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, February 27, 2015

Romans 8... day 8...

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God,
for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.
Romans 8:7 ESV

This is a hard Word...

How did we get from...?

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. ...
And God saw everything that he made,
and behold, it was very good.
Genesis 1:27-28, 31 ESV

...to...?

...the flesh is hostile to God...

One word... sin...

...sin came into the world through one man,
and death through sin,
and so death spread to all men because all sinned...
Romans 5:12 ESV

The buying of Satan's lie...
obeying him... rather than God the Creator...
led to a tragic transfer... of allegiance...

Man moved himself... out from under God's authority... to Satan's... breaking all the good... and setting ourselves up... as enemies... of the One who loves us...

When we are all about the flesh... 
thoughts... will... emotion...
we are naturally... hostile to God...

Literally... unable... to submit to His law... His way...

We are broken... from conception...

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 51:5 ESV

Enemies... of... God...

You adulterous people!
Do you not know that friendship with the world
is enmity with God?
Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:4 ESV

Who do you want to befriend...?

Consider... where your mind is set...

Consider... what He has done for you...

For while we were still weak,
at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person --- 
though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die ---
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 ESV

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Romans 8... day 7...

For to set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

Jesus said...

"... For whoever would save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ..."
Matthew 16:25 ESV

To be totally mindful of our flesh... is to be totally set on protecting... preserving... your own life...
your desires...
your needs...
your rights...
A mind set on the flesh... is self-centered...

Jesus says... if you're all about yourself... you will lose your life...

For to set the mind on the flesh is death...

To be mindful of the Spirit... the gospel... is to be totally about following Jesus... denying self... taking up His cross...
laying down your needs... in favor of another's...
laying down your rights... and yielding to another...
laying down your desires... to meet the needs of another...

...to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace...

The way to real life... eternal life... is to give up your life...

The way to death... is to fight for self...

Totally backwards... from what the world encourages...

...the rulers scoffed at him, saying,
"He saved others; let him save himself,
if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"
The soldiers also mocked him... saying,
"If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
...One of  the criminals who were hanged railed at him,
saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
Luke 23:35-39 ESV
(emphasis added)

But Jesus... teaches... models... the Truth...

If He had saved Himself... there would be no life...

According to His way... His law...
life and peace achieved... 
when we no longer live for self... 
but... for... Him...

Great peace have those who love your law...
Psalm 119:165 ESV

Father God... help me to embrace Your way...
even when it seems difficult...
upside down...
unfair...
Teach me to live...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Romans 8... day 6...

For those who live according to the flesh
set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit
set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:5 ESV

Where is your mind set...?

Apparently... that's the determining factor... in how we live...

What do our thoughts gravitate toward...? throughout the day...?

To things of the flesh...? the world...?
our comfort...?
what we will eat...? drink...?
what we will wear...?

Jesus said...

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; or about your body,
what you will wear. Is not life more important than food,
and the body more important than clothes? ...
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
... So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or
'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For the pagans run after all these things, and your
heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well. ..."
Matthew 6:25, 27, 31-33

Worry... definitely a mind-set of the flesh...

And... according to Jesus... life is not about clothes... or food... or any of these external things our flesh is highly concerned with...

He tells us... seek first... His Kingdom... and His Righteousness...

But what does that look like...?

It must begin in our thought life...

...those who live according to the Spirit...
set their minds on the things of the Spirit...

Paul wrote the Romans...

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and accpetable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV

The righteous requirement of the law... becomes fulfilled... in Christ Jesus... for those who walk according to the Spirit... (not the flesh...)

Who is shaping your thoughts...? the things of the world...?
Oprah...?
CNN...?
Fox News...?
Glamour...?
Dr. Phil..?
Newsweek...?

Or... are the things of God... transforming your mind...?
His Word...?
Prayerful listening...?
Praise music...?

I long to walk in the Spirit... by His law of life...
but I wonder how well I'm doing...

How can we judge...? where we are...?

Paul had something to say about this to the Galatians...

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality,
impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife,
jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you,
as I warned you before, that those who do such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such things there is no law. 
Galatians 5:19-23 ESV

What are you experiencing...? what are you tempted by...? what defines your life...?
Sensuality...? 
Anger...?
Jealousy...?

Or... throughout your day... do you experience...?
Joy...?
Peace...?
Patience...?

Test your thoughts... 
be mindful... of what you fill your head with...
what ideas you listen to... and thoughts you give in to...

Determine... how you want to live...
according to the flesh...?
or...
according to the Spirit...?

Then...

Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2

Father God... make me mindful... of my mind...
what I think... where I set my thoughts...
teach me... to live... according to the Spirit...
and not... the flesh...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Romans 8... day 5...

...in order that the righteous requirement of the law
might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh
but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:4 ESV

God sent His Son... to be condemned in the flesh... in order that the righteous requirement of the law... might be fulfilled in us...

Father God... He is a Righteous God...
He does not change...
He defines right... and wrong...

When a law is broken...
a sin committed...
a trespass made...
there is a debt... that must be paid...

I think back on the Tyndale Bible definition of righteousness...
The establishment of a right relationship --- primarily between God and people, secondarily between people themselves. Righteousness is the fulfillment of just expectations in any relationship, whether with God or people.
In the Garden... mankind... broke relationship with God...
death entered the world... man no longer able to walk with God...

...therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden
to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out man,
and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim
and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way
to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:23-24 ESV

Jesus came... to pay the debt...
to be the vessel for sin...
to bear God's wrath...
as the Sinless Lamb of God...
to take away the sin of the world...
by fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law...

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood,
he himself likewise partook of the same things,
that through death he might destroy the one who
has the power of death, the devil, and deliver all those
who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV

Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan...
God raised Him up, ending the pains of death,
because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.
Acts 2:23-24 HCSB

He did this for us... that we might be saved... from sin and death...
and reconciled... to Him...
in right relationship...

...that the righteous requirement of the law...might be fulfilled... in us...

But who is the us...? and what's with the might...?

The gift of grace... must be chosen...
it is for those who believe...

Those who believe... they are sinners... in need of a Savior...

Those who believe... in His love... grace... perfection...

Those who choose... to walk according to the Spirit...
and not... the flesh...

What is this choice... to walk according to the Spirit... and not flesh...?

It is a choice to follow Him...
not the desire of our physical cravings...
but those of the Spirit...

Those who believe... and choose...
the Spirit over the flesh...
have the righteous requirement of the law...
fulfilled in them...
by Him...

Us... are those who choose... to live... by the law of the Spirit of life...

How are you choosing... to walk these days...? according to the flesh...? or the Spirit...?

Father God... what an awesome thing You have done...
making a way for righteousness to be fulfilled in us...
that we might be reunited in relationship with You...
Help me to keep that door open to You... 
by walking not in the flesh... but in the Spirit...
You alone... have done... what we... could not...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Romans 8... day 4...

By sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,
he condemned sin in the flesh...
Romans 8:3 ESV

Father God... sent His own Son... to become a man...

He sent Him... in the likeness of sinful flesh... for sin...

Yet... He was without sin...

His Son... Jesus... the only One who walked in flesh... without sinning...

The whole purpose... to be condemned... for sin...

What a thought...!?

How crazy...?!

Why...?

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son...
John 3:16 ESV

Truly... crazy... love...!

Jesus sent... so God the Father... could condemn... sin in the flesh... in order to rescue us... who could not survive... condemnation...

The Sinless... for the sinner...

The Begotten... for the created...

The Perfect... for the imperfect...

Now there's a thought...
meditate on that one a while...
let it sink... in... deep...

For God... so... loved...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 60... and the importance of knowing who you are...

The battle seems overwhelming... when you don't know who you are...

King Saul and his army... paralyzed... by the taunts of Goliath...

The enemy... emerged each day... to shout down the Israelites...

Why have you come out to draw up for battle?
Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul?
Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.
1 Samuel 17:8 Amp

The Israelite army... let the enemy define them...

...servants of Saul...

King Saul... the one who... when chosen by lot to be king... hid in the piles of baggage...

King Saul... the one who... when ordered by God to utterly destroy the Amalekites.... disobeyed because he feared losing the people's loyalty if he destroyed all the best livestock...

The enemy identified the Israelites as... servants of Saul... 

Saul... the one filled with the fear of man... and so were his servants...

All had forgotten their true identity... except one...

David...

David shows up on the fortieth day of this re-enactment... and asks...

For who is this uncircumcised Philistine
that he should defy the armies of the living God?
1 Samuel 17:26 Amp

David knew who they were... the armies of the living God... but they weren't listening... they only heard the taunts of the enemy...

This lyre-playing... psalm singing... shepherd boy... filled only with the fear of the Lord... went before King Saul... the one filled with the fear of man... and volunteered to take on Goliath...

Your servant killed both the lion and the bear;
and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them,
for he has defied the armies of the living God!
David said, The Lord Who delivered me out of the paw
of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will
deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.
And Saul said to David, Go, and the Lord be with you!
1 Samuel 17:36-37 Amp

David knew whose He was... and Saul believed him...

Armed with sling... stones... and faith... David approached Goliath...

And the Philistine said to David,
Am I a dog, that you should come to me with sticks?
1 Samuel 17:43 Amp

The enemy... he tried to shape David's identity... as well...

Then said David to the Philistine,
You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin,
but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts,
the God of the ranks of Israel, Whom you have defied.
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, 
and I will smite you and cut off your head. ...
1 Samuel 17:46-47 Amp

And that... is exactly... what he did...

When we allow the enemy... to identify us...
Worthless...
Sinner...
Failure...
we are paralyzed by the battle...
it becomes overwhelming...

The only one who truly knows us... and gives us a new identity in Christ... is God the Father... and you are not condemned... you are precious... worth dying for...

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither
death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39 ESV

Not even the taunts... and lies... of the enemy...
no matter their source...
can change who you are... in... Him...

Learn more about who He says you are... consider joining The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday                          1 Samuel 19
Tuesday                          1 Samuel 20-21
Wednesday                    1 Samuel 22:1 - 23:14
Thursday                        1 Samuel 23:15 - 24:22
Friday                            1 Samuel 25

Friday, February 20, 2015

Romans 8... day 3...

For God has done what the law,
weakened by the flesh, could not do.
Romans 8:3 ESV

What was the law intended to do...?
What did God do... which the law... weakened by flesh... could not...?

God gave the law... the Torah... to His people... shortly after freeing them from Egypt...

His people had never known freedom...

Israel... was a nation... birthed in slavery...

Formerly... they were just a family... a very large family...

God set His people free... and upon freeing them... one of the first things He did ... was to bless them with the law... instructions for living...

These instructions... were meant to keep them free...

His law... set up... boundaries... safe zones... in which to operate... when it comes to relationships with God... and each other...

Instructions meant to ensure freedom... from the consequences of sin...

The problem... He gave these instructions to people... bearing flesh...

The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41 ESV

His people... promised to keep the law...

God... promised to bless them...

But their flesh... could not keep the law...

Their flesh... led them right back into bondage... both spiritual... and physical...

Our Word today tells us...

God has done...
what the law...
in our hands...
could not...

What has He done...?

Freed us... with a freedom that cannot be lost...

He has freed us... eternally...!

"Truly, truly, I say to you,
everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
The slave does not remain in the house forever;
the son remains forever. So if the Son has set you free, 
you are free indeed. ..."
---Jesus
John 8:34-35 ESV

Thank You... Father God...
for doing... what we... could not...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Romans 8... day 2...

For the law of the Spirit of life
has set you free in Christ Jesus
from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:2 ESV

In Christ Jesus... we are set free... from the law of sin and death...

He ushered in a New Covenant... a New Law... 

...the law of the Spirit of life...

The old law... 
the one given to Moses on the mountain... 
focused on sin... and its tremendous cost... death...
countless animals killed... 
sinners stoned...
all to pay the price... 

Now the law came in to increase the trespass...
Romans 5:16 ESV

The law given through Moses... 
only highlighted our sin... 
our bondage to death...
our need for a Savior...

So Jesus... He came with a New Law... a New Covenant...

"This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my blood. ..."
Luke 22:20 ESV

The New Covenant... is in His blood...
the blood shed on the cross for sin...
all sin...
once and for all...

For Christ died for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit...
1 Peter 3:18

By receiving Him... His grace... embracing the New Covenant... we are freed from the law of sin and death... to live by the Spirit of Life...

The same Spirit... who raised Him from the dead... also sets us free... 

Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin:
 The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation,
but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned 
through that one man, how much more will those who receive 
God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness 
reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:16-17

So today... I wonder whose law am I living under...?
Do I feel the pressure of sin and death...? more than the joy... of life...?
What about you...?

He has set us free... from sin... death... condemnation...

Choose joy... choose grace... choose life...

For from his fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace.
John 1:16 ESV

Father God... no longer let me stay under the law of sin... and death...
teach me to live... every moment... free... 
under the law... of the Spirit of life...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Romans 8... day one...

There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 ESV
condemnation... 1: censure, blame 2: the act of judicially condemning 3: the state of being condemned 4: a reason for condemning
condemn... 1: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation... 2 a: to pronounce guilty: convict b: sentence, doom...
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)
There is therefore... now... no condemnation... for those... who are in... Christ Jesus...

No blame... no pronouncement of guilt... no doom...

But why...?

The word... therefore... tells us to look at previous verses... to find the why...

Wretched man that I am! 
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24-25 ESV

Because... for those whose Lord is Jesus... there is now... no condemnation...

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

He set us free... from sin... death... and condemnation...

By faith... we receive this gift...

But I'm reminded this morning... by Thomas a Kempis... it's sometimes hard to hear His voice...
Devout: "Let me hear what the Lord God is saying in me!" That was the cry of the Psalmist (85:8). But just as piercing are my own humble cries, My Holy Friend... Blessed are the ears that pick up the Godly Whispering, if I may borrow an expression from 1 Kings (19:12), and at the same time block out the Worldly Whisperer! ...
Lord: "I'm your salvation!" That's what the Psalmist wanted the Lord to say (35:3). And that's what I, your Beloved Lord, am saying to you, My dear friend. I'm your peace, I'm your life, and what's more, I've many things to say to you. ...
---The Imitation of Christ
Many voices... whisper in our heart... every moment of every day...

Rest assured... any that say... You're worthless... There's just no hope for you... are not from Him...

They are lies...

Anything condemning... for those in Christ... for Believers... comes from the enemy... or our own flesh...

His voice speaks truth... He says... I'm your Salvation... your Peace... your Life...

Learn to hear His life-giving voice... above all the other noise... in your heart... in your world...

Rest assured... He is your Savior... because He loves you...

I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself  for me.
Galatians 2:20 ESV

Father God... open my ears to my Savior's voice...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

miscellaneous...

Feeling the extent of my finitude today... pressed beyond what I feel to be possible...

Spurgeon reminds me this evening...
[The saints] are constantly opposed, and yet perpetually preserved!
--- Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening
The cry... and hope... of my heart... my prayer...

I can't... but You can...!

Thus bringing me to this miscellaneous post...

Regarding... any idols hidden in your heart...?

Feeling the need... (in my finitude)... to explain myself...

I listed two of my specific idols in the afore mentioned post... The Closer... and... Text Twist...

Just wanted to clarify... these idols are specific to me...

I'm in no way saying they are an idol to everyone... or that they are evil... in and of themselves...

The enemy chooses... designer idols... for each of us... these just happen to be two I'm susceptible to...

I believe ANYTHING... can become an idol in our life... and that is what we need to be aware of...

Material things... relationships... status... ANYTHING... that we seek to save us... protect us... comfort us... that's NOT Jesus... just might have the position of idol in our life...

Lastly... (continuing the misc. nature of this post)... tomorrow is Ash Wednesday... the beginning of Lent... for those who follow this tradition...

I've felt led... to delve into Romans 8 during this season of the church calendar...

So... weekday posts... beginning tomorrow until Easter... will be a verse... or two... from Romans 8...

Sundays will continue to be centered on The Journey...

I'm approaching this by faith... no real plan... trusting Him to provide each day...

For those who read by email only... you will be a day behind... because that's just been the nature of this discipline for me...

I get till midnight to post for the day... then the email goes out in the wee early hours of the next morning...

If you want to get them the same day... check in some time during the day... or night... don't really know when one might get posted...

For now... trusting in Him... to hold together... all I feel Him calling me to do...

Recognizing my fragility... and His strength...

But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God
and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Lord... thank You for Your strength...
Despite opposition... pressure... finitude...
You will preserve me...
Amen... Amen... Amen...

Monday, February 16, 2015

any idols hidden in your heart...?

The teacher defines an idol as...
...anything that I run to under stress and pressure if it's not Christ...
---Michael Wells, Living the Abiding Life
And I have to think... What do I run to...? under stress and pressure...? that's not Christ...?

A recent Bible study question... had me consider idols... or potential idols... in my life...
Hezekiah pleased God when he spiritually cleaned house, got rid of idols, and smashed and cut down all the signs of spiritual compromise in the land. When you look at your spiritual life, what could you clean out, cut down, or smash so that you can walk more closely with God?

Off the top of my head I couldn't think of anything... so I asked God... prayed a short prayer...What do I need to get rid of... smash...?

Well an answer came... very quickly...

I even questioned it... thinking... Really...?

The answer to my question was a television show... one that's been cancelled... but is available on Amazon Prime...

A series I decided to re-watch recently... from beginning to end...

I really wanted to finish... and was it so bad...?

Then I realized... the last time I turned it on... was when I was weary... stressed... seeking escape... and solace...

I didn't run to Him... I ran to her... The Closer...

Needless to say... I haven't been tuning in by myself... and I probably won't finish it... and at this point... recognizing the spiritual issues... I don't feel the need... or desire to... anymore...*

So what about you... what idols do you have lurking... in your heart... in His sanctuary...?

Are you willing to look...? to let Him show you your idols...?

Then He brought me to the entrance of the court,
and when I looked there was a hole in the wall.
He said to me, "Son of man, dig through the wall."
So I dug through the wall, and there was a doorway.
He said to me, "Go in and see the terrible and detestable
things they are committing here." I went in and looked,
and there engraved all around the wall was every form
of detestable thing, crawling creatures and beasts,
as well as all the idols of the house of Israel.
Seventy elders from the house of Israel were standing before them.
Each had a firepan in his hand, and a fragrant cloud
of incense was rising up. Then He said to me,
"Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel 
are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his idol?
For they are saying, 'The Lord does not see us.
The Lord has abandoned the land.'"
Ezekiel 8:7-12 HCSB

Maybe... we feel abandoned by God... when stress... pressure... creeps into our lives...

Maybe... we think He doesn't see... or doesn't care...

Maybe... what seems fine to us... is detestable to Him...

Are your ready for Him to guide you... on a dig into your heart...?

Ask Him to reveal idols... potential idols... in your life...

Come into agreement with Him...

It's time... to purify our passion...

Clean up the sanctuary of our heart... for Him...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 59... and defeated believers...

The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of the enemies." So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
--- 1 Samuel 4:2-4 ESV 
This defeat happened toward the end of the age of judges... the time when... everyone did what was right in his own eyes...

The Israelites... for the most part... were following other gods... neglecting the law... and not listening to... or seeking... God...

God's people... were defeated...

Believers... today... can also live defeated lives...

Those who go to church... do devotionals... Bible studies... even have a quiet time each day... can live defeated lives...

Defeat for a Christian might be addiction... uncontrolled anger... jealousy... hypocrisy... a judgmental attitude... a difficult marriage... rebellious children... giving into the same temptation over... and... over... and... over...

Walking with Christ... is not just about intellectual ascent...
It's not religiously attending church... and reading the Bible... or even serving...

Being a Believer means your whole heart... mind + will + emotion... are engaged in obedience to Him... a life lived for Him... and not self...

The Israelites believed the ark... and a couple of priests... would help them defeat the enemy...

They were wrong... thirty thousand men died that day... the priests were killed... and the ark captured...

The Israelites were trusting in a thing that represented God... but not God...

They had not been obedient to His ways... yet they thought the ark would save them...

Are we guilty of the same thing...? Are you trusting more in religious activity... instead of a surrendered... obedient... life...?

Jesus said pretty much the same thing in His sermon on the mount...

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them
will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew
and beat on that house, but it did not fall,
because it was founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them
will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew
and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24-27 ESV

Did you see...? Both builders heard His words... perhaps in church... Bible study... or in their own devotional time...

But only those... who do His Word... can stand against the storm... or find themselves still standing at the end of a battle with the enemy...

So... we need to make a check of our hearts... of our lives...
Are we obedient... to His Way...?
Are there competing idols... in your life...?
Do you have a heart divided...?

As long as we are half-hearted... when it comes to our relationship with Him... we live as defeated Believers... 

Struggling without joy... 

Falling to temptation... over... and... over...

Samuel had wise words... for the Israelites... words we should heed today...

Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart;
for consider how great are the things He has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24 Amp

Consider joining The Journey... discover how to live whole-hearted toward Him...

This week's readings...
Monday                    1 Samuel 13:8 - 14:23
Tuesday                    1 Samuel 14:24 - 15:35
Wednesday               1 Samuel 16
Thursday                  1 Samuel 17
Friday                       1 Samuel 18

Friday, February 13, 2015

what does it take... to prepare a sanctuary... for Him...?

What does it take... to prepare a sanctuary... for Him...?

He gave instructions... to Moses... for His dwelling place on earth... the tabernacle...

Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle,
and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
Exodus 25:3 ESV

Three of the things... the people were called to contribute for its construction... caught my attention...

"You shall command the people of Israel that they bring
to you pure beaten olive oil for the light,
that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn.
Exodus 27:20 ESV

The first... to catch my eye... pure oil...

And I wonder... What is this a spiritual picture of...? this oil that burns...?

I believe... it's passion...

To prepare our hearts... as a sanctuary for Him... we need... pure passion... passion for His Word... for His people... for Him...

"They shall make an ark of acacia wood. ...
You shall overlay it with pure gold,
inside and outside shall you overlay it,
and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it.
Exodus 25:10-11 ESV

The second item required... pure gold...

Not only was the ark to be covered in gold... but all the utensils... lamp stands... and the table for the bread... were to be covered in pure gold...

So what is this gold covering about...? spiritually speaking...?

The thought came... The pure gold overly... represents our righteous actions...

Our presentation to the world... what people see... should be... pure righteousness...

Living a life of right relationships... being Christ-centered... rather than self-centered... a fountain of grace...

Then there's the incense...

And the incense that you shall make 
according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. 
It shall be for you holy to the Lord.
Exodus 30:37 ESV

This incense is to be unique... not used for any other purpose... other than for the Lord...

I believe... the incense... represents... our worship... 

He alone... is worthy of worship...

Worship comes in the form of praise... adoration... dependence... all expressed with a heart of prayer...

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
Psalm 141:2 ESV

These are three of the requirements... three of the items needed... to prepare a heart as a sanctuary for Him...

Checking our hearts... for where we are with these... is the first step... in cleaning up our hearts...

Is our passion pure...? what are we passionate about...? Him...? or the things of this world...?

Our actions...? are they righteous...? full of grace...? or are they divisive...? prideful...? self-centered...?

What do we worship...? Him alone...? is He the One we count on to fulfill our lives...? provide for our needs...?

Hmmm...

Just some thoughts... about preparing a sanctuary... for Him...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

whose house are you building...?

With mind filled with thoughts of sanctuaries... and righteousness... a passage read for Bible study... has me thinking...
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord's house.'"
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: "Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruins?"
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord. "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "Because of my house which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. ..." (Haggai 1:2-9 NIV)
---The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People
Now that was then... the people needed to give attention to the building of the physical temple... before they built their own homes...

And it makes me wonder... what about now...?

Do you not know that you are God's temple
and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV 

How much attention... do we... as Believers... give to our hearts... the place where He dwells...?

Are you cleaning up your mind... will... emotion... that He might have a well-built home in your heart...? am... I...?

Or am I more concerned about my own home... my surroundings... and comfort...? what about you...?

When we have not made a priority... of building up God's dwelling place... nothing satisfies... nothing is enough...

You expected much... but see... it turned out to be little...

Do we dare consider... when we find ourselves unsatisfied... it may be because we have not spent enough time... energy... on our inner life... our heart... making a place for Him...?

It makes me wonder... about my concern over the physical distractions in my home... those piles of paper I've let get out of hand... What kind of spiritual... emotional... clutter... is piled up in my heart...?

My attention is being drawn... toward spending more intentional time... making Him at home in my heart... becoming a sanctuary... for Him...

A change in mind-set... a change in perspective...
because when this is right... 
everything else... falls... in... place...

...seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 ESV

Whose house are you building...? His...? or yours...?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

righteousness... it's a choice...

Do not present your members to sin
as instruments of unrighteousness,
but present yourselves to God
as those who have been brought from death to life,
and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Romans 6:13 ESV

present... verb... 1a (1): to bring or introduce into the presence of someone especially of superior rank or status... 2: to make a gift to 3: to give or bestow formally...
...present yourselves to God... as instruments for righteousness...

I see it in the word... present... it's a choice... to gift yourself to God... for His use...

Each day... we have a choice to make...
presenting our bodies to sin...
or to Him...

Each moment... of each day...
will we be used for unrighteousness...
or righteousness...?

...present yourselves to God... as those who have been brought from death to life...

Here's the good news... that makes the choice easy...

Knowing who He is... and what He's done for you...
how can you choose anything else...?

Righteousness... it's a choice....

How will you choose today...?

Do you not know that if you present yourselves
to anyone as obedient slaves,
you are slaves of the one whom you obey,
either of sin, which leads to death,
or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Romans 6:16 ESV

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

thoughts... on righteousness...

Do not present your members to sin 
as instruments of unrighteousness,
but present yourselves to God
as those who have been brought from death to life,
and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Romans 6:13 ESV

This verse... has formed the basis of a daily prayer... over the last couple of weeks...

Lord... I present the members of my body... to You today...
as instruments of righteousness... 
From head to toe... use me for Your purpose...

I've been thinking about righteousness... asking... What is it...? as I go about my days... Am I fulfilling it...?

I assume... bearing the fruit of the Spirit... is an expression of righteousness...

...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

See...? Against such things there is no law... fruit of the Spirit... righteous...

This evening... I looked up the definition...
RIGHTEOUSNESS The establishment of a right relationship --- primarily between God and people, secondarily between people themselves. Righteousness is the fulfillment of just expectations in any relationship, whether with God or other people. It is applicable at all levels of society and is relevant in every area of life. Therefore, righteousness denotes the fulfilled expectations in relationships between man and wife, parents and children, fellow citizens, and God and people. Depending on the fulfillment of one's expectations, an individual could be called righteous and his or her acts and speech could be designated as righteous. The opposite of righteous is "evil," "wicked," or "wrong".
---Tyndale Bible Dictionary
I'm surprised...

I sort of expected the definition to be more about following rules... not be centered on relationships...

But thinking about it... even for a moment... I see how relationships... right relationships... are at the center of all God's commands...

"You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your strength and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."
Luke 10:27 ESV

There you have it... the law... summed up... Love God... Love others...

"...All the Law and the Prophets
hang on these two commandments." ---Jesus
Matthew 22:40

This is the law we are to follow to be righteous... love God... love others...

So what does it look like... when I fail others... fail Him...? Can this somehow... be used for righteousness?

How do I make dinner... serve my family... work at the shop... and be His instrument of righteousness...?

I see in the definition... Righteousness is the fulfillment of just expectations... in any relationship...

Through Jesus alone... am I just... and only through Him... can I expect justice...

The foundation of His justice... love... and... grace...

Righteousness begins... when I begin to see who I am before Him... when I rely on His love for me... when I understand my need... for His grace...

Righteousness... the fulfillment... of just expectations...

Grace... a key to righteousness...

By His grace... we receive justice...
and in turn... offer grace to others...

In Him...
the only... just expectation... 
in our relationship with others...
is the giving of grace...

So when I fail... I lean on His grace...
seek forgiveness... repent...

Righteousness...

When serving my family... customers... friends... strangers...
I need to err on the side of grace...

Righteousness...

Now the law came to increase the trespass,
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through righteousness
leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21 ESV

Lord... grow me as an instrument of righteousness...
grow me in grace...

Monday, February 9, 2015

still... fighting... fear...

Waking thoughts... focused on something new...

A job taken on a couple of weeks ago... something I'd never really done before... one I wanted to do well... and not disappoint...

The past week spent preparing... learning... practicing...

This morning... my waking dreams... centered on this job...

I've noticed... when fear... paralyzes... He often moves me forward... by having me do it first... in my dreams...

There was a time... when anxiety reigned... in my heart... mind... soul...

The initial place fear implanted itself in my life... was with food...

A thought came to mind... I unwisely entertained... rather than dismissing...

Slowly... little by little... the enemy increased the number of foods... I was afraid to eat...
shrimp...
strawberries...
chewing gum...
chocolate...

I know this sounds insane... and had anyone known my internal battle at the time... I'm sure I would've been highly medicated... because the anxieties weren't restricted to just food...

But I remember... as God led me out of this pit... (one I willingly jumped into... believing lies... because the enemy had strongholds in my life...) part of the process... included eating one of the anxiety-ridden foods... in a dream...

I'd wake with the surety... that I was to eat... without fear...
and little by little... He led me out of the pit of anxiety...

All to say... I'm still... fighting... fear...

It continues to try to take hold... take back the ground its lost...

So this morning... when I dreamed of doing the job...
I realized... I'd been dragging my feet because of fear...
and today... was the day... to tackle it...

By His grace... it's mostly complete...

Grateful for the work of learning something new... and dreams to encourage me to step beyond fear...

For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 58... and... He's in it all...

This last week in The Journey... wrapped up Acts... completed Ruth... and started 1 Samuel...

Through it all... He's in it all... intervening in the lives of His people...
Paul surviving a shipwreck...
Naomi... after great loss... filled by the love of her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth...
Hannah... given a son... she prayed for...

All in all... God at work... in the lives of those... who trust and obey...

And Hannah... she said it best... in her praise... to Him...

My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord;
my horn (my strength) is lifted up in the Lord.
My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide
over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides You; 
there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2 Amp

See for yourself... enter into The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday                   1 Samuel 4-5
Tuesday                   1 Samuel 6-7
Wednesday             1 Samuel 8-9
Thursday                1 Samuel 10-11
Friday                     1 Samuel 12:1 - 13:7

Friday, February 6, 2015

is there glory for Him... in the struggle...?

I look back on a week... filled... with... struggle...

Distractions...
unruly preteens...
rebellious flesh...
bound up in the battle...
to persevere...
pour out grace...
obey...
all for His glory...

This morning... a question emerges...

Is the battle... the struggle... righteous...?
The battle within...? the fact that I battle...? does it bring You glory...? 

This evening... within two phone calls... two different loved ones... two different stories... I hear the victory... of those who've struggled...

And I see... Yes... the fact that we struggle... choose to battle... trust Him... obey Him... wait on Him... listen to Him... glorifies Him...

But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed...
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV

Yes... God's surpassing power... is revealed... glorified... magnified... with every struggle... we face... and come through... 

Amen...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

was He glorified today...?

Listening to a teacher... teaching lessons on what he sees as God's school of discipleship... he comes to course 801...

The course he calls The Glory of God... a course that teaches...
At the end of every day, no matter what the loss, no matter what the hurt, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what my failure has been that day, I just ask one thing: Lord were You glorified today? All that matters to me is that You're glorified, because You're the Creator and I'm the creature, and I want to see You glorified and You exalted.
---Michael Wells, Living the Abiding Life
 So I ask... at the close of this day...

Lord... were You glorified today...?

I see where I obeyed easily in some places... others a struggle...

And I also see failure...

A course I need to continue... (or maybe even begin...)

I realize... to only be concerned about His glory... is to be wholly focused on Him...

My failure... and struggles... come from being more self-conscious... than Christ-conscious...

Lord... forgive me for my failures...
and lack of concern... for Your glory... over my comfort...
Thank You for Your patience... and Your teaching...
Grow me... in Your love... and grace... that I may glorify You...

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

blooming trust...

They catch my eye... walking past the window...


The planting of trust... is blooming...

Several weeks ago... I planted trust...

Small green plants... no blooms to ensure... what was on the tag... was true...


Now... weeks later... I see... blooming trust...


 

A physical reminder... in the early morning light... of the blessing of acting on trust...

A spiritual reminder... of the blessing... of trusting in Him... His Word... and His Way...

When we plant a life... trusting in Him... we will experience... His faithfulness...

And from His faithfulness... we grow a life of... blooming trust...

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him...
Psalm 37:3-7 ESV