The Step Back. (#jammed daily devo, day 191)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 191: Space to breathe.

 Be like obedient children as you put aside the desires you used to pursue when you didn’t know July 10better.” 1 Peter 1:13

“Are  you ready to go?!” I excitedly asked my toddlers.

“YAAAAYYYY!!!!” and off we went to meet up with friends for a day of fun in the sun.

Or, so we thought.

No replies all morning, I had a sneaking suspicion that we were being ignored. Ditched, even. Hoping the lack of reply on the other meant a silenced ringer or a dead phone, we headed off to the planned meeting spot anyway. Every suspicion I’d had was right, and then some.

“Mom, there they are! Right over there!”

I took a deep breath and walked over to join, where we all felt the sting I feared. Rejection. My daughter walked up to me with tears in her eyes, and we both cried all the way home. I somehow thought life would be different in the grown-up world  …but I was wrong. And it stung.

Today’s verse is a stark reminder of what to do when we feel worldly pain like my daughter and I did that day. First, forgive. Without even thinking about it. And then, we ask God  how to guard the hearts.

Walking with Jesus changes us, but it doesn’t drag everyone else along with us. There will be times when, no matter how much we want to be friends with everyone …and believe me, no one wants that more than me …we have to handle conflict and allow our hearts space to heal.

What I learned that day, and continue to learn from every reoccurring experience like it, is that rejection won’t crush me or kill me. In fact, it brings me closer to Jesus. We will often spend our whole lives looking for someone as dependable and reliable and loving and compassionate as He is. We will never find that person. He is it. The One that shouldered the cross is the only one capable of cradling our hearts.

So all of the coffee dates unhonored, dinners ditched out of, and unreturned messages are not in vain. Loving people is never wrong, and neither is forgiveness. But the hurt leaves a little bit of a scar after the wound heals. One to remind us to prayerfully guard our hearts.

Take the space to welcome other faces. Be friends with everyone, but know who your Friend is.

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Father, Praise You for friendship. Thank You for the good and the hurt that comes from letting the guard of our hearts down. Forgive us for seeking solace in anyone other than You, and help us to know when we’ve earned some space. 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 Eye Fur (#jammed daily devo, day 172)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 172: Make sure you can see.

 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.” Acts 27:23

“Cherry.” Despondent…June 21

“Cherry, look at me.” Slight head tilt in my direction..

“I know you can hear me …look at me.”

These conversations with my dog happen a lot when her hair conveniently grows over her eyes and blocks her vision of my scowling face when she’s told to do anything she doesn’t feel like doing. Much like a chid, I know she hears me …but she doesn’t always listen without seeing the whites of my eyes.

Today’s verse is part of a shipwreck. Paul is out on a boat with the prisoners, and amidst a terrible storm, he hears from God. Instead of turning their heads and on their heals to listen to what God said to Paul, the men went about their ways …and the ship wrecked.

We often don’t believe second-hand information. Gossip is much too big of an epidemic to trust a voice we can’t see. We can blindly trust God’s voice. Paul tried to explain that to the men on the ship, as we might attempt to explain our faith to those that surround us. They may look at us like we’re delivering second hand gossip …misinterpreted information, or glorified stories.

“an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve…”

Paul tried to explain to them, but telling them wasn’t going to be enough. In fact, even after they all survived a shipwreck, they still handed Paul over as a prisoner. Even the most epic stories of survival aren’t enough to prove faith to those who can’t ‘see.’

Paul knew who he was. “…the God to whom I belong…”

Paul was called. “…and whom I serve.”

When we know Whose we are, and answer His call to serve, we are never alone. From the moment we accept Christ as our Savior, He stands beside us. So close, we can feel Him , we can hear Him …we can almost see Him.

There are many things in life that can block our sight like my dog’s eye fur. Ambition, goals, pain, poverty, heartache, pride … cut them out of your line of sight, and focus on the One who doesn’t need to be seen to change the course of our stars forever. Many witnessed Jesus when He walked the earth. They saw Him. They hugged Him. They heard Him speak and witnessed miracles like we imagine they looked in movies.

But we were created to have faith in what we cannot see. “Blessed are those who have not seen …and yet believe …

…for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” – John 20:29

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Father, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You for Paul’s faith and Luke’s faithfulness to write this story down. We confess our lack of faith in what we cannot see, when everything do see attempts to drown out the Focus of our faith. Please bless our hearts to believe more every day in what we cannot see, and to hear Your voice with certainty as we follow 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 Seeing,


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The Bee-Sting (#jammed daily devo, day 171)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 171: When the fear hurts more than the pain.

“When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, ‘This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.'” Acts 28:4 (NIV)June 20

Bees freak out in the pouring rain …and so do kids. The combination is a dangerous one. Freaking-out bees plus flipping-out kids is a recipe for disaster. The shrill scream and terrified face belonged to me, and she reached out her soggy, stung self for some momma comfort.

“Let me see it,” I said as I gently attempted to move closer to the sting.


Today’s verse tells the story of Paul, freshly landed off a ship wreck, warming himself by the fire …and getting bit by a ferocious snake. He was drenched, banged up, but happy to be alive. My reaction would have been sheer terror, a la my child’s bee sting experience. But he was calm.

The people around him thought for sure he’d done something to deserve death. But Paul knew better. He knew and trusted God. Often times we go through some crazy stuff when we follow Christ. Stuff people don’t know how we survive. Things that make people think maybe we must have had it coming to us. But God …

My daughter never did let me look at or even come near the bee sting. I held her and rocked her, standing in a parking lot drenched to the core and trying to embrace every word of the praise music blasting out of the speakers to keep my patience in tact for my little one.

When my husband showed up to pick her up, we were both crying. I was overwhelmed …and she was terrified. But God …

When I returned to the concert, with the youth worship team and the other leaders, I was reminded why we go through the crazy things we go through for God. My little bee-sting survivor returned with her Daddy later on, and we all worshipped Him together.

And Paul …well, he just shook that snake off into the fire.

Sometimes, we need to shake it off and get back out there so we don’t miss the next amazing experience God has planned for our lives.

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Father, Praise You for snakes and bees. They are terrifying, and they can hurt us! But sometimes, we need to be humbled and shown that we are stronger and more fit to survive than we think. That with You, all things are possible. Thank You. Forgive us for living small, and help us to have huge 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! 


Happy Shaking,


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The Seeds (#jammed daily devo, day 167)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 167 Watch it Grow.

 It is important for all people to live out faith in the circumstances they know.” 1 Corinthians 7:20JUne 16

“Bloom where you’re planted …”

The words spoke loudly from the wall above the chalkboard. Their melody is still stuck sweetly in my ears, accompanied by the smell of skittles wafted to my seat from the candy jar on her desk. The gravity of those words aren’t necessary to explain to a sixth grader, but there presence planted a seed.

Today’s verse beckons us to sit still and listen. When we are ready to go for God, it’s important to wait for our navigation system to pick up a signal through prayer and the Word before packing up our lives and hopping in the car to drive out of town.

“The call to faith is not a call to abandon your life, family, neighborhood, and culture. We must play with the hand God deals us, not look for a new deck. He works through faith to redeem broken lives and wasted years, not to provide a change of scenery. Even in the worst circumstances, faith can change the believer from the inside.”

When we wrestle with direction, it helps to look around at the faces God has placed around us. Sometimes, the urgency to “Go!” is accurate. But I believe, moreover, that God is purposeful in where He puts us.

When we lead little lives to the feet of God to the best of our ability, we can be assured that seeds have been planted. Passing His Truth to our kids is urgent, but our execution is not going to be perfect. Little bits of God’s truth will come alive in conversation when we, ourselves, are watering Truthful seeds every day. God honors time spent seeking His presence.  

When we walk with Jesus, even our failures can plant seeds. Seeds are spilled out into our children’s hearts when we speak God’s Truth into their lives.

We must remember that it’s religion that seeks to press people into a particular mold, not Jesus. He wants us to bloom where we are planted. In His love. With Him as our Savior. That’s where we are authentically loved and truly belong.

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Father, Praise You for loving us where we are at! Thank You for placing us purposefully and surrounding us with people in which You plan for us to plant seeds. Please forgive us for wishing for a place and for people that You do not will for our lives. Help us to live out our witness as You have perfectly planned us to. 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 Planting,


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The Green Stuff (#jammed daily devo, day

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 149: Unidentifiable.

“Do not celebrate when your enemies fall…” Proverbs 24:17 (VOICE)

“Moooommmm,” my daughter asked hesitantly, with a hint of suspicion on top …“what’s image-149the green stuff in this?”

Dinner time is a struggle, and I want to take them with me to Africa someday so that they will never ask that question again.

“It’s fine.” I stated flatly. “You’ve had it before …you like it …just eat it.”

If only it were that simple.

“What’s the green stuff?” My husband asked as he warmed up a plate later that evening.

Sign the whole family up. We’re all going to Africa.

Today’s verse deals with our reaction to our enemy’s getting what they deserve. It’s a shred of our sinful human nature to secretly rejoice when someone who has royally lost our trust falls on their disloyal butt. It’s ugly, but it’s true …and we know it. That’s why we hide in the bathroom before we have a joyful little celebration to ourselves. Or let our “tisk, tisk, tisk, “ ‘reap what you’ sow finger fly.

No one knew betrayal like Jesus did. Yet, He washed his feet.

 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.” John 13:26 (NIV)

Jesus knew that was coming. Yet He acted in grace and kindness. He kept His head on straight and remained cool as a cucumber. We should aim to be like that …but we can’t. And He knows that, too. He died because He knew we would never be able to attain that kind of humility. He died on the cross, bearing everything He knew we would do, and couldn’t do if we tried.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice,
lest the Lord see it, and be displeased,
and turn his wrath away from him.” Proverbs 24:17-18 (NET)

We can’t be Jesus, but we can try to be like Him. Just because we’ll never be the perfect spotless Lamb doesn’t mean we should quit trying to reach for His hand. When we pray for our enemies, we’re grabbing onto the arm that can reach down and raise us up. Like John the Baptist said, it’s time for me to become less, and Him to become more. He is everything. Grab onto Him.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You, Jesus, for pulling us up over and over again. For dying for us, knowing what we would do and couldn’t ever do. Thank You, Jesus, for showing us how to act in the face of betrayal and hurt. Forgive us for acting out instead of running to You. Bless our enemies. May they know You feel Your love. 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 Gut-Checking,


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