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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

when He presses...

When He presses something on your heart and mind...
you really don't have much choice but to do it...
or at least I don't...

Even if it's new... and it takes way too long to figure out...
and even if it feels crazy... because you feel behind on many other things...
and even if it pushes you way out of your comfort zone..
and you feel as if you won't ever finish... and look like a failure...

So as He pressed... that's just what I've done...
spent too much time on something new...
felt crazy... and behind...
stepping way outside my comfort zone... (again...)
wondering how it will get finished...
hoping not to look like a failure...

I guess that's what happens... when you step out to offer a study on faith...

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB95

To see a place I've stepped out in today...
much of it still unseen... and unwritten...
click the link below...


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

interruptions...

The last couple of days...
diligently looking for space to write... prepare... for the stepping out of faith...
seem to be filled with interruptions...

Even now... the timer on the oven...
beep... beep... beep...

I find myself wondering...
When will I find time...?

Reminding myself...
This is His work... not mine...

Still... frustration rises...
(wanting to sit... listen...
bang out of words...
edit... proof...
maybe even prepare a place on the web...)
I don't get to do what I want to do...!

On the end of this second day of interruptions...
with little to no space to write...
I consider what He might be teaching me...

The Jesus Way... comes to mind...
with its teaching of the prophets...
Nothing is hid from the scrutiny of God; nothing is exempt from the rule of God; nothing escapes the purposes of God. The ground is holy; people are holy; words are holy: Holy, holy, holy.
---Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way
...nothing escapes the purposes of God...
the ground is holy...

Interruption-filled ground...
Holy... holy... holy...

Interruptions... fulfilling His purpose...
Holy... holy... holy...

I'm pressed to consider holy interruptions...
and the lesson I'm to learn...

What does it look like to give a holy response...? to days filled with interruptions...? to see interruptions as holy...?!

So... I still my heart...
receive these frustrating days...
as holy grace...
steeped in His purpose...

 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions
of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy,
you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written,
"You shall be holy for I am holy."
1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV

What in your life...? is hard to receive as holy ground...? filled with His purpose...?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

thirty years...

"...But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them
male and female.' Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother
and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God
has joined together, let man not separate."
Mark 10:6-9 ESV

Thirty years...
a testimony of the truth...
He holds all things together...

He is before all things
and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 NASB95

Thank You... Lord...
for holding my marriage together...
Amen...

Monday, June 27, 2016

after time away... a prayer of thanks...

Time away... reminds me...
You are everywhere... 
not just in my little corner...

Your love is so big... covers all people... 
not just those I know... and see... in my community...

You created all things... a vast array of landscapes... 
not just the one in which I reside...

You are with me wherever I go...
no matter how many miles... or how many days...
You are near...

Thank You for the blessing of time away...
for fresh reminders... upon returning home...

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
Psalm 104:1 ESV

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 130... and generational faith...

Chronicles... the history of Judah...
its leadership...
its generations of kings...
father to son... the crown passed...
but not always... the faith...

Amaziah's son... King Uzziah...

And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,
according to all his father Amaziah had done.
He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah,
who instructed him in the fear of God,
and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
2 Chronicles 26:4-5 ESV

Uzziah's son... King Jotham...

And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord
according to all that his father Uzziah had done...
But the people still followed corrupt practices.
2 Chronicles 27:2 ESV

Jotham's son... King Ahaz...

And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord,
as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways
of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals...
2 Chronicles 28:1-2 ESV

Ahaz's son... King Hezekiah...

And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,
according to all that David his father had done.
2 Chronicles 29:2 ESV

Hezekiah's son... King Manasseh...

And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord,
according to the abominations of the nations
whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
2 Chronicles 33:2 ESV

Fathers... sons...
generation to generation...
faithful... faithless...

Faith... it cannot be passed with certainty... from generation to generation...

Discussing the past week's readings... she said... I don't understand... how children raised in the same home... can turn out so different when it comes to faith... my sister goes to church... my brother doesn't...

I wonder myself...

Before she said it... the burden of my children's faith pressed hard on my heart... they are all adults now... 22 to 27 years of age... yet when they are home... I still expect them to go to worship with me...

I remind... I wake... I prod...
inevitably... we are late...

I felt the burden this morning... knowing I can't pass faith on to them...
I can witness... practice it before them... encourage...
but I can't give it to them... they must receive it themselves...
prod themselves... burden themselves... be ignited by the Spirit...
to gather with others to worship Him...

During worship... a song...
The Heart of Worship...
expressed my desire... my heart...
to bring my children to Him...

And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart
--- Matt Redman

The picture in my mind... of what I long to bring to worship...
the hearts of my children... something of worth...
a blessing to Him...

But I realize... I can't...
even as they sit with me in worship...

Tears flow... feeling pressed to the pew...
interceding...with the heart of King Hezekiah...
who prayed for those who came to Passover... 
unprepared... ceremonially unclean...

"May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart
to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers,
even though not according to the sanctuary's rules of cleanness."
And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
2 Chronicles 30:18-19 ESV

Generational faith... there is no guarantee...
each generation must claim Him themselves...
each must receive or reject...
do what is right in His eyes...
or what's right in their own...

He alone... the author... perfecter... of faith...

Write it on the hearts of my children... Lord...
Write faith on their hearts...

This week's readings...
Monday               2 Chronicles 33:10 - 34:21
Tuesday               2 Chronicles 34:22 - 35:37
Wednesday          2 Chronicles 36
Thursday             Lamentations 1-2
Friday                  Lamentations 3:1-30

Friday, June 24, 2016

thoughts on trust...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust... I've been thinking about it... in preparation for the upcoming study... the step of faith...

Trying to put to words...
what it means to me to trust Him...
what I've learned about trust...

What I noticed today...
fear... anxiety... the primary indicators...
that I am not trusting Him... in any given moment...

I still find it a battle at times...
my own thoughts... understanding of danger...
of what's bad... and... good...
takes over...
and I fear...
because I've lost my trust in Him...

Fear... leads me to prayer... and praise...
seeking forgiveness for not trusting...
praising Him for being trustworthy...
and the plans He has in all things...

Fear... an indicator of a spirit... devoid of trust in Him...

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3 ESV

Thursday, June 23, 2016

living His Way...

When living His Way... everything is His...
all lived through His perspective... His truth...

Conversations with adult children...
those who believe... but still finding their way...
reveals how easily we compartmentalize...

Living most of life...
finding our way in secular society...
makes it hard to see His Way in everything...
but that's what His Way calls us to...

The Jesus Way... talks about the role of prophets... in helping us find His Way...
One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred. We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of: our jobs, our time, our money, our opinions, our entertainment, our government, our house and land, our social relations. The sacred is what God has charge of: worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers. We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God, designed, we say, to honor God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say in everything else that goes on outside that space.
Prophets will have none of this. They hold that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground. God has something to say about every aspect of our lives, the way we feel and act in the so-called privacy of our hearts and homes, the way we make our money and the way we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the catastrophes we endure, the people we hurt and the people we help. Nothing is hid from the scrutiny of God; nothing is exempt from the rule of God; nothing escapes the purposes of God. The ground is holy; people are holy; words are holy: Holy, holy, holy. 
--- Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way 
And I see myself in this role...
a prophet to my adult children...
helping them see His Way...
in all their ways...

Try to open their eyes...
to His Way...
in their way...

Try to reveal all... is... holy ground... when we live... His Way...

But as the One who called you is holy,
you also are to be holy in all your conduct...
1 Peter 1:15 HCSB

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

He made the day...

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 11:22 ESV

He made the mackerel...

He made the smile...

He made the stingray that won the fight... more than two hours later...

 He made the island... the beach... the tide pool...

He made the crab... she thought was buried trash...

He made the sunset... to end the day...

Amen...!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

more vacation lessons...

In this time away... I find myself with more time to read...
in my current reads... I find reason to rest...
in imperfection...
and those who are lost...

The first lesson I find in Eugene Peterson's... The Jesus Way...
The way of David is the way of imperfection. The story of David lived and the psalms he prayed provide us with an imagination that is capable of understanding the operations of God to do his perfect work in us, not our capacities to perfect ourselves. The stories tell us that nothing about us, whether good or bad, is without significance; the prayers tell us that everything within us, whether good or bad, has to do with God. The stories and prayers together free us from a role and performance mentality, free us from the perfectionist expectations of others and perfectionist ambitions we set for ourselves.
---Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way
Peterson explains... through David's stories and psalms... how it's OK to be imperfect... we actually have no power to change our imperfections... but God sent Jesus in order to forgive... and... heal...

I'm one who has struggled with perfectionism... beat myself up more times than I care to admit... set standards impossible to keep...

I've learned to rest in His grace... but Peterson... through David... taught me we are not called to be perfect in and of ourselves... in fact we cannot achieve perfection... but God... He is at work in our imperfect ways... to reveal and heal... to forgive and redeem...

With each work we allow Him to complete... we become more complete in Him...
just like David... an imperfect man... inside and out... but a man after God's own heart...

The next book with a lesson... a novel... The Calling... by Rachelle Dekker... a post-apocalyptic work... a struggle between legalism... the Authority... as the way of salvation... and the Father... as the way of freedom... Aaron the Jesus-figure... the teacher leading the "rebels" to freedom...

The battle is great... lives are lost... Carrington the heroine... she mostly gets the truth... Remko her beloved husband and leader of the rebels on the run... suffers doubt...
She thought back to the last conversation she'd had with Aaron. It had been a couple weeks ago; he'd walked with her alone, sensing her anxiety. Her uneasiness. She'd been worried about Remko; he'd stopped sleeping regularly. Even when he was with her, a part of him was somewhere else.
"He will find his way," Aaron had said.
"You keep telling me that, but as the days pass I wonder if he's only becoming more lost."
"Being lost is part of the journey."
---Rachelle Dekker, The Calling
In my own life... I watch loved ones struggle... seemingly lost...
and I find comfort... the ability to rest...
in the truth... Being lost is part of the journey...

Jesus came to seek the lost...
and in our lostness... He finds us...

I can think back on my own journey... and see this truth...

Finding unexpected rest...
in imperfection...
and being lost as part of the journey...

More vacation lessons...
during the time away...
but not away from Him...

Monday, June 20, 2016

stepping out...

Sometimes... obedience feels like stepping out... into a flood stage river... fear of being swept away... unprepared... too weak...

Like the Levites... crossing the Jordan... leading the way into the Promised Land...
their only hope... all their faith... placed in the ark they held...
God's presence... God's call... God's promise...

So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan
with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan,
and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink
of the water (now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout
the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood
and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is
beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward 
the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off.
And the people passed over opposite Jericho.
Joshua 3:14-17 ESV

I feel like I'm standing there now...
stepping out in faith... in obedience...
unprepared... filled with fear of being swept away...


Yet... I step... trusting it's His call I hear...
trusting His presence...
trusting His promise...
and filled with joy...

Another study to offer...
this time a joint offering...
a joint effort in sharing our stories...
our understanding... of faith...
what we've learned from Him... His Word...
in our following of His Way...

Like the study I offered last summer...
it's not complete...
it has a start... a fuzzy middle... and a word for the end...

This post a step closer to the edge of obedience...
if I share it with others... there's no backing out...

I ask for prayers... for the completion and teaching...
for sisters to come... ready to both receive and share...
for boldness along the way... for His blessing of growth in faith...

The six weeks of study (tentatively) set to begin... Tuesday... July 5...

Amen...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 129... and unhealthy family relationships...

Family... sometimes we think that's the most important thing there is in life... that nothing bad can come from supporting family members... blood relations... but sometimes... it's just not true...

Through King Jehoshaphat we see some pitfalls... from unhealthy family relationships...

Jehoshaphat... king of Judah... followed the ways of God...
he ruled the southern kingdom of what was formerly one nation...

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked
in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek Baals,
but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments,
and not according to the practices of Israel.
2 Chronicles 17:3-4 ESV

Ahab... king of Israel...the northern kingdom... sought idols... and practiced evil...

All the peoples of Judah and Israel were family... the descendants of Abraham... Isaac... Jacob...

Jehoshaphat seemed to put alliance with family on line with... or above... his loyalty to God...

Even though he honored God and His ways... he allowed his son to marry into Ahab's family... a wicked unbelieving family...

Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor,
and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab.
2 Chronicles 18:1 ESV

Ahab invited Jehoshaphat to go on a military campaign with him against a common enemy... Jehoshaphat answered...

"I am as you are, my people as your people.
We will be with you in the war."
2 Chronicles 18:3 ESV

It's all in the family... it must be a great idea...

The war did not go well... Ahab was killed... despite his efforts to disguise himself as one of the soldiers... and making sure Jehoshaphat fought in full royal garb as a prime target for the enemy...

Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety
to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer
went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat,
"Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?
Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord. ..."
2 Chronicles 19:1-2 ESV

Jehoshaphat was scolded by God... for putting family ahead of godliness...
helping the wicked... just because they were related...

Toward the end of his reign... Jehoshaphat aligned with Israel again in a business deal...

After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with
Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly.
He joined him in building ships in Eziongeber.
Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahur of Mareshah
prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying,
"Because you have joined Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy
what you have made." And the ships were wrecked
and were not able to go to Tarshish.
2 Chronicles 20:35-37 ESV

God would not allow Jehoshaphat... His follower... to profit from an alliance with one who acted wickedly... even if it was "family"...

I wonder how often we do the same...
because it's family... we go to great lengths to support...
even if they have rejected God and His ways...

Jesus had some difficult teaching on family... and faith...

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father
and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters,
yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. ..."
Luke 14:26 ESV

Our culture's sensibility on family thinks this is preposterous...
but this is what He says...
alliances with Him should never be superseded by family...

His blood... is thicker than family...
faithfulness to Him and His Way...
should always come before relatives...

Even worse... Jehoshaphat's unhealthy ideas about family...
led to devastation for his family and his nation...

When Jehoshaphat died... his oldest son reigned...
(this was the one married to Ahab's daughter...)
he began his reign by killing all his brothers...
and some of the princes in Israel...
in order to strengthen his kingdom...

No... family relationships are not always great...
beware unhealthy family relationships...
keep your relationship with God healthy...

This week's readings...
Monday                 2 Chronicles 25:14 - 26:23
Tuesday                 2 Chronicles 27-28
Wednesday            2 Chronicles 29
Thursday               2 Chronicles 30-31
Friday                   2 Chronicles 32:1 - 33:9

Friday, June 17, 2016

vacation...

vacation... noun... 1: a respite or a time of respite from something: intermission 2 a: a scheduled period during which activity... is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee 3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation... 4: an act or an instance of vacating
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dict. (11th ed)
Vacation... a time away...
a time to vacate the usual...
but not a time to be away from Him...

For me... vacation leads to finding Him in new places...
not just in a different physical... geographical... locale...
but in movies... a novel... I wouldn't otherwise have time for...

We cannot vacation from Him...
we may miss regular worship services while away... or Sunday School...
but it can be a time to see Him in new light...
take more time to spend with Him...
not just squeeze Him into your busy schedule...

He is Life...
keep life in your vacation...
recognize Him while you're away...

...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 ESV

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jesus... did You ever wonder...? (a prayer)

Jesus... did You ever wonder... if You were heard...?
speaking to hundreds... thousands...
from a boat... on a mount...
children bounding... people sleeping... chatting...

Did You ever wonder if it made a difference...?
Did You ever doubt Your calling...?

I'd have to say... Yes... since You were tempted... tried... in all things...


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize
with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect
has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 ESV

On the cross... did You think it all a waste...?

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, sayng,
"Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is "My God, My God,
why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46 ESV

I find comfort... encouragement... knowing You struggled with doubt...

I find the Way to resist discouragement... just as You did...
running to Your Father... daily...

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
he departed and went out to a desolate place,
and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35 ESV

Thank You for showing the Way...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

too much truth (?)... in an unexpected place...

Another movie while away... filled with unexpected truth...
but it came like a time bomb... almost twenty hours later...

The movie... Deep Impact... picked from the bargain bin...
looking for action-adventure to please my dear spouse...

By the time it was over... I announced...
I hated it...! Too many people died... too sad...
Why couldn't more have survived...?
At least some of the heroes could've returned...!

Movies with happy endings are my thing...
I can take action... and adventure... but just let it all come out all good in the end...
good according to my definition of good...

The truth exploded the next day...
sitting quietly... resting with Him...
soft breeze blowing... blue sky... dotted with white clouds...

Thoughts of cataclysmic events came to mind...
scenes from the movie... stirring fears of my own...

In response... I praised Him...
for knowing... never being surprised... caught off guard...
for His love... for His sovereignty and faithfulness...
in all things...

Then truth comes...
That movie you didn't like... was a love story...

And I realize... no less than seven main characters... risked their lives to save others...
six died... so millions could live...
a picture of love incarnate...

"...Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends. ..." ---Jesus
John 15:13 ESV

Conviction set in for not seeing it earlier... for desiring to see mankind control... reverse... cataclysmic... out of control... scenarios...

I see my own warped sense of trusting in man and his abilities...
at least when it comes to fiction and my personal entertainment...

The truth is... we live this way each day...
in a world out of our control...
one which will one day be destroyed...
by a cataclysmic event... 

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

In the movie... the president of the US professed faith in God...
he prayed for the nation... for God to bless...

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 ESV

No one else mentioned faith in Him...

The eternal destiny of those who loved... remained unknown...

But the bigger picture is...
we have One who loves us...
laid down His life...
that we might live eternally...

Those in Him... need never fear...
any cataclysmic event...
rather look for opportunities... not to control...
but to love... like Him...

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Psalm 46:1-3 ESV

A further truth... is to remember the precarious nature of life...
and how little control... power... we have over our world... and its events...

This truth should make us look at others from an eternal perspective...
seeking to save those who are lost... connect with those He calls us to...
be prepared... to risk our lives... even if its just a little embarrassment in an awkward moment... to introduce others to Him who loves them... or love in a way that reveals Him...

Yes... changing my mind about the movie...
and wondering about unbelief still rooted in my heart...

Hmmm... a little more truth than I bargained for...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

He hears...

hear... to listen to with attention...
---Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Ed.
Yesterday...
Today...
I raise up questions in prayer...

Each time... an answer...
and I know He hears...

His answers heard with my heart...
not my ears...

He hears me...
He hears my heart...
by faith I hear Him speak to me...

What a comfort to know He hears...
His immediate answers sustain me...
when my questions meet silence...
because... I... know... He... hears...

O you who hear prayer,
to you all flesh will come.
Psalm 65:2 ESV 

Monday, June 13, 2016

finding truth... in unexpected places...

A time away... to relax... be with family... rest...
watching movies we haven't seen...
some I never knew I wanted to see...

In one movie... I find a picture of what it's like... to walk a different way than the world... I find truth... in an unexpected place...

The movie... Moneyball...
the world... major league baseball...
the hero of the film... unsung...

The challenge to rebuild... walk in a different way...
led the hero... to a totally new approach to recruiting players...
designating members of a championship team...

Even though he is General Manager... the opposition he faces is incredible... he goes to extremes to create a roster in which the Manager has no choice but to play the players he's recruited... for the purpose he recruited them...

As he trades the only remaining all-star on the team... the Assistant GM... the one hired to teach the GM the new way... cautions him... These are hard moves to explain to people...

The GM looks at him... Do you believe in this thing or not...?

Asst GM... I do...

GM... It's a problem you think we need to explain ourselves... Don't...

Asst GM... OK...

And the GM fully commits... I'm gonna see this thing through to the end... for better or worse...

The commitment made to the new system... strategy... for putting together a winning major league baseball team... is the same commitment... Believers need to make to His Way...

Echoes of Shadrach... Meshach... and Abednego... can be heard...

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from
the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But if not, be it known to you, O king that we will not serve your gods
or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Daniel 3:16-18 ESV

If it's right... if it's different than the world's way...
many will question... call you crazy... persecute...

His Way... when followed wholeheartedly... seems absurd to those in your world...

This kind of commitment even draws resistance from other Believers... those who feel the need to explain... justify their actions... those who suffer a greater degree of fear-of-man than fear-of-the Lord...

Make no excuses... no explanations... just don't...

Don't be deceived by running after the things of the world... or it's approval...

Fully commit... be all in... follow Him...

There is no other Way...

"Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life..."
John 6:68 ESV

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 128... and His response to worship...

The dedication of the temple... revolved around an elaborate worship service...
sacrifices... songs of praise... prayer...

King Solomon asked God to be attentive to all who directed their prayers toward His presence in this place...

God responded...

"I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself
as a house of sacrifice. ...
Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer
that is made in this place. For now I have chosen
and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. 
My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.
2 Chronicles 7:12, 15-16 ESV


Believers who truly sacrifice...
take up their crosses to follow Him... lay aside self... 
repent of sin...
sing songs of praise...
worship Him with every moment of their lives...
receive His presence...
the Holy Spirit... dwelling in them...

In response to our sacrifice... prayer... worship... He responds...
I have heard your prayer... and chosen this place...
My eyes open... My ears attentive... to prayer in this place...
I have chosen... and consecrated this house... for My name...

Jesus asked His Father... on behalf of those who would believe...

"... Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. ..."
John 17:17 ESV

He consecrates... He sanctifies... His temple within our bodies... by His Word... His Truth...

I long to have the confidence... of hearing Him speak to my spirit... in response to my worship... to hear I am chosen by Him... to be a place He sees... and hears... and consecrates me by His Word...

To be in His Word... and allow His Word to be in us...
is how we come to know what it means...
to worship... sacrifice... pray... praise...
and become prepared to hear...
I have chosen... and consecrated this house... your heart... for My name...

Be in His Word... follow along on The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday                 2 Chronicles 16-17
Tuesday                2 Chronicles 18-19
Wednesday            2 Chronicles 20
Thursday               2 Chronicles 21-23
Friday                   2 Chronicles 24:1 - 25:13

Friday, June 10, 2016

a day preparing...

A day preparing... for a time away...
making sure things are left in order...
and nothing needed left behind...

Preparing takes energy... thought... intention...

I think of Him... and all He has prepared for us...

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

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV

"... Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ..."
Matthew 25:24 ESV

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 11:16 ESV

"... In my Father's house are many rooms; it if were not so,
I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you..."
John 4:2

He prepared a Way for us to return to Him... 
His Kingdom... 
His House... 
His table...

He prepares... what we can never imagine...

"What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived"---
the things God has prepared for those who love him...
1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

In His infinite power... strength... will...
He prepares a place for us...

Thank You... Lord... for all the preparations You've made for us...
Thank You... Lord... for drawing my attention to You...
through my own preparations...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

He presses... not panics...

He presses...
He doesn't panic...

So when panic tries to take hold...
in the middle of finishing up...
I resist... I question Him...

Do You want me to leave...? or is this just a distraction...?

Before He answers... I remember... remind myself...
He is a God of peace...

When His pressing comes...
it comes with peace...
never panic...

So I press on...
through the panic...
finishing what I intended...

Peace returns...

Then the phone rings... offering an opportunity to serve a loved one... a blessing I would have missed... had I run...

And I see the enemy at work...
as if He lifted a veil... to show the unseen...

The enemy watches all... takes note... sees what he can stir up... where he can distract... disturb... distress...

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 
Resist him, stand firm in your faith...
1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Don't let that demon devour your peace...
steal an opportunity to bless...
move you from where you need to be...

Panic is never from Him...

Press on...

Question...

Wait...

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness,
but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

God... my exceeding joy...

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling
Then I will go to the the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Psalm 43:3-4 ESV

Verses from a Joy Scripture Reading Plan...

In it I see... He is my exceeding joy...
His light... His truth... lead me to Him... my joy...

And suddenly... I see Him BIG... INFINITE...

Bigger than any one could ever reveal...

I see why... He calls so many...
to write... witness... teach...
who He is...

Because one... even a few... could never... write enough... teach enough... share enough... to reveal all that He is...

God... my exceeding joy...

Is He your joy...? how does He look to you... through the joy that is Him...?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

He will be... exalted...

In a world where He doesn't get much mind...
some wonder... Where is He...?

His church neglects His Word...
whole peoples follow other gods...
individuals follow their own way... instead of seeking His...

Where is He...?

When people rebel... and say He isn't...
when nations systematically... extinguish those who Believe...
when His own people... feebly praise... worship... wander...

Where is He...?

Where is He when He's neglected... ignored...
made smaller than He actually is...?

Where is He...?

He's present...
patiently waiting...
for those He knows are coming...
for those whose time has not yet come...

But those of us who know...
who fret when He's made little of...
who feel inept in our ability to praise Him adequately...
need not fear for His reputation...

We need only be still... and wait...

"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

He... will... be... exalted...
every knee bent to Him...
every heart recognize Him...
the day will come...

He... will... be... exalted...

Monday, June 6, 2016

full day... full heart...

A full day...
in His presence...
serving Him...
sharing what He's done in me...
encouraging another with His Word...
leaves me with a full heart...

So full... there aren't really words...
humbled... blessed... filled with thanks...

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16 ESV

Think I covered all this today... 
except for the singing...
so here we go...


and here's another...


Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Journey Readings: Week 127... and reminded what it means... to serve the King...

King Solomon built the temple... he enlisted workmen to make the furnishings and utensils for worship... yet the Word says...

In the plain of the Jordan the king cast them,
in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah.
Solomon made all these things in great quantities...
2 Chronicles 4:17-18 ESV

Solomon is credited with casting the pots... shovels... forks... and other needed bronze-works in the plain of Jordan... but in the previous verse... Huram-abi is named as the craftsman...

These verses do not mean Solomon himself got down and dirty in the clay... he didn't sweat over molten bronze... those who worked for him did... those he called to work... served in the king's name... for the king's renown...

I'm reminded what it means... to serve the King...

Those under the King... serve the King... at the King's call...
as His representatives... as if the King were doing it Himself...

We see this biblical concept in the New Testament too...

...Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples)...
John 4:1-2 ESV

Jesus is credited with making and baptizing disciples...
while His disciples did the actual work of baptism...

His disciples baptized new Believers... in His name... for His renown...

This makes me wonder... and consider... what I do for Him...
am I serving at His call...? in His name...? for His renown...?
do I give Him the credit...? for all He does through me...?

What about you...?
what is Jesus doing through you...?
what are you doing for His glory...?

Find out more about what it means to serve the King... join The Journey...

This week's readings...
Monday             2 Chronicles 7-8
Tuesday            2 Chronicles 9
Wednesday        2 Chronicles 10-11
Thursday           2 Chronicles 12-13
Friday               2 Chronicles 14-15

Friday, June 3, 2016

who are you following...?

The Jesus Way has me thinking about those who say they follow Him... but their lives... their way... are at odds with His Word... His Way...
I cannot follow Jesus any which way I like. My following must be consonant with his leading. ...
More often than not I find my Christian brothers and sisters uncritically embracing the ways and means practiced by the high-profile men and women who lead large corporations, congregations, nations and causes, people who show us how to make money, win wars, manage people, sell products, manipulate emotions, and who then write books or give lectures telling us how we can do what they are doing. But these ways and means more often than not violate the ways of Jesus. ... Doesn't anybody notice that the ways and means taken up, often enthusiastically, are blasphemously at odds with the way Jesus leads his followers? Why doesn't anyone notice?
---Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way
And I answer Peterson's question...
Because they don't know His Way... they don't know Him...


Jesus's response to those who "follow" Him their way... comes to mind...

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day
many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'
And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me,
you workers of lawlessness.' ..."
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

These are the scariest words in the Bible to me...
and drive me to pray... listen...
read His Word... seek revelation...
long to do life His Way... not mine...

Jesus goes on to say... not missing a beat...

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them
will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell,
and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house,
but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them
will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell,
and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house,
and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24-27 ESV

In Sunday School once... a member of the class shared a story of a friend who left the Christian faith because of a storm in his life... 

As I listened to the account... this story of wise and foolish builders came to mind... those who built lives on the Rock... and those on the sand... and I had an epiphany...

Those who fall away from Him... who do not stand firm in the storm... have built their life... on a god of their own making... and not on the Rock... the Living God...

Followers of Jesus... who know Him... know His Way...
are not shaken in the storm... they do not do life their own way...
they do life His Way...

So I wonder today... Who are you following...?

I asked a similar question here recently...
but  it's one to give serious thought to...
Does your life match up with His Way... His Word...
or the world's way...?

The test is the storm...
we will all face one at one time or another...
you probably already have...
How did your faith fare...?
Was it devastated...? or stand firm...?
This will help you identify who you've been following...

Check your heart now... before you see Him face to face...
we have such a capacity for self-deception...

Ask Him to reveal the truth of who you are following...
and be prepared to receive what He has to say...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

a day for blessing... and being blessed...

A day for blessing... and being blessed...
in the offering of myself to others... for His use... at His call...
I find myself blessed... a truth found in His Word...

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and the one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11:25 ESV

It feels odd to receive such a blessing... by being obedient... in blessing others... it also feels great...!

I think of Abraham... and find myself wanting... the blessing God gave him...

"... in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Genesis 12:3 ESV

What an awesome blessing to receive...
the blessing of being a blessing...!

We may think ourselves such a mess... we could never bless anyone else...
but God... in His grace... works out brokenness as blessing...

"... the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you,
because the Lord your God loved you. ..."
Deuteronomy 23:5 ESV

Moses reminded the Israelites about the story of Balaam...
the prophet hired by their enemy... to curse them...
but God would not allow it...

Our enemy... entered the world to curse us with sin...
yet God... in His love... did not allow it to be the last word...

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming
a curse for us --- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"...
Galatians 3:13 ESV

He uses every curse... and its consequences... for good... when we allow Him to redeem it ALL through Christ Jesus... giving Him lordship over our lives...

Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!
Psalm 144:15 ESV

Obey His voice...
be a blessing...
be blessed...

Who have you blessed today...?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

so much to do... so much joy...

On the drive home from the shop...
my brain spins... with all I have to do...
bills to pay...
ministry to tend to...
dinner to cook...
blog to write...
Bible study to plan and prepare...
plants to water...
the list goes on...
but all I feel is...
JOY...

I really don't get it...
it seems so incongruent...
to my reality...
and how I would've felt...
before...

Before what...?
Can't put words to it...
before He freed me up to more of Him...
more faith in His work in my life...
more faith in His strength to do all He fills my life with...
more trust in Him to get it done...
more obedience to His Spirit...

Joy...
just more confirmation...
of walking with Him...

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!"
You have put more joy in my heart than they have
when their grain and wine abound.
Psalm 4:5-7 ESV

Trust and obedience...
a life lived for Him...
unexpected...
incongruent...
irrational...
joy... joy... joy...

Please understand... this unreasonable joy... 
that's been bubbling up in my heart the last couple of years... 
has come from years... decades... of pursuing His Way...

It is the result of much struggle... much failure... much repentance... much anxiety... on the road to trusting Him...

But let me tell you... it's worth it...

If you are struggling today... keep on keeping on...
continue offering right sacrifices...
giving Him your time... energy... life...

I hope to encourage you with these words today...
that joy will come... 
He promises it...

His joy... at our pursuit of Him... becomes our strength...

So I wonder... is this joy even mine...
maybe it's His... fueling me with strength...
to do all He's put in my life...

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