The Test Of Faith Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

I have often been amazed at the testimonies of people who walked in great faith.  My first introduction to faith in action came when I read Corrie ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place”.  She was Dutch, and very blessed to grow up in a strong Christian family.  Her life was much like the story of Ann Frank.   Corrie’s family hid several Jewish people from the Nazis during World War II when they invaded her homeland.  Her mother had died a few years before they were discovered by the SS.  In 1944 Corrie age 52, her father age 82, and sister Betsie age 59 were arrested for protecting many Jewish people.  Once arrested, Corrie and her sister were separated from her father.  Corrie and Betsie were eventually sent to Vught concentration camp.  Corrie’s older sister died while living in the camp.  Corrie survived the horrors of a Nazi concentration prison, but she did not come out of that death camp bitter.  She was full of the love of God and still possessed a strong faith in Him.  She spent the rest of her life as a missionary traveling from country to country.  Many of the nations she visited were under strong communist control, but she would testify of Jesus’ love wherever she went.  Years after her rescue, Corrie was ministering at a church in Munich Germany.  A man came up to Corrie at the end of the service “as the church was emptying”.  Although he was much older since Corrie had last seen the man, she recognized his hardened and deeply lined face.  He was one of the SS guards at the Nazi processing center at Ravensbruck where she, her father and Betsie had been processed.  He was in charge of overseeing them and had stood over them mocking them as they had showered.  He had been in the service and heard her message of forgiveness.  He came up to shake her hand not knowing who she was, but Corrie recognized him. A rush of feelings swelled up inside her, pictures flooded her mind.  She walked slowly toward the man she had hated and extended her hand. Instead of the hatred she felt inside, God’s love and forgiveness met him and welcomed him into the family.  The greatest miracle of her faith in God was the fact that she remained faithful to God, and loved Him even more, having gone through so much pain and suffering!   Her book is her testimony of His great love for her and how He carried her through that horrific trial.

The teachings of Jesus challenge us to walk by faith.  Faith is the seed that produces miracles.   The book of Matthew quotes Jesus’ analogy of a grain of mustard seed to describe mountain moving faith.  The story begins soon after Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor.  Jesus and His disciples came off the mountain and approached a multitude of people that had gathered nearby.  Among the people assembled, there was a man with his young son.  The son was bound by a demon that threw him into the fire and into water.  He was terribly tormented by this overpowering demon who wanted to kill him.  The man explained he had asked Jesus’ disciples to pray for his son to be set free, but nothing happened.  Jesus’ rebuked his disciples and delivered the young man.  (See Matthew 17:14-20).  The disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the demon.  Jesus responded to their question, “because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust].  For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”  Matthew 17:20.

Jesus was ministering to the Jewish people in Israel who were religious, but they were so out of touch with Jehovah God, they didn’t recognize their Messiah when Jesus spoke to them.  Wherever Jesus went, miracles abounded.  The Jewish leaders witnessed the miracles Jesus accomplished, and yet they still did not believe.  Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for almost three years at the time of this story.  He was preparing them for His death and resurrection which would soon take place.  Jesus would shortly be leaving to His disciples the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom.   Those who received the Holy Spirit and fire at Pentecost had witnessed His death and resurrection.  Even Thomas finally got victory over his doubts.

One only needs to go to a developing country on a mission trip to realize the world is still in need of healing and deliverance from demons.  There are many nations in the world that have inadequate hospitals, people living with unclean water, extreme poverty and improper diets.  I have also witnessed several victims of witchcraft.  Curses witchdoctors placed upon them caused some to fall unconscious into trances.  Other demonic manifestations such as sickness or fear tormented their lives regularly.  Their only help and hope was Jesus.  I saw a man in Cuba writhing on the floor in an epileptic seizure rise up healed by the power of God.  I heard the people praying for him.  They knew the same Jesus in the Bible was there to help that man in his hour of need.  Their prayers of faith were placed in Jesus’ power and His name.  The encounter with God that man experienced changed his life.  He was instantly set free and he gave his heart to Jesus.  While in Kenya we saw a man who was like the man from Gerasenes.  He was out of his mind, he mumbled unintelligible words and his hair was filthy and matted from a lack of cleanliness.  He was delivered of demon possession and restored to a sound mind by the power of Jesus’ name.  (See Luke 8:27-36).  I could fill a book with testimonies of Jesus still healing and delivering people today, but the Bible is more than enough for us to believe!

What does it take to walk in faith that moves mountains?  I believe much of what we call faith is merely head knowledge.  Faith is not something we can conjure up, it is simply believing what Jesus said and did.  When we believe, we will act upon that belief and that is faith.  It only takes one powerful answer to our prayer for us to begin to see He means what He said.  Over time, when God answers our prayers more consistently, it propels our faith to another level.  One doesn’t necessarily have faith for everything.  More often, our faith grows in the area where we have personally received healing and breakthrough.  Our testimony then becomes anointed with faith so that others can receive from the Lord as we did.

Our faith is only as strong as our knowledge of Him.  With every new revelation of God, more faith is endowed to the seeker.  Faith is a gift from the Lord but it comes through hearing His word.  “So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ”.  Romans 10:17.  The Bible tells us that creation speaks to us the glory of God.  The Bible itself speaks to us and so does the Holy Spirit.  Preachers speak to us as do friends, leaders and acquaintances.  We can research our questions about God on the internet or in books, but it is our responsibility to know the Word of God so that we can discern His truth for ourselves.

True faith is deposited in the heart, which is the throne of our belief system.  We can hear a Bible truth and accept it in our intellect, but it does not become faith until it drops into our heart.  I have experienced personally and witnessed someone hear a word of truth and instantly the Holy Spirit quickened that word into faith!  More often, faith grows as we read the Bible, pray and seek the Lord on a regular basis.  I read the Bible daily and I will go through the entire Bible in less than a year.  I can’t even count how many times I have read through the Bible in the 37 years I have been a Christian, but the Lord is still illuminating  scriptures to me so that I understand as I never had before.  Faith begins to take off at that moment.  When a truth becomes faith in our heart, it has the anointing and power of God to manifest in our lives.  “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”  Hebrews 11:1.

Wherever we have a weakness in our belief system, we can turn head knowledge into faith by concentrating our Bible study to target those areas.  Over time, when our faith is put into practice, we will begin to experience our faith in Him manifesting as we pray and believe.  The more we practice, the greater the results.  Faith internally was meant to translate outwardly through results!  Jesus freely gave away everything He had and so must we.  That which the Lord places in us is also meant to be shared with others.

Below are some principles of faith which have helped me over the years.

Facts (information including scripture) can be simply head knowledge.

Faith comes from knowledge/understanding in the heart when the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us.

Faith grows with our knowledge/understanding of the Lord and His ways.

Faith must have application through works to manifest:  through prayer, declarations, preaching or the laying on of hands ministry.

Faith will not be permanent unless it is fed regularly through study and applied practice.  It is like every other gift or ability, if it isn’t used, it will fade away.

Our passion to know God propels us to consistently seek the Lord, making our pursuit of Him our highest priority.  Years ago as a young mother, I struggled to protect my time with the Lord.  Many things were vying for my attention.  He made it very clear in a gracious way if I wanted to be a better wife, mother or friend I needed to spend time with Him daily.  Each area of my life became more loving and understanding as I changed through spending time in His presence.  The words the Lord spoke to me were a graceful warning of how easily we can become complacent if we do not consciously and daily seek the Lord.  It is through that discipline that my faith has grown.

Faith confronts doubt at the threshold of our heart by motivating us to seek and continue seeking Him with excitement and full expectation that we will find Him.  We will never fully know Him while on earth, but every revelation He gives us draws us closer to Him as we become more like Him.  Faith is a gift from God. When we ask for it, He will gladly give it and when He asks us to step out it faith, we will pass the test!

Dig A Well by Larry W. Peebles

Dig A Well   by   Larry W Peebles   February 10, 2017   17.04

There are many things we take for granted.  Clean water on demand at the hydrant is one of them.  Many people in this world do not have that necessity.  As a result, a very large percentage of the world’s diseases and infant deaths are related to the absence of clean water and sanitation.

I remember as a boy drinking water from my grandpa’s well on his farm.  My grandpa’s father (my great grandfather) legally migrated to the U.S. from Germany, bought that farm, and lived and raised a family on it.  He dug that well. My grandpa was born on that farm, lived his whole life there, and ultimately died there.  I remember drinking the water from the well–it was cool and clear, and tasted sweet.  I also remember the wooden bucket from the well, the hand pump, and the sound of my echo when I shouted down the well.  There was a wash stand and bowl on the back porch of the house where the well water was used to wash up after chores on the farm.  Grandma used the well water in cooking, and her washtub was filled from the well for washing clothes and bathing kids.  At one point, Grandpa dug a new well, wired an electric pump, and piped the water into the house.  He put a sink with running water in the kitchen, and built a bathroom in the house.  Grandma eventually bought a washing machine.  The water did not taste the same, but it was much more convenient to use.  Life on that farm would have been impossible without water.  In fact, all living things require water.  Humans can only live about three days without water.

The U.S. based ministry I traveled with to India had helped sponsor the digging of two wells by the local ministry we had gone to serve.  We were asked to attend the dedication of the two wells.  The first was a location next to a highway which ran through a small town.  The well was placed in proximity to where the highway crossed a river.  The river provided a source of water during the rainy season, but could also be dry other times of the year.  The well tapped into the deep water in the area.  Given its location, it could be easily found and accessed by all who passed by.  We were told there were 100 families who lived in the surrounding area outside the town who had no water supply at all.  Although they would have to walk some distance, they now had a water supply.  Many came to the well dedication, and we were showered with flower petals upon our arrival.  There were no restrictions on the water usage.  All religions, all sects, and all who were thirsty could use the well.  We only asked that all would join together to keep the well protected from those who might sabotage it.

The second well was located in the interior of a small village that had no water source except a distant river.  We arrived after dark to dedicate that well.  There was no light.  When we arrived and piled out of our vehicles in the dark, we saw candles being lit one by one.  The people of the village had lined the path to the well, and each lit a candle and passed the fire to the person next to them.  Great singing and shouting was accompanied by the beating of drums, and we walked the candle-lit path to the well.  As we walked, the crowd fell in behind until all were gathered at the well.  We were again showered by flowers.  This village also had about one hundred families who for the first time had a reliable source for clean water.  The whole experience was so humbling, as it was about appreciation for something we take for granted—clean water readily available.

Even as I write this article, ministry friends are digging a well in a small village near Emali in southeastern Kenya.  After months of planning and fund raising, days of waiting for the arrival of the drilling rig, and hours of drilling, they hit an underground river that gushed water.  They sent pictures of the dancing and rejoicing, with everyone laughing and getting wet.  The most telling picture might be that of two girls from the village who will now be able to go to school instead of hauling water long distance every day for their families.  Their lives, and those of the whole village, will be changed forever once they encountered their own source of life-giving water.

This is not an all-inclusive discussion, but here are four things water does:

  1. Water quenches thirst. Thirst is a protective body response originating in the brain that signals cells (and eventually organs) are starting to cry out for moisture to replenish the water lost in the functioning of the body.  Thirst is a signal that something vital is missing.  Without water for three to seven days, the organs of the body will begin to shut down, resulting in death.  Jesus, by whom and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16) describes Himself as “living water” in John 4:10, and says in John 4:13-14—“Everyone who drinks this water [mere well water] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [Emphasis mine.]
  2. Water refreshes. Water refreshes the cells of the body, as described above, but it also refreshes by applying to the skin.  Warm water opens the pores of the skin, cold water closes the pores.  Warm water might cause the muscles of the body to relax and bring sleep if that is the type of refreshing needed; cold water might force the body to come awake to generate needed heat, and that feeling of general alertness can be refreshing.  Isaiah 44:3 says—“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants.”  Jeremiah 31:25 says—“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”  Finally, Revelation 22:17 says—“The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come’, and let him who hears say ‘Come”.  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  The refreshing that the living water Jesus brings is free.
  3. Water cleanses. Water is the number one cleansing agent in the world.  Think of how many things can be cleaned using only water.  It literally washes away dirt and contaminants.  Soaps and detergents used in conjunction with water might do a better job, clean faster, or leave a fragrant smell.  However, when soap is not available, water alone will often do the job.  Ezekiel 36: 25, 26 says—“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities, and from your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Paul writes in Ephesians 5: 25-27–“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
  4. Water provides power. Water seeks its own level.  Specifically, it responds to the pull of gravity downhill to seek sea level.  Water also carries weight, so depending on the volume, the movement toward sea level can generate considerable force or power.  It has the power to save according to Acts 22:16—“And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”  It has the power to protect God’s children, or destroy His enemies.  After God parted the Red Sea so His children could cross to escape the pursuing Egyptians, He instructed Moses to stretch out his hand so the Sea would flow back over the Egyptian chariots and horsemen.  “Not one of them survived.”  (Exodus 14: 21-28).  Moses was quite familiar with the power of water to save, as he had been floated to safety as a child, protected from Pharaoh’s edict to kill the Hebrew male children.  The same water that destroyed all mankind in Noah’s generation also saved Noah and his family, allowing the righteous to replenish the earth.  Peter writes of the water that saved Noah in 1 Peter 3: 20, 21, and compares it to the water of baptism by saying “this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”

Jesus encourages us to provide water for the thirsty to drink, along with food, clothing and shelter to those who do not have it.  But the supernatural living water He provides is as essential to our eternal life as the natural water we drink daily to sustain our life on this earth.  Just as we can supply natural water for the thirsty to drink, Jesus also encourages us to believe that once we have received His living water, we can be a source of it, a provider, to those who need that spiritual and eternal benefit.  John 7:38 says—“He that believes in me, as the scriptures have said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  How does one become that source of living water, that well unto salvation?  One must receive it by faith, and look for it, just as one would look before digging a well.  Before my great grandfather dug that well, and before my missionary friends dug in India and Kenya, they sought wisdom and advice on where to dig.  So it is with living water.  Jeremiah 29:13 says—“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”  I encourage you to seek the Lord and become a well of living water.  It is both life- changing and life- saving.

“Come Up Higher” Kay Keith Peebles

 

Kay K. Peebles

My youngest grandson is 5 years old.  He is active and alert and wants to be a part of everything.  His two siblings are 15 and 12 and he loves getting involved in all the action when it is age appropriate.

We often plan a fun event like going to the zoo.  The crowds tower over our 5-year-old grandson blocking his view.  His dad will pick him up when he is unable to see and set him on his shoulders.  He is then able to have a bird’s eye view of the activities.  At this higher vantage point, he towers above everyone else and he can clearly see what’s going on.

It is much like standing on the tallest peak in a mountain range.  One can easily see the valleys and mountains for miles.  Looking from a mountaintop allows us to see details which are not visible from any other perspective.

God gave the Apostle John a vision or “Revelation” of the future while he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Revelation 4:1-2 records, “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future.’  At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold a throne stood in heaven with One seated on the throne!”  (See also Ezekiel 1:26).

John had the eyesight and insight to see what was going on around him.  He had seen Jesus’ ministry up close and personal for the three years He ministered on earth.  He also witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus standing with His mother Mary at the foot of the cross.  He had witnessed the birth of the Church.  He also saw the transformation of Saul of Tarsus who persecuted and killed the new believers.  Through Jesus’ intervention, he became the beloved Apostle Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament.  Exiled for his faith, John was unable to see or hear from others what had been happening since he was re-located to a deserted island.  God wanted John to see far beyond his generation and the Holy Spirit of God beckoned him to come up higher.  He was invited to see everything from God’s vantagepoint.  He saw God’s throne in the highest heaven “with One seated on the throne” like Ezekiel had seen centuries before.

Earth is a warzone between good and evil.  Viewing the battlefield on the earth’s level obscures our ability to be perfectly objective.  It clouds our capability to clearly discern how the battle is going and sometimes hides information that would be pertinent to our day to day activities.  We can become so embroiled in the battle that we forget the Lord has called us to come up higher to get His perspective and His battle plan.

It is the earthly realm where Satan afflicts mankind, working diligently to defeat the people of God through discouragement, sickness, doubt and fear.  He is a predator who stalks his enemy and when he has weakened him through oppression, he charges his victim to make the kill.  Fear is our greatest enemy.  Fear that is entertained in the mind minimizes God and magnifies the power of the enemy.  Fear keeps us fighting our foe on his ground, the earthly realm instead of using the weapons God has given us for victory.  God has given us weapons which come from the heavenly realm:  the throne of all power and might upon which the Lord God is seated.  We waste our time fighting with emotions, past memories of failures and condemning thoughts which weaken our resolve.  Fear is a door that gives more ability to the enemy than to God.  Fear is also a sign that we are in battle.  The enemy speaks his fearful prognosis for our lives but it is not God’s plan for us!  Fear is the feeling attached to the enemies’ words.  We must not accept His plan for our lives pulling down his words and replacing them with God’s.

When we begin to magnify God, placing him in the Highest Place where He rules and reigns, the enemy begins to shrink before our eyes.  Perceiving God’s throne in the highest parts of heaven above all principalities and powers builds our faith in Him.  Ephesians 1:18-21 “By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones).  And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”

Knowing God is for us, our faith rises and we can see the battle from a strategic and advantageous position.  Romans 8:31 promises us, “What then shall we say to [all] this?  If God is for us, who [can be] against us?  [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?  Psalm 118:6 David declares, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”

God has given us weapons which will render victory to the saints (God’s people) when used correctly.  Our weapons are His blood, His word, faith, prayer and declarations of His word/will, etc.  One of our most powerful yet overlooked weapon is His invitation to be seated with Him in heavenly places next to Jesus.  Through His Throne of Grace we are invited to come boldly to God.  Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners) that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

Our Daddy God has invited us to “Come Up Higher” to gain His perspective over our battles.  We are not weak when we place our trust in Him.  We are strong when we reject the lies and plans of the enemy for our lives and proclaim the Word of God and declare God’s will for His children.  By placing God Higher, seated upon His throne above all that can possibly come against us, our faith increases and when we pray according to His will in His name, it is done!

We are defeated when we pay attention to the devil and look only at our abilities.  We become victors when we see God on the Highest Throne where He rules in absolute power and might, trusting Him for our victory.  There is no need to fight our battles at the earthly realm where we cannot win.  God is calling us to “Come Up Higher”!  There, as if we are perched upon His shoulders, we can see the battle clearly and use His spiritual weapons which He has given us.  Seated with Christ in the place of authority we then become more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.

I Believe in Miracles by Larry W. Peebles

I Believe in Miracles   by   Larry W. Peebles   January 27, 2017   17.02

For the skeptic, this article might be a challenge.  For the believer, this article is intended to encourage.  The story I am about to tell comes from the follow-up reports we continue to receive since our last trip to India (see “First Impressions”- dated 11/18/16 on our website archives at thykingdom.com).  The Bishop of the Christian churches we connect with in that country relayed this story directly from the local pastor of one of the small home churches that was involved in our meetings.

A Hindu woman was invited to attend the meetings described in the “First Impressions” article in November.  Surprisingly, she came to all three of the night meetings.  We do not know why, but perhaps she was intrigued by the obvious lack of tropical rain on our meeting grounds in spite of surrounding downpours from the hurricane to the east in the Bay of Bengal.  She, along with thousands of others, was able to walk to our meetings without being drenched, sit on dry ground, and see that our outdoor lighting and equipment remained dry at the meeting site.  Our vehicles were drenched as we drove to and from the meetings each night, so I can attest that there were heavy rains not far away.  In any event, and for whatever reason, she came to all the meetings to hear about the one true God, and to hear of Jesus and His love for her.

The third and final night meeting began with powerful praise and worship.  The Gospel message was impactful and ended with prayer for healing.  Everyone was asked to put their own hand on the part of their body where they had pain or sickness, and we prayed God would touch them with His healing power.  The woman had been diagnosed with cancer of the uterus, confirmed by tests done by her doctor.  Her affliction was noticeable because of her protruding stomach.  She had no insurance, but rather was saving her money for the necessary surgery.  She placed her hand on her stomach as we prayed.  She immediately felt what was described as heat on her hand and on her stomach.  She said she felt as though fire was burning on both her hand and stomach, yet she could not or would not remove her hand.  This continued for a long while until it finally subsided.

The next day she awoke to find the swelling in her stomach gone.  She returned to her doctor as soon as possible for a check-up.  He was furious with her because he thought she had the surgery performed by another doctor.  He was quickly able to tell that there was no incision, and after testing her again, there was no cancer.  Her body was free from cancer.  She had been healed by the One True God.

The pastor who relayed the story to the Bishop had a small house church immediately behind the grounds where the meetings were held.  The woman came to his church, and received Jesus as her Savior and Lord.  She became a believer, and now regularly attends the church.  When we were there in late October and had dinner at the pastor’s home, the church had about 40 members.  This woman’s testimony, together with the other things God did during and after the meetings, has caused this small house church to grow to over 300.  Other home churches in the region are reporting similar growth.  The name of Jesus was exalted, causing Christianity to explode in the area.  Remember, all of this happened in a country where only an estimated 2% of the population is Christian.

I know the stunning amazement and profound humility and gratitude the woman felt as she was touched by God.  Years ago I personally received a sudden and dramatic touch from God that healed my back injury.  In fact, I was asked to share that very testimony during the meetings as a witness to God’s incredible love and care for His children, and as a demonstration of His power to change their situation.  He does hear prayer, and He knows the needs of His children.

Answer to prayer comes in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes it is sudden and dramatic, like the woman’s cancer and my back injury.  Sometimes the answer is not what we anticipated, or does not give the result we were asking for.  Some time may pass before we see the answer.  God moves and operates outside of time, as He is eternal (the beginning and the end of all things).  Some answers we may not see until we get to Heaven.  No matter the timing or the result, God answers prayer.  When it is sudden and dramatic, we most often refer to that as a miracle.  A change or medical healing that takes place over time is no less a miracle.

God answers prayer regarding large as well as seemingly small matters.  One day after school my oldest grandson was off campus working on a video project with two of his classmates.  All three had taken off their backpacks and set them on the ground so they could be free to shoot the video for class.  When they finished, they returned to find only two backpacks remained.  One backpack had been stolen—my grandson’s.  He is an excellent student-very responsible and conscientious, but in that moment when he was absorbed with completing the project, he took his eye off his backpack and it was stolen.  His school computer, his favorite spare jeans and flannel shirt, his cap, some food, and his wallet were all gone, along with a very nice substantial backpack his grandmother and I had given him.  He was heart- broken.  He stayed until after dark to finish a police report so he could account for the computer the next day with the school.  When we learned what had happened, my wife and I immediately prayed.  We prayed the school would understand and give him another computer without charge.  We prayed over his anxiety and sadness at the loss of the other items, especially his wallet and driver’s license.  I felt a strong urge to pray a bold prayer for a miracle–the return of the items.  I asked that the items would not be a blessing to whoever stole them, and that person would have no peace until they were returned.  I sensed an inexplicable confidence that God was going to do something.

The school issued another computer without charge, and my grandson pulled out last year’s worn backpack to take to class.  He began the process of requesting a duplicate driver’s license.  The sting of being stolen from was still there, and the whole incident left a bad mark.

The next week, the school called him into the office.  His backpack had been anonymously turned in to the school.  His computer was in the bag, along with his jeans and wallet containing his driver’s license.  The food, the cap, and the shirt were the only items missing.  My grandson reasoned that someone who was cold and hungry took the shirt, the cap, and the food.  He was consoled with the thought that perhaps they needed it more than he did.  The flannel shirt went on sale after Christmas, and was replaced for five dollars.  The cap can be replaced when he comes to visit this summer, as it was from a waterfalls state park gift shop near us, and had special meaning from a previous summer.  God provided a miraculous answer no one would think possible—the return of the stolen items that really mattered the most.

God is really into the details of our lives, and everything matters to Him.  Cancer, back injuries, and a student’s backpack all matter.  Our eternal lives matter.  Jesus’ ministry was filled with many miracles, as evidenced in the New Testament accounts.  John 21:25 says “Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 20:30-31 tells us why-“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”  God has no limitations on what He can do, as He is infinitely powerful.  He does not do the ordinary.  Everything He does is a miracle.  Psalm 72:18 says-“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.”  (KJV).

I believe in miracles.  I believe that nothing is too difficult for God, and that He cares for His children.  Mark 11:22-24 says that if we ask in faith without doubting, God will move mountains on our behalf.  If you need a miracle today, ask God.  If you do not know Jesus, ask Him to miraculously reveal Himself to you today.  It will change your life forever.  Ask my grandson or ask the woman healed of cancer if this is not the case.

It’s A New Day Kay Keith Peebles

 

Kay K. Peebles
It’s A New Day!  I have always enjoyed waking early in the morning to watch the sun rise and closing the day with the sun setting.  Watching the light begin to pierce the darkness of night gives a rush of excitement.  Hues of midnight blue begin to soften to greyish purple.  Then as the light intensifies the colors shift to deep fuchsia, rich coral and finally a golden luster ignites the mountainside behind our home.  A new day begins.  A new day is dawning before my eyes and it creates an exhilaration and expectation of being handed a new page or a clean slate upon which to write a new story.  Each day dawns affirming the promise of God that His mercies are new and fresh every morning.  No matter what happened the day before, good or bad; whether I failed or succeeded, the day would end and another would awaken with new possibilities. 
“It is because of the LORD’S lovingkindness we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions (mercies) never fail.  They are new every morning; great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 AMP.  (Emphasis mine).
I purchased my first computer in 1985 when PCs began to become available to individuals and homes.  My first computer was an IBM and it ran on the DOS system of programming.  I had a daisy print wheel printer and only one font was available.  They have evolved into amazing machines that one can hold in their lap, connect to world-wide sites and produce volumes of work in moments instead of days.  It has been an amazing journey.
What I love about computers is the option of re-setting or re-booting it with the touch of a button.  Early computers became challenged with graphics and programs that pushed the limits of memory and power.  The computer would lock up and the only solution was to re-set its operating system to a day prior to the breakdown where it was performing at optimum capability.  God gives us that incredible opportunity every day to re-set or re-boot our lives by confessing out mistakes, sins or failures and beginning again, leaving the past behind us.  His delete button erases our mistakes and He gives us a clean new document upon which to write.
Israel had a history of successes and failures.  Studying the Old Testament of the Bible we discover that Israel vacillated between faithfulness to God and rebellion to His commandments.  Often their allegiance would wane depending on the leadership in place.  There were good and righteous kings which led the people toward the Lord.  This created blessing in the land and the nation walked in the favor of God.  It caused other nations to fear them because the power of God was with them and they prospered in all they did.  Other kings were corrupt and wicked and they led the people astray causing destruction, captivity and slavery.  They were under the curses of rebellion and their only hope was repentance before God and man.
The Lord would always offer His people a way out.  He made available to them a re-boot button of repentance which re-set their momentum to a time when all was right and prosperous.  The tide flows in nations backwards and forwards as mankind tries to rule his own life.  When a nation strays from the Lord, it moves backward continuing a downward spiral until something changes the momentum.  That something is repentance.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 declares: “If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Today, Vice President elect Mike Pence will lay his hand on the Holy Bible touching the 2 Chronicles 7:14 scripture as he takes his oath of office.  Franklin Graham led prayer and repentance rallies in each of our 50 states last year.  Many such meetings have been held in various cities across America as well as in Washington D.C. for over two decades praying and interceding for our nation.  When the people of God turn their hearts back to the Lord and repent, God hears their prayers and gives them a promise of healing and restoration.
Isaiah 60:1-2 proclaims, “ARISE [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the LORD]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the LORD has risen upon you.  For in fact, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness will cover the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you [Jerusalem] And His glory and brilliance will be seen on you.”
No man is perfect except Christ Jesus, but when our hearts become open to the Lord and we allow His will to flow through us it will strongly affect others.  Where God intervenes, we will become the recipients of His blessing and favor if we continue to seek His face and remain humble and repentant.
The Son is rising upon us and His glory will be seen in us.  His bride will begin to shine in His glory and the light of His glory will pierce the darkness like never before.  Revival is on the way and we will have the opportunity to participate in what God is doing while being a witness to others.  This will be the year His Glory and Splendor.  His Majesty and Power will begin to be revealed at a greater level.  He will be seen and known like never before.  Psalm 96:6,9 explain, “Splendor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.”
1 Chronicles 29:11 declares, “Yours Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours Lord, is the Kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.”
It is a new day.  The time of “spiritual depression” is ending and the Son is rising.  A new era is dawning and everyone is invited to come and enter in to His glory.  Those who will enter in are of a humble and contrite heart (pure in heart), for without it, no one will see the LORD.  (See Matthew 5:8).  Look for His majesty and splendor in unexpected places.  When we find it, we, too will begin to shine like Him.  It is truly a new day!

Announcement Jan. 6, 2017

There will be no post today or Jan. 13.  As has been our custom, we take a short vacation from writing the first two weeks in January.  Over the past two years, and by the grace and inspiration of God, we have written and posted 100 articles on this website.  Please pray for us as we seek the Lord for fresh revelation and insight from Him concerning His heart and purpose for articles for the coming year.  Thank you for visiting our website, and may God bless you in 2017.

Larry and Kay Peebles

Final Thoughts on Christmas by Larry W Peebles

Final Thoughts on Christmas   by   Larry W. Peebles   December 30, 2016   16.50

Christmas Day has come and gone.  The busy-ness of the season, holiday parties, candlelight service, and the joy of children on Christmas morning is over.  We may still need to take down the tree and put away lights and decorations.  There may still be some post-Christmas travels which will take us to see more family and friends.  But for the most part, this most delightful holiday season is over.  To keep it all in proper perspective, and to put a pointed emphasis on the Christmas holiday celebration that will give a powerful send- off into the New Year, I want to share some final thoughts designed to stand in stark contrast to the image of the baby Jesus in the manger.

The baby Jesus would have no problems adapting to His new surroundings, because He created them.  Jesus is responsible for all aspects of creation. He always was, is, and always will be the Son of God.  He stepped into a segment of time over 2000 years ago in the form of a baby, and grew into a man.  He died for our sins, and was raised from the dead to gloriously reign forever.  But, as part of the Triune God, He always has existed, and always will.  His birth marks the beginning of that segment of His eternal existence where He stepped into a physical human form and became a part of the humanity He created.  He was present at Creation, and He is responsible for all Creation.  Creation was by Him and for Him.  He currently holds His creation together, and saved it from the eternal consequences of sin.  He is no longer a baby, nor is He any longer in human form, but He has not left us.  He is coming back to claim the creation he was born for and died for.  Consider these scriptures:

  1. John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
  2. Colossians 1:16-17 “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
  3. Matthew 18:11- “For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.” Sin had separated man from God, and man’s authority over the earth had been turned over to the devil.  Jesus stepped into humanity to set things straight.
  4. Matthew 28:20- “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus promised He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrew 13:5-6).
  5. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17- “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

 

 Most new-born babies are the center of attention, and are treated like kings.  Jesus is King of all kings, and is ruler of everything within the vastness of creation.  We should refer again to Colossians 1:16-17 above, and consider that Scripture says He named every star and hung it in its position.  Then we will realize that with all that authority and prominence, He also knows every intimate detail of our lives, and wants to be involved in a daily relationship with us.

  1. Revelation 19:16- “On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
  2. Philippians 2:10-11- “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” How appropriate that shepherds, wise men and angels bowed and worshipped Him at His human birth.
  3. 1 Peter 5:7- “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” He made it all, and He runs it all, but that “all” includes you and me on a very personal basis.  He wants us to look to Him when we have troubles or problems.  He wants to help.  He is infinitely large, but the smallest details of our lives concern Him.

 

Most babies are quite helpless at birth.  They cannot walk, feed or care for themselves.  Jesus had all the power.  He laid down more power than we will ever see in this life to be born in the form of a man–He was both fully God and fully man.  He is however, no longer in the form of a helpless baby.

  1. Matthew 8:27- “The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and waves obey him.’”  I witnessed this kind of power in India recently when God held back the rains from a cyclone so that our outdoor Gospel meetings could proceed as planned.  The equipment was kept dry, the grounds were dry, and the people were able to walk to our meetings from miles around.
  2. John 11:42-44- “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice ‘Lazarus, come out!’  The dead man came out….”  Jesus has the ultimate power over life and death.
  3. Psalm 97:5- “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” My wife and I recently moved to the mountains, and I now have an even greater appreciation of the power it would take to move or melt a mountain.  The One who created the mountains certainly has the power to move or remove them.  He is a mountain mover.
  4. Revelation 19:21- “The rest of them [‘the kings of the earth and their armies’-verse 19] were killed with the sword [the Word of God] that came out of the mouth of the rider of the horse [Jesus- ‘Faithful and True’-verse 11]. [Emphasis mine.]  He has the power to deliver on His promise—His enemies will all be defeated.

So the baby in the manger at Christmas is a human but also God.  His mother Mary gave Him human DNA; but the Holy Spirit provided Him with the DNA of God.  As the eternal God born into human form, He stepped into the middle of the very thing He created.  He came to redeem His own creation, but in order to do that, He had to become a part of His creation.

Though he came as a baby, He was in fact (and still is) Lord over all creation.  He was and is the King of all kings.  The power He gave up when He was born into the flesh of a human He received again without measure when He received the Holy Spirit at His baptism.  The heavenly position He gave up at His human birth He received again when He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He left His Holy Spirit in the earth to give us help, wisdom and guidance.  He rules and reigns over His creation today, but He is coming back soon to deal with sin and the devil for the last time, and take His believers home.  Have a Merry Christmas indeed.

True Beauty Part II Kay Keith Peebles

True Beauty Part II Kay Keith Peebles 12/23/16 16.49

Kay K. Peebles

The Beauty of God’s Love

I was in high school when my Sunday school teacher made a statement to our class which I have never been able to forget.  He said, “Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear a word you are saying.”  It was a profound message which has caused me to ponder it’s meaning my entire life.

We will not be judged by our intentions.  We will be judged by our actions.  Everyone has experienced some kind of brokenness in their lives.  It is true that brokenness can influence our actions contrary to our intentions.  However, for us to deliver a pure message to others, our actions must substantiate our intent.

There is more than one meaning to the word love in relation to human beings.  The New Testament Greek more clearly defines love by using 4 distinguishing words:  phileo, eros, storge, agape.  There is a different type of love in a friendship (phileo(a)- tender affection) than in a romantic relationship (eros).  The love of a parent to a child (storge) is much more powerful than the love of an adult to another person’s child and yet in English we use the same word “love”, to describe them all.  We often equate the word love with an ideal which is elusive and generally unrealistic since we are imperfect and self-seeking in nature.  Because of our limitations, we judge “love” by our terms and not by its true meaning or purpose.  Love then becomes imperfect, unsatisfying and deeply hurtful at times.  Love comes with an expectation or a demand from another person which rarely fulfills its need.  Conditional love is fickle, unfulfilling and temporal.  It is often cast aside and deemed unattainable.

The subject of love is as painful as the grave or as joyous as a newborn baby.  The search to find love is as strong as life itself and as elusive as a snow leopard. True love would be impossible to find without knowing its true source, God.  His love is so great He sought us and loved us even while we were still sinners.  The beauty of God’s agape love can never be experienced without an intimate knowledge of its Creator.  Love is not ambiguous nor is it simply a feeling.  True love is a choice empowered by divine character which is imparted by God alone.  1 John 4:8  “He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.”  The Greek word agapao (verb)/agape (noun) used in this verse describes God’s love toward Jesus, humanity in general, and all those who believe in Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. [Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words].  God expects us to share this same agape love among our fellow believers.  John 13:34 declares, “I give you a new commandment:  that you should love (agapao) one another.  Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.” (Emphasis mine).  Believers are walking in the “proof” of their conversion by extending this agape kind of love.  John 13:35 confirms, “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].”  Walking in agape love is a commandment in which God has charged His people to excel.

God also requires believers to also extend agape love toward all men. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 explains, “And may the Lord make you to increase and excel and overflow in love (agape) for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you…(and for what purpose?) So that He may strengthen and confirm and establish your hearts faultlessly pure and unblamable in holiness in the sight of our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) with all His saints…”  (Emphasis mine.)  Therefore, walking in God’s agape love toward all people is the evidence that we belong to God, and we have been abiding in the “Beauty of His Holiness”.  God’s agape love flowing through us to others is the litmus test of our true Salvation birthed out of daily abiding in His presence.

1 John 4:9-12 “In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned:  in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.  Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.  No man has at any time [yet] seen God.  But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!” (Continue reading to the end of the chapter).

God’s agape love cannot be faked.  It cannot be duplicated by the flesh.  It is impossible without abiding in Him.  Man’s love is conditional.  Most divorces come from “violated expectations”.  We say we love our spouse, but we place expectations upon them with conditions.  If they do not meet those expectations, we give up and get a divorce.  Others confuse love with being in agreement on certain issues.  When disagreement arises, actions demonstrate a complete lack of love.  That is not God’s agape love!  God’s love demonstrated by Jesus is sacrificial.  It is not self-seeking.  It seeks the benefit of its recipient.

God gave us His manual on agape Love.  It is 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.  It is read at most weddings but rarely heeded.  Many seek to walk in the authority and power of God, but few are as zealous to walk in the Love of God.  The Apostle Paul wrote about the Spiritual Gifts God has given to the church in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.  Between those two chapters, He conspicuously placed Chapter 13 which is called “the Love Chapter”.  He ends chapter 12 with a strong emphasis upon our seeking the “highest and best way”.  “But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces).  And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love (agape)].”  (Emphasis mine).

God’s agape love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  When it is abiding in us, we will not become easily offended.  We will not gossip about other’s actions, we will not place blame and we will not divide ourselves into factions.  We will not consider ourselves better than others and it will be very difficult for us to walk in pride.  We will be unable to live contrary to His Word and speak untruth.

Those who abide in the agape love of God will not fear because His love has been perfected in them!  1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror…”

We must ask ourselves, “Do we have the love of God dwelling in our hearts?  Is there evidence of our soul conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Do we abide in Him habitually?  If so, our words and our actions will align with God’s agape love for all.  Of course, there is grace for our shortcomings, but God’s love should be our highest and most sought after character trait.  Extending God’s agape love to others is the only way we can possibly make the Jew jealous enough to seek their Messiah Jesus and the unbeliever hungry to know God.  (See Romans 11:11).

It is a good statement to ponder, a great question to ask ourselves.  “Do my actions speak so loudly that others can’t hear a word I am saying?

I would like to leave you with a beautiful Christmas Hymn I sang in church years ago:

Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894 (Irish Melody)

Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine;

Love was born at Christmas; Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the God-head, Love incarnate, Love divine;

Worship we our Jesus, But where-with for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token; Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men, Love for plea and gift and sign.

May the Lord God Almighty bless us with His greatest gift of all, His unfailing, unconditional agape love in and through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  May we receive it and hold it securely in our hearts sharing it with all until that day He fulfills that love through our eternal life with Him in heaven.

Merry Christmas to all!

 

Sing a New Song by Larry W Peebles

Sing a New Song   by   Larry W. Peebles   December 16, 2016   16.48

When God speaks, we need to pay attention; when He repeats Himself, we need to really pay attention.  Such is the case with Psalm 96 and 1 Chronicles 16: 23-33.  Psalm 96:1 begins with “Sing to the Lord a new song”.  The rest of that Psalm is virtually identical to 1 Chronicles 16:23-33.  With the exception of that first sentence, Psalm 96 is a repeat of the verses in 1 Chronicles 16.  As in most cases when reading the Scriptures, the meaning becomes new when we get a fresh insight or revelation from God on what He is saying through the writer.

By way of background, 1 Chronicles 16 continues the story of Israel recovering the Ark of the Covenant.  The Philistines had captured the ark and held it for a while, but after seven months concluded it brought only devastation and an affliction of tumors (1 Samuel 5).  They were more than ready to return it to the people of Israel.  Since the ark represented the very presence of God, it required special handling during transportation.  Once Israel had it in their possession, the first attempt to move it ended when a man (Uzzah) lost his life because he mishandled the ark (1 Chronicles 13).  The second attempt fared better, as King David instructed the ark be carried by the priests, as God had originally prescribed, and he sacrificed bulls along the way (2 Samuel 6).  But when David returned with the Ark, he did not follow convention.  He did not take it to Shiloh to place it in the Tabernacle, where God had originally told Moses to keep it (Exodus chapters 25-30).  He did something new.  He pitched a tent for it in Zion, the City of David, which was the original urban core of ancient Jerusalem.  David leaped and danced before the Lord as the ark entered Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6).   Instead of hiding it from the people in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle where only the high priest could see it once a year, David put it on display in the tent for the people to see.  David’s actions symbolized that the presence of God had become more accessible for all.  The people also presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God at the tent, and this had only formerly been done at the Tabernacle.   David was obviously doing this at God’s instruction, or else he would have encountered the same punishments others had suffered for mishandling the ark.  It was a new day regarding the ark and the presence of God.

David then presented this beautiful new psalm/song to Asaph, the chief Levite in charge of ministering before the ark of the Lord (1 Chronicles 16: 23-33): “23. Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.  24. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  25. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.  26. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  27. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.  28. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, 29. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.  Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.  30. Tremble before him, all the earth!  The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.  31. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations ’The Lord reigns!’  32. Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!  33. Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.”

A new song was written that day the ark (the presence of Jesus) traveled the road to Jerusalem.  As the ark moved, the bulls’ blood that was shed every six steps was a foreshadow of the blood Jesus would shed one day as a result of his coming back to Jerusalem.  As the ark moved, David saw Jesus on that road to Jerusalem, the voluntary final sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  Jesus’ death on the cross would forever rend the veil of separation in the Temple, and mankind would forever have a path and direct access to God.  God would no longer live in a Temple or a Tabernacle, he would live or tabernacle in the hearts of men.  David caught that new prophetic vision.  He could not keep from dancing and leaping.   That vision inspired His psalm, which made three new bold declarations:

  1. Jesus is exalted above all gods as King (v. 31-33). David was a king after God’s own heart, but Jesus is the King of kings.  He reigns over all kingdoms, and every ruler.  The prophet Daniel said in Daniel 2: 20, 21- “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.  He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.”  Romans 13:1 says- “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”  Lastly, Revelations 19:16 says- “On his robe and on his thigh he [Jesus] has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  [Emphasis mine.]
  2. Jesus is exalted above all things as Creator (v. 26). Isaiah 40: 26 says- “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”   David caught a vision of the truth that would later be recorded in Colossians 1: 16- “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”  The disciple John, perhaps the one closest to Jesus, wrote this in John 1:3- “All things were made by him [Jesus]; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  KJV [Emphasis mine.]
  3. Jesus is exalted above his people as shepherd and leader. Because Jesus is the creator, owner and ruler of all things, David’s psalm (vs. 28-33) invited Israel, and indeed all people, to worship Jesus in total abandon.  This was to be by properly and literally done by stretching themselves out full length on the ground in adoration.  Getting as low as possible would be the preferred position relative to one so high and exalted as Jesus.  When David saw the vision of Jesus as the ark passed up to Jerusalem, he could only attempt to put into words the glory and splendor due the Savior of the world.  He invited the entire creation (the earth, heavens, seas and trees), and all people (v.28-“families of nations”-including Gentiles) to worship the holy splendor of Jesus, the one he saw in the vision.  That all people, including Gentiles, would come to know and experience the presence of Jesus was indeed a “new song”.  David’s view of Jesus as holy and worthy shepherd and leader is expressed in Psalm 23- “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.   You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

John Chapter 10 is where Jesus describes himself as shepherd, and we are his sheep.  The entire chapter contains great insight on this teaching.  Verse 11 says- “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Jesus could give no more clear affirmation of what David saw and knew that day.

When the ark was brought into Jerusalem, it foretold the day the presence of God would come so close one could touch it.  It would come in the form of a man–the man Jesus who would walk among men on the earth.  In only five verses, Psalm 100 gives a summary of the new revelation that came the day David brought the presence of God back to the people- “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

True Beauty Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

There is nothing as beautiful as a baby.  Man or woman, young or old, all are apprehended by the innocence and beauty of a baby.  Their skin is so soft and pure.  Their eyes are filled with wonder.  Their laughter is full of complete joy.  Their love is unconditional and their “cooing” so sincere.  They give us such a hope for the future and a warmth in our hearts.  They are full of faith.  They sparkle with light and when asleep, they exude the peace of God.

I have often wondered what it is exactly, that captures our heart so powerfully when we cradle a baby in our arms and look deeply into their eyes.  For a brief moment, I believe we experience a glimpse into the depths of their soul.  Sinless as yet, we see in them the beauty of purity, holiness, and complete innocence which came directly from God as He formed their inward parts in secret.  Their sin nature is still inactive, unmolested and untouched by the world.  They have just left the presence of the Lord and have not yet been educated about good and evil.

“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I will confess and praise You for you are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth!  Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.  My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].  Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious and weighty also are your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!”  Psalm 139:13-17.

The beauty of nature has a similar effect on people.  Over four and one-half million people visit the Grand Canyon each year.  Almost ten million visit the Great Smokey Mountains National Park while Yosemite National Park has just over four and one-half million and Yellowstone Park has just under that amount.  Nearly eight million annually visit Hawaii and two million Alaska.  The visitors are all seeking to gaze upon the beauty of Creation.  Awe and wonder capture their hearts as they bask in the grandeur of God’s imagination.  The great attraction of these natural wonders is the fact that they are virtually untouched except for the roads, walkways and lodging which are necessary for travelers’ to have access to experience them.  Like a newborn baby, they are pure and pristine, untouched by the world around them.

My husband and I visited Alaska with friends three years ago.  One of our excursions was a bus ride into the mountains which surrounded Denali, (Mt. McKinley).  Those desiring to camp there are trained to live inside the natural setting without destroying its flora and fauna nor disturbing any of the natural cycles which are necessary for the area to remain healthy.  The rangers there call it “leaving no footprints.”  They are taught how to cohabitate temporarily with moose, grisly, caribou, wolf and other animals without injuring themselves or the animals.  The protection of nature’s “innocence” is imperative for those who desire to come and partake of its beauty in future years.

The search for true beauty is innate within the heart of man.  We were endowed with an inexpressible ability to enjoy true beauty and seek to find it.  When we stand before it, words are inadequate to express the awe and wonder of it.  We become small and insignificant as we behold something we did not create nor imagine ourselves.  Rather, it was created and placed there purely for us to enjoy.  There is a certain holiness in something pure that God has created because He is Holy.

Standing on the precipice of the Grand Canyon there is not only a sense of awe but also a sense of fear.  The beauty of the canyon compels one to come closer but the height and breadth of the canyon creates a sense of fear and caution not to step too close to the edge causing one to fall off into sudden death.

David had a similar experience as he pursued God.  The Spirit of God drew David closer to Him and he was overwhelmed when he glimpsed the “Beauty of Holiness” found in God.  “Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:9.  Psalm 96:6 says, “Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”

David saw something in the beauty of God’s holiness that has no comparison on earth.  Holiness has a purity in itself that man cannot fully fathom.  It is transparent like a clear, cool lake except there is no bottom to it.  It is like a white diamond which has no impurities or flaws in it.  It is like a blue-white flame that has burned so hot there are no cinders or ashes remaining.  One who gazes on the beauty of holiness can find no flaws or limitations in it.

1 Chronicles 16:29-30 celebrates, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.  Bring an offering and come before Him; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and in holy array.  Tremble and reverently fear before Him, all the earth’s peoples; the world also shall be established, so it cannot be moved.”  The holiness of God is not only beautiful, it is unshakeable and cannot be moved.  His nature cannot be corrupted, polluted or changed.  All His decisions and judgments are pure and holy, without prejudice or self-seeking.  His holiness is completely trustworthy because it is impossible to be swayed or tempted toward malice.  It is pure and unadulterated.  Man has an inward longing for it but all we see with our natural eyes is that which has been perverted.   “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”  Psalm 50:2.

The fear of heights or falling has kept many from partaking the beauty seen by standing upon the mountain top.  One can see vistas which span for a distance of 50 miles or more.  They have a view which is invisible from the safety in the valley below.  The fear of the Lord reminds us that God is holy and we must examine our hearts and motives before we continue our pursuit to know Him and dwell in His presence.  The Righteousness Christ has provided for us is a covering which protects us.  It enables us to come closer to the Holiness of God.  We become humbled as we enter the presence of the Lord because we insignificant compared to Him.

When we are in the presence of God, we are also experiencing His Holiness.  His Holiness is what transforms us into His image.  It gives us spiritual eyesight so that we can know and understand God’s true purpose and nature.  It removes the flaws in our perception of God and His ways and reveals our true nature than has not yet been transformed.  The closer we ascend to the Beauty of Holiness, the greater the fear of the Lord we experience.  The purpose of that fear is not to discourage us from continuing.  It is to remind us of our flesh and sin nature which is not perfected as yet, and must be put in check when in the presence of Holiness.  David would have made a blood sacrifice before entering the presence of the Lord but today, we have the covering of the blood of Jesus which washes away our sin.  Cleansing our hearts and minds purifies us as we approach the Lord’s presence.  Thanksgiving and praise well up in our hearts when our minds become focused upon the Lord, and we can enter into His Holy of Holies to behold His Beauty.

“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 himself up to falsehood or to what is false nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”  Psalm 24:3-5.

“The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.”  (See also John 7:17).  John 15:15 explains, “I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out).  But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father.  [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him].”

We were created for companionship with the Lord.  We were saved so that we could commune with Him on earth.  The Lord’s prayer which Jesus gave us, calls us to pray and expect… “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Emphasis mine.)  We will never understand the Beauty of God’s Holiness unless we partake of it.  We will never truly understand the workings of God’s Kingdom unless we enter in to His presence so that He can show us His ways, His purposes and His timing as heaven invades earth.  It is imperative for us to be in step with His timing, His leading and His plans.  That wisdom only comes from spending time in the Beauty of His Holiness.

The invitation of the Lord has gone forth, “Come”.  When we draw nigh unto God He will draw nigh unto us.  “The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.”  Jeremiah 31:3.  True beauty can only be found in the Beauty of His Holiness and He is calling us to enter in.