The Holy Spirit Part III Kay K. Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pharaoh had two very troubling dreams.  They were so concerning to him he sought the counsel of all his magicians and wise men but no one could interpret his dreams.  Pharaoh’s chief butler and his baker had been in prison with Joseph (son of Jacob), and Joseph interpreted each of their dreams.  When Pharaoh became distraught and desperate to know the meaning of his dreams, his butler told him about Joseph.  Pharaoh called for Joseph from prison and after listening to him recite his dreams, Joseph explained the meaning of his dreams.  Because of his wisdom, Pharaoh named Joseph second in command over all of Egypt.  The only one with greater power and authority in Egypt was Pharaoh himself.  Joseph was successful because he walked in the Counsel of the Lord.  See Genesis Chapter 41.

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and all the magicians, astrologers, the Chaldeans and soothsayers in his kingdom were not able to interpret his dream.  He appealed to Daniel (Belteshazzar) to tell him the meaning of his dream.  He spoke to Daniel, “declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation:  but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.”  Nebuchadnezzar saw something in Daniel like Pharaoh saw in Joseph.  It was obvious the spirit of the Lord was with Joseph and Daniel to give them wise Counsel.  See Daniel Chapter 4.

The Holy Spirit series is teaching the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, disciples of Jesus Christ.  In Part I, I highlighted the Holy Spirit who Intercedes through us.  Part II emphasized the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth who will lead us into all truth.  Part III further explains the Holy Spirit’s role as our Counselor.

3)  Counselor

Counselor defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is as follows:  to advise; to deliberate or resolve; consult, (give take) counsel, determine, devise, guide, purpose.  This is the role of Jesus as shown in Isaiah 9:6-7 and it is now the role of the Holy Spirit according to John 16:7-11.

Isaiah prophesied about a counselor who was to come.  He is Jesus the Messiah for whom Israel was waiting.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…”  See Isaiah 9:6-7.

Jesus prepared his disciples for his death and resurrection by encouraging that they would be better off if He went away so that the Holy Spirit could come.  “But I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].  And when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness and about judgment; about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.”  John 16:7-11.

It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to our minds and hearts teaching us about Jesus and giving us revelation as we worship Him, pray, read and study the Word of God.  James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5.  He goes on to say we must ask in faith, believing that God will give us the wisdom we need.  Wisdom and counsel go hand in hand.

It is amazing that the Holy Spirit has been given to believers so that we never have to lack in wisdom, understanding, knowledge or revelation of who Jesus is and how we are to live.  We need a counselor not only for understanding the written word, we need to know what to do in our everyday lives.  He helps us discern which job offer to accept, and whether to move or to stay where we are.  We need to know what to do when problems arise and we need discernment to see the spiritual battles we face.  These are just a few examples of the counsel the Holy Spirit gives us.

The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem where the Jewish Sanhedrin would arrest him and put him on trial.  The Holy Spirit also spoke to Agabus, a prophet from Judea who came to see Paul and warn him about the dangers in going to Jerusalem.  See Acts Chapter 21.  Paul realized the Lord was leading him despite knowing that he would be arrested and imprisoned once he reached Jerusalem.  His goal was to be able to share the Gospel with Caesar in Rome.  Those around Paul at the time were trying to persuade him not to go.  “Then Paul replied, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart [like this]?  For I am ready not only to be bound and imprisoned, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’  And since he would not be dissuaded, we stopped pleading and fell silent, saying, “The Lord’s will be done!”  Acts 21:13-14.

While the church grieved his being imprisoned in Rome, Paul was writing his letters to the churches and recording all the rich Biblical teaching from which we now benefit.  He willingly gave up his freedom in order to preach to the Jewish hierarchy, kings and even Caesar, giving them a chance to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me.”  Acts 20:22-23.  Paul graciously left us with Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  His willingness to “suffer” for the Kingdom of God has reaped a great harvest of faith in the Lord and righteous living in the church today.

The written Word of God is wonderful, insightful and full of revelation about the Lord and His Kingdom, but we need more than the written word alone to stand.  We must have an intentional abiding relationship with the Lord through the Holy Spirit and allow Him to Counsel us through our daily lives and help us discover the purpose for which God created us.  He is the One who reminds us of past victories to encourage us in our present battles.  When darkness surrounds us and we feel abandoned and almost hopeless, He is the one who causes us to recall a hymn, song or scripture that lifts us up so that we can see His light and feel His presence holding us up and carrying us through.  The Counselor is the one who quickens us and calls us to join the fight, the spiritual battle and gives us the strategies for full victory for ourselves and others.  He is the One who gives us dreams and visions, renews our strength and instills hope in our hearts.

In The Holy Spirit Part II which taught about the Spirit of Truth, I explained that Paul, who was not a first-hand witness to Jesus’ ministry, was thoroughly instructed about the Gospel through the counsel of the Holy Spirit.  I find it amazing that He wrote the majority of the New Testament although the 12 original disciples wrote very little comparatively.  Their books were the testimony about what Jesus did and who He was/is.  Paul’s writings have taught believers for centuries how Christians should live and conduct themselves according to Jesus’ example.  This combination of approach in the New Testament is paramount to a believer’s understanding of God and His Kingdom.

Peter was made aware of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deceit in the sale of their land and the amount they intended to give to the church by the Counsel of the Holy Spirit.  They promised the entire sale price to go to the church but secretly, both agreed to hold back some of the money and therefore lied to Peter.  It was the Counsel of the Holy Spirit that made Peter aware of their false testimony and deceit.  “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and [secretly] keep back for yourself some of the proceeds [from the sale] of the land?  As long as it remained [unsold], did it not remain your own [to do with as you pleased]?  And after it was sold, was the money not under your control?  Why is it that you have conceived this act [of hypocrisy and deceit] in your heart?  You have not [simply] lied to people, but to God.”  Acts 5:3-4.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness heading to the Promised Land, they had sinned many times against the Lord by worshipping the false gods of Egypt and rejecting God’s personal invitation to abide in His presence.  Because of their evil deeds, they lacked the counsel necessary to walk in obedience to God.  Moses lamented in Deuteronomy 32:28-29, “For they are a nation devoid of counsel, and there is no understanding in them.  O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they could discern their future and ultimate fate!”  Because they rejected the Counsel of the Lord, they ultimately rejected their Messiah.  As a result, the Lord put a veil of blindness over their eyes until He once again draws them back to Himself.

“He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, to keep themselves from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their heart and being converted otherwise, I [their God] would heal them.”  Isaiah 12:40.

We desperately need the Holy Spirit’s Counsel.  We cannot reject His invitation to commune with us like the Israelites did or we will be found opposing the Lord as they were.  He is our eyes and our ears into heaven.  He is the one who gives us glimpses into God’s Glory.  He conveys our heart’s cry to the Lord and He shows us the Heart of God for His people.  He Intercedes through us when we do not know what to pray (Part I) and He leads us into all Truth (Part II).   Jesus said it was better for Him to go so that He could send us the Holy Spirit.  When we receive the Counsel of the Holy Spirit, we will not fail, we will be more than conquerors!

Peace by Larry W Peebles

Peace   by   Larry W Peebles   February 9, 2018   18.04

Winston Churchill found himself in quite a dilemma his first day on the job.  As the brand new Prime Minister of Britain in May of 1940, he saw the army of Nazi Germany (6.5 million including reserves, and 18.5 million including the navy and air force) had conquered most of mainland Europe.  News came the invasion of France had begun.  Before the month was over, French and allied troops were pushed north toward the English Channel at Dunkirk.  The French army suffered 270,000 devastating casualties.  The Nazis had pinned Britain’s remaining army of 300,000 with their backs to the sea.  Sunken ships in the waters around Dunkirk severely restricted the British Navy’s ability to rescue the trapped soldiers in time.  Their big ships had only limited access to the beaches.  The fall of France was imminent.  The King of England was considering evacuating the royal family to Canada.  Many in Britain’s Parliament, and in the Department of War, clamored for a negotiated peace with Germany.  They hoped to save the lives of their troops and avoid a prolonged war with an army of superior numbers and equipment.  Churchill had only days to decide the course of action.  His decision would affect the world.

Churchill was not only a statesman, having held many seats in Parliament and in the British government, he was also a soldier.  He had been an officer in the British Army in India and in WW I.  He knew the value of a soldier’s life, and he had seen the horrors of war.  He was more than capable of negotiating a peace with Germany.  However, he also knew peace with Germany was not the answer.  He could not imagine life in a Nazi-occupied Britain, where there would be no freedom.

Powerful and ruthless in war, the Nazis were experimenting with human lives to create a “master race.”  Races they indiscriminately determined to be “inferior”, such as the Jews, were being callously exterminated in gas chambers.  Churches were being taken over by the state, and crosses on the altar were replaced with pictures of Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Army.  He answered to no one.  European countries that had attempted to make peace or declare their neutrality were given false assurances until Hitler was ready, then they were suddenly invaded without warning and conquered.  Blitzkrieg, or lightening warfare, was the term given to their attack methods.  Combining armor, infantry and air strikes, and presenting an ever-moving front, they often encircled an enemy in order to annihilate.  Hitler was an evil monster who could not be appeased.  To negotiate with him was to make a deal with the devil himself.  Churchill said “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

During Britain’s darkest hour, Churchill called for a daring crossing of the English Channel to rescue the soldiers at Dunkirk.  Civilians in over 800 boats of all sizes answered the call.  Many made more than one trip across the water and back with their boat full of soldiers, including the wounded.  Over 330,000 British, Dutch and French soldiers were rescued.  Realizing his actions could either rally or dispirit the people, the King decided to remain in the country, and agreed to back Churchill’s position on the war.

Churchill inspired Parliament and a nation with his famous speech which declared the country would not surrender.  He challenged the people to fight the evil Nazis “on the seas and oceans…we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, on the landing grounds…in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”  When dealing with something so evil, so very contrary to whatever is right and just in humankind, there is no making peace with the enemy.  Better to die than to submit to its captivity.

Hezekiah faced a similar situation long before Churchill did.  In Isaiah Chapters 36 and 37, the Bible gives the story of King Hezekiah and Jerusalem threatened by Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, who had already taken all the fortified cities of Judah.  Military historians label Assyria as the first superpower of the ancient world, and favorably compare their military tactics to the Germans of WWII.  They employed a large well-trained, full-time paid army, fully equipped with metal weapons.  Brutality and savagery were effectively used as psychological weapons to instill fear in the hearts of their enemy.  Sturdy, four-horse chariots carrying four men struck like lightening and pierced holes in the front lines.  They were virtually unstoppable.  The infantry carried huge shields, and were even trained to cross water by breathing from air-filled leather bags.  They had taken the practice of war to a new level.

Sennacherib’s representative, Rabshaken, had promised 2,000 horses to the men walled up in Jerusalem if they would surrender.  Within the hearing of everyone in the city, he had belittled Hezekiah by challenging that they did not have the men to put on the 2,000 horses.  Further, he said they had no hope that their God would help them, because their God had not stopped the Assyrians to this point.  In Isaiah 36:16, he went on to say that the people should not listen to their own King Hezekiah; rather, they should surrender to him, and everyone would “eat from his own vine, and his own fig tree, and drink the waters of his own cistern.”  It sounded so good.  There was no need to fight.  If everyone would just surrender, there could be peace.

Hezekiah did not fall for the sweet sound of the peace offered.  He would not surrender.  He knew of the Assyrians’ brutal treatment of its captives.  Instead, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth (a sign of repentance), and went to the house of the Lord to seek a word from the Lord.  That word came from the prophet Isaiah.  He sent word to Hezekiah in 37:6-7- “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria [Rabshaken] have blasphemed me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own hand.”  Hezekiah then prayed (verses 16-20), recounting to God the situation and the way the Assyrians had insulted God, ending with-“Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord, You alone.”

Isaiah recorded God’s answer to the prayer in verses 22-35.  In verse 29, God said- “I will put my hook in your nose (Sennacherib) and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came.”  The angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians in their camp that night (v.36), and the next morning Sennacherib went away.  He returned to Nineveh, where his two sons killed him with the sword.

Here are seven points to take away from the stories of Hezekiah and Churchill:

  1. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and true peace comes from Him.  Isaiah 9:6.  As the “angel of the Lord”, He will fight for us.
  2. There is a difference between worldly peace, and spiritual or inner peace. Romans 8:6, Isaiah 26:3.
  3. The Word of God encourages us that we are to do our part so that if possible, we are to live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18.
  4. The Word of God instructs us to resist the devil. We are to submit to God, but resist the devil (James 4:7).  Resist means to withstand, strive against, or oppose in some manner.  Peace does not mean the absence of war.  There are certain times and certain evil enemies where battle is required before peace can come.
  5. The biggest army does not always win the peace. God cares about righteousness and justice.
  6. Prayer is effective for peace. Philippians 4:6-7- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  7. We are not to be afraid of the battle. In John 14:27, Jesus said- “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  This suggests we can call on Him to control our fears.  Colossians 3:15 says we should “let the peace of God rule in your [our] hearts.”  The story of King Jehoshaphat of Judah in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20 is full of encouragement on this point.

There is evil in the world today which must be defeated.  There is no making peace with these forces.  Wherever innocent lives are taken, human rights are taken, or corruption exists in government, we are to resist.  These are the direct product of the work of the devil in the world, and we are to pray, withstand, strive against and oppose in some manner.  The battle is the Lord’s.  When the victory is ours, peace will come.  1 Peter 3:12 says- “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.  And His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  We are not assured of a world without evil, and to the extent there is evil in the world, we may not find world peace.  We are assured we can resist evil, yet still have the peace that comes from God.

The Holy Spirit Part II Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

One minute he could see and the next, he was blind!  Saul of Tarsus was a young Pharisee living in Jerusalem, who was zealous for the Jewish faith.  Stephen was a new believer in Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, godly character and wisdom.  He had just been appointed by the Apostles to serve in the distribution of food to the widows among the new disciples of Christ.  Jesus had been crucified four years earlier and the clash between the staunch Jewish leaders and the new believers in Jesus was festering.  Stephen, full of grace and power was doing signs and wonders before the people.  He was quickly noticed by the Jewish leaders and caught in the crossfire of the two beliefs.  The Jewish hierarchy had rejected Jesus as the Jewish Messiah while the Jewish disciples of Jesus accepted Him as their Messiah, Savior and Lord.  Stephen was brought for questioning before the leaders of the Synagogue of the Freedmen, but they could not refute his arguments about Jesus.  They treated Stephen much like they did Jesus by using false testimony in order to kill him.

Stephen continued to preach about Jesus and His fulfillment of all the prophecies about the coming Messiah in the Jewish Torah and the writings of the prophets.  While they were stoning him, Saul was standing close by holding the outer garments of those who were stoning Stephen.  He was zealous to rout out all the new disciples of Jesus and eradicate their voice because many of the Jews were turning to faith in Jesus Christ (Messiah).  Moments before he died, Stephen looked up to heaven and asked the Lord God not to hold his death against his persecutors.  What they did not realize was the message Stephen preached was Truth, and they were fighting against the Lord God Himself by killing His disciples!

Time passed and zealous Saul received papers from the High Priest to go into neighboring towns and villages to arrest Jesus’ disciples and bring them to Jerusalem for imprisonment and subsequent death.  While travelling from Jerusalem to Damascus the Lord appeared to Saul as a brilliant flashing light and spoke in a thundering voice.  He asked Saul why he was persecuting His people.  The power of God’s voice threw Saul to the ground and the men with him shrunk in fear at the authority they heard and felt.  Instantly Saul’s eyes became blinded by scales which remained for three days.  The men with Saul brought him into Damascus in order for him to rest and recover.  The Lord then spoke to a disciple named Ananias and sent him to minister to Saul.

Ananias told Saul God had sent him to lay hands upon him to receive the Holy Spirit and regain his sight.  At that moment, the scales fell off his eyes and Saul could see again.  Completely healed and filled with the Holy Spirit, Saul went into the synagogues to preach about Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah for whom the Jews had been waiting.  See Acts Chapter 9.  Eventually, Saul’s name was changed to Paul and he wrote the majority of the New Testament in the Bible.

Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do?

1.)  Intercessor – In Part 1, We learned that the Holy Spirit intercedes through us praying directly to God.

2.)  Spirit of Truth – In Part II, The Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth.

Saul was a Jewish Pharisee who studied and taught with the scriptures of the Torah.  The writings of the Torah were the compiled knowledge of the Jewish faith (written by Moses).  They are the first 5 books of the Bible.  Prophecies in the Jewish scriptures prepared the Jews for a day when Messiah would come to His People.  Although their texts were accurate, their perception of how their Messiah would come and what He would do was very different from what Jesus actually said and did.  Saul’s mindset was based on partial truth.  When Messiah Jesus came, the majority of the Jewish hierarchy rejected Him as their Messiah although He fulfilled all 353 prophecies in the Torah and the writings of the Jewish prophets regarding His coming.  Much of their blindness was due to valuing the traditions of man in their faith more than an abiding relationship with God.  They practiced their Judaism outwardly, but inwardly their hearts were far from God.

Saul was zealous for what he knew, but he staunchly rejected his Messiah when He came.  It took extreme measures for God to get his attention and guide him to receive the Holy Spirit who would lead him into all Truth!

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth].  For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father-the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future].  He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine.  Because of this I said that He [the Spirit] will take from what is Mine and will reveal it to you.”  John 16:13-15.

We must have the Holy Spirit to walk in Truth.  The men and women of the Old Testament had encounters by the Holy Spirit.  He is the third Person of the Godhead, but His intent is to always point to the Father and the Son.  The Prophets of Israel all prophesied through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  He would come “upon” them and they would deliver the word of the Lord.  Prior to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit worked outwardly with mankind but after the resurrection of Jesus, He came to dwell inside the heart of man.  Today, we have the privilege of daily hearing from and being directed by the Holy Spirit.  By living inside us, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to empower us, inspire us and transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

He is the One who convicts us of sin, confirms there is a judgement of Satan and all who follow his ways.  He also gives us confidence in the resurrection of the believer’s soul into eternal life.  (See The Holy Spirit Part I).  It is not hard to believe there is such a strong warfare against having the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us into all Truth.  The devil has done a great job at deceiving the body of Christ with the “doctrines of demons” which have not only divided them, but in some cases, led many into a false security of salvation.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate the scriptures and lead us into all Truth.  His process is much like that which Jesus did with the two men on the road to Emmaus.  Jesus sat with them and explained the scriptures concerning Himself from the beginning in Genesis through to His resurrection.  See Luke 24:13-35.  Those who read the Bible but struggle with understanding it need the Holy Spirit to help them understand.  Many are confused by the contradicting doctrines preached in churches today.  However, they can become settled and encouraged by the voice of the Holy Spirit who calms the storms of controversy with His message of Truth.  His work not only inspires and teaches, it affirms by experience, attesting signs and wonders following.  “These signs will accompany those who have believed:  in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them, they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”  Mark 16:17-18.

“At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders (attesting miracles) were continually taking place among the people.  And by common consent, they all met together [at the temple] in [the covered porch called [Solomon’s portico.”  Acts 5:12.

“So Paul and Barnabas stayed for a long time, speaking boldly and confidently for the Lord, who continued to testify to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders (attesting miracles) be done by them.”  Acts 14:3.

“[and besides this evidence] God also testifying with them [confirming the message of salvation], both by signs and wonders and by various miracles [carried out by Jesus and the apostles] and by [granting to believers the] gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”  Hebrews 2:4.

We need the Holy Spirit.  We need Him to illuminate the written Word of God to our minds and hearts.  We need the empowering work of sanctification to rout out all our sinful and destructive character traits making us holy and faithful disciples of Christ. We need more than a “head” knowledge of the Word of God, we need a life-transforming Gospel that not only changes us, but also effectually changes those who are around us.

The Holy Spirit in us is the River of God that flows to and through us touching others.  It is the fire of God that fuels the zeal to evangelize, heal and deliver those in bondage while making disciples of those who believe in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He leads us into all truth.  Fear, confusion, doubt, insecurity and indecisiveness cannot stand when the Holy Spirit speaks!  His voice cuts through the darkness and emboldens even the weakest of believers.  His work enables us to die to self in order to live for Christ!

We live in treacherous times, the end times.  Now more than ever, we MUST be able to hear God’s voice of Truth.  The Holy Spirit has been given to all who believe in Jesus.  As scripture has said, it is not enough just to be baptized in the name of Jesus, we must also be baptized in the Holy Spirit.    “They came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for He had not yet fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of Jesus [as His possession].  Then Peter and John laid their hands on them [one by one], and they received the Holy Spirit.  Acts 8:15-17.  See also Acts 19:1-6.

Jesus said, “it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].  And He, when He comes will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:  about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me; because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.  I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear [to hear] them now.  But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth].”  John 16:6-13a.

Come Holy Spirit!  Abide in us and lead us into ALL TRUTH.

Fake News by Larry W Peebles

Fake News   by   Larry W Peebles   January 26, 2018   18.02

There is much said these days about fake news.  Without going into the political arena, there is a spiritual point to be made concerning this topic.  Fake news is opinion, bias, and half-truth reported as fact.  Its headline may be slanted or sensational, in some cases not even supported by the body of the content.  While media bias has been around for a long time, I am convinced it has become more refined and widespread by our continual use of social media to receive information.  The use of print media is on the decline, and it has been forced to utilize social media as well to keep its message in front of the consumer.

There are truthful and integrity-filled news writers on print and social media, just as there are readers who critically analyze and filter what they read in search of the truth.  The problem is reputable news articles and biased opinion articles are intermingled.  Articles are written so that the difference is subtle.  Discernment is often required to separate the two.  Furthermore, some writers for social media are obscure or “phantom” writers.  They are usually paid in whole or in part by the number of “hits” or views on their article. The more articles they can write, and the more attention they can attract by the headline, the more views and pay the writer can receive.  Careful, time-consuming research can be a thing of the past.  With the writer’s identity hidden, there is no need for creditability and reputation.  Those adept at using social media can move fast, and often do not finish the article, much less pay attention to who wrote it.  Discernment requires time to think.  The trick in the fake news business is to catch the reader’s attention, if only for a brief moment, and trigger a view.

Those wanting to hear, process and retain the truth must discipline themselves to search and discern.  They must avoid the constant bombardment of fake news, false reports, and misleading headlines, or else they begin to believe it.

The spiritual connection is this—the devil is in the fake news business.  It’s in his character.  He is a liar who cannot even occasionally tell the truth, because there is no truth in him at all.  Jesus said in John 8:44- “He (the devil) 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.”  He doesn’t just lie– he lies continually, repeatedly, fluently, proficiently, naturally, and easily.  He loves it, just like a person who speaks more than one language loves to find someone to converse with who speaks their native tongue.  When he gets into our head with his fake news, it takes discipline and discernment to tune him out and turn him off.  The first fake news story in the Bible involved Adam and Eve.  The misleading headline was “Did God Really Say?”  (Genesis 3:1-13).

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, according to John 15:26 and 16:13.  When Jesus’ time had come to be crucified, He told his disciples He would give them an “advantage”.  When He was gone, He would send His Holy Spirit to be with them (and us) on the earth.  This is a powerful and profound statement.  What more advantage could we ask for than to have Jesus, the all-powerful Son of God on our side.  He was the long –awaited Messiah, King and Savior of the world. Heaven and earth would adore Him.  All creation would bow before Him.  Yet He said it is to our advantage that He go away (be crucified, resurrected from the dead, and ascend into heaven), so that He could send us a Helper, His Holy Spirit (John 16:7).  Today, we have Holy Spirit help, the Spirit of Truth, when dealing with fake news.  Unlike the devil, who can only tell lies, the Spirit of Truth can only tell the truth.  We can depend on Him for help.

Let’s examine a sampling of fake news reports we have all heard or may be hearing at the moment.

  1. We (you and I) can’t do this. “This” can be anything that stands as a challenge to overcome.  The devil tells us our limitations are so great it is not possible to do what is before us. We will not succeed.  Examples include getting an education, getting a job, paying the bills, being a good husband, father or employee.  Maybe “this” is speaking before a crowd, or witnessing our faith to a friend or neighbor.  The limitation might be that we are timid, or private, or nervous.  Maybe we don’t have the money, education or intellect.  Perhaps we have tried “this” before, and the result was a totally embarrassing failure.  The number one tool of the devil is discouragement, and if he can use something from our past to discourage us, even if the remembrance is twisted with age and lies, he will do it.  Why—because there is nothing we can do to change the past.  He loves to use our past against us.

The truth is we have a Helper in the person of the Holy Spirit.  God said in His word (Philippians 4:13) – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Maybe I can’t do this.  But Jesus sent me His Spirit to help me do this. Together we can do this.  Jesus said in Matthew 21:21- “if you have faith and do not doubt…and also if you say to this mountain, be ye removed and be cast into the sea, it will be done.”  Psalm 103:12 says our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.  God remembers them no more when they are covered by the blood of Jesus.  Our past is just that—the past.  Past failures make us stronger and better prepared for the current challenge.  We can do this.

  1. We (you and I) are unimportant. The devil tells us we are not significant in position, stature, power or resources.  What we do and say has little meaning.  In the overall scheme of things, our lives are insignificant.  We cannot make a difference in anything, so why try?

The truth is contained in God’s word, which says God desires that all would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 3:9).  All includes you and me.  The Bible also gives the illustration of a man with one hundred sheep who, when he discovers one is missing, leaves the ninety-nine to go look for the one.  (Matthew 18:12).  You and I are that one when Jesus misses us.  The Bible says that one can put a thousand of the enemy to flight, and two can put ten thousand to flight.  (Deuteronomy 32:30).  Can we do that on our own?  No, but we can with the Holy Spirit on our side.

  1. No one cares. The devil tells us we are not loved, appreciated, needed, or even necessary.  Friends come and go, few are dependable.  There is no one we can trust.  No one seems to care what we need or are going through.  We are isolated, abandoned, and rejected.

The truth is God loves us so much He sent His innocent Son into the world to die that we might be forgiven and reconciled back to our loving Father. (John 3:16).  When Jesus died on the cross, He had us (you and me) on His mind.  After our lives on this earth are done, He wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.  He cares about everyone, and wants us to care about everyone around us.  His word says that His very nature is love.  (1 John 4:8).  His word requires us to love Him, and to love our neighbor.  (Mark 12: 30-31).  To properly love God, our neighbor and ourselves requires the help of the Holy Spirit.  When we are functioning with Him, the love will flow back and forth in all directions.

  1. There is something we should fear. The devil loves to try to intimidate us with fear.  Fear can accompany any of the fake news messages.  Examples include fear of failure, fear of defeat, fear of rejection, fear of being alone, and fear of being betrayed.  Fear can stop us from taking action, moving forward, making decisions, and even rob us of sleep and peace.  Even though they may be too young to describe their fears, children adopted into loving families can take years to sleep peacefully through the night.  Fears of loneliness and abandonment can torment their sleep.  Love and prayer eventually wins out.

The truth is we have nothing to fear.  Consider Isaiah 43: 1-4- “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….you were precious in my sight, you have been honored, and I love you.”’

The Bible is full of examples where God tells us not to be afraid.  Joshua was told this a number of times when the Israelites were ready to move into the Promised Land and conquer the inhabitants.  The women who came to Jesus’ tomb were told not to be afraid.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and said “Peace be with you.”  There is no need to worry or be afraid.  The Eternal One, the one who conquered death, is on our side.  In the Old Testament, He is the “Commander of the Armies of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13-15).  He is powerful and fearless, yet He is the Prince of Peace.  He goes before us in every storm and battle.  Before he was anointed king, David wrote in Psalm 27:1- “The Lord is my light and my salvation –of whom shall I be afraid?”

Isaiah 41:10 says- “Fear not, for I am with you: Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom to discern the fake news from the devil if we will ask for it.  He will then also give us the power and strength to overcome and defeat its message from spreading into our lives.  If we hear the fake news message enough, we begin to believe it.  It must be recognized and stopped quickly, so we can believe and act on our God-given potential and destiny.  My prayer is we will ask the Holy Spirit to help us in this area today.

THE HOLY SPIRIT Part I Kay Keith Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The phone rang and my daughter’s voice was frantic at the other end.  She told me my 3 year old granddaughter had found the cough medicine in the cabinet and consumed what was in the bottle and she was acting strangely.  My daughter said PRAY!!  I immediately began praying in tongues because we needed answers from God.  My daughter was going to call poison control but wanted God’s intervention quickly.

An amazing peace came over me as I was praying and I knew she would be alright even though I did not understand one word I was praying.  I continued praying and within 30 minutes my daughter called back.  She said as soon as she hung up the phone the Lord gave her a vision of the cough medicine bottle the last time she used it.  The amount left in it was not enough to harm my granddaughter according to poison control.  Peace flooded both of us again.  The Lord’s wisdom and her conversation with poison control prevented her from having to take my granddaughter to the hospital to have her stomach pumped.  God’s intervention spared my granddaughter from a traumatic hospital experience that would have been terrifying to her, as well as the time and expense of unnecessary emergency treatment.

There are times we have no idea how to pray.  It never crossed my mind that the Lord would give my daughter a picture of the medicine bottle the last time she used it to bring assurance and peace that our granddaughter would be alright.  The Apostle Paul explained that the Holy Spirit searches the mind and the heart of man and knows our inner-thoughts and motives.  The Holy Spirit knew exactly what we needed at the moment and provided the answers to prayers we did not know how to pray.  He interceded through me exactly what was necessary at that time.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like on that first day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon all 120 believers in the Upper Room.  To hear the roar of the mighty rushing wind and see the tongues of fire upon every person’s head and then hear them all speaking in their own heavenly language must have been amazing.  They were so caught up in the presence of the Lord they appeared to be drunk but it was only 9 a.m.  There were men and women there in the streets of Jerusalem from many different nations and the Bible says they heard what the believers were saying in their own language although they knew the believers were all Galileans.  See Acts 2:4-13.  They came out on the streets and Peter began to preach.  The one who denied association with the Lord only 50 days prior preached a bold message to the same Jews that cried out for Jesus to be crucified.  What he said was astounding.

But this is [the beginning of] what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:  ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I shall pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions, and your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams…And I will bring about wonders in the sky above and signs (attesting miracles) on the earth below, blood and fire and smoking vapor.  The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.  And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”  Acts 2:16-21.  See the rest of the sermon in Acts 2.

There is much misunderstanding about the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.  The devil has attacked that one area of teaching more than any other because he knows how powerful and effective we can be if we have full knowledge and function of the Holy Spirit’s help in our lives.  Too often, believers neglect the opportunity and the practice of the Holy Spirit’s intervention on a daily basis.  Others flaunt the “gift” of the Holy Spirit as if they are more spiritual than their brothers and sisters in the Lord.  His presence in our lives is for all believers, not a select few, and we have done nothing to earn it nor does it qualify us as better than anyone else.  It is a free gift to all who believe and a necessity to those who understand and take advantage of such a great gift from God.  Paul encouraged the church to “desire” the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He expounded upon the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 but put the Love chapter 13 in the middle to insure believers would use their gifts with the motivation of unconditional love.

1 Corinthians 14:1-2 states, “Pursue [this] love [with eagerness make it your goal], yet earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual gifts [to be used by believers for the benefit of the church], but especially that you may prophesy [to foretell the future, to speak a new message from God to the people].  For one who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to people but to God; for no one understands him or catches his meaning, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries [secret truths, hidden things].”  See also 1 Corinthians 12:29-31.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and He is the One Jesus left to help us so that the church would grow in maturity in the faith and function as Jesus functioned on earth.  It is imperative that we know Him and allow Him to teach us and work through us in order for us to attain the stature of Christ likeness.  He told His disciples believers would do even greater works that He did.  See John 14:12.

In this study we will learn who the Holy Spirit is and His function in and for believers.  Jesus was preparing His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection when He introduced them to the coming Holy Spirit.  He was trying to comfort their concerns that He would not be with them much longer.  Jesus explained to His disciples He would send the Holy Spirit to them after He ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit would be with them teaching, guiding and directing their lives.

“But I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].  And when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness and about judgment; about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.”  John 16:7-11.

1)    INTERCESSOR

Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.  And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.”

The Apostle Paul was well-versed in the knowledge of the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Holy Spirit although he was not one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus, nor was he present on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first fell upon the 120 believers, as discussed earlier.  Paul was converted by a sudden and radical encounter with the resurrected Jesus.  Soon after his conversion Paul went to a remote area to learn and grow in the teaching of Jesus.  It was the Holy Spirit Who prepared Paul for his ministry and taught him about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.  He saw Jesus the Messiah woven throughout the entire Old Testament.  The Apostles examined Paul’s doctrine of the kingdom and released him to begin his ministry of building the church.  The majority of our Christian instruction has come from the Apostle Paul who wrote Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus.

Paul continued teaching about the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14.  He asked the question, “Then what am I to do?  I will pray with the spirit; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will sing with the mind [using words I understand]; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will pray with the mind [using words I understand].  Otherwise if you bless [and give thanks to God] in the spirit only, how will any outsider or someone who is not gifted [in spiritual matters] say the “Amen” [of agreement] to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?… I thank God that I speak in [unknown] tongues more than all of you.” 1 Corinthians 14:15.  I encourage everyone to read more of Paul’s writings about the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.

There have been times when I was oppressed by a demonic spirit but had no idea the specific cause which gave it permission to operate against me.  Praying in the Holy Spirit enabled me to break the spirit of confusion which always functions around attacks of the enemy.  I was then able to hear from the Lord what spirit to bind and how to break its power in the name of Jesus.

There are times when I was fearful and needed direction.  Praying in the Holy Spirit built up my courage and also gave me the information needed to get breakthrough.  Paul taught that our warfare is spiritual and therefore we need spiritual tools to acquire and maintain victory.  Praying solely in our natural mind can be effective, but there are so many times we do not know how to pray as I mentioned above.  When I pray in the Holy Spirit, I am much more effective in a shorter amount of time.  I can’t take credit for the answers or breakthrough because it wasn’t me praying, it was Him.

There is so much more the baptism of the Holy Spirit enriches in us.  Having His daily presence with us is like walking beside Jesus as the disciples experienced!  In this study we will see He is not only our Intercessor, He is our Counselor, Advocate, Comforter, Strengthener, and Standby.  He is the Spirit of Truth and He will teach us all things pertaining to Jesus as well as helping us mature in the faith becoming true disciples who change the world.

The Holy Spirit is truly a gift from the Lord and we cannot function without His help.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit enables us to be immersed in Him in His fullness.  When we submit to His direction, he begins preparing, equipping and guiding us as we walk out our faith in Christ Jesus together.  Jesus Himself said it is better that He go so that He could leave us with the Holy Spirit.  He is our vital component to our faith and He is just as important and beloved as our Heavenly Father and Jesus our Savior!

True and powerful intercession comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The best news is He is available to all who believe.

Announcement

As has been our custom, we are taking off the first two weeks of the new year for  a much needed break.  We have written fifty articles per year for the past three years, attempting to be faithful to what we believe God has called us to do.  During this break, we will be seeking the Lord to see what direction He has for 2018.  We are also working on updates to the website.  We expect our first article for 2018 to appear on January 19.

Happy New Year, and thank you for visiting our website. We pray God’s richest blessings on you in the year ahead.

Larry and Kay Peebles

Prophesy Fulfilled by Larry W Peebles

Prophesy Fulfilled   by   Larry W Peebles   December 29, 2017   17.50

Bible scholars say there are over 350 prophesies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.  These prophesies came through multiple prophets writing over thousands of years.  These 350 prophesies are in different books of the Old Testament.  Considering these facts, the mathematical odds that any one man could fulfill all of them are infinitely small.  Writing in the book Science Speaks, Stoner and Newman estimate that the odds of one man fulfilling just eight of the 350 or so prophesies would be similar to the odds of finding one certain marked silver dollar out of  a stack of unmarked silver dollars two feet deep covering the entire State of Texas.  There is no way of verifying this calculation, but it does give a graphic visual of the difficulty.

There are studies available on the internet that summarize these 350 prophesies.  All of the prophecies are important because they emphasize that God does speak through His prophets, as He said in His Word (Luke 1:70).  Additionally, and against all reasonable odds, Jesus fulfilled them all.  He did not leave one thing undone that God had told His children would happen concerning the Messiah.  This is how we can know beyond all doubt that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah Savior who came to rescue those who would believe in Him.

As I write this article, we are in the season of celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus as a human infant.  Make no mistake however; He is the Son of God, the Messiah planned and promised to mankind since the first man Adam fell into sin.  For purposes of this article, I submit thirteen of these prophesies, a baker’s dozen for consideration, although some of the categories contain multiple prophesies under the same general topic:

  1. Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). This was fulfilled in the accounts of the birth in Matthew 1:18 and Luke 2:4-6.
  2. Messiah would come from the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3 and 22:18), Isaac (Genesis 17:19), Jacob (Numbers 24:17), the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and would be heir to King David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Luke 3:23-38 records the lineage of Jesus back through all these men, through Noah and even back to Adam.  Since Jesus created all things including Adam, He stands at the beginning and the end of His own human lineage, and is able to say “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13).
  3. Messiah would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). This is fulfilled in Matthew 1:23, which says “they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us.”’
  4. A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah (Isaiah 40:3-5). This messenger was John the Baptist, as Luke documents in Luke 3:3-6.
  5. Messiah would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3). John speaks of Jesus’ rejection in John 1:11 and 7:5.
  6. Messiah would be declared the Son of God (Psalm 2:7). When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus, and “a voice came from Heaven, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”’ (Matthew 3:16-17).  This was the voice of the Father.
  7. Messiah would bring the authority of the government of the kingdom of heaven to the earth in a new way (Isaiah 9:6-7). Jesus affirmed this in Mark 1:15 when He said “the kingdom of God is at hand.”  All authority (of kings and governments) and principalities (demons) are subject to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15, and Revelation 19:16).
  8. Messiah would come to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, and to comfort those who mourn (Isaiah 61:1-2).  Jesus established this prophesy as His mission statement when He read this very scripture from Isaiah in the synagogue and said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19).
  9. Messiah would be high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20, and Psalm 110:4) and King forever (Zechariah 9:9). We read more about the Old Testament king and priest Melchizedek in Hebrews Chapters 4 and 5, but the best explanation is perhaps the entirety of Chapter 7.  This is where we see the comparison of Melchizedek and Jesus, with Jesus firmly established as The High Priest.  The people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as King in Mark 11:7-11, yet crucified Him as “King of the Jews” in Matthew 27:37.
  10. Messiah would be betrayed (Psalm 41:9), falsely accused (Psalm 35:11), and the blood money (thirty pieces of silver) paid His betrayer would be used to buy a field (Zechariah 11:12-13). These three prophesies were fulfilled in Luke 22:47-48, Matthew 26:14-16, Matthew 27:9-10, and Mark 14:57-58.
  11. The prophesies concerning Messiah’s crucifixion were numerous and detailed yet were fulfilled with the same detail: crucified with criminals (Isaiah 53:12/Matthew 27:38); given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21/Matthew 27:34); hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16/John 20:25-27); mocked and ridiculed (Psalm 22:7-8/Luke 23:35); soldiers gamble for His garments (Psalm 22:18/Matthew 27:35-36); bones would not be broken (Psalm 34:20/John 19:33-36); forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1/Matthew 27:46); pray for His enemies (Psalm 109:4/Luke 23:34), and soldiers pierce His side (Zechariah 12:10/John 19:34).
  12. Messiah would resurrect from the dead (Psalm 49:15), ascend to heaven (Psalm 24:7-10), and would be seated at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1).We see these prophesies fulfilled in these respective verses: resurrected from the dead-Matthew 28:2-7; ascended to heaven-Mark 16:19; and seated at God’s right hand-Mark 16:19, and Matthew 22:44. Additionally, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that the resurrected Jesus appeared to not only the twelve disciples, but that “He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present [date of Paul’s writing], but some have fallen asleep” [died]. [Inserts mine.]
  13. Messiah would be the (great and final) sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:5-12). Romans 5:6-11 speaks beautifully of this when it says -”while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  These verses then go on to explain how we as enemies of God were reconciled again to God through the death of his Son.

At the beginning of the New Year, I find it helpful to reflect and return to the basics—those truths that endure and are worthy places to anchor my hopes for the future.  My hope and my strength rest in the living Savior and Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God.  He extended love and grace to me before I ever came to Him.  He saved me from myself.  Left to go on my own path, I surely would have died.  By His grace, He saved me from sin by offering His blood as atonement, washed away my shame, and made me a son of the Father, an heir to the kingdom.  Once I was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, His grace continues to call me to a life that honors Him.  Old thoughts, habits and sinful ways are being broken off me.  I am far from perfect, but I am moving in a direction to be more like Jesus.

When God speaks a word of direction or wisdom, we would do well to listen.  When He speaks twice, we are without excuse.  When He spoke 350 times through the prophets that Jesus is the Son of God, Savior of the world, He has issued a loving yet firm ultimatum.  The world will one day be judged by what it has believed.  I urge us all to believe and to begin to act accordingly.  We should make this our resolution for 2018– to believe without reservation or hesitation.

IMMANUEL Kay Keith Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

The long awaited day had finally come.  All of heaven was ecstatic!  There was a flurry of excitement from the Throne Room of God to the outer regions of heaven. Before creation the Cherubim and Seraphim had heard the discussion between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as did the Archangels Michael and Gabriel.  Before the Lord created Adam, He knew Adam would eventually fall into sin if he was given the free will to choose.  The All-Knowing God, in His great wisdom, was already planning a way to redeem Adam’s descendants from their sinful nature. 

The Son (pre-incarnate Jesus) asked His Father to allow Him to become flesh like man, to show Adam’s offspring the great love His Father had for the people.  He told His Father He knew the people would love Him if they could see what His Father was truly like.  They discussed the need for pure sinless blood to be shed for the redemption of mankind’s sin-filled souls.  The Son volunteered to go and reveal to the people His Father’s character and His Kingdom.  He also chose to lay down His sinless life for the whole world, in order to save those who would choose to believe in Him.  Every heavenly being looked on in awe as the Godhead agreed that the Son of God would one day leave the glory and majesty of heaven to become the Son of man in order to save the people.

In God’s perfect timing, Adam and Eve were created and planted in the garden to abide in the perpetual, glorious presence of the Lord all their days.  They were made in the image of God and clothed with His glory.  They were created in the perfection of holiness and were completely without sin.  In that sinless state, they and their descendants would have lived forever in the presence of the Lord. 

They were given dominion over every living thing in the garden.  Each plant bearing food was available for them to eat except one, the fruit from Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The serpent (Satan), who had rebelled against the Lord and was cast down from heaven, beguiled the woman and the man.  His cunning distortion of God’s commandment tempted them and as a result, they chose to eat the fruit from the one tree God had forbidden.  His twisted words incited them to doubt the Word of the Lord as they entertained the lies of the serpent.  He told them they would become equal to God if they ate from that tree.  The lust of their eyes for the forbidden fruit and the pride in their hearts believing they could be equal to God motivated them to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Although the Lord had warned them death would enter their lives if they disobeyed, they rebelled against the Lord God which caused the breaking of fellowship with Him.  What was once beautiful and glorious became ugly, dark and grim.

The hardness of their hearts caused by their sin kept them from accepting personal responsibility for their choice to reject God’s Word and authority.  Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent for their own actions.  Consequently, they were cast out of the garden of God’s glory and they lived under the curse of disobedience and dishonor their sin brought upon them.  Lives that would have existed forever became temporal and mortal as sin began the cycle of disease, death and destruction.  Although they did not die immediately, they began to feel the results of their rebellion against God.  Cain and Abel were the first two children Adam and Eve produced after their sin.  Death became a reality as their rebellion was inbred into their sons.  Jealousy over their offerings to the Lord caused Cain to kill his brother Abel.  Having the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve discovered they could not live a holy life without the presence of the Lord.  Experiencing the consequences of their sin first hand, the reality of sin and death became starkly personal.  Death stared them in the face.  Cain lived the rest of his life under the curse of death and murder.  There would be no help for any of their descendants if God did not intervene on their behalf.  The Lord established a “temporary” sacrificial system for them until His complete, eternal redemption could be enacted.

Millenniums passed while God chose one man after another to speak for Him in order to show the people how to live, but for the most part, they chose to continue in their rebellion of God’s will and His ways.  Miracles were witnessed and devout examples of leadership rose to prominence through many of the prophets and kings, yet the people continued to worship their idols instead of the one, true God.  Most of God’s messengers were not only rejected, they were killed by the people because they chose their idols of self-rule instead of that of their Creator.

Over three thousand years had passed from Adam to the prophet Isaiah when Heaven began to stir again.  The time had come to initiate the plan the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had created to save mankind.  The precision of God’s timing intersected with the chosen prophet to deliver His message.  Isaiah was selected by God to speak His declaration of hope to the people on earth at that moment.  The name Isaiah means Yahweh is Salvation! 

All the heavenly beings bowed in reverence as the Lord God stood to speak a Word that would impact both heaven and earth.  As He began to declare His eternal promise, an explosion of light empowered His Words.  Met with a roar of thunder, the two collided as His decree broke through the heavenly realms.  It pierced the veil of great darkness that covered the earth.  The eternal seed of Truth was deposited in the earth to remain until its divine purpose would be fully revealed.  Empowered by His glory and all the authority of heaven, a lightning rod of God’s Word penetrated the heart and the mind of the prophet Isaiah as he stood before the people.  He began to speak the very Words of God…

“For unto us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  There shall be no end to the increase of His government and of peace.  [He shall rule] on the throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from that time forward and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”  Isaiah 9:7.

The Holy Spirit began to brood over the Words of God as the time for the incarnation of the Son of God and man would enter the earthly realm.  The Almighty has always watched over His Word to perform it and it has never returned to Him void of its intent.  The Lord also promised the people a sign would accompany His Son as He came to earth…

 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).”  Isaiah 7:14.

Yahweh is Salvation was declaring the incarnation of the Savior.  The people heard with their ears but their sinful hearts clouded their understanding. 

Eight hundred more years passed before the day finally came for the King of Glory to be born.  The Majesty from on High entered the womb of a virgin named Mary so that He might show the people the true heart of God.  Seeking shelter as His birth was imminent, Mary and Joseph found no place other than a stable on the edge of Bethlehem for this holy, Son of God to be born.  Although He deserved to be born in a great palace filled with silver and gold, His infant form was placed in a stable manger, a mere feeding trough for animals. 

The moment of His first cry, all of heaven stood at attention and began to rejoice!  The angels sang, praising their King, who gave up the glories of heaven to save His people.  A huge star converged over the humble stable and guided believing hearts even thousands of miles away.  Shepherds who were tending their flocks nearby saw a great angel in the sky and heard their voice proclaiming the Good News, a Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord.  The Long awaited Messiah (Christ) broke the veil between God and man entering the earthly realm as a tiny babe in a most humble borrowed manger. 

Wise men from the Far East had seen the star and ventured the difficult and distant journey to see the wonder it proclaimed.  They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which were symbolic of His deity, His death and resurrection, and His eternal reign as King above all Kings.

The King of Glory became the servant of all, the Lord of Life was the sacrifice for sin and death.  The Prince of Peace reconciled God to man, and The Way, the Truth and the Life led His disciples to eternal life.  The curse of sin and death was forever broken and all who would believe were given a way unto salvation!

At a time when those with eyes could not truly see and those with ears could not truly hear, the Lord made the ultimate sacrifice to reach His people through His abandoned, reckless love.  Those who would believe saw a Savior in a manger, the God of heaven and earth in His miracles and the Lord of Life on the cross.  He has given us a new way to live and the power to be transformed into His image.   

May the glorious birth of Jesus so impact your life that you will never be the same.  May the truth of His gospel so fill your heart that you live in heaven on earth as you prepare others for His return.  May His death and resurrection produce resurrection life in your innermost being, and may His Truth sustain you until you see Him face to face in eternity!  God bless you all, and Merry, Merry Christmas.

Passing the Test by Larry W Peebles

Passing the Test   by   Larry W Peebles   December 15, 2017   17.48

A test is intended to demonstrate how well the student has learned the subject matter of a lesson or course.  I remember tests all through school, especially high school.  Certain scores were required to graduate from high school in order to complete the required public education.  I remember taking the ACT test to qualify for college.  Then there were many tests in order to achieve the grades necessary to graduate from college, including graduate school.  These were followed by tests of professional competency to become a CPA, and a Real Estate Broker.  My oldest grandsons are currently in high school, and are very conscious of their test scores.  They are already preparing for their college entrance exams.  All my grandchildren are in school, where doing homework and studying for tests are a daily practice.  They expect to be tested on what they have learned.  Passing scores on a test mean they can move on to the next level.  Often these achievements are celebrated with grand ceremonies and congratulations from family and friends. I was reminded of this recently when a friend graduated from Bible College.  While I could not attend his graduation, I was able to rejoice with him when I saw the pictures from the ceremony.  I was so proud of his accomplishment, because I knew of the difficulties he had gone through to reach that level of success.

Outside the arena of formal education, there is much to be learned about life itself, and that testing process is life-long.  Formal education results in acquired knowledge, and while much of the material is widely accepted facts, some of it is not necessarily the truth.  It may contain a mix of opinion and contemporary thinking subject to later revision.  Life lessons teach wisdom.  Similar to formal education, life has a way of making us retake the test if we continue to fail what it is trying to teach us.  This is sometimes referred to as “going around the mountain again”.  If we did not pass the test life sent our way, we get to go around the mountain and do it again.  I believe God’s hand is in that, as the test usually has something to do with wrong spiritual beliefs or flawed character traits that need to be overcome or strengthened.

My wife, whom I respect greatly for her wisdom, likes to say that God gives open book tests.  The answers are in His Word, and He doesn’t mind if we look up the test questions before responding.  One of the best examples of this is contained in the Book of Deuteronomy.  Chapter 28 sets forth many wonderful blessings that are promised if we obey the voice of the Lord and His commandments.  It also sets forth many dreadful curses that we become subject to if we disobey.  In Chapter 29 God renewed His covenant with Israel on the condition that they obey him.  God reminded them again in Chapter 30 the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience.  Finally, in 30:19-20 He summarized by giving the people the answer- “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days, and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.”  We are to choose to obey, which produces rich blessings, long life, and peaceful security in the land where we are to dwell.

If we need wisdom but cannot find the answer in His Word, the Bible says we are to simply ask for it.  James 1:5 says- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  When Deuteronomy says we are to obey the voice of the Lord, it is implied we can hear the voice of the Lord.  James assures if we ask for wisdom, He will either speak it to us or show it to us in His Word.  One of my favorite verses on this matter is Isaiah 30:21- “Your ears shall hear a word (voice) behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”.  I literally had this happen to me when I heard the voice of the Lord come over my left shoulder. He was alerting me to look in a certain direction as danger was approaching from the left while I was driving a car.  We can hear the voice of the Lord.  One of the favorite things my wife and I try to do on a daily basis is morning worship and prayer time with the Lord, followed by a period of lying still before Him to hear His voice or feel His touch.  It takes some discipline to force all other thoughts and plans out of the mind in order to be totally still before Him, but the results are well worth it.  We are both looking for wisdom and the correct answer in time so we don’t have to make that repeat trip around the mountain.

Abraham passed a huge test of faith in Genesis Chapter 22.  Abraham knew the Lord, and was called out of his homeland and away from his family to follow the Lord and go to a place the Lord would show him.  He had received the promise of a blessing for his obedience.  Though he and his wife Sarah were well past the ages of child bearing, the Lord had personally appeared to them, and promised not only a son, but also that nations and kings would come out of them.  The Lord fulfilled that promise with a son they named Isaac.  The child they had waited and longed for had come to them.

In Chapter 22, the Lord tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah.  Abraham packed all the necessary provisions and set out for the three day journey to the mountain with his son.  Upon arrival, Abraham laid the wood on the place the Lord had directed, and knife in hand, he called Isaac toward the altar.  Isaac observed there was no lamb for the sacrifice.  Abraham responded (v. 8) – “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” He then proceeded to bind Isaac and place him on the altar, and took the knife to slay his son.  The Angel of the Lord (Jesus) called from Heaven and told Abraham not to lay a hand on the boy. (v. 10-12).  Abraham knew the Lord, believed the Lord, and believed that for the promise to be fulfilled his only son would have to be spared.  On that basis he proceeded as instructed until he was stopped. Abraham saw a ram tangled in the bushes, and that lamb the Lord provided became the sacrifice.

Abraham called the place The Lord Will Provide, or Jehovah Jireh.  Listen to what the Lord did to celebrate and commemorate the passing of that test.  Genesis 22:15-18- “Then the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”  Jesus, not Isaac, would be the innocent sacrifice that one day would save the people of all the nations.  Abraham’s willingness to obey God and sacrifice Isaac resulted in that promise.  His score on this test assured every nation would be blessed through Abraham.  Jesus Himself promised it.  As Abraham grew closer to the Lord and continually obeyed Him over a long period of time, His promise of blessing also grew.  What started as a personal blessing grew to a nation that would be blessed, and then expanded to all nations that would be blessed. Each test he passed resulted in the blessing moving to the next level as well.

To avail ourselves of Abraham’s promise and blessing we need make the choice to obey God.  1 Samuel 15:22 says- “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” We must seek and obey the voice of the Lord in every situation, in order to make the correct choice and pass the test.  Jesus is the (only and correct) Way, the (absolute) Truth, and the (blessed and abundant) Life, per John 14:6.  Pass the test; choose life.

If we get it wrong, we can ask forgiveness and try again so long as our heart is to try to get it right or make the necessary change.  God is a patient teacher.  He is also a God of grace and many chances.  For even the most difficult sin habits, He will help break the pattern and advance change when we cry out earnestly for His help.  He wants us to score well, pass the test, and move on to the next level.

POWERFUL WORDS Kay Keith Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The atmosphere in the room changed!  At one time, I was a member of a world-wide denominational church which had a large women’s organization.  Most of the women in our 2,500 member congregation were members of the women’s group.  The Lord had been teaching me the difference between simply discerning things and changing them.  He told me I was not to be a thermometer which simply detected and reported the temperature (spiritual climate) of a person or place.  He continued by explaining I was to be a thermostat that regulated or changed the temperature (spiritual climate) around me.  I realized the Lord had given me authority to change things through prayer and declarations and that same authority is for all believers.

Our women’s group was having a banquet with our husbands so the fellowship hall was filled with people.  My husband was unable to attend and I was sitting at a table of couples and one or two other women who did not have their husbands with them.  The discussion during dinner was controlled by one of the other women there who began to complain about her absent husband.  She listed his “deficiencies” and expounded upon the things about him that offended her.  Her words created an unwelcoming and unhealthy environment, especially because there were several men at the table.  They seemed to identify with her complaints.  The countenance on their faces began to sink as their attention became silently fixed upon their plates instead of looking at others around the table.  They were feeling the condemnation she was expressing about her husband, who was not there.

The Lord spoke to me, “Change the atmosphere”!  I thought, “How can I do that, Lord”?  “What can I say or do to change the atmosphere?”  He said to me, “If you praise your husband, it will break that spirit of condemnation.”  I was able to quickly enter into the conversation and began to list the areas where I had no expertise at all, but my husband was a superstar.  I mentioned his incredible ability to pay our bills on time and balance the checkbook.  I went on to say his gift might not be dressing the children for church like me, but he surely kept our automobiles running well and regularly cleaned inside and out.  As I began to praise my husband, the faces of the men at the table lifted and their eyes brightened.  Their body language was evidence they no longer felt condemnation.  The negative darkness dissipated and everyone chimed in with their affirmation toward their husbands as smiles returned on all their faces.

Through that experience, the Lord gave me a great revelation and understanding of the power of our words.  I could see the authority we have as believers, to change the atmosphere where we are, simply by speaking in the opposite spirit.  The woman was obviously unhappy and bitter about her marriage and life.  Her words were void of hope and joy, gratefulness and thankfulness.  They were filled with judgement, condemnation and death.  The enemy uses our negative words to work his destruction in our families, friendships, churches and world, because he knows our words have power.  I have watched several marriages fall apart over the years.  One of the telltale signs of the broken relationship was one or both partners would complain about the other publically.  I pray my actions encouraged that woman to remember the good things about her husband and to stop criticizing him, especially in public.

We have all been on the receiving end of harsh, bitter, and toxic words someone spoke to us, and therefore know exactly how destructive they can be.  Some of us may still be trying to gain victory over such condemning words.  I do not doubt we all, at one time or another, have been guilty of speaking words of “death” over someone else without realizing the power and authority of our mouth!  The Lord gave us this ability to speak life or death but many of us have not understood the true power of our words.  When we do, we can change the atmosphere around us and turn negative, hopeless situations into ones of victory, peace and joy!

Proverbs 18:21-22 instruct us, “A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequences of his words.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.”  In this passage, we see that we frame our world by our words as our Creator framed the world by His!

Jesus expounded upon this concept in Matthew 12:36-37.  “But I tell you, on the day of judgement people will have to give an accounting for every careless or useless word they speak.  For by your words [reflecting your spiritual condition] you will be justified and acquitted of the guilt of sin; and by your words [rejecting Me] you will be condemned and sentenced.”  Verse 34b states, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”

Let me stop here and assure you that this word is not meant to condemn, for I too, have been guilty of speaking the wrong words many times and still can. This word is for encouragement!  We cannot change what we do not know or understand.  We cannot expect different results if we continue on the same broken path.  I am continuing to grow in this as I write!

James, the brother of Jesus wrote an entire chapter on this subject in James Chapter 3.  “But no one can tame the human tongue; it is a restless evil [undisciplined, unstable], full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.  Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.  These things, my brothers should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].”  James 3:8-10.  There is no denying our words have the power of life and death.

I believe disappointment, fear, anger and offense are major motivators of our harsh words.  Disappointments will come and so will offense but how we handle them will determine our future outcome.  Fear and anger are emotions that fuel the temptation to lash out at others.  When challenges come our way, we will either respond in faith or in unbelief.  Our words will speak life or death, blessing or cursing.  They will frame our outcome.  Is it possible that we are currently living in the situation our words created?  When a crisis occurs, what is our immediate response?  If someone hurts us, what do we say and do about it?  Are our words ones of life and faith or doom, gloom, and death?  If death is our answer, we can change by repenting to the Lord and learning how to respond properly to negative situations and circumstances.

Our words come from our heart, our innermost being which is the seat of our belief system.  Our soul is our mind, will and emotions.  A believer’s mind, will and emotions are to be submitted or subject to the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When we walk by faith, words that are full of faith will pour out of our mouth in times of crisis.  We become filled with faith by daily reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God.  It will not come solely by a once a week 30 minute sermon at church.  Every day we are confronted by the world because we live in the world, however, we are not to be conformed to the ways of the world!  We are to be transformed by the washing or cleansing work of the Word of God.  The Lord instructed the Israelites to reflect on His Word every day, teach it to their children, and talk about it with others.  They were to symbolically put it on their foreheads and wrists as a reminder they needed to hide the Word of God in their hearts by meditating on it continually.

David wrote in Psalm 119:11-16, “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You.  Blessed and reverently praised are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes.  With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth.  I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.  I will meditate on Your precepts and [thoughtfully] regard Your ways [the path established by Your precepts].  I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”  Psalm 119:11-16.  Those who hide the Word of God in their hearts will speak forth words of faith, hope and love in a time of crisis, which will bring forth life even amid destruction.  Those who declare hopelessness, death and destruction curse their future and inadvertently blame God.

Psalm 1 speaks of the benefits of walking in the ways of God.  It begins with a promise, “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers).  But his delight is in the law of the LORD.  And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.”

When we speak words of faith and truth, the power of God will back them up.  When we hide the Word of God in our hearts, we fill our innermost being with life and our words will create life!  When we trust in the Lord and all His promises, we will walk in prosperity, the favor of God, hope and victory.  God created us to walk in dominion.  He gave us the ability to speak words which produce either life or death.  It is good to know that our words are powerful so that we can speak words of Life!