Develope a Palate

Develope a Palate
Daily intake of the Word nourishes the Spirit. Jeremiah's Menu is an exercise in recognizing God's Word made flesh in and around me. Eating the Word in a way that supplies the spiritual nutrients needed to grow. The Menu is offered with the hope of inspiring you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Bon Appetite!

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Quote Du Jour

Quote du Jour
Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they have all one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the bread of life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes round we pledge one another heartily therein. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who are like yourself, supported by the same heavenly manna. ---Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Thursday, December 31, 2015

beginning and end...

Facing the end of a year...
and the beginning of another...
He comes to mind...
as Alpha and Omega...

"... I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Revelation 22:13 ESV

He was before the beginning...
and by Him and through Him...
time began...

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities --- all things were created
through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16 ESV

He is the Beginning...
the Author of life and faith...

He is the One who will bring time to an end...
He will have the last word...

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist
are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment
and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3:7 ESV

He is the End...
the One who brings all faith to completion...

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work
in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 ESV

He was in this year from beginning to end...
He will be in the next from beginning to end...

Grateful for His authority...
over all things...
from beginning to end...

Lord... You are the Beginning and End...
of last year... and the year to come...
of my life... from beginning to eternity...
Help me to remember You in all...
and through all...
The Alpha... and... The Omega...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

preparing for new...

Today's the day to pack it up...
all the trappings of Christmas...





A day to prepare for new...

Preparing a heart to keep advent fresh...
all through the year...
daily waiting...
for Him...

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:5 NASB95

Lord... teach me... lead me... prepare me...
to wait for You... in the new year...
to keep afresh... the daily preparation...
to practice... advent... daily... 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

lessons... from advent... part 2...

It started yesterday...
the explaining of the one big Advent lesson...
and continues today...

Advent is a state of heart...

The songs of Behold the Lamb of God...
specifically... A Labor of Love...
and the personal practice of daily communion...
brought me to this understanding of Advent...

The kind we do at Christmas...
just four-ish weeks out of the year...
preparing for a thing already done...
is no preparation at all...

The call to daily communion...
led to inviting those in my home to the table...

The few days around Christmas...
at times... found all five of us sharing the meal...
remembering Him...

In one of these times...
the invitation given...
my three children gathered...
the Word read...
bread blessed and passed...
the beautiful young woman...
the one I call Baby Girl...
she yawns... as she takes the bread to her mouth...

And that's when I saw it...
I wish I could've captured the moment...

I saw the early church...
the one described in Acts...
gathering daily...
for prayers...
lessons from the apostles...
fellowship...
and the meal...

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching
and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
...
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking
bread in their homes, they received their food with glad
and generous hearts, praising God...
Acts 2:42, 46-47 ESV

Daily they came...no matter how tired...
daily... to share... and remember...
daily... to gather as the church...

It came to me a few years ago...
every believing marriage... the basic building block of the church...
every believing family... a church in and of itself...

And here in my kitchen...
gathered around the island...
makings of dinner...
a single votive...
a single cracker...
a single glass of wine...
we remember Him...
we are the church...

I remember His life...
His death...
His resurrection...

I remember we are currently in a time of waiting...
a time of advent...

We are waiting for Him to return...

No one knew the date or time of His first coming...
No one knows the date or time of His second coming...

Like those who were prepared for His first arrival...
we are to prepare for His second...

To truly practice advent...
is to practice it in the everyday...
in the ordinary moments of life...

In the practice of weekly worship...
in daily communion...
in hopeful waiting...
in obedience...
in righteous living...
daily...
daily...
daily...
moment...
by...
moment...
remembering...
waiting...

Advent is a state of heart...

Father God... help me hold on to the lesson of Advent...
keep me looking forward not back...
keep my heart... in a state  of advent...

Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

Monday, December 28, 2015

lessons... from advent... part 1...

So... we're done with Advent... but are we...?!
The biggest lesson I learned from Advent this year...?

Advent is a state of heart...

From the practice of daily communion...
and songs from Behold the Lamb of God...
I now see advent as... everyday...

I'll try to share with you here...
the source of insight...
(most likely in two parts...)

It began with a song...
re-listening... on a walk...
A Labor of Love...

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyway that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
Little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
And no mother's hand to hold

--- Andrew Peterson, Behold the Lamb of God

Listening... I realized no one was prepared...
for the very first Christmas...

Only four knew for sure He was coming...
but even His parents... Mary... Joseph...
were unprepared for His arrival...

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that all the world should be registered. This was the first
registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town
of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is
called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and
lineage of David, to be registered with Mary,
his betrothed, who was with child. And while they
were there, the time came for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped
him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:1-7 ESV

There were no wreaths on doors...
no wrapping of gifts to celebrate...
no carolers in the streets...
no special services... to prepare hearts for His birth...

The first Christmas was an ordinary day...
people going about their daily lives...
in the life of the Roman Empire...

The irony of Advent... waiting... preparing for Jesus's birth...
is that it's already done...
we see it from the rearview mirror...

It's easy to prepare when you know the date...

But Jesus... His first coming... came quietly...

Those who were prepared to see Him...
were those who... in their everyday way...
positioned themselves before God...
humbly... daily...

Practicing daily prayers...
practicing weekly Sabbath...
practicing righteousness with neighbors and strangers alike...
despite His four hundred years of silence...

To prepare for Christmas...
to practice Advent just the four Sundays before...
is no preparation at all...

It's done...
it's past...
it's not what we're waiting for...

I'm not saying don't celebrate...
I'm saying... it might need to look different...
more like the daily... than just a season...
more of a living in... what's already come...
than a re-enacting of... what's already done...

Lesson one...
Only practicing Advent at Christmas...
is no practice... at... all...

Advent is a daily labor of love...


Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 104... and listening to His Word...

The importance and blessing of listening to Him through His Word seen this week on The Journey...

Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will]
and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive;
and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you,
even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion)
promised to David.
Isaiah 55:3 Amp

To listen... to incline your ear to Him...
means to submit... obey... what you hear...

In the obedience of listening...
souls are revived...
mercy received...

He speaks most often... 
through His Word... Scripture...

The Word made flesh... Jesus... by way of the Spirit... speaks to us through His text...

Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man
his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord,
and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, 
for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways
your ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:7-9 Amp

All of us... apart from Him... are wicked...
therefore we must put away our thoughts...
and discard our ways...

His ways are different... higher...
His thoughts and reasonings... unlike ours...
this is why we listen to His Word...
and not our own understanding...

His Word... when truly listened to...
produces a harvest in our life...

For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens,
and return not there again, but water the earth
and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed
to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth:
it shall not return void [without producing any effect, useless],
but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose,
and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11 Amp

Time spent in His Word... is never fruitless...
where seeds are planted... truth will grow...
when listened to with an obedient heart...

Don't waste time with self-help... 
or the wisdom of the worldly...
don't be led astray... listen to Him...

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your earnings for what does not satisfy?
Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good,
and let your soul delight itself in fatness
[the profuseness of spiritual joy].
Isaiah 55:2 Amp

Get your daily dose of truth to satisfy your soul...
join The Journey...

This week readings:
Monday              Isaiah 60-61
Tuesday              Isaiah 62-64
Wednesday         Isaiah 65-66
Thursday             1 Thessalonians 1-3
Friday                1 Thessalonians 4-5

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day...

It's here...! the culmination of twenty-five days...!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration when Quirinius
was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered,
each to his own town. And Joseph also went up
from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth,
to Judea, to the city of David, which is called
Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David,
to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,
who was with child. And while they were there,
the time came for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son
and wrapped him in swaddling cloths
and laid him in a manger, because
there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:1-7 ESV

Christmas... it's more than a Babe in a manger...
swaddled up in that manger is...
wonder...
justice...
peace...
love...
grace...
mercy...
salvation...
freedom...
life...
forgiveness...
power...
majesty...
authority...
glory...
splendor...
healing...
redemption...
joy...
righteousness...
faithfulness...
fulfillment...
hope...
God...
the Word made flesh...

The manger contains...
the promise of more...
the reason to wait...
the motivation to trust...

Consider this day... on the celebration of His birth-day...
What do you see...? experience...? wrapped up in the manger...?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 ESV

Peace... joy... love... to you and yours...
Merry Christmas...

P.S. Would love to hear your thoughts... on what's in the manger... perhaps what you've seen these twenty-five days... leave a comment in the comment box below the post... if you don't see the box... click the post title... Christmas Day... and scroll to the bottom...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

one day...

One day till Christmas...
for most... it seems like less...
festivities begin this Christmas Eve...

Still so much to do...
unsure how it will happen...
looking forward with anticipation to what will get done...

Feeling the same about these twenty-five days...
He did... does... so much...
He is... so great... more than we can fathom... discover...

John wrote...

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.
Were every one of them to be written, I suppose
that the world itself could not contain the books
that would be written.
John 21:25 ESV

With all that He is...
what we've seen... what we haven't...
we end the twenty-five days...
with Him as Gift...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but
have eternal life. For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world, but in order
that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17 ESV

A gift is given...
and God gave His Son...
as a gift of grace... mercy... redemption...
gift... something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)
Gifts given... are given freely...
no compensation...
no payment required...
no strings attached...
that's a real gift...

But with freely given gifts...
we also have the right to refuse...

Or... we can receive...
but never unwrap it...
never open it up...

The same is true of Jesus...

Through Him... God offers...
the free gift of salvation... grace... mercy...

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8 ESV

The gift of Jesus... comes to us... completely undeserved... 
a gift of grace... unearned... unmerited...

When received... by faith...
the gift of Jesus... opens for us...
the way of freedom... peace... joy...

There is therefore now no condemnation for those
who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life
has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,
could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
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 8:1-4 ESV

Freedom from sin... death... fear...

The Word says... sin holds us in a death grip...
and the root of fear is punishment...
because we have become God's enemies...

But by receiving the gift of grace Jesus offers...
we are freed up from all that binds...

Jesus is a gift given... to the whole world...

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise
as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,
not wishing that any should perish, 
but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 ESV

Yet there are those who refuse to receive...

Then there are those who receive...
however... they refuse to trust the Gift...
with difficulties... or wealth... or worry...

They continue living as if still bound...
when chains have been broken...
cell doors flung open...
death-sentence repealed...

The Gift of Jesus...
receive...
unwrap...
trust...
He is the Greatest Gift ever given...
to a dark... cold... broken... lost... world...

And the angel said to them,
"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 ESV

Have you received Him...? do you trust Him...? do you live freely by His grace...?

Father God... continue to grow me...
in the joy... freedom... grace... and love...
of the Greatest Gift... You've ever given...

Bless me with the time to unwrap...
as much of Him as possible...


Note to email subscribers... If you only read via email... know you are one day behind... to read the actual post for Christmas Day... go to Jeremiah's Menu... today...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

two days...

The single digit days...
get smaller and smaller...
two days till Christmas...

It's funny... but in these coming close days... it feels like more time than way back at twenty-five days... two... whole... days... to prepare... what remains to be...

A lot of life can happen in just two days...
and that is who He is today...
Life...

He is the source of life...

He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made
that was made. In him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
John 1:2-4 ESV

He is the reason for life...

For by him all things were created,
in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities ---
all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16 ESV

He is the sustainer of life...

And he is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 ESV

He meets our basic needs... our daily needs...

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me shall not hunger,
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. ..."
John 6:35

...Jesus stood up and cried out,
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"
John 7:37-38 ESV

Bread and water... the bare necessities of life...
He is what we need to survive...

But He didn't come to merely sustain...
He came to give life abundant...

"...I came that they may have life
and have it abundantly. ..."
John 10:10 ESV

to satisfy...

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Isaiah 55:2 ESV

to fill...

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5 ESV

He is... life eternal...

"... And this is eternal life,
that they know you the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ..."
John 17:4 ESV

Knowing Jesus...
knowing God through Him...
this is the Bread... the Life...
that sustains eternally...

He humbled you, causing you to hunger
and then feeding you with manna,
which neither you nor your fathers had known,
to teach you that man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3

Jesus... He is the Word... from the mouth of the Lord...

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son
from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 ESV

He came to show us we need more... than just physical bread...
we need more... than what feeds the flesh...

Since the Fall... we have been the walking dead...
spiritually dead... separated from God...
destined to die...

This Babe in the manger...
He came to reveal real Life...
make the Way... for Life...

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. ..."
John 14:6 ESV

Life in the Spirit...
Life abundant...
Life eternal...

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 ESV

Lord... You are Life...
Teach me to live my everyday... ordinary life... with You... 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

three days...

Three days... till Christmas...
What more can get done...?




What more can be said... about Him...
the Babe who came down like dew...
to teach us... show us... love... and how to...?

He came to bring justice...
fulfill the law... as only He could...
interceding between Creator and created...
He came to make peace...

He not only stands between us and the Father...
He stands between us... and the accuser... the enemy...
the one who condemns...
spews hate... and judgment...
the one who calls for the death penalty...
the one who came only to kill... steal... destroy...

From the time of Job...
the work of the enemy...
always tempered by God...

But now in Christ...
Believers shall have no fear of accusation...
all is cleared...

There is therefore now no condemnation for those
who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life
has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,
could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness
of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
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 8:1-4 ESV

The enemy continues to ask permission...
to devour... destroy... demean...
but Jesus stands between him and us...

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,
that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you
that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned again,
strengthen your brothers."
Luke 22:31-32 ESV

The you in this sentence... plural...
Simon Peter... the representative of all Believers...

Jesus intercedes on behalf of our faith...
every action of the enemy...
He uses for a purpose...
to strengthen faith...

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted
beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also
provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

Jesus... our escape route... from temptation...
the one who tempers each trial...
for our good... and His glory...

We have no need to fear the enemy...
no time to waste on his accusations...
he is but a tool in the Lord's hands...
to perfect His people...

A day is coming... when the test will be done...
the trial over... the enemy defeated...

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
"Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of 
the brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them
day and night before our God. And they have conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,
for they loved not their lives even unto death. ..."
Revelation 12:10-11 ESV

Jesus... Intercessor...
strengthening our faith...
through trial... and prayer...

Stand firm... 
know your escape route from the enemy...
close your ears to his accusations...
the One on your side... is greater...

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them,
for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 ESV

Lord Jesus... thank You for interceding between me and the enemy...
Thank You for all You do... allow... to strengthen my faith...
that I might have a testimony... to encourage others...

Monday, December 21, 2015

four days...

Oh my... it's soooo close...
the last Monday before Christmas...
only four more days to prepare...

I wonder at all the preparation...
what's done... what's left to do...

I wonder how to stay focused on what really matters...
so taking time here... to center... on Him...
my prayer... that it helps you too...

God's Word came down... like dew...
a Babe... a humble beginning... birthed in a barn...
a promised King... shooting up from a stump of a nation...
a Light... descending into great darkness...
bringing revelation of the Father's love...
and revelation of how to live...

Today I hear Him say...
He came to intercede...

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
Isaiah 59:15-16 ESV

He saw the injustice of the world...
the darkness... perverting truth...
there was no one to intercede on behalf of mankind...
so He brought about justice with His own arm...
sent His Son... as Savior...

From the moment Eve ate the forbidden fruit...
we became His enemy...
we chose a different lord...
a different side...

From that moment...
we needed an intercessor...
a mediator...

Jesus took our place on the cross...
interceding between us and the Father...

And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do."
Luke 22:34 ESV

Jesus... Son of God... Son of Man...
fulfilled the Law... on the cross...
bringing about justice...
receiving God's wrath...
making the Way for mankind...
to be wholly righteous...
through faith... in His work on the cross...

Now this may sound like Jesus is all for us...
the Father against us...
but remember... it was the Father who longed for justice...
righteousness... and brought it about Himself...
through His Son...

It was the Father's will...
for Jesus to be crucified...
in place of His beloved... rebellious... creatures...

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
For if, when we were God's enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more having been reconciled, shall we be
saved through his life! Not only is this so,
but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 4:8-11

He continues to this day... as our intercessor...

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost
those who draw near to God through him,
since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:25 ESV

He always lives... to make intercession for them... those who believe...

He interceded with the Father...
to make the way for our freedom...
to save us from condemnation...
to deem us righteous...

Who is to condemn?
Christ Jesus is the one who died ---more than that, who was raised---
who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Romans 8:34

Jesus... thank You for making intercession for me...
for being my Mediator...

Help me to live in the reality of righteousness...
holiness... free from condemnation...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Journey Readings: Week 103... and... five days...

Christmas... just five days away...
how much more of Him can we uncover...
in just five... short... days...?

How much more can I get done...?
in just five short days...?

He came as Light... to a dark world...
a land of great darkness...

The reading through... again this week...
affirmed... highlighted... the truth of yesterday's writing...

He came for the blind...
for those who knew they could not see...

He came for those...
prepared to receive...
based upon their need...

And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not;
I will lead them in paths that they have not known.
I will make darkness into light before them
and make uneven places into a plain.
These things I have determined to do [for them];
and I will not leave them forsaken.
Isaiah 42:16 Amp

He came to lead the blind...
in a way they don't know...
could not know...
apart from Him...

He makes the darkness light...
uneven places... He smooths out...
no stumbling... no tripping...
He will not leave us alone...
He will not forsake us...

But understand...
He came for the blind...
not the smart...
not the clever...
not for those worldly wise... who have all the answers...
not for those who know the way...

He came for the sick... the needy...
the lame... and the lost...

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold,
many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus
and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this,
they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat
with tax collectors and sinners ?" But when he heard it,
he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician,
but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means,
'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call
the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 9:10-13 ESV

He came to the blind... so they could see...
but to those who think they see... blindness overtakes them...

Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world,
that those who do not see may see, and those who see
may become blind."
John 9:39 ESV

The Light makes those who don't know they are blind... cringe...
it hurts the eyes... to stand in light... after so much darkness...

In their blindness... those who believe they see... love the dark... 
they have been deceived into believing... they are right...

"... And this is the judgment: the light has come
into the world, and people loved the darkness
rather than the light because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come to the light, lest his works should
be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to
the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works
have been carried out in God."
John 3:19-21 ESV

Light... truth... do you love it...? or hate it...?
Does it make you cringe...? lash out...? when truth is revealed...?
about you...? or a loved one...?

Do you love His Word...? His truth...? is it a light to your path...?
or are you all about your own way...?

Consider... He came for the blind...
he came for sinners...
He came to seek and save the lost...

How well do you think you see...?

Lord... I know You... I thank You for seeking me...
and finding me... but I also confess... I am still so blind...
so much I don't know... don't understand...
I need You to lead me... make the darkness light around me...
smooth out my way... as I follow You...

This week's readings...
Monday                   Isaiah 48-49
Tuesday                   Isaiah 50-51
Wednesday             Isaiah 52-54
Thursday                 Isaiah 55-57
Friday                      Isaiah 58-59

Saturday, December 19, 2015

six days...

Six days... till we celebrate the birth of our Savior...

What are you doing to celebrate Him...?

The One who came... poor and needy...
a Babe in a feed trough... no place for Him in the world...
came to show us who we are...
and how to live in response to that truth...

He came to reveal the great love of the Father...
who knows we are poor and needy...
who loves us in our rebellion that led to poverty...

He came to bring Truth... Light...
to a dark... blind... world...

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2 ESV

Darkness... an absence of light...
metaphorically... a place of ignorance... and stumbling...

Light... something that makes vision possible...
metaphorically... understanding... knowledge...

Light... obliterates darkness...
they cannot exist together...

Shadows only exist... where something blocks light...
where there is misunderstanding... perverted perception...

Jesus came to bring truth... knowledge...
clear up misconceptions about God...
His love... and His law...

Walking in a land of deep darkness...
previous to His coming...
mankind's perception of himself...
and the Creator...
became terribly skewed... twisted...

Jesus came to reveal... bring light... be Light...
so we would no longer have to stumble around in the dark...

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 8:12 ESV

Who knew...? the brightest light in the universe... on the night of His birth...? lay in a manger... on a dark night...?

Father God knew...! He sent His heavenly host to proclaim the glorious good news...

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them,
"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby
wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
among those with whom he is pleased!"
Luke 2:9-14 ESV

...good news of great joy... we no longer have to walk in the dark...!

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness
has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5 ESV

Lord... at times it feels very dark around me...
like I'm stumbling in the dark... remind me...
this is not a place I have to stay...
following You... there is light...
I NEVER have to walk in darkness...!


Friday, December 18, 2015

seven days...

Seven days... only... seven days till Christmas...
this time next week... will bring the joy of celebration...

Are you ready...?!

The gift experienced yesterday... Behold, the Lamb of God...
helped prepare a heart...
grateful for the time and gift...
grateful for the one with whom I went...

Grateful for these twenty-five days...
and the call to focus on Him...

Christmas... a time of thanks...
for a promise answered...
a gift received...

Jesus... the fulfillment of the promise...
a forever King...
a Promised Land...
a Life Eternal...

A gift received... only by recognizing... our need...

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prisons to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion --- to give them
a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness
instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead
of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV

He came to the poor... with good news...
to the brokenhearted... with healing...
to the captive... with liberty...
to a stump of a world... with hope of life...

Poor and needy...

These words echo through my mind...
recognizing... this is who we are...
this is how He came...

His humble dependence...
from cradle to cross...
no crib... no bed...
no place to call home...
even in death... a borrowed tomb...
showed us who we really are...
He came to live like us...
reveal our poverty...

Poor and needy...

Unless we know the reality of our need...
we will not receive the promise... the gift...
we'll miss it altogether...

The Pharisees in their pride missed it...
actually dismissed it...
disposing of it on a cross... (or so they thought...)

Poor and needy...

He knocks on the door...
but only those who recognize their need...
their blindness...
their dis-ease...
answer it...

"... For you say, I am rich, I have prospered,
and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy
from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich,
and white garments so that you may clothe yourself
and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen,
and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. ..."
Revelation 3:17-18 ESV

Those who think they are "blessed"...
let Him knock... and knock... and knock...

"...Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. ..."
Revelation 3:20 ESV

To receive the gift...
to open the door...
you have to hear the message...
receive the truth...
You are poor and needy...
let Me in... so I can heal...
provide... make new...

Are you poor and needy...? or do you have it all together...?

Me... I pray with the psalmist...

As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
Psalm 40:16 ESV


Thursday, December 17, 2015

eight days...

Eight days... till Christmas... is anticipation rising...?
Today... for me... it is...

This evening... I'm unwrapping an early Christmas present... a friend and I gifted one another with tickets... to a musical rendition of the Christmas story... Behold the Lamb of God...

Waking this morning... asking Him who He is today in these twenty-five days... I hear Him say... The Lamb...

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

Going back to Genesis... we get our first glimpse... of the Lamb...

Abraham... asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac... 
the son of promise...
lay his life down... as an offering...

This father of the faithful... obeyed... traveling three days to Mount Moriah... three days... contemplating the death of his beloved-long-waited-for son... by his own hand...

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac
his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went
both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham,
"My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "Behold,
the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt
offering, my son." So they both went together.
Genesis 22:6-8 ESV

And He did provide...
a ram caught in a thicket...
a substitute to take Isaac's place...

Behold... the Lamb of God...

In Exodus... we see the Lamb in the Passover...
the final step to freedom from slavery...
for the Israelites oppressed in Egypt...

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
"This month shall be for you the beginning of months.
It shall be the first month of the year for you.
Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day
of this month every man shall take a lamb according to
their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the
household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest
neighbor shall take according to the number of persons;
according to what each can eat you shall make your count
for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish,
a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or
from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day
of the month, when the whole assembly of the congregation
shall kill their lambs at twilight.
"Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on
the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which
they eat it. ... In this manner you shall eat it:
with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet,
and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste.
It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land
of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the
land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods
of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood
shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. 
And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague
will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. ..."
Exodus 12:1-7, 11-13 ESV

The lamb sacrificed... eaten...
its blood a covering from judgment...

Behold... the Lamb of God...

And John the Baptizer...
who made the way...
saw Him first...

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

Behold... it means to see... gaze upon...

In this season... for me... with the daily practice of Examen... Communion... and the writing of the Twenty-five Days... I feel this word... Behold...

Beholding Him each day...
in prayer... Word... bread and wine...

His Body broken...
His blood poured out...
a substitute sacrifice...
the covering of His blood...
salvation from judgment...
for me...
for you...

Behold... the Lamb of God...

Do you see Him...? have you gazed upon Him...?

Contemplate Him... in these single-digit days... til Christmas...

Lord... prepare my heart to behold...
to see You... remember You... gaze upon You...
each day...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

nine days...

We're into single digits...
nine days till Christmas...
hanging on to the hope...
of peace... joy... calm...
an unhurried pace...
over these single digit days...

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!"
Isaiah 6:3 ESV

Holy is the Lord...
who came to show us how to love...
to trust... obey...
live Spirit-led...

Holy... set apart... pure... perfect...
He stooped low...
He came to get dirty...

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned --- every one --- to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:2-6 ESV

...the Lord has laid on Him... the iniquity of us all...

Can you get any dirtier...? than the iniquity of us all...?
every person... past... present... future...?

The One who had no spot or blemish...
not a speck... not a muss...
lowered Himself from His lofty majestic holiness...
His glory... His splendor...
to shoot up out of dry ground... out of a stump...
to take onto Himself...
ALL SIN... ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS... ALL EVIL...

The One who did no wrong... came to take the blame...
came to bear the wrath... receive the rod... that led to death...

The eternal... the timeless... the unending...
came to live a life that ended...
in humility... disgrace... crucified...

Holy... Holy... Holy... is the Lord...
The whole earth... is full... of His glory...

This love that gets dirty... it's holy... it's glorious...

Now that's a thought... holy love gets dirty... for the sake of another...

Have you gotten dirty lately...? stooped low in love...?

Lord... Holy Lord... perfect in every way....
blameless and pure... help me understand...
this holy love... that willingly gets dirty...
to save another...

Take a moment to worship Him...
on this single digit day...
sing along... Here I Am to Worship...


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ten days...

Ten days...
the days grow shorter...
and the time till Christmas closer...

What emotion rises first...? as you think of the shortness of time...?
Is that the response He wants you to have...?

He came to reveal...
He came to teach...
He came to show us how to live...
He came to empower us to live like Him...

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2 ESV

All Jesus did... He did in the power of the Spirit...
His living...
His loving...
His trusting...
His teaching...

By the power of the Holy Spirit...
He lived dependent on the Father...

This is what He showed us...
the power of the Spirit...

This is what He gave us...
made the Way for...
the empowering of the Spirit...

"... Nevertheless, I tell you the truth:
it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away,
the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. ..."
John 16:7 ESV

Jesus... He teaches... shows... models for us...
life in the power of the Spirit...

He made the Way... for us to be empowered by the Spirit...

The Holy Spirit... God... His Breath... His Soul...
could not live in hearts condemned by sin...

Through Jesus's sacrifice... He cleansed our souls... our hearts...
so we might have communion... fellowship... peace... with God...

Through the Way of forgiveness by faith in Christ Jesus...
we receive the indwelling of the Spirit...

The same power that sustained Jesus...
empowered Him in all His Ways...
from teaching to healing...
from dying to rising...
and everything in between...
dwells in us... abides in us... 
this is by Whom we are to live...

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also
do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do,
because I am going to the Father. ..." --- Jesus
John 14:12 ESV

Upon rising from the grave...
He went to the Father...
and the Father sent the promised Holy Spirit...
by Whom we are to live...
doing even greater works than He...

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control...
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

How are you when it comes to living like Jesus...? dependent on... empowered by the Spirit...? is there evidence of fruit...? is there evidence of your dependence on Him...?

Lord Jesus... thank You for making the Way...
Thank You for the Spirit...
Thank You for showing me the Way...

Bless me with the ability to walk in the Spirit...
to walk Your Way...

Monday, December 14, 2015

eleven days...

Today... eleven days left till Christmas...
yesterday's Sabbath rest...
included a little decorating...




It's beginning to look like Christmas...
but is my heart looking forward to Him...?

He came to reveal...
the Father's heart...

He came to teach...
fear of the Lord...

He came to show us how to live...

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear.
Isaiah 11:1-3 ESV

Jesus... 
God.... Creator... King... stooped down...
took the form of a man... servant... creature... Son...
and lived a life... fully dependent on the Father...

He did not judge by what He saw...
He did not decide by what He heard...
He asked the Father...

He didn't do a thing... apart from Him...

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing of his own accord,
but only what he sees the Father doing.
For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. ..."
John 5:19 ESV

"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge,
and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will
but the will of him who sent me. ..."
John 5:30 ESV

"... For I have not spoken on my own authority,
but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment ---
what to say and what to speak. ..."
John 12:49 ESV

He did not lean on His own understanding...
or judge how He saw fit...
everything He did... 
He did in dependence on the Father...

He did not store up for Himself...
He trusted the Father each day...
for daily needs...

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Luke 9:57

He taught His disciples... a prayer of dependence...

"...Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, 
as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. ..."
Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

Jesus...
the Babe laid in the manger...
the Rabbi who preached...
the Lamb sacrificed...
taught us with His whole life...
to be dependent...

He showed us... how to live dependent on the Father...
trusting... resting... obeying... in His way...

Lord... teach me to live wholly dependent...
never falling to the lies of the world... I can...
You rested in the manger... wholly dependent... wholly vulnerable...
knowing Your Father to be wholly trustworthy...
Help me to know Him too...