Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 22, 2016

Holy Door Mats

Christians should be doormats. Contrary to popular opinion, the abundant life is lived by washing feet. This is the example Jesus Christ himself gave to his disciples. He who approaches God’s throne of grace must do so with a humble and a contrite heart. A door mat is a mat that people use to wipe the bottom of their shoes to clean them off. Jesus Christ has washed us and cleansed us from all unrighteousness for He who knew no sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Before salvation, we were clothed in the filthy rags of our carnal nature and lived in the muck and mire of this world. We were dead in trespasses and sin. According to 1 Corinthians 6:11, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. We are now clothed in his righteous robes of our new spiritual nature of life in Christ.

Jesus said, don’t resist the evil person…if someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek… A slap on the cheek is a sign of humiliation and shame. When we walk in love our “shame is undone.” To turn the other cheek is to approach God with a humble and a contrite heart. Only then can we pray as Jesus did, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” As Paul said, “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of the cross, for it is unto those who are saved the sweet fragrance of life unto life. Therefore, love your enemies, pray for them that persecute you and despitefully use you. Pray that God will bless them. This is not a “sacrifice.” This is a joy and a privilege to love with the love of God with a heart of humility.

We’re in a battle that we need to win. What is winning according to God’s economy? Love Wins. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself. The winning is against our human nature’s selfish desire to be the center of our own universe. Winning is obedience to the first and great commandment, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. The battle belongs to the Lord, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness from above.

Anyone without the Holy Spirit cannot understand the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. The nature of love is the nature of the spirit of God in Christ in me. Jesus said to Peter, “do you really love me?” Obedience to the Word of God is easy if done with the love of God as the motive behind the action. Those who love the Lord, “live to do the master’s will.” A bond slave whose motivation is love says, “my wish is thy command.” However, if we approach God with a heart of vengeance and retribution in order to exact our “just rewards” from those who have wronged us, then we’re not approaching the true God, we’re approaching the God of this world who has blinded the eyes of those who have been deceived. The world teaches that winning is to “get even” with those who have treated us unjustly. However, according to Romans 12:19, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. If we seek vengeance, we are usurping God’s authority for he alone is the righteous judge.

To focus on the Love of God, we must set aside our selfish self. We must relinquish our attitude that says “I’ve been wronged.” God said that “my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” In order to enter into the presence of our Lord, we must see according to his heavenly perspective. Jesus reminded us that in this world, we will be treated unfairly. The freedom is in setting the captives free, only to find that the prisoner was me. Jesus said, “bless them who persecute you and despitefully use you, for great is your reward in heaven.

If you don’t hate your selfish life, Jesus said, you can’t be my disciple. The unforgiving heart does not know the heart of God who forgave us all our iniquities. Jesus said that anyone who gave up their homes and families to serve me will receive a hundred times what they left in order to follow me. Therefore Paul said, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The reward is now and in eternity. The commitment to which Jesus has called us is to follow him…to die unto self to find the joy in forsaking all to follow him alone. The answer to God’s call is not to say “I will,” but to answer by following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, If you continue in my Word, Then shall you be my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 15, 2016

Love Wins: Overcome Evil with Good

Love wins. According to 2 Corinthians 2:14, Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

The spiritual warfare is raging around us like never before. Although there have always been wars and rumors of wars and cultures that rise and fall, we’re living unprecedented times. The events unfolding in the world today have never happened before. The Culture and the world that we’ve known is disintegrating before our eyes. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and dominion, against spiritual wickedness from on high. When a nation turns its back on God and his Word, the Evil One will have his way. Like Israel who said we don’t want God as our sovereign Lord, we want an earthly King, the United States has been deceived by the devil, the “God of this world.” According to 2 Corinthians 4:4, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. The Devil is the Evil One, the “prince of the power of the air” the power that is now at work in the children of disobedience.

However, blessed is the nation whose God the Lord is. According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The devil has no new strategy. He is the deceiver, a liar and the father of lies. His purpose is to steal, to kill and to destroy. There is nothing new under the sun. There are many manifestations of the evil one in the spiritual warfare in this world. When the culture of “moral relativism” calls evil good and good evil, the culture will crumble before our eyes. However, what men meant for evil God meant for good. God uses the brokenness of individuals and of nations in order to bring the nation to its knees. We must be broken before we can repent and turn from our evil ways unto the Lord. The devil’s duty is to tear down. However, God’s purpose is to build up. God’s purpose is to “pick up the threads of broken hearts and weave them together again.” He is a God of reconciliation…to build up, to edify and to comfort those in need of renovation and reconstruction.

You’re most like those with whom you spend most of your time. With whom do you associate at work, in church, in your community? Who are your three and who are your twelve? We need to surround ourselves with men of God who make faith based and not fear based decisions. Our pursuit is to “choke in the dust” of those who are chasing after our Lord Jesus Christ.

Love wins. According to Romans 12: 9-21, Have faith in God to love others as God has called us to love one another. Love is the basis of winning the spiritual battle, for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Love activates the power of the Holy Spirit by believing action according to the Word of truth. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself. Love activates sharing, faithfulness, and generosity. Therefore let your love be genuine (without dissimulation.) Love one another with genuine affection. Detest that which is evil and cleave unto that which is good. Think of others as more important than yourself. Make sure the other person gets the advantage. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly kindness in love preferring one another. Work hard and serve the Lord with enthusiasm and eagerness. Be eager to offer hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Bless and curse not. As much as in you is, live peaceably with all men. Do good unto all men. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. Love genuinely, live peaceably, and love unconditionally. Leave room for God’s righteous justice. To seek vengeance is to usurp God’s authority. Love wins. Therefore be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

According to Oswald Chambers, Matt 5:39-48 says that when you are mistreated and someone slaps you, turn the other cheek. These verses reveal the humiliation of being a Christian…to obey him in everything he taught. Retaliation from a heart of vengeance and retribution is the natural response of the sinful nature we inherited from Adam. However, turning the other cheek this is the response of Christ in you. When you are insulted, make it an occasion to manifest the love of God. When you’ve been cheated, count it all joy because this is the disposition of Christ himself. You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus…either you have it or you don’t. To commit yourself to be God’s ambassador, put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ…clothed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. Therefore, bless them that persecute you and despite-fully use you, bless and curse not, for great is your reward in heaven. Others are not your enemy. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from above. Humiliation is an opportunity and an occasion to show the love of God in manifestation. To insist on my “human rights” is to insult the Son of God. However, turning the other cheek proves that humility is the response of Christ in me. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…for it is the power of God unto salvation. To those who are born again, it is the sweet spelling savor of life unto life. Fighting the fire of evil with evil fire in return is not the solution. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Fight evil hatred with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 8, 2016

Keeping Perspective

What keeps a man steady through the upheaval of the world? Though the mountains may quake, the storms rage, and the floods devastate, the challenge that we have is to keep everything in proper perspective. Our perspective is our point of view. According to Ephesians, God has seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We must view the world from the viewpoint of our heavenly perspective. We must learn to respond in the same way that Jesus would respond. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of this world where men call evil good and good evil, what would Jesus think, say, and do? The sons of Issachar understood their times and knew what Israel had to do. We likewise must keep our perspective from the word of God. Our opportunity is to set our affection on things above and not on the things of this world and to create an environment where men can enter into the presence of our loving Heavenly Father

How did we get to the point that America no longer identifies itself as a “Christian nation?” Like the frog in the pot on the stove, the heat was gradually being turned up and we didn’t notice it. The kettle is now on full boil and the popular culture is unaware that our world has been turned upside down. When the nation forsakes God, he removes his hand of blessing from the land. God woks in gradual events and also cataclysmic events. Either we will approach God on our knees voluntarily or he will bring us to our knees through trials and tribulations.

The “solution to the pollution” of this world is the Love of God. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself. First Corinthians chapter 13 contains thirteen powerful verses about charity, the love of God. As the Apostle Paul matured in the faith, he also matured in the love of God. Saul, before his name was changed to Paul started out as a Pharisee persecuting the Christians. In a life-changing encounter, he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” God turned Saul’s heart in a different direction to channel his passion from persecuting the Church into his passion for building the Church. Jesus Christ is the perspective-changer. To repent means to do an about-face…to turn from the world and to turn our eyes upon Jesus the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus, the “hound of heaven,” is in hot pursuit of those whom God has chosen from before the foundations of the world to be holy and without blame before him in love.

God is in the business of changing men’s hearts. For when we were born again we were made a new creation in Christ. All things have become new. For he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Isaiah 41:10 says that God will hold us up with his righteous right hand. He has called us as winners in the midst of the spiritual battle. To understand sin and the fallen nature of man is to understand the state of the world around us. We’re not fighting against the people of this world. They can’t help it, it’s the nature they inherited from Adam. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, but we must know him, love him and walk with him in humility and loving obedience.

First Corinthians 13 about the Love of God says that we accept others the way they are. This means that when God shows us sin in another person’s life, it’s so that we’ll know how to pray for them. They are not our enemy. However, they may be in the clutches of the enemy. They’re taken captive by the enemy at his will. Jesus came so that we could be set free and that we could set others free through the power of salvation. One theme of First Corinthians is that it’s not about me…it’s about loving God above all and serving others on his behalf. The love of God loves unconditionally regardless of the other person’s response. Tough love is living First Corinthians thirteen…to love the unlovable…to give up the rights to myself in order to serve God by serving others the bread of life. The love of God thinks no evil…it keeps no record of wrongs done. The secret to living life more abundantly is to love others with the same love wherewith our Father loves us.

Love brings us to the point that we acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own. To love unconditionally is to tap into the power of God in Christ in us. Therefore, as it says in Isaiah 41:10, Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Loving and forgiveness go hand in hand. To love with the love of God is to love the unlovable. To forgive is to forgive the unforgivable. Prior to our encounter with Jesus Christ, we were unlovable and unforgivable. Our exhortation is “be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The devil’s job is to “rock your world.” However, though the storms of life may rage and the mountains may shake, we will not be shaken for our lives are founded on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ himself. No one can solve the problems of this world. For every problem there is a spiritual cause…for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. Love conquers all. The solution to the pollution of this world is the righteousness of God according to the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation… He loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ

Thoughts from Ryan Van Deusen’s Message July 1, 2016

The Heart of the Matter

On Independence Day American Christians must be careful not to embrace the popular culture who seeks to declare independence from almighty God… The culture says that Americans are sufficient in their own power…that they are dependent on no one but themselves. As Christians, we should celebrate each day as “dependence day” for we are not sufficient of ourselves…Our sufficiency is only in Him.

We have been set free from the Old Testament law of sin and death when we walk according to the spirit of life in Christ. This freedom is characterized by loving God above all and loving our neighbor as ourselves. To understand the heart of God, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength. The Old Testament says that God has wanted all of our heart ever since the giving of the Mosaic law. Jesus said, “if ye love me keep my commandments.” Therefore, may the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto thee O Lord my strength and my redeemer.

Today our nation is at risk. The war is not in the Middle East. How close are the terrorists? The root of the physical warfare is the spiritual warfare. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. The adversary convinces the culture that it’s the presence of Christians that causes “people feel uncomfortable.” How do we affect what really matters in this nation? The conscience of the nation is borne by those who uphold the truth of the Word of God. When a man of God speaks, the duty of the Holy Spirit is to “comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.”

According to Jeremiah 17:8 the heart of man is deceitfully wicked. The context of this verse says, “cursed is the man who puts his trust in man and makes the flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Satan has two lies. The first thing he’ll say is “you can do it on your own.” Then he says, “doubt that God can deliver… just trust in others to deliver you.” This brings about the curse of the man who trusts in man and not in God.

Jesus told the church of Laodecea, “you’re rich and you think you have need of nothing.” They had enshrined their “Declaration of Independence” from Almighty God. This is the curse of many churches in America today. They think that they are prosperous and blessed in the physical realm because of their own good works and their own priority to accumulate physical “blessings.” However, the warning of God is “take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he posesseth.” To walk in fellowship with God, we must keep a “light touch” on the things of this earth. To live the abundant life we must seek the Blessor and not the blessings. Therefore, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and blessed are those who wait upon the Lord. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but looses his soul.

The nature of God is loving kindness and tender mercy. His nature is to bless those who call upon the name of the Lord. How can we walk in love and show the mercy of God? An act of love expects nothing in return. The word of God says, “in everything give thanks.” We can even be thankful in the midst of trials and tribulations. In these times of trial we can rejoice despite suffering when we set our affections on things above. God will change our mind and our mindset when we focus on him and not on ourselves. For tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.

According to Corinthians, know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit? American Christians are afraid that they will loose their “dignity.” However, sometimes God calls us to dance unashamedly and unabashedly. Our heart will be set free when our “shame is undone.” For I am not ashamed of the gospel of the cross of Christ. For it is unto those who are saved the sweet smelling fragrance of life unto life.

What is the heart of the matter? The first and great commandment is to Love the lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and and strength. It’s not about behavior modification. It’s about heart modification. As David said, create within me a new heart O Lord. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,