Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Vessel For Honor"

"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words."

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

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

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! ... Jeremiah  18:2-6

Lord, today as we come into Your house and seek Your face help us to come to You with hearts that cry out,  "Mold us, shape us," and even, "Remake us." where necessary Lord.  Lord,  fashion us. Fashion us into vessels of honor that bring glory to Your name. Lord help us to be ... a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 

God Bless!!!

The Staff of Snack Time Devotions


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Right Reason

"Love is patient and kind, Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wrong." 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

There are many things to be said about love. Books, volumes, beliefs, and opinions can be found on the subject almost everywhere. In fact, it seems like our culture worships love. People often measure their own worth in their friends (people they love / people they cared about) and their boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife.

The Bible tells us about love repeatedly (after all, it has been said that the Bible is the greatest love story ever told). We are commanded to love our God, our neighbors, one another, the whole nine yards. Some of the things are harder than others. For example, I have a neighbor that I struggle to love. She is blunt, overbearing, rude, and more than slightly crazy (I'm serious). I have a very hard time being anywhere around her. She has shown up at my house, my work, and my church. I have always done my very best to avoid her, but sometimes I find myself cornered with no escape.

I have come to this realization: I do not love my neighbor. But then I look into Scripture, just before Paul launches into his exhaustive description of love.

In the first first three verses of this chapter, he says "...but didn't love others, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal... but didn't love others, I would be nothing... but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." Any one of us could use our own lives to fill in the blanks.

I'll give some modern day examples. "I go to church, but if I don't love others, I would be nothing." If I was a doctor, I could say, "I heal the sick, but if I don't love others, I would have gained nothing." A therapist? "I help people work past their issues and inner demons, but if I didn't love others, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

Love is the key. We all have heard the expression "It's the thought that counts." We can do all the right things, but without love, we truly gain nothing. At least, nothing as far as our Lord is concerned. Do the right things, for the right reason   Love.

"Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Sam

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Consider This!"

If I had a turtle I would name him Gideon!  Now that may seem like a pretty weird statement to start today's message with but as I look at this little guy and this "Behold the turtle," quote, I'm reminded of  the account of Gideon in Judges 6:11-16.

...while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" And Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."  And the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man."

Now I know I've taught on Gideon many times before and so I won't expound greatly on the fact that Gideon had that keep your head down, weakest of the weak, hiding in the winepress mentality going for him here. He was definitely not at a point to be sticking his neck out to take on the Midianites. The courage to do that came as his realization of an important truth took root in his heart. That same truth is the point of today's message and can become clear to us as well as we "Behold the turtle."

Jesus said, "Consider the lilies of the field.." Matthew 6:28 and "Consider the birds of the air..." Matthew 6:26 and today my best advice is, "Consider the turtle!" Take a close look at the turtle above and its quote. 'A turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.'  Its true and it was true for Gideon as well. Once he got a hold of the truth that the Angel of the Lord imparted to him and that He was calling him to action he stuck his neck out and stepped out into the calling that God had for him. But its not like he did it all big, bad, and brave. The first thing he is asked to do is to cut down his father's altar to Baal, put up an altar to God, and sacrifice his father's bull on it. It says in verse 27 that '...Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.' It says that as they discovered what had been done they searched out who had done it. When it was discovered that it was Gideon they went to his father's house and demanded that he be turned over to them so they could kill him.  His father refused. See the thing is. He stuck his neck out. He took the steps needed to do what God asked and then he went home to his father's house, his father's covering. He went back into hiding in the place were he was protected.

So I say again, "Consider the turtle?"  Out comes its head and feet. It moves forward, pressing on at a slow steady pace, until? Until for whatever reason... it needs to rest, an obstacle in its path, or even that it senses danger; then it does what we are all supposed to do, it pulls back into the protection of its shell. We've all heard the jokes about how it carries its house with it. Never leaves home without it etc. A turtles shell is its strength, its protection, its hiding place, its resting place.  Sound familiar? The thing is the shell is a part of the turtle and it always goes where the turtle goes. The turtle can always draw back for rest, shelter and protection.

The truth that hit Gideon's keep your head down, weakest of the weak, hiding in the winepress heart attitude is the truth that the turtle and its shell can teach us. "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent you?" What might? The might of the Lord who is always with him of course.   "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." The things that He speaks to Gideon all three times is the truth that equips any of us to, "Go," and it is the knowledge, the knowing, that He is with us. He has called Us. He fights for us. He is our strength and our ability to run into him because He is our shield, our protector is what separates us as His people. He is our help in times of danger. He is always with us no matter where we go, He goes with us! He is the one we never leave home without!

So once again in closing I say, "Consider the turtle." or more importantly I say, "Consider this.... A turtle will stick its head out and press forward because he instinctively knows his place of refuge!  Do we as His people instinctively draw into Him who is always with us?"

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever yo go!"  Joshua 1:9

"Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah  Psalm 62:8

"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Psalm 91:1-2

Thursday, August 28, 2014

There Is Only Life

The sun's light was fading. There was a eerie darkness covering the whole land, causing him to shiver. It was like evil was lurking about, ready and waiting for the moment it would win.

Maybe it had already won.

Natsar jumped as a loud moan escaped from the dying man above him. The other two men had died several hours ago, but not this man. He had been clinging to life for the last few hours. Natsar winced as he glimpsed at the man's beaten and bruised body. His hair was matted with blood, and he hung limply, blood covering his hands and feet. Natsar studied the plaque hanging above his head.

Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

Just then Jesus moaned again, this time louder, more brutal, more gut-wrenching. "Father," he gasped out, choking on the words. "Into your hands I commit my spirit!" With that final proclamation, his head dropped harshly, and hung there heavily.

He was gone.

"Certainly this man was innocent!" He whispered the words into the void. No one could hear him now.

Based on Luke 23: 44-47

I picked this part to write about because this is that moment that all of Jesus' disciples, His enemies, the people, and the devil were terrified to face. This is that moment where everyone was wondering if He was really dead.

I won't mince words here. Death is a horrid subject. My point isn't about death, but bare with me...

Almost four years ago, I sat bedside, as someone I dearly loved passed from this world and into the presence of God. The door leading into the hallway of the ICU was open. Shortly after, the phone rang at the desk, and a nurse answered. I remember hearing that nurse state that they only had three patients. Two who were both suffering from the same aliment, and one who had just expired.

Immediately upon hearing the word expired, I was filled with rage. How dare that nurse speak so callously of my family! However, I was too overcome with grief to move from my spot.

Fast fowarding. Now I work at a dental practice, and I hate when the patients pass away, not just because it's sad, but because their files and status are changed to "Deceased."

When I hear words like "expired" and "deceased" to describe someone who has passed away it makes me pretty angry. It makes me angry because I know the truth.

In Jesus, there is no expired or deceased. There is only life.

I hate talking or writing about this subject. It's hard and scary for me, too. My poor husband has gotten countless dirty looks when there is a sad or gruesome death in a movie. But like a fire in my bones, this message would not leave my heart. You need to understand that when you are in Jesus, the physical body may die, but the spirit lives on forever. That's why today's message started off with Jesus dying on the cross for us. Because of His death, WE HAVE LIFE.

"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

"Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'" John 11:23-27

Jesus asked Martha point blank, "Do you believe this?" There are people out there who claim to love God, and who don't believe this. Well, that's just not true. Several weeks ago, my pastor taught a sermon on how Heaven is real, and death is a lie. You guys need to understand that, too. Death is a scary subject for us, and it controls so many of us. But we are the body, and we need to stand up and say, "NO MORE!" We have life. We have eternal life. We have life in Jesus forever. We will live with Him forever. Nothing can stop that. So, do you believe this, too?

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"The Talking Donkey What If Question"

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?" And Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!" Numbers 22:28-29
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I'm here today to ask you a question. It is a "What if?" question. What if a donkey spoke to you? What would you do? How would you react? What if God were to do this incredibly amazing thing? What if He opened the mouth of a donkey, and let it to speak to you? Would it be enough to cause you to stop and pay attention to what He had to say? Balaam is so upset at what he perceived as the donkey's abuse of him that he doesn't even seem to notice that she is talking to him! Is it because, as a man of God the miraculous is normal in his life, so much so, that a talking donkey goes unnoticed? Or? Maybe? Maybe, it is just that he was so self absorbed and that he was soooooo caught up in himself, his plan, his path, that he even missed noticing the miraculous right in front of him? Obviously, I tend to think it is the latter.Why? Because of his next response!

Verse 31 ...Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His sword drawn in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.  God opened his eyes so that now he was seeing the same thing the donkey had seen; The Angel of The Lord, standing in the way, sword in hand. This time his reaction wasn't to argue but to drop to the ground face first and say, "I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back." vs 34

What if? What if a donkey spoke to you? Would you notice? Would it be enough to get your attention or would it take seeing The Angel of the Lord standing in the way before you stop to ask, "Is this the way you want me to go?" The thing is, Balaam was the man of God of his day and it took a talking donkey and the Angel of the Lord with sword drawn to get his attention and his willingness to go and to speak only what God would have him speak. It took a talking donkey and the Angel of the Lord to cause the man of God to even desire to do the Lord's will and not his own.

What if? What if a talking donkey were to speak to you today? Would it be enough to get your attention? Would you recognize that God had a hand in it? Would you even notice? Balaam was the prophet of God, the man of God in his day and he was so busy with his own plan, his own agenda that he almost missed being a part of God's.

What if you and I took this account of the talking donkey and realized that God was using it to speak to us today? What if you and I were to realized from it that God will do what it takes to see His word performed in the earth. What if we learned from this account of the talking donkey to stop and ask Him every day, "Lord where would you have me to go? What would You have me to speak?" before He gets to the Angel of The Lord with Sword drawn stage in things? This is where He would have me change my question from "What If?" to "Will You?"

Will you? Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;

Will you? In all your ways acknowledge Him, so that He shall direct your paths!

Will you? Not be wise in your own eyes; but Fear the Lord and depart from evil. So that it will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

Will you? Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So that your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Will you? My son, not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction.

For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:5-12




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All Along

"Hillkiah the priest has found a book, Oh my King." Shaphan held the book out tentatively to him. He had a curious look on his face, and Josiah guessed that he had already read some of the book. For it to merit that look on Saphan's face, there must be something important in it.

Josiah nodded. "Read it."

Saphan cleared his throat, and started to read the book.

Josiah heard the words being read to him. He wanted to throw up and punch the wall next to him. This wasn't some trivial book. This was The Book. This was the Book of the Law.

A law they had sorely kept.

Finally, the Book was finished. Before he could even think, he dropped to the floor and the sound of the his clothes being tore was the only sound in the chamber. He covered his face with his hands. How had he governed God's people for so long without properly following or even knowing the Law? So many things ran through his mind. He was filled with rage at himself. Remorse. Begging for mercy.

What now?

Did he continue as they had been? Now that he knew, now that they had found this treasure, how could he continue like nothing had changed? Everything had changed.

He locked eyes with Saphan. "Get Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, and Asaiah. Go and inquire of the Lord for me, and for all the people, and for all of Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." 

 Based on 2 Kings 22:8-13

I read this section of Scripture a couple weeks ago in my own daily reading. A thought immediately came to my mind, and I scribbled it in the margins of my Bible. 

What things should we have known since the beginning?

Think about that for a moment. What should we know, but don't? What things should we be doing, but don't? What facets of God should we understand, but don't?

When the Book of the Law was found, it was because Josiah had ordered repairs for the Temple of God, which had fallen into disarray in previous years due to the people and the kings of Judah not following after God. That book was lost and forgotten, but then found. And after being found and Josiah had sent out his men,  Huldah the prophetess  told Josiah's men that this was basically a turning point. Judgement would be coming for the people of Judah who had ignored God for so long, but Josiah would have peace because of his heart for God. Even after that, Josiah went and made some major changes to the kingdom of Judah so that he and the people would be following God's Law.

What things should we have known since the beginning? What things should we have been doing all along? And how do we fix that? The answer to that isn't for the faint of heart. It isn't something you can only half do, or pretend to do. It's something that YOU DO.

Pick up your Bible. Follow God.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have good success." Joshua 1:8

We have easy access to the Bible today. If you don't have one, you can pick one up at a grocery store for goodness sake! Don't continue on your way like nothing has changed. Pick up your Bible. Follow God. Don't come to a day where you ask yourself what should you have been doing all along. Do it. Know it now. Amen.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Up Close And Personal"

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you whole."     Luke 17:11-19
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Have you ever really given this account a whole lot of thought or taken a really good look at it? Stop and think for a minute about what is happening. Jesus comes into a certain village and when He does there are ten lepers who stood afar off and lifted up their voices and said,  "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" As I was reading through this time, the words, 'who stood afar off ' jumped out at me. Now I realize that in those days it is what lepers did. They stayed a far off, kept their distance. They were forced to by the leprosy. It was they way things were and so on, but this time those words seemed to stand out, especially since while they were standing afar off they were also crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" They didn't know Him personally. They had never met Him before. They had only heard about Him and when He was off in the distance they shouted to Him and asked Him to have mercy on them and of course because of who He is, He did.

They were a far off, crying out to Him. They called Him Lord, and even used the word Master in reference to Him in their desire to receive mercy from Him. Leprosy is often used in scripture as a type or symbol of sin, and of sinners and isn't that what we do? Cry out to Him from afar off. Sin separates us from God. It, like leprosy, forces us to cry out from a far off. We know this to be true because when Jesus was on the cross and became sin for us the Father was forced to turn away and Jesus Himself was heard to cry out, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me?" We like the lepers, because of our sins cry out to Him. We call Him, Lord, and even Master and like with the lepers he sees us and responds with the mercy we desire! He forgives us our sins and makes a way for us. He then tells us to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel..." Mark 16:15 or "Go and do like wise." Luke 10:37 or what about, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." Luke 7:50

So as we look back at our account we see that after He saw them and told them to, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." and they like us, obeyed His instructions. It says that, 'And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.' They took Him at His word and went off to do what He had told them to do and as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. As they went they became 100% leprosy free! No longer would they have to remain at a distance crying out, "Unclean, Unclean." everywhere they went.

It then tells us, 'Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving thanks.' One out of ten realized what had happened! One out of ten came to that place, that moment, when he realized that he was healed and he immediately turned back and returned to the source of the healing, the mercy. One out of ten lepers went from crying afar off to an up close and personal encounter. A personal encounter that had him not only glorifying God with a loud voice but at the feet of Jesus giving thanks for the mercy that he had received. One out of ten lepers wasn't content with just receiving but instead went to a place of worshiping at His feet.

All ten cried out for mercy. All ten received and were cleansed but only one returned to worship at His feet and only one was made whole.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17 All mankind can cry out to Jesus from afar and receive forgiveness for our sins. 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 It is why He came. But how many of us will truly realized what He has done, get up close and personal, and worship at His feet?

All were cleansed. Only the one who took time to worship at His feet and was made whole! A far off or at His feet? Where will you spend your time? According to Luke 10:42 Jesus said, "It is the 'one thing' needed and it is a choice we get to make! ..."But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her..." From afar or up close and personal - we make that choice.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"My Help Comes!"

I will lift up my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel, Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in, From this time forth, and even forevermore. Psalm 121:1-8

Lord, I pray that today as we seek Your face, we would remember to be like the one leper who returned to praise You and to give You the glory. Thank you Lord, for always being our help in times of need! You are truly amazing!

God Bless!!!

The Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Light

Almost every morning in the summer when I pull into my place of work, I  find myself greeted with a foggy mist that blankets the landscape. Only as you start to get closer do you notice the large, looming structures drenched in this heavy mist. I have always loved mist. The moisture in the air, the ethereal feel that it gives to normal, everyday objects makes me happy. Until this morning, when I realized that we live our lives in a perpetual mist.

1st Corinthians 13:12a "For now we see through a mirror, dimly..."

As we go through our day to day lives, we see the people around us. But do we really see them? The burden they carry, the ones that slow them down, that haunt their steps, do we see those? Most of us notice the extremes, the moments of happiness and bliss, where we join in and smile, and the moments of intense shame, hurt, and pain, when we often avert our eyes. But we miss a lot of the little stuff. The regular stuff.

But what do people see when they look at you? Anger? Pain? Worry? Fear? Sure, we all go through these emotions, we are human, no matter how hard that we try. After all, we are all flawed. I have never been good at hiding my emotions, I wear them on my sleeves for the whole world to see. My friends and coworkers almost never need to guess what is going on in my mind. When I am happy, I can walk into a room and change the attitudes of everyone inside for the better. I feel great, knowing that I brightened someone's day. That's exactly how we all should feel

You see, in the tired, mist-drenched world, we are supposed to be the light.

Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven."

This Scripture is one that every Christian knows, but is it one that we all apply to our lives? Our light is supposed to give people hope. I know that, for a time, I hid my own light under a basket. I was a young adult, trying to please those in leadership over me at my job. I didn't share who I was, or where my faith lies. Time went on, I grew ashamed of myself. I knew the Word. I knew that I was supposed to be in the world but not of it. But when you cover your own light, you are letting the darkness overtake you. It might be slow, subtle, but it does. Day by day, minute by minute, it changes you. Warps you. Until you are too ashamed of yourself to ever speak out for our Lord.

As time went on, I noticed I needed a change. I added more light to my life. I had never stopped going to church, even at my worst. I started getting more involved in activities there. I changed the shows I watched, the language I used, even my job. I started courting the woman who is now my wife. All of these things broke the habits of shame that kept my light hidden.

Now, I doubt that there is anyone who knows me who doesn't know that I am a Christian. My faith is a huge part of my life, and I let my light shine everyday. Remember who you are. Remember what God has done for you. Don't let the devil convince or shame you into covering your light, because that is all that he can do. He can't cover it himself, he HAS to convince you to do it.

John 1:5 "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."

Sam

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Five Yes And Five No"

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the
bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' "Then all those virgins trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But He answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.'   Matthew 25:1-13
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So, today's message is pretty short and to the point and here's the point...When is the last time you checked to make sure there is oil in your lamp? After all, Jesus paints a pretty clear picture in the telling of this parable of the ten virgins and it seems pretty important to Him! He said the wise have oil and enter in and the foolish don't. They don't have oil and they, not only don't enter in, but then, when they say, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' Jesus said, "Assuredly, I do not know you."  It would be pretty awful to have Jesus tell you that He doesn't know you all because you had to go get oil for the lamp.

I was thinking about this parable and it struck me that Jesus was talking to us, His believers when He is referring to the ten virgins.  Revelations 3:20 It says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Everyone always uses this verse as a verse with unbelievers but if you read it in context He is talking to the church and the fact that He is talking about ten virgins, here in Matthew 25 once again speaks to me of the church, His bride.

So when He is challenging us to be ready and to make sure that we have oil in our lamps? I wonder? The Holy Spirit is often related with anointing oil and Jesus made a point on more than one occasion to make sure we knew that He was leaving so that the Father could send the Holy Spirit to lead us in all things. So when He is talking about 5 having oil and 5 who don't....I wonder?

...For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:13-14

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Beastly Mistake with Power and Might

He loved to come up here. He felt like he was king of the world up here. I am king of the world up here.

Nebuchadnezzar stood on the the roof of the royal palace, looking as far as the eye could see. He took a deep breath of the cool breeze that came to greet him up here. Advisers and servants scurried left and right behind him, eager to tend to his every need. In front of him, was his kingdom. Nearby, he could see the homes of the wealthy and those who belonged to his royal court. Further down, he could see one of the market places. People swarmed to the market like a bee in a beehive. Nebuchadnezzar grinned with satisfaction at having such a prosperous nation. Into the horizon, stretched building after building. They dotted every inch of the landscape.

A magnificent kingdom indeed. 

Nebuchadnezzar smiled. He felt full of pride, and why shouldn't he? The kingdom before him testified to his amazing leadership and ability. His power and might. His mighty hand in ruling. Indeed, this kingdom was a testimony to him.

He wanted to shout it from his rooftop, to those with him, and to those far away and below him. All he knew was that he needed to say it now!

"Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"

Before Nebuchadnezzar could take back what he said, a loud, thundering voice boomed from Heaven. "Oh King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will."

For the first time, a ping of fear went through him. He had angered a god! What was going to happen now?

He didn't have to wait long. Nebuchadnezzar was starting to feel funny. He fidgeted, and then he let loose a loud growl.

Based on Daniel 4:28-32

"Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of Heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws." Daniel 4:33

Nebuchadnezzar became puffed up with his big-shot authority. He looked around him at the magnificent kingdom he had been GIVEN, and boasted that it was all in his strength, his power, his might, his work. Not so cool with God.

"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go..... The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in you name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.'" Luke 10:1, 10:17-20

In this section, Jesus sent out a bunch of men out to towns he was going to teach in before He got there. There they would start telling the townspeople about the kingdom of God. Those men came back on fire for God. They were ecstatic. When they returned, they couldn't wait to run up to Jesus to say that even the demons had listened to them when they used His name.

Jesus was excited with them, but then He told them something important, something I think we forget today. Jesus told them that yes, He had give them authority to tread on the physical threats in our world, and all power over the enemy in the spiritual world, but then He said that we shouldn't rejoice over our new-found power, but instead that we should rejoice that we have been saved.

It's not about our power, which God gave to us. It's about how we have been saved by grace and mercy through Jesus' death on the cross. Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten that every ounce of power and might that he had was given to him by God, so God had to humble Nebuchadnezzar for a season of his life. Remember, if we are going to boast, boast about God, because He gave it all to us all. It's not by our might and power, but by God's.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Give Earnest Heed"

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.... for how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?  Hebrews 2:1-4

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:9-12

Have you ever really thought about just how important the word is in your life? Have you determined to make sure that it has the place in your life that it deserves? Hebrews 2 tells us to give the most earnest heed to the things we have heard and Psalm 119 start to finish is all about, the importance of the word and the place it needs to have in our lives so that we serve Him and obey Him in all that we do.

Hebrews 11:1 says, 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' In Hebrews 11:31 we see an example of someone in the list of those who heeded the word of God and are considered the 'great men and women of faith.'  ...By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace... Rahab didn't perish because she heeded the things she had heard.

In Joshua 2:9-13 she said to the men, " I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you, For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordon, Sihon, and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we  heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." Rahab, a harlot, is listed in Hebrews 11 because she heeded the things she had heard. She helped the spies because she had heard all about them and decided to take heed and to align herself with God.

The spies responded to her request to save her and her family members. They told her..."unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home. so shall it be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. Rahab heeded! Her response... "According to your words, so be it." She followed the instructions. She put the cord in the window and kept her family in her house with her.  And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had. Joshua 6:25 Salvation came to the house of Rahab because she took heed to the word. How about you and I; Will we heed and obey or will we stray outside and be lost?

Rahab, a hero of faith Faith, because she took heed to the word.  Afterall, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Scary Stew

There was hearty laughter, and slaps on the back. Men gathered around the large pot eager to eat in the midst of good fellowship. Rosh smiled as he stirred the thick stew, and then ladled more into the next man's bowl. Men sat all around him eating and slurping up the stew. Even Elisha the prophet seemed to be having a good time.

He smiled to himself. The stew looked quite good, if he did say so himself. He had worked very hard on it, even added some new gourds. The end result was this masterpiece.

"Oh, man of God, there is death in the pot!"

Rosh heard the words, but the didn't register at first. He was about to ladled some more soup into a man's bowl when someone knocked his ladled out of his hand.

"You idiot! Those gourds are poisonous. Everyone knows that!" Haarettz, one of the sons of the prophets, said furiously.

Rosh stared at the white rinds floating on the surface of the soup. All the men who had been enjoying their stew had dropped their bowls, and now the soup lay splattered everywhere. What have I done?!

"Bring some flour." Elisha had stepped up join them at the large pot. Rosh watched nervously, not knowing what could be done. Lord willing, none of the men would be ill or die due to his foolishness.

A young man handed Elisha some floor, and Elisha sprinkled some into the pot, then he dumped most of the sack right into the pot. He picked up the ladle that had been knocked from Rosh's hand, whipped off the dirt, and stirred the stew like nothing was wrong. Then he handed the ladle to Rosh. "Pour some out for the men, so that they can eat."

Rosh couldn't help looking at Elisha like he was crazy. Is this the sort of thing the man of God did with the people? Rosh hesitantly stirred it again, and then ladled some into a bowl. One look at the other men's faces told him that they weren't going to try it.

Well, I'm not going to eat it either! Rosh looked at Elisha's face. He seemed confident that there was no longer any harm in the pot. But who would prove that to the others? Rosh knew what he had to do. He raised the bowl to the lips, and slurped the stew.

Based on 2 Kings 4:38-41

I use to work in the food industry, and I had to deal with food safety protocols. After doing that for a number of years, I'm very picky about the "freshness" of my food. I don't like to use things past the sell by date, and I am convinced I can taste something on any leftovers after a few days. I say all this to say that I'm not sure I could have eaten that stew! My heart, and possibly my mouth, would have screamed, "I am not eating that!"

I would have been too scared to try.

I just think that we are often too scared to try. We are too scared to do what God says, go where He says to go, eat what He says is safe, because in our hearts, there is the chance that He is wrong. Maybe there will be earthquakes and rattlesnakes where God says to go. Maybe the people won't understand the message God is telling us to preach. Maybe the soup really is still poisonous and we will all drop dead in ten minutes.

So we don't even try. Those things are unbelief.

"Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." 2 Timothy 3:5

We are supposed to avoid people like that, and we are supposed to avoid a heart attitude like that. God isn't about the "What if's?" and the "Maybe's."

"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

It's about faith in God. Belief in what He says. How can we belief that He loves us, sent His son to die for us, and has forgiven all our sins, if we can't even believe Him about something like the stew being safe to eat?

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

All things. Simple and big. Even eating the scary stew. All things, if we are not to scared to do God's works.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, August 18, 2014

"They Are Watching!"

"......For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,  And His dominion shall endure to the end. He rescues, And He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, ..."
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Amazing statement! Tell me, do you know who said this incredible declaration about God? I'll give you a hint- they are the words of someone who's life and times were totally impacted by the actions of a young man who faithfully served God all his days. They are the words that king Darius, a heathen king, wrote in his decree because of the faithfulness of Daniel to continually serve his God no matter what!
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Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Daniel 6:10-11

It says that when Daniel knew that the writing was signed he went home, with his wide window open for the world to see, knelt down three times a day, praying and giving thanks to God ...as was his custom since early days. What that tells us is that he didn't change a thing. It was already his witness, his testimony before the decree to pray three times a day for the world to see.  They knew that they would find him praying when they gathered to catch him because they knew that his faithfulness to his God wasn't in question! Daniel 6:5

So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." Then a stone was brought an laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Daniel 6:16-17

Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke saying, to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever!" "My God sent His angel and shut the mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."  Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. Daniel 6:19-23

In both of the statements by king Darius he uses this phrase, "your God, whom you serve continually," Both King Darius and the men who were trying to trap Daniel knew that he continually, without fail served God. It was his testimony, his witness. In Proverbs 27:21 it says that 'a man is valued by what others say of him.' In this case what everyone, enemy and friend alike had to say was, that 'Daniel was faithful to serve his God.'

My point is simply this...You DON'T NEED to be threatened with a lion's den before your witness will impact the lives of others. They are watching and they notice all the little the day to day life choices that we make that determine our faithfulness to serve.  They notice if we "continually serve" or not. They notice if we stay faithful or if we compromise.

You'll notice that the king is the one who declared boldly, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." when he was putting Daniel into the lion's den. Daniel's actions were his testimony not his words. The only words that Daniel spoke this whole event were in response to the king asking when, in a lamenting voice he cried, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Daniel faithfulness to serve continually, day by day, was the witness that he took with him into this much larger lion's den event.

I believe Jesus put it this way ...He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10

These amazing words came about because Daniel continually served God in all his ways, both big and small. "......For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,  And His dominion shall endure to the end. He rescues, And He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, ..." Daniel 6:26-27


Sunday, August 17, 2014

"His Glory Revealed"

Psalm 19:1-11
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language where there voice is not heard.
There line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end  of the world.

In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. 
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Lord, today as we come into your presence, help us as your people, to understand the truth of the Psalmists words. Help us to know and understand that a revelation of your glory can be found not only in Your amazing creation that surrounds us but in Your most perfect Word as well!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.      John 1:14

...who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ...   Hebrews 1:3

May He continue to increase the revelation of His glory in your life!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Refining Fire

"I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10

How many hardships have you faced of late?  I feel like I have faced more than my fair share. Platitudes like "life is not fair" immediately run through my head. But why, I think? Why does life have to be so hard? Didn't God know what He was doing when He created the earth, when he drew man out of the dust and dirt? "Of course He did!" my own thoughts reply...but my heart still says, "this isn't right." Why can't I just have a normal and peaceful life. Why can't people just leave me be? Why doesn't God?

Answer: because He is making us ready. God allows things to come against us to help make us stronger. This is called refining fire. Make no mistake, God does not send these trials after us. He is not the source of our troubles. Sometimes, it is us that get ourselves in trouble, sometimes it is others, and sometimes it is the devil and his cohorts who get things started.

We have all heard the expression, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "No pain, no gain". These are absolutely true. "Sorrow is better than laughter, for sorrow has a refining influence on us." Ecclesiastes 7:3

The point is that all the pain, suffering, and irritation that we suffer matures us. It makes us more understanding, wiser, then we were before. It's not all pointless. Don't give up hope. Endure.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."
Take heart, this season won't last forever. The harvest is coming.

Sam


Friday, August 15, 2014

"Unlikely Choice"

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Matthew 25:14-15
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Judging by the verses above you probably think that today the message is about the Parable of the Talents when in truth it is really about you and I and the our choice to serve Him with everything that we have. In this parable that Jesus shared with His disciples  He starts by telling them that "the kingdom of heaven is like" what is about to happen in this parable. He tells them that the man who was going away gave his servants his goods and in the process he divided up talents to them according to their ability.

You know the story. The one who received five doubled it to ten and received this commendation when his master returned, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Same with the one who had two talents given to him. He doubled his two talents and again when presented to the master at his return he had this response, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Then came the third servant who had been given one talent. He didn't even dare to try. He hid his talent and kept it safely tucked away. When presenting it to the master on his return, his explanation contained three words that are guaranteed to be talent blockers! "I was afraid!" He gave this very simply reason as to why he hadn't doubled his talent. He said, "I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours."

At this point in the message we are going to make the jump to another story found in all four gospels. We are going to take a look at the account in John 6:3-14. It is where Jesus fed the 5000.  In verse 9 it says, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Again we see a contrast in attitude. In the parable of the talents we see two servants take what they were given and despite the master's absence they put them to work and doubled them. We also saw the one who was afraid and hid his one away. In this verse we see a little boys attitude of  "Here is my lunch. I have five small barley loaves and two fish. Use it to feed the people."As we know Jesus more than doubled it. He multiplied it till all were feed with some left over. We also see the contrast in attitude in the words that Andrew tacked on as well, 'but what are they among so many'.

The thing is we all have a choice and it may be the most unlikely choice to make in the eyes of the world but it is still our choice, as His servants, to make.  The kingdom of heaven, or rather in our case, Jesus has gone away for a bit but and He has left us all 'His goods.' He has given to each of us a measure of faith,  His word, His name, His authority,  His blood, etc.  He has even sent the Holy Spirit to help us while He is away. There is even the potential for even more-what about when He said, "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

It may seem like the unlikely choice to make after all it is a whole lot easier to hoard them for ourselves and to keep them hid away from the scrutiny of the world. We may even hold tight out of fear of losing them along the way or we may have a "Why bother, What can He really do with my One little talent?" or "I'm no body can He really use me to feed 1000s?" We may be afraid or have a why bother attitude but the truth is - anything He has given, He intended for us to use. He wants us to make the most unlikely choice possible and go for the double portion.

Lord help us to grab hold of the gifts, the talents, and even the anointings that You have given us and Lord by power of Your Holy Spirit help us to make the most unlikely faith filled choices to use them to bring increase the kingdom!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mary's Faith Nuggets

"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." Luke 2:19

"And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up these things in her heart." Luke 2:51

                                                                                      

Mary smiled as she watched the bride and bridegroom. They looked happy. It gave her happy images of her own wedding ceremony, but that had been quite different with a baby in tow!

She looked over her shoulder at a table behind her. There was that baby now. Only now, he was fully grown. A strong, able man, who had been working as a carpenter for a number of years now. Lately, however, his work had stopped, and he had started traveling. Soon a group of twelve men had formed around him, ones that he had hand picked himself, and they stayed with him wherever he went. She smiled as she watched him animatedly talking with those men, memories of him in the temple flashing through her mind.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw several servants clumped together, whispering harshly and pointing abruptly. Mary tried to ignore it, and go back to watching the happy newlyweds. But instead of enjoying that sweet feeling of joy, she had a constant anxious feeling. Finally, she couldn't hold it in any longer. She needed to go over there.

Mary discreetly walked through the party goers and well-wishers. She paused briefly several times to talk to people and relatives that she knew, but she didn't linger for fear of what was going on with the servants.

"Excuse me." She put on one of her tried and true mom smiles, warm and inviting, but also authoritative. "Is there a problem?"

A young servant girl looked relieved that someone had stepped in to help. "We are out of wine!" She whisper-shouted this. The other servants standing next to her looked sheepish and terrified. To run out of wine this early in the celebration was certainly a big problem.

She nodded understandingly, but her mind was elsewhere. It was like she was seeing it all again. The manger where Jesus was born, the shepherds, the chorus of angels, the travelers from afar, the prophecies, the day she and Joseph had found him in the temple talking among the people. 

"Stay right here! I know who can help us. I will be right back!" She whirled away from them, and speed walked to her son's table.

He saw her immediately, and smiled at her. Oh, how she loved his smile! He was so dear to her. She motioned for him to come over, and he immediately excused himself and rose. 

She opened her mouth to speak, but then stopped. What was she going to tell him? What did she expect him to do? She studied his face for a moment, always knowing that he was destined for so much. It was time for him to step into that. In her heart, this was her way of letting go. 

"They have no wine." She watched to see what he would do, holding his gaze.

"Woman, what does this have to do with me?" Mary didn't break eye contact. "My hour has not yet come."

She smiled slightly at him, knowing in her heart that all those things she had wondered about, were about to be fulfilled. She went back to the servants, and Jesus followed her. She pointed at Jesus. "Do whatever he tells you."

Based on John 2:1-5

Ever since Mary was a young woman, she had experienced miraculous things regarding her firstborn son. Visits from angels, prophecy, running for their lives. She had held the words of a heavenly chorus and shepherds' visits in her heart. She had heard the dramatic, life-changing prophecies spoken over him as an infant. She had seen him in the temple, completely in his element as he discussed God and His law with the priests and Pharisees.

This, Jesus' first miracle, is kind of the overflow of all the things Mary had held in her heart. This was where she stopped pondering them, and accepted who and what Jesus was. This is where he shifted from son to Savior. 

We hold onto nuggets of God. We put them in our hearts, and we think about them from time to time, always on the lookout to grab a new nugget. But there comes a time when we have to take those nuggets of truth out of the secret place in our hearts, and put them to use. This is when Mary took those God-nuggets, and used them. She knew they would work because she had gathered enough of them over the years, and now, it was time to use them.

Jesus didn't do any miracles without God's okay and blessing. This is His first miracle, and at first, He resisted. There's a reason He did it. There's a reason God allowed it. That's because Mary knew who Jesus was. She didn't need any more convincing.

Do you need more convincing about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Do you need more nuggets to hold in your heart? I think it's time we took our nuggets, and use them for what they really are. They are examples of who God is, and they are nuggets of faith for you and me. Use your nuggets of faith. Because today is the day of the overflow in our lives. Today is the day to know who Jesus is. Today is the day for faith like gold.

"'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.'" Isaiah 43:10

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Unlikely Encounters"

And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against goads." So he trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."  And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Acts9:3-9
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I was thinking about what an unlikely encounter this must have been. I think that it is safe to say that the last encounter that Saul planned on ever happening when he left home that day to travel to Damascus breathing threats and murder against the disciples was with the Lord Jesus himself.  I think its pretty interesting Saul immediately recognized that he was in the midst of a Godly encounter and asked, "Who are you, Lord?" He calls Him Lord, before he finds out that it is Jesus, the one that he has been fighting against. It says that he is trembling and astonished when he finds out that it is Jesus Himself. He immediately believes, calls Him Lord, and surrenders to His will. I love that his response isn't to ask for mercy, or for his life, after all he was trembling for a reason; he knew that he had been persecuting the disciples, but instead, he immediately asks, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Jesus simply says, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."  And here is the thing. He does it.

He gets up from his unlikely encounter with Jesus, finds himself blind, and has the two men with him take him into the city. Then he waits. Day one goes by. He waits. Day two goes by. He waits. Day three. He waits. He doesn't eat or drink. He waits. For three days he prays and waits for what comes next. During his wait God gives him a vision of what is to come. He knows that a man named Ananias will come lay hands on him and he will receive his sight once again. Acts 9:12 To those of us reading this account it might seem that nothing was happening during those three days before the Lord instructed Ananias to go lay hands on Saul's eyes but in reality his unlikely encounter was still in full swing. In verses 11 and 12 it tells us that he actually spent his time praying as well as receiving the vision about Ananias's coming to him to lay hands on him that he might once again receive his sight.

In Acts 22:10 Paul gives his account of what was really happening during his three days of blind waiting. He was surrendering his will to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ and learning about all that was in store for him! ..."So I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?" And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do."... His testimony about that time waiting and blind in the city is this, "He was told all things which were appointed for him to do."

To wait on the Lord is something that we all, like Paul need to experience. To 'wait' in the Strong's means; to bind together with. Paul, because of his unlikely encounter with Jesus, actually came to a place where he was no longer fighting against Him but instead he bound himself to the Lord Jesus Christ and he spent the three days talking, sharing, and learning all about the Lord's plans for his life. So what started out as an unlikely encounter ended up in an up close and personal encounter that affected countless lives for the glory of God!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not until We've Satisfied You!

"Then he said, "Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside." 2 Kings 4:3-4
                                                                                 
Kad waved to her sons. "Hurry," she muttered under her breath. She looked around nervously, glancing over her shoulder, and up and down the streets in case her creditor had come back early. Satisfied that for now they were safe, she shifted the jars in her arms.

Her sons, Shemen and Yitshar, ran towards her. Each with jars of their own. Shemen was a young, strong man of 17 summers, and Yitshar was only three summers behind his older brother. It was no wonder that the creditor sought to pay her debts by taking them.

"We've got nine more." Shemen nodded his head to the jars in his and Yitshar's arms.

"Good, good." Let's go drop these off at home, and find some more. Kad started walking in the direction of their meager home. She heard their footsteps behind her. Minutes later they arrived at their home. Kad pushed open the little door, and set her armload of jars down. The boys did the same thing. The entire floor of the front room was filled with pots.

"Ima, isn't this enough? Why are we going to get more jugs?" Yitshar looked at her confusedly.

She took a step over and framed Yitshar's face with her hands. "Because Elisha said to borrow vessels from all of our neighbors, and not too few, either."

"Ima," Shemen took her hand with his left hand and motioned with his right hand to the room littered with jars of all shapes and sizes. "Look. This isn't too few. This is many."

"Boys," She gave them stern looks. "We are going to get more vessels, and we are not going to stop until I am satisfied that I've done exactly what the man of God said to do."

She sighed. The last few years had been so hard. She was desperate, but she would not quit. So she wouldn't stop until they had gathered every available jar in the the town. She softened her tone. "Come on. Let's go get some more."

Based on 2 Kings 4-3-4

How do you define "a few?" The definition of "few" is, "a small number of." So Elisha literally told this woman to borrow empty vessels from all her neighbors, and not too small a number. But where would we have stopped with a few? Nine is a few when regarding penny's, but a lot when your talking about elephants. It depends on the situation. This situation was dire. It was desperate. If she didn't get some money quick, her sons would be seized and used as slaves.

I think the woman gathered A LOT of vessels. 2 Kings 4:7 says, "She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest." The money from this oil wasn't just enough to pay off her debts, but for them to be able to eat and drink and buy clothes. There was enough money for them to live. It wasn't just a little bit left over, enough to buy them a meal and them it was back to trying to figure out what to do. All their needs were met!

That woman didn't stop getting vessels until she was satisfied that she hadn't gotten a few, but a lot! I think most of us, would have felt embarrassed or awkward, and would have given up after we had gathered a small amount. She didn't because she couldn't afford to not try.

Today, we have the mindset that we can afford to not try. We think it won't work. We think it's stupid. We think it's foolish. We have no desperation. We need to develop a desperation, a burning desire to do the things of God. To not stop at a few, but to go, go, go until we are satisfied that we have done just as He wanted all along.

"But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."
Chronicles 15:7

Don't let your spiritual hands be weak! We need to learn to be gatherers of many, and not of few.

"With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" Psalm 119:10

Lord, we want to seek You with our whole hearts, and not just a little. We don't want to stop until we KNOW we've done it, until we've satisfied You!

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Unlikely Weapons!"

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
The last message I shared with you was titled, "Unlikely Heroes" and today's message is a similar one, "Unlikely Weapons." As pointed out in the last message when David hit that battlefield on an errand for his father he was the most unlikely person there to go up against Goliath. Why? Because he wasn't even a soldier in the army. He was just a kid. etc, etc, etc. The reasons why no one on that battlefield would have chosen David as the hero of the day are numerous. Unlikely in the eyes of the world? Most definitely! Unlikely in the eyes of the God we serve? Most definitely not! After all God uses the most unlikely people, the most unlikely circumstances, and the most unlikely weapons to bring about the most unlikely miraculous solutions.

In David's case the most 'unlikely weapon' as we all know was a small smooth stone and a slingshot. King Saul thought it a pretty unlikely weapon and he tried to give David his armor as well as putting his own sword in David's hand. Goliath, as he came out to meet him was actually offended that David, a shepherd boy, approached with only 'his shepherd staff, five small smooth stones in his shepherd's bag, and a slingshot in his hand.' 1 Samuel 17:40 He couldn't believe that this boy had come to fight him with such unlikely weapons. "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?"  And he cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" 1 Samuel 17:43-44

David's response is one that must have caused a stir in the ranks of the the armies on both sides of the valley.  "You come at me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin, But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth may know that there is a God in Israel." 1 Samuel 17:45-46

Did you notice that he mentions all the weapons that Goliath brought with him to the battle. The sword, the spear, and the javelin-all the weapons that Goliath had faith would give him the victory. However he didn't mention his unlikely weapons-the stones or the slingshot in his declaration of victory. Instead he declared that ..."The Lord will deliver you into my hand," ... His faith wasn't in the weapon that was in his hand but the God he served; the God that he knew was with him!

So as the battle proceeded all eyes were on the unlikely weapon in his hand as he ran forward to meet Goliath. As they watched, he put his hand in the pouch, pulled out a stone, put it in the sling and let it fly. While theirs and all too often, our focus was on slingshot and the stone in his hand David's was on the God that He had placed his faith in to win the victory. How do I know this? Easy. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and what came out his mouth was..."The Lord will deliver you into my hand."

So, David, an unlikely hero, with unlikely weapons in his hands, won the victory because he had faith in His God to deliver. The truth is, the real weapon that day wasn't his slingshot or the stone. The real weapon that day was the faith that filled his heart and enabled the unlikely weapons in his hands to prevail. Faith, the most unlikely weapon of all in the eyes of the world. The world will tell you that faith won't work but the truth is it will slay giants, bring down walls, win the victory in any battle. It will preserve you in times of persecution, bring health and wholeness to your body and it will even move mountains. Faith, and unlikely weapon or the surest way to victory in your life? You, like David, get to make that choice for yourself.



 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Grateful For Everything"

I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Everyday I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, A shall sing of Your righteousness. Psalm 145:1-7

We pray that God will bless your time of worship in His presence today and that many blessings will flow your way! Don't forget to let Him know how grateful you are for all that He has done! Praise Him!

God Bless!!!


The writing staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Next Step

Faith: The confidence that what we hope will happen; it gives us the assurance about things we cannot see. This is the scriptural definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1. Most of my youth, I wondered how faith actually worked. I spent years knowing that somewhere I was missing something. I thought that it was belief, that believing in something and having faith in something are the same thing. Synonyms.

They are not. Similar, in the same ballpark, you might say. But not the same.

Faith is the next step after belief. The definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The key word in this statement, at least to me, is complete. It's not just trust or confidence in someone or something. It's beyond that. Complete. Total. Utter. Unwavering. Unending. Unfailing. FAITH.

At lot of us know about God. We believe, we pray, we read our Bibles. We go to church, maybe that extra service here or there, and we tithe. But all of this, well, it doesn't mean that we have FAITH.

See, it's not what we do in our lives. It's not even why we do whatever it is that we do. It's how we do it.

Years ago, DC Talk had a song, one of my favorites: Love is a Verb. DC Talk is one of my all time favorite groups, whenever I think of them, this song pops into my head. My point is this: Faith is also a verb.

It's an action. To use faith, we put our total, uncompromising trust into something.

Can you honestly say that you do that with God? Everyday? There are always moments of doubt. We all have them. We are human, flawed, but we are all called by God, in one way or another. We should be growing as Christians everyday. Are we? I know that we all have our moments, our days where nothing goes right, when every minute is an uphill struggle.

Our faith should being carrying us through these trials, not the other way around. Adversity should grow our faith even more. Instead, we let our fear of adversity cripple us. Don't let it. Don't let the devil win another round. "Resist the devil and he shall flee from you." - James 4:7

Take that next step. Put your faith into action. Make the devil run.

Sam

Friday, August 8, 2014

Stand Tall and Walk in Your Calling!

Nabi watched as the anointed Elisha approached their group. But they didn't wait for Elisha to reach them. No, they started walking out to meet Elisha. Nabi could feel the anointing of Yahweh get heavier the closer he walked to Elisha. It was all he could do to stand up straight.

No, check that. He was bowing down, just like the others. They bowed down so close to the ground, that Nabi could almost taste the dirt. So thick was the Lord's Spirit.

Nabi could hear Sageh starting to speak. The young man sure had a lot of guts. "Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley."

That's right. Nabi had forgotten in the midst of the presence of the Lord, but now he remembered. Elijah wasn't with Elisha. Where was he?

                                                                                       

They wanted to know were Elijah was. They wanted to go and find him, but Elisha knew that they could search every corner of this world for all their days, and they would not find any remnant of Elijah. This was the moment he had been dreading. Everyone expecting Elijah, only to get him.

Oddly, now that the moment was upon him, he felt calm. Strangely in authority, or acting in authority not his own.

The group of men, sons of the prophets mostly, men who had know Yahweh their whole lives, looked at him expectantly.

"No." The stunned look in their eyes fueled him. Elijah was with God. There was no point. "You shall not send them."

The group of respectful, almost awe-filled men exploded at him in rage. On and on they went, their accusations and anger stomping down the authority he had previously been feeling. Now he felt ashamed. They didn't stop until their constant barrage of guilt broke his resolve, and he gave into their demand.

                                                                                         

Nabi hobbled. His group had been scouring a rocky hill, when Nabi had tripped and fallen. His ankle was swollen and sore, but it seemed to be getting better. However, due to his injury, his search party had returned to camp days before the others.

Nabi took over as lookout for the returning search parties because of his injury. Each day, each group, he expected to see their joy at finding Elijah. Instead, he got to see each group trickle back to camp with their heads down low and a guilty look on their faces, until the last group arrived back at camp. Where they all faced Elisha's, "Didn't I say to you, 'Do not go?'"

Based on 2 Kings 2:15-18

What irritates me here, is just moments before, these men had seen the anointing on Elisha, but immediately they question his authority. Not only that, they made him feel guilty, ashamed that he was resisting what he knew to be a pointless search.

What continues to irritate me here is that Elisha had just received a whopping dose of the Lord's anointing, and wasn't sticking to his guns. He'd seen Elijah taken to Heaven, and received his cloak and a double portion of his anointing, yet he gave into their guilt trip.

What really irritates me here is knowing that I've done both those things myself. I've been the person to pressure, and I've been the person to give in despite knowing better.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Yes, I know that God has commanded me, and given me the authority. I know all that...but they just come up against me, and well, who am I to stand against them?

Don't ever let anyone deter you from what you know is right. That's called peer pressure, and what Elisha experienced was a classic case. Everyone warns you about peer pressure as a kid and teenager, but what about when you become an adult? That type of manipulation doesn't just go away. In fact, it gets kicked up to a whole new level of awful as an adult.

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17

When you know you are called to walk in God's power, and you don't do it, it's sin. It's fear. It's being led astray. When you have all you need, and ignore Him. When you give into other people's stupidity. When you are among the voices clobbering someone's soul. When you become anything less then the mighty warrior God has called you to be, it is sin.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

Fortunately, we have a forgiving Savior, who gives us a million second chances. I can't tell you all the time when I should have been strong, and belly flopped instead, but thank's to God's support in me, I get stronger each day. Don't let the times you've messed up hold you back. Stand firm in God. Stand firm in what you know to be true. Stand firm in your calling. Act like the men and women who call on His name. Stand tall and walk in your calling!

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Unlikely Heroes!"

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.  1 Corinthians 1:25-29
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I know that judging by the picture above you might think that today's message is about David but it isn't. It is about you and I and the times we live in but before we get to that - Stop and think for a minute just how unlikely a hero David was. There was nothing about him the screamed to the world or even his family "Hero- Here to save the day!" What about the fact that no one even bothered to send for him the day that Samuel had shown up at his house to anoint the next king. All his brothers had been paraded before Samuel as candidates but not David. Samuel had to ask, "Are all the young men here?" before anyone bothered to even consider the possibility that he as the God put it was, the one for the job. "And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" 1 Samuel 16:12

How about that fateful day. Did David wake up and look in the mirror and say, "Today I think I"ll be a hero." No, of course not. He didn't plan it. There he was minding his own business watching the sheep doing all the chores since his brothers were away at the battle when his father calls to him because he has an errand for him. He wants him to, "Take some grain and bread to your brothers and ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand. And see how things are going" And  He shows up. Does the army rejoice because the hero of the day showed up? No! He was just the kid brother bringing a care package and getting news for his father. He was nobody special. He wasn't even in the army or there to fight. In the eyes of the world, he was the most unlikely person at the battle that day to become the hero and he used the most unlikely weapon possible.

What about Saul?  Did he look in the mirror one day and decide to become Paul an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? Of course not. He was out there minding his own business, persecuting  Christians when bam, the Damascus road encounter takes place and the most unlikely person becomes the "chosen vessel of the Lord who will bear His name before, Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel." Acts 9:15

What about Gideon? Did he wake up one day and decide to be a hero for God and defeat the Midianites? No! Of course not. He saw himself as the least of the least. Did he end up being the hero. Yes! Did he win the battle in a way that you, I, or the world would consider foolish. Yes! There is no way that you or I would go into battle with a torch, a pitcher, a horn,  and a shout. Sounds pretty foolish but it worked becuse it was God's plan and Gideon was God's servant! Unlikely hero in the eyes of the world? Yes. Unlikely hero in the eyes of Gideon himself? Yes. Unlikely hero in hands of an amazing God? Never!

What about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah. Unlikely heroes all the way! There they were, minding there own business being teenagers when their homes are attacked and they are taken captive and taken back to a foreign land. In the worlds eyes they are just four captive boys -'who had the ability to serve in the king's palace and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.' In the worlds eyes they could be easily controlled and manipulated and basically used, but in the hands of an amazing God these four young men became heroes of faith that impacted not only the reign of three different kings but their entire generation as well as every one that followed with the stands they took for God.

My point? Are you and I unlikely heroes in the eyes of the world? Will we, like David, take on the giants that defy God? Will our heart be full of, "Is there not a cause?" 1 Samuel 17:29 Will we stand and fight, no matter how unlikely we are to win in the eyes of those around us. Will we grab our stones and slingshot and fight?
Will we, like Saul, allow our encounter with him to erase the desires and purposes of our past and change us to the point that we even need a name change! We we, like Gideon, look past the way that we perceive ourselves and trust God to be with us, to equip us, and to fight for us. Will we trust him to enough to obey and fight in even the most foolish of ways in the eyes of the world. Will we trust and obey His plan for the battle? Will we like those heroic young men stand even in a world that is determined to train you in their ways? Will we determine not to defile ourselves but to stay true to Him and to walk only in His ways?  Daniel 1:8 Will we impact our generation out of our devotion to Him?

The truth is you and I need to know and understand that in the hands of our amazing God anyone, even the most unlikely person you know, (that includes even you and I), can become a hero of faith by the choice to trust and obey Him! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Godly Spirit Goggles

"Whoa." He slowed his pace while pulling on the reigns of the oxen. Slowly they got the message to stop. No longer being carried by the oxen's motion, the plow tipped to the side in the soft ground. Nabi moved to relieve the oxen of their yoke, and let them rest for a while.

Nabi looked up into the sky, the sun high and bright, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. A breeze greeted him from the east, helping immensely to cool him off. They had plowed the whole field, and much like all the others, he was exhausted. They were preparing to plant, and all the sons of the prophets, even some of the prophets who God had not called elsewhere, were all chipping in with the work.

"Look!" Nabi turned to look in the direction that the men were pointing. In the distance, he could see someone running. After several minutes, Sageh, a young man of about twenty-five summers, came racing into the field. He stumbled over the upturned beds awaiting their seeds, and tumbled. His crashing stop destroyed the section of freshly plowed earth.

Nabi groaned. Now he would have to redo that part. He fought his irritation at the young man, and moved to extend a helping hand. Sageh grabbed it, and hoisted himself up. Brushing himself off, Sageh jumped into the reason for his hasty arrival, and the other sons of the prophets came closer to hear him.. Nabi only half listened until he heard a name. "Elisha."

He grabbed Sageh by the shoulder. "What about Elisha?"

"He's coming this way!"

"There! I see him," a voice shouted, and as one, the group of men turned to look. Indeed, there was a man coming towards him. He was alone, with a long cloak billowing behind him in the breeze. Nabi watched as the man in question came closer, and indeed proved himself to be Elisha.

A stirring rustled through Nabi's soul as he watched Elisha approach them. He knew this feeling. He had experienced it a few times in his life, and he had seen others, the prophets, change due to this Heavenly stirring. He had felt this overflow of anointing whenever he was around Elijah. He also knew it wasn't coming from him, just to him.

It was coming from Elisha.

Elisha, who was alone. Elisha, who had Elijah's anointing.

Based on 2 Kings 2:15

Now in my Bible, 2 Kings 2:15 says, "Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, 'The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.' And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him." Immediately upon spotting Elisha, the knew that something was different about him. They knew that God's mighty Spirit was resting on this man, and that it was the same level of anointing that Elijah had. They just knew instantly.

You've heard about night vision goggles. These funky things remind me of a cross of glasses and binoculars. You can put these things on in the dead of the darkest night, and you can see other people and animals moving. How those people were able to look at Elisha and know that God's spirit was upon him reminds me of night vision goggles, only it should be renamed to Godly Spirit Goggles.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and is now in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error." 1 John 4:1-6

You remember as kids, we were told not to take candy from strangers, or go anywhere with strangers. We were taught, Stranger = Danger. Why? Because our parents had no idea what kind of creeps and weirdos those people could be! God tells us the same thing. He wants us to have on our Godly Spirit Goggles. This way we can see if other people are people of God. How do you do this? The answer is in the verses we just read. If that person is all about the world and weird religion with only a splash of God thrown in, run away. If that person knows and loves Jesus, and confesses Him the Savior from God, then God's Spirit rests on that person. Same with church and doctrine and life.

The same goes for us, personally. There are other believers using their Godly Spirit Goggles with you and me because they to figure who we serve. What do they see? Is it a poser who talks God, but walks in the world? Or do they see someone with the Spirit of God resting on them? Do they have the same response to us that the sons of the prophets had when they saw Elisha? They knew instantly when they saw Elisha, and that should be our own aim. We want people to know that God's Spirit and anointing is on us immediately. We don't want them to be second guessing because of the things we do, and the ways we act.

We need to use the discerning that God gave us to know His people, AND we need to make sure that we are being discerned as children of God, and not children of the world.

V. Joy Palmer