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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The Little Gymnast (#jammed daily devo, day 176)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 176: Resilience.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,June 25
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

Every time she’s up on those bars my heart skips a beat. Brave little thing. Granted, there are coaches spotting her and basically holding on to her …but still …brave to try that. If my wiggly daughter ever slows down enough to concentrate, she may actually be skilled enough to accomplish something with that bravery out the mats. We’ll see.

It always amazes me -the big potential inside this little person.

This verse in Micah is describing a leader that will come out of a small place. The place is Bethlehem, and the leader is Jesus. Big potential inside a little place.

Ephrathah-The region in which Bethlehem was located.

ruler-Ultimately Christ, who will rule for God the Father.

origins . . . from of old -His beginnings were much earlier than his human birth.

from ancient times- Within history, and even from eternity. (NIV Notes)

When something seems too small to be possible, God is at work. That’s just the kind of work He loves the most. Just the kind of people He loves to use the most. The seemingly small. The unlikely.

We struggle with qualification when we fail to remember how great our God is.

Jesus wasn’t just born in Bethlehem on a whim, and His existence didn’t begin with His birth on earth. Nor do the plans God has for our lives begin when we are born …or we buy- in. Jesus died for us on the cross before we were even born. Began praying for us before we knew Him. Knows us now because He knew us then.

Our dreams lie in our willingness to believe …in Jesus.

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Father, Praise You for Jesus’ humble birth in Bethlehem. Thank You for revealing so much of Your sweet character through those circumstances, and fulfilled prophesies. Forgive us for not trusting You and Your plan for our lives, and help us to believe and have faith. 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 Believing,

Megs

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The Little Treasures (#jammed daily devo, day 158)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 158: Grace’s Place.

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE)June 7

“Mom!” my daughter warned, “you can’t look in this treasure box …you’ll just get mad.”

She’s right. I think collecting things off of the floor wherever we go is really gross. I’d probably get mad and start picking things out of there and throwing them away. But it’s her “treasure.”

It’s not all worthless, though, even through practical eyes. She has always found pennies on the ground where ever she goes. Even from the seat of her stroller she would yell, “WAIT!! MOMMY!!! PPPEEEENNNNNYYY!!!” And sure enough, a penny there always was. Maybe a piece of smashed gum once or twice ...oh, I better check that treasure box for that …

Today’s verse describes the thief’s malicious intent. Some thieves steel for the thrill or for the challenge, as a bi-product of addiction, or for survival …but not this thief. Satan seeks to steal what is precious to us, in order to destroy us.

malicious- intentionally harmful; spiteful.

Far worse than losing things that we can claim on our insurance policies, this idiot stirs up trouble in our relationships, our families, our parenting, our friendships, our marriages …our literal lives. We should be wary to pray into our relationships with the people that God has placed in our lives. Anytime there is conflict stirring, he is anxiously waiting to start picking things out …

God says, “It’s not good for man to be alone,” but he would love to leave us that way.

That’s not the way Jesus operates. When His hand is in a situation, he promises “life with joy and abundance.” I hold out hope that “abundance” means I can literally be friends with everyone, but ‘joy’ is the key word. It’s OK to extract ourselves from situations that the joy has been sucked out of. It’s, in fact, a good signal to pause and pray.

Pastor Steven Furtick puts it best, “enabling dysfunctional relationships is not the same as forgiveness,” and “forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.” In our search for how to handle things, let’s not hand them right over to the one that wants to wreck us.

In a society that pushes for answers and litigates the ever-living-life out of everyone and everything …prayer is a powerful way to shut it all down. Guard those precious to you, but don’t squeeze every relationship into a box. Let them all breathe in and out to His joyful and abundant rhythm.

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Father, Praise You for other people! Thank You for creating us to be social creatures instead of solitary beings. Forgive us for letting the thief stir up trouble in our lives, and help us to be wary and watchful to listen for Your guiding voice through the turmoil he attempts to cause 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 Treasuring,

Megs

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The Magic Dust (#jammed daily devo, day 157)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 157: Magical Grace Dust.

“Jesus:  If you want to do God’s work, then believe in the One He sent.” John 6:29June 6

We waited and waited, and I felt like I was going to evaporate in the hot Florida sun beating against the blacktop as I saved my daughter’s place in line to meet Peter Pan. Her favorite character next to Tinkerbell, my daughter lives and breathes all things magical and wonderful. Her heart believes.

In a world with so many skeptical young hearts, I’ll take pixie dust any day. It’s way more fun to be around, and just believing in it makes one feel light on their feet.

Today’s verse comes from straight from the heart of our Savior. Imagine what it was like to hear Him speak them, live and in person. Waiting in the hot desert sun for hours, surrounded by cynical and hardened hearts, just to here the Savior of the world sprinkle a little dusting of grace to refresh the crowd of hearts flickering with belief.

“Believe in the one He sent.”

believe- to have absolute confidence in the truth. -dictionary.com

Absolute confidence. Our society tends to function on self confidence and achievement …allowing skepticism and divide to flourish.  We’re created to have confidence in the Truth, not ourselves. We are no more responsible for the salary we collect than we are for the century-old trees that live outside our widows.

When we place our belief in our omnipotent God, He takes our trust and turn our heads in the direction He’s purposed of our lives. It might not make sense to us, and we might sweat along the way …but to witness His magic is worth the wait.

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Father, Praise You for the dusting of grace that Jesus blesses us with through this verse today. Thank You for holding us accountable for believing, first and foremost. Forgive us for sidelining You when we’re too busy trying to figure life out on our own. Help us to surrender each day to You, as a gift worth waiting for. 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 Pixie-dust Catching,

Megs

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