The Wellies (#jammed daily devo day 21)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 21: Keeping our Feet Dry. 

“SO he prayed …I know how You are! I know that you are not like other gods, that You are full of grace and compassion, that it takes a lot to make You angry, and that Your loyal love is so great that You are always ready to relent from inflicting misery.” Johah 4:2 (VOICE)jammed-21

The bus screeched, and the smell of fresh baked bagels wafted in as the doors made way to the curb. The bustle of a work-day morning sent commuters up elevators, steaming cups in hand and umbrellas in tow. I stepped out to greet the city I love, and drowned my feet the collected rain. For a college student commuting on a bus fare, there were no dry shoes to turn back to …and insufficient funds to replace them.

Had my youthfully sharp mind checked the weather along with the clock, I could have thwarted a whole day’s discomfort …blisters and all.

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Jonah endured a fish’s belly for his disobedience to God …but it spit him back out. God gave Him a second chance. Whether we fail to prepare or run from the preparation, entirely, God is still there. He will graciously soak us in grace, even when we’ve forgotten our wellies.

Johah’s prayer pricks at the honest part of my soul that knows better yet doesn’t comply. Compassionate is He, to send His Son to die for me, anyway. I want to be a second chance kind of person, don’t you?

jammed-tweet-blueFour decades in, I’m wise enough to wear my wellies when it’s wet out …and cherish the days I feel soaked in grace.

Father, Praise Your compassionate love for us! Thank you for welcoming us back and rerouting us time and time again. Forgive our unpreparedness and disobedience, and bless our hearts to comply with Your gracious guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Share a time you forgot something important. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Splashing,

Megs

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The Unavoidable Toil. (#jammed daily devo day 4)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 4: Work Hard Without Working so Hard.

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, singing,

 I didn’t realize was how much of a responsibility I would feel to the dreams thrown into my daughter’s hearts. Overkill is an understatement of the freight train that escapes my mouth before I can silence a ‘deserved’ lecture. The disciplinary balance between anointing them with lifetime laziness for leaving their laundry behind the bathroom door to picking up work to pay for their passions is often a space of five minutes.

“…how He overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you…
 Deuteronomy 11:4 (NIV)

Time constraints can strangle dreams unless we recognize our Author’s ability to stretch our minutes. The Israelites made everything harder than it had to be, even though God literally led them as a pillar of cloud each day and fire by night. He provided food for them, and respite from the Egyptian army as the sea swallowed them up. Hard work doesn’t have to be so hard.

But reason cannot grasp all that took place that day. When God’s covenant people were on the verge of extinction, God stepped in to fight for them. No one survived that day except by the miraculous grace of God. (Exodus 15:1 commentary, VOICE)

Jesus died for our freedom to walk in God’s grace through the effort to achieve the dream He planted there. We’re not promised a painless life, but joy and hope to endure reach onward past our goals and eventually home to His arms in heaven.

“God can see needs and hazards we can’t. He works to met our needs and protect us. We must trust that His way is best.” Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible.

Dreams require work. There’s no way around it. Lucky breaks happen in life, but when they hit unprepared hearts they fizzle out like fireworks. Just as An empathetic ear and the opportunity to fail often foster the most successful ownership of our children’s dreams, God is dabbing grace in the wings of the work we put forth to achieve ours.

Father, You are powerful to plant dreams in our hearts. Praise You for each light of hope we’re drawn to achieve in this life. Forgive us for overworking our abilities without tapping into Your strength. Forgive us for taking credit for talents You crafted, and bless our hearts to obediently follow Your will for our lives. For we know that is joyful work. In Jesus Name, Amen.

jammed-tweet-blueIs there something you are striving to achieve that exhausts all of your efforts …something that you should prayerfully ask for God’s gracious guidance to ease the load? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy

Megs

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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.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

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

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The Cast Call (#jammed daily devo, day 357)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 357: Callbacks.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 

The story of Christ’s birth tells of ordinary people who loved God, and ended up together DECJAM23on what would be the night that changed the face of the earth forever. Humanity …we long for benchmarks, standards, and qualifications. If we were in charge, the people that were picked to be Jesus’ earthly parents would not have been Mary and Joseph. They were ordinary. And Jesus would not have been born in a manger. That’s too simple …and not sanitary.

Humanity would have had Jesus born unto royalty and into a castle …not in a stable under the stars.

Tryouts. Auditions. We’re constantly having to live up to each others’ standards.

Jesus wasn’t worried about any of them. His appearance was common. His birth was common. His parents were common. Yet, the angels still lit the sky on the night He was born.

Someone once told me that no one else can tell my story. Human life is like that. It’s so intricate and unique, one to the next, that no one story is ever duplicated fully. If that’s not a miracle in and of itself …

We like to compare, thinking it will give us a certain amount of stability to know where we stand. But God knows us all. Loves us all. Jesus knew us all before we were born. Perhaps the greatest thing we can learn from Jesus’ arrival on earth is that greatness isn’t packaged the way we think it has to be. That a humble and quiet life is heard at the same volume as the loud and flashy ones.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for Christ’s humble birth, and thank You for loving every person the same on this earth. Forgive us for seeking favoritism and elevation among others, and bless our hearts to receive and give Your authentic 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 Lane-Walking,

Megs

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The Yellow Gold (#jammed daily devo, day 356)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 356: True Colors.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2

The light caught my wedding bands and exposed the yellow gold purging through as theDECJAM22 white gold finish began to wear off again. The wear reflects the reality of life that has settled in long after the magical carriage ride and pretty white dress.

There are days that the light exposes more of ourselves than we want to see. Ten years can pass without a long glance in the mirror, and suddenly we don’t recognize the reflection anymore when we linger a little longer. Time has a way of wearing on the human soul in two directions at once. As the fleeting memory reel runs in the back, the hope of the future runs ahead. Life rarely goes as we plan, but God is never surprised.

Christmas is proof of that.

Christmas was always the plan.

Jesus was born at the time, place, and in the care of the people God planned. God is a planner. God is prepared. Today’s verse allows us the freedom to cry out to Him when we are lost. When we don’t recognize who we are anymore, in the mirror’s reflection or inside of our own minds.

“God who fulfills His purpose for me.”

He will fulfill His purpose for us.

When we can feel it happening, we cry out in praise and celebration. When we’re at a frustrating crossroad or in a pit of suffering, we cry out in need of our Healer to pull us through.

Just as sure as that baby boy breathed His first earthly breath right on time in that manger, our lives will fulfill the purpose He places us here for.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for lifting us up over and over again. Thank You for brushing off our shiny surfaces and loving us for who we are, all dulled and worn out underneath. Forgive us for wallowing or becoming discouraged as we get older. Bless our hearts to feel Your comfort and Your encouragement. 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 Re-coating,

Megs

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The Ice Circles (#jammed daily devo, day 350)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 350: Let it Go.

“I will never again remember…” Hebrews 10:17

“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation again …” I droned, and my daughter’s DECJAM16eyeball conquered. We spend a lot of time discussing the same issues.

“What should I do, mom?” she asked.

“Be kind, and include,” I repeated, after deleting all of the other thoughts and sentiments I swirling around in my head.

“Remember, it’s not about what we want to do,” I told her, “but what we’re here on this earth to do.”

Later that morning, I had noticed some ice circles on my walk. Strange, how the ice just froze in circles like that. “That’s what all these never-ending lessons remind me of …” I thought to myself, “frozen circles.”

 

When our patience comes under rapid-fire, as Christians we are called to keep our cool.

Today’s verse quotes a prophecy about a day when the Lord would no longer require sacrifice for sin.

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31) …And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”(Jeremiah 31:34)

It’s repeated in the New Testament, as are a lot of OT prophesies. There’s a lot to be said, and a lot that’s been studied, about repetitive behavior. These conversations that we repeat with our children are opportunities disguised as annoyance. As Christians, we live our lives in repetitive format. Each day, spending time in prayer and the Word, and then applying it to our lives the best we humanly can.

The very fact that Scripture is repetitive should tip us off to the fact that God has us wired to be creatures of habit and routine.

The next time we can’t believe we’re having “that” conversation again, let’s try to remember that it’s simply a parental process of repetition. The seeds we’re planting need time to grow and mistakes to be applied to.

Our children are listening. Our God is speaking. He remembers us, but forgets our sin.

He’s cleared off the mess of sacrifice so that we can fill that space with what He’s repeating to us, now. “I will never again remember….” so that we can accept forgiveness, and focus on the good fight of faith.

Jesus’ birth changed everything. It’s a story to be repeated for all time. He took the weight of sacrifice off of us, and bore that burden until He squashed it on the cross. Christmas is a time to repeat the magnitude of His birth. Freeze that circle. Repeat that story. Let it keep moving and growing and revealing more and more with each rotation.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for ice circles, and what the simple elements of nature lay waiting to teach us each day. Thank You for placing us in such a beautiful atmosphere, and forgive us for mistreating or walking by Your wonders. Bless us to notice and repeat Your glory. 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 Circling,

Megs

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The Roller Skating Unicorn (#jammed daily devo, day 304.)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 304: We need to laugh a little…

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Pslam 55:22

day 304

My little roller skating unicorn tells us everything we need to know about this verse, today. When we seek Christ and walk with Him, we can relax in knowing that God’s got us. He’s not going to allow us to be snatched. The minute we believe in Christ as our Savior, we are sealed as His. The Spirit of God resides in us. It’s good news. Though this life may be serious and scary and waning …we look forward to falling into His arms in the end. Until then …we skate on, as individual as He made us to be …smiling all the way.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for this special child, and the way she makes us smile. Thank You for her fiery spirit and fierce love. Bless her all the days of her life, Lord, and protect her …keep her safe …and guard her heart. 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 Skating,

Megs

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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

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The Hiding Place (#recall12 series, October)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each #recall12 October Image 1month! This month’s verse is: 

“The Eternal watches everything.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Squeak …SQUeak …SQUEAK!

Her lack of patience gives away her hiding spot every time. She just can’t stand the suspense of waiting to be found. My little girl prefers the ‘seek’ in hide-and-go-seek.

This month’s verse wraps us in protection. We don’t have to live in the suspense of our secrets being revealed, because God’s already aware of whatever we may attempt to hide. On the flip side, He sees us when we are in hiding, too. Whether to comfort us through darkness, or to meet us in the dark to defend us …He is watching.

The Eternal watches everything that happens on earth so that He may strongly support those who follow Him. 2Chronicles 16:9 (VOICE)

“The Eternal,” as translated by The Voice, further expands upon how inclusive His care is over us. From the time He created us to the time we hug Him in heaven …eternally, God is for us. The book of 2 Chronicles records the stories of the kings that attempted to return Judah from their fall from God. Some of the stories of Kings’ David and Solomon are recorded in 1&2 Chronicles. By the time we get to today’s verse, it’s Solomon’s great-grandson, Asa, that is sitting the throne.

#recall 12 October tweet 1“He led a wildfire revival, with the whole nation uniting behind him in a huge celebration in Jerusalem. Yet Asa became cocky in his later years …He did much good but fell short of the kind of courage that endures a national crisis.” (NIV Student Bible Notes)

The NIV translation of this verse uses the word ‘heart.’ …to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. Though Asa had a wonderful heart for God, he still ended up struggling through some thick sin towards the end of his life.

The other half of today’s verse is starkly different:

By hiring mercenaries, you have acted foolishly and proven that you are not following Him. From now on, peace will elude you and you will surely fight wars. 2Chronicles 16:9b

Before this harsh warning of the consequence of Asa’s sin, Hanani (the seer delivering the above message) reminds Asa of all the previous victories God gave Him at the hand of his obedience to Him. Asa was a great king and leader for most of his life, but his human imperfection leads him to fall out of God’s grace in end.

‘You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” 2Chronicles 16:9b

Our humanity will fail us.

No matter how much we intend to do well, and how diligently we seek after God …we are destined to imperfection. And our God is too holy to be in the presence of sin.

In His compassion, God scratched the record needle as it lay stuck on the song of man’s failure …and put a new song in our hearts. Grace. Jesus. Forgiveness.

#recall12 October image 2

When Jesus came to earth, He took on humanity. He knows what it’s like to be hungry, hurt, and sad to the point of bloody tears. As we read of His life, we see 2Chronicles 16:9 in the way Jesus calls on His Father in times of distress. We witness it as God turns His back on Jesus to save us all as He died on that cross. See, 2Chronicles 16:9 is a story of glory for us. We can get back up. Our lives aren’t ever wasted on account of what we have done or will do. It is never too late. We are never too broken. God will always forgive us.

salvation- the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc-dictionary.com

The way we act on this earth will never trump Christ’s act to save us. Our misbehavior doesn’t #recall12 October tweet 2ever trump what happened on that cross. Our King. The King of Kings. The one who is and was and ever shall be. He will not fail us as human leaders do and as we fail ourselves. Instead, He blankets the fall of our humanity with the forgiveness of grace …promising us that He will watch over us …assuring us that He sees all.

 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

There’s no reason to hide or feel hidden.

We’ve got this …because He’s got us.

Happy Un-hiding,

Megs

#recall12 October Verse Cards Screen ShotClick here or on the image for this month’s FREE verse memory cards

#recall12 October Verse Cards PDF

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The Little Quarrels (#jammed daily devo, day 192)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 192: One foot in.

“Give us a king to lead us.” 1 Samuel 8:6July 11

God’s people never needed a king …they had God. They often failed to see how set a part they were always supposed to be. Samuel is fielding this request, and he tries his best to persuade the people otherwise. But, they would not be deterred. They really wanted a king like everyone else. They really wanted to be like everyone else.

A similar shortage of self-worth is played out on playgrounds every day. Childhood can be very much about who we fit in with unless we are on a mission to let it be otherwise. As parents, we can’t protect them from every setback and harsh word spoken, but helping them navigate through misunderstanding with kindness is key to keeping them set a part.

Just like Israel misconstrued, we shouldn’t assume that life within “that” group is so much easier. We don’t understand why they don’t ask us to play and try to change so that they will. It’s OK to admit. It’s human nature. In fact, that’s pride rearing it’s ugly head in warning.

When guiding kids through friendship, I believe with all of my heart that kindness and forgiveness come first …even if it leaves us feeling momentarily defenseless.

God is bigger. He tells us that He will defend us …fight our battles and be there for us. He hears our cries, and tells us to love above all else. Teaching children how loved they are for who they are, and how to hand friendship over to God in prayer, allows them the opportunity to trust their King, instead of looking for affirmation elsewhere.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for parenthood. Thank You for leading and guiding us as parents, and as friends, ourselves. Forgive us for rising up in anger when we are wronged, and remind us to bring every situation to You first. 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 Friend-ing

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!