Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I'm Not Thankful for This Year



Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you will have/are having/had an awesome Thanksgiving!!!

Isn't it amazing how reflective we get this time of year? I feel especially reflective. My daughter's first birthday is this week, so I'm really thinking about the days leading up to her birth. The labor. The surgery. My gorgeous daughter's little face now and then.

And turkey. I didn't get any turkey last year. I want turkey and stuffing this year. Yeah, I'm thinking about that, too.

I'm thinking about how this week five years ago, my husband and I started dating.

I'm also thinking about all the changes of the past year. Good and bad. I'm thinking about my daughter's first steps and the first time she got really sick. I'm thinking about my debut novel releasing. I'm thinking about my husband's new job. I'm thinking about my family.

These events play in my mind's eye. There are a lot of things that I am thankful for. So many blessings, opportunities, and triumph.

And there are a lot of things I'm not thankful. A lot of hurt and heartache. A lot of long days and sleepless nights. A lot of disappointments.

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'" Job 1:20-21

I was thinking about Job and how he still blessed God in the good and the bad. I have definitely not done that.

"Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

I have definitely not thanked God in the good and the bad, FOR the good and the bad.

My feelings towards many things this year wouldn't be described as thankful, but Job's words give me some perspective. Because all the things that I'm not thankful for this year could never outweigh the blessings I've been given. Starting with my God.

Give thanks.

Hugs!

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"His Hearts Cry"



The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words."

Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying:

"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

"The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,

"if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

"And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,

"if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

"Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.' "     Jeremiah 18:1-11

      -----------------------------------------------------

I love that He sent me to the potter's house today for the very same reason that He had sent Jeremiah all those years ago. The Lord sent Jeremiah to the potter's house to observe the potter and his ways for a very special purpose. He wanted Jeremiah to receive a important message. One that He wanted delivered to His people. Remember, His heart is to always take the marred vessel in His hand  and rework it into a different vessel, a vessel of honor, made for His purpose. (Then the word of the Lord came to me saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!") Jeremiah 18:5-6

He is the potter and we ARE the clay. Are we willing in this day and hour to do the very thing that He sent Jeremiah to the potter's house to do in his day. Are we willing, not only to receive this amazing message of hope for ourselves but are we willing to take it to the nations as well? Are we willing to call His people to a place repentance? Are we willing to heed the words that He is speaking
and call His people into a place of obedience to truly hear His voice?

Are we willing to use our voice to echo His hearts cry for our generation ... "Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good!"

God Bless!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Speak To The Wind"

   And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."
   Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, "O dry bones, hear the word of the  Lord!
   Thus says the Lord God to these bones: "Surely I will cause  breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
    I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."
   So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
   Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
   Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, "Thus says the Lord God, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breath on these slain, that they may live."
    So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
   Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!"
   Therefore prophesy and say to them, "Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
   Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I  have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
   I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it," says the Lord. Ezekiel 37:3-14

So, what do you think? Can they? Can the dry bones live? How would you respond if God was asking you and only you about the dry bones of today? Can they live? Can they be revived? I love how Ezekiel answers and is basically acknowledging that it is truly in God's hands. God knows the plans that he has to give His people a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) He even, not only knows, but plans for the dry, dead bones to regain muscle, sinews, and most importantly the breath of life. Like Ezekiel it is our job as His people to speak to the to the wind. We have to be inviting the Holy Spirit to come, to move, to bring life to everything that is causing us or those we love to feel dry, hopeless, and cut off. Instead of speaking words of death we need to be inviting the Spirit of God to bring His breath of life ... No matter how dead it looks in the natural. One  touch from Him is all it takes to raise to bring any army to life! Speak to the Wind.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"No To The Choke Hold"

Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19

I have to admit to the fact, that of late, 'the cares of this world' have had me in a pretty serious choke hold! I admit it. I'm guilty! Its not that I have walked away or not been spending time with Him because I have. What it is is this ... as a foster parent I have had a couple of kids that have been consuming  so much of my time that I haven't been able to sit down and write. One ate up my daytime hours and the other continues to eat up the night! I found myself writing the blog  at 2:00 in the morning and eventually I just needed sleep!  The next thing I know its been forever since I've had a moment to share the things He has been showing me.

The truth is its just that easy for all of us to get distracted by all the situations in life. Its easy to fall into a "Martha Moment" and forget that the "One Thing" thing necessary is sitting at His feet. How does the Word put it? She was "distracted with much serving." Luke 10:40 I'm guilty! That is what I've been doing. I've made sure to stay in the Word and to have my personal fellowship time with Him, but and here is the thing ... I just stopped making it a priority to share it per His instructions. I know that it was and is His will for me to be sharing His word through this devotional. So, I'm here today saying, "No, to the choke hold! I'm sorry, Lord. Forgive me. Help me to do better in the days ahead as I PURPOSE in my heart to no longer let Your Word be choked out with my 'serving.' Lord, my hearts desire is that Your Word would always and forever be fruitful in both words and deeds each and every day of my life."


Friday, July 8, 2016

"His Sustaining Touch"

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. Psalm 3:5

I love this thought or rather this truth! The Lord sustains me and He keeps me in all my ways! According to the Strong's Concordance the word sustained comes from a primitive root meaning to prop (both literally or figuratively): reflex. it means to lean upon or to take hold of (in a favorable or unfavorable sense.) What that means is that as His people we can rest, assured in the knowledge that He has our back!

We can lean on Him as He takes hold of all the things we deal with on a daily basis. It is easy to understand that we can look to Him when we are facing a difficult situation but how often do we acknowledge that He is the one we look to for everything else as well. I think that it is an all to often event for His people to take His "sustaining touch" on our day to day for granted! I think that all to often the thought of our heart is ... I've got this and we forget to even acknowledge that He holds us up in all that we do!

He has a good hold of us and He sustains us as promised ... "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:16


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Her True Token"

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. Hebrews 11:31

"By faith." Two words that we can easily see being used when talking about Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, David, Moses, Gideon, etc, etc, etc. So how and or why did Rahab 'the harlot' get a mention in this infamous faith chapter? What was that deal breaker moment that established her place as a woman who exhibited faith for all the generations to see?

According to this verse in Hebrews 11 it tells us that it was her faith that caused her and her family to be the only ones saved when the walls of Jericho came down. It also tells us that it was because she received the spies with peace ... so when did her deal breaker moment take place?

Some might think that it goes to the 'deal' she was offered, and took, I might add, to hang the scarlet cord so that she and all who pertained to her might be saved. While this action definitely confirmed her deal it was not the deal breaker moment I'd like to talk about today. What I'd like to draw attention to today is that first moment when she heard the reports about everything that God had done bringing the nation of Israel out of Egypt. She heard. She believed. She believed the reports of what the God of Israel had done and decided to align herself with The God who could do what God had done for His people...

   "So before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: "I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.
   For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordon, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
   And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
   Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token.
   and spare my father, my mother, my brother's my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." Joshua 1:8-13

My point being, her deal breaker moment was the moment she heard and believed in her heart that God was The God she would choose to align herself with. That moment when faith to believe took up residence in, not only her heart, but her actions as well. That spark of faith caused her to 'receive the spies in peace' and to receive her 'true token' as a testimony of, not only her faith in God, but His provision and protection for her as well.

As believers we have all had this deal breaker moment. That moment when faith in God takes its place in our hearts and actions because we too have heard and believed the reports about all that He has done to save and provide for us. Rahab, the harlot, received a scarlet cord as her true token and as it hung out her window it declared her connection to the One True God. It declared that she belonged to Him. You and I have a true token given to us when we believe as well ... a blood stain cross. That blood stained cross and the events, the actions, that took place upon it by our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, declares our connection to Him as well. When we take a hold of our 'true token' in faith we too can know that we belong to Him. He becomes our Lord, our Savior, our King and all the protection and provision that goes with belonging to Him is ours to walk in.

Rahab, the harlot, displayed her true token and received all that it promised. Will you and I do the same? Will we share the message of our true token, a blood stained cross. Will we tell the world that we belong to the One who loved us enough to pay the price to save us!
  

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Walk

Paul knew this. He. KNEW. This.

But it was so different to hear it. Unsettling. Worrisome. Even frightening.

His friends, confidants, partners in ministry were worried. Their voices rose as they clamored for his attention, begging him not to go to Jerusalem. A few of them even tugged on his arms.

And a part of him wanted to listen.

He vehemently shook his head and waved his arms. His friends, people who had become family to him, quieted, waiting for him to speak.

The part of him that desperately wanted - needed - to follow the Lord knew different. The desire burned within him. He would go. He would follow the Lord anywhere.

Based on Acts 21:10-14

While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "Let the will of the Lord be done." Acts 21:10-14

A man of God arrived, and told Paul that hard things laid ahead. That if he went to Jerusalem, troubles would come. Understandably, Paul's close friends tried to keep him safe. And I don't think there isn't any one of us who WOULDN'T listen to our friends and loved ones in this position. But the so-called "sensible" path is not always God's path.

Sometimes God walks us through difficult seasons to reap joys in the harvest.

Or as I like to say...

Sometimes we have to walk through mud to get to the bookstore. :)

But the thing is, God doesn't let us walk alone. He doesn't leave us. And He always brings us through it. We are not alone. No matter what we face, and in the Christian's walk, we face a lot of hardships, persecutions, uncertainties, and worries. But instead of giving in to the enemy's fear, give your fear to God. He's got your back and He says, "Let's do this thing."

V. Joy Palmer