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, March 31, 2016

psalm 103... and Easter perspective... part four...

Another day... another look at Psalm 103... from the vantage point of Easter...

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits...
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:5

More of His benefits...
seen from this side of the cross...

He satisfies our desires with good things...

God created us to be in relationship with Him...

In the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism...
Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.
---Westminster General Assembly, 1647
After the Fall... man's relationship with God was severed...

That which fulfilled him... lost...

Jesus... through His sacrifice on the cross...
His death... and resurrection...
made the Way... for us to come again...
into relationship with Him...

By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way
through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
Hebrews 10:20 NLT

Our hearts' desire can only be satisfied in Him...
and through Him... by way of the Spirit...
we can know again... the satisfaction... of His presence...
walk in the fulfillment... of what we were created for...

Not only did Jesus make the way for good things...
He also makes the way for our youth to be renewed like an eagle's...

He made the way for us to receive His power... strength... energy...

I can't tell you how many in my life... say over and over...
I'm so tired...
and these are not old people... they are youths...!

I used to be there once myself...
maybe you are now...
constantly tired... run down... no energy...

But what I've found to be true...
is over the more than two decades I've been pursuing Him...
obeying Him... allowing Him to work and heal...
the less often I feel tired...

In my 50+ years... I find myself amazed...
at the energy I do have at this point in my life...

And when I feel myself failing...
I cry out to Him... for the strength He promises...
to do all He calls me to do...

This right here... today... could not have been done...without the truth of His Word...

I am able to do all things through Him
who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 HCSB

I truly believe... have experienced...
increasing satisfaction with life...
increasing energy and strength...
by pouring out my life for Him...

I pray you will trust and experience the same...

Father God... thank You for the Way You prepared...
to restore relationship... to fulfill... and energize... Your people...
Amen... 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

psalm 103... an Easter perspective... part three...

Continuing the journey through Psalm 103... as seen through Easter...

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits...
...who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion...
Psalm 103:2, 4

Jesus... the Lamb of God... the perfect sacrifice of atonement... redeems our lives from the pit...

Pit... in this case... when looked at in the Hebrew... is the grave...

Because He chose to bear the crown of thorns...
we are blessed with a crown of love and compassion...

Because He chose to bear the burden of our sin...
we no longer are doomed for the pit of death...

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

Lord Jesus... You are my Redeemer...
I praise You for Your love and compassion...
a undeserved blessing of grace...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

psalm 103... an Easter perspective... part two...

Yesterday started a series...
one unplanned...
one entered into by faith...
Psalm 103... an Easter perspective...

Today... part two...

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits ---
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases...
Psalm 103:2-3

I had some today...
both sins... and... diseases...

Let me explain...
I wasn't physically ill...
but several years ago... I can't remember where now...
I read a teaching... where they broke down the word disease...
to it's two parts... dis... ease...

It really spoke to my heart...
and it hasn't left my mind...
dis-ease... isn't that what every illness is...?
whether it's physical...? emotional...? spiritual...?

Our ease is no more... it's been disturbed...
turned upside down...
the prefix dis-... means opposite of...

So I experienced some spiritual dis-ease this morning...
on account of sin...

Sinful thoughts... attitudes... causing much dis-ease in my spirit...

I didn't act on any of the corrupt thoughts...
but they effected me just the same...

What a blessing... what ease can be had...
to know... in Jesus... all our sins are forgiven...!
all our dis-eases healed...!

The prayer went out...
Jesus... forgive me my selfishness... and arrogance...
forgive this darkness bubbling up in my heart...
Take captive every thought... make it obedient to You...

In Him... He not only forgives... but brings healing...
to those places in our hearts... 
dark things we might not even see...
He reveals... and deals with...

A question has also been set before Him...
What is the root of this darkness...?
Reveal it... Heal it... 
Amen...

In Him... we need not stay in a state of dis-ease over anything...
sin... physical illness... emotional distress... spiritual upheaval...

By the power of His Spirit... in faith...
we can invite Him in...
for forgiveness... and healing...

Amen... Amen... and... Amen...

What sin...? what dis-ease...? do you need to bring to Him...?

Monday, March 28, 2016

psalm 103... an Easter perspective... the beginning...

The Easter devotional shared... sprung forth from Psalm 103...

Feeling led to explore... spend some time in Psalm 103... from an Easter perspective...

We'll see where it goes... but today... we begin... at the beginning...

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits...
Psalm 103:1-2

Some days... some seasons...
we need to stir up our souls...
to praise His holy name...

Some days... some seasons...
we need to remind ourselves...
of ALL His benefits...

All His benefits...
come to fruition...
in Jesus...

His life...
His death...
His resurrection...

The greatest benefits anyone could receive...!

A life lived to reveal... the Word made flesh...
the heart of God lived out...
for all to see...

A death... died once and for all...
the perfect sacrifice...
the Lamb of God...
atoning for the sins of the world...

A resurrection... new life... eternal life...
a Way offered to those who believe...
to receive forgiveness... redemption... renewal...
an escape from what we deserve... death...

Just look to Jesus...
and the culmination of His gospel...
all wrapped up in Easter...

That will stir a soul to praise...
and remember ALL His benefits...

Take a moment to stir up your soul...
remind self of His benefits...
offer a prayer... or song... of praise...
to the One who lived...
died...
rose...
to the One who will come again...

Lord... some days... You know... it's hard for the flesh to praise Your holy name... Open my heart and eyes... to the truth of the gospel... that I might be stirred to praise You... no matter what season... or day...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 117... and His wrath... poured out... in love...

But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
Jeremiah 10:10 ESV

Spending the last couple of weeks in Jeremiah...
and before that... many weeks in Ezekiel...
you can't help but think about His wrath...

I learned something about it this week...

A Bible study lesson... on His wrath...
showed how different His wrath is... than man's...
"The word 'wrath' (orgé) means anger, but it is not the outburst of anger that quickly blazes up, not the anger that arises solely from emotion. Rather, it is a decisive and deliberate anger."
---Beth Moore, Children of the Day
The same study also quoted another resource... "Aristotle says that orgé anger is desire with grief..."

These definitions... made me see God's wrath as thoughtful... not uncontrollably explosive... His wrath comes with grief... sorrow... and a desire for something better...

I went to my own set of resources and found...
The OT presents the concept of the wrath of God in balance with three other doctrines: his forbearance, his love, and his readiness to forgive. First, God is patient. The Hebrew word for "patient" is related to the word for "wrath" and means "length of wrath"' that is, God does not quickly become angry. He is longsuffering (Ex 34:6). Second, God is full of compassion and love. He is always faithful to his children. Third, he is ready to forgive those who sin against him when they atone for and are cleansed for their sins (Ex 34:6). The pleasure of his love is so much greater than his wrath (Ps 30:5).
---Tyndale Bible Dictionary
God is slow to anger...
His anger only unleashed with purpose...
His wrath intertwined with a desire for transformation...

You see it over and over in the prophets...
His wrath poured out...
famine... war... plague...
with the express purpose of turning hearts back to Him...

Today is Easter...
the celebration of Jesus's resurrection...
after having the full cup of God's wrath...
toward all the sins of mankind...
past... present... future...
poured out on Him... on the cross...

Wrath... that makes the earth quake... and no nation can endure...

Wrath... poured out on the Sinless Lamb...
on behalf... of a broken... rebellious... corrupt... creation...

Wrath poured out...
with desire...
for all to return to the Father...
through the Son...
by way of the Spirit...

His wrath... poured out... in love...

Do you see it...?
Do you know it...?
Do you recognize the heart of the Good News in it...?

Through faith in Jesus's work and love...
we have access to perfect atonement...
and the Way to return to the Creator of our souls...
who loves us... and desires us...

Do you desire Him...?
Seek Him... prayerfully... in His Word...

This week's readings...
Monday                  Jeremiah 16-17
Tuesday                  Jeremiah 18-19
Wednesday             Jeremiah 20-22
Thursday                Jeremiah 23
Friday                    Jeremiah 24-25

Friday, March 25, 2016

an Easter devotional...

Thinking about Easter this week... wondering how... and when... or if... my little family would gather...

The pondering... led to a blessing...
an inspiration... a vision of sorts...

Traditionally... we've gathered for lunch...
but this year one has to work...
one has plans with a friend...
so we are eating the evening meal together...
7 pm works for everyone...

The vision...
the dining table covered with flowers...
vases... small and large...
mason jars...
filled with whatever flowers...
wild or bought...

With the invitation...
each has been asked to bring fresh flowers...
to fill the table...
to complete the vision...

Then it came...
words to share...
with those who will gather...
for Easter...

Below... I share them here today...
in case you're looking for a vision for your table...
a way to make room for Him at the table...

These are the words... I'll share in my home...
before we eat in celebration...
you're welcome to use them at yours...

An Easter Devotional...

Read Psalm 103...

We are like the flowers of the field...
We flourish for a short time...
And then we are gone...

We spring forth into life...
By His will... not ours...
We live out our days...
Moving toward death...

God's Word is everlasting...
And Jesus is that Word...
His Word... to a broken... hurting... world...

Easter is about God's love...
It's the exclamation point on Christmas...

Jesus... the Word made flesh...
Came to live a perfect life...
Totally devoted to the glorification of His Father...
The life each of us are called to live... created to live...

Jesus... willingly...
With a heart full of love...
Endured the punishment we deserve...

And for those who believe...
those who trust their lives to Him...
We enter eternal life with Him...

Easter celebrates His resurrection...
A resurrection we can be a part of by faith...

The flowers today...
remind us of our own fragility...
our lack of control over our life...
our birth... our death...
none of it's really up to us...

But in Jesus lies the hope of life...
The YES to everything our hearts desire...

For us who believe...
who trust Him as Creator and Keeper of our lives...
who trust His love and His work on the cross...
for our good... and His glory...
we partake of Communion...

To remember what He's done...
Who He is...
And what He invites us to be a part of...

Eternal life... through His death...
By faith in His work... and love...

[At this point... you may wish to share Communion with those at your table... bread and wine... a prayer and a blessing... I will at mine...]

Close... with a prayer of thanks...

Happy Easter... dear friends...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

a day of inner conflict...

A day of outer conflict...
has led to a day of inner conflict...

Fighting the urge to complain...
and to let others have their way...

Resisting the temptation to give in to irritation...

Being OK... with unexpected errands...
and no quiet in my day...
has been a challenge...

As I write...
I see I'm having trouble loving others today...
as He defines love...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight
in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It's been a struggle to love today...

Constantly I've prayed...
turned to Him... for peace...
for strength... 
to keep my mouth shut...
to be thank-full...
to think of others more than myself...

Yes... it's been a struggle to love today...

What have you struggle with...?

He's there to help... to strengthen... to guide...
you just need to recognize your need...
ask...
and receive...

Amen...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

when conflict leads to doubt...

Conflict... I had some this morning...
it wasn't extreme... not Jerry Springer-esque...
but disquieting... nonetheless...

In an effort to encourage a loved one with His Word... and reminders... I found myself up against a hard heart... a spirit seemingly closed off to His Word...

The whole experience... triggered doubt...

All day... I doubted...
my motives...
my obedience...
Had I really heard Him...?
Or was I manufacturing what I wanted to say...?
Did I use His name in vain...?
Saying it was Him... when it wasn't...?

Conflict... can lead to doubt...
even when beforehand we were certain...
of what we heard Him calling us to do...

The funny thing is... as I prepared for this writing... I pulled out a journal... one I don't write in often... to put down some words... so I wouldn't forget...


...when conflict leads to doubt...

With these words in my mind...
running on a loop...
I opened the journal to write...

What I found in search of the next blank page...
was the last thing I wrote...

A quote... one I heard a month or so ago...
one I was moved to record...
Conflict is a confirmation that you are doing the right thing.
---John MacArthur, Grace to You

Really...?!
I had to laugh...
God... He's just too funny...

Was this His answer...? to my day of restless seeking...?

Moving past doubt... into faith...
I receive this coincidence... as providence...

Maybe... just maybe...
the conflict comes as a result of a loved one's hard heart...
and not from my attempt to manipulate...

Maybe... just maybe...
there's an enemy... whispering into this loved one's ear...
lies... deception... defiance...

Maybe... just maybe...
I have acted in faith...

Trusting Him...
with hearts...
both mine...
and those with whom I conflict...

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

why... and... because...

She texted me this morning with the news...
Brussels got bombed. Airport & train station.
The text... it starts me praying and thinking...

Praying for those suffering...
for the rescuers...
for hearts to turn to God...
for God to reveal any other evil before it succeeds...

Thinking about a loved one who just bought tickets to Europe...
about the possibility of more bombings...
the beginning of "labor pains" signifying the last days...
and thinking about what I read in Jeremiah this morning...

Maybe I've spent too much time in the prophets recently...
but as I do... I see the current state of the nations... laid out over the pages of Scripture...

Destruction... wars... rumors of wars...
and the resounding question from those suffering...
Why...?

God's answer... it's always the same...
Because... you have forsaken Me...

Who is the wise man who may understand this?
To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, 
that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined
and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through it?
And the Lord says, Because they have forsaken My law,
which I set before them, and have not listened to and obeyed
My voice or walked in accordance with it...
Jeremiah 9:12-13 Amp
(my emphasis)

And all of the sudden... it seems crystal clear...
the answer to every Why...? that springs from calamity...
is Because... we have forsaken Him...

In Eden... we broke the one law...
and let a world of hurt into the universe...

During the time of Noah... who found favor in God's eyes...
everyone else was consumed with thoughts of evil...

The Israelites found themselves wandering forty extra years...
to enter the Promised Land... because they refused to trust God...

Even after entering the Promised Land...
everyone did what was right in their own eyes...

The forsaking of the Lord...
led to destruction... exile... affliction...

Today it's no different...
for individuals or nations...
suffering comes... because we have forsaken the Lord...

The wonder of wonder...
is why haven't we been abandoned by Him...?
why hasn't He left us to our own devises...?

Because... He... is... love...

His steadfast love...
does not allow Him to abandon...
His steadfast love...
compelled Him to send His Son...
to pay for our sins...
to make a way for us to live...
to restore... and redeem... all that we broke...

Why... and... Because...
it's a two-headed coin...

Which side will you choose...?

As for me...
I choose Him...

I choose to see the wonder of His love...
I choose His redeeming power...
I choose to trust His Way...

Father God... thank You for rescuing me...
Thank You... for all the work that You are about...
Thank You... for not abandoning Your creation...
Thank You... for continuing to seek the lost...
Let Your Light shine out of darkness...
Amen...

Monday, March 21, 2016

feeling Wind blown...

Feeling wind blown today...
even though it's not particularly windy outside...

A day approached with some goals...
some to do's in mind...
but the day seems to be overtaken by the blowing of the Spirit...

Clean up...
Rewrite...
Pursue what's missing...




Blowing from one thing to another...
with other plans for the day...
leaves many piles around the house...

Trusting Him for where He's blowing...
what He's stirring up...

Trusting it is Him I'm hearing...

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

Lord Jesus... trusting it is Your Spirit I hear directing my day...
and if it's my own fleshly fickleness... trusting You...
to work it all for good...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 116... and... can't vs won't...

The beginning of the book of Jeremiah reveals a nation chosen by God... Israel... a nation loved by Him... as a Husband loves His wife...

But Israel... she turned into an adulterous wife...

She did not obey...
she wandered...
she believed herself faithful to Him...
she believed she could spend time with other gods...
seek other sources of life...
and still please Him on the side...

Her disobedience...
the forsaking of her first love...
stirred up God's jealous wrath...

He didn't want to punish...
He tried to get her attention so many other ways...
through prophets...
and discipline far short of exile and destruction...
but she refused to see... refused to listen...
refused to take responsibility for her wander-lust...

And then He speaks through Jeremiah a truth...

Thus says the Lord:
"Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'
Jeremiah 6:16 ESV

He gives His wandering bride direction...
you hear His heart... breaking... at her response...
We won't...

So often His people... say...
I can't...
I don't have time...
I wish I could...
I tried...
but the reality is...
what we say is...
I won't...

I can't... is a whole different story than... I won't...

There are things we truly can't do...
paralytics can't walk by themselves...
the blind can't see...
the deaf can't hear...

But for Believers in Jesus...
when it comes to doing things His Way...
being obedient to His Word... (even reading His Word...)
in the face of all the worldly options and wisdom...
it all comes down to I won't...

Are you saying I can't... I tried... I wish...
when it comes to your walk with God...?

Begin owning the truth... say... I won't...

You see in Christ... He made a way for us to follow His Way...
He has empowered us through Jesus... by the Holy Spirit...
to do all the Father calls us to do...

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

Own your I won't...
seek His Way...
say... I can... I will... through Him who gives me strength...

This week's readings...
Monday                    Jeremiah 7:30 - 9:26
Tuesday                    Jeremiah 10
Wednesday              Jeremiah 11-12
Thursday                 Jeremiah 13:1 - 14:12
Friday                      Jeremiah 14:13 - 15:21

Friday, March 18, 2016

a day of joys...

A day of joys...
beginning with Bible study...
eggs from a friend...
shopping with a loved one...
buying gifts...
and pieces for a project...
lunch together...
errands for a husband...
running into sisters in Christ along the way...
an hour-and-a-half workday...
and looking forward to an evening at home...
all in all...
a day of joys...

What joys did you find today...?

Shout with joy to God all the earth!
Psalm 66:1

Thursday, March 17, 2016

memory work...

Challenged by the current Bible study to do some memory work... (emphasis on work...) of Scripture...

It is hard...
it is a stretching...
an exercise...
for my brain...

What I've found... as I repeat... over... and... over...
is that it does become easier...
however... the most important thing...
is the connecting of verses... phrases...
not only as they go together...
but as they connect with my spirit...
much more deeply than any cursory reading...

Today the phrase that rings fresh...
...we had boldness in our God...

That's something I want...
that I might not have seen...
without this stretching of my memory...

Boldness in our God...
to trust... obey... serve...
declare His gospel...
live the gospel...
without fear or hesitation...

To be able to say...
I have boldness in my God...
and it be true...
would be something to be sure...

A phrase to pray...
only found because I chose to obey...
the prompting to commit His Word to memory...

Yes... it's work... but a spiritual work...
well worth the effort...

I challenge you to memorize His Word this week...
a phrase... a verse... or maybe even a whole chapter or book...
see if it increases your boldness in God...

With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:10-12 ESV

Note... I'm currently using ScriptureTyper... a free online service developed specifically to help you memorize Scripture... it's really helping me...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

wondering... about grace...

Wondering... about grace...
and whether I was a picture of it today...
in the Bible class full of fourth graders...

When a simple word game to earn a ticket for a chance to win a prize... turns hearts to cheating... and lying... is it grace to discipline...? or overlook the offense...?

I'm wrestling with my hard core stance today...
hard core to the point of taking back a ticket given...

Can discipline be grace...?
Can exposing sin...? be grace...?

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

Jesus... the One we are to emulate when it comes to grace... also came full of truth...

Truth called for the accusers to examine their own hearts... Let him who is without sin... be the first to throw a stone...

The accused adulteress... experienced the grace of forgiveness poured out... but she also received truth... Go... and from now on sin no more...

So I'm wondering... Where on the spectrum... did I fall today...? when it comes to... grace vs. legalism...? truth vs. complacency...?

Was I a picture of grace today...?
Lord... only You know... graciously reveal the truth...
that I might know better... and do better...
Amen...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

still amazed... by His faithfulness...

His faithfulness... still amazes...

Again... I show up feeling unprepared for ministry...
again... He provides... inspiration... words... prayers...

And I'm beginning to wonder...
Is this His faithfulness...
stretching me... to trust Him...
without advanced preparation...?

Because you see... I pray for Him to prepare me for this time of ministry each week... but each week... for the last three weeks... I've approached the time to pray with a blank outline...

I've about decided... this is His plan...
His faithfulness... growing me... in faith...

It seems to be working...
because each time... I see His faithfulness...
I hear Him... providing Scripture to pray...
intercessory prayer to offer...

I imagine... this will continue to happen...
Him... keeping me amazed...
by His faithfulness...

...I walk in your faithfulness.
Psalm 26:3 ESV

Monday, March 14, 2016

great is His faithfulness...

Over the last couple of days...
my faithfulness has not been so great...

I've found myself...
procrastinating...
not using time wisely...
generally ignoring the still small voice prompting action...

But at the end of the day...
things needed doing... got done...
only because...

... if we are faithless, he remains faithful...
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV

Great is His faithfulness...

Have you seen His faithfulness...? despite your faithlessness...?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 115... and... it's all about His glory...

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge
of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 ESV

This week... finishing up Ezekiel... reading through Nahum and Habakkuk... the metastory... the greater narrative of God's Word embedded into all creation... came into view...

One thing I've always wondered about is why God just didn't abandon us after our rebellion...? why did He continue to pursue...? at great cost redeem...? His ungrateful... disobedient... creatures...?

Reading Ezekiel began to bring the bigger... much bigger picture into focus...

And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name,
which has been profaned among the nations,
and which you have profaned among them.
And the nations will know that I am the Lord,
declares the Lord God, when through you
I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
Ezekiel 36:23 ESV

God cannot allow Himself to be seen as anything less than the Lord God...

He did not rescue and redeem the rebellious nation of Israel because they deserved it... He restored and redeemed so the rest of the world... the idolatrous nations... would not see Him as a weak... worthless... God...

His glory is at stake...

When we rebel... we steal His glory...
and He will not allow that to happen...

There is a bigger creation at stake than just what is seen in the world... there is the entire unseen creation where He must reestablish His glorious reputation...

Ephesians tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood... but against an unseen realm of powers and authorities...

When God created it was all good...
When we rebelled it all went wrong...

We stole God's glory... and gave it to the enemy...

God pursues all of mankind... all creation... with a vengeance...
not because we deserve it... but because He must reaffirm His glory...
to all powers and authorities both seen and unseen in all creation...!

Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood he will make
a complete end of the adversaries
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
Nahum 1:6-8 ESV

He will not abandon us... because He cannot...
because He is great... and... good...
and will not be known... as anything less...

One day... the knowledge of His glory... will fill the whole earth...
No one will be able to deny who He truly is...

This week's readings...
Monday               Jeremiah 1
Tuesday               Jeremiah 2:1 - 4:4
Wednesday         Jeremiah 4:5 - 5:13
Thursday              Jeremiah 5:14 - 6:30
Friday                 Jeremiah 7:1-29

Friday, March 11, 2016

the joy of the Lord...

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

The joy of the Lord... it is our strength...

And what brings the Lord joy...?

The context of this verse in Nehemiah is repentance...

After returning from exile...
the people heard the law...
its reading... and teaching...
saw their failure to obey...
and wept...

They were grievous over sin...
their spirits... and hearts... repentant...

This is when Nehemiah said...

"... And do not be grieved,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

This has been my understanding...
sin exposed... bringing godly sorrow... repentance...
blesses the Lord with joy... 

His joy gives the penitent... strength...
strength to turn around... obey... 

But I now see another aspect of bringing the Lord joy...
just plain obedience...

Obedience... in pursuits... calls... He puts on our hearts...
Obedience... when it doesn't make sense to us...
Obedience... not centered on repentance... but His invitation... 
Obedience... when it's not anything you particularly want to do... but feel His pressing... to do...

I've experienced this in the last year and a half...
pursuing an opportunity...
joining a friend in business...
and in the process feeling moments of inexplicable joy...

Not fleshly happiness...
but a deep... seated in the heart... joy...
feeling like something other than me...

Over the last few weeks... I've felt a calling to something new... not anything I feel particularly interested in doing... but the idea... it just won't go away...

I've shared the idea with my husband...
and with a friend...
it's not an idea for major ministry...
or even great sacrifice...
just an odd thought... that won't go away...

Neither thought it as crazy as I do...
Neither said... Well that's just dumb...

So... in simple obedience...
I took first steps to follow through on the call...
and already... I feel it...
joy...

Odd... inexplicable... joy...
that does not manifest from my flesh...
but... clearly... from His Spirit...

And with His joy...
the strength... dare I say... excitement...
to do... what He's calling me to...

A new facet...
glimmering in His Word...

In simple obedience...
His joy... my strength...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

freedom to trust...

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

This verse has been echoing in my heart since yesterday... considering the depth... richness... of His wisdom and knowledge... in a world where very little seems to make sense to me...

In His omniscience... and sovereignty... He reigns...
In grace... and mercy... He reigns...
In righteousness... and goodness... He reigns...

But really...? I don't often see it...
His grace... mercy...
His wisdom... knowledge...
where is it...?
when families implode... leaving little ones wounded...?
when people rebel... ignore... disregard... their Creator...?
when dis-ease... eats away... at bodies... minds... souls...?

But... OH... the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God...!
beyond my understanding...
beyond my comprehension...
way beyond the capacity of my little brain...

He's the One who sees from beginning to end...
the One who created knowing it would all fall apart...
the One prepared to send His Son to die for our freedom...
make a way for all things... ALL THINGS...
to be made new...

Finding freedom... to trust... His wisdom and knowledge...
Finding freedom... to be okay... not understanding what He's up to right now... at peace... not being able to trace out His paths... in history... presently... or in the future...

Because He knows...
because He is good... merciful... gracious...
because He's always right... just...
I don't have to know...
I don't have to understand...
because He does...

In the richness and depth of His wisdom and knowledge...
I find freedom... to trust...

Amen...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

pressed to pray...

...pray without ceasing...
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

Feeling pressed to pray...
for the hearts of my children...
for my spouse and his faith...
for ladies in Bible study...
for the pastor...
for those grieving...
and those struggling with dis-ease...

Whose on your heart today...?
Is He pressing you to pray...?

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.
Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf,
and give thanks for them.
1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

Maybe we... at this table... could join you in prayer...?
If you feel so led... add the person pressed on your heart...
in the comment box at the bottom of the post...

Comment box can be found by clicking the post title...
and scrolling to the bottom...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

blank...

Blank...
the screen I brought up yesterday...
to wait for thoughts...
to wait to write...
remains...
blank...

And I wonder how I forgot...
it wasn't that I didn't focus on Him yesterday...
I did...
editing another's devotionals...
reviewing... rewriting... some of my own past posts...
memorizing His Word...
regular study for Sunday School and Bible study...

But in all that... I felt blank...
I remember bringing up the page...
and feeling... blank...
blank... adjective... devoid of covering or content especially: free from writing or marks... having spaces to be filled in... unfinished...
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)
So today...
resting in the freedom...
to be... blank...
to be devoid of content to share here...
to have spaces needing to be filled...
to be... unfinished...

What about you...? feeling blank in some area of your life...?

Rest in the blank... in the unfinished...
He promises to finish what He started...

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

Father God... continue to remind me that I am unfinished...
that I can rest in Your work in my life... even where there are blanks...
Thank You for Your grace... to fill in... complete... my empty spaces...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 114... and... He scatters... in order to gather...

A cycle reveals itself in the book of Ezekiel...
He scatters... in order to gather...

God scatters His disobedient people...
to all the corners of the earth...
in order to get their attention...

When they remember Him...
turn back to Him...
repent...
He gathers...

He scatters... and gathers...
so the world will know...
He is the Lord...
sovereign over all nations...
all peoples...
all activities under the sun...

And the nations shall know, understand, and realize positively
that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity,
because they trespassed against Me; and I hid My face from them.
So I gave them into the hand of their enemies and they all fell
[into captivity or were slain] by the power of the sword.
...
Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now will I reverse the
captivity of Jacob and have mercy upon the whole house
of Israel and will be jealous for My holy name.
...
When I have brought them again from the peoples and 
gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and My
justice and holiness are set apart and vindicated through
them in the sight of many nations, Then they shall know,
understand, and realize positively that I am the Lord their God,
because I sent them into captivity and exile among the nations
and then gathered them to their own land.
Ezekiel 39:23, 25, 27-28 Amp

He scatters... in order to gather...

Have you experienced a scattering in your life...?
Know He has a purpose in it...
Know He will reveal Himself to you through it...
Know He... will... gather...

This week readings...
Monday                    Ezekiel 44:15 -45:25
Tuesday                    Ezekiel 46:1 - 47:12
Wednesday               Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:35
Thursday                  Nahum 1-3
Friday                       Habakkuk 1-3

Friday, March 4, 2016

sometimes... it's just a battle...

Sometimes... it's just a battle...
to teach...
lead...
surrender to Him...

I experienced one this morning...
a spiritual battle...
leaving me feeling inadequate...
and physically drained...

I couldn't pinpoint anything different...
than any other time of preparation...
couldn't see any reason... for feeling what I felt...
sometimes... it's just a battle...

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Thursday, March 3, 2016

remake... vs... repent...

The revelation fleshed out this morning... when I heard of a man leaving his family... moved out of state... which brought to mind a woman... who recently divorced her husband...

Over and over... when things go bad...
we make moves... to remake our lives...

When broken people... try to remake their lives...
they leave a trail of brokenness behind...

The major problem we have... when we try to remake...
is that we lug around our own brokenness with us...

In the words of Andy Stanley...
Everywhere you go... there you are...
and in the end... what you tried to remake...
turns into... the same old brokenness...

This is very different than what God calls us to do...
He calls us to repent...
which literally means to turn around...
make a u-turn... go back... do things differently...

When we choose to remake our lives...
we continue on the same path... same direction...
just different scenery and relationships...

God... He says...

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...
Acts 3:19-20 ESV

Turn back from your way of doing things...
and begin doing things His way...

With His Way... there are blessings...
forgiveness...
refreshment...
redemption...

But our way... our own version of remaking...
leads to death...
destruction...
despair...

Only through repentance...
can we truly be redeemed...
restored... 
remade...

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

How many times have you tried to remake yourself... only to end up the same... or worse... than before...?

Give up the remaking... 
turn to repentance...

Stop thinking up your own way...
come into agreement with Him...
do things His Way...
experience true redemption... 
true restoration...
right where you are...

Amen...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

His Word... defining my day...

His Word... defining my day...

Do everything without complaining or arguing,
so that you may become blameless and pure...
Philippians 2:14

Temptation abounds... when it comes to complaining...
I think it's one of our favorite pastimes...
but to complain... is to be ungrateful...
to complain... denies He is good...
when ALL things come through His sovereign hands...

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,
you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

He is able... to make grace abound in us...
even when others are ungracious...
because we received from Him... grace upon grace...
we should give... pour out... grace upon grace... to others...

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing
to God --- this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

Offering... an act of worship...
lived out... teaching fourth grade Bible today...
every moment of our life...
should be approached as an offering to Him...
not to please self... but Him...
because of His incredible mercies...

"Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
Psalm 46:10 ESV

Ending the day... defined by His Word...
being still... knowing... He is...
no matter how I failed...
or others failed me...
He will be exalted...

Amen...

What Word defined your day...?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

He is faithful to fill...

Empty... that's how I felt...
approaching a time to lead group prayer...

No space to prepare...
no inspiration...
no time...
left me with nothing...
a blank outline...
in a spiral notebook...

So that was my prayer...
I got nothin'... Lord... nothin'...

Not only was I empty spiritually...
but physically... I was hungry...
and forgot my snack to eat on the way...

Trusting Him to fill...
asking Him to empty all of me...
distractions...
anxiety...
guilt...
to make room for Him to fill...

And that's what He did...
words to pray...
praise...
confession...
thanksgiving...
intercession...
filled what had currently been nothing...

On the way home...
I also realized... the hunger was gone...
He had also filled physically...
by His power and grace...

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

He is... faithful... to... fill...

Where are you empty...? what needs to be filled...?

Go to Him... make room for Him... and He will...