The Long Leash (#jammed daily devo, day 290)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 290: Room to run.

 Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.” Hebrews 10:24-25

“WHOA!!!! CHERRY!!!!” day 290

For some reason, though we pass triple the amount of geese every morning when we walk the pier, that afternoon my dog had decided it was the perfect time to teach them all a lesson with her vicious doodle-self barreling after them …my arm yanked along in tow.

“Crazy doodle!!!” I hollered as I shortened her leash. She looked up at me with her really sad and “I’m sorry” eyes.

“Sorry, girl,” I told her, “back to the short leash …you can’t be trusted!”

Today’s verse keeps us on a short leash, because we can’t be trusted. We’re all human, and though we all have good intentions, they fail us. Intentionality is fleeting unless it has been marinated in God’s wisdom. 

Not giving up meeting together: The Greek word translated “giving up” speaks of desertion and abandonment. -NIV Study Bible Notes.

The community in this verse was under siege. Christians were not always allowed to meet, and small groups were suspicious to the government that wanted to eradicate them. The world hasn’t changed as much as we’d like to hope it has. Radical hate and genocide still run rampant in this world. It’s not fair. But what will we do in the face of persecution and threats?

When we stop meeting together …when we stop meeting with God in His Word …when we forgo daily prayer to rush into the day’s routine …we begin to forget. That’s why these meetings are so important. Because not long after we forget, we run the other way. We run the other way, and then we abandon what we once knew. It’s not that far-fetched. Peter denied Jesus, and we do, too.

But when we meet together, we are promised that God is with us. When we stand in worship to praise Him, He is there. When we gather together to seek Him in His Word, He is there. The Spirit moves us, and we remember. We are reminded. Of God’s love for us. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to save us. And the Spirit’s constant presence in translation.

When we meet together, we keep ourselves on a short leash, so we don’t sprint off to chase things that don’t even hit our plane of sight when we’re close to Him.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for church communities and those that gather in Your name. Thank You for the magic that happens when the Spirit moves through those rooms and our hearts. Forgive us for neglecting to take the time to spend with the One who created time. Help us to trust Your hand on the minutes 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 Gathering,

Megs

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

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The Disconnect (#jammed daily devo, day 289)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 289: Unplug.

“Grasp both sides of things and keep the two in balance; for anyone who fears God won’t give in to the extremes.” Ecclesiastes 7:18 VOICE 

day 289

Ultimatums result in separation. We seem to be built with a warning system that
sounds all alarms when we’re challenged to choose between one extreme an another. Especially, when it comes to people. It’s a good alarm to let sound, because deep down we know we’re all created equal. We all fight for equality in some regard. It makes sense that when it’s threateningly stripped from one soul that ours would start to ache a little.

The compassionate love of our Father causes us to care for others. 

Today’s verse advises us to “grasp both sides of things…” There is indeed two sides to every story. A convicting of sin, and a compassion to forgive. It’s important to follow God’s leading to keep conviction and compassion in balance.

It’s not fair in our eyes. “Some people” just don’t get it. “Some people” have murdered others. “Some people” don’t deserve justice. “Some people” are not as good as others. We feel more comfortable with a system like that. One that allows us to “do” something about our circumstances in life. But there’s no “doing” to be done that will ever out-do what Jesus did on the cross.

He came to save everyone. We’re all born under the same cursed mess of sin Eve started in the garden with that apple, and we all have the same opportunity to be snatched from it’s punishment of death by Jesus’ gift of grace.

for anyone who fears God won’t give in to the extremes.”

We live in a world pushed to extremes, and it pushes us. It leaves no room for miracles or compassion. It’s choice after choice. But when we choose to walk with Jesus, we leave room for His love to move in our lives.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for leveling the playing field. Thank You for guiding our innate system of guilt and judgement into Your loving arms through the cross. We confess, we are extremely tempted to rate and scale others’ lives, and pray that You protect us from the discouragement that comparison leads 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 Unpicking,

Megs

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

 

The Wellies (#jammed daily devo, day 286)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 286: Keeping our feet dry.

Complete your work outside, and get your fields ready for next season;
after that’s done, build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Sheets of chilly Autumn rain streamed down unto the saturated course, and my wellies 22212725661_5429246674_zsquished with every stride. Rain rolling off their noses and mud sucking the shoes off of their feet, they slid and trekked through the mud. It was my favorite kind of race-day. The kind of day when talent is shelved for guts, and mud makes champions.

We can all run atop a dry and even course, but it’s in the depths of the hills and the chill of uncooperating weather, that our true grit is revealed.

None of my cross country runners knew that they were preparing for this race all season long, but I did. I knew something they didn’t. I’d been up and down these muddy slopes before, and I remember the triumphant feeling of shelving the mile-splits and running after the competition through that mud. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re preparing for until we’re knee-deep in a mud  …trying to keep our shoes from being sucked off.

Today’s verse is about trusting what God says about preparation. He knows what’s coming. He’s numbered our days. His plan for us is good, and His will for our lives is perfect …even though it sometimes looks like a big shoe-sucking mud puddle.

Get your fields ready:  Plan carefully and acquire the means as you build your house.- NIV Study Bible Notes

Distance runners plan carefully. We know we have to run far, but we can’t get there all at  once. Miles must be accumulated a little bit at a time, week after week, as we prepare our legs and strengthen our bodies and our lungs to handle the heavy load. We must plan carefully in life, too. Making drastic increases in any area of our lives cause red flags to fly.

Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Proverbs 24:3

Wisdom doesn’t come easy for a distance runner. At first, we’re not sure we’ll survive that first three mile run. Our lungs burn and our legs have no idea what’s happening. That first race, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the finish. It seems impossible, and we feel a little defeated. But in time, as we run a little farther, and survive to see another finish line …what we know starts to trump how we feel.

We have to let what we know trump how we feel.

house. Symbolic of the life of an individual or a family.- NIV Study Bible Notes

We become what we prepare to build. And the truth we stand on must be rock solid, because everything that flows from the heart that we guard will provide the foundation on which we build our house.

Jesus died so that we can have an impenetrable foundation and an immovable confidence to build our house on. Him. The Cross. The grace He gave us when He gave up  His last breath is the very foundation our lives are built on. Anything else is just shoe-sucking mud.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for runners! For distance runners! Thank You for giving me the opportunity to run and to coach, so that the lessons I learned would affirm the wisdom You planted. Forgive me …and forgive us all …for thinking that the athletic and academic feats we accomplish come from our own strength. Bless us to build our homes on rock sold truth …on 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 Mud running,

Megs

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The Thick and Surrounding Cloud (#jammed daily devo, day 284)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 284: Seeing through to the other side.

Walking down the pier in the fog feels a little like taking my life in my own hands. Even
though I’ve walked that concrete slab a million times before, not being able to see the end of it is creepy! I always have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to have fallen off, I’m not going to notice until I’ve already fallen into the lake, and no one will see me because it’s too foggy to see anything!
The lighthouse horn blew through the fog, calling upon another sense to take over for the one that had been temporary hindered. Through the thick cloud I walked safely.
Today’s verse reminds us that even when we’re in a fog, whether literally or mentally or spiritually, God is nearer to us than ever before. Not only is He near, but He’s “ready to help.”
We worry, toil over, and completely avoid situations because we are scared of what we can’t see. Insecurity breeds suspect. Fear and panic give birth to discouragement. All feed fear.
When we aim our convictions at the Word of God, we can calmly navigate by the sound of His Voice. Like the lighthouse in the fog …though we can’t see God …and sometimes don’t understand how He allows this world to fall off of it’s edges like it does …we can trust that He is there and that His plan for our lives is good .
We’re not promised an easy road. But we are assured that He is guiding us down it, hand in hand, through belief in our Savior.
#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug
Father, Praise You for holding our hands through life. Thank You for Jesus, and His death that allows us to hold on for dear life! Forgive us for trying to make our way through the fog without You, and strengthen our hearts to seek 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 Cloud Walking,

Megs

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

The Clipboard Ring (#jammed daily devo, day 282)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 282: What we know.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

It clanked securely in my clipboard as I frantically ran from one point of the course to day 282
the next cheering on my runners. In the furry of high-fives and sweaty finish-line hugs, I didn’t realize it had slipped through a crack.

“I’m so sorry,” I told a teary-eyed teenage girl who had just lost her grandmother’s ring.

There had been rumors circulating about what this particular girl was like, what she was saying about me, and the suspected trouble she was causing away from my view. But that day, I felt nothing but compassion for this young woman trying to find herself and her way in the world before it was all about to change again. I did the best I could to replace what was lost, and continued to rally around her in love and support as long as she was under my watch.

So often we forget that kids are kids and teens are teens. Today’s verse reminds us to guard what we allow into our hearts. We let people right in to hearts to wreak havoc. But make no mistake about it, we let them. We allow it. And what flows from that allowance is a reaction that we will no doubt regret and want to take back.

Let’s not allow hearsay, or even know-say, into our hearts. When we resist the urge to buy into negativity, the outflow of our hearts has great potential to soften its source. If only for a moment.

People may think we’re naive. They may not understand. And that’s a good sign. It’s pretty awkward to meet meanness with compassion, love, and kindness. But for a young person trying to stand up on their feet, it can be life-changing. They need to know they matter. They need to know that they have permission not to be perfect. And they need to know that we love them for who they are right now. Not for who they will be or for what they’ve achieved so far. But the work in progress.

That’s what Christ did for us. He took us up on that cross with Him. Every one of us and our messes, and choose to die so that we didn’t have to be known and remembered by our mess. Instead, we are loved, called, chosen, and worthy people who are cursed by sin …but who don’t have to die because of it. Grace is for all. Guard it, and extend it.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for young people. Thank You for the opportunities that we get to love on them and encourage them. Forgive us for missing out on loving people in Your name. Bless our hearts to look outward in opportunity to love, and never inward in offense. 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 Extending,

Megs

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