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!

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

 

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Welcome to Day 16!

A sudden downpour can be one of the most unexplainable things in nature; a nuisance on the shield of a Monday morning Manhattan cab, a
blessing on the plains of a remote village in Africa. Rain is one of the most split forces of nature. Some delight in its presence. It strikes fear in the hearts of others.

Yes.

Just as an umbrella covered sidewalk may be the way home for a wearied grown up, the puddles are oft the pathway of a child. Running through them, shoeless, new clothes muddied with wear and disobedience.

As children we were so free, trusting the rain to do its job, to grow a field of daffodils or wash the dust off a summer’s window pane.
But as adults we lose touch with nature. Rain begins to be an obstacle.

We put our colorful rain boots on a shelf and trade them for umbrellas and sensible shoes.

And before we know it, we base our life around avoiding the rain.

In the blink of an eye we have gone from dancing in the rain to running from it. But this provokes the question – We can go in from the rain
. . . but where can we go from ourselves?

We can only run so long until we must make a decision to stop running.

The jest of the human experience is this: that we find a way to press past the things that scar us, the things that break us, the things that disrupt our lives and shake us to the very core. It’s the moment we grow so tired of running, our heads stretched down to our knees, jeans soaked with puddle after puddle that we find who we really are. It is here that we discover we are strong enough to turn around and go home, strong enough to move forward, strong enough to let go – brave enough to go into the unopened door . . . or the one we have opened a thousand times before.

 

In this moment our heart cries “no more.” We toss our umbrellas to the wayside, pull the rain boots from the shelf and walk the
puddles back to faith. Would it rain if God was not God? Mustn’t there be someone up there who cares for us beyond what we can think or possibly comprehend who says to us, “I Am?” Who says to us, “dance?” Who showers us with loving kindness and only asks that in return we embrace it and accept it as our journey riddled with equal parts of storm and grace?

May we find as we run from our lives, from our pains and heartbreaks, from our failures and freedoms that we are stronger than we hoped
for, much less broken than we know. May we find in these moments that we are human and that’s okay. When we are tired of running, may we stretch down for breath coming up renewed with the knowledge, the patience and the grace to finish the race set before us.

Morgan Freeman once said in one of my favorite movies:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience?
Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage,
does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?
If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with
warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other
?”

May your prayers always be answered. May your life always be full. May the pathway home always look inviting and the sidewalk be but a passerby on your journey there. But most of all, mostmost of all . . .

May your rain boots never be dry.

Because dancing in the rain with Him?
It’s SPECTACULAR.

 

*********Was there a time in your life that was hard but blessed?*********

 

DAILY DARE: Today take time to think about a hard time in your life. What did it teach you? How did Jesus rise up to meet you in that time? If God could bring you through something so difficult is there any reason to believe that He couldn’t do it again?  Today reach out to a friend going through a rough time. Encourage them in their journey by sharing your story. Then take time to encourage yourself with the words of the day. Whatever you are going through right this very moment… remember that what God taught you in the dark is still true in the light. Speak life!

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 15!

Today we are going to switch things up… 

You all have had such creative ideas and I am so thankful for everyone who has shared their story, ideas and heart. You’ve inspired today’s dare… I am a little behind on comments today. Our Benji is welcoming a new molar.  When he feels bad he draws close. He knows my voice and he listens for it. He follows me around the house like dryer lint. 🙂

It reminds me of the kind of relationship that Jesus longs for us to have with Him…

Jesus wants us to draw close. He longs to talk to us … the question is “Do we listen?” Are we listening when we don’t need anything in particular? How many good things have we missed out on because we let the chaos of what everyone else wanted from us drown out the sound of what God wanted for our day? How many lives could have been changed by the ripples our skipping-stone made? How many hearts would have been broke open for Him? What double portion passed us by?

Jesus tells us in our red verse for today that His sheep listen to His voice but throughout the Bible we are also told that His sheep KNOW His voice. If anyone were to call you up on the phone right now that you weren’t really close with chances are you might have to ask who was calling… but if your daughter called, your best friend, your husband, your pastor – you wouldn’t have to ask. You’d know their voice because you had listened to it so intently for years. You’d know that voice… because you invested your heart in it.

When we think of God’s plan for our lives we really broaden the spectrum to extremes and that can be taxing. Yes… You’ve been sanctified for His purpose. He has a plan for your life. But it’s much more than one because JESUS HAS INVESTED HIS HEART IN YOUR LIFE. So much so that today has a plan. So much so that tomorrow has a plan. When we think of God’s plan as new every day… that leaves a lot of listening to do! 

Jesus wants His voice to be the common thread of your every day. He wants us to lean in close and that’s why He whispers. That’s why they call it the still small voice.

The same Savior who rose again wants to rise up to greet you each new day with His friendship, His grace, His voice.

Jesus has good plans for you… lean in close.

DAILY DARE: Take time to read some red words in the Bible today. Listen closely… and then get creative! What good thing does God want you to do today? Today is about following your heart and your Jesus. 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 14!

Thank you all for helping us spread the word yesterday! The winner of our contest yesterday was the lovely and bird-adoring Catherine with whom I had the chance to have a really funny twitter conversation. 🙂 But all the entry names are still in my red jar and at the end of our 40 days I will pull them out for a special surprise – so stay tuned. 🙂 

I love the verse of the day today….

Jesus talks about stretching our hands. What strikes me about this verse is that He said nothing about our feet moving – just our hands reaching. Bloom where you are planted. Jesus asks us to. 

Despite the platform God gives you, it can be so easy to get caught up in wanting to be like someone else’s ministry. For me, I always admired missionaries. They so selflessly gave of their hearts, broke-open for Christ… putting away the comforts of home, of internet access, of family… doing all to the glory of Him who called them. But one thing you need to know about me is despite having grown up on a farm – I need my air conditioning! I am a horrible medic unless you need help birthing a cow. I am an even worse camper. Basically… I would royally-suck at being a missionary. 

I am a word girl. I live and breathe words. I live and breathe people… but put that next to digging a well in Africa – it seems small.

But when that makes me feel inadequate I remember that God did not call me to be a super-hero-rock-star missionary. He did not need me to dig that well. He called me to do what I do, right here, right now, no matter how small, to share Jesus with you… from right where I am. He called me to send out one tiny bucket, to draw up His Living Waters, to share them with the only thing I know how to… words. This is my offering to Him, to you. 

Isn’t it completely amazing that God equipped us so beautifully to serve from right where we’ve landed? I don’t think it was any accident that Dorothy’s house landed in Oz. It wasn’t by accident she met the scarecrow. It wasn’t by accident she realized she’d be better off home. Maybe this was God’s way of showing the girl from Kansas that Kansas was a fine place to bloom indeed.

Stretch forth they hand, He says. Lean out of your comfort zone from where you are. YOU are equipped for every good work. YOUR ministry matters. YOUR pulpit is bigger than you know. YOUR reach has more impact than you’ll ever guess. You’ve been called to be YOU for HIS purpose… no more, no less. And all of these things – why? Because YOUR Jesus called YOU, yes, YOU for the task at hand. Join me today in a daily movement… “I will serve I AM from where I am!

 

Our local churches do so much to stretch forth their hands to the hurting, the broken and the lonely. But ministry can get tiring. When I worked as a youth minister we talked a lot amongst ourselves about pastor-burn-out. It’s a specific term that covers EVERY area of ministry. From the preachers to the choir to the people in the pews, sometimes you just need someone to encourage you. And that’s where our dare comes in today… 

DAILY DARE: Email, snail mail or flat-out-tape a letter to the door of a local church that you do not attend. Thank them for all they do to show Jesus to the world and anything else that is on your heart. Keep it anonymous! Let them know they matter! 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY – Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 13!

Today I want to share an excerpt with you directly from the book. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed these past two weeks of living Jesus’ Words with you all and getting to know more about your lives. God is good! 

Warner and I are currently forming a launch team for Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ. People are hungry for Jesus and I am so excited to see what small part Radically Red will play in showing them His face and heart. If you are interested in helping us out via your blog or other social media outlets it would mean so much to me. We are using the hashtag #JoinTheRedolution. (Kind of catchy right?)

As always I am so incredibly blessed to be sharing this walk with all of you. It feels so much like this thing is OURS, God’s, yours & mine, and I hope that you all have grown to feel that way too. Did I mention it’s also a contest day? 🙂 Any one who tweets our hashtag or reblogs will be entered to win a copy of Radically Red. Remember if you blog it to use the tag Radically Red so I can find you! 

Now for today’s devotion and dare… 

 


 

The days that change our lives forever don’t come stamped with a special seal or wrapped in shiny golden paper. There are no visible markings that say we should awaken to greet the day with new joy or anticipate the extraordinary.

Nothing feels different.

Nothing changed.

In fact, the days that define our very lives will be the days that start out like any other.

Do you ever feel stuck in a long line of ordinary days?

I know of a man who probably felt that way too. But the day the blind man, this man, would see was also just another day in a long line of the ordinary. Like the day before, he awoke in his ordinary bed. In his ordinary life. In the same ordinary darkness he had been in since birth.

This awakening of another ordinary day meant that he wasn’t looking for Jesus at all. He did not anticipate his miracle. He probably didn’t even know that the footsteps he heard were anything more than another ordinary passerby. He had no way of knowing Jesus was looking for him! He even left the temple on the Sabbath to find this man He had never met yet somehow known since time began.

This was the moment that would define his life forever. This was the day when the ordinary would collide with the extraordinary. This was the day that he would meet his Savior.

Spit meets dirt and mud meets eyes, maybe without any words at all.

Eyes open to light streaming.  

And just like that, a day like any other has suddenly become phenomenal. The very first break of darkness awakened by the Light of the World. What a first sight it must have been to see the extraordinary Jesus through a mix of sunlight and ordinary mud.

So many of us go about life giving up on the extraordinary.  We are caught in the endless web of bills we can’t pay and things we can’t offer our children. We are overwhelmed by illnesses and grievances. By circumstances and heart ache. But we are so caught up in living an ordinary life that we release the possibility of the extraordinary because we’ve been trapped in the same old same old for what seems like all our lives. We get so caught up . . . we give up.

Is there something you are believing for? Or more important, something you have stopped believing for? What is the extraordinary thing you’ve given up on? What is the miracle that never came that made you stop seeking out Jesus? When you feel like you can’t cry out anymore. When your heart is tired of waking up in the ordinary and you are tired of looking for Jesus – consider instead that Jesus is looking FOR you. And most of all, have a little faith remembering the days that change your life, the extraordinary moments . . . will start out like any ordinary day.

 

*******Is there something you have asked God for that you have gave up on?*******

 

Daily Dare: Today as Jesus comes looking for you . . . look out for someone else. Pick at random a name and address from the phone book. Anonymously, photocopy this page and drop it in the mail or you can write up your own message that is on your heart. Send the envelope off with a prayer and promise that will revive your belief in God’s hand in your life… and theirs too.