Monday, October 20, 2014

"The Perfect Chance Encounter" Part 6

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:10-14
Once again, as we look at the next two verses we see yet again just how awesome and amazing Jesus is at revealing truth in His encounters with the lost. Jesus doesn't respond to Her question, "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"  in a way that you or I might. He doesn't start making claims about His greatness or listing off His credentials or even offering up His title. Instead He responds to her question of "Are You greater? Is what You have to offer of more value?" by saying  "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." 

He immediately does the thing she asks Him to do. He reveals to her that what He has is in fact is of greater value! He compares what He has to offer with what she already has and knows. He points to the well and reminds her that while this water could quench her physical thirst its effects last just so long and she would indeed thirst again. He reminds her that she will be burdened daily with the labor of always needing to draw more. As she is contemplating this truth, this daily reality that she is all too familiar with He then compares it with the 'living water' that He is offering her and thus revealing its worth, its greater value when He says, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

He declared His greater value by letting her know that His offer of the gift of living water was of a different kind, a different quality! He tells her that it would quench her thirst beyond the natural thirst that her well water could. He declared to her that it would be 'a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.' The 'living water' that He was offering her would be by its very nature forever and always undiminished. It would be a fountain springing up, continually bubbling up within her soul to nourish and to satisfy its desires. He showed her that its value went beyond the physical, the natural, but to the spiritual and to everlasting life.

With this answer, this comparison, He accomplished the very thing He intended when she first encountered Him at the well and He asked, "Give Me a drink." She is now in the the place where she is truly thirsty! Because of the words that He spoke and the truth they revealed to her He has stirred up a longing in her soul. She now longs with a desire for more than she has know in the past. She came for water but now, she has a different thirst and it is now a thirst for the living water that He offers!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Only You"

Psalm 135:1-5

Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him,
O you servants of the Lord!

You stand in the house of the Lord,
In the courts of the house of our God,

Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.

For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself,
Israel for His special treasure.

For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.

Lord, we give you all our praise, all our worship! Only You are Lord of Lords and King of Kings!  Lord, as we come into Your house and enter Your courts today to praise and to worship only You, let it be with hearts that know You for who You are. Lord, we give You all glory, honor, and all praise. Lord, We lift up Your Holy Name and declare You and only You are worthy of all our worship!

God Bless!!!

Staff  of Snack Time Devotions


Saturday, October 18, 2014

"The Perfect Chance Encounter" Part 5

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" John 4:10-12
Today's bite size message from our chance encounter is taken from the next two verses where the woman responds to Jesus' offer of living water. She immediately recognizes the offer and counters with what she sees as a problem. How is He able to give her living water? Where does it come from? How and where is He going to get it for her if He has no vessel?

She knows that without a vessel it is impossible to draw water from the well. She recognizes that it is humanly impossible for anyone to give living water and that in fact without a vessel, Jesus wasn't even able to draw water from the well itself. While, in the natural, all her eyes could see was His lack of a vessel, and the impossibility of 'living water' happening; there was also a part of her that responded to the hope He offered. He had sparked a need that also caused her to acknowledge, that maybe? Maybe there was a vessel? Maybe there was a way?

I love that and even though she doesn't yet recognize the she is looking at and speaking with the vessel that makes 'living water' possible she does recognize the desire He has stirred up within her to hope for more! She than asks Him, "Are You greater than Jacob?" Are You greater than what I've know in the past?"  "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus had just told her that He was the gift of God that could provide 'living water' to her. She acknowledges that Jacob's gift to them had been this well. She reminds Him that it had provided water to Jacob, his family, his livestock and that Jacob's gift had been providing water to them for generations. The water that she had come to draw was Jacob's gift to his children. She is asking, "Are you greater than Jacob? Is Your gift of  'living water' truly of greater benefit?" She's is asking, "Can I hope for more?"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Big Love

The crowd gasped as an old woman hobbled before Jesus. She looked downright contrite, clearly expecting the lecture of an lifetime. Jesus, however, did not wear an annoyed or stern expression. In fact, based on the curl of his lip, Jesus looked amused.

Jairus watched the woman and Jesus. He was trying to quiet the way his heart was screaming, "What about me?! Don't forget my daughter! She's dying! Jesus, don't forget about me."

Sure, he had some sympathy for her, but who wouldn't? The woman had suffered for twelve years from this affliction. Like so many others, she knew that Jesus was the answer. But he had gotten to Jesus first, and time was not on their side. They couldn't delay.

Jairus attempted to keep from bouncing in anxiety or tapping his toes in impatience. Jesus had completely stopped to deal with this woman. Apparently, Jairus had to wait his turn.

Finally things seemed to be wrapping up. Jairus was just about to jump back into the conversation and urge Jesus to follow him when he saw him.

It was a servant from his house. A trusted servant and long time friend.

Without even being close enough to speak, Jairus knew.

He met the other man's grim eyes, and watched as he shook his head slightly. It was like watching his whole world fall apart. His daughter was gone.

The anguish rolled toward him like a tidal wave, but just before it could claim him, a hand clasped his shoulder.

"Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well." Jesus spoke quietly, but firmly. Oh, how he wanted to believe those words and cling to them like the lifeline that they were! Without them, he would drown.

So he nodded, and followed Jesus.

It was his turn.

Based on Luke 8:47-50

Recently, I did a blog on this topic on our spin off blog, Snack Pack for Kidz. However, ever since then, I haven't been able to shake this thought, this message. Somebody, maybe all of us, needed to be reminded of this very important truth.

So here goes...

I started wondering one day about how Jairus must have felt watching this woman receive healing. What emotions would be tugging for control of me if I was in the one waiting there? Jealously, annoyance, and good old fashioned freaking out. I would be happy for the woman, but it would be forced in light of my own trauma.

I would be thinking one thing.

Hurry up! I saw him first and it's my turn!

Come on, I can't be the only one.

What I have come to absolutely love about this story, more then any other part, is that moment where the deep pit of despair calls to Jairus, but Jesus pulls him out with ten little words. "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well."

It's that moment where Jairus has to see and believe that Jesus is big enough, powerful enough, and has enough time to help him, too. Despite what the natural says. I love to picture Jairus realizing that God is big enough to help him, too.

God has so much love for you, it would squash you like a bug! I know that's a silly statement, but seriously, it's totally true. God has all this love and time for you and your life and all the problems that come with it. Just because He is God of the universe, and has billions of other people to focus on doesn't mean He doesn't have time for you.

Point in fact, you are priority. You are a VIP to the King of Kings.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

God has big love for you. You can never hear this message enough. Probably because it takes so long to sink in... So I say again, God has big love for you. It is real. It is great. And it is big enough for everyone and their baggage. So don't be afraid to trust God. Only believe.

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Light Shines Brighter In The Dark

We have all heard that we should be around the people that we want to be like. That way we pick up the good habits, the drive, the work ethic of the people that we look up to, rather than the bad habits of those we don't like as much. I remember as a teenager taking that to mean "Hang out with the Christians, not with the unsaved so you don't learn from their sinful habits."

Little did I realize that was the opposite of what Jesus did.

Mark 2:13-17
Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed Him.

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable people. (There are many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?"

When Jesus heard this, he told them,"Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know that they are sinners."

Why do we hide our light? The world needs us to be out there, with the sinners, not sitting in church, wondering when the next time new people are going to show up. Stop being afraid! This is not the time to be sitting and waiting, but doing. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, "GO into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."

He said GO. He didn't say "Pray that I will send you someone with a willing heart" or "Wait until someone seeks you out". He said GO!

Too long has the church sat back, in a defensive position, taking shots from the world, rolling with the punches. Go on the offensive, take the Good News to those who still don't know it. Shine bright in the darkness. Claim your city, your town, your community for Jesus.

I will not be silent. Will you?

Sam

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"The Perfect Chance Encounter" Part 4

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the women of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan women?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." John 4:7-10                                                            
Today's bite is once again going to be found in the very next verse of our encounter with the Samaritan woman. It contains the response that Jesus gives to her question as to why, He, a Jew would be talking and requesting her to give Him a drink. He responds with, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." His explanation is amazing. He immediately responds and tells her what He is really there for; to bring her the 'Gift of God' that He brings to all of us. The chance to choose Him, to know Him as the Christ, the Savior. His response to, "Why would you ask of me?" Is basically, "Because of who I am." He is saying to her, "If you knew, if you knew who you are talking with, who was asking you for a drink then you wouldn't be asking "Why" instead you would be asking Me and I would be giving you the 'living water.' that can meet all your needs.

Why? Why did he break the 'rules and regulations' of religion and talk with her? Why reach out and use this perfect chance encounter with this lost, lonely, brokenhearted women? Because, Because the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23  Why? Simple! Because of who He is and the gift He brings!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Man In Need

Pharis caught sight of the familiar, brown-headed man walking into the synagogue. He sat up straight and whacked his comrade in the shoulder. "He's here," he hissed.

His friend, Rash, looked where Pharis was pointing. "Good. It's about time he got here."

Pharis raised an eyebrow at his old friend. "So what are we going to do?"

"We will wait for him to slip up." Rash nodded towards Jesus. "He always does sooner or later."

They didn't have to wait long. A feeble old man soon hobbled into the synagogue. He hair was white as snow, he had age spots all over his face, and he couldn't even stand straight. The man had his hand tucked into this robe, clearly trying to hide it.

Ah-ha

Pharis nudged Rash again. He spotted the man immediately and jumped to his feet. "Let's go get him," he said, a huge grin of triumph splitting his face.

Gallivanting over to where Jesus stood surrounded by his horde of unsavory men, Pharis smirked. Jesus was about to get trapped. The man couldn't resist healing people. He spent days healing the sick.

"Tell me teacher," Rash said sarcastically. "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbeth?"

Pharis was practically bouncing up and down. This was it. The moment they had been waiting for. They would discredit this man, and things would get back to normal in his town.

Based on Matthew 12:9-10

The thing I want to talk about here is not the incredible point that Jesus made, the loving way He healed the man with the withered hand, or anything to do with the Sabbeth. It's about how those men looked for an opportune time to try and take Jesus down, and completely missed the man in need.

Are we ever so focused on legalities that we miss the point? The person in need? The chance to witness?

"As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:1-4

This section of Scripture is about clean and unclean foods. There were many new believers coming into the church, and many of the believers who had grown up under the law of Moses were distraught about the new believers eating or living so differently.

Sometimes we need to remember that it's not about whose right and whose wrong. It's about serving God. These verses have some parallel with the situation Jesus experienced with the man with the withered hand. Do we sometimes have a heart attitude that is all legalistic and no love? The Pharisees were out for blood. They wanted to put an end to Jesus. Their soul desire was to accuse Jesus. How different it would have been if they had humbly come up to Jesus, arms looped around the shoulders of their fellow brother, with the question, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbeth?" From that standpoint, it wouldn't have been about laws or traps, but the desire to see their friend healed?

Remember to take a step back. Are we arguing over things that don't really matter in God's eyes? Or are we missing the people who need Jesus in their lives? After we figure that out, we can focus on what really matters.

V. Joy Palmer