Saturday, August 29, 2015

"He Has Your Back"

   And Elijah the Tishbit, 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 him, 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. 1 Kings 17: 1-6

I don't know about you but when I think about Elijah being fed ravens it makes me remember that obedience to His Word means that I can rest assure that He has my back. God said, "Go to the Brook Cherith.Drink the water and eat the bread and meat that He had already, (before Elijah went) had already commanded the ravens to bring him." He said, "I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." Not, "I will," but, "I have."

He had a plan to meet Elijah's needs even before He sent him to the Brook Cherith. HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU AND I AS WELL!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Remember, if God says, "Go," be obedient, because He has your every need already in place...Even if the ravens get to be His delivery service.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Expect Something!

He was sitting on that rock again.

He couldn't actually feel the rock underneath him, but it was big and awkward enough that sitting on it for long periods of time caused his upper back to ache from the unnatural angle.

Throwing himself onto his side, he used his arms to drag himself a couple of feet. Small rocks and sand cut into his hands. Huffing, he finally situated himself against the gate once again.

"Alms!" He cried. "I've been lame since birth. Alms for the poor!"

Someone dropped a couple coins into his lap. Yes! He shifted the money into a little pouch under his robe. Squinting through the sun, he saw two men approaching. They didn't look rich, but they certainly didn't look like him. He expected that they were the kind of men to give a little money.

It was all he could do, day after day. Hope for something.

One of the men locked eyes with him. His heart beat faster with expectation. The men stopped in front of him. "Look at us," the one who had been staring at him with his intense gaze.

This was it! He was going to get something!

Based on Acts 3:4-5

"Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, 'Look at us.' And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, 'I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!'" Acts 3:1-6

The lame man went to the temple every day to beg.

Every day.

Since he was old enough to fend for himself.

Every day.

People passed by him, and others stopped and dropped a few coins into his lap. Days came and went where he received nothing.

Yet every single day he went to that gate to beg.

Expecting something.

Even when Peter and John came upon him, he expected SOMETHING.

This was all he could do. He had to go and try. He had to expect something to help him live. He had to trust that someone would have a little bit of mercy. It takes a lot of commitment to go and do that every single day, all day, through rain or shine, mocking, hatred, and ignorance.

He could have given up. He could have just laid at home and died. But he didn't. Every day he went with the expectation, the hope, of something.

Every day.

He probably wasn't trusting in God at this point in the story, but he didn't give up. Can the same be said for us? We claim to put our trust in God, but do we show the same amount of tenacity as this man? Do we go everyday expecting something, anything? Goodness, when was the last time we showed up to church expecting something?

Don't just go through the motions anymore. Don't just show up. Expect something. God has a way of going beyond our wildest dreams and all that we've hoped for. Just hope for something!

V. Joy Palmer

"Avail Much"

   The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
   Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18

   Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain."
   So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down to the ground, and put his face between his knees,
   And said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So He went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again."
   Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!" So he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.'"
   Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 1Kings 18:41-45

Elijah, a simple man, just like you and I, prayed earnestly and the rain stopped. He earnestly prayed and it started again!

I love that he, earnestly and fervently prayed, but to be honest, I love it because of another word as well. That word ...continuously. The truth is he continuously and earnestly and fervently prayed. He didn't give up. Seven times he sent the servant to check for rain. He didn't give up the first time when the news came back that there was no sign. He didn't give up the second time or the next or even the next. He didn't give up based on the report coming back to him, instead he continuously, fervently, and earnestly prayed because he knew in his heart ...'there was the sound of an abundance of rain."

You and I, as His people, need to remember that it doesn't take someone extra special to see the results of our prayers. All it really takes to see the abundance of rain is that we be like Elijah, a servant of God who is not afraid to continue asking even when the reports say, "No rain." Be like Elijah and continuously "...avail much!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What God's Love Feels Like

She could spot the look a mile away.

The young woman standing anxiously by the door was new. New to the community. New to following God. New to a life filled with love.

Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her feet were black from the dirt and lack of sandals. Her dark eyes kept glancing over to the food piled high on the table.

She walked over to the young women. "Hello." Warmth filled her heart at the startled look the young woman gave her.

"I'm new!" The young woman blurted out. "Some of the others told me to come here. I told them it wasn't necessary, but they insisted...." Her voice trailed off.

She placed her hand gently on the other woman's shoulder. "It's good that you came. You're welcome here. You're apart of the family now." The woman gave her a dubious look. "Really. We take care of each other. Once you're apart of God's family, you're apart of this family. Now let's get you some food."

Based on Acts 2:42-47

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47

Can you feel the love?

I'm completely serious. These poured themselves into each other. Everything they had, they were giving. They took care of each other. They loved on each other, regardless of all else.

Do you have a group of people like that? Family? Church? Even a close friend across the country? Do you have your community of God people who always pour into your life? This isn't a "go to church" message. This is a "don't go it alone" message.

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

"For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:10

You weren't designed to shoulder the weight of this world by yourself. God made friends, spouses, churches, and family for us so we could lean on each other. We were designed to pour our lives into others. We were designed to give our all for love.

I love this song. LOVE IT! I love the line, "Empty never felt so full." That's what I think of when I read the account of the believers in Acts 2. They were emptying their lives out into each other, but they were full. They were blessed. They were a group of people who knew what God's love felt like.

Do you know what it feels like? If not, you need to be with a group of people who does. Your life will never be the same.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Ponder This"

Today, I would like to take a look at this verse. "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19 I'm sharing it with you because of a thought I want to share with you and to be honest I hope you take the time to ponder on it the same way Mary did the things that she was told about Jesus. Ready to ponder? Take a look at Mark 10:46-52

   Then they came to Jericho. And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.
   And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
   Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
   So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, "Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you."
   And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
   And Jesus answered and said to him,"What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight."
   Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

In the first verse it tells us that Jesus was leaving Jericho and along with Him, His disciples, and all the people like Bartimaeus going about their every day business a great multitude was also with Him. Along with a great multitude comes a certain amount of noise and chaos....which is why Bartimaeus had to cry out to be heard. When he realized it was Jesus he started crying out ... shouting to get Jesus to noticed him. When those around him tried to get him to stop ...he shouted even louder. And here is the thing moment that I want you to ponder... it says that Jesus...stopped and He stood still. He heard the cry, stopped, stood still and called for Bartimaeus to come to Him. Jesus, in the midst of all that noise and chaos stopped and stood still! He stopped because even in the midst of a great multitude He noticed the need one blind begger! Jesus, the Son of God, halted His journey, and stood still with this question on His lips, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

So, ponder this ... the next time your feeling like you don't matter or your feeling lost in the crowd ... you have His attention! It is pretty easy in today's busy lifestyle to end up feeling a little lost in the crowd or to be feeling a little overwhelmed by the chaos of the day. So, ponder this ... the Son of God is standing still with just one question on His lips, "What do you want Me to do for you?" Why? Because of His love for you! He is not a God who is too busy to see you and your need. His heart is always to call you to himself with this question on His lips and in His heart .."What do you want Me to do for you?"  His heart is always to stand still and to bless you ans He meets your need.

God Bless!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Overflowing Praise"

Psalm 63:1-8

You are my God; Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You 
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

Lord, today as we seek You it is with hearts that overflow with thanks, praise, and rejoicing in Your name. 

Lord, You said that..."Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks," and Lord, today I pray that we would be a people who are overflowing with shouts of praise! Lord, as we seek You in the morning, spend time with You throughout our day, and contemplate Your ways in the evening Lord let our hunger and thirst for You be the treasure that fills our hearts to overflowing. Lord, our overflowing desire is to bless You. Amen

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Slipping Back To The World

"As God's dear children try to be like Him and live in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Sexual sins, anything unclean, or greed shouldn't even be mentioned among you. This is the right attitude for the holy people. No shameful things, foolish talk, or coarse jokes! These aren't proper. Instead give thanks. Ne sure of this, that no one who immoral, unclean, or greedy has any share in the kingdom of Christ, who is God. Don't let anyone fool you with meaningless words. These things bring anger and punishment on those who don't obey truth. So don't share their ways."
Ephesians 5:1-7

We live in a world that is so messed up, it can be hard to remember who we are, where we came from, what we are trying to do. It's not that we are trying to walk away, stuff just sneaks up on you. The stuff that you have been trying to avoid. The swearing, the dirty jokes, the mindless gossiping to fill the time at work. The list goes on. It's hard, being the light in the darkness. We tend to emulate what we see, often to our own detriment, and we don't even realize that it is happening.

It is pretty easy to slip back into the old habits that we had before we were saved. We tell ourselves that we do these things to fit in, to reach the world. That is just wrong. How can we be beacons of light in the darkness when we put out the same darkness that the rest of the world does? Don't focus on the worldly garbage that comes your way.

 "Keep your mind on things above, where Christ is sitting at the right of God." Colossians 3:2

If we are keeping our focus on God, are you going to swear? Tell those dirty jokes? I think that if you truly keep your focus on God, you would find that gossip replaced by the Word.

I have a good friend at my workplace. He is such an encouragement. He fills himself with the Word. And when we get talking, he can quote verse after verse after verse. And not just the "big" ones, but the ones that you only find when you REALLY dig into the Word. He is not just a Christian in name; he lives it!

Spend your time in the Word. Don't neglect it. You can be that light on the hill, you just have to live your faith. Don't the let the world overwhelm you.