Saturday, February 27, 2016

"His Outstretched Hand Is Always Enough"

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

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing, be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:3

But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went out into all the land. Matthew 9:25-26

Then the Spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and He arose. Mxark 9:26-27

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. Matthew 14:30-32

And brought Israel from among them,for His mercy endures forever; With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, for His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:11-12


Whatever the need, deliverance, sickness, disease, death, and a lack of faith were all dealt with by His touch. Remember the kingdom of heaven is ... at hand!  And He is always within reach!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Always Learning

Apollos smiled at the man he had been talking to and clapped him on the shoulder. He turned to look at the couple that had been patiently waiting in the wings. Apollos studied the short, thin man and the elegant woman beside him. He recognized them. He smiled a greeting. "Hello," he said.

"Hello," the thin man smiled warmly. "I am Aquila, and this is my wife, Priscilla. Could we talk to you?"

"Of course."

Aquila motioned for Apollos to follow them. They navigated threw the throngs of people to a dimly lit, private alcove. Apollos hadn't even known this area existed in the little house.

Aquila started. "You are certainly an eloquent man, and competent in the Scriptures."

"We can tell that you've been instructed in the way of the Lord," Priscilla added. "You speak quite accurately about Jesus."

Apollos beamed, feeling pride in his knowledge of the Lord.

"However," Priscilla continued, then hesitated. The words seemed caught in her throat.

Aquila filled in for his wife. "We must explain the way of God more accurately to you. As fellow Christians, we feel it is our duty to help one another."

Apollos felt chest fallen. Hadn't they just said he was knowledgeable? That he spoke accurately? Why did he need to learn more?

There was a check in his spirit. They were always learning. Was he really so arrogant to think that he had learned all there was to know about God? He almost laughed at the thought. He smiled slightly. "Please, tell me."

Based on Acts 18:24-28

"Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus." Acts 18:24-28

What I saw in this section was a man who was greatly anointed by God. A man who had great understanding of God and His Word. A man who boldly preached God's message.

A man who still had more to learn.

A man who knew that, wasn't offended by that, and learned.

I think we get into this mindset that we will one day know all the things. But we won't. We will always have more to learn. Even our pastors, mentors, and parents have more to learn. We are always learning, always growing. It's laughable to think that we won't be wrong about some things or that we don't need a better understanding of God.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning." Proverbs 9:9

Who will you be? Will you be like Apollos, a man who knew he still had so much to learn about God's Word? Or will you be the person who says in their heart, "I already know it all"?
"Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5
V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

If God Wills

"Please stay," the man pleaded.

Paul shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't."

Another man turned his piercing blue eyes onto him. "What are you going to do then? What are your plans since you insist on leaving us?"

Judging by their expressions, Paul didn't think they were going to like the truth. "Whatever God wills."

They all spoke at once. "What?" Some of the Jews sounded quite angry, angry that Paul would leave without a commitment already in place. Others were confused. They wanted him to stay and teach them. Together their roar demanded an answer.

"I go where the Lord wants me to go, when He wants me to go. Sometimes I don't know what He wants me to do, but I trust in His plans for me." Paul met the gaze of each person in the room, sharing in their sorrow, their conviction, their hope. "I will return to you if God wills."

Acts 18:19-21

"And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, 'I will return to you if God wills,' and he set sail from Ephesus."
Acts 18:19-21

I liked Paul's response to the uncertainty of the future. He didn't try to plan. He just put it in God's hands. "I will return to you if God wills."

If God wills.

Sometimes the uncertainty we face in this life is overwhelming. Gut-wrenching. Confusing. Sometimes it is all we can do to stay afloat in this sea of uncertainty. We try to plan our steps as best we can, only to have our carefully laid plans be destroyed.

I'm a planner. When my plans are derailed, I despise it with every fiber of my being. But I'm not The Planner. God makes plans for me.

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

So now, my plan is to stop planning. If God wills, then my plans may be apart of His plans. If not, I know the plans He has in store will be even better. I plan to go with His plans.

V. Joy Palmer.

"Your One Of His"

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me,
Bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

   Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
   So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? We're there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" Luke 17:15-18

I find it interesting that the leper that comes back to praise Him was a Samaritan and the foreigner of the bunch. This is the point that Jesus makes! The others, who weren't foreigners, but considered children of God, took their healing for granted and didn't take the time to appreciate the One who took the time to heal them.

Don't forget to be the one out of ten who takes the time to bless and praise Him for ALL He has done for you. Don't take Him or All His blessings for granted! 

Take the time to bless Him today BECAUSE Your one of His! 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"His Eyes Are On Us"

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 discerned of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eye of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

I don't know about you but this is one of my favorite verses! I love that the word of God always, always, always speaks to my heart no matter what situation I find myself in. I love that every day, every time I draw near it speaks to me whatever I might need to hear!  It might be a word of encouragement, a message with a call to arms, a promise that offers hope. It might be message that inspires me to keep the faith or even a call to repentance but it always speaks the truth I need at that very moment and today as I was reading through Hebrews I realized the why. 

Why it's possible that the word always seems to know what I need to hear and if you look, the answer can be found in the very next verse. Did you see it? It's because He sees us in the here and now. We are not hidden from His sight ...ever! He knows what we are going through and what we need to hear. HE HAS THE PLAN IN PLACE AND HE SPEAKS TO THE NEED RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. His Word speaks because He always has eyes on us. 'Out of sight ...out of mind' is not a concept He knows.  We are never alone or out of His sight, NOT EVER, and because He sees ... He speaks!

"...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 discerned of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eye of Him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:12-13

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Focused On...?

Timothy's feet hurt. Truly hurt. They ached with a pain that Timothy had never experience in his life. Was it even possible to walk when you were in this much pain?

"Where are we going to stay?" Timothy glanced over at Silas.

"I don't know," Silas said, glancing over at him. "I'm trying not to worry about it."

Timothy was trying not to worry about it either.

His stomach groaned.

Great. Now he was worried about his lack of food.

They turned the corner, and stopped in their tracks. Dust billowed around them in a big, tan cloud, but that didn't block out the sight before them.

Paul stood in the middle of a group of people teaching them about Jesus. Someone had brought him a plate of food, but it sat off to the side, ignored. His face was beat red from the heat, but he didn't move to the shade. He was consumed with his task.

Timothy looked at Silas, and was a little relieved to see his own sheepish expression mirrored on Silas' face. Paul was occupied with the Word of God, focused on the important things. God was taking care of him. Maybe they should focus on the same thing instead of worrying.

Based on Acts 18:5

"When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus." Acts 18:5

I love this verse. I love what it means. Paul was so focused on the word, on serving God, and sharing the Gospel.  When other people arrived, they found Paul occupied with sharing God's word.

Most of us are totally focused. We know how to focus - on everything else! But on God? Do we know how to be totally focused on God?

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

If I had moved to a strange new city, I would be focused on so many things. Where would I live? Where would I get the money to buy food? How will my family adjust to this new place? Where is the nearest bookstore?

What you're focused on when other people show up out of the blue, when you don't know they are watching you, shows a lot about your priorities. Paul's priority was the word. Lived and breathed it. What are you occupied with everyday? Is it God?

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

Occupy yourself with the things and The One above.

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Known God

The sun seemed to be hotter on top of the mountain. Thank God for the breeze that cooled and soothed him, making the sweat on his brow seem refreshing instead of sticky.

The hill seemed to stretch for miles above Athens. The esteemed leaders sat before him looking partly bemused, partly condescending. They spent all their time learning about and worshipping false gods, so Paul wasn't really surprised. He had seen an altar with the inscription, "To the unknown god." Paul knew that they were deceived, searching, and as a result, worshipping anything.

But today they would learn the truth.

Standing in the midst of the Areopagus, Paul took a deep breath. He felt the calming presence of the Holy Spirit as all the men trained their judging eyes on him.

Today they would meet the unknown God. Today they would stop saying unknown. Today they would learn that He wanted to know them.

Based on Acts 17:22-25

"So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, "To the unknown god." What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. he God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, or is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.'"
Acts 17:22-25
These verses are so true for people today. They are so relatable and applicable.

You may be sitting there thinking, "Religious. I'm not religious. I worship no one!"

That's not really true.

You see, we were created to worship. Created to look to Something greater then ourselves. Created to love Him. The Lord God of Heaven, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit. But the god of this world, the enemy, tries to convince you otherwise. He convinces unsuspecting people to put their faith in false gods and religions, in science and evolution, in their own strengths, abilities, or god-ness. And we long to put our faith into something, anything. Whether we realize it or not, we all worship something.

Paul was telling the people to stop worshiping everything but the One who is responsible. God. He's the One our souls long for. Is the unknown God known to you? Do you worship something, anything, hoping it's The Real God?

The God of Heaven and Earth longs for you, too. The unknown God is here and waiting for you. He wants to be known by you.

V. Joy Palmer

"His Bride"

"... And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you." Isaiah 62:5

   3618 - from 3634; a bride (as if perfect); hence a son's wife.
   3634 - a primitive root; to complete.

I don't know about you, but I love that in Hebrew the meaning of the word 'bride' comes from a root word that means ... to complete and that as His bride, we truly are complete in Him.  "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 2:9-10

This gives us pause to stop and think about two things. One is simply this ...our love for Him, as His bride, means that He completes us! Probably not a big surprise considering who He is, what He brings to the relationship, and all that He did and sacrificed to make us His bride. The second is this, as His bride ... we complete Him! We are "the bride who made herself ready" that is talked about in Revelations 19:7 In Genesis 2 it tells us that Adam needed a helper that was 'comparable' to him. So the Father gave him one. He created a bride to be His counterpart and to 'be joined as one flesh.' Eve was created to be Adam's bride ... to complete Him, and you and I, as the bride of Christ, are being made complete in Him to be His! We are even now being made 'complete' in Him that we can be found to be 'arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.' Revelations 19:8

I don't know about you ...but I know that as for me my hearts cries out ..."As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." Psalm 17:15

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Aimed At You"

"I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people." Thus says the Lord ...... Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." Jeremiah 31:1-3

As I was reading these verses in Jeremiah today, this scene came to mind: "And He arose and came to his father. BUT when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him,'Father,I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son' But the Father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on Him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the featured calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; He was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry." Luke 15:20-24

An everlasting love is waiting and watching for the lost to come home!
An everlasting love has you running out to meet the lost even when he is still a great way off!
An everlasting love will always shower love and compassion on the lost even when they think they are undeserving!
An everlasting love always, always, always brings restoration causing the dead to be made alive again!
An everlasting love always causes the lost to be found and to be restored to a place of honor ...a place of sonship!

Remember --- His everlasting love is aimed at you!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Friday, February 12, 2016

Annoyed. Convited. Affected.

Sunlight glinted off the golden face of the fish idol. It's lips were parted like it was angry and about to swallow it's prey.

Where did men come up with these things?

Paul felt that familiar annoyance and anger build inside him like a bubbling volcano about to explode. He was so sick of seeing this garbage, the devils handiwork overlaid with gold, silver, and jewels. He had been sick of it ever since the very first day.

He dodged a man in a robe cutting himself and proclaiming the rituals of his idol to the people. Weaving in and out of the crowd, Paul came to his spot. A grassy spot empty of all idols. He sat down on his rock and started to teach about Jesus. Teach. Preach. Reason. Sometimes argue. But the people weren't easily convinced. So many of them had spent their lives worshiping false gods, so the introduction of yet another god wasn't received as their first encounter with the One True God.

But Paul wouldn't stop. He couldn't stop. How could he ignore a city full of idols and lost souls? What kind of witness and warrior for Christ would that make him? No, he would fight. He would teach. He would reason until his last breath.

Based on Acts 17:16-17

"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there." Acts 17:16-17



Why this? Want me to stop saying this? (Imagine me wildly pointing at this verse, too. Helps the image.) This is awesome. Paul was bothered by the city full of idols. It irritated him. It convicted him. He had to do something about it. He couldn't just ignore this city of idols.

What about us? It's so easy to just ignore all the junk going on around us. All the idols that people worship now. Only now, not everybody is bowing to a golden statue. Now we make TV, celebrities, games, books, sports, food, money, drugs, and relationships our idols.

And we just exist in that everyday. Never saying a word. Never so much as shuddering. We coexist.

God's people SHOULD be affected by false idols and whatnot in the world. Why? Because when we are affected, we do something.

I am so guilty of just looking the other way, but it's time I stopped. It's time we all stopped. We need to do something. We need to be affected.
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, February 11, 2016

"What If"

   After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.
   Then  great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He preformed on those who were diseased.
   And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.
   Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
   Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"
   But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
   Phillip answered Him, "Two hundred scenario worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."
   One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
   Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
   And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down: and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
   So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."
   Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." John 6:1-14
Have you ever really thought about this statement before? It says that Jesus knew what He was about to do but that He asked the question of His disciple to test him. Test him how? Jesus looked, saw the need, had the solution in mind, and then still stopped to see what Philip's response to His question would be. The Real question today is, what will yours be? 

Will it be like Phillips? Is our response to a tough situation to see only the hopelessness of it all? Is it instead like Andrew's where we try to come up with a solution but immediately drop it because we know it will never be enough? "...a boy here has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Would it be to offer no solution at all and to remain silent likely the rest of the disciples? Would we pass the test? Would our response be the one He was hoping for?

The truth is, before His question, none of the disciples had even given any thought to the need to feed this multitude. Jesus looked up, saw them coming, and saw the need.

Jesus always sees! He sees the dilemmas we face. Will our responses pass the test? Will we respond in a way that shows we KNOW He has a plan? That we trust Him? What if the response He was looking for from His disciple was something more like "... Lord, I've seen You turn water into wine, heal the sick,  raise the dead, and cast out demons! This multitude followed us because of miracles! I know You have this covered! What do You want Me to do?"

WHAT IF as His people, who are known by His name, we were to really trust Him to have it covered? What if our first response was to declare Him Lord, and our next was to seek our place in His plan because just as in this encounter it was His plan, His power that multiplied the bread and fish but He also then gave it to the disciples to distribute!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Honeymoon Is Over

The blood trickled down his eyebrow, over his nose, and onto his lip. Jason could taste the blood.

They had been dragged out of their home, before the city officials, and now resided in jail. For how long, he didn't know. Maybe forever.

Was this supposed to happen?

It had been like he had fallen in love - like they all had fallen in love. Even more intense then when Jason had met his wife. Jason and the others in his household had fallen in love with the Creator, the Savior, the One True God. He and his family committed themselves to God.

Immediately this happened.

One question kept running through his tired, defeated mind.

Light lit the jail cells, and the city officials made their way into the dank chamber. Their stony faces asked the same question that his soul cried out.

Was He worth it?

Based on Acts 17:5-9

"But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: 'These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,  and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.' When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.  Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go." Acts 17:5-9

There is this infamous phrase about marriage. Perhaps you know it.

"The honeymoon is over."

It's meant to say that it's not all lovey-dovey, gooey and romantic anymore. Your spouse no longer has the ability to hang the stars in the sky. Now it's time to go through the trials, testing, and meaty stuff that make a relationship into something that will last. 

As I was reading these verses, that phrase just kept running through my mind. "The honeymoon is over." And so soon! They were immediately persecuted and put on the spot. I can't help wondering what happened to Jason and the others. Did they remain faithful to God despite the persecution?

No matter how quickly the honeymoon ends, the relationship can still stand strong if they are committed.

Millions of people choose to not let the trials turn their love for God to rubble. I choose to walk through the fire with God and come out on the other side even more committed to Him. Will we fight for our True Love, our God, our King?

The honeymoon may be over, but the relationship is just beginning.

V. Joy Palmer

Monday, February 8, 2016

"Wise Counsel"

Psalm 1:1-3

   Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
   But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditated day and night.

   He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Lord, I pray that as your people, we would always be like the tree planted by the rivers of water as we continually draw from your life giving water! Lord, that Your word would be the delight that nourishes our body, soul, and spirit as we meditate on it day and night. Lord, that it would always find a heart that is quick to heed and faithful to obey. Holy Spirit, give us ears to hear so that we might readily receive and thus produce fruit that would not only further the kingdom but cause us to prosper in the works He calls us to along the way! O Lord, that Your wise counsel would always be the only counsel we seek! Amen!

God Bless!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

Saturday, February 6, 2016


"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

This verse, apart from John 3:16 and Psalm 23, was the first verse that I can remember memorizing as a kid. I remember my youth pastor drilling it into me and our youth group again and again and again, because it was so important that we remembered this verse and understood it.

It's important to remember that God thinks about us, surely more than we think about Him. I mean, we can go days without thinking of Him at all, but God, He goes beyond just thinking about us. He makes plans for our futures. He makes sure that we know this, to give us the hope that we so desperately need. It seems like such a simple concept, but it is so important that we remember it.

Because of my youth pastor, in times when darkness seems to be winning, I remember this. Times when I lose hope, times when I've been hurt, times when I lose myself, I can turn from the darkness and remember that God still, STILL has a plan for me. Despite my flaws and failings, despite the times when I walk away. He never walks away from me, and He still has plans for me even in my failures. He can lift us out of even the worst places.

See, we often get bogged down in where we are, in what we are doing, in whatever horrible thing has its sights on us. It doesn't need to be like that. He has given us a future, and we should be focused on Him, not the stuff that tears us down.

Remember this verse the next time the enemy stands against you. You have a future. You have a calling. Most importantly, you have God on your side.


"Raining Bread From Heaven"

   Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: They neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
   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 cloth you, O you of little faith?
   Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?'' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
   For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
   But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:28-33

A few days ago I shared a message with you about 'Manna' and the need to collect a daily portion. Since then I have had a verse and especially a phrase that has been stuck with me. It is Exodus 16:4 ...Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I might test them, whether they will walk in my law or not" The idea that He told them what He was about to do and the fact that that thing was going to be raining  bread from heaven has been a thought that seems to hanging out in my spirit. He told them! He told them that He was about to rain bread from heaven. He told them that He was also testing them to see if they would Heed His words about this amazing event! He told them that they 'would eat meat at twilight and in the morning they would be filled with bread. And that they would know that He was the Lord their God because of it.' Exodus 16:12 He told them and they still ran around exclaiming, "What is it?" When morning came and He had truly done what He had said He would! He had told them He was paying close attention to see if they would heed His instructions. And yet some didn't! Some tried to store up extra causing a stench and worms. Some didn't and they tried to gather on the day of rest and found none available. Some didn't listen! He had laid it all out so clearly for them and yet ...

So why is His phrase, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you." Stuck in my spirit? Because ... sometimes I tend to worry about things. Sometimes I forget to keep my eyes on Him and I look at the circumstances instead. Sometimes my focus is on that last dollar in my pocket ... BUT THE TRUTH IS He laid it all out for us as well? Hasn't He, like with His promise to "rain bread from heaven" in the days of old, also promised to "add all these things" if we will but seek Him first in all these things. It's a pretty simple plan really. Look to Him and He meets our needs. Will we/will I trust Him? Will I obediently seek Him every day or will I be 'one of little faith?' Will I seek Him obediently as my provider or will I come up with my own plan like those who tried to store up extra? Will I be looking for provision in the wrong place and wrong time when He already provided what was needed like those that hadn't heeded His instruction about gathering for the day of rest?

Why is His Promise to rain bread from heaven stuck in my spirit?  Because ... the question remains ... Will I choose to trust Him to sustain me, to cloth me in His righteousness, His glory, or will I strive in my own strength? Will I trust Him to meet all my needs ... even if it means He has to rain bread from heaven? Will you?

I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Life for a Life

Panic gripped him. Thoughts came at him in a jumble. His knees weakened. Only a few words made sense to his shocked brain.





He jumped from the bed in the side room where he had been sleeping, and ran to the cells. He skidded to a stop in the doorway. He could see his fate in the flickering torchlight. All the doors to the cells were opened.

All the prisoners had escaped.

He fell to his knees and pulled out his sword. This would mean his death. A horrible, painful death meant as punishment. Killing himself would be more merciful. Besides, he had failed. He deserved to die.

Just as he was about to plunge the sword into his heart, a voice stopped him. "Do not harm yourself. We are all here." Trembling, he stood up. Calling for help with the lights, he rushed to the voice that had stopped him.

It belonged to the men of God.

God...had saved him.

Based on Acts 16:25-34

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, 'Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.' And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.' And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God." Acts 16:25-34

I just keep thinking about this jailer. He had locked Paul and Silas up, was loyal to the cause, and then all of a sudden commits his life to Jesus.

He recognized that God had saved his life, so he gave his life to God. A life for a life. It's as simple as that.

The jailer thought his life was over. He thought he was dead meat because he was sure all the prisoners had escaped. However, God kept the prisoners right there in their cells. God saved the jailer's life. So the jailer dedicated his life to God.

I know that God has saved my life. Again and again. Despite all my screw ups and selfishness. I know that Jesus gave His life for me, died for me. I owe Him everything. So I'm going to live my life for Him. Each day, each moment, each decision, I make is His.

If you recognize what God has done for you, and you want to do something about it, be like the jailer. When he thought he was about to lose his life, he really gained it.

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

She Would Not Be Silent

Is this what it felt like to be stabbed in the spirit? Everyday it was struggle, a war within her, as she desperately tried to be heard.

She had had no idea the decisions she made would lead to this...this...



She could see the men with her physical eyes. They talked about Jesus, the Son of God. She could hear the demon cursing them and God in her head.

She didn't want to live like this anymore.

The war grew more fierce, but suddenly she found herself in front of those men shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." The demon within her shrieked. He tried to portray it as mockery in the days to come, but she dragged them back everyday, sure that this was the key to her freedom.

She would not quit. She would not stop fighting. She would not be silent.

Based on Acts 16:16-17

"As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, 'These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.'"
Acts 16:16-17

Does this amaze anyone? This girl was demon possessed. Controled and occupied by a demon to the point that her own spirit was being snuffed. Yet even the demon couldn't stop God's message from being proclaimed. Not even the demon could keep her quiet.
"He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" Luke 19:40

All of creation proclaims His glory. All of the spiritual realm, good and evil, proclaims God's glory. Our physical being is modeled after Him. Everything points to the glory of God!

And yet so often we let the rocks speak more for us. If a demon possessed girl can still fight the darkness enough to cry out truths about God, why do we stay silent? To think of it in those terms, it's so humbling. And embarrassing. Like I'm thankful this is a blog post and I don't have to look any of you in the eye.

Even though I'm not fighting the same battles as that girl, I don't ever want to be accused of not fighting the darkness. I don't ever want to let the rocks do my job. It is my joy to proclaim God's truths, and that's how I want to act. Nothing will keep me silent anymore. What about you?
V. Joy Palmer

"His Workmanship"

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

Think about it! You and I, because He is the Master Craftsman, have been gifted for good works! Gifted for right here, right now, in this day, and in this hour! Gifted to work His will, His purposes! Gifted to work good works in and through Him! Gifted to work the good works that reveal His glory in the earth today. Gifted to walk in such a way that all men are drawn into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about it! He considers you some of His best work and He has gifted/prepared you to be a gift for and to others!

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14