Friday, March 29, 2024



I listen to a song yesterday called "God Rested" by Andrew Peterson.
It made me think about this night in a different light... here we are celebrating Good Friday and waiting to celebrate Easter... but what really happened on the first Sabbath, that 'High Sabbath' when Jesus lay in the tomb? These are my thoughts of what that night might have been like. ....

Why am I anxious tonight?
Another Holy Week is coming to an end.
On Easter Sunday morning we will sing songs of praise, but right now I not feeling the joy.
What was it like on that first Sabbath for the followers of Jesus?
What was going through their minds?
Jesus, our leader has been crucified. How could we have let this happen?
    Our hope for Him to be the king now was crushed.
    Yet, the words He spoke at the Passover meal still lingers in our minds like a smoky haze.
    In a little while you won’t see me and then in a little while you will see me again.

It happened so fast.
    And Judas… how could he sell Jesus out? He was one of us. 
    For three years, we were all together, he was one of us...
        although he was strange at times, and really hated the Romans.
    But deep down inside, didn’t we all?
There may have been a few decent Roman soldiers, but very few…
    They mostly treat us Jews like their slaves.
    Every day they take what they want, or kill those who fight back.

The religious leaders hated Jesus. We knew it would be dangerous for Jesus to be here. 
    Ever since he threw the merchants out of the temple three years ago during the Passover.
    It has been risky to be here, but Jesus was determined to come. 

He even talked about being put to death. 
    When Peter told him not to talk that way, Jesus called him the Devil.
He said “I am the way.”
     “Follow me.”
     “Do as I have commanded you.”
     “Love your enemies.”
     “Do good to those who hate you.”
And now our religious leaders, our elected officials, have had him put to death.
      God’s chosen leaders…  The high priest and his family…
      Why couldn’t they see that he was God’s anointed one?
      Will they be coming after us next?

Jesus talked about the kingdom of God coming. Now Jesus is dead.
    How will God save us now?
    What will become of us?
    We believed in him. 
    How can this be God’s will?
    How can this be a part of God’s plan?

Confusion abounds, the disciples sit quietly in a state of shock trying to make sense of it all.

    O darkest night. O dread and fear.
    We followed the Lord, who is no longer here.
    He’s dead. It is not fair.
    Our righteous Lord; slaughtered on that cross over there.
    Nothing makes sense. Our minds cannot see.
    But He seemed to know that this is how it would be………………..
I know the outcome because it was recorded in the Gospels,

….but what was it like for them on that Passover Day?
    Waiting… worrying… overcome by doubt and fear…
    Truly the darkest night and day of their lives….
    The unknowing of what would happen next was the hardest part….
    Sitting, waiting…praying…bewildered…hoping…(a strange mix of emotions)…
    Shock and anger and shame and hopelessness
    Maybe even some stupid memories that brought nervous laughter.
    Satan was having a field day with these disciples.
    But not for long…
The resurrection was the last thing on their minds… (even though Jesus had talked about it)

So, I believe that on this Passover they sat in utter despair trying to sort it all out….
But totally blind to the truth of what was about to happen.

Peter Keyes … written 2015-04-04 edit-2024-03-30

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 41

 Subtitle: Seeing the Easter Story in Psalm 41

Psalm 41:5–13 (ESV) 

5My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?” 
6And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad. 
7All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me. 
8They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.” 
9Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. 
10But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them! 
11By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. 
12But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. 
13Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. 
        (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)

For those who walked with Jesus and were taught by Him for three years who witnessed Him hanging for life on the cross, there seemed to be no hope. Their dreams were crushed… all those plans of living in glory in Jesus’ new kingdom… were now nothing more than a foggy mist… how could this be happening? 

The Master, the Teacher, the most powerful person they had ever seen… had let Himself be beaten and nailed to a cross… surely, He could have done something to prevent this from happening… He had the power… why didn’t He use it? 

He had healed lame and blind and even raised up a girl who had died, and a young man who was about to buried, and even Lazarus who had been dead for over four days, whose body was starting to decompose. If He was able to do these things, surely, He would have been able to prevent the soldiers from arresting Him. He could have stopped this sham of a trial… but He let it happen.

The religious leaders gloated over their victory… They had accomplished what they had set out to do. They had plotted for a long time asking when, …”when will he die, and his name perish?” Finally, they had succeeded, for them it was accomplished. Jesus their enemy, was dying. He would be buried and His name would be forgotten and their lives would go on... having eliminated this threat to their livelihoods.

But God had a different plan! Jesus would raise again. His death was part of a greater plan! He died to pay a price, the price of sin, and rose to repay us for our sin against Him, but instead of revenge, we are repaid with forgiveness, mercy, kindness, and the love of God. Even those religious leaders were given the opportunity for forgiveness.

This battle wasn’t against us, but it was spiritual battle pitting Jesus the Son of God against Satan, the true enemy of God. Satan wanted to destroy the creation of God and turn every one of us against God. In the Garden of Eden, Satan succeeded in leading Adam and Eve into rebellion against God and as a result, we all were born as slaves to sin, unable to free ourselves from its bondage and the penalty of eternal death. 

To free us from this judgement of death, a righteous sacrifice had to be made, a sinless man had to die a sinner’s death. And that was God plan. By Jesus’ death, Satan’s accusations and hold over God’s creation was satisfied. Sin and death lost their grip and power over us. And on the third day, Jesus Christ was raised and Satan couldn't do anything to stop it. Satan’s power was destroyed. 

The scales of judgement were tipped in favor of Jesus Christ. His righteousness and death outweighed the penalty of the sins of all people in the world.

By faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are forgiven of our sin. We can now BOLDly proclaim that those who believe this promise receive this promise and their sin is forgiven, but those who reject this promise remain under the curse and punishment of their sin.

The last two verses tell us that Jesus would be and is raised to glory. Yes, the righteous Son of God will reign as our King in glory forevermore. Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen.

Written by Peter Keyes - March 29, 2024

Monday, March 25, 2024


WHERE IS MY HOPE?      (a reflection on Good Friday)

Where is my hope when sorry comes,
    When grief, heartbreak, and loss become too much to bear,
        When words cannot express my pain,
            When the wind is knocked out of my lungs,
In gasps and sighs too deep for tears to fall?
A gasp…………………..then silence.
The shadow of death draws nigh,
    And the reality of life’s fragile existence becomes
        Eminently closer than I care to admit.
            There is no stopping its march
Death is but a breath away.
Another gasp….then silence.
Waiting for the next breath to be taken.
    Hoping it will come for we are not ready to let go.
Another gasp…………then silence.
Was this for our sake? An answer to prayer?
    Or an inward struggle to cling to this world?
Another gasp…………………..then silence.
The involuntary muscles are fighting for oxygen but are losing the battle.
    The breath given by God is leaving with the spirit
        And only the material corpse will be left behind.
Another gasp…………………..then silence.
Was this the last?
    Are there more to follow?

Another gasp…………………..then silence.
Christ our Lord came to this hour,
    But not just to die, b
ut to die a sinners death.
        He was rejected, scorned, beaten, bruised, tortured, and humiliated.

Another gasp…………………..then silence.
Satan threw everything he could at Him.
    And He bore it willingly for our sake.

Another gasp…………………..then silence.
God loved us so much and desired to have us with Him
    That He sent His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ)
        Into the world to pay the price for our sin, 

Another gasp…………………..then silence.
Jesus came to set us free from our slavery to sin.
    His death on the cross paid the price and the debt we owed. 
Another gasp…………………..then silence.
For two days Jesus Christ clung to life,
    Enduring floggings and punishment, humiliation and abuse. 
        And then… at just the right time…
Another gasp…………………..then silence..................
            He bowed His head and let go of life.
At that very moment when Satan started to cheer,
    The earth shook and Jesus turned the tables on him.
        Satan’s powerful hold on God’s creation had been destroyed.

What a foolish being, ..."Satan did you not know?"
    Death cannot hold a righteous God.
“Oh death, where is your sting?”
    “Oh grave, where is your victory?”
God has led us through the shadow of death
    And taken away our fear of it.
The breathing has stopped….  My friend is gone.
I will not see him again on this side of heaven.
    Will I carry on without him?
        Will my pain turn into joy?
            Will the void be filled?
His pain is gone.
    He is with the Lord.
        Someday I will join him there.

In the presence of Jesus Christ,
    Who gave up His life
        That we might have life eternal with Him.
My hope is in the Lord!
He replaces my mourning with peace,
    My sin with His righteousness, and fills me with His love.  
By Peter Keyes    -  2011


Saturday, March 23, 2024

The LORD will rescue me


The Lord Will Rescue Me

I know the Lord will rescue me,

From sin and darkness set me free.

He will take my cold and hardened heart,

That was calloused from its very start.

Born of a spirit deep within,

A heart corrupted by the rule of sin.

Filled with anger, bitterness, and fear,

Afraid to let anyone get too near.

Attempting to build a wall of protection,

Just leading to more and more rejection.

Looking for refuge from my own personal battles,

Seeking for love and comfort and rest,

Chasing a dream without satisfaction,

Fighting for success and giving my best. 

The holes I dug just got deeper and deeper,

With no end in sight, was being buried alive.

Needing a place where I could feel safe,

Someone to trust and show me how to survive. 

These words to which I’d do well to cling,

A small and steady comfort they could bring.

“The Lord will rescue His people when their strength is gone.”

He will give them the hope in life to move on.

Surely, surely the Lord will come and rescue me.

His promises are true as you shall see.

Others have claimed, “You came to my rescue, Lord, You saved my life!”

“You have set me free from the burden of sin and strife.”

So with that promise, I too will trust, …THE Lord will rescue me.

Yes, Yes! I am convinced the Lord will rescue me!

Peter Keyes   3-22-2024

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Behind the Veil ... the Hidden Glory of GOD

I was preparing for Transfiguration Sunday and thinking about Jesus' interaction with His disciples. Had he come in glory, his purpose on earth would have been misunderstood, even in humility, the people that gathered to Him often came for the wrong reasons. Jesus veiled His real identity until His mission was completed. The following poem expresses my thoughts regarding the veil...

Behind the Veil                                       

Jesus came from heaven above, with humility and love.

Setting aside His glory, to be a servant of the Father.
Behind the veil of a humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.”
Just a boy is a little small town, playing with sticks and stones,
Was hidden God’s chosen in a plan to buy back His own.
His identity was kept a secret by his father and mother dear,
Until in His heavenly Father’s timing His true mission drew near.
For behind the veil of this humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.”
To John the Baptist first He came, to restore the order of creation again.
 After His baptism in the River Jordan, nothing in the world would ever be the same.
On that day John heard the voice and was blessed to see,
Behind the veil of this humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.”
They should have known those disciples three, 
that there was something special in this man to see.
But their minds were dimmed until the time was right, 
what was hidden from them in plain sight.
For behind the veil of this humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.”
On a mountain top one day, the veil was pulled away.
They saw the glory of their Lord, but only for a moment before it, the veil, was restored.
What was this vision that they saw? A dream or something more?
This man, their leader, teacher, and friend…glowing like the sun,
Standing and talking with the men of old … Moses and Elijah,
“Can we just stay here and build tents for everyone?”
And then the voice from heaven claimed, “This is my beloved SON.”
Jesus the man, claimed as the Son of the One and only Great “I AM.”
Pondering all and filled with awe, they kept it to themselves what they saw.
Who would believe it if they were to claim…
Behind the veil of this humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.”?
On to Jerusalem and a cross and death, all seemed to be lost when He took His final breath.
And then the veil in the temple tore… and Jesus the man was revealed forever more,
As the God behind the veil of a man, the One and only Great “I AM.” 


Death could not hold Him in, He rose and appeared to the disciples again.
Now… now the vision became clear, no longer did they need to live in fear.
For now, they knew and we do too. ….
That behind the veil of this humble man, was the One and only Great “I AM.” 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Peace of God

 I wrote this message for the third Sunday of Advent - Peace Sunday

Grace, mercy, and PEACE from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you and fill you to overflowing. Amen.

We long for it, but never really experience it completely. Someday we will, and we look forward to that day. We have moments in life that we touch it briefly … But often these are just fading moments that pass like a beautiful sunrise or sunset, ...And then life moves on… much too quickly… and the moment is gone. We take vacations to find it, but for some it never really comes. And for others it seems as if they always have it. What we truly long for … is peace.

When I was younger and under a lot of stress… operating a dairy farm. Some days I wanted my world to just stop pushing me forward. Everything in my life was moving faster and faster, … I had trouble keeping up … I wanted a break. A day to just sleep in, a day of rest, a day with no bills to pay, …no expectations placed on me, no deadlines to meet, just a little peace and quiet.

Occasionally, I would drive the tractor out to the back of the farm and hide from everyone… But I knew that as soon as I returned home everything that I had neglected to do would still be waiting for me. The thing about dairy farming was that the chores always had to be done …everyday… milking every morning and every night… the same routine … Day in …day out… it never ended.

I loved it and I hated it! I longed for peace… sometimes I found it briefly… and then it was gone.

I spent most of my time fixing things… making due… hoping that tomorrow would be better than today… wanting do overs… surviving. … and the peace I sought eluded me. I envied others who could just get up and leave, take vacations, carve out time for their families, get involved in the community, …while I worked harder and harder with nothing to show for all of my effort. PEACE was just a dream that I sought but didn’t really find.

And God’s promise of peace seemed artificial, unrealistic, and unobtainable. …Yet, because it came from God, I knew in my heart that it was available and meant for me. I was looking for emotional or physical peace. 

God’s peace is spiritual peace.

Often we hear people talk about peace… world peace… the end of fighting or wars or conflicts or hunger or homelessness or abusive relationships. These are all the result of sin. In the world, as long as Satan still roams and sin is running its course, we will continue to have all of these things. Godless people will do godless things to hurt or harm others because they are by nature sinful and unclean. They live loveless lives and follow after Satan, who has NO love in him. They live for themselves, show very little mercy, and have no concept of peace.

I often acted out in anger, as a godless person, hurting those around me, because of the sin within me, … and I had a hard time of receiving God’s forgiveness because I had trouble believing that He could forgive me. I sought emotional peace, but because I continued to carry the burden and guilt of my sin, the load within me became heavier and heavier, and that peace I sought became more and more distant from me… more fleeting… and out of reach.

One day I hit bottom… I had been trying so hard to make my life right but to no avail…  I was spent… physically… emotionally… and spiritually spent !  I cried to God because I had nothing left.   He heard my prayer.

He said, “Trust ME! I AM ENOUGH FOR YOU!”

Slowly … my fear, my guilt, my worthlessness, started to be transformed. I found myself become more at peace and less angry. I didn’t get set off or as upset about breakdowns. I found peace in everyday routines. …Comfort in set schedules. And I even found time to spend with my family without experiencing the guilt of being lazy… I found some sense of balance between work and play, family and community, time on hobbies and time with God… peace has started to become more of a reality.

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, it is also known as Peace Sunday. We have the pink candle lit today to remind us that Jesus came to bring us peace. Not the kind of peace that the world is seeking, for because of sin the world hates Jesus. The world wants Jesus to overlook their sin and join them in their prideful celebration of sin.

NO, the peace that Jesus brings to us is the cleansing of our sin. The removal of our sin by His death and resurrection. The daily act of sanctification… confession and absolution… washing and regeneration. The assurance that He is capable of removing our sin and that He is willing and eager to remove our sin. Jesus has defeated Satan, destroyed the power of sin, and conquered death. In Jesus Christ we need not live in fear… our sin has been forgiven. We have been washed in the blood He shed for us on the cross.

This washing is a spiritual washing, an internal washing of our daily sin.

How often do you wash your hands in a given day? Five times or ten or maybe twenty or more? Daily Jesus is washing away your sin … every dirty thought… sinful desire… fear… bitterness… contempt… anger… envy… jealously… we daily sin much, yet out of love … Jesus continues to sanctify us (that is He is washing our sin away making us clean within).

 And that is where we start to experience the peace of God…  When we recognize that our sin is forgiven and we except God’s forgiveness of our sin… our guilt starts to melt away… peace starts to take its place… a peace that we can’t explain or even at times comprehend begins to fill us from the inside… The triggers that used to set us off … don’t.  Conflicts with family or friends or coworkers or even our spouse become more tolerable or manageable because we have this inner peace… spiritual peace… a peace that can only come from God… the kind of peace that Jesus Christ brings to us.

It is a calm in the middle of a storm. It is the assurance that God is in control … that He is watching out for us … that He will provide us with the strength to face whatever it is that we are facing … grief … or illness … or financial hardship … or pressure and stress. We can trust Him.  He is with us.  We are His children.  

He will provide for us.  And He will fill us (you) with His peace.  Hear these words of comfort again from Paul,  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; Hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (ESV)

We pray, Lord Jesus as we make plans to celebrate Your first coming, help us to be at peace in the midst of all of our family plans and activities. Grant us joy in the celebration of our families. Yet, continue to guide our thoughts and prepare our minds for Your second coming. Keep our eyes focused on You that we would live throughout this season for the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen.