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

Friday, August 30, 2013

strangers... there really aren't any...

A recent treadmill read... Praying for Strangers... has left me changed...

A change that comes reluctantly... especially for an introvert... one who fails at small talk and polite conversation with strangers... much less prayer...

This book... and its seemingly benign anecdotes... have opened my eyes and heart... to strangers in a new way...

My heart... feels the pressing of the Holy Spirit... to speak to... pray for... with... people who cross my path... begin a conversation... where He provides the introductory line...

To the woman manning the counter in a parts store... a pink-ribbon breast cancer awareness cap atop her bald head... I see you're undergoing treatment for cancer...

To the woman in the day-surgery waiting room... waiting longer than I... Who are you waiting for today...?

These people all around... people I see as strangers... are not strangers to Him...

From one man he made every nation of men,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him and find him,
though he is not far from each one of us.
Acts 17:26-27

Everyone... is someone... He died for... someone He sees... knows... loves...

Following Him... means... they are not to be strangers to me...

Following Him... means... obediently trusting... when He presses... and provides... an introduction...

Yes... an unexpected impact... from a book... that now pushes the envelope of my comfort zone... and spiritual growth...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

it's hard... to watch others heal...

Healing... it can be a painful process...

A broken bone left to rest a few days begins to feel comfortable... but not useful...

Surgery... makes the way for healing... cuts... inflames... re-wounds... to put things right...

It's the same for a soul... I think...

Spiritual wounds not treated properly... leave scars... and a soul ill-prepared for life...

The Physician... He comes and does spiritual surgery... re-wounding... cutting... with the consequences... of sin... disappointment...

Repentance... the only way... for true healing...

A hard process to watch...

Must continually be reminded... it is for the best... it's all good...

Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent forth his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Psalm 107:17-22

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

in need of Him...

A day that reminds me... that I need Him... 
every moment... 
of every day...


I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
Psalm 16:2

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

busy-distracted...

Thoughts run amok...
attitude off kilter...
seeking solace...
soaking in Him...


I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name,
O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2 NLT

Monday, August 26, 2013

words... the power to diminish... or multiply...

Opportunities to diminish others... abound... through criticism... judgmental attitudes... micro-management...

With fresh opportunities before me... I remember a lesson from the Summit... one I need desperately today...

The speaker shared ways that multiply the leadership potential of those around us... but also revealed ways we diminish others... often unintentionally... not recognizing the power behind our actions and words...

A message that convicted... as a mom who has... longing to build up... most likely discouraged and diminished my children at times... without even knowing it...

Today... a critical point... I must resist... the temptation to fall into the pattern of diminishing...

Those around me need... their confidence... competence... and courage... multiplied...

So I remember... and pray...

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
(my emphasis)

corrupt... to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions... rot, spoil... to cause disintegration or ruin...

Corrupting talk... it changes those who hear it... from good to bad... rots... spoils... their spirit... causes disintegration or ruin... in an attitude...

grace... good will, loving-kindness, favour... 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...

Words that give grace... build up... turn others to Christ... encourage... strengthen... kindle... the desire to pursue His Way...

Those are the words... attitudes... I need to emit today...

Lord... remind me... the diminisher in me is dead...
I am a new creation in Christ... You live through me...
You provide... the words... attitudes... needed today...
apart from You... I cannot multiply... those I love...

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NASB95

Sunday, August 25, 2013

a foretaste of heaven...

My husband and I had the privilege of being invited to a second cousin's wedding reception... in a city outside my family's primary stomping grounds...

We went with my sister... didn't check with other sibs to see if they were attending... nor had I heard of any cousins or other family that would be in attendance... besides the bride's family...

The evening turned into a greater joy than I imagined... family gathered up from many different places... some I hadn't seen in years...

Family... forever intermingled with childhood memories...

The Guest Book... gave the first glimpse... of who was present...

The seating chart... revealed even more surprises...

Common phrases I heard through the evening...

I didn't know you would be here...

I'm so glad to see you...

It's been so long...

The ultimate phrase... from a sweet cousin... who approached... after I smiled and waved across two tables...

Just now... I saw your mom in your eyes... 
It made me so happy...

Throat tightens as I write the words... eyes well... brim...

It would make me so happy to see my mom's eyes... after more than 19 years...

So today... I realize... the wedding party last night... with family gathered... reunited after long separation... abundance of food... drink... dancing... was a foretaste of what is to come... 

Joy of seeing those long gone before us... surprises at who all will be in attendance... pleasure abounding for heart... body... and soul...

Yes... a foretaste of heaven... thoughts that stir anticipation... longing... and a full heart...

"Praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself. ..."
"Blessed are those who are invited
to the wedding feast of the Lamb."
Revelation 19:6-7, 9 NLT

Friday, August 23, 2013

secret service... not so secret...

It struck me today... doing something no one would know I did... unless I left a note...

Something I felt called to do... but when I arrived... it was not as I imagined...

As I considered the note leaving... I heard... in my spirit...

...he'll know...

And I realized... one day... all our acts will be known... everything secret... whether good... or evil... will be exposed...

For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:14

No need to make it known... He knows... and one day... He'll tell the others... to whom it will make a great difference...

So today... I'm resting in the secret service... that one day... will be revealed...

So then, men ought to regard [Believers] as servants of Christ
and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
...
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; 
wait till the Lord comes. 
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness 
and will expose the motives of men's hearts. 
At that time each will receive his praise from God.
1 Corinthians 4:1, 5

Thursday, August 22, 2013

when one thing leads to another...

A full day... but unsure exactly how all would get done... or what exactly would get done... or what it would look like...

A day of asking...

What's next, Lord...? 

A day of listening...

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 day of doing the next thing...

My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
Psalm 17:5

A day of unexpected blessings... 

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:11-12

Thank You Lord... for Your guidance today... 
Thanks for caring... about even the small things... in my day...
Thank You... for the unexpected... blessings...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

more early morning thoughts... on daily devotions... and coffee...

Again... approaching the dailys with Him... first thing in the morning... coffee in hand... pressed to lip... feeling... breathing in...

Lord... If only I could experience physical sensations of You... 
like coffee... 

Then the thought it comes...

All of creation reflects who He is... 

He gives us physical experiences... for us to connect with Him... see Him in it... through it...

Creation... it is incredibly beautiful... amazingly complex... beyond human understanding... filled with mystery and wonder... fragrances... tastes... sensations...

He knew we would break relationship with Him... from before creation He knew... we would not always walk with Him in the Garden... He knew...

So He prepared... a world... a universe... in which we can physically sense Him... get a taste of who He is... through what He has made...

Like coffee... He's warm... stimulating... fresh... each morning...

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of His glory."
Isaiah 6:3

Look for Him today... sense Him physically... through what He has created... for us... for you... for me...

May He bless you... with a physical sense of who He is... today...


[If you are so moved... I invite you to share your experience here... with a comment... To add a comment click the title post... a comment box appears just beneath the post...]

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

what do you do when things suddenly get rushed...?

When a full life... suddenly gets rushed... because details have been neglected... due to others' distractions... take a lesson from Ann Voskamp...

Breathe... a... prayer...

Breathe in... Lord I receive...
Breathe out... Lord I give thanks...

Because all is a gift... and the proper response... is thanks...

In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV

Monday, August 19, 2013

daily devotions... fresh each day... like coffee...

Daily devotions... commitments to pray... two thirty-day prayer journeys... one over half-way done... the other just five days in...


My attitude feels... stale... my heart distracted by other things to get to...

Lord... how do I keep these daily devotions fresh...? I want them to be a living part of my relationship with You... not a box to check... I want to be with You... pray in agreement with You... listen for You... as I pray through these thirty days...

Thoughts they turn to things I do each day... for family... for me... repetitive tasks to begin the day... beginnings on my mind because this is where I am right now... beginning my day... my spiritual tasks before Him...

Coffee... it sits next to my computer... warm... aromatic... fresh...


Each morning making coffee is one of the first tasks... a chore that doesn't always feel like a chore... I enjoy the result way too much... even though it's decaf... the warmth of the cup... the smell... taste... feel... of each swallow... is a fresh joy each day...

So today... I see... the need to approach these dailys with Him... these commitments I've made... as spiritual coffee...

First things first... made fresh... a living... active... part of my daily day with Him...

Lord... help me keep it fresh... each day... in every way...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

no greater joy...

There is no greater joy... than when one of your children grasps a spiritual truth... makes a world view shift... and shares it with you...

Evidence they are walking with Him...

 I have no greater joy than to hear
that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4 

Friday, August 16, 2013

slow to wake up...

Feeling low on grace...

Started off grumpy... looking ahead at a day... that would not go my way... only seeing what I couldn't do...

Not a good way to start the day...

Bonhoeffer... he tried to set me straight...
Human beings are not supposed to sleep but to be awake. Being awake means being sober, living not in dreams and wishes but in stark reality. Being awake means loving the day and work. It means being without illusions, because illusions idolize the world for us and veil our vision of the one God of whom one is to make no idols; illusions let us see the world in the colors of our own wishes and prejudices. Being awake means seeing the world as it is before God, without judging it.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You
I definitely started off judging the day ahead... suffocating under a veil of illusion... trying to whisk reality away...

Slowly... I've been waking up... embracing the day for what it is... doing the work... by His grace... with love... because as Bonhoeffer reminded...
This being awake is not something we can give ourselves. Rather, God must call us to this being awake.... Live before God as the one he has made you to be!
"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:14-16 ESV 

Father God... awaken me each day... to the reality found in You...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

an uncomfortable thought... from the summit...

As I continue to mull over all I heard at the Summit... there is one thought that makes me uncomfortable...

The theme of courage... connecting... offering compassion... are bound up in me... as if in a head-lock...

Being an introverted-perfectionist... it takes courage... for me to connect... step out... offer compassion... be seen...

The speaker who spoke about vulnerability... shared an excerpt from her book...
When we spend our lives waiting until we're perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions only we can make.
Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be -- a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation -- with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly
---Dr. Brene Brown, Daring Greatly 
To climb into the arena of life... the one Jesus invites us to... the life abundant... is to dare greatly...

He calls us to a life of love... and as the speaker reminded us...

...love is messy, hard, tough...


She went on to say...

You can choose courage 
or you can choose comfort,
but you can't have both --- 
they are mutually exclusive...

Here is where it gets uncomfortable... I long to be courageous... AND... comfortable... but the reality is this combination does not exist... Remember... courage is only needed... in the face of danger... fear... or difficulty... Who needs courage if you're comfy...?

A challenge to step up to... one I pray I will not back down from...

A call to remember... Jesus Himself was not comfortable in His skin... He had no place to lay His head... He was led into temptation... His life was threatened multiple times... He was described as a man of sorrows... He sweat blood... He hung on a cross...

I choose the uncomfortable... I choose courage...

How knows... maybe one day... I'll become comfortable... with being... uncomfortable...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

more summit thoughts... connecting...

I read it this morning... on the treadmill...
I have learned something elemental about connecting and communicating with the human race. Everyone has a name --- and they long to be seen, to be heard, and to be acknowledged for more than just being another cashier at the counter, driver behind the wheel, waitress, ticket taker with those little informative tags on their shirts.
--- River Jordan, Praying for Strangers
Her words reminded me... of  something said at the Summit... those two days last week... ridiculously full days...

The speaker... he identified three things... that make a miserable place to work... and as I walked... going nowhere... I realized they also make a miserable place to go to church...

1) Anonymity. Nobody wants to be anonymous... People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known.

2) Irrelevance. God created us to love others... Everyone needs to know that their job matters, to someone. Anyone.

3) Immeasurement. All people have a need to be able to assess themselves if they are doing a good job... Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves.



The title of the talk... How to Lose Your Best People...

Is that what happen in churches... the best people are lost... if these three elements are part of the culture...?

We all have a need to be known... God created us for community...

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper who is just right for him."
Genesis 2:18 NLT

We all need to know we are relevant... have purpose... He created us with a purpose...

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 

We all need to know if we are growing... markers that reveal progress... God saved us... to move toward perfection...

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

These elements are needed to help people connect... grow... and fulfill the purpose God created them... us... you... me... for...

These elements make a great place to gather... in Him... without them... it's misery...

How can we make sure these elements... are part of our gathering... in Christ...?

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,
but you are fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God,
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
in whom the whole structure, being joined together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Ephesians 2:19-21 ESV
(my emphasis)

Are these needs met where you gather to worship...?
Are you intentional about connecting with others... knowing... affirming... identifying growth...?
What can you start doing... to make your gathering... great...?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

more thoughts from the summit... love...

Those two days last week... filled me with so much... to think about... review...

I look back over Summit notes... and find... the five loves...

This speaker took a verse... one I've prayed... and known for years... but only saw as two loves... aspired to the first because I believe the second will follow when we do the first...

"'... Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.'
The second is this:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30-31 NIV


1) Love God with all your heart. A matter of character.

2) Love God with all your soul. A matter of conviction.

3) Love God with all your mind. A matter of comprehension. Understanding God. 

4) Love God with all your strength. A matter of competence. Be excellent.

5) Love your neighbor as yourself. A matter of compassion.

Loving God four ways... and loving neighbors...

A great new way for me to approach this verse I pray... practical ways to love... and check my growth... on how I am loving...

Character...
Conviction...
Comprehension...
Competence...
Compassion...

Intentional... practical... love...

Monday, August 12, 2013

thoughts from the summit... courage...

As I look back on two fully packed days of leadership teaching... at the Summit... a recurring theme... was courage... which, of course, is only needed in the face of fear...

The opening message... focused on the courage leadership requires...

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NIV

The speaker said... Courage is critical to vision...

Vision defined as... a vision of the future that inspires passion in people...

Here is a message that pierces my heart... standing with a vision given by God... and fear... that threatens to paralyze...

EVERY vision God puts in your heart
requires courage...

Visions of how things should be... visions of transformation... healing... and freedom... they require courage...

How many have I let slip away... thinking... I'm not the one... I don't have the ability... the influence... to make that happen... What if I fail...?

How many times have I let fear... abort... a... vision...

That's the word he used... abort... 

When fear causes us to abort a God-given vision... it's a colossal tragedy...

This is how I wrote it in my notes...


Fear induced abortion = a colossal tragedy

Sounds harsh... but I know it to be true...

I am reminded... courage is required... to even begin sharing... voicing... the possibility of change... for something better...

Courage... it's only required... in the face of... danger... fear... or difficulty... so why be surprised when He tells us... 

Be strong and courageous...

...that fear... or danger... or difficulty... will be a part of entering the promised land... 

I pray... I will not allow fear to kill... when it comes to God-inspired vision... 

Father God... I choose courage... trusting that You are with me... stepping out to share Your vision... not allowing fear to abort... what You desire... trusting You... for each step of the way... boldly speaking for You... Your kingdom... and Your love...

Choose to trust Him... with the blessing... of a vision...

Have you allowed fear to abort... a Spirit-filled inspiration... 
Ask forgiveness...

Have you boldly allowed Him to work it out in you... 
bringing the vision full-term...? 
Thank Him for His strength...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

fully abiding... joy...

A hymn sung in worship...

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
and to take Him at His word...

A song that reminds... trust... the sweet place... of fully abiding...

"...If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments 
and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you,
that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full. ..."
---Jesus (emphasis mine)
John 15:10-11 ESV


Friday, August 9, 2013

overwhelmed...

Today... I find myself... overwhelmed...
by the Gathering...
its beauty...
diversity...
simplicity...

And the power... of the message... the Good News...
that is the Rock... on which He builds...

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,
stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully
to the work of the Lord,
because you know
that your labor in the Lord
is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

Thursday, August 8, 2013

whew...

Another Summit... a day spent absorbing world-class leadership training...

The message... it pierces the heart... with...
conviction...
encouragement...
inspiration...

My heart hears...
You cannot stay quiet...
Compassion... an inviolable value...
Get over self-consciousness...
This is not about me...
Pour it out...
Do not be a poser...

All delivered... in an atmosphere of grace... and love...

The resounding reminder...

Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God
will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NIV

All a much needed reminder...

Whew... there's another day tomorrow...

Lord... make room in my heart... mind... will... for MORE...
do not allow me... to go away... unchanged...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

peace-fully... moving forward...

A busy season... transitions... still in full swing...

Yet... in the midst... I feel a peace... one that seems foreign... I wonder where my usual angst is...

I'm not complaining... but it is unusual... good... but unusual...

Grace and peace be yours in abundance
through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2

Seeking knowledge of Him... pursuing His way... being open to His Word... has unexpected benefits... even in busy seasons...

Take time to seek Him today... increase your knowledge of Him... increase your peace...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

gracious glimpses... of His compassion...

After recent thoughts on failure to offer compassion... this morning in the quiet... when I came to Paul's words to Timothy... I completely identified... took them as my own...

The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15 Amp
(my emphasis)

Yes... that's me... the worst...

And I went about the rest of my early morning routine... and it was there... on my treadmill... that God revealed... His compassion... toward me...

A note of compassion... passed through my treadmill read...
Years earlier, when I was still a teenager, I came home to discover that my mother had been in a horrible car accident. I couldn't even drive yet and called a taxi to get to the hospital. I don't remember the first thing about the ride there. ... What I do remember is sitting and crying alone outside the waiting room, as my mother was still in intensive care.
Three women across the family waiting room whispered behind their hands to one another as they furtively continued to glace my way. My mother was in a very bad way, near death, and obviously the news had traveled the floor. Suddenly a different woman approached me. "Is that your mother in there?" she asked. I guess no other details were necessary as I nodded and wiped my sodden face. She walked away and in a short amount of time reappeared, opened a new box of tissues, and passed them to me. Then she patted me on the shoulder, leaned over, and whispered, "Don't worry now. Your mother is going to be all right." 
An angel? No, I don't think so. I think it was just a stranger who had decided the bubble of her world could be broken. That she could cross that crazy, invisible line that seems to hold us back, separate us from one another. In looking back on that moment, there is no question in my mind that the other three women, glancing and whispering behind their hands, were equally sorry for me but they chose to stay in the safety of their private worlds.
These memories remind me that sometimes a simple word, a gentle touch, is worth the trouble. That moving out of the skin of my comfort zone is worth the momentary risk.
---River Jordan, Praying for Strangers 
He tells me... I'm not the worst... and I'm not alone...

All broken people struggle...

And I remember... just yesterday... in the study with sisters... we talked about the importance of sharing our failures... fears... faults... with others...

Testimony... speaking truth in love... it eliminates loneliness... it is a form of compassion...

I hear a word... of encouragement... to step out... and a reminder that I am not alone...

The writer she goes on to say...
I am thinking that our lives will be traced back to the moments where we were selfless. Where we took time to offer a kind word or a listening ear. I'm just thinking that someday it's all going to matter very much.
I don't want to be the one held back by fear... self-consciousness... I want to do what really matters... to Him... for Him...

Lord... thank You for this word of encouragement... this glimpse of Your compassion... help me to remember Your greatest gift of mercy... Your work on the cross... remind me... that You ask me... to do no less than You did for me...

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

self-consciousness... a stumbling block to compassion...

To be self-conscious... is to be self-centered... all thoughts revolving first around... self...

To be compassionate... is to be... self-less... thinking of others needs first...

Me... I allow self to hinder... compassion...

What will it cost me...? to step into their mess...?

What will they think of me...? to enter a mess that's not mine...?

And possibly the most perverted thought process... assuming the one in need... possesses my own self-absorbed nature... 

Will they be self-conscious if I notice their mess...? offer help...? 
Will I hurt their feelings...? make them uncomfortable...?

My self-centeredness... leads me to worry about others... self-centeredness... in a most compassionate way...!?!

Lies... Lies...

Jesus... He came sans self... no self-consciousness... only God-the-Father-consciousness... undistracted by the many voices in the world... the liars...

He only allowed the Father's voice... the compassionate gracious God... to prevail...

His greatest act of compassion... the cross... caused Him to sweat blood... in anticipation... He even prayed... for another way...

But in the end... He surrendered... trusting... knowing... there is no other way...
The believer's calling is to think and feel and will just what Jesus thought and felt and willed. He desires to be partaker, not only of the grace, but also of the holiness of his Lord; or rather, he sees that holiness is the chief beauty of grace. To live the life of Christ means to him to be delivered from the life of self; the will of Christ is to him the only path of liberty from the slavery of his own evil self-will.
---Andrew Murray on Prayer, Abide in Christ (emphasis added) 
Acts of compassion... are followed through without regard to self... no turning back...

That is why Jesus says...

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back 
is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:62

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself 
and take up his cross and follow me. ..."
Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23

"...The man who loves his life will lose it, 
while the man who hates his life in this world 
will keep it for eternal life. ..."
John 12:25

I look back... and see an uncertain row... filled with gaps... an unfit furrow... too many times... the hands... have left the plow... the cross... dropped at the crossroads... a life loved... too much...

My failures... to act... react... offer... compassion... make me hate my life... 

Lord... make me fit... for service in the Kingdom...
Deliver me from the life of self...
Teach me... to walk Your way...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

still surprised...?

Why am I still surprised... when things... of life... and faith... seem hard...?

So quickly... I forget... the war... the on-going battle... for soul... heart... mind...

I forget... I'm following a crucified Savior...

There was a time... I said No... to the way He walked... the hard road... the via delorosa... the "path of sorrow"... self-crucifixion... self-denial...

I saw where it headed... when others said following Jesus was great... all I saw was a cross... a pummeling... a death... not really a way I wanted to go...

Now... on the other side of faith... I see the reason... some of the mystery revealed... Light in the dark... the valley of the shadow of death... destroyed... by His self-sacrifice of love...

I've tried to exercise my freedom... to surrender... serve... in love... but the flesh... the young woman who did not like the looks of that road... seeing pain and difficulties... at times... still wants to be heard...

Lord... the Spirit is willing... but the flesh is weak... 
Keep me in prayer... focused on You...
Your glorious riches... are not here... but in heaven...
Remind me... I'm walking through a war... on mission...
Help me stay on task... alert... to the enemy... at all times...
Remind me... to only rest... fully armored... 
with You... a wall of flame... surrounding...

I'm reminded... He is the Lord of Hosts... the Lord of a great army...

The Lord of Heaven's Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
Psalm 46:7 NLT

This army does not just include heavenly beings... those unseen in the spirit realm... but His people... Believers... they make up a large part of His great army... one that fights not with weapons of this world... but with weapons of divine power...
songs of praise...
prayer...
thanksgiving...

These are the weapons we wield... in a war that wages daily... moment by moment...

To be a Believer is to be a warrior... on call 24/7... to praise... pray... and give thanks... to the Lord of Hosts...

When this focus is lost... when the vision shifts to self... its comforts... desires... plans... the hard gets harder... and I find myself blind-sided... surprised... perturbed... by the lack of ease...

Why...? When Jesus Himself... struggled... with hard... dothink it should be easy for me...?
In the life which Christ led upon earth, obedience was a solemn reality. The dark and awful power that led man to revolt from his God, came upon Him too, to tempt Him. To Him as man its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray. He spoke very distinctly of not seeking to do His own will, as a surrender He had continually to make. He made the keeping of the Father's commandments the distinct object of His life, and so abode in His love.
--- Andrew Murray on Prayer, Abide in Christ (emphasis added)
Jesus... He had to fast and pray... be alert... in order to stay in tune with the Father... abiding in His love... through obedience...

Pick up the weapon of prayer... keep focused... on Reality... the one that is only found in Christ...

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of ] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).
Ephesians 6:18 Amp

Having been blind-sided recently... with hard... anger flaring... self-consciousness... strangling compassion... I seek a new sense of rest... one that does not indulge self... but keeps an eye open... a heart alert... for hard...

What about you...? have you been blind-sided lately...? where was your focus...?
What can you do to stay focused... on the Reality... at hand...?

Friday, August 2, 2013

when you don't know where to start...

Who among you fears the Lord 
and obeys the word of his servant?
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

Lord... I said I would... but I'm unsure how...
plus fear... it darkens the way...
I trust You... to show me...
I will rely... on... You...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

drifting...

How easy it is to drift... back... to... old... habits...

I've noticed one... that has crept its way back...

Today... a struggle... to... push... back... up... stream...

A reminder that...

We must pay more careful attention,
therefore, to what we have heard,
so that we do not drift away.
Hebrews 2:1

Grateful... for the recognition... that it's time to return...

Grateful... for His forgiveness... strength... and steadfastness...

Thankful... that He... is an anchor... for the soul...

Where have you drifted... lately...?

Lord... thank You... for this hard reminder... to go back... to rely on You alone... for strength...