The Squid Hat (#jammed daily devo, day 40)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 40: Grace is more predictable than we think.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord,one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-post-image-40

Squeezed through rows of squishy plastic poop balls with eyes, rubbery octopus tentacle
finger puppets, shell necklaces of every unnatural color imaginable, and high powered fluorescents exposing the junk my kids love to collect, my eyes landed on the bottom shelf of hats.

“Look at these, girls!” I beckoned.

We rolled over laughing as one daughter suddenly appeared to have her head bitten off by a shark and the other turned into a squid with legs. It’s been my favorite thing to do since I can remember, laughing over the possibility of purchasing such nonsensical creations attached to the notion of , “who would buy this?”

Most of the time, I do. Marketers unite. Unearthing these little treasures in our house months later always ushers in the return of laughter and makes an unworthy purchase worth it all over again. This day would be no different.

 

Today’s verses bind us together. “One” is written seven times in these two verses. Seven, in the Bible, is the number of perfection. I love how the VOICE commentary adds to the tenderness of Paul’s plight in this text: “Paul encourages them to do whatever it takes to hold onto the unity that binds people together in peace.” 

One …body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism …

All of these things have nothing to do with what our hands are capable of creating.

“…one God and Father is over all and through all and in all.”

Jesus lives. Jesus unifies. A heart home to Him holds the key to unity. A walk behind the trail of His earthly sandals leads us to the peace God longs for all of us to reach.

 “..that unity is founded on God’s oneness and work in the world.” (VOICE)

Whether you rock a squid hat or just laugh at the girl who does, we all have something uniquely special that unites us in His name.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the unique way You created all of us. Thank You for grace, and the way it  washes over us.. Forgive us for mocking those whom You created and help us to live in unity. Bless us with peaceful, Christ-like hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s the wackiest souvenir you’ve ever brought back from vacation? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Souvenir-ing,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Silver Spray

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 33:  It’s Ferocity is Graceful.

“The world does not recognize the Spirit of truth, because it does not know the Spirit and is unable to receive Him. But you do know the Spirit because He lives with you, and He will dwell in you.” John 14:17 (VOICE)post-image-33

“Open the window, Daddy!” My Northern Ohio girl beckoned.

The warm tropical air permeated our pale winter faces for a few balmy moments before  a cold front blew our coats back on.

That day we watched two people marry, to the backdrop of crashing waves. The whipping North wind blew the crests of the waves before they could curl back into the sea, sending a silver spray into the sky as the sun made it’s way through gray.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” the groom smiled, as we all shivered on the Southern shore.

True love is a miracle to witness, and it really doesn’t matter what the weather outside is like, because in our hearts ..in that moment …gravity shifts for eternity.

Today’s verse personifies that feeling every couple celebrates as they walk back down the aisle together, and every parent feels when they hold their first child for the first time. Unspeakable love. Unexplainable love. Love that isn’t seen, heard or noticed until it suddenly consumes our minds, hearts, and souls. We crave that love and remiss to part from it.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we usher in an uncontainable love that lives in our hearts forevermore. We crave His presence because it satisfies our soul. “The world does not recognize it,” but it’s moving through the earth like wildfire.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for loving us perfectly. In our search for perfection and achievement on this earth, it is only Jesus that can show us the true meaning of our toiling. Thank you for creating us with hearts capable of such a huge capacity to love, and yet …Your love is infinitely greater! It’s hard to imagine, but wonderful to experience. Forgive us for running from your presence, and denying the only One who can illuminate purpose in our lives.  We pray today that Jesus would come into our hearts and camp out there forever. Send Your Spirit to move our hearts and open Your Word to experience Your love for us on a heavenly level. In Jesus Name, Amen.

When do you most feel the love of Christ? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Loving,

Megs

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

 

Stay encouraged!

The Popcorn That’s Everywhere. (#jammed daily devo day 31)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 31: Inescapable Love

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22:21jammed-31

It’s a comfort to me that the Bible ends this way, but the story isn’t over. The previous
verse states:

‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”-Revelation 22:20

I agree. Yes, come soon.

It feels like that some days, doesn’t it? When we can’t seem to pick up the pieces fast enough to catch the new ones that are dropping? When our mess is too much to manage?

It’s never too much for Him. And He will be back. Until, then, we’re called to spread His grace on and around everything.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about God’s grace this month, and feel equipped with it in life’s face.

Father, Praise You that we have completed the first month of #jammed! Thank You for using my life to bring forth Your message. Forgive us for taking our freedom to study Your Word in community for granted. Bless this space, these words, and Your grace, to fly out off this screen and into forever changed hearts. We love you, Father. In Jesus Name, Amen.

jammed-tweet-blueWhat should we study next?! Share your ideas for the coming months of #jammed. Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Ending,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Lick Attack (#jammed daily devo #15)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 15 Hug Back. 

“But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7jammed-day-15

“It’s a lick attack! It’s a lick attack!” my little girl screeched with glee as her puppy jumped
all over her, licking her face and ears and her sweet little smile. She hugs her puppy back, and I hate to admit this but I know she licks her back, too.

“She’s the kid who’s going to share her ice cream cone with her dog,” my husband said.

Let’s look at today’s verse in a slightly different light:

“Just as you are rich in everything- in faith and speech, in knowledge and all sincerity, and in the love we have shown among you- now I ask you to invest richly in this gracious work too.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 (VOICE)

The apostles paid everything they knew about Christ forward to their followers. But eventually, it was up to their audience to embrace grace and pass it on.

Lauren’s not afraid to hug her puppy back. The licking thing is a little much, but it’s endearing to watch her love on her puppy. I swear that dog smiles. And that’s probably why. She’s loved.

You know that song, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands?”

If you’re loved and you know it, hug back. Give back. Let’s pull others alongside of us and help those who cannot help themselves. Even the ones who can but just don’t want to. Help them, too. Love the people that are difficult to love, because we are loved undeservedly by God.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the faithfulness of the apostles for spreading Christ’s love. Thank you that we, too, have heard the message of Christ. We confess that we don’t always appreciate that there are corners of the world that still have not heard, and we pray that You equip us to come alongside those You place in our paths. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Who will you hug today? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Hugs,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

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

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

 

Stay encouraged!

The Dinner Scoops (#jammed daily devo, day 326)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 326: Thankful for ice cream.

“Listen to me, Jacob,
    Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
I am the first and I am the last.” Isaiah 48:12

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” my husband asked my two daughters as the lake 326water dripped into their eyes.

“ICE CREAM FOR DINNER?!?!” they screeched.

A vacation time tradition, that’s just what we did. It’s not the healthiest habit in the world, but it’s seriously fun. Ice cream has it’s own budget when we go on vacation.

Today’s verse reminds us that we are called. We are God’s chosen ones. He is the Creator of all and has chosen us. Whether we eat ice cream for dinner on vacation is irrelevant in God’s eyes. But our joy is. Our joy matters to God. And if that means getting a double scoop in place of a healthy meal after a day at the beach, that’s OK.

This life tends to twist us up into too much worry over what we put into our bodies and are supposed to look like. It’s so important to take care of ourselves, but it’s also important to take care of our souls. The best way to do that, sometimes, is to let go of the twisting and turning and let Him bless us. With ice cream for dinner. With the sweet smiles of a couple of sandy kids that will remember that day full of smiles and sweets forever.

And through it, see a glimpse of our Father’s love.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for ice cream, and thank You for loving us so immensely and so perfectly. Help us to remember to bask in the joy of 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 Measuring,

Megs

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

 

Stay encouraged!

The Reading Glasses (#jammed daily devo, day 133)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 133:Unneeded.

“Do not withhold discipline from children.” Proverbs 23:13 (VOICE)

They are still a permanent part of my pen holder. During a season riddled with health image-133issues, I obtained a set of reading glasses to correct odd headaches. Looking at a screen through different lenses didn’t cure me like it had many others. The only solution that proved to work was stepping away from the screen. But I had work to do!

God gives us the perfect amount of time to live …each day. The discipline to listen to God as He guides us through life is essential in finding what works.

Today’s verse reminds us how important it is to discipline our children, and that corporal punishment is OK. This is something society is definitely not OK with. As with anything in life, we should prayerfully consider all things …including parenting. There isn’t one blanketed way that works for each child. Even children from the same household need to be seen differently when disciplinary measures are considered.

Look at each child through a different pair of glasses, as each one is unique. The heart of parental discipline is learned by taking the time and effort to know the children God has entrusted us with. He made our children. It would behove us to ask Him what is best on their account.

Sometimes, we just need to take a break from the screen. Walk away, no matter how pressing we think the issue is or how offensive their behavior was. Until God gives us a clear understanding on how to handle our children, and other disputes in life, it’s best to remain calm and silent in prayer.

Do not withhold discipline from children,
    since corporal punishment will not kill them.
 In fact, it may be that kind of punishment
    that will save them from an early grave.” Proverbs 23:13-14

I have discovered that a quick flick to the forehead zips my kids lips faster than any other method of silencing them. One flick. Nice and hard. To the middle of their foreheads. Shocked faces. Instant quiet. Pray hard into finding what works.

Ask Jesus for leading, and then listen to it. Look through His lenses for your life. He died for our misbehavior. Try to extend that grace in return.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for this verse, and thank You for our children. They challenge and grow us like none other! We confess our tempers and impatience regarding them, and ask for Your hand in guidance to discipline them in a way that leads them to Your feet. 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 Flicking,

Megs

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

Stay encouraged!

The Intentional Compliment

“I’m weird,” my girl sighed. “I don’t always feel like I fit in here.”

I launched into the infamous “God made you perfect” speech through a lump in my throat …but I knew very well it wouldn’t single-handedly cure the eight-year-old aches.

It’s OK, Mom…I’m weird,” she continued, “it’s a good weird.”

My daughter has the same potential as all other girls to have highly dramatic and face-twisting over-rations, but I love who she is. A Jedi, a wizard, a thrift-rack surfer. With a book in her hand and a never-ending eight-count to her step, she’s in love with laughing…  and I’m fiercely protective of her adopting any shred of the insecurity and comparison that fight me.

On the cusp of the “awkward” years, I’m keenly aware that the validity of my opinion on just about everything is about to drop off dramatically. Now is the time to intentionally buoy her light bright, to bob unscathed amidst an egocentric society.

Know love to love.

“God is love.” 1John4:16b

ic-1It’s not the happy ending of a rom-com or the heart flutter when Justin Bieber takes the stage … God is love. He loves perfectly, and He loves us whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not …and regardless of what we do or do not do. Built in His image, we’re programmed to love.

” Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. ” 1John 4:7-8

Discipline and consequences are necessary to raise healthy humans, but overly harsh ic-4criticism is not. If I look for ways to build my kids up in love, they will look for a way to do so for others.

Yes, it’s annoying when cereal and milk is spilled all over the floor, but insults don’t have to be built into my reaction. No, she doesn’t match perfectly all of the time, but killing her creative spirit and hurting her feelings over an outfit she’s proud of isn’t going to build confidence. I’m a big proponent of apologizing to my kids …mostly because of the mistakes I make.

Kids have to know that they are God’s children entrusted to us, and that He loves them perfectly even when we do not. In acknowledging God sovereignty, we learn what it means to be loved.

Look to love for how to love.

“Brianne, I want you to find something nice to say to ___ today,” I instructed my eight ic-2year old.

“Why?” she asked with an ever-so-charming look that could fry an an ant five miles away.

“Because…”

 Why? How do I convince her to love on others when she’s mainly concerned about getting through elementary school without becoming a target, herself?

In the grown up world, the same struggle is manifested daily through social media. I deactivated my account when I lost the ability to look into the mirror confidently.  It was freeing, not knowing what everyone was doing all of the time. But then I sat in church, and felt like a wimp hiding in the corner.

“This is the culture we are called to reach,” Pastor preached.

I sighed out loud. Come on, Jesus … really? There?

To walk in love is to walk with Jesus …wherever. God sent Him here to walk out love on earth, and we’re called to at least try.  I don’t want to go out of my comfort zone any more than my daughter does. Jesus, without qualifying people or weighing what He would have to sacrifice, just loved on people. And when we follow His lead, we learn how to love.

“I chase only after glory for the One who sent Me. My intention is authentic and true. You’ll find no wrong motives in Me.” John 7:16

ic-3Yes… I want to be like that.

“Did you tell ____ what I told you to?” I followed up…

“Yep,” she said, beaming.

“Felt good, didn’t it?” I asked.

“It really did, mom …and I’m going to make sure _____ is OK at school from now on.”

I’m back on Facebook …and it bothers me most of the time. It’s a lot easier for me to turn it off and walk away …but that’s not the mission. Just as I teach Brianne to look for peers that need love, I need to look where my peers are to do the same.

Intentionally turn out to face your circle.  Look for ways to love. Hashtag it. Love it. Share it.  #wherever

ic-5

All it takes is a scan of the hurt that surrounds to remind me of how precious and fleeting time with my girl is.  I pray I’m able to fill those minutes with the knowledge of God’s love and the example of it that Jesus lived. True love lived out in her life will allow her light to shine amidst the storms that await.

Unlike my experience as a hometown Cleveland girl and sports fan …love winning in the end is a sure thing.

Happy Complimenting!!

Megs

Stay encouraged!