Thoughts on Pete’s Message June 26, 2015

You have not because you ask not

In Mark 10 Jesus’ disciples rebuked those who brought their children to Jesus so that he could touch them. Jesus said to his disciples, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of heaven. Unless you become like one of these children, you can’t enter into the kingdom of God.” Many adults have become disillusioned, disheartened, and hardened by the mistreatment of this fallen world’s “harsh realities.” They have lost the godly characteristics wrapped up in childhood innocence: a need to hug and be hugged… to touch and connect physically and emotionally, an inquisitiveness about life and things that really matter, a shameless and unfiltered bold audacity to ask “politically incorrect” questions, a meekness of heart to learn from others, and an implicit trust of others.

In order to receive God’s promises, we must ask. Ye have not because ye ask not. When we ask God for answers, we must ask with the right heart and for the right reasons. According to James 4:3, “”Ye ask and receive not, because when you ask, you ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Lust is anything that we desire over our desire to walk humbly with God. Mark chapter 10 is about two groups of people, two individuals, and the questions that they asked Jesus. Three of the four asked amiss with the wrong motive so that they could consume God’s promises according to their own lustful hearts. Only one individual, blind Bartimeaus asked with the right heart.

As Jesus entered into Jericho with the crowds following, blind Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus. He had heard of Jesus. Bartimaeus was a desperate man and he threw away all dignity as he cried, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus had been taught by his culture that he was blind because of his sin. Even though Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, he asked Bartimaeus, “what do you want me to do for you?” Jesus needed Bartimaeus to confess his need for help. In order to receive God’s grace, we must acknowledge our need. Bartemaeus said with childlike boldness, “Lord, that I may receive sight.” In this request, he confessed Jesus as Lord and master. To be convinced that you’re following the right master, first you need to know if the master can really help you. The second thing you need to know is if he really cares about you. The last question you need to ask yourself is, “can I trust my Lord and master?” These three questions illustrate the stages of discipleship starting with need and ending in gratitude. Bartimaeus heard of the miracles that Jesus did and understood that Jesus could heal the sick and restore health. Bartimaeus also understood that Jesus cared when he stopped and called him by name out of the midst of the crowd to minister to him individually. Trust doesn’t mean that you understand completely, rather it means that you are willing to act on his words. Jesus commanded him, “go thy way, thy faith has made thee whole.” Bartimeaus’ response demonstrated that he was a true disciple… one who is disciplined to follow his master’s footsteps… one whose heart’s desire is to “eat his master’s dust.” For he forsook his robe, his precious earthly possession, immediately received his sight and followed Jesus: the way, the truth and the life.

Healing may or may not be accomplished in this life. Does this mean that there is no faith? Jesus said, “set your affection on things above and not on things of the earth.” Even though deliverance may not be manifest in this present world, it will be realized in eternity. Death is not to be feared because our life is hid with Christ in God. Health and wellness may not be in this life. However, eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them who love him. Our life is not dependent on what we know, but rather who we know.

Do we really want to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? Only desperate men are audacious enough to cry out to God throwing caution to the wind. Jesus said, “Ye have not because you ask not.” Answers in this life depend on the questions that we ask our master. Meaningful questions provide meaningful answers. In the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, are we desperate enough to cry out to God for deliverance, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me?

Jesus said, “ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Jesus said that if earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will God give to those who ask him. In the midst of the confusion and the questions of this sinful fallen world, the answers are found in faith through Jesus Christ. Meaningful questions lead to meaningful answers… meaning in this life is only through him, for he is the way, the truth, and the life… in him we live and move and have our being.

May God richly bless you.

Your Brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message June 19, 2015

Amazing Grace

According to Romans 5:20 Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more. Our worthiness is only in Christ. In our flesh we are helpless and hopeless, but in him we are made worthy by the payment he made on our behalf. Our worthiness is not in our accomplishments but only by his grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”

Spurgeon wrote in “All of Grace” that every good thing we have is only by God’s grace. God who did not with hold his only begotten son has given us life through his grace. A man of God is a man of grace and truth. Grace is unmerited divine assistance for regeneration and sanctification. All men having a fallen sinful nature, need God’s assistance for salvation. Regeneration is the new birth. It is salvation through the faith of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is to be set apart for the purpose for which the Designer designed us: that we may be holy and without blame before him in love. Grace is the good done to those who didn’t deserve it by the one who wasn’t obligated to give it. In the flesh without God, there is none good, no not one. We cannot of ourselves perfect the flesh. Our worthiness is not according to the deeds of the flesh. Rather, our worthiness is by grace alone through faith alone.

Only the love of God through the truth of the Word of God offers grace. None of the other religions of the world are based on grace. Only the Truth of God through Jesus Christ offers grace unconditionally because of the great love whereby he loved us. Grace, though illogical according to the flesh, is unmerited divine favor. In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Grace, therefore, is a foreign concept to the unsaved mind. Grace can be understood and received only by living in proximity to Jesus Christ through the Word of God. Spending time in his presence is the only way to understand grace. The world is not impressed by lavish buildings and great oratory. The world is only impressed by God’s amazing grace. However, those who do not believe think that men of God have ulterior motives, that they take advantage of others. They want the blessings but will not and cannot acknowledge the Blessor.

Grace is unconditional. It is not according to our deserving it. Jesus washed the feet of all twelve disciples including Judas, the one who would betray him. Jesus offered grace, not because they were deserving, but because they were undeserving and in need.

The story of Les Miserables is the story of grace. Jean Valjean had suffered miserably in this life, having been wrongly accused and condemned. In his rage and affliction, he stole precious candelabras from the church. When confronted by the Priest, the priest said, “but you forgot these other two candelabras.” He was saved by grace illustrated by the priest’s gracious gift. Having received grace Jean Valjean was now free to give grace.

Grace demands nothing in return. Grace is the pure act of giving according to the love wherewith he loved us. The worth that we find through Jesus Christ is only by his grace.

At a eulogy for a poor woman, many were astonished that hundreds attended her funeral. Her son stood up and said, “My mother taught me that it’s better to be loving than to be right. She was a good steward of the grace of God.” People are attracted by grace. Grace says, “”Father forgive them, for they know not what they’re doing.” If you’re going to err, then err on the side of grace rather than judgement. The story of the prodigal son is the story of the gracious and forgiving father. He did not recompense evil for evil. Rather, he said, “Let us eat and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Gracious acts look foolish in the eyes of the world. However, we who were unworthy were made worthy by his grace. He who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf, that we who were dead in trespasses and sins may be made the righteousness of God in him. The grace of God triumphs over judgement when we accept his grace alone by faith alone unto salvation through his son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts on Pete’s Message June 12, 2015


Revelation 5: 11- 12: And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousand of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Worthiness: most Christian men think they’re unworthy. When you call a man a “man of God” most men will look away because they don’t feel worthy. Men struggle to find a clear conscious, to validate their progress in this journey of life. The perfection that we have in Christ is a spiritual perfection, perfected by the righteous payment of Jesus Christ on our behalf. However, our culture validates us not by who we are and whose we are, but by our works and our accomplishments. The concept of the self made man is an “American ideal.” In contrast, God knows that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. We are all broken, struggling with sin. We all miss the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. In order to be reconciled back to God, we must be broken of our pride. Pride lifts up self to validate itself. Pride is the essence of sin. Jesus Christ came to set pride in stark contrast to humility before almighty God. When Lazarus died, God gave Jesus an opportunity to teach his disciples an important lesson about humility… to allow God to work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure… to show his power in our weakness.

When we face life’s desperate situations, God says, “if the outcome is not what you desire, will you still love and worship me?” Until we make peace with the reality that not my will, but thine be done, we cannot receive reconciliation unto fellowship and communion with him. God’s not here to serve me, rather, we’re here to serve him.

When Jesus announced that he came to Lazarus’ house to work God’s will, Lazarus’ sister said, “he’s been dead four days and he stinketh.” When we speak about Christ and him crucified, it is onto those who perish the stench of death unto death, but unto those that believe, it is the sweet smelling fragrance of life unto life. In order to walk by faith and not by sight, we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Humility allows God to work his will in our lives. Jesus came to make us free. He came to allow us to be free in Christ, to act not through the motive of guilt and shame, but to live shamelessly in service for our Lord.

Men often feel that they don’t live up to their parents’ expectations. They feel unworthy as they look at the accomplishments of others whom they view as successful. The root cause of these deep seated feelings of inadequacy is the adversary’s accusations that we don’t measure up. The point of repentance is when we realize that God loves us despite our failures in the flesh. We have been made righteous in God’s sight through the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Worthiness is not based on our performance, but rather in the spirit we received when we were redeemed through his redemptive work… For I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me. Therefore, we have been made worthy by grace alone through faith alone. Like Lazareth, we who were dead have been made alive through the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unworthy was I of I the grace that he gave, Unworthy to hold to his hand,
But he made me worthy, and now by his grace his mercy has made me his own.

Therefore, how shall we who were dead in trespasses and sins continue therein? We have been set free froom the bondage of sin. We have been made worthy by him who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ made us worthy… he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

May God richly bless you.
Your Brother in Christ,

Thoughts on Gary’s Message June 5, 2015

How Firm a Foundation

Life is a series of choices, many of which are contrary to the truth. God will give us signs along the way of life that he’s foreordained that we should walk. What distinguishes us from one another is the choices that we make along the road of life.

Jesus made three distinct points in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7:

1. Enter the road of life through the narrow gate… Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many go in that way. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The major religions of the world say that there are many roads leading to the same destination. However Jesus said that there are only two roads: one leading to life and the other to destruction. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life… no man cometh to the father but by me.” Only those who come through Jesus Christ are the ones who enter into the road of life. The world will say that Jesus’ illustration of the straight gate to the narrow road teaches intolerance. The world’s definition of tolerance means to be tolerant of every doctrine except the doctrine of Jesus Christ which is the truth of the Word of God. The word “civilization” means to be civil toward those who are different from you. Christians are called to be civil to those in the world. However, Jesus did not call his disciples to be dishonoring to the truth by tolerating doctrines that are contrary to the truth. For instance, Hinduism teaches the doctrine of reincarnation but the truth of the Word of God says that there is no such thing as reincarnation. The Bible says clearly that it is appointed for all men once to die and then comes the judgement.

2. Preparation is important: We are all building a house in preparation against the storms of life. A wise man, preparing for the future, builds his house on a rock. The foolish man, not preparing for the storms ahead, builds his house on the sand. The storm rages against both houses. The Storms of life will ravage both those who are prepared and those who are not. Which house stands and which one fails depends on the preparation. Jesus said, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. However some troubles are not fixable in the day of trouble. We must be prepared in advance. We must have already put on the full armor of God to withstand the schemes of the devil in this the evil day. Then when this life is over, and having done all, to stand righteous before him in the day of judgement.

3. Foundations are important: the ultimate foundation will reveal whether the house will stand against the storm of the final judgement. What is the foundation of your life? God does not judge by the world’s standards: strength, riches, and intelligence. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.. Though unseen in this life, In the day of judgement everyone’s foundation will be exposed. The ultimate question is: am I building my house upon the rock or upon the sand? The rock is Jesus Christ while the sand is the wisdom of this world. The man who builds his house on the sand is foolish according to the Word. When you ask a foolish man a “why” question about a wrong choice, the answer is always, “I don’t know.” No one plans to lead a life of mediocrity and failure. Sin is both wrong and foolish. Jesus approached foolish builders to teach them how to build a house upon the foundation of the rock.

Jesus’ simple teachings relating to life, taught his followers to know the joy of building upon a firm foundation. Living life founded upon the rock of truth results in love, joy, grace, mercy, wisdom, and peace… These qualities are obtained only through the narrow gate, Jesus Christ the foundation of our life. The firm foundation of life is the rock, Jesus Christ himself. A life of choices bound by wisdom to follow in his footsteps allows God to work with us and within us to will and to do of his good pleasure. For we are His workmanship, his poem, his magnum opus, his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Our father has prepared the narrow path through the straight gate, his son Jesus Christ. This is the path of righteousness he foreordained for our walk with him as his disciplined followers through this journey of life.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,