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Showing posts from February, 2021

Unsettled

I know a great deal about nursing, especially cardiovascular and intensive care. It had entered my mind on several occasions to go into nursing education but I could not settle on that idea. Instead of going into a Master of Nursing Education program or a Nurse Practitioner program, I decided to stay at the bedside and go to seminary. On May 3, 2019, I graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Theological Studies degree. While I was attending seminary an idea entered into my mind to write a book about nursing and the law of Christ. However, I became distracted with the idea of further education but could not settle on what to study.  For the past twenty-one months I have been moving from one idea to another. I have been accepted into several doctoral programs. I was accepted into the ThM program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with plans to use that as a bridge to PhD in church history because I have a great deal of interest in church history, e

Paradise, Brokenness, and the Gospel

This morning I have on my mind: paradise, brokenness, and the Gospel.  The thief on the cross, even when Jesus was hanging on the cross beside him, pleaded:  “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  And He (Jesus) said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” ( Luke 23:43) Who would not want to be in paradise? The sad reality is that we are not in paradise, we are in brokenness. Sometime we are diluted to think that we are in paradise but at some point brokenness will enter into our lives. The first man and first woman were expelled from the paradise of God because they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil despite the commandment of God.  The reason that we are in brokenness is sin. We could blame Adam and Eve for our brokenness, we could blame our parents, or someone else. Brokenness may be the result of someone else's sin. However, none are righteous and no one is good; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Peo

Aloneness

Psalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For the Christian in the new covenant inaugurated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this passage has a familiar tone. When reading this passage my mind went to Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. I received him at 11:00am directly from the operating room; intubated, bleeding, on multiple vasopressors and inotropic support. I would spend the next 8 hours working to obtain homeostasis. When I reported off to the oncoming Registered Nurse and departed from him, there were multiple blood products infusing. As I walked to my automobile I had time to reflect.  Not only was the man in critical condition but he appeared to be alone in the world. There were no family or friends waiting to see him and not contacts listed on the chart. His chart indic

In Christ Alone

They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes. As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.  (Ps. 17:14b,15) I have mentioned this Psalm before because it’s content is ever present on my mind. What is most important in life? If everything is striped away would you still have joy? I am not asking for the Sunday school answer, but really think about it. In the movie “Overcomer,” one of the characters asked another character: “Who are you?” The second character gave several answers before finally answering, “I am a Christian.” Once he answered, “I am a Christian,” the first character asked a follow up question. “What does it mean to be a Christian?” The second character answered, “A follower of Christ?” The first character replied, “Interesting, how far down the list.”  Now this movie is fiction and the characters in it are fictional, but it was written to make a point. The point being that whatever

Deacons

Dear brother and sister, You may already know that my convictions are baptist. Baptist came from the English separatist, separatist came from the church of England. There are a few baptist distinctives, some other protestant denominations hold some of these distinctives but baptist hold them all. A baptist believes in authority of the Bible. A baptist believes that every local church is autonomous; no outside church body has authority over the local church. A baptist believes in the priesthood of the believer; no believer need go to a priest to confess and have their sins absolved.  A baptist believes that the Lord gave two ordinances to the church: believers baptism and the Lord’s supper. A baptist believes in individual responsibility; each believer has soul competency because there is one Spirit. A baptist believes in separation of church and state; the state has no authority in matters of religion. A baptist believes that there are only two offices in the church: pastor (elder) and

Who Can Question God?

Dear Brethren, Who can question God? Can anyone judge the Almighty? Men judge the Almighty as if they have all knowledge. There are many things that I do not understand and much that I do not know. My wisdom is limited by my knowledge, understanding and experience. The Almighty is from eternity and I am fainéant. I have have little effect on the people of the world and I am known by only a few, but the Almighty is known by his creation. There is no unrighteousness found in him. All of his ways are good. I may not understand his ways because I do not have all knowledge. Should I question the righteousness of the Almighty because I do not understand. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The beginning of wisdom is understanding. I do not have all knowledge; therefore, I cannot comprehend the Almighty. Like a child who trust his father and mother, I must trust the Lord God who created heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them. There is much that I do not understand and e

Community

Dear Brethren, Job was a man who had much and lost almost all that he had. The only things that Job retained were his life and his integrity. Job longed for the days of old, when all of his children were around him. Like Job, I have lost a great deal (not as much as Job) and I long for the days of old, when all of my children were around me.  The past year has been very difficult and lonely. It seems that one calamity after another has occurred in our lives. I have felt very lonely and disconnected from the covenant community which is my local church; however, I have found solace in the Word and in church history. Studying the Scriptures is good but one cannot discount just sitting and listening to the Word. I study the Word but in my morning devotion I just read the Word in the vulgar (my native tongue) and just listen to the Word of the Lord. On my days off from work I like to read history. My wife says it is because I am a nerd but that really is not the truth. I like to read histor

February 19th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

“One dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and satisfied; “While another dies with a bitter soul, Never even tasting anything good. Together they lie down in the dust, And worms cover them.” (Job 21:23, 24-25) Dear Brethren, Things are not equal on the earth. In the intensive care unit, I have seen what Job describes in this text many times. Some live a long and prosperous life but others suffer; however, both lives come to an end in death. Why do some prosper and some suffer? The assumption often made of those who suffer is that they brought it on themselves; however, this is not the way of things in the world. Sure, a person can cause physical harm to themselves and suffer, but this is not the subject that Job and his friends were discussing. The subject was the righteous verses the unrighteous. Job’s friends contend that the righteous prosper but the wicked suffer. Job contours there argument with reality; many righteous persons suffer and many wicked persons prosper. Pros

February 18th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Dear Brethren, Job 14:1 Man, who is born of woman,  I s short-lived and full of turmoil. The area of the country that I live in is suffering greatly. I live in East Texas, the deep south of the United States of America. Each winter we might experience a day or two of freezing temperatures but then it warms back up. For the past week we have experienced unprecedented cold temperatures for this area. It has been well below freezing for the past week. We have experienced two storms, which brought much ice and snow to the area. Many people have been without electrical power and have no way to warm their homes.  As I write, my home has electricity but no running water. The hospital that I work in has little in the way of clean linen because there is no available water for the laundry. Parts of the hospital are very cold because there is no water available for the boilers which provide heat. Food is becoming scarce. If relief from the cold temperatures and the ice and snow does not come soon

February 17th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Dear brothers and sisters, This morning I read from the Psalms. There are several types of Psalms; however, in them are the elements of a converted man unto salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the past few weeks I have been studying baptism in the Bible and in Christian history. It seems that historically, there is disagreement around four issues: to baptize or not to baptize, whom to baptize, how to baptize, and the effects of baptism. Why is their so much disagreement about this subject? Baptism to some is of little importance but for others it is inflated. I believe that baptism is of high importance but do not credit to baptism the means of grace as some traditions do. There are five elements historically and biblically that a Christian should have: repentance, faith, confession, regeneration and baptism. Here is the conclusion that I have come to when studying this very important issue. In Christian history these elements have been separated but should be understood together i

February 16th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Dear Brethren, What a morning it is. I awoke this morning and felt that the air in our home was cold. Our electrical power is out and the air outside of our home is -1 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Some might say, “Well we have temperatures like that every winter.” In the deep south this is record low temperature. Since recording temperatures in this area, there has never been a temperature below zero degrees Fahrenheit until this morning. The problem is that the infrastructure in this part of the country is not setup to deal with this cold weather or the snow fall that we received the day before or the predicted additional accumulation expected tonight. However, are needs are being provide for in the present. The Lord put it into our minds last week to purchase a power generator, propane fuel and wood for our fire place; therefore, we are able to keep our home warmer than the air outside. Thanks be to the Lord our God: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.  The next week shall be a challen

February 15th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Dear Brother and Sister, I do not know where you are on the earth, nor do I know what you are going through. However, I know that this is the day that the Lord has made; therefore, we should rejoice and be glad in it. Whatever the day brings shall pass. The Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, John 16:21. ‘ Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.” Whatever difficulties that we are going through today will pass. When the blessed day, the day of the Lord Jesus Christ comes, with all of his power and glory, we shall forget the struggles that we are presently enduring. That day shall be so blessed that all of our present worries and struggles shall be forgotten because our eyes will behold the Lord Jesus Christ. The people of this world are satisfied with a full stomach, material things, riches, children and grandchildren

February 14th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Dear brother and sister, The Lord God made this day; however, the day is tainted because of sin. Nevertheless, because the Lord God made the day, it is a good day. Sin comes from three sources: Satan, the world, and the flesh. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:14. “But  put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  There is not much that we can do about Satan. The apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 5:8. “ Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We can do nothing about the world in which we live. Nor can we change the flesh. However, you can resist the devil, the world and the flesh through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  One of my favorite passages of Scripture (I have many favorites) is John chapter 15. It was this chapter that I recited this morning in my daily devotion. I love this chapter, because in it, the word of the Lord Jesus Christ

February 13th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. ( Matthew 16:24) Discipleship is costly. It is difficult to understand how costly discipleship was for others when in the U.S.A., a Christian does not face the possibility of being put to death for being a follower of Jesus Christ. The situation that we have in the U.S.A. is an anomaly in Christian history. However, there is more to taking up the cross than the possibility of physical death.  Carrying the horizontal crossbeam en route to crucifixion (where the upright stake already stood awaiting the condemned person) meant enduring mockery and scorn on a path leading to death as a condemned criminal. Crucifixion was the worst form of criminal death, the supreme Roman penalty, inflicted only on the lower classes and slaves; even talk of it could evoke horror. (Mt. 16:24, IVP BBC NT) To deny oneself does not mean self abasement. There are many in church histor

February 12th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

Isaiah 33:22,  says: For the LORD is our judge, The LORD is our lawgiver, The LORD is our king; He will save us— In the age to come, the redeemed will finally attribute all of their happiness and joy to their all-sufficient Lord alone. Men will not judge other men, for the Lord is our judge, and men will not make laws, for the Lord is our lawgiver. James 4:12 says: There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? It is strange to my ear when I hear someone say that there our Christians and there are disciples of Christ. There are those who believe in Jesus and there are those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. Somehow a mindset of easy believism crept into the church. I believe that this originated from two sources: The first source is the doctrine of justification by faith. The second source is sin. The second source twists the beautiful doctrine into unrighteousness. Easy believism is the false doctrine, that a

February 11th in the Year of Our Lord, 2021

I was thinking and praying to the Father this morning about the strangeness of the past year. In September, 2019, I went to Cuba as a Biblical Training Center for Pastors (BTCP) missionary to teach pastors and church leaders on the island. I went to Cuba with a man who had been teaching pastors and church leaders there, from the BTCP curriculum for over 20 years. Then a series of events occurred that showed us that showed us that we are not the ones in charge; God does what he wants to do, when and how he wants to do it. We held a one week seminar on Bible Doctrine Survey but were not able to complete that study in a week.  The BTCP curriculum consists of 10 books (studies) for training pastors and church leaders who are not able to attend a formal seminary. Bible Doctrine Survey is one of the largest courses in the BTCP curriculum; therefore, we divided it into two seminars. We were to return to Cuba in December of 2019 to teach the second half of Bible Doctrine Survey but the Cuban g

February 11th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

Psalms 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.  My reading this morning was Psalms 15-17. With the reading plan that I am doing this year, every Wednesday morning I am reading the Psalms. I truly love the Psalms when reading them this way. Some of the Scriptures affect the mind but the Psalms affect the heart. Both the mind and heart most be reached to affect the will. It is the desire of my heart to behold the face of God and he look upon me as righteous in his sight. I will be satisfied when I awake in the likeness of God. In this world I work, but I cannot work for righteousness; however, I know that I am being justified, as a gift, by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a mercy seat in his blood through faith. (Rom.3:24-25) Therefore, I trust that I will behold the face of God in righteousness. Psalms 17, particularly verse 15 is my favorite in all of the

February 9th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. ( Judges 6:1) I think that it is in this light that the apostle paul wrote Romans 1:18-32, which can be titled: Unbelief and Its Consequences. The enemy of Israel were the other nations who suppressed them and the enemy of mankind is sin.  The book of Judges begins with the death of Joshua and the elders. All of that generation followed the Lord but the generation that came after them did not. All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel... So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.  ( Ju

February 8th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gn. 22:18) Observance of the word of the Lord provides a blessing for others. The Lord God had blessed Abraham with much wealth, and he had even given him a child in his old age through Sarah the wife of his youth. When the Lord God commanded Abraham to rise up and give Isaac his beloved son as a burnt offering before the Lord, Abraham did not hold back. This was not because Abraham took this upon himself to do, but it was the word of the Lord who told him to do it. It is not the will of the Lord that a father should offer his son as a burnt offering; therefore, the Lord stopped him before he did it. Abraham knew the Lord, and he trusted that the Lord would provide a way.  Abraham told Isaac, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Gn. 22:8) Abraham trusted in the goodness of God!  Abraham’s obedience to the word of the Lord resulted in the nations of the ea

February 7th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

Romans 12:21. “ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” In his great letter to the church in Rome, Paul gave the Romans and us many exhortations. In this exhortation, there is a negative and a positive. Do not be overcome by evil.  The great black scientist, George Washington Carver, once said, “I will never let another man ruin my life by making me hate him.” George Washington Carver was a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, this exhortation goes further than the negative,  but overcome evil with good , which is a positive. The Christian is to not only commanded to not be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good.  I have worked at the bedside, as a Registered Nurse, for over twenty-three years now. Patients, family and medical staff will say the most hurtful things you can imagine, but the Christian nurse is to always overcome evil with good. No matter how much I have done, no matter how hard I have worked, no matter how much I have care

February 6th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ( Matthew 11:28-30) Why do we struggle? We struggle because of sin. In the great Christian allegory, “The Pilgrims Progress” by John Bunyan, Christian was carrying a large burden on his back; the burden that Christian carried was sin. Sin is a burden that no man can carry because it will way him down in death. Life in this world is a struggle because of the burden of sin. We were in the paradise of God but we were kicked out into the world because we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God promised the woman difficulty in childbirth and the man difficulty in livelihood, followed by death. Life in this world is struggle upon struggle. What are we struggling for? What is the purpose of our struggling? What are we trying to obtain with all

February 5th in the year of Our Lord 2021

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John 3:8. “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Yesterday, I flew a kite. The air was warmer, low 60’sº F, and the wind was blowing. A few weeks ago, I ordered a kite off the internet, a kite from my childhood, manufactured, and sold in the year, 1975. The kite was manufactured by a company named Gayla and was called a Sky-Spy because of the large eyes that looked down on the flier. The kite was much smaller than I remembered, but then again, I was seven years old in the spring of 1975, therefore, a much smaller person.   After flying the kite, I sent a picture to my mother who responded: “I remember you and your kites.” I loved flying a kite as a child and for some reason this particular brand of kite. Not only did I enjoy flying a kite but my favorite dream involved me floating on the air above the earth. On the earth below, there was trouble but on the winds

February 4th in the Year of Our Lord 2021

To whom it may concern, My reading this morning was Job 9-10. Job understood that he could not speak to God. He believed that he needed an arbitrator to settle whatever it was that God had against him. Job believed that he was guiltless but for some unknown reason God was holding him guilty. However, Job never denied that God is sovereign, he is the one who decides who is righteous and who is guilty.  I am not Job, I cannot say that I am without guilt; in fact, I am guilty by either thought or deed of breaking every one of the ten commandments, therefore, the law of Christ. However, Job believed that he was guiltless but also understood that if God declares him guilty, then he is guilty for God is the judge. I think that this is one aspect of biblical theology that is lost in American Evangelicalism. The aspect that I speak of is the sovereignty of God.  The local church that my wife and I attend (Sylvania Church in Tyler, Texas) is a sovereign grace baptist church. A number of the mem

February 3rd in the Year of Our Lord 2021

To whom it may concern, Lately I have been wondering what I am here for. I know that I am here for the purpose of the Lord but I have become confused as to what I should be about. I spent the past thirty years raising children to see them go away from the way of God in Jesus Christ. I honestly feel like I have failed as a father. Proverbs 22:6 says: Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. On July 13th of this year, our son, our beautiful son, my adopted boy, whom I raised as my own, with my wife from the age of one years old will be thirty-two years old. On July 20th of this year, our daughter, our beautiful daughter, whom came forth from the union of our marriage will be twenty-eight years old.  Everything has already been said, their lives are between them and the Lord and there is not much I can do but pray to the Lord our God for their salvation. However, the subjective remains, I believe that I have failed as a father. I have heard

February 2nd in the Year of Our Lord 2021

Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the LORD which He had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31)   To whom it may concern, My reading this morning came from Joshua 21-24. The Levites were dispersed into forty-eight cities in Israel. The half-tribe of Manasseh, the Reubenites, and the Gadites returned to there possession beyond the Jordan. Joshua gave his farewell address to the sons of Israel, and he died at the age of one hundred and ten years old. All of the problems that Israel would have going forward from the days of Joshua, and the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the Lord which he had done for Israel, came to the children who did not know the Lord; and therefore, served other gods. One of my favorite hobbies is reading church history. My ecclesiastical convictions are baptist. I believe that the head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that every believer

February 1st in the Year of Our Lord 2021

To whom it may concern, I have taken to writing a daily letter; that my heart and mind, may speak to your heart and mind. I do not know you, we have never meet but I know about you. You were created in the image of God but you have sinned and fall short of his glory. No matter where you may live on the earth, we have this in common; we have both sinned and deserve nothing less than the full eternal wrath of God for our sins. God has said in his word, “The soul who sins will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) This is a concerning proclamation of the Lord, given that we have both sinned and fall short of his glory.  Sin is lawlessness, (1 John 3:4) lawlessness is everyone deciding for themselves good and evil, rather than observing the commandments of the one who created us. God has said, “You shall not lie,” but have you lied? God has said, “You shall not steal,” but have you stolen? God has said, “You shall not commit sexual immorality;” he has defined sexual immorality in his word as fornication, a