Develope a Palate

Develope a Palate
Daily intake of the Word nourishes the Spirit. Jeremiah's Menu is an exercise in recognizing God's Word made flesh in and around me. Eating the Word in a way that supplies the spiritual nutrients needed to grow. The Menu is offered with the hope of inspiring you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Bon Appetite!

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Quote Du Jour

Quote du Jour
Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they have all one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the bread of life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes round we pledge one another heartily therein. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who are like yourself, supported by the same heavenly manna. ---Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

still wrestling with light and dark: conflicted

Light is something. Dark is nothing.
We were all completely enveloped in darkness at one time.
We only know that it was dark because we have "seen the Light."

But we still know the dark... we are still called by the dark... we are still tempted by the dark...

God calls us to expose the dark for what it is... evil...

In this place we are conflicted...


Remember who we are and what we have seen...

For you were once darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Ephesians 5:8-11

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

light pierces the darkness

My thoughts continue to linger over Psalm 119: Nun...
God's Word... light in a dark world.

It can feel hard and lonely to be light in the dark...

I stood with a friend as he shared his struggles with darkness...
tears in his eyes reflecting his words: it's hard...

Why does darkness feel oppressive to those who are called to be light?

Dark is really just a negative... it's nothing... it's the absence of light.

Light on the other hand, pierces the darkness... cuts through it like it's nothing! I once heard someone say that no one has ever invented a beam of dark that can cut through the light. It just doesn't happen. Darkness only takes over because something is blocking the light.

Our nights occur only because our own earth rotates and blocks the light from one side of itself.

Jesus -- the Light of the world -- has overcome darkness completely and fully.

As Believers, the One who is in us is greater than the one who tries to constantly block the light.

So... why does it feel lonely and oppressive to be a source of light in a very dark environment?

Have you given into the "pressure"?
Have you said No to God's call because it seemed difficult?
Have you disregarded His Word because it made you different?

Darkness... simply the absence of Light...
It's oppressive nature is based on lies...
Be who you were created to be in Christ... pierce the darkness...

You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works and
give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Psalm 119: Nun

Slowly, slowly through Psalm 119. We come to the fourteenth letter in the twenty-two letter aleph-bet: Nun. Pronounced like "noon" -- let's see what light it has to shine on us today.

Read Psalm 119:105-112

Nun is for lamp.
Or sometimes more specifically wick -- the part of an oil lamp that, when lit, gives light.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

In a dark world, light is an important commodity.
God's Word is the perfect source of light.

I think of those in Scripture who followed God's word -- a specific call -- into the darkness...

Each knew the power of God's Word to pierce the darkness... darkness that tried to snuff out the light. Each could surely relate to the word's of our Hebrew friend:

My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end.

Consider the difficulties of walking the call of God, being light in a dark world that doesn't recognize the Light...

I have suffered much; preserve my life, O Lord...

It's tough... those who live in the dark find the light offensive... it hurts their eyes...

...I constantly take my life in my hands...

God's Word lights the path that sees us through the darkness. Either way, with or without God's Word, in this world you will have trouble. As Believers, our response to God's call and His Word should be the same as His Son who brought Light to the whole world:

Even when it seems hard to walk in His Word, press on, it is the only Way to the light of life. Follow the footsteps of those who have gone before... look to the Light... let it light your path... it is worth the effort.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, November 26, 2011

rooted in thanksgiving

I am continually amazed at how quickly God answers my concerns...
The very issue I wrestled with yesterday was dealt with in the book I took to my treadmill today.Yesterday's feelings have turned into today's hope.  Amazing...

The chapter I turned to focused on evangelism, sharing Christ's story through our own story. The author encouraged Believers to learn Christ's story more fully so we can see Him clearly in ours. The more we know the story of Christ the easier it is for us to recognize the elements of His life in ours.

His story brings our story hope and from that hope spring forth faith and love. These are the elements of our life we need to be willing to share for the express purpose of introducing Him to others.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6, 7

Since I received Jesus as Lord,
my life is firmly rooted in Him.
As I build on the foundation of this truth,
walking with Him, being strengthened in faith,
I overflow with thanksgiving.

Yesterday's desire brings hope and new questions today:

How does Jesus' story fit into mine?
Where is His story evident in my story?

Do you know your story?

Join me in getting a clear picture of the hope of Christ for the glory of Godwith the express purpose of sharing that hope with others.

Friday, November 25, 2011

feeling selfish and unappreciative

I must not fully appreciate what I have through Christ.
The changes He has made in my life.
The freedom, peace, and confidence that I walk in daily...
not perfectly... is so different than I used to be.

So why don't I share what I know with others who are struggling? People -- loved ones -- who I know are far from God. Why don't I share the mystery of faith, the presence of Christ, the hope of glory? Why do I hold back?

I long for everyone to know Christ.
I want to say with Paul:

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:28, 29

Is His energy powerfully at work in me? Is it available to me? I think I look for open doors in conversations... but today I feel, I don't know ...selfish... like I must not want to share what I have with someone who might not understand...

Lord, forgive me for missed opportunities, for lack of faith, for not opening my mouth and sharing how You have changed my life. Help me to remember my story and tell others without shame or fear. Teach me how to share my personal experiences with others.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

give thanks to the only One worthy of thanks

God is the only One truly worthy of thanks.

Any good thing anybody ever did for us came through God.

Any good thing we ever received was first given from God.

Any good thing that ever happened to us came from God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

First and foremost, give thanks to God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

fight for joy

Joy filled my heart this morning... Thanksgiving Eve.
Soul penetrating joy.
Joyfully going about preparations.
Looking forward to my family being whole.

Then thoughts of impending doom enter my mind...

... what if... what if... what if...

Then actual complications arise...

... minor but irritating... stealers...

Such a struggle to keep joy...

Trusting God in the midst of it all.
Taking thoughts captive.
Remembering the blessing of trials.
Resting in the hope of glory.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him, so that you may overflow
with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

give thanks in feeling our failures

I fail continually: thoughts, words, actions...

...all fall short...

I struggle with perfectionism.
My own severest critic.
Pain from wrong attitudes, words laced with disdain, eyes rolling...
Not again!

Today, I realized that pain from my failures is good.
Pain, a sign of grief over sin, a sign that I am not my own.
The light of hope that -- Yes -- Christ lives in me.


In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Hebrews 12:4-6

Father God, what a privilege that I can call You Father. Thank You for not letting me be comfortable with my sin and failures. Thank You for conviction. Thank You for Your love for me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

first things first

As I grew in my relationship with Christ, God laid out "priorities" for me, so to speak:

1. My relationship with Him.
2. My relationship with my husband and family.
3. Any ministry He led me into.

I often refer back to this list when making choices. It's interesting how quickly "ministry" tries to move up the list, vying for the #2 spot rather than being happy as #3.

I made a decision recently, that put my role as a small group leader firmly in the third place spot, but as I spent time with my husband on his birthday guilt tried to creep in. I fought back the feelings -- the lies -- trusting in the plan God had given me in the beginning.

Needless to say, my choice was affirmed when I received an email from my small group that blessed me. A blessing that probably wouldn't have happened if I had been there. I praised God for His work in my life and in the group.

God is always right. His plan is perfect.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...
Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, November 19, 2011

God's grace

A 91st birthday...

...still far from God...

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2Peter 3:9

Friday, November 18, 2011


There was a story on the news this morning about three middle school girls who disregarded the boundaries and warnings set for their safety.

On the lowest floor of their school was a door to the elevator shaft. Out of curiosity they entered the door and let it shut behind them. I imagine they thought it was quite an adventure until the elevator began to descend. They tried to get out but the door locked behind them. They were trapped.

I listened to the recording of the 911 call the girls made from a cell phone. Quickly giving the name of the school, telling where they were in the building, and that the elevator was coming down... then screaming... a girl begging: lift it up... lift it up... screaming still in the background.

Later, while walking on my treadmill, it came to mind that this is a picture of sin. Out of curiosity we cross the boundaries that God has set for us in His Word. We disregard the warnings. We open the door and let it close behind us... it's fun for awhile, until we find ourselves about to be crushed... we cannot get out on our own...

We are trapped. Someone has to rescue us.

The story about the middle school girls had a happy ending... the rescuers responded to the call... it took forty minutes but they were rescued. A girl was shown with her foot wrapped. They had tried to hold the elevator car up with their feet. Minimal injuries considering what could have happened.

Some of us live our lives recklessly and end up in situations where we recognize our need and we call for help. But all of us apart from Christ are standing in a place of death. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the danger and they never make the call for help.

Every story has the potential for a happy ending. Jesus died for everyone and the rescue is immediate if you will just make the call.

...for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Romans 10:13

Unless we call on the name of the Lord for salvation, we are forever trapped in sin and will be crushed. There is no way out without Him.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

grace for all through individual gifts

This verse caught my attention this morning.

But grace was given to each one of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Ephesians 4:7 (ESV)

Each one of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift.

Each given a different measure.

Each given a different gift.

Each one given grace.

There is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to
the one hope that belongs to your call --
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. 
Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)

The grace of God is given as an opportunity to experience a vital role in the one body for one purpose using the gift that Christ has specifically measured out to us.

Gifted for individual purpose and unity through the kindness of Christ.

Do you know your gifts?
Do you use them for the One?
Are you exercising them, becoming adept in their use?

We have each been entrusted with a gift of grace for a purpose and given access to the One who empowers us.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20, 21

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

prayer vigil

"You look exhausted."

I was.
My husband saw it.
I felt it.

Being watchful in prayer is work...
...three hours...

A holy exhaustion.
A spiritual workout.
An act of faith and love.

...wrestling in prayer for you,
that you may stand firm in all the will of God...
Colossians 4:12
(emphasis added)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

spiritual amnesia

I greeted a friend at church Sunday.
With her, an elementary age girl I had not met...

"Who's this?" smiling, expecting a name...
"A little girl from the projects..." nonchalance, a wave of the hand...

I stood stunned -- tried not to show it -- but stunned.
Not because of where the little girl came from, but because of my friend's remark.

You see, she rode the same van, from the same apartment complex...
My first thought: Aren't you a little girl from the projects too?

She's in junior high. Her invitation to church came about four months ago. I remember her fears when she first considered attending youth group...
But now, she seems to have a new identity -- she's "in" -- this new little girl (her first visit to church) an outsider -- no name -- just a girl from the projects... oblivious to the slight... smiling flakes of donut glaze...

How quickly we forget...
How quickly we separate ourselves from others...

Of course, the truth is: I'm just a girl from the projects...
maybe not physically, but one who lived in spiritual poverty for more than thirty years.

We were once all spiritually destitute...
Once "in" how quickly we forget... is by grace you have been saved...
not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...
Ephesians 2:8

I'm so grateful that my friend feels "in"...
but she reminded me of a danger... spiritual amnesia...

I don't want to forget...
I don't want to exclude...
I don't want to separate myself from those who come from the same place as me...

Therefore, remember... remember... you were separate from Christ, excluded... without hope... without God... But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 3:11-13

Lord, keep me open to who I was, who I am in You, the price You paid, and that You paid it for all.
I don't want to forget...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Psalm 119: Mem

We continue to make our way through the long buffet table of Psalm 119 with the letter Mem. It holds the thirteenth place in the Hebrew alphabet and is the beginning letter of each line in the thirteenth stanza.

Read Psalm 119:97-104

Mem is for from... more or less.

Again, with difficulties in translation,  again with a small preposition, I offer this serving on Jeremiah's Menu. In Hebrew, this small word is attached directly to another word in order to enhance it's meaning in one of multiple ways. Again, I attempt to choose one word. Again, I chose the word that best fits the meaning blended into the translations. Again, I'm giving true linguists a twitch...

From a function word that indicates: a starting point (I came here from the city), a separation (the umbrella provided protection from the sun), or the source (this definition came from Merriam-Webster's).

Our psalmist-friend credits his study and practice of God's Word for his distinction from a variety of people:

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are ever with me.

I have more insight than my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.

I have more understanding than my elders,
for I obey your precepts.

God's Word distinguishes us from the pack if we will study it and practice it.

Embracing Scripture and living it keeps us on the straight and narrow.

I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.

Our teaching comes from God, therefore we know it's trustworthy.

I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.

Joy, pleasure, understanding and discretion are all benefits we gain from eating the Word and making it flesh in our lives...

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
Psalm 119:97, 103-104

What do you gain from God's Word?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

failed but forgiven

Well, it happened. I failed. The proof: no post for 11-11-11... no way to get around it... no way to cover it up... post-dated posts not possible...

I thought I had done it... all day, I had the feeling that everything was taken care of. I thought I had done it early... turns out that was the day before.

I didn't confirm my failure till this morning. I still thought I had done it...

intentions... distractions... deceptions...

This morning, I woke from a dream. One of those that seems real until you try to remember it outside of sleep...then it's just pieces... there were elements of good intentions, seductive distractions, and subtle deception...

My distraction resulted in a friend's imprisonment... trapped in a sci-fi type game room with an evil game-master subjecting her to emotional torture. Attempting to help, I became trapped. Accusations hurled at me from the game-master... his words creating contemptuous chaos around us... I recognized the power of the words... I began a screaming match with him. For every accusation I yelled:


Each time I yelled FORGIVEN! the latch on the door moved a notch. I continued to scream... the door opened and I was free. I witnessed to my friend... the game-master saw he had lost and fell ino a dejected state... I witnessed to him too. I even had a vision that if he would turn his life around he would become a professional football star... then I woke up... weird...

One phrase echoed through my head as I emerged from the world of sub-conscious: failed but forgiven.

There was a time when this type of failure (trivial as it may seem) would trap me in a pit of self-condemnation... the prince of this world having his way... paralyzing me from life.

Living in this broken world we will continue to fail, continue to sin...

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do -- this I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19

I fail in much bigger ways than this... daily... judgmental thoughts and attitudes... unkind words... self-centered behavior...

In this case, I deceived myself into believing I had kept my committment.

Sometimes I'm seduced and deceived by others... others who are also deceived and seduced...

Seduced and deceived to break the law... even a personal "law" to post a daily blog...

But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known... This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Romans 3:21, 22

In Christ we receive a righteousness outside ourselves... by faith we are justified... all sin forgiven...

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1, 2

Free in Christ by faith...


Our wonderful, loving, Sovereign Savior not only forgives us, He works our failure for good...

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Do you feel trapped by a failure? multiple failures?
By faith in Christ face your accuser...
find freedom...
let God work it for good...

In His most glorious Name -- amen, amen, and amen!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the power of light

Light is greater than darkness.

O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,
to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers;
let me not eat of their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me -- it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me -- it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it.

Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;
their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.
They will say, "As one plows and breaks up the earth,
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave."

But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord;
in you I take refuge -- do not give me over to death.
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
from the traps set by evildoers.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets;
while I pass by in safety.

Psalm 141

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

suffer for my enemy?

Are you willing to suffer so someone else might live? your enemy might live?

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ...when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled through the death of his Son...
Romans 5:8, 10

Suffering for -- dying for -- enemies.
I was one once.
I know many... like many... love many...

But can I really say with Paul:

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings...
Philippians 3:10

Christ says take up your cross... follow me... suffer with Me.
...suffer that others might live...

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:18

Am I willing to suffer so my enemy might live?
I don't know...

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done."
Luke 22:42

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

sin leaves its mark

Today I'm reminded of the consequences of sin: mine and others.

Aches and desires -- God given -- unfulfilled because of sin.
Mine and others.
Past and present.

Forgiven completely: yesterday, today, tomorrow...

Still, the mark remains...
Stumbling blocks to God's grace.
The reason for the Cornerstone.

Reminded that God's good is greater...

You, dear children, are from God
and have overcome them,
because the one who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.
1John 4:4

Reminded so I won't wander...

Monday, November 7, 2011

a weary walk of strength

It's ironic that this blog is about eating freely of God's Word, it's about the only thing I can eat freely.

A year ago, I was diagnosed as "glucose intolerant" -- basically type 2 diabetes controlled with diet and exercise. Totally unexpected -- no family history, no risk factors. Like the Israelites, I was led into the desert on a wilderness walk. 

The Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. My early diagnosis freed me from the debilitating effects of a "silent" disease. Overnight, the Israelites lives changed. Overnight, my lifestyle changed.

Freedom for the Israelites meant walking in the wilderness. Interesting to notice their primary complaints revolved around food.

"If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt!
There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food
we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert
to starve this entire assembly to death."
Exodus 16:3

God faithfully provided manna from heaven.
But that wasn't enough...

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost -- also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"
Numbers 11:4-5

Yes, it gets old eating the same thing over and over.
Yes, walking in the wilderness makes one weary.
I totally relate to the Israelites wailing and grumbling.
Recently, I have just felt weary... tired of paying attention to what I eat, tired of being diligent about exercise, tired of being different... whaa... whaa... whaa...

But I'm reminded today that there is a cost to freedom, whether it's physical or spiritual, and it's worth it. I'm also reminded that I'm not in it alone or am I even intended to accomplish it in my own strength.

The Israelites' failure was found in their desire to return to slavery to meet their needs rather than trust God to guide them and prepare them for the Promised Land.

Yes, I get weary. I have no strength, no power to stay committed to the lifestyle that sets me free.

But He said to me "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2Corinthians 12:9

God is sovereign. He has a plan and purpose in all He allows. We may not understand whatever it is we are facing, but we can rest in the Truth that He is sufficient if we will surrender:

I can't but You can!

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults,
in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2Corinthians 12:10

In what weakness do you need to delight in order to be strong? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
2Corinthians 4:16-18a

Walking a life of faith is choosing to focus on the "unseen" -- walking blind -- sightless.

It gives new meaning to ...

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn their darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16 (emphasis added)

and ...

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10 (emphasis added)

To embrace reality we choose to blind ourselves to what we can see.

For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
2Corinthians 4:18b

Are you willing to take a walk in the dark?

We live by faith, and not by sight.
2Corinthians 5:7

Friday, November 4, 2011

dead letters

The written word, in and of itself, is dead... there is no life in it.
The heart and soul of the writer or the animated nature of an orator drains out when letters are strung into words to form sentences and laid to rest on paper.

[God] has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant --
not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills,
but the Spirit gives life.
2Corinthians 3:6

The Holy Spirit gives life to all things, including written words.

Holy Spirit, give life to these words -- the words I write for others -- the words I write for You -- that they will bring You glory!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

selective hearing

All children seem to suffer from selective hearing at times.
Even God's children:

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy one of Israel says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. ..."
Isaiah 30:15

I've noticed in myself that some messages are easier to hear than others...

This is what the Lord says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' ..."
Jeremiah 6:16

...some calls I respond to quickly, some I spiritually place my fingers in my ears and whistle...

While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord,
I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen;
I called you, but you did not answer.
Jeremiah 7:13

As with our own children, selective hearing has its consequences.
Missed opportunities, subsequent discipline, tighter boundaries.

Spiritually, as God's children, we also suffer the consequences of selective hearing... hardened hearts.

"But they refused to pay attention;
stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears.
They made their hearts as hard as flint
and would not listen to the law or to the words
that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit...
Zechariah 7:11, 12

When we refuse to listen... when we choose our own way rather than God's... when we say "I believe" but our actions speak otherwise... we harden our hearts.

So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts..."
Hebrews 3:8

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

a gracious Giver

There is a flip side to gifts gone bad... the grace of the Giver.

Samson, from his chains, brought destruction on the enemy.
He is listed among the faithful in the book of Hebrews.

David was remembered as faithful and upright in heart by his son, Solomon, and by God.

Saul, who was called Paul, worked tirelessly for the Church.

We are not big enough to mess up the gifts and purpose of God.

... for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Romans 11:29

When we fall on His grace,

But by the grace of God...

letting Him work in us and through us,

I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.
1Corinthians 15:10

all things work for good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

gifts gone bad

God's gifts have a tendency to reveal sin.

I received a gift I never expected... a call that was humbling. I was so grateful. Overwhelmed. Yet, after a while... years... I've noticed an ugliness in my heart revolving around the gift. It's still a great gift but -- in me -- I see the potential to ruin it or it to ruin me!

"...And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord. But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. ..."
Ezekiel 16:14, 15

God is the giver of all good things. But in our brokenness gifts can cause us to stumble.

Pride, arrogance, foolishness.

Deception creeps in: I am the source of my success. We begin to believe we are what we are, not because of a gift, but because of ourselves. Good gifts have the potential to bring out the worst.

Jealousy. Rivalry. Self-centeredness.

We trust the gift and not the Giver.
Such foolish error.
It blinded Samson.
It ruined David's family.
It brought Saul of Tarsus to his knees.

Any gift we've been given can go bad, if we don't recognize that the true gift is the Giver.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Chirst Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...
Philippians 3:7, 8

Check your gifts.
Do you have one that's gone bad?