Sunday, May 31, 2015

"Best Fish Story Ever"

I saw this cartoon today and thought I would share it as a gentle reminder...

The best way to catch men is to ... "Follow Him!" He is the perfect example for us in all things... even fishing! His example will provide you with hook, line, and sinker ... as well as the best bait possible ...His love!

Why? Because His is the best fish story ever told; He came ... motivated by His love ... to reveal His love ...so that we could know His love!

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in Him. 1 John 4:16

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Martha Moments

   As they were walking along, Jesus came to a village where a woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister by the name of Mary. She sat down at Jesus' feet and listened to what He said.
   But Martha was worried about all she had to do for them. So she came and asked, "Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me and I have to do the work alone? Now tell her to help me."
   "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered her, "you worry and fuss about a lot of thing. But there's only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and it must not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-41

So, we all have these Martha moments, the ones where we are completely overwhelmed, stuck dealing with the things of the world, the unimportant stuff that consumes our very lives. I mean, think about it. How much of our lives are dominated by the world?

You have a grand total of 168 hours in a week. On average, a person might work a forty hour a week job. Factor in lunch breaks and commute time, and you are probably looking at roughly fifty hours gone, right off the bat. Then, of course, there is sleep. Seven hours a night, seven days a week, and look, there's another fifty gone. Then, there's basic home maintenance, dishes, dinner, vacuuming, yard work, bathroom time, getting dress... the list goes on and on. The hours of our life get stripped away from us so quickly. Do we spend the time that we need at Jesus' feet?

Do you think that we need to spend the precious time that we have obsessed with making a living? Making sure that we have clothes on our back, food in our bellies? I'm not saying to go out and quit your job, stop taking care of yourself and your home and family. 2 Thessalonians 3:7b-8 says, "We were not idle when we were with you, and took no free meals from anyone but worked hard and struggled day and night in order not to burden any of you."

We need to keep our perspectives clear in our life, of just how important is your job to you. Or having the perfect house, or the perfect yard. The perfect life.

   "So I tell you, don't worry about what you'll eat or drink to keep alive or what you'll wear on your bodies. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
   Look at the birds in the air. They don't sow or cut grain or gather anything into barns; but your Father in heaven feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they?
   Can any of you by worrying add anything to your life?
   And why worry about the clothes? See how the flowers grow in the field, and learn from them. They don't work and they don't spin. Yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory didn't dress like one of these. If that's how God dresses the grass in the field, which lives today and tomorrow in thrown into a stove, how much more certainly will he put clothes on you - you who trust Him so little.
   Don't worry, then, and say, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' The people of the world run after all these things. Your father in heaven knows you need them all. Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you, too.
So, don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of it own."

Know what is truly important in life. Don't be worried about your life, especially when Jesus is standing right in front of you, just waiting for you to pay attention to Him.

Sam

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Be A Branch!"

  "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser.
   Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
   You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
   Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
   I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
   If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
   If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
   By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
   As My Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
   If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
   These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:1-11
So here is the thing or rather the thought that jumped out at me as I read this through this time ...Jesus said, "that we are the branches ...!" He is the vine and we are the branches ...! Let that sink in! The branches are a smaller extension of the vine. They are connected! All the nourishment that is needed to produce fruit flows through the vine, to the branches, and then to the fruit. So, according to what Jesus said in the verses above ... everything we need to produce the fruit of God in our lives flowed from the Father, to the Son, to us! If we truly want the fruit of God it means we must be connected or as Jesus put it, "We must abide in Him the same way He abides in the Father! How do we abide? The same way He did. He is always, as the Son of Man, the perfect example, and He explained how to abide pretty clearly in the verses above, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." When Jesus said, "I only do that which My Father tells Me." He meant it it! He was abiding! He was able to abide in the Father by keeping the Father's commands and we abide in Him when we keep His commands as well! As we abide by keeping and doing His commands ... we get all the 'nourishment/power' needed to produce an abundance of fruit.

Consider this thought ... The difference between being a branch or a stick ... a branch is alive and connected! A stick is neither!

If you want to be a branch that produces fruit? Remember to keep His word and ... ABIDE!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

No More Excuses

His master exploded.

"What is this! They won't come to my feast? These excuses can't wait until after the feast they all knew good and well that I've been preparing? Why haven't they been preparing? This is ridiculous!"

He remained silent. His master would know what to do.

His master paced back and forth in the grand hall, all prepared for the grand festivities. He could smell the meat cooking and fresh loaves of bread rising. Already the table was covered with fine tableware. The only thing missing were the people.

"What lousy excuses they hare! 'I have to tend my oxen.' 'I have to examine my new field.' 'I've just gotten married.'" His master stopped abruptly, an idea gleaming in his eyes. "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city. Bring in the poor and crippled. The blind and lame. Bring them to my feast."

He hurried to do what his master had bid, but he was quite surprised when he returned later. It was plain to see that the multitude of people they had invited instead still wasn't enough. There was still room! He said so to his master.

"Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet."

He hurried to do his master's bidding once again. Indeed, they would fill the house.

Based on Luke 14:16-24

"He said also to the man who had invited him, 'When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.'” Luke 14:12-14

Have you ever looked at these verses and scratched your head? I mean, if I'm having a party, why wouldn't I invite my friends and family? Like most of you, I don't have an overflow of cash, so why would I waste it on people who wouldn't appreciate it? I'd get nothing in return. But that's where I'm wrong. They would appreciate it. They would be moved. If they thanked me, it would bring tears to my eyes. God has done this exact same thing for us. He has invited us into His home.

Jesus told a parable about a man who did invite all his important friends to the banquet, but those so-called friends made excuses not to come. "I have to go look at my new field." Uh, won't it still be there tomorrow? "I have examine my new oxen." Put them in a barn, and they will still be there tomorrow. "I just got married." Bring your wife! Goodness! Like these people, we tend to get a little distracted with everyday life, but the poor, needy, crippled, and blind don't. They understand that you've gone to trouble to do this for them. They understand their need.

Why would Jesus tell people to throw a party for the poor right before a parable about a man who had to invite the poor when the original guest snubbed him? So that we would understand our need. We are the poor, needy, the ones crippled by sin. Why are we giving excuses? Why do we pick and choose how much of God we want? Either we come to the banquet, or we won't taste of the Lord's goodness.

How is it possible that we are both of these people? It's not. We can't be the ones invited into God's grace, yet at the same time snubbing Him for "more important things." So who are you? Are you going to the banquet? Or are you ignoring what He's done for you and making excusing, trying to bide your time? Or were you a latter who is reformed into the former?

One thing is for sure. It's time we all say, "Yes, Lord. I'm coming. No more excuses."

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"O You Righteous!"

Psalm 33:1-22

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the harp,
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
And the people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance.

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His habitation He looks 
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

Believe it or not but I typed out all of Psalm 33 because of verse one! "Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful."  You might be asking, "Why?" right about now. It all has to do with the fact that the words righteous and upright both, when you look them up in the Strong's, have to do with being straight, and with being right with God. It then says, that, praise from such people is "beautiful." The word beautiful comes from a primitive root word that means to be at home, (by implication) to be pleasant(or suitable). 

Take a look at everything that flowed from this Psalmist who obviously understood about being straight and at home with the Lord! Reread Psalm 33 and look at the things that He declared in this one Psalm about God and who He is; not only in his life but to all of mankind.   

Those that are straight with God praise Him because they are at home doing it in the presence of the Almighty. As you read the Psalms watch and see. The Psalmists are perfectly comfortable pouring out their hearts before Him.  They aren't afraid to lay it all out there. They tend to not only acknowledge who He is but who they are is laid before Him as well. They share their joys. Their fears. Their insecurities and sins. Their hopes and dreams. Their heartaches and any and every need. They declare His works and their desires to serve Him. They are simply and openly straight with Him about every thought and emotion.

Those that are straight / upright with God praise Him because they AT HOME doing so! How about you? Do you PRAISE Him is such a way that declares you are perfectly at home in His presence! 

Take time everyday to lay your adoration and your upright heart before Him?

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Amazing Christian

Wow! The shining sun had nothing on this guy.

This man was incredible. The wisdom he had about God, his insights, his teachings, and his stories just blew her away. Marla shock her head. He must have had incredible teachers.

Except Marla's husband told her that he had been a carpenter, and that the Scribes and Pharisees hated him. Marla had seen the looks they gave Jesus, and the condescending tone they used when they spoke to him. They definitely hated Jesus. So who trained him?

Marla moved closer to the front of the crowd as she mulled over her thoughts. Maybe his parents? His father was a carpenter like him, but what did that matter? Oh, how lucky his parents were! They raised this amazing man! Marla wished her sons had grown up to be like Jesus. Oh, to be the mother of Jesus! To carry him in her womb and teach him as he grew up! That woman was extremely blessed.

Marla didn't realize what she was doing. The words just sort of spilled out, but how could she not say it? "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" Her voice was loud and bold. People around her started to nod their agreement, and a gentle hum filled her ears as their verbal agreement grew louder.

But it stopped as soon as Jesus spoke. Marla's heart skipped a beat, and worry beat within her chest that she had said something drastically wrong.

"Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it? Instead? Really? Marla frowned, but slowly started to smile. Did that mean that she was also blessed if she heard the word of God and kept it? Really!

Now it was Marla's turn to rival the sun. Her smile was dazzling as she embraced this truth.

Based on Luke 11:27-28

"As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!' But he said, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'" Luke 11:27-28

This woman was amazed by Jesus. It was common knowledge that Jesus was a carpenter like His earthly father, Joseph, before starting His ministry. It was very well known that the religious leaders and teacher of His day hated Him. So who taught Jesus all He knew? What amazing woman got to raise up this man?

I've felt this way before. I've literally been jealous when I think about Mary. God had such an incredible purpose for her life! She carried and raised the Son of God.

Is Mary different then you and me? Is she more holy, blessed, or a better person then you or I? That's the impression this woman had. Jesus tossed that theory right into the trash by saying, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Jesus has never cared about who you are in the eyes of man or how "blessed" they consider you. Your official title has never mattered. The important thing to Jesus is that you hear God's Word and keep it! I compare myself to a woman who lived two thousand years ago instead of keeping God's Word. Just saying that sounds dumb, but I've done it.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

This doesn't say that some of us are called and created. It says we are His workmanship. You, me, and Joe across the street. So instead of comparing yourself to every amazing Christian who walks by, be the amazing Christian God created you to be.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Good Work"

   Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
   Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
   Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?
   Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
   Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
   For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
   Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
   And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."  John 6:28-35

As I was reading this section of scripture today I couldn't help notice that even though they had asked the question, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' they didn't really go for the answer that Jesus gave them. Have you ever had someone ask you for your advice and then when you give it, because it isn't necessarily the answer they wanted they totally reject the perfectly good advice you gave? Kinda looks exactly like the above scenario doesn't it?

First we have the asking ..."Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
Next we have the answer ... "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
   And then of course the displeasure/discounting the advice ... "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?"

I saw this quote today, "Do not ask God to guide your footsteps...If you're not willing to move your feet."
It reminded me of this encounter with Jesus. Why ask Him what it takes to be doing the work of God if your not willing to accept what He tells you? Why bother to ask for an answer if you don't want the answer He gives. Why ask, if your immediate response is going to be, "Prove it."  According to Jesus, the work we need to do is to simply believe in Him! Believe He was sent by God! Believe that what He said is truth! Believe that, like the manna that was sent to sustain the Israelites in the Old Testament, He was sent to meet all our needs today. He is the Bread of Life sent by the Father and our job is simply ... to believe ... to receive ... to walk in the everlasting life that He has made possible ... to all ... who ...BELIEVE!


God bless and keep up the good work! Trust and believe!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Transformed Vessels"

   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 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:18:1-6

Lord, I pray that we as Your people would always recognize You and only You as the Sovereign in our lives. Help us to always be molded by You as we heed the words You speak into our lives. Use us, Lord, even if it means You have to rework us till the marred parts have been eliminated. Transform us into the vessels of honor that bring glory to Your name.

Thanks Lord, for all You do as the Master Craftsman for us, the workmanship of Your hands!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions





Saturday, May 23, 2015

Following Him

   As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, "I will follow You anywhere You go."
   "Foxes have holes," Jesus told him, "and birds in the air have nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place to lay His head."
   He told another man, "Follow me."
   "Lord, let me first bury my father," he said.
   But Jesus told him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you go and tell about God's kingdom."
   "I will follow You, Lord," said another, "but first, let me say good-bye to my people at home."
   "Anyone who lays his hands on a plow," Jesus answered him, "and keeps looking back isn't fit for God's kingdom."
Luke 9:57-62

Honestly, I extremely dislike these verses. They always make me question my faith. Not question as in, "Do I believe in Jesus?" but more like "Would Jesus be happy with my faith?"

Notice how it doesn't say what happened to these men. We are all left wondering did these men forsake earthly comforts, their dead, and their family and friends to follow Jesus? And if he asked us to walk away from these same things, would we?

I mean, if Jesus showed up at your door and said, "Follow me," we would drop everything and follow Him, there's no doubt in my mind we would, but He doesn't physically show up at our doors anymore. Ours is a different challenge. Do we follow Him wherever He leads, even though we don't get to see Him? Even when we don't know where we will stay or what we will eat? Even when death claims someone you love, do you keep going? Or do you keep looking over you shoulder to see what you left behind for God.

Looking back costs us. We know that. Genesis 19:26 says "But Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt." She knew not to look back. The Bible doesn't say that she looked back in longing, wanting to go back. It doesn't matter why, all that matters is that she looked back.

Friends, it doesn't matter why we look back. Looking back distracts from God, from what He has told to do, from the path that He has set us on. Don't look to the things you left behind when you started to follow God. There is an old expression "If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward." It's time to move forward.

Sam

Friday, May 22, 2015

"The One Thing Needed"


 Psalm 27:4-9

One thing have I desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord 
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, "Seek My face,"
My heart said to you,
"Your face, Lord, I will seek."
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
 You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me, 
O God of my salvation.

And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42

Desire the 'One thing' needed and seek His face!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

An Everyday Kind of Thing

"There he is!" Shalach shouted. Barely looking back at the others, he took off running towards Jesus. He wasn't in the lead for long, as some of the other men were clearly just as excited to share their tales with Jesus.

An army of seventy-two men ran very excitedly towards Jesus.

Weeks ago, Jesus had sent them out, two-by-two, to every city he intended to visit. He instructed them not to take anything with them. Instead, he instructed them to say, "The kingdom of God has come near to you."

It had been an arduous, but rewarding journey. Some people wouldn't even listen to the message, but that was all right. Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet when a town rejected their message. Many, many people received the message with joy and anticipation. Oh, and the people that were healed! Shalach had never been used by God in such a way, but he hoped God would not stop now!

Shalach reached the group of men surrounding Jesus. Shalach shouted into the frenzy, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" Jesus smiled wide as the men  talked over each other, but the gibberish didn't seem to bother him.

Jesus climbed onto a rock, and a hush settled over the group. "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, an 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."

Based on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Can you imagine being one of those seventy-two men. It's the day your leaving, and your trying not to vomit behind a nearby rock as Jesus instructs the group. You are going to travel to city after city, proclaiming this vague, hopeful message. You can't take your iphone with you. Your credit cards and wallet remain tucked away at home. That huge ice chest you bought on sale is pointless because Jesus wants you to rely on others for food and lodging. And to top it all off, Jesus told them to heal the sick. Do His kind of miracles.

Commence freaking out.

But those guys came back practically leaping for joy. They were men, so they wouldn't admit to leaping because that's not masculine enough. Anyways, you get my point. They were excited. They were on fire. They were full of zeal. They had seen the power of God work. They were used by God to do extraordinary things! Even the demons couldn't stand against them when they used the name of Jesus! But how does this apply to us?

"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, an 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 10:19-20

Jesus had given them (and us) power and authority to do all those awesome things. But that wasn't the big deal, the big deal was that they were saved.

Well, we are saved. Hopefully we are all rejoicing in that. But what about those extraordinary God things? Jesus almost acted nonchalant about all those cool testimonies. Why? Because awesome God things are supposed to be apart of your life when you walk with God. God's authority in the life of a believer isn't supposed to be a rare thing. It's supposed to be apart of our lives, an everyday kind of thing. Stop letting it slide by you. Use it! Believe that God wants to use you in mighty ways, because He does.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Look Close!"

Today, I would like to share with you a section of scripture that really drew my attention as I read. It can be found in Mark 1:29-39.

   Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
   But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
   So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
   Now at evening, when the sun set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.
   And the whole city was gathered at the door.
   Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
   Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
   And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.
   When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You."
   But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth."
   And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

So, you may be wondering what is so special in these verses that it would draw my attention it? First, Look close because I want to ask you, "What do you see? What is it that you 'notice'  happening here? 

Do you see that Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes to the home of Simon and Andrew with James and John? Do you see that the first thing that happens when He gets there is that they tell Him about Simon's sick in-law and that He immediately goes to her, takes her by the hand and the fever leaves her. Do you see that the news about Him being in the neighborhood spreads and by nightfall the crowd of needs had found Him. Do you see that He doesn't send them away cause He is visiting with friends off the clock, but instead He healed their diseases and or set them free! Did you notice that even after His impromptu night He was up before daylight to find some time with the Father before His day began? Did you notice that His response to His disciples when they found Him and said, 'Everyone is looking for You,' was very similar to the response He gave His mother on another occasion when searching for Him was the theme. "...Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business." Luke 2:49 

I wonder? Do you see what I saw as I read through these 11 verses? Did you notice that despite the seemingly unending demands placed upon Him, His response whether in word or deed is to fulfill the purpose for which He had come. His response ... in words and or deeds is always to be about His Father's business!

Now that we have talked all about what you see in these verses here is what I see ...

His actions speak volumes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

He Notices

He would never notice.

She inched closer while simultaneously dodging the stomping feet around. She had to stay close to the ground. She was more likely to pass through the crowd this way. They wouldn't notice her or try to fight her. One by one, she shoved her way through them. The pain wouldn't let her stand straight anyways.

"Just one touch." It had become her mantra. "Even then just the hem of his garment, and I'll be made whole."

Lord knew the doctors hadn't been able to do that.

But Jesus could.

He could spare a little for her. He would never notice.

Her heartbeat sped up when she saw him. This was it. She dove in-between the legs of the people surrounding him.

She reached.

She felt the hem slip through her fingers.

The crowd kept moving as she fell into a heap on the ground. She could feel it. It had worked. She was whole! The flow had dried up for the first time in twelve years. It had worked! Tears of joy filled her eyes.

The crowd stopped moving around her.

Along with her heart when he spoke. "Who was it that touched me?"

Based on Luke 8:40-45

I feel like I write about this section so much, but there is just so much in here.

Have you ever thought about why this woman dove for him in secret? Everyone else went right up to Jesus' face and asked for healing. She came up behind Him, just looking for the hem of His garment. Just enough power to heal her, but not enough that He would notice He had healed her.

She didn't think Jesus would notice her. She didn't think He would realize that she had touched Him.

I've got news for you. He will always notice you. He knows when you touch Him. There could be a billion other people singing praise, screaming prayers, and performing miracles at this very second, but God still notices you.

When you reach out with your heart for healing, or love, or help, He notices. You're not just one in the crowd. You're relationship with God isn't like your relationship with Taylor Swift. You're not just one of a thousand faces in a crowd. God's got your picture on His wallet.


"O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,' even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:1-16

If you have a heart to touch God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, then believe this: He notices.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, May 18, 2015

"He Takes Note!"

Today I would like to take a quick look at Mark 2:1-12  It is the account of Jesus healing the paralytic. It ends with this amazing verse, "And immediately he arose, took up his bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

This event ended with everyone amazed and glorifying God because they had never seen such an amazing miracle before and it all started because of this man's really, really,  really good friends. Check out what they did for him. "And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. And when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." Mark 2:1-5 

They had heard about Jesus and they knew that He was the answer to their friend's paralysis. They knew that if they could get him to Jesus that he could be healed. Then, even when they couldn't get to Jesus because of the crowd they didn't stop! They pursued till they found a way. They took him up onto the roof and made a way to lift him down to where Jesus was! These are some really good friends! Did you catch verse 5? It said, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.' It was their faith that motivated this whole life changing encounter! Their faith, on behalf of their friend, is the faith that Jesus took note of. Their faith made all the difference!


Don't forget to be the kind of friend that isn't afraid to do what is necessary to lift their friends needs before Jesus! For you and I that means we lift them and their needs up in prayer!

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:15-16

When you take the time to lift up the needs of a friend, in faith, believing ...Jesus sees your faith! He takes note! Remember, Miracles happen when someone's faith believes that with Jesus all things are possible! Who knows maybe you'll be the next one to proclaim, "I never saw anything like this!"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Amen"




Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; Yes, I will help you; Yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Thank You, Lord, for always being our source ...our help...our everything! Amen

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cry Out To The Lord!

"I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord's mercy.

I pour out my complaint's before him and tell him all my troubles.

For I am overwhelmed, and You alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.

I look for someone to come and help, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.

Then I pray to You, O Lord, I say, "You are my place of refuge, You are all I really want in life.

Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.

Bring me out of prison so I can thank You. The godly will crowd around me, for You treat me kindly." Psalm 142

I saw this psalm today, and it jumped out at me. I feel very strongly that there are many brothers and sisters out there that are hurting,need encouragement, and that need to be reminded that God is there for them.

Don't be so independent that you feel you have to do this alone. If you are in a place where you are hurting, where you desperately need help, then you need to call on God for that help. Don't let your pride interfere. Don't think that you need to do this alone. Don't think that you are alone. You are, most certainly, not alone. God is always with you. Don't lose hope.

Jesus told us that the world would hate us for His sake. Don't be surprised when it does, but don't lose your faith because the times are evil. God often takes us out of a low place and brings us to a whole new level, closer to him than we were before. Look at Job. He lost everything, but God brought back more than he had before. He is more than capable of doing the same thing for you.

"Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."
Isaiah 41:10

Sam



Friday, May 15, 2015

"The Right Path"

Proverbs 4:10-23

Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, 
And the years of your life will be many.
I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.
Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life.

Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not walk in the way of evil.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
For they do not sleep unless they have done evil;
And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.

But the path of the just is like the shinning sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know what makes them stumble.

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.


Lord, that we too might walk in the light of your glory; shining ever brighter as we reflect more and more of you in our lives. Help us, Lord, as your people to walk diligently according to your word!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

We Are Made Worthy

They had him.

Joel wanted to let out a small cry of victory, but refrained. Jesus was coming with them! Joel and several other elders had rushed out to do the centurion's bidding. Deeply moved by the concern he had for his ill servant, they were more then happy to help.

When they found Jesus, they went on and on about how worthy the centurion was! He loved the nation and the people. Why He had even built their synagogue for them!

As they moved through the throngs of people - how did he travel like this? - Joel recognized a messenger from the centurion's house. They weren't very far away. What was he doing here? Had something happened? Were they too late to save the sick servant?

The messenger cast Joel an awkward glance before delivering his message to Jesus. He stumbled over the words, clearly uncertain about the message.

Joel could understand. His jaw had gone slack during the first sentence.

"My master said, 'Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me, and when I say to one "Go," and he goes. To another, "Come," and he comes. To my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'"

Joel was even more flabbergasted by what Jesus said next.

Jesus looked at the crowd and loudly said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."

Based on Luke 7:1-10

I found this account to be pretty cool. The centurion guy is pretty cool! First of all, he is concerned for the welfare of his servant. His servant! It was not uncommon to treat your servants like garbage, but this man actually cared about his. The centurion sends out elders among the Jewish people to find Jesus, and bring him back to his house to heal his sick servant. They go! When they get to Jesus, they go on and on about what a good man the centurion is. "He loves our nation." "He is a worthy man!" "He built our synagogue!"

But then the centurion sends out more messengers. This one with the message that he is in fact, not worthy enough to have Jesus cross the threshold of his house.

But wasn't the point to convince Jesus that he was worthy? Why say something to the contrary?

This man knew what power and authority were, and he knew that Jesus possessed that, but he also knew that no one was worthy compared to Jesus. He wasn't going to pretend. He knew Who was worthy, and he had no problem recognizing that.

So often, we try to be worthy. We boast our worthiness. But it's just not something we have or can earn. Jesus makes us worthy. In God's eyes, we are worthy. Not because of anything we did or could ever hope to do. No, it's a gift. It's grace. It's life.

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Lets face it, we are all these things. Maybe not to the worst degree imaginable, but we are. But we were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God. We are made worthy because He is worthy.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"The More Excellent Way"

   1 Corinthians 12: 26-31 - 14:1

   And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
   Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
   And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
   Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
   Do all have gifts of healings? Do all have speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
   But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
   Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
   And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
   Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
   does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
   does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
   bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
   Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
   For we know in part and prophesy in part.
   But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
   When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
   For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
   And now abide faith, hope, love, and these three; but the greatest of these is love.
   Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy...

I realize that the 'love chapter' is chapter 13 but if that is all you read without reading before and after; than you miss so much of what is trying to be imparted to us. Check out this key phrase " ... But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way."... 1 Corinthians 12:31 See the thing is, the 'love chapter' is sandwiched in between a message about us being the body of Christ, our callings to the five fold ministry, and a whole lot about operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and when he is telling us that there is a more excellent way he is talking about being a member of the body that has love for one another. He is telling us to fulfill our calling to be an apostle, prophet, teacher etc. that operates in our callings with and because of the love that we have and that we are to show to those we are called to serve. When he says, "to earnestly desire the best gifts" and "to pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts" it is because he wants us to walk out our callings equipped and empowered with the gifts the Holy Spirit so that we too like Jesus, and the disciples after Him are more than able to respond in love and meets the needs of those He leads us to.

The love chapter is actually a really big fancy way of reminding us of what its all about! It is telling us, "Whatever your calling and whatever your gifts ... use them not only to love but in love! If you do... you too will understand 'the more excellent way' and walk as He walked!

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No More Reproach

Elizabeth patted the growing baby bump that was replacing her stomach.

The sun had set a couple hours ago, and a cool evening breeze was finally swirling into the house. She fanned her overheated face while Zechariah patted her stomach from where he sat beside her.

Zechariah motioned with his hands for the writing tablet they kept nearby ever since the angel bound his speech. He scribbled quickly, and then passed her the tablet.

It's been four months. When do we tell people?

Elizabeth shrugged. His serious expression told her that he was studying her intently. Her husband knew the abuse she had taken from the other women over the years. He also knew how much being barren had despaired her. It was odd that she hadn't told anyone yet.

Wasn't it?

"I just... I don't need their approval. I know the Lord has blessed us, and that He has taken away my reproach among the people. I don't need them to tell me that."

Zechariah studied her for a moment more before smiling, and taking her hand. He gave it a gentle squeeze. The action warmed her heart. He understood.

She already had everything she needed.

Based on Luke 1:24-25

"After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 'Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people." Luke 1:24-25

Elizabeth got this incredible gift/miracle from God. If you got an incredible miracle from God, wouldn't you tell people about it?

Elizabeth kept it quiet for five months.

I would have thought she would want to proudly sport that baby bump in front of all the people who called her barren and unworthy. Why wouldn't she want to share this? God had taken away her reproach from the people!

But that's the thing.

God had taken away her reproach. He had blessed her. She knew that. She didn't need the approval of anyone else. She knew what God had done for her, and that was enough. She had God's approval.

God's approval is something we spout off to kids and teens, but this is still an important and relevant message - even for an old lady like Elizabeth. We base so much on what other people think and say about us, and it's just as bad among believers. "What will they think of me if I do this?" "What will they say about me if I write a story like that?" "What will my pastor say?"

If you are living a life sold out for God, who cares what everyone else says? You answer to God. And when He approves, the approval of others is absolutely meaningless. God had blessed you. God loves you. God has taken away your reproach. The other people don't matter.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, May 11, 2015

"A Personal Thing"

   And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
   Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck out of your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
   Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:3-5

Today as I was praying about what to share He led me to the book of Matthew and I was reading I came across these verses. Obviously, I have read them or heard them taught numerous times over years as well. Most of those times it was taught as though it was a joke. I have even seen it portrayed as a skit where a guy with planks was running around, running into things, and at the same time he was busy giving orders and telling everyone around him what to do. Personally, I think that we tend to miss the seriousness of this illustration because of the obvious ridiculousness this illustration paints of a guy with planks in his eyes, trying to get at a speck in someone elses.

I say this because as I read it today the Lord very clearly spoke another verse to me. It was ...Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from, Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Psalm 51:10-13

If you and I are truly to be used in His service and to ...teach others His ways or to see ...sinners converted to Him then we need to start with ourselves. The cry of our heart must always be ...Create in me a clean heart, give me a stedfast spirit. . We must know true repentance ourselves before it can ever resonate with others through our words and service to Him.

Did you see the key to keeping a clean heart and a stedfast spirit and thus "operating without planks?" "...Do not cast me away from, Your presence, And do not  take Your Holy Spirit from me."  We must be in His presence if we are to reveal it to others and WE MUST HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT to be in Him. This verse implies that David, 'a man after God's own heart' understood that if he was removed away from from God's presence then that meant the Holy Spirit would also be removed and taken away from him.

One other thing I would like to note ...too often people tend to immediately think about others when they hear this illustration. I think people tend to think that Jesus was talking to the scribes and pharisees when He taught this but the truth is this is part of His Sermon on the Mount and it starts in Matthew 5. Verses one and two tell us  "...And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying, ..." He was teaching His disciples. He was teaching those who followed Him to hear all that He had to say and He was telling them to start by making sure they check themselves first! 

"First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5

 Relationship with Him is a personal thing and ... before ... we can share Jesus Christ with others we must get personal with HIM first! Then and only then, will we ever be able to serve Him as we help others with their  'specks.'

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!!!



Hehe. I'm a big Home Improvement fan. I thought this clip might be funny convey just how much we appreciate our dear old mums. :)

Seriously, though. Birth moms, mother-in-laws, aunts, and stepmoms - you guys are a big deal! In this season of my life, I am especially thankful for all the moms God has given me.



I've been thinking a lot of a very special mother... You might be familiar with her.

Her name is Mary.



His little head was all fuzzy.

Mary watched the cooing baby beside her. Her husband, Joseph, was fast asleep. She should be sleeping, but her eyes were glued to the wide-eyed baby.


She couldn't believe Jesus was already six months old. Soon his fuzzy little head would be covered with a full head of hair. She reached out to caress his head, trying to shake away the painful thought.

The rise and fall of many in Israel...

Such a big job for one so small. He had such serious eyes for a baby...

The Son of God.

The air whooshed out of Mary's lungs. Tears sprang to her eyes as she tried to block out the coming words...

A sword will pierce through your own soul also...

She wiped the tears away quickly. This was silly. She knew he was destined for big, Godly things. He wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for the Lord's intervention.

But when she looked at his precious little form, she couldn't imagine him being anything other then her little baby.

Based on Luke 1:32, 2:19, 2:33-35

 

Mary stored all these things up in her heart, and while we don't think about it, she had to war with herself, too, over Jesus' destiny. It had to be so hard for her to let go of Jesus! To give Him back to God, knowing the pain that awaited Him. She was given this perfect, little baby, and the day was coming when she had to let Him do what He came here to do. How long had she faught with her heart before that wedding day in Cana when she told the servants to do whatever Jesus said, because she knew Who He really was. Not her baby boy, but the Savior of the world. Then how hard it must have been for her to see Him dying on the cross - for us!

Moms...wow!

Because you do all that for us.

 You give us to God, and trust His plan for us, even when it's rough. You support us when you just want to shelter us. You give us life, love, and encouragement. You're are first friend and our permanent cheerleader. Thank you for loving us, and for giving all of us the courage to follow God's plan for our lives.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:25-30

Is it any wonder that the Proverbs 31 Woman was a mom? Today, we rise up and call you blessed! Thank you for all you do! We love you! God bless you greatly and in every area of your lives!! Amen.





V. Joy Palmer

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What Do You Speak into Others?

"These three men stopped answering Job because he thought he was righteous.
Then Elihu son of Barachel, a descendant of Buz and of the family of Ram, flared with anger at Job because he thought he was more righteous than God.
He also got very angry with Job's three friends because they found no answer and yet condemned Job."

Meet Elihu, a young man bold enough to stand up and call Job on his sin. A who man stayed quiet, afraid to say what he knew to be the truth because the other men were older than he.

But let's go back a ways...

Meet Job's friends - Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad. These men heard of the disasters that Job had endured, and came to sympathize with him and to comfort him (a rather crummy job they did, right?). These guys didn't even recognize their friend at first, but when they did, they wept, tore their clothes, threw dirt on their heads, and then they sat with him. For seven whole days, not saying a word.

And then their was Job. The man who went through so much suffering. He lost his kids, his riches, his health. All that was left was a wife who literally told him that he should go die. Before we judge her too harshly, though, remember that she had just lost her whole family. Her emotional pain was just as bad as Job's, maybe even worse.

For seven days they sat with him, and without even an "I'm sorry for your loss..." the argument began. Possibly the most epic argument in history. One man versus three others. Back and forth. "I did no wrong, I am innocent." "Well, obviously not. God wouldn't just do this to an actual righteous man. You must be sinning."

These are the points that they circle around. FOR TWENTY-EIGHT Chapters. Can you imagine someone recording a serious argument between you and your friends, and then writing a book about it? Imagine the stupid things that you might say. All the hurtful things.

Friends, I say all of this to remind you to be like Elihu. Not to be like Job, who thought himself more righteous than God. Not like his three friends, who accused Job of being the cause of his own downfall and condemned him for it even when they could find nothing. Not like Job's wife, who in her own bitterness, was wishing for something that she would come to regret.

We have all been these different people at different times. "I didn't deserve this!" "I'm sorry that happened to that person, but he probably deserved it. That's what happens when you don't live right." "I'm just so tired of this, I can't deal with this anymore. I'm done."

Elihu says is chapter 33:3 "I talk straight from my heart and speak sincerely the knowledge coming from my lips." Do we truly answer people like that? Do we speak from a place of knowledge, or from speculation? Are we going to speak God's word into someone's life. Do you speak God's light into someone's life?

Here's one of my favorite songs, and I think that it's highly applicable to this situation.


Don't speak hurt. Don't speak condemnation. Don't speak despair. Speak life!

Sam

Friday, May 8, 2015

"The Most Hopeless Among Us?"

   Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.
   And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.
   And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
   But when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped Him.
   And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me."
   For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!"
   Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many."
   And he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
   Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountain.
   And all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them."
   And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
   Now those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.
   Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
   And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.
   Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
   And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.
   However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you."
   And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for Him; and all marveled. Mark 5:1-20

Every time I read this section of the word it reminds me of one of the most well know and quoted verses in the Bible ... 2 Corinthians 5:17 ... "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." I love that that is exactly what happened for this guy. He went from and an old useless tormented existence to a brand new life filled with both the promises and purposes of God. He went from his lonely tormented existence to 'sitting and clothed and in his right mind.' A transformed life! He received a whole new life, just that quick, because of Jesus' compassion for him.

In the eyes of the men that had known him, he was considered to far gone to deal with any longer. He was considered beyond help and left to dwell alone in amongst the tombs. But here is the thing that we all need to remember, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 With Christ all things are possible no matter what or who it is! Jesus Christ can take even the most 'hopeless' amongst us and transform a life just that quick!

No one ... no matter what it looks like in the natural ... is beyond a transformed life in Christ! Why? Because He has enough love and compassion for them to get it done! One encounter with Him is all it takes!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Overflowing. Inexpressible. Incredible.

Sometimes he could still hear them.

He didn't hear a lot these days. Usually just the sound of his own ragged breathing, which sounded remarkably like a dying camel. But sometimes that noise would die down, and he could still hear the angels.

Their voices sounded like tinkling cymbals and loud crashes of thunder all at the same time. Soft yet mighty. It was incredible.

A time when the angels of Heaven couldn't help but cry out their love and joy at the birth of the newborn Savior.

Hearing that...seeing that...it had changed him. Ever since that night, he had told people about the angel chorus announcing the Savior's birth. And when the Savior began his ministry among the people, he followed him and his disciples around the countryside, and continued to share his testimony. After the Lord rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, he worked faithfully in one of the churches the disciples started. He wouldn't trade those days for anything. So many wonderful things had happened.

But his most precious memory was the night the angels burst forth from the Heavens with their chorus. An event few had witnessed.

One that he had.

Based on Luke 2:8-18

So believe it or not, this post isn't about the shepherds who saw the angel chorus. It's about the angel chorus. I just love that the angels of Heaven couldn't contain their joy any longer. It's like they were pushing on the doors of Heaven until they finally gave way, and they fell into a shepherd field. But it didn't matter that there were only a few men surrounded by smelly sheep. They just had to sing for joy, give glory to God, and thank God for His amazing salvation for us.

Incredible. I do not think words will ever really do that moment of overflowing joy justice.

There is another moment of overflowing passion and joy in the New Testament.

"And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" Luke 19:36-40

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people couldn't stop shouting glory and praise. When the Pharisees tried to tell Jesus to shut them up, Jesus said that if they were silent, the very rocks would cry out.

The rocks.

So...My question today is why let them? Why let angels and rocks sing glory, honor, and praise when we could be the ones doing that? The shepherds didn't know that Jesus was born, but once the angels got the ball rolling, they didn't stop. The people that witnessed Jesus entering Jerusalem couldn't help but praise the coming King - even if they didn't entirely understand what was going to happen. But today, we do. All the incredible things God has done for us and in our lives, why keep silent about them? Let your joy in Him overflow.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory." 1 Peter 1:8

His birth, life, death, and resurrection are still just as miraculous now as they were then. That hasn't changed. Only now, we know and we can be the ones singing. With a joy that could rival the angels.

V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Here, Now, Today"

   On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
   Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
   And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
   Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
   His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
   Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.
   Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim.
   And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it.
   When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.
   And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then that which is inferior; but you have kept the good wine until now."
   This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. John 2:1-11

One of the things that I teach my young people to do when they read the word is to look and listen for what the Lord is saying to them here, now, today. What I mean by that is this; "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 41:2 I love that what a passage of scripture says to the needs of your life today will quite often say speak something different the next time through. I encourage them to always pray and to ask the Holy Spirit to show them what He wants reveal to then here, now, today.

I say all that because today our message isn't what you might expect from this account and I realize that there is a whole lot more to talk about. I know that the verse where Mary says the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it," usually figures pretty high on the list to talk about for obvious reasons, but today we are actually going to talk about the last verse, "This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him." Why? Simple! Because this is the verse He highlighted to me here, now, today.

Jesus turned the water in all six waterpots into wine as the beginning of signs as a manifestation of His glory! Because of this manifestation of His glory ... His disciples believed in Him. This verse jumped out at me today because with the reading of this statement He highlighted this thought in my spirit. Every time a sign, a wonder, or a miracle takes place it is for a purpose ... to manifest His glory and to cause men, women, and children to believe in Him! Turning water into wine was just the beginning sign ... meaning that more were to come! And here the next thought He spoke ... the purpose is still the same here, now, today! The same Spirit that anointed and worked through Jesus works through us today and with the same purpose ... 1st - To Manifest His Glory and 2cnd - To Cause His disciples to BELIEVE in Him!

Signs, wonders, and miracles still happen here, now, today, because He is still the same God with the same desire to reveal Himself to all mankind! The truth is ... Signs, Wonders, and Miracles can and will still happens here, now, today, if you and I, as His servants will take Mary's advice of, "Whatever He says to you, do it," than we too will be amazed as He manifests His glory in and through our lives!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So Long Self!

Philip studied the men. They must be Greek. Their accents betrayed them.

Their lack of common courtesy also gave them away.

"Sir," The tallest man in the group spoke again. "We wish to see Jesus."

"I'll need to talk to Jesus to see if that's alright." Philip could tell that they were disappointed, but he hurried away from them.

Philip scanned the crowd of people looking for a familiar face. There was Andrew. Rushing over, he grabbed Andrew's arm and pulled him to the side. "Some Greeks are here to see Jesus."

Andrew's eyebrows raised. "Let's go see what Jesus want us to say to them." Clearly Andrew didn't expect Jesus to see them either. He was much to busy with the feast, and with his own people.

They found Jesus and told him about the Greeks.

Jesus nodded thoughtfully. "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him."

Philip looked at Andrew with a raised eyebrow. What was Jesus talking about? They needed to know what to say to the Greeks.

Instead of elaborating any further, Jesus got up and headed the direction where the Greeks were waiting.

Based on John 12:20-26

Did anyone else feel like Jesus completely ignored the matter at hand here? They came to Him about some Greek dudes who wanted to meet Him, not about dying and saving their lives. What the disciples didn't realize, is that Jesus still attended to the matter at hand. To Jesus, it no longer mattered what nationality the people came from. What mattered was that no matter who they were, they would be willing to abandon the wants of the flesh and serve Him. If those people would follow and serve Him, then God would honor them. Jesus wanted the disciples to "die to self." To get rid of their preconceived notions, and just follow after God whole-heartedly.

Plain and simple. Right?

Until you try to do it. It's like when you're trying to diet, but all you want is that chocolate cake with the fudge frosting. An evil hologram of you pops up in your mind saying, "Eat it. Do it." What about in the spiritual sense? Are your flesh and earthly desires constantly badgering you to do it? Do you feel like you're constantly at war with yourself, but you're never winning?

Dying to self isn't about going around saying, "I hate my life. I never have any fun. I wish I was dead." It's not about hating your body or looks. It's about giving all you have to Jesus - because you don't want to hold anything back! You don't want to be the person you were without Jesus, or the person you are when you act outside of God's will. The grumpy person who scares children with a single raised eyebrow. You want to say, "So long! You are the weakest link! You have been eliminated from the great race of my life. You've been chopped from my life! Your time's up! Good bye!"



I've always found this song, "So Long Self" by Mercy Me, to be hilarious when I need to "break up" with myself. There's a saying that breaking up is hard to do. Breaking up with yourself is still hard, but it can also be the easiest thing you ever do, if it's for God.
   
'And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.' Luke 9:23

V. Joy Palmer