The Thick and Surrounding Cloud (#jammed daily devo, day 284)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 284: Seeing through to the other side.

Walking down the pier in the fog feels a little like taking my life in my own hands. Even
though I’ve walked that concrete slab a million times before, not being able to see the end of it is creepy! I always have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to have fallen off, I’m not going to notice until I’ve already fallen into the lake, and no one will see me because it’s too foggy to see anything!
The lighthouse horn blew through the fog, calling upon another sense to take over for the one that had been temporary hindered. Through the thick cloud I walked safely.
Today’s verse reminds us that even when we’re in a fog, whether literally or mentally or spiritually, God is nearer to us than ever before. Not only is He near, but He’s “ready to help.”
We worry, toil over, and completely avoid situations because we are scared of what we can’t see. Insecurity breeds suspect. Fear and panic give birth to discouragement. All feed fear.
When we aim our convictions at the Word of God, we can calmly navigate by the sound of His Voice. Like the lighthouse in the fog …though we can’t see God …and sometimes don’t understand how He allows this world to fall off of it’s edges like it does …we can trust that He is there and that His plan for our lives is good .
We’re not promised an easy road. But we are assured that He is guiding us down it, hand in hand, through belief in our Savior.
#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug
Father, Praise You for holding our hands through life. Thank You for Jesus, and His death that allows us to hold on for dear life! Forgive us for trying to make our way through the fog without You, and strengthen our hearts to seek You more each day. 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 Cloud Walking,

Megs

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The Whole Beans (#jammed daily devo, day 232)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 232: New Process.

“His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NLT)April 20

The flaps of my monthly memory verse ruffle in the dark silence of morning, as I twist off the metal top to reveal the little shiny surfaces of wonderfully smelling coffee beans. The sound of the metal scooper …one …two …three …four …five …as it plunges into the pile and brings them out of their flavor sealed home is music to my tired ears each day. Those beans plunk down to the grinder and then whir into millions of pieces.

The bubbling steam wafting from the kettle means it’s time to froth the beans …and I add a little water …and then I walk away. By the time I press that lid down to the bottom and pour that sweet, smooth goodness into one of my favorite oversized mugs, the wait has made it take all the more glorious.

French pressed coffee was the coolest new trick my coffee game had ever seen …until…

“Everyone in my generation drinks aeropress coffee….”

What? What was this hip new trend that I’m apparently too old and out of it to know about?! Can this be ordered at Starbucks? I wondered … How had I not heard of this before? What is this gloriousness?!?!?

I had to google it …and it looks complicated. As complicated as my French Pressed coffee once appeared to be. Now, it seemed so simple in comparison.

Coffee snobbery. There’s always another level.

When I was a little girl in Catholic school, I admired the Abbot at our church. There was something so sage about his wisdom, yet he was so joyful, funny and full of life. In High School and at Ashland University I looked up Youth Retreat and FCA leaders …kids like me who had a heart for Jesus …and what Jesus had visibly done in their hearts. Flipping through my new Bible way back then, I remember being so excited for the day I could keep up! Or, maybe even find that I’d highlighted that verse before …or even still …have it memorized!

I was excited about growing up in my faith, and Christ has shown me that the excitement never fades. There is always a new revelation waiting around the next corner of my life. Some new way I never knew Him before …some new experience He walks me through, or new task He gives me. Walking with Christ is like coffee snobbery ….there’s always another level. But it’s not to put pressure on our faith. When we believe and follow, we’re continually amazed by what we never knew we didn’t know. Life with Him is life on another level.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for Jesus. We cannot thank You enough for sending Your Son to us. We confess the days that we take His constant companionship for granted, and pray that You never stop challenging us and growing us to have hearts more like His. 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 Aero-pressing,

Megs

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

 

The Teenage Word of the 90’s. (#recall 12 series, August)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“Fill your minds with beauty and truth.” Philippians 4:8a

recall12 August image 1

“Whatever, Dad …”

My teenage voice echoes in my head every time I hear the word, ‘whatever.’ I said it so many times in those seven years of my teenage life that my Dad eventually started to call me, “Whatever.” It became a family joke. The first time one of my children say it to me will be gut-breakingly funny! Paybacks always come that way …or so I’m told. Whatever.#recall12 August Tweet 1

This month’s verse is followed by a string of ‘whatever’s.’ Let’s take a look at the second half of Philippians 4:8:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8b (NIV)

Determining “whatever” is a common challenge, but the author of this verse enlightens the principles we should be steering our thoughts towards. Paul knew that whatever  “people allow to occupy their minds will sooner or later determine their speech and action. ” NIV Notes. 

“Whatever is true…” In the original Greek text, ‘true’ is the Greek word, ‘alethes.‘ It means “loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful.” More than simply honest inclinations, we are called to be an outstretched arm of Truth, Himself.

“Whatever is noble…” Other translations use, ‘honorable.’ God’s character holds the true definition of what is honorable. God is good, all of the time. His timing is perfect, and He is fair and just.  He is Love …and Honorable.

“Whatever is right…” Strong’s Concordance defines “dikaios“(the Greek word for ‘right’) as “a way of thinking, feeling, and acting that is wholly conformed to the will of God.” Jesus was the only one worthy to walk out that definition. When we want to think about things that are right, we can look to the way that He lived His earthly life.

#recall12 August image 2

“Whatever is pure…” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary says that innocence is“not be limited to sexual purity,” but that we should “keep away from any involvement in the sins of others.” Purity is self-restraint and resisting peer pressure.

“Whatever is lovely…” “Just give me more of Jesus,” an author said when asked what new writers should base their content off of. What is more lovely than Grace? Grace that died on a cross for us before we knew Him. When we know Jesus, we begin to see reflections of His loveliness in each person we meet.

“Whatever is good…” God is good, all the time. To meditate on goodness is to think of Him.

“Whatever is excellent or praiseworthy…” The best way to think about excellent and praiseworthy things is to praise Him. Worship in song or in still admiration of the sun rising puts God’s glory on display.  The primary task of humankind is to give this praise to God (Phil 4:8) and not oneself- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

“Fill your minds with beauty and truth.” Philippians 4:8a

#recall12 August Tweet 2“Whatever” is filling statement. It leaves no room for dispute and shuts the conversation down. It can be an open invitation to listen, or a closed door for consideration. Our minds fill up with God’s Words when we are listening to ‘whatever’ He says. Others benefit from Jesus’ love when our arms are outstretched with ‘whatever’ He wills for our lives.

“Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8b (VOICE)

When we meditate in conversation with God, He fills our thoughts with ‘whatever.’

The Voice translation uses the word ‘meditate,’ which lends more depth to the sentiments we consider thinking about. To meditate is “to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.”(Merriam-Webster) It specifies that these aren’t just random thoughts blurring through our brains, but notions we grab a hold of and let marinate in our minds. It’s there, in that pocket of relaxed concentration, that we witness the “beauty and truth” that God instructs us to “fill our minds with” in this month’s verse.

“Think about such things.” Philippians 4:8b(NIV)

Father, Praise You for teaching us so much through one word. Thank You for so clearly defining what we are to think about, speak of, and listen for. Forgive us for the times we don’t hear Your voice because we aren’t listening. Bless our thought-life to reflect Your love. May the Spirit that Jesus died to grant us access to be ever-present in our conversations with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Megs

Click HERE or on the image below for FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS.

#recall12 August Verse Memory Cards PDF2#recall 12 August memory verse cards

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The Squares (#jammed daily devo, day 209)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 209: Peace isn’t boring.

“I desperately want to see you so that I can share some gift of the Spirit to strengthen you.” July 28Romans 1:11

Keeping up with pop culture seems much harder now than it did back when I sat on pins and needles before NKOTB released another album. This mom feels very “square-ish” at times.

square- It is often used to speak of a person who is regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and out of touch with current trends. Wikipedia

Today’s modern Christians and mega churches do a fantastic job at remaining relevant in order to reach people. But when we step outside the walls of the church, our lives are starkly different from the lifestyle pop culture advertises.

Today’s verse begins Paul’s letter the church in Rome. Upholding Christian faith in a sea of critical eyes wasn’t easy then, either. They were looked upon with hesitation, and religious persecution was their reality. I wonder if the Romans had a term for “squares…”

Paul talks about sharing or granting a gift of the Spirit in this verse, but no human being can give a gift of the Spirit. Maybe Paul wanted so badly for them to experience Spiritual gifts, that he rushed to the product of what great faith yields along the way.

square- In referring to a person, the word originally meant someone who was honest, traditional and loyal.-Wikipedia 

Until the age of jazz, it was actually a compliment to be called a square. From then on, each generation has coined a new version. Songs have been written about it, and everyone’s had a great laugh at the expense of those who don’t fit in.

But let’s remember that we’re supposed to be squares. Be aware and remain relevant, but we were always meant to be set a apart.“In the world but not of it.” Pastor Bill, The Chapel. 

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for setting us a part. Thank You for guarding our hearts and defending us. Forgive us for going too far when reaching to be relevant, and uphold our hearts to be strong and committed to You. To follow Your Son, Jesus. 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

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

The Note We all Play (#jammed daily devo, day 208)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 208: Play the common note.

“She named him Samuel,saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20July 27

Regardless of the type of instrument a musician plays in an ensemble or orchestra, there is almost always a note in each song that everyone plays.

The woman speaking in today’s verse knew that note well. It was a note of prayer.

“I asked …”

No matter how different our prayers are, we are all asking God for something. Healing, guidance, help, blessing …but beyond the note we all play are the aches familiar to each soul.  “Praise You ….Thank You …Forgive me …Bless me …” the sentiments that fill in the ellipsis are different for us all.

For Hannah, prayer had very much become about bearing a child. Heaped on top of the burden of her own barrenness, the was made fun of by her husband’s other wife for her inability to bear children. Her prayers were desperate for the only One she knew could grant her peace to do just that. And as He promises to us all, He heard her. Hannah walked away from prayer in peace.

Today’s Scripture is the happy answer to Hannah’s prayer. A son, whom she named Samuel, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Christ laid down His life so that we could weave our hearts in and out of Scripture as we pray. We can come to the Father, through Him, no common notes required. Jesus not only gave us an example of what to say, but He showed us how to pray. In the desert, in the garden, amidst miracles, and on the cross. Tears of blood when He prayed to His Father …and of confidence in the desert has He quoted Scripture to affirm His grounds against Satan. To ask for forgiveness on behalf of those who beat Him unjustly as He hung on the cross. Jesus lived out prayer as a personal conversation between a Father and Son. With Praise, Thanks, Forgiveness, and Blessing.

This, then, is how you should pray:

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

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