The Little Quarrels (#jammed daily devo, day 192)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 192: One foot in.

“Give us a king to lead us.” 1 Samuel 8:6July 11

God’s people never needed a king …they had God. They often failed to see how set a part they were always supposed to be. Samuel is fielding this request, and he tries his best to persuade the people otherwise. But, they would not be deterred. They really wanted a king like everyone else. They really wanted to be like everyone else.

A similar shortage of self-worth is played out on playgrounds every day. Childhood can be very much about who we fit in with unless we are on a mission to let it be otherwise. As parents, we can’t protect them from every setback and harsh word spoken, but helping them navigate through misunderstanding with kindness is key to keeping them set a part.

Just like Israel misconstrued, we shouldn’t assume that life within “that” group is so much easier. We don’t understand why they don’t ask us to play and try to change so that they will. It’s OK to admit. It’s human nature. In fact, that’s pride rearing it’s ugly head in warning.

When guiding kids through friendship, I believe with all of my heart that kindness and forgiveness come first …even if it leaves us feeling momentarily defenseless.

God is bigger. He tells us that He will defend us …fight our battles and be there for us. He hears our cries, and tells us to love above all else. Teaching children how loved they are for who they are, and how to hand friendship over to God in prayer, allows them the opportunity to trust their King, instead of looking for affirmation elsewhere.

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Father, Praise You for parenthood. Thank You for leading and guiding us as parents, and as friends, ourselves. Forgive us for rising up in anger when we are wronged, and remind us to bring every situation to You 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 Friend-ing

Megs

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The Independant (#jammed daily devo, day 185)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 185: Free by default.

So he was despised and forsaken by men,
    this man of suffering, grief’s patient friend.” Isaiah 53:3 (VOICE)July 4

Independence can become an obsession if we believe we’re entitled to it. As the world gets bigger and bigger, and our reach to communicate across it get’s smaller and smaller, the freedom to reach out is easier than ever to grasp.

independent- not subject to control by others. Merriam-Webster

For those lucky enough to live in parts of the world where they are not controlled by others, there sure are a lot of us trying to control others. This human reflex for control confuses what it means to be free.

God, who created everything and everyone, is in control, but He’s not a controlling God. If He was, we’d all be robots, and there’d be no debate over His existence.

Today’s verse was written by the prophet Isaiah. He’s describing Jesus.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
    nothing to attract us to him.
 He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:2b-3

There are over thirty-five New Testament references reflected back to Isaiah, Chapter 53.  Jesus truly is the Word. The more I study it, the more I see Him in every verse. And if I don’t see Him, I start to search …knowing He’s there.

The Way, The Truth, and the Life. Our Independence. Our Freedom.

Jesus (thinking of John the Baptist): Elijah does come first to restore all things. They have it right. But there is something else written in the Scriptures about the Son of Man: He will have to suffer and be rejected. Mark 9:12

We are often under the assumption that because God is not controlling, that God is not in control. Our country of residence does not make us any more soul-free than those that are living under oppressive rule. Jesus bought our freedom on the cross. Grace aims to free everyone …leaving no one behind.

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Father, Praise You for Freedom. Thank You for assuring us that no matter where in the world we reside, You are bigger that borders and stronger than governments. Forgive us for getting it backwards, and strengthen us to operate respectfully in this world and with respect to our democracies, but not to place them on higher ground than Your Word. 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 Freedom-chasing,

Megs

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The Smile Lines (#jammed daily devo, day 184)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 184: Lines of change.

“…while we lived in this temporary body.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (VOICE )July 3

“Mom, I like your smile lines,” she said, gazing into my face as if their mere existence made me magical.

“Me, too,” I assure her, secretly hoping that by the time I’m ready to meet Jesus, they are deeper and more defined still.

Today’s verse reminds us that we are living in a temporary body, but it sure isn’t what we often choose to focus on. Instead, we spend a lot of time trying to ‘fix’ what God calls ‘good.’ Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to take precautionary measures to stay healthy and fit enough to follow our callings …but I think we’d all agree that the level up up-keep we are holding ourselves accountable for is a little too much for a ‘temporary body.’

I wonder if was as much of a problem Biblically as it is now. Most things were! But if we look at today’s verse, the is stark reality within it warns us to be wary beyond what we can see and control in this life.

In time we will all stand in judgment before the throne of the Anointed, the Liberating King, to receive what is just for our conduct (whether it be good or bad) while we lived in this temporary body. 2 Corinthians 5:10 

So many things lie outside the confines of our control, but instead of appreciating our place in Peace, we strive to grab and control it all. When we give our lives over to Christ and start sacrificing our need to be what we see, we can start to embrace our smile lines. We can start to smile …more. Smile lines are signs of Life.

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Father, Praise You for smile lines. Thank You for taking the worry of the world off of our shoulders and placing it onto Your Son’s. Forgive us for misguided striving to keep up with worldly images and social media feeds, and bless us to live for You all of our days. 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 Smiling,

Megs

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The Trampoline (#jammed daily devo, day 181)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 181: The ups and downs…

God can’t stand pious poses, but he delights in genuine prayers.” Proverbs 15:8 (The Message)June 30

Is there any sweeter sound than screaming kids jumping out all of their energy within the confines of screened-in walls?

Nah. It’s pretty glorious. Or it was, until my youngest daughter flew out of the part they forgot to zip up.

After campaigning for a trampoline for years, this was the first thing that happened. A kid flew out of it. My kid. And landed on her back …atop a wooden beam. By the hand of God’s protection she did not suffer anything more than a bruise …but our parental egos sure did!

Today’s verse really attacks the genuine fluctuations of the heart. Of our hearts. It challenges our intentions, and reminds us that they aren’t secret. It’s wise to be in constant patrol of our own motives. Our system will send us flying through a crack in God’s protective wall around us. 

Jesus died so that grace could minimize the damage. Life is full of ups and downs and underlying agendas …times when a crash leaves us stunned and changed. Walking with Christ doesn’t make life easier, but it does begin to change our hearts. It does help us to work on our motives and agendas. To pray into and out of the craziness that spins through our minds. Jesus promises peace.

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Father, Praise You for Peace. Thank You for allowing us to stop jumping …to recover from crashes …and refine our hearts by following Your Son. Forgive us for trying jump our way through hoops of our own conclusion, and bless us to know the difference between what we want, and what You say. 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 Jumping,

Megs

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The Journal (#jammed daily devo, day 177)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 177: Accepting responsibility.

“Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.” Hebrews 12:June 26

“Mom,” she whimpered, “everyone else’s journals are covered in stickers already.”

“Well, I write in it every time you give it to me,” I reassured her, “I love writing to you.”

“Why don’t you take it out of my bag and write in it more?” she demanded.

Typical. She forgets to put it on my desk, so logically it’s all my fault that it’s not been written in enough.

“ignored the shame of death.” When we are tempted to look around and blame, today’s verse is a helpful piece of our Savior’s character to savor. He chose to ignore the shame of His death on the cross. When we have to admit we are wrong or put our egos to death, that’s not the first emotion that we reach to embrace. We want to pitch blame! On someone …anyone!

“He focused on the joy that was set before Him.”

He knew that His obedient death on the cross meant a seat beside His Father’s throne in heaven. When we put our egos to death, shame does not have to rise up. Let the hope of Grace fill the gap between accepting responsibility for sin and accepting forgiveness from Him.

Even though I know I can pull it out of her bag whenever I want …and sometimes do …I really want my daughter to accept responsibility for her responsibilities while the risk and consequence is as low as a journal without as many stickers on it as her classmates.

She stubbornly argued for an hour about why it was my fault before moving on to why it was her dad’s fault, too.

 

Over and over as she dug her feet in and resisted acknowledging her lack of responsibility. The next morning, the journal was on my desk. And I wrote about half a dozen entries worth. Jesus not only forgives us, He blesses us with abundant love. 

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Father, Praise You for Jesus. Thank You for the opportunity to reflect upon His character as an example of how to handle ourselves. Forgive us for neglecting to acknowledge You sovereign hand in our situations. Strengthen us to follow Christ’s example. 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 Humility,

Megs

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