Monday, September 22, 2014

"Just One Touch"

When they crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the border of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well. Mark 6:53-56
Every time I read this section of scripture it reminds of a song that I heard and loved, years ago when I first became a Christian called Gotta Tell Somebody by Don Fransisco. Now I realize that the story in the song is not the same but the thing at the end about how he couldn't stay silent but had to tell anyone and everyone what Jesus did for him; that is what I see here in this section of the word. I see how news of Jesus spread and I can't help but think about what great job the man that Jesus set free from the legion of demons did in the telling of what Jesus did for him.

We find his story a couple chapters earlier in Mark 5:1-20. After Jesus had set him free those around that had owned the pigs had asked Jesus to leave because they were afraid. The man had wanted to go with Jesus but He did not permit him and instead told him ..."Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you."  And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Mark 5:19-20

Now a couple pages later, when Jesus shows up in the area He is immediately recognized! Not only do they welcome Him instead of asking Him to leave but they deliberately run through the whole region and go out of their way to make sure that everyone knows that He has hit town. The people responded instantly by flocking to Jesus and bringing all their sick, hoping and begging to be allowed to touch the border of His garment and as they do as many as touched Him were made well.

The people flocked to Jesus believing that He could make a difference because they had seen and heard  what Jesus had done to set this man free. He had obviously planted his share of seeds of faith! What about you? Are you planting seeds of faith with your friends and family like Jesus told this man to do? Are you telling those you know and love about what He has done for you? Does "I Gotta Tell Somebody" rise up within you? Do you make sure those you come in contact with know that Jesus hasn't changed? He is still the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is still His heart to set men free! His heart is still a heart full of compassion to heal and to meet the needs of men. Tell them!  It still only takes just one touch!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"The Source That Sustains"

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
  And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
  Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
  But her leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
  Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

O Lord, as we come into Your presence today to worship, I pray that you would continue to bless those that put their trust in You and that always make You the hope that sustains. Help us Lord, helps us to always be a people that looks to you as our only source. That You would be our source of the living water that we thirst for. Lord, that we would worship You in spirit and in truth!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Let Your Burdens Go

I don't know about you, but I am tired of feeling guilt. Guilt plagues us, never leaving us alone. Our past sins haunt us.

Why do we give our past sins this power over us? We know that we are forgiven. Why do we let the guilt hold us back? We know that we are fallen. We know that we don't deserve the love and mercy of God. But we have accepted His Salvation!

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Roman 8:1

If we have accepted Jesus, we no longer need to be ashamed of our past. We all have many, many things that we have done that we carry with us.

"He has removed our sins as from us as far as the east is from the west." Psalm 103:12

Don't carry it anymore. Let it go. Give it to God. Lay down your burdens.

"This High Priest of ours understands our weakness, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:15,16

The past is done and gone. Don't think that you are undeserving of the mercy of Jesus. He loves us, regardless of the things that we have done. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well.

Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband - for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly have spoken the truth!" John 4:17b,18

What about David? He sinned, murdered, coveted, disobeyed God. Yet the Bible says in Acts 13:22 that he was a man after God's own heart.

Do you think that God holds your sins against you? Of course not! Do you think that you should hold yourself to a higher standard? Think about it! Don't dwell on those wrongs anymore. They are gone in God's eyes. Let them go, for once and for all.


Friday, September 19, 2014

"Say The Word"

And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading Him to come and heal his servant............... And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.  Luke 7:2-10
"But say the word, and my servant will be healed."  What a declaration!

In today's world there is a prevailing tendency to think that we are 'master's' of our own destiny and instead of submitting to His authority or in many cases to any authority there is often a 'You can't tell me what to do' type attitude.  So I guess what I'm saying at this moment in the message is this, "Its time. Its time that we as His people get a good handle on the fact that He is and always will be the reigning authority!" Jesus hadn't even met the man directly. His communication had only been through others and by the message he sent Jesus still spoke some pretty definite words about him.  It says that when He heard the words from the message He marveled at him, turned around and declared to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"

Did you catch that? It says that when He heard the man's words He marveled at them and declared that this man had 'such great faith.' A faith that He hasn't even seen in all Israel. Jesus was able to declare this about the man because of the message that he had sent. "But say the word, and my servant will be healed." He didn't say "maybe," or "might be" he said, "will be healed!" He goes on to explain that he knows this is possible because he understands how to take and how to give orders. He tells Jesus that he knows Jesus can make it so! Why? Because He has the power and authority to say so! 'Such great faith' means knowing that at his word, its a done deal!

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 4:20-5:2

"But say the word, and my servant will be healed."  Such great faith means knowing that He and only He has the authority to say the words and that at His word His will is done!

Lord that your people would let faith arise to believe! Lord that we would declared, "But say the word, and my need will be met! Amen and Amen!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"God Is Mighty To Save" Part 2

And it was so, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.  1 Samuel 17:48-51
In part one of "God Is Mighty To Save" we took a look at David's actions and heart attitude as he ran toward the battle. The second thing that I wanted to look at is the fact that it says that he ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.  We often talk about this battle being between David and Goliath to the point that we forget that it was actually bigger than that. It was a battle that was with the whole Philistine army and then with Goliath in particular. When David started running it says that he started running toward the army and the Philistine. I looked up the word Philistine in the Strong's. It means rolling, i.e. migratory and comes from a root word that means to roll in dust, and is translated; to wallow. I find it interesting that this army that had come out against Israel comes from a word meaning to wallow. Isn't that the tactic that was at work here? Hadn't they, by parading their big bad and ugly out there day after day been able to put the whole army of Israel in a state of wallowing in fear?

By using Goliath to threaten and intimidate they had the whole army of Israel, including king Saul wallowing in a in a defeat that hadn't even happened! They were able to get the focus onto Goliath and how big, strong, and scary their champion was and because they were able to get the Israelite's focus on and wallowing in his attributes they forgot God's. They forgot that He was with them and that He is Mighty enough to save. They forgot that He had promised to never leave or forsake them. They were so focused on the size of the giant in front of them that they forgot that God is way bigger!

Anything that comes along in our lives that would cause us to wallow in fear or despair is just simply a giant or rather a tactic that is meant to take our focus off from who God is, It is meant to take us out of the battle and to convince us that we can't win. We need to be like David and remember, no matter how big and ferocious the giant in your life looks he will always be very small to God. David declared to king Saul, "He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:37 What filled his heart as he took on this army? Faith that His God was mighty enough to save!

So anyways, if the enemy has you sitting in a good wallow, feeling defeated and afraid to fight, its time to stand up! Get your eyes on how big the God you serve is and run straight at it with the weapon He has put in your hand. After all the battle is the Lord's and He is mighty enough to save!

Strengthen the weak hands,
 And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
 "Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
 with the recompense of God;
He will come and save you." Isaiah 35:3-4

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Freely Give

Warm air swirled around her feet, but she could smell the change of seasons approaching. Yaqar yanked the headdress around her head a little looser in order to allow the air to swirl around her neck. The air relieved the intense heat, and Yaqar hurried along after the crowd. In her fist she clutched the most valuable thing she owned.

A blue, precious stone.

Her father had given it to her many seasons ago, and it was Yaqar's most prized possession. Her father had called it a sapphire stone. Whatever it was, she knew it was priceless.

Yaqar joined the throng of people flooding the street to Jehiel's house. She was here for the same reason they all were.

To give to the Lord.

King David had been gathering supplies for awhile, but King David had announced that God had not chosen him to build His Temple. Rather the Lord had chosen that Solomon, King David's son, to be the one to build the Temple. So until then King David was doing as much as he could to prepare. His willing spirit had rubbed off on his people. With one voice and one accord, the nation of Israel had determined to give to the Lord.

After King David's speech, the common people had rushed to their homes and taken every valuable item in their possession, especially precious stones. They were now flocking the streets to get to the house of the man King David had appointed in charge of the these offerings.

Without opening her fist, Yaqar rubbed her thumb along the familiar chip in the stone's otherwise smooth surface. The chip had occurred two years ago when she had been startled and dropped the stone she had been admiring. This stone was the most precious thing in the world to her, but she would give it willingly to her God.

Based on 1 Chronicles 29:8-9

"And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly." 1 Chronicles 29:8-9

When I read these verses, they just blessed my heart. Why? Stop and think about this for a minute. The Temple wasn't even built yet, because we know that God told David that he wanted his son, Solomon, to build the Temple. David was just trying to help Solomon and honor God as much as he was able by providing a lot of the materials.

The people saw all of this preparation. They wanted to help David with that and bless the Lord themselves. They freely and happily gave to God. They didn't just give a blank check either. Anyone with precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord. Today, that would be like taking an engagement ring and giving it to the church because the church might need it someday.

These people freely gave what was precious to them to God.

Are we like that? Are we willing to take what is precious to us, and give it to God?

This line of thought immediately makes me think of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham took his one and only son, and was willing to sacrifice him to God. He took his own precious son, and freely offered him.

What about Jesus? God sent His own precious Son, and Jesus willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for us.

We need to freely give of our lives, our hearts, our time, and our stuff to serve God. It shouldn't be because we have to, but because we want to give to God! It shouldn't be because of a necessity, but because of a longing to bless God! We need to have hearts like all these people who gave to God freely and joyously. Isn't it better to give to God because we want to, then grudgingly after He's been hounding us for months on end? 

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Want Me to Do What?

Joab threw open the chamber doors. King David had sent him an urgent summons. King David was standing near the large window that displayed the glorious horizon of the nation of Israel.

"My King." Joab bowed and King David turned to face him.

He looked distracted. In fact, King David's entire demeanor was different today. "Go and number the people of Israel. All the way from Beersheba to Dan. Bring me a report so that I may know their number," King David said abruptly.

Joab blinked once, then twice, then once more. Why did King David want him to go do a bullheaded thing like that?

Joab would try to talk some sense into the man. "May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my Lord the King, all of them my Lord's servants? Why then should my Lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?"

King David frowned at him. The familiar angle of his eyebrows clearly indicated that he was angry with what Joab had said to him. "Go. Number the people of Israel." He said each word slowly, and Joab got the message. Do what he said, or face the consequences.

Joab bowed as low as he could to show King David he was his humble servant. Joab held the uncomfortable bow until he was dismissed, and at the King's curt words, left the room to do his bidding. Joab waited until he was out of the room, on the other side of the door before letting out a huff of annoyance. Indeed, he was the king's humble servant, but even servants had their own opinions. And this servant knew without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord God would not be happy with King David's sudden need to take a census.

Based on 1 Chronicles 21:1-4

While Bible reading one day, I saw this and it made me stop and think. Joab knew that this census was a big mistake, and he even tried to tell David that. David didn't listen, and gave the order. So in the end, Joab had to do want David wanted. He knew this idea David had in his head was Dumb, with a capital D. Joab had three options in those days:

1) Give his opinion, but do what King David said regardless.
2) Rebel and be killed for insubordination.
3) Rebel, kill King David, and face the wrath of God for his sin.

Joab went with option number one, and did what King David ordered him to do. Why? Because his job was to obey the ruler set in authority over him. After that, God discipline David Himself.

Think about Joshua. God told him and the people of Israel to march around Jericho every day for seven days, and on the last day, march around that stinking city seven time! Now there's a dumb idea if I ever saw one. If I had been in Joshua's shoes my heart attitude would have been, "There is just no way I am doing that. That's dumb. You had better think of a new plan." However, Joshua submitted to the One Who was in authority over him (God.).

In case you didn't pick up on it, today's thought is about submitting to God and the leaders He has placed over you. Sometimes what we are being asked to do seems crazy or we disagree. Sometimes we know it is a bad idea, and we are just trying to help the person. However, sometimes our job isn't to speak out and make a big scene. Sometimes it's to do what God says regardless. Joshua saw some amazing result by doing this, and if we will obey God, we will, too.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot." Romans 8:7

God may not tell us to march around a city like a dork, but He's going to ask us to do some things that will seem pretty strange. Will we obey Him, our tried and true leader?

V. Joy Palmer