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!

Receive Jeremiah's Menu by Email

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, February 28, 2013

battle dress

Thoughts of intercessory prayer... as battling... came back to mind this morning...

The classic passage of Scripture... calling us to put on the full armor of God... a passage I'm familiar with... ends with... And pray...

Immediately following... the instruction for battle dress... Paul... he tells us... pray...

This morning... for the first time... thinking the praying just added on as an aside... I came to realize... this armor... just might be... the preparation to pray...!

Paul... he is telling the church... how to live... Be imitators of God... Be very careful, then, how you live --- not as unwise but as wise... then he says...

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your gound, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13
(my emphasis)

Twice... he tells us... put on the full armor of God... we are to dress like Him... it is the wise way to face life... so here is where the battle dress begins... the wardrobe...

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:14-18
(emphasis added)

Get dressed in God's full armor... AND... pray... intercede... for all the saints...

Today I hear... Put on God's full armor... and then pray... you are stepping into the areas of heaviest fighting... when you dare to intercede...

Oswald Chambers... he says...
Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work. ...
Prayer is the battle; it is a matter of indifference where you are. ...
So for me... (maybe not for you...) this is a new and clearer understanding...  and I will be more intentional... about getting fully dressed... before... I pray...

What about you... do you dress for the battle of prayer? Are you even aware there is a battle?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

battling

Sometimes... maybe ALL the time... a time of prayer... becomes a battleground...

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus...
He is always wrestling in prayer for you,
That you may stand firm in all the will of God,
mature and fully assured.
Colossians 4:12
(my emphasis)

Today... I was Epaphras... wrestling in prayer... for one to stand firm...

wrestling... laboring... struggling... all translations of the Greek... which means... to contend with adversaries... fight...

A spiritual battle... an unseen battle... yet real nonetheless...

The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4

Intercession... a battle whose outcome has eternal consequences... an arena we need to enter fully equipped... and fully aware...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

exercising faith

Faith... is not faith... if it is not exercised... practiced... employed...
FAITH Belief in that which has no tangible proof; trust in God.
---Tyndale Bible Dictionary

The shield of faith... must be held up... to stop those flaming arrows of the enemy...

And like the woman in the crowd... He must be pursued... the hem touched...
The man born blind... he had to wash...
The mother... with the tormented daughter... she had to persist...

Standing firm... in faith... cannot be done with weak knees...

James McDonald... he shared this verse... on active faith...

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat,
But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made Me wait.

"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know.
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt.

"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb.
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their buttprints in the sand."

If you find yourself on your butt... STAND UP... strengthen feeble hands... steady knees that give way... exercise your faith... even if it is as small as a mustard seed...

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1Peter 5:9-11
(emphasis mine)

Monday, February 25, 2013

streams of living water... they flow...

Today, in the current study with sisters... this picture came to mind... water flowing from one... to another... to another...

A sister tells us about her 80 year old neighbor lady... her neighbor knows that she is in a Bible study on Monday mornings and each week she asks her... What did you learn this week?

This sister in study... she gets a chance to share what she's learned... pours it into another... even telling her Bible stories this 80 years has never heard before... an empty glass... thirsty... ready to be filled...

I see the call to begin this study... flowing into those who sit around my table... and now... I see another taking her fill and it pours over into her neighbor...

Streams flowing... I wonder how far they go... how many waters flow... I know not where...?

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

What streams might be flowing from you...?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

unexpected joy...

Right in the kitchen... sitting at the counter... 184 years... between the two... divided equally...


Nonagenarians...

The one visiting... came by unexpectedly... living 30 miles away... he drove himself over... he'd been out visiting all day... a Gideon...

The other... the live-in elder-in-law... is one our 92 year old friend has been witnessing to for about 20 years...

The last time he stopped by... my elder-in-law says... Who let him in...?... this pre-conversion... still they had a good visit...

Today... as they sat together over pb&j.... the elder-in-law... he says... I'd rather hug you than talk to you...

Good idea...

184 years embrace... quite a sight...!

As I walk our friend out... he stops on the porch... and says...
You don't know what that did for me...
To see his friend... as a brother in Christ...
I just love him...

An unexpected joy... on a Saturday afternoon...

I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
Psalm 16:2-3

Friday, February 22, 2013

living saturday... all week...

This week... I lived Saturday... according to Philip Yancey...
The author and preacher Tony Campolo delivers a stirring sermon adapted from an elderly black pastor at his church in Philadelphia. "It's Friday, but Sunday's Comin'" is the title of the sermon, and once you know the title you know the whole sermon. ...
Campolo skipped one day in his sermon, though. The other two days have earned names on the church calendar: Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Yet in a real sense we live on Saturday, the day with no name. What the disciples experienced in small scale --- three days, in grief over one man who had died on a cross --- we now live through on cosmic scale. Human history grinds on, between the time of promise and fulfillment. ...
Saturday... a day of waiting in faith... for Sunday... the resurrection... the promise fulfilled...

I was keenly attune to my waiting this week... whether five minutes... forty-five minutes... or living days... or years... into a wait... I felt the tension... the desire to rest... and trust... in my Sovereign Father who loves me... and my flesh that longed to rise up in indignation... complaint... anger...

But... with eyes open... I experienced... glimpses... of Sunday... His faithfulness ever-present... in even the smallest things... providing encouragement... for those longer waits...

The wait of faith... IS... a struggle...

A place... where watchful resistance is needed... to wait in peace... without stumbling... into sin...

Trusting His Sovereignty...
His promises that are pure...
His purpose that perseveres...

Saturday... Young says... has no name... it's simply life... as we wait... for the ultimate... Sunday...

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14

Thursday, February 21, 2013

more on... self-pruning...

The self-pruning... of sanctification... is not really... self-pruning...

It is more of an acknowledgment... a cry for help... a prayer...

The Gardener prunes... and knows what needs to be removed... but in our growth... toward holiness... we watch... and recognize... the emotions... desires... will... which are not in agreement with His... those that lead to disobedience...

The "self-pruning" happens... sort of... when we willingly stop... resist... and cry out in prayer... Help... Father this is not a place I want to go... Help me resist...

It is in this prayer... this not falling into the desire... the emotion... recognizing the wildness erupting... and choosing to stop and pray... calling on the Father... to prune... encourage... provide strength... to die to self...  that we prune... cut off... self...

Watching... resisting... praying... the self... asking for a pruning...

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
1 Thessalonians 5:6

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

sanctification... and self-pruning...

This year of the Lord's favor... an odd time... for us who believe... walking completely forgiven... washed white as snow... but still having the natural tendency... to stumble... fall... jump... both feet... into the mire...

Forgiveness of grace... amidst the brokenness of sin...

Andrew Murray... he says...
There is no other way of our becoming holy but by becoming partakers of the holiness of Christ. And there is no other way of this taking place than by our personal spiritual union with Him, so that through His Holy Spirit, His holy life flows in us. ...
To illustrate this relation between the measure of the abiding and the measure of sanctification experienced, let us think of the grafting of a tree, that instructive symbol of our union to Jesus. ... if I want a tree wholly made good, I take it when young, and, cutting the stem clean off on the ground, I graft it just where it emerges from the soil. I watch over every bud that the old nature could possibly put forth, until the flow of sap from the old roots into the new stem is so complete, that the old life has, as it were, been entirely conquered and covered by the new. ...
He has grafted the life of Christ on your life. That holy life is mightier than your evil life; under the watchful care of the Husbandman, that new life can keep down the workings of the evil life within you. The evil nature is there, with its unchanged tendency to rise up and show itself. But the new nature is there too --- the living Christ, your sanctification, is there --- and through Him all your powers can be sanctified as they rise into life and be made to bear fruit to the glory of the Father. ...
Look not upon a life of holiness as a strain and an effort, but as the natural outgrowth of the life of Christ within you. And let ever again a quiet, hopeful, cheerful faith hold itself assured that all you need for a holy life will most assuredly be given you out of the holiness of Jesus. Thus will you understand and prove what it is to abide in Christ our sanctification.
Holiness... sanctification... grows by faith... through grace... just like... justification... it cannot be earned... or manufactured... He makes it grow...

And now you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree.
Romans 11:17
NLT

Our contribution is to be on guard... against our own natural... wildness... being willing to... (forgive the expression...) nip it in the bud... a crucifying of self... a taking up of the cross... to kill that which continues to grow from the natural... the fruit that leads to death... we can choose to self-prune... or He will do it for us...

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful ..."
John 15:2

Rest in Him... trust His work... be attune to your natural bent... and be willing to cut it off... so He won't have to...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the struggle... of sanctification...

I see it... in one sinking... this adult-child off-course... drifting...

The maternal instinct longs to save from pain... longs to wake him up... remove all distractions... modes of escape... offer teaching... instruction... guidelines... boundary lines...

But he will not receive...

This morning... in my quiet... with Him... reflecting on a painful conversation... considering... Should I remove that from him...? take it away...? ...His thoughts... interrupt mine...

...he must find it empty...

This struggling loved one... must come to the end of himself... and all that he runs to... and find... it... empty... lacking...

Only when all else fails... do we run to Him...

No matter how welcoming... inviting... approachable... He might be... we don't run... turn to Him... until we find... all... else... lacking...

How painful to watch... when you are one who knows...

But each Believer... on this road of sanctification... must walk it alone... with Him watching... waiting... for that moment... of... surrender...

A pain-full process to watch... coming to the end of a self... a life... regressing... going deeper... deeper... into the dark...

A path allowed... by Him... that we might know... nothing but Him...

"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

Oh... that the one struggling... would come quickly to the end... find all sorely lacking... and run... full tilt... to Him...

Monday, February 18, 2013

flickers of fear... from the lesson on... no...

What teaching... isn't followed by a test...?

The hard teaching on... No... as something better... makes me consider... Will I be tested...? How will it come...? through sickness...? pain...? mine...? or a loved one's...? What No will I have to receive... as better...?

These are the thoughts that try to rise... and haunt... the ones I fight... the ones that lead me to humbly pray...

And lead [me] not into temptation,
but deliver [me] from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13

Lord... even in this teaching... this epiphany... on receiving Your No with love... do not let the enemy use it to taunt... to steal joy... stir fears... or draw me from You... guard my heart and mind... in Jesus's name...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

no... a hard lesson...

This lesson... on receiving God's No... as better... is hard... almost as hard as...

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. ..." 
John 6:53
ESV

How can better come out of...
death...
rejection...
divorce...

How is it better... to not fill an ache in your flesh... suffer... just because... He says... No...

Do you trust Him...? His love...?
Do you believe He is who He says...?

God demonstrates His patient unfailing love in so many ways... every day... yet we often walk around blind to it...

The wonder of His love revealed through His Son should be enough to convince... but it's hard...

We let dark... outweigh... light...

A loved one asked me recently... eyes welling...

How do you receive this Love...?

By faith... exercising it everyday... one moment at a time... believing He is who He says... Love...

It's a battle... it's hard... to believe No means something better... even the best...

Jesus... He knew... knows... this struggle... sweating blood... to see better... in No...
At its core Gethsemane depicts, after all, the story of an unanswered prayer. The cup of suffering was not removed. ...
This time only [on the cross], of all his prayers in the Gospels, Jesus used the formal, distant word "God" rather than "Abba" or "Father." He was quoting from a psalm, of course, but he was also expressing a grave sense of estrangement. Some inconceivable split had opened up in the Godhead. The Son felt abandoned by the Father.
--- Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

 We... no less... feel the same abandonment... but like Jesus... we need to trust... Nevertheless... not my will... but Yours... be done... 

At the heart of surrender to the Father... is the belief... that No... is the best...

We live in a war zone... battles erupt regularly... a reminder... this world is NOT our home... He does not want us to get comfortable here... He longs for us... to keep... pressing... on...

I have something better... for you...

Friday, February 15, 2013

more on... no...

As thoughts on God's No... jelled... it occurred to me...

Wherever... whenever... He says... No... 
He is saying... I have something better...

A better way...
A better place...
A better time...

The rules God gives... too often we receive them as barriers... restrictions... that steal freedom...

But in reality... they are a better way...

Boundaries... that keep us safe... that set up... wide... open... spaces... that ensure freedom...

A No... from Him... is always... a message of love...

I have something better for you... really... it's the best...

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6
(my emphasis)

Father God... help me to receive... Your No...
by faith... as a message of love...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

a new perspective on... no...

Yesterday's lesson to 6th graders... God is listening... led to a teaching on prayer...

God listens to His people... He answers those who are His...

Generally speaking... there are three answers...
Yes...
No...
Wait...

This morning... Valentine's Day... after studying love... God's variety of... the lesson on prayer came back to mind... in particular... His answer... No...

How do you respond to... No...?
Suck it up...
Receive it by faith...
Tell yourself... He knows what's best...
Have a temper tantrum...
Pout...

Me... I generally receive... No... with an air of stoicism bordering on martyrdom...

But a new response came to mind this morning... a response that can only emanate from walking in the light...

When we hear No from Him... it should not be interpreted as merely... No... we should hear...

"No... I have something better for you..."

This No from the Father... is a No that stirs excitement... anticipation... expectation...

What was the last "no" you heard...?

Can you receive it in the eternal light of... I have something better for you...?

The healing... that didn't come...
The job... that wasn't received...
The marriage... that wasn't saved...

I don't know... maybe it's too hard... in a world of gray... to hear... No... I have something better for you...

But our God... for those in Christ Jesus... He is a God of great... deep... love... a Father who only gives the best... even when He says... "No"...

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ..."
Matthew 7:11

In light... of God's love...

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you 
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
may have power, together with all the saints, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep 
is the love of Christ, and to know this love 
that surpasses knowledge --- that you may be filled 
to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

gray... is... NOT... ok...

This evening... after a full day... a service of ashes...

Ash Wednesday... the branches of Palm Sunday... burned as a reminder of Good Friday...

A time to contemplate sin... the need for rescue... the reason He chose to hang on a cross...

Head bowed... considering me... the confession it came...

Forgive me for being OK with gray...

Gray... light mixed with dark...

How many places do I compromise...? don't engage with a whole-heart...? concern myself with me... more than others...?

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him
yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
1 John 1:5-6
(emphasis added)

No darkness... is Light... 
a half-truth... a lie...
a gray-life... a walk in darkness...

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, 
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
(emphasis added)

The reason... for the ashes... the Good... in the upcoming Friday...
a reminder... that He has work to do... in me...
and tonight... unexpectedly... a heart prepared...

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

Thank You... Jesus...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the end of self...

Family... children... a source of great joy... and great pain... these relationships we do not choose... lead us into circumstances... that bring us to the end of ourselves...

Facing such a challenge now... I trust... that the One who says... I AM... is...

I trust... that He is at work...
in me...
in my spouse...
in the one causing heartache...

I see Him... leading... each one of us... to the end... of self...

That precious place... where we... find... Him...

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sovereign shelter

Several concepts... recur... regularly... of late...

The concept of shelter... a covering... protection... that provides...

Because you are my helper;
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 63:7
NLT

The concept of obedience... the love that forges friendship with Him...

"...You are my friends if you do what I command. ..."
John 15:14

The concept that following Him... brings transformation... healing... in others...

... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
(emphasis mine)

Coming under His sovereignty... as a Believer... provides shelter... a new level of relationship with Him... and  our humility... embracing our own depravity... brings about change... in this dark world...

"...For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
Genesis 18:19
(my emphasis)

A verse from the study with sisters today... that caught... 

Longing to direct... a beloved child... one whom rebellion has a hold... I see my role... do what is right and just...

Of course... I CAN'T do this... 
Only by walking before Him... with Him... in His Light... 
do I have any hope of being right... or... just...

Loving Him with all my heart... mind... soul... strength... obediently... seeking shelter... in His Sovereignty... can I direct this child... to keep the way of the Lord...

Here I sing for joy... in the shadow of His wing... trusting Him as Lord... refreshed... by His reign...

May the king's rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth.
Psalm 72:6
NLT

Others may balk... at seeking shelter... protection... from a God who commands obedience... 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do!
Psalm 73:28
NLT

Sunday, February 10, 2013

resting in His faithfulness

His work in loved ones...
His work in me...

A question asked...
a veiled response received...

Waiting... trusting...
a heart opens... shares what's stirring...
an opportunity... to bless... encourage... minister...

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

Friday, February 8, 2013

insight... from a word... reversed...

Treadmill reading... brought me to a word... that convicts... encourages... and affirms...

Philip Yancey... he shares a rendering of the Beatitudes... written by JB Phillips... a reversal that applies to the kingdom of this world:
Happy are the "pushers": for they get on in the world.
Happy are the hard-boiled: for they never let life hurt them.
Happy are they who complain: for they get their own way in the end.
Happy are the blase: for they never worry over their sins.
Happy are the slave-drivers: for they get results.
Happy are the knowledgeable men of the world: for they know their way around.
Happy are the trouble-makers: for they make people take notice of them.

I see myself... and others... among these worldly...

... the hard-boiled... a temptation I deal with... when things are hard... easier for me to harden... than bear the agony of love...

... they who complain... at times... this is me... and others around me... working words... to make a way...

... the blase... here I see a loved one... understand a heart... that chooses to be blind to sin...

... the slave-driver... a demeanor I could easily choose... with the blase-rebel... currently under my roof...

Convicted... by the tendency... to embrace the way of the world...
Encouraged... by the insights revealed...
Affirmed... in my sense... of what's going on in another...

Inspired... to remember... to eat... the Words... of the One full of grace...
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Matthew 5:3-10

Thursday, February 7, 2013

sheltered waiting

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
Psalm 62:1
NLT

Gracefully waiting... for one to turn... requires shelter...

Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 63:7
NLT

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

bearing... grace...

Grace... a gift that bears...

bear... the verb... and its third definition... according to Merriam-Webster's...
to support the weight of: sustain... to accept or allow oneself to be subjected to especially without giving way...
Grace... it bears... 

Today... I'm Jesus... looking out over a loved one... brokenhearted...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!..."
Luke 13:34

My loved one... kills concern... and wisdom... with a look of disdain... stones teaching offered in love... with rebellion... 

Grace... it bears... a broken heart... without turning a heart to stone... 

Grace... it waits... for a loved one to return... to seek help... it does not rescue... without invitation...

The temptation to sever the relationship... to verbally condemn... scold... is great... heavy...

But Jesus... His grace... willingly bears the cost of the gift... even when it is refused... makes no change in the one to whom it is offered...

Lord... am I willing to bear... the cost of grace...
even if it doesn't change a thing...?

My initial response... No... What's the point...? ...Let's find something that works...

But You... You paid the price for ALL... even though only a few accept... receive... transform...
Some eat and run...
Some abuse and stomp the gift...
And still... You... You have the grace to weep over the lost... not get angry and seek revenge... no condemnation... Your heart... it breaks...

Out of respect... for You... Lord... because of You... I choose to bear... grace...

Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart.
For consider what great things he has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24
ESV

For every tear... You shed for me... for every heartache... on my account... I choose... brokenhearted grace... because You have done great... things... for... me...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

even more... obedience... and love...

When God brings a word to mind... it begins to pop up... in various places... seemingly highlighted... spirit attuned... to the sight... and sound... of that word...

My word-for-the-year... it appeared... in the quiet reading... of the morning...
As I look back on the three temptations, I see that Satan proposed an enticing improvement. He tempted Jesus toward the good parts of being human without the bad: to savor the taste of bread without being subject to the fixed rules of hunger and of agriculture, to confront risk with no real danger, to enjoy fame and power without the prospect of painful rejection --- in short, to wear a crown but not a cross. (The temptation that Jesus resisted, many of his followers, still long for.)
... The more I get to know Jesus, the more impressed I am by what Ivan Karamazov called "the miracle of restraint." ... God's terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though he did not exist, to spit in his face, to crucify him. All this Jesus must have known as he faced down the tempter in the desert, focusing his mighty power on the energy of restraint.
I believe God insists on such restraint because no pyrotechnic displays of omnipotence will achieve the response he desires. Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love, which is the one thing God wants from us and the reason he created us.
--- Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew  (emphasis added)

...the miracle of restraint... Jesus refusing shortcuts... refusing to use His power to save Himself... the Creator... refusing to make His creatures... obey...

Obedience... is love... because we are free... to disobey...

This truth... the heart of the Word... becoming flesh...

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.
As you have heard from the beginning, his command is
that you walk in love.
2 John 6

Monday, February 4, 2013

learning... grace...

Learning to abide... bearing what Jesus wants to bear through me... the practice of asking... What fruit...? has brought me... to...

GRACE

Jesus... He wants to bear grace... in a place... circumstance... that's hard for me...

Lord... teach me... I can't... but You can...

GRACE... it is a gift... an undeserved gift... unmerited favor...

The world... it teaches... gift those who deserve... those who please...

While grace... an unnatural... gift... says...

...love your enemies, do good to them, and lend without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Luke 6:35

Grace... the Greek... charis... defined...
that which affords joy, pleasure, delight... good will, loving-kindness, favor... of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues... 
--- Enhanced Strong's Lexicon

Definitely what is needed... but I find no joy... in the grace to be offered... pulled by legalism... to punish... for choices made...

Still... willingly... I choose to learn... I can't... but You can...

Grace... a gift... something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation... nothing received in return... no expectations... no strings... not even a "thank you" required...

God's grace... a gift offered to every evil... unbelieving... ungrateful... person in this world... whom He... by His grace... lets continue to live in this world of amazing bounty... and doesn't kick them off the planet...

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:45

He treats us all impartially... good and evil... pouring out His abundance on all...

For Christ died for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:18

Me... a recipient... of grace... an unmerited... undeserved... gift... grateful... I yield... to the One who makes things grow... 

Lord Jesus... grow grace... in me...
Not my version of... but Yours...
perfect in every way...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

an anniversary... of obedience...

This week marks the tenth anniversary... of a call of obedience...

A call to pray... with others... weekly... for the church... its ministries... and leaders...

Today... through eight youth... God gave me a glimpse... of the fruit... growing out of that obedience... and it is awesome... glorious-awesome... leaving me... humbly.... thank-full...!

An unexpected encouragement... from a God... who specializes... in the unexpected...

After all, he's famous for great and unexpected acts;
there's no end to his surprises.
Job 5:9
Msg

Thank You... for Your faithfulness... and encouragement... You are too wonderful... for me...

Friday, February 1, 2013

more... obedience...

The word-for-the-year...  the world-view shift word... continues its work...

And this is love:
that we walk in obedience to his commands.
As you have heard from the beginning,
his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 6
(my emphasis)

Initial thoughts centered on... obedience... as the way to love Him... 

But as I continued to meditate... chew on... this verse... and Word... it became clear... 

...obedience is love...

When we walk in obedience to His commands... we love... Him... anyone... everyone...

As you have heard... his command...
 is that you... walk... in... love...

The more we obey... His Way... the more we love... 

He shows the Way... to love... truly... love...

Have you been walking His Way... of love...?