The Wearing of the Blood – Matthew 27:3-8, 15-26

  There are many people who are offended by any reference to “blood” in modern day religion. To them “religion” is a spiritualized moral philosophy of positive thoughts and actions. As far as I am concerned…..let those people be offended ! We Christians have a choice of offending a few sinful people or offending God. The Lord has said that no man will ever approach His throne without an offering of blood. This is because every man, every woman, every child who has ever breathed the air of earth has been a sinner in God’s sight. And no unholy sinner has ever had access to the Lord. But in the shedding of acceptable blood, and only in the shedding of blood, there is remission of sin. In application of the blood of God’s proscribed sacrifice – righteousness is applied to the sinner. Theologically, it is called “justification” – the imputation of the righteous of the Lamb of God. Those who moan about the bloodiness of Bible Christianity could have it a lot worse. Christianity is the reason why the aisles and parking lot of churches are not stinking with the stench of stale blood. If were not for the influence of Christianity, we’d still be slaughtering chicken, sheep, calves and goats. Blood sacrifices have been a part of most ancient religions from the days of the Babylonians and the barbarians of Europe. Christianity is the reason why some of our daughters’ throats have not slit open with sacred knives. Christianity is the reason why some of our children haven’t been pushed into volcanos or tossed over the rapids on...

September 2

William Francis Luck was born in Campbell County, Virginia in 1801. His Father died when he was young. Even though his Baptist mother did her best to raise William properly, as he matured he became a wild and sinful young man. On this day (September 2) in 1824, Luck married Elizabeth McGann and three years later the couple moved to Tennessee, just east of Nashville, into an area which had been settled and evangelized by strong Separate Baptists. By the grace of God, in the autumn of 1830 William was converted; he was baptized and joined the Pleasant Valley Church of Separate Baptists. Soon after this he felt a call to the ministry and was ordained to that service. At the age of 56, William and his family moved to a site just north of St. Louis, Missouri. where he began to pastor and preach Christ. And then the war started. Bro. Luck was arrested and placed in the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis charged with nothing more than being a “Southern man.” Rather than being discouraged, he understood that it was God’s will that he serve the Lord even in the prison, so he continued his work of evangelism. After several months of confinement, he was released – to the joy of his family and church. William Luck continued his service to Christ until his health failed him. After about a year and half o physical suffering, the Lord took His servant home on December 26,...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 14:12

  As I considered a text for tonight’s devotion I looked at this verse several times. It is one to which we refer very often, and yet I have never preached from it. I considered skipping over it in our current study because its meaning is so obvious. Is there anything about this scripture which you should have not already seen? Is there anything here which most Christians do not already know? I suppose these are not questions I can answer on your behalf – so maybe there IS something here you’ve never considered. For me, I think I’d just feel guilty if I didn’t shine a spot-light down upon it for a few minutes. But how can I make these next few minutes different or special? I wasn’t sure. Then, my mind fell upon an old homiletic trick – alliteration, but I came up with nothing. And then I found five words all ending in with the same two letters – “al.” I used to call that “alliteration,” but when I double checked, I found out that I was wrong. Alliteration only refers to words which begin in the same way – “instruct,” “inspire,” “incite.” Words ending the same way are examples of “homoioteleuton” – (hom-eo-tay-lee-ton). I am going to use the words “individual,” “intellectual,” “migrational,” “eventual” and “terminal” to take apart this scripture and bring to back together again. And now I know there IS at least one thing that you have might learned tonight. Notice that like many scriptures, this speaks to the INDIVIDUAL. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the...

July 2018

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Visitors This Month We had five new first time visitors this month as follows: Sierra McGee, Cory Hardy, Easton Stephens, Travis Barzee, and a young woman named Angel. There is a story that accompanies each of these individuals about which space prohibits writing. However, I will relate the short story about the young woman named Angel. I was about halfway through my message when Angel appeared at the door and came into the short entry of the room that we use for our auditorium. She had long black hair and a black scarf around her shoulders and was nicely dressed. We invited her to come in and be seated, asked her name, and got her a Bible to use and a set of notes for her to follow. Then I resumed my preaching, relating the gospel in summary form before returning to my message. Within five minutes or so she arose and left the building just as quickly as she had come. I asked Bro. Ruben to check on her and within just a few minutes he came back saying that there was an older woman sitting outside who had accompanied Angel but would not come into the building. After the service, Angel came back in and told us that she wanted to know if she were welcome to come to our services. We all quickly assured her that she was welcome to come anytime. They live just a few doors away from our church building. We visited them during our following outreach service and invited them to come back We have not seen them...

Hedges and Hurt – Ecclesiastes 10:1-9

  For some time now, we have been looking at two books – both of which come from the pen of Solomon. It wasn’t intentional on my part, and we were into Ecclesiastes for a few weeks before I realized it. We must remember the penman is not important, because the true author is God, the Holy Spirit. But it is also true that the Spirit used the personalities of each of His amanuenses – His secretaries. The upbringing of Paul, or Daniel, or Moses are a part of the ingredients in our study of their writings. Problems arise when we focus on the penmen, forgetting what the inspiration of the scriptures entailed. “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So the writer of this book was Solomon. His wisdom and general intellect are as proverbial as his Proverbs. From other scriptures we see that he had a scientific mind. Sometimes he used that mind in the search for meaning of life. He had the money, time and other connections to explore philosophy. He also was proven to be an intelligent scientist of the more physical sort. We are told that Solomon created a royal zoo, bringing animals from various corners of the world. This importation of plants and animals was as much for scientific reasons as it was for their beauty and Solomon’s pleasure. With these things in mind, once again, I note that Solomon knew whereof he spoke. He had at times sown to his flesh and from...

God – Both Just and the Justifier – Romans 3:19-26

  Let’s say that a man is worried about robberies in his neighborhood, so he sets up surveillance cameras. They are linked to three computers, making a recording of everything that takes place on his property. Through an ap on his phone, he can view his property in real time wherever he might be. And then the computer inside his house is making a permanent digital recording, which the man erases every Saturday night if there is nothing needed to be saved. But then as a back up, his work computer is making a second recording. One eventful night that property owner comes home and gets into a fight with his wife. He is a violent man and strikes her across the head with the closest thing handy, and she dies. As it happens he has a ready-made alibi because of something earlier that evening. So he goes to his home office and deletes the video on that computer. But he doesn’t realize that a neighbor heard yet another fight at the house and has called the police. They arrive just as he finishes with his computer and as he slips out the back door of his house, racing to his office. The police see body and the cameras all over the house, and because it is still running, they see that there aren’t any video recordings – they must have been recently deleted. And then the neighbor tells them that the man has often boasted of his back-up system at work. The police, knowing they have no time to spare, order an officer downtown to enter the man’s...

August 26

In 1750 Benjamin Foster was born into a Congregational family at Danvers, Massachusetts. He proved to be an intelligent boy and at eighteen earned gained entrance into Yale College, where he quickly excelled. When the subject of baptism came up for discussion before the student body, Foster was chosen to defend the paedo-baptist position – that babies ought to be sprinkled. In preparation for an oral debate he carefully studied the scriptures in both English and Greek, spending time as well searching church history from the time of the Apostles. When the day of the debate arrived, Foster declared that he had come to accept only believer’s baptism by immersion. It’s not known whether the debate was carried out. Bro. Benjamin Foster graduated from Yale a few years before the Revolutionary war. He was baptized and received into the Baptist church in Boston where he continued to study theology. Soon he became pastor of the church in Leicester, and there he was ordained. He preached Christ, authored tracts on Bible doctrine, answered the call to pastor in Newport, Rhode Island, and after the departure of John Gano for Kentucky, he became the pastor of the First Baptist Church in New York. It was there where he died on this day (August 26) in 1798 from yellow fever. There were few men in the country who were Foster’s superior when it came to knowledge of the Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean languages. His tombstone expressed that fact and more – “As a scholar and divine, he excelled; as a preacher he was eminent; as a Christian he shone conspicuously; in his...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 14:10

  Ironically, one of the problems with modern social technology is the isolation which it creates. You’ve probably heard or read articles about this, so I will only point to it and move on. People have several hundred “friends” on Facebook and others on Twitter or other social media. Some may spend hours every day tweeting, tagging, messaging and electronically chatting. But with every hour we spend on our phones there is an hour lost in true fellowship with people. With more technological contact with others, we spend less time in their presence, less touching, less listening to their true voices, listening to their hearts and emotions. A smiling emoji is not the same as a smiling face or the warmth created by glancing into some’s eyes. And yet at the same time, when two friends (lovers) live side-by-side in the same house for 25 years, and they know their partner better than any other person in the world, they will never truly and completely know the soul of that other person. The Bible says that we can’t fully know OUR OWN hearts, let alone the heart of anyone else, no matter how close we are to them. There are traumatic events in our lives, which while the details may be shared with our partner, the emotions or the emotional damage cannot be felt by any other living person. Each of us are like quarter inch pebbles in a mountain stream. Along with many others, we are in the same current, and the water around us is the same temperature. The branch of a tree floats down stream and...

Folly Unfolded – Ecclesiastes 10:1-3

  In creative writing classes, teachers tell their students to write about things which they know personally. There comes the time that we must research things and report on them. But for the sake of a good story, personal experience is the best source of information. It makes for a more entertainment, but beyond story-telling, personal experience is more insightful and therefore more practical. And in that light have you noticed how often Solomon refers to “wisdom” and “folly”? Those are themes bouncing all over the book of Proverbs, like ping-pong ball. And if I counted correctly we find “wisdom versus folly” about two dozen times in this book as well. Solomon knows the subject well; he knows BOTH subjects very well. God gave him a special gift of wisdom in all its important forms – secular and spiritual. And yet his native depravity took him into foolishness and sin to a degree to which only a wealthy king could fall. Yes, he knew both wisdom and folly, and he could therefore address both of them well. I read of a famous man, who was the guest speaker at a luncheon. His wife was with him – along with several important dignitaries – all at the head table. One of the men sitting next to the podium, happened to notice that on this socks was the monogram “TGIF.” His first thought was the phrase about the joy of coming to Friday and the end of the work week. But why was it on his socks? The man’s speech was brilliant and witty, with everyone having a very good time,...

Wisdom in the Little City – Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

  I would like to use Solomon’s words in why in which he never intended. But I do knowing exactly what he meant, so it’s not out of ignorance I am headed in a different direction. What God’s prophet was pointing out is pretty obvious. Where sin controls people – most of our society – Where sin reigns wisdom, righteousness, kindness and many such good things are ignored. Not only ignored, but deliberately rejected and even scorned. I remember a man coming to our house in Lethbridge looking for directions. I gave him the help he wanted and then a bit more, handing him a gospel tract, giving him directions towards heaven. When he left my porch, he wadded up the tract and tossed it onto the lawn. He didn’t just throw it away; he wanted me to know that he scoffed at it. How often have we showed kindness or befriended someone who later turned against us? We see nations, receiving billions of dollars in U.S. aid, turn against us when a better offer comes along. Parents who spoil their children, giving them what demand, often find themselves hated by their kids. An employee designs a great new product, but when the money starts rolling in, his employer forgets who had the original idea. We could probably think of illustration after illustration. “Now there was found in (the little besieged city) it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man (when peace returned to the community.)” Solomon suggests, “This is cruel and inconsiderate, but typical of...