Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Make the Sun and Moon Stand Still

He swung his sword in a wide arc, blocking the enemy soldier's swing. He sidestepped and ducked. Then springing back up, their swords clashed again. Using the sword and his own body weight, Joshua shoved the other man onto the ground before ending the fight.

Looking away didn't bring any relief to Joshua. All he could see was more battle and more bloodshed.

And time was running out.

Already Joshua could see the golden sun starting to make its descent to meet the waiting horizon. All around him, the battle raged. They were making progress against the enemy, but they needed more time. Time that they didn't have.

If only the sun and the moon would just stop for a few hours. Just long enough for them to finish the battle. Without the sunlight, the enemy soldiers would be able to slip away one by one. Then they would rally together, and come against his people in the dark of night.

If only...

Joshua's head snapped up. He had an idea! He ran past the men all around him and bounded onto a nearby rock. Arching his back and throwing his arms out wide, he cried to the Maker of the sun and moon.

"Sun, stand sill at Gibeon, and moon, in the valley of Aijalon," Joshua screamed the words into the sky, and straight into the ears of God. All around him, men looked at him like he was completely crazy. He could see that even some of his own men doubted him.

But he believed in the power of God. In the power behind his prayer.

And that was all that really mattered.

Based on Joshua 10:12-13

"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for you father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

'Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'" Matthew 6:7-13

How does the story of Joshua praying for the sun and the moon to stand still go with some of Jesus' instructions about prayer, including how and what to pray?

Perfectly. They go together perfectly.

The only reason Joshua was able to pray that prayer was because he believed in the power of prayer. He believed that God could hear his prayer. He believed in God's ability to answer his cry for help. He didn't pray flippantly as a last resort. No, Joshua prayed believing that God would make a way.

What about us?

Jesus was trying to tell the people, especially His followers that they needed to believe in the power behind their prayers. Prayer isn't a bunch of empty phrases you mumble to yourself. Prayer isn't a long, eloquent speech. So many of my own prayers consist of, "Uh, Lord, help!" or "God, I'm giving this to you."

And do you know what happens? He takes it. He helps me.

Sometimes we are too flippant with how and what we pray. There is a huge difference between a heartfelt cry for help and some mumbled words to meet our daily quota.Think about what you pray. Prayer is powerful. Prayer has the ability to change things. God hears your prayers. He hears them. Don't pray flippantly. Pray prayers with life changing results. Pray prayers that make the sun and moon stand still!

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Faith, Faith, And More Faith!"

"Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" Matthew 8:10 

But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26

And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." Matthew 9:2

Then Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour. Matthew 9:22

Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." Matthew 9:29

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31
As I was reading and praying through Matthew this morning I noticed something about what Jesus said to people about their faith. By the time I had gotten to chapter 14 I had noticed that He used words like "great faith" in reference to the centurion soldier. He used "your faith" to the woman with the issue of blood and the blind men. 'Their faith' is referenced when He moved on behalf of the paralytic. But, and this, at least for me, is a big BUT; on two separate occasions He used the words "little faith" and on both occasions they were said to His disciples!

Jesus said, 'great faith' in reference to the guy who understood that the person with the highest rank has all the authority. He speaks and underlings jump into action! He understood that all Jesus had to do was speak and healing would obey!

He acknowledged different people's personal faith like the woman, the blind men, and the friends of the paralytic as they put action to their faith that He was the only One to meet their needs.

But, and again, I think its a big BUT, His disciples got 'little faith' because of doubt and fear.

Jesus asked the blind men something before He healed them. He asked, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" When they responded, with "Yes, Lord." He said, "According to your faith let it be to you."  It is a question that we all as believers have to answer. Do we believe that He is able?  The disciples got 'little' as the adjective to describe their faith because they allowed doubt and fear to cause them to forget what He had said would take place. Do we as His disciple believe that He is able to perform His word in our lives? Do we believe when He says, "Come," we can, even if it means we walk on water to do it.

I find the statement, "According to your faith let it be to you" to be very profound in this moment. Will He describe my faith as "Great Faith, Faith, or Little Faith." I find it interesting that in the parable of the sower He ended with, "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundred. Mark 4:20 The parable of the sower is about who will allow the seed, His word to have its place to grow - thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold. Faith is about believing That He Will And Can Do What He Has Said He Will! Thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold return based on the place we let His word have in our lives. Little faith, faith, and great faith all based on the place His word is given in our lives. Do we believe He is able and will do what He has promised?

In Romans 12:3 we are told that 'God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.' We all have a seed a faith, a word of promise that says He is who He says He is. If we give it good ground to grow it will produce fruit! Jesus told us that faith the size of a mustard seed, will reap  its desired result. Little faith will be enough to wake Jesus to calm the storm. Little faith will be enough to cry out to Jesus when we sink. Faith will be enough to cause us to pursue Him and to receive all our needs. Great faith will always declare Him and His word to be the one and only authority!

I don't know about you but I find it a great comfort to know that even though His disciples got "little faith" here in their time of training they gave their "seed of faith" a place to grow and therefore reaped occasions such a this, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Acts 3:6 where they too planted faith in the hearts of men!

One other thing I noticed: Jesus always responded to any measure of faith so, isn't it a good thing that we all have a little mustard in us?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Amazing Encounters"

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Luke 2:25-33

Thank you, Lord, that the Holy Spirit continues to lead us to the most amazing encounters with the Lord Jesus Christ! Lord, continue to open the eyes of Your people to see and know the salvation that You have made possible. Thank you, Lord, that according to Your word, You made a way for me. Thank you, Lord, for our Divine encounters and Oh, Lord, that Your glory would fill the earth!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Hardship of Patience

Patience is one of the hardest things in life. Waiting, trusting in God, its hard. Faithfully waiting on the Lord? It can be the most trying time of your life.

There are times when we are called to wait on the Lord. There is nothing else to do. When it's something important, its nearly impossible to wait.

But God has promised to not forget those who wait on Him. While you are waiting, dwell on His promises!

"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:25

"So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised." Hebrews 10:35,36

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

"You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." James 5:8

"And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:15

God would not repeat this promise if He didn't know that we would struggle with this, He often uses patience as refining fire to teach us.

"And endurance produces character, and character produces hope." Romans 5:4

Wait a little more. His Promises are coming!


Friday, September 26, 2014

"The Form Of A Servant"

  Now before the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.    ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...  So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. John 13:1-17
Today's message is just something that I noticed while reading John 13. In verse one it said, 'having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.' I've always read it with the idea of the end being His death or even eternity but this time through I happened to catch a phrase down at the bottom of the page in my footnotes. It said - to the end. Lit., to the fullest extent. What a thought! 'having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the fullest extent.' The fullest extent tends to suggest that that means He loves us with all the love possible. You know, "Big as the whole wide world!" or "To the moon and back!"

After making this statement it goes on to say that knowing what was ahead He got up and started washing the disciples feet. When He is all done He starts the explanation about why He washed their feet by confirming to them that He is their Lord and their teacher. By washing their feet He is fulfilling both those roles and being as He puts it, "an example, that you should do as I have done to you." He explains to them that because He is their Lord and their teacher He washed their feet to show them that He loves and serves them. He washed their feet to teach them by this example in humility and service because He is their Lord and their teacher. He demonstrates to them with this object lesson to show them that if He, their 'Lord and Teacher, has washed their feet, they also ought to wash one another's feet. For He has given them an example, that they should do as He has done to them.' And He, He loves enough to come to earth serve all humanity!  He is telling them with this hands on example, " ...that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

He is telling them that He is their teacher, their Lord, and that this is what its all about! Loving to the fullest extent! To them at this moment it is just another lesson from their master but for Him, because He knows what Judus is about to do, what is about to take place, it is the last chance He has to show them that this is what it is all about. Loving to the fullest extent means loving enough to serve.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Because He Loves Us

Everything was gone. All gone.

He looked out at the burning remains of his kingdom. The black clouds of billowing smoke looked strange against the cloudless blue sky. Red fires randomly dotted homes and fields, giving everything a red tint.

"I did everything right. I repented. I humbled myself before the Lord. He still abandoned me and my people," Rehoboam muttered.

He could still here Shemaiah saying, "Thus says the Lord, 'You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'" When Shemaiah the prophet had come to him, and told him what the Lord had planned, his response had been immediate. He and the princes of Judah had humbled themselves before the Lord and declared Him righteous.

Shemaiah had come to him a few days afterwards saying that God had seen how they had humbled themselves, but basically it wasn't good enough, or something like that. God wasn't going to "destroy" them anymore, but Rehoboam and his people were still going to end of servants to Shishak. Now, Shishak and come and gone, and in his devastating wake, he had taken everything with him.

What was the point? What good had it done him? All this proved was that he had been right to begin with by turning from the stifled religion of his father and grandfather. He wouldn't trust in the God of his father, ever again.

Based on 2 Chronicles 12:1-9

"When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah; 'They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.'"
2 Chronicles 12:7-8

Rehoboam turned from following God. Eventually, God got fed up with it, said enough is enough, and was prepared to deal with him and the nation for the ways they were sinning. God told this to a prophet, and the prophet told Rehoboam. Rehoboam honorably repented, and God saw that. However, God didn't turn aside their punishment. God decided not to make it as severe as he originally intended, but He still disciplined His people.

Because God is awesome with forgiveness and second, third, and fourth chances, sometimes it's easy to think that if we pray for forgiveness, then the bad punishment will be taken away from us. Not always the case. Now I don't know if that was actually Rehoboam's heart attitude, but based on his lack of devotion to the Lord, I decided to make this point.

"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Hebrews 12:5-6

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
Proverbs 13:24

God has to discipline us because He loves us. A parent has to discipline their child, or they will grow up to be terrors! God disciplines us for the same reasons. It's out of love, not vengeance or because your repentance wasn't good enough. It's not because He has abandoned you or that He hates you. You need to understand that it is purely because He loves you and wants to teach you more then this.

"For the moment all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

Discipline is hard, but it's always meant to teach a lesson. If we learn from it rather then turning from God because of it, then we will grow in righteousness.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Learning From Jesus"

And as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, "Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little further from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with hired servants, and went after Him. Mark 1:16-20

After these things He went and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to Him, "Follow Me." And he left all, rose up and followed Him. Luke 5:27-28
As you can tell by the picture and the scriptures above we are going to talk about that moment when we choose to "Follow Him." In the cases listed above you will see that their decision meant they left something behind in order to 'follow' Jesus.They left their nets, their Father and it says that Levi even left all to go follow Jesus. They all left their former lifestyle to go on the road and follow Jesus and to be His disciple. That means that they left behind their preconceived notions about the what their day to day life was about and took on the task of learning from Jesus. The footnote in my Bible says says that a disciple is one who is taught by another; he is a learner. So these men knew and understood that to leave it all behind meant that they were making a choice to leave what they had always known behind them in order to learn what Jesus had to teach them. Why? Because Jesus was different. In Luke 4:32 it says, "And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.  It says that 'the common people heard Him gladly,' They were willing to leave behind what they thought they knew about God to be a disciple of Jesus because they wanted the God He represented!

You and I as believers need to make that same choice every day. We need to make choices that leave our plan behind and pursue the direction He would have us take instead. Following Him means doing what He did. Talking like He talks. Going into all the world sharing, "The kingdom of God is at hand."  In Matthew 10:1 it says that He called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease." He called them, He trained them and He equipped and sent the out in verses 7-8 of that same chapter ... "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.' His disciples followed Him to learn from Him not just so they could know it but so they could do like Him! "Come follow me," doesn't just mean come watch and listen. It means, "Come do what I do, I'll show you how!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Expect the Feeding Frenzy

James walked with the rest of the disciples through the throngs of people to get to Jesus. They had all been mingling with the people when they saw Jesus wave to them from the top of the rolling hill. As they walked up the small incline, the sun beat down on them. It was a beautiful day, and families, workers, and even servants had all stolen away to hear Jesus teach. Many of them had settled in scattered clumps all around the hill where Jesus had been teaching.

He sidestep and then did a little hop to avoid stepping on a child and falling into a man.

They reached the top of the hill, and Jesus looked around the crowd of people.

"I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat." Jesus looked at them briefly before turning his attention back to the people. "And I am unwilling to send them away hungry. They would faint on the way."

James blinked, and glanced quickly at the others. From his view, they all wore the same look of confusion mixed with frustration that he was feeling. How were they going to feed all these people?

No one had dared to ask the obvious yet, and James glanced quickly at he multitude. Why, there's got to be at lease four thousand men here! That's not even counting all the women and children. Oh, no! 

Matthew looked at the people, looked at their own supplies piled up nice and neat on the hill, and then looked at Jesus. "Where are we going to get enough bread to feed so many people?" He asked Jesus.

Jesus sighed, and asked, "How may loaves do you have?"

Peter dashed over to the supplies to double check their inventory. "We have seven and a few small fish."

Jesus nodded. "Direct the crowd to sit down on the grass," he said with a smirk. Then he took one of the loaves, and broke it.

Based on Matthew 14:32-36

(In this instance, the Bible doesn't list who was talking to Jesus and answering Him. I chose a few of the disciples to help make this point.)

This story is based on the time Jesus fed the four thousand. This happened after the time Jesus fed the five thousand. It was a completely separate occasion.

The disciples had seen Jesus perform this miracle before. They had personally been the ones to deliver this miracle to the people. Yet the second time around they still said, "Where are we going to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?"

These men had already seen the answer, but they still asked. It's like they forgot what Jesus had done, or didn't think it would happen again. I think that sometimes we see the answer, we know what Jesus can do, but we don't think that He is going to do it. Sometimes we ask "How?" when we should be saying, "Okay, I'll start preparing."

What if those disciples had realized what Jesus was about to do? Instead of scratching their heads, they could have been clapping their hands in anticipation, and bringing Jesus the food while saying to the people, "Just watch what's about to happen. You are going to love this."

Shouldn't we be like that? Instead of worrying and doubting, shouldn't we be telling others, "Just watch and see what God is about to do! It's awesome!" I know that I don't want to live my life doubting, seeing acts of God, but never trusting Him for the next one.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Even though we can't see what God is about to do, shouldn't we trust Him to do whatever it is that He is going to do? Instead we don't expect Him to do anything. The disciples didn't expect another miraculous feeding frenzy, but will you? Will you expect the things of God, instead of asking how?

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Just One Touch"

When they crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the border of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well. Mark 6:53-56
Every time I read this section of scripture it reminds of a song that I heard and loved, years ago when I first became a Christian called Gotta Tell Somebody by Don Fransisco. Now I realize that the story in the song is not the same but the thing at the end about how he couldn't stay silent but had to tell anyone and everyone what Jesus did for him; that is what I see here in this section of the word. I see how news of Jesus spread and I can't help but think about what great job the man that Jesus set free from the legion of demons did in the telling of what Jesus did for him.

We find his story a couple chapters earlier in Mark 5:1-20. After Jesus had set him free those around that had owned the pigs had asked Jesus to leave because they were afraid. The man had wanted to go with Jesus but He did not permit him and instead told him ..."Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you."  And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Mark 5:19-20

Now a couple pages later, when Jesus shows up in the area He is immediately recognized! Not only do they welcome Him instead of asking Him to leave but they deliberately run through the whole region and go out of their way to make sure that everyone knows that He has hit town. The people responded instantly by flocking to Jesus and bringing all their sick, hoping and begging to be allowed to touch the border of His garment and as they do as many as touched Him were made well.

The people flocked to Jesus believing that He could make a difference because they had seen and heard  what Jesus had done to set this man free. He had obviously planted his share of seeds of faith! What about you? Are you planting seeds of faith with your friends and family like Jesus told this man to do? Are you telling those you know and love about what He has done for you? Does "I Gotta Tell Somebody" rise up within you? Do you make sure those you come in contact with know that Jesus hasn't changed? He is still the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is still His heart to set men free! His heart is still a heart full of compassion to heal and to meet the needs of men. Tell them!  It still only takes just one touch!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"The Source That Sustains"

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
  And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
  Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
  But her leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
  Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

O Lord, as we come into Your presence today to worship, I pray that you would continue to bless those that put their trust in You and that always make You the hope that sustains. Help us Lord, helps us to always be a people that looks to you as our only source. That You would be our source of the living water that we thirst for. Lord, that we would worship You in spirit and in truth!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Let Your Burdens Go

I don't know about you, but I am tired of feeling guilt. Guilt plagues us, never leaving us alone. Our past sins haunt us.

Why do we give our past sins this power over us? We know that we are forgiven. Why do we let the guilt hold us back? We know that we are fallen. We know that we don't deserve the love and mercy of God. But we have accepted His Salvation!

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Roman 8:1

If we have accepted Jesus, we no longer need to be ashamed of our past. We all have many, many things that we have done that we carry with us.

"He has removed our sins as from us as far as the east is from the west." Psalm 103:12

Don't carry it anymore. Let it go. Give it to God. Lay down your burdens.

"This High Priest of ours understands our weakness, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:15,16

The past is done and gone. Don't think that you are undeserving of the mercy of Jesus. He loves us, regardless of the things that we have done. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well.

Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband - for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly have spoken the truth!" John 4:17b,18

What about David? He sinned, murdered, coveted, disobeyed God. Yet the Bible says in Acts 13:22 that he was a man after God's own heart.

Do you think that God holds your sins against you? Of course not! Do you think that you should hold yourself to a higher standard? Think about it! Don't dwell on those wrongs anymore. They are gone in God's eyes. Let them go, for once and for all.


Friday, September 19, 2014

"Say The Word"

And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading Him to come and heal his servant............... And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.  Luke 7:2-10
"But say the word, and my servant will be healed."  What a declaration!

In today's world there is a prevailing tendency to think that we are 'master's' of our own destiny and instead of submitting to His authority or in many cases to any authority there is often a 'You can't tell me what to do' type attitude.  So I guess what I'm saying at this moment in the message is this, "Its time. Its time that we as His people get a good handle on the fact that He is and always will be the reigning authority!" Jesus hadn't even met the man directly. His communication had only been through others and by the message he sent Jesus still spoke some pretty definite words about him.  It says that when He heard the words from the message He marveled at him, turned around and declared to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"

Did you catch that? It says that when He heard the man's words He marveled at them and declared that this man had 'such great faith.' A faith that He hasn't even seen in all Israel. Jesus was able to declare this about the man because of the message that he had sent. "But say the word, and my servant will be healed." He didn't say "maybe," or "might be" he said, "will be healed!" He goes on to explain that he knows this is possible because he understands how to take and how to give orders. He tells Jesus that he knows Jesus can make it so! Why? Because He has the power and authority to say so! 'Such great faith' means knowing that at his word, its a done deal!

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 4:20-5:2

"But say the word, and my servant will be healed."  Such great faith means knowing that He and only He has the authority to say the words and that at His word His will is done!

Lord that your people would let faith arise to believe! Lord that we would declared, "But say the word, and my need will be met! Amen and Amen!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"God Is Mighty To Save" Part 2

And it was so, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.  1 Samuel 17:48-51
In part one of "God Is Mighty To Save" we took a look at David's actions and heart attitude as he ran toward the battle. The second thing that I wanted to look at is the fact that it says that he ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.  We often talk about this battle being between David and Goliath to the point that we forget that it was actually bigger than that. It was a battle that was with the whole Philistine army and then with Goliath in particular. When David started running it says that he started running toward the army and the Philistine. I looked up the word Philistine in the Strong's. It means rolling, i.e. migratory and comes from a root word that means to roll in dust, and is translated; to wallow. I find it interesting that this army that had come out against Israel comes from a word meaning to wallow. Isn't that the tactic that was at work here? Hadn't they, by parading their big bad and ugly out there day after day been able to put the whole army of Israel in a state of wallowing in fear?

By using Goliath to threaten and intimidate they had the whole army of Israel, including king Saul wallowing in a in a defeat that hadn't even happened! They were able to get the focus onto Goliath and how big, strong, and scary their champion was and because they were able to get the Israelite's focus on and wallowing in his attributes they forgot God's. They forgot that He was with them and that He is Mighty enough to save. They forgot that He had promised to never leave or forsake them. They were so focused on the size of the giant in front of them that they forgot that God is way bigger!

Anything that comes along in our lives that would cause us to wallow in fear or despair is just simply a giant or rather a tactic that is meant to take our focus off from who God is, It is meant to take us out of the battle and to convince us that we can't win. We need to be like David and remember, no matter how big and ferocious the giant in your life looks he will always be very small to God. David declared to king Saul, "He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:37 What filled his heart as he took on this army? Faith that His God was mighty enough to save!

So anyways, if the enemy has you sitting in a good wallow, feeling defeated and afraid to fight, its time to stand up! Get your eyes on how big the God you serve is and run straight at it with the weapon He has put in your hand. After all the battle is the Lord's and He is mighty enough to save!

Strengthen the weak hands,
 And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
 "Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
 with the recompense of God;
He will come and save you." Isaiah 35:3-4

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Freely Give

Warm air swirled around her feet, but she could smell the change of seasons approaching. Yaqar yanked the headdress around her head a little looser in order to allow the air to swirl around her neck. The air relieved the intense heat, and Yaqar hurried along after the crowd. In her fist she clutched the most valuable thing she owned.

A blue, precious stone.

Her father had given it to her many seasons ago, and it was Yaqar's most prized possession. Her father had called it a sapphire stone. Whatever it was, she knew it was priceless.

Yaqar joined the throng of people flooding the street to Jehiel's house. She was here for the same reason they all were.

To give to the Lord.

King David had been gathering supplies for awhile, but King David had announced that God had not chosen him to build His Temple. Rather the Lord had chosen that Solomon, King David's son, to be the one to build the Temple. So until then King David was doing as much as he could to prepare. His willing spirit had rubbed off on his people. With one voice and one accord, the nation of Israel had determined to give to the Lord.

After King David's speech, the common people had rushed to their homes and taken every valuable item in their possession, especially precious stones. They were now flocking the streets to get to the house of the man King David had appointed in charge of the these offerings.

Without opening her fist, Yaqar rubbed her thumb along the familiar chip in the stone's otherwise smooth surface. The chip had occurred two years ago when she had been startled and dropped the stone she had been admiring. This stone was the most precious thing in the world to her, but she would give it willingly to her God.

Based on 1 Chronicles 29:8-9

"And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly." 1 Chronicles 29:8-9

When I read these verses, they just blessed my heart. Why? Stop and think about this for a minute. The Temple wasn't even built yet, because we know that God told David that he wanted his son, Solomon, to build the Temple. David was just trying to help Solomon and honor God as much as he was able by providing a lot of the materials.

The people saw all of this preparation. They wanted to help David with that and bless the Lord themselves. They freely and happily gave to God. They didn't just give a blank check either. Anyone with precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord. Today, that would be like taking an engagement ring and giving it to the church because the church might need it someday.

These people freely gave what was precious to them to God.

Are we like that? Are we willing to take what is precious to us, and give it to God?

This line of thought immediately makes me think of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham took his one and only son, and was willing to sacrifice him to God. He took his own precious son, and freely offered him.

What about Jesus? God sent His own precious Son, and Jesus willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for us.

We need to freely give of our lives, our hearts, our time, and our stuff to serve God. It shouldn't be because we have to, but because we want to give to God! It shouldn't be because of a necessity, but because of a longing to bless God! We need to have hearts like all these people who gave to God freely and joyously. Isn't it better to give to God because we want to, then grudgingly after He's been hounding us for months on end? 

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Want Me to Do What?

Joab threw open the chamber doors. King David had sent him an urgent summons. King David was standing near the large window that displayed the glorious horizon of the nation of Israel.

"My King." Joab bowed and King David turned to face him.

He looked distracted. In fact, King David's entire demeanor was different today. "Go and number the people of Israel. All the way from Beersheba to Dan. Bring me a report so that I may know their number," King David said abruptly.

Joab blinked once, then twice, then once more. Why did King David want him to go do a bullheaded thing like that?

Joab would try to talk some sense into the man. "May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my Lord the King, all of them my Lord's servants? Why then should my Lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?"

King David frowned at him. The familiar angle of his eyebrows clearly indicated that he was angry with what Joab had said to him. "Go. Number the people of Israel." He said each word slowly, and Joab got the message. Do what he said, or face the consequences.

Joab bowed as low as he could to show King David he was his humble servant. Joab held the uncomfortable bow until he was dismissed, and at the King's curt words, left the room to do his bidding. Joab waited until he was out of the room, on the other side of the door before letting out a huff of annoyance. Indeed, he was the king's humble servant, but even servants had their own opinions. And this servant knew without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord God would not be happy with King David's sudden need to take a census.

Based on 1 Chronicles 21:1-4

While Bible reading one day, I saw this and it made me stop and think. Joab knew that this census was a big mistake, and he even tried to tell David that. David didn't listen, and gave the order. So in the end, Joab had to do want David wanted. He knew this idea David had in his head was Dumb, with a capital D. Joab had three options in those days:

1) Give his opinion, but do what King David said regardless.
2) Rebel and be killed for insubordination.
3) Rebel, kill King David, and face the wrath of God for his sin.

Joab went with option number one, and did what King David ordered him to do. Why? Because his job was to obey the ruler set in authority over him. After that, God discipline David Himself.

Think about Joshua. God told him and the people of Israel to march around Jericho every day for seven days, and on the last day, march around that stinking city seven time! Now there's a dumb idea if I ever saw one. If I had been in Joshua's shoes my heart attitude would have been, "There is just no way I am doing that. That's dumb. You had better think of a new plan." However, Joshua submitted to the One Who was in authority over him (God.).

In case you didn't pick up on it, today's thought is about submitting to God and the leaders He has placed over you. Sometimes what we are being asked to do seems crazy or we disagree. Sometimes we know it is a bad idea, and we are just trying to help the person. However, sometimes our job isn't to speak out and make a big scene. Sometimes it's to do what God says regardless. Joshua saw some amazing result by doing this, and if we will obey God, we will, too.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot." Romans 8:7

God may not tell us to march around a city like a dork, but He's going to ask us to do some things that will seem pretty strange. Will we obey Him, our tried and true leader?

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, September 15, 2014

"God Is Mighty To Save" Part 1

And it was so, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.  1 Samuel 17:48-51
Today's message is going to be short and to the point and you might find it strange that I am beginning at the end of David's encounter with the Philistine, Goliath. I start here because this is where the Lord started this message with me, with this phrase, "David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." It says that the Philistine started forward so David's immediate response was to start running toward the army to meet the Philistine. I don't know about you but I think I have always had this image in my mind of David standing there, slingshot twirling overhead waiting as the giant charged him but that is not what it says. It says that he ran forward toward the battle. He didn't even have the stone in the slingshot already. It tells us that he reaches in his pocket for the stone after he is running toward the battle. He takes the battle straight at the Philistine army. It wasn't a defensive shot He was 100% on the offensive. Running straight at them!

The next thing it says is the giant goes down but he doesn't stop there. He continues to run to the giant, takes his sword, kills him and takes off his head. Then, he and the rest of the Israelite army take off after the Philistine army because they are now fleeing at a dead run. There is a whole lot of running going on in these four verses. James 4:7 says that we should submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. That is exactly what we see taking place here in this encounter. David's last words as he gets ready for this encounter were submitting himself and the battle into God's hands..."Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands." David doesn't declare the battle to be his to win! He declares that the victory is God's and God's alone. This battle was won and the Philistines were defeated, not just Goliath, but the whole army of the Philistines were defeated because a shepherd boy knew to take the battle too them! He ran toward the giant and the Philistine army with nothing but a slingshot and a stone because his confidence was that God went with him! He knew His God was way bigger than any big scary giant around!

You have a giant threatening you? Submit it to God and take Him straight at it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Come Down Like Rain"

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; 
   And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain, 
   My speech distill as the dew, 
As raindrops on the tender herb, 
   And as showers on the grass.
For I proclaim the name of the Lord: 

   Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; 
   For all His ways are justice, 
A God of truth and without injustice;
   Righteous and upright is He.  Deuteronomy 32:1-4

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, 
   Like showers that water the earth.
In His days the righteous shall flourish, 
   And abundance of peace, 
Until the moon is no more. Psalm 72:6-7

O Lord, today, as we come into Your presence to bring our offerings of praise and worship before Your face I pray that we would be a blessing to You! I pray that it would be a day and a time of worship that Your people would come before You with our hearts open, ready to receive Your word as You pour it down like rain. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall Your word be that goes forth from Your mouth; it shall not return to You void, but shall accomplish what You please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which You send it, Lord.  I pray that as You pour out Your word like rain upon Your people that we would rejoice in it knowing that a time of rain is needed to bring forth a harvest. O Father, I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that Your word would pour forth like rain in this day, this time, this season and that it would be the gospel message to the poor, healing to the brokenhearted, deliverance to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, liberty to those who are oppressed, and the healing word to those that are sick. Father, let it rain!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Ultimate Stress Reliever

"As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right; help me to understand me them so I may live." Psalms 119:143

In modern day life, stress is a killer. A real, nasty one. It grinds and tears at you, making one piece of your life overwhelm the rest, making the others seem less important. I know this first hand, as I have recently been quite stressed over my job.

Even as I struggled with the stress of my job, I knew how foolish I was being. It wasn't worth the damage that it was being done to my spirit or my body. I was tired. Angry. But the worst part is that, looking back at the last week is this: I didn't need to be.

"Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

In our society today, we value our independence. If we can't do it ourselves, then we see ourselves as failures. How foolish. From the beginning, we were not intended to be alone.

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." Genesis 2:18

We don't have to do it all, all by ourselves. God is always there. Ask for His help. Let Him take the pressure off. God is the ultimate stress reliever.


Friday, September 12, 2014

"What If You Were There?"

"For with God nothing will be impossible." Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:37-38
What's your response?  - What if an Angel comes to you and tells you that He is about to use you to do something great. You like Mary did recognize that its physically impossible. Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man." The angel proceeds to tell her how, gives her news about Elisabeth to confirm things and ends with, "For with God nothing will be impossible." Mary's immediate response is to say, "Yes." to the possible that God presents her with. Immediately she responds with, "Let it be to me according to your word."

What's your response?  - What if your are a young new queen. You know that the former queen was banished and replaced because she had refused the king. You know it can mean your life if you enter his chamber without being sent for and the words that come to you are, "Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Easter's response is to trust the one who brought her to such a place in the kingdom as she proclaims, "Pray, prepare, ...so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish."

What's your response?  -  What if you are in a storm and you see Him walking towards you, doing the impossible, Walking On The Water!  You cry out, "Lord, if  it is You command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come."  Peter's response ...And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29  Peter's response is to get out of the boat and do the impossible at a single word from Jesus.

Obviously I can go on and on and on with examples from His word that bring us back to the same place, the same question. What is our response?

Why? Because for such a time as this He has brought us into the kingdom as well!

Why? Because, like Mary, He has a call on our lives and He wants to use us to bring salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ to the world around us!

Why? Because He wants us to choose to believe His word and the possible it promises more than the impossible our circumstances present us with so that we can boldly proclaim Him to all mankind.

Why? Because He commanded Peter to join Him in doing the impossible and He wants us to join Him in doing the impossible as well!

Why? Because His word to us today is a question ...."Will you believe me?"

What will you respond? Will it be?... "Let it be to me according to your word."..."I'll go, if I perish, I perish." ...or maybe? ...You'll even agree to walk where He walks?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do Not Consent

There was a rustling in the trees and bushes, and several birds and small critters ran out of their hiding places. Moments later, Adam watched as his wife bounded out of the leaves into their clearing.

"Adam!" She gasped for breath like she always did when she was excited. 

He gripped her by both shoulders, smiling happily into her eyes. "Yes, Dear?"

"There was a snake, and we were talking, and I ate the fruit! Adam, it is so good! You need to try some!" Eve grabbed his arm and started dragging him through brushes.

Alarms started going off in Adam's head. He pulled her to a stop and held up both palms. "Wait. Did you say you ate the fruit? What fruit? Oh, Eve, do you mean THAT fruit?" Panic started surging within him. What had she done?

"Adam," She gave him an exasperated look. "You need to come with me." She started leading him through the trees again, but he didn't struggle this time. He was just so stunned.

They came to the center of the garden. There in the middle was the tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It's branches stretched toward the sky, and it stood higher then any other tree in the garden. It looked lush and green, bright and eager to provide it's tantalizing fruit. Oh, it looked so good, too. Ripe, bright, and practically dripping with intoxicating flavor.

Wait! What was he thinking?  What was he doing? Somehow he had moved from his safe spot at the edge of the garden, and was standing directly in the tree.

"Eat a piece." He turned to look at his wife, and then swung his gaze back to the fruit at hand. It did look good.

"It will make us wise like God. The snake said that that's why God didn't want us to eat it. If we do, we will become like God with knowledge of good and evil."

The look on her face was so convinced....but what had God said? God hadn't said that. God had said that when they ate the fruit from this tree, they would die. Adam reached out a gingerly held the fruit, marveling at how much he wanted to taste it, yet knowing he shouldn't. Yet Eve seemed convinced. But God had said not to eat it.

What should he do?

He  plucked the fruit from the branch, and sank his teeth into it's flesh.

Based on Genesis 3:6

In my last blog post we talked about Eve's part in this, and focused on how we need to "Have a Verse for That Temptation/Situation." Today we are going to focus on Adam, and how even though he knew what God had said, he still gave into the flesh.

Sometimes, instead of being a light for the people around us, we do the same things. We all have our reasons. So we are not left out of the fun. So we are not the only one taking a stand. Because we are afraid. Because we are fed up with life. Sometimes its all of the above and more.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Both Adam and Eve had the ability to say no, and stand for what was right. Both had the ability to be a light. Both had the ability to remember what God said, and turn to Him. We have the ability to choose God and not the world. We have the responsibility as Jesus-professing Christians to choose God.

I have experienced moments where I was under pressure and I just wanted to give into my flesh. When I did, I didn't feel any better. I felt like an imbecile, truthfully. After all my talk, only to fail now. What was I thinking? Instead of feeling better, I was banging my head against the table saying, "Why. Am. I. So. Stupid?" Have you been there?

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16

We need to walk by God, and God only. Not by what we want or by what other people say or pressure us to do.

I'll leave you with this,..

Actually, I think Proverbs said it best:

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent." Proverbs 1;10

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Powerful Words To Live By"

His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."  John 2:5
Those of us who have been believers for very long all know the story, after all this account of Jesus turning water into wine is known the world over as the 'beginning of signs' John 2:11 His first miracle. His first sign and wonder and it was done after these words were spoken by His mother to the servants at the feast.

"Whatever He says to you, do it." Mary spoke these words to the servants fully expecting them to do what she asked them to. It says that ...there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Then Jesus said them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And then He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. John 2:6-8

"Fill the waterpots with water." Seems to me that it was an easy enough command to obey. They obeyed. It said that not only did they fill them but they even went all out and filled them to the brim! He told them to draw some out and bring it the master of the feast. They obeyed. Why? Simple. Because they were servants and servants obey. They didn't pick and choose what to do. They didn't pick one command to obey and ignore the other.

What I'm here to say today is this, these servants didn't have the luxury of not filling the waterpots. They didn't have the luxury of questioning whether or not they would get a ladle and draw some out or not. They were servants. They obeyed. Period. It is what servants do.

I love that in the book of Daniel 3:26 Nebuchandnezzar spoke saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." To a heathen king they were known as  'servants of the Most High God.' Why? He was a king. He understood that servants obey and these men didn't obey him! They hadn't bowed at his command. They had obeyed the Most High God. They had refused to bow. In Daniel 6:16 Again a heathen king, Darius this time said to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you."  He understood by Daniel's day to day faithfulness that his obedience belonged to God; the God he served continually.

His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."  John 2:5

Pretty powerful words to live by. Powerful words that should be at the heart of every believer's actions. Example: Why are you wasting time feeding the poor? Because He said too! Why do you want to go to China as a missionary? Because He said to go! Why are you preaching the word? Because He told me to! Etc.

Here's a big one that causes division in the body; Why do you Believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and His anointing for your life? Because He said to! "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; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17

His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."  John 2:5

You and I as His servants in the earth today need to be like these servants and fill the waterpots to the brim when He says, "Fill the waterpots." We as His servants in the earth today need to draw some out and bring it to the master of the feast when He says, "Draw some out and bring it to the master of the feast." You and I as His servants need to pay more attention to the words in red and do them -- then we might even see the fulfillment of His words "...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. John 14:12 Who knows ... maybe then those that are in the world will view us less as a body fractured by our denominational differences and more like the bride who has made herself ready and arrayed  in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:7-8

At the very least, if we, who call ourselves His servants pay heed to Mary's words to the servants at the wedding, "Whatever He says, do it."  then we too might get to hear heathen kings refer to us as 'Servants of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.'

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

There's a Verse for That

Eve looked at the fruit hanging from the tree. This tree was in the very middle of the garden that was their home. It's branches stretched toward the sky, and it stood higher then any other tree in the garden. It looked lush and green, bright and eager to provide it's tantalizing fruit. Oh, it looked so good, too. Ripe, bright, and practically dripping with intoxicating flavor.

Saliva gathered in her mouth as she thought about tasting that lushes fruit.

"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" Eve was brought back to the moment, and looked at her little inquisitor.

A snake.

His little eyes regarded her with actual thought, and every time he spoke, his tongue flickered out at her.

She looked up into the sun's glare. What exactly did God say about the tree?

Looking back at the snack, she half shrugged, trying to recall exactly what God had said to them. "Well, He said we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

The snake slithered closer, his copper design standing out boldly against the blue scales. "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Eve looked back at the ripe, waiting piece of fruit nearest her. It certainly did look good for food, and it was a food that could give you the knowledge of good and evil! What could beat that?

She reached out her right hand and caressed the piece of fruit. Then she closed her hand around it, and plucked it from the branch. Slowly and surely, she brought it to her lips...

What was the worst that could happen? It would make her wise. Sounded pretty good to her.

Based on Genesis 3:1-6a

So today I wanted to talk about believing the devil's lies. Unless we know what God has spoken, and we hide His words in our heart, then it is very easy for the devil to twist what God has said and trick us.

In Genesis 2:16-17 we see what God said about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'"

Wait a second. Eve seemed to think that if she even touched the fruit then she would die. She knows what God had spoken to her. Guys, do we know God's Word? Do we know what God has spoken to us personally? That one small speck of misunderstand left the door cracked open for the devil.

If we know what God has spoken, then we can face the devil like Jesus did when He was tempted. Whenever the devil came at Jesus, Jesus turned around and was all like, "There's a verse for that!" You and I need to have that same type of knowledge and understanding of the Bible. That way whenever the devil comes at us, we can be like, "I have a verse for that. Beat it, reptile."

When Eve wasn't ready and waiting to quote God's word back to the devil, he twisted what God had said, and whispered falsehood into her heart. "It's not because you'll die. It's because you'll be awesome! You'll be just like Him, and He doesn't what that for you."

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Eve wasn't focused on what God had said, so when the devil started twisting, she started believing. We can't allow that in our hearts. The devil is going to try and trick you. He is just lying in wait for the moment you aren't paying attention,  and then he will slither on over and say things in your heart causing you to doubt God. "He didn't really die for you. You're too far gone." "Why forgive that person? Hold onto your anger." "Why are you serving Him? It's just a bunch of rules and regulations." There are just so many ways for the devil to sliver into our hearts. But there is one surefire way to stop him.

"I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11

If you will be faithful to store up God's word in your heart, and build it like a wall, then one day the devil will come slithering and find out that there's no way inside. You've got a barrier built in God, and everything he's trying to throw at you, well, you've got a verse to refute it. It will be like having an easy button.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, September 8, 2014

"The Response Is Now"

In the next ten verses there is a word that is repeated over and over. See if you can spot it.

Then a voice came from heaven, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. Mark 1:11-12

Then Jesus said to them, "Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:17-18

When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with hired servants, and went after Him. Mark 1:19-20

Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Mark 1:21-22

Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. Mark 1:27-28

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. Mark 1:30-31

Then a leper came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus, moved with compassion, put out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached to them. Mark 2:1-2

"Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately, When Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'? Mark 2:7-9

"But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"--He said to the paralytic, "I say to you arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house." And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!" Mark 2:10-12
As I was reading this morning I couldn't help but notice that Mark chapters 1 and 2 are full of a certain word. It was used 10 times in these first two chapters. 10 different times it is used in connection with the reaction or rather the response of either Jesus or the people He is relating to. You too may have noticed it as you read through the 10 verses above? The word is? Immediately. Immediately in the Strong's comes from 2117 and it means; directly, i.e. at once or soon. 2117: straight, and it comes from a root word that denotes an upright and active position. Did you catch it in the verses above? Every time it is used it is in reference to the action or rather the reaction that takes place.  For example the first time it is used1:11-12 it is in reference to the Holy Spirit. God spoke and immediately the Spirit took Jesus into the wilderness.

In the next two examples Jesus speaks and Simon, Andrew, James, and John all immediately respond and choose to follow Him. In the next example it in reference to what Jesus does as soon as He hits town. The fifth reference is about the reaction the people to spread the news about Him because of their astonishment at His authority. Next comes responses the fever and the leprosy have to His touch. Next came the response of the people as they flocked to His presence when it became known that He had arrived. The next one was when Jesus Immediately addressing the heart attitude as He perceive their thoughts. The last one was once again the man's response as Jesus spoke healing and told him to take up his mat and to go home healed and forgiven.

I don't know about you but I work with a lot of kids and the whole, "In a minute," or "I'll do it later," response when asked to do something seems to happen a lot. In these example the concept that jumped out at me today was that when God speaks immediately a response takes place. When Jesus arrives stuff happens and people take notice. When Jesus speaks to a disease it immediately responds to His authority.When He speaks to a person to do something the response is Immediate. It seems to me that every time He speaks to us, whether it is a Rhema or a Logos word, we too are in a place where were we need to respond and be in one of those life changing moments where His authority causes our circumstances to change.

I want my life filled with those moments where God responds and moves on my behalf.  I want my response when He speaks to always be to drop my nets or to pick up my mat and go. I want every fever, sickness, or disease to leave as I bring it before Him. Lord I pray that as your people we would always respond with the action needed to submit immediately to the authority of Your word and Your presence in our lives. O Lord, that we would never put You on hold but that we would always take action to serve you, immediately!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"The Anointing"

Luke 4:17-21
And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, 
Because He has anointed Me
 to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, 
To preach deliverance to the captives 
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them:

"Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Lord, as we fix our eyes on You in worship today, help us to be willing vessels, anointed by Your Spirit to do Your will in all the earth. Help us to always remember that 'the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.' Isaiah 10:27 

Lord, my hearts desire is that, we, would surrender to the anointing of Your Spirit and that we, as Your people will walk in the fulfillment of Your words. Lord that we would go forth in the power of Your Spirit anointed to serve!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stand for God

"Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts." Psalms 119:1-2

Integrity is a rare thing in our culture. Fewer and fewer are those who are standing up for their beliefs. It's not popular to stand for the morality and decency that the Bible and Christianity symbolizes. Some people automatically assume that, if you are a Christian, you are judging every move they make.

I myself have been called both ignorant and a bigot for taking such stands, even by people I have considered to be my friends. But those people are not in the majority, even though they are often perceived that they are. So we keep quite, hoping to not offend anyone.

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey the commands that I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of age." Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission is a hard thing to live up to, if you live in fear. Fear of rejection, fear of alienating people, these are weapons in the devil's arsenal, some of his most used. Because HE IS AFRAID. Afraid of us sharing the Gospel. Lest we forget, our own weapon is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), and he does not want us to use it.

Don't let him make you ashamed of who you are. Don't let him take your faith. Don't be ashamed to stand for God.

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:38

A song that has always been one of my favorites: 
Not Ashamed - The Newsboys


Friday, September 5, 2014

"With All Boldness"

   But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.
   And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
   But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
   So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.
   For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
   And being let go, they went to their  own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
   So when they had heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is with in them.......................Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."
   And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:17-31
Peter and John were in trouble because they had said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk," and it worked! The lame man was healed and because of it more people were drawn to the Lord. Acts 4:4 tells us that as news spread about 5000 were added to the kingdom. Peter and John were brought before the rulers, elders, and scribes to give an accounting. They boldly declared ..." Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole...Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:10-12

In the passage above they were 'severely threatened, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.    And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus' They were forbidden by the leaders to speak in the name of Jesus any longer. Now we know the story. They didn't listen and instead they responded with,  "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What a response that as believers we all applaud!. It is a response that puts God first! God's opinion is the one that matters.

The leaders threatened them some more and then released them. Why? 'Because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. ' They themselves had said in verse 16 .."For indeed that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it." They let them go and didn't actually take any action except to threaten because they were afraid of the people.
As I read this account today it caused me to think about a story that I heard about a couple of weeks ago on the news about a high school girl who was kicked out of class and given an in school detention for saying, "Bless you," to another student who sneezed. It was reported that the teacher had said that she would not have any Godly talk in her classroom. I remember thinking, "Bless you? How ridiculous. What is our world coming to that a kid gets in trouble for saying something that most of the world considers polite or basic good manners." Christians and non Christians alike say, "God bless you." at a sneeze.

At first, my response was how ridiculous and I didn't give it much thought till I was reading this account in Acts. Then it hit me just how far we have come. The names of God or Jesus are no longer allowed to be spoken in our schools. Allah, Mohammad, Budah, and any other name you want to make up and call a god is allowed but the name of Jesus banned. Just like in this account in the book of Acts it is considered a punishable offense. When did we come to the place where speaking words as simple as, "Bless you" are punished?

I don't know about you but I tend to live in my own little bubble serving Him the best I know how day to day. I don't always know or hear about the things that are happening in the earth. I very rarely catch the news. However I did recently hear another report that was challenging the world to care about the Christians that are being slaughtered in the earth today in Africa, Iraq, and all over the world. We tend to think of being martyred for the Lord as a Roman Colosseum type event and that it isn't happening in the earth today but it is. After I heard this report I typed in, "Christians being slaughtered" as a search on YouTube and video after video came up. I was shocked because to be honest, I didn't realize. (Forgive me, Lord!)

Just as the disciples stood up to the leaders of their day with a response that declared they would not be silent I come before you and all the world to add my voice to theirs. They declared that they would continue to declare the name of Jesus because it is the right thing to do. It is right to heed the voice of God more than the voice of man! So I feel like I need to declare not only to you but to the world at large, " I will speak the name of Jesus because there is no other name in all the earth that men might be saved." There is a reason that they declared, "In the name of Jesus rise up and walk." It works. There is a reason that the enemy wants to prevent those that believe from speaking it in the earth today. It still works! It still has the power to save and set men free!

The account above said that Peter and John came back and told their brethren all that had happened and they came together and raised their voice to God with one accord! It said that they prayed...."Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."   And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. They prayed with one accord for boldness to speak His word, to do His will and to do it all through Jesus.

Today, my prayer is that you would join me and with one voice we too would cry out to God. Not only on behalf of those being persecuted but for those that are being threatened with the choice of who to serve, God or man? Pray that we too would receive power from the Holy Spirit to stand with all boldness on His behalf and that we would boldly declare the name of Jesus or even 'God Bless you,' wherever we go!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Problem with Festering

Cain forced a smile at his brother. Abel studied him for a moment, seemingly hesitant, but then nodded. "Okay, I'll help you in the field."

Cain smiled at him again, and mentally slapped himself. Abel was going to suspect something if he didn't cut it out with the awkward smiles. Together the brothers walked side by side to the field they had worked in for all their lives. So much time spent here..

Cain was starting to panic, but why was he panicking? They were just going out to the field to work.

But somewhere in his heart he knew he wasn't just going out there to work. He could still hear the Lord's words to him,  "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It's desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

"What seems to be the problem?"

The question brought Cain back to reality, to this present moment. "Uh, there's a stump. It's deep. I can't take it out myself."

"Are you okay?"

"What? Why?" He looked at Abel nervously.

"You haven't been acting normal since the offering."

"I'm fine." He felt like his offering was dirt compared to the Golden Boy's offering, but whatever. He would keep acting like he was fine.

Soon they came to the field. The sun was high in the dark blue sky. It lit up the tan-colored crop like a blazing fire. The two men stepped into the field, and Cain inhaled deeply. This was home to him. This field was where he worked and toiled. He gritted his teeth, pain radiating from his clenched jaw. It wasn't his fault that stupid Abel had ended up working with the animals.

"Where's the stump?"

"It's over there," Cain replied sharply. He knew why he was here. To get revenge. It was all he could think about. He needed it, craved it, and wouldn't be satisfied until he had taken it. His anger had been his focus. All he did was sit and stew.

After today, he wouldn't need to anymore.

As Abel studied the stump, Cain quietly bent down, and coiled his fingers around a sharp rock.

Based on Genesis 4:3-8

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27

Point Number 2: Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

So, we looked at how to be angry and not sin last time. Ephesians also said not to let the sun go down on your anger. This is the hard part. This means that we don't hold a grudge. If we hold a grudge against every person who sins, then who's left?

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

If one of those money-grubbing thieves from the temple had come to Jesus afterwards, sincerely repenting, then you know that Jesus would have forgiven him just like that. Zacchaeus and Matthew were both tax collectors, and Jesus loved them. Take it one step further, and now you have to be nice to that person and treat them like family in Christ.


So. Not. Easy. But just like Jesus told the disciples to shake off the cities that didn't welcome the Gospel, so we need to shake off the things that people do to hurt us. There have been moments in all of our lives where someone has seriously hurt us. The disciples literally abandoned Jesus, but He still loved them. He didn't hold it against them. He forgave them. Peter, who denied Jesus, and who went on to become a significant leader in the early church.

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27

God wouldn't have told us all this if it wasn't possible. We need to forgive and forget just like God has done for us. We can't hold grudges because that's when the devil sneaks into the back door of our hearts, and lights up the path to sin for us. I wrote about Cain and Abel earlier because that's exactly what happened. Whether your hurt is completely justified or a little overdone, if you fester on that anger, eventually it will consume you whole. One day all that will be left is a revenge-seeking lunatic. Revenge isn't ours to dish out, and when we focus on anger that's where we go. Jesus and God, well, they throw things as far as the east is from the west. If we are going to live lives modeled after Them, then we need to do the same. Festering does not free us; only forgiveness does.

V. Joy Palmer