June 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Return Visitors On the thirteenth of June, our Thursday service, we had Angie visit with us again and on Sunday the twenty-third, LaShonda came without her two boys. We had thirteen in our service that Sunday morning, with Al Christian attending as well as Joe Ball and Desirae. I preached on Jn.17:17 where our Lord prays, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Such a prayer makes for good preaching, and therefore I preached on the doctrine of sanctification, defining it and looking at it in the Holy Scriptures. The next Sunday only the faithful nine of us were in attendance, but we rejoice to preach to whomever the Lord brings our way. Spanish Outreach Our attempt to reach the Latino community has dwindled, and although we have dealt with some Latinos, we have not been able to give out any literature except to one young man, Miguel Angel. With all of the illegal activity happening on the border, one would think that we would have many more Latinos in our area. Such is not the case, however, yet. Perhaps they will come to our area and the Lord will give us more opportunities to reach them in the future. Other Activities We thank the Lord that we were able to buy about eight tons of gravel to fix our washed out driveway. We could have used more but the cost of the gravel has gone up considerably because of the need to fix so many roads and bridges that were washed out from the great amount of rain we had in May....

July 21

According to all that I have read, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the famous patriot, scientist, printer and Post Master General, was a moral bankrupt for most of his life. Like many intellectuals in this day, at least as a young man, he may have professed to be a Deist, but he was not a true Christian. A hundred fifty years before Franklin, the Mayhew family did evangelistic work among the Indians in Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (1646-1806). A later associate of the Mayhews was Peter Foulger, an ardent Baptist and member of the Lord’s church in Nantucket. It was through his influence that some of the Mayhews learned and began to practice Baptist doctrine – scriptural doctrine. Foulger was a schoolmaster, a surveyor and a friend of the Indians, learning their language and becoming instrumental in negotiations between them and the settlers. Because of his ability to speak the native language, he was chosen to be an official of the courts on this day (July 21) in 1673. Peter Foulger was not a missionary, pastor or even a preacher, but he loved the Lord and Biblical truth. In 1676 he wrote a book entitled “A looking Glass for the Times” which was described as a defense of social and religious liberty written in “homespun verse and with a good deal of decent plainness and manly freedom.” Brother Foulger married Mary Morrill, and to this union a daughter, Abiah, was born. When Abiah was of a proper age, she married a man named Franklin, and to them God granted a son, whom they named Benjamin. Although Benjamin Franklin never publically professed...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 23:17-35

  Most of this chapter of proverbs is self-explanatory – to people who are relatively mature – particularly for Christians – people’s whose eyes have been opened by the grace of God. Most mature Christians have no problem understanding what the Holy Spirit is saying. But what about new saints – people who have just spent 20 years in a moderately licentious life-style? What about kids in their mid-teens – who are just now being tempted with adult-type sins? They may not see the dangers of alcohol and sexual immorality. They need to be warned. I’d like us to engage our imaginations at least for the introduction to this message, and maybe beyond that. Picture King Solomon, laying aside his crown, as he sits with three or four of his oldest sons. Don’t visualize the palace throne room or even in the king’s office with the big fancy desk. This takes place in the family living room with a big fire blazing on the hearth. The setting is casual and friendly, and there is some give and take, even though we only have Solomon’s words recorded. I think it might help us to maintain this picture, if we break apart and rearrange this collection of proverbs. Solomon begins at a point where he has been many times before. Verse 22 – “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of...

Lame Man Leaping – Acts 3:1-10

  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go to our medical professional, and he could deliver us from the penalty of our sins the way he might set a broken leg? If we could take a newly developed pill which could cure us of the effects of the curse of sin, we might be willing to buy it even if it wasn’t covered by insurance. If radiation or chemotherapy, physical therapy or shock treatments could enable us to walk all the way into Heaven there might be a few more people willing to make that trip. But, of course, this will never happen. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. This is why Christ said, Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Nevertheless, there are a few scriptural cases where physical and spiritual healing went “handin-hand.” Or perhaps a better cliche might be – “They went together like a hand and glove.” There was once a crippled man, who was laid daily at one of the gates of the Jerusalem temple. By the direction and providence of God, Peter and John entered that gate one afternoon and spoke to him. “Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Judging from the context, that man was not only physically healed but...

And They Mocked Him – Mark 15:22-38

  A few years ago, in Manila, Philippines, a devout Roman Catholic named “Mendosa” was “crucified.” He had been fasting and praying for more than a week, constantly encouraged by his priest. On what is commonly called “Good Friday,” he was stripped down to a loin-cloth, after which he lay upon a freshly painted white cross. Two men from his church tied his wrists to the arms of that clean, white, almost sterile cross. A third man tied his ankles to the post just above a foot-rest where his feet were propped. The men lifted the cross to an upright position with Mendosa still tied to it. Carefully they let it slowly slip into a perfectly prepared slot in a large piece of concrete. Some of Mendosa’s relatives and friends were silently weeping, while hundreds of others looked on praying and expressing words of encouragement. There was a doctor standing by, just in case he was needed, but it was unlikely that things would be taken that far. There was no one there laughing at him, no one mocking him, no one spitting or throwing things. Besides a few photographers, Mendosa had nothing but support surrounding him. The sun was hot that April afternoon, and very quickly he man began to wilt under its gaze. In his weakening condition it didn’t look like he would be up there more than an hour at most. Quickly his coaches threw in the towel on his behalf. When the ordeal was over, there was congratulations and praise for his devotion and bravery. Over the years this scene has been repeated hundreds of...

July 14

In the case of John Taylor, missionary to Siam (Thailand), one of the key events to his “success” was the death of his wife. Taylor was raised a Congregationalist, becoming a Baptist while studying for the ministry. In 1828 he was baptized and joined the Federal Street Baptist Church in Boston. On this day two years later (July 14, 1830) he was married to Eliza Grew, and within a year they were on their way to Burma as missionaries. While in Burma, Brother Taylor became proficient in preaching Christ crucified in both the Burman and Taling languages. He was especially drawn to the Taling people and eventually moved to Siam to minister to them more directly. In 1843 he completed the Taling New Testament which compared favorably to Carey’s Indian Bible and the Marshman/Judson version in Burmese. But the catalyst which brought the Talings to read the Bible was the death of Mrs. Taylor. During his last visit to New York, Jones was quoted as saying – “There is one thing which distinguishes Christianity from every false religion. It is the only religion that can take away the fear of death. I never knew a dying heathen in Siam, or anywhere else, that was not afraid, terribly afraid of death. And there was nothing that struck the Siamese people with greater astonishment than a remark that my dear departed wife made, in Siamese, to her native nurse, shortly before her death: ‘I am not afraid to die.’ For weeks after her death, the Siamese people would come to me, as though incredulous that such a thing could be, and...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 23:17-18

  I need to do more research on this, but hasn’t the expression of envy changed over the last hundred years? Just think about it – 150 years ago advertising, as we know it, didn’t exist, making envy a bit different. A shop keeper might put up a sign in his window saying that he had some new product to sell. But there wasn’t the media, repeating over and over again, “You need this new product.” Everyone was getting along fine without it, and they didn’t know any better. Why do so many people want the newest cell phone or tablet? Not because we need it, but because we are repeatedly TOLD that we need it. And then we see others using that latest technology, making our mouths water – creating envy. Of course, envy has been around from the beginning of time. Lucifer was envious of Jehovah. He was foolishly JEALOUS of the Lord. And his first temptation of man was empowered with envy – “God has it; don’t you want it? Aren’t you just a little jealous?” But since then – until recently – hasn’t most envy involved important things – life sustaining things? The poor man envied the rich man’s big, full barn, or his plow-pulling ox. In Abraham’s day there may not have been much envy over a string of pearls or a fancier tent. Was Achan’s desire for the Babylonian clothes and wedge of gold common – or was it an aberration? As I say, I need to do more research on this. Whether or not our problem with greed, jealously and envy is...

Apostolic Evangelism – Acts 3:1-16

  We can’t be sure where exactly the healing of this lame man took place. Jerusalem, yes; the temple, yes. But I have seen dozens of depictions of the temple in Jerusalem, and they are all a little different. Nowhere else in the Bible are we told about the “Beautiful Gate,” so it may have been a nickname used only in that day. But there is a reference in verse 11 to “Solomon’s Porch,” and in verse 8, after the healing, the three men went “into” the temple. So I am thinking that this took place at one of the exterior gates – outside the Court of the Women and outside of Solomon’s porch. One day, at just before 3:00 in the afternoon Peter and John walked toward the “Beautiful Gate.” On that day, one of the greatest of all human events took place. Two Christians behaved like Christians should and one sick, dead, lost man became a child of God. Let’s consider the event itself. This man, because of his malady, had no access to the temple. Because he couldn’t walk and because he couldn’t walk, he was not permitted inside the temple grounds. So metaphorically – symbolically – he had no access to God. He was unable to worship the Lord according to the outline of the Old Testament law. He was spiritually crippled – lost – in reality, he was dead in his trespasses and sin in the sight of God. In fact, he had never been able to walk, even though his legs were correctly formed, despite their weak and thin condition. Apparently there was...

The God of Wrath and Glory – Psalm 145:1

  This message was ignited by an article in the “Institution of Creation Research” magazine “Acts and Facts.” It was written by Brian Thomas, who has a PhD in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool. That article was entitled “Was the Global Flood Too Extreme?” The title of my message is “The God of Wrath and Glory.” David’s 145 Psalm slaps the face of many critics of our God and our faith. Have you ever had someone try to turn away your Christian witness by pontificating – “The God of the Old Testament was a mean and crazy old ‘blankity blank.’ I could never worship a God like the God of Israel.” He might say he hates all the Old Testament accounts of the destruction of cities and entire nations. Some try to add that Jesus contracted the God of the Jews, with His love and cheek turning. He might say that he has no interest in what the Bible has to say, because of what he THINKS it says. But I want you to notice the way in which David, here, praises His Israelite God. “I will extol thee, MY GOD, O KING; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.” David acknowledges Jehovah to be king – the one with all authority – sovereign. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is UNSEARCHABLE.” God’s greatness and power are not only practical but beyond man’s ability to understand. Many of the reasons for what God does are inscrutable. And no Bible-rejecting intellectual is going to understand why God does what He...

July 7

There are no less than seven men with the last name of Wightman listed in Cathcart’s Encyclopedia. As I made a quick survey, I wasn’t surprised to see that they were all related – sons, grandsons, great-grandsons. When a family is so closely linked together in the work of God, it is certainly due in part to the mothers and grandmothers of those men. In 1612 Edward Wightman was burnt at an English gibbet for his Baptist “heresies.” Five of his sons then moved to the new world – two were preachers, two were deacons and the other was a faithful church member. Valentine Wightman was a grandson of the martyr Edward. He was born in Rhode Island in 1681. Valentine was saved by grace, called and ordained into the gospel ministry, after which he started the first Baptist church in Connecticut. For 42 years he pastored that assembly in the city of Groton. When he died, he was followed by his son Timothy. Under the son’s ministry the church grew so surprisingly that it voluntarily divided, beginning a second church in town. Like his father, Timothy served that same Groton church for 42 years, including the period of the Revolutionary War. To Timothy Wightman and his wife was born a son whom they named John Gano, in honor of the pastor of the First Baptist Church in New York. John was saved and ordained to the ministry, eventually accepting a call from the same church as his father and grandfather. On this day in 1817 he married Bridget Allyn who stood by his side during a period of...