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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

a word for the year...

It began with an invitation from a friend... a practice she had heard on the radio last year... and it came back to mind near the start of this year...


Ask God to give you a word for the year... 
one on which to focus your spiritual growth... 

Unsure... whether the invitation was for me... I didn't pursue... but my friend... in the midst of ministry... and surrounded by sisters with words... she says... You're gonna get a word...!

So I surrendered... saying a silent prayer... God... if You have a word or me... for the year... I'll receive it... but make it clear...

Well... a word came... and He made it clear... the word...

OBEDIENCE

Whew... a heavy word... one that came with trepidation... and a shade of guilt... Have I not been obedient enough...? I have that much MORE to learn...?

I do strive... to be obedient... careful to listen... doing what I hear... even when it's hard... or weird... or seems senseless...

But I received it... OK... obedience...

Now each word... is to be attached to a Word... a scripture... that sets the tone for the word... and the year...

When I began to seek a verse... I could not recall any with the word "obedience"... I thought of "obey"... and "obedient"... so I began to doubt... if obedience was the word...

Finally... I went to my Logos... the Bible software with the complete concordance... and entered... obedience...

The final reference... it spoke... clearly...

2 John 6     And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. ...

The verse reminded me of a prayer... one I've prayed for a long time... prayed daily... at the beginning of my walk 19 years ago... Grow me to love You... with all my heart... mind... soul... and strength...

And here it was... obedience is love...

There was a necklace in my closet... one I bought 2 or 3 Christmases ago... a gift... never given... just last week I found it anew... while reorganizing my closet... it has a charm that reads... A friend loves at all times... and on the back... Proverbs 17:17...

As I contemplated the verse to complement my word... God spoke to my spirit... Go put on that necklace... I'm giving it to you...

My heart... it melted... this word I dreaded... thought might be a scolding... was actually an affirmation... You are My friend...

I cried... as this message sank in...

Obedience... it is a privilege... an act of friendship and love... to share with the Creator...

My whole view of obedience has changed... so often... it feels like a punishment... a discipline... but in reality... it is an invitation to friendship...

I look forward to what else I will learn... from my word-for-the-year... this world-view shift word... I know it will be hard... every friendship has its moments... but I'm excited... about what my Friend... has in store...

And the charm... it is written in the round... on a pewter ring... an "O"... for obedience...


No one can make this stuff up... it must be Him...

What about you...? 
Maybe He has a word for you... for the year...
Why don't you ask...? 
You might be surprised...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

it feels like rain...

"...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

The Word... of God... it's active... visible... in many different ways... all around me...

Words of grace... falling like rain...

Words stored... finding reason... to emerge...

Words to answer questions of sixth graders... fitting with the lesson planned by the director...

I don't know... it just feels like rain... refreshing... surprising... rain...

Evidence of a faithful God... making things... me... grow...

"...You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ..."
---the Lord
Isaiah 55:12

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

learning respect... concluding thoughts...

The teaching on...

R... revere...
E... engage...
S... stand at the crossroads and look...
P... pure...
E... earnest...
C... choice...
T... today...

... began... when God... shined His Light... in a dark corner... of my heart...

I marvel... at the grace offered... bringing Light... revealing... faults... unplowed ground... sin...

He could have left me brooding... undeserving of insight... and teaching... after so many years... failing... stumbling... again... and... again...

But Jesus... when asked...


Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother 
when he sins against me? Up to seven times?... 

He answers... with His Father's heart...

"I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
Matthew 18:22

... seventy-seven times... can also be translated... seventy times seven... the NIV commentary says... this idiom means... always.... Jesus... He says... Don't forgive just seven times... but always...

Jesus... the direct representation of His Father... always... forgives...

An amazing grace... to not just forgive... but to teach... and not just with words... but with illustrations... in your face... daily... live... illustrations...

This teaching... on... R... E... S... P... E... C... T... has been such a grace... and brought about... what seems to be... feels like... real transformation... in me... a much needed teaching... straight from my Father...

Now... I don't know... if it was helpful to you... or to anyone... (well one I know... because she told me)... but the lesson I want you to see... is God... He cares... when you run to the dark... out of the Light... He's there... waiting... to teach... if you will ask...

Perhaps... if you asked Him to teach you...

R... E... S... P... E... C... T... 

... each letter might be revealed differently to you... tailor-made... for your specific... heart... issues...

So my encouragement to you...
be open... always... to the Word...
an ear... continually tuned... to the Spirit...
eyes... sensitive... to the Light...
in order to receive... the teaching you need...

And maybe... you can share it with me...

Monday, January 28, 2013

learning respect... part 6...

God... He didn't make me wait for the final letter... in the teaching... whose genesis... came... in the dark...

Yesterday... in the midst of writing the C...

R... revere...
E... engage...
S... stand at the crossroads and look...
P... pure...
E... earnest...
C... choice...
T

... the T... was revealed...

Today

The time... is now... today...

There is no waiting... for a husband... to earn... respect... God says...

...the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33
(emphasis added)

Today... is the day to begin... 

When we exercise... respect... by faith... we wield the God-given tool... that encourages... our husbands... as Adams... to become the men... the keepers... God created them... to be... turning them into... men... we... will... respect...

Respect... it flourishes... in the present... where we find... His presence... 

Our God... He is a present-tense God... the Great... I AM... 

There is no benefit... to being guilt-ridden... by all the opportunities... missed... to encourage... with respect... guilt it paralyzes... and condemnation... is not found... in Christ...

There is no benefit... in waiting... for tomorrow... or... for the moment... when you feel like respecting...  

Obedience... to a command... does not require... feelings... 

So as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today if you hear his voice,
do not harden your heart
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert. ..."
Hebrews 3:7-8
(my emphasis)

The test... it comes in the desert... the wilderness... where it's hard... when you hear Him speak... 

Do it NOW... waiting... hardens your heart... turns it... into a wasteland... 

To wait... once you know... when you've heard... that's rebellion... and leads to an extra... 40 years... in the desert...!

It is an act of faith... to hear... and obey... especially... when you don't feel like it... 

Today... now... in this moment... is where the Great... I Am... is found... there is no... What if...? there is ONLY... What is...

The past... it requires... confession... repentance... and confidence... in forgiveness... and grace... and His power to work all... for the good... of those who love Him...

The future... is... yet to be written... paths not yet chosen... words not yet spoken... thoughts that can be taken captive... for His glory... 

Faith... exercised... today... stands on His promise... to empower His people... to do... what He calls them to...

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

Humble yourself... before God... today...
Confess... that you are unable... to respect... your husband...
He is faithful... to enable...

Father God... I thank You... for Your teaching...
root it in my heart... for Your glory...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

learning respect... part 5...

The C... it came slowly... difficult to hear...

For me... in waiting for a teaching to continue...

R... revere...
E... engage...
S... stand at the crossroads and look...
P... pure...
E... earnest...
C
T

... is the temptation to rush... to go ahead... to figure it out on my own... doubts rising... the end so close... Will He continue to teach...?

I asked... for more revelation... but... then it's like I tried to guess what will be next... impatient... "c" words... tumbled through my brain... I don't want my word... but Yours...

Then it came... quietly...

Choice...

Respect... is a choice... once we stand and consider the outcome of our behavior... respect vs disrespect... we must choose...

Yesterday... I made a choice... a portion of the definition of respect... came to mind...

...to refrain from interfering with...

As my husband did a job... for me... just... for... me... on Saturday morning... my spirit... was continually reminded... 

...do not interfere...

Now understand... this was a job I wanted done... a change that I physically couldn't make myself... one that took hours... and really benefited no one but me...

And it was a job... I had to let my husband do... his way... out of respect... I did not interfere...

But as I stood by and let him do... the phrase... it echoed... do not interfere...

The Spirit doesn't tell you anything unless you need to hear it... the Counselor... giving the encouragement you need...

The Spirit didn't repeatedly tell Joshua... Be strong and courageous... because he was... it was because that's what he needed to be reminded...  to be... what he did not feel... as he led God's people... into the Promised Land...

So yesterday... that is what I needed to hear... Why...? Because I wanted... to... interfere... to direct... to help... to say... I have a better way...

I realized... how disrespectful... I have been over the years... interfering... in places where he asked for no help...
telling stories...
driving from point A to point B...
various jobs around the house...

The lesson of respect... as a choice... making an impact... do not interfere...

And I was blessed... my husband... he went way beyond... what I asked... and expected... him to do...

In that choice... my respect... for my husband... magnified... enlarged... grew...

Respect... is a choice...

When divinely directed... from a pure heart... with a focus on entering a promised land... in marriage... mindful... of God's plan... and desire... the choice... to respect... is blessed...

Lord... I'm blown away... by Your teaching... Your thoughts... too wonderful... to me...

Friday, January 25, 2013

learning respect... part 4...

God... in His faithfulness... continues to teach... lessons... from struggles... in the dark...

R... revere...
E... engage...
S... stand at the crossroads and look...
P... pure
E
C
T

The second E... it came this morning...

Earnest...

Another trip... to the dictionary... (I have a friend who says... it's a holy book... the Merriam-Webster's... the way a simple definition... when we take the time to look... adds depth and increases understanding... of the Word... divinely inspires...)

earnest -- characterized by or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind; grave, important

Respect... is not just outward... it begins with a thought process... an intense... serious... state of mind...

We often minimize the influence of our thoughts... I was just thinking... some not even realizing... that thought leads to action... or that we can control our thoughts... what we think...

Respect... is forged... by the renewing... of the mind... intentionally... changing the way... I think... about my spouse...

We demolish arguments and every pretension
 that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take every thought captive 
and make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

Thoughts run amok... in need of destruction...

My husband needs to EARN my respect...
I will NOT respect a man who...

Thought... taken captive... made obedient to Christ...

I WILL respect my husband...

Sin... it begins in the mind...

God warns us...

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2

Be careful what you think...!

Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2

What we think is serious business...

God's Light... in the midst of my run to the dark... revealed a pattern of thought that had taken root in my heart... regarding my husband... 

Thought patterns that have created a deep-seated habit of disrespect... highly polished... but disrespect nonetheless...

By His grace... I have begun to take those thoughts captive... making them obedient to Christ... remembering Jesus alone... is my source of joy... peace... security...

The old thoughts... send me careening down the path of Eve... and my previous attempts to respect were polluted with motive...

Changing my thoughts... begins with the work of breaking up a hard heart... and leads to changing habits... new rows plowed... taking all to Christ... He can transform...

Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12

Respect... for a husband... is serious...  and cultivated from the proper state of mind...

What is your state of mind... ladies... when it comes to your husband...? or other men... in your life...?
sons... sons-in-law...?
brothers...?
co-workers...?
bosses...?

Remember... we Eves... have a job... to encourage the men God has placed in our lives... to be who they were created to be... and our primary tool... is... R-E-S-P-E-C-T...

Father God... thank You... for Your Word... Your teaching... Your willingness to help us demolish wayward thoughts... please continue... to reveal... what's next... in Jesus's name...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

learning respect... part 3...

The teaching continues... an answer to prayer... His Light... transforming... the dark... in me...

R... revere
E... engage
P
E
C
T

The next word... the P... came yesterday morning...

Pure...

Beginning again... with the dictionary...

pure -- unmixed with any other matter, free from dust, dirt, or taint; spotless, stainless; free from harshness or roughness and being in tune; being thus and no other: sheer, unmitigated; free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; containing nothing that does not properly belong

Respect... the heart behind it... pure... not to be used to manipulate... for your own good...

The night before I received this word... I saw it modeled... true... pure... respect... 

My husband and I stood at the bedside of a dying man... a man my husband knew better than I...

The man... he showed... spoke... respect to my husband... called him good... said he had impacted his life and how he lived... even though my husband probably didn't even realize it...

Respect... from a dying man... what does he have to gain... by offering praise... no future to manipulate others for... what I saw... was... pure... respect... for my husband... the one I have struggled... to respect...

God gave me a gift of grace... 

See how others see him...? 
Look with pure eyes... and heart... 
unfocused on what you feel you need from him... 
Look at him... him alone...
not what you want from him...
but who... he... is...
an image of  Me...

Godly respect... biblical respect... is pure... void of motive... no concern for... advancement... or favor...

Pure...

Free from fear... no need to walk on eggshells...

Real respect... is... pure...

Live as free men, 
but do not use your freedom to cover up evil;
live as servants of God.
Show proper respect to everyone...
1 Peter 2:16-17
(emphasis mine)

Lord Jesus... thank You... for this teaching... this lesson...
the transformation I feel taking place...
I humbly ask You to continue... revealing...
the meaning behind... 
R... E... S... P... E... C... T...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

learning respect... part 2...

God's light... it heals... transforms... if we let it shine... on our personal darkness...

My dark... plus His Light... began this teaching...

R... revere
E... engage
S
P
E
C
T

The teaching continues... the Scripture that woke me yesterday... revealed the S...

Stand at the crossroads and look...


This is what the Lord says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' ..."
Jeremiah 6:16

Each day...
every moment...
we stand at a crossroads...
we have a choice...
our way...
or...
His Way...

...the ancient path... the good way... is the way it was meant to be... in the beginning... at the genesis...

Consider the outcome of the choice... 

In this case... the choice to... respect... the command given to wives... regarding their husbands...

Eve... she did not respect her husband enough to ask... What do you think... about this fruit...? or... What exactly did God say...?

Perhaps she thought as I do at times... He's not even interested in what's going on here... what's the point of asking... or... He probably wasn't listening... the game was on... there's no way he remembers...

Patterns of thought... that reveal... a lack of respect...

No respect... for the one... whose job is to keep the Garden... and all that is in it... especially his helper...

The Lord took the man and put him in the garden...
to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15
ESV

keep... the Hebrew... it means... keep, i.e. cause a state or condition to remain... guard, watch, i.e. limit access and movement of persons or objects in and out of an area, implying protection to or from the item being guarded...

Adam... he had a job... and so did Eve...

Eve... entered the garden... as a helper...  fit for Adam...

Then the Lord God said, 
"It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him."
Genesis 2:18
ESV

But she is not just any helper...
When God creates Eve, he calls here an ezer kenegdo. "It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]" (Gen. 2:18 Alter). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says this phrase is "notoriously difficult to translate."  The various attempts we have in English are "helper" or "companion" or the notorious "help meet." ...Alter is getting close when he translates it "sustainer beside him."
The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.
... A better translation therefore of ezer would be "lifesaver." Kenegdo means alongside, or opposite to, a counterpart. 
---John & Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Woman... created to help man... be all he was created to be... it is her divine appointment... and she has been given... divine gifts... power... to fulfill this role... the main gift... respect...

...the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33
(emphasis added)

Respect encourages the one we are to revere... to do... and be... what he was created to do... and be...

Satan... he saw this... and his mission... was to destroy God's image... mankind... male and female... and he began by attacking the helper...

Even a sinless Adam... had doubts... was subject to temptation... yet... a word from Eve... a reverential question... engaging him in the conversation... would have stirred Adam to engage the serpent in conflict...

The lack of respect... led to trusting the one... who sought destruction... division... the new way... the way of the world... looked lovely... reasonable... but it was... the bad way... it was deadly...

Stand at the crossroads... and look...

Respect... an ancient path... a good way...

Consider the outcome of the paths... the ancient... versus... the new...

This same crossroad... is before every Eve... today...

Which way... will you choose...


Note: This relational truth is not just for husbands and wives... but is a message that effects all male/female relationships...
father to daughter...
mother to son...
brother to sister...
co-workers...
friends...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

the beginning of the lesson... from the struggle...

The new lesson God began yesterday... is really the continuation of an old one... one I've been trying to learn for about 17 years...

Wives, in the same way be submissive 
to your husbands so that,
if any of them do not believe the word, 
they may be won over without words 
by the behavior of their wives, when they see
the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2
(my emphasis)

A Word I received quite clearly... for the first time God directed me to Scripture... chapter and verse... a verse that DIRECTLY spoke to the prayer I had been crying out to Him...

 The heart of the message... Change yourself... in order... to change your husband...

Not a message I was too happy to hear at the time... and here I am... still... learning... still... surrendering territory... in my heart... that I might be transformed... into that wife... submissive... glowing with... purity and reverence...

As God shone His light... on me... regarding the struggle that sent me running to the dark... He revealed the sin... that keeps me stuck...

...the wife must respect here husband.
Ephesians 5:33
(emphasis added)

With a sad repentant heart... fully exposed... I confess... I do not respect my husband... the way God wants me to... the way I am commanded to...

I have tried... in my own strength... and reasoning... to bring it about... but there is a hard place in my heart... and yesterday morning... I prayed...

Forgive me Lord for not respecting [my husband] as I should.
Teach me how to respect him...

And He promptly began to teach... first through the dictionary...

respect -- to consider worthy of high regard: esteem (to set a high value on: regard highly and prize accordingly); to refrain from interfering with; to have reference to: concern (to relate to: be about; to bear on; to have an influence on)

Then I was prompted to write...

R
E
S
P
E
C
T

... and wait for Him to reveal... the meaning... of each letter... in the word...*

The first came immediately...

Revere...

Back to the dictionary...

revere -- to show devoted deferential honor to: regard as worthy of great honor

... devoted... worthy of great honor... words I kept going back to... drilling them into my mind... and heart... My husband is worthy of great honor... and devotion...

Two reasons to revere have come to mind...
  1. My husband is created in the image of God...
  2. I chose him...

He is God's creation... and I was not forced to marry him... I chose him... he is my husband... reason enough to exercise reverence... and display devotion...

Up to this point... (less than 48 hrs into the teaching)... I have had some success in this first part of the lesson... learning to honor... and understanding... receiving... into my heart... the reasons to revere...

The second letter... came at virtually the same time as the first...

Engage...

Again... to Merriam-Webster...

engage -- to pledge oneself: promise; guarantee (an assurance for the fulfillment of a condition); to give attention to something: deal; to hold the attention of: engross

Isn't it interesting... the precursor to a marriage is... engagement...

Respect is forged... by pledging oneself... to give attention to another... to deal with them... in a way... that holds their attention... 

I pledge... to engage... my husband... reverentially... a commitment the enemy does not want me to make... 

This morning...  in that half-awake... half-asleep... consciousness... a phrase ran through my head... Scripture... recognizing... that it began... with "S" I asked... Is this the S...?... and heard... Yes...

The phrase to share tomorrow... the next lesson in teaching... respect...

And after that... I will wait... hope-fully... in a faithful God... who will complete what He has begun... in me...

Father God... thank You for Your instruction... Your teaching... that transforms...



*Here is where it gets a little scary... posting this in a blog... here is faith... boldness at work... sharing a lesson that is... incomplete... with no clear timeline for when it will be...

Monday, January 21, 2013

more evidence... of struggling to abide...

Yesterday... I ran to the dark...  after words... with a loved one... seeking solace... in the dark... a slice of pizza in one hand... a beer in the other... the struggle to abide... clearly evident...

It's been a long time... since I ran to the dark... lights out... door shut... darkness outside the window...

I let it cover me... brooded... about what had been said to me... unfairly...

No tears... just dark...

The one who wounded... entered... turning on the light... not looking for me... but for something else... and out of the darkness... came anger... biting back... getting my say... no patience extended to this one I know does not walk in the Light... the evening continued... the mood gray...

Thank God... He had something to teach... from this experience... in... and with... the dark...

  1. When in the dark... light... irritates...
  2. Out of the dark... comes only... more dark...
  3. Despite the Light... in my life... there is still MUCH dark...

This morning... God began a new lesson... and yes... I apologized... sincerely seeking forgiveness from the one who injured... the loved one who lives in the dark... whose verbal attack... was sparked by the combination of my words shining light on him... but coming out of a heart not completely right... void of respect...

"...This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." ---Jesus
John 3:19-21

I choose to come into the Light... let God teach... admonish... discipline... and make the way... for Him...

For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of light
consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness,
but rather expose them.
Ephesians 5:8-10

Expose the fruitless deeds of darkness... even if they are your own... especially... if they are your own...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

when abiding is a struggle...

Fruit turns bad... when struggling to abide...
anger...
bad attitude...
impatience...
stirred up heart...
unkind words...

Uggghhh...

Wanting to abide... but feeling... lost... in my feelings...

Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord,
faithful God.
Psalm 31:5

Father God... again... I give up... let go... give in... to You...

Friday, January 18, 2013

abiding... yielding... fruit...

What the Word says about... fruit...

Recognizing... the spiritual fruit... of abiding...

The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
The effect of righteousness will be quietness
and confidence forever.
Isaiah 32:27

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23

...for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,
righteousness and truth...
Ephesians 5:9

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually
offer to God a sacrifice of praise 
--- the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Hebrews 13:15

Producing... spiritual fruit...

Blessed is the man 
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked 
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, 
and on his law he meditates day and night. 
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season 
and whose leaf does not wither. 
Whatever he does prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, "The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
Psalm 92:12-15

Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12

God gets the glory...

"...This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples. ..."--Jesus
John 15:8

...filled with the fruit of righteousness 
that comes through Jesus Christ
--- to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11

A prayer... for fruit...

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12

Fruit... love... joy... peace... patience... kindness... goodness... gentleness... faithfulness... self-control... righteousness... truth... praise...

Cultivated... with... discernment... delight... meditation... breaking up unplowed ground...

Glorifying... Him...

Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.
Matthew 7:20

Thursday, January 17, 2013

more abiding... branch and vine...

Yesterday's... really...? ...left me with a heart ready... to exercise this truth...

"...I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing. ..."
John 15:5
ESV
 (emphasis added)

The idea that without branches... the Vine bears no fruit... caused me to pause... marvel... as the author of Abide in Christ... continued...
There is more: as neither vine nor branch is anything without the other, so is neither anything except for the other.
All the vine possesses belongs to the branches. The vine does not gather from the soil its fatness and its sweetness for itself --- all it has is at the disposal of the branches. ... All His fullness and all His riches are for you, believer, for the vine does not live for itself, keeps nothing for itself, but exists only for the branches. All that Jesus is in heaven, He is for us. He has no interest there separate from ours; as our representative He stands before the Father.
And all the branch possesses belongs to the vine. The branch does not exist for itself, but to bear fruit that can proclaim the excellence of the vine. It has no reason for existence except to be of service to the vine.  This is a glorious image of the calling of the believer, and the entireness of his consecration to the service of his Lord. As Jesus gives Himself so wholly over to him, he feels himself urged to be wholly his Lord's. Every power of his being, every moment of his life, every thought and feeling, belong to Jesus, that from Him and for Him he may bring forth fruit. As he realizes what the vine is to the branch, and what the branch is meant to be to the vine, he feels that he has but one thing to think of and to live for, and that is, the will, the glory, the work, the kingdom of his blessed Lord --- the bringing forth of fruit to the glory of His name.
---Andrew Murray

The exercise to develop... the habit to forge... each moment... of every day... in every place... home...  store... work... school... church...
Picture self... as a fruitless branch... empty...
Ask the Vine... What fruit do You want to bear here... in this place... through me...?

I tried it yesterday... preparing for the 6th grade Bible class... the 30 minutes of controlled (?) chaos... tired of struggling... unsure how to get a message through... desiring to impart a passion for His Word... I emptied myself... surrendered... to the Vine... What fruit do You want to bear...?

I don't know exactly what the fruit was called... I'm not sure it has a name this side of heaven... but a plan came together... inter-action took place... moments of teaching... were scattered...

The victory... from my perspective... was what was planted in me... the patient... calm... trust... in not what I did... but in what He does...

Freedom to serve... through listening... obeying... and releasing the results... to Him...

Freedom in.. abiding...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

really...?

This morning... in the margin... I wrote... Really?



An idea... presented as a truth... regarding abiding...

"...I am the vine; you are the branches. 
Whoever abides in me and I in him, 
he it is that bears much fruit, 
for apart from me you can do nothing. ..."
John 15:5
ESV
(emphasis added)

Now this... I knew... and accepted... about abiding... 
but when the author... says...

Without the branch the vine can also do nothing. A vine without branches can bear no fruit. No less indispensable than the vine to the branch, is the branch to the vine. Such is the wonderful condescension of the grace of Jesus, that just as His people are dependent on Him, He has made Himself dependent on them. Without His disciples He cannot dispense His blessing to the world;  He cannot offer sinners the grapes of the heavenly Canaan. Marvel not! It is His own appointment; and this is the high honor to which He has called His redeemed ones, that as indispensable as He is to them in heaven, that from Him their fruit may be found, so indispensable are they to Him on earth, that through them His fruit may be found. Believers, meditate on this, until your soul bows to worship in the presence of the mystery of the perfect union between Christ and the believer.                                                                                      --- Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ (emphasis added)

Without the branch the vine can also do nothing... REALLY...?

So I meditate... and invite you to do the same...

This truth... it hits hard.... just like the fact that we... Believers... are the light... THE ONLY LIGHT... in a dark world...

A great responsibility... a reason to go low... before Him... to empty self... and allow Him space... for His Life... to flow... His Light... to shine... through...

I have been crucified with Christ
and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me...
Galatians 2:20

Lord... help me to accept my death...
that You might live through me...
that You might be seen... instead of me...
that I might bear fruit... for Your glory...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

shades of grace

Yesterday... filled with varying shades... of grace...
a daughter... sharing an epiphany... NO ONE... can steal her faith...
the one off track... coming to the realization... that he is NOT who he was...
the elder-in-law... watching TV... while wearing shades... (Who IS that behind those Foster Grants...?)

Each brings joy... in its varying shades...
Each evidence... of His unending grace...

May grace and peace be multiplied to you
in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2
ESV

Monday, January 14, 2013

clinging... to... abiding...

The desire... of the Old Testament psalmist... for a soul that clings to Him... is fulfilled in the New Testament invitation of Jesus...


This morning... God continues building on yesterday's study... cling... by having me pick up a compilation... a collection of works... on prayer by Andrew Murray... one book amid many... one bought several months ago... only the first few paragraphs read...




Today... the time to read... the first two chapters... centered on Christ's invitation to abide... a word that echoes the heart of cling... only to a greater... and deeper... degree...

The psalmist... with the clinging soul... cried out...

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

A clinging soul... the result of a desire to be near... with... the One who satisfies...

But clinging... is one distinct entity... affixed... to another...
a vine... on a wall...
a Muppet... on Jude Law...
a soul... on God...

The invitation to abide... its picture... as seen in Jesus's words... is one... as part... of another...

"...I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing. ..."
John 15:5
ESV

A branch... an offshoot from a vine... lives with the vine... by the power... of the vine... they are essentially one... a branch cut off... dies... but the branch attached... not only lives... but grows... and bears fruit... just as the vine...

Different than the clinging vine on a wall... no life shared... no thirst fulfilled... only support... upholding...

My soul clings to the you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:8

The clinging is good... but the abiding... is better...

The psalmist... his soul still thirsty... even in the clinging...

It is in the abiding... through the work of Jesus... His crucifixion... and resurrection... where we can receive the Spirit... the same life giving force... that connected Him to the Father... and us to Him...

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water flow from within him."
John 7:37-38

The same lesson taught... to the woman at the well... the one with a thirst...

"Everyone who drinks this [well] water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him 
a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
John 4:13-14

Abide... an option unavailable to the psalmist... the privilege... and pleasure... we as Believers... have in Jesus... 

... it is only the abiding that can really satisfy the thirsty soul and give to drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at His right hand. --- Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ

Lord... teach me... to cling... and... abide... fully...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

cling... a word that catches...

This morning... in my preparation for the day... I came across a verse... that stuck... a verse that prompted the deeper study... of a single word...

My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:8

cling... a sticky word... 

The Hebrew... dabaq... defined... to cling... cleave to... to stay with... to be joined together... to pursue closely...

What does it look like... for a soul... to cling...?

Merriam-Webster... paints this picture... to hold together... to adhere as if glued firmly... to hold or hold on to tightly or tenaciously... to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence...

But... what does it look like...?


Love... compels us to cling... with both hands... and all of self... 

We can only cling... to one thing at a time...
A soul that clings to God... 
lets go of everything else... 
including... control... 
the soul who clings to God... 
goes wherever... He goes...

But... our strength... alone... 
is not enough... to cling... 
powers pull... try to tear us away... 
so He... with His right hand... upholds... us... 
His strength... makes it possible... for a soul to cling... 

When we desire... to be near... to pursue... tenaciously... 
He... makes... it... possible...

My soul clings to You...
Your right hand upholds me...


Is it your desire... to have a soul... that clings... to Him...?
What do you have to let go of... to cling...?

Friday, January 11, 2013

giving up... a way to peace...

Sometimes the only way God can give us peace is when we come to the end of ourselves and simply give up.

These words from... Glorious Mess... my current treadmill read... brought back images from the past... Less than 2 weeks before Mom's death... her first few hours in ICU...

Images formed not from personal experience... but based on conversations with my brother... who questioned Mom... after her initial brush with death...

You see... she had been taken to the ER by my Dad and older brother... shortly after Easter... 1994...

On examination her oxygen levels were so low... the doctor couldn't believe she was still cognizant... answering his questions...

The feeling was... that her death was imminent... pulmonary fibrosis... literally... taking... her... breath... away...

She was placed on massive doses if IV steroids... oxygen... and whatever other support was necessary... and somehow... her breathing improved... at least enough for her to interact with family... have conversations... and within a few days... be transferred out of the ICU...

It was on her second day in ICU... that she improved... and my brother was compelled to ask her a question...

Do you remember anything from yesterday?

Yes... Everything was gray... It felt as if there were rocks on top of me... I gave up... When I did... the rocks fell away... there was light... everything was green... and there were young people everywhere... Don't tell your Dad... I didn't want to come back...

The day before... my brother... he prayed with Mom... and it was at the end of that prayer... that she confessed... I trust... I trust... and her major concern throughout the day was that she hadn't made the house payment that month...

The images I have of my brother's conversation with Mom... depict... the words... from Glorious Mess...

Sometimes the only way God can give us peace is when we come to the end of ourselves and simply give up.

My Mom... she gave up... she trusted Christ... even with the mortgage... and gave up... At that moment... she found peace... one she didn't want to leave...

It was less than two weeks later... that she entered that peace... for eternity...

The last couple of days... I've been pressed... by my own gray... rock pile... the weight of dealing with the one off course... the one who wears rebellion...

Decisions seem heavy... making it hard to breathe... and sleep... a life at stake... a future yet to be written...

I really don't want to come to the end of myself... in order to learn... and practice this lesson... I choose to simply give up now... whatever that looks like... praying... and waiting... for answers... not manipulating... but loving... as God calls me to... and hoping that the one off course... doesn't have to slam into greater rocks... before he gives up too...

I give up... not on the loved one... but on me... knowing I can't... but He can...

"My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness." ---Jesus
2 Corinthians 12:9

I seek His peace... by giving up... and giving all... to Him...

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness...
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

Thursday, January 10, 2013

His faithfulness...

Again... and again... He proves His faithfulness... to guide... when I trust... and obey...

I'm overwhelmed... with thanks... each time He comes through...

Amazed... by His love... and all He accomplishes... in just a short time...

My heart... sings...

You have been so good to me... 
Lord... how can I thank You...


I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness
to all generations.
Psalm 89:1
ESV

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

promised land command...

God... He told Joshua... just before entering the Promised Land...

"...This is my command --- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 
NLT

The lesson today... for the 6th grade Bible class... the first day back for the new semester...

For me... the leader... a day to dread... the last meeting... was... very challenging... to say the least...

I knew something had to change... the same was NOT working... but the thought of change... going to such great lengths for a 30 minute lesson seems... silly... and instills fear... of yet another failure...

The lesson for 6th graders... is also for me...

...be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

A reminder I needed... no need fear... the Lord is near...

Even when entering... a new room... and trying on a new plan... for a 30 minute Bible lesson... with 6th graders...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

rebellion...

I see it in the face of a loved one who's drifted off course... I'm not sure he's even recognized what's taken hold of his heart... or why he's allowed it to reside...

Why do we embrace rebellion...? defiance...?

So we don't have to go low...

Rebellion... it prevents the bending of the knee... keeps the face off the ground...

Rebellion... does not admit wrong... or acknowledge sin...

It lies... making you believe... you are free... above it all... when you are not...

"...the Sovereign Lord says: 'Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do --- because you have done this, you will be taken captive. ..."
Ezekiel 21:24
(emphasis mine)

Rebellion... is ugly... it is deadly... 

Rebellion... puts a wedge between you and God...

Drawing near to Him... requires... going low... and resisting the enemy... named... Rebellion...

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:7-10

I pray the loved one will receive the counsel... seek Truth... regarding the state of his heart... stop exalting himself... go low... and allow Him... to lift him out of the pit he has dug for himself...

Monday, January 7, 2013

a new year... fading fast...

How quickly... the new... wears off... the new year...

Just one week in... already feeling behind...
the hope of having it all together...
fading fast...

The hope put in a new year...
placed foolishly...
there is only One...
in whom to find the hope...
of new...

He who was seated on the throne said,
"I am making everything new!"
Then he said, "Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:5
(emphasis mine)

A Truth to remember...
His redeeming power...
is not of this world...
and does not begin with the turn of a calendar...
but is found moment by moment...
as we turn... to Him...

Father God... keep me turned to the One who makes all things new... trusting in His work in me... and the power... He provides...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

labor pains...

...my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
Galatians 4:19
ESV
(my emphasis)

Christ formed... in you... in me... a birth process...

I experienced the pains of such labor... yesterday... yet again... an unguarded mouth... a dark... wounded... place in my heart... spewing words... without thinking... biting the one I most desire to love rightly...

The painful labor of bringing forth Christ in the heart...
recognition of sin...
acceptance of brokenness...
repentance...
seeking forgiveness...
obedience in the hard things...
freedom used to serve others... not self...

At times... a painful process...
intermittent labor pains...
the anguish of childbirth...
until Christ...
formed...
in me...
in you...

Friday, January 4, 2013

discontent... by the world's standard... or God's...?

A book for my boys (young men really)... we read chapter 1... yesterday over lunch...

The question for discussion...
Tell about a time when you found yourself wishing you were accomplishing more in life that really matters. What caused your discontent?
Immediately... I thought of my life work... housewife... mom...
Changing diapers... disciplining toddlers to teenagers... endless cycles of cleaning... cooking... washing... picking up... my primary role for 23 years... mostly a thankless job...

Full-time motherhood...
a career no longer honored by our culture...
no salary... by which to measure your worth...
no raises... or paid vacations...
no report cards... or job reviews...
often... the only feedback... comes in the form of complaints...

The challenge... remembering the worth God puts on moms... family... homemaking... His value scale... upside down from the world's...

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Proverbs 31:10

Not all success can be measured by... salary... bonuses... titles...

Discontent creeps in... when I measure as the world measures... rather than God...

For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight.
1Corinthians 3:19

Have you felt discontent lately...?
Are you measuring by the world's standard... or by God's...?