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

Friday, August 31, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 6

Read James 3

Wisdom... knowledge... insight... judgment... it's what we desire when making decisions... the daily choices that make up our lives...

James... distinguishes two sources of wisdom... earthly... human wisdom... and... above... divine wisdom...

Now... things get a little disturbing when he equates... earthly wisdom... that of man... with the unspiritual... and... demonic...

Earthly wisdom... illustrated as the desire to deny sin... cover up truth... do whatever it takes to make you look good... rather than be good... could be summed up in the phrase... image is everything... (hmmm... sound familiar...?)

But... the wisdom from above... exhibits itself as...
  • pure... without moral defect or blemish...
  • peace-loving... peaceable... not contentious or quarrelsome...
  • gentle... gracious... forebearing...
  • compliant... willing to yield... reasonable...
  • full of mercy... showing kindness... concern... for someone in serious need...
  • full of good fruits... the outcomes are morally sound...
  • without favoritism... impartial...without variance... or inconsistency...
  • without hypocrisy...  sincere... genuine...
Divine wisdom... unlike... earthly wisdom... is other-centered... just like our Savior...
 
Who is wise and has understanding among you?
James 3:13
(my emphasis)

Test wisdom... is your brand... unspiritual... demonic... or... Spirit-filled... untainted...?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 5

Read James 3

I'll be glad when I'm finally done with the book of James... the daily memory work... meditating... eating... I'm looking forward to a time of respite from him... His words... revealing unpleasantness I need to deal with... tend to... confess...

...if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart,
don't brag and deny the truth.
Such wisdom does not come from above
but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where envy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every kind of evil.
James 3:14-16
HCSB

James advises...

...if you have bitter envy...
and selfish ambition...
 in your heart...
don't deny the truth...

Of course... that is our first response... when sin is revealed... deny... push it down... tell the self... That is not me... I'm gracious... unselfish... but if sin is kept in the dark... the Light cannot do its work... the obliterating of sin... 

"...I have come into the world as a light,
so that no one who believes in me
should stay in darkness. ..." --- Jesus
John 12:46
(my emphasis)

Over the past days... weeks... months... a tainted spring has been revealed... I cannot deny it... bitter envy... and selfish ambition... bubble up in my heart... from time to time...

This journey into writing... has stirred an envy I can hardly believe...

The process of buying a new car... used no less... highlighted selfish ambition...

My spouse's placement of a second fan next to the bed... sparked a sneer...

Each emotion... unwilled... undesired... unconscious... simply bubbled up... clenching my heart... yikes...

I confess... disorder... every kind of evil... lurks in the recesses of my heart... Like the ills of the tongue... there is no man-made cure... but God offers a path to spiritual healing...

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Therefore confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:15-16

Sin... associated with sickness... healing found in confessing to the righteous... that they might pray... making the sick well... and the sinner forgiven...

Today... I humbly confess... bitter envy... and selfish ambition have taken root in my heart... bringing sickness... heart ache... I ask you to pray in faith... that I might be healed...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

eternity

With a 91-year-old unbelieving elder-in-law under our roof... I think about eternity... and pray for his eternal destination to be changed... but at times... the hoped for seems... unlikely... with decreasing mental capacity... How will he ever understand...?

An encouragement came from CS Lewis... a quote used in church...

There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else... It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we will still desire on our deathbed, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.

I see this man... my elder-in-law... who no longer knows... wife... friend... work... but who seeks two things... increasingly... desires that do not wane...

He wants to go home... he doesn't know where home is... one day it's Houston... the next Dallas... asking for a ride to the intersection so he can catch a bus and go home...

He wants to get married... just yesterday... he told me he was getting married... he did not know her name... or what time they would be married... but in his mind... the day was set... as he asked me... Did you know I was getting married today...?

Two deep desires... set in place by our Creator... the One who longs for us to come home... made the Way...

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? ..." ---Jesus
John 14:1-2
ESV

This world is not our home... but in Christ... we have an eternal home... being prepared for us... the place where we belong... with the One to whom we belong...

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear."
Revelation 19:6-8

The intimacy we all long for... found only in Him... will be made reality with a wedding...

It is without a doubt... eternity has been set in the hearts of men... I see it in the one growing older... each day... lost... but sure of his desires...

I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done
 from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-11
(my emphasis)
  
Father God... I see the beauty in this time of aging... a life sanded like wood... bringing the true grain of eternity to the surface... May the elder-in-law's eternal burden... draw him to You... the true source of home and intimacy...  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

James 2: thoughts... part 4

Continuing the work of memorization... from the study with sisters... thoughts from James continue... thoughts on feelings... and faith...

Read James 2

How often do we expect our feelings... emotions... to match our call to faith?

Watching one struggle with feelings... living by what he wants to do... not by what he needs to do... is painful... yet... I experience the same... at times... when it comes to faith... trusting based on how much I feel...

Memorizing... meditating on James... has increased clarity... faith and feelings... do not always align... even in mountaintop experiences...

Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God's friend.
James 2:21-23
HCSB

Abraham... by faith... climbed a mountain with his son... the son of promise... in order to sacrifice him to God... I can't tell you how many times I have recited this particular passage over the last two months... but recently... I began to see... that Abraham certainly did not feel like taking his son up the mountain to sacrifice him... each step he took... carrying in hand... the knife... the fire... must have been a desperate fight... against feelings...

Our flesh... steeped in selfish sin... fights against God's call to trust... believe... be faith-full...

Don't be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.
Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above...
James 1:16-17
HCSB

God's call to faith... a gift... obedience a blessing...

But each person is tempted when he is drawn away
and enticed by his own evil desires.
James 1:14
HCSB

Our emotions... lie... draw away... and entice...

Faith and feelings... often stir a battle within... they are at odds... I use this truth to determine if a thought is a call from God... if it is way out of my comfort zone... something I would run from naturally... it is most likely something I need to do... something God is calling me to...

Faith is not about feeling good... it is about doing good... obeying Him...

You see that man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
James 2:24
HCSB

Doing what we know to be right... even when we don't feel like it... that's faith...

Monday, August 27, 2012

exodus discoveries

The post-exodus weekend... quiet... contemplative... no children... a time of discoveries... insights... regarding this new wilderness walk...

A new identity... a stay-at-home mom... out of a job... not by choice... it's just the nature of the business... the point of the parenting exercise... still... there is a void... an emptiness... that reaches beyond the vacated rooms...

Something to celebrate... a milestone... children successfully through the grades... each in college... futures unknown... full of potential... each beginning their own relationship with God: Father... Son... Spirit... a job completed... by God's grace...

A relationship interrupted... a realization from watching a favorite movie... part of the story-line focused on a childless couple... not by choice... but by fate... seeing their relationship deepen... and grow... uninterrupted by children... made me wonder... We... my spouse and I... where would we be had we not been interrupted... by the darling three...? A vision in the making... a time to continue the melding of two-to-one... before we became... three... four... five... an adventure ahead... new discoveries... to be made... with my other half...

By God's grace... I walk the walk ahead... a time to mourn... a time to rejoice... a time to anticipate... by God's grace...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23
ESV

Saturday, August 25, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 4

Read James 3

Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.
Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom's gentleness.
James 3:10-13
HCSB
(emphasis added)

A transition that seems... odd... springs and wisdom... saltwater and fresh water... What does one have to do with the other?

I asked... waited... and received...

The whole of the passage... connections of words... tongue... and fruit... a metaphor... a word picture woven... the question...

Who is wise and has understanding among you?

...could also be rephrased...

Who has fresh water in his heart?

The one with springs of living water... flowing from within... he is the one with wisdom and understanding... the evidence... seen as plainly as water from a spring... good fruit from a tree... shown by good conduct... with wisdom's gentleness...

A transition... that makes perfect sense... when you see...

What flows from your heart...?

Friday, August 24, 2012

the woe of seeing

When the Light of Truth shines... into your own heart... revealing... sin... corruption... perversity... then seeing the Word made flesh... in yourself... can be hard...

Such truth... leads to denial... justification... laying blame... or... as God intends... confession...

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."
Isaiah 6:5

...and repentance...

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2Corinthians 7:10

A woe... a pain... for good... when we choose to stand in the Light... and let it do the work... of transformation...

Father God... provide the faith needed... to stand in Your Light... to receive the truth of my sin... no matter how painful... and allow You to redeem the dark... for Your glory...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

exodus

It began five years ago...
our oldest... going to college...
three years later... the middle one left...
two years after... today...  we moved the youngest out... and off...

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
...a time to plant,and a time to pluck up what is planted...
...a time to weep, and a time to laugh...
...a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing...
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4-5
ESV

Letting go... the point of the exercise...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

praying to see

I heard it... on the radio... a prayer to pray... when you want to see...

Make the Book live to me, O Lord.
Show me Yourself within Your Word.
Show me myself and show me my Savior,
And make the Book live to me.
--- Alistair Begg

For the word of God is living and active.
Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

growing to see

The ability to see the Word made flesh comes from knowing the Word... the spirit fed a steady diet of Scripture... grows from infancy to maturity... moving from milk to meat...

...solid food is for the mature, who by constant use
have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:14

We live in a world where... evil is called "good"... and good "evil"... seeing... distinguishing good... from evil... is difficult... vision blurs... distinctions unclear...

All around us... the material... natural... world... reveals spiritual truth... even our entertainment... the worldview from which it is based... promotes good... or evil...

Can you see clearly... is your favorite flick... good... or evil...?

The shows your children love... keeping them entertained while you do... are they good... or evil...?

Can you see... behind the story... for the heart of the message...?

Can you... distinguish... good... from evil...?

Practice... training... prayerful study of the Word... a heart open to the Spirit... obedience to the truth you know... is the only way... to improve your vision... see clearly... and make choices for Life...

Father God... I ask for Your blessing... a hunger for Your Word... and the eyes of my heart to be enlightened... that I might see... the Word made flesh...

Monday, August 20, 2012

the joy of seeing

I saw it yesterday... in church... this Word made flesh... revealed through life...

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.
For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 8:28

An abusive childhood transformed... into a tender heart of love for all children... a desire to bring little ones to Him... with joy... God's good at work...

A sight to see... increasing faith... increasing desire... for more...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

patience... the calm in the storm...

I woke this morning with patience on my mind... thoughts still stirring from a lesson in Hebrews...

In Greek... makrothumia... defined by Louw and Nida as... a state of emotional calm in the face of provocation or misfortune and without complaint or irritation...

A facet of... the fruit of the Spirit... and love... deeply connected with hope...

It is not a character trait we can force... it's part of a fruit that grows... nothing organic can be forced... a bean doesn't sprout because we will it... it grows by God's grace when we cultivate an environment for it... one compatible with growth...

So too... growing patience... requires cultivation... eating God's Word... praying... obeying... each practice preparing the mind... and heart... as good soil... for spiritual growth...

I wonder... is it patience... that makes it possible to...

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...
Philippians 2:14-15
(my emphasis)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7
(emphasis mine)

Patience... the ability to be the calm in the storm... an attribute worth cultivating...

Friday, August 17, 2012

hope for moms

Sorrows... heavy hearts... burdens...

Listened to a mom... recount the forays... of a child...

Witnessed my own child... face an outcome... tears welling... struggling...

Reminded of a mom... dealing with the loss of a child... the anniversary approaching...

Sorrows... heavy hearts... burdens...

The cost of love... the weight moms bear...

The hope... the blessing...

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11

Father God... gather... the lost... the struggling... the wandering... keep them close to Your heart... Lead their moms... to hope... trust... peace... and wisdom...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

glorify God...

I heard it in a teaching... this particular teacher's take on spiritual growth includes a listing of the lessons he perceives God guiding Believers in and out of... discipleship classes... including an upper level class... 801... The Glory of God... the graduate from this "class"... is characterized by a heart that reflects...

...at the end of every day, no matter what the loss, no matter what the hurt, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what my failure has been that day, I just ask one question: "Lord, were You glorified today? All that matters to me is that You're glorified, because You're the Creator and I'm the creature, and I want to see You glorified and I want to see You exalted." -- Michael Wells, Living the Abiding Life (my emphasis)

The words stuck... no matter what my failure... Lord, were You glorified today...? The thought that my failures can glorify God... seems counterintuitive... incongruous...

Can my failure... glorify God...?

I suppose... my failures... glorify God when... they reveal a departure from His Way... lead to a returning to the One who saves... and the receiving of forgiveness that heals...

He is glorified when... my failures reveal... my need for Him... and dependence on Him...

My failures... glorify God when... I'm willing to witness to others... reveal frailties... brokenness... and lead others to healing... through Him...

He is glorified... when my failures... humble... shape... and point to Him...

Lord... today I'm reminded... that Your ways... are not my ways... What looks like failure... You intend... for Your glory... Your cross... the biggest reminder... of Your redeeming power...

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depth of the grave.
Psalm 86:12-13

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

when things feel big...

Remember... God is bigger...

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 57:9-10

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

seize hope... bless the Lord...

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ...
...hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul...
Hebrews 6:11-12, 18-19
ESV
(emphasis mine)

...the full assurance of hope... biblical hope... confident expectation... not the hope of our culture... the timid hope... a wish-full hope... The hope of the Bible... the hope promised... is sure... true... one we hold fast to... it is the confident expectation of solid ground... Rock... under our feet...

...hold fast... translated from Greek... meaning... to have power, be powerful.... to be chief, be master of, to rule... to get possession of... seize... to lay hand's on one in order to get him into one's power...

We are called to seize hope... master it... take possession of it... we do not dangle like a dinghy from an anchor in a storm... bouncing on the waves... desperately hoping we will hold out...

We know hope... the confident expectation of the Savior... whose purpose and goodness... is beyond all...

This truth... makes us steadfast in a storm... even a small storm of the soul... a temper-tantrum... brushed off because you have mastered... seized control of... hope...!

No wavering... no doubting... God is good... He loves you... and me... He allows only what is best... He is light... darkness comes only when we turn our backs on Him...

The seizing of hope... blesses the Lord... reveals trust... faith... makes way for patience... kindness... calm... in difficulties... small and great... internal and external...


Monday, August 13, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 3

Read James 3

It's great! It will hold anything you need to hold...

My husband's commentary... on the newly installed vise... an addition to the work table in the garage...

Foolishly... I asked... Will it hold my tongue...?

No... you need a bigger vise for that...

The only grace... it was said with a smile... a grace undeserved... a stressful weekend... words not held... encouragement not given... me... shamefully self-centered... ugh... my tongue... revealing a heart in need of work...

Now when we place bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder, wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.
James 3:3-6 HCSB (my emphasis)

The tongue... compared to the rudder of a great ship... determines the path... at the will of the pilot...

This pilot... continues to get off course...

For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.
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 7:18-19
(my emphasis)

The will of the flesh... out of alignment with the spirit's desire...

The Greek... translated as will in James 3:4... includes the defining characteristic of impulse... which according to Merriam-Webster is...
a sudden spontaneous inclination or incitement to some usually unpremeditated action
The will takes over... reacting without thought... to the ever changing environment... often at the expense of one's actual desire... in Greek... to will, have in mind, intend...

Without thought... without self-control... without a firm stance in God's strength... our impulse is to follow the flesh... drastically... changing our course of life...

Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:7
HCSB
(emphasis added)

Nothing man-made... not even a vice... can hold the tongue...

Wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24-25
ESV

Thank You, Jesus... for delivering me...
from this body of sin and death...
Once more... I surrender... repent... and ask forgiveness...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

life in the dark

Thoughts from the Summit...
three persist...
plant more seeds...
every choice matters...
life in the dark...

She spoke it... the leader returned... to give testimony...
The fact that scientists found life in the deepest... darkest... parts of the ocean... where they thought NOTHING could exist... was a proving factor in her search... for a personal God...

Life in the dark... evidence of a loving God...

And we see it every day... if we look... people living in darkness... unimaginable darkness... surviving... living... in places... circumstances... seemingly incompatible with life...

A story shared... a girl... daughter of missionaries... rejected God... He took her parents away from her... boarding school required... she became... CC... "Cold and Calculating"... self-destructive... choices led to deep... darkness...

Yet in that darkness... when she cried out... He called... He rescued... He redeemed... called her to rescue others... from deep... darkness... places where life... should not exist...

Life in the dark... evidence of a loving God...

Another boy... growing up in darkness... rejected the faith of his grandmother... because of the darkness all around him... hopeless...

Yet in his grandmother's deepest darkness... dying a hard death... cancer eating away... he saw her faith shine... the hope of life... in the darkness of death... a faith worth giving a second chance... now he works... to bring the hope of life... to dark places...

Life in the dark... evidence of a loving God...

All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:3-5
HCSB

The power of God's love... for His rebellious creation... shines in the darkness... and will not be overcome...

Choose for yourself... this day... where to plant seeds... of life... hope... love... in deep... dark... places...

Then Jesus spoke... "I am the light of the world.
Anyone who follows Me
will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12
HCSB
(my emphasis)

Friday, August 10, 2012

every... choice... matters...

A running theme... over the past weeks... stirred by stories... echoed through the Summit...

The impact of choices... determining paths...

How does a black girl... born in segregated Birmingham... grow to be... Secretary of State...?

How does a boy... end up living life... from a sofa... diapered... drinking a quart of whiskey every three days... at the age of 54...?

How do brothers... 12 and 17... begin an international ministry... that grows to impact the lives of thousands... children and families... world-wide...?

Choices... small choices... every day... each one... leading to life... or... death...

No choice... inconsequential... each choice... bearing eternal consequences...

This day I call heaven and earth
as witnesses against you that I have set before you
life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live...
Deuteronomy 30:19
(emphasis mine)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

take-aways...

The annual Summit trek...
re-ignites passion...
convicts complacency...
inspires action...

The proper response to a 75% rejection ratio.... the mathematical reality faced by the sower...

SOW MORE SEEDS!

Encourage others... to sow more seeds...

Sow self... with prayer and planning...

Plant seeds... of belief and encouragement... in the next generation...

Seeds planted... always... eyeing the future... with a hope of harvest...

Evidence of this truth... offered in a testimony... past seeds sown... producing a harvest of peace...

When the odds look dismal... do not get discouraged... simply... sow... more... seeds...

 Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

winding down... wrapping up... blown around...

Summer... quickly winding down...
anticipation... of fall... stirring...
a daughter leaving... back to school...
a son to return... a short break... only to leave again...
another... preparing for a first semester...

A season of new things beginning...
some things left undone...
other things... somewhere in the middle...
leaving me with mixed feelings... mismatched emotions...

A day to try and tie up loose ends...
continue with new routines...
take steps toward new beginnings...
wrapping up... letting go... moving on...

Yet feeling at a loss...
not sure what lies ahead...
uncertainty... leaving a heart unsteady...

A storm tried to blow in this evening... the elder-in-law and I on the porch... watching... waiting... the wind gusting... whipping... tree branches waving... the one with me expressed a fear... of high winds... storms...

The wind... reminding me... it is a picture of Him... One to be feared... reverenced... One unseen... capable of tremendous force... and tender gentleness... One whose presence is seen... through His effect...

"... The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." ---Jesus
John 3:8
ESV

Today... that's how I felt... wind blown... tossed... doing whatever came next... unsure where I was going... where I have been... stirred... yet comforted... knowing His presence... shown... by the wind...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

words... handle with care...

Thoughts from yesterday... linger today... echoing in my heart...

...careless words... those that bring judgment... what exactly are those words... what do they look like...?

First to Merriam-Webster... careless... free from care... indifferent, unconcerned... negligent, slovenly... unstudied, spontaneous...

The care... the careless are free of... a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility... painstaking or watchful attention...

The Greek... argos... translated as... careless... according to Enhanced Strong's Lexicon... lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform... Dictionary of Biblical Languages says... idle, not working... without thought, careless in consideration...

Careless... thoughtless... words... words that don't work... words we use... not making any effort to consider before we speak... lazy words... dangerous words...

Reckless words pierce like a sword...
Proverbs 12:18

What happens... to those careless with sharp objects... knives... swords...? They hurt themselves... and others...

Watching someone wielding a blade carelessly... what do you do...? Retreat... back away... careful not to turn your back on the one with the blade...

The same is true of those with careless... reckless... words... Have you been stabbed in the back...? Have your own words... returned... to pierce your own heart?

Being created... in the image of the One who created by His Word... our words... have power... to heal...
and to destroy...

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

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Proverbs 10:11
ESV

A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4
ESV

Words... like power tools... must be used with care... work with your words... care-fully... labor over every word... that it might build up... and not tear down...

How do you handle your words...?
Consider... who receives your most careless words...? ...your most thoughtful words...?

Monday, August 6, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 2

Read James 3

What do you do... when the revelation of the morning... is confirmed... hours later... through a nationally broadcast message...?

I simply smiled when I heard him... through the car radio... speaking the same verses recited on the treadmill this morning... but... when his message... was the same message spoken to me by the Spirit... confirming the truth I heard... the one I jotted down... for the posting today... I'm now a little stunned...

Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites.
And the tongue is a fire.
The tongue, a world of unrighteousness,
is placed among the parts of our bodies.
It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire,
and is set on fire by hell.
 ...no man can tame the tongue. ...
James 3:5-8
HCSB

Continuing the treadmill recitation... the rolling over of words from mind to heart... leads to revelation... the connecting of verse to other verses... revealing a picture... a truth...

The tongue... a window to the heart...

The heart... the wellspring of life...

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23
(my emphasis)

The tongue... spewing forth from that spring...

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34

The words formed by our tongue... the ones that pour out of our mouths... reveal the state of our hearts...

The speaker on the radio advised... listen to your words... pay attention to what you say... and consider what they reveal about you...

Not necessarily an encouraging exercise... examination of our own heart... but one that is necessary... knowing the truth... the true state of our soul... makes way for freedom...

There is no taming of the tongue... for there is no changing of the heart... we cannot change... For a time we mask... pretend... act out what we want to be... but only God transforms...  stone to flesh... bitter to sweet... filthy to clean...

Our only part... is to willingly crucify... deny... kill our will... and let the Lord truly reign!

Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross
and follow me. ..."
Matthew 16:24

Follow Him... to the cross... the crucifixion of self... building up the Father's kingdom... The first step... recognizing the need to crucify... restraining words... biting the tongue... yielding the way to others...

The radio speaker... pointed out the gravity of our words... how the Father takes each and every word we say seriously...

"... I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." ---Jesus
Matthew 12:36-27
HCSB
(emphasis mine)

Lord... this message... words revealing hearts... let me not dismiss it... May the only fire setting my tongue ablaze... be the fire of the Spirit... in Jesus's name...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

forgetful

Today... my frustration... impatience... surfaced with situations out of my control... dependent on others to do what needs to be done... amazed at how easily I still become stirred... so far to go... so little trust... in His plans... His ways... so forgetful...

I know, Lord, that a man's way of life is not his own;
no one who walks determines his own steps.
Jeremiah 11:23
HCSB

Father God... help me to remember... my life is not my own...
I am not in control... I do not determine my way...

Friday, August 3, 2012

because the world is broken

nursing homes...
funerals...
widows...
wheelchairs...
pain...
tears...

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement
and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts
and strengthen you in every good work and word.
2Thessalonians 2:16-17
HCSB

Thursday, August 2, 2012

James 3: thoughts... part 1

Read James 3

If anyone does not stumble in what he says,
he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.
James 3:2
HCSB

Mature... defined as... anyone who does not stumble in what he says... the one without shoelaces hanging down past the chin... a sign of the spiritually mature...

Again... just this week... my mouth... revealing my level of growth... or lack of... again... reminded how far I have to go... how immature...

Yet... there is another element... something big... the control of the tongue... words... connected with control of the whole...

... a mature man... is also able
to control his whole body...

Words... associated with the control of the whole body...

Many sins deal directly with our words... lies... flattery... gossip... slander... cursing... criticizing... complaining...

But... could it be... self-discipline of the mouth... leads to overcoming other sins... temptations...?

Dealing with our sins of the tongue... the key to overcoming all other temptations... 

With what do you struggle...? 
food...?
shopping...?
selfishness...?
laziness...?
complacency...?
procrastination...? 
control...?
addictions...? 
greed...?
_(fill in the blank)_ ....?

Wholeness... maturity... in Christ... starts with our words...

"...The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." ---Jesus
Luke 6:45

This past weekend... one of woes... and joys... a verse came to mind... a Word for the weekend with family... a calling to watch my words...

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29
ESV
(my emphasis)

Our words... are to give grace... and words of grace... reflect... the heart of Christ... beginning with our words... we grow... mature... into Him... and the rest of the body... follows...

Lord Jesus... guard my mouth... truly make me quick to hear... slow to speak... I do not want to speak on my own... I only want to speak... and do... what glorifies You...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

family legacy

Friday morning... the beloved aunt... the last surviving of my dad's siblings... joined the others... and Monday... many gathered... to remember... to honor...

Because she was the last... we reflected on the whole...

Six siblings... with 24 offspring... spent the majority of their lives... within a 50 mile radius of each other... celebrating every holiday on the calendar with a Gather Up... aunts... uncles... cousins... an unusual family of love and grace...

A legacy... resting on the past... their parents... Claude and Pearl... a Baptist minister and his wife... living on faith through the Depression...


Family... and faith... the foundation of a love... that bound... binds... with grace...

I learned new things about this family... a grandfather... one I never knew... was a man of faith... for all people... died of a heart attack... on his way to preach at a black church... his congregation criticizing... pressing him not to go... persecuting...

The beloved aunt... the youngest of the six... played basketball in high school at a time when shorts were first introduced for girls teams... her father... a man of ideals... said she would not... she the lone player... in the long skirt... respecting her father's wishes... and following in his faith...

She... the only one of the six... married in a church ceremony officiated by her dad... all others eloped...

She known... by those who spoke... as one who stood up for what was right... according to God... and faith... despite what the world said...

A woman of prayer... from parents of prayer... many of the siblings... and spouses... filled with faith... overflowing into the lives of those who wandered... for a time... from the Way...

Confirmation of a vision... several years ago... the source of my faith... questioned... my dad... one who strayed...

I had little exposure to faith except through family... gathering up... I asked God... How did this happen to me...? With the model I had... why did You choose me...?

The answer came... with an impression of prayer... prayer of past generations... my grandparents... praying... for their children... and children's children... even before I was born... or known... both passed on ten years before I was...

Prayer... the language of God... not bound by time... or space... an eternal language...

A family legacy begun... by a couple... who heard a call... and said Yes...

A family legacy continued... by those for whom they prayed... who heard... and said Yes... a prayer... I hope... extending to... the children's children's children... 
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me...."    John 12:23-26
Lord... may You be glorified... in and through... a family filled with imperfections... generation... after generation... overflowing... into the lives of others... Continue to call... continue to provide the faith... and the Way...