The Challenges of Forced Non-attendance – Ecclesiastes 7:11-14

This short paragraph, written more than 2,000 years ago, is more appropriate than anything you read on the internet yesterday. Of course, we aren’t surprised, because this is the inspired Word of the eternal God. The Holy Spirit says, “Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.” Have you heard that the government is going to give you $1,200 and more if you are a part of a family? That may put a smile on your face, but be careful. It could be more of a disaster than a blessing. As in all “inheritances” wisdom in regard to that money will be important over the next few weeks. How will you spend that money? On necessities? Will you hold on to it for as long as you can, or will you throw it away? I understand the business of vice is prospering right now – alcohol sales are up; probably marijuana too. I saw that the sales of Corona beer has been strong and growing since the invasion of this virus. Either some lunatics think that Corona BEER is like a vaccination against the corona VIRUS. Or people just have nothing to do so they are blowing their money on drugs and alcohol. Solomon goes on, “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?” I don’t know how many times I have heard, and I have...

Nobility in a Time of Crisis – John 4:43-54

According to the website “Worldometer.com” as of 7:10 this morning there are, or have been 311,656 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United states, with 1,225,035 world-wide. It also points out that there have been 8,454 deaths in this country for this disease. Most of us don’t have a natural immunity to this disease, so fighting it off is a life-and-death struggle. When people are diagnosed with the virus, there is cause for fear, especially for the weak and elderly. And for most of the severe and critical patients, of whom there are at 6,000 this morning, it basically requires a miracle for their recovery. But there have also been 14,828 Americans who have made it safely through their Corona Virus infection. Some of those escapees have really had miraculous recoveries – pulled back by an unseen hand from death’s door. 90-year-old, Geneva Wood was a resident at the Life Care Center in Kirkland where 35 people died. Her family were told to say their good-byes, because the doctors had done everything they could. But miraculously, Geneva is now at home with her family, continuing to recover. 82-year-old, Sid Lovenbury is alive and well after his doctors had completely given up hope. And 102-year-old Italica Grondona, of Genoa, Italy was in the hospital for 20 days with the Coronoa Virus. Today she is back in her home well and as healthy as a centenarian can be. She was born in 1917, and it is possible she may have also escaped the Spanish Flu. Bob Marcus and his wife were both confirmed Covid-19 patients and were placed in isolation in...

April 5

Benjamin Randall was set apart for the gospel ministry on this day in 1780, ten years after his conversion and after he joined the Baptist church in Portsmith, New Hampshire. Benjamin was born in 1749; the son of a sea captain; a member of a Congregational church. After sailing with his father several times, he settled down and opened his own shop as a sail-maker. During 1770, George Whitefield, the Anglican/Methodist evangelist, announced his intention to visit Portsmith to preach. By this time most Congregational ministers had grown tired of Whitefield’s evangelistic approach and ordered their people not to attend or listen to the man. Benjamin Randall, however felt drawn to attend, despite his predetermined prejudice against him. The preaching of Christ stirred his heart, but he fought against the Lord’s conviction. He went back again and again. Friday night marked his last visit to the hall where Whitefield preached. The following Sunday, a stranger rode through the streets announcing in a subdued tone: “Mr. Whitefield is dead. He died in Newbury at 6 o’clock this morning.” The words hit Randall like a lightning bolt. “Whitefield is in heaven, and I am on the road to hell. He was a man of God, and I reviled him. O that I could hear his voice once again.” For days he was in great distress. The gospel messages he had heard echoed in his heart, until one text rose to the top of his mind: “But now, once in the end of the world, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” – Heb. 9:26. On October...

My Life – Philippians 1:12-24

I hope that you can see some similarities between these verses and the turmoil of life today. More importantly, I hope that you can see some parallels between Paul’s situation and attitude – and yours. Verse 12 – “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” What has happened to America over the last two weeks has been just short of incredible. I’m not talking about the virus, because there are – and have been – other plagues in this country far worse than this – other diseases, the murder epidemic and, of course, millions of abortions. I’m referring to the government shut down of everything from sports – to business – to churches. One of the effects of this, as far as churches are concerned, is that people, sequestered in their homes, have turned to the internet for spiritual nourishment. Churches which would never have considered reaching out through the internet a month ago, are going on- line by the hundreds. And many bored and frightened shut-ins are hearing the gospel for the first time in their lives. But without a doubt unwise ethernet surfers can find every kind of religion and false faith imaginable. There is heresy and religious ungodliness behind every page of those search engines. And “some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife” – “with contention, not sincerely.” But, thankfully, others, out of love for Christ and suffering souls, preach the gospel of free grace. No doubt, some preachers and churches are using the internet to line their...

Magnificent Mercy – Psalm 138:1-8

  Our country is in serious trouble – our world is in trouble. But it’s not so much the Covid-19 virus as it is our world’s sinful reaction to that virus and the hysteria surrounding it. Knowing that our God controls all things – great and small – Christians should assume that He directs every tiny molecule of that bug. And even if any of us become infected, Jehovah has already ordained whether we will succumb to it or eventually toss it aside like a spring-time cold. There are dozens of ways in which we might more useful and glorious to God if we were sick than in our current good health. But that doesn’t mean we should tempt the Lord by exposing ourselves and others. The problem is that the world refuses to recognize God’s sovereign control of this plague – and last week’s earthquake in Utah – and the tsunami of locusts sweeping through parts of Africa and the Middle East right now. God, in His infinite wisdom most likely has multiple purposes in this pandemic. He intends to use sickness in some people; economic upheaval in others; and spiritual matters in others. And as far as God’s saints are concerned, the effect should be humble submission to His will. We should be praying for the sick – to repent before the Lord, while they are getting well. We should pray that those whose incomes are gone would turn to the Lord who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We should be in prayer that God will use the great upsurge in internet ministries. We should...

February 2020

Much Sickness The sickness that began toward the end of January has continued throughout the month of February within the body of believers and visitors that attend our services. Roxanne and I thank the Lord for His goodness to us since up until now we have not had to suffer from any of those viral infections that have been circulating in the Stillwater area. Two Children Visit Eric, about twelve years old, and his sister, Abby, in the second grade visited one Sunday morning and were in Sis. Roxanne Parrow’s Sunday School class. They are friends of the Torres children and came at their invitation. Young Eric came again to our service on Sunday night, but without his sister. My Active Preaching Ministry Presently, I am finishing the expository preaching of the Gospel of John chapter 19. I am using AW. Pink and John Gill as commentary on this Gospel. This preaching is done during the Sunday morning service, and I give a set of my notes out to all who attend the service. John 19 deals with the death of our Lord and is a wonderful study of His deity and perfect humanity as He is the God-Man. What an example He is for us to follow, although we won’t reach His perfections in this life! We will be like Him, someday, by His grace. Thursday evenings we are studying the articles of faith of our sponsoring church, Calvary Independent Baptist Church. We are presently looking at the doctrine of the resurrection, article number fourteen, of our Confession of Faith. The Lord is blessing these studies with the...

March 29

Ko Tha Byu was a member of the Karen tribe, native to the mountains of Burma. He died in 1840. The Karens were the lowest class of people in Burma. They were usually considered to be “the wild men of the jungle.” Ko Tha Byu was typical of his people and perhaps even worse than most. He confessed that by the time he was fifty he had murdered or assisted in the murder of at least thirty people. After five decades of wickedness and the suffering it caused, Tha decided to settle down and clean up his life. He began working in a print shop that was run by a Baptist missionary. The missionary tried to teach him the meaning of what it was he was printing, but Tha had not yet been readied by the Lord. He left the kindness and blessing of that employment and moved to Moulmein. There he got into debt and eventually found himself standing on the block awaiting to be sold into slavery. Providentially, a Burmese Baptist recognized the potential slave and bought him for 12 rupees. Again the Karen man rebelled, and the Christian turned to Adoniram Judson for advice. Judson reimbursed the man and took Tha home where he was asked to work around the missionary’s house. He learned to read Burmese, and when he read of the crucifixion his eye fell on Christ’s forgiveness of the murderous man on the cross. He was amazed, asking Judson for more information. In time he accepted the truth and by faith was born again. Ko Tha Byu immediately began growing in Christ. On...

Ordering your Cause – Job 23:1-6

Tonight we were to have Bro. Fulton start a new series of messages. I was smiling to myself Sunday when Austin was showing his excitement about beginning this evening. But as most of you know, he returned to Colorado with hopes of getting a few more days of work done before that state closed down completely. It did just that this afternoon. Anyway, you are stuck with me once again. I’ve decided to go back to the subject of prayer, taking up where we left off two weeks ago, and also incorporating a thought or two from Sunday. As you know Job had problems. If Job were an American, how many people might have walked up to him and asked, “How are you doing?” It is customary here to greet people with that question. Over the last several weeks, hasn’t the question been asked with a little more sincerity? “How ya doing?” Well, for me, life is just a bit topsy-turvy. Unusual. Out of ordinary. But my health is fine; I have food in the fridge and pantry; I have a wonderful companion and a library full of books. And the truth is, I don’t personally know of anyone whose current problems are as bad as those of Job. For those who are moaning and groaning about lock-downs and lack of toilet paper, I point them to Job and remind them, things could get worse – perhaps things WILL get worse. Job had problems which can be summarized quite easily. He was suffering great pain with “sore boils from the sole of his foot, unto his crown.” It wasn’t...

March 22

John Gill was born in 1697. His Father, Edward, was a Baptist deacon in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, so John grew up reading the Word of God; he read just about everything else as well. By the time he was 11, he was reading Latin and Greek classics. The local bookseller was open for business only on the weekly market days, but on that day John was there in the store reading and talking to authors as they came by. When he was 12, his father’s pastor preached a message from “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” The sermon was used to bring down the proud young man and a few months later John could look at the wounds and blood of the Lord Jesus as the means to his salvation. On November 1, 1716 he was baptized in the river at Kettering, after which he joined the Baptist church. Almost immediately, he began preaching the gospel. He was called to become the pastor of the church at Horsely-downs, and on this day (March 22) in 1720, at the age of 23 he was ordained to the ministry. In 1769 he published his “Body of Divinity,” and later came his commentary on the Bible. He loved the people of God – both in his church and elsewhere. He was among the first to support the Rhode Island College and its founder James Manning. About 50 years before Gill’s birth, the Tabernacle Fellowship was born in London. Over the years that congregation has had different names, but it has always been a Baptist...

Why was Elijah Translated? – II Kings 2:1,9-13

For some reason or other, over the last year we have considered various things about the Prophet Elijah. These messages haven’t come from any one source or cause – from some book or article I’ve read. And I don’t believe that I have been the one who has preached all those messages. They haven’t been sequential – they have been totally random – and with different purposes. But I will tell you that this week I did read an interesting book on the life of Elijah by F.B. Meyer. And Wednesday when I began asking the Lord for a message, one question rose to the top of my heart, and I couldn’t shake it. I don’t know why – I don’t know what the Lord’s purpose might be – but I feel lead to ask a question for which we don’t have a definitive answer. “Why did Elijah leave the world in the way that he did?” “Why was he translated?” As I was chatting with someone about this question, it was said, “It was because he was so close to the Lord.” We’ve probably all heard this sort of thing – especially about Enoch, the first man to be translated. Genesis 2:18 – “Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And ENOCH WALKED with GOD after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And ENOCH WALKED with GOD: and he was not; for God took him.”...