The Echo (#jammed daily devo, day 53)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 53: Breathe in the echo.

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” 1Timothy 4:13post-image-54

Small spaces have remarkable echoes. I like to whistle in those places, or sing, because the reverberation off the walls makes my voice sound different …better, I like to think. Although, it doesn’t take much to improve upon what I’ve been blessed with.

When we sit in the quiet with God, big spaces become intimate places. When we give Him our time first, He is more audible than amidst the clamor of day’s distraction. For the rest of the day, His voice echoes between our ears. A much smaller, concentrated space, where they sound even better than they did in conversation.

 “This psalm is the only one that repeats the same refrain after each verse ..The echoing response (“His love endures forever”).” Psalm 136 (NIV Notes)

As we walk through the day …the reason for His repetition, the day’s Scripture, unanswered prayer or the prompt to pray becomes clear. The few minutes we carve away will begin to grow as we crave His echo more and more.

Paul wrote today’s key verse to Timothy, as a instruction on what to do until he is able to visit him again. I imagine as Timothy read his mentor’s letter, the distance wore on his heart in angst for his friend; but recall of the mission that bonded them no doubt echoed in his mind as he read this line of the letter. All of the Scripture passages Paul had taught him, and conversations he’d had with God in his growth in the faith. Now, to turn and teach others what propelled him forward …a joy.

There are days, no matter how blessed on earth we are, we long to hug Christ. If He is in your heart, that’s on purpose. It’s hope. It’s the knowledge that it will end well and God is good. And until we get there, “focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”

Our mission on earth. The reason we’re here. Jesus.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, You are faithful to hear us, and love to spend time with us. Thank you for stealing the first part of our days to fill our hearts with song. Forgive us, Lord, when we can’t see how we can possibly set aside anymore time in our schedule for You. Remind us that You are able to stretch minutes and bless us with productive days. That Your plan is always better than ours. That physical accomplishments will fade away but our spiritual relationship with You is forever. Bless us with Your echoes. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your favorite place to sit with God? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Studying,

Megs

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The Hot Feet (#jammed devo, day 52)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 52: We can only handle so much…

 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42post-image-52

My kids are constantly asking to go into the hot tub when we’re on vacation, and over the years our fears of what might happen to their tiny selves immersed in those hot temperatures has lessened a bit. So, on occasion, we let them swim in the sauna of hot water. They don’t want to sit there and relax, they just want to swim in whatever water everyone else is allowed in. It’s a permissional thing, I think. Sometimes, they are only allowed to stick their feet in. It makes no sense to them, but it’s for their protection. Some hot tubs are hotter than others.

What seems unfair to us in this life is actually God’s grace covering us. I believe He will only let us walk so far away before He tugs us back to Him. We may not understand our limitations, but they are for our own good, otherwise our great God who loves us perfectly wouldn’t allow them to challenge our lives. God can heal infirmary in an instant, but it’s not always in our best interest. Impossible for us to understand, which is why He is God and we are us.

Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” Luke 22:43-44 

Faith in unfair circumstances is hard, but our Father is faithful to strengthen us to stand up underneath them. It’s easier to praise God when things are painless. The power of the Holy Spirit helps us cope in the sting of bitterness …and jealousy …and hopes deferred. And that Spirit of comfort comes down by way of the cross. Jesus cried to His Father in today’s verse. It was unfair, what was about to happen. But He faced it anyway, to save us all. He died for us, because He trusted His Father. We can walk through our days in full confidence that God is for us.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the strength You supplied Jesus in His time of agony. Thank You for extending the same solace of hope when we are hurt, confused, and afraid. We confess our scrambling to make sense of things that are not going to here on this earth. Bless our hearts to be fortified with the strength that Jesus had …to pray and cry out to You, our Protector and loving Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What hope deferred was actually God’s protection in your life? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Hot-tubbing!

Megs

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The Nail Paint (#jammed daily devo, day 51)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 51: Chipped but not forgotten.

 When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.” Acts 18:26 post-image-51

One look down at my chipped nail polish shows the wear of years on my hands. I always loved painting them when I was younger, and remember trucking up caboodles full of polish to my family’s boat each weekend. At one point in my post collegiate life, I actually had tips that I would fill each week. The click clack on the computer keys used to be like music to my ears.

Mom-life has a way of changing things we fail to notice until our kids are no longer consuming as much of our time. Everything I’d forgotten about in the blissfull years of infancy and toddflerdom had really just been on pause. I had the same talents, same gifts, same loves. A little older and wiser and heart-filled, and not minding at all that my nails are a hot mess.

Priscilla and Aquila wore years of service to Paul in the name of Christ. When the preacher in today’s verse came past their line of site, it was their wisdom that alerted them to service. Apollos, the “him” in today’s verse, seems well intentioned in following Christ but he doesn’t have his facts about Jesus completely straight. This couple took the time to fill in the gaps.

In a world of cell phones, Internet access and social media, its difficult for us to relate to the slow traveling of ancient information. Apollos came from the city where the Old Testament was translated into the Greek. The word nerd in me wonders if this couple jumped at the chance to feel a little bit closer to God’s Living Word. And yet, having experienced Jesus on a more personal level, they were able to testify to It’s Living Truth.

When it’s our time to stop and reflect at the majority of life that’s passed, let’s aim to be like these servants of Christ: “All the Women of the Bible” states:

  • They Were One in Marital Bliss

  • They Were One in the Lord

  • They Were One in Secular Occupation

  • They Were One in Their Friendship for Paul

  • They Were One in Their Profound Knowledge of Scripture

  • They Were One in the Service of the Church

jammed-tweet-blueA life’s pursuit of Christ is not always going to look perfect. We won’t always notice our nails are chipped until we look down to see them. But the body of Christ can come alongside each other in love with teachable hearts as the wisdom of God’s Word is revealed in His perfect time.

Father, Praise You, for raising up spiritual leaders in our lives. Thank You for their love of You that they share with us. Bless us, Lord, with humble hearts open to question and coaching from You. Bless all those who aim to speak on Your behalf with the Words of truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Who is your spiritual mentor and why? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Manicuring,

Megs

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The Beach Shirt (#jammed daily devo, day 51)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 50: Grace has got us covered.

“The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.” 1 Peter 3:21 (VOICE)post-image-50

A decade or so ago, the only people that wore shirts on the beach were surfers with ripped abs that could be seen from underneath. Now, in the SPF millennial, it’s almost uncool not to wear a trendy, sweat wicking, SPF containing shirt on the beach. Or, am I really that old? Eek.

 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)

Though we can’t escape the consequences, we can rest assured that we’ve got our SPF on when we’re in the Word of God everyday. Life is going to come with pain, but Jesus covers us with the cross. God wants us to live a happy life, and His love can get through any protective layering in pursuit of our hearts.

In today’s verse, we are reminded that going through the motions does not save us. Baptism is a sign of belief, but not a requirement to believe. New life in Christ allows us to be forgiven for our sinful nature, but it doesn’t remove it.

 Just like the passengers aboard Noah’s ark escaped the death of flood, we dodge sin’s fatal blow through Christ’s gift. His grace washes over us whether or not we are dipped in a pool.   We share experiences, hardships, celebrations, and milestones with each other. It’s only natural to desire a platform to share our salvation with whomever has ears to listen. Baptism is a way to come alongside others as we celebrate the greatest victory of our lives … Christ, Our Savior.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the lesson in baptism in this verse, today. Thank You that Your Word speaks louder than any humanly placed ritual or tradition. Forgive us for looking at baptism as a requirement fulfilled, rather than a means to testify to Your life-saving truth.  Jesus’ sacrificial grace is our ark of protection. Bless us to honor the symbolic platform of baptism, and the strength to live out our victory each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

#greatgrace17

Happy Beachin’ It,

Megs

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The Brim (#jammed daily devo, day 49)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 49: Simply Protected.

“Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death?” Romans 6:3 (VOICE)

“Did someone forget to tell you?”post-image-49

This reminds me of the warning labels and protective information that surround our daily life. We have to be privy to read labels because their writers can’t always be trusted, and mindful that our prescriptions don’t transform us into addicts. Cancer seems more plausible than avoidable. The sun is bad for our skin, but if stay completely out of it we’ll become deficient in vitamin D.

The book nerd is constantly reading and the health nut I am loves to be healthy …but sometimes it all just gives me a headache. Instead of hiding inside,  I apply SPF and head out into the sun under the brim of my hat. At least I’m semi-protected from the glare of the sun without blocking out it’s cheeriness.

In today’s verse, Paul is aggravated with his audience at the perplex stipulations they seem to be placing on sin. Does this count? How bad is this? What about if we ….? When my kids ask me if something is inappropriate, my response is, “if you have to ask, then it is.”

We go through a lot of preventative efforts in this life to avoid physical circumstances, but are often lacking a healthy soul. Relationship with our Father is crucial …not just our survival …but to our happiness!

“How did it get this far so fast?” Sin takes root in our hearts and spreads rapidly. We have a very real enemy on the prowl looking to give it a foothold, and without the freedom of forgiveness, it’s libel to take over. Jesus died so that we can leave our cancerous sin at the cross through repentance and relationship with God. The best testimony is a changed person.

All who have it look different than before. When we lift the weight of the world off of our shoulders and into the capable hands of Jesus, we begin to crave more grace. The brim of grace covers more than sunburn.

“Did someone forget to tell you?”

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for protecting us. Thank You for loving us perfectly. Forgive us for spending more time preventing measures other than the health of our soul! Guide us as we tend to the bodies that You have blessed us with, and send Your Spirit to tend to our soul as we read Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s are you most worried about trying to prevent? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Label-reading,

Megs

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