Friday, April 24, 2015

"Where Are You Staying?"

  Again the next day, John stood with two of His disciples.
  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"
  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
  Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They  said to Him, "Rabbi" (Which is translated, Teacher), "where are you staying?"
  He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with him that day(now it was about the tenth hour). John 1:35-39

As I read this today I was struck by the simplicity of His calling. Take a look at what happened here. John the Baptist is with two of his disciples and he sees Jesus walking by. He points Jesus out to them with the declaration about who He is - "Behold the Lamb of God!" - They decide to check Him out for themselves and start following Him as He continues on His way.  Jesus, aware of their interest, asks them point blank, "What do you seek?" which to my way of thinking is a rather pertinent question. To be honest, His question, their response, and then His command are what struck me ... "What do you seek?"  "Rabbi, where are you staying?" and then His, "Come and see."

In these three statements we see a clear picture painted for us of first, the heart of God because His heart is always and forever to meet the needs of His most precious creation. Second, we see the cry of mankind, "God, Where are you? Where can we find you?"  A then third, we see God's solution. "Come and see! Come and dwell with Me in the place I abide, the secret place of My Presence."

"For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give tou a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all you heart. I will be found by you, says, the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:11-14

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Before He Left...

"Let's sing a song before we leave."

Peter's eyebrows collided together. Leave? What was Jesus talking about. "Where are we going?"

"To the Mount of Olives. But first we need to sing a hymn."

Peter shrugged as Jesus  moved past him, and began to sing a popular hymn. The other men only hesitated for a moment before joining into the song. Together they sang. Their voices blended together in a Heavenly symphony.

Here on earth.

Peter opened his eyes briefly, and looked around the room. The men were all worshiping, eyes closed, hands raised, and oblivious to the world. Out of them all, Peter couldn't help but note, Jesus. The expression on Jesus' face told Peter that this was more then just a song to him. It was like this was His sustenance.

Like He needed it.

Based on Matthew 26:30

"And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." Matthew 26:30

I think this is one of the COOLEST things ever! And again, something I've never really thought about... (I'm sensing a pattern here...)

These guys got to worship with Jesus. In the flesh. Really let that sink in a moment. Was it like Heaven opening up to them? Was it like another transfiguration moment? Were they just ushered into the presence of God? How often did they get to participate in this awesome, jealousy-evoking activity?

I'm am literally green with envy right now.

But there's something else, even more important to note right now, and it's not the sickly tint to my skin. It's the fact that Jesus made sure He worshiped first before going to the Mount of Olives where the worst day of His life would start.

He worshiped first.

Too often, we go into the difficult times, days, and minutes without spending time in God's presence. Without quenching our thirsting souls. Without the benefits of worship.

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before out Lord, our Maker!" Psalm 95:6

Jesus knew He needed that time with God (In addition to all the prayer in the garden!) before going into the tribulation awaiting Him. Do we know that? Do we know the benefits of worship in our own life? The confidence, the revelation, the renewed strength, the life, the love. How do we make it through without that? I wouldn't want to, that's for sure.

Worship first!

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"The Alert Messenger"

   "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
   Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
   Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
   But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
   And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'
   Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
   And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
   But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
   And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
   Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'
   But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
   Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."Mathew 25:1-13

Today as I went about my day this one line from my morning time with the Lord stayed with me. It was verse 6 and it reads, 'And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' I realize that this parable is about the five wise and the five foolish having and not having oil for their lamps, but all I could think of today was the thought that while everyone else slumbered and slept there was someone awake enough to give that midnight cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Someone wasn't slumbering and sleeping but was alert and watching for the bridegroom to come fetch His bride. Someone was awake and in tune with the bridegrooms movements. Someone was awake at the midnight hour! Someone cried out and alerted the ten virgins to wake up, trim their lamps, and be ready to go out to meet the bridegroom.

How about you? Are you watching and alert? Is yours the voice that alerts the wedding party to trim their lamps? Are you in tune with His movements? Are you prepared to be a messenger in the midnight hour?

Is yours the voice of the midnight cry encouraging the bride with ...'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!" or will yours be one of many sleep filled voices saying, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'?"

Will yours be the voice that can be heard in the earth today? Will yours be the voice of  the alert messenger?  Are you even now crying out, "Wake up! Get ready! Trim your lamps with oil!" or even, "Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!"

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Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Welcome!

His wife was yammering on about the Passover feast she was preparing again. If Tzad had to hear anymore about figs versus grapes, he would go insane.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Tzad jumped up from where he had been sitting with his wife. "I'd best go see who is at the door, my dear."

She rolled her eyes, clearly seeing that Tzad was all to happy for the escape, but he didn't care. Throwing the door open, Tzad's greeting hung on his lips. He didn't know these men.

"What can I do for you?" The sun illuminated the men. They couldn't be more different. They looked just as uncertain as he felt about this situation.

A slightly taller man with dark facial hair spoke. "The Teacher says, 'My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'"

"What? Who? The Teacher?" His furrowed brows started to rise as he realized WHO they were talking about. "Jesus?"

The men nodded in unison.

Tzad knew two things for certain. He had no preference over figs or grapes. And he would absolutely welcome Jesus' presence in his home.

Throwing the door open, he bellowed, "Come in! Come in!"

Based on Matthew 26:17-19

I don't know if I've ever really thought about this man before, but he's a pretty cool dude. The disciples show up during a busy time of the year for the Jewish people. Then they drop a bomb. "We're going to have the Passover here!"

I have an amazingly awesome family. They will do anything for each other. But if some distant relative showed up on Christmas saying, "My family and I are going to have Christmas here," they would be a bit put out. And put off. You just don't do things that way.

By all appearances, this man wasn't. He welcomed them into their home.

Not a lot of Christians would do that. Not a lot of Christians would just welcome Jesus into their homes like that. Not a lot of Christians welcome Jesus into their hearts like that.

Do we have a welcoming attitude towards Jesus? No matter when He shows up, no matter how inconvenient a time, no matter what holiday we are celebrating, do we welcome Jesus? We need to welcome Him in - always.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20  

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Believe That ....."

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

"Believe that you receive them," sounds simple, right? Check out my logic or rather this conclusion ...

First, before you answer the above question we are going to take a look at the meaning of the word believe according to the Strong's Concordance; 4100-to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ)

So, do you believe that the words of Jesus are the truth? Have you entrusted Jesus with your well being?

When Jesus spoke the above words to His disciples it was in answer to the disciple's incredulous realization that the words Jesus had spoken to the fig tree actually caused it to 'be dried up from the roots' and it had withered away just because He told it too.

How about you? Do believe that His words have the power to cause what He speaks to come to pass?

In Luke 6:46-47 Jesus also said, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like.' (a wise builder who builds his house upon the rock) You know, someone who believes His words are truth and that they will come to pass.

What about John 8:28 and John 14:10 where Jesus said "...and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things." "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works," So, according to Jesus He speaks only the words that the Father gives Him to speak and what that means is He cursed the fig tree and spoke,  "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24 to His disciples, His followers,  because Both He and the Father wanted them and us to understand that we can entrust them with the things we bring before them!

Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” So, the question remains, Do you ask believing? Are His words truth? Is it really that simple?

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13


Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Grace Paints Us A Picture"

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Ephesians 4:7
But to each one of us God's unmerited favor was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
And He said to me, "My unmerited favor is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart God's unmerited favor to the hearers. 

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses, but God's unmerited favor and truth came through Jesus Christ.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
For by God's unmerited favor you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His unmerited favor. 

But He gives more grace, Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." James 4:6
But He gives more unmerited favor,  Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives God's unmerited favor to the humble." 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the unmerited favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 

Thank you Lord for the picture this paints for us about just how much you truly love us! Amen!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time devotions

Saturday, April 18, 2015

When Life's Not Fair...

"Don't get upset about evil people or jealous of those who do wrong. Like grass they soon wither and fade away like a green plant." Psalms 37:1 and 2

This is something with which I have always had a problem.  I mean, how is it right that I work so hard and get nothing, but watch the lazy do nothing and get praised?++ Or people who don't even work and rely on others to take care of them have an easier time than I do? What about the truly wicked, the ones that cheated, lied, manipulated, and flat out stole to be in their million dollar homes? How is it fair?

I grew up hearing the expression "Life's not fair" from my mother. I didn't like it then, and I still don't like it now. I've come to realize something - this world is broken. Everything about this natural world is broken, including me. And that God is the only way to fix it.

Adam and Eve gave away our paradise. The devil now rules this world, if only for a time, and because of him, evil thrives. But we don't have to live with the devil in authority over us. We don't have to be separated from God anymore. That curse is broken.

Psalms 37 has so many promises for those who love and serve the Lord. I intend to write these verses on the tablet of my heart, so as to never let them go. Here are just a few of the promises this chapters has to offer...

"Stand still and look to the Lord for help. Don't get upset when somebody is successful and accomplishes the evil he plans." Psalms 37:7

"Better is a little that the righteous man has than the wealth of many people."Verse 16

"The arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord helps the righteous." Verse 17

"The Lord takes care of the innocent day by day, and their inheritance will last forever. They will not be miserable in bad times and in days of famine they will eat all they want." Verses 18 and 19

"The Lord loves what is right and will not desert those devoted to Him. They will be preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut down." Verse 28

"But the Lord saves the righteous and keeps them safe when trouble comes. The Lord helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them because they came to Him for shelter." Verses 39 and 40

The next time you see someone wicked prospering when you yourself are struggling, remember these verses. Their days of fun will soon be over. Don't lose sight of that, or the promises that God has given to those who love Him.

"The Lord makes a man walk firmly and He is pleased with his way. He may fall but will not be thrown down because the Lord's hand holds him." Verses 23 and 24

Sam