The Hair Bows (#jammed daily devo, day 340)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 340: Wrapped up.

“God is with us.” Matthew 1:23

Perhaps in an attempt to prove to the world that my house is not a total catastrophe in Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 7.41.31 PMthe morning, on occasion I neatly pull my girls’ hair back and slap a big bow on their heads. Looks like we’re all put together, and no one has to know about the soggy cereal meltdown…

“I love your bow!”

And we all smile. Mission accomplished. IF only life could wear a big bow.

In the context of today’s verse, Joseph received instructions of who Jesus was going to be, and his role as His earthly father. He awoke from his dream in obedience.

“Why can’t God just tell me what to do in a dream?” I can’t help but thinking.

“If He would just speak to me directly like that  …it would be so easy to know what I should be doing!” Like putting a big, God-handed bow on my day …my life.

We look around at each other in comparison and assume that everyone else’s situation is better and easier than ours, unless they are obviously homeless on the street. And even then, on really bad days, we are tempted to believe that even they are somehow better off than we are.

I don’t believe it was easy for Joseph to obey God. But he did. That’s a lesson that we can apply to our lives everyday, all day. How many inclinations do we have to do the right thing each day, that we pass up or pass by? How many grudges are we choosing to hold onto? Habits are we refusing to break? Times we fail to listen?

The hard part of obedience – that’s where a lot of Christians fall short of walking in their calling. We can see it …feel it …but then it gets hard. Then we have to work alongside people. And people are imperfect. And we are imperfect. And so …we give up.

Missing between the part when Joseph woke up from his dream and the recording of his obedience, is everything in between. Sometimes, we have to rely on divine understanding to conquer our biggest hurdles.

“God is with us.”

That’s what they would call Him, Scripture says. That’s what we call Him, now. He’s with us. So what is stopping us from being obedient? He came here to allow us the opportunity to walk in God’s purpose for our lives despite of our grudges, binges, and imperfections.

So, what is stopping us from waking up to obedience?

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for Jesus, and the opportunity His death allows our lives. Thank You for teaching us through this text today that You are with us, empowering us and convicting us …changing us. Forgive us for fighting You, and running disobediently towards our own solutions. Forgive us for quitting when the tasks You assign get hard, and people are hard to deal with. Bless us to see our own imperfection, and accept Your grace so that we may extend it to others. 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! 


Happy Dreaming,


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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! 


Happy Aero-pressing,


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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! 


Happy Friend-ing


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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! 


Happy Praying,


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The First Chair (#jammed daily devo, day 205)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 205: The front seat.

“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” July 241 Samuel 3:7

The first chair of an orchestra is a sought after seat. Musicians practice and compete to be the first chair. It’s a noteworthy title, and to some a profession. My daughters have no idea any of this “first chair” pressure is upon them. They have yet to reach the grade-level where they are required to pick from a specific group of instruments. They don’t know if they’ll be woodwinds or brass, percussion or strings …there is so much that they don’t realize they aren’t aware of yet …and it’s fun watching them discover little bits at at time.

Today’s verse explains God’s fatherly care for what He reveals to us in His perfect timing. In essence, we all have no idea what awaits us in the future. There are competitions we will immerse ourselves in and achievements we will strive for that aren’t even on our radar yet. But God …

He is preparing us for what we do not yet know, and He does so through His Word …Jesus.

“The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him…”

The longer we walk with Jesus, the more we know this to be true. God reveals His Word a little bit at a time, in a living and breathing way that weaves in and our of our lives harmoniously to the tune of the very ebb and flow of our days.

Not everyone is cut out to be a first chair musician, and many will never understand the work that goes into that kind of achievement. The practice, the skill, and the time each day put into that craft in order to oil that talent.

God’s people were always meant to be set a part. Christianity is a daily walk …a striving and a dedication to the One who calls us His. To follow Jesus is to pick up our crosses daily and hand them over to His capable hands. Falling and failing and getting back up. Reading and praying and loving Him and His people.  A sought after seat.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for musical talents, and thank You for the lessons You lace within the strings and reeds. Forgive us for striving for anything other than a seat with You in heaven, and help us to realize that the only requirement is to believe …in 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! 


Happy Playing,


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