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, April 30, 2013

plowing on...

Today... plowing away... in my brokenness... with His grace paving the way...

A day full... beginning hectic...
seeking His instruction... on some specific decisions...
trying to listen...
trying not to wrestle too much...
trying to trust... in what I hear...
plowing on...

A realization... at my first stop... I forgot to call ahead to let them know I was coming... thankfully... I was received with grace... a way paved... without the gracious reception... other instructions could not be followed...

Plowing on... I followed the instructions... with a flesh that wanted to question... bringing doubt to the action... reminding me of something Dietrich Bonhoeffer said... in The Cost of Discipleship...
Moral difficulties were the first consequence of the Fall, and are themselves the outcome of "Man in Revolt" against God. The Serpent in Paradise put them into the mind of the first man by asking, "Hath God said?" Until then the divine command had been clear enough, and man was ready to observe it in childlike obedience. But that is now past, and moral doubts and difficulties have crept in. The command, suggests the Serpent, needs to be explained and interpreted. "Hath God said?" Man must decide for himself what is good by using his conscience and his knowledge of good and evil. The commandment may be variously interpreted, and it is God's will that it should be interpreted and explained: for God has given man a free will to decide what he will do.
But this means disobedience from the start. Doubt and reflection take the place of spontaneous obedience.
An insight that illumines the reason behind the difficulty of obedience... a question has been placed in the heart of man... Did God really say?... along with a desire to look for other meaning... one that fits with the flesh... rather than the Spirit... the two who never agree... sorting out... good from evil... wise from foolish... right from wrong...

Even though the issues today were not moral... I sought God's instruction and advice... on things I was unsure of... but my flesh couldn't rest with the counsel I received... there occurred an inner conflict... reason after reason coming to mind on why what I perceived in the spirit would not be a good choice... still I plowed on... learning from past experience that my own understanding... often leads to inconveniences... concerning the details of my life...

By faith... I took the counsel I believed to be His... and after plowing through... there... was... peace...

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:7 NLT

We know... in moral issues... God's instructions... His Word... is always right... but in the day to day... He is right there too... when we take the time to ask... even the simplest things... become an opportunity to act wisely... if we... will... trust... and... obey... plowing through the doubt... He paves the way... with... grace...

Monday, April 29, 2013

songs for rest

Songs... for resting in Him...
they ran through my thoughts...
this morning...

I'll stand, with arms high
and heart abandoned,
in awe of the One who gave it all...

I'll stand, my soul, Lord,
to You surrendered
all I am is Yours...


this afternoon...

You are the everlasting God,
the everlasting God,
You do not faint, You won't grow weary


theme songs... as reminders... 

Rest in Me...
in all things...
at all times...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

right where He wants us...

Rest in Me...
in all things...
at all times...

This is what He calls us to do...

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
"In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength."
Isaiah 30:15 NASB
(emphasis mine)

rest... Hebrew... nachath...
Our root signifies not only absence of movement but being settled in a particular place (whether concrete or abstract) with overtones of finality, or (when speaking abstractly) of victory, salvation, etc.
---Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (emphasis added)

To rest in Him... is to be settled... in... Him...
His promises...
His call...
His purpose...

In this place... our emotions do not define us...
He does...

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold,
new things have come.
2Corinthians 5:17

Rest... in... Him...

Friday, April 26, 2013

the foundation of the ordinary...

Yesterday's thoughts... of drama overshadowing the ordinary... have me looking about for the blessing of the everyday....

What holds up the everyday...? the sunrise... and set... the moon in all its phases... the gradual change of the perpetual seasons... slowly... slowly... ever-changing... each day... the ordinary...?

Behind it all... and underneath... is hesed... the Hebrew word translated often as... steadfast love... God's hesed...

His loving kindness... endures... daily... keeps life going... and is often hard to see... easy to forget... or neglect... because it is so common...

It's not the stuff of the well-planned and prepared... not cultivated... it just appears... without any work on our behalf...


wildflowers... springing up...


new green... sprouting...


wisps... on a blue skies...

His hesed... it's all around... holding all things... together...

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever...
Psalm 136:1-3 ESV
(my emphasis)

Have you seen it today... His steadfast love...?

I'd love to know what ordinary blessings you are thankful for... consider leaving a comment at the bottom of this post... [email subscribers click the post title and it will take you to Jeremiah's Menu where you can comment...]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

drama vs blessing

The human race seems to be all about drama... even from the beginning...

This truth brought to light during the afternoon spent with children... the question posed to 6th graders and younger...

What were the names of Adam and Eve's children...?

Hands went up... answers immediately given... Cain... Abel...
The leader reminded that one brother killed the other... not a very nice family to be a part of... (Drama to the max...!!)

As she was about to move on... I reminded... Adam and Eve had three sons...

The leader challenged the children to name the third... adding... I don't know his name... she asked if I did... Yes...

Names guessed... Will... John...
No... those were not the names...
finally the leader she asked... What was his name...?

Seth.

Questions moved on to other Bible topics... but today... it came back to mind... How can we know the two whose conflict dramatically ended in devastation... but forget the one... the ordinary one... who brought the blessing...? 

The only two brothers remembered... are the ones who would be fodder for the cover of a tabloid magazine... but the one... most important... from whom history progressed... forgotten...

We are all about the drama...!

So engrossed in the drama of the day... our own... or others... we completely forget about the ordinary blessings... the ones that come after the storm... or even in the midst of one... the ones we can't see because of all the drama... the ones we neglect to remember because we are focused on the conflict...

Yes... there is much to learn from drama... and conflict... but we can't stay so focused that we miss the blessing... of the ordinary... the day... to day... where we do our living... moving forward to the future...

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him." 
Genesis 4:25 ESV

And from Adam... through Seth... the rest is history...

Adam, 
Seth, 
Enosh,
 Kenan, 
Mahalalel, 
Jared, 
Enoch, 
Methuselah, 
Lamech, 
Noah.
...
1Chronicles 1:1

From an ordinary blessing... one we might have even forgotten... comes the Covenant Promise... from flood to rainbow... cross to empty tomb...

So whether you are in the midst of drama... or just coming out... keep focused on... and don't forget... or neglect... to be thankful for... and attentive to... the ordinary...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

silencing the cymbal...

Cluttered thoughts... lead to a cluttered heart...

Feeling like a clanging cymbal... as the day begins... love lacking... in action and word...

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
 but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1Corinthians 13:1 ESV
(my emphasis)

Approaching life with muddled thoughts of grumbling... discontent... self-pity...

Love is patient and kind... 
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful...
1Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV
(emphasis mine)

Reminders... in my house... set in places... for just such attitudes...




Do everything without grumbling and arguing...
Philippians 2:14 HCSB

Songs memorized... to sing... my heart... back to peace...


Fighting to remember...
the Savior...

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Luke 1:47 NASB

His Love...

Love bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things, 
endures all things.
1Corinthians 13:7 ESV

His peace...

His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NLT

His strength...

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

Die to self...

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave Himself up for me. ..."
Galatians 2:20 NASB

And live... in... Him...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

cluttered thoughts...

A mind that won't be still...
hard to hear...
knowing He is near...
I wait...
and...
trust...

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God..."
Psalm 46:10 NIV

Monday, April 22, 2013

19 years... the long and short of it...

A time period... sometimes seems long... sometimes short...

Even just one minute... can seem too long when you are holding your breath... or completing a set of ab exercises... but when you have one minute to complete a task... or get across town for an appointment... it's nothing...

Today for me... marks a long... and short...

It's been 19 years... since my mom left this world for paradise...

"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Luke 23:43

A long time... not to hear her laugh... see her smile... share time... and space... with her... a day to memorialize... embrace grief... and joy... recognize... loss... and gain...

My mom's illness and death... mark the beginning of my walk with Him... just 19 years... such a short time... so many years wasted before... my heart... it wishes... I would have started sooner... not been so stiff-necked... so remedial... but so grateful... for His grace... and however many years I have to walk by faith...

Trusting Him... in His Sovereignty... and power... to redeem... restore... and reclaim... all that has been lost... or wasted...

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten ---
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm ---
my great army that I sent among you. ..."
Joel 2:25

He is not bound... by time... or space... one moment... like the next to Him...

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8

Lord... I trust in Your wisdom... to work time... knowing none is too short... or long... for You... I trust You with my days... no matter how many... or few... because in just one... You can accomplish what otherwise would take... a thousand years... Thank You, Lord... thank You...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

blessed in His way...

The cantor... he led the congregation in the chorus...
in a sanctuary... lined... on both sides... by His way...





Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
and who walk in His ways...




Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
and who walk in His ways...




Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
and who walk in His ways...




Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
and who walk in His ways...



His ways... a way of obedience...

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it;
but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 16:25 NASB

Obedience... the Way of Life...


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Friday, April 19, 2013

light of hope...

a note left on a desk...
a heart exposed...
glimpses of humility...
after a storm...

signs of hope...
for a loved one...
additional evidence...
of increased intimacy...
through conflict...

thank-full...
hope-full...
trusting...

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Psalm 28:7


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Thursday, April 18, 2013

full of self...

Self can fill... leaving no room... for...
others...
wisdom...
advice...
teaching...
humility...
peace...
future...
love...

Ego... it deceives... making you think... you are more than you are...

Filling self... with self... leads to a small life...
one that closes in... on itself...
making one... short-sighted...

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God --- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is --- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment...
Romans 12:1-3
(emphasis mine)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject truth
and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
Romans 2:8

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

battle stance...

To stand firm against the devil... the roaring lion... means speaking truth... in love...

Reminding others... who they are... before God... and each other...

Today... two opportunities to stand firm...
one with words in a note...
one with words face to face...
all before 9 am...!

Both done prayerfully...

Both done to dislodge the enemy's lies from the hearts of loved ones...

In both cases... temptation arose to avoid speaking truth... but that would only feed the lie... stoke the fire of rebellion...

To speak the truth in love... strangles the lie... reveals its destructive nature... to relationships with God and  others...

Praise God... for His love... and truth... that redeems... restores... and renews...

Praise God... for providing strength... and boldness... to speak... in faith...

God wants us to grow up, 
to know the whole truth and tell it in love --- 
like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, 
who is the source of everything we do.
 He keeps us in step with each other. 
His very breath and blood flow through us, 
nourishing us so that we will grow up
 healthy in God, robust in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16 Msg

Speaking truth... in love... helps others grow... helps us grow... and weakens the hold of the enemy...

Lord... thank You for this battle today... what it has revealed... taught... and dislodged... Water the truth that has been planted today... Grow it to fullness... in the hearts of those I love...



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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

an enemy prowls...

Reflecting on the horror... of the bombing in Boston... the Word that comes to mind...

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

Out of nowhere... on a day of joy... celebration... for some the summit of months of training... a roaring BOOM... devouring lives... and limbs... a tearing of flesh...

Unexpected... undeserved... unsettling...

What happened physically... revealing our world as a dangerous place... is true spiritually as well...

The enemy... he prowls... waiting to devour... hopes... dreams... relationships... rock the foundations of faith... through numerous means... cancer... car wrecks... addictions... infidelities... with a roar... a heart broken... a spirit shattered...

In places we feel safe... secure... confident...
home...
work...
school...
church...
the enemy prowls... unseen... waiting...

The words Peter places on either side of the prowling devil... bookends to surround a deadly reality....

Be sober-minded; be watchful. ...
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:8, 9-11 ESV
(emphasis mine)

The tendency after such a horrific event is fear of the enemy... fear that calls for new security measures... people thinking twice before attending... participating in... a high-profile event...

But Jesus... He says...

"... Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. ..."
Matthew 10:22

The only proper fear to foster... is fear of the Lord...

Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:9-10

This world is a world at war... a battleground... physically... and spiritually...

The physical... passes away... but the spiritual is eternal...

God... in all His goodness... uses the schemes of the enemy... to draw people to Himself... to save lives... eternally... As Joseph told his brothers...

"... You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ..."
Genesis 50:20

So today... my prayer... in the wake of the roaring lion...

Father God... what the enemy has intended for harm... You intend for good... and the saving of many lives... Turn the hearts of those suffering... grieving... to You... prepare them to receive Your eternal Word of grace... mercy... life... healing... redemption... For You are good... and Your paths beyond my understanding...

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

Monday, April 15, 2013

a wall in need... of a Word...

A room already filling... with Word... some stenciled...




... some not...


A call to add another...

A much needed reminder... to be placed... on the wall opposite the door... the wall seen each time the room is entered... a wall often covered... with piles...


The Word previously placed... most of it took time... printing font... making a stencil... cutting with x-acto...

But today... I was to free-hand a stencil... no "word perfect" font allowed...

Supplies gathered... I began to plan... straight lines... a canon to follow... then several attempts at free-hand font... no success... frustration creeping in...

I do not have time to do this today... what am I thinking...?

The thought... not mine... continues to come... just cut...

So I began... cutting letters... one at a time... not even able to see what I've done because of all the practice with pencil... and... pen...



By faith... I cut... If this is You... it will be finished...

By faith... I continued... letters appearing...

By faith... we obey... and that's when things happen...

Just ask the Levites... stepping into a flood-stage river... carrying the Ark... crossing into the Promised Land... the step based on a promise received by faith...

"...And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord --- the Lord of all the earth --- set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."
Joshua 3:13
(emphasis added)

Not until the foot stepped... 
did God's promise... 
come to pass... 

Acting in obedience... there is no faith without it... to live by faith... is to step when... and where... it seems most unreasonable... to take time to cut... and stencil... when it makes no sense...

Finished... still unsure what it looks like... I tape the free-hand to the wall... with paint... and brush... I begin...




The lesson... one I was just reading... confirmed...
For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Only when we obey His call... whatever it is... can we say... that we... have... faith....

He knew... knows... I need this humble reminder... in a place where I see it... multiple times... a... day... 



For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 ESV

A day spent exercising my  freedom... serving... the elder-in-law... in love...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

a taste of discipleship

Obedience... abiding... self-denial... the three-strand cord... of discipleship...

Obedience... requires abiding... without abiding... resting in Him... we do not know what He wants us to do... and are unable to do it apart from Him...

"I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
John 15:5-6 HCSB

Obedience... requires self-denial... at times laying aside fear...

"...I said, 'You are my servant';
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ..."
Isaiah 41:9b-10 

...at other times... laying down pride...

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

Today... a taste of both...

But in the test... and rest... of abiding... I find peace... and joy... at seeing less of me... and more of Him...

"My Father is glorified by this:
that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. ..."
John 15:8 HCSB

Friday, April 12, 2013

a debt of love...

In preparation for an appointment with the eye doctor... it occurs... the 92-years... a lot like 2-years...

Getting anywhere... always takes longer than anticipated...
unpredictable bathroom habits...
potential for mishaps...
and technical difficulties abound...

An endeavor... requiring love...

Today... my dad would have been 91...

I look at this 92... and it makes me miss my dad... whose been gone 14 years... and mom... gone 19...

Neither lived to the point of needing long... term... care...
so through the elder-in-law... I am privileged and blessed...

No telling how long this season will last...
I have a friend... whose live-in-elder-in-law... has 103 years...

My prayer... that I will continue... to recognize... blessing and privilege... of the 92-years in our home... remembering the only debt I owe... is one of love...

Let no debt remain outstanding,
except the continuing debt to love one another...
Romans 3:18

For I would not have my loved ones... husband... kids... no family of my own... without the 92-years...

Lord... fill me with Your love... Your joy... 
of laying down life... for a friend...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

an unexpected lesson...

The past several weeks... I have been mentoring a student preparing for confirmation... one of the sixth graders from Bible study...

Yesterday's lesson... baptism...
The suggested Session Starter...
Meet by the water, any water. Talk about water and wonder together why God chose water for this important event.
In preparation... I considered... Why...water...?
What came to mind was the three states of water that we come across each day... water... ice... and steam...

It struck me... three in one... a picture of the Trinity... one substance... three states... One God... three Persons...
Steam... Father God... spirit... invisible...
Ice... the Son... the Word made flesh... solid...
Water... Holy Spirit... streams of Living Water...
Therefore water makes a perfect substance for baptism...


With a plan in place... I gathered three glass cups... filled one with ice... one with water... and the third... empty... I had filled a thermos with hot water... hoping that when it was poured... there would at least be some heavy condensation... a visual... to make an impact... but as I poured... it was clearly a bust... we put a hand over and could feel the heat... but other than that... it wasn't really what I had in mind...

As I reflect today... it occurs to me... 

It's hard to capture steam... 
and... it's hard to capture God...

He doesn't fit in a box... and He's hard to get a handle on...

He's the One who is omnipresent...
yet unseen...

He is the Lion...
and the Lamb...

The Servant King...

The sinless One...
who died for sins...

The Righteous Judge... 
who bore the punishment...

He is an oxymoron...
revealing His greatest strength...
through weakness...

As soon as we think we have Him figured out... 

There is no... capturing... God...

But I'm... Oh... so... grateful... He captured me...

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 NIV

An unexpected lesson for the mentor... and a reminder... of my... First... Love...

Father God... I praise You as the Mystery and Wonder that You are... Thank You anew... for capturing my heart... for loving me... that I might love You...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

unreasonable joy...

Yesterday's warm Spring...
has turned... cold... rainy...
life's circumstances... remain...
no thing has changed...
but today... I'm filled with joy...
one that won't be dampened...
unreasonable... really...
quite surprising...

God's warm hug of yesterday...
has lasting effects... on my spirit...

Unreasonable... joy...

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:19


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

creation speaks...

Angst... the dominant feeling of the day...

An afternoon escape to the porch... seeking... asking...
Speak Lord... I'm listening...

Wind blows...
Birds sing...
Warmth of Spring surrounds...

Calm descends...
a nap overtakes...

A message received...
without a discernible word...

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities
--- his eternal power and divine nature --- 
have been clearly seen, 
being understood from what has been made...
Romans 1:20

Monday, April 8, 2013

respite... a time of transition...

Today... my current study with sisters came to a close... eleven weeks of journeying together through His Word...

The study's final thought... life is a pilgrimage... a traveling through... God preparing His people... for a better place...

Blessed are those who strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of [Weeping],
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
til each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7

A question from the final week's study...

How has your own life seemed like a journey or a pilgrimage?

I shared my thoughts... 

Unsettled... constantly seeking a "new" normal...

One wise sister... she informed me... 

Normal is a setting found on your washing machine...

My search has come to an end... Hallelujah...!

How could there not be joy... in eating the Word... with sisters... they make it a place of springs in the Valley of Weeping...

But for now... we enter a respite... a time for me to re-define... margin in my life... trusting His Word... to lead me to a broad place...

And I walk habitually in a broad place,
For Thy precepts I have sought.
Psalm 119:45 YLT

Sunday, April 7, 2013

shabbat shalom

Shabbat shalom... Hebrew for... sabbath peace...

The Creator... He created with a regular sabbath... a rest... in mind...

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,
the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Exodus 20:11

It is in the rest... we find peace... shabbat shalom... the re-creating... of our connection with God... our trust in His work in our lives...

"The Sabbath was made for man,
not man for the Sabbath. ..." ---Jesus
Mark 2:27

The Sabbath... initiated to serve man... for his well-being... and peace...

Man was not created to serve the Sabbath... tradition... turned... legalistic... drains the life... right out of life...

A loved one... struggling... crying out...

 I just don't care... 

A sure sign... of one in need... of rest...

Too much work... a 24/7 striving... empties and hardens... 

Six days... you shall labor... and work...
but the seventh day... is a rest... a resting in God...

Trusting the One... who never sleeps...

He will not let your foot slip ---
he who watches over you will not slumber...
Psalm 121:3

...with every step you take...

Trusting the One... who always works... 

Jesus said to them, 
My Father is always at his work to this very day,
and I, too, am working."
John 5:17

...to work for your good...

Are you striving... to follow Him... in all you do...?
Are you becoming weary... tired...?
Are you reaching the point of... I... just... don't... care...?

Perhaps it's time... for a rest... a day of your choosing... a regular rest... Choose a day... if not weekly... at least monthly... to stop your work... and rest in His...

It is a Way... to follow... that re-creates... re-enforces... our trust... in... Him...

Without a rest... we have no peace...

[Consider sharing your experience with shabbat shalom. Add a comment, let us know what kind of rest brings you peace... re-creates... your connection with Him...]

Friday, April 5, 2013

strangely peaceful

The transitions... continue...

News from one who joy-fully... hope-fully... applied for a job... over 150 miles... farther... from home...

The conflict of yesterday... seemed to open fresh communication... this morning...

Another one calls... to share a series of plans... here a transition between childhood... and adulthood... Do I still need to ask permission about these things... or do I just need to tell you what I 'm doing...?

The 92-years... checked in for a weekend... to a nursing home... a trial-run before going out of town... or is there a possibility of permanency... somewhere down the line...

Transitions... they still loom...

Yet here... today... there is a peace... one I know I would not have known... 5 years... 3 years... maybe even... 1 year ago...

A sign of growth...? dare I say...? maturing faith...? transformation...? because I know... it's not from me...

"I have told you these things, 
so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Yes... I'm beginning to believe... He has...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

sparks fly...

The lesson of conflict... revealing hearts... resurfaces...

This time... not with spouse... but with a beloved child... offering help... direction... encouraging exploration... of future choices... possibilities...

Sparks... they flew... clearly... I frustrated the beloved...

Of course... I was too... but here I sat... seeking calm... resisting the flesh that encouraged... yelling... throwing... stomping out... giving up...

My spirit... it muscled through... and through the grace offered... eventually... we both heard... the other's heart...

Hope-fully... we both grew... closer... and more adept... at the art... of... conflict...

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

A heated... exhausting... process... that forges... a deeper... relationship...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

clean hearts... they are created...

Psalm 51:10-17 NLT
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Create... in me... a clean heart... O God...

create... it's what the Creator does... and it's by His work... of creation... that we receive a clean heart... in place of the old...

The Creator... He created man... from the dust... the dirt... of the earth...

He will not reject... a broken heart... because that is where He gets the dirt... to create the clean... pure... heart...

Our hearts... far from clean... Sin... dirtying up... hardening... our hearts... to the point of... breaking...

A breaking that happens... when the realization sinks in... I cannot clean up my heart... He must create it anew...

In the brokenness... of repentance... He sees... the raw material... to create... something new... clean... and good...

Only He... through His Son... by His Spirit... takes the mess we've made... and creates... the clean...

Thank You, Lord... for taking the pieces of my broken heart... and creating one that is clean... You will not despise... a broken... repentant... heart... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

echoes... of easter thoughts...

The heart... of Easter thoughts... echoed today... in my reading... and my radio...

What does it mean... to be a true follower... to be Church...? How do you know... if you're really... still in the dark...?

My morning treadmill read...
I want this to come across as more of a challenge than a criticism, but I'm afraid we've turned church into a spectator sport. Too many of us are content with letting a spiritual leader seek God for us. Like the Israelites, we want Moses to climb the mountain for us. After all, it is much easier to let someone else pray for us or study for us. So the church unintentionally fosters a subtle form of spiritual codependency. ...
But do you really think God's ultimate dream for your life is to see you sit in a pew for ninety minutes every week listening to a message and singing a few songs? Is that the barometer of spiritual maturity? No way!
---Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase

And if he says this about those who come most Sundays... What about those who just come Easter...? 

Then later... from the car radio...
It is the common experience of men and women all across this land to go to church regularly every Sunday, and for all intents and purposes, the Book of the Law might as well be lost for they never open it...
---David Jeremiah, Turning Point, 4/2/2013, "Courage to Say No" 

These thoughts from others... echoing mine... usually come... as confirmation... of what I've heard... From years of listening...things in threes... they catch my attention... 

I'm reminded of a sticky note... kept on my desk... for months... years... I can't really remember how long... its faded words... from a book... a question... that struck a cord... one that has stirred my heart... caused holy discontent... on more than one occasion...

And how in the world do you begin to show people who already consider themselves Christians what it really means to follow Christ?
---Jim Walker, Dirty Word

It strikes a cord... because... I WAS ONE... who believed I was... when I wasn't... 

Only I was above the religious... believing without church attendance... without opening the Word... and rarely praying...

I know... now that I know... that I wasn't... and the thought it strikes fear in my heart that... if before I was... I had to face Him... I would certainly have heard...


The fear... it is for others too... who deceive themselves...

So... it may be time... to listen anew... stir things up... in church... 

Always... a dangerous... risky... business...

Just ask... Jesus...

"...Remember the words I spoke to you:
 'No servant is greater than his master.'
 If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. 
If they obeyed my teaching they will obey yours also. ..."
---Jesus
John 15:20

A thought... that tightens my chest... with twinges of fear... especially... considering... past experience... and the timing... of this message...

Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples
 and said: "If anyone would come after me, 
he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, 
but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. ..."
Mark 8:34-35

But the final commission... given by Him... to His disciples... was ... make more disciples... not spectators... and the business... of making disciples... out of church-goers... can be risky...

Lord... I'm willing... just make it clear... each step You want me to take... I want no part of this to be me... only You...

Monday, April 1, 2013

transitions...

Transitions... are inevitable... in a world... where the only certainty... is change...

Several... transitions... loom on the horizon...

Not for me... specifically... but in the lives of loved ones... whose change... sloshes over... into mine...

Transitions... involve a series of... unknowns... it feels... squishy... to be transitional...

This state... makes a heart... anxious... the anxiety kind... more so... than the anticipation kind... (at least for me...)

Today... things... feel... squishy... but I know... it won't stay that way... change will happen... transitions pass... and a fresh illusion... of... certainty... will come to the surface... life will gel... once again... for a time...

Thankful... that in the midst... of unknowns... I know... and am learning to trust... the One who does... KNOW...

You are the Rock... there is nothing squishy about You... for that I am extremely grateful... and on You I choose to stand... from transition... to transition...

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 40:1-2