The Pocket Animals (#jammed daily devo, day 109)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 109: Big treasures are small.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Certain times throughout the school year, my girls start to get lazy. I start to get lazy. No image-109one feels quite as exuberant about extra math and reading practice, and handwriting becomes illegible. That’s when the prize bucket get’s a makeover. There’s always something little and tiny they are dying to collect, and so I fish for what that is at that moment. We’ve gone from Shopkins to Squinkies to Pocket anythings. Kittys in my Pocket …Puppies in my Pocket …Jungle in my Pocket …it seems just about any living creature can be found pocket-sized and packed in a cute little collectable contraption.

“OK, girls…..” I drummrolled as I laid out my new plain. “If you can do all of your work super extra neat …I will put (said animals) in the prize box.”

Screeches of delight.

“But!” I added, “I’m going to be really picky if I’m going to hand out these really awesome prizes….”

The handwriting improved over the next couple of weeks, as did grades and morale …at least until the next holiday that involved passing out candy arrived.

Today’s verse reminds us that, although faith is required in the hard walk of life we are promised, God wants us to be happy! He rewards us! Sometimes, He throws tiny little animals in the prize bucket of life, simply because we like to collect them.

A beautiful sunrise, an extra snuggle from our kids, an extra productive day, early flowers blooming ….there is no end to the ways that God chooses to love on us. But He isn’t picky. We only need to prayerfully pay attention in faith.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Your compassionate love for us! Thank You for rewarding us for following You! It’s not easy, and we confess our comparative and entitled expectations. Bless us to see Your blessings …Your gifts …Your prizes …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 Collecting,

Megs

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The Runny Sauce (#jammed daily devo, day 108)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 108: The right consistency.

“He is consistent.” James 1:17

The same spaghetti sauce recipe has been passed down three generations, now. And weimage-108 decided to change it. My daughters have joined me in the my quest to be a little healthier , and now they are older, have agreed to sway from three guaranteed meals they will eat. I thought it would be a disaster to change this recipe. They have grown up with the other sauce, which we all love, and that contains no chunks of anything at all. No trace of what might be adding any flavor to it, and barely real at all.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is consistent. His love is constant, though it may feel different to us in different seasons. Let’s look at the whole verse:

 Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows.” James 1:17

The chopping began, the smiles ensued, and the sauce “was a hit.” My poor husband, who is phobic of all chucks tomato and onion, was doomed to a long dinner of picking things out. But my picky eater and her sister loved it! Just when I think I can predict what they’ll do ….

“It was a little watery, though, mom…”she added, “next time lets make it a little thicker.”

So we did …and it was too thick. And, it’s still a work in progress, but chopping fresh veggies with my girls is pretty fun.

When we embrace God’s consistent love we become consistently loved children. Whether the sauce is chunky or not, watery or thick, we remain stable. Trying something different is healthy. Following Jesus will lead us down a road of constant change. We become more responsive to His Word as time goes on, because we know exactly what we believe …and who’s we are.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Your consistency. Thank You, that we are incapable of it, for it reminds us who You are. Forgive us for our inconsistency, and bless us to know that Your love for us never changes. You are always good. 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 Chopping,

Megs

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The Wish-Trip (#jammed daily devo, day 107)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 107: Wishes travel.

 Without any hesitation, Abram went.” Genesis 12:4 (VOICE)

The bravery of Abraham to pick up his entire family and move to Canaan when he was image-107seventy-five years old is a true hallmark of faith. Even surrounded by modern-day conveniences and four decades younger, I can hardly fathom leaving all I know for nothing familiar.

But I do wish to take a trip. A mission trip. Each time the topic is preached on I sit further and further towards the edge of my seat. I see the smiling faces of the people I dream of hugging in person. I’m not sure how …I’m not sure why … I don’t know when …but it’s a wish I pray into a lot.

“I just want to bring one back,” I dream out-loud to my friends. “Just one …if I could just help one…”

There are things we can do everyday and people in arm’s reach to be helped …but God specifically told us to go out into the world. There are people who still don’t know. There are people that don’t have clean water to drink …and never have. They don’t know what it tastes like. They don’t know what food tastes like, either, because they’ve never really had a prolonged time in their lives where their basic needs for survival were met.

In this country, we are privileged to debate politics and complain about taxes. It’s an honor to scoff at legislation and flex our right to voice our opinion. But all of that effort …all of that breath …I just can’t help but wish …to go.

“Without any hesitation.”

What if we just chose to see and acknowledge what’s going on past our doorstep everyday? I wish …

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for missionaries and mission teams. Thank You for the opportunity to come face to face with the people You call us to help. Forgive us for forgetting about the forgotten. Bless us with the chance to go on our wish-trips. 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 Wishing,

Megs

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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

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The Special Scissors (#jammed daily devo, day

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 105: Just the right cut.

“One Spirit works all these things in each of them individually as He sees fit.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

“Why are you cutting pizza with scissors?!” My dad is always amused by the things I find to cut image-105with my kitchen scissors.

There are so many pairs of scissors lying around the house. Training scissors that don’t have real blades, craft scissors that cut pretty designs, fabric scissors that cut cloth smoothy, kids scissors, utility scissors, kitchen scissors, hair-cutting scissors … who’d have thought there would be so many different uses for one basic object?

Today’s verse shows us how God does so much through each of us. Each person has similar attributes and functions …even talents …but each person’s purpose is unique to them.

If I use craft scissors to cut hair, I’d make it look reciculous. If I use fabric scissors to cut paper, it will ruin it’s sharp, smooth edge. And training scissors will not cut the fat off of tonights chicken as it thaws. Each pair is specifically purposed, and if used outside of that, not nearly as effective.

Jesus died for us to find our purpose. He is the only way to the Father. And the Father holds our perfectly crafted purpose in His capable hands. Through acceptance of Jesus, we receive the Spirit, who guides us “individually.” Our path is our path. No one else’s. We can try to fit into other people’s purposes, but it won’t look good. And even if it doesn’t, we won’t be happy. True happiness comes in embracing our purpose. When we find the path we were always meant to walk, we don’t feel so lost anymore. We feel home, we feel peace, and we feel loved. For just who we where meant to be.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for creating each person differently. Thank You for sending Your Spirit to guide us to the purpose You have planned for our lives. We confess the times we ignore the sacrifice of Your Son, and try to control our lives the way we think they should be run. Bless us to let go, and follow 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 Cutting,

Megs

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