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.

Hosea 10-14; Joel 1:1-2:17 

If Jesus were here in person today, I think He would use flannel graph and PowerPoint to get His points across. When we look at the end of Hosea and the first part of Joel, we see Him speaking to us in word pictures. In the last three weeks I have experienced two sermons where those preaching used visuals and word pictures to get their points across. God does the same thing here. Read Hosea 10:12 below: Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. Are you far from God today? What a beautiful way He entreats you to come back to Him. They idea of rains of righteousness falling on us is awesome. Are you seeking the Lord today and experiencing His refreshing rain fall on you? Then we see His ability to predict and foreshadow the future. We see a messianic prophecy in Hosea 13. Many years later the Apostle Paul quotes part of this chapter (1 Corinthians 15:55) in reference to the Messiah. Hosea 13:14b … O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Perhaps not to those reading this for the first time does it make sense, but to us, on this side of the cross it brings more credibility to the message of the prophet Hosea many years before and we can take great confidence as we read God’s Word that what we are reading is true and sure and that this book we read each day has a common theme and structure that leads us to the Saviour. Our readings today end in Joel. His writings are considered apocalyptic (perhaps apropos for todays circumstances). And yet how beautiful His words. Can you see that it’s our hearts that need rending not our outward appearances and presentations. As we return to God, He will be merciful and gracious to us. This world may seem apocalyptic at times, but God’s haven of peace and love and safety is always waiting for us. Joel 2:13 “… and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Father God, thank You for caring so much for us that You use language that is sweet and picturesque to draw You to Yourself. I pray as we read today’s verses, we will be drawn back into a strong relationship with You. It’s in the strong and wonderful name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

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Daniel 2:31-4:27

Daniel 3:16-18,  16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (ESV)

So here we have three young men who are more committed to God than their own lives.  They understand the gravity of their situation and they know God is able to deliver them from the fiery furnace.  Yet, He may not. He may use this experience as the time to take them home to heaven.  But for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego they know what they must do. Their duty is to follow and obey God no matter what the cost even if it means their lives. In the west we live in a little sliver of time where we can practice our Christian faith without the fear of physical harm.  Just last year 41 of our brothers and sisters (fathers, mothers, husbands and wives) in a South East Asian country were imprisoned with sentences of five years each for sharing their faith with others. In another country four years ago a Bible translator in another Asian country was shot 31 times. The government authorities ruled it an accident. Not only did these three men follow God no matter what, but people around the world today are giving their lives for the sake of the gospel.  As one person has stated, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

This is not something I like to think about. I have enough of a challenge following God with the pressures of relationships in every day life. What would I do if my life were at stake. I would hope to be as faithful as these three young men were.  That even if my life was given to advance the kingdom of God I would say, “Let it be known that if I am not delivered from this immediate situation, I am still following the God of the universe.” In fact, the pressures I face in standing for God now, may be the testing ground used for when my life is at stake. If I am willing to compromise now, how could I stand when my is life at stake?

Father God, strengthen my resolve to stand for you daily. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are imprisoned right now for you, or are being tortured for you or are dying for you. The least I can do is stand where you have placed me and give an account for the relationship I have with you. May I follow the examples of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Paul Carlson, Jim Elliott, Nate Saint, and Maximilian Kolbe! I pray these things in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.

Dave (dmbaldwin)

From the archives. Originally published September 15, 2009.

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Ezekiel 22:13-24:27 

What a depressing passage of Scripture! Two sisters that whore after the nations around them. They both end in destruction. All is lost. And yet in the midst of all this God is still looking for someone who can save the day. He states at the end of chapter 22 the following:
And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 22:30&31 [ESV])
One man, one man would have stemmed the tide of God’s wrath, but there was none. No one to stand in the gap. Standing up for God’s rule must have been terribly difficult. And sometimes here in the 21st century it can feel that way. And at school or work, it may be only us. Just one of us ready to stand for God. And I believe, just one of us can make a difference for more people than we think. God was looking for just one person to save a nation and city. God can use you to make a difference where he has you to change the course of many lives around you.
Let’s not be like the narrative above. Let’s all be ready to stand in the gap for God. Let’s pray that sort of prayer letting God know we are ready to be used by Him to make a difference where He has placed us.
Father God, I pray that we would all be willing to stand for You in the situations You have placed us. Help us to not be swayed by those around us, but to be ready when the time comes to speak and act on Your behalf. I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

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Jeremiah 31:21-33:26 

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. He stood alone against the people of Judah. The destruction of Jerusalem was so absolute that I’ve heard some teachers liken it to the fire bombing of Dresden. Not one stone left on top of another.

However in the midst of all this destruction a glimmer of light shines through. We read this in 31:31-34:

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to[d] them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”

There is coming a time when a new covenant would be made between God and His people and all people on earth. It would be a spiritual kingdom, one that is in our hearts and not on tablets of stone. When Jesus came and lived a perfect life, died for us, was resurrected and then ascended this promise was fulfilled.

Are you still hanging on to the old ineffective things of this world? Are you trying to live a live by the rules instead of by grace. Put your trust in Jesus the author of that New Covenant and see how your life changes. His promised was kept and it’s for you today.

Father God please help us to cling to your New Covenant today. Not the old of the past. May we trust you for the future and for eternity. We pray these things in the promise keeping name of Jesus, amen.

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Isaiah 41-44

I love passages like the one for today. I have probably written about it in past years. Here in the middle of this passage we see a prophecy of the coming Messiah,
42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
Isaiah prophecies of something he will never see come to fruition in his life time. Isaiah prophesied this somewhere between six and seven hundred years before our Messiah came. If you are wondering if this whole Christianity thing is true, then hold on to passages like this. Only the God of the universe could foretell of something like this. And wait till you get to Isaiah 53! That will really blow your mind.
Father God, thank you for your Word and how through the ages it has proven to be true and how it points to the Truth! Help us to live today in light of this glorious reality. In the mighty name of the Messiah we pray, Amen!

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