Develope a Palate

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

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Quote Du Jour

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the morning quiet

This morning... still dark... quiet...
only the steady hum of power through appliances...
no one else stirring...

Bible open before me... with Him...
preparing for the day ahead...

A peace... descends... surrounds...
like a cocoon...

How do I carry this...
His peace...
His presence...
with me through the day...?

Soon the silence will be broken... by others stirring...
tasks to be taken care of...
places to be...

How do I keep the quiet of a heart...?

Lord Jesus... wrap me in Your Word... 
Your grace... Your peace...
Help me to remember...
You are present... in every moment...
Your unfailing love... accessible... always before me...

"...It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed."
Deuteronomy 31:8
ESV

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

uneasy

Conversations today... have left me... uneasy...

Uneasy... with questions asked...

Uneasy... with answers given...

Uneasy... with what was said... and unsaid...

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

Consider your recent conversations... do you find yourself uneasy...?
Have you entertained questions that should have been left alone...? spoken what shouldn't have been...? withheld what should have been...?

Father God... forgive me for any words spoken today that should not have been... and for the absence of those that should have been... Please do not let my words hurt anyone I love... protect them from my thoughtlessness...

Monday, October 29, 2012

love... the real kind

True love... I saw it today... the kind that gives... without any thought for what will be received...

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

A husband's love for his wife... the kind found in Scripture...

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her...
Ephesians 5:25

This husband... he still speaks as we... us... even though she hasn't spoken a word in two months... the culmination of a journey that's led to over two years in a nursing home... she... no longer able to respond... in any way...

He returns each day to her side... 6:00 am... breakfast with his bride... even though hers now comes through a tube... every meal with her... they... still one...

He says to me... We pray for you every night...

Humbling words... they pierce my heart... so undeserving... so grateful... 

I haven't seen this man in a while... most likely over a year... have thought but never followed through... to visit... support... be present... Yes... I pray for him and her... weekly... and as God brings them to mind... 

But me... to be remembered by one who loves so well... included among the twenty-or-so extended family... the ones prayed for each night...?
Truly humbling...
truly undeserving...
a grace received with tears... and a desire to grow to love as he...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

hope... the precious pursuit of patience

Today... watching... and waiting... for various circumstances to unfold... wondering the outcome... feeling impatient... I'm reminded of the importance of waiting...

It was said at a writer's conference... concerning submissions being considered for publication...

If you want a quick answer... I can give you a quick answer: No!
A Yes takes time... you have to wait...

You have to wait for a Yes... but waiting can feel oppressive...  just let me know how it comes out... even if it's bad!

The end of a matter is better than its beginning...
Ecclesiastes 7:8

But shouldn't we be more concerned with the journey... than the outcome...?

We all want a Yes... but the lovely thing about being in Jesus is that it's ALL GOOD... everything a victory in Christ... even the No...

In CS Lewis's book... The Screwtape Letters... the end always throws me... the hero of the book... the main character pursued... dies... blown up by a bomb in battle... this end is portrayed as a WIN for God... and a tragic loss for Satan's side because the man... he died in Christ... his departure from the world depicted... as if a scab had fallen from an old sore... the hero set free from war and doubt through death... opposite from the world's view that inundates us each day...

The world urges us to see good only in life... healing... success... BUT...at one time or another... we all die... we all get sick... and we all fail... and for Believers... it's all part of the journey... not that we are to be cavalier about crisis... heartache... trials... we are to mourn with those who mourn... offer compassion... and mercy... yet we are not to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope...

So since we know it's ALL GOOD... in the end... shouldn't we just enjoy the trek... or at least be patient... trusting God with what there is to learn... and who and what will grow from each unknown circumstance...?

As we painstakingly watch people struggle... with...
sin...
sickness...
circumstances... of all kinds...
remember the patience of the farmer... the hope... the assurance of growth... and see an opportunity to exercise faith... pursue hope...

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:3
(my emphasis)

An attitude of journey... pilgrimage... with Him as our strength... helps us to wait... hope... know for sure... that the end of the matter IS better than its beginning...

For in Christ... it's all victory... even if in this world it looks dead... and fruitless... for those IN CHRIST... it's a win...

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17-18
NLT

Father God... keep me focused on You... the good that is to come... the hope... and assurance...found in Christ.... I choose to journey... patiently... trusting in You... for strength...

Friday, October 26, 2012

a humbling encouragement

I received some encouragement today... the warm and fuzzy kind...

A run-in with a friend... she said very gracious things about these writings... these oddball posts that make me feel naked as I stand before her...

She praised way beyond my comfort level... and I said... Praise Him!

A very unexpected encouragement...

Yet later... as I thought... I received a spur... I should have questioned further...

So grateful that she finds blessing in my words... but what about His...? I should have asked... Do these words make you hunger for Him... for His Word...?

That is the purpose... the mission... not to turn people to me or my words... but to Him... increase a hunger for seeing His Word made flesh in their's...

The only way to see... is by eating... His...

What about you... those who grace this table with your presence... do you hunger for more of Him...? because of what you've eaten here...?

That is my hope... that is my prayer...

He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30

Thursday, October 25, 2012

encouragement... a word that spurs...

Encouragement... it doesn't always come across as warm and fuzzy... comforting... sometimes it feels more like a sharp poke in the side...

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. ...let us encourage one another --- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25
(my emphasis)

I gave some today... the sharp kind... not the fuzzy kind... I hadn't planned to... didn't even intend to... as I looked for the scripture in the pages on my lap... the one depicting the Word fleshing out in the conversation...

Then the question came... Do you have a word for us...?

And there it was... Yes... but I don't think you will like it...

I shared the Word... and with it came passionate encouragement... exhortation... maybe even a rebuke... an edge to the voice... a fire I did not intend to stir...

Needless to say... the conversation abated... subject changed... parties moved on to lunch...

I don't know what will happen with the Word planted today... or if it should have been... but it was... time will tell what God will do with it...

Just grateful... resting in the truth that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him... and knowing the spur came from a heart of love...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

prayer still needed

The one with the transplant is struggling... beginnings of a lung infection... severe headaches... mouth sores... much pain...

Please pray for Ray Smith...
infection to be stopped...
new cells to begin working...
the production of healthy cells and strong immune system...
comfort...
peace...
healing...

Pray for his parents...
trust in the Savior...
His strength...
peace...

The urgent request of a righteous person 
is very powerful in its effect.
James 5:16
HCSB

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

filling up

The realization of drinking from the wrong well... and setting up my spouse as an idol... accepting my unintentional idolatry... have (by God's grace) been accompanied with additional revelations... to answer the question... How do I drink up the Living Water...? reject the lies and fill my soul with Him...? 

It begins with His Word... the Bread of Life... the eating of Scripture... the meditating... believing... trusting... and living on... His Word... His Truth...

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
1John 4:16

And so we know... and rely on... the love God has for us...

Do you...? 
Do you know... and rely on... the love God has for you? 

I picked up a small book on Friday... read it Saturday... The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness... by Timothy Keller... a timely book for me... and the wrestling I've been about lately... rooted and wrapped up in my emotions... feeling enslaved to feelings... which I know full well are deceitful... but feeling (ugh... there they are at work again) trapped...

Keller explains about our natural self... our ego... and its feelings...

The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. Something unbelievably wrong with it. It is always drawing attention to itself -- it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can't be hurt! It is the ego that hurts -- my sense of self, my identity. Our feelings are fine! It is my ego that hurts.

He explains how we all have an over-inflated ego... constantly trying to fill up with something other than God... a bellow full of hot air... empty... fragile...

In the same age where we reject the word SIN... we also shy away from the word EGO... only really obnoxious people... arrogant people... bullies... have big EGOs... not true... we all sin... and we all have supersized egos...

As I thought about my own ego... clearly inflated... and empty... at least in my marriage relationship... as I find my feelings hurt... now realizing it is just my ego being deflated... I begin to see in me this balloon... that needs to be filled... but with something solid... real... perhaps a Rock...?

Then yesterday... in the car... I caught the end of a message... one I hunted down and listened to in its entirety today... Overcoming Childhood Traumas... the heart of the message... Jesus identifies with us... and in Christ... as Believers... new creations... He becomes our identity...

And so we know... and rely on... the love God has for us...

Filling with Him... happens when we know and rely on His love for us... which we come to know through His Word... eating it... consuming it... making it our life... trusting and acting on all He says is true... and rejecting the lies He reveals...

The last couple of days I have felt... (I know it's probably those feelings again)... more solid... in my faith... more substantial as a person... recognizing the blessings of Jesus that are so totally outrageous... and abundant... and no longer wanting to be blessed... no longer wanting to ask for more... but to be a blessing to Him... because... do I really need anything more...? do you...?

God my shepherd!
I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; 
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me 
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
Psalm 23
Msg

Monday, October 22, 2012

be careful... ask and you receive...

A question asked... an answer revealed... repentance required...

In response to James...

You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives,
so that you may spend it on your evil desires.
James 4:3
HCSB

I asked... 

Can there be a wrong motive for everything... what about salvation for a loved one...? 

Well... apparently I can... a desire for a Christ-centered spouse... skewed... not asking purely for God's glory... or for his good... but for my filling... 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church 
and gave himself up for her...
Ephesians 5:25
ESV

Placing expectations... desires... on an unbelieving spouse... who is unable... unequipped... to love in such a way... looking for filling in the wrong place... leads to discord... and discontent...

But even with a Believing spouse... they are not the one to depend on to fill a heart full... there is only One who can do that...

Depending on any other... to fill... besides The One... is idolatry... me a spiritual adulteress... empty... grumpy... disgruntled...

A heart that has worked out security issues... years ago... turning from depending on a finite spouse for protection and safety... now must face newly discovered areas of misplaced expectations...

The struggles of the last weeks... have made me return to my Savior... now asking... allowing.... Him to be Husband...

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
Isaiah 54:5
ESV

Be careful what you ask... be prepared to receive... revelations can be painful... but my hope is in the healing... the preparing of my heart for my spouse to become His...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

worship wakened desire

Blessed by Him in so many ways... daily...

Yet... recent self-sightedness has kept me blind to His love... seeing only...
MY needs...
MY hurts...
MY wants...

Worship changed the focus... from self-conscious... to Christ-conscious...

Looking to Him... seeing Him... as myopic as I am... left me wanting... desiring... to bless Him...

Your blessings to me are so numerous... so great... how do I keep asking for more...? Lord... that I would be a blessing to You... that my soul... would bless You... today... tomorrow... and every day... from here to eternity...

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1
ESV

Friday, October 19, 2012

living faith

Blessed today... with an opportunity to breathe life in my faith... offering mercy to one in need...

For just as the body without the spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.
James 2:26
HCSB





Thursday, October 18, 2012

please... continue to pray...

Though the day of transplanting has come and gone... the journey continues...

The brother of my son's roommate... received donor cells yesterday... as planned... infused over an hour...

Ray is doing very well... according to the latest report...

But now the wait... two weeks before first signs of success might emerge... weeks of living at risk for infection... and the possibility of rejection...

The waiting... for the precious fruit... the healing... takes patience...

Please continue to pray for Ray Smith... asking for...
stable blood pressure...
protection from infection...
compatibility of the transplant...
successful growth of healthy bone marrow...
the beginning of a long and healthy life...
and remember his parents...

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 33:20

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

strengthening a heart

The word of James... to be patient... to strengthen your heart... continues in my thoughts...

Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord's coming is near.
James 5:8
HCSB

What does it mean to strengthen your heart...?

Strengthen... also rendered... establish... translated from the Greek meaning... to make stable... place firmly... set fast... fix...

Heart... used metaphorically... representing the inner life... mind... will... emotion...

Make stable... your mind, will, and emotion...

How do we strengthen a heart... the one thing that is deceitful above all others...?

Counsel from the Lord through Isaiah says...


Quietness being a stable heart... a calm inner self... not stirred up... that... along with trust in Him... is our source of strength...

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
2Chronicles 16:9

The Lord strengthens our hearts... in response to... trust... commitment... counting on Him and His Way... no matter how things look... or how we feel... it is a gift of grace... when we choose Him...

It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace...
Hebrews 13:9

Strengthening of a heart comes through the exercise of faith... a hard walk... the one of seeing joy in trials... of being certain of the unseen... 

There is another way that some choose... that I have chosen before... it seems so much easier... 

Do not confuse the strengthening of a heart... with the hardening of a heart... 

It is tempting to harden a heart to emotion... to the possibility of more pain and disappointment... to judge and cut off... rather than hope and trust...

Exercising a muscle initially causes fatigue... pain... the same is true of our faith... but as we choose the hard work... we find strength... to be calm... with whatever comes... readied for the harvest... able to reap the reward...

The hardening of a heart... keeps the pain away... for a time... but a hard heart doesn't give... it eventually breaks... when the harvest comes there is only bitterness... anger... no joy...

We need a strong heart for His coming... or else we might miss the harvest... I've seen it happen in others... the change finally comes... the precious fruit ready... but the one whose been waiting... turns away... refuses... the heart too hard to bend and reap... 

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
Psalm 126:5

The one who refuses to sow in tears... hardening their heart... will not reap in joy...

Strengthen your hearts... because the Lord's coming is near...

Choose the work of waiting... patiently... just like the farmer... trusting in the One who causes growth...

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2Thessalonians 2:16-17

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

James 5: thoughts... part 1

The process of memory continues... beginning James 5 a week or so ago... a verse struck me in a new way... stirring thoughts...

Read James 5

Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord's coming. 
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth 
and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 
You also must be patient. 
Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord's coming is near.
James 5: 7-8
HCSB

See how the farmer waits... 
...for the precious fruit of the earth... 
...and is patient...

It became very personal... the precious fruit of the earth... the redemption of an unbeliever... the Lord coming to a heart near me...

Patience... the waiting required for the seeds planted in faith to grow... for God to bring the early and the late rains...


Some need more rain than others to have hearts prepared... for the Word to take root... to bring about the fruit of salvation...

...be patient...

How often do I become impatient... thinking lost loved ones will never turn... ready to give up... harden my own heart to hope...

But patience... it's so important... if you don't wait for the rain to come and do it's work... for the water to soften the seed... for roots to grow... you destroy the potential... turning up soil too soon in hopes of replanting... simply ruins the planting already done... there is no digging down to see what's going on... only trust... in the One who makes things grow...

This verse reminds... be patient... strengthen your heart... because the Lord's coming is near... He is at work... He is coming...

Lord Jesus... forgive my impatience... strengthen my heart... fill me with joyful expectation for the growth and harvest... of the precious fruit of the earth...

Monday, October 15, 2012

update on a prayer request

For those who chose to pray... for the brother of my youngest's roommate... here is an update...

Ray Smith...
has withstood the many radiation treatments in good spirits and without complication...
he is currently undergoing drug therapy to wipe out his own bone marrow and immune system...
most importantly...
the transplant date has been rescheduled to...
Wednesday... October 17...

Continue to pray...
for God to make the way for complete healing...
for protection from infection...
for strength for his parents...
for His grace... over and through all...

And pray in the Spirit 
on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert
and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18
(emphasis added)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

a word to pray...

But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, "The Lord is great!"
Psalm 40:16
NLT

Lord... fill me with joy and gladness... as I search for You... keep my life focused on You...

Friday, October 12, 2012

James 4: thoughts... part 5

Read James 4

He... the One who gives greater grace... than jealous wrath... says...

God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

It's just a thought... but the One full of grace... could even His resistance be a gift... a kindness...?

The proud... set on a path of self-destruction... in His wisdom... and love... He opposes... throws up stumbling blocks... in hopes of turning... and saving...

Before his downfall a man's heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 18:12

The fall of the proud... may be just the gift they need... to bring about a saving grace...

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1Peter 4:10
ESV

It's just a thought...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

why get dirty sowing seeds...

Sowing seeds can be dirty business... especially when the ground being worked is twenty sixth graders in an after school children's ministry...

Rowdy... loud... energetic... tired from a day of school ... a challenge to plant a Word in a heart... a true scattering takes place... who knows where it lands...

Wednesday's lesson... Abraham's call to sacrifice his son Isaac... return him to God on an altar of fire...

The challenge for the class... think of one thing you would not want to give up... draw it or write it on a piece of paper... now... consider... if God asked you to give that thing up... would you? ...and why...?

After a very short prayer... if they were willing to sacrifice to God... they were to place their paper in a basket... one I held in my hand by the door... as they left the class...

Surprisingly... many cavalierly dropped their one thing in the basket... others held the paper tight as they passed by... but one... he stopped outside the door... his paper still in hand... I didn't even notice... until he asked...

Is it a good thing to put it in?

He saw many... drop their treasure in the basket... his peers... sacrificing... readily... he wanted to do what was good...

It's a good thing if you can... I said... but the most important thing is to be honest with God... if you can't then you should talk to Him about it...

He considered... came near and dropped it in the basket... and said... That's hard...

Then I saw it... his one thing... drawn as stick figures with the word... family... 

That is hard... I agreed... Do you want to take it back...?

More thought... and yes... he did take it back... I'll have to pray about it...

Wow... a holy moment... he got it... it is hard to sacrifice... even the piece of paper with his family drawn in graphite... was hard to let go... he wanted to do what was good... but it was hard...

This is why... I sow seeds... scattering in rough terrain... the opportunity to plant Truth in a place it has never been... to see the roots of wrestling take hold... to see the beginnings of what God will do... with His Word... thrown about... as best I can... by faith...

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields
seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." ---the Lord
Isaiah 55:10-11

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

James 4: thoughts... part 4

Read James 4

The message of adultery... idolatry... unfaithfulness to God... cuts deep... the things of this world... our own broken nature... draw us away from Him... not to...

Or do you think its without reason the Scripture says
that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously?
James 4:5
HCSB

God's jealousy... reveals itself in wrath... as the Scripture says...

You shall not bow down to them or worship them;
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,
punishing the children for the sin of the fathers
to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me...
Exodus 20:5

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire,
a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24

Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you;
for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God
and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you
from the face of the land.
Deuteronomy 6:14-15

Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord. 
He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. 
He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 
If you forsake the Lord and serve other gods, 
he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, 
after he has been good to you."
Joshua 24:19-20

Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger...
1Kings 14:22

But James knows the Word of hope...

But He gives greater grace.
James 4:6
HCSB

Greater than the jealousy... the wrath... anger... that destroys... is His grace... that saves... redeems... restores... forgives...

Jesus... the source of greater grace... the One who on the cross bore the Father's jealous anger in full... the cup poured out...

Unless we know the depth of the trouble and disgrace we are in... we do not appreciate the greater grace that has been poured out for us... by His blood...

Yes... as great and as awe-full as His jealous wrath... is His greater grace...

Lord Jesus... today... fill me with awe an wonder of Your jealous love... and enable me to live in the joy of Your greater grace...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

James... a new perspective...

The reading through... and what I know of James... gave me perspective... on his perspective...

In the study with sisters... I learned that James is considered the earliest of the New Testament writings... the first book written...

James himself... the half-brother of Jesus... gathered with the disciples... waiting... in the upper room after Jesus's ascension...

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Acts 1:12-14
ESV
(my emphasis)

A member of the early... early... church...

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. ...
Acts 2:42-47
ESV
(emphasis mine)

James... a member of this church... the one with all things held in common... possessions and belongings sold to fulfill any need that arose for any body...

Here is where James became intolerant of favoritism... 
witnessed the deadly effects of hypocrisy... 
and saw the trials... and ...persecution that lead to maturity...

A brother of Jesus... one with the apostles... the sight of flames of fire... the power of transformation... the church... truly being... the Body... James saw it all... and from this perspective he says...


And he teaches us what is good...

Monday, October 8, 2012

James 4: thoughts... part 3

Read James 4

Wrestling with the Word from James is rough... he does not tread lightly into the heart... challenging Believers in the daily living of words... wealth... faith... and religion... demanding a heart of integrity...


Adulteresses! 
Don't you know that friendship with the world
is hostility toward God?
So whoever wants to be the world's friend 
becomes God's enemy.
James 4:4
HCSB
(emphasis added)

Adulteresses...!?
Hard words... for those who buddy up to the world...

What exactly does it mean to befriend the world...?
Aren't we supposed to love our neighbor... just not to the point of adultery...?
Who is the world anyway...?

The Greek translated as world... is kosmos... and when referenced as the world... it refers to... 

...the system of practices and standards associated with secular society (that is, without reference to any demands or requirements of God)... ---Louw & Nida

The world's way... void of God...
wealth as the source of security...
favoritism as a way to influence power...
envy and ambition as rungs to success...
this is what we are NOT to embrace...

This is the warning at the heart of James... beware the world...


In the Old Testament... God uses the term adultery as a synonym for idolatry... His people... chasing anything but His Way... are adulteresses... unfaithful sluts... foolish... rebellious...

We too are vulnerable to the same temptation... but the idols of stone and wood... take the form of wealth... a lavish lifestyle... relationships... power... status... self-gratification... entertainment... addictions... anything that pulls us away from God... is an idol...

As Believers... if we pour our lives into anything... apart from God's call on our life... we are... adulteresses... 

Are you cheating on God...?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

i will be...

Today... preparing for the current study with sisters... not a fan. ... the follower's journal... asks...

What will you do   what will you be   today?
Portray it in words...

I will be broken... seeking Jesus's healing...
I will be lost... seeking to follow Jesus's way...
I will be in the dark... seeking His light...

Hopefully... in one small way... today... I will be sanctified...

He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30


Friday, October 5, 2012

the wrong well

A truth from the reading through... Jesus... speaking to the woman at the well... Jacob's well... a woman who thirsted... with a thirst unsatisfied by five husbands... or the current live-in...

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again..."
John 4:13-14
ESV

It struck me... I thirst... why do I continue to thirst...? am I drinking from the wrong well...?

Desires... unfulfilled... emptiness and discontent... continue to surface... in different areas of my life...

Something that shouldn't happen to one who believes...

Am I drinking from the wrong well...?

Yes... I continue to go... with my empty bucket... to the wrong places... and people... to quench my thirst to be satisfied...

A revelation... a recognition of the empty well... it's no coincidence... that for me... it's my husband... too many expectations... from one who is also empty... impossible for him to quench the thirst... no matter how attentive...

Of course... no one... and no thing... can fill... Only Him... the One who promises...

You will never be thirsty forever... 

The One who can't lie... must be telling the truth... He is not an empty well... He is Living Water... overflowing... abundant beyond our need...

But as long as we live here... in this world... it's brokenness... prevalent... it's promises... enticing... but empty... we can be drawn away... to the wrong well...

Are you satisfied...? fully...?
For what do you thirst...? the desire that continues to return...? never completely quenched...?

If you do thirst... check to see where you're getting your water... like me... have you been at the wrong well...?

Lord Jesus... thank You... for revealing... again... my persistence in seeking satisfaction... from broken  cisterns... You alone... have what truly fulfills... and I will never thirst forever... if I keep returning to You...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Light vs dark

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5
ESV

The Light... shines... in the dark...
leukemia...
aging...
lost calculators...
sinful choices...
deception...
death...
lies...
broken hearts...
lost loved ones...
house arrest...
DUIs...
cancer...
sarcasm...
unbelief...
abortions...
euthanasia...
evil...
and the darkness... has NOT overcome it...


"I have come into the world as a light, so that whoever 
believes in me may not remain in darkness." ---Jesus
John 12:46
ESV

Don't stay in the dark... whatever form it takes...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

a prayer request

From a mom's heart... for a mom's heart...

My youngest... the freshman at college... has a roommate whose mom I met at move-in...

We drove an hour to move-in our youngest... she drove over 1000 miles to move-in her oldest...

In the brief moments we visited... she shared that another son... the second oldest... has been battling leukemia for over two years... and is scheduled for transplant this month...

Over the weeks... I've heard more of his story... complications... and setbacks... from emails with his mom... and from posts on the web... odds have been beaten... each attributed to the prayers of the saints... and God's grace...

Well... as the time draws near... dear saints... I ask for prayer... for this son... his mom... dad... and family...

Ray Smith
Transplant scheduled for Tuesday, October 16...
Pray that the transplant will take... his lungs to be strong...
Pray for no infections or disease while immune system is gone...
Pray for quick recovery of immune system...
Pray for strength...
Pray for the doctors and nurses...
Pray for protection...
Pray for peace... and healing...

The doctors say... the odds are are against him... but we know... all things are possible with God...

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

growing old

Watching one grow old... is like watching one grow up... in reverse...

I've seen my children grow... from infancy... through the unsteady steps of toddlerhood... school... puberty... and now increasing in knowledge... through college... and faith in the Lord... hopefully... one day... each with a home and family of their own...

But now... the elder-in-law... here just four months... I see clearly growing old... his steps less stable each day... thoughts and words... decreasing... less coherent... more forgetful... awake less... sleeping more... each day... a decreasing... a reverting... despite exercise... and stimuli... the process... unstoppable...

For Believers... the growing old... comes with promises...

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed,
we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven,
not built by human hands...
2Corinthians 5:1

Yet... the unbelieving elder-in-law... at this point... rejects the offer...

Still... I see hope... in the decreasing of mind... and body...

"... I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." --Jesus
Mark 10:15
(my emphasis)

The becoming child-like... again... may make the way... prepare the heart... to be snatched from the fire...

Monday, October 1, 2012

James 4: thoughts... part 2

Still pressing forward on memory of James... its contents... continues to press me...

Read James 4


You do not have because you do not ask.
You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives,
so that you may spend it on your evil desires.
James 4:2-3
HCSB

Verses with a sticking point... you ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives... can there be a wrong motive for everything...

What about salvation for a loved one...? Can that have an evil desire attached...? Is it possible to ask and ask... and not receive... because you ask wrong... for someone to know Jesus...?

A thought that sticks... a heart that wants to ask right... a soul that asks for searching... and cleansing...

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24