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.

Jeremiah 28-31; Hebrews 2

I don’t know about you, but I can read a passage of Scripture over and over and over again. And then I read it again and a new truth jumps out at me. That’s what happened when I started getting ready for this passage of 66books. The two verses I focused on are included below:

3 …How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Hebrews 2:3&4 [ESV]).

I love studying about spiritual gifts and have led many seminars and classes helping Christ followers understand their gifts. We have all been given at least one spiritual gift when we come to Christ. For many it’s two or three. right in the middle of verse three the writer to the Hebrews writes that one of the ways we know our salvation is sure is the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. And He has done it according to His will. He has placed in just the right place and given us just the right gift(s) to use in service to Him and through that experience we know that we are sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus His Son. And I have never seen these verses in this light. I must have just read through this passage without seeing this mention of spiritual gifts this way.

So, do you know what spiritual gift(s) you’ve been given by the Holy Spirit? If not, you are not experiencing the sense of the reality of your salvation that you could if you knew what they were and using them in the service of our God. Ask your pastor and do some reading about how one finds out. And then use your gift(s) and steward them as you grow in Christ.

What are your top three spiritual gifts? Mine are 

  1. Teaching
  2. Leadership
  3. Apostleship (starting new ministries and being comfortable in cross cultural situations.

In the comments section share yours with us all.

Lots more to share, but we’ll leave that for another day or year;-)

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Isaiah 60-63; Colossians 3

How do we live out Colossians 3:23?

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.

First we work from the heart. We put our whole heart into what we are doing. If we are cheating at work we are really cheating God. If we slough off at home it’s really God we are dissing.

Second, don’t be a man pleaser. You are not doing your job for your boss, you are doing it for God, so don’t be looking to that person for your meaning and affirmation. Be looking to God. Yes, of course we want to be pleasing our family and friends, but it’s because we are first seeking to please God and follow His Word.

Third, work and serve without grumbling. God sees your situation and knows what is happening. Remember He has you right where He wants you so what you are going through right now is based on where He has put you. If you are grumbling about your situation you are grumbling about God.

Fourth, work without comparison. Remember Jesus giving Peter a mission for his life and he wanted to know about Jesus’ plans for John. In John 21:22 Jesus basically said it’s none of your business. Judge your progress on where you have come from, not on the other person. Do your best and forget the rest!

Fifth, we should be working to hear the words, “Well done” spoken to us by God our Father. He is the one we are pleasing. Keep those words in your mind. That’s our goal in the end.

Sixth, thank God for every circumstance in which He has you. In those times and situations remember you are God’s ambassador and work and live to please Him and thank you for the journey He has you on.

Father God, thank you for the opportunity to serve you in all that we do. Help us to keep our focus on you and work in a way that shows You and others that we long to hear those precious words, “Well done!”

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Micah 1-4; Romans 9

So this morning we find ourselves in the middle of chapters that theologians have argued over for millennia. And 66Books A Year is a devotional not a theological treatise. So where do we find the devotional point in these chapters.

In Romans 9 and Micah 1-3 God is seen as punishing and setting aside His chose people. They have left God and gone their own way and depending on the way one may read the Romans chapter it may be of God’s own doing. But then we see in Micah 4 the hope for not only Israel and Judah, but for us all. Two verses give us this hope:

6 In that day, declares the Lord,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away
and those whom I have afflicted;

7 and the lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore. (Micah 4:6&7 [ESV])

God has always been for the marginalized. Here we see Him caring for the remnant and the lame and the disenfranchised. There is coming a day when things will be set right and we will enjoy the presence of the Lord forever. In the meantime He meets out His judgement and carries out His will and it can be hard to understand all that. But the promise is sure. We who have put our faith and trust in Him alone for our salvation will be forever with Him. Praise be to God!

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1 Kings 22; 2 Chr. 18-19; Matt. 25

Matthew 25 is where we land this morning. The parable of the talents is a passage that almost teaches itself. Please read it below:

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 
24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30 [NIV])

As we begin the second half of 2019 let’s take an inventory of how we are doing with the gifts and talents the Holy Spirit has given us. If you are a Christ follower you have been given at least one spiritual gift. First of all do you know what that gift is? Secondly are you using that gift to serve Christ’s body the church? Thirdly are you stewarding that gift? Some of us have more than one. What a responsibility this is to steward them well. The servants were given talents. Two used them well while the third hid his talent. Are you hiding your talent today? This chapter comes right after the one on the end times and Christ’s return and it ends with another description of that time. The gifts we’ve been given are to be tried and tested in the context of eternity.

Some day you will come face to face with Jesus. Just you and Him. He is going to ask you what you have done with the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you. Will He say well done to you? Let’s live the second half of 2019 like the gifts we’ve been given are tools that count for eternity. Use them well my friend!

 

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Proverbs 1-4; Matthew 6

Matthew 6 is the middle chapter in Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount. There is almost too much to take in when reading through these three chapters. D Martyn Lloyd Jones, the British theologian, wrote a book on these three chapters. The book is over an inch thick. Just think about what is found in that book that we can’t even take the time here to contemplate.

So what do we take away from this reading today? And that doesn’t even take into account Proverbs 1-4. In fact while reading these passages this week, they sound eerily similar. Two passages of God’s Word separated by many years, yet many good admonitions in living a godly life in the here and now.

What is your daily routine? What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Do you check email first? Do you read the news? Or do you spend time in God’s Word and prayer? I was watching a video blog by a person I follow in the business world and I believe he is far from a Christ-follower. He let’s nothing from the outside into his mind till he has done his yoga and meditation in the morning. Yet many of us who are Christ-followers are reading our emails, watching/reading the news and then by the time we get around to reading the Bible and prayer we are so distracted we cannot hear what God has for us. Here in Matthew 6 we are told not to worry about tomorrow or one could say anything before spending time with our Lord.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34 [ESV])

I have found that if the first thing I do in the morning is to spend time with God, almost everything else takes care of itself. Worrying and being anxious before your time with God limits His access to your life and mind. It’s like a haze or fog you have already put in front of you. Then you strain to see what He is trying to teach you about Himself and His plans for your life.

Father God thank you for the life-giving power of your Word and presence. Give us the discipline and power to focus on You and You alone at the beginning of each day. We pray this in the wonderful and strong name of Jesus, Amen.

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1 Chronicles 14-16; 1 Corinthians 16; Psalm 132, 106

8 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
11 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

14 He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
as your portion for an inheritance.”

19 When you were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!”

23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;b
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

35 Say also:

“Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!”

Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD (1 Chronicles 16:8-36 [ESV]).

These three chapters, 1 Chronicles 14-16, are a beautiful testimony to David’s heart and love for God. Although he had messed up the first time with the Ark of the Covenant he didn’t give up. He stayed at it to honor the God he loved so dearly. The verses above show David’s zeal and love for God. After the Ark was settled in Jerusalem David begins this awesome praise song to God!

This was not an easy thing to do. In fact in Psalm 132:1 we read, “Lord, remember David and all the hardships he endured…” The hardships David endured refer to his longing to bring the ark to Jerusalem and his anguish over the incident with Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6-8). And yet his love for God drove him to persevere.

He was moved to the point of dancing before the Lord. In our church we have a family who has a daughter who loves to dance in the isles. She’s young — six perhaps — and has a beautiful way about her. The parents will go and pick her up at the end of the service so she can dance during the final worship song. She’s a blessing to us all. Oh that we would have that heart for the Lord that we would dance before him.

There’s lots we could have found in today’s passages to discuss, but these chapters caught my attention. Where is your heart with the Lord today? I’m challenged anew with David’s example. I want to love the Lord and live for Him like David did. Let’s rekindle that love for Him today and at some point in the next week spend a few moments in worship and dance before Him.

Have a GREAT day!

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1 Samuel 9-11 & Galatians 6

Galatians 6:9&10, 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)

There is much we can gain from reading today’s sections. Saul was a man who is in juxtaposition to what Paul writes to the believers in Galatia. Saul was not the kind of man that did good to all men and he did not reap a harvest  of good in the end. And it may be counter intuitive (like much of biblical wisdom is) to think of doing good to all people. All people! To those of different ethnic backgrounds? Those that are in the country illegally? People who have a different religious point of view? I believe they fall in the “all” category. What about your alcoholic next door neighbor? On a lighter note (and so much perhaps) in other parts of the world a different team’s soccer fan? Yes all these, we are to reap a harvest of righteousness when we stand before God at the judgment seat of Christ.

And one of the ways that the world will know that we are all about love is if you love those in the household of faith first and foremost. Are our places of worship full of love? Are our small groups full of love? Are our homes full of love? Perhaps the ones closest to us are the ones hardest to love.

Whose the hardest for your to love? Make a plan to love one of those individuals today. Let me know how it goes.

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