The "You Know Who." (#jammed daily devo, day 139)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 139: Ongoing and unending.

“You know who.” Proverbs 23:30a

image-139

WHY did I want to study these Wise Statements? Alcohol has affected my entire life from just about every possible angle, and this passage is specifically about a man with a drinking problem. I promise you, no one is more uncomfortable digging up this verbiage than I.

Though I think it can be applied to a broad range of other things that are just as uncomfortable to talk about,  God doesn’t pull specific examples like this …put them in an ancient text …and make them applicable in this era in vain. Read through this passage with eyes and hearts open beyond alcoholism . Looking inward, what traits do you recognize?

 Who is wallowing in anguish? Who is full of sorrow?
    Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?

Who has bruises and can’t remember where they came from?
    Who has bloodshot eyes?

 You know who: those who stay up late finishing off the wine,
    those who can’t stop savoring spiced wines.

Look away from the enticing beauty of wine, the deep red hue;
    ignore how it shimmers in the cup
    and glides down your throat.

 Eventually, when you least expect it, it strikes like a snake;
    it stings like viper venom.

Your vision will blur, and you’ll imagine strange things;
    you will say crazy, hurtful things and regret it later.

 You will reel and stagger as if caught on a wave of seasickness,
    as a sailor who holds on to a mast for dear life.

You will say, “They slapped me, but it didn’t hurt.
    They beat me, and I didn’t feel a thing!

Whenever I wake up from this stupor,
    I’ll have another drink!”

Proverbs 23:29-35

The biggest mistake we make as people, and especially as Christians, is discounting the possibility that things could, are, and will affect us. It isn’t to the left or to the right that we find peace or solution. It’s not in fixing other people or even ourselves. It’s letting go and letting God. It’s gripping Jesus’ hand tight enough to keep us from falling. When I look back and see how many times and how close I came to total destruction, I know there’s no way I made it out alive on my own. He pulled me out. Grace.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for pulling us out of our pitfalls. Thank You for grace, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. Forgive us for forgetting that Your lessons are always for our hearts, and bless us to strengthen our faith 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 Pit-crawling out,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The School Lunch (#jammed daily devo, day 127)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 127: Visit often.

“Take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.” Proverbs 23:1 (VOICE)

Her face lit up and her legs broke out of line. Down the hallway she flew and into my arms. image-127On the days that my over-tasked tendencies give way to down time, I sometimes surprise my daughters by joining them for lunch at school. Squeezed into a small table full of little people, those are fleeting moments I will cherish forever. Especially, when they are embarrassed of me in their teenage years.

Today’s verse reminds us to be careful of the company we keep and be aware of our weaknesses and tendencies. The world doesn’t stop watching us when the lighting is bad. It’s important to step into situations where the love we receive from Him can reach others, but not so far as to fall back into easy temptations and old patterns.

My prayer is for my daughters to see me as I am as they grow up …an imperfect mess, who was rescued by Jesus. I want them to feel like they’ve always been sitting next to the same person squeezed into that elementary lunch table. Transparent and real. But, how do we know what to tell our kids and when?

To further understand today’s Scripture, let’s look at the whole verse section that it’s pulled out of:

When sitting down to eat with a ruler,
    take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.
 If you are the type who eats too much too fast,
    do whatever is necessary to curb your enthusiasm for food.
 Also, do not eye the ruler’s delicacies,
    for the food may not be what it seems.” Proverbs 23:1-3 (VOICE)

 It’s situational. We will know our children well, and be able to weave the experience of our own pitfalls into their guidance through discipline …and possibly pealing back our own layers in conversation as time marches on. It will be important to prayerfully consider which parts of our hearts to reveal. He will use all of our struggles to help others if we are in tune to His voice. But, if we are oversharing in order to exalt our achievements or wield control, we will stumble and fall.

 Considering when to expose our kids to what they don’t know about their parents is a delicate process, to be revealed over time in God’s time. The best way to start is through prayerful conversation, and time in the Word each day. Take time …and give Him time.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for guiding us through each day so personally. Thank You for creating us each with a unique collection of experiences and characteristics. Forgive us for trying to impress others with our accomplishments and knowledge, and bless us with open minds and compassionate, honest 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 Lunch dates,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Car Rides (#jammed daily devo, day 126)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 126: Keep traveling.

And as for those who are skilled in their work,
    they will be recognized and invited to serve kings
    rather than regular folk.” Proverbs 22:29 (VOICE)

The soundtrack of two school-days played back at once, as we drove down the familiar image-126stretch of highway. Leftovers from lunch wafted through the vents and another layer of stickiness topped with crumbs fell onto the seats and the floor mats. Laughter from the good parts, and tears from the hard parts …their conversation is the most important part.

Today’s verse explains the striking realization that we are not put here to work as the world works. We are put here to work for Him.

“The lesson is that kings recruit the best.” Zondervan Bible Commentary

Our routine shuttling and honoring of commitments forms heartfelt moments of friendship as fellow daughters of the King. We go to Him for advice, together and separately, because we know He has the most important thing to say. God knows our hearts and our purpose, and so we trust Him. I trust Him, and lead the two beautiful girls He has lent me to care for in that way as well.

We are chosen, loved, worthy, and ‘best.’ In God’s eyes, we are not who we are but who He made us to be before we were. Finding it is not always easy. Sometimes, we may discover that what we though ‘it’ was led us to where we were supposed to be. Life can only be lived one day at a time, no matter how hard we try to squeeze more out of it.

Jesus lived each day to the fullest, because He remained in conversation with His Father. When we walk with our Savior, we are savoring time. When we learn to live in the pocket of His existence, we experience the peace of His love. It will feel awkward in the world, but oh …in that pocket …life is good. No matter how hard life pushes, stay in His lane for you.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the pocket of existence that You have purposed for each of us. Thank You for guiding us daily through prayer and Your Word. Both privileges we experience because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Bless us to remember You in every conversation, and work hard at what You’ve called us to do. 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 Commuting,

Megs

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

 

 

Stay encouraged!

The TV Junkie (#jammed daily devo, day 116)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 116: Turn it off.

 A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace.” Romans 8:6

Screens are a crazy bad for kiddos. I can attest to this by the crazed look in my daughters’ image-116eyes when I de-screen them. There are days that we are all lazy, and I let them become zombies in front of the TV or their tablets …and I always regret it. They seem less relaxed after relaxing in front of media all day.

Today’s verse offers advice on what to focus on, and I think it’s applicable to the struggle we all have to maintain a a balance with our access to technological entertainment.

Are we focused on it? There’s a difference in being entertained and having it become the sole focus of our existance. Anyone that’s ever yanked a tablet away from a kid before they are done with it has witnessed first hand the evidence of intense focus that was interrupted.

What are we’re supposed to be focused on? “…a mind focused on the Spirit …”

It’s not something to be seen, but experienced. When properly executed, if flows through us like water, and when the flow is interrupted, we feel like we’re going to fall. It begins with Him and ends with Him. And for it remain uninterrupted, so does our focus.

Here’s a few simple ways to keep the reel rolling throughout the day:

  1. Get up and read God’s Word. Even five minutes is beneficial.
  2. Talk to God. Conversation …about what’s actually going on in your life …not just what you think He might want to here or what we feel like owning up to at the moment.
  3. Write it down or listen to it. I tuck verses away places I know I’ll see them because I am horrible at memorization. Listening to praise music is a good way to keep rolling too.

Be present in life’s moments, but always be focused on Him.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for setting a desire to know You in us. Thank You for the many simple ways we can absorb and apply Your Word daily. WE confess that we are driven by apps more than Your Words more often than we’d like to admit, and pray that You will bless us to uphold little ways each day to hold You in focus, 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 Focusing,

Megs

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

 

Stay encouraged!

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. 

Stay encouraged!

The Pinch (#jammed daily devo, day 106)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 106: Relief is coming.

Surely You’ve heard me say,
    “Don’t be deaf to my call; bring me relief!” Lamentations 3:56

Anyone who’s suffered long-term pain can relate to the sentiments of the prophet image-106Jeremiah in today’s verse. God does hear and answer our prayers, but His answers don’t always look the way we want them to, or happen in the time we would like them to.

When my husband first complained of a pinched nerve, I honestly didn’t pay much attention. It happens every so often, and usually goes away in a few days. This time, it was much worse. He couldn’t lay down. Night after night he tried, but ended up down in the basement on the reclining couch. After living with the pain for a week, myself and some friends pulled that couch upstairs …and weeks later, he was still sleeping there.

We take things for granted until they are taken away. Why does human nature have to be that way? God designed us, and did so perfectly …to need Him. He does give us more than we can handle and He does allow circumstances to bleed out beyond our control. There’s a lot of life that He will withhold the answers to, and we don’t have the capacity to understand why even if He let on.

After weeks of pain, therapy, and doctor’s visits, it became clear there was something else causing his nerve to be pinched. Something, as I write this, only God holds the answers to. In prayer to Him it’s tempting to beg for definitive answers over miraculous healing. But I know better from my own pain that hope deferred grows faith.

I pray for him to hear God’s voice through the pain, and feel His presence through the frustration. “Don’t be deaf to my call;” Jeremiah pleaded. When someone we love is in pain, we feel helpless to stop it. “Bring me relief!” When we are in pain, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, it takes over our focus. It becomes difficult to concentrate on the hope of healing, and hard to let go of what we think that should look and feel like.

Hold onto the hand that was nailed to the cross. That Hand knows pain like none other. Our hope is in Him.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus. No one has ever experienced pain like He did for us. Thank You for His sacrifice, which allows us to call out to You for help in full confidence that You hear us and will answer us and heal us. Forgive us for wanting to control what the answers to Your prayers look and feel like and when they happen. Bless us to be strong in Your Word, and rely on You for strength. 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 Crying out,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Good-bye Day (#jammed daily devo, day 94)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 94: Never really good-bye.

 So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

She could barely walk to the car fast enough. As her steps got closer to the car door, her image-94trembling mouth and watery eyes confirmed what her hurried gait had already given away. The day we had anticipated for weeks had finally come, and the final good-bye had become a reality. It’s never easy to say, but life demands it from us. The best way to part is in positivity, knowing that we met on purpose, became close by blessing, and will forever remain connected by memory.

I’m always careful to let my girls feel their feelings, and express their emotions. Only after they have, can peace be restored. They miss their friends. It’s not the same without them, and change is never easy. But change is humanity.

Today’s verse reminds us why change is not only good, but healthy for the soul. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all innately crave a little change. In the season, in location, in company, in food cravings, in exercise, hobbies …we are constantly evolving, as we were made to be! When Jesus is in control of our journey, we can expect change. We will change until the day we hug Him in heaven.

Friends mark our lives whether they are present for its entirety or just a few heartbeats. Today’s verse reminds us to take solace in the partings of this life, and embrace the next big adventure …or the next new friend.

Let’s be encouraged and reminded by today’s verse, that what we see with our eyes is only the tip of the iceberg. “All is fleeting.” All. Everyone. Everything. The day we say good-bye to this world is the day we set our feet home, in heaven.

So, how do we focus on what we cannot see, like today’s verse beckons us? We grab the hand of Jesus, and let Him lead …trusting His good plan for our precious lives. Created in His Father’s image, He longs to be with us where He is. (John 17: 24) Let go of control, and  embrace His change. Begin to live.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus, and the hope He brings through the changes in our lives. Some are fun changes, exciting changes …and others are hard, confusing, and sad. But thank You for being the good God that You are, looking out for us in ways that are far beyond our sight and understanding. We confess the times in life that we do not embrace change, and ask that You bless our hearts to seek the life-changing love of Jesus every day of our lives. In His 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 Changing,

Megs

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

 

Stay encouraged!

The Dance Shoes (#jammed daily devo, day 91)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 91: Always the right fit.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:14-15

The mailman ditched an over-stuffed white envelope into my mailbox, and onto my image-91ballerina’s feet the shoes went …for about two seconds. Too big …again.

“But I ordered a half size bigger than the ones that were too small!” I shared with a mom in the studio waiting room, “I am so confused!” 

Trying to find the right shoes for a decent price is very “holy grail-ish.”Guiding my daughters in a competitive sport has been a great lesson in faith. “Am I pushing too hard?” “Are they learning how to honor commitment?” “How do I teach them the importance of hard work without being too hard on them?” …and that’s just the pressure I put on myself.

Parents face many voices that attempt to convince, pressure, size-up, and compare them …and their children. It’s important to let God’s voice drown them all out. He created each of us differently, but lent the same Truth to guide us. In His living Word, we find His guidance, direction, and assurance. 

Today’s verses assure us that when we are walking in faith, our heals will not slip. Jesus walks with us, not someone we’re supposed to be or will become. The way to protect ourselves, and our children, from the comparative pressure of competition is to follow the instructions in Ephesians 6:14-15. Stand firm in the Word. He will defend us, and prepare us.

“Fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” ensures us that when we chase after Him, it’s a perfect fit every time …and we feel peace. Not just relief, but the peace that Jesus when to the cross to grace us with.

 My job as a mom is to make sure that I prayerfully consider whether the path my daughters’ are on will lead to His feet. Throughout all of the doubt that I’ve dealt with over the years, our dance family has been His evidence that we are on that “right path.” In a sea of pressure and drama, we somehow walked into a family. My girls glide across the stage to the tune of genuine support. Not just of their dance, but for who they are.

jammed-click-to-tweetI’m still trying to figure out how to order dance shoes for my daughters without ending up with a pile of shoes no one can use, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re on the right path.

Father, Praise You for fitting us perfectly in our shoes …in our lives. Thank You for placing people around us to encourage us for who we truly are …not who they want us or wish us to be. Forgive us for pushing others to be who they are not, and casting judgement on those who simply don’t know any better. Bless us to love those put close to us, and encourage them to stay in their lane as we hold tight to Your hand. 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 Shoe-fitting,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

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.

40% Off Valentines Day Shop at Crazy8

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

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

The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition, Cloth over Board, Gray Linen

Stay encouraged!

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

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

Stay encouraged!