Monday, November 23, 2015

"He Surrounds Us"

   And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
   So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
   And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

Lord, like Elisha, I too pray that the eyes of Your people would be open to see Your provision, especially when the cry of our heart is, "What shall we do?" Help us to always turn to You with a heart that is willing for see, willing to believe in all the possibilities that You and the power of Your Spirit work all around us. Lord, help us to always see that You have us surrounded with the solution to every need! Every time!

Holy Spirit, open our eyes to see the greatness of our God! Help us to always see that He surrounds us with His love!  Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"The Vapor Of My Days

Psalm 39:4-7

"Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.   Selah

Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.

And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Let us hear the conclusion of the matter:

"Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil."

The truth is that is very easy as human beings, living our day to day self absorbed lives, that it is easy to lose sight of the truths contained in the verses above. Life is but a vapor that passes much to quickly! It is easy to get caught up in pursuing and chasing the temporal things that can so quickly take our focus away from the 'one thing' that truly matters. Him!

We all have moments when like ... Martha... we are distracted and burdened with many things but .......realizing that we have been drawn away .......repenting ......choosing to acknowledge that He is the very reason we draw breath ..... realizing that He is the One thing necessary because a man's life with all its opportunities 'is at its best state but vapor.'

I say all this because I know. I know that of late I have been, Martha. I have in all honesty been "Consumed" by the needs of the sixteen month old that was placed with me recently. Much to my dismay, after three years of faithfully seeking His heart, His Word to share each day.... I have missed posting a few days recently because I have chosen "sleep" instead. And in this moment of honesty I can truly say that my heart is overwhelmed with the NEED to declare ...

 "And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."  

Lord, help me to be more like Mary as I wait on You! Lord, You alone are the One to whom I look as I too, try to keep Your commandments with my heart set on You as my One thing necessary. Lord, as the vapor of my days on earth passes, I pray that the days at Your feet would far outway those spent distracted and confused!  Amen!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

When God Tells Us Stuff...

Words and images bombarded him like vultures attacking a day old carcass. They wouldn't let up. They wouldn't go away. They just kept coming.

Until they stopped.




Agabus shook his head. God had spoken to him. No wait. Was speaking to him. He needed to share this with the others. He needed to share this with the church so that Antioch could prepare, and so that they could send help to other believers.

Agabus started to stand when fear gripped him. What if they all thought he was crazy? What if they didn't believe him? What if he was wrong? He had only been working in the prophetic for a few months. Maybe he was wrong...

But what if he wasn't wrong... The dry and thirsty ground flashed before his mind's eye. Those lifeless faces made him want to weep. The echo of help still rang in his ears. What if he wasn't wrong? Was he really willing to risk all those lives?


Agabus stood up, his large frame making a commanding presence. He marched to the head of the room and faced his brothers in Christ. Then he opened his mouth so that the Spirit could speak through him.

Based on Acts 11:27-30

"Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul." Acts 11:27-30

God doesn't tell us stuff for no reason. Especially something like that. If we are given a word for someone, it's so that we can tell that person. If it's a word for you, it's so you can apply it to your life. If it's a vision or a prophecy of something like say a famine, it's so you can prepare for it!

These guys heard the call. They got the message. They prepared, planned, and provided. They didn't stop with themselves either. They sent relief to the Christians in Judea. They did everything they could.

Has God ever told you something that you've ignored? Have you ever felt the flame of His Spirit trying to reach you, only for you to dose Him with water? Have you ever heard the call, only to turn up the volume on your TV?

I have heard the call. I have been given messages. I have shared some, and I've held a lot back because I thought I was crazy, or because others would think I was crazy. I know what it's like to have that fire burn without fulfilling it's purpose, and I know what it's like to release it. I know a number of other Christians who have done the same thing as me.

Here's the thing. It's not just you. It's not just me. It does affect others. The difference between me, us and the Christians at Antioch is that they did. They got the word, delivered it, heard it, accepted it, and prepared. We usually get lost at step two or three. But it doesn't just affect us. Image if Agabus had heard that word, and didn't share it because he was afraid. People would have died.

It's not just us. God tells us stuff, so that we can do something, so that we can help, so that lives can be changed. It's not about our fear. It's about them.

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ask for Help

This moment was entirely underwhelming. They were sitting at a rickety, old table, for crying out loud.

Saul popped a piece of cheese into his mouth, and washed it down with a swig of water. He motioned for Barnabas to have some food. Saul was waiting patiently, but Barnabas knew he wanted to know why he was here. He had to get around to the main event soon.

"So...." His voice trailed off.

"So, why are you here?" Saul asked.

"I'm here for you," Barnabas blurted out.

Saul's bushy eyebrows rose to the top of his head, but he didn't say anything. He just waited for Barnabas to explain.

"The church in Antioch is really growing, but not just with Jews. Gentiles are accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. It's starting to happen all over. You may have even heard about Peter's encounter with them. Anyways, after spending a couple days at Antioch, I realized that I could not shoulder that ministry alone. They need more. So, I prayed, asking God for help." Barnabas paused and looked Saul in the eye. "He told me to ask you for help."



Saul pointed to his chest. "Don't you know-"

"Yes," Barnabas cut him off. "I do know. It doesn't matter anymore. You've been redeemed by Christ. Now, will you come with me, and help me teach them?"

Based on Acts 11:25-26

"So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." Acts 11:25-26

What I like about these verses is that Barnabas went to look for Saul. He didn't try to do this on his own. He found another man of God to help him build up the church in Antioch. He cared about those baby Christians enough to know that he couldn't shoulder this ministry by himself.

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

We don't have to be superheroes. We don't have to use our own might - if you can call stubborn pride that - to do something. Even in ministry. Even in your ministry. God didn't create us to try and do things alone. We need God's help. We need the support of our family. We need the help of our friends. So often we try to fight that, but a real leader, asks for help.

Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. It doesn't make you weak. It actually makes you stronger. Start now by asking for God's help in whatever it is that you're struggling to figure out on your own.

"God, I need help!"

V. Joy Palmer

"Wait On The Lord"

The first time I ever heard these words was during a time in my life when I was desperate for God to hear my prayers. I actually didn't read them but heard them being sung by Kent Henry in a worship song that I no longer remember the name of. What I do remember is that singing those words and worshiping with that song got me through a particularly hard time. I remember playing that song over and over and over because those words spoke to part of me that was desperate to believe that God was with me through it all.

      I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, That I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
      Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14

For me, (even though at the time I didn't really understand it) I did the very thing verse 14 is telling us to do. As I sang that song over and over and over I was "waiting " on the Lord. The word wait (6960) here means 'to bind together with' and as I sang these words over and over and over it caused both my faith and my hope to be in Him and Him alone. It brought me to a place of being bound to Him and it caused me to keep my eyes fixed on Him and the promises of His Word To see His goodness! As I bound / waited on Him in my worship it brought me through the desperation I felt in my situation to a place of confidence in Him and His ability to not only hear my cries but His ability to be at work in and through it as well! As I waited on Him in my worship it caused me to trust Him to bring about His goodness!

The thing is, we all have times and seasons where the only way through is to WAIT on Him! It's important...Don't lose heart! Bind yourself to Him! Praise, worship, pray! Cry out to Him! Grab a hold of His promises and His goodness will always show itself strong!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dodging The Spear

Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander in his army, an appointment that was applauded by the fighting men and officers alike. But something happened when the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed Goliath. Women came out from all the towns along the way to celebrate and to cheer for King Saul, and they sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:
"Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!"
This made Saul very angry. "What's this?" he said. "They credit David with ten thousands and me only with thousands. Next time they will make him their king!" So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. The very next day, in fact, a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave like a mad man. David began to play his harp, as he did whenever this happened. But Saul, who had a spear in his hand hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David jumped aside and escaped. This happened another time, too.
1 Samuel 18:5-11

Have you ever had a boss that just seemed like he was out to get you? I have, let me tell you. I'm a pretty loyal person. I mean, I can put up with a lot and still respect a person. But, eventually, my patience wears out.

I recently left a job that I had spent three and a half years in, largely because of my boss. I was a good employee, I worked hard, did more than my job required, rarely was sick, was never late, and took overtime when it was offered. I was loved and respect by all of the people at my rank or lower, and trained many of the people who came to work there. I was one of the best and brightest. Then my current boss left, and a new one appeared. For 3 months, everything was good. Then it all changed.

Write ups, denied promotions, and impossible tasks began to pile up. There was nothing I could to please this guy. Success was met with more tasks and deadlines, so much so that a once successful employee was lucky to come up for a breath once every week or two. Frustration grew until I was consumed with my job, even when I wasn't there. I prayed for relief, but it never came. I even went to my boss, but that did no good. After a year of this, I was fed up. I couldn't do it anymore. I was just about to walk away (something that I had never done) when an opportunity arose. I ran to this opportunity, full speed. A transfer and promotion later, my life was changed. I was happy again. I didn't hate my job anymore; I loved it more than I ever had before. But I never would have transferred if the situation in my old job hadn't been bad. God saw everything, and He had a better plan all along, same as He did for David.

See, I think that if Saul hadn't chased David off, that David would have been there to save Saul on the day that he died. But God had other plans. He wanted David to be king, and He set everything up for that to happen. Never forget that God has a plan for YOU, no matter how small you feel at the moment. Don't be afraid to ask Him about it, because it's going to be better then the stuff that you are going through now. Not that it will be easy, but walking in His will is far more gratifying than walking alone.

I stopped in at my old job after two months of being gone, and boy, let me tell you that I was happy that my old boss didn't have a spear. Maybe, had I been listening for God's voice, I wouldn't have had to go through all that garbage. Learn from my mistake, and when you talk to God, really listen to what He has to say.


Friday, November 13, 2015


The vision was still fresh as he tried not to stumble off the housetop. Walking, pacing, blinking, praying. Trying to understand or at least stop hearing and seeing. But God's words still echoed in his mind...

"What God has made clean, do not call common."

The image was still burned into his mind's eye...

A great sheet spread out upon the earth with hundreds of kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. All unclean.

Why would God tell him to eat that stuff?

Peter could hear loud talking on the street, and he peaked over the rooftop to see what was happening. One of Peter's traveling companions had answered the door, and was talking with a group of men. The men looked like Romans or Greeks - Peter couldn't really tell from up there. Regardless, it probably didn't concern him.

Just then, the familiar sensation overtook him. The feeling of being pulled away from all the sights and sounds of the world to hear Him.

"Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them."

Peter blinked. Without hesitation? Since when did God tell them to cohort with Gentiles and heathens? But then Peter recalled God's previous words. "What God has made clean, do not call common." Was this what God was trying to tell him? Spinning around, Peter bounded down the ladder into the house. He didn't entirely understand, but if God was telling him to go to the Gentiles, who was he to call them unworthy?

Based on Acts 10:17-21

"The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But Peter said, 'By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.' And the voice came to him again a second time, 'What God has made clean, do not call common. 'This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.' And Peter went down to the men and said, 'I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?'" Acts 10:9-21

Now, I know Peter made a mistake later with the Gentiles. He gave into peer pressure, which was something I talked about last week here and here. However, there is something you need to understand.

Peter was the first to go to the Gentiles. The first. He did this crazy, unthought-of, unheard of thing. Every instinct told him no, not to go. God had to convince him with food before Cornelius' men even arrived. Peter was brave. In a way, he went were no man had gone before.

How many of us, would have dared to do what Peter did? They were already facing persecution. They were already in the midst of something new and hard. They were already serving. Why bother with this? Not only that, why bother with people who were "unclean?" People who didn't belong to God - or so they thought. Peter was brave when he listened to God and obedient to His will. Braver then I am about 99% of the time.

If God asked you to be the first to do something crazy, bold, and new, would you do it? Would you be willing to be the first one to step in the unknown for Him and His will? Would you be brave?

V. Joy Palmer