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

Monday, August 31, 2015

words for the end of a day...

As I come to the end of a day...
feeling... tired...
words from a morning's devotional come to mind...
"Help, Lord." --- Psalm 12:1
David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication; when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of the truth, for the word "help" is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing.
---Oswald Chambers, Morning and Evening
I mourn... at the fewness of strength...
cry... Help... Lord...
and exert myself...
to complete the final chores of the day...

In the spiritual realm...
the making of dinner...
the cleaning of a kitchen...
can be a battle field...

I choose to serve... my family...
but I know... I need His help...

So my words for the end of the day...?

Help... Lord...

For I can do everything through Christ,
who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 87... and the beginning of knowledge...

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 ESV

Fear of the Lord... the beginning of knowledge...

Fear of the Lord is not just fear... dread... terror... even though this is one aspect...
Genuine faith is expressed in, and animated by, a reverential awe, and this is the basic meaning of the biblical idea of the fear of God. Unless there is personal awareness of the awesome and majestic sovereignty of God, it is impossible to have a meaningful faith existing in one's heart (Pss 5:7; 89:7).
---Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Fear of the Lord possesses an aspect of awe... reverence... mystery... as a child to their father...

Listening to an audio-book on a walk... I heard...
We are dependent, fragile, vulnerable, and accountable. ...
Recognizing that I am absolutely dependent on God for every breath and every morsel of food. Seeing that I am accountable to God for every thought, every word, and every action, and realizing how often I fail to honor God in these ways, these should produce a deep and abiding sense of humility. ...
It should produce profound gratitude. Everything good in me or around me, whether spiritual or material, is a gift from God. ...
I am a creature, created in the image of God, fully dependent on Him and fully accountable to Him.  
---Jerry Bridges, Who Am I?

Understanding ourselves as created beings... dependent... fragile... vulnerable... and accountable before our Creator... forms the basis for a proper fear of the Lord...

Without this fear... we will never gain any true knowledge or understanding...

Our culture is one of independence... self-reliance... autonomy...
not only is this a lie...  it is a rebellious attitude toward our Creator...
a foolish stance toward life... and God...

Humility and gratitude... flow from a healthy fear of the Lord...
and prepare us with teachable hearts and spirits...
from here we can begin to gain knowledge... understanding... insight...
because we are ready... to hear what He has to say...

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come
knowledge and understanding...
Proverbs 2:6 ESV

This week's readings...
Monday                   Proverbs 9
Tuesday                   Proverbs 10-11
Wednesday              Proverbs 12
Thursday                  Proverbs 13-14
Friday                      Proverbs 15

Friday, August 28, 2015

more on messes...

Thoughts about my messy corner where He meets me continue...

I think about other areas of my life...
areas where I've grown in order...
less messes in many places...

I think about the mess in my corner...
it's a place I would love to be orderly and beautiful...
a place with no clutter... clean... pristine...

I even think about starting over...
in a new area...
a space dedicated to Him...
(not that his one isn't... it just doesn't look like my flesh thinks it should look...)

And I realize...
this place... messy... cluttered... out of control...
might just be... exactly the way He wants it...

It just might be a reminder of my messes...
my need for Him...
how much I am NOT in control...

Yes... I think messy is where He wants me to be...
when I seek Him...
a humble hovel... of need...

And me? I'm a mess. I'm nothing and have nothing:
make something of me. You can do it; you've got what it takes...
Psalm 40:17 Msg

I praise You Lord... the Cleanser of the messes I make...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

He comes in the midst of messes...

On the radio today... I heard the testimony of  a woman who made a mess of her life... a mess she wanted to run from... die because of... and right in the middle of her mess He comes... The Cleanser of the mess I've made...

Her story caused me to think back on words written yesterday... overwhelmed by Him... in the middle of a mess I'd made...

Truth beams from her story...
and from my corner...
He comes in the midst of messes...

He does not show up because we have it all together...
He does not show up because we are perfect...
He shows up where it's messy...

He comes to those who are poor and needy...
He comes to those who embrace their mess...
He comes to those who cry out for help...

He comes in the midst of messes...

And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating
with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples,
"Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
And when Jesus heard, he said to them, "Those who are well
have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Mark 2:16-17 ESV

You don't need to have it all together...
you just need to know you've made a mess of things...
you need to know... you need His help...

And then... He comes... no matter the mess...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

overwhelmed...

I find myself... in this moment... overwhelmed by His Word...

This place... where I sit and write... is a sanctuary for me...
even though it looks like a complete mess... a disarray...




I came tonight... thinking about what He might want me to say... what He had said to me today... but as I began... three lines in... I had to employ the backspace key...

Because in this place... where He and I meet...
a cluttered up corner of my laundry room...
the process of just opening a Bible...
looking for a Word that went with the now deleted words...
I was overwhelmed... by His entire Word...

The gift of His breathed-out Word...
translated for centuries...
bound in leather... and paper...
stuck together with glue...
just filled me with wonder...

And I wonder now... if you have a place...
a sanctuary... where you meet Him daily...
maybe multiple times a day...
to hear what He has to say...
to pour out your heart to Him...
to commune... wrestle... adore... and wonder...?

Because if you don't... you need one...
because when you cultivate a place...
even one that looks like a mess...
where people dump their dirty clothes...
and dust bunnies... and dirt... and too much stuff covers the floor...
as soon as you sit... each time you return... He's there...
and sometimes... He's just waiting to overwhelm you...

Lord... thank You for this place... this thin place...
where You seem near... so accessible...
thank You for drawing me here... drawing me near...
overwhelming me... with Your Word...

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart's delight...
Jeremiah 15:16

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

wholly present...

The thought has come several times today...
Be wholly present where you are...
Not in those exact words...
and maybe not in words at all...
more of an impression...

Be wholly focused on what you are doing...

With full days...
distraction... becomes an enemy...
mistakes made...
things forgotten...

One thing at a time...

A reminder to stay where I am...
not think about what's next...
or what's later today...
or tomorrow...
or the day after the day after tomorrow...

Wholly present...
not something I'm really good at...
but wholly important...

He is only present tense...
I AM... His name...
He is only found in our present moment...
even though He is eternal...

We... inhabiting only a single moment at a time...
cannot connect with Him ruminating on the past...
or in the worrying over future...

He is only in our present...
there is no... What if...
there is only... What is...

As His... The Lord's...
I am one who needs His help...

To gain access to His help...
I must be fully vested in the present moment...
in work...
in relationship...
in planning...

Wondering where these impressions...
thoughts are leading...
A preparation...?
A warning...?
Simply a new teaching...?

Whatever... I feel the need to practice...
wholly presence...

A challenge for this poor and needy soul...

(Even now I find myself distracted by something else...
before this is wholly done... I'm back... that voice it said...
One thing at a time...)

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 ESV

Moment by moment...
wholly present...

Monday, August 24, 2015

poor and needy...

Approaching today... as a day to catch up...

Nearing its end...
goals unmet...
messes abound...
things undone...

So much still to do...
Something urgent remembered earlier...?
has slipped my mind... therefore gone undone...

So today I embrace... that I am poor and needy...
Incapable of doing all my own loftiness would love to accomplish...

Recognition of the truth...
I am not able...
I am not organized...
I am not good at making decisions...

With joy... I embrace my neediness... my poverty...
because in Him... I find my help...
in Him alone... I find my worth...

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
1 Samuel 2:8

Today I come to Him... poor... and... needy...

Lord... apart from You I got nothin'...
hoping desperately... for more of You...
and less of me... in all I do...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 86... and mercy triumphs...

The Journey Sunday School Class... a leading through Scripture in three years... spent the bulk of today's class in the book of James... which we read last week... week 85 of our 156 week journey...

In his letter... James instructs the church in how to live... think... respond... to trials... one another... and God...

There is a passage... I think sums it up... the reason why... we are to follow his instruction...

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged
under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy
to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:12-13 ESV

We... Believers... are a people judged not under the law of sin and death... but under the law of liberty...

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

Because of His grace and mercy... rather than judgment... we are called to speak... and act... with grace and mercy... not judgment...

After class... upon entering worship... the call to worship was a song I had not heard before... it was a song... reflecting to me... the heart of James's letter to the church... what's written between the lines...

Oh, Cleanser of the mess I've made
Upon the hill our places trade
Stretched on a cross Your body crushed
By human hands You formed from dust

Oh, how wonderful Your mercy is
How awesome are Your ways
I come, I come
To worship You for all You've done

Oh, Cleanser of the mess I've made
Your boundless love for me portrayed
With patience for my learning curve
By holding back what I deserve

Oh, how wonderful Your mercy is
How awesome are Your ways
I come, I come
To worship You for all You've done

Oh, Cleanser of the mess I've made
With everything at Your feet laid
I watch as all my cares erode
And from my soul these words explode

Oh, how wonderful Your mercy is
How awesome are Your ways
I come, I come
To worship You for all You've done

---Clint Lagerberg

If we... as individuals... understand what He has done... The Cleanser of the mess I've made... then our life... our whole life... would be a spiritual act of worship...
obeying His Word...
loving others impartially...
serving those less fortunate...
submitting our lives to Him...
trusting Him by faith...
as James teaches...

Because...
mercy fulfills the law...
mercy defeated death...
mercy saves...
mercy frees...

Mercy triumphs...! Amen...

Learn more about His wonderful mercy... come along on The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday              Proverbs 1-2
Tuesday              Proverbs 3
Wednesday         Proverbs 4-5
Thursday             Proverbs 6
Friday                 Proverbs 7-8

Friday, August 21, 2015

thank... full...

Thank... full...
for a full day...
work done...
mistakes made...
grace...

Thank... full...
for challenging books...
testimonies of those whose walk is true...
friends who help...
laughter...

Thank... full...
for decaf coffee...
unsweet tea...
white cheddar popcorn...
sugar-free gum...

Thank... full...
for sunsets of orange... pink... blue..
blooming flowers...
falling rain...
booming thunder...

Thank... full...
for His Word...
His faithfulness...
His Peace...
His Love...

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107:1 ESV

What are you thank... full... for this week...?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

a needed reminder...

"But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says --- he who made you,
who formed you in the womb, and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshrun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit
on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, 
'I belong to the Lord'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,'
and will take the name Israel. ..."
Isaiah 44:1-5

Words received... unexpectedly... from a sister in Christ...
Words I needed to hear... read again... and again...
in the midst of doubt... discouragement... uncertainty...

...listen... my servant... whom I have chosen...
This is what the Lord says --- he who made you...
and who will help you: Do not be afraid...

Encouraging words...
reminders that I am His...
a chosen servant...
whom He will help...

I take His Word literally... 

...still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's'...


A reminder of Whose I am...
I need not be afraid...
He will help me...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

intimacy and repentance...

ChristianAudio.com offers a free audio-book for download each month... I highly recommend the one for this month... August... I'm just barely into chapter two... but what I've heard so far is so worth it...

The title is... The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert...

Walking... listening... the author shared... the first rule of repentance...
Do you have to feel like repenting in order to repent? ...
How do you repent for a sin that doesn't feel like sin? ...
In this crucible of confusion I learned something important. I learned the first rule of repentance, that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin.
How much greater? About the size of a mustard seed. Repentance requires we draw near to Jesus no matter what, and sometimes we all have to crawl there on our hands and our knees. Repentance is an  intimate affair and for many of us intimacy with anything is a terrifying prospect. ...
I discovered that the Lord doesn't change my feelings until I obey Him.
---Rosario Champagne Butterfield
I love the way she connects intimacy with God and repentance...

No wonder Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is...

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart 
and with all your soul and with all your mind. ..."
Matthew 22:37 ESV

When we love Him with all of us... there is no room for anything else...

To love God... to draw near Him... be intimate with Him... means we lay down our own desires... lay down our own feelings... understandings... of what we believe is right and wrong... and give it all to Him... come into agreement with Him about sin...

This is love for God: to obey his commands.
1 John 5:3

I too have discovered... that He changes our feelings... when we obey Him... even when we don't feel like obeying...

Even when what we think is just fine... feels good... doesn't seem to be hurting anybody... but He says it's sin... when we obey... we begin to understand His feelings on the issue...

All sin... is harmful to us...
harmful to our relationship with God...
and that's why He longs for us to be free from sin...

And... no... we don't get to define sin...
only God gets to do that...
and He shares the truth with us in His Word...

This unlikely convert... the author of the audio-book... as an English professor... spent much time in the Bible...  even before she believed...

She came to know... what I've experienced too...
time in His Word... transforms... a person...
and when we surrender to Him... and His Word...
the change is amazing...

Be intimate with God...
spend time in His Word...
obey His Word...
repent...

Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:17

Intimacy and repentance... choices we make... to love God....

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

blessed... by His encouragement...

In the seeking of wisdom... I find myself blessed... by His encouragement...

He shows up in surprising ways... at just the right time... in the midst of what feels like walking in the dark... there it is... a blessing of encouragement...

He is... the God of endurance and encouragement...

Endurance... perseverance... fueled by encouragement...

Grateful for the blessing... praying He will bless you with needed encouragement too...

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement
and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 16-17

Monday, August 17, 2015

seeking wisdom... trying not to doubt...

He is so gracious... so loving... so faithful... to those He's created... He promises wisdom to those who ask...

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him.
James 1:5 ESV

There is no chiding for not knowing already...
no partiality... no prerequisites...
He graciously... generously... gives wisdom...
to those who ask... who know they are lacking...

But there is one stipulation...

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive
anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man,
unstable in all his ways.
James 1:6-8 ESV

God will not give... when He knows we are simply asking for His opinion... He will not give... if we are seeking others for what sounds best to us...

When we ask... we must have a heart of faith...
trusting His wisdom as the best... the only... option...

I need His wisdom in several areas at this time...
I know I'm lacking...

My doubt... is with my own hearing...
if what I'm hearing is Him... or me...

If I knew for sure it was from Him... I would go with what I hear... boldly... but I don't trust me...

I'm reminded of what I say to others...
Hearing Him is by faith... and if you believe you have heard Him and act by faith on what you hear... He will bless... for Romans 8:28 kicks in...
And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 ESV 

Without faith... it is impossible to please Him...

Therefore... I'm...
listening by faith...
seeking His wisdom...
trusting Him to make Himself clear...

Thank You... Lord... for Your generous outpouring of wisdom...

... the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,
full of mercy and good fruits,
impartial and sincere.
James 3:17 ESV

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 85... and the narrow way...

Coming to the end of the books of Kings... I see a teaching of Jesus... a truth... emerge from their history...

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy
that leads to destruction, and those who find it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few. ..." 
Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

The kings of the divided kingdom could not seem to find the narrow gate... 

All in the northern kingdom of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord... 
less than half in the southern kingdom of Judah did right in the sight of the Lord...

Many missed the narrow gate... neglected... lost... or didn't care for God's Way... after all... it is hard...

It's much easier to follow your own way... or the way of the world...
much easier to do what you please... until you meet up with destruction...

And the Lord said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight,
as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city
that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said,
My name shall be there."
2 Kings 23:27 ESV

His Way is hard... narrow... we see many who missed His Way among the kings... they led the people right into exile... right back into the hands of the enemy... and slavery...

The road to destruction looks easy... even feels easy for a time...
no need to fight temptation... just do what feels good...
but it catches up... it destroys...

Learn from the kings...
Choose life...
Choose Him...
Choose the narrow way...

This week's readings...
Monday               2 Kings 25
Tuesday               James 1
Wednesday          James 2-3
Thursday             James 4
Friday                  James 5

Friday, August 14, 2015

seeking silence...

Seeking silence...
hoping He will fill it...

Needing Him to check my heart...
reveal my motives...

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way of everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Eternal wonder...

The more I consider Him as Eternal... the more I wonder...

His eternal Word... its unchanging nature solidifies in thought... increases confidence in what He says...

But... to know Him is eternal life... according to Jesus in His prayer to the Father on our behalf...

"...And this is eternal life, that they know the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ..."
John 17:3 ESV

I never quite got this... until today...

Blessed with revelation... of the Eternal...

Praying in the sanctuary...
(come to think of it... standing before His Word...)
the prayer came...

I stand before You in Your eternal presence
in the midst of Eternal Life.

Through the blood of Jesus...
by the power of the Spirit...
we enter into His presence...
we enter into the Eternal...

To know Him in relationship... is to be in His presence... which is ETERNAL LIFE...

Eternal wonder... consumed my spirit...

As I knelt to close the time of prayer with a sister in Christ...
His presence filled the silence...
the wonder of Eternal... filled the space...

I didn't want to leave... or move...
I just wanted to be in that moment...
of Eternal wonder...

New revelation... of His eternal nature...
what it means to enter eternal life...
it happens... in... His... presence...

He... is... Eternal...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

eternal Word...

The reading through of Kings brings me to a time His Word was lost...

I know it was lost... because it became found...

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe,
I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord!
2 Kings 22:8 Amp

Leading up to this time... the kings of Judah had not seen... or inquired about... or read... God's Law...

King Josiah... who received the news of the find... heard the words of the Book... recognized the deep... deep... trouble the nation was in...

Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah 
concerning the words of this book that has been found.
For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us because 
our fathers have not listened and obeyed the words of this book,
to do according to all that is written concerning us.
2 Kings 22:13 Amp

Even though the Law had been lost... forgotten... out of sight and mind... its Words were still in effect...

Just because we neglect His Word... deem it out of date... or useless in the twenty-first century... it still has power... authority... purpose...

God is eternal... His Word... eternal...

He is not effected by time or space... He IS... always...

His Word... IS...

His Word has the same meaning... power... it did when it was written...
He is still speaking those words from His mouth...
He is eternal...

Yet... in His grace... He deals with us in the plane of time...
He remembers... we are dust...

But we don't... somewhere along the way... 
I guess it's always been since the Fall...
we consider ourselves the utmost authority...
the ones who deem good and evil... right and wrong...

In our brief timeline... we decided what is eternal is useless...
laid it aside... forgot it... only to our own destruction...

The kings of Israel were to know the Law...
they were to hand write their own copy approved by the priests...
they were to read it all the days of their lives...
but they didn't...

We too... are to read His Word...
remember we are dust... and He is eternal...

By His Word... we live...

It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Matthew 4:4 ESV

Return to the Word... that's eternal...

Embrace the perspective of God...
the perspective of eternity...

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may
be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
For then you will make your way prosperous,
and then you shall have good success.
Joshua 1:8 ESV

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

new... it just keeps pressing...

New... it just keeps pressing...

Pressing me forward... deeper... deeper...

The new experience of writing... leading... a Bible study...
now presses... to make it available to others...

New levels of vulnerability...
new challenges in writing...
cleaning up words written...
making them clear for others to take and lead...
while not knowing if anyone ever will...

Yes... new... it just keeps pressing...

"Behold, I am making all things new."
Revelation 21:5 ESV

Do you feel the pressing of new... in you...?

Monday, August 10, 2015

prayer... spiritual breathing...

Prayer is not a subject on its own. Prayer is not a specialist activity. In a symphony orchestra some play the clarinet, some play the oboe, some play the violin, and some play the trombone. But in the Christian life it is not that way: we don't have some who visit the sick, some who sing the hymns, some who read Scripture, some who give money, and some who pray. In the Christian life we do not choose aspects, get some instruction and training, and then specialize in what we like or feel we are good at (or avoid because we have no aptitude for it).
Prayer is not something we pull out of the web of revelation and incarnation and then sign on to be "prayer warriors." It is more along the analogy of breathing: if we are to live, we all have to do it. Although there are illnesses connected with breathing, there are no excellences. We don't single out individuals and say, "She (or he) is a great breather."
--- Eugene H. Peterson, Tell It Slant
Group prayer has been a part of my life for over a decade... it is something I entered into reluctantly... but pressed by Him... I could not say No...

My wonder over the years...? how hard it is to get others to take time to join in prayer... how few are willing... how many think I'm special... different... because I pray...

This quote of Peterson's came to mind this afternoon... as I prayed with a friend... a weekly meeting to pray for our adult children...

Unexpected joy... filled my heart in the middle of our time of prayer... however... the joy led to sadness... as I considered those not "breathing" in the church... those who believe it to be a gift... a specialty...

I long for others to know the joy... of entering into prayer with others... of entering His presence on behalf of another...

I'm not a great "breather"... I'm just an ordinary Christian...

What about you...?

...pray continually...
1 Thessalonians 5:17 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 84... and hard words...

Hard words... fill the readings of Kings...
words that wrench hearts...
words that confound...

When Athaliah the mother of [King] Ahaziah [of Judah]
saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed
all the royal descendants.
2 Kings 11:1 Amp

Yes... a grandmother killed all her grandchildren... in the pursuit of power...

Kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord...

Ahaz was twenty years old when he began his sixteen-year reign
in Jerusalem. He did not do right in the sight of the Lord his God,
like David his [forefather]. But he walked in the ways of Israel's
kings, yes, and made his son pass through the fire [and offered
him as a sacrifice], in accordance with the abominable
[idolatrous] practices of the [heathen] nations whom the Lord
drove out before the Israelites.
2 Kings 16:2-3 Amp

Atrocities of Israelite against Israelite... conspiring to be king...

Then Menahem smote Tiphsah and all who were in it
and its territory from Tirzah on; he attacked it because
they did not open to him. And all the women there
who were with child he ripped up.
2 Kings 15:16 Amp

pregnant women gutted...

Yes... there are hard words to read in Scripture...

His truth reflects the truth of the world...
a world ravaged by sin and rebellion...
a world far from Him...

The hardest words of all for me...
come from Believers who... Uggh... Groan... Moan...
over His Word...
because it is hard to read...

But it is His Word...
words to be treasured... studied... pondered...
even the hard... the painful... the confusing...
it's all His...

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Don't miss a word... just because it feels hard... or seems hard to read...
Invite Him to read with you...
to teach... lead... translate... hard words...

It's never too late to begin The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday              2 Kings 18
Tuesday              2 Kings 19
Wednesday        2 Kings 20-21
Thursday            2 Kings 22:1 - 23:20
Friday                2 Kings 23:21 - 24:20

Friday, August 7, 2015

no greater joy...

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

To hear that your children are walking in Truth... joyful...

But... over the last couple of days... I've seen evidence... of their walk...
through obedience... prayer... and God's work in their lives...

Really there is... no greater joy...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

His grace is sufficient... more than sufficient...

Reminded today... His abundance... overflows...

Repentance inspired... through words of teachers...

Encouraged... to follow through on hard things...

His grace is sufficient... more than sufficient...

For this spiritual weakling...

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

thankful for His grace...

I've handled so many things badly in my life...

But today... as many came to mind... one leading to another... and another... and another...

I felt no shame... no condemnation... just grace... like a warm blanket... on a chilled soul...

There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 ESV

And the recognition... of my ability to offer grace to others... who've also handled things badly in their lives... only because I received His grace...

Grace... a comforter to share... a source of peace...

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

it's personal... it's communal...

It came to mind today... another incongruence in His Kingdom...

The singular one... in the context of community...

I see it in the indebted widow about to lose her two sons... her story found in 2 Kings 4:1-7... take a moment to read it now...

She went to God for help... through the single prophet Elisha...

Elisha told her to go out into the community... ask for... borrow... empty jars...

Then she and her sons isolated themselves... closed the door... and there... alone with God... filled the empty jars from the community...

Elisha then instructed her back out into community... she met her needs... offering to the community... what God had filled her with...

God meets our needs through our singular... personal... intimate... relationship with Him... but not apart from community...

We come to Him in need...
He sends us out to His community with our need...
We come to Him in private to be filled...
He sends us out in community offering to fill others...
And in that... our need is met...

Yes... it's personal... it's communal...

It's the Way He is...
One Single God...
in Trinitarian Community...
Father... Son... Spirit...

The Singular One... in the context of Community...

An incongruence He calls us into...

It's His Way...

"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will
believe in me through their word, that they may all be one,
just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they 
also may be in us, so that the world may believe 
that you have sent me. ...."---Jesus
John 17:20-21 ESV

Monday, August 3, 2015

beautiful feet...

The study with ladies completed today... the one started several weeks ago... a spin off of posts first published here... the going deeper into Romans 8...

In preparation for this study... He brought a verse to my attention...

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!
Romans 10:15 ESV

I came across it in several places... and it echoed through my mind as I prepared...

Knowing the title of the study... Romans 8: The Heart of the Gospel... I considered my feet...

At the time... the only word to describe my feet...? Ugly...

My left big toenail missed a large chunk from a recent run in with a cabinet door... both second toenails black... bruised... from an unfortunate purchase of a pair of walking shoes...

Both big toes sported large callouses... then an infection from trying to remove them in a not so great way (I'll spare you the details)... I finished the course of antibiotics a week before the start of  the study... my feet were in bad shape...

With this verse running through my mind... I wasn't feeling very confident about bringing the gospel message to my table with such ugly feet... but by faith... I did...

Around week three of the seven weeks of study... the verse returned to my thoughts... beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news...

Oddly enough... I was moved to buy nail polish... this is NOT something I do... I've never really been into the nail polish thing... it's just too much trouble... I'm too pragmatic... I can't even remember EVER painting my toenails...

But there I was... standing in Wal-Mart... looking for the perfect shade of polish... one that would coordinate with both pink and red... I brought it home and set it on my bathroom counter as a reminder... beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news...

After the callous fiasco... I had bought a pumice stone for my feet... also something I don't do... About week four of the study I took a look at my feet... they were actually looking pretty good... better than they had in a long time... A friend even commented on them... I'm not one to really consider my feet much... if they don't hurt and I'm happy with my shoes... it's all good..

But contrary to me... I began to wonder... anticipate... what my feet would look like at the end of the study... Anticipation of busting open the nail polish even took hold... beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news...

So today... the final lesson... and I just have to laugh... because He does such interesting things at times...

Sometimes He brings about a physical manifestation... of a spiritual reality... to provide encouragement...

He knew my heart was unsure of what I was doing...
He knew I was taking steps of faith...
allowing Him to stretch me to new lengths...
He knew I would see... and laugh with Him...

Beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news...


So yes... these are my feet... not perfect... but far better than they usually look...

And for me... a confirmation... that it was Him along the way...
Him leading...
Him guiding...
Him providing strength... time... energy...

And no... your feet do not have to be beautiful to bring the gospel message...

His feet... nail scarred... stained with blood...

To follow Christ... is to bring good news wherever we go...
and that makes our feet beautiful...

Our feet take us all sorts of places... and when they are shod with the gospel of peace... they bring His grace... love... peace... and hope... wherever we go...

But He does make me smile... with encouragement... affirmation... through the physical manifestation of a spiritual reality...

Thank You... Lord... for the beautiful feet...
Thank You... for blessing me with the opportunity...
to make them beautiful for You...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 83... and His amazing grace...

The main character in our reading last week was Elisha... a great prophet of God... a worker of miracles... a counselor of divine wisdom...

I see Elisha as a forerunner to Jesus...
his faithfulness to God...
his unquestioning obedience...
his ability to work wonders...

God's amazing grace revealed through this prophet by whom he was sent to minister...

Most of Elisha's works recorded in Scripture were in the northern kingdom... Israel...

Israel... established from its beginning in idolatry... a long string of disobedient kings... never one who did what was right in the eyes of God...

Yet God... in His mercy... sent Elisha to reach out to the lost... rebuking... warning... counseling... rescuing... revealing God's true identity to His lost people... trying again... and... again... to change their hearts...

God graciously worked in the lives of the fallen kings of Israel... yet they refused to listen... refused to change... refused to trust Him above all else...

How often do you see people in this world do the same...? receiving His gracious work in their lives... then turning back to the world...? refusing to change... refusing to trust... refusing to believe...?

His grace is amazing... but His patience does come to an end...
over and over... He extinguished kings and their lineage...
because they refused to obey...

But David's line... even when it went the way of Israel...
He refused to extinguish... He was faithful to David...
faithful to His covenant...

Yet, for David His servant's sake,
the Lord would not destroy Judah,
for He had promised to give him and his sons
a lamp forever.
2 Kings 8:19 Amp

Do you know His amazing grace...? Do you respond with faithfulness...?

Learn more about His grace... join The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday             2 Kings 10:18 - 11:20
Tuesday             2 Kings 11:21 - 13:25
Wednesday        2 Kings 14:1 - 15:12
Thursday            2 Kings 15:13 - 16:20
Friday                2 Kings 17