When The Enemy Comes In Like A Flood by Kay Keith Peebles

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Destruction was all around us!  What happened?  We were so in love when we married.  We had taken communion together before the Lord and 200 witnesses at our wedding.  We had vowed to love and cherish each other as long as we lived.    We were now yelling at each other, disrespecting the other and calling them names.  It looked, sounded and felt like hatred.  Our home had become a battlefield with bodies lying wounded or dying.  The most vulnerable and innocent victims were our children.  The doors and walls of our dwelling were no longer a source of strength and protection; they had been broken down by pride and self-centeredness.  The Lord’s presence seemed to have left us to our own miserable choices and it looked as if there could be no resurrection, redemption or rescue.  The flood of the enemy left nothing of value we could hope to recover.

I had attended church all my life and believed God existed, but I never asked Jesus into my heart to be Savior and Lord.  I had religion and pride, but lacked relationship with God.  Why should anyone have to die for my sins?  After all, I had tried to be a “good girl” all my life.  I wasn’t evil and even though I may have some faults, over all, I was a good person.  I could not understand the Bible and I wasn’t even sure if I believed in a “Virgin Birth” or being raised from the dead.  It seemed strange and incomprehensible.  I always thought of God as distant, and angry with me.

Observing church people I had known all my life did not prove a great testimony to the Christian faith.  Many never changed in demeanor over the years I was with them.  Gossips kept gossiping, trouble-makers continued making trouble and complainers never ceased their complaining.  There were a few that seemed different but they looked like fanatics compared to the others.  I was not sure I wanted to identify with them either.  They took their faith too far, I thought.

Two years before our marriage crisis, I realized I had no idea what I believed.  I felt sure God existed but I did not know what it meant to be a Christian.  If God was not real, I could reclaim my Sundays and do something more fun than going to Sunday school and church.  If He was real, I wanted to know Him.  I needed evidence for myself.  At the time, my “faith” certainly was not based on knowledge or experience and it produced no fruit.  I found no confirmation I had a life-changing encounter with God.

The flood waters had already begun to rise by the time I joined a Bible study group.  It was time consuming and I was expected to do homework each week.  At first, I did not know what I was doing, but as time passed, scriptures in the Bible began to touch my heart.  God was speaking to me through the scriptures although I didn’t really know Him or His Word.

I was angry and hopeless but I began to find a little comfort in my Bible classes.  My marriage seemed over.  Our arguments were frequent and they were toxic.  They were filled with blame and name calling which choked the life out of us.  The gleam that had once been in our eyes faded to a blank stare.  We were existing only; two people under the same roof but we no longer liked each other.  One night, in a swell of hopelessness, my husband walked out.  One of us had to, we certainly could not go on as we were.  I felt as if my breath had been sucked out of my lungs.  I had not esteemed him, honored him or even liked him for a long time, but I stood there wondering, “Is this it?  Is it all over?”  Seemingly accepting the “fate” I helped create, I began to cry inconsolably.

After wallowing in self-pity for a while, a thought came to me.  I considered the possibility that all the Bible stories of Jesus coming to the aid of people who were desperate, just might be true.  Studying in Genesis about the God Who sees our trouble and distress left me wondering if it was all true.  A glimmer of hope welled up in my heart.  At that moment, I realized I was feeling intense rejection from my husband, and that was what the Lord felt all those years I had rejected Him!  My tears turned from myself to empathizing with the rejection He felt from me and countless others.  In that heartfelt moment I switched from unbelief to faith in my Savior.  He did not condemn me, He loved me.  I knew He was real.

I had no idea if my marriage could be healed or not, but I decided to put all my trust for my family’s future into His hands.  As I prayed, an intense feeling of peace and well-being flooded me and I heard the voice of the Lord for the first time.  He said to me, “I want to restore your marriage.”  With the word He spoke to me, faith was deposited into my hardened heart and God began to heal and restore me while he also changed my husband.

My husband returned home, at my request, two days later and God’s miracle began to manifest.  It took years of hard work, but we learned to love and cherish each other again, and eventually the joy in our relationship returned.  I learned a very important lesson: love will not last unless it is nurtured and protected, but love can be restored.  Restoring love requires both parties to be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to re-invest in their marriage partner and family.  Pride is always at the center of every ugly disagreement.  When one is willing to lay down their pride and listen attentively to the other’s perspective, peace will pervade and honor and love will follow.  We realized we were not each other’s enemy, pride was the enemy.  When we humbled ourselves before God and each other, there was no longer a place for pride to dwell.

The flood came at our 11th year of marriage.  That was 35 years ago.  This summer we will celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary!  We have two wonderful children from our marriage and two more who married into our family.  We also have 5 awesome grandchildren.  Our marriage, family and lives are a testimony to the truth of the Gospel and the goodness and faithfulness of God.

“So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.  The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, Says the LORD.”

I have faith that every situation that seems to be a lost hope, can be healed and restored.  I have personally experienced the Lord transform our hardened hearts into tender hearts full of compassion for others.  I have seen Him turn prideful, self-seeking hearts into humbled and generous ones.  I have seen rebellious hearts become righteous, because Jesus bore the penalty of our sins.  I have seen a marriage that had been proclaimed dead, raised up in new life.  I have seen love restored even greater than I could have ever imagined.

There is absolutely nothing too difficult for God.  There is no one too tough for God to humble and no one too far gone, that God can’t reclaim!  There is no situation too broken that God can’t restore.  Whether it is a person, a family or a nation, when the people turn back to God, miracles happen.

Sin divides because it is prideful and self-centered.  It creates distrust and causes division.  Sin is fed by accusations which tear down.  Love encourages and builds a bridge of unity.  Love is not prejudiced, unkind or haughty.  Love forgives.  Sin multiplies sorrows while love establishes joy.  Sin is rebellion that God calls witchcraft.  Love is humility and God calls it righteous.  Sin is self-serving but love serves the Lord and others.  Love is the highest call of God and it costs the most to give, but there is no law to which God’s love can be compared.  Love cannot lie.  Love’s foundation is truth, therefore love cannot condone sin or overlook it.  Love covers sin by speaking truth, encouraging others in righteousness, and refusing to judge one as hopeless.  Sin creates barriers; love removes them.  Sin is weak but love is strong.  Sin does not value others, love considers others as equal in value or of greater value than oneself.

There is no rift the Lord cannot heal unless those involved refuse to humble themselves, repent of their sin and choose to love God and others.  Pride will distance one from the Lord’s protection and restoring power, but humility and repentance opens the door for healing and transformation.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flames scorch you.  For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3a, NKJV.

It does not matter how deep the flood waters rise, what matters is the depth of repentance.  When the enemy comes into our lives with a flood of destruction, we must allow the Lord to raise us up to His standard of living and being.  Only then will we see His miracle working, resurrection power in our lives.

Thank You For This Wreck by Larry W Peebles

Thank You For This Wreck   by   Larry W Peebles   May 20, 2016   16.18

 

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I sideswiped the car next to me.  I knew it from the sound and feel of the metal crunching.  I had no idea how it happened, or where the other car came from.  When both cars had stopped safely out of the flow of traffic, a quick check of all parties involved revealed no one was hurt.  I was so thankful for that, but I still could not believe what had just happened.

Thinking it through later, I realized I was sitting in the far right lane at a light at the foot of a bridge.  My plan was to go over the bridge and execute a right turn immediately at the bottom of the other side.  What I did not know was that on that bridge a lane had been added on the right.  A sports car behind me pulled beside me in that added lane as I attempted to turn right.  Some metal got bent and scraped, no one was hurt, and I felt very foolish and embarrassed.

This accident occurred at the end of one of the most intense ten day periods of my life.  Candidly, I was probably preoccupied with what had happened over the previous ten days to the point that I did not see the additional lane or the car coming up on my right side.

The story began a week and a half earlier when I received a call at my home in Florida that my elderly Dad in Texas was not doing well.  My brother had called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.  I slept very little that night, and caught the first plane early the next morning to be with him.  After a few days at the hospital, I learned that his medical condition was very serious.  He would not be released from the hospital to go back home.  Rather, he would need to go to a skilled nursing facility for constant care.  I immediately began the research to find the best care possible, and to understand how to handle the expense for such care.  A few days after I arrived, and while Dad was still in the hospital, my elderly mother fell at home.  She was also taken by ambulance to that same hospital.  The fall did not injure her, but it was the result of a very serious medical condition.  Now both were in the hospital, and their medical future was very uncertain.  I was staying at their home, sleeping very little, and rising early each morning to read my Bible, pray, and ask God for wisdom and direction for the day.  I needed help to navigate the deluge in the world of doctors, hospitals, skilled care facilities, medical insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid on behalf of my parents.  In the storm, He was the rock on which I anchored every morning.

Each day God answered those prayers.  He led me to a very new and clean skilled care facility.  They had an open bed, and agreed to take Dad under their care.  After signing the papers, but before Dad was transferred to the facility, I received the diagnosis for Mom.  Her medical condition required that she also go into a skilled care facility for constant care.  I checked back with the facility to learn they had one double occupancy room, and could take both Mom and Dad.  After talking it through with Mom, Dad and the rest of the family, I signed the papers admitting them both into the same room at the skilled care facility.  This would ensure the best possible care and safety for them at this very critical time.  I was so thankful to God for working this out.  I had no idea what I was doing, but He did. He led me every step of the way on this medical and emotional roller coaster.  His solution was perfect, and we had a plan on how to manage the expenses.

Dad transferred to the facility first.  We set up the room with his clothes and enough personal things from home to make it feel welcoming to him.  Mom followed upon her release from the hospital.  It was on a trip to take her clothes and personal things to the skilled care facility that the car accident happened.

How could this happen?  God and I were on a roll.  We were so close.  Every morning I would lay out the challenges ahead for the day, and He would walk me through the solutions.  We had ended on the perfect solution.  After over seventy years of marriage, Mom and Dad would go through this medical crisis together, even in the same room.  If it signaled the end of their lives, at least they would still be together.  How could this accident mar the miraculous ending of such an intense ten day period where God had been in total control of the outcome?

I called the police to investigate the accident.  It was not long before I heard the sound of sirens coming, but to my amazement, the police and fire truck sped by and kept going.  After waiting a long while, I called the police again.  They apologized for the inconvenience, and said they would get someone to me as soon as possible.  Another long wait followed before two officers finally arrived at our accident.  The first officer apologized profusely, said it had been a quiet afternoon in this small city until two accident calls came in at the same time.  Moments after they received my call, another call came in for a much more serious accident just two blocks beyond ours.  A drunk driver had run through an intersection, left the road, and plowed into a building.   There were very serious injuries that required immediate attention.

The officers quickly did their work, talking to both drivers, taking pictures of the damage, and interviewing eye witnesses.  I did not receive a citation, but was deemed at fault and informed my insurance would be required to cover all damages to both vehicles.  I agreed, and we were on our way to get Mom’s things to her new room before she arrived.

I resigned myself to not let this accident ruin what God had already done.  I rationalized that even if the devil finally scored a point, the game had ended in a complete rout.  I would not be upset.  It was then the Lord spoke very clearly to me something I shall never forget.  He said “You may thank me for the accident you were in.”  I instantly realized what He meant.  If I had not had the accident, I would have gone up the street another two blocks and would have gone through the same intersection at the same time the drunk driver had plowed through.  He could have hit me broad side and knocked me into that building.  The devil had not scored at all; rather, this was a continuation of God’s perfect help and protection over the ten day period.  This was another answer to my daily prayer for His help and intervention.

When our lives, jobs, families, finances or health look like a wreck, can we still trust God?  When cares of the world are coming at us in a deluge, like a drink from a fire hose, can we remain at peace under His protection?  When things seem to suddenly turn against us, do we continue to believe He is looking out for us with our best interests in mind?  Consider these scriptures:

Psalm 29:10, 11- “The Lord sits enthroned over the deluge; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.  The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Romans 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

2 Chronicles 16:9- “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”

Psalm 20:7- “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Proverbs 3:5, 6- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”

Isaiah 26:3- “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Nahum 1:7- “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”

Psalm 91:1, 2- “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

If we believe that God loves us, and is in control, can we thank Him for the wreck?

 

If Only by Kay Keith Peebles

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If” is a powerful word.  This tiny word can not only impact our lifetime here on earth, it can also influence our eternity.  Most of us have used the words, “If only…” at least once in our lifetime.  Looking backward, it is easy to know what choice would have been the best one to make.  Looking ahead, the answer is not as easy, unless you have the right help.

In school, I listened carefully to the teacher’s lectures in class and took thorough notes.  Even though I studied the materials, I did not always do well on tests.  I became anxious at test time and second guessed my answers too often.  Had daily work counted more than test scores, I would have made better grades.  I was smart and I worked hard, but I seemed to fall short on test days.

My favorite kind of tests were the open book tests.  Although they were often filled with more challenging questions, at least the answers could be found in the book if I searched hard enough.  It was more difficult to make a mistake when the answer was staring me right in the face, and I felt that gave me an edge.

When I began studying the Bible, it did not take long to realize that God made it easy by giving us the answers to our life questions in His book!  I saw that God’s love for all mankind was universal.  God is love, and He loves unconditionally every human being, whether we know Him or not.  I also discovered, however, that His promises are conditional.  With every promise God gave us in the Bible, there is a condition which requires us to “do” something before we can receive His promise.  Within the verses explaining the promises of God we can find that little word “if”.  God’s promises are not given to us simply because we have become a part of His family/kingdom.  Many people have not received the benefit of His wonderful promises because they did not find the significance of that tiny word, “if”.

The Israelites were given promises from the Lord God as He brought them out of slavery in Egypt.  He was leading them to the land He had promised Abraham and his descendants, but to gain the “promised” land and God’s blessings, there were requirements the Lord placed upon the people.  For instance, “If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.” AMPV.  (Read all the blessings, Deuteronomy 28:1-13).  Emphasis mine.

The Lord continued the discourse by ending the list of blessings in verse 13 and then He gave a warning to the people.  “And you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.  But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”  Emphasis mine.  Deuteronomy 28:14-68.  AMPV.  The Lord was speaking to the Israelites who He delivered from Egypt.  They were His chosen people who washed themselves in water (symbolic of baptism) and willingly accepted His invitation to become His Holy people by consecrating themselves to do His will.  See Exodus 19:10.  Their place in the family of God did not insure the blessing and favor of God until the “if” in His promises was fulfilled.  Sadly, many died in the wilderness having been judged by God as rebellious and idolaters not having received the promise.  The journey in the wilderness took 40 years, much longer than necessary.  It was a lifetime for many, because the wilderness of testing and trials weeded out the unfaithful.

Before King David died, he appointed his son Solomon as his successor at the word of the Lord.  See 1 Chronicles 28:5-7.  The Lord gave Solomon a great promise through his father, David.  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”  1 Chronicles 28:9.  NKJV.  Emphasis mine.  Although the Lord desired Solomon to succeed his father David, Solomon had the responsibility of fulfilling his part of God’s promise.  God was willing to do incredible things through Solomon as king of Israel, but it was Solomon’s job to seek the Lord with all his heart and obey His instructions.

The Lord has given us an edge Solomon and the Israelites did not have, the indwelling Holy Spirit.  When we seek the Lord, allowing Him to transform us into His image, the Holy Spirit leads us as we work out our own salvation in the fear of the Lord.  We humble ourselves allowing God free reign in our lives and the Holy Spirit teaches, guides, transforms and completes His work in us.

The word “if” is not only in the Old Testament promises, it is also included or implied in the New Testament.   Paul wrote to the Christian churches in Rome about the requirements of God to be considered true Christian demeanor in Romans 8.  “There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit…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.” NKJV. See Romans 8:1-5. Emphasis mine.  See also John 3:18 Amplified Bible.

Paul defines the “mind of the flesh” in Romans 8:6.  “Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter].  But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].”  AMPV. Emphasis mine.  Implied in this verse is the following:  If we continue to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit’s direction and follow our own fleshly reasoning and senses, death and destruction will be our future.  Paul also warned the Roman Christians:  “”And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Israel)…Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.  Do not be haughty, but fear.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.”  NKJV.  Romans 11:17-21.  Emphasis mine.  Conversely, if we do heed the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit, doing things God’s way, life, peace and eternal joy in heaven is our reward.

Matthew Chapter 5 contains a list of the “Beatitudes” which Jesus preached to the people beside the Sea of Galilee.  Each of the blessings requires a godly nature or attitude if their fulfillment is to be accomplished.  They are the following:  for the poor in spirit (humble)-theirs is the kingdom of heaven; those who mourn (their sin)-they shall be comforted; the meek (mild, patient, long-suffering)-shall inherit the earth; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness- shall be satisfied; the merciful-shall obtain mercy; the pure in heart-shall see God; the peacemakers-are the sons of God; the persecuted for righteousness sake-theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

These “attitudes” or Godly nature are developed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life and manifest by waiting in the presence of the Lord.  “Wait for and expect the Lord and keep and heed His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; [in the end] when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.”  AMPV.  Psalm 37:34.  See also Psalm 46:10 and Isaiah 40:31.  In this verse we can see the requirement and then the promise of God.  In Galatians 5:22-23, many of the same attitudes/nature of God that are in the Beatitudes are easily recognized.  “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love (God’s unconditional love, see 1 Corinthians 13), joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), and self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”  AMPV. Emphasis mine.  If we truly have the Holy Spirit in our lives and we allow God to have His perfect will accomplished in us, these attitudes/godly nature will manifest and we will not be judged by the Law of God.

If we do not allow Him to do His healing and regenerating work in us, we will be in danger of judgment just as the Israelites were.  We must surrender to Him, allowing Him to expose those things that keep us from hearing and seeing His truth, and allowing Him to form us according to His will and purposes.  If we rely on the world’s philosophies and opinions, its definition of right and wrong behaviors and its codes of conduct, we will find ourselves at complete enmity with God.  In that position, we have removed ourselves from the place of favor with God and will therefore be identified with those who did not inherit the promises of God.

The author of the book of James, identified as the brother of Jesus in Mark 6:3, gave a sober warning to the church.  “You believe that there is one God; You do well.  Even the demons believe–and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”  NKJV.  James 2:19-20.

What does all this mean and how can we know for sure we are in right standing with the Lord?  Praise be to God, we have an open book test!

The litmus test that we are children of the Lord is not merely our profession of faith; that is the beginning.  True faith in the Lord Jesus opens the flow of God’s grace which begins to work within our heart to change us into the image of Christ Jesus.  It is our responsibility to allow the Spirit of Grace to do the transforming work without quenching or hindering the Spirit’s work.  When the Holy Spirit is at work transforming our minds and hearts into His nature, our love for Him will be perfected and our actions toward others will be the same as those Jesus exemplified.

Jesus said, “Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.”  See Matthew 7:13-23.  Our fruit is not works, it is developing the nature and character of the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart.  Good works will follow as we humble ourselves before the Lord.  His promise will then be fulfilled in us:  “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.”  John 14:12.  Jesus’ prayer to His heavenly Father in John 17 will be fulfilled and we will become not only the sons of God, but also the bride of Christ.

Jesus offers us complete freedom from the world while making us sons, and brides of Christ through oneness with Him and the Father!  Then, we will never have to say, “If I had only known”!

Living In Your Own Skin By Larry W Peebles

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Living In Your Own Skin   by   Larry W Peebles    May 6, 2016   16.16

 

A friend of mine wore some flashy fashion jeans with decorative stitching and sequins, which admittedly are not my style.  Good for him, I thought, go for bold and stylish.  Make a statement.  I thought it was good that he was confident in who he was, and was comfortable in those jeans.  A person has to know and have a healthy perspective of self in order to live in their own skin.  I’m not talking about clothes or fashion–what a person wears.  I’m talking about being comfortable with the person inside the package everyone else sees from the outside.  I’m talking about how we see ourselves–our own self-image.

Last year I wrote a three part series entitled “How Well Do You See?”  This series compared our natural vision and the way we see things to the supernatural and the way God sees things.  In this related article, I want to examine the way we see ourselves, and give some examples of the way God sees us.

In Numbers 13, Moses recorded the story of sending spies into the Promised Land prior to leading the children of Israel into the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Twelve men were chosen to explore, one from each tribe.  The twelve included Caleb and Joshua (or Hoshea).  Moses sent them to enter Canaan first with these instructions (v.17-20):

“Go up into the Negev and on into the hill country.  See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.  What kind of land do they live in?  Is it good or bad?  What kind of towns do they live in?  Are they un-walled or fortified?  How is the soil?  Is it fertile or poor?  Are there trees on it or not?  Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”

Ten of the twelve brought back this report: (v.27) “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!  Here is its fruit.  But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”

The other two, Joshua and Caleb, reported (v. 30) “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the ten retorted (v. 31-33) “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…The land we explored devours those living in it.  All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Do we seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes?  If so, we likely believe others see us the same way.  This is not a healthy self-image, nor is it a godly one.  How did the minority report from Joshua and Caleb differ so drastically from the report of the ten, the majority?  The Bible gives us a clue on both men.  Exodus 33: 7-11 says that when Moses met with the Lord face-to-face in the Tent of Meeting outside the camp of the Israelites, his aide Joshua would stay in the tent after Moses had finished his meeting and left.  He wanted to linger in the presence of the Lord.  Those encounters shaped his spiritual character.  He was the man God named to replace Moses when his time for leadership had ended.  Then in Numbers 14:24, the Bible says “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to [exploring], and his descendants will inherit it.” [Insert mine.]  These two men sought after the Lord, and followed Him with all their heart.  As a result of their time spent with the Lord, and their intimate knowledge of Him, they did not see themselves as grasshoppers.  They knew their assignment from the Lord would succeed in spite of the appearance of the opposition.

Two other men in the Bible, Moses (Exodus 3, 4) and Gideon (Judges 6), saw themselves as small and inadequate for the task God gave them.  They both offered a variety of arguments as to why they should be excused.  When God told them both He would be with them in completing their incredibly large assignments, He expected them to change their perception of themselves and obey.  They were strongly encouraged to see themselves as conquerors, not grasshoppers.

We are similarly encouraged to perceive ourselves not as other people see us, and not as we see ourselves, but rather we should perceive ourselves as God sees us.  As our Creator, He gives us unique abilities and purpose.  He knows our heart and character better than we do.  He did not create us to be small and insignificant.

Consider then, what the Scriptures teach about us as His creation.  Most of these promises are conditional upon our closely following God with our whole heart, and obeying His word and commands as did Joshua and Caleb:

  1. Deuteronomy 28:1-14- this entire passage is so rich in promises to those who obey the Lord it should be read in its entirety for encouragement if your self-perception is that of a grasshopper.  As an over view, it speaks of God’s blessing on the land (the field we work), and the works of our hand.  It also includes making us the head, not the tail; being at the top, and not at the bottom; lending to many but borrowing from none; and finally, defeating our enemies.
  2. Genesis 1:27 says we are created in the image of God, who is certainly a powerful conqueror, and not a grasshopper.
  3. Psalm 8: 5-8 says “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and beasts of the field, and birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”
  4. In Psalm 17:8, King David was so well acquainted with God he asked Him to “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide [protect] me in the shadow of your wings…”  God is not a respecter of persons-He has no favorites.  We are all His favorites—the apple of His eye.
  5. To His twelve disciples who followed Him so closely, Jesus said in John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants…Instead, I call you friends…”  If you have Jesus as a friend, you cannot be a grasshopper.
  6. Romans 8: 28-39, written by Paul, is also rich in promises, and should be read in its entirety.  In summary, it contains phrases such as “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v.31), and “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (v.37)
  7. Philippians 4:13- “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Again Paul writes from the viewpoint of one who in prominence was thought to be mighty in mans’ eyes.  He was dramatically converted to a follower of Christ, and became mighty in God’s eyes.  When he encountered the risen Jesus, he was converted from a spiritual grasshopper to a spiritual giant.

As we think about who we really are, deep down and over the long haul, we are terribly misled if we compare ourselves to others.  2 Corinthians 10:12 says “We do not dare to classify ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”  Other translations say “they are fools.”

We should compare ourselves to Christ alone.  Time spent with Him gives us insight into who we truly are.  Acts 17:28 says “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  We are defined by our Creator, and time spent with Him makes us more like Him.  It gives us confidence and valuable insight into who we are and what we are capable of doing.  It makes us comfortable with living in our own skin, and disperses any thought of grasshopper-like limitations.