I Smell Smoke! Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles
Kay K. Peebles

The mountains are on fire!  A month ago we were hiking just a few miles from our home.  We had trekked well over a mile into the woods when we heard the sound of a helicopter.  We couldn’t see it because of the tall trees so we kept on hiking and talking.  During the next hour we continued to hear the helicopter and after we had turned back to head to the car we finally saw it.  It was flying back and forth every few minutes carrying a large bucket of water beneath it. We realized what it all meant, the forest was on fire!  We were grateful we did not smell smoke because that meant it was not in our proximity.  We headed for home and sought a newscast that could inform us on the location of the fire.

Our forest was more parched than we had ever seen.  Meteorologists diagnosed it as an extreme drought.  Leaves on the trees were curled inward and hanging limp on the trees.  Many turned brown without changing into bright fall colors because they died of thirst.  It had been sad to watch our vibrant forest silently screaming for water.  All of the waterfalls nearby were reduced to trickles and the rivers and streams were narrow creeks full of rocks that were under water in normal conditions.

In mid-October we drove a couple of hours north to see the beginning of the fall leaf season.  The trees were beautiful and we visited several of our favorite areas before turning back home.  The fires began to blaze within the month and we could smell the smoke at our home.  One fire was within an hour of our home and another large one was two or three hours away.  It was exactly where we had visited a few weeks prior.  Several of the 29 fires burning were set by an arsonist.  Another was started by lightning, from the last rain we had received over a month ago.  The winds prevailed out of the north and blew the smoke into our area and it collected in the valley behind our home.  We were unable to participate in any out-door activities because of the thick smoky cloud.  Day after day a dingy grey cloud blocked the view of the mountains behind us except for the outline of the ridge.  With no rain and lake levels terribly low, the mountain fires were difficult to contain, much less extinguish.  They continue to burn as I write.

I have discovered several benefits from forest fires.  A forest fire can bring a dense forest full of unhealthy trees and foliage back to life by:

  1. Removing dead and decaying plants that are fire hazards.
  2. Eliminating dense foliage thinning the overgrowth so that new seedlings can grow.
  3. Yielding nutrients and minerals from the charred plants and depositing them on the forest floor.
  4. Opening more space between plants for the sunshine and rain to fall, allowing growth and better health.
  5. Enabling fireweed to grow helps restore a forest. It thrives on the nutrient rich soil the fire provided.  (National Geographics).

 

The fire of God has the same benefits for the church and individual believer that forest fires do for the mountains.  By observing the history of the church since Pentecost, we see God ignites “Revival Fires” within His people to restore and re-invigorate them.  Isaiah, one of the prophets of God in the Bible, experienced the fire of God after a very dry season in Israel’s life.  King Uzziah of Israel was not obedient to God’s Law.  He failed to destroy the “high places” of idol worship throughout the nation of Israel.  God had forbidden Israel to serve the false gods of other nations and the king was responsible to lead the people into righteousness.  King Uzziah failed his God and his nation, causing the people to continue to sin.  This spiritual compromise resulted in their loss of faith in God.  Faith that had once been vibrant and pure became dried and dead from a lack of nurturing.  The people began to call evil good and good evil.  Israel was in danger of God’s judgment.  King Uzziah died of leprosy.  The death of King Uzziah marked the end of an age of “flesh” living without seeking God’s will, and it inaugurated Isaiah’s prophetic ministry.

Isaiah had a vision of the Lord in heaven seated upon His throne.  God’s train (robe) which represented His Glory, filled the heavenly temple and Isaiah was struck by the awe and wonder of God’s holiness.  He became aware of his own sinful flesh as he observed the beauty of holiness.  (Isaiah 6:1-9).  Any person who enters the presence of the Lord will be keenly aware that God is holy and man is of flesh.  The holy presence of God is completely humbling.  It is like looking into a mirror.  A mirror shows our outward flaws but the Spirit of God reveals our inward sins.  Isaiah could hear the seraphim crying out to each another “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”  That revelation humbled Isaiah and he repented of his sin.  The Lord sent the seraphim with a coal of “fire” to cleanse Isaiah’s lips.  God needed to purify Isaiah’s mouth so that He could fill it with His Word for the people.

The Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) asked a question as Isaiah observed the Lord’s throne room.  “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for Us?”  Having been cleansed and emboldened by the fire of God, Isaiah volunteered to speak for God to His people.

Something similar happened at Pentecost after Jesus had been raised from the dead.  The prophetic voice of God had not been heard for 400 years before Jesus’ ministry began.  Many people and Jewish leaders were dry and parched because of their sin.  They had practiced their religion but they had no life because they had compromised God’s Word and forfeited His presence due to neglect.  Jesus taught His disciples for three years and after he rose from the dead, visited them several times.  He gave them their commission to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and charged them to go into all the world.  He had told the disciples (12 plus 108 others = 120) after He ascended, to wait in the upper room until the Holy Spirit came upon them.   Fifty days later the fire of God fell upon each and every head in that upper room.  They were all filled (immersed) with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak with new tongues.  Peter, the most transformed disciple, experienced a remarkable change.  He was formerly the one who denied the Lord during His trial, because of fear of persecution.  Remarkably, the fire of God so powerfully affected him that he boldly preached the first Gospel message of the New Testament church in the same streets of Jerusalem.  (See Acts 2).  The Fire of God revives His people!

Today, the church of God is poised for revival!  Many have become dry, complacent, and weary.  The battles and challenges to remain true to the Word of God while not conforming to the ways of the world have worn down many in the faith.  Our high tech culture can easily distract us and a overabundance of activities vie for our time.  We can subtly begin to neglect our study and prayer time with the Lord which causes a wilted and parched faith.   Earthly idols have drawn our attention from the Living Water and severe drought has set in.  It is not God’s will to judge His church, He desires to send revival to restore us.  When we fail to be salt and light to the world, we have become ineffective in our culture.  His mercy draws us until we become desperate for His Fire to ignite us again, restoring the flames of love salvation had kindled.

The Fire of God benefits the church by:

  1. Removing dead and decaying works that don’t bear fruit.
  2. Eliminating dead relationships which stunt growth so that new life emerges.
  3. Feeding, fueling and energizing our love for Him and our zeal to serve Him and obey His Word.
  4. Restoring our communication with Him in the Secret Place of the Most High, making it our necessity for sustaining His Life in us.
  5. Reviving His church and initiating and restoring spiritual gifts and the call of God.

We need our torch to be re-lit by the fire of God so that we can take our place of authority ushering in the Kingdom of God to the earth.  Solomon gave the charge to Israel and it is just as relevant to the church today:  “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 

We are not waiting for God, He is waiting for us.  We must stop looking for others to lead.  The desperation to see God move on earth today like He did at Pentecost will pressure us to cry out to the Lord like Isaiah saying, “Send me”.  Those who are not satisfied with what we have experienced in God and long for a move of God which will impact our nation and the world.  They will be willing to intercede until Revival comes!

The church the Lord Jesus died for was not to be buildings filled with people sitting in pews.  Nor was it simply to find a place to serve others so that we felt we had contributed to society.  The church He died for was to be so filled with His Holy Spirit that we would do the same works that He did:  heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead.  The Word of God is to be so powerful in us that we are consumed with the Kingdom and draw it to earth as He did.  Those who love their God are bold as a lion, fear nothing and no one because they KNOW their God.

The dissatisfaction we have been feeling can be summed up in a question, “Is this all there is?”  That question will catapult us to a place of holy desperation for more.  When the church becomes desperate enough to cry out for more of God, we are ripe for revival.

I have smelled the smoke and seen the cloud.  It’s time to get on our knees and remain there until we are empowered with Fire from on high, because we all know where there’s smoke, there’s fire!

First Impressions by Larry W. Peebles

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First Impressions   By  Larry W. Peebles   November 18, 2016   16.44

The place appeared dark and deserted.  We had driven 4 or 5 miles off the main road on a very dark and narrow road not wide enough for cars to pass without both cars pulling off the road to allow room to get by.  Fortunately there were not many vehicles to pass.  Except for the lights of our vehicle, there were no lights.  Suddenly in the middle of nowhere in south central India, the lights of our meeting place appeared.  On the grounds of an old abandoned 18th century church, our advance team had set up a stage, sound system and lights, and had spread the word of our meetings on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to present the gospel of Jesus.   This was an area where the gospel once had life years ago.  Unfortunately it had died except for a few small scattered churches.  God had big plans.  My first impressions were about to change into lasting impressions of those three nights.

  1. Light overcomes the dark. As John 1:9 says- “The true light that gives light to every man [Jesus] was coming into the world.” [Emphasis mine.]  When the lights of the meeting were turned on, people began to come from all directions, literally walking out of the darkness into the light.  They walked through the entrance of the gates in the wall surrounding the old church grounds, and sat down on the ground in front of the stage to hear the message of the meetings.  They came by the thousands from miles around.  Some shared the cost of the small 3-wheeled taxis that operated in the area.  Some came in large tractor drawn trailers that had been arranged to pick up at strategic points.  Some traveled by bicycle or motorbike, but most walked.  Jesus was prepared to meet them.  Songs of praise were sung, the gospel of the good news of Jesus was preached, and all were given the opportunity to give their hearts to Jesus, and to make Him the Lord and Savior of their lives.

Jesus said in John 8:12- “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  This was a dark, forgotten and spiritually hopeless place until the light of Jesus came.  John 12:46 says- “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  I cannot recall a more graphic example of light coming into darkness as I saw these three nights.  Poor people who had nothing, who were physically and spiritually starved, suddenly had all they would ever need.  They heard the message, believed, and walked home as new creations, full of Jesus and full of joy and hope.  We could see it in their faces.  They would never walk in the dark again.

 

  1. Life in the valley of dry bones. My friend John, who has been to India many times, and whose ministry had received this invitation to come, preached the main message all three nights.  I asked him before we went out to the meeting location for the first time if he had the title of his Friday night message.  He said he thought he had to preach the story of the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel Chapter 37.   In that story, the Lord showed Ezekiel a valley full of dead dry bones and asked him if those bones could live.  Verses 4-6 say “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

As John preached that message, I listened and kept looking at that old 18th century church building.  The roof had failed, and the windows were out.  It was dark inside.   The doors were fixed shut.  There was no way to know when it had last been used.  To the extent it had once represented the gospel of Jesus established in this region, it had long since died and dried up.  But as John preached, life was returning to this valley of dry bones.  The church grounds were lit up and alive with people, music and the word of God.  Hope and help had returned.   Jesus was walking by.   These people were not forgotten by God, who had orchestrated this whole weekend.  God had provided the grounds, and the finances for the lights, the music, and the transportation.  He had made the arrangements between a local ministry and two men from halfway around the world to come and preach that weekend.  One might ask “How can you be so sure God had a hand in all this?”  Easy, check the local weather.

 

  1. The local weather report. As we boarded our flight to India, the last email from the local ministry said to pray over the weather.  The remnant of a cyclone (hurricane) off the east coast of the country threatened our outdoor meetings.  We never thought of canceling the meetings.  We got on the plane and we prayed.  We called back home and had people pray with us.  We prayed every day we were in the country, and we prayed each day before leaving for the night meetings.  We drove through rain to get to the Friday night meeting, but the grounds were dry at our location.  We drove through heavier rain Saturday night, but again our grounds were dry.  Our prayers were being answered.  We drove through heavy rain Sunday night, and even pouring rain going home after the Sunday night meetings, but our meeting was dry.  After Jesus calmed the storm when He and the disciples were in the boat, the disciples asked (Mark 4:41)- “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him?”  I know the scripture, but its meaning became real.

Two weeks after we returned home, John received the report on the meetings from the local ministry, and shared it with me.  All the local churches in the region had received an influx of hundreds of new believers.  The pastors in these small forgotten churches reported that the new believers attending their church all said one thing.  The people knew that Jesus was real.  No one other than the one true God could have held back that rain from our meeting grounds. We did not watch the local weather on television, nor did we consult a local weather app.  Apparently the rain had come down everywhere by the buckets full, but we were dry.  Our lights, our sound equipment and stage, and the grounds where the people sat would have all been ruined by heavy rain.  Many of the people would not have even been able to travel or attend in heavy rain.  They knew the supernatural hand of the one true God had held it back, and they were amazed.  In the process, God backed up our message to them of how He loved these people so much.  He wanted to connect with them and show them His love, care and concern.  He was real, and could show them the way and help them.  He would forgive their sins, and come live in their hearts.  Who is this God?  The One who even the winds and waves obey.  He was the Creator of the universe, yet He knew their names and loved each of them.

My first impressions of a dark, dry and dead place were wrong.  When Jesus was praised, preached and His presence celebrated, everything changed in an instant.  As I now think back on these meetings, I can only see light, life and the love of God poured out on His people.  Jesus came and walked among the crowds, estimated at five thousand for the Saturday night meeting, probably ten thousand for all three nights combined.  Many were saved, and so many lives were eternally changed.  Psalm 16:11 says – “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  God is true to His word, and true to His people.  He was not about to let a little cyclone drown out His Light and life-giving Word.

My prayer is that everyone who reads this will come to know the one true God—the One even the winds and waves obey.  It is not necessary to travel half way around the world to experience Him.  He comes readily to all those who are desperate for Him.

The Two Kingdoms Part V Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles
Kay K. Peebles

 11/11/16  16:43

True Prophets and False Prophets

What’s the big deal?  One of our grandsons came home from school with his new band shirt.  He was excited about his upcoming fall band concert.  The band students had voted on the name and theme of the band.   There were a couple of favorite choices.  The band director had picked one of the two final emblems to represent the band and had it embossed on their shirts.  The parents of the students had personally purchased their child’s shirt before knowing what the emblem would be.

When his dad arrived home from work, my grandson showed him his new band shirt.  The emblem chosen was a Zodiac symbol with all the signs of the Zodiac around it.  His dad was appalled.  Our grandson had been excited about his new band shirt but our son had to explain what that symbol meant and how it represented the complete opposite of our faith in God.  What looked to be “innocent” actually had serious implications if accepted and used to represent the school, band and our family.

Many would think that it is only a symbol and therefore it is impotent to cause any harm.  The Bible, however, carefully warns of being associated with anything connected to the kingdom of darkness, the occult, and the demonic realm.  That symbol was a representation of the occult realm as well as the curses attached to it.

Many years ago before I became a student of the Bible, I would read my horoscope in our daily newspaper.  I thought it was interesting and wondered if it had any ability to “predict” my immediate future.  I was fascinated with things that might give me an edge in navigating my life.  I also remember when I was a young teenager going to my cousin’s home and playing with the “8” ball and asking it questions.  At slumber parties we would experiment with levitation games.  My mother had even mentioned she had played with an Ouija board when she was young but stopped when something happened that scared her.  I had no idea these things were associated with the occult!  Although we went to church every Sunday, there were no mentions of such dangers and my family was not knowledgeable about the Word of God.  We simply believed God existed but had no personal relationship with Him.  Little did I know that such “innocent” experiences were entry doors to the occult.

My son and daughter-in-law set up a conference with their son’s principal and met with her a few days later.  She seemed totally surprised that the symbol could be objectionable.  My son calmly explained that the Zodiac and astrology were connected to a religion.  He also shared that what it represented could not be scientifically proven to be true and therefore was based on superstition and not science.  Since religion is not permitted in the schools, this symbol violated those guidelines.  He then told her that we are Christians and that symbol represented the direct opposite of our beliefs.  If they chose to keep the symbol, he would either have to remove his son from the band or continue to object to its use through other appropriate means.  The principal promised to research the matter and speak with her band director giving them an answer within two days.  We were all praying for God’s grace to intervene on our behalf and there would be understanding when it was researched.  Her email came two days later and the principal and band teacher decided to choose the other emblem the class had liked and the school would replace the shirts at their own expense.

This story is a perfect example of how many people become involved with the kingdom of darkness without even knowing it.  Ignorance is not bliss, as the phrase insinuates.  Ignorance is also not an excuse because the enemy will take advantage of any opening he is given to kill, steal and destroy.  The Bible challenges us to beware of anything that is not of God and it is our responsibility to KNOW the Word of God.

Babylon existed in Old Testament times.  (Genesis 10:10)  Its origin is not exactly known but it began to grow in prominence around 2,000 B.C.  It was located in southern Mesopotamia near the Euphrates River in the area of modern day Iraq.  Babylon is not only a key part of world history, it is also prophesied in the book of Revelation as a city which will be destroyed by God because of the evil it brought to the world.  (Revelation 14:8, 16:19, 17:1-18:24).  By researching Babylon, we are not simply examining a culture but a religious belief that originates with worshipping false gods.  The term babel associated to the tower of Babel (and Babylon) means confusion.  The origin of the word describes its meaning: to blend or mix.  Its religion existed at the time of the Hebrew patriarchs and led many Israelites astray.  In 597 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar defeated Israel and took many of the people into exile, including the prophet Daniel.  The Chaldeans are an indigenous people who settled in Mesopotamia and the Babylonians were one of their tribes.  The Chaldeans had established an elaborate way of reading the stars to get direction by predicting future events.  However, it was not the Chaldean magicians, astrologers or sorcerers that could interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, it was God’s prophet Daniel that did so.  (See Daniel 2).  Their power came from the realms of darkness but Daniel, a prophet of God, received wisdom directly from the Lord Himself (Kingdom of Light).

Daniel 2:46-47 “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and paid homage to Daniel [as a great prophet of the highest God] and ordered that an offering and incense should be offered up to him [in honor of his God].  The King answered Daniel, “Of a truth your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a Revealer of secret mysteries, seeing that you could reveal this secret mystery!”  God wanted to show this idol worshipping king that his magicians and sorcerers were false prophets by having him experience the power of God working through a true prophet.

Today, many have been led to destruction through the deceptions of false prophets such as mediums, psychics and modern day astrologers.  Other terms such as soothsayers, diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, charmers and those who interpret omens are connected to astrology (occult).  It is important that I mention astronomy is the scientific study of our stars and solar system.  That is not the same as astrology.  Astrology is a false religion and those who “foretell the future” use the stars, sun and moon as their source of information.  They also interpret omens to predict the future.  They are not of God, they are from the kingdom of darkness and they are false prophets.

God warned the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations, the LORD your God drives them out before you.  You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.  For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.”

Those who practice magic or black magic as mediums do so by connecting with demon spirits.  They charge a fee for giving their forecasts to their customers but they cannot speak truth because they have not received their information from the Spirit of Truth.  The true prophet does not give prophecies by charging a fee.  They are specifically called by God, ordained by God and are not to give the Word of the Lord for personal profit.  In a church setting, the word is given out freely.

The prophet Balaam paid a dear price for trying to sell the Word of the Lord.  God established the office of the prophet to encourage, edify and sometimes warn His people when they had disobeyed the Lord.  Balak, king of Moab tried to enlist Balaam, prophet of Israel to curse God’s people.  Balaam asked God if he could curse the Israelites for Balak and the Lord said no.  (See Numbers chapters 22, 23, 24).  The king promised to promote him to very great honor and do whatever Balaam asked him.  The generous offer tempted Balaam and he eventually went against the Lord and began his journey to reach Balak in Moab to curse the Israelites.  The Angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Jesus) stopped Balaam and his donkey, and God finally told him to go but He would put the words in Balaam’s mouth.  Balaam eventually spoke blessings upon the Israelites instead of curses and Balak became furious.  God judged Balaam for desiring to curse God’s people for personal gain.  He was willing to curse what God had blessed and use his God given gift against God’s people.  The Lord used Balaam as an example to the true prophets.

Jude 11 states, “Woe to them!  For they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah!”  2 Peter 2:15-22 warns the church, “Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved wickedness… For uttering loud boasts of folly, they beguile and lure with lustful desires of the flesh those who are barely escaping from them who are wrongdoers.  They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity and defilement—for by whatever anyone is made inferior or worse or is overcome, to that [person or thing] he is enslaved…”

False prophets lead the people into spiritual slavery and destruction.  The true prophets encourage, admonish and direct God’s people to righteousness, holiness and peace.  All too often, by ignorance or rebellion, God’s people seek answers from the wrong source and become not only cursed, but led astray from God.  King Saul sought answers from a medium instead of God, knowing it was forbidden, and lost his kingdom and his life.

There is nothing wrong with desiring to know what lies ahead.  God promises to give us wisdom when we ask of Him.  (See James 3:16-17, James 1:5-6).  God speaks to His people.  He answers our questions and prayers in His timing.  For those who are willing to “wait” upon the Lord, walking in obedience to His word, they will receive great blessing and peace.  For those who do not, destruction will be their end.  The Apostle Paul warned the church that there would be false prophets in the church who were there to lead the people astray.  He charged us all to be constantly alert keeping watch and judging the prophet’s words by the Word of God.

We cannot fail if we will build a place of habitation for the Lord to dwell in our hearts and homes daily.  By seeking Him first, being willing to wait on His timing for our answers and trusting in His faithfulness to guide and direct us, we will be victorious.  By guarding what we see, hear and do, we will walk in righteousness and peace will prevail in our lives.  By giving our hearts, lives and future to the Lord, we will be assured of His constant intervention in our lives and live eternally with Him.  By seeking the truth in God’s Word, we will recognize truth when we hear it.

Trouble Is Coming by Larry W. Peebles

Trouble Is Coming   by   Larry W. Peebles   November 4, 2016   16.42

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Why do bad things happen?  This is a question I hear often, especially when it concerns seemingly good people.  I do not want to gloss over this question with an answer that is shallow and superficial.  However, since I heard this question again within the past week, I do want to share some insight I also recently gained.

We live in an imperfect and fallen world.  The devil gained a toe-hold in the earth when sin entered God’s perfect creation.  Man’s dominion over God’s earthly creation was taken, and man will remain in a struggle until that dominion is perfectly restored.  Things happen that are the plan of the devil, who the Bible says “comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).  Jesus told His disciples they would face persecution, and He did not promise us a trouble-free life.  Indeed, without being overly pessimistic, we must conclude that even the most admirable believer will face trouble.

I just returned home from three days of outdoor gospel crusade meetings which had been planned for months.  As we got on the airplane to travel half-way around the world, these meetings were being threatened by weather–the remnant of a cyclone (hurricane).  This crusade was intentionally planned in a remote area where the gospel had not been preached outdoors in a public meeting venue.  The roads were under-developed, and many would walk for miles to attend.  We did not postpone the crusade, nor did we move it.  We prayed.  Hundreds of believers and supporters prayed that God would intervene against the weather and protect the meetings.  For three days the system produced rain all around the meeting site, coming as close as one-half mile, but the grounds where the meetings were held stayed dry.  Sound equipment and lights remained functional.  People came by the thousands, many more than were expected, traveled safely, and sat on dry ground.  I believe that by our collective prayers, we took authority over that storm, and God miraculously kept it away.

The Biblical basis for this comes from a story told in the New Testament.  Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus fell asleep.  A storm approached, and threatened to swamp the boat.  The disciples feared for their lives, and woke Jesus.  Luke 8: 24, 25 says- “He [Jesus] got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.  In fear and amazement they asked one another ‘Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’” [Emphasis mine.]

Jesus says something very incredible that causes us to be optimistic regarding the storms and troubles of our lives.  In John 14:12-14, Jesus says- “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Jesus has all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).  He has given us authority to use His name when we pray.  He has told us we can expect our prayers to be answered, and that we will do great things in His name.  When He spoke to the storm, He was teaching that we can do the same.

Here are two recent observations on this discussion of storms and trouble that may come our way:

  1. When the storms of life come, it is better to be in the boat with Jesus than doing our own thing in our own boat. If we live a life committed to Him, we are seeking Him in a personal relationship.  We strive to be and do what He wants us to be and do.  We are on His side, and in His boat.  When we are in the center of His will, we are under the protective wings of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1, 2).  That is the perfect place to be when the storms come.
  2. On those days when we feel we have no effective prayers, and there is no power to change anything, we need to remember there is a difference between power and authority. We are not to rely on feelings and appearances.  In John A. MacMillan’s classic book “The Authority of the Believer”, one finds the illustration of a traffic cop.  The officer does not have the power to stop an oncoming bus or 18-wheeler, but he has been granted the authority to control and stop the traffic.

Jesus has all power and authority in heaven and on earth to halt, detour, and destroy the storms and troubles of life.  He has granted us the authority to use His name to deal with them also.  Human nature is such that if we have no storms or troubles, we become lazy and content.  Trouble will surely come, but we are stronger when we exercise our God-given authority to calm the storm.

Why do bad things happen– because our enemy, the devil, “prowls around, like a lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).  A more productive question might be “What do we do about it?”  We stay in the boat with Jesus.  We exercise the authority we have been granted, pray in the name of Jesus, and believe we can calm the storm.  1 Peter 5:9-10 goes on to say “Resist him, standing firm in the faith….and Christ, …after you have suffered a while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”

We are told to not be afraid of the test.  We prepare by getting in the boat with Jesus, and exercising our authority by praying in His name.  He supplies the power to calm the storm.