The Twinkle Lights (#jammed daily devo, day 125)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 125: Sparkling.

Do not move an ancient boundary stone
    set up by your ancestors.” Proverbs 22:28

“Let’s read under the twinkle lights, mommy,” my daughter often asks. At bedtime, we sit image-125underneath a fairy wonderland of flowers and toole, sparkles and twinkle lights …and we read His word. Through her VeggieTales devotional book, we bond and laugh and share a piece of His peace. It’s a safe place for a little girl who is sometimes afraid to fall asleep. It’s a quiet ending to a hectic day …a comforting routine for a growing little soul.

God is good to give us boundaries. During the time today’s verse was written, boundaries were very important to the survival of nations. God’s people had certain claims to certain territories, and the Bible is very exact at what the boundaries of those lands were to be. It seems boring to read about, unless we appreciate His hand of protection.

boundaries-The agreed limits to the lands of an invidivudal or people. Designated by God and protected by law, both national and local boundaries could be subject to dispute. Dictionary of Bible Themes

Old Testament boundaries prepare us for New Testament living. Jesus came speak to us and to show us where there were and how to live within them. Much more than landlines and borders, these were ways of living. There is no limit to God’s love, but we must choose to live within it.

boundaries- something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent. Merriam-Webster

Jesus fixed our limitations by doing what we cannot do. By going where we cannot go. The cross provided us a way to come to God. He is our Boundary. Within His grip of grace, we are living in God’s infinite love. The boundaries of a life walked on this path do not block out pain, hardship, or injustice. They don’t protect us from the consequences we earn. But they do allow us to live life as it was always meant to be lived.

My daughter will grow out of her twinkle-light paradise one day …but I pray she will grow into the His loving boundaries.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for boundaries. Thank You for sending Jesus to show us where to go and how to live. We confess all of the times we overlook Him and seek to set our own limits. Bless us to seek Your will in our lives. 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 Line-drawing,

Megs

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

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The Strength to Be Joyful

The voice outside the door was pretty routine. I had tried to steal a moment away to go to the bathroom, and fooled myself into thinking that shutting the door would signal the little people in the house to allow me a moment of privacy. (Bah. Ha. Ha.) God’s sense of humor never ceases to amaze me, and the state in which He met me for this moment was right on cue.

The uncharacteristic hesitation in my daughter’s voice led me to ask if she was OK.  It hadn’t been the easiest year, and my heart broke right along with hers.  I had been covering her in prayer and God’s Truth. That day, my eyes glazed over as she peeked through a crack in that bathroom door to tell me what was weighing on her heart.

” I want to have Jesus in my heart,” my daughter whimpered, “it’s just too hard without Him.” 

“I need Jesus, Mommy.”  I excused myself to “wash my hands” and then witnessed my daughter handing her life over to Christ as we prayed together. It was a marking moment of pure joy, that sent my prayer life into overdrive on a completely new level. A heart surrendered to Jesus will most certainly face trials and challenges, and strength is what I pray for my girl as she faces the start of the next decade in-step with her Savior.

The Strength to Be Joyful.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy many be complete.” John 15:11 (NIV)

His strength enables my feet to keep trekking on. “Be joyful always,” ( 1 Thesalonians 5:16), is a lot easier to live out when things are sunny-side up. But when life becomes painful, hard, and unfair …lonely and badgered with doubt …it takes His strength to keep hiking through the snowy woods.

The Greek word for “joy” in  John 15:11 is chara,” which means “joy, gladness.” But underneath a part of the definition that says, “the cause or occasion of joy,” it’s defined a little further as, “of person’s who are one’s joy.”

When Jesus is our joy, it is complete. His joy becomes ours. He becomes our joy. The root word of chara is chairo, a primary Greek word that expands the meaning unto “to be well, thrive.” The strength to find Joy comes from Him.

The Strength to Surrender.

 The source of our strength isn’t something that we can grip, it’s a surrender to a source that flows through us.

Surrender means to yield the possession of power, to give oneself up, relinquish, abandon, or “to give oneself up to some influence, course, or emotion.” Jesus told his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“The branch must remain open to the flow of the vine’s life. If the branch were simply wound around the vine tightly, it would still die without producing any fruit.” Beth Moore, Portraits of Devotion, Day 216.

On whose accord to we lay down our lives for our friends if  we have not surrendered our own into His hands? Surrendering our self-centered disposition for a Christ-centered perspective takes Holy Spirit strength. A daily, soul-surrendering strengthening, from the vine.

The Strength to Obey

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.” John 15:10

Why is that so hard for humanity to accept that uninterrupted obedience is unattainable this side of heaven? Even before the constant clamor of criticism that bombards us through social streams, internal doubt has always threatened to disqualify us from the full and vibrant life Christ died to give us.

The same little voice that peeked into the bathroom weeks earlier, recently discovered that discipline remained a part of a Christ-committed life. Frustrated by her own disobedience, that sweet child asked me if He was even in there.

“Of course He is,” I reassured her, pointing to her heart,“He will never leave you.”

Christianity is a slow change, an individual walk. Yet, we compare our obedience to those around us and entertain benchmarks that may not be realistic for the current way-point of our hearts. Each day that we choose to walk with Jesus, we get a little stronger. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit provides us with the strength to obediently follow Him.

The Strength to be Imperfect

Lucky for me I grew up in the 90’s, or my struggle with perfectionism would have been glaringly obvious. Don’t mistake my life for a suffered one …I’m the same high energy crack-up that I’ve always been. I just don’t own a scale, talk about weight, or lose sleep over my reflection.  God convicted me of that negative thought cycle long ago, and I choose to obediently stop it. We will never lack strength to accomplish His will in our lives.

How easily our hearts can be led down a road full of absolute crap.

“It’s a lesson, not your life-story,” I assure my daughters when they make mistakes. “Everyone struggles with difficult choices.” 

How can we let our soul’s find their worth in a grade, paycheck, weight, good review, re-tweet, or accolade ? The strength to be imperfect comes from Christ. If we hold onto anything else but His validation, then we set ourselves up for a good crushing when the external feedback we receive inevitably fails us.

“There is no fear in love,” 1 John 4:18a says. Guilt and shame over the mistakes we have made in our lives does not come from God. Romans 3:10 states, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Jesus died so that we could live life to the full (John 10:10b).  He never said we had to be perfect.

The Strength to Construct Healthy Boundaries

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hiding all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV)

Paul was writing to the Colossians in combat of heresy (any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with establishedbeliefs, customs, etc.). The NIV Study Bible lists examples of ceremonialism, asceticism, worship of (or with) angels, devaluing the person and work of Christ, secret knowledge, and reliance on human wisdom and tradition. This was a no-brainer for Paul. He had witnessed Christ. There were no gray areas for him. He confidently exposed these false practices. 

How often do we take a look around our lives and gently rebuke and remove incorrect theology and religious practices? How often do we speak up and speak out about Christ when a worldly world-ism wafts across our eardrums? Paul was confident! He was strong enough to put up healthy boundaries as to what he was willing to absorb and entertain. We would be smart to focus on Christ the way Paul did.

It takes strength to walk away, kindly disagree, pray for an enemy, forgive and unfairness, process criticism with humility, or forgive ourselves for failure. “If you want to change, surround yourself with people that get it,” my pastor preached this past Sunday.

What if God asks us to obediently embrace a season of isolation as we tune into His voice above all others? The Book of 1 Kings tells how God prepared the prophet Elijah. Through my daily journey with First5, I learned that he obediently hid for three years, relying on ravens to bring Him meals twice a day. “But God wasn’t setting Elijah aside — He was setting Elijah apart.” Krista Williams, First5

Strong.

 “ Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)

God has laid this lesson of strength upon my heart this year, and He continues to teach me how His strength lies behind our  joy, surrendering, obedience, imperfection, and construction of healthy boundaries. Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong.  Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (VOICE) For Love to prevail in our lives, our connection to the Vine must be strong. We can accomplish this by training daily in study of His Word, and obediently following His lead for our lives. 

Happy Strength-training,

Megs

The Twinkle Lights (#jammed daily devo, day 125)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 125: Sparkling.

Do not move an ancient boundary stone
    set up by your ancestors.” Proverbs 22:28

“Let’s read under the twinkle lights, mommy,” my daughter often asks. At bedtime, we sit image-125underneath a fairy wonderland of flowers and toole, sparkles and twinkle lights …and we read His word. Through her VeggieTales devotional book, we bond and laugh and share a piece of His peace. It’s a safe place for a little girl who is sometimes afraid to fall asleep. It’s a quiet ending to a hectic day …a comforting routine for a growing little soul.

God is good to give us boundaries. During the time today’s verse was written, boundaries were very important to the survival of nations. God’s people had certain claims to certain territories, and the Bible is very exact at what the boundaries of those lands were to be. It seems boring to read about, unless we appreciate His hand of protection.

boundaries-The agreed limits to the lands of an invidivudal or people. Designated by God and protected by law, both national and local boundaries could be subject to dispute. Dictionary of Bible Themes

Old Testament boundaries prepare us for New Testament living. Jesus came speak to us and to show us where there were and how to live within them. Much more than landlines and borders, these were ways of living. There is no limit to God’s love, but we must choose to live within it.

boundaries- something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent. Merriam-Webster

Jesus fixed our limitations by doing what we cannot do. By going where we cannot go. The cross provided us a way to come to God. He is our Boundary. Within His grip of grace, we are living in God’s infinite love. The boundaries of a life walked on this path do not block out pain, hardship, or injustice. They don’t protect us from the consequences we earn. But they do allow us to live life as it was always meant to be lived.

My daughter will grow out of her twinkle-light paradise one day …but I pray she will grow into the His loving boundaries.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for boundaries. Thank You for sending Jesus to show us where to go and how to live. We confess all of the times we overlook Him and seek to set our own limits. Bless us to seek Your will in our lives. 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 Line-drawing,

Megs

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