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.

Genesis 23; Matthew 22; Nehemiah 12; Acts 22

When I was in seminary a rather famous religious figure turned his life over to Jesus in a new and fresh way. Then he felt as if he needed to learn the Bible and theology from a whole new perspective so he came to seminary. Well all at once they wanted this person to be speaking in chapel and representing the seminary in many venues. He had been a true follower of Christ for only eighteen months where I had been one for some eighteen years. I felt belittled and not appreciated for what I brought to the table in that seminary.

In today’s reading we have another dramatic conversion in the person of the Apostle Paul. We read it below:

6 An intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
8“I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light,
10“I said, ‘What should I do, Lord?’
“The Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything that you have been assigned to do.’
11“Since I couldn’t see because of the brightness of the light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and went into Damascus. 12 Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there, 13 came and stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has appointed you to know his will, to the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth, 15 since you will be a witness for him to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, why are you delaying? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ (Acts 22:6-16 [CSB])

Now Ananias could have been like me and sulked because he was a devout follower of Jesus and here’s Saul, one who had persecuted and killed Christians, yet, no he went and even called Saul his brother.

We all have stories. Some are dramatic while others are quiet and deep. What is your story? How has God brought you to himself? Knowing where we were before Jesus — even if we were five or six years old when it happened — it’s a dramatic and awesome story to tell. Tell your story to someone today. I’m sure it will be an encouragement and may even draw someone into the kingdom.

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Filed under Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Matthew, Nehemiah, Uncategorized

Genesis 8; Matthew 8; Ezra 8; Acts 8

We find that after the martyrdom of Stephen the gospel spread throughout the region like wildfire. There is a phrase that has often been quoted throughout church history and it goes like this, “The church advances on the blood of her martyrs.” In fact we find a connection between Samaria — where Philip is — and Ethiopian. The Spirit of the Lord carries Philip away to a deserted road where an Ethiopian eunuch is reading from Isaiah.

26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  27 So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem 28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. (Acts 8:26-28 [CSB])

On that desert road this eunuch became a follower of Jesus. Some scholars say that this event was the beginning of the church in Ethiopia that goes strong till today. One act of obedience on Philip’s part and a conversation with an isolated government official and for two millennial there has been a church in Ethiopia.

What/who is God calling you to speak to today. The funny thing about His Kingdom work is that it never is empty of results. Who knows perhaps that conversation you have today or this week could have eternal benefits for millions of people for all eternity.

Father God, help us to keep our wits about us and to look for the opportunities you give us to share the good news of Jesus with those You put in our path. We look forward to what eternal results come from these encounters. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Job 40-42 & Psalm 124

Psalm 124:1-8, 1 If the Lord had not been on our side- let Israel say- 2 If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, 3 then they would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger against us. 4 Then the waters would have engulfed us; the torrent would have swept over us; 5 the raging waters would have swept over us. 6 Praise the Lord, who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net; the net is torn, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Christian Standard Version)

Has this been your story this year? It may not be people, but could be circumstances. Has God protected you? If you belong to Him you know He has, even if it doesn’t look that way from a human perspective. At the end of the day we can say that God is good all the time and we can also say that all the time God is good.

We have a family coffee roasting business and there have been times — for no apparent reason — that our roasters have not worked all three of them. It has been frustrating and we have lost time and gotten behind in orders, but still at the end of the day we have had to say God is good. He has our best interests at heart.

None of us know what 2020 holds, but God does. The best place to be is in the protection and purpose of the Maker of the universe.

Father God we pray for your grace and goodness to shower on us today. We may not recognize it as such, but show us Yourself in all things and circumstances. In Jesus’ loving and powerful Name we pray, Amen!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Uncategorized

Ezra 7-10; John 14; Psalm 131

All of the passages we read this morning speak to God’s faithful love and preservation of those who are in Christ. And for those of us in Him we have an eternal inheritance.

John 14:1-7, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus is the only way we can enter this beautiful eternal home He is preparing for us. It’s interesting and I’m not sure I’m right, but have thought about this from time to time. It took Him six days to create the world we live in with all its beauty and majesty and since He has been gone — as I read this passage — Jesus has been preparing a beautiful place for us to dwell with Him! WOW can you imagine what that is going to be like? I sure can’t!

Here is the caveat… the way to this eternal home is only through the person of Jesus Christ. I’m sure that most of us if not all who are regular readers of 66books have already put our trust in Jesus alone for our salvation, but there may be someone reading who has never done that. My counsel to you is to do that today. Pray the prayer posted below and enjoy life everlasting with Jesus in the house he is building for all his followers.

Lord Jesus Christ, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask his forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience). Please forgive me. I now turn from everything that I know is wrong. Thank you that you died on the cross for me, so that I could be forgiven and set free. Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Spirit. I now receive that gift. Please come into my life by your Holy Spirit to be with me forever. Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.

 

 

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Uncategorized

Daniel 3-4; Psalm 81 & 1 Peter 3

We all know the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. How they would not bow down to the gold statue that King  Nebuchadnezzar had built for all to worship. I’m wondering if the Apostle Peter had them in mind when he wrote part of 1 Peter 3…

15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15&16 [CSB])

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not confrontational, but with gentleness and confidence defended our faith and were ready to die for it and many have died for the sake of the gospel over the millennia. In the 1 Peter 3 context it’s not death his readers were facing, but punishment and perhaps prison. For us it would be discrimination and ridicule. A far cry from burning alive in a fiery furnace. How do you give an answer for the hope of the gospel you have? It does beg another question doesn’t it? The Apostle Peter is assuming we know enough of the gospel to be able to share it when the opportunity comes our way. How are you at being able to share the hope you have? Can you share the hope of the gospel with others when asked? Today may be a good one to start learning.

Holy Father when the time comes please give us boldness with gentleness to be able to share the gospel with those that ask. We pray for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who when doing so will face prison or even death. Help us to think of them when the opportunity comes for us to share. We love you Lord.

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Filed under 1 Peter, 66 Books, Daniel, Psalms, Uncategorized

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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Filed under 66 Books, Hebrews, Jeremiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

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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