Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An Unworthy Honor

He could feel God’s presence down here, by the shore. That was why he liked to teach down here.

Plus the location made it easy for baptisms.

Cool water lapped against his ankles as he and an eager-to-serve young man walked deeper into the Jordan River. Another man stood in the water already in order to help him lower the other man into the water.

“I now baptize you in the name of the Lord God.” He spoke some more, and he saw the man’s eyes tear up. This was a commitment. One he was not making lightly. Slowly, and with the help of another man, he was lowered into the water.

John smiled, his heart bursting with the joy of the Lord as they walked back to shore.

Another man was standing there. His sandals were already cast aside, and he was setting his robe next to it when he looked into John’s eyes.

“Jesus.”

His cousin was here.

The Savior was here.

His throat closed up, and he started to shake his head vehemently. Jesus smiled and shook his head yes.

 “No. No, no, no. I can not do this.” John pointed at his chest. “I am not worthy. You should be baptizing me.”

Jesus motioned to the water, his eyes indicating that he would not be dissuaded. “It has to be so in order to fulfill all righteousness.”

Based on Matthew 3:13-15

So we were studying this passage in church regarding an entirely different topic. That’s when this other thought popped into my head.

Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be the one to baptize the Savoir? What an honor, right? “Hi, my name’s John. I baptized the Savior.”

Funny...I never saw John do that. Nope. That wasn’t what John was focusing on here. In fact, he tried to tell Jesus the exact opposite.

He knew without a doubt that he was not worthy to do this. He cried out that Jesus should be the one baptizing him! He often told his disciples and those who listened to him preach, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” (Mark 1:7)

The honor had no affect on John. It wasn’t his heart’s focus. He knew that there was nothing he could do to deserve this honor.

But God still gave it to him.

I just find this so incredibly awesome. It’s not about the honor. It’s about the fact that God still counted him worthy, no matter how unworthy he was. John had a humbleness that I envy. He knew who he was in God. He knew his mission.

You know that phrase, “There is no honor among thieves.”? We are thieves, liars, adulterers, murderers, and a whole bunch of other unpleasant things. If you want to be technical, we have no honor. So let's not focus on that so much in our lives. It’s not about "the honor," because without Jesus, we are unworthy.

Without Jesus.

With Jesus, God counts us worthy.

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with tone mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:21

This is our mission. Living a life worthy of the gospel. A life that shows Jesus.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Jesus Asked The Father - For Us"

Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew
21:21-22

Jesus is the one talking here! Jesus is the one saying, "Assuredly, I say to you." Jesus is saying to pray, believing and we would receive --- so here is my question --- Do you think that Jesus prayed believing and received what He asked when He prayed? Do you think He had any doubt when He prayed to the Father on our behalf? Think about it and check out this thought ---
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:13

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son, If yu ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:12-17

Personally, I know that He didn't doubt! I know that He prayed that the Father would send the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit came!  I know because it is my heart to always obey His commandments and I obeyed. I did exactly what He said to do; and I asked the Father to send Holy Spirit to me and He most definitely came! He is my Comforter and my Helper each and every day!

How about you? Did you receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit into your life in response to Jesus' prayer to the Father on your behalf? After all, Jesus asked, believing that the Father would send Him as promised.

Say, yes, to the Holy Spirit and than get ready as the very best 'Helper' in all the world equips you to do 'greater works!'

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Have Faith In God"

Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?' Mark 11:17
 ------------------------------------------
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."

So Jesus answered and said to them:  "Have faith in God."

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' 
and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. 

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." Marl 11:20-26

O Lord, that we would truly be a house of prayer, asking for the move of Your Spirit throughout the nations! Help us, Lord, to speak our blessings with the words of faith! Help us as your people to forgive others and to not speak words that curse with more passion and conviction then we do when we speak of You and Your might! Holy Spirit equip and train us up as the people of God to pray in faith, and to speak in faith, so that the nations might also know and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as both Saviour and Lord.

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions


Saturday, January 24, 2015

United Under God

"Teacher," John said to Jesus, "we saw a man drive out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he hasn't been with us."

"Don't try and stop him," Jesus said. "Anyone who does a miracle in My Name cannot turn around and speak evil of Me. Anyone who isn't against us is for us. I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward."
Mark 9:38-41

The Church in our day has become so divided. Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Charismatics, there are so many different views. We can't be like this.

"Fellow Christians, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I urge you all to agree and not be divided but perfectly united in your understanding and judgment. Chloe's people told me you are quarreling, my fellow Christians. I mean, each of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Peter," or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in God's name?" 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

The single biggest division in the church today is about the Holy Spirit. For example, my own church has been condemned and labeled by other churches in the area because we believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They have even "warned" people not to come to my church because of this.

I don't say this in anger, but in sadness. The Holy Spirit is so important and not to believe in Him? It astounds me.

Luke 24:49 "And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven."

Acts 2:1-21 "On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
   At this time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
   They were completely amazed. 'How can this be?' they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene visitors from Rome(both Jews and converts to Judiasm), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!" They stood there amazed and perplexed. "What can this mean?" they asked each other.
   But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, "They are just drunk, that's all!"
   Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, "Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o'clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: In the last days," God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants - men and women alike - and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and in the earth below - blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

I would ask of everyone who doesn't believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to read your Bible. You won't find a place in Scripture that says that the baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn't apply to us today. Then, look at the major revivals going on in the world, like in Africa and China. You won't find a major revival without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

I ask that you disregard all of the human opinions you have ever heard/read regarding the Holy Spirit, and to look in your Bible for the truth. Regardless of what you find, do not judge your fellow believers on whether or not they believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are not to judge each other.

"As the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, many as they are, form one body, so is Christ. By one Spirit all of us - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - were baptized to form one body, and that one Spirit was poured out for all of us to drink." 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Sam

Friday, January 23, 2015

"This Is That"

   Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
   Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterances.
   Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
   Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? -------------we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
   So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
   Others mocking, said, "They are full of new wine."
   But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel:   And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.------------------------------ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do then?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  Acts 2:1-39

Did you notice how amazing God is? Did you notice how He kept His Promise to send the Holy Spirit and did you really take notice of just how awesome an event it was? Mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire, huge crowd gathered completely amazed! There is one line in here that causes me great concern. ---we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
   Others mocking, said, "They are full of new wine."

It saddens me so much that there were those that even though they heard them speaking "the wonderful works of God." in their own language could still mock and not acknowledge this amazing Holy Spirit event! The thing that saddens me and takes me to my knees in intercession is the fact that there are still those in the church today who mock and refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Holy Spirit is still at work in the world today.

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells us a parable about ten virgins. Five were wise and five were foolish. I don't know about you but it I am concerned because the only thing that separates them is that the wise have oil and the foolish don't! We all know that the oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture so what does that mean for those who, in today's church refuse to acknowledge the Holy Spirit? I hope that this parables isn't prophetic and that half the church won't be ready because they don't have oil!

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:38-39

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cut and Paste Desert Psalm

David sighed deeply. Somehow he was now responsible for over four hundred people.

He leaned back against the cool, rough rock wall. He could hear water dripping somewhere in the intricate network of caves, and a number of contented snores floated to his ears.

A multitude of people showed up looking for him, and somehow word had exploded from there. When his family heard what had happened, and where he was they had...well they had also showed up looking for him. But it didn't end there. Anyone who was in debt, distress, or bitter in soul. They left their worlds behind to unite to a new cause.

They united to David's cause.

David wasn't really sure what his cause was anymore.

All he knew was that he needed help. More help then he could possibly give.

"Lord...," he whispered. Then he got up, and after rummaging through his personal belongings for a few minutes, walked outside the cave and into the moonlight.

This is what he did when he needed to work stuff out. When he needed to talk, ask forgiveness, or get angry.

He talked to God.

Lowering pen to paper, words spilled out of his heart and ascended to God's ears.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge..."

Based on 1 Samuel 22:1-2, and Psalm 57:1 (Note: I am not saying this is when, how, or why David wrote this Psalm 57. I linked these two events together based on the information I could find, but this is not something I know for certain.)

"Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me." Psalm 66:20

"Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!" Psalm 68:4

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

"I said, 'Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.' Then my spirit made a diligent search." Psalm 77:6

"You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways...Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:1-3 and 7-10

These are some of my favorite verses in Psalms. It's like a cut and paste Psalm. Most of these words were written by David, but not all of them. One thing we do know is that these words are written by men of God who went through hard, heart-breaking times, but came out of those times still connected to God.

There are seasons where you feel like you are wandering a desert. There are times of battle. There are times of trials and difficulties and confusion.

But you don't walk away from God!

David went through so much junk in his day. In the Psalms, you see him vent his frustration and confusion to God. He often didn't understand why things were happening this way, but he prayed, sang, and worked out his frustration talking to the One who was his strength. He never turned his back on God. He cried out to God for help.

I find this song to be very fitting. Desert Song by Hillsong.



This is one of my favorite, "I will not give up!" worship songs. I hope you guys liked it. Remember that no matter what you are going through, or who is standing against you, that God is with you. Cry out to the One who rides through the desserts. The One who has not removed His love from you. The One who hears your prayers. Give it all to Him, and grow closer to Him.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"The Real Pearl Here?"

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I don't know about you but I love this verse! What a thought - "The word of God is living and powerful." Today I want to talk to you about two verses that have been just that at different times of my life. They can be found in Matthew chapter 13 and they are verses 45 and 46. They tell us about a parable, that Jesus shared with His disciples in order to teach them (and us) a great truth! It is commonly known as 'The Pearl Of Great Price,' and here is what it says:   "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." These two little verses teach a great truth about what it means to 'value' something so much that we are willing to give up everything to have it!
The question I always wonder and ask myself when I read this is, "In this parable, are we the merchant, or the pearl?"

If we are the pearl than Jesus is the man who thinks that we are of such great value that He sacrifices everything to obtain us ...which He did when He died for us on the cross!

But, if we are the man and the pearl is Jesus, than it means we recognize that He is of such great value, that He is worth giving up everything else  ... so that we can have Him in our lives!

I'll be honest with you and tell you that there have been times in my life when I read this 'living, actively powerful word' and all that I could see was what I needed to hear at the time. That He loved me! I was the pearl and He loved me so much that He sacrificed it all to save me. What an amazingly comforting revelation  when I needed to know that I was loved! Then at other times what it revealed to me was my need to see Him as the pearl! It spoke to me of my need to change my priorities so that He was the pearl and it was about my need to give up my wants and desires and to love Him above all else! Again, what an amazing revelation to speak to my heart! Not my will but His be done! Why? Because I love Him above all else!

I personally tend to think that Jesus told it they way that He did on purpose. Maybe He meant for us to not know for sure because this way it is can be a great example of us placing 'great value' on the other. It not only reveals to us His love and sacrifice for us and but it can also paint a picture of how much we should love Him! Maybe what it really does, is teach us to 'value' both sides of our relationship, and maybe, just maybe, that nugget of truth is the real pearl here? 

So, the next time you see a pearl? Will it remind you of His amazing love for you ... or .... how much you love Him ... or ... that our relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is really about the fact that we both place 'great value' and treasure each other!