Peaches and Sour Cream

                               By Phil Scovell

          A close friend of mine recently told me about his peach tree.  He
     has only lived in this house for a couple of years.  His wife left him
     several  months  ago after  divorcing him.    No, she  claims to  be a
     Christian.  He  bought the house, although  he couldn't afford it,  to
     try and save  his marriage.  If  you are thinking, that's  like having
     children to  save, or  otherwise improve your  marriage, you  would be
     right.  It doesn't work, of course, but I digress.

          His peach  tree, for the first  time, had a single  peach hanging
     from one of its branches.   For some reason, someone planted the  tree
     in  the front  yard.   He has  never  seen peaches  on it  before this
     season.  No,  he does  nothing about  pruning or anything  else so,  I
     suppose, you can't expect much more than one peach every few years.

          Every day he  came home, he  checked the  peach and watched  it's
     progress of  growth and ripening.   His moth watered  as his sensitive
     nose picked  up the scent of the low  hanging fruit.  He couldn't wait
     until  it  was  perfectly ripe  so  he  could enjoy  its  flavor.   He
     continually watched it  daily with great anticipation,  therefore, and
     desire in his heart.

          Finally the peach  was ready to be harvested,  at least according
     to how it looked, and as he climbed  from his work truck and walked to
     the  tree that day, he  saw that the peach had  fallen from the branch
     and  lay  on  the ground,  half  squashed  and rotting.    I  had just
     purchased a box  of 18  pounds of  tree ripened  peaches from  western
     Colorado where the peaches  are so sweet and juicy, you  could stick a
     straw into  one and suck the peach dry.  I gave him one to replace the
     one he had lost.  I tried suggesting he take my peach home and tape it
     to the low branch and watch it for a couple of days to make up for his
     loss but he preferred to eat the peach without taking a chance.

          Have you ever felt that way spiritually?  You've lived  your life
     dedicated  to God in hopes  of harvesting a  blessing, just one little
     meaningful  blessing, due  to your  faithfulness to  God and  then the
     worst happens, at least  it sure feels that way.   To top it all  off,
     somebody  tosses in some sour cream on top of your singular peach of a
     blessing.   Your child dies,  your best friend  forsakes you,  you get
     cancer,  your favorite pet has to be put  to sleep, you lose your job,
     your son or  daughter runs away, your baby dies at birth, your mate of
     25 years divorces you, you become entangled in an affair, your 16 year
     old daughter  becomes pregnant, a sister  refuses to speak to  you any
     longer, you are permanently disabled due to a  car crash, prayers fail
     to be answered,  both your parents  die, money runs short,  bills pile
     up, your church  turns against  you, a  letter of audit  from the  IRS
     arrives  in the  mail, you  lose a  credit card, your  automobile gets
     stolen, the  church you pastor has to fold, or,  the worst of all, you
     suddenly realize you are growing old.  Yes, I left out dozens of other
     possibilities.  Now  there is no hope  of the single peach  ever being
     enjoyed and  all you wanted is  just one good  peach of a  blessing in
     your life time.

          This is  a common trick  of the Enemy.   He wants us  to think we
     only get one  good thing from God,  normally it is our  salvation, and
     from  then on, God's arm  of blessing falls  short.  This  is real, of
     course, because God really doesn't love you all that much in the first
     place.  Oh, sure, God loved you enough to barely save you but He isn't
     interested in the  rest of your life and that's why He doesn't provide
     for you in other ways.  In fact, your lack of received and experienced
     blessings is very  likely due to never  being born again in  the first
     place.  You are that  lone peach that fell from  the branch.  You  are
     separated  from God now  and lay rotting  and your life  is turning to
     mush.  Can you see the progression of deceitfulness the Enemy employs?

          In  Ephesians chapter 6, we are told to put on the whole armor of
     God.  One of  the most interesting aspects of this  passage is related
     to the command to "stand."  What a weird way to do battle.  Stay fixed
     and rooted to  one place?  Nothing like being a target.  Don't charge,
     don't take ground, don't move forward, and  don't engage in battle?  I
     have never heard of such  a battle plan but there it is,  big as life,
     "stand" where you are and don't move.

          Furthermore, we  are told  to wear  all the  battle garb but  the
     armor isn't apparently for doing battle.  If we are commanded to stand
     still,  it  is obvious  to me  that  the armor  is warn  for defensive
     purposes rather than offensive.  This is especially true when it comes
     to taking the shield of faith.

          The Apostle Paul  says, "Above all, taking the  shield of faith."
     Really?   Why would that be?  Faith,  your faith, is not an offensive,
     or attack,  weapon.  In  fact, the shield  is no  weapon at all.   The
     Sword of the  Spirit is even  a defensive weapon.   Paul says, if  you
     don't  have anything else,  you do have  the shield of  faith and with
     that shield, you can  defend yourself from "all,"  not just some,  but
     all the fiery darts that come  from Satan.  Think of it this  way.  In
     battle, you most certainly don't stand still, fixed and rooted, in one
     place.  If you do, you are  a dead duck.  Furthermore, you don't throw
     your shield at the enemy.  If  you do, you end up with no  protection.
     Likewise, you  don't bang the Enemy over the  head with your shield of
     faith.  Yet,  according to  Scripture, all  we are required  to do  is
     stand; with the shield of faith and it does all the work of protecting

          I know I am repeating myself  but again, we must view the  shield
     as defensive and not offensive.  The shield isn't made for  attack but
     for defense.  Yes,  I realize this goes against  the grain of all  the
     faith teaching we have heard, at  least it does for me, but  sometimes
     things have been taught incorrectly and we have to unlearn some things
     before we experience freedom in Christ.  The reason for this aspect of
     defensive faith is related to the knowledge that Jesus has already won
     the battle.   Yet you may ask, "Then  why am I getting so  beat up all
     the time?"  Could one of the answers be that you keep  moving?   Could
     one of the  answers possibly be that you haven't learned the battle is
     won so staying fixed in one place is all you need to do?   Could it be
     that you have your faith screwed on backwards and you've been throwing
     your shield of faith rather than just standing behind it?

          A shift in circumstances is a great battle tactic the  Enemy uses
     to  try  and  get  us  to  spiritually  flinch.    Doubts,  fear,  old
     resurrected guilt, shame, grief, personal  condemnation, anger, pride,
     bruised   emotions,   self   judgment,   intimidation,   manipulation,
     domination, sin, sorrow, sadness, relational conflict,  deceitfulness,
     control, unforgiveness, depression,  discouragement, and rejection are
     all but a few of the devices the Enemy uses to change  how we feel and
     think.  If he  can do that, change our feelings  or shift our thinking
     off center, he can deceive us royally.  Imbalance is his game.

          The question  is, "Where  do we  stand?"   If the  battle is  the
     Lord's as  the Scriptures  proclaim,  where ever  we are  is where  we
     stand.  If you  will stand right where you are at  any given moment of
     life, you will find that is the same place Jesus is standing, too.  As
     you  stand in that place,  look and see  what Jesus is  holding in His
     hand.   I bet  it  will be  a peach.    Do you  suppose that  was  the
     forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate?  Just thinking out loud.

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