Just Stop and Think About It

Proverbs 21:12 The righteous man wisely considereth the  house of the wicked…

This statement jumped off the page at me and made me want to praise the Lord. I have had people say about me that I am controlling. I see it as having a  desire for the Word of God to direct me. I want the Bible to control me. I fall down and get back up, but I go back wanting Him to control me. His way is perfect. I want that for my marriage and my children. I want Him to control them. What is the opposite of control? Rebellion. I don’t want to see anyone rebelling against God. So I’m guilty.

The Bible says that the righteous man “wisely considereth.” Strong’s concordance  defines it as “to be circumspect and hence, intelligent.” To study to make a wise and intelligent decision. To be honest right here, I have to say that to study anything, I have to have something to compare it to. I do; it’s the Holy Bible, King James Authorized Version. So when God tells me to judge the wicked man’s house, the way his kids act, what they are obsessed with, his ruin and sorrow, I’m not really the one who is judging him, I’m only measuring him by the divine ruler and my Father is teaching me what not to do and what to protect my family from. So, praise the Lord!

 

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May 27th.

May 27, 1771 – Benjamin Merrill was arrested by three divisions of British General Tryon’s army near the Jersey Baptist church in North Carolina, and whisked away to nearby Hillsboro for trial. What was this Baptist laymen’s crime, who had been a convert of Shubal Stearns, pastor of the famed Sandy Creek Baptist Church? He had refused, along with his Baptist and Quaker brethren, to bow before the Anglican authorities when they levied taxes against them, for the upkeep of their state church and the salary of their pastors. They also refused to allow the Baptist and Quaker pastors to perform marriages. There was also other unjust taxation without representation. Tryon had also built the most palatial “Government House” in all of English America. The sentence of death against Merrill on June 16 read as follows: “I must now close my afflicting duty by pronouncing upon you the awful sentence of the law, which is that you, Benjamin Merrill, be carried… to the place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck; that you be cut down while yet alive; that your bowels be taken out while you are yet alive and burnt before your face; that your head be cut off, and your body divided into four quarters, and this be at his Majesty’s disposal; and the Lord have mercy on your soul.” Merrill’s family was present to see this gruesome scene. Just as in the book of Acts, persecution caused the early church to scatter, preaching the gospel everywhere they went; so the Sandy Creek folks spread out into Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Some returned to Virginia where God blessed their efforts. The “Bible Belt” was really the “Separatist Baptist Belt”

 

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May 26th.

May 26, 1826 – Ann Judson wrote a lengthy, heartrending letter to her brother-in-law, Dr. Judson, relating the details of the inhuman suffering that Adoniram had endured during his imprisonment. Some might conclude that God had forgotten His servant, but such was not the case. But let another event in the life of the great missionary prove our point. Dr. Judson, while ministering to the heathen of India, also became burdened for others to the point that he raised $1,000 for a mission to Palestine, which he urged the Baptist Union to establish. But to his great regret, the enterprise was not undertaken. But many years later, actually two weeks before his death, Mrs. Judson read to him from Dr. Hague’s journal of travels in the East, that he learned that a tract that had been published in Germany giving an account of Dr. Judson’s labors in Ava; that it had fallen into the hands of some Jews, and had been the means of their conversion; and it had reached Trebizond [a Grecian state], where a Jew had translated it for the Jews of that place; that it had awakened a deep interest among them …and that a request had been made for a missionary to be sent to them from Constantinople. Mrs. Judson adds, “His eyes were filled with tears, when I had done reading…then in a look of almost unearthly solemnity came over him, and clinging fast to my hand…he said: ‘Love, this frightens me…I never was deeply interested in any object, I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything, but it came; at some time, no matter at how distant a day; somehow, in some shape, probably the last I should have desired, it came. And yet I have had so little faith…!’”

 

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What It Means To Be Independant Fundamental Baptist

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the so-called “expose” of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches that aired recently on ABC’s 20/20. I will save you the viewing by calling it demonizing, a witch hunt or a smear campaign. The purpose of this blog entry is not to answer the questions raised in the episode, nor to dispute or agree with the claims made by disgruntled former members. What I wish to do is to shed light for those of you who may have never attended an Independent Baptist church, and to tell you what they are all about and what they stand for and against. First, I would like to give you an insight into how I became an Independent Baptist. I was raised in a Missionary Baptist church in rural Arkansas. At the age of seven I became aware of my sin and my need for a Saviour. I was led to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour in my bedroom by my mother. I walked the aisle of that church the next morning and professed that I had been Born-again. My pastor wasn’t sure so he said we would wait to talk about baptism. After church I kept insisting that I had been saved, so he instructed my Grandfather, who was one of his deacons to get the baptistry ready for that evening’s service. I grew up in that church. It was old-fashioned and fundamental. It wasn’t independent, however.

As I grew into my teenage years, I was led astray by friends and acquaintances to the wilder side of life. I strayed for many years from walking with my Lord, years I can never get back. I did things that I am ashamed of, but I am thankful that on February 2nd, 1996, the Lord got through to me and I found forgiveness and restoration for my life in the service of the Lord. I had not lost my Salvation. I had lost my way. Thank God, He never lost track of me. I surrendered to the ministry and within six months was preaching in a Southern Baptist church. From the beginning I felt that things weren’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, then things became clearer. Where was the King James Bible that I had heard preached from all my life? What was all the emphasis on making Jesus the Lord of your life instead of calling on Him to be your Saviour? I began to read and do research into the Southern Baptists and the more I saw the more I knew I was in the wrong group. I knew I was a Baptist, but what kind? I saw Southern Baptists with an earthly headquarters in Nashville, TN. I looked back upon the Missionary Baptists of my youth and saw their loyalty to associations. Both were filled with boards and committees that were unscriptural. Then God led me to the Independent Baptists.

My next-door neighbor had a tape album from a publisher called the Sword of the Lord by a preacher named Curtis Hutson. His message, titled “Christ and His Co-workers” set my soul aflame to witness about the saving Blood of Jesus to a lost and dying world. I began to be interested in the messages from these Independent Baptist preachers. They addressed sin in their sermons, that is, they called it by name. They didn’t tickle my ears. They stepped on my toes. I loved it, and I wanted more. I became convicted about the New King James bible that I had been influenced to buy and got an old King James. I began witnessing to lost people and began seeing Christ saving souls. To make a long story short, I have been an Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher for over 14 years. To say that I am offended by the 20/20 piece is an understatement. So please, let me define what an Independent Fundamental Baptist is.

First of all we are INDEPENDENT. Just as there are no two snowflakes alike, there are no two preachers alike nor are there two churches alike. We don’t all talk the same, preach the same, dress the same or have the same music. We reserve the right to be different when it comes to non-essentials. We don’t all have the same heroes. I have learned over the years if you want to fellowship with another brother, keep the men you admire to yourself. There are men within our ranks whom I greatly admire and then there are those who’s church door I would never darken. I have known some of the most humble, faithful, sincere, loyal, hardworking, dedicated men who were Independent Baptist preachers and I have known some of the most arrogant, stubborn, megalomaniac, controlling jerks as well. I suspect you can take a sampling of any group in Christendom and find the same results. Truth is, we are all men, we’re sinners saved by Grace and we have different personalities.

Second of all, we are FUNDAMENTAL. Many Baptists are frightened of that word. I for one embrace it. But why are they afraid? Is it because the national media began talking about fundamentalist Muslim radicals? It is because of the fundamentalist Mormons who dominated the news a couple years back? I tell you, I think some Baptists are scared of their own shadow. Baptists have let the Pentecostals scare them out of their shout and their use of the term “Holy Ghost.” They have forgotten where they came from and don’t know where they are going. We were all Fundamentalists until the 1950’s or so. But now for a definition. A fundamental is an integral part of something. For example, an engine is a fundamental of an automobile, a radio is not. Wheels are a fundamental, an air conditioner is not. Baseball has fundamentals, so does basketball. If you remove batting from baseball, you don’t have it anymore. It has become something else. There are things which make up Christianity. Without them it is gone. They are as follows:                                                            1. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God)   2. The Blood Atonement (His Blood paid the price for our sins)                            3. The Virgin Birth (Christ was born of a virgin as prophesied in the Old Testament)                                                                                                                                       4. The Bodily Resurrection (He arose bodily from the grave)                                    5. The Inerrancy of the Scriptures (The Bible is perfect and without error and is preserved for the English speaking world in the King James Bible)                   That is what I believe. I would die for those things. Without them you don’t have Christianity. To believe them makes you a fundamentalist. Maybe you were and didn’t know it. If so, don’t be afraid to embrace the title.

Lastly, I’m a BAPTIST. It doesn’t mean that is my denomination. It means that I believe the Bible to be true and that I use it for faith and practice. I have a rich history of fathers in faith who have bled and died for the things that I hold dear. For more info on this point, see my Blog titled, “I’m a Big B Baptist.” So there you have it. I’ve told you a lot and yet I haven’t even scratched the surface. If I can sum it up in a sentence, we are believers who hold to the Bible and seek to lead the lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ while standing against worldliness, corruption and humanism. God bless.


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Straining at Gnats and Swallowing Camels

Matthew 23:24     Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat , and swallow a camel.

I usually don’t lift a verse out of the narrative and build a blog around it, but today this one seemed to fit my frustration. I find myself venting often on this blog, and I don’t mean to come across as arrogant or a know it all. I just become pained when I hear people who claim to be trusting Christ nitpicking over things that have no bearing on whether or not a person goes to Heaven or Hell. Being a pastor, I have run into many “experts” over the years who claim to have found something that no one else has and they want to push their pet convictions on me. I have heard those who are into the Hebrew numbering system and claim to be able to predict the Antichrist or the date of the Rapture, or then there are those who claim that all our methods are corrupted by the Catholic church. I freely admit that many today embrace traditions they don’t understand and should do some research and ask some questions. If you are a Baptist, I would suggest you study Baptist history instead of taking it for granted. Some today are turning back to Judaism with all its holy days and dietary laws in an attempt to be more “pure” while accepting much of the world that the Bible is specifically against. Then there are those who can’t discern literal from parable when reading the Bible. It all gives me a headache. What’s worse, it takes away from the main thing, soul-winning. Why can’t Christians see the simplicity of the Bible’s message. It is not a Rubik’s cube that is hard to solve, it is bread for the Believer. If Satan can get Christians to chase their tails over side issues, they will ignore the task at hand, which is reaching the lost with the Gospel. Brothers and Sisters, if you knew you only had a week until Christ came for you, wouldn’t you be about His business instead of trying to persuade the world about your pet doctrine? It seems sometimes that everybody is an expert, but no one is doing anything. Oh! I’m sure the Lord is grieved.

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Shackles or Freedom?

It should really come as no surprise. We have all heard it preached from the pulpit. We have sung about it in the songs from the hymnbook, yet when it comes we are taken aback, caught off guard and even shocked. What I am talking about is persecution. I think most believers expect it from the left-wing liberal crowd, the news media and Hollywood, but when it comes from those close to us it comes as a shock. I want to offer some insight as to why this is. Again, we know that the lost around us hate us because of our faith in Christ and our hope in Him. Jesus told us that.

John 15:18-19                                                                                      18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.                                                                                                                                                   19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Plain and simple. If you are not of the world, the world will hate you. You will not find friendship with the world. You will not find popularity with the world. If you are going to be popular with Christ, you will be hated by the world. If you are going to be friends with Christ, you will be the enemy of this world. It’s not that we want to be hated or try to be hated, it’s because of the hatred for Christ, and our love for Him that we are hated. Let’s face it, the person that is not born-again does not want to be under the rule of God. It is a bitter rebellion. I think this all goes without saying to the average Christian, but what I am focusing on today is why some who claim to be Christians (I am not the judge of whether they are or aren’t), turn and lash out and try to defame those who want to live their lives according to the Word of God. Listen carefully to the Scripture.

II Timothy 3:12-13                                                                                                                     12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.                                                                                                                                   13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

If you make up your mind to live according to the Word of God, by God’s grace and with God’s help, if you have firm convictions and will not budge, you will be an outcast and a weirdo. You should expect to be ridiculed and called a cultist. We are living in dark days and perilous times. Christians are being seduced by the world away from Bible principles and are accepting evil practices as normal. The Bible is very clear as to how our stance should be in the midst of accusations, no matter where or who they come from.

Titus 2:11-15
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Notice that the Scripture tells us to live for God in this present world. Nowhere in the Word of God are we instructed to mingle with the wicked and godless. We are to be a peculiar people. That means to those who do not want to live for God we will appear to be strange, weird, or odd because we are His possession. Don’t let your pride keep you from being what God would have you to be. Don’t let fear of persecution cause you to cow down when worldly Christians mock you for your stand. We are told by the Bible to speak, exhort and rebuke with all authority. It says that we shouldn’t let them despise us. We have God to stand with us. If we are standing with God then we have nothing to hang our heads about. Realize that it is not really you that they are against, it is the God you serve and His authority.

So as to why we may be attacked by other Christians; it is a simple matter that has a simple explanation. If they are truly Born-again there was a time when they had a heart that wanted to please the Lord. A new Believer wants to do just that. There is a realization that the Christ Who saved their soul would never put them in bondage, but wants them close to His side and protected by the fence of His Word from the wolves of this world that seek to destroy them. There is a reason Christ refers to us a sheep. We are prone to wander. The problem begins when a Christian begins to backslide out of the will of God. Suddenly, there is the feeling of separation from Christ and the guilt that goes with it. They have wandered like the prodigal son and now look back to the Father’s house and assume that they will have to be a slave rather than a son. Let’s not forget that Satan relishes to have a Christian in this position. He often uses a backslidden Christian to attack those who are not. They look back at those who are close to the Lord and see that closeness as bondage. They begin to see them as crazy to live godly and see their convictions as “cultish”. The reason is that they have adopted the mindset of the world around them. Dear reader, if you are close to the Lord today, you know that there is freedom and liberty in that closeness. You do not see it as shackles and bondage. If you are in the other crowd, and have been attacking people for wanting to hold to the Word of God, ask the Lord honestly to show you what is the truth. Is it shackles or freedom? He waits for your prayer.

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Perilous Times

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, nuclear meltdowns, terrorist attacks, economic crisis, political corruption, moral coll apse, out of control rising fuel and food costs, calls for a new world order, and the list goes on and on. It’s truly the end of the world as we know it. Unless you know your Bible or you are simply turning a blind eye, chances are you are very concerned for the future. The headlines from the events of recent days read more and more like Scripture as earthquakes and wars continue with more frequency. The secular news media and Hollywood would have us to believe that these things are related to predictions from Nostradamus or ancient civilizations, but to the Bible believing Christian it is nothing more than a fulfillment of prophecy.

Matthew 24:4-8
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Where are we on God’s timetable? We are living in the last moments before the Tribulation period. The world is being prepared for a major collapse and crisis of the most incredible proportions. Dear reader, if you are trusting in the shed Blood of Jesus Christ the Saviour to pay the debt for your sins then you have nothing to fear. If, however, you are trusting in religion, science, or in your own morality, you are in horrific danger.

God’s Word has made it plain that His church will be out of here before the Antichrist begins to reign. A study of II Thessalonians chapter 2 tells us that the son of perdition, who is the Antichrist, will not be revealed until He that letteth be taken out of the way. That Person is the Holy Ghost of God Who indwells every true Believer. When the Believers are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, then the Antichrist will come onto the scene to corral the chaos and will appear to be a saviour. Also, in Revelation 4:1 John the Apostle states, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” This verse is immediately after the last mention of the church on earth in the book of Revelation. It gives us the voice, the trumpet and the catching up. Compare this with another passage on the rapture of the Lord’s church.                                                          I Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Another thing to consider is Revelation 5:9, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” This can only be the Lord’s church in Heaven. This comes before the Tribulation is under way.

But as for these perilous times….

II Timothy 3:1-5
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

To bring this down on a personal level, last Sunday night after church we were eating in a local restaurant and behind us was a table where there were five or six couples, mostly in their thirties. On the wall was a plasma screen television that was turned to one of the cable news channels and they were broadcasting breaking news of the tsunami aftermath. The first thing I noticed about this group was their constant use of foul language. They looked nice enough, in fact, most people would have called them good ol’ boys and their wives, but they couldn’t seem to make a sentence without peppering it with curse words. I have to admit, I get angry when people use that kind of language within earshot of my children and it was taking everything I had in me not to turn around and give them a piece of my mind, and maybe a sermon as well. What struck me the worst wasn’t their disregard for the young children seated at the next table, it was their reaction to the footage of people being killed by the tsunami in Japan. They were laughing and making jokes about the Japanese being so stupid as to not get away from the destruction in time. They also remarked that a tsunami should hit other parts of the world and get rid of other people. Without natural affection, proud, heady, highminded, fierce and the list keeps going. Perilous times have come. Lost souls are perishing all around us. The end is truly near. Are you prepared to meet God?





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