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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

off track... or divine detour...?

A simple focused task... file the 2012 tax return... went completely off track... when one box after another had to be moved... to complete the mission...

Two and a half hours later... through tears... trash... and pages... and pages... of notes... and studies... the last 15 or so years of my past... had been waded through...

The many notes... and writings... revealed... that my entire faith journey... has included writing as an expression of faith...
letters to family and friends...
poems...
articles...
devotionals...
Some completed... some not... some shared... some stuck in a box... for more than ten years...

Some of the pages... I remember writing... with passion stirred... and a desire to share... but fear... kept me from moving forward... with an offer to speak... or... submit for publication...

Many of the pieces... have been sent as Christmas cards... or included in a church Advent book...

But the number... of writings... I just let sit... in a box... brought to mind that servant... who buried his talent in the back yard... ugh...!

Of course... just yesterday... I read almost half of a book... Love Does... whose primary message is... say Yes to God... by doing... following through...

I believe... a reminder has been given... a gentle nudge... a push... to do more... with the words He gives...

A divine detour... in the middle of afternoon chores... to open my eyes... and heart... to what He has given... and the call to use it... not bury it... despite... fear... experience... or ...qualification...

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1Peter 4:10

What about you... do you have a talent buried...? 

Maybe it's time to dig it up... dust it off... and use it... boldly... for Him... (after all... it is... His...)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

giving a Word... to be...

A prayer cast up during a pause in conversation... placed on hold... I said...

Lord... give me the Word needed... to share...

A phone call... from a beloved child... needing a sounding board... struggling... anxious... distressed... about emotions... and the future...

Already more than thirty minutes in... sharing feelings... thoughts... I hear...

I'm looking for something solid...

This child standing in the shadow of the unknown... the squishy... feeling impatient... looking for a firm place to stand...

The Word... it came to mind... unsure if it fit perfectly... I shared...

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield
its valuable crop and how patient he is 
for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm, 
because the Lord's coming is near.
James 5:7-8

Along with advice... commit it to God... wait for clear direction...

The response...

Now, that's solid...

So today... the son is a farmer... waiting... standing firm... for God to grow... the future...

There is only One solid place to stand... and that's Him...

I thank God... for the Word to share... that brought a firm place to stand... in the midst of unchanging circumstances...

I thank God... for a Word to give... a Word made flesh... in the life of a loved one...

How about you... are you willing... to ask for a Word... when the opportunity arises... to give to others... who struggle... to help them stand firm... in whatever... circumstances...?

Be in the Word... not only for yourself... but for loved ones... that you might... be the Word...

Dear Lord... help me to continue to give a Word... make the way for the Word to be flesh... in the lives of those I love...


[Related fare...

Monday, July 29, 2013

trusting...

Trusting Him... in the face of...
transitions...
tasks...
temptations...
because... He is trustworthy...

For I am the Lord, I do not change...
Malachi 3:6 Amp

What are you facing...? are you trusting...?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

gratefully... walking...

Walking in the grace of God's love...

... for love covers a multitude of sins
[forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
1Peter 4:8 Amp

Thank You...

Friday, July 26, 2013

more on... testimony...

The two thoughts... shared the last two days... He binds together...

Still I'm amazed when I don't see it coming... even though He does it often... building thought... on thought... on Word... to deepen... expand... a message...

Testimony... for Christ... written on the heart of every Believer... remains hidden in the ark... when we lean on our own understanding... the Light... kept under a bushel... so to speak...

Leaning on our own understanding... we default to our old heart... which is not good...

For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and, irreverent speech.
Matthew 15:19 Amp

Oswald Chambers... today... focused on this particular passage... Matthew 15:18-20... and said...
We begin by trusting our ignorance and calling it innocence, by trusting our innocence and calling it purity; and when we hear these rugged statements of Our Lord's, we shrink and say --- 'But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart.' We resent what Jesus Christ reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme Authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust His penetration, or do I prefer to trust my innocent ignorance?  
---My Utmost For His Highest, July 26
Will we give a testimony that reveals Light... by agreeing with Him... or will we give false testimony... based on our understanding... choosing to please self... and lead others astray...?

There's a choice... stay comfortable... in the dark... or face the hard Truth... that brings light... and freedom...

I've come to accept... there is no choice... agreeing with Simon Peter...

"Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life. ..."

There is no other Way...

Bonhoeffer, too, had words today... that echoed... the same...
The essence of Christianity lies in the news of the sovereign God, to whom alone honor is due in all the world. It is news of the eternal Other; the One who is apart from the world; the One who in love and out of the ground of his being has mercy on human beings, who give honor to him alone; who undertakes the journey to human beings in order to seek his honor in the vessels where human beings are no longer anything, where they fall silent, where they give way to God alone.
--- I Want to Live These Days with You, "The News of the Sovereign God", July 26 (my emphasis)
Giving way... to God alone... in understanding... in word... in deed... through radical... trusting... obedience...

Obedience... unlocks the ark of our hearts... to reveal the testimony...

Here... again... He's expanded... the word for the year... deepened a lesson... a heart overwhelmed... truly amazed... by Him... and His teaching...

Chambers's devotion... goes on to say...
If I have never been a blackguard, the reason is a mixture of cowardice and the protection of civilized life; but when I am undressed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis.
The only thing that safeguards is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will hand myself over to Him, I need never experience the terrible possibilities that are in my heart. 
--- My Utmost for His Highest, July 26 
Having seen... the depth of darkness... in my own heart... I find comfort... grace... peace... in the redemption of Jesus Christ... knowing He is my only safeguard... I continue to welcome... the Light of Truth...

Lord... continue to teach me Your understanding... continue to reveal... where I fail to offer valid testimony... of You... embolden me... to radical obedience... to give way... to You... alone...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

beware... your own understanding...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding...
Proverbs 3:5

It's right there... when you lean on your own understanding... you are not trusting the Lord... at least not with all your heart...

To use your own understanding... is to go your own way... not the Way...

I realized this today... as I look back and see... opportunities... graces... gifts... missed... by leaning on my own understanding...

With my understanding... fear... prejudice... pride... self- righteousness... keep me from trusting Him... with all my heart...

Beware... of your own understanding... put it aside... boldly surrender... be a fool... for Him...

Let no person deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [let him discard his worldly discernment and recognize himself as dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship], that he may become [really] wise.
1Corinthians 3:18 Amp

Father God... remind me... that my understanding... my reasoning... is foolish in Your sight... bless me with the boldness to trust You... walk Your Way... even when it feels... crazy...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

testimony...

...testimony... a word that caught my attention...

Going to Webster's... I read...

     1 a (1): the tablet inscribed with the Mosaic Law
           (2): the ark containing the tablets
        b: a divine decree attested in the Scriptures
     2 a: firsthand authentication of a fact: evidence
        b: an outward sign
        c: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
     3 a: an open acknowledgment
        b: a public profession of religious experience

The primary definition surprised... the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments... they are a testimony... a divine decree... firsthand authentication... an outward sign... evidence of a Holy God... who revealed Himself with an open acknowledgment... a public profession...

And I thought... those tablets... they've been replaced...

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws
in their minds and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God and they will be my people.
Hebrews 8:10
(emphasis added)

...that time... has come... the High Priest... in the order of Melchizedek... He has made the final sacrifice... the Priest Himself... the Lamb...

All Believers... part of the house of Israel... by faith... grafted in through belief... we all have the same spiritual father... Abraham...

So now... Believers... have the Testimony... in their minds... written on their hearts... unable to be physically read... the only evidence... the Believer himself...

Just as our High Priest also served as Lamb... His followers also serve as ark... bearing evidence by their lives... living the Word... through speech and action...

You show that you are a letter from Christ...
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2Corinthians 3:3

A testimony... is not just words delivered at a religious service... it is a life lived in Him... moment... by... moment...

Have you lived testimony today...?
Who has seen evidence of Him... through you...?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

confidence... in the Foundation...

Jesus... a sure Foundation... trustworthy... settling...

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed. ..."
Isaiah 28:16

When words from the pulpit... divide... it's wise to remember... the Foundation... the Tested Stone... 

Being sure... of Who is at the head of the church... prevents one from being dismayed... stricken with panic... or disturbed... as others translate...

Over the past few months... He has reminded me...


I've sensed a peace... as a pastoral change approached... sensed Him saying... it didn't matter who came... He was in charge...

So as the potentially divisive word was spoken... I was confident in the knowledge... that no mere man... is the head of the church... there is only one Head... one Authority... and He... the Son of Man... the Son of God...

 And he is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything, he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:18 ESV

The Lord... He sets every authority in place... there is a purpose... but it's not to divide...

In the midst of all the hard lessons lately... I see an opportunity... a challenge... for the church to grow... establish itself more fully in Him... 

To no longer place hope and expectation in a preacher... when a new one arrives every three to five years... but to establish a deeper relationship with the true Head... and trust Him... with the vision and future... of His Church... and become... the Church... His Body...

I'm surprised... by the peace... the sense that this is a significant moment... for this particular part of the Body... one of those hard things to come through... like an emerging butterfly... through a chrysalis... forcing body fluid into wings... the struggle the only way for wings to be fully formed and strengthened for flight...

A struggle... with the potential for revival... greater unity... in a body that has been growing...

So today... as I rest in the Foundation... there are those who don't... and I ask you to pray with me for this church... this part of the Body... for when one part suffers... it all suffers...

Pray for the community to recognize Jesus as the one true Head... and preeminent Authority...
Pray for the grace... to seek a common foundation... in Christ...
Pray for Truth... to be spoken in love...
Pray for the community... to value the growth... and know that this too shall pass...
Pray for this body... to be a good witness to the community outside the walls...
Pray Ephesians 4:2-6...

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit --- just as you were called to one hope when you were called --- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:2-6

In His name... for His glory... and the building up of His kingdom...
Amen... Amen... and... Amen...

Monday, July 22, 2013

what do you do... when division threatens the church...?

When division threatens the church... what do you do...?

Return to Jesus... the Foundation... of our faith...

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Corinthians 3:11

He is the Rock... which will not split...

The Solid Foundation... that will not shake...

He is the true Head... the only legitimate authority...

The One who is the same... yesterday... today... and forever...

Lord Jesus... You call us to unity in You... not in personal opinions... or agendas... I pray for Your Church... and every part threatened by division... lead them to unity in the Spirit... focus them on Your kingdom... and Your purpose alone... Remove distractions... reveal lies... provide grace... and love... to resist the temptation... to divide...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

self-deception...

I confess... I watched way too many hours of television yesterday... catching up on missed episodes of a crime drama...

But as I watched... (episode... after... episode... after episode...) a theme emerged... the reason so many were in so much trouble... albeit fictional... was self-deception...

I'm a law abiding citizen... protested the young woman picked up for questioning from her crack-addict boyfriend's apartment... herself shaking from withdrawal as she spoke...

I'm not a thief... I was just making ends meet till I got my break... insisted the young man who preyed on those who contacted him through an on-line dating service...

I'm a good mother... I'm a good mother... insisted the woman who helped her oldest son cover up the murder of her thirteen-year-old transgender son... murdered in a fit of rage... by his brother...

Not to mention the prostitute who referred to herself as... a professional conversationalist...

(Yes... I watched way too much TV... yesterday...)

After about the third episode... I realized... self-deception... is what keeps so many separated from their Savior... 

It is hard to admit... sin... failure... to meet up to your own ideal of self...

The human race... is masterful... at lying to itself...

To come near to God... enter His presence... there is no deceiving oneself... His Light shines bright... on the dark places in our lives... there is no hiding... but by His grace... in that bright... painful... realization... is the hope... the Savior... willing to wash it all away...

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3
(emphasis added)

If we just agree... with what He reveals... recognize our need... for a Savior... confess each sin... He points out... He sets us free...

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive our sins and purify us
from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:9

This promise is followed by another truth...

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar
and his word has no place in our lives.
1John 1:10

And this is exactly where many choose to stand... outside His Word... outside His grace... refusing life... and choosing... death... 

Yes... I watched way too much TV yesterday... but I'm not deceiving myself about it... and as always... He is faithful... even when I am not...

Friday, July 19, 2013

look forward... to hard...

Expect the hard... difficult... embrace it... with hope... joy... thanks...
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
John 16:33 Amp
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

embracing... hard...

Sometimes God leads us the hard way instead of the easy way, because He is doing a work in us. How will we ever learn to lean on Him, if everything in our lives is so easy that we can handle it by ourselves?
---Joyce Meyers, Battlefield of the Mind

OK... I don't like hard... and sometimes... everything feels hard...

And... yes... at times... God leads us into the wilderness... where it's hard... dry... dusty...

It's hard for me... to see past me... being self-conscious... rather than Christ-conscious... makes obedience... hard...

Then today I realized... when He blesses obedience... it's still hard...

When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
"Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night
and haven't caught anything. But because you say so,
I will let down the nets."
When they had done so, they caught such a large number
of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their 
partners in the other boat to come and help them,
and they came and filled both boats so full 
that they began to sink.
Luke 5:4-6
(emphasis added)

Obeying the call... to put out deep... leaves you with nets so full... they break... and the boat begins to sinks...!

Every casting out... requires a pulling up... which is hard...

But wouldn't you rather have the hard of a blessing... than the hard of a curse..? 

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse ---
Deuteronomy 11:26

It's time... to embrace... hard... 

Because... until He returns... remakes... renews... 
it's all hard... and in Him... it's all good...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

conflicting worldviews...

A conversation... revolved around... conflicting worldviews...

One focused on rights... and the irresponsible who infringe...

The other... focused on redeeming grace... laying down one's life for another... by choice...

The one with rights... feeling misunderstood... volume increasing... hand banging...

The one thankful for grace... shouted down... when trying to share a vision... of giving in love... laying down... by choice... no rights infringed because none demanded... those who don't want to give... don't...

A worldview wall... the one with rights... could not see past... all is his...

The one gratefully dependent on grace... looking past... that particular wall... already crumbled... in her view... nothing is hers...

I wonder... at the intensity... the emotion... until I realize... each look at the world... from a completely different view...

One sees infringement... the other... opportunities... for grace...

Enforcing responsibility through the law... vs... allowing the exercise of the freedom of grace... to fill the gap...

The single, overwhelming fact of history is the crucifixion of  Jesus Christ.
---Eugene H. Peterson, Traveling Light

It is how you handle... the crucifixion of Jesus... in your heart... this overwhelming fact of history... that determines your view of the world...

The One who came... responsible for creation... rejected by His creatures... had the right... to demand payment... from the rebellious... but by His grace... He chose to empty Himself... pay the highest price... to bring healing to others... asking nothing in return...

Here's the view... that moves a heart... from rights... to grace... from law... to freedom...

Making demands on others grows bitterness and entitlement...

Sacrificial service... in love... leads to dumbfounded thanks... and hearts softened to help another... out... of... love...

...all life... God-given, and ... worth preserving...
---Eugene H. Peterson, Traveling Light

The cost of caring for others... is not an infringement on rights or resources... but a privilege granted by God... because all we have... for life... is from Him...

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1John 4:10-12
(emphasis mine)

Love... it hung on a tree... cursed... buried... resurrected... for the ungrateful... rebellious... irresponsible... but He made a Way... to redeem... restore... revive... the sick... blind... lame... mute... imprisoned... rejected... by His free choice...

The world... where do you see it from...?

If you see the world... from the foot of the cross... from the mouth of the empty tomb... speak grace... speak love... to those who don't... they are banging their heads... and hearts... on a worldview wall... and that... can be... painful...

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...
1Peter 3:15

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

speak blessing...

Words of encouragement...

I received some this week...

What a blessing...

Don't use foul or abusive language.
Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement
to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
(my emphasis)

Lord Jesus... may my words... be a blessing to others...

Monday, July 15, 2013

thanks for everyday difficulties...

Faithful acceptance of everyday difficulties...

Turns reckless valets... banging up cars... into unexpected reunions...

Old storm-damaged oaks... into a palette for sculptors...




Opens hard hearts... to see His sovereignty in all things...

His goodness... and hope... prevail...

The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
Psalm 145:7

Lord... continue the work on my heart... my thoughts... open my eyes to see Your goodness... and compassion... fill me with thanks...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

setting sights...

A morning walk... with my husband whom I invited to join me... no particular destination in mind... the purpose for me... get my aerobic workout over for the day...

With an eye on the stop watch... I picked a point just ahead... and told my spouse where we would turn around...

It was then he said it...

Now that I know where I'm going 
I can walk with purpose in my step.

...and he did... this man who runs... not particularly into walking... began to take bigger strides... a goal was before him...

My thoughts had been on a friend... called to practice a spiritual discipline... a fast... until... no set time line... just... until...

We do so much better when we know when the end is to come... when we can let up... let go... relax... when we're done...

But our call as Believers... in the everyday business of walking... His Way... is... until...

...until... He... returns...

But nobody knows that particular date... or... time... only the Father...

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ..." ---Jesus
Matthew 24:36

We are also to continue... until...

...until... we... look... like... Him...

But for the finite... in its brokenness... to strive toward infinite perfection... takes a while... (like forever...!)

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. ...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 ESV

That's why His Word tells us...




Knowing... the One coming... the One transforming... puts purpose in our step...

Until... is the everyday... a time unforeseeable in the distance... but a destination... just the same...

Walk with purpose... setting sights ... on Him...

Friday, July 12, 2013

lay it down...

Too often... after an act of obedience... following through on the call... to speak... act... offer... I critique... analyze... think about way too much... what I've done... how I've done it...

Too often... I go back... consider... pick it up... pick at it... mentally... emotionally... and wonder if it was right... self-consciousness taking over... after the fact...

This thought pattern... an off-shoot of the critical spirit... needs to go...

The words that came to mind this morning... in the gray dawn... between wake... and sleep... as I currently wrestle with an offering... of obedience... from last night...

Lay... it... down...

When we act in obedience... by faith... to the call of that Still Small Voice... we need to trust... trust Him with the outcome... with the gift... because it's not about us... it's about Him...

Obedience is a love-offering... placed on His altar...

Once placed... leave it... allow Him to consume it... use it... how He sees fit... trust... His purpose... and... lay... it... down... 

A thought... that helps... in considering the opportunity given yesterday... words that will... release this heart... from self-torment... through self-analyzation... self-criticism... in something that wasn't even my idea to begin with...

In reality... the act of obedience... cannot be recovered... it is poured out... like water on the ground... a lamb slain on the altar...

To lay it down... is far preferable... than to find yourself standing in regret... holding the jar still filled... the bleating lamb still at your heels... facing opportunities missed... hesitation... doubt... stealing obedience...

Great Words... to help move forward... cleanse a thought life... and embolden... radical... obedience...

Lay... It... Down...

Fire came out from the presence of the Lord
and consumed the burnt offering 
and the fat portions on the altar.
And when all the people saw it,
 they shouted for joy
and fell facedown.
Leviticus 9:24
(my emphasis)

Father God... fill me with the awe... wonder... and joy... of offering acts of obedience on Your altar... help me to lay them down... for You to consume... according to Your will... and purpose... by faith...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

prodding from the pope

"Let us never yield to pessimism," [Pope Francis] said while meeting the cardinals in the Sala Clementina, "let us never yield to that bitterness which the devil offers us every day; let us not yield to pessimism or discouragement: let us be quite certain that the Holy Spirit bestows upon the Church, with his powerful breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, so as to bring the Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth."
---From the introduction of Francis: Pope of a New World, by Andrea Tornielli 
I read it... just before receiving an opportunity... one I could easily be pessimistic about... dismiss... with doubt's blessing...

The Pope's words make me pause... as I consider the opportunity... seeking God on what to do... seeking my heart... regarding fear... and the burial of a talent... desiring to be... a good and faithful servant... yet battling the bitterness of discouragement... and the reality of... Living Under Curse and Promise... (the title of the Bonhoeffer devotional this morning...)
Human beings in a disturbed world, between God's curse and promise, are challenged human beings. 
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You
July 11

No coincidence... amidst the challenge to change the thought-life... a reminder... to focus on Him... His power... His purpose... 

A time to put aside fear... consider seriously... this opportunity... to step out... cast out... deep...

My heart prays with Peter...

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied,
"tell me to come to you on the water."
Matthew 14:28

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

a Word for the weary...

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men.
Colossians 3:23

A Word for the day... one sent to a son... growing weary of work... emailed as encouragement... early this morning...

Only I didn't know... it was a Word for me too... one I received a glimpse of this afternoon... in the flesh... lived it... for a moment...

The third day... of hosting showers... for youth on mission...

The third day... of cleaning showers... and bathrooms after...

The third day... the middle of a week... of showers... the halfway... where weariness... creeps in...

Crouched down... cleaning the second shower floor... a heart on the verge of a grumble... the Word... it comes...

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men.

And then it came into view... these youth... and their leader... these seven... they have worked for others... who needed help... giving up summer vacation... paying to work... for others who will NEVER be able to return... or repay... what has been done for them... sharing the gospel... along the way...

These... they are... the hands and feet... of Jesus... the Lord...!

The load lightened... joy returned...

I am working for the LORD... not men... cleaning up after Jesus... His Body... a privilege... a blessing... to serve... Him...

Lord... continue to open my eyes... to how I work for You... in every situation or circumstance... that I might work with all my heart... for You...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

reminders... continue... shhhh....

The quieting of flesh... filtering thoughts of criticism... keeping watch over my words... continues to be reinforced... encouraged...

Where discipline of the tongue is practiced (Eph. 4:29), individuals will make an incomparable discovery. They will be able to stop incessantly observing others, judging them, condemning them, relegating them to their particular, controllable positions, and thus doing violence to them. They can let them stand entirely free, just as God placed them in regard to himself. Their vision widens, and for the first time --- and to their astonishment --- they know the wealth of God's glory as Creator.
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You, July 7

As the love of God begins with us listening to his Word, so the love of our sisters and brothers begin with us learning to listen to them. God's love for us consists not only in giving us his Word but also in lending us his ear. Thus it is his work that we do for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You, July 9

How amazing... the discipline of the tongue... changes thoughts... hearts...

Listening... quieting flesh... turning outside oneself... a way to love...

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Lord Jesus... keep my thoughts fixed on You...

Monday, July 8, 2013

joy... filled...

A full day... opportunities to serve... abound...
He in and through it all...
studying with sisters... around the dining room table...
listening... to one preparing to minister...
errands run... caring for family... preparing to host...
weary youth on mission... come by for showers...
cleaning up after...
serving family...
hymns running through my thoughts...
renewed highlights... from His Word... echo... in my heart...

And here I sit... as the sun sets... dinner started...
filled... with... joy...
undeserved... grateful... joy...

You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
Psalm 4:7

Sunday, July 7, 2013

ponder... this...

Words from a hymn in worship this morning...

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

---from the Liturgy of St. James, 4th century

...they make me stop... and consider... Do I fear the Lord... as I should...? am I too entangled in this world...? think too highly of my own understanding...?

I hear the counsel given... flesh... keep... silence...

The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Habakkuk 2:20 NIV

Lord Jesus... I still the voice of my heart... flesh... soul... in deference to You... 

Friday, July 5, 2013

revival... does not happen... without repentance...

A spirit... soul... cannot be revived... refreshed... without a recognition of sin... and a turning from it...

We pray for revival... for churches... friends... family... whether it be a renewed relationship with God the Father through Christ by way of the Spirit... or it be an initiating of the relationship that raises the dead... but sometimes I think we forget... what must come first... repentance...

Repentance... can't happen without sin being revealed... acknowledged... and grieved over...

How often do we pray for revival in the life of a loved one... but as pain and strife enter their lives... we pray for healing... removal of the difficulty... release... escape... when this might be the pain... or difficulty... God has allowed... to get their attention... capture their heart...?

Unfortunately... pain... grief... despair... coming to the end of ourselves in it... is often the sole experience that brings us to our knees...

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
for they had rebelled against the words of God
and despised the counsel of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and deepest gloom
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

Psalm 107:4-16
(emphasis added)

Perhaps our prayer... for those in pain... should be for them to cry out to the Lord in their trouble... for His purpose in the pain to be realized... for His will to be accomplished... in the unseen realm...

And for those of us struggling... like me over the last week or so... be open... to the Spirit... to counsel... reveal... and be willing... to grieve... turn... and... receive...

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

As hard as it is... to endure... or watch others suffer... we need to seek God... in His Sovereignty... ask Him how to pray... ask Him... to help us focus on the eternal... and not just... the needs of the flesh...

For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

Do you know someone who's suffering...? are you...?
How might you pray... in a way... that transforms... hearts... for eternity...? and His glory...?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

seeing the glass half-empty...

Somewhere in my early teens... I became very critical... not only readily seeing faults around me... but in myself...

I'm quick to note what's wrong... whether I vocalize it or not... and have a knack for imagining the worst case scenario... given any situation...

I'm not sure what lies at the root of this oblique perspective... attitude... and need to seek His insight... and knowledge on this issue... but what has become clear... it's time for it to change...

It is a thought-pattern that continues to recur... one that colors my view of everything... and overshadows... hope... which naturally causes me to lose trust... in God's goodness... if all I see is what's off...

This world is broken... we all fall short of the glory... but to focus on the faults... reveals an expectation... of perfection... here... now... in this realm... which will not happen... until Christ returns...

I should expect things to be wrong... off... and know it's OK... because all this is temporary...

For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

It takes me back to Dallas Willard's "golden triangle" of spiritual transformation... which includes... these three processes needed... in "putting on" the Lord Jesus Christ... becoming like Him...
My emphasis of the third item on the list... is where I continue to struggle... faithful acceptance of everyday problems...

To focus on the negative... omits the possibility... probability... absolute truth... of God's sovereignty... and purpose... in allowing everyday problems... for our good... and His glory...

So the challenge... (which goes hand-in-hand with the previous challenge... receiving whatever presents itself... as a present...)... is to stop... derail... take captive... negative... critical... thoughts... and begin to see the positive... in people... places... things... situations...

A further exercise in influencing... and correcting... strengthening... thought-life...

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23
(emphasis mine)

The biblical heart... conveys the idea of our inner being... and consists of... mind + will + emotion... so when we consider what it takes to guard our heart... it begins with how we think... what we let into our minds... expose ourselves to... intentionally and unintentionally... and how we process it emotionally...

The ESV translation... reads... Keep your heart with all vigilance... 

keep... comes from the Hebrew...natsar... meaning... to watch, guard, keep... preserve, guard from dangers...

This is the same word used in Genesis... where God put man in the garden... and told him to work it... and keep it... You see the problems that arise... when one does not keep things well...?

vigilance... seen in the ESV... is the Hebrew... mishmar... defined... place of confinement, prison, guard, jail, guard post, watch...

A highly attentive word... 

From the heart... mind... will... emotion... spring life... our life... the quality of life... a good reason to keep watch... guard... be attentive... to what goes in... and comes out...

With His help... I'm choosing... to think... differently... 

I want life... abundant... filled with hope... light... not shadows... of darkness...

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 the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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 1:5-7

Father God... change my thinking... help me to guard my heart... 
Reveal the root of my critical spirit... and bring healing...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

what's a friend...?

A word for the year... obedience... continues to teach...

Through this word... I've come to realize... the world has skewed my definition of friend... worked its way into the subconscious realm...

In the receiving of the word... obedience... God led me to a Word that defines...

And this is love:
that we walk in obedience
to his commands.
2 John 1:6

He followed it with...

A friend loves at all times...
Proverbs 17:17

...and a call to wear a charm that reads the same... a blessing confirming... that I am His friend... and He mine... through acts of obedience... acts of love...

However... the Spirit... He has revealed... a flaw... a brokenness... in my understanding... of... friend... 

Not an understanding I adhere to consciously... but one... that the world... culture... has woven into my heart... mind... will... emotion...

As I began to become comfortable with being God's friend... and considering Him my Friend... my obedience... my striving... exercising... ears-tuned-into His call... has relaxed... 

I believe the Spirit has told me... I'm not such a great friend lately... at least not to Him... mind wandering... and perhaps a hint of complacency... in my relationship with Him... after all... He's a friend...

The emotional struggles of the past few weeks... a warning...

As He brought this thought to mind... I could see it... this definition of friend... one that let's you get by... get away with... overlooks discrepancies... in judgment... words... actions...

Friends... according to the world... help you cover up... go along with... lies... cheating... stealing... even join you... steal for you... lie for you... sin with you... i.e.... friends with benefits... really!... 

Somewhere in my mind... I've believed God would cut me some slack... I'm not talking grace here... that's the cheap kind... I'm talking... overlook slights... judge differently... because we're friends...

This attitude... is destructive... and ungodly... disrespects... diminishes... denigrates... His sacrifice... the sending of Son... the beating... the spitting... the nail piercing... of His only Son... for the forgiveness of sin... mine... yours... the whole world's...!

Not to mention... denying His Holy Sovereignty... His role as Supreme Judge... the One whose throne's foundation is Righteousness... belittling the magnitude of His gift of grace... poured out in all His infinite power...!

This is NOT a friend... according to Him...

A friend... does not let you slide... 
A friend... is a True guide...

A friend speaks the truth in love... protects... from harm... doesn't let you get off track...

A friend is more concerned for you... than how you feel about them...

A Friend... is a Counselor... Advocate... Comforter... and when He brings the truth in love... revival... repentance... they follow... refreshing a soul...

But if the voice... comes with condemnation... guilt that shames... paralyzes... it's a sure sign... that it's not your Friend... but your enemy... the Accuser... who does not want you to move forward... he wants you to stay stuck... bound... condemned...

Jesus... our True Friend... He forgives... faithfully...

In Him... we have peace with the Father... and can freely receive His Counsel... with grace... and hearts prepared to turn...

Today... I added a charm... next to the one reminding me of obedience... it's a compass... one given by a true friend... several years ago... a charm that reminds... God is the one "True Guide"...


Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, 
saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

A Word... that deepens the understanding... of the word for the year... and cleanses... soul... and purifies... heart... just a little... bit... more...

Father God... thank You for revealing... this flaw... woven into my heart... now that it's in the Light... remove it fully... forgive me for cheapening our relationship... with hidden attitudes... thank You for Your patience... continue to grow me in grace... and knowledge... of You...

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
Psalm 143:10 ESV


[Note: a fresh Quote du Jour has been served up...]

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

refreshed... revived...

Feeling revived...

Over the last day or so... flaws... sins... in my thinking... and character... have come to light...

The Spirit doing His work...

"... But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment..." ---Jesus
John 16:7-8

Hard to believe... having sin highlighted... brings a feeling of revival... life... instead of condemnation... and guilt... a refreshed feeling washes over... but He did say... It is for your good...

Beginning with the recognition of regret... He has shown additional issues... causing struggles... fueling doubt...

I'll share more in days to come... but today... just enjoying... feeling Light-ened... and thank-full...

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
Psalm 19:7

Monday, July 1, 2013

recognizing a destructive emotion

Regret... verb...to mourn the loss or death of... to be sorry for...

Mourn the loss... or death... of opportunities missed...

Sorry for... the way things were handled... or ignored...

Regret... noun... sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one's control or power to repair...

An emotion that can trap... drag you into a pit... of self-pity...

I recognize it creeping in... thought-patterns that replay... "If I had only..."... "I should have done things differently..."

The read on the treadmill... spoke of worry... which I connected to thoughts of regret...
I wasted many years of my life worrying about things that I could do nothing about. I would like to have those years back and be able to approach them in a different way. However, once you have spent the time God has given you, it is impossible to get it back and do things another way.  
---Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind
Regret... from poor choices... in the past... that cannot be changed... whether the regret comes just seconds after a word leaves your mouth... or... years later watching adult children struggle with life... wondering whether past parenting... is the cause...

Nothing can change the past...

But God... He is in the present...

Regret... a total waste of time... (you will only regret... wallowing in regret...)

Conviction... repentance... these are emotions... to act on... these prepare a heart for change... prepare the Way for Him to transform...

Today... I'm wrestling... with... regret... and praying to be... a godly woman... one pictured in Scripture...

Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]! She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]. She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
Proverbs 31:25-27 Amp
(emphasis added)

This... is a godly woman... whose hope is in Christ alone...

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:5

Lord Jesus... I choose to put my hope in You alone... trusting You will not disappoint... and work all things for good... even regrets... I cast those on You today... commit my way to You... and wait expectantly for You to act...

My soul, wait thou only upon God;
For my expectation is from him.
Psalm 62:5 KJV