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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

weekend joys

Counting joy... amidst the woes...
confidence in God's promise... a beloved aunt in His presence...
driving delays after picking up son... a whole family together on the road...
staying with sibs in one big house...
arriving at rehearsal dinner... just in time...
a husband who carries... tends... his aching wife...
a brother who creates a heating pad from... a wet towel... a microwave... and a plastic bag...
a thoughtful new friend... taking videos at a picnic missed...
a son who digitally captured the wedding missed... for a mom stuck...





better enough to visit... after family returns...
Sunday... breakfast with newly weds...
a safe drive home... no unexpected delays...
a faith exercised...

And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good.
Romans 8:28
ESV

Monday, July 30, 2012

weekend woes

Friday morning... preparing to leave... news of a death...
on the road... an hour behind schedule...
along the way... unexpected delays... the drive three hours longer than expected...
a weekend house... whose water smells... like rotten eggs...
Saturday... dressing for the day... my back went bad...
a picnic missed...
a wedding missed...
forgot a sister's birthday...
a faith tested...

Count it all joy, my brothers,
when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
James 1:2-3
ESV
(emphasis added)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

James 2: thoughts... part 3

Read James 2

The work of memory... continues... speaking words as mine... thoughts... turn to meaning...

Listen my dear brothers: Didn't God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him?
James 2:5
HCSB

James reminds... God chose the poor... to be heirs... only the poor...

Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:20
(my emphasis)

poor... translated from Greek... meaning... reduced to beggary, begging... destitute of wealth, influence, position, honour... helpless, powerless to accomplish an end...

...the poor... those without material resources... know that they are destitute... helpless... powerless... from this position... the need for God is clear... their only riches... faith...

But what about you... me...? Wealth... education... material resources... deceive... we believe we are self-sufficient... able... secure... without need... day to day... we don't feel desperately dependent on God... therefore... according to James... we miss out on the kingdom...

Jesus... in His letters to the churches... has a Word for us who seem rich...

"...You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. ..."
Revelation 3:17
(my emphasis)

Spiritually speaking... we are all... destitute... helpless... powerless... and spiritually speaking... the state of our spirit is the only thing that matters... the reason James says earlier in his letter...

The brother in humble circumstance ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
James 1:9-11

Riches distort our vision of reality... the rich should boast when trials come... lives disrupted... we recognize our true condition... destitute... helpless... powerless... here we see... here we receive... the riches of faith... and the kingdom of God...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ..."
Matthew 5:3

Embrace the reality of being... destitute... helpless... powerless... every moment... of every day...

I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord:
apart from you I have no good thing."
Psalm 16:2

Friday, July 27, 2012

the only rest

I read it this morning... and it's true...

...God by his word calls us to nothing but what is really for our advantage; for the service of God is the only true rest for those that are weary of the service of sin and there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus.
--- Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah 28 (my emphasis)


The truth affirmed... this week... many things to do... before going out of town this morning... as I look back... I don't know how it got done but it did... doing His work instead of mine... remembering it's His work and not mine... and must be done in His time...

I wondered where the usual anxiety... stress... was that accompanies weeks like this... it just wasn't... it was easy... a wonder to me...

"...Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. ..." 
Matthew 11:29 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

thoughts on memory work

The memory work... that began for the study with sisters... continues... seeping down from mind to heart...

Taking tips from the teacher... I memorize on the treadmill... words before me... reading... reciting... over and over...

The power of hearing the Word... speaking from my own voice... as if mine... saying it over and over... pushes me to wrestle with the words... find meaning... make it mine...

It's surprising... how the practice... the exercise... impacts spiritual understanding... one of those things that's hard to believe... until you experience...

The final day of study... asked... What do you want to do in light of what you've learned?... I wrote...

Be bold.
Be real.
Be less self-seeking.

My hope... the work of memory... will make the word of James... become flesh in me...

"... The words that I have spoken to you
are spirit and life. ..." ---Jesus
John 6:53
ESV

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

beginning... ending... continuing...

The study with sisters... came to an end this week... leaving in its wake...
emptiness... no homework... no expectation of sisters gathering... weekly...
joy... beginning new relationships with new sisters... watching God work...
satisfaction... a study completed... recognizing His hand throughout the study...
desire... for more... considering beginning anew in not too distant future...
work unfinished... the challenge to memorize... continues...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a blessing of peace

My son's friend... he says... I home... as he walks in the door...

Later... across from the table... he says...

I like that your house is peaceful...

Me too... even though it doesn't always seem that way to me... I love that others feel His presence... His Spirit... His peace...

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you..."
John 14:27
NASB

Monday, July 23, 2012

unworthy

Weather over the weekend left us without power for about 24 hours... a generator helped (a lot)... but during that time it became overloaded... a family with high expectations... pushing past the envelope of its load... led to the rearranging of refrigerators and freezers... and a house in disarray...

Today... Monday... began... 6:30am... making coffee... unloading the dishwasher... the usual... but then... knowing the help for the elder-in-law would be arriving soon... a need to bring the disarray back to order... disrupted my usual...

An empty refrigerator... back on and running... required cleaning... the work began... it was during this time... my heart became self-focused...

Around me the activity of husband... and son... preparing for their days... in front of the TV... eating breakfast... going off to dress... then leave... with no notice of me... rubber gloves... suds... water dripping off counters... down cabinets... no thanks... no sympathy... for the unpleasant task of cleaning... reordering...

A thought flashed through my mind... the heart of a story... a parable I had to search out...
"Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, 'Sit down and eat'? Wouldn't you be more likely to say, 'Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I've finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper'? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what's expected of him? It's the same with you. When you've done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, 'The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.'"               --- Jesus, Luke 17:7-10, Msg (my emphasis)

ESV translates verse 10... So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty.'"

Me... an unworthy servant.... convicted of... wicked expectations... a heart stirred... feeling put out... wanting to be praised... for doing the ordinary... the required... my duty... the role that is mine as the homemaker...

The refrigerator only required such a clean... because it is a duty I don't do often... the mess so messy because of my negligence... and my heart wants to be praised for doing a dirty job that's only so dirty because I don't do it as I should...

Wicked... unworthy... praise is not to be expected for doing our duty... the required...

The same is true of our walk of faith... doing the things God calls us to... everyday... we should not expect... or even deserve... thanks... a rest... or special treatment...

We are servants... do your duty well... with joy... diligence... and without a thought to self...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

James 2: thoughts... part 2

Read James 2

There are phrases in James... that are hard for me to get a handle on... the meaning elusive...

The exercise... practice... of memorizing... sets the words in my mind... they slip off the tongue... sounding like they have deep meaning... which they do... but I don't necessarily get it... yet...

Asking God to explain the bits that seem odd... and waiting with an ear open... He gives insight...

One such verse...

Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom.
James 2:12
HCSB

The slippery... judged by the law of freedom... knowing this... how should it make one speak... and act...?

Maybe this is straightforward to you... but to me... not so much... until... it just came... an epiphany... by God's grace...

...the law of freedom... it's the law that sets us free...!

It is only within the law that we find freedom... God created us... He knows the way we are meant to live in order to be happy... joyful... filled with life... and it is within the boundary of His law...

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32

I walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
Psalm 119:45

Speak and act... as those who will be judged... by the law of freedom...

How should this truth... make us speak and act...? 

With grace... mercy...

Anyone... outside the law of freedom... is in bondage... a slave to sin...

Do you see...?

Freedom is only found in God's Way... anyone outside that Way is lost... wandering in darkness... bound...

Speak and act as those who will be judged
by the law of freedom!

The law of freedom says... love your enemy... pray for them... feed them ...

Those who know the law of freedom... who walk within it... know the freedom... and look with pity on those outside... thinking... What are you doing to yourself...?  Come in... come under... this is where true freedom is... joy... peace...

We will not draw those outside by judging harshly... legalistically... with condemnation... but only with grace...

And those who have truly come under the law... know that... they know how He wooed... called... brought us so grace-fully... into the law of freedom...

You see Him... throughout the Gospels... doing the same thing... socializing with sinners... healing on the Sabbath... touching... reaching out to... the unclean...

It was these acts of mercy... compassion... that sent Him to the cross... by those who were religious... legalistic... they killed the One who came to fulfill the law... yet all they saw was Him breaking it...

Speak... act... as those who will be judged... by the law of freedom...

For judgment is without mercy
to the one who hasn't shown mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:13
HCSB
(my emphasis)

Friday, July 20, 2012

love never fails

Last evening... I sat with a friend... holding hands... crying...

She lost her love... her husband... three weeks shy of their 63rd anniversary...

For more than six months... she cared for him in sickness... nursed him... loved him...

I didn't want to let him go...

I shared her sadness... her pain... yet... her words... thoughts... about her marriage... her love... were beautiful...

I didn't regret one day with him... he was good to me... never raised his voice... took care of me...

My own experience asked... You never once got so mad you wanted to walk out...?

No... not once...

She shared the months of sickness... in and out of hospitals... caring for him at home til she couldn't any longer... moving... together... into a nursing home...

I know he would have done the same for me...

And I believe he would have...

Tears well... throat tightens... even now...

Would anyone do such a thing for me... am I loved so well...? Will I prove to be such a love...?

It is an assurance and confidence I long for in my own marriage... to see it played out... till death do us part... is a beautiful thing... a rare thing...

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12
ESV

Lord... today... I pray for my friend... may she know Your great love for her... be her Husband in this time of loss... provide care and comfort... for this sweet friend in her time of need...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

help in taking Spirit steps

The redefining... of do... and breath... the breathing in... and out... brought to mind a great book on spiritual disciplines... one that helps explain the why... what... and how...

by Richard J. Foster

Foster divides the Disciplines into three categories...

Inward Disciplines
Meditation
Prayer
Fasting
Study

Outward Disciplines
Simplicity
Solitude
Submission
Service

Corporate Disciplines
Confession
Worship
Guidance
Celebration

Perhaps you've already practiced some... maybe your favorite isn't found on his list... the main purpose is seeking God... following the leading of the Spirit... cultivating a heart attitude... to truly know Him...
 
We must not be led to believe that the Disciplines are only for spiritual giants and hence beyond our reach, or only for contemplatives who devote all their time to prayer and meditation. Far from it. God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life to be for ordinary human beings: people who have jobs, who care for children, who wash dishes and mow lawns. In fact, the Disciplines are best exercised in the midst of our relationships with our husband or wife, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors.
--- Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline


Carving out time for the doing of God... walking with the Spirit... is something we won't be able to do later... it's one of those Today things... only in this world do we have the opportunity to exercise our faith... and take steps with the unseen...

Lord Jesus... Today... help me to carve out time... for You... pursuing You... in the realm of the unseen... taking steps with the Spirit... Increase my desire to know You... grow me to love You... with all my heart... soul... mind... and strength...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

breathe in... breathe out...

It amazes me how God brings things together... the redefining... of do... and breath... built on one another... connected through His leading... in my reading...

The spiritual practices... exercises... that God calls us to... that seem like nothing to many... are essential to our walk of faith... our walk with the Spirit...

It is through these exercises of meditating on God's Word... eating it... praying it... listening with expectation... submitting... that we grow... in relationship with our Savior... and become forces for God... in a broken world...

As I read over lunch yesterday... wondering what God was telling me about breath... a heading caught my attention... Spiritual Breathing...

The teaching of Bill Bright helped me learn to become a follower who is filled with the Spirit. He teaches a spiritual exercise called "Spiritual Breathing." The basic idea is that you live with a moment by moment awareness of the Spirit until walking in the Spirit becomes as natural --- as habitual --- as breathing. It's just part of who you are. Here's how it works: the moment you become aware of sin in your life you exhale. When you exhale, you breathe out and repent of your sin. Repentance becomes a natural response and clears out space in our hearts for the Spirit to fill us. So the moment you are prideful, jealous, lustful, harsh, selfish, impatient, you exhale and repent of your sin. ... And then you inhale. When you inhale you breathe in and pray to be filled with the Spirit and you surrender control over to him. As you practice this spiritual breathing it teaches you to keep in step with the Spirit. Followers live with a continual awareness of the Spirit's presence and a constant prayer to be filled with his power.
---Kyle Idleman, not a fan.


When we surrender to God's Sovereignty... we no longer just have our breath to attest to His rule over us... we receive His Spirit... the Holy Spirit... who empowers us to do all He calls us to... things we are incapable of on our own... through Him we bear real fruit...

...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The only way to live a godly life... is by the power of the Spirit...

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25
ESV

Keep in step with the Spirit... one breath at a time... breathe in... breathe out...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

redefining breath

In my reading through today... a verse from yesterday came to mind... I had to seek it out...

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,
searching all his innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:27
ESV

A text note told me that in Hebrew... the word translated as spirit... is breath...

The breath of man... is the lamp of the Lord... searching all his innermost parts...

How accurate... breath goes in and out... nose... mouth... lungs... but on a cellular level... red blood cells carry our breath... to every living cell in our body...

Breath... unseen... spirit... goes to ALL our innermost parts... as the lamp of the Lord...

I searched out lamp... in Hebrew it means... lamp... but wait... the Dictionary of Biblical Languages says... it also means...

chosen rulership, presence, formally, lamp, i.e., the reigning presence of an heir, with a special focus to keep or guard something...

Lamp ... a symbol of rulership... sovereignty...

There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
Psalm 132:17
ESV

Another translates this same verse...

There I will make David strong; I have determined
my chosen king's dynasty will continue.
Psalm 132:17
NET

So now we have...

The breath of man is the reigning presence of the Lord...

As long as we have breath... searching our innermost parts... we are under the reigning presence of the Lord... here we have a choice... we come under His Sovereignty... or we rebel...

It is His breath... that gives life... we can recognize that truth... or deny it... a choice for life... or death...

Breath... evidence of God's rule in... through... and over... our lives...

 Father God... may I honor You... with every breath I take...

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150:6
ESV

Monday, July 16, 2012

redefining do

In the study with sisters... I was reminded that God has a different definition of do...

We... in American society... with countless resources at our fingertips... and a heritage of can do culture... do not often see the spiritual practices God calls us to as doing... if it's not something we can physically do... something we can see... feel... and touch... then it's nothing...

This is not true... it is a lie...

Being still and knowing He is God is a long shot from nothing. Trusting in a God you cannot see is a long shot from nothing. Holding your tongue is a long shot from nothing. Being patient is a long shot from nothing. Counting it all joy is a long shot from nothing. Submitting is a long shot from nothing. Confessing sin is a long shot from nothing. Resting in Christ is a long shot from nothing. and hear this one really loudly: praying is a long shot from nothing.
---Beth Moore, James: Mercy Triumphs

We serve a God that is Spirit... Who calls us to live by faith... exercising the unseen... in order to overcome the seen...

It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going.
2Corinthians 5:7
Msg

The most important things... the things of God... are the things we need to tend to most... but sadly... busyness gets in the way... the deception that unless we do... all we have to do... in this world... in our world... we are doing nothing... wasting time...

Take time today... to be still... know that He is God... pray... seek... wait... before you do... one more thing...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

words that encourage

Yesterday morning... after the posting... the lesson of James continued...

Running late... I heard James McDonald on the radio... the topic... Family Conflict... the verse introduced...

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 13:3

He continued... How do you guard your mouth?... then he gave a list...

     Five questions to ask before you speak:
  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it loving?
  3. Is it chosen?
  4. Is it fair?
  5. Is it time?
Wise teaching... good counsel... a lesson God truly wants me to learn...

This morning... I found encouragement... in my reading through... words I noticed yesterday... looking ahead...

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1
ESV

I remembered words spoken to the one I offended... when talking through forgiveness... wrestling with conflict...

Thank you... thank you for telling me how I hurt you...

If nothing else... I am grateful for the discipline... grateful for the opportunity to learn... more about me... however ugly... and more about him... the one I love...

And my Father in heaven... revealed through the myriad of discipline... and lessons... His love for me...

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 12:5-6
(emphasis mine)

Has God shown His love for you lately... through discipline... rebuke...?
Give thanks...

Friday, July 13, 2012

James 1: thoughts... part 5

Read James 1

It always happens... I should have known... been on guard...

When learning... studying... the Word... there is always a test... this week I failed... it was a pop quiz... me unprepared...

My dearly loved brothers, understand this:
Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak...
James 1:19
HCSB
(my emphasis)

The failing grade revealed last night seeking a reason for the silence... the unscheduled test apparently taken the night before... unbeknownst to me...

My grade: cruel... biting... crushing...

No intentional malice meant on my part... thinking back... trying to remember the exact words... but clearly I failed... to hear...

I didn't truly hear that his words were coming from the heart... words previously unshared... no perception of the exposed heart... or consideration... to where his words came from...

Everyone must be quick to hear.... F

Words from me... without thought... without intention... just speaking on my own... a conversation that seemed light... silly... my own foolish words added...

...slow to speak... F

Tears followed... forgiveness sought... from Him... and from him...

Before we slept... forgiveness granted... but... the harm I did left wounds... how quickly will they heal...? When will I be trusted again... with words from the heart...?

This morning... in the reading through...

The wise of heart will recieve commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
Proverbs 10:8
ESV

The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
Proverbs 10:14
ESV

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 10:19
ESV

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
Proverbs 10:32
ESV

With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
Proverbs 11:9
ESV

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
Proverbs 11:12
ESV

A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
Proverbs 11:17
ESV

Clearly... a lesson I need to take to heart... every word has power...

Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

My dearly loved brothers and sisters... understand this... Everyone must be quick to hear... and slow to speak...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

a word that frees

Shame-less...

without shame... without guilt...

Different than the shameless of yesterday...

The word came to mind reading a new book ... the author recounts a story from Luke 7 ... Jesus accepts an invitation to dinner at the home of a Pharisee... but the dinner party is crashed by a prostitute...

     She was desperate to see Jesus again, and she overheard someone saying that he was having dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee --- a dinner she would never be invited to attend, not in a thousand years. ... But she had to see Jesus. It's hard to imagine what it would take for her to walk into that courtyard. ... She is desperate to express the love and affection she feels for him. What she does next is reckless, it's impulsive, it's inappropriate, and it's exactly the kind of follower Jesus wants.
     Picture the scene. Jesus is reclining at the table. Instead of using chairs they would lean on an elbow that was propped up by a cushion. Their feet would be away from the table. This woman approaches... The table grows silent. Everybody is watching. Everybody knows who she is. What is she doing? She looks around at the guests. She feels from some that familiar glare of condemnation. Others keep their eyes down, embarrassed by her presence and the awkwardness of the moment. But when she looks at Jesus... She falls to the ground and begins to kiss his feet. Soon, the tears are just pouring down her face. They begin to drip onto the dirty feet of Jesus. As she looks at the muddy streaks she suddenly realizes that his feet haven't been washed. She can't ask for a towel, so she lets down her hair... an intimate expression... She lets her hair down in front of Jesus and there was likely an audible gasp. She begins washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and drying them with her hair.
--- Kyle Idleman, excerpt from not a fan. (emphasis added)

To those who looked down on her... she was shameless... but it's exactly because she was shame-less that she was able to do what she did... that she was driven to do what she did... the inappropriate...

Jesus had changed her heart... freed of guilt... shame... she shame-lessly worshipped Him...

This is the Word that frees...

For the Scripture says,
"Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."
Romans 10:11

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

a word that grieves

Shameless...

Webster's says... having no shame... shame being... a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety...

The sign of a hard heart... a dangerous condition for a Believer...

During the Exodus... the newly freed Isrealites were shameless in their craving for meat... tired of the miraculous meals from heaven... they longed to return to Egypt... the land of slavery...

God heard the cry of His people... He knew their hearts... He gave them what they craved... miraculously... He provided the desire of their heart...

Their hearts were far from God... they were not thankful... they were not fearful... God gave them what they craved... but it came with a price...

An episode recorded in song...

He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises and sang his praise.

But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel.
In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wasteland they put God to the test.
So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease upon them.

Psalm 106:10-15
(my emphasis)

... a wasting disease... translated by others as... an empty heart... and... leanness into their soul...

God answers prayers... He hears the cry of the heart... He will feed the flesh... or He will feed the soul... the spirit... you can't have both... it's a choice... life or death...

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
John 3:6

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
John 6:63

That's why the call to carry your cross... crucify the flesh...

We all... who believe... have been freed from the slavery of sin and death... we walk this wilderness world... until we reach the Promised Land...

We can choose to crave... feeding flesh... asking God... demanding... grumbling... You are not enough... Or we can choose to die... put our fleshly desires on the cross... trusting... Your will be done...

But we cannot have both... to feed the cravings of the flesh... is to starve the soul...

To demand... beg... grumble... asking God... the Bread of Life... to feed a craving that kills...

Shameless...

A word that grieves...

Seeing this word made flesh... in the life of a loved one... fills with sorrow...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

words that jar

I would give it to you if I could...

Her words on the front porch... after the study with sisters...

Words that jarred me...

Words spoken in response to my desire to do something to help her deal with a tremendous loss... a hard walk...

Would I really take it... if it could be given...?  Really...?

The thought of carrying what she endures... overwhelming... challenges the depth of my love...

Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

The thought of carrying... what she carries... a loss that cannot be replaced... just the thought of it... opresses my heart... my spirit... Fear... that it could be given to me... that a broken world dishes out such loss regularly... takes my breath away...

Words that gave me a reality check... on where I am... when it comes to loving others... laying down... joy... peace... wholeness... for another...

Would I take it...?

If I could... I hope I would...

For One has taken it for me...

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5
ESV
(emphasis mine)

The Love that lays down His life.. for His friends...

I still have far to go...

Monday, July 9, 2012

choices

We make them... everyday...

Choices that affect our lives... and relationships...

I dreamed last night... about a friend... one that chose to break relationship... just stopped writing back... stopped answering calls... without reason... without explanation...

She had made choices... even though she didn't tell me what they were... I heard... through another... the choices she made... sin-full choices... that led to her choice to break relationship...

I never understood her choice to break with me...
Did she think I would reject... so she did first... to save pain...?
Did she think I would try to save...?
Did she think I wouldn't understand...?

I loved her... still do... my heart still breaks over the broken relationship...

Does she not know this love...?

Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
1Peter 4:8

Does she not love deeply...?
Does she reject... rather than cover...?

I've made choices too... sin-full ones... ones that merit rejection... ones I've hidden... for years... fearing rejection...

Over the last few years... God has led me to reveal... confess... sin to loved ones... ones I feared being rejected by... literal gut-wrenching fear... but with each confession... I found deep love... the kind that covers a multitude of sins...

A love I long to share with others... a love that brings freedom... a love I want to pour out like grace... to bring healing... to my friend who rejected me... because of her choices... to another who did the same...

It's risky to seek forgiveness... it involves exposing oneself... humiliating oneself... admitting sin... pride prevents... fear paralyzes... but love is at stake... freedom... and grace...


Lord... thank You... for the unmerited grace and love you have poured into my life... use me to pour it into the lives of others... that they might know... Your love...

 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

filled with rest

Cleaning...
company...
rest-full relaxation...

Catching up... complete... for the moment...

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1
ESV

Friday, July 6, 2012

enduring battle

Some days... victory feels real... confident that temptation is dead... desires of the flesh defeated...

But... those days are fleeting and far between... the same old feelings re-surface... fear... jealousy... doubt... envy... they just keep resurrecting themselves... they refuse to stay down for the count...

The Way of Christ is an enduring battle...

More than a one-time decision, those who live the Christ-Centered life regularly face their struggles and must choose each day to follow Jesus rather than giving in to the pull of the secular world. They learn by habitual practice to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Christ. But like those who battle to overcome physical addictions, the addictions of the human heart don't fade overnight. The roots of our desire for recognition, wealth, power, and pleasure are buried deep in our souls. They claw at our hearts and don't easily give way.

Confirmation of the battle... emboldens me to keep fighting... I'm not the only one who struggles...

The Word tells us...

The promise of "arrival" and "rest" is still there for God's people.
God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey
we'll surely rest with God. So let's keep at it
and eventually arrive at the place of rest,
not drop out through some sort of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:9-11
Msg

To stay Christ-Centered is a battle... daily... moment by moment... vigilence required... enduring... toward rest...

Since therefore it remains for some to enter [His rest],
and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter
because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day,
"Today," saying through David so long afterward...
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts."
Hebrews 4:6-7
ESV

Father God... do not let me fall to the temptation of my flesh...
keep the promise of rest fresh in my spirit...
Today... open my ears to Your voice...
encourage my heart to obey...
empower me to fight... enduring battle...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

James 2: thoughts... part 1

Read James 2

Wimbledon started June 25... we all like to watch... me and spouse... kids... all tennis fans...

Watching... I noticed the commentators mention celebrities sitting in the players boxes... One celebrity familiar to me... made my flesh react with an unexpected excitement... What is he doing in her box? What would it be like to be someone who attracts such personalities...? Thoughts that surprised me...

Of course... in addition to the celebrities being pointed out in the crowd, at Wimbledon there is the Royal Box... a special section for the elite persons... royalty... good seats with retractable shade to keep the sun off...

My study of James brought to mind...

My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, "Sit here in a good place," and yet you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or "Sit here on the floor by my footstool," haven't you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4
HCSB

Favoritism... a worldly concept... our culture rampant with it... our churches... surely not immune...

With all the celebrities being looked with favor on at Wimbledon... I thought... What if one walked into my church... my congregation... how would I act? I had been surprised at my reaction to the one in the players box... what if I came face to face... in an assembly of Believers...?

...do not show favoritism...

To make this Word flesh... we need to treat everyone we encounter in church as a celebrity whom we adore... or with the same contained politeness bordering on indifference we treat the ordinary person we encounter in church...

...do not show favoritism...

Do we temper our greetings of the preferred or ramp up enthusiasm for the veritable stranger...?

The key is found in...

...as you hold on to the faith
in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ...

Each of us Believers hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord...

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3

In our glorious Lord... our real life is now hidden with Christ in God... every Believer is glorious... to be treated with the same enthusiasm... honor... respect... as any worldly celebrity... to discriminate is to deny the glory of Christ... and in Christ we are one body... therefore any discrimination is toward self... clearly an evil judgment...

CS Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, said...

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe, and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Everyone created in the image of God... His breath breathed into them... has an eternal destination... As His representatives... we are to treat ALL with the same respect... honor... love... there are no ordinary people...

My brothers and sisters,
believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ
must not show favoritism.
James 2:1
NIV
(emphasis mine)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

i would've missed it...



This view... I never would've have seen it... never made it to this point... without the leadership of my husband...

The trail started off clear enough... a stairway from the parking lot of the dam... built by Boy Scouts... the sign said it was a 2 mile trail...

At the top of the stairs a gravel path was easy to follow... then we came to a y... to the left looked like an old road... to the right... more gravel overlooking a quarry... I thought following the gravel was the way... not long we came to a dead end... backtracking... my husband said we should go left... down the road... the way he thought first...

Back at the road-like trail... we walked... shortly it came to a real road... a locked gate separating trail from highway...

I was stumped... this is a stupid trail... there was no map at the beginning to show the way the 2 miles went... I stood at the gate... what a short adventure...

Husband... however... without hesitation... walked around the gate, loped across the highway, to investigate the woods on the other side...

Following his boldness, I ducked down and crawled through the gate... standing at the edge of the road I began to look... scanning across the highway for signs of the trail...

On a tree... to the right... was a small wooden plaque... painted brown... bearing a white arrow etched in the wood...

There it is...

We converged at the trail... me still unsure... because what type of people make woodsy-hiking trails without telling you they cross major roads...?  Apparently, Boy Scouts...

My spouse thoroughly confident and undaunted led the way through the woods... narrow trails... an ocassional arrow... faded red... on aluminum circles... nailed to trees, showed the way...


The Boy Scouts's directions left me wondering...

Without the leadership of my trailblazing husband... I never would have made it past the road... never seen the view... or walked along the bluff...


The Word made flesh... the leadership of husbands... their place at the head...

For the husband is the head of the wife...
Ephesians 5:22
ESV

At the head of my family... my husband... his leadership needed...

But my heartache... he remains an unbeliever... will not lead... cannot lead our family spiritually...

As I follow... on the trail... amazed at his undaunted spirit when the trail is unsure... a prayer...

Lord... what he could do as the spiritual head of our family...
capture his heart, Lord... capture his heart...

I wonder... what spiritual trails have I missed...? Where have I turned back instead of boldly moving forward...? I wonder... what would be... what could be... what will be...

But I want you to understand that
the head of every man is Christ,
the head of a wife is her husband,
and the head of Christ is God.
1Corinthians 11:3
ESV

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

refreshed

The trip-to-be... [now the trip-that-was...] refreshed... both marriage and relationship...
A celebration of 26 years...
Return with a heart to celebrate each day of the 27th...
Today... day 5...!!!

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6
ESV

Monday, July 2, 2012

catching up

Every return requires catching up...
laundry...
email...
prep for coming week...
plans laid out...

But catching up doesn't go as planned...

The unplanned and unexpected fill my day... yet these fell into place...

It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
Psalm 18:30

Catching up... incomplete... but trusting Him... to make my way perfect...