UNCHANGING KAY KEITH PEEBLES

Kay K. Peebles

My generation is the post- World War II generation.  We are called “baby boomers” because the U.S. population exploded when the soldiers from our parent’s generation came home from war!  Their generation, called the “greatest generation”, experienced the Great Depression in 1929, World War II 1941-1945, the Korean War 1950-1953, the Vietnam War 1955-1975, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the “Cold War” 1947-1991.

My husband’s parents married December 6, 1941, one day before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.  Sadly, the newlyweds were separated by a war.  My father-in-law was shipped off for basic training several months after the wedding and served in the Pacific during the Second World War.  My mother-in-law had conceived before he left and delivered his first son while he was in active duty.  He met his two-year-old son when he came home at the end of the war.  My father-in-law also lost both his parents during that same time period.  It was a difficult time to be alive and the affects were worldwide.  Women quickly volunteered to do what was considered to be “men’s work” as the men were rushed abroad to defend our nation and a world in crisis.  Many worked in factories producing the metal and equipment used by our armed services oversees.

My generation has experienced the Korean War 1950-1953, the “Cold War” 1947-1991, the Vietnam War 1955-1975, Kennedy’s assassination 1963, Desert Storm 1990-1991, War in Afghanistan 2001-2014, the Iraq War 2003-2011 and the current war with ISIS.  Our parents were strong disciplinarians.  We weren’t coddled.  It was not because we weren’t loved, but because our parents had lived very disciplined lives in order to survive.  One crisis succeeded another.  They were fully aware of how quickly circumstances could change so they tried to impart to us the skills that would sustain us throughout our lifetime.  During the 1960’s many of my generation began to protest all forms of war, experiment with psychedelic drugs and rebel against the Word of God.  They wanted nothing to do with the establishment, responsibility, or the rules our parents followed, which were meant to undergird us if we experienced similar years of crisis.  The term “God is dead” surfaced and the battle cry was for freedom from all restraints.  Many lived in communes where “love” was free- free from responsibility and accountability.  They traded responsibility for pleasure and God’s love for self-love.  The right to abort an unborn baby was made legal in 1973.  It was the result of generational selfishness with little regard for others or the sacrifice others made to provide them their freedom to choose their lifestyle.

How quickly things changed.  One generation was so responsible, hard-working and persevering while the very next one was irresponsible, unaccountable and rebellious.  What changed?  People do, but God does not!  I have found that although the hearts of men change from generation to generation, God has a remnant that remains steadfast, no matter what circumstances assail them.  They are a witness to a God Who never changes.

Simultaneous to those in my generation who rebelled, God was moving in another way, drawing others close to Him.  There was a “Jesus Movement” which began in the late 1960’s until approximately 1973-4.  Revival touched all denominations, many seminaries and college age students across the nation, drawing them to righteousness and a deep personal relationship with the “Living” God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every circumstance in life will bring one to a crossroad which requires a choice.  While some chose to reject God and live without constraints, others ran to Him and sought strength, consolation and righteousness through their Savior, Jesus Christ.

King Solomon, King David’s successor, is believed to have written the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.  Solomon experienced God through his father David, and began his reign worshipping, honoring and serving the Lord.  The Lord asked Solomon what he would like to guide him as he led the nation of Israel.  Solomon could have asked for riches, armies or many other things, but instead, he asked for wisdom.  His request pleased the Lord.  God gave him wisdom and riches.

Solomon began to compromise as he turned from God’s wisdom to seek the wisdom of the world (mankind without God).  Theologians debate whether he returned to God at the end of his life.  I hope he did.  Nearing the end of his life, he had learned the vanity of seeking a lifestyle solely for personal pleasure.  Ecclesiastes was his warning of vanity for all who seek to live according to the wisdom of man.  The heart of man is self-seeking without God.  Ecclesiastes 1:18-2:1, “For in much [human] wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.  I said in my mind, Come now, I will prove you with mirth and test you with pleasure; so have a good time [enjoy pleasure].  But this also was vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!”

Jeremiah 17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, morally sick!  Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?  I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”

Genesis 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.”

The Bible is filled with the history of mankind and the futility of life apart from God.  The emptiness of living a self-pleasing lifestyle is extraordinarily cruel when one reaches their last days on earth.  They, like Solomon, find a fruitless life provides nothing to savor in death.  Solomon saw that in this world, there is “nothing new under the sun”.  (See Ecclesiastes 1:9).  All has happened before and will happen again.  Generations may come and go, and the hearts of the people fluctuate.  Their hearts deceive them and they seek the things that will perish rather than the eternal.  They are incapable of knowing true meaning or purpose without God.  This in an ever-changing world but it remains stable because God never changes and neither does His Word.

Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”  NIV.

Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven [stands firm as the heavens].”  AMPV.

Psalm 89:2, “For I have said, Mercy and loving-kindness shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness will You establish in the very heavens [unchangeable and perpetual].”

God’s unchanging Word reveals His nature, and it is an anchor for those living in an ever-changing world.  No matter the generation or circumstance, God still remains the same.  His Word is never outdated because it is eternal.  Although man’s perspective may change from generation to generation, God’s remains the same.  There is nothing to edit, modify or remove because it is everlasting.

1 Peter 1:25, “But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever, And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.”

Isaiah 40:6-9, “A voice says, Cry [prophesy]!  And I said, What shall I cry?  [The voice answered, Proclaim:] All flesh is as frail as grass, and all that makes it attractive [its kindness, its goodwill, its mercy from God, its glory and timeliness, however good] is transitory, like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely [all] the people are like grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

There are those in every generation who stand proudly against the Lord God and defy His rule, His wisdom, His authority and His grace.  Sadly, they believe in their 70+ years of life they have learned the “wisdom of the ages”.  They live, they soon die…But the Eternal Word of God lives on.  It never dies, it never becomes irrelevant or obsolete.  The Wisdom of all eternity belongs to those who fear the Lord and reverence not only Him, but His Word.  If we want stability, security and something that will never change, then we must hope in the Eternal One.  His Word was first (Alpha) and it will be last (Omega) because He is Unchanging!

God’s Not Sneaky by Larry W Peebles

God’s Not Sneaky   by   Larry W. Peebles   March 10, 2017   17.08

We were snowed-in for the weekend.  Our daughter, her husband, and three children had come to the mountains to visit my wife and me in hopes of catching some predicted snow.  We were all hoping for enough snowfall for a good play day.  Shortly after they arrived on Friday night, right on cue, it began to snow.  By Saturday morning, 3 inches had accumulated, enough to spend the day outdoors sledding, hiking, and building a snowman. It was truly a great family day.

By Sunday morning the snow that melted Saturday had turned to ice overnight, leaving a mixture of snow and ice on the slippery mountain roads.  In town, ice had blanketed the church parking lot, and services were cancelled.  We would have to conduct our own worship service right here in our home on the side of a mountain.  Our daughter’s oldest son and I played some worship songs on our guitars, and everyone joined in the singing.  Then I spoke to all the grandchildren about how the snow and ice had changed the mountain.  The snow and water had seeped into cracks in the rocks, frozen and expanded, and had popped off the face of some of the rock.  I suggested they might see evidence of that when they were able to drive home later in the day.  It might be small signs of a mountain changing, but over long periods of time, this is how mountains erode and become smaller.

I went on to tell them that even if the mountains change, God does not change.  He promised in His word that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I asked them to name some things they knew about God that do not change.  My granddaughter said His love for us does not change—He always loves us.  The older grandson said His power does not change—He is the most powerful force in the universe, and can do anything.  Then the youngest grandson, age 5, said something very profound.  He said “God’s not sneaky.”  He never tricks us.  Being the youngest, his brother and sister may play tricks on him, and maybe I joke around and tease with him more than I should, but God does not.

Let’s study what came from this young boy’s mind and heart.  As I think about God’s not being “sneaky”, I can easily find these three characteristics of God that make Him “not sneaky”.  There are more, to be sure, but these came rather easily.

He is always truthful.

God is so full of truth that He only tells the truth.  He cannot lie.  John 1:14 says Jesus was “the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  In fact, Jesus was not just full of truth, He is the truth.  Truth is not a philosophical concept, it is the very person of Jesus.  In John 14:6, Jesus answered “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one goes to the Father except through me.”  Jesus admonished His followers to “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ [be] ‘no’”.  Matthew 5:37.  We are to be truthful so that others can count on our word, just as we count on, depend upon, and trust in God’s word.  We find in Scripture seven things that are detestable to God (Proverbs 6:16-19)—two of these are “a lying tongue”, and “a false witness who pours out lies”.  Both of these are “sneaky.”  When we are not truthful, we are not only disappointing God, we are moving toward becoming like the devil.  Scripture says he “was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native tongue, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).  It would be hard to make it any plainer than that.  Just as Jesus can only speak the truth, the devil can only speak lies.  We want our native tongue, our heart language, to be the truth.  In this way, we operate in the image of God, our Creator.

There is another simple explanation as to why God cannot lie.  It is because of the creative power of His words.  In Genesis we understand that all creation came into being (from nothing) when “God said”.  When He said “let there be light”, there was light.  He spoke creation into being.  If He said one’s hand was green, would that be a lie?  No, because when He said it, the hand would become green.  He cannot lie.  When He says it, it is.  What He says manifests.

He always does what He says He will do.

In Genesis 18:14, God promised Sarah, age eighty-nine, a son—“Is anything too hard for the Lord?  I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”  Abraham, her husband was already ninety-nine when the promise was given.  A year later, Isaac was born to this couple, who from a reproductive standpoint, were already thought to be dead in their bodies.  (Genesis 21:1).  Not only can God do what He wants, He does what He says.  Numbers 23:19 says—“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.  Does he speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfill?”  Psalm 89: 8 and 34 taken together read—“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you?  You are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.  You will not violate your covenant, or alter what your lips have uttered.”  Then Isaiah 55:11 says—“My word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty [void, powerless], but will accomplish what I desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  [Insert mine.]

He is not a God of empty promises.  When we want to reinforce a promise, we might say “I give my word.”  Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1).  When God gives a promise, He has already given His Son.  In Psalm 138:2, we see that God places such a high importance on His word (doing what He says He will do), that He places His word above His name.  His word is magnified in importance above His name.  Without the integrity of His word, He does not have a name.  It should be no different for us.  We make a name for ourselves with the integrity of our word.  If we say it, we must do it.

His plan is always for our good.

When my wife and I started our juvenile justice ministry, which lasted for fifteen years, we asked God what He wanted us to tell the young people held in maximum security in the juvenile justice system.  We felt strongly we were to tell them two things.  First, God loves them no matter what they had done to break the law.  Second, God still had a good plan for their lives.  Those two simple statements guided our messages and prayers for the young people as we visited them on a weekly basis over the years.  God is a good and loving God, and His unwavering intentions and plan for our lives is good.  Jesus provided another sharp contrast between His purpose and that of the devil in John 10:10—“The thief [devil] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  [Insert mine.]  Jesus came that we might have full, abundant life.  Jeremiah 29:11 says—“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and to not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  The devil wants to harm; God’s plan is for a life full of hope for the future.  As He says in 2 Chronicles, He is always looking for ways to help strengthen His children in whatever they face—“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (16:9). His plan is not that we would come up short, give up and fail.  His plan is that we would succeed and accomplish every good purpose for which we were uniquely created-that we would reach our God-given destiny.

So out of the mouth of a child comes this truth: God is not sneaky.  Indeed, He always speaks the truth, He always does what He says He will do, and He always plans for our good.  There is nothing sneaky about it- we can depend on that.  We should aim for no less from ourselves.

 

What Do You See? Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

I have always had a gift for seeing things clearly.  I remember an incident that happened when I was an elementary age child.  I was playing in the grass at my grandfather’s house with my brother and a friend.  Our friend dropped a small toy in the thick grass.  My brother and the boy were looking for the small object for a while, and became frustrated.  I realized they had been unsuccessful and joined in the hunt.  I was able to quickly see the small object in the grass and restored it back to the boy.

My husband was in the homebuilding industry most of his career.  He would take me to see his newly built and decorated model homes.  His company worked hard to produce a quality product, well designed and soundly constructed.  He had a wonderful decorator who saw the potential in each model home and meticulously decorated them beautifully.  They were attractively ornamented and welcoming as we walked through the door.  My eyes would first see the overall appearance and feel of the room but quickly go past the beauty and symmetry of the design to find the things that seemed to be out of order.  I saw the straight pins left in the draperies, which secured their pressed pleats while transporting them from the workroom to the model home.  I could also see the spots on the wall that needed touch up paint, or the bedspreads unevenly placed on the beds.  My eyes could easily see crooked pictures on the wall and anything with the slightest imbalance of position.

It is simple for me to locate one thing out of order in a picture of a hundred identical objects, or determine which color is not exact from multiple samples.  I can read sentences written up-side-down or backwards.  God has given me an eye for exactness, precision and recognition for that which is out of order.  There are times that ability is of great blessing, but there are also times it makes me very uncomfortable.  Still, it is a gift and I am grateful that I can see in some cases, what others do not.  It is especially good and fulfilling to help others see things they could not see.

Faith is equated with “sight” in the Bible.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1, NKJV.  Faith (sight) has substance!  The Amplified Bible calls that substance assurance, the “title deed of things hoped for”.  It also describes the conviction of things not seen as a “conviction of their reality”.  “Faith (actually) comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.”  (Insert mine).

There was a blind man named Bartimaeus who came to Jesus asking for the miracle of sight in Mark 10:46-52.  Bartimaeus was a beggar who sat beside a heavily traveled road to beg for his living.  He had heard of Jesus and the miracles He had done.  The crowd became excited when Jesus came down the road and Bartimaeus began to shout and cry out loudly to Jesus.  Many in the crowd tried to quiet him by asking him to not make a spectacle of himself.  Instead, Bartimaeus continued crying out and shouting even louder, “Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!”  Jesus stopped immediately when He heard the beggar call Him the Son of David, the Messiah for whom the Jews were waiting.  He knew who Jesus was, although Bartimaeus could not physically see Him.  The blind man had the spiritual eyes not only to SEE but also to BELIEVE!  Jesus called him to come to him and when Bartimaeus came close, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  Blind Bartimaeus answered, “Master, let me receive my sight.”  Bartimaeus again acknowledged that Jesus was Master, teacher, one in authority.  Jesus’ reply to him was “Go; your faith [and confident trust in My power] has made you well.”  Bartimaeus was immediately healed and he “accompanied Jesus on the road.”

Jesus went to Nazareth, where He had grown up, to preach and teach in the synagogue.  The people who knew Him were amazed at His profound teaching.  They recognized His great wisdom but were unable to distinguish His Divine authority as the Messiah and the Son of God.  Their sight only led to His humanity, not His divinity.  Therefore, they became offended, “repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority.” Matthew 13:58 records, “And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (lack of faith in the divine mission of Jesus).”   AMPV.

Throughout His ministry Jesus rebuked His disciples for their unbelief.  Twice they were fearful and panicked when a storm arose while in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus calmed the storm on their behalf.  Their fear exposed their lack of faith in Him.  They also demonstrated unbelief when they were attempting to drive out demons on at least one occasion.  Later, after Jesus had prepared His disciples for His death and resurrection, most of His disciples fled in fear when He was arrested. Mary Magdalene had been to the empty tomb after Jesus’ death on the cross and encountered her risen Lord.  She quickly ran to tell the disciples He had risen, yet they did not believe her.  (See John 20).  Mark 16:14 explains, “Afterward He appeared to the Eleven [apostles themselves] as they reclined at table; and He reproved and reproached them for their unbelief (their lack of faith) and their hardness of heart, because they had refused to believe those who had seen Him and looked at Him attentively after He had risen [from death].”  AMPV.  Once the disciples saw their risen Lord and waited in the upper room for the Holy Spirit, their faith became undaunted.  They were not only filled with faith, they were all willing to die for that revelation, and we know historically, they did.

Jesus healed a man who had been born blind (John Chapter 9).  His eyes had not developed.  Jesus spat on the ground and rubbed the moistened clay into the eye sockets of the blind man.  He then told the blind man to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash his eyes.  He returned to Jesus healed and miraculously able to see.  This man received a creative miracle.  People who knew him asked how he had been healed and he replied, Jesus had healed him.  They took him to the Pharisees and they questioned him.  The Pharisees began accusing Jesus of being a sinner, someone wicked, and asked the man again who healed him.  His response was one of insight, “I do not know whether He is a sinner and wicked or not.  But one thing I do know, that whereas I was blind before, now I see.”  Finally, after more questions the man proclaimed, “Well, this is astonishing!  Here a Man has opened my eyes, and yet you do now know where He comes from. [That is amazing!]  We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and a worshiper of Him and does His will, He listens to him.  Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind (creative miracle).  If this Man were not from God, He would not be able to do anything like this.” AMPV, Insert mine.

Every good Jewish believer of that day knew that God had formed man from the dust of the earth.  (See Genesis 2:7)  They also knew it was impossible to take the clay of the earth, spit on it and place it upon the man’s eye sockets to form eyes!  Only God could do that!  John 1:1-3 Confirms that Jesus was not only present at creation but verse 2 declares He, Himself was the Creator!  “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.”  It was His hands that formed Adam out of the dust of the earth, and His breath that breathed life into him.  1 John 1:1-3 also proclaims, “[We are writing] about the Word of Life, [in] Him Who existed from the beginning.”  Only the Creator could have healed this man’s eyes!  Although the Pharisees read and taught from Genesis 1 (the Torah) in their synagogues for generations, they could not see their Creator standing before them.  Spiritual blindness is the result of a heart hardened by unbelief.

Jesus later returned to the blind man He had healed, and questioned him again.  “Do you believe in and adhere to the Son of Man or the Son of God?  He answered, Who is He, Sir?  Tell me, that I may believe in and adhere to Him.  Jesus said to him, You have seen Him; [in fact] He is talking to you right now.  He called out, Lord, I believe!  [I rely on, I trust, I cleave to You!]  And he worshipped Him.  Then Jesus said, I came into this world for judgment [as a Separator, in order that there may be separation between those who believe on Me and those who reject Me], to make the sightless see and to make those who see become blind.”  John 9:35-39.  AMPV.

Last Sunday during worship, we were singing the words to a song, “We lift Him up, we lift Him higher…”  The Lord began to speak a prophetic word to me.  Philippians 2:9-11 proclaims, “Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.  That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

I began to see a picture of Abraham, who was counted as righteous because of his faith, and the Lord reminded me that He called Abraham to a land he did not know nor had ever seen.  He told him that wherever the soles of his feet walked, that land was his, and whatever he could “see” would be his possession.  Abraham believed God.  When the Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Isaac, Abraham willingly began to walk out in obedience what God had said, but he was believing (seeing) the promise of God and the God of the promise!  Abraham saw beyond the instruction and through eyes of faith, he met Jehovah Jireh, the Lord his provider!  God provided a ram for the sacrifice so that Isaac was spared.

The Apostle Paul prayed a mighty prayer for the Ephesian church.  It has been my prayer for myself and the church for many years:

 Ephesians 1:17-23 [I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son].  And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people),  and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength which He produced 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 [whether angelic or human], and [far above] every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and world but also in the one to come.  And He put all things [in every realm] in subjection under Christ’s feet, and appointed Him as [supreme and authoritative] head over all things in the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills and completes all things in all [believers].

True faith sees substance!  It sees what has not yet become a reality; it is the conviction of its reality.  True faith knows it has received the title deed to the promise of God.  The Lord spoke to me, “Whatever the problem is, if you see Me above that problem, higher than that problem and more powerful that the problem, the victory is yours!”  Our faith must be in Him, in His name, in His character, in His word!  That is the faith that will move mountains.  Today the Lord is asking us all, “What do you see?”

Why Are You Running by Larry W Peebles

Why Are You Running   by Larry W. Peebles   February 24, 2017   17.06

From the time I was a small boy, I loved to run.  My two favorite games involved running.  The kids in my neighborhood would play chase in the evenings until we had to come inside for dinner, homework, or bedtime.  We played over a large area of several city blocks.  The kids all gathered at an agreed “home base”.  Someone was selected to be “it”.  That person hid their eyes while everyone else ran off to hide.  The person who was “it” then had to run all through the neighborhood looking for the kids who were hiding, and when he spotted one, the race was on to beat them back to the “base”.  The loser of that race became “it”, and the game continued with all players looking for new hiding places.  It seemed like we ran non-stop for hours on end.

My second favorite game was something I could do alone, or with another friend.  We would just see how fast we could run.  This could be a two or three person race to a finish line, complete with all the usual arguing over whether or not we got a fair start, and who made it to the finish first.  The arguing almost always resulted in running the race again, which no one minded.  If I was alone, I would just run as fast as I could, then see if I could not run even faster–“hit another gear”, so to speak.  If I felt I had hit the additional speed, then I would attempt to run even faster.  This went on until the point of exhaustion.  After a rest, I would start over running through all the gears again at increasingly faster speeds.

I think I was born with this love to run.  My brothers are all taller than me; they got their height from Mom’s side of the family.  My Dad was shorter than Mom, but he had speed in high school football and track.  I think I inherited his speed.  I ran junior high and high school track and cross country.  Upon graduation I received a scholarship to run track at the community college level.  I continued to run for fitness and conditioning for most of my adult life because I liked it.  It became my time alone with God.  I could run and pray.  Early morning running became early morning prayer-time.  I cannot count the times I found strength, courage and solutions to the day’s problem in those early morning prayers while running.

The Bible compares the process of building and growing our faith to running a race.  I love the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18.  By the word of God, Elijah had told King Ahab (who “had done more to provoke the Lord than any king before him”) there would be a drought in the land.  Three years later, after Elijah had called down fire from Heaven on Mt Carmel and killed the 450 false prophets of Baal, Elijah prophesied the rain would come to break the drought.  He told Ahab “Hitch up your chariot and go down [from Mt. Carmel] before the rain stops you.” [Insert mine.]  Then the Bible says in 1 Kings 18:46—“The power of the Lord came upon Elijah, and tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”  God gave Elijah the speed and endurance to outrun a horse-drawn chariot.  God will give us the strength to complete the Christian race laid out before us.

The following scriptures present a clear comparison of our faith challenge and running.  I have grouped them into three categories.

  1. We run for perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 says—“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Training, conditioning, and then persevering through the race builds confidence we can succeed.  Hebrews 10:35-36 says—“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”  In Romans 5: 2-5, Paul writes —“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
  2. Run to finish. While I was blessed with speed, I definitely learned many more life lessons from training/running a long distance marathon.  The objective was to finish the run after having tested yourself physically and mentally in every way imaginable over the 26-mile course.  2 Timothy 4:7 says—“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9: 25—“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”  Finally, consider Philippians 2: 15-16—“…in a crooked and deprived generation, …you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”  We must finish what we start as we bring Jesus, the very word of life, to a deprived world.
  3. Run to win the prize. Check out these four scriptures that relate the Christian life to running.  First, from Philippians 3: 13-14—“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Paul also writes in 1 Corinthian 9: 24—“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  Then, 2 Timothy 4: 8 says—“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  Finally, from James 1: 12—“blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

The Bible is very clear that the Christian faith-walk is not without its trials.  This is where we trust in, cling to, and rely upon God for everything needed in our lives.  It is similar to a sports competition where training to overcome fatigue, perseverance, stamina, dedication to the cause, and an eye on the finish or prize is necessary.  The goal must occupy the forefront of our heart and mind.  The resistance or opposition is overcome spiritually, physically, and mentally.

We are all running.  I am convinced there is no middle ground–we are either running toward/with God, or away from Him.  There is no standing still.  I heard a pastor say that when we mess up, we tend to run away from God.  He strongly encouraged when we mess up, that is the very time to run toward God–as fast as we can, and say “I messed up, please forgive me”.  God will forgive, take us back and help us.  It so important to get back in the race quickly when we take a wrong turn on the course, or need a break to take water or tend to an injury.  While He loves us unconditionally, our daddy God loves for us to make the effort to run and chase Him.  Unlike the game I played as a child, He allows us to catch Him.  This is why we run.

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