Sovereign Prayers Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pharaohs of Egypt were considered to be Gods.  They had sovereignty over all the people of Egypt.  When a Pharaoh declared a law or a ruling whether right or wrong, it would be done.  A person or a nation that has jurisdiction, rule, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, control or influence over others has “sovereignty” over them.

Thutmose II was probably the Pharaoh in Egypt when Joseph was second in charge.  It is not clear who was Pharaoh when God called Moses to set the Israelite slaves free.  When Jacob moved his family to Egypt as protection from years of drought and suffering, they were just a few hundred in number.  Over the years, the Israelites prospered and multiplied to the degree their population became a threat to Egypt.  A succeeding Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph or how his godly wisdom protected Egypt from starvation, decided he needed to take strict measures to ensure they could not overthrow his kingdom or sovereignty.  In order to control this substantial group of people who were in the country and not natural born Egyptians, Pharaoh chose to enslave the Israelites.  Pharaoh used his sovereignty in Egypt to solve an imagined threat to his nation and his leadership.  The oppression of slavery kept the Jewish people weak and wanton for 400 years although they continued to multiply.  It was a diabolical way of controlling them but Pharaoh was about to learn he was not sovereign in all the earth, and he would soon have an encounter with the One who was.

The Lord enlisted Moses, a mere man, to demonstrate to Pharaoh His power and sovereignty over the earth.  He instructed Moses, “Behold, I make you as God to Pharaoh [to declare My will and purpose to him]”.  He continued, “You shall speak all that I command you…The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt and bring out the Israelites from among them.”  The results were amazing, “And the Lord did according to the word of Moses”.  (See Exodus 7).

Jesus’ ministry on earth was a clear demonstration of the sovereignty of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  He had/has sovereignty over: demons, nations, the earth, life, death and eternity.  He also judged Satan.  “About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him.”  John 16:11.  The only reason so much evil is happening in the earth is because mankind still has free will choice.  Our choices affect not only ourselves, but everyone else on earth.  What we say or do gives authority to either Satan’s kingdom of darkness or God’s kingdom of light.  When we are totally aligned with the Lord, we are able to pray sovereign prayers which bring heaven to earth!

The time for Jesus to die on the cross and be resurrected was approaching.  He was leaving His disciples with instructions in order to prepare them for His departure.  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  He instructed them, “I tell you that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].  Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.” John 16:23b-24.

Jesus continued by praying not only for His disciples, but for those of us who would believe in Him throughout the generations.  (See John 17:19-26).  He prayed that we would be one with each other and with the Father as He is one with the Father.  “That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.  I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one; I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me…I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them.”

When we become one with Christ as He is one with the Father, our prayers will become sovereign prayers.  When our will is surrendered to our Lord as His will was completely surrendered to God, including death on the cross, we will be one with Him.  Jesus will reveal to us the character and will of the Father as we surrender our lives to Him.  When we know the character and will of the Father, our prayers in His name will be upheld by His sovereign power.

There are two sources available for us to know the will and character of God.  They are the written Word of God (logos, Bible) and the revealed Word of God by the Holy Spirit (rhema).  The (rehma) Word will not contradict the (logos) Word or Character of the Lord.  The Bible clearly and succinctly makes known the character of God and the character of Satan.  We know from the Word of God that Satan is a liar, a thief, a destroyer, a murderer, one who oppresses, controls, deceives and enslaves people and one who is directly opposed to God.  His goal is to possess and destroy people whom God loves.  We know he is the source of pride and he rebelled against the rule of God.  We know that the devil’s kingdom has set itself against everything that God’s kingdom represents.  Their kingdoms are diametrically opposed to one another.

By the Word of God, we know that the Lord is:  Creator, Life, Joy, Truth, Good (Kind), Gentle (Meek), Love, Patient, Faithful, Righteous, Holy, Just, Merciful, Resurrection, Light, Sovereign, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and Everywhere (Omnipresent) to name a few.  He is the Door to the Father, the Way in which to walk, and the Savior of all who believe in Him.  He is Deliverer who sets the devil’s captives free and much, much more.

There are some truths we know about Jesus’ ministry from reading the four Gospels which empower us to pray “Sovereign Prayers”:

1)  He came to seek and to save the lost and desires that none should perish.  John 3:16-17, Luke 19:9-11.  Knowing this truth, we can pray for the unsaved and expect God to change their hearts because His will is that they not perish!   We can confidently pray and fast for their salvation and keep persisting in prayer until we see it come to pass.

2)  It is God’s will to heal.  Everyone that came to Jesus for healing was healed.  He did not reject anyone who cried out for healing.  A man with leprosy approached Jesus and asked “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean”, and Jesus replied, “I am willing. Be cleansed.”  Matthew 8:2.  We can pray for the sick and fully expect that they will be healed.  Mark 16:18, Matthew 10:5-6.

3)  Everyone who was demon possessed was delivered and set free.  Even though Jesus was sent to the Jews first, He willingly delivered the Canaanite woman’s daughter who was possessed by demons.  We have been given the authority to cast out demons in His name.  Mark 16:17, Matthew 10:5-6, Luke 10:1-24.

4)  The Holy Spirit Who dwells in us prays through us.  We can pray the will of God through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Mark 16:17, Ephesians 6:18.  Romans 8:27 says, “And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”

5)  We can pray (declare) His written Word (Bible verses) over ourselves and others, which is His will, and God will answer our prayers.  Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth:  it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

6)  We can pray against premature death over others.  It is clear in the Bible that the enemy has a plan to kill, steal from and destroy our lives.  We also know that God created us with specific plans and purposes that are good and not evil.  Jeremiah 29:11.  Psalm 139:16 and Job 14:5 reveal that the Lord has already ordained the days of our lives on earth.  We can come into agreement with God’s sovereignty over our lives and the length of our days which He ordained for us.  We can also disagree with the plans of the enemy to shorten our days or change God’s ordained plans for us.

7)  We can pray God’s will and sovereignty over the nations!  We know that it is the Lord who raises up kings and pulls them down.  The nations are to be Jesus’ inheritance.  Psalm 2:8 “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession.”  People of all nations will fill heaven but it is our responsibility to pray for them to hear and know about Jesus.  We can pray for godly leadership over nations.  The Bible says that when the leader, ruler or king is righteous, the people are blessed.  Proverbs 29:2 affirms, “When the [uncom-promisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.

The Lord is calling us to become much bolder in our prayers.  He also desires for us to become more focused on His will and purposes for ourselves and others.  We have been given the authority to pray and proclaim that His will in heaven come to pass on earth.  The enemy only has the authority we allow him to have in our lives.  We can eliminate his authority by coming into agreement with the Lord’s sovereignty over our lives, our family, our church and our nation as we walk in righteousness and godliness.

When our heart (soul:  mind, will and emotions) becomes one with His, He will show us His plans and purposes and we will join with him in intercession.  He promised to answer all our prayers that are prayed according to His will and in His name.  By acknowledging His sovereignty over our lives and our world, our prayers will move mountains, transform hearts, fill leaders and change nations.  We will see more of heaven and less of “hell” on the earth when all our prayers are “Sovereign Prayers”!

It’s Time to Take Dominion Part V

Kay K. Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My parents taught me well.  I grew up going to church every Sunday so I learned faithfulness, servanthood and commitment.  My mother taught me how to cook, clean the house, do the laundry, iron and sew.  Both my parents taught me the gift of hospitality and friendship as well as treating others with integrity and honesty.  I learned to respect and honor all authority figures.  My dad taught me how to work hard and do the best job I could do.  I was prepared to put into practice everything I learned and take responsibility for my actions.

I left home when I married at the age of 20.  I was excited to have my own home whether it was an apartment or a residence and make it ours.  I wanted to stand up and make my own decisions (with my husband) and be a responsible adult.  It was time to put into practice everything I had learned from my parents.  In a sense, it was “time to take dominion”.

This is the fifth and final part of a message I preached in Kenya in September of this year.  The series began with listing the three directions that vie for our attention here on earth.  They are:  Looking back (at our past) which we cannot change, Looking helplessly around (at our circumstances) which will eventually change, and Looking down (at ourselves) which won’t change unless God is allowed to intervene.  In the natural realm, our lives are a total contradiction to what the Lord says about us.  We must therefore set our gaze upward upon Him “Looking Up” to see our resurrected Lord as He rules and reigns in heaven.  .  “Rising Up” to reach the high call of Jesus Christ and “Taking Dominion” over the earthly and demonic realms through His authority, power.

TAKE DOMINION!

Psalm 8:4-9 “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than God (Elohim, angels), and You have   crowned him with glory and honor.  You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen—Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.  O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”  (Emphasis mine).

God created man to have dominion over the works of His hands.  He made man in His image and placed him in the Garden of Eden.  He then gave that dominion to Adam and Eve.  “And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power] and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the earth.”

When sin came into the world through Adam and Eve, we lost dominion, and the earth became the domain of Satan.  Jesus came to restore all things which will be completely fulfilled at the end of the age when He returns to rule and reign.  His ministry on earth was a demonstration of the power, plan and purpose of God for the earth and its inhabitants.  He knew He would be the sacrifice to reconcile mankind to God but He had to train His disciples (believers) to continue His work on earth until He returned. When Jesus was raised up into heaven, He gave believers (His disciples), authority here on earth to be His witnesses to the world.  He also gave us the authority to bring His Kingdom here on earth by our being one with Christ.

Authority over demons:  Luke 10:19-21 – “Listen carefully, I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you…” See also:  Mark 16:17, James 4:7, Mark 6:13, Matthew 10:1

Authority to bind and loose on earth:  Matthew 16:19 – “I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already been] bound in heaven and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.”

Authority to destroy strongholds, arguments, opinions:  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – “For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man.  The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Authority to do the works of Jesus:  John 14:12-15 – “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father…”

Authority to proclaim and declare His Word:  Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  See also Luke 4:18, Proverbs 18:21.

Authority to speak in His Name:  John 14:12-15 – “…And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], I will do it.  If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.”  See also:  Mark 11:23, Luke 10:17-19

Authority to heal the sick:  Mark 16:17-18 – 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.”  Matthew 10:8 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.”

Jesus gave believers authority!  It is time we walk in the maturity of the faith by faithfully serving Him and doing the works that He did.  It is His power and it is for His glory, but we have been given the authority to call upon His power and His name to do His will.

Ephesians 2:6 “And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus.”  Those heavenly realms are “the realms of celestial creatures and spiritual conflict”.  (Key Word Study Bible).  It is the heavenly Jerusalem of Hebrews 12:22.

Ephesians 3:10-12 “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

Ephesians 6:10-18  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

When we are one in Christ as He is one in God, we will walk in the authority to bind and loose, pray, declare and proclaim the Word of God.  We will use the authority He has given us to cast out demons and pull down strongholds in His name.  We will heal the sick and raise the dead in His power and His name.  All believers have the power of life and death in their tongues, therefore we can either build the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness.  It is time to “Look Up”, “Rise Up”, and “Take Dominion” as the sons of God in the earth.  His Kingdom will manifest when we do and His return will be swift!  We are not waiting on Him, He is waiting on us.  Be encouraged, He is calling us all:  “It’s Time to Take Dominion”!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

RISE UP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ALL-SUFFICIENT ONE Kay Keith Peebles

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

Restoration Kay Keith Peebles


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

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

MY PASSPORT Kay K. Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

The warning was stern, “Don’t let anyone take your passport out of your presence!”  We were preparing for our first mission trip to Kenya and our pastor was counselling us on do’s and don’ts regarding travel to other countries.  He emphatically explained to us that we must never let any official take our passport and leave the room without us.  We came very close to that scenario happening to us in Lagos, Nigeria on a lay-over from Nairobi to Atlanta.  We had to run to keep up with the airport authority who had taken our passports and began to move to another location.  Since then, I have made a practice of carrying extra copies of my passport before embarking on an out of the country trip, in the event mine was ever lost or stolen.

My passport is a document that identifies who I am and where I abide.  The U.S. Government records all my personal identification information and guarantees my citizenship in the U.S.  My citizenship in the United States of America is assured to foreign governments by the seal our government has imprinted on my passport.  My picture is on my passport thus anyone examining my credentials can clearly see it belongs to me.  Each nation I attempt to enter will first confirm my identity and then stamp their seal on my passport when they accept my entrance.  I am also required to fill out a form that acknowledges the dates I arrive and my departure as well as where I will be temporarily residing while in their nation.  My passport subsequently becomes a record of my travels.  One can get a good idea where I have been and what I have been doing during my life by looking at the stamps on my passport. It guarantees my entrance back into the United States upon my return from travels.  It is a proven document that affirms the nation or “kingdom” in which I habitually dwell.

There have been instances when people have attempted to deceive a nation by using a counterfeit passport.  They may have gained entrance into a foreign country if they had access to a good forgery, but it would never work for someone trying to enter the gates of heaven.  All true believers have a “passport” record in heaven which is called the Book of Life.  The Lord keeps an on-going record of those who have put their faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus pledging their citizenship in the Kingdom of God.  The first mention of this book which records the generations of the faithful is in Genesis 5:1.  “This is the book (the written record, the history) of the generations of the offspring of Adam.  When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.”

The Bible mentions the Book of Moses, the Book of the Law and the Book of Life to name a few.  It was important to the Lord to have a book (record) of the generations that have lived on the earth.  Exodus 32:31-33 explains, “So Moses returned to the Lord, and said, Oh, these people have sinned a great sin and have made themselves gods of gold!  Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—and if not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book which You have written!  But the Lord said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him [not you] out of My book.”  AMPV.

Daniel saw the vision of the last days.  He wrote, “At that time Michael (Archangel) will arise–the great Prince, defender of your people.  That will be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence.  When that time comes, your own people will be spared—all those whose names are found written in the Book (of Life).”  Daniel 12:1.  NJB.  (Emphasis mine.)  This Book of Life (our passport to heaven) is mentioned several times in the New Testament.  Paul writes to the Philippian church, “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life.”  Philippians 4:3.  NKJV.

I personally believe the Book of Acts is still being written through our lives.  The Bible could not contain all the testimonies the original Apostles accomplished in their generation.  Since then, others have followed in their footsteps continuing to preach and teach the Gospel of the Kingdom.  It is of utmost importance for the present-day church to preach the same Gospel of the Kingdom that Christ taught.  The Biblical truths from Genesis to Revelation are imperative teachings in order for the church to be the authentic Church that represents the Lord and His Kingdom.  Otherwise, those believing in a false form of Christianity are simply a counterfeit and no counterfeits will gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.  (See also Revelation 20:12-15.)

The Apostle John was invited to heaven to see the end of the age, in order to warn the succeeding generations of the importance of persevering to the end.  He saw the Lord in His resurrected form and wrote down the Lord’s instructions for the church.  Revelation 3:2-6 expounds upon our need to hold tightly to the truth of the Gospel.  It urges us to persevere through the onslaught of deception, immorality and complacency which constantly attacks a believer’s faith in the Lord.

“Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirement of My God or perfect in His sight.  So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent.  In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.  Yet you still have a few [persons’] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they are worthy and deserving.  Thus shall he who conquers (is victorious) be clad in white garments, and I will not erase or blot out his name from the Book of Life; I will acknowledge him [as Mine] and I will confess his name openly before My Father and before His angels.  He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).”  AMPV.  (See also Psalm 69:28, Revelation 21:25-27).

The Lord charged His church with a very sobering statement!  He declared that God has established a standard to which our “works” must conform and we have the obligation to “obey” the lessons He taught about the Kingdom.  If not, our name can be blotted out of the Book of Life.  He also said, however, that there are those who have kept the faith and are worthy and deserving.  He promised them He would openly confess them before His Father and His angels in heaven.  What about grace?  Aren’t we saved by grace?  Yes we are, but His grace is not a license to keep on sinning as the world sins.  If the deeds of the church are the same as the world and continue unchanged, then the church has believed a false gospel.  God’s grace is given to all who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Grace, however, is not only our covering of righteousness, it is also the empowerment by the Holy Spirit to obtain victory over our sins.  His grace enables us to consecrate our lives completely to the Lord.  He expects us to become holy as He is holy.  “[Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel], But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.  For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy (Leviticus 11:44-45)…You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, but [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ.”  1 Peter 1:14-19.  Emphasis mine.  AMPV.

John 10:28 says no one can “snatch” us out of the Lord’s hand but it does not mean that we can’t choose to neglect the Gospel teaching and live the way we desire.  When one rejects Gospel truths, they reject the Lord Himself.  Esau surrendered his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew.  (See Genesis 25:29-34, Hebrews 12:16.)  Verse 34 declares, “Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice.”  Hebrews 12:17 declares, “For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears.”  See Genesis 37:30-40.  AMPV.  We could never earn our salvation but we do have the ability to forfeit our inheritance in the Kingdom.

Our “work” is to surrender our will, our very lives to Him, allowing Him to work in us and through us whatever He desires.  “Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.  Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace…”  Hebrews 12:14-17.  (See entire chapter).  AMPV.  When our works of surrender cause us to completely consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we will bear the fruit of righteousness and our name will be permanently etched in the Book of Life.  John 17:22-24 is part of Jesus’ prayer to His Father just before His death on the cross.  “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me…”.

I close with Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church.  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”  Ephesians 1:18-21.  NKJV.     Our salvation is not achieved by our works but His grace does not cover our negligence in regard to the Gospel.  The only place of safety is to live in Him, and He in us.  Our passion must be to know Him and to be known by Him.  Our “passport” to glory will be secured by our dwelling in Him.

THIRTY FEET BELOW PART II Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

I was so nauseated I did not know whether to get on my next flight or go home.  It was my first mission trip.  A few months earlier my cousin from Texas had called and invited me to join their family and church group on a mission trip to Honduras.  My heart leapt inside me as I thought about going with them.  I was not sure my husband would approve of my going out of the country, and there was the cost of the trip.  I laid those issues before the Lord and the answer was yes!  (Please read Thirty Feet Below Part I in the archives if you have not already done so, to understand the reference to it in this writing.)

Packing the last articles in my bags, I felt an excitement inside me.  It seemed as if I was on the edge of destiny.  The apprehension of traveling overseas, to an unknown country, was swallowed up in the joy I felt about participating in the Lord’s Great commission, in Mark Chapter 16.  The first leg of my trip originated in Tampa with a change of planes in Miami.  I was to continue from Miami to Houston where I would meet with the team.  We would then fly on to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Soon after my flight to Miami took off, I began to feel very nauseated and sickly.  The flight attendant gave me a cloth napkin with some ice to cool my forehead.  I started to pray.  I knew it could not be fear or anxiety because I was thrilled to go.  I wondered if the symptoms were from a virus and I was concerned about the possibility of infecting the team.  The plane finally landed and I had to decide whether to go home or continue on.  I felt the Lord was compelling me to go so in faith, I stepped onto the plane to Houston, found my seat and continued icing my forehead.  The moment that plane took off, the nausea instantly left!  I realized it was the enemy (devil) trying to keep me from my destiny.  It was then I understood he could put false symptoms on people to prevent them from fulfilling God’s will in their lives.  I then felt a strong sense of God’s blessing and protection which stayed with me the entire trip.

The week in Honduras was filled with many memorable events, but the most impactful for me personally, was going to a Honduran prison.  The prison ministry excursion was voluntary.  Nine from our team of fifteen chose to go.  The group included five women and four men.  Our leader drove us an hour and forty-five minutes out of San Pedro Sula.  We travelled from the busy city to outlying highways, then onto dirt roads, passing farmlands with acres of pineapple plantations.  The air was pleasant as the sweet aroma of fresh pineapple enticed our sense of smell.  

We created a dust cloud behind our bus as we journeyed down a road that appeared to go nowhere.  The road finally ended at the base of a small mountain, next to a dated one-story cement block building in need of paint.  It was surrounded by a tall metal fence which was wrapped in razor wire at the top.  A large rusty wrought iron gate stood to deter visitors from going forward.  The scene was menacing and foreboding.  Several guards standing by the fence held long rifles as if they were prepared to use them. They stared at us with serious and intimidating facial expressions.  Their shirts were unbuttoned because of the oppressive heat adding to our discomfort, and planting a seed of doubt in our reason for coming.  The climate was thick, having a temperature in the mid 90’s and the humidity was extremely high due to its coastal location.  The mountain blocked any breeze from cooling the prison complex and the lack of shade trees emphasized the unrelenting heat.  My mind momentarily recalled an old western movie I had seen years before, which made me chuckle at the similarity of this scenario.  I quickly returned to a sobering thought which caused me to question my judgement in coming, but it only lasted for a brief moment.

The local missionary Paul, who sponsored our team, handed one of the officers at the gate a piece of paper which confirmed our invitation to enter the prison and do a worship service.  The head prison guard was summoned for final approval.  He quickly nodded and ordered the gate to be opened.  We entered the building which housed a few small offices and quickly passed through the entrance to the prison yard.  Grey unpainted cinder block cubicles were surrounded by a latrine which ran through the entire property, wafting a pungent odor that was as oppressive as the heat.  Sidewalks led us to the rooms that were no more than 8X10 feet in size.  Each room had a set of metal bunk beds with a thin mattress and a sink.  There were no doors or bars on the rooms.  The prisoners congregated all over the grounds as we walked through but we had an armed escort, and armed guards were stationed throughout the complex. 

Our escort led us to a large rectangular room that was walled on three sides, with a large opening on one of the long walls.  The walls inside the room were a dingy grey and there was the obvious absence of pictures or decorations.  It was filled with at least fifty men, young and old, making it difficult to navigate to the other side.  A handful were Americans; all were imprisoned for various reasons.  It was clear they were paying an exorbitant price for their crimes.  The heat was almost unbearable and their sunken eyes were filled with hopelessness.  It felt as if we had stepped into the bowels of hell.  We had to weave our way through the crowd and it was then I sensed fear and vulnerability.  The Lord quickly gave me a peace that we would be alright.  Our team of nine lined up at the back wall and all 50 prisoners were standing between us and the exit.  That day I personally experienced God’s peace surpassing all understanding. 

I had been asked to share something that morning.   I wondered what I, a middle aged American white woman, would share that could possibly relate to their situation.  The Lord quickly told me they needed hope and I had several testimonies of the Lord intervening in hopeless situations in my life.  My sharing was brief but as I looked into their eyes, I felt my testimony had made a connection with many of the men.  The Gospel transcends time and space, gender and culture.  Others shared and then our leader began to preach a powerful word from the Lord.  He gave several altar calls that morning, one for salvation, another for backsliders and a third to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  The power of God came into that room and most of those hopeless, forgotten men had encountered their forgiving, gracious and loving Lord.  Many were speaking in their new heavenly language with hands raised and we were urged to wander through the crowd praying and laying hands on them as we left the room.  It was an honor to pray for those men, forgotten and seemingly lost, but remembered by our loving Lord.

God moved in that place of darkness and hopelessness.  He protected all of us in a dangerous setting so that we could bring hope and encouragement to them.  We were honored and respected by them for coming, and God honored our faith and obedience by touching those men.  It is a memory forever carved on my heart.

Since that incredible mission trip I have discovered that fear is the greatest enemy of our destiny.  Fear can manifest in many ways.  Insecurity, fear of the unknown, concerns for safety, and inadequacy are several fears that can squelch the call of God in our lives.  When the voice of fear is greater than our faith in God’s protection, we can be stopped in our tracks, unable to move forward.  I was afraid to talk about the Lord with people and had a fear of flying for many years.  I felt so insecure and inadequate that I did not believe the Lord would use me to touch others.  Over the years, He has delivered me from those fears and proven Himself to me.  The Lord specifically chooses us because we are inadequate so that He will be all sufficient!  He doesn’t use those who are secure in their own abilities; He picks those who depend upon Him.  It doesn’t matter when we are called to do something, or go somewhere that is unknown to us, because He has already gone before us to make the way.

It is not about us having our own faith or strength, it is totally about our having faith in Him and trusting in His power to flow through us.  We don’t have to speak eloquently, we only need to deliver the word He gives us.  When we realize we are simply a conduit through which His Spirit flows, then we remove ourselves from the consideration and merely let Him work through us to touch others.  Our works become simply hearing and obeying.

How do we get to the place of simply hearing and obeying?  We make knowing Him our priority, and pursuing Him our reality.  He reveals Himself through His Word:  both the Old and New Testaments.  He also reveals Himself through His Holy Spirit, who is our paraclete-the one who walks beside us teaching us about Him and His ways.  Learning to flow in the Holy Spirit is as easy as prayer.  The Bible says we can pray in the natural and pray by the Holy Spirit of God.  Ephesians 6:18 instructs us, “With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.”

The Holy Spirit’s role in everything we do is critical.  The promises of God are centered on our motivations and actions being in agreement with the Lord’s will.  If we are not Spirit-led, then we are not led by God at all.  He sent us His Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us and to pray through us.  Everything we do for His Kingdom is based upon the Holy Spirit’s direction and guidance.  Our success is based solely upon how surrendered we become to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord speaks to all His children, but only those who hear His voice are able to walk in obedience.  His voice can be as subtle as a gentle breeze but those who are attentive to His quietness will hear His instruction and obey even without questioning.  When we live and move in Him, and when we have our being in Him, He becomes such a part of us there is no longer a separation.  We become infused or enmeshed in what He is doing and flow effortlessly with His leading.

His heart becomes our heart.  What is on His mind is on ours.  Those for whom He is concerned, become our concern.  We are no longer pulled by the world and its many distractions.  Instead, our focus becomes what He is directing us to do.  Our comfort is not the center of His will.  Our willingness to go beyond our place of comfort, to stretch beyond our safety and convenience is what He is calling us to do.  One of my favorite songs is Oceans by Hillsong United.  It cries out to the Lord to take the believer into the deep waters where their safety is only in Him.  It beckons the Lord to stretch one’s faith to walk on unknown paths and to trust in Him in unsafe waters.

 “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail, and there I find you in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand.  I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves.  When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace for I am Yours and You are mine.  Spirit lead me where my faith is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you may call me.  Take me deeper than my feet have ever wandered, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

Those who are willing to dive in the oceans of the Lord to go “Thirty Feet Below” to reach those whom the Lord desires to touch and heal, will find complete satisfaction and fulfillment.  We will never experience the thrill of truly entering into our Father’s joy without taking risks and reaching beyond what we know, to delve into the unknown with Him.  The Bible proclaims, “Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  If you want to know what the Lord is doing in the earth today, allow Him to take you thirty feet below!

 

THIRTY FEET BELOW Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

They were eating, drinking and partying, totally oblivious to what was thirty feet below them.  We were in San Salvador helping a ministry that feeds the homeless.  It houses drug addicted teens, nursing them to wholeness, and rescues victims of sex trafficking.  The ignored and forgotten are healed by the love of God.  The hopeless are liberated and restored to life in Jesus’ name.

Thursday morning several of us painted two rooms at the ministry while others in our group installed a clean water filtration system in their kitchen.  Local volunteers made beautiful greeting cards with bright colored paper strips they coiled and formed into flowers, leaves, stems, hearts and many other decorative shapes.  After lunch three of us prepped vegetables to accompany the evening meal while others of our team received the fifty clients that would be served that evening.  Showers were available as well as free haircuts.  Games like dominoes, checkers, puzzles and cards were scattered among the tables for visitors to entertain themselves while waiting for the devotional and hot meal.  Our team played games with them, prayed for them or simply conversed with them.  The mission statement of Mission to El Salvador is to treat all with Respect, Honor and Dignity.

The clients were fed by 4:30 p.m. and we had cleaned up by 5 p.m. and headed to our quarters to have our own dinner.  We were again picked up at 8 p.m. to return back to the inner city ministry to pack meals for the homeless living on the streets.  Unaware of what was to come, our team piled into the bed of a truck which was lined with benches for seating.  There was a thick metal railing attached above the edge of the truck bed that gave us something to grip to steady the ride.  Cases of orange and grape beverages were placed beneath the benches behind our legs for easy access.  The center of the truck bed held a large white cooler.  It was filled with three hundred and fifty foil packages each containing three pieces of Canadian bacon or pepperoni pizza which had been donated by a local restaurant.  It would probably be the only meal those people would have that day unless they found a trash receptacle behind a restaurant in which they could scavenge.

We had packed meals until the sunlight faded into darkness, which veiled a lonely subculture that was almost invisible.   We could not have found the people of the streets in the daytime.  They only come out in the dark of night because it obscures their existence.  Our leader gave a shout as the truck came to a stop.  The lights of the truck, which makes its rounds every Thursday night, summoned them to come out.  It also illuminated those otherwise hidden.  Men, women, children and even babies slept concealed in crevices between buildings, in delivery docking areas or underneath overhangs which protect the cement sidewalks from rain.  Some had blankets worn thin by long nights exposed to rough cement beds and evening storms.  Others had confiscated cardboard boxes to pad the unforgiving surfaces where they slept.  We drove by parks, stadiums, beautiful public buildings and churches to find them.  Every few blocks the truck would stop, the call came forth alerting them food had come, and clusters of people would step into the light and line up behind the truck so that we could hand them their only meal that day.

The ministry leader called many of them by name, asked them how they were doing and invited them to come to the ministry for help.  It was only six blocks away.  The streets of the city looked like nothing we had seen in the states.  Walls were trashed with gang graffiti, sidewalks filled with trash and temporary barricades lined the streets.  Worn paint exposed the depressed and hopeless culture while majestic public buildings stood like citadels contrasting the devastation of everyday life.  It looked like a war zone and it was.  Good and evil, haves and have nots, rich and poor were separated by only a few feet.

We rounded a corner and the sound of music grabbed my attention.  It was emanating from the roof of a three-story building.  I saw a large restaurant on the top floor, with open air tables.  It was decorated with strings of bright lights and the tables were filled with people eating, drinking and partying.  The music was up-beat and the atmosphere was filled with laughter.  They seemed totally oblivious to what existed thirty feet below them.  The truck stopped directly beneath them on the right side of the road and children were the first to line up behind the truck.  Boys 8, 10 and 12 years old stretched out their arms, smiled as they received their meal and thanked us for coming.  Women with young children, fathers, laborers and drunks came forward and then recessed back into their dark world.  Some had matted hair and stared with glazed eyes delirious from drug abuse.  Still others seemed even joyful that someone cared and acknowledged their need.  At one stop, three or four women in stiletto heels and thick make-up approached the truck for food.  Their living was made on the streets but they were not condemned or judged, they were told “God bless you”.  Two men hurried to pick up an old man unable to walk by himself.  They carried him to the back of the truck so that he could also eat that night.

Immediately, I was gripped by the contrast of those reveling above and these destitute, hungry and hopeless below.  It was an “in your face” moment exposing the clash of classes that exists.  They were partying and seemed unaware and unconcerned of what lay thirty feet below.  A scripture came to mind and haunted me the rest of the night.  Matthew 24:37-44 “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, [men] marrying and [women] being given in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away—so will be the coming of the Son of Man…Watch therefore [give strict attention, be cautious and active], for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming…You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Suddenly, much too quickly, hands reached into the cooler and came up empty.  They reached down again swiping the insides of the cooler hoping to find another meal or two but there was nothing left in the cooler.  Three hundred and fifty meals had been handed out but there were still people in line and more around the next corner.  A sadness gripped each of us as we realized the need was greater than the food we had at the time.  Stunned, tearful and silent we drove back to the ministry and then home to our quarters to contemplate what we had experienced.

It didn’t have to be San Salvador.  It could have been Calcutta or Nairobi, Buenos Aires or Cape Town, Tokyo or Jakarta or any major city in the U.S.  Injustice can be found in every nation and every city.  The most vulnerable are the least safe.  Whether it’s threatening young boys with death if they don’t join the gangs or abducting the young girls as sex slaves or drug kingpin wives, the innocent live in constant danger.  There is no amount of money that will solve the problem and no laws will prevent it from happening.  Governments are totally ineffective and simply meeting the needs of hunger and shelter are not the full answer.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves, heals and delivers.  It is a change of direction, a shift of mindset, an eternal hope in the intervention of God Almighty that transforms lives.

Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is not poverty and lack, it is abundance.  The Kingdom of God is not sickness and disease, it is health and healing.  The Kingdom of God is not addiction and fear, it is deliverance and freedom.  The Kingdom of God is not immorality and perversion, it is wholeness and hope.  Jesus commanded His disciples to begin preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem, then Judea and the uttermost parts of the earth.  One might say, “But I can’t preach”.  We can all be witnesses to what the Lord has done in our lives.  We may not be able to go overseas but we can send someone who can.  We may not have the strength to serve those in need but we can pray!  What we cannot do is sit back and expect others to do for us what God has called us to do.  We cannot be those people eating, drinking and partying above the problem, oblivious to the needs in their own neighborhood.  We cannot say because we do not see what’s happening it is not our responsibility to get involved.  We cannot continue to let the innocent be victimized and destroyed by our inaction.  Everyone can do something.

James, the half-brother of Jesus made it very clear when he wrote, faith without works is dead.  James 2:17-20 declares, “So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).  But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have [good] works.  Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good works of obedience] will show your my faith…faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless.”

We have a friend who is an Apostle that goes to the nations and raises up churches.  He planted his family in Costa Rica and preached there until the church was established and the people continued the work.  He then moved on to the Amazon region, Cuba and so on.  He once said to me, “Find a need and meet it.  That is the ministry of Christ.”  The world is in desperate need of the Gospel of the Kingdom.  People everywhere need hope, consolation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

My challenge in this word is to encourage all to discover their mission field.  We must pray for the Holy Spirit to show us where we can be effective in changing people’s lives eternally.  Simply giving donations of clothing or money to ministries does not involve risk or personal involvement.  The Lord is calling us to get personally involved in the lives of others.  There are opportunities right now in our “Jerusalem”.  There are needs on the streets of our city.  There are hopeless people crying out for help in neighborhoods around us all.  The question is, will we help those who are meeting those needs?  Will we pray regularly for those living in darkness that they might see the light?  Are we willing to love the unlovable, help the needy, and get involved by going down where the people are, thirty feet below?