The Cold Coffee (#jammed daily devo, day 365)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 365: Warm it back up.

“How great is God? Beyond our understanding.” Job 36:26

DECJAM31 final

This last entry of the year has me staring at a cold cup of coffee, at 2 pm in the afternoon. Many cups of coffee have gone cold sitting here in pursuit of spreading the encouraging love of Jesus. Throughout the year, I just kept warming it back up. I didn’t give up and dump it out. I never gave up on this devo series. THAT …is a miracle.

I proudly wore Jonah as my favorite Bible character until I grew to understand that he ran from God. From then on I deemed him a “how could he do that” and crossed him off the “favorites” list.

But someone once told me that what we criticize we often struggle with ourselves.

I’m a total runner.

Today’s verse is from Job. Job and I became buddies this year. I watched him suffer at the hand of tragedy and sickness and mistreatment from friends. It was all so unwarranted. Why couldn’t that have happened to Jonah?

But wait …that’s me.

We’re reminded in today’s verse that we can’t outrun God’s love. We can’t even understand where it begins and where it ends, let alone how to scathe it.

I deserve the kind of sufferring that Job endured. We all deserve the suffering that sin negates. When we don’t get what we deserve, we are the first to cry, “no fair!” But when we claim something we didn’t earn, there is a hesitation. When we receive too much change at the restaurant, or find a wad of money on the ground at the amusement park, or see a friend getting teased or hear them getting thrown under the bus. Something in us knows we have a chance, in those moments, to do the right thing.

“Thank you so much!” the man replied to my daughter, as she handed him a hug wad of rolled up cash that had fallen out of his pocket on his way to sit down and eat lunch. She came back to the table with a smile on her face.

“It feels so good to help someone out like that, doesn’t it” I asked her.

“Yep,” she said.

“You know, not everyone would have done the same thing,” I told her, “I’m so proud of you.”

We have the chance to do the right thing, to stick it out, to stop talking, to hug someone that’s hurting, to pick up the money and give it back. And when that happens, we are doing what we’re put on this earth to do. Love people.

 It’s never a coincidence that we notice.

Life happens to let Jesus be known. When we’re cold, He will warm us back up. We notice ways to be kind because that is the key to warming our lives. A warm cup of coffee is joy to my soul. A warm act of kindness is Jesus’ love on earth. Coffee can always be warmed up, and so can we. We just need to keep going, keep looking around, keep noticing…

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Father, Praise You for giving us more than we deserve. Thank You for Job, who teaches us how to suffer well, even when it’s not deserved. Forgive us for turning a blind eye when we “notice” an opportunity to love in Your name. Bless us to live lives full of noticing. 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 New Year,

Megs

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

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The Bucket. (#jammed daily devo, day 364)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 364: Empty Buckets

“The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5

“What if I never actually surf,” I joked, “It’s a possibility!”DECJAM30

Monday morning Bible study prepares and leads me.

“What if God just wants to teach me something through the process of preparation?”

It’s a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

I’ve trained for a marathon before, making it through the last training run, but never to the starting line. The pain of injury, embarrassment, and discouragement was miraculously never able to overtake the lessons God laced into those faithful strides and Jesus-partnered miles.

Today’s verse reminds us what our buckets should be full of …Him.

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:5-6 (VOICE)

It’s hard to keep our “gentle nature” when things are not going our way. There are things we want to be able to do, and when we can’t it’s frustrating. How do we attempt that seemingly impossible smile in the face of defeat?

“The Lord is ever present with us.”

Somehow we forget that He is there in our failed attempts, too. The discouragement we feel when we fail  is hard. But that’s not what it looks like from God’s point of view. We get so caught up in what we think it will look like to achieve the task He’s given us, that we forget to throw our timeline.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.”

How often do we do that? Stop and spin on our heals to pray. That’s not our natural reaction to failure. We limp due to our fractured state, and immediately melt down in self defeat. It can cause us to question everything about our dedication to God.

“Was I just a wimp?”

“Did I just quit …again?”

“Am I a quitter?”

“Maybe …” might be the response. “But I love you anyway, and I’m not worried about it.”

“He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”

When we set new resolutions and goals every year, none are goals we don’t intend on achieving. If talk to God about our goals before rushing to fill in our brand new planners and calendars, He’s able to readjust our perception of what the deadline should be. A goal could linger on for a long time without a check mark or a line through it …but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little closer to it with each passing year.

The key to joy in this life is know that “the Lord is near.” To our victories and our failures. Through our pain and our celebration. Every time we check something off of our bucket list, He adds something else. The point of life isn’t to check everything off and then just sit around and wait to go to heaven. The creator of time is not in the business of wasting any of it.

WE are to be good stewards of our time, not looking forward to nothing left to do …but finding joy in the pursuit of holiness.

Each day He has something for us to do. If we do the best we can to see Him in it and to bring Him along on our daily journey, we’ll never look back and wonder what the purpose for any of it was. We may not understand it …but Jesus died for us to believe in Him …not to be perfect. He’s got that covered.

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Father, Praise You for bucket lists, and thank You for growing us through every goal an aspiration You plant in our hearts to achieve. We love You. Forgive for days when we feel like the cross isn’t enough. Bless us to live lives that reflect Your love, and Your Son. 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 Bucket Listing,

Megs

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

The Turn (#jammed daily devo, day 363)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 363: Don’t forget to spot.

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (VOICE)

“Mom! Mom!” my little ballerina leaped into the kitchen with glee, “Look how many times DECJAM29I turned!”

My tiny dancer had been determined enough to earn a lot of monetary support through her skill at the dance team’s turn-a-thon fundraiser. It was a lot more than I could do without losing all of the day’s nutrition, but she had learned how to continue turning without getting sick or falling down. A skill every ballerina has to learn …how to spot.

Spotting is simply finding a place to focus the eyes on while the rest of the body turns. The goal is to hold that gaze as long as possible, until the body demands that the head whip around with it. Then, quickly, the dancer removes their eyes from that spot for a split second, and then finds it again. The whole process is repeated for as many times as their are turns required.

God will provides us with the talent He has gifted us to work with. The challenge lies in knowing what that is, and when and how to work hard. It’s hard to find our spot, and challenging not to discount our gifts in seasons of hard work. Self-doubt can sink-in when life isn’t running in the direction we feel like going.

Today’s verse was written out of encouragement for a discouraged people, but a people that worshipped God. There is shelter and encouragement in faithful worship and willingness to keep working. 

When we venture outside of the window God has designed for us to work, it’s easy to become distracted. The world around us, and the needs that pop up daily, press us. Tuning in to God’s voice above the volume of other opinions and advisors in life is critical.

The wisdom and guidance we seek is revealed through God’s Living Word. Jesus promises never to leave us. Day by day, in search of wisdom, He will teach us and guide us. Jesus is our refuge this side of the gospel.

Looking to the next year of life and the resolutions it begs us to set, let’s challenger ourselves to pick a verse to spot as we turn the calendar over day after day. Eyes on Him maintain balance.

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Father, Praise You for being our shelter in the darkness, and our hope in times of need. Thank You for reminding us of Jesus in our lives, and in verses that we’ve never noticed Him before. We can be assured that He’s there, and ask for Your forgiveness for brushing Him aside to pursue what lies in the darkness, anyway. Bless us to be wise in working the window You have purposed us to perch upon. 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 Spotting,

Megs

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

 

The Child Among His Children (#jammed daily devo, day 362)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 362: His arrival.

Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified! Luke 2:9 (VOICE)

The tickets were paid for long in advance, but I had mentally ducked out of the plans I DECJAM28had spun into existence several times as the date crept up.  What’s the point of standing in worship under bright lights, as opposed to at church on a Sunday or in my ears-buds walking down the pier?

When “God is in this place,” as He promises to be when we gather to worship Him together, He’s omnipotently arranged something. We can pretty much count on that. God calls us to “go,” and walking with Jesus will illuminate the purpose of every chance experience.

For the shepherds in the field that witnessed God’s angels, purpose was layered into the very thread of who God knew they were.  Let’s look at the feelings the shepherds felt.

Suddenly –happening or coming unexpectedly; changing angle or character all at once. (Merriam-Webster)

The shepherds were instantly changed when the sky lit-up. They couldn’t unsee what they saw, un-feel what they felt, or un-hear what they heard. Jesus doesn’t need to prep our hearts for His arrival. In an instant admission of belief, we are changed forever. Suddenly, we see. In fact, we’re blinded. There’s no going back.

front- facing forward; directed forward. (dictionary.com)

The shepherds weren’t startled because the angels crept up behind them. They were right in front of them. Do we know that God faces us? That we can face Him? Christ Jesus, the child among His people. The ones He choose to die for …to look at, face to face.

light- something that makes things visible or affords illumination (dictionary.com)

Light allows us to see where we are going, but the light of the Lord Jesus allows us to see who we are. In a dark world, Christians can be joyful because He allows us to see His light. The light came to us on Christmas, when God’s glory came to earth.

terrified- to fill with terror or alarm; to make greatly afraid.

In order to understand the awe, coupled with the fight-or-flight shock that accompanied the shepherds reaction, here is terror defined:

terror- intense, sharp, overmastering fear

Sometimes our greatest terror is sprung from a fight within us and around us. Knowing and being able to feel and witness God’s glory in that moment in the field announcing Jesus’ birth, the shepherds felt the overwhelming awesomeness of God. Yet, something in them told them to be afraid. When we experience fear, we can determine where to steer it by remembering who God is. The shepherds choose to obey. They headed the angels and went to see Jesus, and told everyone about His birth.

How often do we let our fear fuel our self-doubt? But if we let our awe of God drive us to obedience, we get to experience Jesus.

The shepherds witnessed the Son of God. The very glory that turned the darkness of night into shocking brightness, come to earth.

The Child among His children.

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Father, Praise You for the obedience of the shepherds. Thank You for choosing those of simple stature in society to witness the Savior of the world lying in a manger. Forgive us for overlooking the circle of light that took place on Christmas, as Jesus’ glory came to earth. Bless us to appreciate and obey the awe-striking moments of opportunity You illuminate in 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 Shimmering,

Megs

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

The Brightened Dark. (#jammed daily devo, day 361)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 361: Finally here.

“…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…”

Luke 2:9

If we succumb to a fast paced life that isn’t suited to shelving schedules and opinions to DECJAM27stand and welcome God’s presence, we will miss a marvelous piece of the Christmas story.

Chills run down our spine as we worship together. What did the shepherds feel as angels appeared when Christ was born? What was it like to stand in the very presence of God when they visited baby Jesus? What we read about their indescribable experience is only a glimpse of how it affected them.

 

Jesus was born, walked the earth, and died so we could stand in awe of our most holy God.  It’s to be sought after. It’s in us. To be surrounded by the Lord’s glory doesn’t have to come in the form of heavenly angels, but it did for the shepherds.

glory (doxa) – opinion, judgment, view. – Strong’s

At the first glance of glory defined, we can see why they were terrified. What an immense feeling to be immediately taken from the dark and exposed to the light.

doxa- opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone (in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory)- Strong’s

Always a good opinion. 

Being in God’s presence pulls all of the good that we are to the front of our minds …because that’s how He sees us. He sees the image of Him that He created, suffering for the curse of sin. He knows us apart from and beyond our struggles. A plight we can’t even relate to yet on this earth.

“splendour, brightness” (Strong’s)

Past the all-consuming and fascinating brightness of the sun, the moon and the stars, is glory. The Glory that the Shepard’s witnessed was the arrival of God’s glory on earth in Christ.

  1. a thing belonging to God
  2. the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
  3. a thing belonging to Christ  (Strong’s)

“God in this place.” Even in worship with our eyes shut we can feel Him brightening us. Even if we’re only removed from our suffering temporarily …it’s enough. Enough to get us through to the other side, with a glimpse of what we’re to do for the Kingdom in the meantime.

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Father, Praise You for the Christmas angels that terrified the shepherds. Thank You for coming low so that we can know Your presence. Forgive us for wallowing in the heartache and struggle of this world, and help us to let go and just be in Your presence through worship and service. 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 Squinting,

Megs

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