The Dinners (#jammed daily devo, day 77)

March #jammed: Grace Revealed.

Day 77: Enduring friendship.

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (MSG)post-image-77

When my friend was raising her girl alone, I marveled at how she kept from crumbling. We shared family-style dinners with our girls when my husband worked late and my Jimmy dropped off cold medicine when her babe slept and she was stuck sick. Those first days of friendship were God intended. I knew she needed me back then, but over time, I would see how much I needed her, too.

Today’s verse speaks of encouraging one another, and my friend does that. She will tell each friend they are beautiful and why, notice when too much time has gone by between conversations, and have a very loud opinion about anyone attempting to harm us.

I hope every woman reading this is blessed with a pack of friends like those God has placed around me. They listen to me cry and fiercely take my side. We share laughs and pick each other’s kids up for or from school. Whole families have become friends, and my favorite are the Sundays we sit in church together. We pray together. We pray for each other. And that makes all the difference.

“Let’s be brave together, girls. Let’s love and be loved. From near. From far. From wherever we are. Because we’re always better together.” Holley Gerth, The Gift of Friendship

God created us for friendship. We’re not meant to walk this earth alone. In fact, we were promised it would be painful, hard, and thwart with difficult days. We have an enemy that is on our you-know-what 24/7. Jesus died in our defense. He was a good friend, building up others and healing even more. Let’s be that for each other. Or, just for one person.

Friends are living proof that God watches out for us, defends us, and loves us for who we are …right this second.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for friends! Thank You, especially, for the friendships we would not have chosen ourselves, but that fill our hearts to the brim with love. Forgive us for taking our friends for granted, and bless us to remember them daily in our prayers and acts of kindness. 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

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The New Song (#jammed daily devo, day 76)

March #jammed: Grace Revealed.

Day 76: Sing it LOUD.

 But he gives us more grace.” James 4:6apost-image-76

“GRACE comes like a wave …crashing over me! GRACE comes like a wave …crashing over, and over, and over ….” (Grace Like a Wave, Elevation Church Kids)

The lump in my throat wouldn’t surface until the weekend had faded into the next row of calendar squares. The notes were shaken with swelling joy as we jumped up and down singing about grace. Beside me, were two smiling, jumping faces that I had once held in my arms as tiny dependent babes.

“God’s goodness is a major headline in the Bible.” Max Lucado, Before Amen.

How great is our God, that my prayer that they may know Him be answered beyond my imagination. If life is nothing but harder after that moment, it will all be OK. It’s in there. He’s in there. They know Him, and I can feel Christ’s chase on their lives, with or without my presence.

Let’s look at the rest of today’s verse:  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'”

A perfectly aimed stage-light blocked out most of the crowd as we sang and danced. Leading a youth worship team was my daughter’s idea. I refuse to take credit for my inability to say ‘no’ to something that makes her heart skip a beat with excitement. When it came time to pray about the next step, I wanted to say ‘no.’ Our life was busy enough. There couldn’t possibly be a way. But I knew, from the prompting in my heart in prayer, there was. I just had to believe before I could see.

“Jesus You have done it all for me …Jesus You have done it all for me….GRACE!!!” they sang and shouted.

Humility is magical when we hand it over to God. He can do great things through humble servants. When we step our of our comfort zone, we land in His. And He can stretch minutes and fly with messages, if we’ll only be obedient to say, ‘OK.’

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for praise! And thank You for youth worship programs, and all of the lives that You foster and touch through the obedient people that say ‘OK’ to pack one more thing into their lives. Forgive us for resisting, for that ‘one more thing’ often becomes the favorite thing we ever have privilege to be a part of. Bless our lives to understand that it’s so much bigger than we can imagine. 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 Praising,

Megs

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The Fingerprints (#jammed daily devo, day 75)

March #jammed: Grace Revealed.

Day 75: The unique mark of grace.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” John 13:34-35post-image-75

Every creation with finger prints or hand prints or footprints or toe prints get’s saved in the “precious” box.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a cheesy of art …when there’s a sweet little print on it, I savor it. My daughters’ creations get thrown into a box throughout the school year. By the time I sift back through it, most “art” has lost it’s original charm. But, oh, those sweet prints. Their unique mark on life and stamp of their Creator. There are all precious.

Jesus loved His friends in the midst of their mess.

Today’s verse reminds us of the imortance of our efforts to love each other in this way. We are to love one another for our fingerprints. Not for who we think they should be or wish they would be, but for the perfectly imperfect human being that we are and they are meant to be. When we encourage each other for who we are, accepting flaws as part of what makes us so irresistible, we are walking like Christ.

“It is simply impossible to love another person the way Christ wants us to love while speaking hurtful words to or about them. And loving others isn’t a gentle suggestion by Jesus-it’s a command. Since our words are such a crucial indication of whether or not we love someone, we would do well to carefully watch what we say.” Lysa TerKeurst, Becoming More.

Each walk with Christ is like a fingerprint. None is the same. No person is the same, how could our experience with our Father be any different? Each little mark we make in this life in His name is savored by the Father. He celebrates us! Longs to be with us! Love us …perfectly. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood-stained tears dripped for all of the victories and all of the mistakes wound into our prints.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for fingerprints! Thank You for creating unnecessary attributes that teach us to embrace our individuality. Forgive us for gossiping about others when we don’t understand why they are the way they are, and bless us to be compassionate in understanding that they are perfectly imperfect …intentionally, as are we. 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 Being Nice,

Megs

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The Winter Fish (#jammed daily devo, day 74)

March #jammed: Grace Revealed.

Day 74: When it’s not supposed to be there.

“All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world.” 1 John 2:16post-image-74

Red and green navigation lights beamed off the lake before the sun’s appearance. Warm days during the winter solstice will pack the boat ramp fast, as fisherman rush to catch the winter fish.

This old distance runner knows the feeling of having to wait around until it’s OK to train again, and I imagine those fisherman couldn’t wait to putt out into the freshly freed icy water. Injury after injury has proven healthy for my passion. During each season of wait and angst, I am more secure in who I am without running. In fact, “runner” doesn’t define as much of me as it used to. I’m a lot less relient on it to feel OK.

“Being full of God’s love settles, empowers, and brings out the best of who we are.” Lisa TerKeurst, Uninvited

God’s love is the key. My morning run always included time with my Jesus. Striding along the lake at sunrise, it was always impossible to separate Him from my what I saw. But what I love about God is that He wanted more.

When I can, I hit the pavement after I linger with my Father. But it’s not necessary to “have a good day,” or “run out the stress of life,” or “stay healthy and fit.” Hope deferred reveals Jesus to be all we need. He can do infinitely  more that we realize with who we already are.

Today’s verse warns us not to be extreme about things. Relationships, passions, and possessions. The only thing first should be the One who was, is, and ever will be first.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for our passions! Thank You for creating a world full of adventure, and for wiring us to be happy people. Forgive us for seeking happiness outside of You, and bless us to put You first all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What passion do you struggle not to put first? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Empowering,

Megs

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The Floating Tree (#jammed daily devo, day 73)

March #jammed: Grace Revealed.

Day 73: Grace is louder.

 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.” Deuteronomy 4:12post-image-73

Walking alongside a river as it thaws isn’t the most serene scene. There are debris flows that expose the lack of environmental care, but also the natural current of trees. Fallen into the water from gales, winds, and erosion of land, whole trees can be seen floating down the river as the ice melts.

One specific January day, hundreds of fishermen rushed out of the mouth to take advantage of the unseasonable warmth. Clipping along in the race to cast out, I wondered if what I saw up-close would make a blip on their radar. Some twigs are attached to whole trees! Large logs reveal wide stumps that go deep into the water. My voice was too quiet and distant to alert anyone.

When we block-out God’s voice, we risk running into a tree. To visualize the depth of obstacles in our daily path our roots in Christ must be watered.

“Discovering who you are in Christ is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing, life-giving, often paradoxical, and sometimes brain-bending experience.” -Steven Furtick, Crash the Chatterbox.

Today’s verse is part of a speech that Moses gave to the generation of Israelites that would move in to the land God promised. After 40 years wandering in the desert, most of the people that began the journey had died. Moses recounts the evidence of God’s faithfulness and provision. His voice in the burning bush, and His voice in the clouds. God wanted them to listen to and worship His voice rather than look or bow down to a physical form.

In an evidential society, there are many voices that take form in front of us. Jesus died on the cross to open our eyes, and He sent the Spirit to help us see. Chart a course to hear His voice through the study of the Word, and begin to see what’s on the radar.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the many encounters  we read about in Your Word, and experience in our lives. Thank You for providing a loud enough voice to cut through the noise, and forgive us when we choose not to tune into it. Bless us to hear Your voice above all others, always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What distracts you from hearing God’s voice? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Tuning-in,

Megs

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