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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

highlights of joy...

Approaching an afternoon... in the middle of a full week... one of those where I really don't know how everything will get done...

Highlights of joy... surprise... and strengthen...

The first came in entering the room where I teach the fourth graders Bible on Wednesday afternoons... a mission that can be daunting... and sometimes I wonder... Why am I doing this...?

He encouraged me today... with one of those unexpected... unprompted... unreasonable... bursts of joy in my heart... spirit...

Just approaching the whiteboard to erase... and prepare... filled my heart with joy...

I smiled... and said to Him... Yes... I love Your Word... and I get to share it with others today...!

"... the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

The second joyful burst came in response to news from a dear sister in Christ... an opportunity... blessing... to rejoice with one who rejoices... it came with a high-pitched squeal bursting from my lungs...

The kicker to this opportunity to rejoice with her... is she is one with whom I've also mourned...

Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:5

The third... from a son... sharing his misadventures at the store... silly-joy... slapstick-esque... pants splitting reaching for items on a lower shelf...  he tells the story with humor... a light in his eye...

And the outfit he came home in accentuated the joy...

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart...
Proverbs 15;30

Finding highlights of joy...
in Him...
in church family...
at home...

Highlights of joy...
lightening the load...
of a very full week...

Praise Him for joy... and laughter...

A joyful heart is good medicine...
Proverbs 17:22 ESV

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

convicted... when it comes to hospitality...

This morning's treadmill read... convicted...
This is a living word --- keep listening. And continue to embrace this church with its profound gift of hospitality, where over and over and over again we are invited to the Table to eat and drink our Lord's life in the company of his friends. We are not used to this. To shopkeepers we are customers, to our physicians and counselors we are problems to be fixed. To the unscrupulous we are victims to be exploited. Otherwise, we are strangers to be avoided.
---Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection
These words of Peterson's describe the Church... as it is supposed to be... this church with its profound gift of hospitality...

The words convicting to me... an introvert... with pragmatic tendencies... strangers to be avoided...

How often have I taken intentional steps to avoid strangers... in church... in the neighborhood... extended family members... and most recently at an occasion I co-hosted...

Images of ladies whom I sent invitations... fill my head... faces I cannot connect to names... because instead of introducing myself... stepping forward to get to know another person... I avoided...

Letting fear of man rule... rather than the grace of God...
remaining self-centered... rather than other-centered...
practicing avoidance... rather than hospitality...

Yes... I'm the worst when it comes to connecting with others... but I know He's growing me in this area... because as He brings this to mind today... reveals my sin... the conviction comes with grace... and... peace...

Today I stand convicted... of avoiding those for whom He died... those created in His image... those who are or potentially are friends of His... who sit at His Table...

Lord... thank You for continuing to reveal
 what needs to change in me... thank You for Your grace and peace 
with which conviction comes...
Bless me with the faith and opportunities to practice hospitality... 

"This is my commandment, that you love one another
as I have loved you. ..." ---Jesus
John 15:12 ESV

Where have you been convicted today...?

Monday, September 28, 2015

life with Him... it's just weird...

weird adjective... 1: of, or relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural... 2: of strange or extraordinary character: odd, fantastic
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition)
Yes... weird... supernatural... extraordinary... odd... fantastic... life with Him is weird...

No... He does not dabble in witchcraft... nor do I... this is but a perversion of what He created...

The Creator Himself... supernatural...
The work of the Son... supernatural...
The Holy Spirit... supernatural...

I've had some evidence of this over the last two days...
fantastic... evidence of His presence... His Spirit...

Both incidents involved prayer... the exercise of intentionally coming before our supernatural Creator... and faithfully speaking to Him... sight unseen... (Yes... odd... from a worldly... secular... perspective...)

The first happened during my morning time with Him...
a simple question asked... seeking confirmation on my behavior...
Lord... have I been light...? or contributed to the darkness?
Have I been helpful...? or hurtful...?

Having asked... I settled into my devotion... within moments of the prayer... the answer came in the form of another's question... seeking help... on lighting a lighter...

Yes... I helped... bringing light to a lighter...

In that moment... in the Spirit... it was clear... the answer to my question... Yes... you have been a light... Yes... you have been helpful...

Weird... awesome... but weird...

The second... in a group prayer time... Moms In Prayer International... to be exact...

[I'll jump on a soapbox here for a minute... my daughter just recently said I had many... but if you are not involved in a regular time of prayer with other Believers... conversational... Spirit-led... Scripture-based prayer... you are missing out... He Himself says... For where two or three are gathered in my name... there am I among them...]

In this time of prayer... we came to a topic... I was not really prepared to pray...

I was not leading this particular time of prayer... so I waited for the leader to move on... which I was sure she would... hoping she would... as the silence continued...

God had placed a specific prayer on my heart... but it just seemed too weird... so I stalled... wondering really if I was to pray it... not wanting to be disobedient... but really... trust me... it was just too weird...

The leader... after much silence... said... We have to pray this topic...!

I said... No way...! Really...!

The Spirit would not allow her to continue through the prayer guide without praying specifically right where we were... and... Oh... I had been given specifics... (let me reiterate...) that seemed just too weird to pray...!

Needless to say... with her prompting by the Spirit... I prayed by faith... what He placed on my heart...

I really just couldn't believe it... He placed a prayer on my heart... and made sure it got prayed...

In our own personal prayer time... we would probably not pray something weird if we were unsure if it was from our own heart or His...

In a group moment... the power of the Spirit takes over... prayers are affirmed... confirmed... by your partners in prayer... when they are faithfully led by the Holy Spirit...

So not only did I pray what I felt He was calling me to pray... but received confirmation that I was to pray it...

Really...?!

Life with Him... it's just weird...

"...The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:8 ESV

Father God... thank You for evidence of Your presence...
and the movement of the Spirit in my life...
Grow me to trust You more... even when it just seems weird...


[Note... the writing of this post seems weird... feels weird... I've questioned several times if these were the words for today... as I ask... they just seem to grow louder in my heart...

So today... maybe one of you needs confirmation of something weird in your life... or maybe... you have something weird you'd like to share with us... at this table... or maybe you just need to be made aware... that life with Him is weird...

Just let us know... the comment box can be found at the bottom of the post at JeremiahsMenu.blogspot.com... Click the post title... and scroll to the bottom...]

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 91... and futility...

The Journey through Ecclesiastes... brings us to...

For who [limited to human wisdom] knows what is good for a man
in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow
[going through the motions but accomplishing nothing]?
For who can tell a man what will happen [to his work,
his treasure, his plans] under the sun after he is gone?
Ecclesiastes 6:12 Amp

From a temporal perspective a man's life is utter futility... we cannot make a lasting mark in this world... all is vanity...

Only in the spiritual realm... only in Christ... can anything have meaning... and come to an eternal end... an unseen treasure...

Just look at Jesus... His life from a temporal perspective short... futile... 
Unjustly crucified... His ministry came to an abrupt end...

Only in the spiritual... the eternal... the unseen... can we see His impact...!
His resurrection...
His victory over death...
His complete rule over all...

The same is true for us... behind all our actions...
we choose the temporal... or... eternal... 
the choice happens in the heart...
why we do what we do...
our motivation...

If it is for self... it's all nothing...
it's... all... futility...

If it is for Him... by Him... and through Him...
it's all treasure... unseen... eternal...

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ---Jesus
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

This week's readings...
Monday               Ecclesiastes 7
Tuesday               Ecclesiastes 8-9
Wednesday          Ecclesiastes 10-12
Thursday              Song of Solomon 1-2
Friday                  Song of Solomon 3:1 - 5:9

Friday, September 25, 2015

be careful what you ask for...

Recently... I've noticed lots of complaining around me... enough to make me ask... Lord... teach me not to complain...

Well... the last couple of days I find myself with lots of opportunities NOT to complain...

Recognizing all the opportunities... I find myself smiling... and offering a prayer... Thanks...

So... yes... be careful what you ask for... and be thankful when He answers... He will give you a workout...

All of you take up My yoke...
Matthew 11:29 HCSB

Thursday, September 24, 2015

eternity... it's planted in your heart...

You ever wonder why...? you get so upset when something wears out...? breaks down...? You just don't understand why things don't last...?

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds...
Ecclesiastes 3:11 Amp

God has made everything beautiful in its time...
yet He planted eternity in the hearts of men...

Everything has an expiration date...
People only have one because of sin... which leads to death...

He created us in His image...
He created us for eternity...

This dichotomy... results in frustration...
it's a reminder things are not as they should be...
we don't belong in this broken world...

He graciously made a Way...
for us to return to Him... eternally...
His name is Jesus...

The next time something favorite breaks down...
the hole in the just right jeans...
the refrigerator just 15 years old...
the knees that won't run anymore...
the hair that ends up on the floor...
recognize the truth...

There is an eternity to be had...
it's just not here...
in this body...
or this world...

A new one's coming...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

preparing...

On a morning of preparation... I'm reminded...
those who believe in Him... are the only light in the world...

And [Jesus] opened his mouth and taught them, saying...
"You are the light of the world. ..."
Matthew 5:2-14 ESV

He was speaking to those who followed Him...
yet... we can no longer physically follow Him...

So I'm wondering... How do I prepare...? to be light... the only light... in a very dark world...? today... and the days to come...?

He said...

"... As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5 ESV

His Gift... made the way for Him to continue to be present in the world... through those who believe...

I'm beginning to see... even greater than before... the importance... of the Gift of His Spirit... the importance of laying down my life... for His... the importance of knowing the love with which the Gift was given... to have the confidence... to let Him lead...

By learning to boldly listen and obey His Spirit... prepares one to be light in the dark...

Lord... prepare me to shine for You today... and every day...
Be light in me... light up my life...

"...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ---Jesus
Matthew 5:16 ESV

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

the Gift...

The second week of a study...
a second week of lectio divina...
this week's passage... Acts 2:29-38...

This Jesus God raised up...
having received from the Father the promise
of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this
that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
...the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:32-38 ESV

Do you see it...?

Jesus's obedience... led to His perfection... and glorification...
in response... the Father gave Him... the promised Holy Spirit...

Before His crucifixion... suffering... and resurrection...
Jesus did not have the Holy Spirit to give...

...for as yet the Spirit had not been given,
because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 7:39 ESV

Father God promised it to Him... 
on completion of His mission on earth...
and return to heaven...

He Himself had access to the Spirit...
but He could not give it to others...

Jesus obeyed to receive the promised Gift...
One He could pour out on us... as gift...

The Holy Spirit is a gift of love...
an affirmation of His love for us...

The Holy Spirit... the Gift of the Lover... to the beloved...

And I wonder... 
Do I receive this Gift... in the same manner... in which it was given...? a love willing to lay down my life in order to gift the One I love...? Will I allow Him to perfect me through suffering... as a gift... to my Beloved...?

What about you...? do you recognize the depth of love... wrapped up in the Gift...? How do you respond...?

Lord... grow me to love You... as You love me...

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 90... and... forgot again...!

A full day... preparing for a full week...
led me to forget to post yesterday...

No excuses really...
even though I could list a few...
thought about it once... briefly...
then head filled... time filled...
with other things...
looking ahead...
instead of at the present...

I'm sure there's a Proverb for this somewhere...

Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.
Proverbs 23:19 ESV

His way is the way of present tense...
the only place He is... I am who I am...

I didn't direct my heart in the present...
too concerned with what was coming...
too concerned with the shortness of time... and the much to do...

In the looking forward...
I missed what was to be done in the moment...

Today... I find myself grateful for His grace...
and more attentive to today...

This week's readings...
Monday             Proverbs 30
Tuesday             Proverbs 31
Wednesday       Ecclesiastes 1-2
Thursday           Ecclesiastes 3-4
Friday                Ecclesiastes 5-6

Friday, September 18, 2015

waking song...

A waking song...
I had one this morning...
only the refrain... a few words...
invading first thoughts of the day...

Humming along...
not knowing the whole song... title... or artist...
one I'd heard before...
but not in a long time...

After searching...
I find the song...
Song of Hope...

And with the title...
I realize... He heard my heart...
He heard my brief prayer for hope...
in struggling with impatience...

He gave me a song of hope...



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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

unexpected preparation...

Last week's misfortune...
leads to this week's unexpected preparation...

The waiting for the sheriff and making of phone calls... regarding last week's robbery... caused me to miss a prayer meeting I lead...

This week's impatience... with slow... fritzy... computers... makes it difficult to prepare the guide for meeting to pray...

The unexpected prep... realized...
last week's guide... unused...
will suffice for this week's...

Amen...!

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies...
Psalm 23:5 ESV

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

patience... needed...

Patience...
I thought I had more than a bit...
today... I'm not so sure...

A slow... really... slow... computer...
reveals my impatience...
another on the fritz... highlights it bright...

I'm reminded of yesterday's moment of burden...
I suspect it was rooted in impatience...

The story I heard... centered on prayer...
a couple praying for twelve years... every day...
then one day... they recognized their prayers answered...

That's when the burden was uncovered...
the heart pressed...

Seeing today's impatience makes me connect it to the story of  prayer...

You see... there are things I've been praying for a long time...
years... and... years...

Instead of seeing encouragement in the story on answered prayer...
impatience surfaced...
the weight of waiting making me weary...

So here's the confession...
I... am... impatient...

Wondering what repentance looks like...
Another long haul...?
hmmm...

Cultivating patience is a long process...
waiting on... hoping for... hope...
surety of what I do not see...
certainty of what I hope for...

You also be patient. Establish your hearts,
for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James 5:8 ESV

Patience... expecting Him... any moment...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

moments...

Moments...
He revealed Himself today...
in odd moments...

A day pressed...
in a very full week...
moments of joy...
burst through...
unexpected...

A story over lunch...
heart stirred...
in a moment...
a burden revealed...
emotion overwhelms...

Moments...
He reveals His presence...
His love...
His grace...
in the oddest moments...

What moments did you have today...?

You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
Psalm 138:6 NLT

Monday, September 14, 2015

empowered to be an echo...

A spiritual discipline assigned through a study...
lectio divina... divine reading of the Word...

The passage assigned... Acts 2:1-12...
This passage portrays the birth of the Church...
the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on His people...
The Spirit empowered the disciples to tell the mighty works of God to those who were present...
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound... it filled the entire house... And divided tongues as of fire... rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together... bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. ... "...we hear them telling... the mighty works of God."...
 ---Acts 2:1-11, ESV
What caught my attention was the arrival of the Spirit as a sound...

I've heard Him called wind... and fire...
but never really noticed the Spirit arrived as a sound...
a sound like wind... but not wind...
the Spirit came from heaven as a sound...

Seeking word origin in Greek... I find...
echos (ay-khos)... 1. a sound, noise... 2. rumour, report
---Enhanced Strong's Lexicon
Do you see it...?
Yes... it's true...
The Greek word for sound in this verse... echos...
is the origin for our English word... echo...

And I remember the Holy Spirit never speaks on His own...
He only voices what He hears...
just like an echo...

 "...When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth,
for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears
he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine, therefore I said that he will
take what is mine and declare it to you. ..." ---Jesus
John 16:13-15 ESV

The Holy Spirit is an echo of truth!

In turn... as we see in verse 11 of Acts 2...
the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us...
to speak... report... echo... what the Spirit is sharing with us...
the mighty works of God...

By the power of the Spirit...
our lives... as Believers...
should be an echo to the world...
telling all about God's mighty works...
the greatest being salvation through His Son...
the ultimate Good News of the end of the war...
the end of the enmity... between God and man...
Creator and created...

And I wonder... and ask...
Lord... am I an echo of You from heaven...?

Am I using the power He fills me with for His glory...?

All Believers... are empowered to be an echo...
a God-glorifying echo of His mighty works...
to a dark world...

Are you being an echo of heaven...? or of the world...?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 89... and His sovereignty...

I see it again and again in Proverbs...
we can make all the plans we want...
but God's purpose is the one that will prevail...

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 ESV

A man's steps are from the Lord;
how then can man understand his way?
Proverbs 20:24 ESV

In His sovereignty...
He allows what He allows in our life...
He establishes steps...
He fulfills His purpose...

We don't even understand our way...
how things work out the way they do...
how we end up where we do...
when our plans were for something completely different...

There is a sure way... 
to be at peace with where we go...
let Him plan our way...

Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 ESV

This truth... the truth of His sovereignty...
should inspire... 
all elements for gaining wisdom...

Join The Journey through Proverbs...

This week's readings...
Monday             Proverbs 22:17 - 23:35
Tuesday             Proverbs 24
Wednesday       Proverbs 25
Thursday           Proverbs 26-27
Friday               Proverbs 28-29

Friday, September 11, 2015

revelation of growth...

Walking on the treadmill yesterday morning...
not very far into the routine...
my husband rushes in with words...

Over the noise of the tread... I heard something about... Rob...?
I'm wondering who Rob is as I hit the Stop button...

I hear him plainly...
We've been robbed... our cars were robbed last night...

Oh... bummer...
my morning's routine completely disrupted...

A call to the Sheriff's Department...
many calls to many credit card companies...
a call to the bank...
a missed prayer meeting...
calls to say I couldn't be there...

Now... as far as the robbing goes...
we could be partly to blame...

Two cars in the garage...
garage doors mostly closed...
but cars unlocked...
wallet and checkbook left in a car...
iPod in another...

But still... you do expect your stuff to be safe... in your own garage...

The surprise for me... my reaction...

It's not like this is the first time this has happened...
I've been robbed before...
twice that I can think of...
both times I felt angry... violated... unsafe...
even guilt... as if I'd done something to invite the theft...

Not this time...

My understanding... trust... in God has changed...
and with it I see His sovereignty in everything...
things to learn from this incident to be sure...
yet... I still feel safe... secure... at peace...

No feeling of violation...
disappointment at the loss of the iPod because of the current audiobook I was listening to...
annoyance at the inconvenience of no credit cards for a few days...
and a day being disrupted...
but otherwise... it's all good...

I see where I've grown in trusting Him...
even in the midst of injustice...

He allowed this theft...
to test hearts...
reveal character...
grow someone...

I pray the robber will have a listen to my iPod...
praise music...
Christian audiobooks...
some Bible...
maybe they will find Him...

Only He knows...
what the eternal purpose is in all this...
and apparently... I trust Him with it...

Great peace have they which love thy law:
And nothing shall offend them.
Psalm 119:165 KJV

Loving the law of His sovereignty and purpose in all things...
finding myself not so offended by a robbery...

Hmm... another revelation of growth...?
Perhaps...

Where are you seeing growth in you... through circumstances beyond your control...?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

thoughts on... persecution...

Persecution...
He uses it...
to spread His Word...

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
triggered by Stephen's death traveled as far as
Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch...
Acts 11:19 Msg

and purify His people...

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
Isaiah 48:10 ESV

Christians around the world...
endure much persecution...
China...
the Middle East...
North Korea...
Egypt...
Libya...
Indonesia...
and more...

So far... in North America...
we face very little serious persecution...
and what we do face... 
is not life-threatening...

But we do have our share of affliction... 
many different sorts...
every day...

Each difficulty from His hand...
whether large... or small...
has purpose...
Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ's own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, excepting as they are used by Him to this end.
---Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening
He is building a temple...
of all His people...
past... present... future...

Those being persecuted now...
are part of us...
who face affliction now...

There is One Church...
One Body...
One Head... Jesus Christ...

As we see persecution of our brothers and sisters...
face difficulties of our own...
let's remember they have one end...
perfection of each living stone...
to come together as one house of worship...

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials
of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith
produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 ESV

Pray for those who are persecuted...
pray for those who are afflicted...
pray for His purpose to be accomplished...
the spreading of His Word...
and purification of His people...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Prince of Peace...

Wow...
this is just one of those weeks...
where things feel totally out of control...

Earlier today...
stress tried to take hold...
rule my life...

When stress takes the lead...
it's hard to concentrate on one thing...
it's hard to do the things that take time...

Stress just makes me want to get things done...!
Anything...
some thing...
to try to alleviate the stress...
get something off the to-do list...

Instead of letting stress have its way...
I went to the Lord...
the Prince of Peace...

I prayed...
confessed...
asked...
thanked...
trusted...

Over the next few hours...
peace began to reign...

Still much to do...
still unsure how it will all get done...
circumstances remain unchanged...

But something within... has...

I can't explain it...
it makes no sense...
instead of stress...
a peaceful joy persists...

Oh Lord... You truly are the Prince of Peace...
I praise You for Your presence in my life...
I surrender to Your rule...
trust You to reign me in...
Amen... Amen... Amen...

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7 ESV

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

awe-full... anger...

There is an aspect of God's character that is awe-full...
one we should literally be full of awe over...

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103:8 ESV
 
He is... slow to anger...
 
We can too easily deceive ourselves... because He is slow to anger...
 
We can continue on a path of sin... with no immediate consequences...
 
Everything seems to be going along just fine...
there may have been a warning... or two...
friends giving wisdom you brush off...
maybe a twinge of guilt...
but you find your actions easy to justify...
 
God loves me... He forgives me...
 
Yes... He does love you...
He will forgive...
If you repent...
 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:9 ESV
 
His lack of immediate response to sin...
His patience...
His mercy...
His grace...
when we don't receive it properly... reverently...
may let us go deep down into a pit of destruction...
 
Just like the prodigal son...
or the kings of His chosen people...
and the nation of Israel...
 
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and trust shall be your strength."
But you were unwilling, and said, "No!..."
...therefore you shall flee away... your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Isaiah 30:15-17 ESV
 
A lack of understanding... of His slowness of anger...
can lead us to being pursued by the enemy...
till we are like a lone flag on the top of a hill...
a target... all alone... the consequences fearful... and grievous...
 
Stand in awe of His mercy... and grace...
or better yet...
bow low before Him... as One who is slow to anger...
 
Do not deceive yourself...
your sin is known...
it will have its effect...
 
Return to Him...
Rest in His way...
Know salvation...



Monday, September 7, 2015

learning to listen...

A large part of spiritual growth...
involves learning to listen...
to His Word...
to His Spirit...
to His promptings...

There's been many times in the past...
I've heard a thought...
considered it...
dismissed it...
and later thought...
Ahhh... that was Him...

This morning I woke with a thought...
one I thought yesterday...
but mostly resolved to dismiss...

When it woke me up...
I decided to listen...
He provided the time...
energy...
motivation...
to get it done...

I'm pretty sure it was Him...
His help in ordering my week...
but because I listened...
I may not know...
or recognize...
if it was Him...

When we dismiss His thoughts...
there is almost always regret...
a moment when you go...
I really should've listened...

But when we obey...
we don't always see the confirmation...
of all going well...
everything working out...
because there is no problem...
to get out attention...

Desiring to be more attentive to His voice...
avoid moments of regret...
be more active in His Kingdom...
so today...
I chose to listen...

You guide me with your counsel...
Psalm 73:24 ESV

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 88... and lessons from Proverbs bringing clarity to James...

Reading through Proverbs these last two weeks... has brought me to a clearer understanding of something James taught in his letter to the scattered church...
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
---James 1:22-25 ESV
James is saying... the Bible is a mirror... a spiritual mirror reflecting... revealing... our hearts...

It's so clear in Proverbs... with all its contrasts...

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 10:19 ESV

A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
Proverbs 11:17 ESV

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
Proverbs 11:28 ESV

In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23 ESV

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
Proverbs 15:18 ESV

The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
Proverbs 15:19 ESV

I'll confess... as I read some of these verses I see faces... not all of them mine...

But James teaches us... as we read the Word... we should be asking our self... Is this me...? Is this my reflection...?

Our self is the only one we have any semblance of control over... the only one whose thoughts we can change... the only one whose actions we can restrain...

When we read the Word... we need to see what it's saying about us...

If we don't... if we walk away not seeing... we deceive ourselves... and continue on a path of destruction...

No one looks in a mirror... sees a smudge of dirt... or worse... and leaves it there... we quickly take care of the problem...

We need to do the same when He reveals the truth of what's in our hearts...

The Bible is not just a book to ponder... it is a looking glass into our soul when we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth...

Don't walk away from His Word without a new revelation of self... don't leave the dirt on your face... receive the truth... persevere... repent... obey...

Journey into the Word... see what it has to say about you...

This week's readings...
Monday               Proverbs 16
Tuesday              Proverbs 17
Wednesday          Proverbs 18-19
Thursday           Proverbs 20
Friday                Proverbs 21:1 - 22:16

Friday, September 4, 2015

have i missed a word...?

Wondering about my hearing a bit lately...
not physical... but spiritual...

His words don't seem as loud...
as they have in the past...

It's not like He's silent...
I discern His presence...
in unexpected joy...
the prompt to pray...
the desire to give...

But the words... seem to be missing...
it's more like impressions...
it's more like it's part of me... (?)

So I wonder...
have I missed a word... from Him...?
is it more me... than Him...?
or is He becoming more... a part of me...?

Is this a sign of spiritual growth...?
when the current desires... before...
would have been an uncomfortable call...?
words pressed clear...?

I don't know...

I pray for less of me...
and more of Him...
is this what it feels like...?

This evening's devotional... Charles Spurgeon says of the Holy Ghost...
As the only truly purifying water He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord's good pleasures.
---Morning and Evening
My will... becoming His...?
in a way that does not feel discernible...?

I don't know... maybe...

"... Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me,
that they may be one, even as we are one. ..." ---Jesus
John 17:11 ESV

Thursday, September 3, 2015

where's the grace...?

I left church this week... saddened...
wondering... Where's the grace...?

A totally unexpected exhibition of gracelessness...
one often seen in and about in the world...
but when it happens within the church...
well... it stunned...
made me want to flee...

Still wrestling with the image of weeds among the wheat...
I long to pray... Weed out Your church...?
and then I remember... maybe that's not His prayer...

The church is a funny place...
not in a humorous way... but an odd way...

A group of broken people...
trying not to act broken...
some apparently clueless about their brokenness...

I started a book this week... where I read...
God does not work apart from sinful and flawed (forgiven, to be sure) men and women who are mostly without credentials.
---Eugene Peterson. Practice Resurrection
And I'm reminded... this is the medium in which God works...
the broken... the messy... the clueless...

So I pray for light... revelation of His grace...
receptive spirits... hearts... willing to accept conviction...
willing to repent...
willing to become fountains... sieves... of grace...

Father God... I'm so grateful for Your grace...
open the hearts of Your people... to receive Your grace...
share Your grace... so You may receive thanks and glory...

We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,
will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself
together with you. All of this is for your benefit.
And as God's grace reaches more and more people,
there will be great thanksgiving and God will receive
more and more glory.
2 Corinthians 4:14-15 NLT

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

feeling empty...

Feeling empty... at the end of the day...
needing Him to fill me up...

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalm 107:9 ESV

Lord... fill... my... soul...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

giving thanks... at the end of a day...

At the end of a day...
feeling more a failure...
than a success...
in my walk with Him...
I find myself thankful for grace...

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by his grace as a gift,
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...
Romans 3:23-24 ESV