Daily Dare: 40 Days to Radical Life

 

Welcome to Day 26!

I’m a little behind but Jesus is always right on time. So I hope today’s dare finds you exactly where you are in your life right now…

Jesus had a reputation for impossible situations. The old world didn’t offer much in the way of medicine and people were desperate for healing. Even though we have advanced as a society the impossible-ness of our world today still rings true…

In new ways, in old ways…

In all things God is still God. Jesus still works. He is still the friend of the one who is facing what feels like the impossible.

With Jesus brokeness becomes wholeness.

With Jesus blind eyes are opened.

With Jesus mercy and vindication live as one, never wavering, covering us in the shadows of His wings.

DAILY DARE: Today mediate on these words  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Then take time to read about the many miracles of Jesus in the Bible and also in your own life. Jesus is always right on time. He sees all. He knows all and He’s always near to those who love Him most.

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 25!

God is good all the time… 

All the time God is good. 

A preacher I once knew told me that – I’ll think you’ll find it true too.

There is never a time that God isn’t good. There is never a time that we have to doubt His steadfast love. No. Not. One.

Speaking of steadfast, if anyone ever was… it was Jesus.

Jesus Himself was a carpenter. He spent His professional life building up homes… He spent His purpose tearing down strongholds,standing up for the oppressed, nailing signs to the cornerstone of our faith saying “I AM” but most of all, He spent His life in the steadfast. He had a natural talent for building up the good and tearing down the not so good.

Building was crafted into the very being of the One who came to set the captive free.

Jesus warned us about building our hopes up in things that left us feeling strung along because it was only sinking sand. He whispered… I can give you so much more. 

The more you struggle against God the more your life becomes like quick sand. The more you try to escape His steadfast love, the deeper you sink into the kind of life the devil would love for you to have. But the truth is that God does not want that kind of life for you. God desires that we all live our life on the rock He built… the one that says “I AM. The First and the Last, Was, Is and Is to Come.” 

Jesus wants to be your much more today. He wants to show up for His people. He wants to help us turn quick sand into firm foundations. That requires we reach up not out. And God will always reach back. 

That’s something you can count on.

If God be for you, who can be against you? If you’ve built your life up on the rock…

He will not suffer the righteous to be moved. 

Don’t waste your life on things that leave you feeling empty, anxious or alone. Spend your life, instead, on the rock. 

 

DAILY DARE: Draw a picture of what you think a life built on the rock looks like. I think it looks a lot like Jesus. 

 

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 24 (a wee bit late!)

Why are you afraid?

Four words spoken by a Jesus that was immovable.

As the angry seas enveloped big, burly men who were indeed quite good fishermen and even more at home at sea than on land…

They trembled with fear.

A fear that in fact was so deep and so moving that they ran down to wake a sleeping Jesus who seems all but indifferent.

“Jesus! You have to wake up! It’s awful!” The disciples called to a Lamb so worthy that even in a sea that Matthew could only describe as seimos – He was unshakable.

We use that word to this day, you know.

The seismograph is our modern world’s way of making sense out of earthquakes…

It is the place we turn when the ground beneath us shakes, when foundations we once thought firm are broke open, hot and messy, threatening to swallow us whole.

As their rickety little boat was bobbing in an ocean that shook so mightily these brave 12 trembled, they knew only one thing…

They needed their Jesus and they needed Him fast.

“Why are you afraid?” Jesus says.

It wasn’t the response they expected. They had hoped for sympathy. Yet as the seas trembled, they shook and as they shook… Jesus was unmoved.

The Bible only recounts two other uses of the word seimos…

The Hill of Calvary that marked the death of our Savior… and the gravesite of a risen Jesus whose stone was rolled away.

The shaking of our lives is all rolled up into a trinity of victory over sin, victory over death… victory over fear.

Is something in your life seimos right now? I don’t know about you but I want more unmovable in my life. I need more unshakable. I want to wake Him in the middle of the night to find even when I tremble He is not moved.

He has power over the storm. The winds and waves have to obey. He has power over the grave. The stone was rolled away. He has power over guilt and shame… our sins have been forgiven. Perhaps, the earth and seas became seimos because He wanted us to know that even when life shook us…

He was unshaken.

He was peace be still.

He is I AM and He IS risen…

God of what is, was and is to come…

Conqueror of the seimos.

Crown Him with many crowns… Our God is holy, good, just … and unshakable –

And we chosen few have been invited into His boat to witness it.

To feel the shake, to wake our Lord, to find that He is immoveable, to find that He is able…

To find He really, really IS I AM.

What a blessing it is to know the One who calms the seas. What a gift it is to know that even when we tremble, in spite of and maybe because of the seimos moments in our world, we have the sheer and utter satisfaction that there is no tempest that He cannot calm.

 

****Describe a time in your life when Jesus went to battle for you and made you brave.****

DAILY DARE: Pay close attention to shadows today. They cannot exist without the light and when they are confronted with it… they disappear. Think of how that relates to the seimos in your life today. Ask God to fill you with His light so you can stand firm against the shadows of life even when the earth trembles knowing your God is immovable.

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 23!

I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a real cupcake… but until I learn how to teleport this will have to do…

Though I can’t resist a good cupcake, when I think of a feast I think of a wide variety of foods. Hamburgers are far as the eye can see. Fried potatoes fresh from a bubbling pan of oil. Veggie soup from your neighbor’s garden. Pies and cakes and donuts… oh my!

It all sounds like something I would never want to miss, not even for a Golden Girls marathon … but growing up in a small town often means missing out. It means coming to terms with living in the waiting.

Maybe that’s why in the south nothing goes to waste.

Your cousin’s pants are re-crafted to look ‘feminine’. (Ah, the Jedi mind tricks they pull on you when you are three.)

Your Country Crock tubs become serving bowls in which you will no doubt serve the future generation in.

And leftovers peas are frozen indefinitely until you a)  eat them or b) they fall out of the freezer in a random act of freak nature and break your little toe.

That’s how things normally go… living in the waiting –

Until a special occasion.

When you grow up where ends are just barely being met you’d think that would make life kind of sad and mundane but it’s actually quite the opposite. The living and loving with what you have makes those special occasions so extra special. It’s the one time your table is never bare and your eyes never go wanting. But if every day was a feast day…

It’d get boring.

Those cupcakes wouldn’t be special… the red cherry on top, suddenly ordinary.

The new dress would just be another item in your closet – not the thing you studied down the thread, wondering where it came from, who made it and what other little girls had ran their hands across the sleeves before ultimately choosing a dress of their own.

If our tables were always full we’d miss the intimate experience of waiting with God. We’d miss out on the chance to trust Him in the midst of our circumstances. We’d miss asking “Are we there yet?” We’d forget how many boiled peanut stands lined the way to the mountain top if we lived there all the time… and how boring would that be? We’d forget how nostalgic a slice of turkey tasted hot. We’d miss the journey of the waiting if we lived our life at the feast.

 

 

**** What are you believing God for?****

DAILY DARE: This, this right here… THIS is the waiting. But your feast is coming! Today live, just live right here, right now in the midst of whatever is on your table… ten minutes of thankfulness, ten minutes of complete listening to what God wants to say back. And then rest up for tomorrow because…  

 

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Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 22!

Don’t give up now… we’re over half way there!

I have enjoyed hearing your stories and getting to know your hearts so much. It’s truly been a blessing. I’m still behind on my comments so please know that if you’ve dropped me a line and haven’t heard anything I’m somewhere comforting a very, very irritable Benji whose three teeth popping through are being as stubborn as all let out.

Today’s verse has always been so mystifying…

Jesus’s disciples are praising Him and basically some people are tired of them being so loud. They ask Jesus to control them, quieten them down a little. (I also can’t help but think those people would have hated to see my bunch coming. I feel bad for my neighbors sometimes. With five kids… that’s a WHOLE lotta loud!)

Here’s where it gets interested. Jesus tells them to let His disciples be because if they aren’t praising God… the stones will cry out! Imagine that… that’s how holy our Lord and Savior is, that’s how incredibly worth of praise God is – that even if we don’t praise Him – the Earth below Him will cry out!

Inanimate objects bursting forth into songs of praise,

Stones with a Hallelujah in their mouths,

The ocean beating against the shore with a mighty wail of gratitude…

How holy God must be if even the things with no soul, know that Jesus is Lord! How holy He must be that they know He gave them life and in return… they cry out.

I feel like a lot of times we do sit back and let the world silence us. Often times, it’s not because we even realize we are being silenced. We are lost in the report the doctor has given us. We are muddled by the 9-5 of it all. We are being pulled in eight directions… we feel too exhausted to be inspirational because we ourselves don’t feel inspired.

I don’t want to wake up one morning to find the stones crying out because if they do that means I’ve not done my job. I’ve not lifted my voice. I’ve not sang His praise loud enough that the ocean knew it was ok to keep on simply being the ocean and not a thousand leagues choir.

Let’s not let another day go by without silencing the stones. He is worthy of our praise and though the rocks very well could cry out at His holiness…

They shouldn’t have to.

 **** What’s your favorite form of praise?****

DAILY DARE: Praise is a very intimate and personal thing. It is different for everyone. But God loves people so much that a form of praise can be prayer for someone else. Today, show God He is worthy of your praise by not only giving Him it but also praying for a stranger. Pick someone you see today… and pray for them. Outside, at town, passing by the road, on TV… anywhere. Social media works too. You can choose to tell them or keep it anonymous. Devote yourself to three days of prayer for them.

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 21! 

It’s a sneak peak day… so today’s devotional and dare come straight from the book. 🙂 I’m also testing out a new feel for the verse art. I love vintage looking prints and photographs. I think I was born in the wrong era. Now on to the task at hand. 🙂

 

According to the Stanford School of Medicine every person in the world completely renews their skin every seven days. And every seven years? Every cell in your body will be replaced with new cells, teeming with life anew. The number seven signifies a complete renewal of who you are. Every seven days, every seven years you are renewed, reinvented . . . you are essentially a brand new person.

So many people use science as a way to try to discredit God but more and more we are learning that science actually does quite the opposite. Science links us to God in ways we could have only imagined.

In the Hebrew culture, the number seven is considered extremely holy. Maybe that is why Jesus connects more with the number 7 than with any other number in the entire Bible.

Jesus performs 7 miracles on the Sabbath.

In the book of John, 7 as well.

He lists 7 parables in Matthew 13 and the book Hebrews gives us 7 names for the coming Christ.

 And that doesn’t even begin to cover Revelation, the Old Testament or the many ways Biblical scholars use mathematic equations to come up with some pretty impressive appearances of the number 7 throughout the Bible.

Your body, at its core, is designed to be renewed. That’s some pretty amazing craftsmanship. Your innermost being is connected with Jesus on a cellular, microscopic level. You are constantly in a state of transformation!

Your body was created to be restored and your mind was designed to crave renewal. Jesus said “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Every seven days, every seven years, our bodies rejuvenate themselves. It comes without conscious effort. But rejuvenating our minds can be so much harder. Some days thinking positive thoughts comes without effort too but most of the time it takes all of our strength to muster even one.

When your mind and heart are in desperate need of renewal and struggle to keep up with your remarkable body, turn to Jesus. He is capable of renewing your circumstances and rejuvenating your heart with joy that surpasses all understanding. Yes . . . Wait patiently upon the Lord. His craftsmanship is impeccable, His heart caring and His renewal promised to all who love Him and seek His face.

 

***What area of your life needs renewal?***

 

 

DOUBLE DOG Daily dare:  Write down any negative thoughts you’d like to get rid of and then ask God to replace them with whatever is pure and of good report. Then, find a prayer buddy. This can be a friend, a pastor or even a perfect stranger. Make a pact to pray prayers of renewal for one another.

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 20!

*** A very special thanks goes out to Laura Bird and her family for their dedication to keeping girls like me safe. I am afraid of spiders, the ocean, thunderstorms and clowns. I know you are ALL equally thankful that your freedom does NOT lie in my hands. 🙂 If you have served as well please let us know so we can give thanks to you as well!*****

Today on Memorial Day we honor all of the men and women who risk their lives in order to keep us free… and yet for this act of selfless love for complete strangers – we say thanks only once a year. For every 364 other days that they keep us safe at home by putting their lives on the line so far from it they also change the lives of their family they leave back home. Every phone call, every news report… they have to wonder “what if”.

But they do so proudly because in this unfathomable wondering…

We never have to wonder if we are free.

Because we simply are. 

We say we are thankful but Memorial Day but in doing so we get a lot back… a reason to be home from work, a hot dog on the grill, a kick-butt sale at Macy’s. 

Shouldn’t we give thanks that is free as well? Shouldn’t we do so more than once a year?

After all, Jesus put His life on the line so that we could be free as well and we are so committed to Him that we teach our kids about His goodness, we drag our butts out of bed at 8 a.m. on Sunday, we pour forth our hearts in hopes of showing Him just how much He means to us. 

Jesus had this to say about freedom…

He said “Whoever the Son sets free… he will be free indeed.” I always took that last word both as it was meant to be and as it sounded… We truly are free indeed but we are also free “IN deed.” Because we have been given this great and unimaginable freedom… we should act as though we were free.

No bemoaning. No worry. No wanting. 

Just free.

Free to give thanks. Free to share hope. Free to need what we already have.

FREE indeed.

 

DAILY DARE: Today write a letter to a service man or woman and make an effort to send one letter per week. You can also opt for a month or whatever number feels right for you. You can find out how to do that here. Remember to keep it upbeat and positive. Jesus has made you free… now be free IN DEED.

GIVEAWAY –Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Day 19!

Today is a give away day! Reblog, tweet or pin for a chance to win a pretty dare jar filled with fun daily dares for your coffee table. 🙂 Be sure to use the #RadicallyRed so I can find your entries. 🙂

As promised here is my self portrait. As you can see… God made me a writer for a great reason – It’s the only thing I can do with a pen. 

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And here’s Emmy Bean’s self portrait… it’s a bit blurry. Her iPhone camera lens is cracked a bit.

 

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 And now on to the devotional and dare! 

On a rainy, autumn day, a large yellow spider spins her brilliant silken web beneath a shady tree. Her masterpiece will only take an hour to build but even still . . . a masterpiece it will be. Even more amazing still is that even with the many eyes God gave her, she can’t see much of anything. In fact, God made the many-eyed orb spider to rely on her sense of touch most of all.

The life of a writing spider is truly extraordinary. Her life begins kind of sadly actually as she is ripped from her mother’s empty web. She awakens to find she can’t see much at all. And before she even has a chance to realize her mother is gone, a harsh breeze sweeps her into a grey-blue sky.

For a moment she is at the mercy of the wind.

But then something awe-inspiring happens. She realizes she has a super power. She can spin silk. She realizes she is REALLY good at spinning silk. As is life, before she knows it, more harsh winds come. Her web billows in the chill of the wind. But she is at its mercy no longer.

Instead, it at the mercy of her.

Storm after storm, her web catches rain drops that glisten in the morning dew. It brings her food. It gives her more than adequate shelter. And more than adequate, it is extravagant. This web she’s made is beautiful. The people inside the window stop to marvel at it . . . at her. And even long after she’s gone . . . her masterful strands of beauty remain. Until once again, a freshly hatched many-eyed spider begins anew.

At first glance it doesn’t make much sense to us why this spider was born with so many eyes and not much use of them. But when the sunlight hits her web it’s obvious. The many-eyed spider was created by the all-seeing, all knowing eye of God. Her beauty used for His glory. Her circumstances and her gift shedding light on His majesty.

Like the spider, maybe you have two beautiful God-given eyes . . . but they don’t work well. Or maybe not at all. Maybe, like mine, your brain has its own set of glitches. Maybe you were born without arms or legs. Maybe your heart beats to its own drummer. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, maybe you feel inadequate. Maybe you long to be normal even just for one day.

I’ve been there. Being different is hard. But I’ve also learned that there is a very holy calling in being the exception to the rule. Rest assured. If you needed your arms or legs to fulfill your purpose. You would have them. If your brain was wired like everyone else’s . . . your gift might suffer. In a nutshell, you are a whole lot like the many-eyed orb spider.

You have purpose.

And beauty. So. Much. Beauty.

You are anointed with the super natural, which is better than a super power, with silken webs and every sense, piece and part you need to do what God called you to do.

And it’s special. Really special.

You were made to be seen. Destined to be spotted. Your beauty, your purpose, your web strong in the storm, fearless in the wind . . . draws a crowd from the window. They marvel at you and in marveling at you – they dare not know it yet . . .

But they are marveling at your God.

 

*****How has God revealed His glory through you or someone else you know who is beautifully and divinely different?*****

 

 Daily dare: Print today’s devotional and pass it on to someone who is having a hard time feeling different. Attach a note describing a time, big or small, that God used their difference for His glory to bless you THROUGH them. If your printer is on the fritz just pass on a note. 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 18!

How did your self portrait turn out yesterday… I’m gonna share ours with you all tonight. For some reason my iPhone has staged an uprising this morning and refuses to send any photos to my inbox. Sorry! Promise I’ll get them up though and I’m still eager to see your self portraits as well!

Last night was an interesting night. I went out to view the meteor shower on the front porch thinking I’d have a spiritual experience just me and God in the moonlight… but then I realized I was locked out of the screen door and everyone was asleep (you can’t hear much in this old house for all the trains) … basically I pulled a Bond move and broke the door knob off with my mind powers –

Well, in my mind anyway…

What actually happened was this… I was desperately trying to pull the handle open after I heard a rustle in the bushes. That’s when I realized it wasn’t locked but jammed – so I pulled harder… (gravity? what’s that?) and then flew backwards WITH door handle in hand.

Thank you God that I did NOT fall backwards off the steps and into the shrubbery. Perhaps we should have named this book Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ… Or Die Trying. 🙂 Thank you God that I was not eaten by the mutant possum that comes to dig in my trash bin outside, or a bear, or a fox, or that cat down the block that gives me the wonky eye.(Ok. It was probably a family of bunnies or something but I need to think it was a real threat so I feel smarter about FBI’ing my door in.)

Now that I’ve made you smile – that brings us to our dare today.

In my thirty minutes of being locked out in the complete dark with the possums and my wild imagination I remember thinking “Gee, go outside in a small town in the dark and you expect to be scared by the normal rustling in the bushes (we do get bears here). Instead, I see absolutely no critters and the thing that actually attacks me is my ever-loving door handle.”

I think that’s a lot like life in some loosely based ways. I think we can get so comfortable in worrying about what could be lurking in the forest that we miss the mark right in front of our nose. We don’t stop to see the obvious….

We are blessed beyond what we will ever deserve.

While today’s words aren’t exactly red words… they are mentioned countless times in the gospels of the disciples – time and time again we hear that Jesus gave thanks. So while we don’t know WHAT He said… we know He gave thanks. 

 

Sure… nearly falling backwards off your front porch after breaking your door might not qualify as a gift 🙂 but there are still tons to be thankful for. There are a lot of overlooked parts of our lives that need attention (just like my door handle) – the overlooked pieces are important… the parts that require the greatest gratitude.

 

The stitch that held up on your top blouse button during that meeting… and burst the second you got in the car. #Grace

The chocolate pudding on the baby’s face getting on the brown sofa and not the white one. God moments.

The incomprehensible knowledge that we can sit here in the midst of our trivial, our mess, our “what if” and rustling bushes… an still be unimaginably blessed. Merciful, merciful Jesus. 

There are so many things to be grateful for if we just look around and take our eyes off the problems, the possums and the “what ifs”. Instead of “what if”… look in front of you. “What has” God done for you lately? Be like Jesus today… give thanks. 

 

DAILY DARE: Check your door handle. 🙂 Ok… I’m kidding. Today in honor of Jesus’s grace and God’s blessings in our lives (and in remembrance of my door handle… may you rest in peace) let’s all decorate our doors with the things we are grateful for. I’m going to be using sidewalk chalk or paper and tape. You could even show gratitude symbolically with a decoration. How will you say thanks today?

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 17!

When my daughter was smaller she used to draw these wonderfully simplistic self portraits. I remember how she would pluck the purple crayon from the Crayola box ever so carefully and grip it tight between her pudgy, pale hands. She did her very darnedest to keep them steady.

I used to love to sit and watch her doodle away on the living room rug, her tiny pink toenails kicking as if completely filled up with artistic energy that just had to get out.

I’ll never forget the first picture she ever drew. It still graces our refrigerator to this day. Her crayon etched head so wiggly and large with two giant skinny legs sticking straight down from her chin. While it certainly was no Monet, to me it was worth just as much. She’d worked so hard to create the little bit of something she had created and knowing it was her best made it the best piece of art I ever owned.

Of course, as the years passed by I taught her to hold her hands a little more steadily. I showed her how to use different shades of crayon to capture the essence of her golden brown hair and her rosy pink lips.

If you were to look on our refrigerator today you would see a freshly drawn “after” portrait. You might not see much difference in the two since her tiny little people still have giant heads and absolutely no neck to speak of – but because I am her mother the little changes would be so evident to me. I would point them out to you in vast numbers because I appreciate every little “work in progress” improvement her self portrait has made – from the slightly straighter legs dangling from her chin to the ever so slightly steadier circle, no matter how robust.

Sure, I know there is room for improvement but together we will work on that, little by little, until someday those little legs will have feet attached and those giant heads will be within normal scale. As mommies we look forward to the milestones still somehow being completely wrapped within the “head over heels” feeling for the here and now scribbles on our fridges.

Isn’t this a lot like our Heavenly Father? He watches proudly as we scribble with our purple crayon, teaching us little by little how to bring out all of our living colors. He points out how we can improve but never misses a chance to celebrate who we are in the moment along with the little changes that we make to become better, more rounded men and women. After all, He even promises that He has “drawn” us “with loving kindness” and “everlasting love.”Jeremiah 31:3

While the inner changes we make to our own self portrait may go unnoticed by the world, our Father will always be quick to proudly point them out. “Anne is a wonderful budding artist, Moses. Look, how well she stays in the lines!” “Hey, Noah, come here a minute. Check out how straight Anne is drawing her arms these days. Pretty amazing, huh?”

As you grow and change and you shuffle your pink toenails from the living room rug of life, know that God takes notice of each improved stroke. And if you ever doubt His celebration of who you are even in the unchanging moments just ask Him to show you His waste basket. You’ll find it completely empty. His refrigerator on the other hand you will find completely full.

DAILY DARE: Draw a self portrait of yourself. Draw arrows and write in what you think God thought of when He made you or what you think He loves about you. (i.e. I have satellite ears – so I might say “Big ears to hear the trouble the kids are getting in down the hall 🙂 I will share my portrait with you tomorrow. I hope you’ll share yours too! 🙂 I hope today’s dare helps you to see yourself the way God sees you (and the way I see you too) – equipped to do what He has called you to do! Someone to be proud of!