The Little Writer (#jammed daily devo, day 114)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 114: Write it down.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” Psalm 45:1

My daughters are absolutely thrilled to have a new little cousin, and my oldest is writing image-114book number two for her as I write this. We read books all of the time when she was little, and still do. It’s so cute to watch her pass on her love of reading to another little one.

Some of us are more compelled to write things down than others, and I think it’s an endearing message to all of us about how much God loves us that He would take the time to write life down for us.

The verse we are looking at today is part of a wedding poem that no one really understood until after Jesus came. Thinking it was just about a king’s marital bliss and what that meant for the people he reigned, they had no idea that ‘the King of all Kings’ would show up in reference.

“The poem that seemed to be only about a king’s marriage turned out, in the end, to be about God’s marriage to humanity.” NIV Student Bible Notes 

What we write down matters. Look back at old school projects, letters, or works. It reveals how far we’ve come since we last took a pen to that paper. We very rarely see the full scope of our growth until we look back and see just how far we’ve come.

God knew exactly what He meant to write throughout the entire Old Testament, but we needed to look back after Jesus came to see and understand who He really was. To understand the entire story. At least, the parts that our humanity is capable of grasping. There’s much more to the story than what was written down, but thankfully we have the perfect amount of text to know with full certainty who our Author is.

Through a life lived hand in hand with Jesus, we begin to see why He died for us, learn to love who He is.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the written Word, and the words we write down. Thank You for the earmarks of history that are told through the pen strokes of many. We confess that we do not always recognize what is happening, and pray that You deepen our sense of Your presence more 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 Writing,

Megs

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The Yard Poo (#jammed daily devo 113)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 113: Picking up piles.

“…the Lord disciplines the one he loves …” Hebrews 12:6

“Go pick up the poop.” I flatly demanded.image-113

“MOM!!!!!!!!” came a symphony of complaint.

“You break the rules, you pick up poop.” I continued.

I’ll be completely honest with you, I find just enough times to enforce this rule so that I don’t ever have to clean the yard of bombs. I’m no dummy. But, it’s good for them, because they hate it. Good parents know that making kids do things they hate builds character and discipline.

Today’s verse explains the same concept. We’ve all had to turn around and face a stinking mess that we’ve made, and pick it up. It stinks ….literally. God is a good Father, all of the time. It doesn’t always seem fair that we have to pick up after ourselves. Mistakes are forgiven, so they can just be forgotten, right?

The best learning opportunities follow on the heals of our biggest mistakes.

God knows it. I think most of the time we know it …but admitting it’s a process.

“I don’t care who’s fault it is,” and I handed them each a blue bag. That’s my favorite lesson to teach. The lesson on why it’s really a bad idea to tattle.

Blaming someone else for our mistakes rarely makes the mistake magically turn into theirs. There’s no doubt that our hearts are highly influenceable, but to blame someone else for what we let into our hearts is not an efficient way to mature.

Jesus died to give us full access to a fresh roll of bags, and the humility we need to bend over and pick up our messes. We don’t have to act like someone else forgot to pick up after their dog …we can just say, “I’m sorry …I didn’t feel like it …that wasn’t cool …I’ll go back and pick it up.”

The world lacks a lot of this simple and humble honesty, because we’re told to push our defects down. Jesus didn’t die so that we would all act like nothing was wrong with us, He died so that the multitude of our sins would be forgiven. If everyone runs from their mess, the world stinks.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for discipline! Thank You for the freedoms to apologize for our sins that Jesus died to give us. We confess that we push grace to the side for blame and entitlement a lot, thinking we have it all figured out because You love us for who we are. Bless us to know the difference between flaws and sins, and help us to come to You in humility with them all. 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 Bagging,

Megs

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The Unfocused (#jammed daily devo, day 112)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 112: Unfocused focus.

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus …” Hebrews 12:2

There’s a slight epidemic of jittery kids in school right now. It’s a hot topic, and teachers image-112are trying to tell us why. In the midst of all that’s required of our kiddos, they are missing out on some basic life requirements …kids have to move …a lot. They need to run, jump, play, dance, wiggle like maniacs, play tag, climb things and swing. Why doesn’t that fit into the curriculum anymore?

Today’s verse reminds us what to focus on. When we are looking to Him for what’s next, we move freely. How that looks on a grander, more societal scale …I don’t know, and I don’t think we’ll see it this side of heaven. Not all eyes are fixed on Jesus, and that calamity will play out until He comes back.

Life is set up on time. Without it, we’d be too prone to wander and get nothing done …yet with it we’re way prone to be task driven maniacs. The balance of life lies in the way it was created.

God’s voice.

The Creator of time is in control of time, and by acknowledging that we take some the stress of managing it out of our hands and into His. The difference between too little and too much plays out different in each individual’s set of God-given dreams and goals. What works for one person simply doesn’t for person sitting next to them. When we learn to take our individuality to God for direction, He stretches each day’s minutes to fit all He’s intended.

It’s difficult to teach children how to cope with a system that they have to go through when it doesn’t jive with who they are. But they develop important coping mechanisms during those school-aged years. If you are parenting an extra jittery little person, make sure they get enough time to connect with who they are. Sports and playtime … the arts and reading … cooking and exploring nature …

Humanity, created as an expression of God’s love, is expressive! Without all of the unique ways we accomplish that, the world would be colorless. 

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus. Thank You for giving us a living example to focus on and look to. We confess that we do not always look to You for answers, and pray that You bless the minutes in our days to include enough time with 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 Jitters,

Megs

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

The Hyperextended (#jammed daily devo, day 111)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 111: Super flexible.

He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” 1 Samuel 22:35

My elbows are funky. Any mention of “bow” and “tendon” in the same sentence make me image-111want to observe once again the odd angle at which my elbow determines is a straightened-out arm. Laughed out of cheer try-outs for a V that didn’t look at all like a V, I labeled my hyperextended elbows a weakness.

A bow is a symbol of strength, and back when today’s verse was written, it wasn’t uncommon for them to be made of wood, animal horns and tendons, and even metal. (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary.) This verse is part of a song David wrote to commemorate military victories, and the middle section of the song …which this verse is pulled from, describes “moral grounds for God’s saving help.” (NIV Notes)

Life battles us for our passions and threatens to steal victories written for us to claim. When we start to mature in Christ, we begin to realize what we’re supposed to fight for.

My dad helped coached my basketball team in grade-school, but I never took a shot in a game. There wasn’t time for the fifteen-year-old dance dreams that couldn’t be funded. My best friend asked me to go to tennis team tryouts with her our freshman year, at which I threw my racket at the coach while trying to serve. Too reckless on skis to score technical points. The arts weren’t college prep enough to take up as much of my high school schedule as I wished them to. Being a dancer, I thought hurdles would come easy. They did not, and I tumbled over them the very first meet. My coach threw me in an 800M race that day…

“He trains my hands for battle…” Yes, He does. In His own way, with the way I am made, He trained me. Lots of life makes no sense, until it does.

I landed in the middle of my XC tribe at the meadows my junior year in high school. And for miles, and miles, and miles, and more miles than I ever realized I’d enjoy the pursuit of …everything started to step in stride.

“…my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” I believe we’re more capable than we can imagine. When we grip Jesus’ hand, we begin to see how. He called me to the track to teach me how to fight. Through all of the voices and circumstances in life that continue to say, ‘no,’ He continues to show me who I am.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for crooked elbows and knobby knees. Thank You for imperfect parts and Your perfect love. Forgive us for wanting to be anything we weren’t built to accomplish, and bless us to be all You have purposed us to be. 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 Bow-ing,

Megs

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The Pocket Animals (#jammed daily devo, day 109)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 109: Big treasures are small.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Certain times throughout the school year, my girls start to get lazy. I start to get lazy. No image-109one feels quite as exuberant about extra math and reading practice, and handwriting becomes illegible. That’s when the prize bucket get’s a makeover. There’s always something little and tiny they are dying to collect, and so I fish for what that is at that moment. We’ve gone from Shopkins to Squinkies to Pocket anythings. Kittys in my Pocket …Puppies in my Pocket …Jungle in my Pocket …it seems just about any living creature can be found pocket-sized and packed in a cute little collectable contraption.

“OK, girls…..” I drummrolled as I laid out my new plain. “If you can do all of your work super extra neat …I will put (said animals) in the prize box.”

Screeches of delight.

“But!” I added, “I’m going to be really picky if I’m going to hand out these really awesome prizes….”

The handwriting improved over the next couple of weeks, as did grades and morale …at least until the next holiday that involved passing out candy arrived.

Today’s verse reminds us that, although faith is required in the hard walk of life we are promised, God wants us to be happy! He rewards us! Sometimes, He throws tiny little animals in the prize bucket of life, simply because we like to collect them.

A beautiful sunrise, an extra snuggle from our kids, an extra productive day, early flowers blooming ….there is no end to the ways that God chooses to love on us. But He isn’t picky. We only need to prayerfully pay attention in faith.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Your compassionate love for us! Thank You for rewarding us for following You! It’s not easy, and we confess our comparative and entitled expectations. Bless us to see Your blessings …Your gifts …Your prizes …Your love. 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 Collecting,

Megs

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