Dying For a Drink, Part 2 by Larry W Peebles

Dying For a Drink, Part 2    by   Larry W. Peebles   June 30, 2017   17.24

The living water that Jesus describes in John 7:37-39 is real.  It is supernatural, but none-the-less real.  In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the scriptural evidence in Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22, as we compared Ezekiel and John’s visions from God, both concerning this living water.  In Part 1 (June 2, 2017), we learned that this living water is a form and manifestation of the Holy Spirit—one of several we see in Scripture.  Other examples include a dove, wind, fire, supernatural strength in a man, and more.

When a believer gives his heart over to Jesus, and makes Jesus the Lord and Savior of his life, he is “born again”, and receives this living water of the Holy Spirit.  This water brings life and refreshing everywhere it flows.  Jesus said it would not only come to the believer, but it would flow like a stream out of the believer to a dry and thirsty world.  (John 7:37-39).  This water, unlike the water we drink from the faucet, is sufficient to quench our spiritual thirst forever.  Jesus never intended the believer would receive and keep the living water for himself.  He intended that the believer would share the living water with others, that they might come to know Jesus.  The Bible calls that “bearing fruit” (see Galatians 5: 22-23).  The believer is to bear fruit continually.  We are not to merely observe, share and report on the condition of man and this world, we are to change it–for the better.

In order to go further with this study of living water, I want to share two stories.  Both come from ministry trips to Kenya.  On my first trip in 2007, my wife and I traveled with a team to a number of churches in the Mt. Kenya region, about two hours north of Nairobi.  Each day we visited a different church, and ministered to the church pastor and leaders.  We did a morning meeting and an afternoon meeting, with a break for lunch.  God graced those meetings with His presence, and the meetings were powerful.

On one such day, we visited one of the leader’s homes for lunch between the morning and afternoon sessions.  We found the Kenyans to be a very friendly, gracious and welcoming people.  The hostess provided a very delicious home-cooked meal, offering no less than the best they had for their guests.  Following the meal, and after a warm thank you and good bye, I stepped outside to board the van for the short drive back to the church for the afternoon session.

The leader’s home was in a very small village, with only two intersecting dirt roads.  On one side of the intersection was a concrete tank, maybe 6 ft. or so square, 2-3 ft. deep.  A man in a home-made wooden cart pulled by a small donkey had stopped alongside the tank, and began to empty 4 or 5 big barrels of water into the tank.  I studied the scene for a moment, and realized the man was bringing water to the village.  The tank was the community water supply.  There was no water main to supply clean water to the houses.  There was no sewer main.  Most of the homes in this small village had out houses,  or some type of in-ground pit.

The Kenyans knew the water in the tank was not for drinking.  They would use it for bathing and washing clothes.  Boiled water would be used for cooking, and bottled water would generally be provided for guests to drink.  Still the man who delivered water to the community tank provided a major service, as it was not unusual to see people in the area walking for miles to bring a few containers of water back to their homes—perhaps enough for that day.  This man in the cart made a positive difference in his village.  He changed the circumstances of that village by delivering the precious life-giving water in large quantities.

It was some time after the trip, as I continued to study this living water and prepared to tell the story of the man in the cart, I felt the Lord issue a challenge.  I sensed from the Lord that we are to be like that man, and make a difference in our circumstances.  We are to bring water to our village.  Our village might be our marriage, our family, our workplace, circle of friends, school, or church.  We are to carry living water—the message of salvation, hope, healing and encouragement—to that village.  The river of living water, the Holy Spirit of God, is to flow to us and through us to a dry and thirsty world.

The second story comes from my last trip to Kenya in 2013.  (My wife and I are going again later in 2017.)  On that trip my wife and I were part of a team that conducted revival meetings in a large tent we had set up in a mid- sized town in the Mt. Kenya region.  The team met in the morning for teaching, inspiration, and assignments, then spread out over the town to greet people walking about, inquire if they knew Jesus, and extend an invitation to the tent revival meetings.  If possible, we would get their name and contact information for a local pastor to follow up.  People were receptive to the invitation.  They would stop on the street and listen, and ask questions about what was happening at the big tent.

I was asked to teach at the morning team meeting on Saturday, the last day of street evangelism.  We had scheduled meetings for Saturday afternoon and evening.  The revival meetings would end with an afternoon meeting on Sunday after morning church services.  I spoke to the team Saturday morning about living water, and told the story of the man hauling water to his village in the cart.  I encouraged the team to carry water to this village by first believing the living water flowed through them individually, and second by looking for opportunities to pray with and for people on the street.  I specifically encouraged the team to lay hands on the people as they prayed.  Scriptures compare us to trees planted by streams of water, whose leaves (hands) are for healing (all discussed in Part 1 of this series).  I simply asked them to apply in faith what Scriptures have already said.

My wife and I felt good about the street evangelism that morning, as we encountered and prayed for a man we found walking alone through a field.  He kneeled down on the ground and received Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  He had not eaten in days, so we were able to direct him to our tent, where there was food and tea.  But we felt even better when we returned to the tent.  A woman pastor from another team was looking for us with a marvelous report.

Her team had encountered a man they described as “out of his mind”.  He was babbling incoherently, unable to speak an intelligent word.  He was filthy with hair matted in dirt and grass from sleeping on the ground.  His eyes were rolling and looked glazed, and he was living like an animal.  He was a literal wild man on the verge of death.  The woman remembered the teaching from earlier in the morning, and laid hands on him and prayed for him along with the team.  She said he immediately snapped back into his right mind, and his eyes were stable and clear.  He was able to speak.  He came back to life.

He said he had not eaten in days.  The team took him to the church’s training center.  He bathed and shaved his head, which was easier than trying to clean his hair.  He was given a set of clean clothes and a meal.  The pastor was hardly able to contain herself with what she then told me.  The man had agreed to speak at the afternoon meeting under the tent to give a testimony of what had happened, and how God had immediately set him free from demonic control, cleared his mind, and returned his speech.

We all marveled that afternoon when he rose to speak.  He spoke clearly and confidently.  He knew he had received a miracle.  He knew he was as good as dead, but now could testify to life.  He confirmed Jesus as his Savior, and gave Him all the glory.  All of this was because of the great power and compassion of God, and a team of believers who acted in faith and prayed as though living water flowed through their hands into the dry and thirsty people in that town.

Jesus is issuing a challenge to His followers to believe that living water flows to and through them, as He has said.  He is calling His followers to act like thermostats instead of thermometers, where we by our actions and prayers are changing things instead of reporting the current conditions.  He is challenging us to carry living water to our villages.  The world is dying for a drink.

NO PLACE TO LIGHT PART II Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

Imagine a Massai warrior standing an arm’s length from the mouth of a lion!  On our first mission trip to Kenya, the regional Bishop took our team of five under his wing and introduced us to the precious Kenyan people and their amazing culture.  We were all engrossed in his story as we drove through the rice fields, sugar cane, coffee and tea plantations.  We had been ministering two services a day for almost a week at different churches throughout the region.  Heading back to our hotel, Bishop decided to take us the long way home so that we could see the prolific produce in the Mt. Kenya area.  Bishop was teaching us the culture of the Massai people although Mt. Kenya is predominantly populated by the Kikuyu and Swahili people.

The Massai tribes live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.  Their home is on the Serengeti where they herd their cattle and goats among the lions and other predators.  Some have called their tribe the “lion killers” because of their on-going necessity to protect their herds.  They live together with extended family for protection.  Their large compound is constructed with an open area in the center encircled by a tall thorny fence of thickly compressed acacia tree branches.  The cattle pen has one opening which is barricaded at night.  They often designate one warrior to sleep in the pen with the herd for protection.  

The perimeter of the compound is surrounded by Bomas, which are small straw huts built with thin tree branches overlaid with a strong mortar of clay and cow dung.  Their roof is made of thatch and cow dung making it waterproof and sturdy.  The mixture adheres to the materials providing a tough structure that also insulates against weather.   

During the daytime the cattle are driven by Massai on the Serengeti but at night they are steered into the center of the compound for protection.  The thorny fence is their only fortification from lions on the prowl for a meal.  A lion that breeches the wall will meet a formidable challenge from Massai warriors in the camp.  When a young Massai comes of age, his rite of manhood is proven by his ability to kill a lion.

The Massai clothing is very colorful.  The men wear a shuka, which is a red robe with striped, plaid or checkered patterns often with bright red and royal blue.  They believe the color red scares the lions.  The Bishop told us it is apparent that lions purposefully try to avoid the Massai because they must connect their shuka with those who are lion killers.  (My pictures are from a mission trip to Tanzania in 2010).  

The men drape their large beautiful robe around their body for covering but it has versatile functions.  The women wear long, one and two piece dresses that are colorful, and wrap a cape around their shoulders.  They have beautiful vibrant beaded necklaces and earrings for their jewelry.    Their shoes are sandals made of leather or more currently, old rubber tires.  A warrior will carry a spear and a large knife (sword) at all times.  Herding cattle can be dangerous both day and night but the Massai warrior is fearless and well equipped to oppose a lion.

Bishop continued his story about the Massai warrior.  When he is attacked by a lion, the Massai removes his robe and wraps it around one forearm.  His sword is in the opposite hand.  He moves into close range and when the lion charges and opens his mouth, the warrior thrusts the forearm into his mouth grabbing his tongue in a death grip rendering him helpless and unable to bite.  He then thrusts his sword into the lion killing him with one swift blow!  The Massai are courageous and they are able to guard their families and cattle by disabling the tongue of the lion!

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8, “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.  Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]…”  Peter is directing the church to be prepared to withstand any persecution or suffering required because of the Gospel.  He counsels believers to walk in humility submitting to those the Lord has placed in the church to encourage, guide and direct them in the ways of the Lord.  He also warns them of the devil who is constantly seeking for an opening to bring destruction in their lives.  He charges us to withstand the devil being firm in our faith in God.  Hosea 4:8 explains, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of my law, where I reveal My will].  Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge…”

James, the brother of Jesus encouraged the church, “So be subject to God, Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7.  Notice, the scriptures do not say God will remove the devil from us.  Instead, it says we are to withstand the devil’s attacks.  We are called to be lion killers!  James 4:6 explains, “But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully).  That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).”  Our strength comes from the Holy Spirit and our faith in God.  He gives us the strength to withstand temptations when they come whether to sin against the Lord or to doubt or fear his ability to save us from trouble.

Now, let’s examine the Massai warrior with spiritual eyes.  The Massai warrior trains to become a lion killer.  It does not happen accidentally nor does his strength come by simply being born a Massai.  It comes through study and practice.  A young Massai is trained by the elders who teach him the authority he has over the lion.  There is a process they use when they approach the lion or the lion approaches them.  James gave us a spiritual process for defeating the devil:  1) submit to God, 2) resist the devil and he will flee.

Isaiah 54:17 proclaims, “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong (condemn).  This [peace, righteousness security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification says the Lord.”  (Emphasis mine).

Paul instructed the Ephesian church to daily put on their armor in order to be prepared for battle.  “Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”  Ephesians 6:13.  The entire passage continues to list the armor we have been given by the Lord:  belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Our belt of truth protects our innermost being.  It is the knowledge of the truth that sets us free.  God’s truth is the Rock of our foundation upon which we stand.  The breastplate of righteousness covers our heart.  Out of our heart flow the issues of life.  We are righteous because of our repentance of sin and trust in the redeeming work of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Our righteousness gives us the ability to stand in the authority of Christ daily.  When we trust in the Lord completely, we will be shod with peace and walk in peace wherever we go.  His peace guards our heart and ensures we are in His will.  Faith is a gift from the Lord.  The shield of faith is developed by hearing the Word of God.  It could come from a message preached, Bible study/reading or the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.  The helmet of salvation represents the Mind of Christ Jesus.  It is the mind of the Spirit and not of the flesh.  The sword of the spirit is the Word of God.  Our authority comes by using the Word of God in faith.  When we submit to the Lord’s will, speak His Word to the problem (storms, trouble) standing in faith, he must flee.  We must KNOW that God will back up His Word!

The Massai warrior places his robe (of righteousness representing the authority of Christ) upon his arm so that he might grab the tongue of the lion without suffering injury.  He then thrusts the sword (Word of God) into his heart to disable and destroy his ability to kill.  The tongue of the lion represents the accusations, lies and fears the enemy uses to cause us to doubt God.  The result is our being surrounded by confusion, fear and defeat.  He is the “accuser” of the brethren.  Once our past has been confessed and buried in the waters of baptism, we are clothed in the Righteousness of Christ Jesus.  The enemy no longer has the right to accuse us unless we allow him by not closing his mouth.  The devil is always trying to speak lies, fearful scenarios of disaster and accusations to draw our attention from the Lord which in turn gives him more power.

We must grab hold of the devil’s tongue with a death grip to silence all the attacks.  We do that by “throwing the Book at him”!  The Bible is the Word of God and it is filled with truth.  There are scriptures for every need we could possibly have in life and they are powerful at pulling down strongholds the enemy has erected in our lives.  There are 365 scriptures in the Bible regarding fear where the Lord encourages us to fear not.  We could read a different one every day of the year.  There are also scriptures regarding healing, finances, relationships, marriage and so on.  When the devil tries to take us down in circumstances, thoughts or by others all we need to do is get in our prayer closet and speak the word of God to each one.  We also need to remind him and ourselves who we are in Christ.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and preparing to ascend into heaven, he left his disciples with one powerful declaration.  “All authority (all power and rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20.

Paul taught that we are now seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”  The scepter of authority has been given to us.  The devil has no jurisdiction over us unless we grant it to him.  Wherever we find ourselves under his rule (or torment) we have been given the responsibility with the authority from heaven, to shut the mouth of the lion by thrusting the Word of God into his heart.

The Word of God is a lethal weapon against the enemy and when used in faith, our victory is sure.  Knowing God’s Word and using it properly enables us to defeat every giant we face.  God’s Word is the rock David used and faith in God is the sling that hurls the rock into the head of the enemy.  Our strength comes when we walk humbly before our God submitting to His will and His Word.  We are then able to stand and resist the devil and he MUST flee!  It is then we will give him “No Place to Light”!

Thoughts on Leadership, Part 4 by Larry W Peebles

Thoughts on Leadership, Part 4   by   Larry W. Peebles   June 16, 2017   17.22

At five ft. five inches, my Dad was considered short in stature.  But as a boy, I watched him deal with authority as a customer and a consumer.  He did not let his size diminish his authority.  He knew the authority he had with the company when a mistake had been made in his account.  In those days, the conversations to straighten out an account with a problem were done face-to-face.  There were no automated phone answering machines, no internet, and no email.  Even a big retailer like Sears would have a department in the local store to handle account questions.

Dad would walk in and ask to speak to whoever was “in charge” or “the boss”.  He went straight to the top authority in the company to explain the mistake and receive his assurance as a customer that all would be corrected.  He saw no point in taking time to explain the mistake to someone who did not have the authority to correct it.

When I think of leadership and the role of the leader, I believe this question of authority must be addressed.  At the most fundamental level, the leader must realize that ultimately all authority is given or granted; it is not taken.  Authority is also not to be confused with power.  To help distinguish the two, let me give this example.  When a police officer or a state trooper raises their hand to stop traffic, do they stop the traffic by power, or by authority?  The officer or trooper does not have the physical power to stop a bus or an 18-wheel truck.  Those vehicles will, however, come to a stop when the officer’s hand is raised to halt traffic because the driver of those vehicles recognizes the officer’s authority to stop traffic.

The city or state has by law granted the officer the authority to stop that traffic, and stands prepared to enforce that authority.  That city or state has been granted the authority to pass those laws by the people’s consent to be governed.  So who is the real leader in that traffic control situation?  Is it the driver who applies the brake, the officer who raises the hand to signal halt, or the court who stands ready to issue a fine for failure to stop?  It might be the people of the state, who hired the officer to enforce the control of traffic, and granted the court the ultimate authority to back up the officer with penalties provided by law.

I spent the biggest part of my career in homebuilding in charge of the local division of corporate homebuilding companies that operated across the nation.   I was considered the leader of that division, which might consist of hundreds of employees.  My title was Division President, or General Manager.  Many would consider that a powerful position.  However, my authority to operate in that position was granted by the corporation in the form of a written document called a corporate resolution.  This resolution, adopted by the Board of Directors of the corporation, spelled out what I was authorized to do, and what I was not authorized to do in my position.  If I took authorized action, the company stood behind it.

I reported to high level officers of the corporation, who reported to the Board, who reported to the shareholders.  I had no power per se, except for personal energy, drive and certain abilities.  My authority in that position was granted by the corporation, who ultimately answered to the shareholders.  All authority is granted by some ultimate source, and authority is not to be confused with power in the leader’s mind.

During His time of ministry on this earth, Jesus’ authority was questioned by the chief priests and elders of the church- “By what authority are you doing these things [teaching and doing miracles], and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).  [Insert mine.]  But following His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18- “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples,….baptize,….and teach.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

His death and resurrection annihilated any and all other claims to authority.  No king or kingdom, no devil or mystic power could ever again claim authority.  Jesus had ALL authority in the earth and in the heavens.  Ephesians 1: 20-21 says the incomparable power and mighty strength of God was exerted in Christ “when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but in the age to come.”

The devil had tried to destroy His creation.  Jesus’ mission of turning the tables and restoring mankind to his original position with God was complete.  In the process, He utterly destroyed the works of the devil.  After He made that point clear, Jesus issued a heavenly resolution.  He in turn authorized us to “go” spread the good news of the Gospel, and make disciples.  We were also authorized to baptize into new life in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach His commands (which are not restrictions, but rather keys to long life).  We are not to be fearful and shrink back.  We are to let nothing stand in our way- -Jesus said He would always be with us to enforce the authority given to us as believers and His followers.

Simply said, our authority is His delegated power.  Consider these Scriptures that speak of the authority (delegated power) given believers:

  1. Jesus said in John 14: 12-14- “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing [miracles]. 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 [delegated authority], so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  [Inserts mine.]
  2. Mark 16:17- “And these signs will follow those who believe. In my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will by no means hurt them.  They will lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
  3. John 15:7- “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you will, and it will be given you.”
  4. John 16:23- “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
  5. Matthew 17:20- “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’, and it will move and nothing shall be impossible for you.”
  6. Romans 5:17- “We shall reign in life through Jesus Christ.”

These scriptures make the case clear.  When Jesus conquered death and the devil, He put all things under His feet.  Then He gave the authority to His followers, and delegated power to enforce the consequences.  If this is not enough to convince, consider that in other Scriptures, He used these terms to describe His followers, all of which reveal the authority given: “heir of God”- Galatians 4:7; “ambassadors for Christ”- 2 Corinthians 5:20; and “more than conquerors”- Romans 8:37.

Finally, He would not be the Good Shepard if He left us short of anything we needed to succeed in this life or the life after.  2 Peter 1:3 says- “His divine power [delegated to His followers] has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Prince George, the son of William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is royalty but does not know it.  He is a future king, but now acts like a small boy.  That is no criticism, but rather an indication of his maturity level as a soon-to-be four year old.  He will grow to know who he is and the authority he possesses.  Similarly, we have been given full authority by the King of Kings, but often do not act like it.  Our maturity level of faith in Jesus needs to grow so that we know and understand our authority.  Otherwise, what He has given us goes unappropriated, wasted and useless.  We are already standing in the highway, dodging everything that is coming our way, and asking God to redirect the traffic away from us.  He could do that, but we would not grow from the experience.  He has already given us the authority to stop what is coming at us.

All believers have the authority (delegated power) to oppose everything that oppresses them spiritually-fear, sickness, poverty, loneliness, anger, etc.  James 4:7 says- “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  It is not a matter of feeling powerful or authoritative.  We have been given more authority than we think we have.  My Dad did not feel or appear “big”, but he knew his authority.  A true leader must rise up in authority, and exercise it, remembering it is not about the leader’s power, but it is about the authority they have been given.  For the believer, there is no greater authority than that given by the Lord Jesus Christ.

NO PLACE TO LIGHT Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

Vultures are pesky creatures.  Our home sits at 1,800 feet elevation with a southern view of mountains behind, a valley below and a long-range mountain view to the east.  It seemed to be the perfect vantage point for vultures to perch and watch for prey.  Their favorite roost was our chimney cap on top of the house.  They would make rustling noises constantly and drop nasty fur balls on the back porch.  It was rather disgusting.  They are the ugliest birds ever created and that’s probably due to the road-kill diet they consume.  At our age it is quite disconcerting to see a row of vultures waiting on top of the house every time we returned home!  My husband and I began discussing how to get rid of the scoundrels while we were sweeping their fur balls off the porch one day.  I did some research on vultures and to my shock, I discovered they have a very special purpose.  Their bodies were created to clean up all the toxic waste from dying and decaying animals without being harmed themselves.  Because of their intrinsic value to our ecology, they are a protected species with heavy fines and jail time.

I continued to research to see if there was any way to prevent them from roosting on our home.  I found a company that attaches a row of 3-4” metal spikes to the top of roofs and chimneys which eliminates any comfortable perching spaces.  Within a couple of weeks our house was sending a message to our pesky vultures, “No place to light”!  It has been over a year now and we are still vulture free.  It feels good and right.  We have peace inside and out.

The devil is like the vulture.  Jesus defined the purpose of the Devil.  “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”  John 10:10.  Satan tries to steal our joy, faith, health, prosperity, well-being and peace.  His plan is to kill us and destroy our witness of Jesus, our destiny in Christ, and our purpose in the world and the church.  We must give him no place to light!

The devil perches himself, much like the vulture, in high (heavenly) places watching for those who are broken, weak and seemingly helpless.  The word of God encourages believers, “Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times.  That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone].”  1 Peter 5:8-9.  Peter gives us clues to victory in this scripture.  We are not helpless or hopeless although, our enemy is ruthless, cunning and a vigilant predator who seeks to destroy.

The animal world is well aware of the predator/prey syndrome.  The typical mode of operation of a predator is to find the weakest animal, one who is separated from the group, and attack it.  The predator will only attack a mature elephant, water buffalo or zebra if there is no other alternative, but they usually do so in groups.  Predators lie in wait trying to outsmart their prey by using the element of surprise.  They are cunning stalkers who calculate their every move.  Animals, fully aware of their prey status, are always on alert.  They have warning systems in their herd and the mature will surround the weak to protect them from being devoured.

 

One of the ways the devil is effective among believers is through his lies.  The devil is a liar and therefore uses lies as a way into our mind and heart.  If he can dispel a truth of God creating doubt as he did in Adam and Eve, he has a place to light.  From that perch, he can continue badgering the mind, will and resolve of the believer.  If there is no strong resistance, he can create a stronghold of unbelief.  Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for their unbelief and called them children of the devil.  “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks whatever is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.”  John 8:44.

Believers who do not truly know the word of God through continual Bible reading and study are easy pray for the devil.  He twists scriptures, and uses emotional pleas of reasoning which are contradictions of the truth.  The Word of God illuminated by the Holy Spirit teaches us the will and ways of God.  It demonstrates the Kingdom of God through the life of Christ intertwined in both the Old and New Testaments.  It teaches morality, the consecrated life, and the power of God working through miracles, signs and wonders.

The Lord God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden.  He then instructed him to cultivate it and have dominion over every living thing.  God showed him what he could eat and then instructed Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  “So the LORD God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly die [because of your disobedience].’”  According to scripture, God gave Adam His instructions before He created Eve.  We do not know from the Bible account if Eve received her instruction from the Lord or Adam, whom the Lord made the keeper of the garden.

We do know the serpent approached Eve with his cunning temptation and it appears that Adam was not with her at the time.  “Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the LORD God had made.  And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, ‘Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’  And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden.  God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’  But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You certainly will not die!’  ‘For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.’”

The lying serpent enticed Eve by making the fruit appealing to her.  Satan told her that the fruit supplied not only food to be enjoyed but it also contained wisdom only God possessed. He convinced her she would not die but she would become wise like God.  After she ate the fruit, Eve gave some to Adam and seeing she hadn’t died (immediately), he ate it also.  The Jewish tradition from their Talmud explains that Adam was not with Eve during the temptation of the serpent.  That explains why he did not contest the serpent’s statements.  The Lord held Adam responsible for the fall because Jesus is referred to the second Adam in Scripture.  “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned…For by the trespass of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam)…Romans 5:12-17.   “So it is written [in Scripture]; ‘The first MAN, Adam, became a living soul (an individual);’ the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit [restoring the dead to life].”  1 Corinthians 15:45.

I believe the Lord held Adam accountable because God had told him directly not to eat from the tree and had placed Adam with the full responsibility and authority to keep (guard) the garden and everything in it.  While Eve received second hand revelation from Adam, he received the revelation first-hand from the LORD God Himself, but Adam still ate the fruit.  Why does this make a difference to us?  Biblical truths must be experienced first-hand by the individual, otherwise they are simply someone else’s faith or “opinion”.  We cannot survive by standing on someone else’s beliefs.  We will be accountable for our own.  When true faith is born in us, we can stand against the attacks of the devil.  When the Word of God is revelation to our souls, we will not succumb to the lie or the manipulation of half-truths which make people deceived.   The Scriptures are clear that it is not the Truth that sets us free, it is the Knowledge of the Truth that sets us free (and keeps us free).  “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32.

The moral and ethical dilemmas facing us in the world today are continually challenging our Christian beliefs.  If our faith is not based on revelation we have received directly from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, we cannot stand for truth.  The result is obvious, we will compromise the Word of God and cower to the pressure of others.  If we do not truly KNOW God and His Word first hand, we will believe anything.

The Apostle Paul explains the Christian walk in Ephesians, Chapter 4.  He admonishes believers to allow God to transform their lives through total consecration and surrender to His will and purpose for us.  He lists many areas where our old sin nature must be changed to one of righteous and holy living which can only come by the Holy Spirit’s work in us.  Paul uses the Word of God as a tool to instruct us and reveal Biblical truth to us.  Paul also teaches by showing us how to deal with the attacks of the devil.  “And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked for the day of redemption…let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with every kind of malice…” Ephesians 4:27-32.  Every fleshly emotion that is unbridled by the Holy Spirit is a perch upon which the enemy can light.   Paul confirms that “the knowledge of the truth leads to godliness” in Titus 1:1.

Victors resist the attacks of the enemy, they stand firm in their faith in God, abide in His word and His presence becoming rooted, established in faith and unshakable.  They are well aware of the predator/prey syndrome and remain sober by being cautious, self-disciplined and well-balanced in their faith.  They know their God and the authority He has given them in heavenly places.  They are firmly rooted in a church family which surrounds them, strengthens and encourages them.  They are not loners but have become an active part of the body of believers who stand together to defend one another.

We who are believers have been brought out of darkness and placed in the light of Christ Jesus.  Living wholly and completely in Christ Jesus places a barrier between us and the enemy.  It is in that place we will not be moved and the devil has no place to light!

 

Dying for a Drink, Part 1 Larry W Peebles

Dying for a Drink, Part 1   by   Larry W. Peebles    June 2, 2017   17.20

There was no question the young couple was in trouble.  A group of men from our church were on a weekend hiking trip.  We ran across the couple near dark as we came back to our campsite.  We had set up our camp after hiking most of the afternoon, and replenished our water supply from a near-by stream.  We then finished our hike up to the summit of Blood Mountain in Georgia (elev. 4459’) to enjoy our evening meal and a spectacular view of the sunset.  The day had been warm, and the hike was uphill and strenuous, but the scenery from the summit and the cool evening breeze made it all worthwhile.  As the sun began to fade, we descended back to camp for the night.  That’s when we found the couple.

The man was dehydrated and confused, extremely weak and sick from lack of water.  He said the young lady with him was in worse condition.  They had managed to set up a tent in the camping area while we were away, but she was not able to come outside.  I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say they were dying for a drink.  The man said they knew they needed water, and they even knew they were close to a source of water, but they could not find the water in the dark.  The main trail would have led them to the water, but it first led them by the sign directing them to the campsite.  They came to the campsite expecting to find the water, but there was none to be found.  By then, night had set in all around them, and they could not find water even by going back to the main trail.  It was too late, they were sick and confused, and did not know where to look.

We had extra water, and quickly shared it with them to start the re-hydration process.  Then some of our men took the young hikers’ water bottles and jugs together with our water filtration equipment, and left by flashlight to walk back to the stream.  It was not long before we had completely replenished their supply.  With water and rest, along with some food, the couple was back on their feet by morning.

All of this reminded me of how critical water is to life.  Humans can go 7 to 10 days without food, but only 2 to 3 days without water.  About 60% of the adult human body is water, and for some vital organs the percentage is higher.  Without water, these organs begin to shut down.  It was very fortunate for these hikers that someone came along who had water and knew how to get more water for them to complete their journey.  As I thought about what had happened, the Lord showed me the spiritual lesson embodied within this real-life experience.

Jesus did not take the matter of thirst lightly.  In John, Chapter 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink.  She said “How can you ask me for a drink?”, as she was a Samaritan, and He was a Jew.  The spiritual lesson is revealed in His response in verses 10-13- “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that asks for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.  ‘Sir’, the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?’  Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”

In John 7: 37-39, Jesus explains further- “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

This says that when Jesus spoke of the living water, he was speaking of the Holy Spirit.  Up to that time, the Bible is clear that the Spirit came upon men for a time or a purpose, but would lift.  Jesus was speaking of a time when the Spirit would come and permanently live within men, to the point that man would be filled to overflowing with the indwelling presence of God.

Previously, when the Spirit of God came upon a man, we see incredible things happen, such as Elijah outrunning King Ahab’s horse-drawn chariot all the way back to Jezreel in 1Kings 18:46. When the Spirit of God came upon Jesus “like a dove” at His baptism in Luke 3:22, He received the Holy Spirit without measure or limitation.   After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension to Heaven, we see the Spirit manifest at Pentecost as wind and fire (Acts 2:2-4), but at that point those present were filled with the Spirit.  The Spirit then permanently occupied the temple of their hearts.  Their lives were incredibly changed forever.

The Spirit is not a dove.  It is not wind, fire, or super-human strength to out-run horses.  It has manifested as such, and Jesus said we might also expect it to manifest in believers as living water.  Once a person believes in Jesus and receives the Spirit, they can expect to receive living water in abundance.  The purpose, however, is not to receive the living water and keep it.  We are to become a conduit to distribute the living water.  Just as it is eternal life to the bearer, it is eternal life to those who will receive it.

We see the picture of how this is to work by comparing two men’s visions of this living water from Scripture—Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1-12), and John (Revelation 22: 1-2, 17).

  1. Living water comes from the Temple of God- Ezekiel 47:1-2     Rev. 22:1
  2. Living water forms a river-                                 Ezekiel 47:3-6     Rev. 22:1
  3. Trees are on each side of the river-                   Ezekiel 47:7         Rev. 22:2
  4. Where the water flows, things live-                   Ezekiel 47:9         Rev. 22:17
  5. These are fruit trees-                                             Ezekiel 47:12       Rev. 22:2
  6. Trees bear fruit year round-                                Ezekiel 47:12       Rev. 22:2
  7. Leaves of the trees are for healing-                    Ezekiel 47:12       Rev. 22:2

These two visions, some 680 years apart, are remarkably similar and are convincing that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically of this living water.   The living water is supernatural (outside the realm of the natural senses), but it is none-the-less real.  Additionally consider, as Psalm 1:3 says, we can be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”  If we can be trees planted by streams of living water, then we can draw on this water and our hands (leaves) can be for life and healing, as Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18-“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

This supernatural living water brings life and healing to those who receive it.  It is for that reason, once the believer receives the living water of the Holy Spirit, they immediately become part of the distribution system to get it out to others.  They immediately want to tell others about Jesus, for it is by faith in Him one receives the living water along with all the other benefits of salvation.

The young couple on the hiking trip knew they needed water.  They knew they would die without it.  They had waited dangerously late to look for it.  Fortunately, someone who knew of the water led them to it, and even carried light into the darkness to help them secure it.  This is the story and the purpose of spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

We live in a dark time, full of dry and thirsty people.  Many are looking for something that will carry them through life, and into eternal life, but do not know where to look or how to find it.  Jesus is the answer.  When He comes, He brings forgiveness, salvation, and hope.  He also brings the Holy Spirit, the living water, to live in our hearts.  Our job is to then pass it on to others who are thirsty.

More on the incredible purpose and power of this living water will follow in    Part 2.