Author Archives: Pete

About Pete

I love the Lord. Each day, he gives me words of praise and encouragement, and asks me to share them with you I pray that they minister to you as you read them, share them, or ponder on them. Have a blessed day!

By Faith, Looking to Jesus

Note: I have not accomplished my goal of doing a blog every day, so I will take this last day of 2022 to finish Hebrews in One post.  Chapters 11-13 are rich with familiar scripture and passages., so I will take those that are familiar and give exhortation.  I pray this post, the last of the Hebrew series, is a blessing to you

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen

How powerful is my faith?  Is it really more powerful than the reality this world seems to give us?  I believe it is!  There are so many great verses on faith in the Bible that we must take this thing called faith very seriously.  Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Matthew 21:22, Romans 10:17, Luke 1:37, Isaiah 40:31, Jeremiah 3329:11 all are verses that can boost our faith and they all teach us that God is with us, by faith.  It is one of the most significant traits we can have as Christians.  Faith can help us endure any battle we are facing.

When I was facing cancer, Proverbs 3:5-6 kept me through the whole trial.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”  I could choose to either trust God that He would see me through this battle, or I could wallow on dismay.  I chose to trust Him.  “Lean not to your own understanding.” I did not even attempt to understand why God would allow this into my life – I simply trusted it was for a reason, and it would be for my good. “In all your ways acknowledge Him.”  So I acknowledged that God had a plan in the middle of this trial and knew He would work that plan to my benefit.  “and he will direct your path.” He did direct me in so many ways.  This blog became more intense, I heard Him daily in the words of my poetry, a book was written, a testimony for the glory of God was brought forth, and all things came out wonderful!  What a mighty God we serve.  If you would like to view this testimony, click HERE.

Faith is the cornerstone of our salvation.  Deliverance, healing, guidance, peace, joy, hope, answers to prayer – they are all the products of faith.  If we pray without faith, what good is our prayer?  Everyone has the same amount of faith!  Romans 12:3 says we are all given “the measure of faith,” not a measure of faith.  Here I one measure of faith for all.   The difference between a Christian and any other person (even the atheist) is where we place that measure of faith. The Muslim places it in Mohammed, the Buddhist in Buddha, the Mormon in Joseph Smith and so on.  Even the atheist places their faith somewhere, whether it is in climatology, or astronomy, or astrology, or science.  Everyone ha that measure of faith that God gives.  Where does your faith lie? Our goal is to have our faith 100% in Him and His word.  And that faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Hebrews 11:6  Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.

Don’t you just love the fact that God will reward us just for believing in Him and seeking Him?  Nothing more than that.  What are the rewards he is talking about.  In Psalm 103 you can find a list of benefits. He forgives our sins, He heals all my diseases, He redeems our lives, He crowns me with loving-kindness (grace) and mercy, He satisfies my mouth with good things, He executes righteousness and judgment in our favor.  Diligently seeking God has a better benefit package than any employer I know!  Add to this the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cpr 12:8-10), and you have life that is truly blessed!  Without that faith, none of these things will be yours.

Hebrews 12:1-2 has so much to say to us that I wish I had 10 posts to extrapolate it all.  But I do not and I must be brief.  So, I will paraphrase the verse in my own guided words. The bible is full of testimonies about people who trusted God and were victorious in their lives. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Ezra, David, Hezekiah; the list goes on and on.  But the greatest witness to our lives is Jesus.  We must lay aside everything that hinders us from following and seeking Him, and repenting of our sin, we must run this race of our human existence.  We must run that race with patience, because he has patience with us we must have that same patience with ourselves.

Then we must look to Jesus – set our eyes upon Him and wait for Him.  We must seek Him with everything we have. Matthew 6:33, Luke 7:7, Jeremiah 29:13 all speak of the necessity of seeking the Lord.  He gave us this faith, and he will bring that faith to a conclusion.   He paid the price for us, He is always going to be with us, and He will make sure our faith is rewarded.  There is no greater joy or peace than what we find when we seek Jesus!

Hebrews 12:15b “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and therby many be defiled.”

How does bitterness spring up in a persons’ heart?  Here are many ways, but the most common is unforgiveness.  When we refuse to forgive someone, that hurt or wrong just festers in us like a canker sore, and the longer we go with it, the more bitter we become towards them.  It gets harder and harder to forgive the person and therefore our heart gets more and more bitter.  His is simply the enemy of our souls taking a stronghold in our hearts.  Why would Jesus put such strong emphasis on forgiveness, and on making things right with our brother?  Matthew 6:14-15 tells us that if we do not forgive our brother. God will not forgive us!  Matthew 5:23-24 says forgiving someone who has hurt us is more important than bringing our gift to the altar!  Matthew 5:25 says we should agree with our adversary quickly.  Why such emphasis and importance on forgiveness?  It’s really simple.  God forgave you – you should forgive others.  If you don’t, bitterness will coke in and can destroy your walk with God.  Is there someone you need to forgive?  Do it today!

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Aren’t you thrilled to hear this verse.  He; the same now as He has always been!  He same God who delivered and blessed Job.  The same God who blessed Abraham with an unexpected child.  He same God who parted the Red Sea, who dropped manna from heaven, who brought quail in the desert, the same God who led by a cloud during the day and a fire by night.  He is the same God who brought down the walls of Jericho, who equipped David to defeat Goliath, who gave Solomon wisdom and who helped Gideon defeat the Philistines with only 300 men.  Jesus is the same now as when He rose Lazarus from the dead, and when He fed the 5,000 and when He healed the leper and brought sight to the blind.  He never changes.  He will still do these things today and tomorrow!

Hebrews 13:15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name”

His is a kind of conclusion to the letter.  Offer the sacrifice of praise.  So many times, in Psalm, David says “I will praise the Lord.”  In the middle of a lament over His troubles, we see David say this often.  He makes up his mind to praise the Lord, no matter what the circumstances are.  We should do the same.  His is the fruit of our lips, not just in our heart.  IU heard someone say recently that our verbal praise is just giving back to God the breath that He gives to us.  I love that analogy!  We hold always have that attitude of gratitude, and should continually give praise to God, with thanksgiving in our hearts.  It is the very least we should do.

I wrote a song that was of great comfort to me when I was lying in that hospital bed during my cancer treatments.  I would sing it in the middle of the night when I could not sleep and was weary from the Chemo treatments.  I had written it several years earlier and always wondered why God would give m such a simple and powerful tune.  A friend of mine once said that perhaps God gave me this song so that it would comfort me at some future point.  He was right!  The words are:

I want to thank you, Lord, for your mercies in my life

I want to thank you, Lord, for your great sacrifice

You have given me your all

Help me give my all to you

I want to thank you Lord.

You deserve the highest praise

You deserve the highest praise

You deserve the highest praise I can give (REPEAT)

HERE is a link to my very simple rendition, I close with this, and pray you will learn to have faith, seek Christ, forgive all, and remember He is still working in your life, and in this world Happy New Year!


Hold Fast

Note: I am going to try and finish Hebrews before the end of the year so this post will be a little different than previous ones, covering a whole chapter rather than a few verses. Starting January 1, I will be following Alistair Beggs Bible Reding Calendar to read through the Bible in one year.  It has been several years since I read the Bible completely through, and I think this is a must every once in a while, for every Christian.  Hi blog will follow my progress when I have time to post.  Thank you for reading!

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

WOW!  Can I say that again backward? WOW!  Perfected forever!  That is what Jesus did for us.  No more offering for our sin, no more looking for a deliverer, no more needing a healer.  He has perfected us forever!  We talked in my last post about being sanctified, and now we see this beautiful verse that gives us all the assurance we need to go forth and tell the good news.  We are perfect in God’s sight when we walk in the sanctification He has provided for us.  Why?  Because He paid the price on the cross (Hebrews 10:10) and then sat down on the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).

When reading Hebrews, we always must keep in mind who this letter was written to and why Paul wrote it.  It is written to the Jewish people, who were still following the Old Testament sacrificial law.  Paul, in a brilliant way, is showing the people how Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law for the forgiveness of sin, so they no longer need to sacrifice bulls, lambs and goats. Jesus did it once and for all (Hebrews 10:10).  By doing this, he ushered in the New Covenant which was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31. The Jewish people were very familiar with this passage of scripture, and they knew that this prophesy could only be fulfilled by their Messiah.  Paul has painted a beautiful picture in the first 10 chapters of how this can be.  I don’t know about you., but I would say his argument is quite convincing!

Paul now turns his attention to our walk with Christ.  Now that He has provided this sanctification, and we can walk with the law of God in our hearts, we must walk in full assurance of faith because He has touched our evil conscience and washed us with His word. (Hebrews 10:22).  We will see in the next chapter how important this faith is!  It is vital that we hold fast to professing this faith that He has given us. What does that mean?  It means that we unswervingly declare the Good News to others.  It means that we share our faith with everyone around us.  It may be with a friendly smile or with a brief prayer, or with a congratulations on a good job. We must share our faith.  This is especially true when we are with other believers.

Hebrews 10:25 says we should not stop getting together with fellow believers.  Why is this so important?  So many people stay home for church services on the television or radio, or listen to podcasts and worship music instead of getting together with other believers.  We all have heard that churches are losing people in almost all denominations.  WHY?  I believe it is because preachers have veered away from Professing their faith and have turned to a social gospel that leaves the message of the cross out!  Our sanctification is nothing without the cross?  Staying away from church and assembling with other Christians robs us of the accountable and fellowship we need to hold fast to this faith.  All of us, no matter how strong, need other people.  We need to be encouraged, uplifted, and yes, rebuked and exhorted.  We need each other.

In Romans 12, Paul talks about how the church body functions similar to the human body in that there are many parts but all are one body.  During my battle with cancer, I lost the use of my right shoulder due to some weird neurological thing.  Doctors could not explain it and physical therapy did not help it. They called it Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, which is typically very painful, but I had no pain.  I just could not use my right shoulder. Being right-handed, this made everything more difficult.  I had to learn to use my left hand for eating, bathing, support, writing – everything!  It was a great lesson for me in how important every part of my body is.  We take our shoulder for granted! I also had drop-foot In both of my feet.  If you don’t know what that I, I suggest you look it up.  His made it very difficult to walk without extreme caution.  We need every part of our body to function properly!

He church is no different. The local church needs you there You may bot know what part of the body you ae, but you are vital to the church being strong, and your profession of faith might just help someone else along the way.  Our presence in the service might be a blessing to someone you never met before.  Maybe you can’t carry a tune, but you sing anyway, making a joyful noise to the Lord.  His can encourage someone else to sing even though they can’t carry a tune.  Everyone can make a joyful noise!  I think all of us feel that Jesus is coming soon, and Paul says we should especially get together as the time approaches (10:25).  Oh, how we need each other!

Have you ever sinned willfully?  I must admit that I have.  I am not proud of this fact, but it is true.  I have fallen flat on my face before His cross and asked forgiveness for my willful disobedience, and He has forgiven me over and over.  He is a loving God, and I need to pay closer attention to the decisions that I make.  I do not want to be in a position to fall into God’s hands, and should have that fear always before me.  Sin will not be found in heaven, and neither will the Christian whose sin is not covered by the blood of Jesus.  We must never loose the confidence we have in His salvation (10:35).

We live by faith (10:36), and all that we do is derived out of this faith that he has instilled in us. I think of Ephesians 2:8-9 which says “By grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourself.  It is the gift of God.”  Even the faith that we sue to ask for salvation comes from God., He has given all of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).  This faith is what allows us access to the Holy Spirit with boldness (10:19).  This verse is taken so out of proportion. People use this verse to think they can demand things of God.  That is not what Paul is saying at all.  He is telling us that we no longer have to fear asking the Holy Spirit to help and guide us.  In the Old Testament, the priest alone could enter the Holy Place, and only once a year. He entered with great reverence and awe before God, making sure that everything was done just right.  We fumble around and make all kinds of mistakes, yet we can still come boldly before God.  All of this because we live by faith (10:38).

Hold Fast to that faith.  Profess it for all to hear.  Why did healing come your way? Jesus!  Why did trouble get resolved? Jesus!  Why did you get a financial blessing? Jesus!  Whenever someone asks, Jesus is the answer we should give.  He is our source and our strength.  Make sure everyone knows that He is the provider of your life!

Merry 2023 Christmas

I have to marvel at the simplicity of it all.  A simple manger, a simple couple, simple shepherds.  It was not a spectacle at all. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords came in simple fashion.  No big procession, no great attendance, no important parents, no caring staff to swaddle the child.  Simply a baby being born.

I have to wonder at the grandeur.  A grand angelic host, a grand and glorious star, grand kings from afar.  This was not a normal birth, by any mean.  Even though it was simple by all means, it was grand in the sight of angels, kings, and even the heavens above.,

I have to marvel at the humility it took.  A humble father in Joseph, a humble mother in Mary, a humble Son of God coming in such fashion.  Joseph said not a word about the magnitude of His child, although He knew this baby would be the Messiah.  Mary only pondered these things in her heart when the shepherds came.  She did not speak of the confirmation they brought about her child.  Jesus could have come in a brilliant flash of light, with the angelic hots singing so loud in the heavens that all would hear.  But, He did not.  He came simply, but in grand fashion, with all the humility of a human baby boy.

The historical significance of His birth cannot be overstated.  Time stood still for a minute, and then changed direction.  No longer were years counting down, but they were counting up.  No longer would the calendar say BC, but it would say AD.  A mere mortal can do nothing to change time, but this child, this simple baby boy, completely changed the course of history.  His story is the very bedrock of history.

Today we celebrate His birth.  It was not on this day that he was actually born, for no one knows that exact day.  His birth is a mystery even to all of us who follow Him.  It is a mystery of the greatest magnitude.  Why would He leave His throne in heaven to come and save a wretch like me?  Why would He leave His throne to come into a lost and drying world, only to be crucified?  Why would the creator of the universe come in such a lowly fashion?  It is a mystery to all of us, yet it is a mystery revealed in His word if we look carefully.  It is a mystery that the Holy Spirit can help us to understand when we ask for that kind of wisdom.

We overlook all these things to merely give each other presents and gifts, and to have a feast of the food He has provided on this earth. We gather our families together, perhaps even praying over this food.  We overlook what He gave up and the sacrifice He became for our sins to have a party.  What are we doing?  What a I doing on this greatest day in history.

More importantly we forget why He came on the day He came.  He did not come so we would have these fasts, give these gifts and gather as a family. He came to show us the Father, to be beaten and bruised, and to die for our sins.   He came to fulfill the law.  That does not mean He came to cancel out the Ten Commandments.  Those commandments are as true today as ever.  He came to fulfill the sacrificial law.  No more would trespass offerings, sin offerings, burnt offerings, meat offerings and peace offerings be necessary.  He was our offering for all our sins.  He took away the sins of everyone who believes in Him. Yet He strengthened the Ten Commandments.  He said one who lusts commits adultery and that one who calls another a fool is the same as a murderer.

How will you honor His birth this Christmas.  Will you go abut things as you always have on Christmas Day?  Will you ignore the sacrifice He became for your sins, and only celebrate His birth?  If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, make today that day.  Perhaps He is your Savior, but you have not made Him Lord!  Give your life over to Him today.  Perhaps you are following Him with all your heart.  Give Him more today by rededicating your life to Him and setting forth on a new journey. 

On this Christmas Day, give a present to Jesus.  Give yourself to Him.  It is the least we can do.  Paul says, in Romans 12:1, that we should present ourselves a s living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.  I don’t know about you, but do not live as holy as I should.  I do not always give myself completely to Him. I do not always present myself to Him, but keep back parts of myself for my own foolish desires.  He has a better plan for me.  Paul says this is our reasonable service.  This is not the service of only those who minister the word, but for all of us, Present yourself to Him!  We look at Jesus as a present to us, but we forget to give the present of our lives to Him.  Make today that day!

Let us pray.

Jesus, I am a sinner.  I need your grace. Today, I turn from my sin and turn toward you.  I accept the sacrifice you became for my sin, and believe you rose from the dead.  I ask you to be my Savior. And, Lord, I also give my life to you.  You gave your life for me, and now I give my life back to you.  You have a better plan.  Be my Lord today.  I submit to your authority in my life. I give my days to you. I ask you t reveal your word to me and show me what I should do.  Give me wisdom each day, Lord, to fulfill your plan for my life. I praise you for this day.  Thank you, Lord.

Merry Christmas to you!

What Happened?

What exactly took place that made
Christmas so important?

The one who strengthens us became weak

He had all the strength of thousands of armies and was victorious in every battle.  No foe could stand against Him, no enemy could stop Him.  No problem was too big, no trial to hard, no test too overwhelming.  Nothing scared Him or made Him fear.

Jesus, who is my strength, became a baby, the weakest of all men.  No strength to help Himself with any need. Only a cry could bring Him someone to provide strength in His little life.  From ultimate strength to ultimate weakness, all for me.

My provider became the neediest of all

He says if I ask anything in His name, He will do it.  He is the creator of all things, the supplier of food, water and air.  All that I need comes from Him.  Without Him, I am nothing and I would have nothing.  All that I have come from Him.  All peace, joy, hope, faith and love comes from Him.  All good in this world comes from Him.  He is the source of life.

Jesus, our provider, became the neediest of all humans, a baby who could not feed Himself, relieve His thirst by Himself, clean Himself, change His clothes.  Completely dependent on everyone and everything. From provider to needy, all for me

He went from knowing all to no knowledge

He numbers the hair on my head.  He knows my every need. He knows my voice and He hears me when I call. He knows my heart, my thoughts, my desires, my dreams.  He knows the plans He has for me and they are good.  He knows all there is to know.

Jesus, who was­­ omniscient, became one with no knowledge. A babe in a manger. Barely learning to know His parents’. Not knowing anything around Him.  Not knowing how to talk, or understand or reason.  From all knowing to knowing nothing, all for me

He went from Creator to created

He was there at the beginning, the Word that went forth when God said “Let there be..”.  He was the Word, and all things were made by Him.  He made the stars above and names them one by one, 400 billion in our galaxy alone.  He made all the animals, birds, bugs, and things in the sea.  He made the earth, the seas, the rivers, the dry land and the mountains.  All things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made

Jesus who was the creator, was now created in Mary’s womb.  He had no control over this creation.  He could not speak His desires into existence.  He was subject to the DNA of Mary.  He could not determine His hair color, or His eye color, or His height or weight.  He was helpless in His own creation after creating all things.  From creator to created, all for me.

He went from being King of Kings to a lowly babe. 

All power, all authority, all knowledge, all wisdom was His. Undefeated for all time. All the kings of the earth are subject to Him.  H controlled their destiny, the length of their reign, the people who serve them, and every battle they fight. Creator of all things.  Knowledge of all things.

Jesus, King if all Kings, Lord of all Lords, humbled himself and became a man. Leaving all His kingly praise, power and strength to come and die for us.  He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.  He withheld His power to escape this excruciating death for all of us.  He humbled himself more than we can imagine.  From King of Kings to Lowly babe, all for me

Jesus gave His all to pay it all so we could have it all.  A divine act of humility

That’s what happened. That’s why we Celebrate Christmas.

That is His love for us.

The Voice of Angels

A few days ago, I shared with you a few thoughts about the four-hundred-year silence between the book Malachi and Matthew’s gospel.  What is even more fascinating is the way the silence ended.  Not one, or two, or even three, but four angelic visits within the space of about a year.  Let’s quickly review.

First, the angels appeared to Zacharias when he is ministering in the holy place.  He starts to burn the incense, and the angels comes to him and tells him that his barren wife, Elizabeth, will have a son.  The angel tells him that the boys’ name will be John and he will be great in the sight of the Lord.  He will be a Nazarite, and will prepare the way of the Lord and turn many people back to the Lord. When Zacharias asks how he will know this is really going to happen, the angel shuts Zacharias’s mouth until the baby is actually named John.

The second Angel appeared to Mary.  This teenage girl was engaged to be married to Joseph, and they had not had relations with each other yet.  The angel tells Mary that she will have a son who will be called the Son of the Highest, and that he will rule on the throne of David forever.  Mary asks how this will happen and the Angel tells her that the Holy Ghost will come upon her and she will conceive the child.

The third Angel appears to Joseph.  He has heard that Mary is pregnant and wants to out her away.  In those days, a woman who is pregnant before marriage was considered filthy, and is an outcast.  But the Angel tells Joseph that he should not put Mary away.  Her Son should be named Jesus and He will save the people from their sins as a fulfillment of prophecy.

The fourth Angel appears to the shepherds.  He announces the Saviors birth to these men who are out in the field watching their flocks by night.  He says this baby that is born would be lying in a manger in Bethlehem, and they should go and see the child.  Then a multitude of angels app7ear before the shepherds singing “Glory to Go in the highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to man.”

Four Angels.   It is thought that all of them were actual just one angel, Gabriel, although the name is only given in the encounter with Mary.  Gabriel is thought of as the announcing angel, Michael the avenging angel.  In any case, this is a remarkable series of events that we often overlook when we read the Christmas story.  We read it in pieces and don’t always put the whole puzzle together.  When we do connect the pieces, it is pretty remarkable.

Each time the angel appears, there is the same reaction.  It is called fear.  I get the feeling angels are not what we picture them to be.  Pictures of angels usually show cute little beings with soft-looking skin and tiny little wings.  They almost look cuddly on most of the pictures man paints of them.  But the reaction of fear would only come if the image they were looking at was fearsome-looking, When Joshua had his encounter with an angelic being, the angel had a sword drawn, and I’m sure had armor on and was quite large in stature.  More like a warrior than an angel to us.

Every time the angel appeared his first words are the same.  He tells them not to be afraid.  We should not fear when we have an encounter with God or one of His messengers.  We should not fear when we hear the voice of an angel, or even the voice of the Holy Spirit within our soul.  You see, God speaks to us in many different ways.  The most common way is through His word.  If we are reading the word every day, God will reveal the path He has for us through the words we read.  We must look at them as if it is a letter to us from a loving Father who wants to teach us the way of life.  We must read the words each time as if it is the first time we have read them, and accept them as a little child would accept instruction.

There have been many times during my walk with the Lord that I have felt He has become quiet, and I don’t hear His voice.  But those times are usually accompanied by times that I do not open up the book and read it. Those times are usually the time my prayer life drops off.  How can I expect to hear from God if I am not spending time with Him?  Do I think He will send an angelic messenger to me to tell me to wake up?  Hat is very unlikely.  Instead, He will lovingly allow situations to come into my life that cause me to turn back to Him.  He wants fellowship with me even more than I want to be with Him.  He spoke His word through many writers so that I would know how to have that fellowship with Him.

I, for one, want to know what God would have me to do, and I am enough of a realist to know God will not be sending Gabriel to me anytime soon. He speaks to me every day, in a quiet voice, through the Holy Spirit.  Ever since that vel was rent, there is not as much need for an Angel to come and speak to man, because the Holy Spirit has been made available to us all.  He comes to me when I still myself enough to hear Him.  Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.”  I don’t need to hear the Angels voice, because I hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit.  I just need to listen better.

Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds all did what the angel told them to do.  I pray we are all just as faithful to do what the Holy Spirit asks us to do!