Thursday, October 29, 2015
Paul glanced up from the table where he and his scribe were working on a letter to the people of Achaia. Paul had been looking over the letter to see if he needed to add anything else, when the men arrived. He had sent a messenger to the group explaining that they would be accompanying the letter and remaining in Achaia until Paul arrived. While they weren't being angry and rude, they were clearly confused by his decision.
Another brother with sandy brown hair piped up. "You said yourself that you don't expect to be able to make the trip for a while still. Wouldn't it be better if we delivered the letter to the church in Achaia, and then made our way back to you? This way we could still be of service to you."
Paul shifted in his chair so that he could make eye contact with the group. "Yes, that is true. However, I want the people of Achaia to be prepared."
"They said they were prepared."
"But perhaps they weren't. I've spent a great deal of time boasting of their zeal and preparation to the people of Macedonia. I will not put them or myself in the position of being a liar. This is an opportunity to back their faith and claims up with the works those things require." Paul smiled impishly at them. "Perhaps it is even the same opportunity for you."
Based on 2 Corinthians 9:2-5
"For I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction." 2 Corinthians 9:2-5
You can't expect what you don't inspect.
Has anyone ever said this to you? I hate it when people say this to me because I am the kind of person who does everything humanly possible to have it covered. If I know, I do.
While this would have driven me crazy, I like that Paul WOULD NOT put them or himself in the position of being a liar.
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"
2 Corinthians 13:5
Have you ever felt you've got this Christian thing figured out? You understand. You know what to do and when. Then God unexpectedly thrust you into a situation where you have to use it! See, if we are going to zealously serve God, He WILL NOT put us or Himself in the position of being a liar. God doesn't lie. We may, but God doesn't. In order for us to have the works to back up our faith, God has us use our faith.
You can't expect what you don't inspect.
All those things that we belly ache about, that frustrate and infuriate us, that make us feel like God doesn't have our back...well, it's the exact opposite. God's giving us the chance to be the people we claim we want to be. They are opportunities.
V. Joy Palmer
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:5-6
Next up after Abel in the list of our heroes of faith is Enoch, another man that we know very little about. We know that Jared was his father and that He was sixty-five years old when he became the father of Methuselah. We know that for the next three hundred years he had more sons and daughters and that during those next three hundred years he walked with God. We know that "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." Genesis 5:19-24 We know that he pleased God.
That's it. That's what we know. He was born, he lived his three hundred and sixty-five years walking with God and then was translated so that He didn't see death. He was here living his life and then 'he was not found because God had translated him.'
So what truth about faith can we take from this man that we know so little about? The key is found in the first two words of Hebrews 11:5 and they are ... "By faith." "By faith Enoch was translated so that He did not see death..." The use of the words 'by faith' means that Enoch was involved in the process! It means that in all that walking and talking and pleasing God ... that God had filled him in on the plan. Enoch believed Him and by faith he trusted God, believed, and was rewarded as God 'took/translated' him.
We, like Enoch, can walk and talk and please God as we too, by faith, step into the things of God. Verse six says, 'But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.' Enoch's testimony was that he pleased God. Enoch pleased God because he knew God and by faith he stepped into the reward God had for Him. He, by faith stepped into the call/plan that God has for Him. (Consider this thought ... two men have been taken without seeing death which according to the word, we are 'all appointed to do once.' Hebrews 9:27 Enoch and Elijah however were both taken by God. In Revelations 11 it talks about two witness that come in the power of God, do signs and wonders, and prophesy/testify for an appointed time of 1260 days before they see death and then are raised up and once again taken into heaven.) Could it be that, Enoch, by faith stepped into a greater plan that isn't finished as of yet?
By faith you and I can take a close look at this man who pleased God and who by faith stepped into the reward of being not only in His presence but in the very center of His will! We too can live a life of faith, pleasing God as we step into the call He has for us as well.
By faith we too can step into the impossible as we trust Him to bring His words to pass in our lives! We, like Enoch, can have this testimony, 'that we pleased God' as we, By Faith, say, "Yes," to His plan.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Archegos looked at the young, eager man in front of him. He wasn't any older then fifteen, and yet even he wanted to serve and help. He was practically bouncing in excitement. But would his response crush him?
"Not for many months."
As expected, his face dropped. The bouncing stopped. A soft, "Oh," escaped his lips.
What could Archegos tell him, other then what he'd told himself and countless others in the congregation?
He motioned for the young man to sit beside him on the bench. "I know that wasn't the answer you wanted to hear."
"No," He started. "What are we supposed to do now? Here I was thinking Paul would arrive any day...now I found out it will be months. Just sitting around waiting makes me feel useless."
"So, don't sit around and wait," Archegos said.
"Don't sit around and wait. There are so many things we can do to prepare for his arrival, or to aid him in his travels, not to mention further the spreading of the Gospel." Understanding started to dawn in his eyes as Archegos continued. "We could take an offering and have it ready for when Paul gets here. We will continue to have prayer meetings and times devoted to studying God's Word. The women have already started making clothes for the widows, orphans, and the less fortunate. The men have started volunteering to help others with hard labor and the harvest. There is still much to be done. The question is will you use your zeal to serve God and prepare now?"
Archegos grinned as he jumped from the bench. "What can I do first?"
Based on 2 Corinthians 9:2
I love the people of Achaia. Why? Well, every reason why I love them is in this single verse.
"For I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them." 2 Corinthians 9:2
They were ready. They had zeal. They had so much zeal, that they couldn't just wait around. So, they went and got ready. They were so ready that news of their readiness reached other Christians in other lands. So ready, that Paul boasted about them frequently. So ready, that their zeal rubbed off on the people of Macedonia.
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:13
"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:44
I read that one verse about the people of Achaia, and it hit me hard. Am I saying, "Come Lord," but not doing anything to prepare? Am saying that I want more of God, but not taking the steps to further my relationship with God? Am I saying that I want to see more ministry and more people saved, but not bothering to be Jesus' hands and feet?
Am I saying everything, but never doing anything?
I don't want to be all talk. I want to be like the people of Achaia. Zealous and ready. People of God, this is what we need to be like. We can talk all we want, but it's the actual preparation beforehand that will make the difference.
V. Joy Palmer
Monday, October 26, 2015
"Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your father's has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?"
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you." Exodus 3:13-14
Oh Lord, that we would always remember that You have chosen too, Send Us, to bring Your deliverance to the lost as we too always acknowledge You as the great I Am. Amen
Staff of Snack Time Devotions
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Many of us have actually felt like this, or, at least at some point, will. It's not an uncommon thing, and it can hit the strongest of Christians. Look at Elijah.
But the Lord said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Elijah replied, "I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, town down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too." 1 Kings 19:9-10
That's a serious woe-is-me moment. I mean, I get it. He had been through some rough times in the last few years. First, he tells Ahab that there is going to be no rain for years. YEARS. And then God sends him to hide, and feeds him with birds by a brook for a while, until said brook dries up. Then he goes to live with a widow and her son, and God provides for the three of them with two bottomless jars of flour and oil. Then the son dies. What does Elijah do? He brings him back to life! At the end of three years of famine, he goes back to Ahab with a challenge, and that brings about the contest of Mount Carmel. There, God proved Himself to all the people of Israel, and the prophets of Baal were slain for their worship of a false god. Then the famine ends, and Elijah outruns Ahab's chariot. Jezebel threatens Elijah's life for the slaughter of her prophets to Baal, and he runs. And then he has his woe-is-me moment.
He has just seen some awesome things, and now he is running for his life. Not because God told him to, but because he is scared. And he thinks that he is alone. How could he not see that God would take care of him, after all that he had been through? The real question is, why do Christians today feel the same way? Why do we run when times get hard? Why do we turn away from God? Do we think that He has abandoned us? He has never been the one to turn away from us.
Elijah ran, but even then God took care of him. Gave him food, and told him to go to Mount Sinai, forty days away. God provided for him the strength to get there. And when he got there, God asked him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Guys, don't let there be a "what are you doing here" moment with God. It's not a good thing. It means that you are running in the wrong direction. He loves you and will correct you if you need it, He's not afraid to have a tough love moment with you. He's always with you, He's got you covered.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37
Thursday, October 22, 2015
The sun was melting the flesh off of his bones. The heat restricted his ability to breathe. Dried up, dead plants tumbled by him on a desert breeze. One would think that breeze would help the situation a little. Instead it was like the flame of a fire licking one side of his body no matter how far he moved from it.
Philip turned around in a slow circle, squinting against the blinding light. Why was he here? Why would God bring him to the desert? Was this a joke? A message to Philip that God was leaving him to fend for himself? Had he heard God wrong?
He went over the mornings events in his head again. He hadn't even gotten out of bed when the whisper came. Comfy and relaxing, the instructions caught him completely off guard. The Lord told him to go south towards the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. He didn't receive any more information then that, and since he didn't know how far he needed to go, he left home immediately. He had walked quite a ways before he felt a nudging in his spirit to stop and wait. That had been a while ago.
So, now what?
"Lord, why am I here?" Philip sighed. He had some delicious roasted lamb waiting for him at home.
Still not hearing anything from God, Philip sat on a large rock. Using a twig, he drew in the dirt. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but eventually he could hear a chariot approaching him.
Then God spoke again. "Go over and join this chariot."
"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is a desert place." Acts 8:26
I want to talk about Phillip again. Just a little more. :)
The Bible specifically tells us that the place God was leading Phillip was a desert place. God disturbs Phillip one morning when he could have been comfy in bed, relaxing with his family, to bring him to a desert place.
Why? Why would God bring him to a desert place?
Because that's where the Ethiopian man was.
Have you ever felt like God has brought you to a desert place? Like life is a desert? Like your soul is dying of thirst? Like no matter how hard you squint your eyes at those cacti, it's not the oasis you've been claiming as a child of God?
God brought Philip to a desert place, and despite that desert place, God still had a ministry for Philip. And lots of times, the people we are trying to reach are in a desert place. How can we reach them if we are swinging from a hammock in our oasis? We have to go to the desert to minister to them.
I love, love, love this song.
We need to remember when God brings us to the desert, it's not to abandon us. It's not to leave us dry and alone. It's not so we can burn and shrivel like a raisin.
It's for ministry. The trips to the desert place are for His ministry.
V. Joy Palmer
For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
By faith we understand that the world's were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
I don't know about you but I love reading and rereading Hebrews 11. The Famous Faith chapter where it is totally possible to be inspired to live a life of faith. In chapter 11 we see all the 'heroes of faith' whose faith was the substance for the things they hoped for.
Verse 2 said, "For by it the elders obtained a good testimony." Faith was the very reason that the 'heroes of faith' listed in chapter 11 received their good testimony. The word tells us that "...Faith comes by the hearing and hearing comes by the word of God" Each one of these 'heroes of faith' heard God speak either through a rhema or a logos word and in that hallmark moment they knew. They knew that God was there and that He would do all that He said He would. See faith is in the knowing that God is at the very center of it all and from that knowing they made choices filled with faith in God. They received their good testimony.
How about you? Do you want to live a life of faith and join the elders in receiving a good testimony? I know that my hearts desire is to hear the words, "Well done."
Verse 3 says, "By faith we understand that the world's were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." I love that the first example of faith listed can be found in 'the beginning.' The very first hallmark moment listed is that faith knows and understands that God is and was and always will be the creator of it all. The very first seed of faith is knowing that He spoke ... And it was!
As that seed of faith, that knowing grows, then comes a faith filled life that knows ...All things are possible to Him who believes.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
What was he supposed to do? Was he just supposed to ignore God?
Philip watched as the chariot charged past him. Perhaps this was what God had wanted him to do all along today. His empty, relaxing day had been snatched from him bright and early when God's whisper rode to him on the morning breeze. Bit by bit, God had led him to this place.
God's voice came to him again. "Go over and join this chariot."
Philip ran to catch up with the chariot. Strength surged through him as he moved with the grace of a gazelle. As he approached hearing range, Philip heard the man speaking. Only it didn't sound like a normal conversation. No, it sounded like he was reading something, based on the focused muttering Philip was hearing. Picking up his speed, Philip moved closer. It was Isaiah. The man was reading from Isaiah.
Philip glanced into the chariot. The man was Ethiopian, and based on his fine clothes, he was a member of the court. He felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to speak. He took a deep breath before speaking. "Do you understand what you are reading?"
The Ethiopian man jumped. He had been so focused on his reading that he hadn't noticed Philip running alongside his chariot. A vulnerable look replaced his confusion. "How can I," he said. "Unless someone guides me?"
"Friend, God has led me here today to guide you."
The Ethiopian's face brightened. He waved to the driver to halt the chariot, and Philip skidded to a stop. "Come and sit with me," the man said.
Guys, imagine God's telling you to hop into a stranger's car. (I say car because we don't see a lot of chariots charging down the street anymore.)
Would you do it?
Back up to the beginning of this section when God tells Philip to go south towards a certain road without any other instructions. Then Philip just gets to wait there until the Ethiopian man's chariot approaches.
Would you have done that?
Think about that man. He was vulnerable. He was lost. He wanted to understand. He wanted to understand the Scriptures. He wanted to know Jesus. He was searching, and he had no one to help him.
If Philip hadn't been willing to chase after a stranger's chariot and then jump in, the Ethiopian wouldn't have gotten to know God. He would have remained lost if Philip had been too scared, or ignored God's voice.
Next time God asks you to do something that seems totally crazy and way, way out of your comfort zone, think about Philip. If he can chase a stranger down the street to share the Gospel, surely we can do whatever insane thing God is asking us to do. Why? Because we never know what vulnerable, hurting, lost person is waiting for us. Without us willingly obeying God's crazy instructions, the people waiting for us might never know Him.
V. Joy Palmer
Monday, October 19, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
"Really? You don't say?" the other man said sarcastically. His expression was nonchalant, and he barely looked his direction.
Which only served to further his ire.
"She's just a woman. Isn't it her duty to do all those things? Garments, meals, mentoring younger woman, tending to orphans," he ticked the points off with his fingers. "Why does that make her a disciple?" His voice was incredulous.
"A disciple is one who follows the teachings and instructions God has given us through his son, Jesus. She teaches the young women and the orphans about Jesus, and she has the kind of servant's heart that Jesus said was necessary to be his disciple. Tell me, compared to an individual so devoted to God, what makes you a disciple?" The other man's words were said with gentleness, but there was no ignoring the sting they inflicted.
Was he right? It's not as if this was the first time such a thing had occurred. God had never ignored women. He had heard many recollections of prophetesses of old. Why when Jesus was just a baby, a prophetess named Anna had spoken over him. Had he been to quick to judge Tabitha, just because of her physical station?
He mumbled about needing to tend to some goats, and shuffled away from the other man.
Based on Acts 9:36
"Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity." Acts 9:36
Tabitha/Dorcas was a disciple.
Yes, a disciple.
This isn't a "girl's rule, boy's drool" post, so please don't think that. This is a station post.
Despite Tabitha/Dorcas' station in life, she determined to be a disciple of Jesus. And she succeeded. She lived a life of service and devotion to God, and was rewarded with the title that faithful service deserves.
She overcame preconceived notions, and served God. She overcame preconceived notions BY serving God.
What about you? Man, woman, child, adult. Person whose spent their life running from God, or doing everything possible to destroy God. Person from broken home. Broken person. Person without fancy education. Servant. Person who serves without recognition. What are the preconceived notions about you?
Do they matter to God?
Just serve God. Love God. Blow those boxed ideas about the limited person you can be sky high. People may try to determine your station in life, but it's really God who gives them out. No matter your past or physical station in life, you can be a disciple. You can be a follower of God. You can be everything He's called you to be.
Yes, you can be a disciple.
V. Joy Palmer
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears."
Then the Lord said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle."
"In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
For I have told him that I will.......... " 1Samuel 3:9-13
"Speak, for Your servant hears." These are some pretty important words. Probably some of the most famous words spoken during this encounter between our young prophet in training, Eli the priest, and of course, the Lord. But ...these are not the only words I want to look at today. Check out verses 19-20
So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord.
Pretty cool, right? And its all because Samuel listened and obey Eli. He spoke these simple words, "Speak, for Your servant hears," to the Lord, and was firmly set on the path of a prophet. Samuel's heart attitude of obedience to the message God spoke in response to His listening heart reveals the truth I want to share today because, and here's the thing, it's not enough to just hear the words. You have to believe and obey as well. God had spoken the same message to Eli himself in the previous chapter but Eli just kept moving on without changing anything or even really reacting to it.
Everyone who calls himself/herself a Christian loves the idea of, being humble and declaring to the Lord, "Speak Lord, for Your servant hears!" We all desire Him to speak but and here is the thing, do we say it knowing that He is with us and He will speak. Do we say it knowing that is words won't fall to the ground? Do we remember that His words will prevail and that whatever He says, He will perform! If not then are we any different then the old priest, Eli who had already heard this warning from God and who had become somewhat indifferent to the word of warning that God had sent his way previously.
We, as His servants, must know that the Lord is with us, that He will let none of his words fall to the ground, and that He will established us as 'servants of the Lord' as we give His words our full attention and honor Him with our obedience.
"... for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed, ..." 1 Samuel 2:30
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Tried being the operative word.
He walked through the courtyard, the tall pillars were ornately carved with images of wheat and the idols the Egyptians worshiped.
The Egyptians. His family once upon a time. Already his presence was earning stares. Men and women he grew up with, children of Pharaoh, long-time servants gaped at him with open mouths.
Apparently they recognized him.
He pulled at the neck of his robe. How was he supposed to do this? Confront Pharaoh? He had known Pharaoh all his life! How could God expect him to do this?
He glanced over at Aaron. His flesh and blood brother walked stoically beside him. Aaron would never understand the battle that warred within him.
At last they arrived at Pharaoh's throne room. Guards threw the large door open, and another announced their presence from an undisclosed location.
As they approached, Pharaoh stood as if in a trance. He blinked multiple times, and his mouth hung open. After staring for several minutes, Pharaoh grunted like he was about to start speaking, but Moses made sure he was cut off.
"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'"
Moses watched as the words registered in Pharaoh's mind, and as the remaining threads that linked him to his Egyptian family were cut once and for all.
Based on Exodus 5:1-4
Then Moses answered, "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The Lord did not appear to you.'" Exodus 4:1
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'" But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go." Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens."
Moses was scared to go to the people of Israel, and say, "God sent me." He was scared about speaking, and screwing up, and tried to convince God that he was the wrong guy for the job. There's something else that we don't think about a lot. Perhaps Moses was scared that the people of Egypt wouldn't believe him either?
These were people that he had known all his life. People that he had grown up with. People that he had called family. People he probably still cared about because that kind of love and devotion doesn't just disappear, no matter how much you may want it to disappear. What would it be like to go back, supporting his biological family and people, and turning his back on the only family he had ever really known? What about when the plagues were unleashed on Egypt, and he saw people he had cared about being affected?
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26
"'Yes,' Jesus replied, 'and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.'" Mark 10:29-30
God called Moses to do something really difficult. He called Moses to return to the people of Israel that he had abandoned and who hated him, and at the same time, confront his former family on His behalf.
Oh, boy. Did anyone's respect for Moses just multiply?
Sometimes God calls us to stand against family, friends, and people we respect when they are not operating in His will. Sometimes God asks us to turn our back on all we know and love for Him. Sometimes God asks us to stand before people who won't believe us. It's not easy. It's not fun. It takes a whole new kind of courage, faith, and trust in God.
Moses did that for God. Yes, he tried to get out of it, but he did it. He followed God. If God asked us to do the same thing, would we be able to turn our backs on our worlds? For Him?
V. Joy Palmer
Monday, October 12, 2015
Lord, that our footsteps would resemble Yours as we too, "always do the Father's will."
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Most of my blogs for the past month or so have come from the book of Judges. You might say that I am kind of obsessed. The idea of judges enthralls me. To have a judge, a man appointed by God,to lead our nation, would be absolutely amazing. Please note that I am not going to make any political statements here, I just want to plant a small seed of an idea in your mind.
I think that the concept of judges fits America perfectly. The only places that we have ever seen this in history is Israel, a nation dedicated to God. America is "one nation under God." More so than any other nations, save Israel, the leaders that we put into office should reflect that spirit. Yet we look at so many other policies over a leader's faith and religious policies. Economics, foreign policy, immigration, guns, almost everything else seems to take priority, and that is the opposite of how it should be.
We need a leader that not only knows and believes in God, but one who listens to Him. If we have that, then the rest will fall into place.
It could be debated that God is ultimately in control in all situations, and that He puts people into authority. But the Bible shows time and again that He will let His people make bad decisions. Look what God says to Samuel right after the Israelites ask for a king. "Obey the people," the Lord told Samuel, "in everything they tell you; they haven't rejected you but Me from being their King." 1 Samuel 8:7
Guys, let's not reject God from being our King. The next time there is an opportunity to put someone in authority, let's put someone there who loves God, and let God sort that new leader, and our country, out. Making God a priority in our lives and our country is the best way to make a difference in it.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:1-6
Both our Salvation and Healing ... bought and paid for in full with the same act of sacrifice ... and the shedding of His precious blood!
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Instead of sitting there and taking the beating, Jonah stood, grabbed two fistfuls of the rocky sand, and threw it back at the one who told the wind to blow.
The voice of God spoke to him then. "Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?"
"Yes," he replied without hesitation. "Even angry enough to die!" The plant had shielded him from the harsh sun and dry wind. It was his saving grace.
But God wasn't going to let the matter rest. "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?"
Jonah spit the sand out of his mouth. God loved those people. For some reason he loved those lying sinners. He forgave them for all the trouble they had caused. In a lot of ways, he was no better. He knew that. He knew he had sinned, and yes, God had forgiven him.
God was asking him to forgive the people of Nineveh, like he had forgiven Jonah.
Based on Jonah 4:9-11
"Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?' 'Yes,' Jonah retorted, 'even angry enough to die!' Then the Lord said, 'You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?'" Jonah 4:9-11
Do you have people in your life that drive you absolutely crazy? People that make you want to scream and do something violent that a good and proper Christian wouldn't do? People that say, "Yes, Lord," and then do the exact opposite? People that anger you to the very core of your being?
Of course you do. We all do. For Jonah, those people were the people of Nineveh. They drove him absolutely crazy. The very mention of them made him livid. They lived a life of sin, and Jonah wanted them to reap the consequences of that sin. It was only logical.
The thing Jonah didn't understand, or was missing, or even ignoring was that God loved them, too. He did. Despite all the lies, sin, and manipulation He still loved those people.
Every time one of my annoying people makes me want to put my fist through the wall due to their double standards, I have to remind myself - or rather the Holy Spirit reminds me - God still loves them. He says, "I still love them. I still died for them. If they turn back to Me, I will still welcome them in the family."
"But will you?"
What a horrible question for God to have to ask me, and one that, a lot of the time, I answer begrudgingly.
God loves those people. Even when I don't. But in order to be like God, shouldn't I try to love them like He does? Not excusing or ignoring the sin, but looking past it when they come to Him in repentance.
Yeah, we all know the answer to that.
V. Joy Palmer
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.' And Simon answered, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.'" Acts 8:14-24
V. Joy Palmer
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:9-10
I love these two verses! Thy contain so much "promise" and "potential" to the life of the believer. What I mean by that is this ... Jesus is the door! Choose to enter through Him and .....you get to be saved, to have a life that you get to live even more abundantly!
See what I mean? What an amazing promise He makes to us. With it comes the promise to live our lives in and through Him which of course brings with it all kinds of limitless potential to live more abundantly because of the power of His presence in our lives.
Check out this meaning of the word abundantly according to the Strong's.
Abundantly - 4053 - (in the sense of beyond); superabundant (in quality) or superior (in quality); by implication excessive
We get to choose. The potential to live a superabundant, superior, amazing life is ours to have or we can let the enemy steal, kill, and destroy it by believing his lies.
Such promise! Such potential! AND it all depends on whether we will choose to enter through "the Door" or ... not.
Choose wisely ... live more abundantly!
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Saturday, October 3, 2015
"The Lord bless you for admitting it," his mother replied. He returned the money to her, and she said, "I now dedicate these silver coins to the Lord. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast."
So when he returned the money to his mother, she took 200 silver coins and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into an image and an idol. And these were placed in Micah's house. Micah set up a shrine for the idol, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. Then he installed one of his sons as his personal priest.
In those days Israel had no king, all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area. He had left Bethlehem in search of another place to live, and as he traveled, he came to the hill country of Ephraim. He happened to stop at Micah's house as he was traveling through.
"Where are you from?" Micah asked him.
He replied, " I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live."
"Stay here with me," Micah said, "and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, plus a change of clothes and your food." The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah's sons. So Micah installed the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah's house. "I know the Lord will bless me now," Micah said, "because I have a Levite serving as my priest." Judges 17: 5-13
We look at this guy, Micah, and think that this guy is just totally nuts. Stolen money, idols, priests... and he expected to be blessed by God because of this? It just went to show how off base this guy was. The problem is, relatively, he wasn't that crazy. Look around you. How many people do you know that "do whatever seemed right in their own eyes?" There is probably a lot of them, probably more than the Christians you know.
Friends, it's part of our job that we warn these people of the road that they are taking. They might not be so blatantly foolish as Micah was, but the end result will be the same. There are people that are heading to hell, and we can show the right way to them before that happens, but only if we act. If we sit back and do nothing when we could have done something, their blood will be on our hands.
"But if the watchmen sees the enemy coming and doesn't sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths." Ezekiel 33:6
Guys, we have been put where we are for a reason. There are people that only we can reach. Don't let people fall when we could have saved them. Don't let them go down these paths, blind to what's waiting for them. Be the watchman that God called you to be.
But when Jesus heard it, He answered, saying, "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well."
When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, John, and the Father and the mother of the girl.
Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, "Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping."
And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
But He put them all out, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Little girl, arise."
Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat.
And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened. Luke 8:49-56
Whatever your situation, turn to Him, knowing that His words to Will always be, "Don't be afraid, only believe."
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Four days before that, he was a powerful magician.
Today, he was crushed.
Simon studied the man standing at the head of the crowd. He spoke with passion about his powerful God. A God who made Heaven and Hell. A God who created all of them. A God who sent his own son to die in order to save the world. The Son who rose from the dead. The Son who saved them.
Who could compete with that kind of power?
People jostled and pushed around each other in order to be closer to him, and the power of God. Days before, they had done that to be near him. Now, he was old news.
Not that it surprised him. Simon had listened to the man, Philip, speak. The power of God seemed to flow from his mouth like a mighty, rushing current, slamming into anyone who was listening.
It had even slammed into Simon. He couldn't deny it anymore. This power was real. It was mighty. It was God. So when Philip asked that whoever wanted to accept Jesus as Savior come to the front, Simon pushed through the crowd, and dropped to his knees.
Based on Acts 8:9-13
"But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the power of God that is called Great.' And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed." Acts 8:9-13
The people were absolutely amazed with Simon the magician. They flocked to Simon because he convinced them that he had not just any power, but the power of God. They thought he was the greatest thing since toilet paper. Okay, not historically accurate, but you get the picture.
But as great as his power seemed, it was no match for the real, tried, and true power of God.
So many people in today's world are like the people flocking around Simon the magician. They are enchanted by the "power" celebrities, politicians, and superstars possess.
But nothing is ever as great as the power of God.
Even Simon the magician, a man who tried and claimed to be powerful, saw that his earthly power could not hold the wick of an unlit candle compared to the supernova that is God's power.
"For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?" Psalm 89:6-7
No one. Nothing. I can't look at the mountains, the stars, or a baby without seeing the power of God. I can't read the Bible without seeing the power of God. I can't breathe the air into my lungs without seeing the power of God. Nothing compares to it because nothing could ever come close to it. One day, all the world will see that, just like Simon the magician.
V. Joy Palmer
Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down , for today I must stay at your house."
So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who I s a sinner.
Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.
And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham;
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:1-10
So, have you ever really thought about the people in your life who are 'in a tree' watching you pass by because they're hoping to catch a glimpse of heaven? Zacchaeus was a tax collector and no one would have thought that he would be interested in seeing Jesus. There are people like Zacchaeus in yours and my life as well, who, like Zacchaeus, have gone ahead and positioned themselves to have just the right spot to watch and wait. There they are, secretly hoping and longing for a glimpse of the power of God in action.
Zacchaeus had thought that he was spying on Jesus unnoticed by all but he was wrong. At just the right moment Jesus saw him because he knew. He knew that this tax collectors heart was open to an invitation from heaven. Jesus looked up and called to Him by name in just the right moment. In just the right moment Zacchaeus received his invitation to come meet with heaven!
You and I have people in our lives who like Zacchaeus are waiting and watching and it is up to us as ambassadors and servants of the Most High to be looking for just the right moment to issue their invitations to "make haste" so that they too can "receive Him joyfully."
Word of advice ... Do what Jesus did ... 'look up' and He will show you those who have hearts that are hoping for a glimpse. He knows every 'in a tree' tax collector in your life.