Friday, December 19, 2014

"Set My Feet, Lord"

From the end of he earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.   Psalm 61:2

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

He has put a new song in my mouth -- Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, Nor such as turn aside to lies.

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts which are toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I declare and speak them, They are more than can be numbered.     Psalm 40:1-5

Since the last couple of messages have been about Jesus being the Rock of our Refuge and the Rock of our Salvation I didn't want to forget to emphasize that it is really easy to KNOW Him as our rock! Its simple to live our life trusting in Him as our rock. It simple because it starts with us crying out to Him and then heeding His word and applying it our our circumstances. He is the Rock that will lift us up every time when our heats are overwhelmed. The most important thing we can remember is that it is His heart to take us up from the miry stuff and to set us in a place that is solid in Him. Remember!!!!

Blessed (Happy) is the man who makes the Lord his trust!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Secret Place

There was a rustle, and the sounds of disorder floated into his tent with the breeze. A young man pulled back the make-shift curtain, and stuck his head inside his tent. "He's going to the tent again."

He stepped out of his tent. There was a soft roar as everyone stepped out of their tents. This is what they did.

As soon as someone caught wind of what he was doing, young boys would run throughout the camp to let everyone know. Then the entire camp would step outside and watched Moses go to the tent. The tent was like a little brown speck on the flaming orange horizon because Moses had insisted that the tent be pitched far away from the camp. Moses had encouraged the people to make the trek to the tent because it was a place for them to meet with the Lord. He called it the tent of meeting. Some of the people went. A lot of them didn't.

Moses always went.

And so did his young assistant.

He held his hand up, shielding his eyes from the sun's harsh glare. Moses was pulling open the tent flap. Once he disappeared inside, most of the people went back to what they were doing.

But he always looked to Moses' assistant.

Joshua.

He never left. While most of the people would only wait for Moses to enter the tent, Joshua would wait outside the tent for Moses. He wouldn't leave. Why, even from this distance he looked determined and invested.

Every time Moses went to the tent, Joshua went with him. Every time. And he never left.

Eventually even he would get tired of standing in the hot sun, and leave. But Joshua never did.

Based on Exodus 33:7-11

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2

My mom use to sing this song to us when we were little. With all the turmoil in my young life, I wanted to know how to get to that secret place of God. Once I was there, I knew I would never leave. I just had to get there first.

I love this story about Moses and Joshua. When God brought the verses from Psalm 91 to mind, He also brought this story to mind.

1) Moses - He was dedicated. Moses would go to the Tent of Meeting in order to have that time with God. His time with God was so special and intimate, that he spoke to God face to face. It was like talking to your best friend! Moses dwelt in the secret place of the Lord.

2) Joshua - He wouldn't leave. Most of the people only waited long enough to watch Moses go inside the tent. Joshua stayed the entire time. He knew that God was there and with Moses. He had seen God do awesome miracles through Moses. He had heard about Moses and God chatting away like best buds. He had seen Moses' face after he spent time with God. Joshua was determined to be apart of that, experience that. Joshua longed to experience God the same way Moses did. Joshua also dwelt in the secret place of the Lord.

Both these men found that elusive "secret place" of God. They did incredible things in their careers for God. Moses freed the Israelites from Egypt, and guided them through the desert. Joshua led the people into the Promised Land. He led the charge against enemy nations, including God's crazy plan to defeat Jericho, and helped settle the Israelites into the land. You don't do things like that unless you are hooked with God. These men had found their refuge, and no matter what happened, they weren't letting go.

Moses found that secret place with God because he was determined to spend real time with God.

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." James 4:8a

Joshua found that secret place because he was determined to choose God first. He hung onto God.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

Guys, if your heart has ever yearned for the secret place of God, the shelter of His wings, His refuge, then this is the map that will led you right into His waiting arms. Seek that intense relationship with God. Ask for intimacy with the Lord, like friends speaking face to face. Then, get it. Don't let the cares of this world distract you. I'm sure Joshua had plenty of other things he could have been doing instead of sitting outside the Tent of Meeting. He choose God over all of that. Seek God, choose God, and then we will find ourselves under the shadow of His wing.

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Before, During, And After"

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  Now therefore everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." Matthew 7:24-27
 
In our last message we looked at the what Jesus said in terms of the wise man who built on the rock We mostly just looked at that first sentence and the example that the Lord showed me in terms of Noah being like the wise man Jesus described here. Today, since I haven't been able to think of anything else but these verses I'd like to share something else the Lord showed me that I had never really payed much attention to before. 

That something is quite simply a look at what comes next in the verse after the hearing and the doing and the being considered wise ... so lets take a look...  "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock."  What about for the foolish man who built on the sand? What happens next after the hearing, and the not doing, and the being considered foolish? ..."and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And it was a great fall."  In both cases the same thing happened. The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against the house. In both instances stuff happened! The difference was in the outcome that the stuff accomplished.  The wise builder's house stood and the foolish builder's house fell a great fall. 

I know that this seems pretty obvious but the thing that jumped out at me was that both the wise and foolish had the rain, floods, and wind come against them. Too often believers tend to act like once they become believers that nothing hard will ever come their way.  All to often when it does then they end up blaming God. Something to take notice of here. The wise man builds on the rock because he is preparing ahead for when the storm he knows will come. 

I think this example makes it pretty clear that the truth is, it doesn't matter who you are, things happen in life. We all deal with stuff at some point in our lives. Everyone deals with trials, temptations, and or circumstances that are beyond our control. Stuff Happens and the reality is it is how we respond that determines the outcome. Are we wise enough to turn to Him. Do we seek His counsel and do what he says and therefore not fall because we are founded on the Rock or do we doubt when the hard times come? Do question and turn away from His promises to see us through?

Do we trust Him to be the Rock of our Salvation before, during, and after the storm?

Truly my soul waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62:1-2

Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-2

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in Him I will trust, The shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:2-3

My soul, waits silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge,  is in God. Psalm 62:5-7

The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:46

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets my feet on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You also have given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; So that my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:30-36

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Living on the Run

He scratched his chin. What was Jesus saying?

John just wasn't sure. 

Jesus had been speaking on many great things for hours and hours. He and the rest of the disciples, except for the disappearing Judas, had been rapt with attention, continuously awestruck and dumbfounded by Jesus' insight and wisdom. The hot rays of the sun passed by them unnoticed, and the cool breezes of the evening came to claim it's place. John couldn't have told someone if he blinked the entire time. It all just felt like a few minutes.

He had been lost in Jesus' words, but his last statement threw him for a loop.

"I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." 

Jesus wasn't of this world?

What did that even mean?

And what did it mean when he said they weren't of this world either?

Based on John 17:14

Below is the lyric music video for TobyMac's song, "Unstoppable."


My favorite line in this song is "Not of this world so we live on the run."

Do you guys sometimes feel like we are living on the run? Persecutions, trials, and temptations seem to chase us. Sometimes we literally feel like we are on the run from it all with no place to hide. It's hard, but we tell ourselves that it's something we have to do in sometimes...

But wait. Is it possible? Should we have that mindset? Instead of feeling like we have to be on the run, should that automatically be how we live our lives on this earth? We are God's, not the world's.

"If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:19

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of you mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

We have been told from day one that we are not of this world. So why shouldn't we live...on the run? Why shouldn't we move away from temptations and the lusts of this world? Why shouldn't we live with out eyes wide open so that we know what is and isn't of God? Why shouldn't the world hate us for being different?

Fact is, that is and how it's supposed to be while we are on this earth. We will always be running away from the world. We should be running to Jesus. We belong to God. When we have made Jesus Lord of our lives, we don't belong to the world anymore. This message wasn't about dealing with difficult times, or counting it an honor to suffer for Jesus' sake. No, this is a thought that - if you really apply it - could change how we walk. Instead of somber, dragging steps as we try to escape, we will walk with a spring in our step, as we purposely run away from all that isn't of God in this world.

Because that's how it's supposed to be.

"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." John 17:16

We are not of this world. We were never supposed to be. So don't get comfortable. We are...on the run.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, December 15, 2014

"A Wise Man"

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25

When I read these verses today they reminded me of an Old Testament favorite! He did exactly what Jesus is talking about in these two verses. He heard the words God spoke to him, he did them, and then he was likened as it were to a wise man. Check out Hebrews  11:7 ...By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, (the hearing) moved with Godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, (the doing) by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (the likening as wise by God)

Noah has been one of my heroes of faith since the beginning of my walk with God for a number of reasons but I must admit the number one reason is his faithfulness to the do ...according to all that God commanded him so he did. Genesis 6:22

When I read the account of Noah's faithfulness 'to do' in Genesis chapters 6:9 I am filled with admiration and can see why it says in 6:8-9 ...But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord....Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.  Its easy to see that this is why God knew he could trust Noah with His heart and what He needed Noah to do. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for all the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Mark yourself and ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, cover it with pitch. And this is how you should make it ..." Genesis 6

Obviously we all know that more instructions and more obedience comes into play here  but I have always loved the way that Noah didn't doubt the word of the God. He knew Him. He walked and talked with Him. He didn't fuss or argue or even doubt what God had said. He he heard the instruction, trusted it would come pass and that the rain would come. He heard and then he immediately obeyed and not just in the idea but in every little aspect. Every instruction followed just as God had said. ...And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. Genesis 7:5

Noah was like a man who heard the sayings of the Lord, he did them, and God  said to him ..."Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. Genesis 7:1

Noah was a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." Matthew 24:24-25

Jesus used this wise man illustration on the heals of another statement that starts a few verse ahead that are significant to what He was saying to His followers. He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." Matthew 7:21-27

Its all part of the same truth. Its not enough to just call Him Lord. You and I as believers need to remember that its not about calling Him "Lord, Lord" but about obeying His commands because He is Lord. What if Noah hadn't obeyed? What if he had decided that since he had never seen rain before that God would never make it really come to pass. What if He spent all his time questioning the validity of what God was asking him to do or what if he told God, "No. It will cost me to much time, money, and effort." What if he decided to come up with a better plan and try to handle things in own his way? What if? What if that is what we as believers do all to often? What if we hear Him but don't do?

Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, I will liken him to a foolish man who built his house on the sand: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell, And great was its fall" Matthew 7:26-27

And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. Genesis 7:5 Noah followed every instruction right down to the smallest detail outlined to him by God. Noah, a man considered by God to be perfect in his generation.

Please, Lord, that we might be a people who are wise enough: to hear and obey.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"All My Days"

Psalm 71:12-18

But I will hope continually, 
  And I will praise You yet more and more.
My  mouth shall tell of Your righteousness 
  And Your salvation all the day,
  For I do not know their limits.
I will go in strength of the Lord God;
  I will make mention of Your righteousness, 
  of Yours only.

O God, You have taught me from my youth,
  And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grey-headed,
  O God, do not forsake me,
  Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
 

Thank You, Lord, for all my days! All the days of my youth till now. Each and every day, a gift that you have given me, Lord, and with it, the opportunity to declare Your wondrous works to the nations. 

O Lord, I pray that You would give us the words that we might declare You in all Your splendor ...forever and ever... 

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Run with Endurance

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." Hebrews 12:12-13

I don't know about you, but I have felt really weary of late. But I can't give up. I can't let those distractions and trials take me down. God has been moving in my church. The church was been growing, and I want to be there. There are young people who are growing in their faith, who look up to me to show them how be to a Christian.

I feel like the disciples who kept falling asleep in the garden while Jesus prayed. That no matter how hard I try, I'm just going to fall asleep again, and let Him down.

But I can't. We can't. If we call ourselves Christians and are followers of Jesus, we don't just get to stop. We are called to a Holy purpose. Our calling transcends our momentary feelings. Depression, anger, exhaustion these are but a few of the things that we must overcome.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

When things look dark, don't give up. When things are too hard, don't let go. When you don't want to read your Bible or go to Church, that's when you need to be there the most. God doesn't give us more than we can bear. Remember that.

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

Sam