Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Daily Portions Are Available"

   Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold , the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
   And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'"
   So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.
   And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
   So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.
   "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: 'Let every man gather it according to each one's need, one more for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.'"
   And the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less.
   So when they measured it by Moses, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need.
   And Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it till morning."
   Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
   So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot it melted.
   And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two homers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
   Then he said to them, "This is what the Lord has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for y ourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'" Exodus 16:10-23
Manna! What is it? According to the Strong's Concordance the word manna means ... a whatness (so to speak) so called from the question. From the root word which means,   what (including How? Why? When?) but also exclaiming What!

When you know that in that moment when the people are exclaiming, "What is it?" There is also the idea of "how? why? and when?" as well it explains just how amazing this 'manna from heaven' miracle was for the people of Israel. God shows up in a cloud of glory, shares His plan, and declares to them that because of what He is about to do they would "know that He was the Lord their God." In all that astonishment also comes an awe for the One who provided the manna. For 40 years, every single day God provided for His people as the Lord their God! Check out Nehemiah 9:20-21 "You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, And gave them water for their thirst. Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness, So that they lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell."

Not only did God provide an amazing "What is it'" moment/miracle but He sustained them in every way possible on a daily basis all because He was their God. They lacked nothing! Their clothes didn't even wear out! He sustained them in every way possible including their daily supply of manna!

The truth is I love reading about this manna event in the lives of His people because it means I can trust Him with my daily supply as well! He provided for them each and every day. All they had to do is go outside their tents and pick it up. They could bake it or boil it and Exodus 16:31 tells us that it tasted like wafers made with honey. Psalm 119:10 says"How sweet are The words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!"I love that we too only need to 'collect' or manna each day! His Word is daily our provision! It too daily provides guidance and direction. Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. It too causes us to be filled with awe at His works! Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18 And of course their is the promise found in Matthew 6:30 ...Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Manna ... Don't forget to collect your daily portion today!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Change of Plans

A candle flame dance and leaped in the night. Paul watched it from where he lay in bed. Staring. Wondering. Trying to figure out what God wanted.

Why wasn't He letting them go preach?

God had forbidden them from going to speak the Word in Asia. They had traveled up to Mysia, when the Spirit of Jesus stopped him cold. He did not allow the group to go into Bithynia. It seemed like every time they got excited about going into a new region to preach the Gospel, God stopped them. Several people in the group expressed frustration. Truthfully, Paul was starting to feel the same way.

"There must be a reason," he mumbled into the quiet night.

A haze of light overtook his vision, and a man of Macedonia appeared to stand before Paul as clear as day. His expression was desperate, and his eyes pleaded with Paul's. He realized the man was speaking. "Come over to Macedonia and help us." The man said it over and over and over...

Paul startled. The vision was gone. Like it had never happened, but Paul knew better.

A knowing smile overtook his face. He could almost feel God's smirk. There was a reason. God wanted them to preach the Gospel to the people of Macedonia.

Based on  Acts 16:6-10

"And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." Acts 16:6-10

I am a very stubborn person. So when I get a plan into my head, it is devastating ahem...very difficult to let those plans go.

I would have been so confused here. I would have been a wee bit angry. "God," I would have cried out, "I doing this for you! Let me go where I want to go! Let me do this for you. I want to go here! This is the better path!"


When God says, "Do this for me."

When God says, "Change of plans," what is your response? Mine is usually not good. It takes a lot of gnashing of teeth, crying, and pouting before I come around.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9

This group had their heart set on God. Instead of fighting God and being frustrated and angry, they said, "Oh, God must want us to go here for a reason. He must want us to preach here!" God always has a reason. Next time you face a change of plans, remember there must be a reason.

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Personal Rights Versus Right Choices

"We're going to do what?"

"Well, not we. You." Paul said jokingly.

Timothy shot him a look, and Paul dropped the lighthearted mask. Timothy had every right to be upset. Unfortunately, some of the Jewish people refused to drop the old ways. The situation was starting to explode.

He patted Timothy on the back. "Listen Timothy. God has given you a powerful anointing, and I want to take you on my travels. I believe God will greatly use you. However, the Jews where we would be traveling will not listen to you if you are uncircumcised because they know your father is Greek."

Timothy sighed. "It just doesn't seem right," he mumbled while running a hand through his hair.

"It's not, but it is a stumbling block to their walk with God. I can't make you do anything....But sometimes serving God means making a personal sacrifice for those around you. You've heard me teach on how it's better to go without something then to cause another brother to fall into sin." Paul studied Timothy's hard face, hoping and praying some of this was getting through to him.

Timothy was fixated on a dirty spot on the wall before he stood up from the chair where he'd been sitting. He huffed long and slow before answering. "Ok. Let's do it."

Based on Acts 16:1-5

"Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily." Acts 16:1-5

So here's what I think. This kinda stunk.

It did. Timothy had to get circumcised because others couldn't let go of the old ways, about things that God didn't care about anymore.

But you know what. It didn't matter.

It could have been so easy for Timothy to be mad, to let this affect his ministry, to let hate burrow into his heart. But he and Paul took a higher road.

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother." Romans 14:13

"But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak."
1 Corinthians 8:9

This was a stumbling block to other people, so Paul and Timothy made the bigger, mature decision to not let this be a stumbling block for any of them.

Sometimes your personal right to something is not always the right answer. Sometimes we have to let things go. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to. Sometimes we have to eat the broccoli so someone else can come to know God. But we have to make the choice. We can say no, just like Timothy could have said no. Fortunately, Timothy didn't. He took a hit, but he made the right choice.

What will our choice be?

V. Joy Palmer

"Love Never Fails"

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. 1Corinthians 13:4-8

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. John 13:1

Everything Jesus said and did paints the perfect picture for us of what the love of God looks like even up to and including the last words He spoke before returning to the Father. 

   So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30 

"It is finished!" With His last breath He declared His love for us by declaring that our debt was paid. He had done what His love for us had brought Him here to do ...He poured out His soul unto death, was numbered with the trangressors, and bore the sins of many, making intercession for the trangressors. Isaiah 53:12 I don't know about you but for me I know that I find it very humbling to know that I was on His heart in His last moments. It says, that 'He loved us to the end' which means that it was His love for us that not only caused the need for His sacrifice but it was also what helped Him to endure all things ..."who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 His love for us ..... means we were the joy that was set before Him. We were the prize that was set before Him. We were the prize He had His gaze fixed upon. We we were the finish line He was aiming for. Paying the price ... being our Redeemer... was worth the cost of the cross because He loves us that much! And when He cried out, "It is finished!" It was with a heart that was full of His love for us! It was His declaration that His love for us was enough to get the job done! We need to remember that we are His beloved and that His love never fails ... it is always enough!

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercession; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. Isaiah 59:15-16

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Soft Heart to Work With

Some men were really stubborn.

And then there was Paul. Their leader.

"He's not coming." Paul said. His brow was furrowed, and he had that look in his eye. The look that said, "You thought Balaam's donkey was stubborn, huh? Well, now you've met me."

Barnabas wanted to hold him down and shout reason at him. Paul would have none of it. He refused to let Mark come with them.

"Mark has changed. He's grown so much in the Lord. God will use him mightily."

Paul glowered. "God does not use quitters!"

"But He does use men who make mistakes and sometimes quit."

Paul cast Barnabas the iciest, meanest glare he had ever seen. It could have frozen the whole county. Paul threw his hands up. "If you want him, you take him. He's not coming with me." Paul threw back his chair, and he stormed out of the room.

Paul's ultimatum hit Barnabas in the chest like a knife. He knelt down to pray right in the middle of the empty room. It would be easy to feel like Paul, just like it would be easy to hate Paul for what he had said.

Easy. But not right. He needed to keep his heart soft, and right now, he needed God's help to do that.

Based on Acts 15:36-41

"And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.' Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches." Acts 15:36-41

I know, I know. Everybody talks about this infamous squabble. There's a reason for that. There's so much to learn from this fight!

What I was thinking about this time was hearts. In a situation like this, it would be really easy to have a hard heart, kind of like Paul did at the time. You've been abandoned, and you certainly don't want to go through that again! So you say, "No. No way!" I've known a lot of Christians who have done this, and I'm ashamed to admit to all of you that I've done this - sometimes without even realizing it!

The enemy is out to destroy soft, loving, compassionate hearts. He doesn't want us to forgive, forget, or support one another. He wants to drive that wedge between us.

We can't function with a hard heart. And neither could Paul. Eventually he forgave Mark.

"Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry." 2 Timothy 4:11

How much more can we do for God if we keep our  hearts soft, pliable, and ready?  Give second (and multiple) chances. Give love. Give grace. Give God a soft heart to work with.

V. Joy Palmer

"Is It Tme To Weep?"

Then, as He as now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works 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 called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."
   But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
   Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for Your peace! But now they are hidden from Your eyes.
   For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
   And level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
   Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a den of thieves.'" Luke 19:37-45

As I was reading in Luke today this verse jumped out at me, "Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying:" The thing I noticed is this ...He was coming from His 'triumphal entry' with everyone shouting praises and the Pharisees complaining about it into the city. So what does He do? He takes the time or maybe it's the opportunity to weep over the city. It says that as He draws near the city He Sees it and wept over it. When He draws near suddenly the praises and the complaining take a back seat to the souls in the city before Him that are about to "miss their time of visitation." He knows what is going to happen in the days ahead. He knows that in the days ahead they are going to be shouting to crucify Him. He knows that in the days ahead they will reject who He truly is as He is paying the price for theirs and our redemption.

How about you? When was the last time you took the time and or the opportunity to weep over your city? When was the last time we as His disciples wept over our cities? Take the time today to intercede on behalf of those who are missing out on their redemption. Pray that they don't miss 'the time of their visitations.'

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Stepping Out"

   And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray. And when evening had come, He was alone there.
   But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
   Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
   And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
   But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
   And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
   So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
   But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
   And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
   And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
   Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." Matthew 14:23-33

How about you? Would you like to walk on water? Would you be the one who was able to hear Him say, "Come." Would you be able to respond like Peter and get down out of the boat? Would you be able to take those first few steps of faith? Truth is Peter walked on water and that miraculous event was the easy part. The hard part ...getting out of the boat and taking that first step. We need to remember that if He says "Come," then He makes the walking on water part ... possible ...easy even!

When He bids you to come, trust Him and obey! Take your step of faith! The miraculous will follow because for Him the miraculous comes easy! With Him all things are possible! He is always there to see us through any storm, and any and every step of faith we take. He is there to call us out and to lift us up when we fall. Trust Him and step out!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A God Group

Dirt stung his eye.

Dirt. In his eye. In his nose. In his mouth. Hair. Clothes. Everywhere.

Another stone thudded against his back. At least he thought it was a stone. He honestly wasn't sure anymore. Stones had rained on him for what felt like hours. Now he didn't think he was going to make it. Was this the suffering God had warned him about.

Paul felt the world shifting around him. Everything was moving. This must be it. This was the end.

His body was flung head first down a hill. He summersaulted the whole way down, landing in a crumpled pile of bone and flesh.

Paul didn't know how much time had passed, but he felt pressure all over his body once again. Only this time it was different. It was soft, warm, filled with fire.

Healing fire.

He felt his body being restored, and then a loud pop sounded in his ears. All of a sudden Paul realized people were praying over him.

The other disciples. They were here for him.

Warmth filled his heart, and despite the sore face muscles, Paul felt a smile coming. Because even thought the unbelievers had tried to kill him, God's people where there to lift him up.

Based on Acts 14:19-20

"But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe."
Acts 14:19-20

The enemy convinced the people to persecute Paul. He convinced them to turn their backs on Paul, and stone him to death. And they did. When they were finished, they dragged him out of the city. And just when the enemy thought he'd won this battle, God's people surrounded Paul, and helped him stand up again.

Even Paul had a support group for when he was beaten to a bloody pulp.

"And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

There is truth to that saying, "No man is an island." And you know what? We aren't supposed to be. We are supposed to be a group of people who love and care for each other. We are supposed to support one another. We are supposed to be their for each other during the hard times. When the enemy kicks one of us down, we help them stand up. And when that group is working together, they are pretty powerful.

Do you have a God group?

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Rejoice In Him!"

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings that You bring new every day. I too, like the Psalmist declare to You with a heart full of love for You "...You are My God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You!  Lord, I give You all my praise because You are so good and Your mercy truly endure forever.

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"His Amazing Choice"

As I was sharing a message during chapel a couple of days ago about Jesus and how compassion was often the response that motivated His next move in a number of His encounters when I was once again brought to a place adoration. Check out the encounter He had in a place called Nain.

   Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 
   And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.
   When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep."
   Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise."
   So he who was dead Sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.
   Then fear came upon all, and they go o tidied God, saying, "A great prophet has risen up among us," and, "God has visited His people."
   And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region. Luke 7:11-17

Jesus, for no other reason than the compassion He felt for this mother when they came upon her grief gave her back her son. So often, we are told that faith is what motivates God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit to move and to do a miracle, sign, and a wonder but here, in this case, it is simply His choice that raises this young man back to life. This mother was caught up in her grief. She was weeping, consumed by grief at the loss she was expected err silencing at the death of her only son. She wasn't looking to Jesus for help. It wasn't her faith that motivated the raising him up from the dead. It doesn't say that she was even aware of Him. It says that He saw her. He saw her grief and was moved by compassion! He spoke a word of comfort to her and then proceeded to walk to the coffin. He put a hand on the coffin and spoke life to the young man. He chose to give this young man back to his mother. Not because of faith but because HE SAW HER DISPAIR and it moved Him to act on her behalf!

The compassion of the Almighty is very real! The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made a w-a-y for humanity because of their love and compassion FOR US.They saw our need and have made a way ... even when it looked like death was the only option.  We no longer need to be 'lost in sin and death.' Why? Because He saw ... was moved ... And because of His compassion ... He made a way that we could be raised up to know 'abundant life' with Him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


What were they saying?

Barnabas felt an icy chill overtake him, zapping him in the head, running down his spin, and landing in his toes.

"It's Zeus and Hermes!" a man shouted again. The crowed started chanting along with him, and in a matter of seconds people were prostrating themselves at his and Paul's feet.

Was this what it felt like to be God?

Barnabas smacked the thought out of his mind. He wasn't God, and he wasn't going to fall for that particular temptation. But how did they get the people to stop? Barnabas cast a frantic look in Paul's direction. He had a similar expression on his face. They needed to do something, and they needed to do it now.

"We are not gods!" Barnabas yelled at the top of his lungs. Paul joined him, screaming until he was red in the face. It felt like it took hours, but slowly the people around them started to listen. Eventually Paul was able to explain that they were indeed men, but servants to the living God. The people understood, but Barnabas knew they had scarcely restrained the people from offering a sacrifice to them.

Based on Acts 14:14

"And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, 'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!' Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.' Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them." Acts 14:11-18

I find this pretty interesting. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have this desire to be praised, to be the best at something, to have others look up to us. Sadly, we've see countless kings and countries fall in the Bible, and today, for that very reason.

Paul and Barnabas denied that desire. They kept God first.

Does it put denying yourself in a whole new light?

"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" Matthew 16:24
Denying yourself means denying those desires deep down that you don't want to acknowledge or let anyone see. It means denying a piece of you. It means giving up your glory for God's glory.

Do we have what it takes to be like Paul and Barnabas, or will we fall prey to the same desires as our many predecessors?

I think John the Baptist said it best.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, January 11, 2016

"He Touched Him"

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

One of my most favorite encounters with Jesus is this one right here, with this particular leper. The reason is really simple. He touched him! It says that Jesus was moved with compassion, and He reached out His hand to touch him. I love that Jesus wasn't repelled by the man's uncleanness but instead was moved to compassion to do for him and touch every area of his life in the process. 

I love that His response was "I'm willing," despite the fact that technically the guy was sinning against the law by even being being there in the first place. He was supposed to be crying, "Unclean, Unclean!" and keeping his distance. Instead adhering to the law his desperation caused him to seek out Jesus and declare his faith and trust in Jesus as he put his situation in Jesus' care.

Jesus, of course sees his every need and takes care of them all. We know this because it tells us that His healing came as He spoke the healing word to Him and so the touch? Why was it necessary? The touch took care of the spiritual and emotional needs as well. Why do I say this? Because Jesus, by touching him was breaking the law as well. According to the law you weren't supposed to touch a leper. Therefore, when His compassion moved Jesus to reach out His hand and touch him it was for a specific reason. It was to touch more than just his body but the part of him that had been wounded and unloved because of declaring himself unclean everywhere he went. It was to touch a man who had gone without human contact for so long because a leper wasn't allowed to touch or be touched by their loved ones. 

Jesus, when He responded with, "I am willing," truly was! With both word and deed He not only cleansed his body but brought health and wholeness to His inner man as well! Why? Because word touch from Jesus is all it takes for any unclean wretch to be made new again!

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

Saturday, January 9, 2016

"The Joy"

"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
I've been thinking a lot about the phrase 'for the joy set before Him.' The Joy that was before Him was obviously not found in what He was about to go through on the cross. He knew what He was about to suffer. He understood better than you or I what it was all about. There is a reason that He sweat drops of blood as the time drew near for Him to 'endure the suffering and shame' that His death on the cross represented. He knew that for the first time in His life He would be separated from the Father. There was a reason that He cried out, "My God, my God, why has though forsaken Me!" There was no joy in knowing that what He was about to go through meant suffering, shame, and separation from the Father. THE JOY that was set before Him was you! It was you and I and the possibility of knowing us and I am and us knowing Him!  HE 'COUNTED THE COST' OF THE CROSS AND DECIDED THAT YOU AND I WERE WORTH IT! We were the joy that was set before Him because He knew that when it was all said and done, not only would He be reunited in fellowship with the Father, but that we would be reunited as well.

In reality 'The Joy' that was set before Him was His love for you and I and hopefully ...our love for Him!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Spring Up

He was busted for staring.

A glow shone from the man's emerald colored eyes as he stared back at Paul. He didn't glare at Paul for staring. He just stared back.

What was that?

A smile tugged at Paul's mouth. That's what it was. It was faith.

Faith just radiated from this man from the inside to the outside, as bright and blinding as the sun on a clear day. He had listened to Paul intently the entire time he spoke - and it was a long time! Anyone could look at him and see the truth that had slapped Paul in the face.

This man had the faith to be made well. To be healed. To be saved.

It was time to use it.

Paul's grin grew to a full blown smile as he stood up and spoke in a boisterous voice, "Stand upright on your feet."

The man didn't even hesitate. With eyes that never left Paul's face, he put his faith into action.

And he stood up.

Based on Acts 14:8-10

"Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, 'Stand upright on your feet.' And he sprang up and began walking." Acts 14:8-10

I kinda love this. Paul stared this dude down. He studied his eyes and searched his face and saw that this crippled man, who could understandably be bitter and unbelieving, had faith. Not just any faith, but faith to be saved (as my footnote said) and the faith to be made well.

This poor man who had been crippled from birth had faith. So when Paul told him to get up, he didn't debate it. He sprang up. Do you know any guys that spring up? Guys don't spring up unless they are so excited and into whatever is happening that they don't care about how ridiculous they look. This guy sprang up because he had so much faith.

Do we have that kind of faith? The faith to spring up despite being pushed down our whole life? The faith that we don't question it, we just jump? The faith that others can see on our face despite our visible brokenness? Do we have that faith?

Why is it that a man who couldn't walk his whole life has more faith then people who have been saved their whole lives?

Whatever your story is, you can be like that man. You can have that kind of faith. Spring up with your faith instead of always evaluating, worrying, wondering, and stopping.

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Unexpected Blows

How were they supposed to encourage the people in the synagogue? They were struggling themselves. His personal hopes for this Sabbath day involved getting some encouragement for himself.

Barnabas sighed. He glanced at Paul who was studying the note the rulers of the synagogue had sent them. His face was passive.

Like maybe he was considering this.

Yeah, they should encourage the people, but Barnabas was feeling more drained then a dried up well after a four year drought. He didn't know if he had it in him. It had been a tough few months, and then recently John Mark had left their missionary journey unexpectedly and with very little explanation.

While Barnabas believed the struggling, overwhelmed young man would be back, it had been difficult to see him walk away for now. It had been a huge blow to all of them emotionally.

He leaned towards Paul and lowered his voice. "Paul, what are we going to do?"

Paul calmly folded the note up, and set it beside him before looking at Barnabas. "We are going to encourage the people."

"How are we supposed to do that? We need encouragement."

Paul's face looked worn and tired, but despite all there was an energy that still shown through his eyes. "And this is the best way to get it. Our ministry can't stop just because of hardships. We will be encouraged by encouraging, by sharing the message we were sent to share, by not giving up."

Based on Acts 13:13-41

"Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, 'Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.'" Acts 13:13-15

Paul and Barnabas and their merry group of traveling companions were out doing God's work. They were sharing the Gospel, proclaiming Jesus as Lord, and seeing people accept Jesus as Savior. They were making a profound difference.

But then John Mark left.

They were all working hard, and one of their own left. That must have been a real blow to the rest of the team. That could have been devastating to their self esteem, not to mention their ministry. They might have felt like if John Mark could give up despite all the good they were doing, despite not facing any horrific persecution yet, then what chance did they stand to make it? They could have been really discouraged. And maybe they were.

However, when they were at that synagogue, the rulers of the synagogue asked them to share any encouragement they might have with the people. They didn't stand there stuttering and mumbling, "Life is tough, but you got to trust God." They didn't have to act like they believed that.

Because they did believe that.

They didn't lose their encouragement. They didn't give up despite feeling abandoned. They kept pressing forward. They still believed in God and His plan. They kept sharing the Gospel.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Unexpected blows will always come your way, but don't lose your encouragement because of them. Let them make you stronger.
V. Joy Palmer

Monday, January 4, 2016

"His Commandments"

   "As the 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.
   This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
   Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."  John 15:9-13

Here's a thought ...real joy is found in abiding in Him and abiding comes as we keep His commandments! His commandment? Love one another the same way or rather ... with the same love He has for us.

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnared us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"The Real Strength"

   Now to His surprise, a young lion came roaring against him.
   And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. Judges 14:5-6

How about you? Have you ever felt like you wished you had the strength to wrestle with lions and win? The thing is Samson didn't fight his lion on his own or rather in his own strength. It says that the 'Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him,' and gave him the strength to take care of his lion. You will find this same phrase, ''the Spirit of the Lord came upon him' in verses 14:19, 15:14, when he had to fight other battles as well. Samson was know for His strength and the key here is that you and I, as believers have that same strength and anointing available to us as well. Why? How? Because we serve the same God and He is the same ...yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Because He is not a 'respecter of persons' in that He shows partiality to no man but rather looks at the heart and therefore when Jesus promised that the anointing of the Holy Spirit would come to those who believe.
   "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39

   "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in You." John 14:15-17

We too have the ability to take on lions because we too, just as Jesus promised, have the same Holy Spirit anointing available to us! He is there for us the same way He was for Samson. We too can walk in His strength as the Spirit of the Lord comes upon us! The real question is ... Will we let Him?

   "There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it." Proverbs 21:20