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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Light... reveals a different perspective...

Light... it shines... into places where I've only seen dark... disappointment... despair...

The study with sisters... reveals... how God works... in the wilderness...

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her. ..."
Hosea 2:14 ESV

Sometimes... He allures... His children... into the wilderness... entices... them to a place... of set backs... failures... and falsehoods... a place where nothing grows... but He does it with purpose...

Once in the wilderness... we begin to see the futility... of what we've followed... and at the point we fully comprehend our dire need... He speaks tenderly... to win His children back...

I look back over my own walk... and I see where He allowed such a time in my life... early in my walk... I wandered deep into the wilderness of anxiety... and fear...

It was in this place... where He began to reveal... unbelief... dependence on others... and not on Him...

His wooing... in this desert... began a steadier walk of faith... that is still growing... continuing... to increase my love for Him... my faith in Him...

It was a very painful time... one I kept hidden... but I see now... how He used it... for my good... and His glory...

So the new perspective... is translated in the lives of the loved ones... on whom I wait...

I now see... their wilderness walks... as their heavenly Father... wooing them... to the place where everything fails... but Him...

A time to recognize... the futility... of all they chase after... that is not Him...

Yes... it is painful to watch... but now I see... the Father who loves them (more than me)... chasing them with an uncompromising love... to the place... where He can speak tenderly... to hearts prepared... to hear... and receive...

"... And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. ..."
Hosea 2:15 ESV

Father God... thank You for Your Light... 
that reveals a different perspective...
If the desert they must go... for You to woo... and win... 
then... Amen...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

thanksgiving... the prelude to praise... and worship...

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100:4 ESV

Contemplating thoughts from Sunday's message... led me to a series of questions... surrounding reasons to worship Him...

The answers to the questions... did not stir my heart to worship... the reasons alone... stirred my flesh to criticism... not worship... making my spirit... most uncomfortable...

I found that the first step to worship... is to submit to the truth... that God is God...

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his,
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:4 ESV

From this posture... the only appropriate response is... thanksgiving...

If He is God... then everything He does... allows... creates... and purposes... is perfect...

And all that's left to do... is thank Him...

With this realization... I began... giving thanks... for all... without regard to how I felt about it... or if it was good or bad... in my judgment...

For everything God created 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.
1 Timothy 4:4-5

My faithful prayer of thanksgiving... 
transformed to prayers of praise...
humbled in His presence...
thankful for His purpose... care... and love...
for all He has brought into my life...

An unexpected experience...
a new understanding... of His Word...

Thanksgiving... the prelude... to praise... and worship...

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
Psalm 100:1-3 ESV


[Note: Click here... for more on my thoughts from Sunday... at Growing in Faith at FUMC...]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

mighty to save...

Greater is the One in me...
than the one in the world...

He is the Light...
that destroys the darkness...

The Savior who breaks...
the bonds of sin and death...

Stoops down... in mercy and compassion...
to redeem His lost creation...

So great is His love...
Mighty to save...

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:11-14

Monday, October 28, 2013

at peace... with imperfection...

I find myself in an odd place lately...
at peace... with imperfection...

Odd for me... as a perfectionist... who generally finds worth... in how well I do...

But God has been at work... in the current study with sisters...
a healing work...
transforming one who feels unworthy...
to one who accepts... her worth... in Christ...

A healing that has helped me... accept His acceptance... of me...
not based on performance...
but on His love...

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, 
by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
Romans 8:15

Sons... children... of the Father... unlike slaves... their worth is not dependent... on their work...

Children belong... and are treasured... no matter what... 

They may be disciplined... but those who love the Father... to the best of their ability... will be loved back... far beyond... anything... they could ask... or imagine...

Of course... I come to know this transformation...
as I've come face to face...
with my own... imperfections... today...

Even in my best efforts...
the imperfect appears...
but does not stir... my heart to fear...

Yes...
an odd place to be... for me...
at peace... with imperfection...

Good... but odd...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

He's behind it all...

If things look gray... dark...
remember... He is behind it...

Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
Lamentations 3:36-37

He may allow... darkness for a time...
but in Him... there is no darkness at all...

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.
Lamentations 3:32-33

Trust His presence... even if it seems unseen...
He is good... and all He does... is good...

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

don't miss... the way to bear...

This morning... in my reading through... I came to a verse... that strikes close to home...

Foolish children bring grief to their father
and bitterness to the one who gave them birth.
Proverbs 17:25 NLT

bitterness... the Hebrew... memer... defined by the Dictionary of Biblical Languages as... bitterness... grief... a mental state of personal anguish or regret... implying annoyance toward someone...

Feelings too close to my heart... for those beloved... on whom I wait...

Here lies the challenge of waiting... on one gone foolish... bearing agony... retaining affection... while bitterness... grief... regret... annoyance... continually rise up from the flesh...!

But I connect the bitterness... of this verse... with the bitter root... in another...

See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defy many.
Hebrews 12:15

The answer... the grace of God...

See to it... that... no one... misses the grace of God...

I have to begin with me...!

Remembering all the grace poured out for me... years of foolishness the Father bore... all the while retaining His love for me... never allowing bitterness to take root...

Grace...
Love...
Mercies...
new everyday...

As I hold on to... give thanks for... the grace of God in my life... I feel the root... of bitterness... lose its hold...

Let no one miss the grace of God... 
Stay fully steeped in it...
Amen...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

a timely word on... love...

A devotional book... caught my eye... one I haven't picked up in a while...

Turning to today's reading... I found a timely word... on love...
Love Wants Clear Relationships 
Love does not bear a grudge. It approaches others anew each day and with new love, and it forgets what has past. In this way it makes itself a fool and the object of people's mockery, but this does not drive it crazy --- it just continues to love.
Is love then indifferent to right and wrong? No, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It wants to see things the way they are. It would rather see hate and wrong and lies clearly, than all kinds of masks of friendliness, which serve only to conceal the hate and make it even more hateful. Love wants to create and see clear relationships. It rejoices over truth, for only in truth can it love anew.
"It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7). Here it all depends on this all things; it is uncompromising --- all things here really means everything. Perhaps we say sometimes in a grand moment, "I will do everything for you; I will leave everything for you; I will bear everything with you" --- yet in this there is always a big, tacit presupposition: if you will do the same for me. This presupposition is unknown to love. Love's everything has no condition: it is unconditionally all things.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Want to Live These Days with You
Affirmation... of the lesson on bearing the agony... while retaining the affection... the lesson from the prodigal God... the Father who pours out love... profusely... abundantly...

But how to relate... in the now... What does that look like...?

When I see loved ones flounder... do I advise...? offer guidance...? check on progress...?

All I see in the parable... is a father who allows... the son to get to the bottom... as low as can go... and just watch... but of course... he didn't have cell phones... email... no way to contact the one far away... so what does that long-distance relationship look like...?

Struggling with how to relate to those on whom I wait... I hear some guidance...

Love rejoices over truth... only in truth... can it love anew...

Truth... as found in God's Word... I can relate... through His Word...

So today... a Word sent... a truth... that perhaps the Father will use... to speak... to the loved one... far... away...


Related fare...
considering... a question about the Father...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

next steps...

Several things are going on in my life right now... besides the waiting on loved ones...

Ministry things...  things I believe God is calling me to...
So believe... that I have stepped out... sometimes only as minimally as sharing the belief with a trusted friend...

It seems... that even the voicing... of the still small voice in my heart... is seen by Him... as a step of faith... because shortly... the way... the next step... is... revealed...

I received a next step this morning... that encourages me to take a next step...

And it's not just in this one area... but many... any place I've obeyed... followed as best I knew...

I see His amazing faithfulness... in response to my feeble steps of faith...

His Word... is true... He's making it flesh... in my life...

To the faithful you show yourself faithful...
Psalm 18:25

I encourage you today... whatever you believe... He's whispering to you... right now... take a step... no matter how small... how halting... by faith... obey... and wait... watch... listen...

Prepare to be amazed... and humbled...

Lord... thank You... for Your faithfulness... 
and Your grace... that abounds...

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,
you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8


Consider taking your next step here... give voice to your belief  in the comment box... share it at this table of faith...

[To leave a comment... whether reading this email or on Jeremiah's Menu... click the post title... go to the bottom of the post... there you will find the comment box...]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

self-defense...

It's come to the surface lately... in this process of waiting... my own defensiveness... when challenged... by those who see from a different view... or blinded to truth... in a specific area...

The amazing love of the Father... who retains affection... while bearing the agony... seems beyond my ability...

My flesh... defends self... with anger... self-righteous indignation...

Compassion out the window... unable to recognize the loved one as lost... blind... bound...

As the word... defense... came to mind this morning... I saw myself using anger... as a defensive weapon... rather than the armor of God...

Self-defense... is not what God calls us to...

We are called to trust Him... depend on Him... and His armor... to defend us...

Looking over the pieces of armor... I see the piece that's the antithesis... of anger...

Stand firm then... with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 5:14-15

Standing firmly at peace... in the gospel... my righteousness not my own... but Christ's... mine only by faith... in what He has done for me on the cross...

Today... I will be more diligent... about recognizing my tendency to defend self... with anger (under the guise of frustration)... I choose to depend on Him alone... as I wait...

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26 NLT

Father God... I depend on You to defend me... while I wait... for full deliverance... for myself... and loved ones...

Related fare...
joyful waiting...?
active duty...
active truth...
active righteousness...
active gospel...
active faith...
active salvation...
active Word...

Monday, October 21, 2013

considering... a question about the Father...

The questions of yesterday... send me back to the beginning of the story... and the reason for the father's waiting...

"There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.' And he divided his property between them. Not many days later the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. ..."
Luke 15:11-13 ESV

Timothy Keller, in his book The Prodigal God, gives some interesting historical context to this parable...
In those days when a father died the oldest son received a double portion of what the other children inherited. If a father had two heirs, the oldest would have gotten two-thirds of the estate and the younger would have received one-third.
However, this division of estate only occurred when the father died. ...To ask this while the father still lived was the same as to wish him dead.
Keller also goes on to explain that for the father to divide his property between the sons meant liquidating a chunk of the land...
To lose part of your land was to lose part of yourself and a major share of your standing in the community. ...
This younger brother, then, is asking his father to tear his life apart. And the father does so, for the love of his son. Most of Jesus's listeners would have never seen a Middle Eastern patriarch respond like this. The father patiently endures a tremendous loss of honor as well as the pain of rejected love. Ordinarily when our love is rejected we get angry, retaliate, and do what we can to diminish our affection for the rejecting person, so we won't hurt so much. But this father maintains his affection for his son and bears the agony.
This father... must have been heartbroken over the behavior of his son... yet we see...

While the son was still a long way off... his father saw him...

Did he wait... expectantly... for his son's return...? Did he constantly look toward the horizon... each day... wondering... if this would be the day...?

His father saw him... and felt compassion... 
and ran... and embraced... and kissed him...

Upon seeing the lost son... he was filled with compassion... love... joy...

There was no anger... no hurt... or resentment... no condemnation... just acceptance...

This father... a picture of our heavenly Father... waits expectantly... filled with love... for the return of His children...

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

I consider... my heavenly Father... and the wait He endured... with me... the rejection of His love... the squandering of property... 

I'm humbled... by that truth...
encouraged... in my wait...
emboldened... to retain affection...
even when the waiting... hurts...

Father God... may I honor You... as I parent my adult children...
enable me... to maintain my affection... while I bear the wait...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

a question... about the Father...

As I consider waiting... watching... for loved ones to fully walk in freedom... the thought of the father who waited on the lost son... comes to mind...

What was the father's stance... attitude... while he waited...?

But while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20 ESV

What does this verse... reveal about the father... as he waited...?
What does it reveal about our heavenly Father...?
How am I to wait... in a way... that glorifies Him...?

Friday, October 18, 2013

more on waking to darkness...

If then the light in you is darkness,
how great is the darkness!
Matthew 6:23

Light... a metaphor for understanding...

If then... our only understanding... is darkness... a lie... a misunderstanding... how great is the darkness...!

Great darkness... because we believe we have light... true understanding... but we are in the dark... completely deceived...


Wake up to the darkness...


Then... you will know... truth... freedom... joy...

"The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! ..."
Matthew 6:22-23 ESV

Eyes... they have to do with seeing... seeing = understanding...

The eye is the lamp of the body...

A lamp... it guides... directs... lights the way...

What we see with our eyes... where we turn our face... directs our day... our life...

We look... where we are going... our way determined... by how we see the world...

So, if your eye is healthy, 
your whole body will be full with light...

healthy... the Greek... literally means... whole...

Webster's defines whole... free from wound or injury: unhurt...

We are born into this world broken... injured... our eyes from the beginning are... bad...

bad... the Greek... meaning... in a physical sense: diseased or blind...

To see from a healthy eye... soul... to have a body full of light... can only come through healing... being made whole in Christ...

Otherwise... we are totally lost... in the dark... how great... is the darkness... when we don't know we are blind...

A loved one... one on which I'm waiting... sees with a bad eye... wounds... heart wounds... soul wounds... doled out by the enemy during growing up years... have blinded...

The beloved knows Him... but suffers spiritual blindness... when it comes to self-perception...

The wounded beloved... can't see past the lie... it seems true...

To overcome... a bad eye... we must replace it with a new lamp... the Word...

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 ESV

I see it... but the beloved... can't...

So I pray... for healing... wholeness...
recognition of lies...
desire for more...
truth... to obliterate the lies...
Light... to cut through the darkness...

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
...
"Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
---Jesus
Luke 4:18-19, 21 ESV
(my emphasis)

Amen!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

waking to darkness...

This morning I woke to darkness... even earlier than usual...

Feeling fully rested... with much to do... I started my day...

More than three hours later... after my usual routine... exiting the bedroom fully dressed for the day... the sunrise streamed in the front windows... a stark contrast to the dark that I had awakened to... the thoughts began to stir...

The morning's treadmill read... began to come to mind...
Jesus commissioned us to go into that same world and to shine his light in the darkness so that others may be rescued and set free.
And yet we slumber. We sleep.
When Jesus said to go into all the world (Matthew 28:19), he didn't mean to wait until morning, or until you get the right job, or find the perfect spouse, or have raised the kids right, or have your house in order, or find a spare weekend. Christ brought us light in the darkness so that we can reach everyone living a nightmare now. He longs to shake us awake so that we can shout out the truth --- that humankind is made for eternity but trapped in time, and time is running out. He means for us to find and rescue others because we know what it is to be lost and then found, hurting and then healed. 
--- Christine Caine, Undaunted
What Jesus calls us to do... is... wake to the darkness...

As Believers... standing in light... perhaps we've forgotten what it was like to be lost... or maybe... you're one who is still lost... thinking you're found... but not... (I used to be one...)

Jesus calls us to wake to our own darkness... places we've not allowed Him to bring His light...

We need to wake to the darkness of others... to bring His Light...

Spiritually... when we are awakened... it is always... to the dark...

When we wake up... realizing the depth of the darkness... in our lives... and others... then we begin... to long for His Light... in our own lives... and carry His Light... to others...

"...I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me, should stay in darkness. ..." ---Jesus
John 12:46

Have you wakened... to the dark...?


The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber...
Romans 13:11

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the challenge... of joyful waiting...

The challenge of joyful waiting... comes when others ask about the loved ones on whom I'm waiting for God's work to be done...

My flesh immediately focuses on what I see... rather than His unseen work...

I begin to list off every problem and difficulty I see... hindering the work I'm waiting for... obstacles... and habits... that seem to remain...

Instead of speaking hope... Oh... God is working... and I'm waiting... I speak of everything that looks the same...

Lord... teach me to speak hope... 
and stay focused on the unseen...

I remember... growth of a seed... begins underground... all that's visible is dirt... but that doesn't mean... roots aren't forming... and leaves aren't sprouting...

Living by faith... certain... sure... of what is unseen... is a challenge...

And yes... the loved ones they each face difficulties... strongholds... that they will have to get over... and work through... with Him... while my role... is to pray... and to remember... (for them... and for me...)

"...In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 NKJV

Yes... the One who is in those who Believe... is greater... then the one who is in the world...

Amen!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

more on waking...

A read started on the beach... has moved to the treadmill... and furthers thoughts... on waking...
What does it mean, exactly, to be in the world, awake, eyes wide open, faith activated?
We Look Around Where We Are
Every day, there are situations in our normal routines that require us to be the light of Christ in darkness. Waking up spiritually is not just about participating in life-changing efforts of worldwide importance, such as stopping genocide. It is walking through our lives wide awake. It is rising ready where we are, with what we have. It is seeing people where they are and meeting their need.
--- Christine Caine, Undaunted 
Wide awake... rising ready...

Ready to see... hear... do... what God has called you to do... to be a part of what He is up to...

To be awake... is to be faith activated...

I consider the new attitude about waiting... and my prayer to be awakened...

I wonder... is seeing God more clearly... even in the waiting... a sign that I am waking... to His presence... His activity...?

The response of increased prayer... being faith activated... would seem to affirm that thought...

Lord... continue to wake my spirit... to You...

"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."
Ephesians 5:14 NKJV

Monday, October 14, 2013

joyful waiting...?

I sense a change in perspective lately... one that surprises me... causes flesh to squirm... resist... this new posture... attitude...

You see... I'm waiting for many things...
big things... eternal things...
salvation of loved ones...
deliverance of others... from fears... and sins...
Things that generally make my heart lean toward worry...

But what I sense lately... the posture God is calling me to take... is one of joyful waiting... choosing anticipation... over worry... and doubt...

I see myself... waiting joyfully... against a door...
waiting for the moment... with expectation... certainty...
like for the arrival of the honored guest at a surprise party...

This stance is new for my heart... the heart that can come up with the worst case scenario of any given situation... the heart that chooses half-empty... over half-full...

But I feel it... joy... seeping through... turning care-full concern... into biblical hope... a faith-full hope... expectant... it will happen... I just don't know when...

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

The funny thing about this hope... is that it fuels my prayer for the anticipated joy... intercession fueled by expectation...

Much different from the worry... when doubt... caused me to avoid prayer... give up on asking... futility the overwhelming emotion...

Who would have thought...?

So now... I choose... to surrender... to this call... of joy-full waiting... hope-full waiting...

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... help me to resist the call of my flesh to worry... and rest in Your call of joyful waiting...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

wake up...

Catching up... on emails past... her words... they struck a chord...
God's presence needs no practicing because God's presence has no end. God presence needs no practicing because it's perfect and it's present everywhere.
God's presence needs no practicing --- we're the one who need to practice waking to it.
---Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience, Oct. 9, 2013

...we're the one who need to practice waking... 

A current discipline... praying the hours... for a church preparing for commitment... begins each waking morning... asking God... to wake up His people...

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber...
Romans 13:11

I read her words today... and I wonder...

Am I fully awake... to His presence...? are you...?

How many opportunities... do I miss... to be His grace... His light... in an unforgiving... dark... world... because I'm sleepwalking...?

The Church... in reality... can only be wakened... one member... at... a... time...

Lord Jesus... wake me up...!

Friday, October 11, 2013

thankful...

Thankful for sunsets...


beaches...


family...



and fish...



Thankful for time away...


and next steps...


Thankful... for Him...

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

Thursday, October 10, 2013

hard to hear...

A time away...
hard to find time with Him...

His presence known...
by heart-bursts of joy...

Names... and times...
brought to mind... to intercede...

Present...
even when He's hard to hear...

You hem me in --- behind and before...
Psalm 139:5

Amen...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

blanks filled...

Any thoughts on what went in the blanks of yesterday...?

Well... here they are... filled...
There is a word that comes to my mind when I think about our company and our people. That word is "love." I love Starbucks because everything we've tried to do is steeped in humanity.
Respect and dignity.
Passion and laughter.
Compassion, community, and responsibility.
Authenticity.
These are Starbucks' touchstones, the source of our pride.
--- Howard Schulz, ceo of Starbucks, Onward (emphasis on the words added, they fill in the blanks)
 Yes... a company... centered on coffee...

Howard Schulz... his book filled with passion and sacrifice... for coffee and people... along with the desire to create and maintain... the Starbucks Experience... in each of his stores... thousands nationwide... and around the world...

A man whose efforts... has drawn millions... to his stores daily... through the promise of coffee... and community...

As I've read Onward... and just a first few chapters so far... I think...

What if... the Church... God's people... were as passionate about Him... as this man is about espresso...?

What if... the Church... had even half the belief in the power of the Holy Spirit... as Howard Schultz does in coffee... and the ability to foster an experience... for each visitor to one of his stores...?

Aren't we called to a singular... passionate... relationship... with our Creator...?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5

What could His people accomplish...? how many could be drawn...? if we believed... and pursued the experience of the Spirit... He promises...?

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

What if... what we loved... most... and... best... was Him... His Word... and His Way...?

What do you love most...? to what are you truly devoted...?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

a fill in the blank...

A new treadmill read...

Can you guess... what about... by filling in the blanks... from this excerpt...?
There is a word that comes to my mind when I think about our __________ and our people. That word is "love." I love ___________ because everything we've tried to do is steeped in ___________.
Respect and dignity.
Passion and laughter.
Compassion, community, and responsibility.
Authenticity.
These are ___________ touchstones, the source of our pride.
What does it sound like to you...?

 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together with the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
Philippians 2:1 NLT

[Note: It's not a single word you are looking for...]

Monday, October 7, 2013

resting... in Him...

A step in the new completed...

Now... more... waiting...

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3

Sunday, October 6, 2013

He warns... and assures...

The dark clouds roll in...
over the water...
thunder rumbles...

A warning...
signs of an imminent storm...

But at the forefront...
a rainbow...
the promised assurance...

This storm will not destroy...


The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, 
"Don't call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don't live in dread of what frightens them,
Make the Lord of Heaven's Armies holy in your life.
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
He will keep you safe. ..."
Isaiah 8:11-14 NLT

Friday, October 4, 2013

a day of new... and unknown...

Spent the day doing something I've never done before... filled with questions... no one to ask...

Emails sent... voicemails left... phone calls missed... emails received that stir up more questions...

New... filled with unknowns... sometimes feels like walking in the dark...

A self-imposed deadline... doesn't help... when there are multiple other things to do... with their own deadlines...

But in this dark... I sense another new... an attitude... of peace...

The steps of freedom... leave their mark... in the midst of unknowns...

Unknown... whether I'm doing the new thing right... or how I'll finish all I need to do...

A devotional... read earlier... caused me to recognize... my inner new...
Mankind has a voracious appetite for finding out what the future will bring. Astrologers and fortunetellers capitalize on this lust to peer into secret things --- things that belong to Me. However, to feast on Me you must live in the present moment. This is where you can encounter Me and enjoy My Presence. As you come to the table of My delights, be sure to bring your fork of trust and your spoon of thankfulness. Take plenty of time enjoying Me, and your soul will delight in the richest fare.
---Sarah Young, Jesus Lives
I wasn't trying to consult an astrologer today... just a consultant... to find my way through the new...

Yet here... with the sun setting... I find that I have been in His presence... trusting... thankful... all day...

And hopefully... into the night...

"...I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future. ..."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God's Armor

The past several days... we've explored the armor... the full armor of God...

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

The armor we put on... it's God's armor... 

He wears it too... it's who He is...

I see now... this putting on of armor... is a picture of sanctification... 

Growing... in Christ-likeness... becoming like...
the One who is... Truth...
and defines... righteousness...
the One who is... Gospel peace...
and our Shield of faith...
Salvation... His mind-set...
fully acquainted with the sword of the Spirit... the Word...

The armor we are to put on... for defense against the darkness... is the character of Christ... the Light of the world...

...and after you have done everything... stand...

Standing by His grace... in His character... defeats... the enemy...

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 ESV

resist... to withstand the force or effect of...

Standing firm... faithfully pursuing truth... righteousness... Gospel peace... free from sin... wielding Spirit-led Word in prayer... sends the darkness packing... 

Eugene Peterson's paraphrase... of God's armor... sounds very different than any other... his emphasis... not on equipment... but character...

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Ephesians 6:14-18 The Message

Recognizing the need to be on active duty... in the defense against darkness... began this series of posts... 

So now... I hope... and pray... you will... learn how to apply... truth... righteousness... peace... faith... and salvation... in your life... 

Stand firm... against the darkness...

You are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14


Related fare:
active faith...
active salvation... 
active Word...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

active Word...

Take the helmet of salvation and
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

I noticed it yesterday... but didn't take time to think it through...

Yesterday... felt rushed... stressed... too much to do... and it all didn't get done...

And yesterday's post... a struggle...

Today began... much the same way... but God would not let it remain...

The current treadmill read... The Bondage Breaker... is coming to an end... and the author offers a guide... Steps to Freedom in Christ... at the close of the book...

In my pragmatic way... (time on the treadmill coming to a close...) thought... I'll just walk through the first step today... and take the rest a step a day... because time felt pressed... beginning step one... did not have to mean going all the way... today...

So I started... and an hour and a half or so later... found myself in the kitchen... wrung clean... and decompressed...

Taking the steps... to freedom... through prayer... delving into...
Counterfeit vs Real...
Deception vs Truth...
Bitterness vs Forgiveness...
Rebellion vs Submission...
Pride vs Humility...
Bondage vs Freedom...
Curses vs Blessings...
changed my day... and I believe... my life...

And before this particular walk... the connection between... helmet and sword... was beginning to come into focus...

Take the helmet of salvation and
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

But here is what I see now... the helmet of salvation... and... the sword of the Spirit... the Word... must be taken together... I'm not sure one does much good without the other...

It is only through the Word... the Word made flesh... that we have any hope of salvation... deliverance... freedom... any helmet to put on...

It is the Word... that saves... 

The deception of the enemy... demolished only by the truth of the Word...
It is often noted that the sword is the only offensive piece of equipment listed here. While that is true, its offensive characteristic is that it represents the word of God... The fact that Paul uses the word for the short rather than the long sword suggests hand-to-hand combat.
---The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians
The fight is up close... and personal... the enemy in our space... in our face... with his lies...

Over and over.... in The Bondage Breaker... the Word is used as the foundation... for steps to freedom...
In switching defense to offense, Paul also changes the grammar of his expression. Unlike the previous genitive expressions, where shield = faith and helmet = salvation, sword does not equal the Spirit. (Paul will go on to say that the sword of the Spirit equals the word of God.) The phrase "of the Spirit" means that the Holy Spirit is both the source of God's word, and the one who gives effectiveness to its cutting edge (see John 16:8-11).
--- The College Press NIV Commentary: Galatians & Ephesians
Spirit-wielded Word... cuts to the truth... and brings freedom...

The Holy Spirit guides us to the Word we need... for whatever battle... we are waging...

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

Paul concludes the listed pieces of armor... with instruction on how to wield the Word... Spirit-led prayer... all kinds... for self... and all the saints...

The Word reveals the truth of who we are in Him... and how much He loves all... and longs for all to be freed from sin...

The lies that oppress... enslave... and lead to sin... can be broken... destroyed... by the Spirit empowered Word of truth...

Get the Word active in your life...
Learn it...
Know it...
Pray it...
All at the leading... of the Spirit...
Dear heavenly Father, I come to you as Your child, bought out of slavery to sin by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are the Lord of the universe and the Lord of my life. I submit my body to You as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice that I may glorify You in my body. I now ask You to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I commit myself to the renewing of my mind in order to prove that Your will is good, acceptable, and perfect for me. All this I pray in the name and authority of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
--- Neil Anderson, Closing prayer of the Steps to Freedom in Christ 


Related fare:
active faith...
active salvation... 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

active salvation...

Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil.
Ephesians 6:11 Amp

We've been working our way through the whole armor of God... considering how to take an active role in our defense against the darkness... God wouldn't have supplied us with armor... if He didn't expect us to enter the battle... passivity is not an option...

The next piece of armor... the helmet of salvation....

Take the helmet of salvation...
Ephesians 6:17

take... in Greek... dechomai... meaning... to take with the hand... receive... grant access to... to take upon one's self... 

The helmet of salvation... is something we must receive... and in the taking... implies the wearing...

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:9

helmet... a covering... made to protect the head... common items even today... for football... or motorcycles...
The mind is essential for life and coordination; the head is vulnerable to lethal or incapacitating blows. Thus the soldier needs a helmet...
---The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians 
salvation... deliverance from the power and effects of sin... liberation from ignorance or illusion... preservation from destruction or failure... deliverance from danger or difficulty...

Take the helmet of salvation...

Receive... cover your head... mind... thoughts... with the deliverance... saving grace... found in Jesus...

"...Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12 NIV

Our head... the seat of our brain... the center of thought... reason... will... a vulnerable place... when it comes to spiritual warfare...

The enemy... lies... accuses... fosters unbelief... making our mind... the battlefield... a place in dire need of defense...

Satan is currently... and temporarily... the prince of the world... the one who determines its current pattern... way... 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2 NIV

The Word warns us not to conform to the world's way... but be transformed... by the renewing of our mind... then you will be able to test... approve... what God's will is... His good... pleasing... perfect will...

The salvation message... enables us to disregard... the blows of the enemy... that which has the potential to... incapacitate... stun... confuse...

Take control of your thought life... 

 ...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

Filter all... through the helmet of salvation... every thought... considered from the perspective of the cross...

Thoughts about you...

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith --- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ---
Ephesians 2:8

Thoughts about others...

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,
as some understand slowness.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

Thoughts about how to live...

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age...
Titus 2:11-12

Salvation... and its message... protect us from the lies... accusations... and deceptions... of the enemy...

Begin to transform your mind... through active... thoughts... of salvation...

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable --- if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy --- think about such things.
Philippians 4:8


Related fare...