March 3

On this day (March 3) in 1876, Florida became the 27th State in the Union. Three months prior to that date, H.Z. Ardis became one of the first Baptist pastors in the state, taking the reigns of God’s assembly in Madison, a community in the Panhandle. Ardis was born on August 8, 1811 into a South Carolinian Presbyterian home. As a teenager, he made a profession of faith and united with others in constituting a Presbyterian church at Beach Island, S.C., between Aiken and Augusta, GA. There in 1832 he joyfully married the love of his life, but when a baby girl came along the family was nearly destroyed. Upon coming to understand the Bible, H.Z. refused to permit his daughter to be christened, furthermore he felt led of the Lord to be immersed in water. On September 26, 1834 he joined a local Baptist church. Thus he found himself at odds with his mother, all his in-laws and even his wife, but he refused to give up what he knew to be the truth. Rather than despairing, H.Z. began to conduct prayer meetings, and soon after that he was urging sinners to come to Christ. The following January the Union Baptist Church called for his ordination. Even though his wife refused immersion, Bro. Ardis served that congregation for nine years, while at the same time assisting other churches throughout South Carolina. In 1845 Ardis was overcome with poor health. He was urged to move to an even warmer climate, which led him to Madison, Florida. By the grace of God his health improved and he pastored that assembly...

The Day of Gods’ Wrath – I Thessalonians 5:1-10

  This will be a rather unusual message – not for its content, but for its presentation. I almost worded that first statement – “This will be a very unorthodox message,” but that is not the case. “Unorthodox” means – “contrary to what is usual, traditional, or accepted.” That word is usually used in a religious context. This message will not be contrary to the stated doctrine of our church – in fact it is just the opposite. From its inception, Calvary Independent Baptist Church has held to the Premillennial, Pretribulational position in regard to the return of Christ. Article XIV of our Statement of Faith reads: “THE LORD’S RETURN. We believe that Christ Jesus is coming back to earth again; that His return shall be personal, audible, visible, and bodily; that it shall mark the advent of the “day of the Lord” and usher in the millennium; and that He shall in that day turn the tables on Satan, take up the throne of His Father David, put down all His enemies, rule with a rod of iron, triumph over sin, and give the world an example of righteous government during His thousand years of personal reign on earth. We also believe in the imminent return of Christ for his saints. Being thus imminent, it will naturally occur prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble – the tribulation. We also believe that the many promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning a land of inheritance have not yet been fulfilled and that Christ will make good on these promises when He returns in glory to save Israel.”...

January 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Off to a Good Start! The Lord has given us a good start for the new year with four first-time visitors and six returning visitors. Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Desirae Ball came twice this month and her stepson Deacon came with them once. LaShonda Dale, a repeat visitor, brought her two sons, Dona’te and Deonta, and her niece Tyasia, who is a first-time visitor. Additionally, the three children of Bro. Ruben Torres: Brayden, Gaven, and Khloie, came on a Thursday evening for a Bible study class. We thank the Lord for these visitors and hope that they will return as the Lord deals with their hearts. Hispanic Outreach We had an unusual opportunity to witness to a Colombian couple. Isneriban Murillo Buitrago was needing some Spanish documents translated into English for his citizenship test. We were happy to translate those documents for him and also to give him and his wife a copy of Highest Questions – Ultimas Preguntas, to read together. They were very friendly, and the following Monday we received a phone call from him telling us that he had passed his citizenship test. Additionally, we have met two other Mexican men, but have not been able to even give them a gospel tract because of their being incarcerated and closely guarded. Hymn Singing! On January 26, Saturday, several of us from the mission work went down to Bethel Baptist Church in Choctaw, Ok., to participate in their annual time of four hours of singing hymns. It starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 12:00, breaking for lunch until 1:00 and then...

February 24

On this day (February 24) in 1876, George Grenfell and his wife sailed from England to begin missionary work in the Cameroons, Africa. George was raised in the Church of England, but he became attracted to the Sunday School of the Heneage Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. There he was born again, and there he was called into the ministry, having been introduced to the work of David Livingstone. Grenfell attended Bristol Baptist College, but when he heard that missionary Alfred Saker was on furlough, he wrote to him, offering his services. The Lord made it clear that the young man should travel to Africa as an assistant to Saker. When the elder missionary could no longer endure the rigors of missionary life, both men returned to England. On February 11, 1876 Grenfell married his long-time fiancee, and on this day, the two sailed for the Cameroons. Ten years later, in August 1877, Henry Stanley emerged from the African darkness at the mouth of the Congo River. Leaving from the east coast, he had been in search of David Livingstone, and after finding him (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume!”) he had continued westward, eventually sailing down the river to the coast. Although Grenfell was 600 miles to the north, upon hearing the news he raced down to hear what Stanley had to say about the continent’s unexplored interior. The missionary was immediately attracted to the idea of using the mighty Congo River to reach the Christless people of Africa. George Grenfell became the primary explorer of the Congo and the first to carry to gospel of Christ into the heartland...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 19:21

  The most obvious Biblical truths must be taught as often as the most difficult and complicated. Perhaps they need to be taught even more, because we might assume that our neighbors understand them as clearly as we do, when that is not always the case. Sometimes a verse opens up one of those foundational doctrines so easily that the teacher can’t ignore it. We have that here. This scripture compares God’s omnipotence to man’s impotence. We hear God’s sovereignty expressed in Solomon’s typical poetical style. It may be called “Hebrew parallelism” when in fact there is nothing parallel about this comparison. The flight of a Boeing 747 may be roughly the same direction as that of a bumble bee, but one is at 36,000 feet above the ground and the other is at one foot. One weighs 800,000 pounds and the other half a gram. One is nearly impossible to stop while the other can be squashed like a bug. This verse suggests five areas of great difference between the devices of man and the counsel of God. There is an obvious difference in the SOURCE of these devices and counsels. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We are comparing men and God. A moment ago I mentioned a Boeing 747 and a bee. Doing the math, the aircraft is about 363 million times heavier than the Bumble bee. That doesn’t begin to properly express God’s “weight” above ours. “What is man that God should be mindful of him?” Man and God aren’t in the same universe...

The Law of Christ – Galatians 6:1-2

  The Lord has a great many wonderful names and titles. Each of them reveal different aspects of His nature and His relationship to creation. Thousands of pastors and Bible teachers have taught through them – blessing their churches.. That is something I have considered but never done, but I have addressed many of those names and titles individually. This afternoon I want to bring your attention to one of those titles – one of my least favorites. I often refer to the fruit of this office without directly mentioning the title on the door. To neglect this subject is to improperly preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am referring to the title “Lawgiver.” I am much more comfortable with “Judge” than I am “Lawgiver,” but they are closely related. In God’s government there is no distinction between the executive, legislative and judicial offices. Because God is one – and completely sovereign – He is King, Lawgiver and Judge. As a title, “Lawgiver” is given to Jehovah twice – once in each Testament. Isaiah uses the three titles I just mentioned in his 33rd chapter. – “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” Isaiah 33 is filled with glorious promises of God’s future blessings on Israel – and ultimately to us. Jehovah is ISRAEL’S lawgiver, but because he is King, Judge and Lawgiver over all His creation, the wicked – universally – will pay for their rebellion against him. I could see only one other verse which calls God our “Lawgiver.” Amidst exhortations...

January 17

This little note may not be as serious as most, but it is interesting. On this day in 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected as the third president of the United States by the House of Representatives. Elder John Leland who had been a neighbor of both Congressman James Madison and Thomas Jefferson was delighted with the results, because he had helped to clarify the principles of liberty in the minds of both men. To help celebrate the great political victory, Leland, who was then pastoring in Cheshire, Massachusetts, collected the milk from 900 local, loyal Republican cows and brought it into town where the citizens gathered singing hymns, socializing and making cheese. The milk was processed into a mammoth cheese wheel 4 feet 4 inches in diameter, 15 inches think and weighting 1,235 pounds. Bro. Leland and Darius Brown loaded up the cheese and set off for Washington, DC. During the trip they used a sleigh, a wagon and a sloop to carry the cheese to Baltimore. As news of the gift spread, crowds gathered and Leland preached the gospel to multitudes. Upon arrival in Washington, Jefferson welcomed the Baptists to the executive mansion. Leland said that the great cheese “was not made… with a view to gain dignified titles or lucrative offices, but by the personal labor of freeborn farmers, without a single slave to assist, for an elective president of the free people.” Leland remained in the capital for several days preaching Christ at various public venues. Federalist congressman Manessah Cutler, no friend of either Jefferson or the Baptists, described the preacher as a “poor, ignorant, illiterate...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 19:18

  I really hesitated about addressing this verse tonight. Some of you have waded through deep snow , driving on ice, to meet here. Some will be getting home quite late and yet you still come. If this devotion is all you come away with, you might think the blessing hasn’t been worth the struggle. I don’t want anyone to feel that their time with us has been spent in vain. “The message tonight had nothing to do with me.” I heard a wise man say the other day that the preacher should always consider his audience. Do those here tonight need this message? Only the Lord knows for sure. But using the internet, I never really know who our audience might be. Whether in person or through some other means, these are reasons to pour our hearts into the musical worship part of the service. I hope you come with a desire to seek the face of God with other believers. To avoid this verse, I could have used the excuse that we’ve looked that this theme already. Proverbs 13:24 – “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” But I can’t remember how much time I actually spent on that thought. And then as I meditated on this well-known verse here in chapter 19, it fell apart into four parts. It easily developed into an outline for study. Above it all, I feel that it’s the Lord’s will for us tonight, and we may skip over some of the related verses which come up later in this book. “Chasten...

Providence as Illustrated in Philemon – Philemon 1-25

  How much of a roll does God play in the affairs of men? That is a theological “hot potato,” and it has been for centuries. It may be the single most divisive subject among today’s Baptists. This church has lost members because they couldn’t see what I think is impossible to miss. And I’ve lost members from other churches I’ve pastored. Sometimes we can talk peaceably about the subject, but then when one of the few buzz words are mentioned the sky seems to fall. So I’m going to try to refrain from using those words this morning – not that this eliminates the problem. There are people in this world who call themselves “atheists.” – in the opposite camp are the “theists.” Together, they are like the Israelites and the Philistines squaring off across the Valley of Elah. Some believe in God while others think that any deity is a myth and a crutch for the weak-minded. Sadly, not all theists believe in the same kind of god. It seems that some people’s god’s are weaker than others’. There are professing Christians who might speak of God, calling Him “Elohim,” “Jehovah” and even “Christ Jesus,” but they do not ascribe to him the same kind of God-hood that we do. For example, there are professing Christians who do not believe in a miracle-working god. And there are professing Christians who believe that god learns things as they take place, just the same way that we do. There are professing Christians whose god needs human help in order to save people. But is a god who is not...

February 10

John Meglamare was born in 1730. His parents were Presbyterians, and through them John grew up very concerned about his soul. But concern is not enough. Prior to his conversion he moved to North Carolina where he began to hear the gospel preaching of several Baptists. As an adult at the age of 34 he was born again and was subsequently immersed in water, joining the Kehukee Baptist Church. There he grew quickly in the doctrines and service of his Saviour. Soon after his conversion, Bro. Meglamare began preaching the gospel both at home and itinerantly in North Carolina and northern Virginia. His church saw the Lord’s blessings in his ministry, and called for his ordination. That took place on this day in 1767. When his pastor died, the congregation looked to the newly ordained man of God to assume the pulpit. He served the Kehukee church for five years. After several visits to Sussex County, Virginia, a group of believers there sought to have a local Baptist church where they could attend regularly. They pleaded with Bro. Maglamare to settle among them. After much prayer, he felt that was God’s will, and a church with eighty-seven members was formed. Over time four other churches came into existence with God’s blessings and Bro. Meglamare’s regular visits. Eventually he settled into a new ministry at Blue Run Baptist Church and God’s blessings abounded even more. At the age of 56 John Meglamare moved to Kentucky, beginning a new phase of his ministry. He he served the Lord in that region for the last twenty years of his...