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, December 31, 2013

approaching the new year... as a journey...

Already... I've received a word... for the new year...

JOURNEY

journey... an act or instance of traveling 
from one place to another...

The end of the year... spent preparing for the journey... into the next...

A time to take only what I've already been given...

His divine power has given us everything we need for life
and godliness through our knowledge of him
who has called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 3:3

A time to remember I am traveling... from this place to another...

Blessed are those who strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:5

A time to learn how to travel... journey... through this life...

And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
Isaiah 35:8

Anticipating the new year... with joy... and trepidation... (given the recent thoughts on suffering...)

Trusting in all... that He is good... and has my best interest at heart...

What about you...?

Do you trust Him to give you a word for the year...? a focus... to guide... and direct... your journey through 2014...?

Would love to know if you are blessed with a word for the year... add it in the comment at the bottom of the post... [Click the post title to get to the comment box... scrolling to the bottom of the post... whether you receive by email or are viewing on Jeremiah's Menu...]


Note: Added a new Quote du Jour this week if you haven't visited the site... it's found just under the Receive Jeremiah's Menu by email box...

Monday, December 30, 2013

why... it is possible... to embrace suffering...

Only in the name... character... of Jesus... is suffering to be embraced... endured... with joy...

All trials... come from the hand of the enemy... under the sovereign control... of the Father...

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Lamentations 3:37-38 ESV

Jesus... the Word... came into the world as Light... the One who overcomes... darkness...

In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.
And the Light shines on in the darkness,
for the darkness has never overpowered it.
John 1:4-5 Amp

To embrace trials... as Jesus did... is to remember that... the darkness... has never... overpowered... the Light...

In Christ... there is no fear of ultimate destruction... or loss... due to suffering... because... there is NO darkness... that is able to overpower... the Light...

I believe that God can and will produce good out of all things, even out of the most evil.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You

Father God... help me to stay focused on the Light...
to remember darkness never has... or will...
overpower... the... Light...

"...I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
---Jesus
John 16:33 NLT

Sunday, December 29, 2013

affirmation... to embrace suffering...

Sunday's worship... focused on the Nativity... through Word... and song...

A solo sung... a message affirmed...

Blessings... come through suffering...

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet, love is way too much to give us lesser things

In the midst of the song... I hear the echo of the question...

Why should I pray... to be relieved... of suffering...?


Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
James 1:2-3 NLT

Friday, December 27, 2013

thoughts spurred by finishing...

Today... the reading through... finished for the year...

Ending with Revelation... led to thoughts of... suffering... endurance...

This means that God's holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
Revelation 13:10 NLT

This means that God's holy people must endure 
persecution patiently, obeying his commands 
and maintaining their faith in Jesus.
Revelation 14:12 NLT

Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!
Revelation 14:13 NLT

Suffering... endurance... it's required... in these end times...

Thoughts turned to a startling passage heard recently in an audio-book...
A man I know was one of the few doctors who specialized in his area in Ethiopia at a time when Christians were often persecuted there. Because of his medical specialty, he was well-known and carefully watched and sometimes privileged. Because of his faith, he was in prison several times. The small church he was part of was vibrant. They shared everything. When they gathered for worship, with shades drawn, their joy was intense. Their knowledge of the details of each others' lives was far deeper than I have seen in any churches I know of in the United States. They lived in constant danger of arrest. There was no such thing in their world as a nominal Christian; that would be like becoming a nominal chain saw juggler. ...
I talked with this doctor about the government. I said that he must pray often for the persecution and suffering to stop. He asked me with no apparent irony, "Why should I pray to be relieved of suffering?" I could not think of a good answer.
--- John Ortberg, Who Is This Man?  (emphasis added)
Suffering... endurance... is it to be... embraced... welcomed...?

The Greek... hupomone... translated... endure persecution patiently... means... steadfastness... constancy... in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings...

This word (hupomone) also found in... 

And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent the honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently (hupomone) produce a huge harvest.
Luke 8:15 NLT

By standing firm (hupomone), you will win your souls.
Luke 21:19 NLT

He will give eternal life to those who keep on (hupomone) 
doing good, seeking after the glory and honor 
and immortality that God offers.
Romans 2:7 NLT

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (hupomone).
Romans 5:3 NLT

Endurance... suffering... produces a huge harvest... wins your soul... gains eternal life... enables us to receive trials with joy...

Endurance... suffering... it is necessary... to spiritual growth... but to receive it... embrace it... with joy... that is a world-view shift... counter to culture... upside down... from the way of the world...

As I anticipate the journey... into the next year... with a heart to keep the Babe in the manger at the center... I see where the revelation of His vulnerability... leads to the acceptance... of suffering... and... endurance...

A son asked me today... about a physical state... one I've suffered with for three years now... and most likely will endure as long as I inhabit this earthly tent...

Is it easier... than it was...?

Honestly... I had to reply... No... it's harder... it's wearing...

And I see where I need to change my thoughts about this physical challenge... as minimal as it is compared to the challenges of so many of others... I still whine... on occasion... 

So endurance... suffering... of any kind... should be seen as a gift... and reminders set in place... in order to remember... for those who endure... it all leads to good... and His glory...

A world-view shift... for the new year... Why should I pray to be relieved of suffering?

For even Christ didn't live to please himself. 
...
And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement 
as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.
Romans 15:3-4 NLT

Thursday, December 26, 2013

a day of rest...

Resting in Him...
to provide all that is needed...
to finish out the year...
and begin the next...

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

finding Him... in Christmas...

Where do you see Him today...?
The One who fills...
brings light...
gives life...
and is the Greatest Gift...

For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 7:23 

Father God... help me to see Him... in the stockings filled...
shimmering candlelight... evergreen of the tree...
and each gift received...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

the eve of Christ's communion...

Christmas... Christ's Mass... Christ's Communion with the world...

Jesus... God made flesh... the eve of His birth... His time of communing... with His people...

communion... an act or instance of sharing... (capitalized) a Christian sacrament... intimate fellowship or rapport... communication...

God sent His Son... the Word... to communicate...
hope...
love...
joy...
peace...
to a world at war...

God came... to establish... re-establish... intimate fellowship...
with those who rebelled...

Jesus... emptied Himself... to share His Light... with a dark world...

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2Corinthians 4:6

May you be blessed... 
with intimate communion with Him this Christmas... 
and know the hope... love... joy... peace... 
found in Him...

Monday, December 23, 2013

memorialized...

Saturday... a gathering of family... to honor the memory of the elder-in-law...

No formal service... for the one who saw the celebration of his 90th as a eulogy...

Children... grandchildren... great-grands... together to visit... remember... eat... and share hearts...

And that was the most beautiful part... the hearts shared... many transparent to me... for the first time...

Laughter... tears... hugs... thanks... all shared honestly... openly...

Blessed by the time... to get to know better... the family I've been a part of for over 27 years...

Grateful for the man... who made possible my husband... and kids...

Thankful for an opportunity... to share my experience with the elder-in-law... and the Word...


Prayerfully hopeful... for the future... of his children... grands... and greats...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV

Sunday, December 22, 2013

advent... fourth sunday...

Three days till Christmas... and the word for Advent's fourth Sunday...

Peace

Depending on your organizational skills... and your level of expectation... peace... may be the last thing you are feeling... and seem like an impossibility... 

Yet... that's why He came... to make the way for... peace... 

For everyone has sinned; 
we all fall short of God's glorious standard.
Romans 3:23 NLT

To fall short... of God's glorious standard... makes us God's enemies... there is no peace... between enemies...

en-e-my... noun... one that is antagonistic to another especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent
--- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition)

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, 
declares that we are righteous. 
He did this through Christ Jesus 
when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. 
People are made right with God when they believe
that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. 
This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back 
and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 
for he was looking ahead and including them 
in what he would do in this present time. 
God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, 
for he himself is fair and just,
and he declares sinners to be right in his sight 
when they believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:24-26 NLT

This is the Good News... the Gospel...

Think about the best news you could receive...
healing... of disease...
reconciliation... of relationship...
acceptance... of an application...
resurrection... of life...

What would be your first response...? if what you most desired... was delivered... as good news...?

Mine... joy... immediately followed by... peace...

Bad news... destroys peace... 
Good news... restores peace...

The arrival of the Babe in the manger... here is where the Good News of Christ begins... prepares the Way for...
healing...
reconciliation...
acceptance...
resurrection...
PEACE...

For in [the Son] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven,
making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 ESV

Receive the Good News of the Babe... 
Who grew to be the Lamb...
Who came... to take away the sins of the world...
to make the Way... for peace...

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!
...
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, 5

Go now... to the altar of the manger... 
Rejoice... at the Good News He brings...
Lay down... your anxieties... expectations...
Rest... in His work... and in His strength...
Present your requests... with thanksgiving... 
And receive... His peace... which transcends understanding...

Friday, December 20, 2013

a hungry harvest...

My reading through... brings me to John... and the word that comes to mind... hungry 

A gnawing emptiness...

The world is ripe for harvest... because it's hungry... for the Bread of Life...

Jesus said, "... The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. ... I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. ..."
John 6:33-36 NLT

The only Bread that fills the aching hunger of the soul... Jesus...

That's why He told His disciple... 

...feed My lambs...
...feed My sheep...

They're hungry... for...
peace...
love...
hope...
joy...
and the only Bread that fills... is Him...

The One we find set on the altar... a manger... 
the Manna from heaven...

Lord... teach me how to feast on You...
and how to feed those who are hungry...


[Related fare...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

back to the manger...

Pain...
Joy...
Regret...
Amazement...

Emotions I saw...
in the eyes of the Church...
today...

Each sent me back...
to the Babe in the tiny manger...
Vulnerable...
Wonderful...
Awesome...

For a child has been born --- for us!
the gift of a son --- for us!
He'll take over the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
Isaiah 9:6 Msg

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

full...

A full day...
finding His grace in so many ways...
filled with joy... and thanks...

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:5

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

eternal... comfort...

Today in prayer... praising Him as eternal...

The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV

Finding comfort... in a God who will not wear out... in the midst of my need...

Security found... in the truth...I will not outlive... His ability to rescue...

The humbling of yesterday still fresh...
living on the edge of forgetful... and out of control...
awed... by the eternal... everlasting... nature of God...
Who is never caught off guard...
never in over His head... or out of His league...
never surprised... never frazzled...
never at the end of His rope...

When I can't... He can...

I love this God... who has it all together...
perfectly... at all times...
whose strength... never... fails...

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:26

Monday, December 16, 2013

humbly reminded...

As the days of the year... come to an end...


piles start to slide...


pressure mounts... with all that needs to be done...



tempted... by new projects to start...



I'm humbly reminded... of my finitude...

For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
Psalm 103:14 NASB

Apart from Him... I can do nothing...

"I am the vine; you are the branches. 
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing. ..." ---Jesus
John 15:5

Apart from Him... nothing else matters...

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Psalm 62:7 ESV

Father God... I commit my way to You... the next few days... the remainder of the year... keep me focused on what is important... Help me embrace my finitude... trust You... and allow Your strength to be my joy...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

advent... third sunday...

The word for the third Sunday in Advent...

Joy




On a day when I learn of a loss... I realize...
because of Jesus...
there can be joy...
in the face of...
death...
disease...
discomfort...

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Friday, December 13, 2013

rainy... cold... joy...

Receiving encouragement...
shopping... in the rain... and cold...
by continuing to remember...
the joy of giving...
inspired... by an airline...

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete
by being like-minded, having the same love, being one
in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:1-2

Thursday, December 12, 2013

far better...

Joy... I'll admit... it's been lacking... as I find the days toward Christmas slipping by... the panic of doing... setting in...

shopping...
wrapping...
tree trimming...
decorating...

Facing today... my heart felt pressed... so I let loose a prayer...

Lord... fill me with joy... I can't do this Season with cheer...
but You can... HELP...!

And the day proceeded... pressing forward with to do's... trusting Him to provide... what was lacking...

Then in the midst of wrapping the first few gifts... I remember... a story I'd seen on the news... filled with JOY...


A story I wanted to be a part of... wished I'd thought of... wished I'd had the resources to re-create...

The joy of giving... ignited anew... surely if an airline can... I can too...

And the Truth... it is revealed in the story... and in my heart's response... it's far better to give... than to receive...

"...You'll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, 'You're far happier giving than getting.'"
Acts 20:35 Msg

Lord... thank You for this reminder... keep it fresh in my heart... as Christmas draws near...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

a lesson from the manger...

Thoughts return... to the Babe in the tiny manger... the word that comes to mind...



...capable of being physically or emotionally wounded...

...the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 NIV

...open to attack or damage: assailable...

I offered my back to those who beat me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Isaiah 50:6 NIV

God made Himself... vulnerable... to show me I can be too...

Jesus... God made flesh... revealed God the Father as completely trustworthy... by emptying Himself to enter the life of His creation...

What a comfort... 

A truth that brings peace...

He doesn't just say... Trust Me... 

He says... See...? Watch Me...

This God who makes Himself small and vulnerable... to fit in a tiny manger... out of love for His creation... is awesome...

Our God... Father and Son...
makes the incongruous... congruous...

Our God... Shepherd and Lamb...
no wonder His birth announcement was sent to shepherds... watching over sheep and lambs... some surely chosen for sacrifice...

Our God... King and Servant...
the One too big to fit in a tiny manger... and yet... He... does...

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death---
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11 NIV

Lord Jesus... thank You... for this picture... this Living example... of the trustworthiness of the Father... the One who makes the Way... for me to be vulnerable... for His use... and His glory...

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
Isaiah 50:7 NIV

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

enter the Kingdom... as little children...



I found out about this treasure from my sister-in-law... who has many grandchildren... now I have none... and my youngest is nineteen...

But I felt compelled to order... it came... and I've been enchanted by this storybook Bible... subtitled...

Every story whispers his name...

And it does... over and over... the author points the way to Him... His love... and His great plan for the rescue...

Truth... woven into an overview... of the Bible... simple enough... for children...

The introduction to the Nativity story... caught my attention... as it echoed recent thoughts...

Everything was ready. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last! God was coming to help his people, just as he promised in the beginning.
But how would he come? What would he be like? What would he do?
Mountains would have bowed down. Seas would have roared. Trees would have clapped their hands. But the earth held its breath. As silent as snow falling, he came in. And when no one was looking, in the darkness, he came.
---Sally Lloyd-Jones, the Jesus Storybook Bible
If you have children to gift... this would be a great one...

Even if you don't... gift it to yourself...

Come to Him... like a little child...

 But Jesus called the children to him and said,
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom
of God like a little child will never enter it."
Luke 18:16-17 NIV

Monday, December 9, 2013

making Him manageable...?

I heard it today... in a book on audio...
In the story of humanity --- so vast to us but brief to the universe --- we are told that in Jesus a startling moment has arrived. The Author is entering the play.
---John Ortberg, Who is This Man?
...in Jesus... The Author is entering the play...

Do we understand the magnitude... of this truth...?

I'm feeling as though the world... through Christmas... is trying to make Him manageable...

Minimizing Him... to fit... in a tiny manger...




The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14

Now this is the Word... that from the beginning... was with God... was God... and through Him... ALL things were made...

How can you fit that Word... into a tiny manger...?

For the word of God is living and active, 
sharper than any two-edged sword, 
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, 
of joints and of marrow, 
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
And no creature is hidden from his sight,
 but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him 
to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV

This is that same Word... the One made flesh... He came naked into the world... the One who divides... sees... and demands an account...

He does not fit... in a tiny manger...

Now I'm not knocking nativity scenes... I have a few... but do they really help us remember the startling impact of this moment...?

Are we too eager to manage the whole story... keeping it small...? How do we keep the Truth... the Reason... in the midst of all the fa-la-la-la-la...?

Last week I looked into the meaning behind the traditions of Christmas... primarily the decorations... and I was reminded the significance of the colors... green... red...

Green... it represents life eternal... as the holly... spruces... firs... are all evergreens...

But the red... the beautiful bows... on our evergreen wreaths... the red... it represents the blood... which makes the Way... for life eternal...

This tiny Babe... we make more manageable in a scene... was born to die... a horrific death...

The Author... the Word... entered the world to set His creation right... through His death on a cross... startling...

causing momentary fright... surprise... astonishment...

Simeon knew... as he told Mary... And a sword will pierce your own soul too...

This Baby... is not meant to be manageable... He is meant to be worshiped with awe...

For you have been born again, 
not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, 
through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

Consider how you might keep Him from being limited to a tiny manger... What reminder can you include to help you remember...?



This same Word... that fit in a manger...
Created...
Rescues...
and will...
Restore...

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
Revelation 19:11-13

Sunday, December 8, 2013

advent... second sunday...

I read it this week on the treadmill...
An expectant mother who cleans and paints the nursery is a poignant image of the one who welcomes from afar. Are we pregnant with hope of His return? Do we prepare our heart daily for His advent? If we do not anticipate His return, then we will either be lulled into thinking that what we currently enjoy in this life is enough or lapse into fury for this life not being enough.
--- Dan B. Allender, Tremper Longman, Bold Love
Surprised to find this picture of Advent... in a book about loving difficult people... an image that meshes with the word for the second Sunday...

Love

The preparation of a nursery... comes from a heart of love... the sacrificial kind... that makes room... lays down life... for that of another...

God... could not love a more difficult people than we... 

His unfailing love reveals itself by trusting His Son to a rebellious world...

The world who had no room for Him... the inn full... no nursery prepared... for the Son of the King...

 Are we pregnant with hope of His return?

Expectant with hope of His return... looks like love... preparing our hearts daily with room for Him...

Making the way... Your kingdom come... Your will be done... on earth... as it is in heaven... through obedience... His love language...

Being sure of what we hope for... certain of what we do not see... we love Him... and those He places in our lives... the way we want to be loved...

God loves... with an extravagant... sacrificial love... 

What is your response to that love...? as you wait... for His ultimate return...?


Friday, December 6, 2013

as one snatched from the fire...

The elder-in-law... one year and fourteen days... from his step of faith... became separated from his body... temporarily separated from us... through death...

For more than three months now... he's been full-time in a nursing home... his decreasing mobility demanding more... than what we could do...

Last night... as my husband shared the news... of his dad's death... I wondered... Lord... is he with You...?

My failure to disciple well haunted... his decreasing mental state made me wonder... Did he know You...? as best he could...?

I let the question sit...

A short while later... in the midst of another conversation... my husband sharing other aspects of his day... an impression came... the elder-in-law free... for the first time in a long time... from anxiety... fear... all that bound... tears welled...

In the duty of sharing the news with a son... the son said... He's home... that's where he wanted to go...

Yes... the 93-years... he made it... home...

November 19, 1920 - December 5, 2013

Trusting Him...

Be merciful to those who doubt;
snatch others from the fire and save them;
to others show mercy, mixed with fear...
Jude 23


[Related fare...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

He comes quietly...

He came so quietly...
after more than 400 years of silence...

Until that day... the only assurance of His presence:
His Word... and the dawning of each new day...

I wonder... with all the prophetic Word...
How did so many miss Him...?

How do so many miss Him still...?
How often do I miss Him...? day to day...?
His presence...? His Word to me...?

A priest... and his wife...
a virgin... and her betrothed...
shepherds... with their sheep...
wise men... from the east...

These are the few... who received the Word... of His coming...
the ones... with hearts prepared...
to hear... and believe...
to see... and follow...

What does it mean... to prepare for Him today...?
To fully receive...? to worship rightly...?

In the days leading up to Christmas... how do you prepare...?

Are you prepared to hear...? believe...?
when He comes quietly...?

Most preparations... are those that are seen...
trees decorated... gifts wrapped...
candles prepared to light...
doors wreathed...

To date I've done a few... and yes more will come...
But... what about the unseen...? the heart...?

Preparing a heart... for His quiet coming...
to acknowledge His presence...
hear His voice...
over the noise of the Season...
that's the challenge...

The noise is not just external...
there is internal noise too...

How do you silence the noise of a stirred up heart...?
worry...
bitterness...
anger...
fear...
unforgiveness...
just to name a few...?

Remember... He comes quietly... at least for now...
How do you prepare to hear...? see...? receive...?

Make room for Him...
the One who comes quietly...
in the muted colors of a sunset...


Invite Him in...
the One who knocks...
trust His love... and grace...

I don't want to miss Him this year...
My desire is to point others to Him as well...

Lord... show me... teach me... prepare me...
to hear... see... receive... and follow...
when He comes quietly...

...and [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

waking thoughts... reconciliation...

Waking thoughts...

Reconciliation... peace... it takes two...

I rise to seek the Word... that echos...

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, 
live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Peace... reconciliation... is not always possible... it takes two to have peace...

Without both being willing to sacrifice... forgive... reconcile... whatever's at odds... to make it even... there will be no peace... no harmony...

We would have no hope... of reconciliation with Him... if He were not willing to pay the price... sacrifice what was lost... by His creation's rejection...

Therefore... because He paid such a high price to reconcile us to Him...
stooping down... taking on flesh...
coming to die... on a cross...
to even out what's at odds...
we who Believe... as far as it depends on us... are to live at peace... with everyone...

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 4:16-21
(emphasis added)

Those in Christ... are ambassadors... ministers... of reconciliation...

reconciliation... the action of reconciling... 
restoring to friendship... harmony...

God... reconciling the world... to Himself... in Christ...

We too are called to be ministers of reconciliation... making the way for peace... not only with others... but also with Christ... let the world know... that He is willing to doctor the books... eat the loss... in order to have peace... a harmonious relationship... with them...

If He went to such lengths... for the world... then how much more... should we who Believe... do that for others...

What I hear... in the waking thoughts... Do the right thing...work toward peace... with God and man... but know... the outcome is not your responsibility... not everyone... will choose harmony... but as far as it depends on you... be a minister... of... peace...

I wonder... Why these thoughts this morning...? I'm not at odds with anyone... not that I know of...?

Perhaps this is a Word... I'll need sometime today... or perhaps it's for one of you...

Peace... if we work toward it... choose it... in Christ... we will be at peace with Him... 

But with others...? not always...

For those who choose to stay at odds... with you... Him... you are not responsible...

Lay down the guilt... that What if...? thought... leave it at the feet of the One... who did it all...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

finding His strength...

I pray it for a loved one this morning...

May he find Your strength... today...
Not depend on himself... but on Your grace...

The challenge to finding His strength... is embracing our weakness... for when we are weak... He is strong...

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

Only in His strength... can we move forward... after being stumped...

Praying today... for acceptance... of great weakness... from which springs forth... His strength...

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT 

Monday, December 2, 2013

no need to strive...

The sisters in study and I finished one today... a study about His love for His people... particularly His love for woman... the daughters of Eve...

It has changed me... (I hope for good...)

The name of the study... Captivating... reflects how He sees all women...

I never really believed it before... but now... in a place where jealousy... striving... would raise its head in my heart... I feel no need...

All I sense is a peace and joy... for those who might formerly been seen as competitors...

Today... I believe... truly... that He finds me captivating... a treasured song of joy in His heart...

And as I've slowly come to accept my acceptance in Him... it fills my heart... soul... with peace... confidence... of my place... of who I am... and what He is doing in me...

He is enough... His love... ENOUGH...

No need to strive... for His love... attention...

No need to strive... for others to acknowledge... applaud...

No need... but to rest... in His love... for me...

So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
Psalm 45:11 NKJV

He feels the same for you... 

All His created beings... male and female... He created them... in His own image...

Not only does He fill us... but we fill Him... when we respond to His call... when we trust that He is enough...

Whether you are equipped with a beauty to unveil... or a courageous spirit to rescue... He longs to be your all in all...

Will you let Him... prove His love for you...?

It's true... taste and see...

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Psalm 63:3-5

Sunday, December 1, 2013

advent begins... first sunday...

Advent... from the Latin... advenire... 
to reach... arrive... an... Are we there yet...? word...

Today begins... (in church tradition...) the time of waiting for the celebration... of the arrival of Christ...

Reminded... that those who believe... wait perpetually in the season of Advent... for His return...

The word for the first Sunday in Advent...

Hope

Hope... found...
in a manger in Bethlehem...
in the Word made flesh...
in the Way to the Father...
in relationship with Him...

This Word for those who Believe... transforms hearts and lives...

...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

A hope of new...

Consider today... this first Sunday of waiting...

How does your relationship with Christ 
reveal itself today...? what's new...? 
what's changed...?

Or... if you have yet to take hold of the hope found in Him...

What transformation do you hope for...?
What do you desire for Him to make new...? redeem...?

Examine your heart... your life... for evidence of Him... 

Seek anew... as we wait...


[More on Advent... from the one who reminded me...

You can also mark the days... and read the story of His birth... through The Heart of Bethlehem... ]

Friday, November 29, 2013

continued thanks...

Thank-full for...
those who pray...
hearts prepared...
words and grace...
in the face of hard...

We now have this light shining in our hearts,
but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars
containing this great treasure. This makes it clear
that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Thursday, November 28, 2013

gathered up... joy...

The joy... of family... gathered up... in faith...

Thank-full for that which is seen...






And those things unseen...
love...
joy...
faith...
Him...

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights...
James 1:17

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a prayer... for thanks giving...

For those who face difficulties... of wide and varying degrees... hard places from which to give thanks... on this thanks-giving eve...

Father God... You are Most High...
Good and Loving toward all You have made...

I pray for those who need to know Your presence... Lord...
Your love for them... this moment...

A blessing of grace... the ability to sense... 
in some way... Your love for them...

You are the One who intends all things for good...
and the saving of many lives...

I pray for those waiting in the face of death...
show Yourself as Life...

For those who need healing... 
physical... 
emotional...
spiritual... 
relational...
show Yourself as as the One who heals...

For those who are lost... wandering...
reveal Yourself as the Way...

I pray for those trapped in darkness...
emotional...
spiritual...
literal and metaphorical...
show Yourself as Light...

I pray for those in deep despair...
show Yourself as Hope...

For those who need You... those for whom You've come...
the sick... the lost... the sinner...
bring healing... hope... forgiveness...

May each recognize Your presence....
Your righteousness... O Most High...

Bless each with the gift of faith...
to offer a sacrifice of thanks... 
and know Your peace...
no matter what they face...

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
Psalm 145:17-19

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

pondering... Psalm 62...

Setting Word to memory... causes one to ponder... seeking meaning... understanding... to help retain...

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2 ESV

Why do we wait... for God alone...?

Why do we need a fortress...? a defense...?

Because we have... an enemy...

How long will all of you attack a man to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.
Psalm 62:3-4

This enemy... is not flesh and blood...
he is spiritual... invisible...
he prowls... waiting to devour...
deceptive in all his ways...

This enemy is the reason... we are commanded... test the spirits...

Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits to see whether they are from God...
1 John 4:1 ESV

The enemy... whispers in our ear... with lies... that lead to our own destruction...
his one desire... divide us from the Father... our high position in heaven...
he delights in the lies... inflating self-centeredness... pride...
all the while... intending all as a curse...

The battle to discern the difference between good and evil... lies at the heart...
the willingness to die to self... the key to overcoming...
the wholehearted surrender... to the Truth... even when it sounds to good to be... frees...
but the battle continues... and it's hard to see...

So often we are blind... to what is happening... drawn in... to draw away...

How long will all attack... batter...?

Until the King returns...

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. ... He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11, 15

How long will we lean... totter...?

Until we stand firm... in His strength... take up His full armor...

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
Put on the full armor of God so that you can 
take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Ephesians 6:10-11

Heartbreaking... to see the raging battle in a loved one... when they are blind... and you feel helpless...

Here is where I sit and wait... in silence... on Him... 

Monday, November 25, 2013

choose today...

In this world at war... it's a struggle... every day... to stay focused on Him... and His Way...

In the reading through... a phrase catches my attention...

"So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. 
Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped 
when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. 
Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, 
then choose today whom you will serve. ..."
Joshua 24:14-15 NLT

...choose today... whom you will serve...

A way to focus... a decision to make... every day...

Choose... today... whom... you... will... serve...

Perhaps before getting out of bed... first thought of the day... a choice needs to be made...

Today... I choose... to fear the Lord...
 and serve Him wholeheartedly...

Tomorrow... this will be the first choice I make...

What about you...?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

practicing... Psalm 62...

This morning I awoke all stirred up... for the one who appears stumped...

Feeling the need to act... take control of the situation... help... fix... as if I could...

Seeking guidance before acting... I bowed low... before the only One who has control... can help... fix...

Reminded... to cling to a psalm... one being set to memory...

For God alone my soul waits in silence; 
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2 ESV

This verse... became prayer... 

For You alone... my soul waits in silence... at rest... still...
From You... comes my salvation...
You only... are my Rock and my salvation... my defense...
I shall not be greatly shaken...

Peace descended... the need to act set to rest... before the One who will act...

Trusting Him... with the one so loved... the one for whom a heart aches...

A prayer returned to... multiple times today... 

One that will  be repeated... again... and... again... as needed...

Thank-full for the opportunities... to practice silence... be still... rest in Him...

Friday, November 22, 2013

hope... in a stump...

I see a loved one... whose life looks... like a stump... seemingly cut down to size...

I wonder... Is this how he feels...? stumped...?

There is hope... to be found in a stump...

Jesus rose out of the stump of a messed up nation...

Cut down in pride... arrogance... rebellion...

The cutting down seemed hard... complete... hopeless...

But God... He had other plans...

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him ---
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ---
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-3

From the stump of a people... came the Savior of the world...

Only He didn't come in a fury... He didn't come with vengeance...

He came as a tender young shoot... from a broken down stump...

A fragile babe... God made flesh... laid in a feed trough...

Filled with compassion and mercy... 
love and forgiveness... 
grace and truth... 
He brought healing... redemption... and reconciliation...

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out..."
Isaiah 42:103

The Savior... does not break... what's already bruised... 
He does not snuff out... that which smolders...

From failures... brought on by self-deception and pride... the greatest victories can shoot up... if we graft our lives to His... live by His wisdom and understanding... His counsel and power... His knowledge... and fear of the Lord...

"... If a man remains in me and I in him, 
he will bear much fruit..." ---Jesus
John 15:5

Things aren't always what they appear to be... 

Hope... shoots forth... from a stump...

Father God... may the one who is stumped... 
find his hope in You...