Doorway to a Decade – I Peter 1:13-23

In which camp are you? There are people who believe each new decade begins on January 1, in a year which ends in 1. They correctly say that life began on the first day of the first year of time – January 1, 01. So our next decade will begin on January 1, 2021. Back in 1999, the US Naval Observatory, the agency that maintains the country’s master clock, was asked to determine when new millennium would begin. It was their official position that the 21st century and second millennium would begin on Jan. 1, 2001. And when the Farmer’s Almanac agrees that must set it in stone. But common society often doesn’t care about facts, science and details. So there so many who say our last decade ended Tuesday, and with 2020 we have begun a new ten year period. In which camp do you belong? Of course it doesn’t really matter, because Jehovah, who is not bound by time, nevertheless governs time. He has stopped the solar clock a time or two, and in Exodus 12:2 He even changed the calendar. And when He did that He gave us grounds to make any New Year a time of new beginnings, whether it is also a beginning a new decade or a new century. As I say in Exodus 12:2 God changed the Jewish calendar. I doubt very much that the Egyptians or anyone else paid any attention. Assuming they had a calendar, they just kept on with the system they had in place. But I wonder if different countries had their own calendars, and if so, did...

January 5

On this day (January 5) in 1527 two well-known Anabaptists paid the price for their faith in Christ and their love for the Word of God. George Balurock was stripped to the waist and beaten nearly to death, and Felix Manz was drowned in Lake Zurich. Many historians look at a few notable Anabaptists and conclude they were all a bunch of lunatics and heretics. Almost no one but Baptist scholars and a few related to the Mennonites, ever spend time researching the true history of these people. But Franklin Littell, a Protestant historian, fifty years ago, wrote, “Information on the [Anabaptists] groups as been notoriously scarce and has rested in the main upon hostile polemics (vicious attacks).” Based on the promise of God that the church could not have been destroyed, he believed that the Anabaptists were that true church. Roland Bainton connects Anabaptist with the ancient Donatists, acknowledging that “the parallels between the Anabaptists and Donatists were… more than superficial.” And then he added, “To call these people Anabaptist, that is re-baptizers, was to malign them, because they denied that baptism was repeated, inasmuch as infant baptism is no baptism at all. They called themselves simply Baptists, not re-Baptists. The offensive name was fastened upon them in order to bring them under the penalty of the Justinian Code against the Donatists” – so that they might be punished and put to death. William Estep wrote in 1963, “Scholars of preceding generations have leaned heavily upon the highly partisan and quite unreliable accounts of sixteenth-century … writings of … Zwingly … Menius … Bullinger and … Fisher, to...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 29:13

On Monday night’s evening news I saw a video of a SUV upside down at some intersection in North Spokane. The explanation was that there had been a collision with another vehicle. There were no major injuries, but the driver of the SUV had been hanging upside down in her car for some time before the firemen were able to extricate her. Of course, neither driver left home, or work that day, expecting to be in an accident. Both of them were carrying out their business, perhaps stopping here and there to buy gas, get some groceries, drop kids off, leave a bid for a job, pick up supplies or whatever. Perhaps one of them even started that journey an hour or two before the other. They didn’t know each other, but in a circuitous way, they came to that intersection at the same time. Obviously, someone was at fault, but no charges were filed, so I don’t know who caused the accident. If there was genuine fault, we might describe one of the drivers as the poor, unfortunate victim. The other will be issued a ticket, and depending on the investigation, perhaps spend time in jail. I give you that illustration to get us pointed in the right direction in regard to verse 13 – “The poor and the deceitful man meet together; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes.” First, let’s consider the TRAVELERS. One of them is described as “deceitful.” There are eight Hebrew words translated “deceitful” in our Bibles, and most are more common than this one. When I read Bro. Strong’s explanation of this particular...

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ – II Corinthians 8:9

  As an introduction to today’s message, let’s begin with an entirely different mini-sermon. Gambling. Gambling (betting, wagering, lotteries) is one of the lesser condemned vices of our modern society. But it stands in opposition to some important Christian principles, and therefore it is sin. Despite what Christian gamblers might say, it is a fungus which grows on the rotten medium of covetousness. Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conversation” – let your life – “be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…” Because we already have something which gamblers can never win – “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Gambling preys on others; it is a form of sanitized theft – profiting from the losses of someone else. But Galatians 6:10 says– “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do GOOD to all men.” By every honest measurement, betting is bad stewardship of the blessings God has given to us. And it leaves an ungodly testimony before the eyes of other Christians. To paraphrase Paul, “Wherefore, if gambling makes my brother to offend, I will not wager while the world standeth, let I make my brother to offend” – I Corinthians 8:13. It produces bad fruit in the gambler and is contrary to the fruit of the Spirit. There is an epidemic of gambling in this country today that is eating out the heart of our society. It is advertised as a form of entertainment, and those who can’t think rationally or logically are buying into it. If gambling is entertainment, it is akin to the entertainment of Russian...

December 29

Phillipp Bliss died on this day in 1876, at the young age of 38. His name was originally spelled with 3 p’s and 2 l‘s – “Phillipp, ” but he didn’t like the spelling so he chopped it down and chopped it apart to Philip P. Bliss. Eventually he was known simply as P.P. Bliss. He was born in Rome (Pennsylvania) in 1838. When he was 12 he was born again, and after his immersion he joined the Baptist church at Tioga, Pennsylvania. Following his marriage to a talented poet/musician, he fought in the Civil War, before moving to Chicago to become a music writer, publisher and singer. He often assisted D.L. Moody and others in their evangelistic campaigns. In December 1876, after having spent some time with his mother and sister, Bliss and his wife were headed back to Chicago on the Pacific Express when a bridge collapsed near Ashtabula, Ohio and the train plunged 60 feet into a ravine, where the steam locomotive exploded. Philip escaped through a window, but when he couldn’t find his wife, he crawled back into the burning rail car where he found her trapped, and there they died together. P.P. Bliss wrote hundreds of hymns, many of which are still being sung regularly. Different people might select different Bliss hymns as their favorite, but at this point in my life, I think my favorite Bliss hymn would be “It is Well with My...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 29:18

There are three powerful, often quoted, verses in chapter 29. For example there is verse 1 – “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” That is a scripture worthy of memorization and regular repetition – even we need to be reminded. I hope you have verse 25 stored away in your heart – “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” We’ll come back to that in a minute, as well as verse 18 – “Where there is no vision the people perish.” After these three there weren’t really any of these Proverbs which jumped out at me, demanding our attention. I was looking for something which might be appropriate for the season, but I didn’t see any. So I have only a few passing remarks before we take prayer requests and go to God’s throne of grace. Verse 18 is an interesting scripture sandwiched within a common theme. “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.” The verbs in verses 17 and 19 are the same Hebrew word – “correct.” But more often than “correct” the word is translated “instruct,” so we could place that word in there to see if our understanding changes at all. “INSTRUCT thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” A servant will NOT be INSTRUCTED by words: for though he...

Silence in Heaven – Revelation 8:1-5

I believe in God’s sovereignty and His predestination of events – both human and divine. Amen? Do you believe that God has predestinated ALL things? Not so many “amens” for that statement? Most Christians are agreed that the Lord has predetermined the really big things. For example, Jehovah decreed and determined to create the universe. With the measurements of men, how long before creation did the Lord determine to create? The question is foolish, but the fact remains, the Lord intended to create before He actually did so. And the Lord decreed before the creation of the world that Adam would sin, and He also chose to save some of Adam’s descendants. The method of that salvation was decreed as well. The incarnation of God’s Son was not an afterthought, taken up when Israel failed to glorify the Lord. In other words, it was foreordained that Christ be crucified; His death was not a horrible mix-up of plans. Christ “verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Additionally, “he hath chosen us in (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God’s foreknowledge and predestination involves your salvation if you are indeed a child of God. But are you willing to say that God’s predestination extends down to the death of a sparrow or the descent of a particular hail stone or even a snow flake? If we are willing to make that statement or even to think that thought, dare we go any farther in applying it?...

Almost Persuaded to What? – Acts 26:24-30

It goes without saying that one of the great themes of the Bible is “Christianity.” It is not the only theme or even the greatest, but it is near the top of the list. The Bible tells us how to become a Christian, and how a Christian ought to behave. But as many of you know the word “Christian” is found only three times in the Scriptures. The first time – in Acts 11:26 – we are told – “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” The disciples of Christ – the followers of Christ – have been called “Christians” since early in history. Later Peter speaks of disciples generally, saying, “if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” The term “Christian” was not a glorious one – not even a polite one. It was often spoken with a sneer in the voice. It was as derogatory as any nickname, or epithet, that wicked people use today. Was that how Rome’s Jewish puppet king spoke the word here in our text – or was he being serious? Acts 26:28 – “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Did Agrippa have any idea what it was to be a genuine “Christian?” Or was he looking at the disciples of Christ from the other direction – with malice and ignorance? I want to give the man the benefit of the doubt – that he was as sincere as his corrupted heart could be. But still, immediately after asking his question he got...

November 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Month of Praise and Thanksgiving As last month we reported as being a somewhat difficult month, this month we have some answers to prayer to report. LaShonda Dale reported that the Lord has answered prayer for her concerning a new job. She was working nights for a Senior Living Community and is now going to work for DHS in the area of Adult Protective Services. She and her family are rejoicing in this new job and are thanking the Lord for providing it for them. Working at night has ended and she now has weekends off, better income, and a better level of work. Another New Visitor The Lord sent us another new visitor, Miss Tori Marshall, a post graduate student from Tennessee, working on her PHD in agriculture. She came only once but told us she was going to be out of town during the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope that she will return to visit with us agam. Our Spanish Outreach Contact with Spanish speaking people has once again slumped although we did have the opportunity to be in contact with seven different Mexican families and individuals. We know that the Roman Catholic Church is permitting a group of young married couples to have their own Bible study in which they take turns giving their own opinions about what certain portions of the Bible mean to them. It is a “blind leading the blind” situation. Would to God they would come to our services and let me teach them; but such is not the case. The Word of God is not for “private...

December 22

Andrew Tribble was one of the first Baptists in Virginia. He often declared that he was the fifty-third Baptist on the north side of the James River. Some of the people with whom he fellowshipped were Lewis and Elijah Craig, John Waller and James Childs. Bro. Tribble was most likely baptized by James Reed who rode down from North Carolina for that purpose. Bro. Tribble began the itinerant preaching the gospel of Christ and was one of the forty-four Baptists imprisoned in Virginia for serving his Saviour without a license. He was incarcerated in the Fredericksburg gaol for forty-eight days. His first pastorate was at the Baptist church in Albemarle County. It was near the home of Thomas Jefferson. Years later, Tribble, testified that after Jefferson had visited the Albemarle church for several months, the preacher asked him what he thought about the government and management of the church. Jefferson replied that it struck him with great force and had interested him much. He considered it to be the only pure form of democracy that then existed in the world and had concluded that it would be the best plan of government for the American colonies. Nothing was said about Jefferson’s conversion to Christ. In 1783 the Tribbles followed the example of the Craigs and others by moving to Kentucky. There he organized the Tates Creek Baptist Church, serving that congregation until his death on this day in...