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Showing posts from March, 2021

March 31, 2021

Isaiah 26:9 (NASB) At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Dear Neighbor, It is hard to believe that 1/4 of this year is complete. This week, at Sylvania Church, we will honor the Lord, as is our tradition, with a Maundy Thursday service. It is a salaam service in which different persons in the congregation read the final words of Christ on this night up to his death and burial the following day, which has been called “Good Friday.” We also eat the Lord’s supper together which was inaugurated on this night. This salaam service, the words of our Lord read, and remembering his sacrifice; eating the bread and drinking the wine should cause the spirit within to seek the Lord. The Lord died for our sins and he was buried. In my opinion, this is probably the most important service in the entire year because it should cause each of us to reflect on what th

March 30, 2021

Dear Neighbor, Have you prayed today for God’s name, for God’s kingdom, for God’s will, for your needs, for your debts, for your debtors and for your deliverance? These seven, Jesus taught his disciples to pray. (Mt 6:9-13)  What is the name of God? The name of God is the nature of God, it is a representative of God. For this reason, Jesus could pray to the Father God, “ Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” (Jn 17:11, NASB)  He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature,  (Heb 1:3) who became flesh and dwelt amongst us;  (Jn 1:14) therefore, the name of God is Jesus. We pray for God’s name, for his kingdom, for his will, for our needs, for our debts, for our debtors and for our deliverance because this is complete prayer. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for these seven things because they are the totality of all that is and should be in our hearts and mind.  Michael Peek, BSN, RN

March 29, 2021

Dear Neighbor, Yesterday was unlike any day for the past one year but was like many days before. I began the day (as is my habit) in the word of God, then I went for a six mile run on the streets outside of our neighborhood. Darlene and I went to Sunday School and we saw many people that we know and there were a few in the class that we had never meet before. After the class, we went to corporate worship in the sanctuary, there were a great number of people in attendance. All of this was like many days before but unlike any day for the past year. The morning was very familiar and different than the past one year. It is an interesting feeling to have what is familiar and yet be far removed at the same time. We spent the afternoon at home relaxing and I spent time reading a book. After this, we went to my mother’s home to celebrate our nephew’s twentieth birthday. This also was unlike any day for the past one year but was like many days before. This makes me wonder, what was the last yea

March 28, 2021

Dear Neighbor, “For the Church” is the motto for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  What do you believe about the church?  Is the church a divinely ordained institution or a voluntary society of like minded individuals? If one views the church as a voluntary society of like minded individuals, then it is not absolutely necessary, other things may be more important than attending the church. However, if one views the church as a divinely ordained institution, then the church is the life blood of a christian while on the earth. I was just looking at a series of emails from our pastor, Phillip Dancy, the Pastor of Sylvania Church in Tyler, Texas, emails from one year ago. With great anguish and with much prayerful consideration, the elders decided to not hold Sunday schools or corporate worship service on March 15, 2020, do to the corona virus pandemic. For several weeks our pastor preached sermons via Facebook live and this was an undertaking because we had never videoed and broad

March 27, 2021

Dear Neighbor, This morning I recited John 14 and read Isaiah 5-8. Mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 and again in 8:8 is the Hebrew term Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” This term is referred to in Matthew 1:23 as another name for Jesus. In either context, whether in Isaiah’s prophecy about the kings of Damascus and Samaria attacking Judah (Is 7:14) or the birth of the Christ child, (Mt 1:23) the name was and is intended to assure the reader of God’s presence.  (ESV Global Study Bible Notes) Do you believe that God is present with you today? I do not ask, do you feel God’s presence. This term “I feel” is so commonly used by people today. People use the term subjectively, when they mean I think or if they have emotion about some subject. However, God’s presence with us is an objective truth. God was truly present in Jerusalem when he defeated the enemies of Judah and God was truly present with us in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ sin and death are already and will be defeated. Today

March 26, 2021

Dear Neighbor, Yesterday was a splendid day. I went for a 10k run, ate breakfast, sat outside with my dog and began reading a new book ( Theology Drives Methodology: Conversion in the Theology of Charles Finney and John Nevin by Carl Dahlfred). I enjoy reading historical theology because it helps me to understand the reason that things are the way that they are. Yesterday evening, Darlene and I went to dinner at a restaurant that we have not been to for sometime, and on the way home, we drove by a church that we once attended. In its history, the church was once a fundamental-independent-baptist church, but the church has changed a great deal over the years to a seeker sensitive church. Why? Theology drives methodology. While the methodology has changed greatly, the churches theology has remained the same; when a churches theology is man centric, the methodology will always change with the times, but if a churches theology is Christocentric, the methodology does not change with the tim

March 25, 2021

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NASB) The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Dear Neighbor, The preacher in Ecclesiastes experienced and contemplated much during his life and he concluded that a person should fear God and keep his commandments. The word antinomian means without law. There is a spirit of lawlessness among many who claim the name of Christ today. People do not want to pay the penalty for sin (death and hell) but they do not want to keep the Lord’s commandments either. There is only one way to the Father and it is through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance for the forgiveness of sins is the message of the gospel. (Lk 24:46-47) We have all sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard; (Rom 3:23) therefore, we all deserve eternal punishment, (Mt 25:46) but the free gift of God is

March 24, 2021

Ecclesiastes 10:19 (NASB) Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. Dear Neighbor, According to the preacher in Ecclesiastes, money is the answer to everything, for with it a feast can be had for enjoyment. There is enjoyment in a feast but I feast alone is not enjoyable, so money is not the answer to everything. So what did the preacher mean by everything? Money can buy anything except happiness and can buy a ticket to anywhere but to heaven. What do I lament about the most? Would having the riches of Solomon be the answers to all of my problems? My wife and I recently enjoyed a trip to the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. Money bought us the ticket for the airplane, the rental car, the hotel room and the food that we ate during the week of our stay. The trip was enjoyable but it is nothing compared to heaven. No amount of money on earth can buy us heaven. We have Christian joy because heaven has been given to us as a gif

March 23, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, Does anything at all really matter?  Ecclesiastes 1:3 (NASB) What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun? I have labored for many years, at the bedside, and no matter how much I have labored, on the next shift, there is another person in the same condition as the one on the previous shift. I go to work, I come home, I rest and I do it all over again but to what avail? For many years I worked for my children but they have departed and gone there own way. I taught my children Christian ethics but they did not listen. I recovered persons from heart surgery only to see another in the same condition the next shift. I love running but I hate running on a treadmill; is not all of life a treadmill, running and not really going anywhere? I raised children and I took care of people in the hospital but will any of this work really matter in the end? What if I had no children? What if I never became a nurse? Would anything be different in a hundred year

March 22, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, Proverbs 25:20 (NASB) says,  Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,  I s he who sings songs to a troubled heart. My heart is very troubled and I am at a lost to know what to do. My hope, however, is not in this world but in the world yet to come. In this world my heart is troubled. I am told by others that the Christian should always be rejoicing. However, I find it difficult to rejoice because my heart is troubled. Have you ever had a child, a little baby girl, held her in your arms and loved her? Did you watch her grow before your eyes? Did you spend your days working and your evenings attending her activities? To rejoice in the Lord seems a selfish thing to me because my child is not following the Lord. “ He (God) has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31, NASB) I confess that I have a difficult tim

March 21, 2021

Dear Neighbor,  John 7:53-8:11, the story about Jesus and the woman taken in adultery is not found in the earliest manuscripts. There is, however, nothing in the story that is contrary to sound doctrine; therefore, I believe that it is a true story. Much can be found in this story regarding New Testament doctrine. I will often hear people in our society say, “Do not judge!” They are most often misquoting what Jesus said in  Matthew 7:1 (NASB) about Judging Others, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” I think that the misunderstanding is twofold: First, they do not want to be told that their lifestyle is wrong. Second, they do not understand what is meant by, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” There is no doubt that in the law, given through Moses, that sexual immorality was a crime punishable by death. In John 7:53-8:11, Jesus never says that her accusers made a wrong judgement, adultery is wrong, but it is only the righteous who should execute judgment.  In  Matt

March 20, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, Proverbs 18:10 (NASB) says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” and Romans 10:13 (NASB) says, “For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” What is the name of the Lord? Who is the Lord? The name of the Lord is Jesus Christ; he is the way and the truth and the life. He who has seen the Lord Jesus Christ has seen God. (Jn 14:6-7) No matter your troubles, no matter your worries, flee, run, to the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It does not matter to whom or where you were born. “For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The Lord Jesus Christ is a strong tower. A strong tower sits above everything else in the area. From the strong tower the enemy can be defeated and the enemy cannot take down the strong tower. The wicked do not flee to the strong tower least his deeds be exposed. (Jn 3:20) If the wicked run to the tower, they must leave behind their wicked deeds because these he cann

March 19, 2021

Dear Neighbor, Proverbs 13:13 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” What is your hope and desire? My hope is for all things to be made right. To live in a world where everyone loves their neighbor as self. However, this is not the world that I live in. I live in a world of strife and continues conflict. In fact, we are so accustom to it that we do not realize all of the conflict that we are in. There is conflict in almost every area of life. My hope is in Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the new heaven and earth, the life everlasting, amen. The desire of my heart is to see my children come to the Lord, for them to follow Jesus Christ and be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. However, my children are not following the Lord, they are each going in the way of the world; therefore, my heart is sick and I confess that I am struggling to have joy. I have joy in the forgiveness of my sins and the promised resurrection of my body and the li

March 18, 2021

Dear Neighbor, When I started writing this blog some eight years ago, I did not know that I would end up writing a daily letter to my neighbor, yet that is what this blog has become. Should I be reserved in what I write to you or forthright? There are many things in my heart and on my mind that I do not tell others but talk about to the Lord. There is nothing hidden from the Lord, he knows my inward parts. If you pray to God, do not hold back because no one knows you better than God; he knows you better than you know yourself. Proverbs 9:10 (NASB) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. I am reserved in what I write to you but forthright in what I write to the Lord. It is not because I fear you that I am reserved but it is because I fear the Lord that I am forthright. Do you know the Holy One of God? Even if you do not him, he knows you! Many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore. So Jesus said to th

March 17, 2021

Dear Neighbor, Life on the earth is a journey to the city above, to the city of the great king, the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you have said, “We do not want this man to rule over us.” He is the Lord, all authority in heaven and on has been given to him. He will return on a day and our of his Father’s choosing, sit down on his glorious throne and judge the earth. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate them from one another. Will you be on the side that rejected his rule or the side that received him as Lord and Savior? This life with all of its pitfalls and temptations is preparation for the world that is to come. We are all on a journey but will your journey end in eternal punishment or eternal life in the kingdom of our God? Yesterday, I spent a little time thinking about these things and the direction that I am going. What is my purpose on this journey? What is my job while on the earth? My purpose is to serve Jesus Christ and my job is to care for the peop

March 16, 2021

Dear Neighbor, You were created in the image of God; (Gn 1:27) therefore, you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48) but are you perfect? God is love but have you hated anyone? God is faithful but have you been unfaithful? God is compassionate and gracious but have you been uncompassionate and ungracious? God is truth but have you lied? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you have sinned and fall short of his glory. (Rom 3:23) The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)  How wonderful and marvelous it is to be given what we do not deserve. I work a job for a set hourly wage. Every two weeks, my employer pays me for the hours that I worked, the wages that I have earned. I think one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture is one of the easiest to understand. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is difficult because

March 15, 2021

  Dear Neighbor, Yesterday I asked you to think about your job, what kind of work do you do? I am not intent on comparing your work to mine but mine is what the Lord has given me to do, it is my calling. In Colossians 1:10 the apostle Paul wrote to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in all that you do, bearing fruit in good works. What are good works? The bringing up (not “dragging” up!) of children, lodging (spiritual) strangers, washing the saints’ feet (ministering to their temporal comforts), and relieving the afflicted (1Ti 5:10) are spoken of as “good works.” (Profiting from the Word, A. W. Pink) Nursing is a good work and should be understood by the Christian nurse as a good work that we do. The Christian nurse should have a reputation for good works: showing hospitality to strangers, washing and bathing others, assisting those in distress and being devoted. (1 Ti 1:10) The Christian nurse should not preach oneself but Christ Jesus as Lord, and oneself the patien

March 14, 2021

Dear Neighbor, A short time ago Darlene and I returned from our trip to Maui, Hawaii. We had an enjoyable time there but travel is tiring; with the combination of the daylight savings time change and the time difference between Hawaii and Texas it will be difficult readjusting, so we may have what they call jet-lag for a day or two. We are both scheduled to return to our jobs tomorrow morning.  This leads me to ask, what do you consider to be your job? Human beings were created for work. We need rest because we are not God; therefore, an occasional vacation from our labors is a good thing and a blessing from the Lord. However, we were created to work and when we are not working, sin is at the doorway ready to pounce.  While on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii (I do not know if the other islands are like this), Darlene and I noticed that there are vacation homeless all around the island, especially on the part of the island that has good waves for surfing; sleeping in make shif

March 13, 2021

 Psalms 119:9 (NASB) Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. Dear Neighbor, Do you love the word of God? If you do not love the word of God, how can you possibly keep your path straight? The word of God is truth. I fell in love with the word of God in the year 2003. Darlene and I began attending a local baptist church. April 1, 2003, church decided to have small groups and read a book together (The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren). The book itself I would not give someone as a gospel tract but the Lord used it to draw me to his word. The book is broken up into 40 chapters. The plan was for the small groups to get together and discuss the book every Sunday evening for 6 weeks. We were to read one chapter a day on our own. I followed the prescription and read one chapter of the book each morning for 40 days. Upon completing the book I decided that I would read the Bible because I enjoyed the time that I had every morning reading that book. S

March 12, 2021

Psalms 117 (NASB) Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD! Dear Neighbor, Do you praise the Lord? The Lord is worthy to be praised by all of the nations on the earth. Many of the psalmist write of the Lord’s lovingkindness and truth. They are invoking God’s revelation of the Lord to Moses on Mount Sinai in the desert. (Ex. 34:6-7) Whatever the Lord says is truth because he is faithful and can be trusted by all. The Lord God is love; therefore, he is compassionate and gracious. The Lord should be praised by all of the nations for what he has done in creation and through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. We all deserve death and eternal punishment in the lake of fire for sinning against our creator. He commanded Adam to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but he listened to the voice of his wife rather than the word of God. Eve knew that she was not t

March 11, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, As I read through the Psalms I am thinking about prayer. I think about my own prayer life and the prayer life of my home church. The Scriptures ought to influence our prayer life. Jesus taught is disciples to pray, ( Matthew 6:9-13) “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The key to understanding the Lord’s prayer is not found in any of the lines but in the proceeding statement: “Pray, then, in this way.” The Lord’s prayer is not a formal prayer meant to be used in place of our personal prayers to God but it is teaching on how to pray and the things that we should be calling out to God about in our prayers. Many of the Psalms are prayers. One example is a Psalm that I read this morning; Psalm 109, David c

March 10, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, I am writing to you from the island of Maui in Hawaii. I have been reading from the Psalms. This morning I read Psalm 104. Psalm 104 is a Psalm of blessing and praise for the Lord, the God who created heaven and earth and sea and all that they contain. There is nothing like being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to see this Psalm in microcosm. This island is made up of two mountains east and west mountain with a valley between. The mountains rise up out of the ocean and the sea flees away. The valley sinks down between the great mountains but the sea is kept at bay. The vast ocean waters around the island are teaming with sea creatures, which includes the great  Leviathan. Leviathan in this Psalm is a poetic name for a whale. Darlene and have seen these great creatures from the shore and this morning we will board a craft to see them up close. The God who created heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them. The Lord Jesus Christ is his name. He deserv

March 9, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. I do not know who you are or where you are in the world but I do know that you are special because you were created in the image of God; therefore, a son or daughter of the living God. No, you are not “The Son of God!” There is but one, the Lord Jesus Christ who holds that title, for God made him first in all things. However, the Scriptures attest that we are all sons and daughters of the Father God, justified as a gift, by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a merciful atoning sacrifice in his blood through faith. (Rom. 3:23-25)  Why did Jesus have to die? It is because of our sin that he had to die. “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Rom. 4:25) However, the main reason that Jesus had to die was to demonstrate the righteousness of God who passed over our sins (Rom. 3:25-26)

March 8, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, I have been reading through the Psalms. This morning I was going to stop with Psalm 85 but I was compelled to continue and read Psalm 86. The Psalms are broken up into 5 books. The majority of the Psalms in book 1 and many and several of the Psalms in book 2 were written by David the king of Israel. Psalm 86 is the only Psalm in book 3 written by David. What I found most interesting about this Psalm is in whom and in what confessional statement that David puts his trust in salvation. The confessional statement that I am talking about is Exodus 34:6-7. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” This morn

A Baptist Story in Cuba

Mission The defining mission of the church is to make disciples of all the nations, initiate the new disciples into fellowship through the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Triune God, and teach them to observe all that the Word of God commands. There is an utterance of the church’s mission at the end of each gospel account and at the beginning of Acts. (cf. Mt. 28:16-28, Mk 16:15, Lk 24:46-48, Jn 20:21, and Acts 1:8)  Jesus did not commission his disciples at the beginning of his earthly ministry but at the conclusion. However, he did send them out on practice evangelism trips as part of their training. In Matthew 10 the Lord sent the twelve out on a training exercise to the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus instructed his disciples to later commission them for the ministry of evangelism and discipleship to all nations. Evangelism is how disciples are made but evangelism is always preceded by discipleship because it is the mature disciple who learns how to make disciples and teach the