Author Archives: dmbaldwin

About dmbaldwin

I'm the husband of Louise, the father of Erin, Eric, Mandy & Sarah and the grandfather of David, Aubrey Simeon & Demaris. I am the President & Owner of Furnace Hills Coffee Company -- www.furnacehillscoffee.com I am an avid NY Giants and Newcastle United fan. I enjoy making "frequent" trips to Ukraine. I work with and teach in seminaries and Bible colleges in Ukraine. I enjoy blogging about coffee & leadership.

2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11 [NIV])

Sixty-six Books in a year is a devotional series reading through the Bible every year. It’s not a commentary of sorts or a deep theological treatise. So although the above passage we are reading today is a pivotal one in pointing to the veracity of biblical inerrancy and what goes to the very heart of the reality of God’s message to us, let’s keep general in tone and focus.

In Daniel chapter 9 he prophecies about Nehemiah re-building the walls of Jerusalem. Now he doesn’t mention Nehemiah by name, but he does prophesy about the historical fact that took place. Furthermore when the wall is finished (and it took only 52 days for that to be accomplished) another clock started ticking. That clock (prophesy) was of the Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. And to the day — the very day — of that clock’s alarm ringing Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.

Nobody can make this stuff up! It’s way too complicated for anyone to figure out. And yet here are the Holy Scriptures foretelling the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem hundreds of years before it happens.

Have you found this year’s journey to be boring? Has it gotten tedious? Please realize that these pages we read everyday are trustworthy and the very source of our faith and practice and they can be trusted. And along the way we find nuggets of cosmic truth that make the gospel more of a reality in our lives. Keep reading my friends! Keep reading.

 

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Hosea 1-3; Matthew 16

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:21-23 [NIV])

What a very interesting passage of Scripture and many of us know it. And yet I think we are all guilty of the same reasoning, just on different topics that Peter was. Jesus is predicting his death and Peter takes him aside and tells him this is not going to happen, it shouldn’t happen in his mind will never happen. Why? Because it doesn’t line up with human reasoning and logic. Jesus was going to be victorious in Jerusalem. He wasn’t going to die there. That messes up the plan. Jesus replies with the fact that Peter only has human concerns in mind and not godly ones. How can we be guilty of this today? Here are some ways:

  • My child could never go to a closed country to share the gospel. It’s too dangerous.
  • Someone else will stop and help that person who is struggling along the road. I don’t need to.
  • My child needs to be in as many sports as possible, evening neglecting Sunday morning activities at church because they may get a full ride scholarship or even better a pro career.

This faulty thinking of ours goes on and on. Where could you be guilty of putting human concerns before godly ones? What can you do to turn those actions and thinking around? Do it today!

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Jonah; Matthew 11

Matthew 11 is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6 [NASB]

John the Baptist was sitting in prison for doing what was morally right. He called out sin and was placed in jail for it and soon would be executed. In his mind it wasn’t turning out the way he expected. He didn’t see himself rotting away in some jail, but serving God. What a huge difference between the crowds that came to see him preach and now sitting in jail his life wasting away.

So he sends his men to Jesus to see if he is the real Messiah or whether they should wait for another. Jesus replies to their questions by reporting what he is doing. And then he shares with the crowd what an awesome person John the Baptist was. He didn’t scold him or deride him. Jesus praises his cousin John.

Later in the chapter he talks about the the Kingdom of God and he puts it this way (paraphrased), The Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing and forceful men and woman take hold of it. In other words the Kingdom of God is not for sissies. It is moving forward to strong people take hold of it and help move it forward. People like John the Baptist.

Soon John would lose his head. Although the church had not been born yet, John epitomizes this watchword of the church. The Church advances on the blood of Her martyrs.

I guess the question this morning to you is, Are you ready for the challenge. Will you join the men and women through the ages who have been forceful enough and even brave enough to give their lives in seeing the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

 

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2 Kings 7-8; 2 Chronicles 21; Matthew 6

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34 [ESV])

This chapter of the New Testament is filled with many things of which we as Christ-followers need to be reminded. This chapter alone would be good subject matter for a week of devotions. Matthew covers the following topics in this chapter:

  • Giving to the poor
  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Worry
  • Doing good to others
  • Anxiety
  • Treasures in Heaven

And then he adds the concluding verse. If we focus on those things listed above we will have plenty of things to do to occupy our minds and lives for today. We won’t have time to put more worries in our little worry boxes. We will be so focused on what we need to do today that tomorrow will take care of itself.

How do you spend your days? Do you worry about what’s coming later in the week or next month or year? Do your thoughts go to issues you have no control over or ability to change. In reading through this chapter there is enough to occupy our minds and actions with for today. Let’s begin focusing in the here and now. Tomorrow comes way too soon.

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1 Kin 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Psalm 129; Matthew 1

Do you know who is 50th in line for the British Throne? If forty-nine people died of some strange disease or were in the same place during a terrorist attack, do you know who the person would be who would ascend the throne? It would be Isabella Windsor. She is two years old. You can find her lineage here: (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_of_succession_to_the_British_throne)

Ancestries are important. So important that Matthew starts his Gospel with King Jesus’ lineage. It may be a list of names we’ve never heard of or seen, but they prove a point. They prove that humanly speaking Jesus is who He says He is. This first chapter of Matthew proves a point. Jesus is King!

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations (Matthew 1:1-17 [ESV]).

Speaking personally, what does your spiritual genealogy look like? Are you the first in a line of Christ-followers? Are you in the middle? I do believe spiritual genealogies are important. My mother is 94 and a strong Christ-follower. So was her mother. Today there are scores of individuals down to great grand children from my mom that are all all Christ-followers. We represent, five pastors, three missionaries. The same is true on my wife’s side of the family even more prolific with at least a dozen missionaries serving today around the world.

Are you reading to start or keep going a Christ-follower movement through your family today that will reach the nations for Jesus?

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1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10-11; Titus 1

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away. (1 Kings 12:1-5) [ESV])

What an opportunity Rehoboam had to gain support of people to be on his side and serve him with joy! His father Solomon had made the lives of those who lived in Israel hard and difficult. Here was an opportunity for his son to usher in a new era of freedom and peace.

He consulted the older men of the kingdom asking them what he should do and they gave him sound advice. However, he listened to the young men without experience. And their advice was to reply to the people that his little finger was going to be heavier than his father’s thigh. And it split the kingdom!

Now I’m sure this was all in God’s plan. He is the God who’s designs and plans are carried out among the nations. He sets up and removes kings and kingdoms. But what folly. Here the king had an opportunity to win over the people and instead he alienates his kingdom.

Okay how do we apply this to our lives today? As I read this I thought of my children as they were growing up. Some families have strict rules and rituals (I call them) and the family and the children our miserable. Other families are out of control. I thought of two things, first I grew up in a home where we didn’t have a lot of fun. My dad died when I was young (9) and it was a struggle from then on. But there was love in our home. Second, I wanted our children to grow up loving Jesus. So those were our two guidelines, let’s have fun and let’s love Jesus. That worked well for us. When you have an opportunity to make your family or your coworkers lives better or worse, more fun or more tedious what do you choose? I suggest you choose having fun and loving Jesus.

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1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9; 1 Timothy 6

What is your divine calling? Many times we hear that question we think of those that have been called into full time Christian service, or we think of the opportunities we have to share our faith in the market place. However, have we thought of our divine calling to be the job God has called us to? What do you do for a living? Is that a divine calling enough.

I believe that is what the Apostle Paul was getting at in these first two verses of 1 Timothy 6,

1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved (1 Timothy 6:1&2 [ESV])

Yes, there will be times to share our faith with coworkers and customers. There will be times we can participate in actions that are gospel related. However have you looked at what you do day in and day out as divine calling? Is it something God has called you to do and in the act of doing your job well and with excellence will bring glory to God and benefit his mission in this world?

When you go to your job today — whether in the home or marketplace — keep this in mind. The very act of working is your divine calling. Do it with excellence and with a sense of duty to our Creator.

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