I AM, Part 4 by Larry W Peebles

I AM, Part 4   by   Larry W. Peebles   October 20, 2017   17.40

When Jesus described Himself to the world, He used unconventional words and phrases.  Terms that related to earthly things were not relevant or adequate to describe Him.  Though He appeared in the flesh, He was God, an eternal spirit.  He then demonstrated that He was/is God with miracles that defied the natural world.  In this series of articles, I have used Jesus’ own statements to pull out the super-natural qualities He wanted the world to examine and remember.  These self-descriptions are in the form of “I AM” statements recorded in Scripture, spoken from His mouth.

  1. I AM the bread of life. John 6:35.
  2. I AM the light of the world. John 8:12.
  3. I AM the gate/door. John 10:9.
  4. I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11.
  5. I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26.
  6. I AM the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6.
  7. I AM the true vine. John 15:1.
  8. I AM the Alpha (Beginning) and the Omega (End). In the Book of Revelation this was spoken four times (Revelation 1:8 and 1:17-18, Revelation 21:6, and 22:13).

All of these have been discussed in the previous parts to this series.  In addition to these eight, The Book of Revelation contains more of these “I AM” statements.  This article will explore Revelation 22:16, where Jesus spoke to John in a vision and said- “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.  I AM the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

I AM the Root and Offspring of David-

Addressing the first part of this I AM statement begs this question– how can someone be both the root (ancestor) and the offspring of the same person?  The answer is that Jesus is both God and man.  In His deity, He is David’s Creator and God.  In His humanity, He is the offspring of Jesse, David’s father, and the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 11:1- “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.”  (See also Romans 1:3, 4).  Luke takes an interesting approach in tracing Jesus’ genealogy.  He begins with Jesus, and goes backward through David, Jesse, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, and Noah, all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:23-37).  Adam is described there as the (first) son of God.  Since Jesus is the Creator, He is Adam’s father, and therefore is the Beginning and End of His own human genealogy.  This answers the questions raised by the Jews in John 8:48-59 where Jesus said “before Abraham was, I AM”.  It also speaks to Matthew 22:41-46, where Jesus points out to the Pharisees that David said (Psalm 110:1) the Lord (Jesus) was his Lord.  That is, the Lord who would come after him was also above and before him as Lord.  David, the shepherd/king was a fore-shadow of Jesus.  Jesus is truly son of David and son of man (Adam), yet Creator of both.

 

I AM the bright Morning Star

Luke called Jesus the Dayspring (Luke 1:78), the only time in the Bible this term is used.  The Hebrew word is “anatole”, which means the place of rising, the dawn.  Like Venus, the first planet/star to appear at dusk and the last star to be seen at dawn, Jesus is the guiding light to show us the way.  He is the point of reference for all life’s journeys and decisions.  Scientists say that if we could look down on our solar system, we would see Venus is the only planet to rotate clockwise.  This makes Venus unique, as is Jesus, the one and only Lord and King–son of God and Savior of the world.

Jesus fulfills Balaam’s prophesy in Numbers 24:17- “A star will come out of Jacob.”  It was a star that guided the wise men to His place of birth in Matthew 2:2-9. As the Word (John 1:1), Jesus is the lamp to our feet and light to our path (Psalm 119:105).  As previously studied in this series, He is the light of the world (John 8:12).

It is interesting that Isaiah says Satan is the “morning star” in Isaiah 14:12, an angel “fallen from heaven”.  He has lost his light, and is now associated with lies, darkness and death.  In sharp contrast, Jesus is the bright Morning Star, sitting in heaven at the right hand of the Father.  He is superior to the angels, the source of all truth, light and life (John 11: 25-26, and John 14:6).

2 Corinthians 4:6 says- “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  That light of the bright Morning Star is the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus.  Revelation says that light will never go out when it says in 21:23- “The city (of God) does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

When Moses was in the presence of the Lord, his face shined with such radiance he wore a veil (Exodus 34: 29-35).  Jesus called the believers “the light of the world.”  Our relationship with Him should be such that the radiance of His glory should shine on our faces when we have been in His presence.  Consider this from Hebrews 1:3- “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

Jesus is the bright Morning Star we can depend on, and the light of the world.  We must be so filled with Jesus that we too are a light into a dark world.  Jesus must shine on our faces. The beacon of our lives should reliably point others toward Him.  This is the only I AM statement we have studied where Jesus asks us to be a participant.  He says in Matthew 5:16- “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As the morning star closes each day and opens the next, Jesus is our hope for a new day, new life, and a fresh beginning.  Lamentations 3: 22-23 says- “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Jesus as the bright Morning Star stands as the guaranty of this verse.

Our challenge is to be a conduit of the light of the Morning Star.  2 Peter 1: 17-18 tells us this is possible- “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.  And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The fate of the peoples of the world lies in the balance.  I close with Isaiah 60: 1-3- “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

It’s Time to Take Dominion Part III Kay Keith Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

There is an old saying, “The early bird gets the worm.”  That phrase holds a lot of wisdom.  Another way of saying the same thing could be, “Those who make an extra effort get the prize.”

I have always been a morning person and I love to get up early enough to see the sunrise!  I not only enjoy the sunrise at home, but I have seen it in many countries and other places I have visited.  There is something peaceful and promising about the sun rising every morning that ministers to me.  Scripture says “It is the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23.

There are times when I must make a special effort to get up in time to watch the sunrise but it is never a disappointment because the Lord meets me there.

In Part I of this series, I explained three directions which are distractions that keep us from gaining the “prize of the upward calling of Christ”.  They are:  Looking back – at our past, Looking around – at our circumstances, and Looking down – at our insecurities and inadequacies.  Looking in these three directions keep us in the natural realm, stifling our faith in God and thwarting our ability to walk in the Spirit of God.

Part II began to redirect our gaze by teaching us we must “Look Up”!  We need to see the Resurrected Jesus on His throne, ruling and reigning over the Kingdom of Heaven.  His desire is for us to bring the atmosphere of heaven to earth to overrule the kingdom of darkness.  (See the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13).  Those who are really “born again” will no longer move by the dictates of satan’s kingdom (the world).  When the impossibilities are removed through genuine worship of Him and true faith in Him, we will be able to “Rise Up”.

RISE UP!

The Bible says the whole earth is groaning for the revealing of the sons of God.  (See Romans 8:19).  Many in the church today do not look or act any differently than unbelievers.  They believe Jesus exists but they do not live for Him, by Him or in Him.  These are what the Bible calls carnal Christians.  Instead of representing the Kingdom of God they are still living in the world’s system.  They lack the authority God gave His church to bring the atmosphere of heaven into the earthly realm.  Jesus did not commission His disciples to make converts into a social club.  He did not commission His disciples to reproduce Pharisees and Sadducees who teach the Word of God but lack intimacy with Him.  They denied Jesus was their Messiah because they knew about Him but did not KNOW HIM like Moses did!  They had ears but did not hear, they had eyes which could not see.  They failed to recognize Him when they had their visitation.  That is still happening in many Christian Churches today.

Isaiah prophesied about the Lord being born and coming to earth in Isaiah 7:14.  “…Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].  (See also Matthew 1:22-23).  Isaiah 9:6 declares, “For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace.

Christ, the Messiah, is God with us – Immanuel.  Revelation 17 and 19 declare He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Jesus, the Messiah, God with us, has a kingdom that is separate from the kingdom of this world.  When we become born again, we repent of our sins committed while living in the kingdom of darkness.  We then ask Jesus, our Savior, to be Lord and King.  In essence, we agree to walk in a completely different set of rules for our lives, the rules (or laws) of His Kingdom.  We recognize that we are unable to do that in our flesh, but we acknowledge that He is able to do that in us by His Spirit.  We must therefore consecrate everything we are and everything we have to Him, and receive His Holy Spirit (God in us) so that transformation can happen.

He broke the power of sin’s control over us, but our victory will only come when we make Him King over our thoughts, emotions, will and bodies.  When we have become partakers of Christ, we are to live in the Spiritual realm of His Kingdom, walking in His ways of righteousness and sanctification. When we see His grace and power which He freely gives to us, we will no longer say “I can’t!”

Jesus did not commission His disciples to create a “bless me” club.  The Gospel of the Kingdom is not focused on blessing us personally, it is focused upon bringing the Kingdom of God to the lost and broken.  As we seek FIRST His Kingdom and His Righteousness, then all these other things will be given to us.  (See Matthew 6:33).  The blessing and favor of God comes with obedience to the Word and will of God.  It comes through intimacy with the Lord, not living for ourselves.  Our own comfort and pleasure is not what God seeks for us, it is our transformation into His image, the purifying of our hearts and the consecrating of our lives to His will and purpose.  This all happens through intimacy with the Ever-Living God.

Psalm 24:3-6 “Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord?  Or who shall stand in His Holy Place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.”

We may think of idols as statues of false gods and therefore often miss the scripture’s instructions.  An idol is anything that has preeminence over the Lord and His will.  Materialism is an idol, our family can be an idol and comfort can be an idol as well as many other things.  If we allow our insecurities and inabilities to negate the power and plan of God to use us to bring others to the Lord, that is an idol.  Fear is an idol.  You may ask how?  When we believe more in the power of the enemy to hurt us than we do in the power of God to keep us, then we remain in the grips of fear!  Deliverance from fear comes when we trust God for everything!  (See I Am Your Keeper 5/27/17).

Christianity is a life-long walk of faith and endurance.  We are being perfected, step by step.  We are being changed from glory to glory but that comes with death to self.  Daily consecration to His will and a willingness to submit to His sanctification process leads to holiness.  It happens over time but in the process, freedom from bondage, victory over one sin after another, and a greater love and devotion to Him builds step by step.

Matthew 5:8,9,10 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!” These are the result of consecration and sanctification which enable us to “Rise Up”!

Isaiah 60:1-5 “Arise, shine; For your light has come!  And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you, the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

The Lord has called us to be His disciples (followers of Jesus).  A disciple was expected to “learn, study, and pass along the sayings and teachings of their master”.  (Hollman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  Matthew 28 reveals that Jesus instructed His disciples to make more disciples, and to preach the Gospel of His Kingdom throughout the whole earth.  The four Gospels and the book of Acts calls every believer a disciple.  There is no commission to simply make believers.  The Great Commission is to make disciples, followers of Jesus who learn, study and pass on His teachings to others.  He has anointed us for a purpose:  to get the world out of us and to get the people out of the world.  Our perspective must change.  We must have a paradigm shift in our thinking.  By personally reading and studying the Bible, and praying for His Kingdom to come to us, He will move heaven and earth on our behalf.  If we are His disciples, He must be our Lord and King.  If He is our Lord and King, we will live our lives by His direction and plans, not by our own.  We must examine our hearts and our lives.  Are we doing the works of Jesus and that of His disciples or are we doing our own thing?  Are we residents in His Kingdom under His rule or do we rule our own kingdom?  Are we truly walking in the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence or are we still acting and thinking like the world around us?  If we are not, there is good news, He will help us.  Paul interceded for the Ephesian churches and that prayer is just as powerful today as it was almost 2,000 years ago.

Ephesians 1:17-22 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He worketh in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 2:4-6 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead, in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

We have been called to “Rise Up”, to come up higher!  God has enabled us to see from His perspective and through Christ Jesus, to participate in heavenly activities.  The Lord is not troubled by our lack because He never runs out of provision.  He is not disturbed about our inadequacies because He is more than enough.  He is not mistaken by choosing us because He uses the weak things to confound the wise.  He is not challenged by our weaknesses because He is full of power and might!  It is time that we, His disciples, trust Him completely, love Him more than anything else, and follow Him wherever He leads us.  To truly serve Him, we must “Rise Up”!

I AM, Part 3 by Larry W Peebles

I AM, Part 3   by   Larry W Peebles   October 6, 2017   17.38

Before I retired, and while I was still in the workforce, I kept a current resume on myself.  If my address, phone number, or place of employment changed, I updated the resume.  If I received a promotion or change of title, it was noted in the resume.  Any significant life event that should be included in a resume was documented in case I had need to quickly present information on myself to any interested party.  I updated the resume more than I needed to, but I was always ready to describe myself and my business credentials.

Jesus did not use a resume to tell the world who he was.  His attributes were beyond description in conventional words and terms.  Information that might appear on a resume today, such as address, phone number, education, work experience, etc. was just not adequate to describe Jesus.  As we discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series (see archives July 28-17.28, and August 11-17.30), when Jesus began to tell the world who He is/was, he used a number of powerful statements that began with the phrase “I AM”.  Seven of these statements are contained in the Book of John, and were covered previously:

  1. I AM the bread of life. John 6:35.
  2. I AM the light of the world. John 8:12.
  3. I AM the gate/door. John 10:9.
  4. I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11.
  5. I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26.
  6. I AM the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6.
  7. I AM the true vine. John 15:1.

John, the disciple and apostle, was very clear (John 20:31) that his purpose in writing the Book of John was “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”  John used Jesus’ own “I AM” statements to tell us who Jesus is/was.  It comes as no surprise that other writings of John also contain the “I AM” statement.  The Book of Revelation was written by John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. At that time, Rome was becoming more of an emperor worship cult, and was growing increasingly less tolerant of the Christian worship of Jesus as Lord.  John was imprisoned on Patmos for his Christian missionary work.  While on the island, he received a series of visions and prophetic words (revelations) from Jesus, which he recorded.

Four times in the Book of Revelation, John quoted Jesus as saying “I AM the Alpha and the Omega”.  These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

  1. Revelation 1:8- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the almighty.”  This speaks to the eternal deity and power of Jesus.  He always was, is and will be.  He was not just present at creation, He is the Creator.  It was His Word and His power that created everything we see and understand as creation.  Colossians 1:16 says- “Everything was created through Him and for Him.”  It all began with Him, it all points to Him, and it will all end with Him.  He has the final say, and He already knows the ending.
  2. Revelation 1: 17-18- “Do not be afraid. I AM the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”  Jesus died for our sins, and rose from the dead.  All life emanates from Him.  He is the source of all life.  He is not only the author of all life, He has the authority over death.  He raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11, and then announced “I AM the resurrection and the life.”  When He was raised from the dead, He took the keys to hell away from the devil.  We do not ever need to be afraid of death.  If we believe in Jesus, death is merely a graduation from this natural existence into our eternal existence with Him.
  3. Revelation 21:6- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”  This is a promise of the free gift of His Holy Spirit, the One who teaches and comforts us, and gives us power to overcome this world.  Jesus made this clear in John 7:39, which says “by this (living water or water of life) he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.”  When He says He will never leave nor forsake us, He guarantees that with the indwelling of His Spirit.
  4. Revelation 22:13- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” This is similar to the three described above.  To use a contemporary phrase, the “circle of life” is Jesus.  He is life, who like a circle, is without beginning or end.  Each person born has always existed in the mind and plan of God, and once born is already on a path of eternal existence, even as a spirit being after their life on earth is done.  The only question that remains is where they will spend that eternal existence—in heaven or in hell.

The prophet Isaiah adds meaning to this discussion with these scriptures written approximately 800 years before the Book of Revelation:

  1. Isaiah 44:6- “This is what the Lord says-Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I AM the first and I AM the last; apart from me there is no God.”
  2. Isaiah 48:12-13- “Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I AM He; I AM the first and I AM the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.”

Consider a contemporary term– the “it” factor.  One either has the desired persona “it factor” or they do not.  “It” may be hard to describe, but one “in the know” will recognize “it” when they see “it”.  “It” is cool, very desirable, and having “it” makes everyone else envious.  Some would say “it” is wit, charm, intellect or suave.  I can say without reservation Jesus is “it”.  He is or should be the ultimate object of our desire, the highest we can achieve.  He is the factor we cannot do without.  His value does not diminish or become worn.  He is the one we want to be like—not someone from Hollywood, politics or sports.

Everything true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) is embodied in Jesus.  Believing in Jesus, following Jesus, and striving to become like Jesus is a serious matter.  It has eternal consequences, but it also has eternal rewards.  He is the beginning, and He is the end.  He is the finishing touch, and an eternity spent with Him should be the medal and ribbon for successfully crossing the finish line of this life.

 

 

It’s Time to Take Dominion Part II Kay Keith Peebles

My last post two weeks ago was “It’s Time to Take Dominion Part I”. In that teaching I noted three directions that can consume our focus/attention, and keep us struggling in the earthly realm, leaving us defeated. They are: Back – looking at our past; Around – being focused on our current circumstances; and Down – being focused on ourselves, our inabilities, insecurities and shortcomings. All of these directions of focus keep us self-centered. The problems created by these three outlooks have no solution in the natural realm. We cannot change our past, our current circumstances are temporary and how we perceive ourselves and our personal limitations will never change until our perspective changes. Our breakthrough does not come in the natural realm, it comes from the Lord. “It’s Time to Take Dominion Part II” will direct our attention to the supernatural realm in which the Kingdom of Heaven functions.

Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray and He responded with a prayer we call “The Lord’s Prayer”. See Matthew 6:9-13. In that prayer He instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We, His church, are not to be wistfully longing for our heavenly home, but actively building His Kingdom here on earth! How do we do this? We consecrate our lives to do His will and not our own. We humble ourselves before the Lord and allow Him to transform our mind, will and emotions into His image. We make disciples who will do the works Christ did and even greater. We seed the atmosphere of the world with the atmosphere of heaven wherever we go. This teaching is meant to draw our attention from the earthly realm to the Kingdom of Heaven where all our answers, power and authority lie.

The Lord’s return is closer now than ever before. The signs Jesus discussed in Matthew 24 point to situations like the ones we are experiencing in the world today. Our modern day culture as well as the increase in many violent storms, earthquakes and destructive natural events are mentioned in Matthew 24:6-14. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

He also said that in the “end times” there would be those completely distracted by their personal lives. Distractions from the enemy will keep many from preparing and looking for the Lord’s return. We must change our perspective if we are to endure to the end. The Lord said when we see those things happening, we are to “look up”!
LOOK UP!

Psalm 121:1-8 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your “keeper”; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul, the LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” (Emphasis mine).

The Lord gave me more revelation on this scripture a few months ago. Faith in Him as my “keeper” has given me great peace, especially when thoughts of fear try to creep into my mind. We do not have the power to keep ourselves safe no matter how hard we try, but the Lord does. We may have limitations, but He does not, therefore, nothing is impossible with God. We may be weak but He is not. All glory and power belongs to Him. We may see in part, but He knows all things and freely gives us all we need to know to be victorious. Jesus is the Word of God and He will back up His Word with all the power and might of heaven. We need to believe what He has said and what He has already done. We must keep our gaze on Him by keeping our eyes looking upward.

We may relate to Jesus more through His humanity but we must look beyond His humanity to see He is the ruling and reigning authority in heaven. He is our resurrected LORD and all the dominion and power in heaven belong to Him. He is sovereign over all the works on earth and that of the devil. Our adoption into His family, and our inheritance in His Kingdom gives us the right to expect His intervention in our lives here on earth as well as the lives of those around us. He desires us to establish His Kingdom here on earth just as it is in heaven. In order for us to have authority in the earth today, our spiritual eyes must see Him as John saw Him on the Island of Patmos.

Revelation 1:10-18 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last’… Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me, and having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’ ”

Revelation 19:11-16 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns, He had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron, the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

When Jesus died, He spoke, “It is finished!” He, by His death and resurrection, had done everything necessary to take back possession of the earthly realm. He left the operation of His Kingdom in our hands. He told us how to bind and loosen the Kingdom of Heaven upon the earth. He told us how to pray and wage spiritual warfare. We were left responsible for making disciples who would walk in the same dominion and authority as the first 12. Like the first Adam, the Lord again charged us to take dominion by enforcing His will and His justice in the earth.

Psalm 24:7-10 “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Our eyes, our ears and our hearts are our gates. We must shift our focus to our resurrected LORD.

Alone, we are helpless and hopeless. When we put our trust in Who He is and What He said, we will walk in victory and we will be able to lead others to victory! He is our strength and He is our hope. When we believe, pray and declare His word, He will back us up with all the power of heaven. He has called us to come out of the world. We are not to operate (live) according to the systems of the world. He has given us a new and living way in which to walk. His Kingdom is governed by a different system of laws, attitudes and actions. He has beckoned us to be transformed into His image so that we can do the works He did. If we are to be completely transformed, we must set our gaze upon Him. He compels us to “Look Up”!

Standing Out In A Crowd by Larry W Peebles

Standing Out In A Crowd   by   Larry W Peebles   September 22, 2017   17.36

I had a feeling he was the one when I saw him standing across the street.  He was tall, distinguished looking, and well dressed.  He could hardly hold back the tears.  In a moment, we would know for certain.  My wife and I were on the final afternoon of three days of street evangelism meetings in a small town in Kenya.  Along with our Kenyan friends, the pastor and worship team from a local church, we had set up on the street corner of a busy transportation station, where taxis (14 passenger vans) were coming and going, moving people from one place to another.  These taxis are the principal means of transportation in this part of Kenya.  Cars are expensive, so if it is too far to walk, people use these taxis.    The traffic in and out of this transfer station is quite busy.  The locals had set up a market here also, selling snacks, drinks, fruit and other merchandise to the travelers coming through.  So it was on this street corner out in the open air we had been preaching the good news of the Gospel of Jesus for three days.

Each day we had drawn a crowd bigger than the day before.  The travelers coming and going, as well as the locals working the booths in the market would stop and listen to the message.  They would join the dancing and singing to the lively worship music.  My wife and I both spoke that last afternoon, and our messages were connected.  The messages were similar in theme not because we had planned it that way, as neither of us knew in advance what the other would say.  The messages were similar because God intended it that way.  He often does that when we both speak in a ministry setting.

I spoke from John 14:6, where Jesus says He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  I was reminding the crowd that when Jesus comes into a new believer’s heart as Savior, He brings real life and truth, and reveals the direction and purpose for that life.  That was when I heard the Lord say He does not come for the crowd, but always for the individual.  The size of the crowd does not matter.  When He looks at the crowd, he sees only the individual.  What I heard in my spiritual ear was so strong I spoke it aloud to the crowd.  I announced that Jesus Himself would be walking into our gathering to receive one soul into His salvation.  At least one person within the sound of my voice would make the decision this very afternoon to invite Jesus into his heart and life to be Savior, Lord, and King.

When we had both finished our messages to the people, we turned the meeting over to the local pastor.  He summarized beautifully, asking if anyone present wished to give their life to Jesus, and begin a new life by making a decision to follow Him.   That was when I saw the one man standing across the street.  He stood out, although he was in the crowd.  His lower lip trembled as he fought back the tears.  When the pastor asked anyone who wanted to make such a decision to step forward, the man broke immediately from the crowd to cross the street.  A large crowd followed.  This man received his salvation, and many others were also saved or touched through prayer.

In my last position before I retired from a career in homebuilding, I was responsible for the entire operation of a Division of a large national homebuilding Company.  One year, that Division delivered 2850 homes in the local market.  That works out as an average of 11 homes per work day that were started, constructed, finished, sold and closed.  Someone asked how we could have possibly built, sold and closed 2850 homes in one year.  My response was quick- one home, one customer at a time.

Jesus works the same way.  He is the Savior of the world.  All of mankind will forever owe a debt of gratitude to Him for His saving work on the cross.  Our very eternal existence with Him in heaven is because He came to earth to pay the price for ours sins so that we can be reconciled to God.  However, He works that salvation one person at a time.  I have seen video of massive meetings in Africa where the crowd, numbered in the millions, came to hear the message of Jesus.  The number of people who came forward to receive salvation was in the hundreds of thousands.  Jesus did not respond to the millions or the hundreds of thousands.  He met each one individually, just as He came for that one man that afternoon in a small town in Kenya.

The man looked healthy and strong, but the tears on his face said his heart was broken.  I do not know if his tears were joy or pain or both.  I do not know his past, or his present situation.  I do know that in that moment of salvation the sins of his past were forgiven and washed away.  The man was given a new life, a second chance, literally a new birth.  Hope and help became available.  The burden of having to carry the weight of one’s own trouble was lifted, and great joy entered into the situation.  Each situation and individual is different, and that is the reason Jesus comes for one person at a time.

Some would say that receiving the initial gift of salvation is only a starting point, and that is true, but it is an important starting point.  Every journey begins with that all- important first step.  There may be memories to deal with, forgiveness to seek from others, and efforts made to break bad habits and behaviors.  Mentoring and study in the word of God will help strengthen the resolve to not go back to old ways.  Prayer will need to become a habit, like talking with a good friend.  Each person is unique, and each salvation experience is unique.  That is why Jesus comes to one at a time to receive His specially created child back home.

On this day, it was more than enough to celebrate one man being born again into a new life of following Jesus.  While much can be said about the process of salvation, here are five things to remember about what commonly happens when a life is turned over to Jesus:

  1. We are a new creation. When Jesus becomes the Lord and Savior of our lives, we are born again.  2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.  The old has gone, the new is here!”
  2. We are free from past sins. Romans 8:2- “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  The Bible says our sins are removed from us “as far as the east is from the west.”
  3. We are redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:7- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
  4. We are not only free from sin, we are made righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21- “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
  5. We are alive in Christ. Ephesians 2:4-5- “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”  What we formerly considered living was merely the dead walking.  We move from being dead in sin to a new life in Christ.

Not only did the one man stand out in the crowd, but according to Luke 15:7, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”  All of heaven danced and celebrated to the music along with us because of that one man’s decision that day in a small town in Kenya.  Something outstanding happened- a man’s life was changed forever.  That, my friends, is priceless.

It’s Time to Take Dominion Part I Kay Keith Peebles

Our victory or loss will be determined by where we focus our attention. The enemy tries to turn our focus in every direction except the one of victory: our past (back), our current circumstances (around us), and our inabilities/insecurities (down).

Looking Back-The Lord called Lot and his family out of Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed it. An angel told them not to look back. Genesis 19:17 “So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Lot’s wife did not heed the warning. She looked back unable to leave the past behind her and she turned into a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26. Our past cannot help us and we must not let it haunt us.

The Israelites looked back at Egypt when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai for 40 days. They quickly discarded their deliverance the Lord had given them and began to worship the gods of Egypt. Many died in the wilderness because they could not see what the Lord was doing. Instead, they chose to look backward. Exodus 32:31-35 “Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.’ So the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.” There is nothing in Egypt (the world) we need, nothing that can help us and nothing to desire.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” We cannot go back and correct our past mistakes. We cannot change the choices we made or the damage we left behind other than asking for forgiveness. Our past is unchangeable and some aspects of it will affect us the rest of our lives. When we repent to God and ask forgiveness from those we hurt, we are then free from our connection to the past. One of the most important things we can do is to also forgive ourselves for the mistakes we made. Once we do all of those things, we are in a position to pull down the devil’s reminders to us with power and authority from God. Our past does not have the power to continue to haunt us unless we allow it.

One of the most powerful scriptures we have been given is our greatest tool of warfare against our past mistakes, 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Looking Around – Our circumstances are in the earthly realm. If we stay focused upon what is going on around us, we will lose sight of what God is doing. Romans 8:5-9a “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…”

Problems are either initiated by the devil, others or ourselves. Life in itself can create problems. When problems occur, they are evidence of something that is amiss. The “evidence” of a problem is at the surface level, but the cause of the problem is something greater that is hidden. The enemy always tries to make us set blame by looking at the “circumstantial” evidence hoping to keep us from attending to the true problem which is the root cause. Unless we cut off the root, the problem will continue to re-produce itself over and over again. Generational curses are passed down because one generation did not deal with the root causes. The majority of our problems are spiritual, not physical.

Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We will never find the answers we need by looking around at our circumstances. Defeat will always be the result when our focus is in the wrong direction.

Looking Down – Placing our focus on our inabilities, our unworthiness, or our weaknesses will keep our eyes looking down into the depths of defeat. Sometimes we think that when we focus on our inabilities we are being humble. The reality is, we are in pride. Humility is believing what God says we can do! We are also in pride when we focus on who others say we are whether good or bad. True humility is believing we are who God says we are! Psalm 8:4-6 “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower that the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.”

1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence, But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.’”

When we are self-focused, we are self-absorbed. We do not have the personal power to resolve our problems that are spiritual. We lack the wisdom to fix everything that is wrong in our lives and we remain in a cycle of defeat. When we become God focused, we are God-absorbed. A God focus is full of faith. Faith makes the impossible possible. It knows the power required is not only accessible, it’s more than enough. It believes the supply required will come in abundance. It understands that in our weakness He is strong, in our inabilities, He is more than able. Whatever help we need is found in Him. There is therefore no climate of lack in any area at any time!

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The result of simply changing our focus transitions us from looking to ourselves to find and fix all our problems to looking up and living in Him. Acts 17:28 “for in Him we live and move and have our being.” The Lord is coming back. Our focus must be on Him, His plans and His purposes. In order to be positioned to be used by the Lord, we must remember that all we know here will soon be gone. The only thing eternal is His Kingdom and those who truly call Him Lord. We must not allow the distractions all around us to miss the event of a lifetime, of all eternity! We can only take dominion by looking up!

Who Am I by Larry W Peebles

Who Am I   by   Larry W Peebles   September 8, 2017   17.34

This is not a riddle.  It is a simple but profound question.  In the “I AM” series, Parts 1 and 2 (July 28 and August 11 in the archives of this website), Jesus answered the question of who He eternally was/is/will be.  He did it without presenting a resume of His name, address, and contact information.  He offered no background information such as education or job related experience.  He did not submit information on past positions and titles held.  There was no offer of character references for anyone to check.  Better than any resume could, He answered any and all questions concerning His true identity in the seven I AM statements recorded in the Book of John.

The beauty of what He said not only successfully and completely told who He was, it also answered a number of other questions that mankind has debated since creation.  These are deep and thought-provoking questions such as “What is truth?”, “What is the purpose of life?”, “Why do I exist?”, and “Is there life after death?”  When Jesus spoke the seven I AM statements, he identified Himself and answered all these questions with such wisdom that a resume could have never explained.

Another of those age-old questions is the question of “Who am I?” Just as Jesus answered the question of who He is, so God also tells us who we are.  We can set aside the normal resume-type questions of where we were born, current address and contact info, education, accomplishments or job experience, hobbies, and goals and plans.  We will not need personality or intelligence tests.  To know the answer to the question “Who am I?”, we should go to the real authority.  We should turn to words spoken by God, as contained in His written word, as His words have power.  Let’s consult with the One who made us to see what He said about us.

I have chosen twenty topics where God has spoken about us.  The list is by no means exhaustive.  These Scriptures are worth reading over and over again until our minds and spirits are renewed with what He says about us as believers.  We must drive out of our minds what others have said, together with what we may have begun to believe about ourselves.

1. God is our loving Father. Matthew 6:26- “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much better than they?”  Jesus said in John 16:27-28- “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God.”  I John 4:8- “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  Then consider Romans 8: 15- “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out ‘Abba (Daddy) Father’”.
2. God loves me. Romans 5:8- “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
3. We can come boldly and confidently to our Father through our faith in Christ. Ephesians 3:12.
4. We are God’s children. John 1:12- “Yet to all who did receive Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
5. If we are children, then we are also heirs. Romans 8:17- “Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”  Also, Galatians 4:7- “So you are no longer a slave (to sin), but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
6. Jesus calls us friend. John 15:15- “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I call you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I Have made known to you.”
7. We are the temple of God. He lives in us.  1 Corinthians 6:19- “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
8. We are a new creation. When Jesus becomes the Lord and Savior of our lives, we are born again.  2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.  The old has gone, the new is here!”
9. I am free from my past sins. Romans 8:2- “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
10. I am redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:7- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
11. I am not only free from sin, I am made righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21- “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
12. I am alive in Christ. Ephesians 2:4-5- “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”
13. I can be triumphant. 2 Corinthians 2:14- “Now thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.”
14. I am more than a conqueror. Romans 8:37- “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
15. I am blessed with spiritual blessings. Ephesians 1:3- “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.”
16. My needs are supplied. Philippians 4:19- “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
17. I am a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20- “But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savor from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
18. I am an ambassador for Christ. Not only am I the son of a King, I am an ambassador.  2 Corinthians 5:20- “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
19. I am seated in heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6- “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
20. I have nothing to fear. 2 Chronicles 20:15- “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”’

These Scriptures contain the truth of what God has said about you and me.  He cannot lie because His words contain creative power.  If He said it, it is!  If He looked at a white wall and said the wall is green, it would not be a lie.  As soon as he said the wall is green, it would be green.  I encourage you to read these Scriptures for your own encouragement, and to realize the position and authority we have been given in Christ.  We are His children.  He thinks highly of us.

THE ALL-SUFFICIENT ONE Kay Keith Peebles

I grew up in an area called tornado alley. The first tornado I remember happened when I was in the eighth or ninth grade. The entire school was in the gymnasium and our choir, including me, was standing on risers singing our annual Easter program. The students were sitting on pull-out benches which rose like stairs to the height of the windows near the top of the gym. The windows were open because there was no air conditioning and it was a hot sultry day. Halfway into our program the windows began to bang violently against the metal frames. We heard a roar sounding like a huge freight train go over our building. Everyone froze where they were not knowing what was happening.
After the storm ended we lined up to go back to our classrooms. The room where I would have been was filled with mud and glass. Our projects which were left on our desks were scattered all over the floor making a huge mess. I realized we could have been seriously injured by flying glass or possibly killed, had we been in our original classrooms during the storm. We were told later that a postman was delivering the mail outside our school at the time of the tornado. He saw the funnel cloud coming. It flipped over his truck but he was not seriously injured. He had seen the tornado jump over our building doing very little damage to it. A few miles away the same funnel cloud tore off the roof of another school. The tornados we experienced in north central Texas were much more dangerous than those in Florida where we were living at the time of my next tornado story.
It all started when my husband was out of town a few days for quarterly business meetings. Our children were away in college and I was home alone. I didn’t mind having a couple of days to myself every now and then. I would usually plan a special project around the house on which to focus, in order to pass the time. During the summer months we would have rain storms blow through during the afternoon heat. Sometimes a tropical storm or hurricane would spin off tornados that were usually short lived. I was watching the news that evening and saw a weather report that storms were coming through later that night. They warned that a storm system could spawn a tornado in our area. I finished my chores, watched some TV in bed and heard the winds begin to pick up in intensity.
I was tired and ready to go to sleep. I checked the weather reports which brought no immediate cause for alarm. Before I drifted off, I decided to pray for my family and the possible storms that night. I prayed that the Lord would surround our yard with angels, I would be completely safe and that there would be no damage to our roof or our home. Our back yard had a large screen over the patio behind the house and we had a wooden fence around the entire lot. I prayed our fence would not be damaged nor the lanai screen connected to the house. I then drifted off to sleep.
The next morning while checking the news I learned that a tornado had done damage in our area. The same system hit a town 45 minutes away where it also did damage. I immediately walked around our yard to check for any problems. The only thing I saw out of order, was one large tree limb that had broken off in the wind. It had been caught by other branches which kept it from crashing into our lanai screen. It was evident the strong storm had come through but we had been completely protected. There was tornado damage around our area but it did not affect our yard. I rejoiced in the Lord’s protection of me and our home.
Six months later, I was watching an evangelist on TV who lived in our area. He was giving a testimony about his elderly mother who lived in that town 45 minutes away where the tornado had hit. He said that when the storm intensified, she prayed asking the Lord to spare her life, her rocking chair and her Bible. He was rejoicing that although her house was destroyed, the Lord had protected her life, her rocking chair and her Bible. Everything she had asked for was spared. I was rejoicing with him but I was puzzled about the difference in our outcomes. I knew that the Lord was no respecter of persons, to Him we were all equally loved and cared for. I asked why He protected all of my house and belongings and this wonderful woman of God lost her house. His answer to me was profound. He said, “I gave you each exactly what you had prayed.” Stunned, that began to motivate me to pray BIG prayers!
For years I have been studying the names of God. Each name is a glimpse into His character. One of my favorite names of God is El Shaddai – the All-Sufficient One. Scripture draws a picture of an animal nursing their young. There are enough breasts or teats to meet the need. No one would lack what they needed to survive and thrive. They would all be nurtured or sustained, and no one would be left out! It gives a portrayal of no lack, no want, more than enough, the All-Sufficient One! The name El Shaddai also means the All-Powerful One, all Sovereign One. His power transcends nature, the power of any earthly king or kingdom and all of the demonic realm.
The Lord God revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai. He did so because Abraham needed to know that the God who promised a child through him and Sarah at an old age was capable of fulfilling His promise. Abraham also needed to know that the God who promised to him all the land he could see as his possession was able to deliver. He needed to believe that God was able to perform his promise that his descendants would be as great in number as the stars in the heavens or the grains of sand on the seashore. Why? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. See Hebrews 11:1.
El Shaddai is sufficient within Himself to do anything He desires, says, promises or declares. The power of Almighty God, El Shaddai is more than enough to make every promise come to pass. He has no limitations. Many consider El Shaddai a connection to the “blessing” and “favor” of the Lord. Because He is All-Powerful and All-Sufficient, He is able to bless His people no matter their circumstances. The blessing of God does not require perfect circumstances in the natural realm. It requires faith in the One who provides the blessing and obedience to His word.
Isaac blessed Jacob as he left to find a wife. “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you until you become a group of peoples. May He give the blessing [He gave to] Abraham to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land He gave to Abraham, in which you are a sojourner.” Genesis 28:3-4.
The Lord God Himself spoke to Jacob in Genesis 35:11-12. “And God said to him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock; the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and to your descendants after I will give the land.”
We are a part of the seed of Abraham. We share in his blessings. His provision never ran out, he never lacked anything. He believed the word of the Lord and in His power to fulfill it. “For my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.
Psalm 91:1 declares, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].” “I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.” Psalm 37:25-26.
“And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor, His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever. And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness and charity].” 2 Corinthians 9:8-10.
“Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits.” Psalms 68:19. “The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 28:8.
If we believe in the provision, sufficiency and power of El Shaddai, we will never fear that we will lack anything we need. When we trust in His care for His children, we will know that He is working for our good and He will never run out of supplies. God does not have to rob one of His children to take care of another. There is more than enough to go around and there will be left-overs in addition! Wherever we are lacking, we can ask for the provision of El Shaddai: spiritual, physical/healing, wisdom, and material needs.
“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.” Psalm 103:1-5. He’s the All-Sufficient One, He is more than enough. He is El Shaddai!

Thoughts on Leadership, Part 6 by Larry W Peebles

Thoughts on Leadership, Part 6   by   Larry W Peebles   August 25, 2017   17.32

It was another typical workday.  The line formed at my office door early in the morning, and continued non-stop until late afternoon.  I was the Division President of a national home building company, and one-by-one the front-line operations managers of the Division came to talk with me.  They might have questions regarding customers.  They might have unusual problems regarding construction.  They might want to discuss strategy regarding sales.  They might have a new solution, and were just looking for someone to listen.  In between these meetings, I had to take calls from my boss, and of course home office.  These calls usually dealt with high level corporate plans or directives.  The call might involve an update on Division performance versus budget, something the stock analysts were always interested in knowing.  By late afternoon, the calls and line at my door had diminished, and I could actually begin to work on some of my own individual responsibilities or assignments.  This would mean I could not finish before 6-7 pm, which would be another 10 hour day.

We set operating policies for the Division that covered 98% of the problems and questions that arose.  We met face to face to resolve any other issues that did not fit the guidelines.  We were entrusted to set the policies, and we were responsible to deal with the exceptions.  These meetings were vital for a number of reasons.  First, we talked until we agreed on the solution.  Second, I knew what was happening in the Division, and knew where we were having problems.  Third, once the issue was resolved, we were all moving forward again in unity.  Fourth, everyone involved had input.  Although my separate responsibilities had to step back until another’s problems were resolved, I never considered this an undue burden.  One of my major responsibilities was to serve the other members of the team in this fashion.  General Bruce C. Clarke, USA, Ret., said “Rank is given you to enable you to better serve those above you and below you.  It is not given for you to practice your idiosyncrasies.”  A good leader in the military is interested in serving those above and below in rank, and puts that as a priority above self.

I did not realize it at the time, but the Bible has a name for this—it is called servanthood.  Servanthood is the gift of doing for others, sometimes to the exclusion of meeting personal needs.  True leadership is servanthood, and the greatest leader of all time is Jesus Christ.  In only three years, He reintroduced and reconciled mankind to their loving Creator God, using only twelve disciples.  He did so in a way that would never fade away.  More books have been written, songs sung, pictures painted, and thoughts discussed concerning Jesus than anyone else in human history.  He changed the world forever.  He solved problems, connected with people, sought high-level commitments, wisely communicated, and passionately inspired like no other leader has ever done before or since.

Servanthood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:6-7)  Speaking of rank, Jesus also said “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”  (Mark 9:35)  The five words in the New Testament translated “ministry” generally refer to servanthood or service given in love.  If we want to minister to God, or minister in the name of Jesus to others, we must take on the role and attitude of a servant.  Jesus said “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)  All believers are called to ministry (Matthew 28:18-20), and therefore we are all called to be servants for the glory of God.

Our love for God will be expressed in our love for others.  “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”  (2 Corinthians 4:5)  Our servanthood or acts of service are not based on obligation, duty or habit.  If they are, they become mindless, meaningless, and resentful.  Rather, they are genuinely based on love and gratitude for the love and grace of God, who He is, and what He has done for us.  Acts of service are not to be confused with “works”, which cannot save us.  True faith in Jesus will both save us and produce action in the form of service to others (James 2:17), but the action of service is produced out of the overflow of the believer’s heart.  1 Peter 4:10 says- “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

My wife and I attend a small non-denominational Pentecostal church in the Atlanta area.  We have attended several very good churches in the past, and I do not want to get into comparing churches because each has its own gifts, strengths and purpose.  Although this is not its only strength, our current church may be the strongest we have ever seen in the area of servanthood.  The attitude of servanthood is led by the Pastor, who sets the example by serving in so many ways.  He has an amazing gift of music and worship, and serves by sharing that gift each week as he leads the congregation into true worship of the Lord.  He also has a practical gift of helping others who need a hand, and the church has seen that multiply into a body of believers that are continually helping each other.  This might involve moving someone from one location to another, lending or buying cars, lending or giving money, and renting or giving an extra room or basement to someone in need.  Members of the body are willing to serve with not-so-light construction remodeling work, car repairs, computer repairs, and baby-sitting, just to name a few.  There a number of well qualified Bible teachers in the body, and they serve by teaching the Word of God in a variety of settings such as small groups and one-on-one. No church is perfect, but this church does a commendable job of serving one another to meet the needs of the body of Christ.  I know of no one who keeps track of how much they have served, nor who expects anything in return.  The attitude throughout the church is if one sees another in need, make an attempt to meet it.  Everyone can do something.  Everyone can lead by serving.

 

I conclude with these three Scriptures on servanthood:

  1. Colossians 3:23-24- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
  2. Matthew 20:26- “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
  3. John 15:12-13- “My command is this: Love each other as I loved you. Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for one’s friends.”

The greatest leader the world has ever seen is Jesus, and He set the example as a servant/leader.  Servanthood may not be the first quality the world thinks of when naming characteristics of great leaders.  Jesus made it clear that this should be our mindset.  The prophet Isaiah wrote “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Restoration Kay Keith Peebles


The transformation was amazing. I loved refinishing antique furniture. My husband’s uncle taught us how to refinish furniture when we were newly married. He had made a business of furniture restoration and wanted to pass his knowledge on to us. We learned how to turn tired or damaged furniture into beautiful new treasures. I was able to find many wonderful pieces for pennies on the dollar at garage sales, and restore them into beautiful treasures for our home and for others.
One of my projects was a solid wood golden oak pedestal dining table from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It was round, seating 4-6 people but had two extensions which enabled it to seat eight to ten people. It was shrouded in 5 layers of paint varying from grey, white and tan to bright green. I bought it for $10 at a neighbor’s garage sale. I knew what was beneath the ugly exterior and offered additional money for the table but she refused to charge more than $10. Many people may have overlooked that table unable to see its true beauty and lasting value. The golden oak, which is a hard wood, will last for centuries if cared for properly.
Restoration was a four stage process which began with a caustic paint stripper. The liquid stripper would cut through multiple layers of old paint or varnish. Thick gloves were needed to protect the hands while goggles protected the eyes from splatters. Accidental encounters with the skin would cause intense burning and require a trip to the sink to wash off the fiery goo. The paint stripper would seep into cracks and crevices of the carved detailed areas which made removing it easier and more effective. It was exciting to see the beautiful grains and the color of the pure wood reappear before my eyes.
The second stage was sanding. A good sanding ensured a smooth finished surface upon which the stain would be applied. Some pieces required a rough sanding at first, to level out chipped or scarred places causing them to almost disappear. Fine sandpaper was used to smooth and polish the top layer. The ugly nicks became beautiful. Stage three was staining. The purpose of restoration was to bring the broken or damaged furniture back to its original state. Staining made the wood grain pop with color and restored its beauty. The furniture piece came back to life! There was some oil in the stain which would penetrate below the surface reviving the dry neglected wood. The fourth and final step was hand rubbing tung oil over the entire piece for a smooth semi-gloss or satin finish. The hand rubbing would generate heat which caused the oil to penetrate into the wood grain. Several coats were applied for healing and protection of the wood. It would then harden to shield the furniture from damage and give it a deep sheen. Once restored, the furniture was worthy of being displayed in a prominent place. We used that table for many years and eventually sold it for much more that I had paid when I purchased it.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s commandment forbidding them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, they caused destruction in the earth, the plant and animal kingdoms, and everything living. Satan, who had deceived them, was given the right to have the dominion over the earth which God had given to Adam and Eve. The curses of sin and death were activated and have since had a terrible effect on every living thing. The nature and heart of mankind became sinful and as a result, every human being that has lived on earth became broken or damaged and in need of restoration. Jesus came to restore everything back to its original state as God created it. Restoration began with His ministry on earth and has continued as mankind repented of their sins and believed in the power of His death and resurrection. Believers have been set free from the laws of sin and death and God’s restoration is available to all who will seek Him. When the Lord returns at the end of the age, He will restore everything completely.

Physical and emotional abuse, sickness and disease, immorality, fear and depression are a few of the consequences the choices of sinful man have caused. God’s love found a way to restore all who would come to Him and allow Him to heal their wounds. Isaiah Chapter 61 explains the plan of God to send the Restorer Jesus to His people. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me to bring good news to the humble and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted, and to proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance and retribution of our God, to comfort all who mourn…(to give) the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit…” Isaiah 61:1-3. (See entire Chapter). Emphasis mine.
How does the Lord heal and restore us and what is our responsibility in the process? Once we are born again into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, the restoration process begins. Those who earnestly seek the Lord’s presence and willingly submit to the Lord’s discipline and cleansing process will experience the Fire of God. This Holy heat is what the Apostles experienced on the day of Pentecost. “And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each of them.” Acts 2:3. Jesus charged them to wait there and pray until the Holy Spirit came. Like the piece of furniture that was restored, we can do nothing but seek Him and surrender, allowing the Holy Spirit to come and transform our lives into the likeness of Christ.
The men and women in the Upper Room were totally changed, transformed by the fire of God. Fire burns off the useless, damaged surface debris while it cleanses and purifies from decay and bacteria. The Fire of God has the same effect on the heart and mind of man. It exposes and burns off our sin while giving us the desire and the empowerment to be holy. The Lord first appeared to Moses as a burning bush, and to the Israelites as a mountain of fire. (See Deuteronomy 4:9-13). “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined and will test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will hear and answer them. I will say, The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:9. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings of righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3. The fire of God is connected to His holiness. Fire at its hottest point burns a blue-white flame and purifies everything in its path. We must not be afraid of the fire of God. His fire comes to purify our hearts and make us more like Him. We need to run to His fire and ask Him to purify our hearts. What isn’t purified will be judged, but those who allow the Lord to cleanse and purify them will have pure hearts. It is the pure in heart that will see God. (See Matthew 5:8).
The Lord places us in the church, which is the body of Christ, where we can be sanded and smoothed by “rubbing against” our brothers and sisters in the Lord. “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].” Proverbs 27:17. We need each other. Our brother or sister in the Lord may be the very one the Lord uses to bring us our breakthrough! We need the correction of the body of Christ and we need the intercession of our fellow believers to make it through. We also need their encouragement when we become weary and tired of the journey. “Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].” Galatians 6:2. The Lord uses our fellow believers to “sand off” our rough edges making us smooth.
When we are in the transformation process, the Lord put’s His “mark” on us figuratively and literally. “Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace.” Psalms 37:37. This “mark” means to observe or take notice of the man who is blameless. There is something observable about his actions and attitudes that indicate His love and obedience to the Lord. “And the Lord said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in the midst of it…but do not touch or go near anyone on whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary…” Ezekiel 9:4, 6. The Lord puts His mark or impression of Himself upon those who seek Him and uphold His righteousness. We not only become like Him, we become one with Him. (See John 17). The stain applied to the piece of furniture causes one to notice the beauty within. The mark of God on the righteous causes others to see the beauty of the presence of the Lord in those who love and obey Him.
The oil of the Holy Spirit restores and protects the believer from the attacks of the enemy. It penetrates below the surface sealing and bonding to the faithful of God. It makes them resilient to attack and strong enough to persevere through the challenges of life. It ensures victory. Everyone who is broken can come to the Restorer and be made whole again. Every ugly sin and the scars it leaves can be healed and made beautiful. The Lord has promised beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the Spirit of heaviness and a double portion for all that was lost. There is no need to fear His restoration process because His goal is to make us new again. Restoration is an act of love and mercy. Restoration is vital to the body of Christ. We become made new in the likeness of His image. Wholeness comes through Restoration.