Saturday, August 1, 2015

When Christians Fight...

After a while Paul said to Barnabus, "Let's go back and visit our fellow Christians in every town where we told them the Lord's Word, and let's see how they are."

Barnabus wanted to take along John, who was called Mark. But Paul thought it best not to take the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them into the work. They disagreed so sharply that they separated, and Barnabus, taking Mark along, sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and started out, his fellow Christians entrusting him to the Lord's grace.
Acts 15:36-40

There are many lessons that could be drawn from this lesson, and there are some debates as to who was in the right. In the end, I don't feel that it truly matters for us who was in the right, as we can learn lessons from both Paul and Barnabus.

For Paul, he saw this guy who was, at least as he perceived, unfaithful. He had let them down before, he very well might let them down again. Paul hadn't really seen him since he abandoned them in Pamphylia,  and he didn't know if Mark's heart had changed, or if he he might run away at the first sign of trouble. Or maybe he was just having a hard time forgiving Mark for running away. Maybe it was both.

Barnabus, on the other hand, was ready to give Mark a second chance. Maybe he felt there were extenuating circumstances for why Mark had left them. Perhaps he was just moved to forgive Mark.

The bottom line is, here were these two great men of God, and they were split up by a disagreement. In other words, even among Christians, fights happen. They can be seemingly unavoidable. But what is truly important is what you do after a fight. Although they separated, Paul and Barnabus did not let this stop them from serving God. They didn't let this take them out. They kept on serving God. That is the single most important thing that you can take away from this lesson: whatever does happen, never stop serving God.

Despite any trial that might cross your path, no matter how bad it hurts, never walk away from Jesus. He knows how it is to be betrayed. He knows how it is to be hurt by someone you love. He knows how it hurts when someone walks away from you. Keep your eyes focused on Him, and things are gonna work out.

"Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he's a good help to me in my work." 2 Timothy 4:11

In the end, Paul knew that Barnabus did the right thing by giving Mark a second chance. Be open to the fact that maybe you could be in the wrong in the next disagreement that you have with someone.


Friday, July 31, 2015

"Today's Challenge"

    He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
    I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
    Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
    He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
    You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at nooday.
    A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
    Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
    Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
    For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
    They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
    You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
    Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
    He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver and honor him, and show him My salvation. Psalm 91:1-16

"The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." Proverbs 29:25

Truth is we all have a choice to make. We can put our trust in the words of man or the words of God. The Bible is full of examples of men and women of God showing us that they made the choice to trust God and how He kept His word to them and indeed, kept them safe!

I don't know about you, but for me, Psalm 91 is one of those Psalms that brings comfort and peace to my soul when I'm in a place where I am afraid and tempted to believe "the report" of man about a situation. We all know about the time that Caleb and Joshua challenged the people of Israel to believe God's promise to give them the land rather than the other spies' report about the giants in the promise land. That being said I'm here today to do that same thing, and issue you a challenge to trust Him as well. There are always going to be giants that will attempt to cause you to fear for your life, and there will always be those who will only focus on the giants and they too will try to convince you to fear for your life. But and this is the but that counts! But there will also always be the promise of the Most High to BE YOUR GOD and to keep you safe. His word ...His promise isn't going anywhere!

At the end of Psalm 91 we see God giving us the secret to being in the secret place with Him. Check out these phrases: "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver and honor him, and show him My salvation." The secret to knowing the deliverance and protection that is talked about in this Psalm ...set your love upon Him and know and declare His name into the situation. Trust Him. Call upon Him and then watch and see His deliverance and protection come your way! Whose report will you believe?  Mans or the Almighty?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pick Up Your Fish

James sniffed the air appreciatively. Jesus had a roaring fire going, and there was already a ton of fish laid out on it. Man, was it starting to smell good!

Some of the disciples started to sit down, and James joined them. He spied loaves of bread sitting near the fire. They were about to have a nice little feast.

Jesus didn't sit down though.

James wiped the drool from his lip. Why was Jesus still standing there? James sat up straighter. Jesus had something to say.

"Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." Jesus said it simply, but he had an expectant look on his face. Which only confused James more.

Peter took off towards the boat, and James noticed that Jesus smiled proudly. Why did Peter have to go get the fish when Jesus already had a ton roasting on the fire?

The others started waving and pointing, and James turned to see what they were shouting. There was Peter, dragging the net full of fish over to the fireside group. James looked back at Jesus, and he was beaming.

Had Jesus wanted Peter to do that?

Based on John 21:9-10

"When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.'"

So after writing my last blog, I was hit with another question.

If Jesus already had some fish frying on the fire, why did He ask the disciples for more?

"So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17

Think about this. Every time Jesus healed someone who was lame, He didn't say, "Okay, you're healed. Keep sitting. Keep resting." NO! He said, "RISE UP AND WALK!" They had to act on the
miracle, on their healing, on their faith.

Jesus had just performed a miracle, and loaded the disciples' net with fish. Now they needed to act on that miracle, and their faith in said miracle, and go get the fish!

Guys, we need to act on our faith! I know all of you have things in your life where God has spoken, so you need to act on it! Put your faith into the things God has done and the words He has spoken over you. God has already done the miraculous. Now we need to do our part.

Go pick up your fish!

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"According To His Word"

   And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."
   Then the word of the Lord came to hm, saying,
   "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
   And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
   So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan."
   The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
    And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
   Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
   "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
   So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."
   And as she was going to get it, he called to her  and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
   Then she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
   And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son."
   For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'"
   So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
   The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word the Lord which He spoke by Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 1-16

God provides. It doesn't matter if your a prophet to the nations or a simple widow caring for your son, He provides! He provides for the needs of those who put their trust in Him. If you, like Elijah and this widow in Zarephath, will trust and obey Him then He will provide according to His word! Trust Him with your flour and your last little bit of oil and He will provide cause it to be more than enough to sustain. God always provides according to His word! Trust Him!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Fish Fry

The boat scraped hard against the sand and rocky shore. They suddenly jerked to a stop, which flung John forward. He grabbed the side of the boat to keep from falling, and then hoisted himself over the side.

His stomach roared. Shaking his head, he tried to put the fact that his stomach was trying to eat his insides out of his mind.

Jesus was here, and that's all that should matter.

Peter and Jesus were hugging further up the shore, and John was flanked on either side as he and the other disciples started running towards Jesus. Soon they had him surrounded. Everyone talked and tried to hug Jesus at once. Jesus smiled and talked with them, and John felt like his heart was full.

The smell of fish frying filled his nose.

Where was that smell coming from?

That's when John saw a fire. Jesus started to lead them towards the fire. There was already fish laid out on it. There was also bread ready and waiting.

His stomach roared again, and Jesus threw him a grin. It didn't matter where it had come from, because yet again, Jesus had seen their-his-need, and provided for it.

Based on John 21:8-9

"The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread." John 21:8-9

So as I was writing my last blog about Peter pulling the 153 fish, a thought hit me.

Where did the fish that Jesus had cooking on the fire and the bread come from??? Did Jesus go fishing before them? Does He just come equipped with food?  Did God just make it appear?

Does it really matter?

No, it doesn't.

Because He knew they were weary. He knew they were out all night. He knew they hadn't had any luck. He knew they were hungry.

He knew.

So He provided.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Just like Jesus knew the disciples needed the smells of their mama's home cooking, He knows exactly what you need, too. And He will provide.

Ain't nothing like a fish fry to tell you that Jesus will make sure every little thing will be all right.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Treasure In Heaven"

Today's message is just a thought I had while reading in Matthew today. Check it out.

Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Did you catch what He said? "DO NOT lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal." He very clearly starts with the DO NOT first in His instructions. He is telling us to NOT make laying up treasure on earth the priority of of our life.

Instead He tells us to go after treasure in heaven and He ends with this statement ..."For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

So what does all that mean? Is he telling us not to put money in the bank or save up for a rainy day in case a thief comes to steal it? No, Of course not. He is telling us to to love the things of God more than the things of earth. Loving God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

A certain someone came to mind as a perfect example of someone who treasured the ways of God more than the treasure of  earth. She can be found in Luke 21:2-4. Take a look at the treasure in her heart.

   Then He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts in the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
   So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, bur she out of her poverty has put in all the livelihood that she had."
Remember, the treasure in your heart... is the thing or the ONE you love the most. DO NOT  let it be anything or anyone other than the "treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal"

God Bless!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Get To Know Him"

Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon. in the valley of Aijalon."
   So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.
   Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
   And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. Joshua 10:12-14

Have you ever really stopped to wonder why Joshua would even think about doing something like speaking to the sun and the moon and telling them to stand still? Why would even think that anything like that was even possible? I think it has to do with the times he spent hanging out with God when no one else was around. Joshua knew God would come through for him in his time of need because he knew God from all the time he spent with Him. We know that He spent a lot of time in God's presence from the verse in Exodus 33:11 where it says that even when Moses would leave and return to camp that Joshua would stay behind in the Tabernacle. We also know that he knew God really well because of the way he acted and the way he lived his life as a testimony to Him. We know that he had a love for God's presence and therefore a knowing and a confidence of who he was in God. We too can have the kind of faith in God that causes us to speak to the sun and the moon if necessary ...knowing that He will heed our words of faith as well and it comes from spending time in His presence! Get to know Him and your confidence in what He will do on your behalf will increase as well.

Lord, let us live our lives as a  declaration of our faith in You. Lord, that both the words of our mouth and our deeds of faith would declare to the world around us that we too have made a choice to serve You! Lord, that we would be a people who are not afraid to put the sun and the moon on hold as we do our best to bring glory to Your name.

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions