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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

eve of a new year

Consider what you might do to add more of God's Word to your spiritual diet beginning the first day of the New Year...

Find a Bible reading plan...
set your alarm 5 minutes early, have coffee, tea, or juice with God in His Word...
choose a book or a gospel or randomly open the Book each day with a prayer: Lord, what do You have to say to me today?

Ask God to increase your hunger for His Word...
His Presence...
His Wisdom...

Jesus is the Word made flesh, He will meet you in the pages of your Bible. The more you meet Him there the more you will begin to see Him in your world... the Word made flesh...

Past years I have read the Bible in a year with a reading plan... I just finished reading the Bible chronologically (in order of the events as they happened) over 3 years... this year I feel God leading me to read the Bible in a year again, but in a different translation than I usually use and going straight through from Genesis to Revelation...

Ask God to help you make a plan to draw closer to Him... the rewards are eternal... there is no better way to use your time and energy than eating God's Word...

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8
ESV

Friday, December 30, 2011

pride: indicators & busters

two incidents this week...

broken dryer... trip to the laundromat... needing instruction...
pride buster

balking at son's impromptu request for mission team to shower at our house...
pride indicator

Any indicators or busters in your life this week?

Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

Thursday, December 29, 2011

pride: the plug that keeps us from emptying

We are created in God's image and called to follow Him...
emptying ourselves for others out of love...
a feat virtually impossible for us...

pride... our downfall...

something God doesn't have...

A writer in World:
     Jesus stepped down, inconceivably down, to love. As if being wrapped in rags and placed in a feeding trough were not enough, He descended still further to a degrading death. The kind of death intended to reduce a human being to a piece of screaming meat: all dignity, all identity, even, consumed in a crawl of minutes. It would merely be pitiable if a well-meaning savior had stumbled into a death like that. But to volunteer for it, to actually debase Himself to such an extent -- didn't he have any pride?
     Well, no. Pride belongs to humans, not God. He doesn't need it. It's the pedestal we build to elevate ourselves, but He who makes the earth His footstool could hardly elevate Himself further.

Pride keeps us from stooping low...
from loving others more than ourselves...

I often hear people say that God doesn't expect us to be a doormat... we aren't supposed to let people walk all over us...
but Jesus...
He was the biggest doormat of all...
the world's filth -- past, present, future -- smeared all over Him...

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
Isaiah 42:1-4
ESV

a humble Savior...
no pride...
only love...

How are we supposed to follow that?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

lingering thoughts of Christmas

Creator empties Himself to enter creation...

naked...
hungry...
poor...
imprisoned...

As a baby...
as a Rabbi...
as a Savior...

A bold act...
a stooping low...
for the salvation of His creation...

rebellious...
ungrateful...
selfish...

A God who entered humanity...
present in humanity...
the invitation: follow Me...
emptying of self for others...

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:3-8 ESV
(emphasis added)

The legacy of Christmas...
is it yours?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

transformation

Jesus makes us someone else...
every day...
Weird compared to the world...
outcast in some ways... less socially acceptable...

But other days...
dark days...
days of loss... pain... death...
other days...
Jesus makes us desired...
light in dark...

You hear... Show me the way...

Slow change...
little by little...
changed from dark to light...
in the world but not of the world...
Jesus makes us some one else...

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, 
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, 
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2Corinthians 3:18

Monday, December 26, 2011

1 day after Christmas: peace

The Babe is born...
lying in the manger...
peace...

Time to pack up the season...
time to rest...
return to routine...

But what about the Babe?

Babies need care and attention...
a brand new relationship to build...
love to give...

Don't pack up the Babe with the season...
only in Him the peace remains...
peace beyond the season...

Pour your life into the Babe...
abide with Him... in Him...
all year...

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given...
Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas eve: one day left

Silent night...
Holy night...

"Be still, and know that I am God..."
The Lord Almighty is with us...
Psalm 46:10, 11

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 days before Chrismas: worship

Angels worshiped...
Shepherds worshiped...
Wise men worshiped...

Each journeyed to worship...



Even before the cross...
they worshiped...

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 8:3, 4 ESV

How much more should we?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 days before Christmas: busy, busy, busy

Christmas...
a season to turn our attention to God...
a season busy with activity...

Choices to be made...
priorities to be set...

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42 (Emphasis added.)

Mary... Christ-centered...
Martha... self-centered...

Are you reflecting Mary or Martha this season?

Consider who it is that sits next to the manger....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 days before Christmas: a prayer

Lord, it's hard to hear in the midst of the busy...
keep me attentive to You...

He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
Isaiah 50:4

Waken me, Lord Jesus...
Amen...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 days before Christmas: a journey

Every journey starts with a destination...
a chosen end...

Every way traveled, different...

The journey to Bethlehem...
          a couple expecting...
                     shepherds surprised...
                                wise men intentional...

Each arrived at Christmas...

Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Psalm 105:3

Whatever your way...
journey with joy...

Monday, December 19, 2011

6 days before Christmas: frustrations and failures

plans disrupted... voices raised...
commitments forgotten... sighs of exasperation...
miscalculations... unmet expectations...

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:21-25
Hallelujah!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

present hope

A loved one had a challenging day... "good and bad"... the description. God prepared the way... the loved one knew His presence in the moment... knew present hope...

But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2Corinthians 4:7-9

From the world's perspective it was a bad day... but with the treasure and knowledge of present Hope... the one who works ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him... it was good.

Christmas centers on present Hope... Immanuel -- God with us -- entering into the world -- present -- to make the way for hope with us... in us always... making bad good...

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit in whom he has given us.
Romans 5:5

Do you know present hope?

Friday, December 16, 2011

hope prepared

Hope... expectations for the future...
living hope ... visible in ones who hope...

What does hope look like in your life?
I wonder if it's evident in mine...

On what or whom do you base your hope... your expectations?

Does anyone ask why you live hope?
What would you say?

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and repsect...
1Peter 3:15 

Hope prepared has an answer...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

living hope

I spent time planting this week... adding to the mess of the season... tulip bulbs and pansies...

Tulips first... 6 inches deep... into the dark...
The garden looks no different when I'm done... bare... nothing to show for my work... just dirt under my nails...

Pansies next... small plants... few blooms...
planted on top of the bulbs unseen in the ground...

Pansies offer immediate gratification... I plant them almost every year. But tulips... not so often... it takes faith to plant tulips... deep in the ground... waiting months for signs of life... 

Tulips require hope... living hope...

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
1Peter 1:3

Unseen glory waiting to emerge from their hole in the ground.
Living Hope.

How are you living hope?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

messy hope

Nothing seems to be coming easy this Christmas season...

It's good to remember the messiness of love, joy, peace...

the source of hope...

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2Corinthians 4:17

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a messy season

Love...

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Joy...

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

Peace...

 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world." --Jesus
John 16:33

It all started in a barn...
messy...

Monday, December 12, 2011

faithful action

I sit here amazed at God's faithfulness...
I have nothing as I sit before the keyboard...
a thought... a word... a picture...
all hazy... elusive...

Reluctant to sit and type because I have nothing...

But I sit... listen...
and words come...

God's faithfulness revealed in our faithfulness.
Whatever the call... the faith to act meets His faithful action...

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God;
he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love
to a thousand generations of those who love him
and keep his commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9

Saturday, December 10, 2011

when it's dark...

remind your soul to praise in order to remember...

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits --
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5

Praise the Lord, O my soul...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Contrast

Sharp contrast... black/white... evil/good... dark/light...
Thoughts of darkness being "an absence" linger...

Would we know healthy without illness?
...comfort without pain?
...light without dark?
...life without death?

Is dark necessary?

Why did Jesus choose the traitor?

Odd thoughts...

I've been learning to do pen and ink drawings... a pallet restricted to black and white... the application of dark makes the image... once applied there is no taking it back... no eraser for ink... no painting another layer...

I'm amazed by the process, especially with portraits.
Focusing on shadows... shapes and degrees of darkness laid down with crosshatches... lines... dots... scribbles...

How can black lines and scribbles on a face be right?

But what happens when you concentrate on the darks, the lights/shadows, the reflections, drawing shapes not a face... a portrait begins to emerge... I still don't believe it...

I've only done two... but to see the contrast of black scribbles on white paper become a face... especially the face of someone I love... that is weird.



Is that what God does in our lives? allow darkness to make the face of someone He loves? creating us into the image of His Son?

Jesus -- sinless -- was perfected through suffering.

Without shadow we have no depth...
no character...
no transformation...

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Lord, help me see Your work in the dark,
appreciate Your power to use evil for good,
be hopeful of Your work in my life...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

fellowship: suffering and grace, grace, grace

I hid last week.
My friend in ministry let me hide...
I don't know why she let me hide...
I'm glad she did.

I learned something... experienced something... with, in, and of God that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Being the self-centered individual that I am, I struggle with the suffering. I'm quick to see my suffering and whine about it... accept it but NOT with joy.

This time, I hid... I deceived myself into thinking it was someone else's call this time... joyfully I hid. Released from the struggle of self-killing obedience. Actually content... for a moment...

Then the silence.
The question: What would God say to you in this moment?
The Voice: You have neglected your call. You are forgiven.

Nothing more. No condemnation. No accusations.
A simple statement of fact and forgiveness.
Peace. Eye-opening peace.

Much of my suffering comes from a distorted image of God... I tend to see Him as judge. He calls me, I struggle with obedience (will I do it right, what will others think, I'm inadequate), and then my subconscious sees Him sitting and judging ...

My encounter with the real God -- the One who spoke -- proved all this wrong, especially when coupled with a teaching I received the same week:

 God does NOT use people like a tool...
He fellowships with people in ministry.

He comes alongside, in, and with you in the call... it's an invitation not an assignment.

Obedience does not lead to judgment... it leads to fellowship!
A working together -- a deepening of relationship.

I didn't hide from a call, I hid from God... like Adam and Eve in the Garden... God calling: Where are you?

God wasn't the one judging... I was... reflecting my own broken perfectionist psyche onto Him.

Today's lesson: obedience is communion with God.

Eating the Bread, drinking the Wine... Yes, there is suffering for the flesh, the broken body must die to self... but the wine -- the blood -- the grace poured over, in, and through the brokenness, the feeble efforts to let Christ flow through... fellowship!

I'm in Him and He in me...

I hope this is a turning point for me. A marker raised and set in my spirit... an Ebenezer: the stone of help.

Lord, thank You for Your grace, Your lessons, Your gentleness.
Thank You for the invitation to work with You.
Thank You for growth, healing, and new understanding.
Thank You for fellowship...

God, who has called you into fellowship
with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1Corinthians 1:9

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

fellowship with Christ

shining light in the dark...
learning to love...
self-killing obedience...
hard...

the way of the cross...
our connection to Christ...

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

hard...

Yet not me, but Christ in me...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

love is hard

Loving others...
being other-centered when our natural position is self-centered...
hard...

Love...
patient... with difficult people and circumstances...
kind... when others are not...
not envious... when others get what you deserve...
not boastful... when your work is overlooked...
not proud... all are equal in God's eyes...
not rude... when others are...
not insistent... when your needs are not met...
not irritable... even on a really bad day...
not resentful... grace-full despite the debt...
does not delight in evil... even if it's what they deserve...
rejoices with the truth... even when it's about you...
always protects... bears the pain of others...
always believes... trusts when you are unsure...
always hopes... when history tells you otherwise...
always endures... remains in the hard place because it's right...

Love...
never fails...
     never ends...
          never wavers...
               never dies...

Loving others...
hard...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Monday, December 5, 2011

obedience: the hard road

Obedience is hard for me...
my self cringes at the call... don't do it!

But the easy way out leads to destruction...
a life killing road...

So today I choose a hard road...
obedience...

I choose the self-killing road of obedience that I might find life...

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:35

Saturday, December 3, 2011

rest

a day out of town...
rain...
delayed schedules...
sick children...
time together...
joy...

Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Friday, December 2, 2011

easy street: the road to destruction

I'd read the verse many times before...
but not the translation I read today.

Today it struck me in a different way...

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and
the road is easy that leads to destruction,
and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and
the road is hard that leads to life,
and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (emphasis added)
NRSV

I generally prefer easy...
but I may have to think twice and consider more carefully...
look down the road farther...

easy vs hard

Which way do you usually choose?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

stories of light

Our stories witness to the evidence of Christ...
offering Light to a dark world...
refreshment in the wilderness...
hope...

Our stories should be like that of John...

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
John 1:6-8

What is your story of Light?