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!

Receive Jeremiah's Menu by Email

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 109... and be prepared to speak...

Readings from three books this week...
New Testament... and Old...
each with a similar message...

Be prepared to speak His Word... His Truth...
convenient or inconvenient...
in all respects...
whether they listen or not...

Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency
[stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity
seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is 
convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome
or unwelcome, you as a preacher of the Word
are to show people in what way their lives are wrong].
And convince them, rebuking and correcting,
warning and urging and encouraging them,
being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience
and teaching.
2 Timothy 4:2 Amp

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works,
and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be
put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8 ESV

And you shall speak My words to them whether
they will hear or refuse to hear, for they are most rebellious. ...
And go, get you to the [Jewish] captives [in Babylon],
to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them,
Thus says the Lord God, whether they hear or refuse to hear.
Ezekiel 2:7, 3:11 Amp

Timothy... Titus... Ezekiel...
three godly men...
servants of the Lord...
all told in their time...
to speak His Word...
no matter the cultural climate...

...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season...
2 Timothy 4:2 ESV

We too... as followers of Jesus...
need to be prepared... to speak... model... preach...
His Truth... NO EXCUSES...!

The Lord gave Ezekiel a gift... of sorts...
one I've prayed for myself... at times...
a gift suited to help in the pursuit of speaking His Word...
regardless of how it is received...

"... Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces,
and your forehead as hard as their foreheads.
Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead.
Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks,
for they are a rebellious house."
Ezekiel 3:8-9 ESV

God blessed Ezekiel with a hard head...!
I've prayed to be hard-headed for the Lord also...
maybe we all should... those of us who love Him and follow Him...
for the cultural climate will continue to become less and less...
receptive to Truth...

For the time is coming when people will not endure
sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate
for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
and will turn away from listening to the truth
and wander of into myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV

Be prepared... to speak His Word...
no matter the climate...
or the culture...

"A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed,
some seeds fell along the path... Other seeds fell
on rocky ground... Other seeds fell among thorns...
Other seeds fell on good soil..."
Matthew 13:3-9 ESV

Amen...

This week's readings...
Monday             Ezekiel 8-10
Tuesday             Ezekiel 11
Wednesday        Ezekiel 12-13
Thursday            Ezekiel 14-15
Friday                Ezekiel 16

Friday, January 29, 2016

inspiration...

Inspiration... a word echoing through my thoughts of late...
a word with double meaning...
inspiration noun... 1 a: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions... 2:  the act of drawing in; specifically: the drawing of air into the lungs ... 
---www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inspiration

The reading through of 2 Timothy brings it to mind...

 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

Scripture...
the Word... 
breathed out by God...
the place we find inspiration... 
for life...

Do you see it...?

He breathes it out...
we breathe it in...
inspiration...

We breathe in His breath when we spend time in His Word... meditating by the power of the Holy Spirit...

He breathes out...
we breathe in...
inspiration...

His Word gives us life...
like the air we breathe...
in... out...

The difference...?
His Word...
breathed in...
gives eternal life...

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life;
whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life...
John 3:36 ESV

Breathe Him in...
live life...
inspired...

Father God... let me feel Your breath...
breathing out Your Word... in my life...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

a day...

A day... one He made...

A day to celebrate...

A day to find joy...

A day to seek counsel...

A day for work...

A day for changes...

A day to love...

A day to serve...




A day ending in a quiet sunset...

This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 HCSB

What did you find in His day today...?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

sometimes... His way is just counterintuitive...

Teaching fourth graders Bible today... we talked about temptation...
and Jesus's bout with it in the wilderness... right after His baptism...

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1 NIV

I asked the question... Who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted...?

Not one... but two said... Satan... The devil...

Then I reminded them... Read the Scripture... that's where you'll find the answer...

Heads turned down to open books...
In a moment one read... Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted...

Some eyes went wide as they realized...
God led Jesus into the wilderness...
He ordained this time of temptation...

It just seems counterintuitive... that God the Father...
would set His Son up... to be tempted...

But in His sovereignty... that's what He does...

For Jesus it was a test... proving Himself as the Lamb of God...
sinless... without blemish... able to resist... remain pure...

For us... when He allows temptation in our lives...
leading us... calling us... into the wilderness at times...
it's an opportunity to build spiritual muscle...

Jesus had a purpose in the desert...
He fasted forty days and forty nights...
practiced a spiritual discipline...

Anytime we enter into a spiritual discipline...
especially fasting... we enter a wilderness...
invite temptation...

Again... it's purposeful... a time to build spiritual muscle...

Every time we resist temptation... we grow in faith...
strengthen our ability to obey...

Even when we fall to temptation... we learn to recognize it a little sooner when it comes... for us it's about being transformed spiritually into Christ's character...

Remember... God's way is not always what we think it should be...
sometimes... it leads us to difficulties... trials... temptations...

No one undergoing a trial should say,
"I am being tempted by God." For God is not tempted
by evil, and He Himself doesn't tempt anyone.
But each person is tempted when he is drawn away
and enticed by his own evil desires.
James 1:13-14 HCSB

So the next time you face temptation...
remember... in His sovereignty... He allowed it...
but at the heart of each temptation...are your own evil desires...

Desires that need to be identified... and eliminated...

Temptation... a time for spiritual purification... when we stand firm and resist...

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
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

Trust Him with the temptations He allows in your life...
it's counterintuitive... I know... but it has a purpose...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

a picture of joy...

He said it two days ago...
Mom... I've got to show you this video...


The word that came to mind as I smiled and watched...

JOY...!

This giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington DC...
is a picture of joy...
pure joy...

I haven't been able to get it out of my mind...
and I watched it again today...
wondering... Where do I experience that kind of joy...?

Then it hit me...
this panda... rolling... rubbing... rolicking...
is a physical picture of the spiritual joy I feel...
spending time in His Word...
when He is so present... I can hardly stand it...

It's the Word that forms the foundation of this blog...
of what happens here...

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my JOY and my heart's delight,
for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.
Jeremiah 15:16
(emphasis added)

I pray you find joy in His Word...
the kind that makes you want to rub your Bible on your head...
wishing with all your might... you could just pour it right in you...

For those who bear His name... His character...
His Word... is... their... heart's... delight...

Monday, January 25, 2016

freedom... to be poor...

This feels like a long story...
one I'm not sure where to begin...
it's been so long in the making...

The call to write... teach... encourage others in His Word...
is not one I feel equipped... prepared... trained... to do...

This place... this blog... this table...
it's the place of rough stuff... first drafts...
the pouring out... of what He's pouring in...

So when she makes the challenge...
to promote this place... let more people know it's here...
invite more to the table... openly...
I cringe...

She asks...
Where does this attitude come from...?

The question causes me to wrestle...
the wrestling with Him... turns into recognition of whining...
a prayer ensues...

I'm whining... Lord... forgive me...!
You know my challenge...
fear of putting too much of me...
in what I write here...
and wondering what people think...
and is it good enough...

But You call... and I give...
so it must be enough...
like the widow with her two cents...
she gave publicly... openly...
giving all she had...

She openly gave out of her poverty...
all she had... for all to see...

Lord... from the world's perspective...
she was poor... pathetic...
but You saw her as one giving out of abundance...
an abundance of faith...

And he sat down opposite the treasury
and watched the people putting money into
the offering box. Many rich people put in large
sums. And a poor widow came in and put in
two small copper coins, which make a penny.
And he called his disciples to him and said to them,
"Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more
than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
For they all contributed out of their abundance,
but she out of her poverty has put in everything
she had, all she had to live on."
Mark 12:41-44 ESV

Today... I'm that poor widow...
when it comes to writing about Your Word...

I'm poverty-stricken... when it comes to degrees...
diplomas... formal education... credentials...
regarding theology... Greek... Hebrew... 
and hermeneutics...

But here... I publicly lay out my offering...
giving what I believe You're calling me to...

Giving willingly...
out of the abundance of faith... You have blessed me with...

Giving... writing...
based on the promise... that You will teach...

"I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer 
will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, 
'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least
to the greatest of them" --- this is the Lord's declaration.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 HCSB

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
Isaiah 54:13 ESV

Giving everything I have... by faith... that it is You that I hear... and in faith... that if I get it wrong... You have the power to work it for good...

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

Willing to go public...
hoping to please You...

So... today I go public... sharing my wrestling...
embracing the freedom... to be poor...
in the face of so much writing from those who are rich...
in degrees... credentials... education...

Understanding... my shame... the desire to stay invisible...
is really being ashamed of Him... of what He's doing in me...

This freedom thing... it's challenging...
but how I want to be free...

I wonder... is there something He's calling you to...? where you feel poor... poverty-stricken...? not good enough to do...? no credentials...? according to the world...?

I encourage you... exercise your freedom... to be poor...
because in Him... whatever you give... will come out of His abundance...

[Note... the one who challenged me to go public... also said... I had to share my story... I have many... but today... this is the one I'm led to share... I'm the poor widow... openly giving... her two small coins... really less than two cents... dismissing the shame... of not being a legitimate teacher... in the eyes of the world... choosing to see me... through Him... Amen...]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 108... bending.. always an issue...

The need to be bent... obey His will... has always been an issue...

In the Old Testament...
Daniel and his friends... exiled...
even though they were faithful...
the nation as a whole would not bend...
faithful and unfaithful alike...
swept out of their homeland...

As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity
has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the
favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities
and gaining insight by your truth.
Daniel 9:13 ESV

In the New Testament... Paul... writing to Timothy... as one church leader to another... counseled him... encouraged him... on upright behavior for the household of God...

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things
to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought
to behave in the household of God, which is the church
of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV

Knowing His will... His way... and obeying...
empowers the church... brings light to the world...
and upholds the truth of the gospel...

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels, proclaimed by nations,
believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 ESV

Bending to the truth of the Gospel...
glorifies Him... brings Light to a dark world...
and reveals the Way of salvation...

But because of sin... people have always had a hard time bending to His will... both in and outside the church...

Maybe... bending is the sign of those who truly believe...
those willing to die to self will...
choosing instead... to obey His will...

Even in the End...
Some will be refined... purified... bent...
some will not...

He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up
and sealed until the time of the end.
Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white
and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly.
And none of the wicked shall understand,
but those who are wise shall understand. ..."
Daniel 12:9-10 ESV

Those with understanding... 
those who know who He is... 
and who they are before Him... 
will bend... 
the wicked... 
will break...

Bending... always an issue...
then... now... and until the End...

This week's readings...
Monday              2 Timothy 3-4
Tuesday              Titus 1-3
Wednesday        Ezekiel 1:1 - 3:15
Thursday             Ezekiel 3:16 - 5:17
Friday                Ezekiel 6-7

Note... New Quote du Jour posted today... 
check it out on Jeremiah's Menu...

Friday, January 22, 2016

bent...

A dusty book on the shelf caught my attention this morning...

On inspection... dog-eared and underlined...
I knew I'd read it... but couldn't remember when...

Browsing through the pages... a passage on revival...
Bend the church and save the world. James E. Stewart claimed that this is the secret of every true awakening. Christians must humble themselves and get right with God so that the Spirit can break through in converting power. There must be no hypocrisy; the Christian must BEND to all the will of God for his life in perfect obedience before the Spirit of God is released. When we are bent to the will of God we will be intercessors, because as He "ever lives to intercede" for His people, we will do the same if we are abiding in Him.
---Rick Joyner, Shadow of Things to Come
Revival... it's something I'd like to see...
in me... my family...
my church family...
His whole church...

So I wonder... Am I bent...? to His will...?

Driving home at dusk...
sun setting behind...
moon rising before...
sorrow... weighs...

Sorrow... at feeling more coarse... than clean...
sorrow... over His church... its division... its lack of power...
sorrow... over those who call themselves Believers... but live something completely different than the Word...

Longing to be bent to His will...
obedient to His Word...
pure in heart...

Longing for the Spirit's power to be released...
through me... through His people...

Longing... for... revival...

Where are you when it comes to being bent...?
How do you feel about the church...?
or your personal walk with Him...?

Me...?
I will pray to be bent...

Lord... bend me to Your will...

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 everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

Thursday, January 21, 2016

feeling too much of me...

When it feels like too much of me...
my voice booming volumes over His...
it's time to be quiet...

I don't want my words... drowning out His...

Lord... I give you my mouth... my thoughts... my words...

Accept, I beseech You, the freewill offerings of my mouth,
O Lord, and teach me Your ordinances.
Psalm 119:108 Amp

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

He is present...

He woke me with words today...
ministry needing to move forward...

He spoke to me through messages...
preachers teaching through the radio...

He pressed me to pray...
inviting another to join in intercession...

He seemed very present today...

Sometimes He's so quiet...
I wonder if He's near...
but not today...

Where was He present to you today...?

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near...
Isaiah 55:6 ESV

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

celebrating His faithfulness...

A day to celebrate His faithfulness...
honoring two who have been evidence of His faithfulness...
for several years...

A prayer ministry preparing hearts for worship...
began some eight years ago...
of which leading has been a joy...
but recently freed to start something new...

Celebrating His faithfulness over lunch...
with the two who've been serving for years...
I shared the news of my leaving...
wondering how it would be taken...

In His faithfulness... He prepared one of these sweet sisters to lead...

She says in response to the news...
If you aren't moving to new things... 
then you're probably not growing...
(or something to that effect...)

Her words... another affirmation of the freedom to move on...

A joy... celebrating His faithfulness... with those who are faithful...

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 36:5

Monday, January 18, 2016

wondering why... we so often miss the Truth...

I wonder how we miss the Truth...?
He alone... the One True God...?
there is no other...?

We constantly allow others to lord over us... people in general...
fear of man... greater than fear of the Lord...
afraid to say... He is the only Way... the Only God...

How do we mistake what's natural... given at birth...?
for what's supernatural... received at re-birth...?
the gifts of the Holy Spirit...?

We try to build His church with natural gifts...
directed by our natural self-will...
rather than accepting... receiving... the new... the supernatural...
and use it how He calls us to... according to His will...

Why... do we believe the things of this world... will last...?
when time and time again... year after year... day after day...?
we experience the failure of the temporal...?

There are few things which are eternal... worth investing in...
One is God... who is Eternity Himself...
Two... His Word... which stands forever... because as Eternal... His words don't pass away...
Three... people... whose souls last forever...

Jesus told us the best way to use our time... spend our days... invest our lives...

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples
of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

But how much time do we really spend...? building relationship with Him...?
Listening to what He says...? obeying His Word...?
And as for people... are we loving them as He calls us to...? reaching out to them with a heart to do what's best for them...? and not what we can get from them...?

How... can the church... mistake lies... for truth...?

Why...?

Are we not listening...?
Are we not obeying...?
Are we not worshiping...? fearing...? praising...?
Him...?

Maybe we should consider... both as individuals... and as corporate bodies...
who are we listening to...? obeying...?
who or what are we worshiping...? fearing...? praising...?

I believe that if it was Him...
we would not miss the Truth...

"I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
'Seek me in vain.' I the Lord speak the truth;
I declare what is right. ..."
Isaiah 45:18-19 ESV

Just wondering...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 107... and blessings of His beloved...

Daniel... greatly beloved... by God...

And [the angel] said to me, O Daniel,
you greatly beloved man, understand the words
that I speak to you and stand upright,
for to you I am now sent.
Daniel 10:11 Amp

And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not!
Peace be to you! Be strong, yes, be strong,
And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened...
Daniel 10:19 Amp

Twice... during one vision... the messenger assures Daniel of the Most High's favor...

We've seen Daniel's faithfulness in the midst of persecution...
continuing his daily prayers before the Living God...
even though it meant entering the lion's den...

Daniel... in exile... 
far from the priests... and temple...
remained faithful to his Lord...

God treasures those who are faithful...
they are His beloved...

Jesus said...

"... You are my friends if you do what I command you.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant
does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard
from my Father I have made known to you. ..."
John 15:14-15 ESV

Daniel... he comes into the category of friend...
an obedient faithful servant...
elevated to... beloved...

Daniel was blessed to know God's plans...
receive visions... prophecy... and answers to prayer...

God's messenger telling him...

Now I have come to make you understand what is to befall your people
in latter days, for the vision is for [many] days yet to come.
Daniel 10:14 Amp

As beloved by God... 
Daniel was blessed with...
wisdom...
understanding...
knowledge...
prophecy...

These are the blessings of His beloved...
He shares His heart with them...
He tells them what is to come...
He provides wisdom... knowledge... understanding...

The faithful... obedient... beloved...
are blessed with the greatest gift...
a close relationship with Him...
and opportunities to make Him known to others...

Pursue Him in His Word...
through prayer... and obedience...
become His friend... His beloved...
know His blessings...

This week's readings...
Monday             Daniel 11-12
Tuesday             1 Timothy 1-2
Wednesday        1 Timothy 3-4
Thursday            1 Timothy 5-6
Friday                2 Timothy 1-2

Friday, January 15, 2016

a song for freedom...

I asked Him today...
What is a symbol for freedom...?
wanting something to remind me of my one word this year...

Expecting an image...
something tangible to seek out...
perhaps a charm to hang around my neck...

But what came to mind...
words from a song...

My chains are gone... I've been set free...
My God... my Savior... has ransomed me...
And like a flood... His mercy rains....
Unending love... amazing grace...
--- Chris Tomlin

A song of freedom...
to remind me...
what I am...
in Him...

For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 ESV


Thursday, January 14, 2016

the language of prayer...

Today... a couple of conversations centered on prayer... reminded me of the language of prayer...

Scripture... through the power of the Holy Spirit... reveals God to us... and through this knowledge... we begin to build relationship with our Creator...

The conversation on which the relationship is based is called prayer... and the primary language of prayer is Scripture...
The knowledge of God for instinctive prayer comes intuitively and generally through nature (Romans 1:20). What Christians know about God comes with verbal specificity through the words of the Scripture and its main message --- the gospel. In the Bible, God's living Word, we can hear God speaking to us and we respond in prayer, though we should not call this simply a "response." Through the Word and Spirit, prayer becomes answering God --- a full conversation.
---Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
My own experience has taught me the importance of Scripture in prayer...
He answers me with Scripture... or accounts from the Bible...
He directs me to pray His Word for others...
He challenges me... as I prayerfully read His Word...
and Scripture prompts me to question Him...

I shared Keller's take on the link between prayer and Scripture with one... then later... a friend recounted her conversation with God that affirmed this truth...

She was questioning an action she felt God leading her to take... and He responded by bringing to mind one of Jesus's encounters in the Word... revealing the heart of what He was doing... reaching out to the lost... and convicting her in the process...

He speaks to us through His Word...
Scripture...
the primary language of prayer...

I truly believe... and have experienced... an intimate relationship with God... animated conversations... active prayer life... is only possible... by steeping in His Word...
Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.
---Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
If your prayer life seems flat... lifeless...
or you can't find the words to pray...
let God begin the conversation...
open up His Word...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

unexpected reminder...

A hymn sung at a funeral...
one I've never thought of as a favorite...
stirred my heart...
with an unexpected reminder...

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There's a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life eternity,
In our death a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Reminded... as Believers... we all go through seasons...
some dark... ugly... cold... silent...
but He promises... in Christ... there is more...

There are those I love... going through some interesting seasons...
and today the words of this song... reminded afresh... His promise...

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32 ESV

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

His Lordship...

It is altogether doubtful whether any man can be saved who comes to Christ for His help but with no intention of obeying Him, for Christ's saviourhood is forever united to His lordship.
---A.W. Tozer, Evenings With Tozer
To claim Him as Lord...
is to choose obedience...

Tozer goes so far as to say...
without obedience...
salvation is doubtful...

Twice in the last week... a verse from Deuteronomy... came to my attention...

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them
on your foreheads.
Deuteronomy 11:18

One reference was in the context of hypocrisy... and the practice of Pharisees carrying out this command literally...
Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and their tassels on their garments long. (Matt. 23:5)
Phylacteries were leather boxes containing bits of parchment inscribed with Scripture verses. It was a response to the Old Testament verses, found in Deuteronomy, about binding God's Word to one's arms and foreheads. The real meaning, of course, is for us to bury his Word in our hearts so we can carry it with us everywhere we go.
---Kyle Idleman, The End of Me
Reading these words... the picture came...
to tie the Lord's Word on your hands...
means to let His Word live through your hands...

Binding His Word to your forehead...
the invasion of His Word into your thought life...
transforming your thinking...
therefore your actions...
your life...

The Pharisees... whom Idleman uses as an example of hypocrisy... wanted people to see the Word tied to their hands... bound to their foreheads... living one life on the outside... and another on the inside...

Jesus called these men whitewashed tombs... dead men walking...

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly
appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones
and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous
to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. ..."
Matthew 23:27-28 ESV

To receive Christ...
is to receive Him as Lord...

To receive Him as Lord...
is to surrender your will...
die to self...
and in turn...
receive eternal life...

If He is Lord... we live for Him...
with integrity... purity...
the same on the outside... as the inside...

Are you wearing His Word...? or living it...?

Lord... help me to live Your Word both inside and out...
continue to move me toward integrity and purity...

Monday, January 11, 2016

exercising freedom...

With my word for the year...
Freedom...
changes have already begun...

Some exercises of freedom subtle...
changing the inside...
my heart... thought life...
moving toward this word...

Other exercises of freedom...
include changes in ministry pursuit...
and attitudes toward serving...

But today... exercising freedom...
involved letting go...
freeing up space...
filling up trash cans...

Recently I've felt led to free myself from holding on to past journals... past Bible study books and notes... past ministry guides... outlines... and more notes...

Today... I piled thousands of sheets of paper...
both computer paper and spiral notebooks...
into boxes for recycling... or trash...

The freedom exercised...?

Releasing the fear that He will not provide what I need when I need it...

The irony...?

Every sheet of paper... every note... every outline... evidence of His past provision...

He will provide the words... the outlines... the plans... for what comes next...
I do not need to hold on to His words that I've recorded and written down...
I do not need to be trapped by the clutter... or fear... that He will not provide...

Today... I exercise my freedom to trust Him to supply the wisdom... word... and plan... for whatever He calls me to...

...the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send
in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you
of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26

I now see... He not only reminds of what He's said in Scripture... but also what He has revealed for the service... and ministry... He inspires... and empowers...

The Spirit will bring to remembrance... EVERYTHING... He has said to me...

Amen... and bring on another box...

[Another irony... the purge begun today... brought on by a search for past ministry notes... Hmmm... you think He's trying to tell me something...? :/ ]

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 106... and God is God...

The Journey this last week traveled through 2 Thessalonians... Zephaniah... and entered into the book of Daniel...

All three share the same clear message... God is God...!

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted
and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven.
He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire,
bringing judgment on those who don't know God
and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever
separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 NLT

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the anger of the Lord.
Zephaniah 2:3 ESV

Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever!
For wisdom and might are His! He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom
to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding!
He reveals the deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him!
Daniel 2:20-22 Amp

God is God...
the One who judges hearts...
has mercy on the humble...
knows what is in the darkness...

Nothing is hidden from God...
all His judgments righteous...
no one can dispute...
no one can hide...

Be silent before the Lord God!
For the day of the Lord is near;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice
and consecrated his guests.
Zephaniah 1:7 ESV

In His mercy... He made the Way...
prepared a sacrifice... His Son...
He alone consecrates those invited to His table...

Knowing Him... who He is... and who we are before Him...
knowing our need for His salvation...
humbly submitting to His Way...
prepares a place at His table...

For those who refuse...? well... 

God is God... and there is no other...

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords,
the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows
no partiality and accepts no bribes.
Deuteronomy 10:17

This week's readings...
Monday                   Daniel 4:19 - 5:31
Tuesday                   Daniel 6
Wednesday              Daniel 7
Thursday                  Daniel 8
Friday                      Daniel 9-10

Friday, January 8, 2016

entering into evening...

Entering into evening...
with a heart full of praise...

"Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2 ESV

Praising Him... as my salvation... my strength... my song...

How can you praise Him in this moment...?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

grateful for grace...

Began the morning... feeling like... a disappointment...

No one had voiced a complaint...
nothing specific came to mind...
just an overall feeling...
I disappoint...

Then I remembered... freedom...

In Him... I'm free from oppressive feelings...
free from others' expectations... leading to disappointment...

Taking hold of my freedom... I went about my day...

As the day progressed...
I did disappoint...
mainly myself...

One error after another...

A call to a customer...
Sorry... your order won't be ready tomorrow...

A text to my partner...
I messed up...
need to reorder... buy more...

By the end of the day...
I find myself... grateful for grace...
grace from a customer...
grace from my business partner...
and the freedom... to receive... grace... in Him...!

So we praise God for the glorious grace
he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
Ephesians 1:6 NLT

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

returning home after dark...

Returning home after dark...
it's not my favorite thing to do...

Dark makes it feel late...
too late to accomplish one more thing...
even if it's just a little after 6 pm...

Dark makes me feel tired...
sometimes I think I'm solar-powered...
after dark... it's just time to shut down...

But today...
anticipating returning home after dark...
with a car full of groceries...
and chores to do at home...
I consider...

This is the message we have heard from him
and proclaim to you, that God is light,
and in him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5 ESV

...even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:12 HCSB

So... tonight... I return home in Light...
He in me... and I in Him...

... in Him there is no darkness at all...

I praise You... Lord... as Light...
Light shining in the darkness...
Light to which I can always return...
Amen...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

returning...

A day of returning... back to the day in... day out... routine...

A day I entered into slowly... reluctantly...

A day ended... with joy... glad for the returning...

There is nothing better for a person than that he
should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.
This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

Monday, January 4, 2016

new year... new word...

The spiritual discipline...
one word... for a year...
continues to call me...

The past three years...
a single word... has helped define...
my walk with Him...

2013... Obedience...
2014... Journey...
2015... New...

This year... the word came before I even asked...
a word... that's already... having an impact...

My one word... for 2016...

Freedom

Already... I sense these words connecting... into a truth...

Obedience to Him...
is a journey with Him...
into a new life...
of freedom...
freedom... noun... 1. the quality or state of being free: as a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: independence c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous...
The Word regarding freedom...

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 ESV

For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 ESV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV

The Greek translated... freedom... means...
  • liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation... true liberty is living as we should not as we please... Enhanced Strong's Lexicon
  • the word denotes "freedom" of access to the presence of God... Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
My favorite... freedom of access to the presence of God...

What a great freedom...
one we only have in Christ Jesus...

Consider this year... your freedom...
to approach Him... and ask for a word...

No telling where it might lead...

Father God... thank You for freedom...
teach me what it means in my life...
show me how to glorify You...
 with the freedom You've provided...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 105... and... prophets and apostles...

This past week... The Journey led us through the end of Isaiah... and all of 1 Thessalonians...

Prophets and apostles...
they both share God's Word...
teach us how to live...
tell us what's to come...

Old Testament... New Testament...
the Message is the same...

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1-2 ESV

For you are children of light, children of the day.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.
So then let us not sleep, as others do,
but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 ESV

Those who follow God are different from the rest of the world...
we are called to arise... keep awake...
for we are of the Light... not the dark...

Isaiah said it... and so did Paul...
they both spoke His Word...
prophet... and... apostle...

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness...
Isaiah 61:10 ESV

Rejoice always...
1 Thessalonians 5:16 ESV

The message of salvation...
whether of old... or new...
calls for a response of JOY...!

"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Isaiah 65:17 ESV

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven
with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive,
who are left, will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we will always be with the Lord.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV

What's coming...
what's new...
announced by both prophet... and apostle...
as an encouragement...
to continue living as light...
in a dark world...

The prophets...
the apostles...
both servants of God...
both bringing His Word...
which does not change...

This week's readings...
Monday                  2 Thessalonians 1-3
Tuesday                  Zephaniah 1-3
Wednesday             Daniel 1:1 - 2:16
Thursday                 Daniel 2:17-49
Friday                    Daniel 3:1 - 4:18

Friday, January 1, 2016

first day of the new year...

So far... the first day of the new year... a favorite...

A day spent doing what I really love best...
caving with my family...
all of us at home on a gray cool day...
fire going...
relaxed...
together...
no plan...
no expectations...
lots of good food...

A day of rest with loved ones...
a day... I think... Jesus would approve...

After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days
with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.
John 2:12 NLT

After a big event... a wedding feast... and a miracle...
He had a few days... to cave...
just to be...

After the big events of the last week...
I cherish this day...
the first of the year...

Yes... today... a favorite in my book...

Lord... thank You for this restful start to the new year...
just a day to be... with those I love...
Amen...