down and put it under the tree.

“Sally!” She squealed! “Finally!” and ran upstairs to retrieve Jack …who had faithfully sat on her bed all these years, waiting for Sally.

Her memory is good, but only God remembers all and knows all. He knows who we are and remembers our thoughts.

Wait. Remembers our thoughts? I don’t think I like that. I can’t control my thoughts! Can I?

No, we can’t. But Jesus came to do what we are incapable of. And, when we spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer …we have less thoughts we’d like God to forget about. Today’s verse addresses this kind of topic, on account of all the times we thought about helping someone …and didn’t. Thought about sticking up for someone …but fear stopped us. Thought about going out of our way to invite, include, or inquire …but just …didn’t.

Every thought. That’s overwhelming. Let’s look at the rest of the text that today’s verse highlights:

” Rescue everyone you can of those being taken away and killed,
    and hold on to those innocent souls staggering toward their own slaughter.
 If you excuse yourself, saying, “Look, we didn’t know anything about this,”
    doesn’t God, who knows what you are really thinking, understand your motives?
Isn’t your Protector aware of why you aren’t protecting the innocent?
    Will He not repay you in kind?” Proverbs 24:11-12 (VOICE)

Motives. He knows our motives. When we catch thoughts of justification creeping up into our excuses, we are letting others be dragged away.

” Whether those are being led away deserve it or not, they must be given help and support.” -Zondervan Bible Commentary

We are placed around people that need our help. By dishonoring our commitments we are missing opportunities to love on someone who needs it. By letting our ridged generalizations overcome our gut reaction to reach out, we are losing sight of the point of life. To love …for Him. We are the outstretched arms of Jesus …called to love each other. Don’t forget.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus, and the way He motivates us to reach out on His behalf. Thank You for forgiving us for all the thoughts that are mortifying to admit to ourselves …let alone to You! Forgive us for trying to shove them down, and help us to bring them up and chase after Jesus more. Make our hearts more like His 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 Thinking,

Megs

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The Compass (#jammed daily devo, day 145)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 145: Direction.

“If you fall apart during a crisis, then you weren’t very strong to begin with.” Proverbs 24:10 (VOICE)

My desk now sits across from a huge compass we found to absorb wall space. But that image-145wasn’t the plan.

When we moved into our house, the room with the red-painted walls was prepped for future dreams of a Grand Hotel-ish dining space to laugh with friends and collect memories as life moved on. But it was a playroom in the beginning. It was my way of holding onto the sound of my little toddlers playing close by, and mad was I to have it change before I was ready.

Before long, out moved the sound of my kids playing and in moved the dust balls.  Inheriting my parent’s dining room furniture before I was ready to appreciate it seemed like the right thing to do. It’s not what I would have picked out, and not the plans I had for that room.

If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” Proverbs 24:10 (NIV)

Months later, I was toiling over finding a space to write.  I woke my husband up with the glare of my screen as I clacked away on my i Pad’s blue tooth keyboard.

…there was an entire room collecting dust. “How small was my strength?” The ways in which we stretch to force our own solutions blind us to the wisdom waving it’s hands in front of us.

“What is that, a shop kin keyboard?” my friend laughed, as she walked through the new “office” and saw my propped-up i Pad and teeny set of keys.

Why hadn’t I prayed for a keyboard?!?!?! 

All of the praying I did to affirm my calling to write …and I had neglected to get real with God. Like, I need a computer, God. Can You help me with that? He did. The first paid writing job. Then another …and another …

“small and trouble are similar in Hebrew.” -Zondervan Bible Commentary

Stubborn thinking is small …and trouble. Open up and pray a little.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for putting up with our stubborn and hard-headed hearts. Thank You for providing solutions to our problems, and paths to our dreams. We confess that we often toil in our own minds, waiting for solutions to drop out of the sky like magic, when You are always speaking life into our problems. Bless our ears to hear 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 Strengthening,

Megs

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The Crowded Mirror (#jammed daily devo, day 144)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 144: Remembering.

Whoever schemes to carry out evil
    will be labeled a troublemaker.” Proverbs 24:8 (VOICE)

Growing up, I was always getting in trouble for sticking things on my antique mirror, and image-144cluttering it up with pictures and memories. So, when I passed it down to my daughter, I got her started by lining up a bunch of her favorite memories all around the border. Mine looks no different. In fact, two of the three panes are completely blocked by cute chubby cheeked baby smiles and firsts. Happiness abounds on that mirror that I sanded down, repainted, and I’m sure in some people’s minds, completely destroyed. But to me, it’s become treasure.

Today’s verse has some harsh warnings for ‘trouble makers.’ In an attempt to make things our own, we must be so careful not to push past the path we are attempting to follow. Life outside the confines of Jesus’ love is littered with trouble and schemes. If we don’t stay close to His counsel, we are libel to fall deeply into …and possibly even the perpetrate, such scheming.

conspiracies-Malicious plots or plans to harm or to kill, which may be directed against other people, or even against God. Conspiracies are sometimes motivated by political aspirations, but may be simply an outlet for wrongdoing.- Dictionary of Bible Themes

The reason prayer is so important is because conspiracies sound serious and obvious …but they don’t always look that way from the outside. We sometimes only see glimpses of just how deeply evil roots can go. Prayer and petition in honest humility will keep us on the path of walking wisely with God.

label- a word or phrase indicating that what follows belongs in a particular category or classification. Dictionary.com

When we’re tempted to label another heart, it’s a stark warning for our own. Seeing trouble and labeling are two different things. My mirror may seem like an atrocious disrespect of property to some, but if they could see it through my eyes perhaps they’d see what I see. Or, perhaps they’ll come a day when I do realize the error of my ways, and decide to take better care of the belongings I’m blessed with. Do you see how situational each life’s trouble can be?

This verse clearly warns us to stay clear of obvious trouble, and I agree! But what about the subtle doses of trouble that sneak in the back door? When we stay close to Jesus in prayer and in the Word, I believe we will be able to tell the difference.

Remember, just because we see trouble in someone else does not give us the right to label them. That’s between Jesus and them. Christians are to rebuke other Christians, but be so careful to consult Christ before confronting another with their faults.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise Your just hand. Thank You for taking judgement out of our hand through Your Word and through Prayer. We confess that we rush to judge others a lot. Help us to battle off the human temptation to label and call out, replacing it with the tendency to love and have mercy. 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 Holding-back,

Megs

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