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

Monday, September 30, 2013

active faith...

The first three pieces of God's armor...
belt of truth... 
breastplate of righteousness... 
shoes of Gospel peace... 
the beginning of our protection against the present darkness...

We have explored the active aspect of... truth... righteousness... and Gospel peace... with the intention of maintaining... strengthening... our stance... and avoiding the trap of passivity...

The fourth piece of armor to take up...


the shield of faith...

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

shield... a piece of defensive armor... a covering...
Unlike some pieces of armor, which are fastened in place to guard only certain parts of the body, a shield can be deployed and maneuvered to fend off all missiles, wherever they are coming from and toward whatever part of the body they are headed. The shield pictured here, unlike the round shield sometimes used, was large (four feet high by two and one-half feet wide) and shaped like a door. In fact its name, thyreos, came from the word for door, thyra. Marching side by side holding up these large shields, soldiers could advance on an enemy well protected. Used that way, the shield could be an important part of an offensive thrust, even though it was a defensive piece.
---The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians
Interesting... this door-shaped shield of faith...

faith... translated from the Greek... pistis... conveys the predominate idea of trust... confidence... the kind of trust that acts... without fear... on what is believed...

Jesus... He said...

"...I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved..."
John 10:9 ESV

...door... in this verse... thyra...

Jesus... a door you enter by faith... belief... trust...

Faith in Jesus... the shield we carry...

Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith...
Ephesians 6:16 Amp

Faith... a shield we are to lift up over all... the overarching character of a Believer...

Now faith is being sure of hope we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

We're talking an invisible force field... 

Confidence... in the Word of God... His promises... truths... righteousness... and peace... that emboldens us to act...

By faith... we extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one... lies... accusations... fears... doubts... temptations...

Lift up that shield of faith... over every area of your life...

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith...
Ephesians 6:16 ESV

The larger the shield... the greater the covering...

Increase faith... by knowing... what God promises... who He is... and who He says you are...

Live by faith... stepping out in obedience... to His call... and to His Word...

We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

Don't trust what you see... trust Who you know...

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, 
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.
Isaiah 50:10-11 ESV

Having faith in Him... means we let go of faith in ourselves... and the things of this world...

He alone is the Way of salvation... 

He alone is trustworthy...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

The more we exercise our faith... the greater our faith...

Strive for... active... faith...

A great defense... can turn into a great offense... pushing back the enemy... by faith...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

active gospel...

In our exploration... into the maintenance... and strengthening... of the armor God supplies Believers... we come to the third piece... that enables us to stand firm... against the unseen enemy...


Shoes of gospel peace...

And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15 Amp

We stand firm-footed... against the enemy... when we stand on the gospel of peace...

Our shoes... when we stand... separate us... from the world... the literal earth beneath our feet... protecting us from heat... cold... thorn... or stone...

In addition... the shoes worn for battle by the Roman army... ensured... a firm footing... and readiness...
With your feet fitted probably referred to caligae... tough but light sandals (in the sense that the toes were open) that went partly up the leg, with soles studded with nails for a secure grip on the ground. Soldiers could wear them in hand-to-hand combat, rather than the heavy boots used in long marches. The purpose could be twofold: to maintain a solid footing, as commanded, and to be ready for action.
---The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians 
 The Believer's shoes of gospel peace... they too... are studded with nails...

...he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

The Gospel peace... on which we stand firm... is the good news... of the cross...

How well do you know it...?

The firmness of our stance... and the peace of our heart... spirit... rests in a full acceptance... belief... trust... in Jesus's work on the cross...

Do you fully accept it for yourself...?
Are you convinced... to the point... of absolute peace...?

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation...
Colossians 1:19-22

Knowledge... experiential and personal... enables us to stand firm... knowing we are right... before the Creator and Keeper of the universe...

This knowledge... it also readies us... compels us... to share it with others... taking it wherever He calls us to... with peace... and assurance...

...with your feet fitted with the readiness
that come from the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15

Do you know the Gospel well enough to share it with others...?
Can you verbalize it...? Invite others to it....?

Knowledge of the Gospel of peace... protects our feet from the thorns of worry... whether we are good enough to share the Message... and keeps us from stumbling over rocks of doubt... whether we have the right words... to share the Message...

Read... study... eat... Matthew... Mark... Luke... John... let them teach you... the good news... the news that brings peace... the news that steadies.. and readies... the news that makes your feet beautiful...

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
"Your God reigns!"
Isaiah 52:7

Shod your feet with beauty... and go out with the Message... of the good news...

Scripture tells us... the harvest is ready... and plentiful... but the workers are few...

Let Him... the Lord of the Harvest... prepare you for His work...

People are ready... if you are willing...

Father God... raise up... send out... more workers... into Your fields ripe for harvest... equip me... with words... faith... boldness... and peace... activate... the Gospel... in me...

Friday, September 27, 2013

active righteousness...

Continuing the exploration... of God's armor... and how we might maintain... improve... its efficacy... in our present battle against darkness...

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood 
[contending only with physical opponents], 
but against the despotisms, against the powers, 
against [the master spirits who are] 
the world rulers of this present darkness, 
against the spirit forces of wickedness
in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Therefore put on God's complete armor...
Ephesians 6:12-13 Amp

The belt of truth... the first piece of armor... is followed by the second... the breastplate of righteousness...

Stand therefore... having put on 
the breastplate of righteousness...
Ephesians 6:14 ESV

breastplate... it covers our heart... and other vital organs... the core of our being...
The breastplate covered the major organs much as a bullet-proof vest does today.
---The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians
righteousness... translated from the Greek... dikaiosune... meaning... in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be... the condition acceptable to God...

The only way... our condition is acceptable to God... is in Jesus... His Son...

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29 ESV

Yet... Louw-Nida... defines dikaiosune... as the act of doing what God requires...

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Increasing the strength of the breastplate... requires exercising righteousness... doing what's right...

Jesus... He summed up all the law... and the requirements of the prophets... into two commands...

" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart 
and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 
This is the first and greatest commandment. 
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' ..."
Matthew 22:34-38

How do we love God...?

And this is love:
that we walk in obedience to his commands.
As you have heard from the beginning,
his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 1:6

Obedience... doing what God says is right... is love... and the only thing He commands us to do... is to love... Him... and others...

But we are not to love as the world loves... we are to love as God loves us... through Christ...

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, 
in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us 
and gave himself up for us 
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Protect your heart... by discovering... experiencing... how Jesus loves you... 

His amazing grace... and unfailing love... will transform your life... as you come under... into... His definition of love...

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

Maintain... strengthen... the breastplate of righteousness... by doing what God requires... do what's right...

So whoever knows the right thing to do
and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:17 ESV

In my relationship with Christ... I've noticed... the deeper it goes... the narrower... the road gets...

The more He reveals... the more I know... the more sin I see in my life...

Here is where... when we know the right thing to do... because He has revealed His Way... moving us closer to His character... it seems the opportunity for sin... increases... and... the wages of sin is death...

Sin... failing to do... what you know is right... brings death... 

Sin hardens our heart... deafens our ears... to the Holy Spirit's conviction... to His call... that we are to obey...

Sin... sets us up... for the enemy... to gain strongholds... in our lives...

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey --- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Romans 6:16

We were created to obey... 

The enemy... he lies... tells us we are independent... but to go... what looks like our own way... is simply sin... and enslaves us to him...

The truth is... in Christ... you are a slave to righteousness...

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Romans 6:17-18

Exercise your right... to be right... in Christ Jesus...

When you have sinned... turn to Him... confess... repent...

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

Bullet-proof your heart...

Obey... His Way... 

The Way of... active righteousness...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

active truth...

We are commanded...

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:11 ESV

Putting on armor... requires action... effort... and as the current treadmill read reminded... God calls us to active duty... when it comes to our defense against the darkness...

So we begin exploring the concept of actively maintaining each piece of armor... in order to increase its efficacy...

The first piece of armor listed... the belt of truth...

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth...
Ephesians 6:14 ESV

belt... the word itself conjures up a mental image... the definition affirms... a strip of flexible material worn especially around the waist...

A belt surrounds your body... at a central location...

For historical significance... we need to look back... to the time of Ephesians... when those reading knew exactly what Paul was referring to... the armor of a Roman soldier...
Ancient warriors, like other people of the time, wore loose-fitting clothing. When approaching some task, athletic event or battle, they needed to gather this clothing together to permit freer movement.
--- The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians
The belt of truth... permits freer movement... (sound familiar)...

...Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, 
you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free."
John 8:31-32  

How do we know truth...?

By holding to the teaching of Jesus... the Word...

Jesus came as... the Word made flesh... full of grace and truth...

His Word... is truth... and by definition... there can only be one truth... anything that contradicts truth... is a lie... error... falsehood...

Jesus asked Father God... to sanctify Believers by the truth...

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

Sanctification... the process of setting apart for a sacred purpose... to free from sin: purify...

Knowing... understanding... exercising... truth... prepares us for His purpose... frees us from sin... and we find ourselves... less likely to fall...

In addition to the Word... Jesus sent us a Counselor... the Spirit of truth... 

But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, 
he will guide you into all truth.
John 16:13

Prayerfully reading Scripture... the Word of truth... by the power of the Spirit of truth... is the primary way for us to increase the efficacy of the belt of truth...

As we learn the truth... discern truth... we need to hold to it... practice it... exercise it... make it central to our lives... surrounding ourselves... with truth...

The war is spiritual... and we are called to test the spirits... that influence our lives... 

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1John 4:1

How can we test the spirits... apart from truth...?

We need to know... the Word of Truth... as interpreted... by the Spirit of Truth...

Increase the weight of your belt of truth... the first and most important piece of armor... don't just pray it on... secure it... with increased knowledge... understanding... and practice...

Truth keeps us from getting tripped up... and helps us stay upright... able to prevent... the next fall...

Read Scripture...
Know the Word...
Open yourself to the counsel of the Spirit of Truth...
Hold to the Truth... keep it central to your life...

Do not be passive... about truth... activate it in your life...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

active duty...

The current treadmill read... reminds Believers... they must take an active role... in their defense against the darkness...
The first thing you should understand about God's protection is that our role is not passive.
--- Neil Anderson, The Bondage Breaker
The author continues by emphasizing the verbs in Ephesians 6:10-13...
be strong...
put on...
be able...
stand firm...
take up...
resist...

It made me think... about the armor... which many days... I prayerfully put on...

But... perhaps each piece... requires... active maintenance...

The belt of truth...
breastplate of righteousness...
shoes of gospel peace...
shield of faith...
helmet of salvation...
sword of the Spirit...

What does it look like to maintain... strengthen... these vital pieces of armor the Lord has prepared for us...?

How do we... wear them... use them... in a way... that increases their effectiveness in our lives...

Something to explore over the next few days...

Standing firm... ready for... active duty...

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war...
Psalm 144:1

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

hanging... on trust...

It's one of those day...
listening...
trusting...
standing on the edge of faith...
toes over the edge...

His call...
it seems too much...

Too much to fit in one week...
one day...
one hour...

The mantra...
the prayer of the moment...

If it's His... He will get it done...

And He has... so far...

Trusting...
that what I hear...
is Him...

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV

Be still my soul...
hang... on...
trust...

Monday, September 23, 2013

encouragement... in waiting...

Today... I've seen evidence of the Holy Spirit at work...

Ensuring a sister's presence at my table to study...

Provision of inspiration...

Fleshing out a ministry through the Body... multiple members required to reveal the plan...

I didn't realize at the time... but seeing Him at work... evidence of His presence... His activity... encourages me in the waiting... for the fulfillment... of desires stirred...

Encouraged to wait... in anticipation... for more...

Ah, Lord God!
It is you who have made the heavens and the earth
by your great power and by your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:17 ESV

Sunday, September 22, 2013

stirred desires...

The new study with sisters... stirs desires...

Desires to be...
romanced...
irreplaceable...
beautiful...

The premise... these specific feminine desires... reflect the heart of God...

But these desires...  in me... stir feelings of unfulfilled longing...

Desires... I've silenced... and bound... over the years...

The study... it promises a path of healing... through Christ...

Yet... to heal... the wound has to be opened anew...

Spiritual surgery... often begins... with a broken heart... brokenness of the past... reawakened...

So I struggle... to exercise... a lesson from Wednesday afternoons...

For everything created by God is good,
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving...
1 Timothy 4:4

I receive afresh... heartbreaks... with thanksgiving... in hopes... of healing... restoration... redemption... and peace...

He used a hymn in worship today... to speak to this place in my heart...


Assured of His work... to bring healing... I receive with thanks... a stirred up heart... 

Friday, September 20, 2013

the key...

She drew it... as a gift... a picture of Scripture...

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
1 John 4:16

When she gave it to me... it was simply a key... drawn and colored... on a small rectangular paper...

She said... It's the key...

I've kept in on my desk... where I've seen it almost daily... for at least two years...

Over that time... I've added to the simple picture... words...

The key...
to a heart of...
peace...
love...
hope...

And I added a keychain... so I would not lose it... 

I engraved its identity... 1JN4_16...

Today... in my current reading through... I came to a passage... that made me fully comprehend... Yes... this is the key...

Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 4:17-19 NLT
(my emphasis)

Growing roots into... (relying on)... God's love... keeps you strong...

Understanding... the width... height... breadth... and depth... of His love... (knowing)... experiencing... the love of Christ... makes us complete... with fullness of life... and access to His power...

YES... KNOWING AND RELYING ON... 
THE LOVE HE HAS FOR US... 
IS THE KEY...

I continue to add... to this teaching from my daughter...

The key...
to a heart of...
peace...
love...
hope... and power...

The key
to fullness
of life...


Find the key for yourself...

Seek it... experience it... through His Word... prayer... obedience... trusting faith... get to KNOW it... and you will have... a heart of peace... love... hope... and... power...

The key to fullness of life... in Him...

"I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full." --- Jesus
John 10:10

Thursday, September 19, 2013

eat pray love... a Word to share...

It caught my eye when I saw it in the booklet from Saturday's teaching...


Downloaded... yesterday...

Ate from it... today...

How could I not share it here... on Jeremiah's Menu...?


It's FREE... an audio download... found at... lproof.org ... go to the "Store"... then to "Free Downloads"... (or just click "Jeremiah's Eat, Pray, Love" above... and if I did it right... it will take you right where you need to go...)

Three sessions... and resources... to download... for FREE!...

Highly recommended... download it yourself... and eat...

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart's delight,
for I bear your name,
O Lord God Almighty.
Jeremiah 15:16

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

eccentric... exiting grace...

Eccentric... a word from Saturday's teaching on grace...

She made one brief point... but the word... it echoes...

eccentric - "ek" = exit    "centric" = center  
...leaving the center...
...as a Christian, grace is our center...

She spoke too fast for my pen... but this is what I drew...


The center of the cross... marks the center of grace...

Followers of Christ find center... by being crucified with Him... by faith... dead to self... 

At the center of the cross... we stand fully in grace...

For unbelievers... and the world... the center is found in self... 
(I drew as I processed this post today...)


The truth is... the selflessness of Christ on the cross... appears eccentric... to the world...

My current treadmill read confirms...
... the center of the secular worldview is self: What will I get out of this? Who will meet my needs? I'm doing my own thing. ...
...Satan is called the prince of this world because self-interest rules the world. ...
...Such is Satan's creed, and unfortunately the lives of all too many people validate his claims. Satan has deceived them into thinking they are serving themselves when in fact they are serving the world, the flesh, and the devil. 
--- Neil Anderson, The Bondage Breaker 
Unfortunately... many Believers are eccentric... living lives much like those of unbelievers... self-centered... leading to anxiety... depression... angst... worthlessness...

Keeping center... embracing His death... as ours... forms the foothold... of grace... a foundation of peace...

No need to fret over behavior... ours... or others... He has paid the price... He receives the glory... we receive His grace... by faith...

To lose one's life for His sake... seems like foolish eccentricity to the world... but for us who believe... it is the power of grace... and peace...

For the message of the cross is foolishness 
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

Eccentric... 

A word that reminds me... to keep centered... on grace... by faith...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

more thoughts... from the teaching on grace...

The teaching on Saturday... continues to impact heart... and spirit...

Her descriptions... of law... vs...grace...

Law is consumed with behavior...
Grace is consumed with beholding...

I find myself... seeing... hearing... the difference... between law... and grace...

When I'm focused on behavior... mine or others... I'm living under the law... that which I've died to... that which Christ fulfilled...

Law is self-centered... constantly judging behavior... my own... and others' compared to mine... or how their behavior... affects me...

But grace... it simply beholds... with wonder... all that Jesus did... does... and will do...

Grace... looks not at self... but Him... seeing the power to transform... not just me... but others... power to use all for good... and for His glory...

A life under grace... beholds... with wonder... peace... love...

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Psalm 63:2

That glory... grace...

Lord... keep me focused on You and Your glorious grace...
beholding You... not behavior...

Monday, September 16, 2013

standing in... the joy of grace...

A day spent... standing in grace...
accepting... my acceptance...
by faith... in Him...
filled with grateful joy...

Through [our Lord Jesus Christ] we have also obtained
access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2 ESV


Sunday, September 15, 2013

grateful... for grace... and its power...

Yesterday... a day spent receiving... teaching on grace...

Grateful... for grace... abounding... greater than sin...

Now the law came in to increase the trespass,
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more...
Romans 5:20 ESV

Grateful... for grace... that overpowers sin...

For sin will have no dominion over you,
since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:14 ESV

Grateful... for grace... that empowers obedience...

...through [Jesus Christ our Lord] we have received grace
and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith
for the sake of his name among all the nations...
Romans 1:5 ESV
(my emphasis)

Much needed grace... as I wrestle with sins revealed...

Grace needed... to accept... acceptance... in Him...

Grace needed... to crush the credit-craver within...

Grateful... for revelation... the Word that heals... and the grace to receive it...


Friday, September 13, 2013

lessons... from young and old... living and dead...

This week... I gained new insights from well-known stories of the Bible...

The first came Wednesday afternoon... from one of the sixth graders in the thirty-minute Bible class...

The passage... Genesis 1:1-25... Creation...

The lesson asked... What did you see God doing...?

The first hand raised... the answer... Judging...

I stood a little stunned... an unexpected answer... one I didn't see...

But there it was... And God saw that it was good... not once... or twice... but six times in the passage...

God was judging... all He saw... and deemed it good...

I never before considered this as an act of judgment... but that is what I learned from a sixth grader this week...

God is the Judge... of all things... from the beginning...

He didn't become Judge because He had to... it's just part of who He is... the same... yesterday... today... and forever...

The next lesson... also came from a very familiar story... Jesus's first miracle... water to wine at the wedding feast...

I heard it on an audio-book... Basic Christianity... by John Stott... the book originally published in 1958... its author died in 2011...

The teaching... was one I've never heard... which concerns me a little... since after 19 years of pursuing and studying... seeking... I thought it would be good if someone had mentioned it... since it is basic Christianity...
[His miracles] are in fact the acted parables of Jesus. ... His works dramatized His word.
---John R.W. Stott, Basic Christianity 
Now I might have heard that before... but not quite so clearly... mostly I've heard His miracles taught as signs that He was the Messiah... the Son of God... the mark that authenticated Him... but here... Stott teaches that each miraculous work... had meaning...

Stott used the miracle at the wedding feast as an example...
It is not in itself a particularly edifying miracle. Its significance lies beneath the surface. John tells us that the water pots of stone stood ready for the Jewish rites for purification. This is the clue we are seeking. The water stood for the old religion. ... The wine stood for the religion of Jesus. As he changed the water to wine, so the gospel would supersede the law.
Now have you ever heard this teaching on Jesus's first miracle before...? I haven't... but it sheds a lot of light on why exactly this was the first... hidden though it was... only His disciples... and the servants... seeing...

The Law... vs... the Gospel...

Ceremonial Cleansing... to... Communion Wine...

The Law... fulfilled... by the Blood of the Lamb...

An exchange... that happens in the secret place of the heart... between Jesus... and His disciples... where only His angelic servants see...

This miracle fully reveals the broad overview... the big picture... of His mission... Of course it had to be the first...

Awesome... perfect...

Lessons... we need to be open to many different sources...

Too often... I find myself only seeking teaching from the newest... the present teachers who rate publication... or radio time...

Be open... to those God places around you... no matter how old...
Explore books... dusty old books... written by the dead...
You never know... when... or from whom... an important insight might come...

Present... past... young... old... living... dead...

Rowdy sixth grader... dusty old publication...

God will teach... if you will listen...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

disturbing the peace...

The war continues... peace vs security...


I woke this morning... anticipating a meeting... to share a ministry inspiration...

Fighting to keep focused on peace... not security...
It does not matter how any of this is received... 
I do not have to protect myself... 
I do not have to defend anything... 
tenuously trusting Him...

This is my state... as I stepped to the stove to begin making breakfast... then I see it... less than an inch from the toe of my flip-flop... a scorpion... in my kitchen...!

Do you know how many scorpions I've seen in my house...? ever...?

NONE... ZERO... Never...

Remembering it is but a member of the arachnid family... just a weird spider... I remove my flop... and... smack... not once... but twice... then I put my shoe back on and step... for good measure...

But default mode... it kicked in... thoughts of how to protect my home from further invaders... Who do you call to fend off scorpions...? 

Security... I need security... from scorpions...!

Any shred of peace... I had... was now gone...

Then I recognized... the battle... the test... the lie... Peace is found in security....

So as I scooped squashed scorpion up with a paper towel... and stuffed him into an empty chip bag... to keep him secure... and unable to poke his stinger through the garbage bag... causing pain even in death... I remembered... the Scripture from Wednesday afternoon... the one I taught the sixth graders yesterday...

For everything created by God is good,
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
1Timothy 4:4-5
(emphasis added)

Everything... created by God... is good... if it is received with thanksgiving...

My mind... it went to the prayer exercise... the one we did at the end of class... a breath prayer...

(Breathe in...) Lord, I receive _______________.
(Breathe out...) Lord, I give thanks for _________________.

You fill in the blank... with whatever... God has brought into your life... 

As they prayed... they filled the blanks with things that were good... life... love... ice cream... accessories... 

One... he hesitated... I suggested... Homework... 

A groan erupted... from the whole room...

I shared... that even hard things... things we don't like... are allowed to enter our lives... by a Sovereign God... who always works for our good... and His glory... so giving thanks for things we see as bad... is good... an act of faith... trust...

A lesson that came back to haunt...!

A challenge... a test... to choose peace... rather than security... 

A test that showed... just how far I have to go... 

So I prayed... by faith... without much fervor...

Lord, I receive... the scorpion in my kitchen...
Lord, I give thanks... for the scorpion in my kitchen...

The episode... it rattled... feeling spiritually shaky... I went about the rest of my day... wrestling for peace... 

And all went well... but even if it hadn't... I hope I would choose peace... and give thanks... for this is God's will... in Christ Jesus...

[Side note... 
I read an article recently that reminded those who study Scripture the importance of taking each verse in context... to not ignore the before and behind... a warning about isolating a verse...

The context of 1Tim 4:4-5... has to do with the prohibition of marriage... and certain foods... by teachers who have been influenced by demons...

So... I'm also grateful... that I didn't have to eat the scorpion... Amen...]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

thank... full...

A full day...

A day of beginnings...

And endings...

A day filled...

With good news...

And bad...

Busy to distraction... at times...

Moments of quiet... too...

All received...

With thanks...

Seeking...

His Peace...

Do not be anxious about anything,
 but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

peace vs security

I read it a few days ago...

Peace is the opposite of security.
  
Bonhoeffer wrote it... I've been wrestling with it... as in... 

Is it true...?

It seems to me... that the two... peace and security... go hand-in-hand... 

Can you have one... without the other...?

Isn't it security... that ensures... peace...?

Over the last couple of days... I've tried to test this supposition of Bonhoeffer's...

And I've seen that... when I strive for security... I have no peace...

Not realizing... that for the most part... my focus is on the possibility of all that can go wrong... whether things will get messy... or expectations go unmet... trying to ensure that life goes smoothly... 

So when I focus on achieving security... my heart is constantly stirred... because He said... In this world you will have trouble... there is no security in this broken world...

Seeking security as a source of peace... is a sure-fire failure... as thirst-fulfilling as a mirage in the Sahara...

Maybe what Bonhoeffer says is true...
Peace is the opposite of security. Demanding security means having mistrust, and this mistrust gives birth again to war. Seeking security means wanting to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself totally to the commandment of God, wanting no security.
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You
The war I birth... is one against God... my failure to accept His peace... finds its origin in a heart that mistrusts... the Prince of Peace...

The whole of what Jesus said about trouble in this world was...

"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
(emphasis added)

Giving oneself... totally... to the commandment of God... the Word... is to be in Him... where we are granted... peace... not security... but peace...

I think... maybe this is how Esther... said what she said... to her uncle Mordecai... 

"Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."
Esther 4:16
(emphasis added)

There was no security in approaching the king uninvited... but in this place... of fully resting in the King... she had peace...

Another world-view wall to tackle... dismantle piece by piece... in my faulty thinking...

Lord Jesus... may I only seek peace... and not security... Amen...

Monday, September 9, 2013

perfecting...

The verse from yesterday... the one He led me to in response to questions... arising from the quiet...

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever...
Psalm 138:8 Amp

The perfecting... of what concerns me... He will perfect that which concerns me... continues to echo...

So many concerns... things that... bear on... cares... troubles... engage... occupy... my mind... heart... will... emotions...

And the comfort and peace... that is found... in the truth... He will perfect... bring to completion... straighten out what's wrong... that which concerns me...

As only He can... He laid rest... to the questions... that arose... in the quiet...

His mercy... and loving-kindness... they come... through unexpected means... but He is always faithful... to encourage... in just the right way... at just the right time... 

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
Psalm 33:4

Sunday, September 8, 2013

questions...

Questions... they arise in the quiet...

The nest empty... children growing... grown... to find life outside...

But the questions... they come... in their absence...

Have I been enough...?
Did I teach... the right things...?
Did I love well... do they know... my heart for them...?

The questions arise... as each one's story has yet to unfold...

Unknowns... they make a heart wonder...

In wonder... I turn to Him...

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever...
Psalm 138:8 Amp

Friday, September 6, 2013

when resting... feels like wrestling...

When resting... feels like wrestling...

Don't give up... look up...

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 NASB
(my emphasis)

How do you look up... when resting... turns to a wrestling match...?
A favorite devotional...?
A prayer...?
A song of praise...?

Consider sharing your act of looking up... by adding a comment...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

things are not always as they appear...

A restless heart... aggravated by various difficulties... and challenges...

None really serious... just feeling their weight...

My spirit most upset with me... and the restlessness... tired of me... struggling to rest... wanting to trust... but feeling out of sorts...

That's when I grab up the Bonhoeffer devotional... Lord... speak to me...
 We all know that there are times in life when we grow tired of ourselves, when we become disgusted with ourselves, when we see all the wretchedness and weakness of our way of life... And it is the blessing of such times that in them there breaks through a longing for the face of God, for seeing God.
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You 
Yes... I know those times... right in the middle of fleshing them out...

God... He says to my restlessness... It's a blessing...

Thoughts go to my morning quiet... praising Him as the One who refines... removes impurities... unwanted material... coarseness...

I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
Isaiah 48:10 NLT

 suffering... also translated by others as... affliction... adversity...

Refining... it's what I desire... the blessing I seek... a pure heart...

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8

What I see... as a weakness... an aggravation... God... He says... is a blessing... a sign that He's at work... in and through... my life... 

Thank You... Lord... for the aggravation... the restless heart... that drives me to seek Your face... thank You... for revealing Yourself... in a way... that assures... and brings peace...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

continued thoughts... of Him... as Shield...

Continued thoughts... on the wonder of Him as Shield... a protective barrier... a cover...

...your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3

Such a protective shield... only possible because... He shed His blood...

He died for our sin... that we might enter into His life eternal... by faith...

This truth makes the way steady... when things are rocky... whether internal... or external...

...[Lord Jesus] took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people --- an agreement confirmed with my blood. ..."
1Corinthians 11:25 NLT
(emphasis added)

His blood confirms... the new covenant... the promise... between... us and God... the barrier... that brings... peace...

He stands... at our defense...


You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
Psalm 18:35

Do you know Him as your shield...?

I pray you do...


[Related fare:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

seeking refuge...

A rocky start... to a short week...

A heart that rocks and rolls... as things have not gone as expected... short on essentials... a rearranging of appointments... a week filled with deadlines...

Who do I need You to be today... Lord...?

My Shield... a defense against the world... a protective barrier against the instability of my own heart...

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

Seeking refuge in the One... to whom nothing is a surprise...

He cannot be caught off guard...

Lord... today I seek refuge in You... my Shield...
fill my heart with joy... and songs of thanks...
I trust in You...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Immanuel...

Finding comfort in His name... Immanuel... God With Us...

Not just for me... but for those I love...

"...The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

Sunday, September 1, 2013

enough... can you get enough of Him...?

Three times he said it at the end of the sermon this morning...

Feed me till I want no more...
Feed me till I want no more...
Feed me till I want no more...

When it comes to communion... with the Bread of Life... is there really ever enough...?

Can I get so filled up... I don't want anymore... of Him...?

Is that really a place I want to go...?

Often I pray that I will be satisfied with Him... and Him alone... but to be so fed up I want no more...?

Jesus... I want to always want to be with You...
be filled with You... want only You...

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Psalm 61:3-5