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 -- 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.

1 Chr. 22-25; 2 Cor. 9

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-9 [ESV])

During COVID shutdown when we couldn’t go to church we started watching other worship services online. We would watch ours first and then usually Discover Church in Orlando, FL. They have a tradition that when the offering is announced everyone breaks out in applause. And the service leader quotes verse 7 above that God loves a cheerful giver. They enjoy giving and speak of it frequently there at Discovery.

It can be a hard thing to do, to give cheerfully. The Apostle Paul writes earlier that when we give we are given more… not so we can spend it on ourselves, but that we have more for his kingdom work. So this passage is pretty straight forward and it boils down to this. God even gives freely to the poor, so if you are not poor today you know he is giving to you. If you are poor he is giving to you. What are you doing with what he has given you? Are you giving a portion back to him or are you spending it on yourself? How much do you give to kingdom work? Well that’s between you and God.

My application for you is to get alone with the Holy Spirit. Ask him what should I be giving to kingdom work. Then sit in silence waiting patiently for his answer. It will come in a still small voice. And when you realize it is coming from him – the God of the universe – that will make you a cheerful giver. Try it. See what happens.


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2 Samuel 13-14; 2 Corinthians 4 & Psalm 51

51 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51 [ESV])

This Psalm was composed by David after the prophet Nathan confronted him regarding his sin with Bathsheba. It’s a psalm of confession and praise. In the midst of the awful sin David committed with Bathsheba and the death of Uriah there is still hope to be found here. Verses 12 through 19 is a new ministry/mission that David is given. There is hope in these verses. He will teach those who have sinned like him the way of confession and healing. He will sing again of the praises God gives him. He will once again guide Zion with praise and worship of God Almighty.

The sin that David confesses is one that eliminates many from ministry, but we see here that God always has a plan for us no matter what. What are you struggling with today? What sin is holding you back from serving the Lord with hope and praise? Confess that sin to him and get back the future he has planned for you. A fruitful future of seeing his kingdom advance through your ministry.

There is a musical piece composed from Psalm 51 that is so beautiful that it gives the listener a sense of hope in the middle of confession. In your prayer time today I would encourage you to use this piece as a backdrop to your petitions. Click here to listen: (124) Miserere Mei Deus, Have Mercy on Me O God (Psalm 50(51)) – Gregorio Allegri Polyphonic Hymn – YouTube

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2 Samuel 1-2 & 1 Chronicles 11

When I was growing up our family was a part of a church in western New York State that was part of a larger movement of churches. We weren’t technically a denomination, but an organization of churches that cooperated to see the gospel move forward here in the United States and around the world. Those were very good times. In high school we attended summer camps and retreats that gave us all a sense of belonging and meaning in ministry.

Well last week I did a web search to see how this movement was doing. I saw some of the churches that I remember growing up and I got that fist in my chest nostalgia feeling as I read about some of those churches. Many have fallen on hard times.

As I read the passage for today, I was taken back by the story told in 1 Chronicles 11:15-19. A story about the bravery of three of David’s Mighty Men of Valor. Read it below:

Three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David at the cave of Adullam, when the army of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 17 And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 18 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord 19 and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men.

As I did some study on the passage, I came across some thought by F.B. Meyer and his take on these verses. I believe them to be all the more applicable when we think of God’s goodness to us in the past and our reaction to them as we live for him today.

“And David said with longing: Hiding in Adullam Cave, David nostalgically remembered the taste of the water from his boyhood village. He probably longed for it all the more because it seemed that he couldn’t have it.

i. We can be caught in the trap of these wistful longings. “Sometimes longings like his take possession of us. We desire to drink again the waters of comparative innocence, of childlike trust and joy; to drink again of the fountains of human love; to have the bright, fresh rapture in God, and nature, and home. But it is a mistake to look back. Here and now, within us, Jesus is waiting to open the well of living water which springs up to eternal life, of which if we drink we never thirst.”

ii. Instead, we should look to the Lord right now with confidence for the future instead of dreaming about the past. “Purity is better than innocence; the blessedness which comes through suffering is richer than the gladsomeness of childhood; the peace of the heart is more than peace of circumstances.” (Meyer)

The future can be scary. What does God have in the future for each one of us? That’s hard to tell. We can know that whatever it is he has our best in mind. Although we can look at God’s faithfulness and presence in the past, we need to keep our eyes looking forward. There is still much for us to do as we actively wait for his return. I have nostalgic feelings about the past, but my hope is that I can focus them into confidence for the future. How about you!

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1 Samuel 18; 1 Chronicles 6; 1 Corinthians 4; Psalm 11

1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”

This can be a formidable truth can’t it! In this 21st century context we don’t usually focus on the power aspect of the gospel, but the words we use to transmit the truths of it. Probably – if you are like me – you think of the signs and wonders as being something that passed away a long time ago. And yet we see the power of the gospel everyday around us. We see it in changed lives. We see it in healed bodies and answered prayer. We see it in prayers that are answered way beyond anything we could hope or imagine.

And then there are times like the one a group of us experienced in 1999. We were in Ukraine and in a town that in Russian was called That Town. It was such a god-forsaken place it really didn’t have a name. There were no paved streets in the town. They were all dirt roads. We were meeting in a house of culture and there were probably 250 townspeople in the room. On top of all that it was mid July and in that area it had not rained since early April. They were experiencing a drought. One of our team members was sharing the Evangelism Explosion message with the people gathered there. At one point he said that God loved them and loved their town. That was all one man could handle. He stood and said, “How can you say that? Look where we live and it hasn’t rained since April!”

At that point the regional pastor started talking with the man and I’ll never forget his last sentence to this frustrated man. “How do you know that God has kept the rain to show you just how much he does love you!” And at that moment you could hear thunder in the distance. By the time the meeting was over it was pouring rain outside. That’s the gospel coming in power!

When our team member had finished his presentation, that same man stood and said, “I have heard enough (I don’t think he was just talking about words) and I’m ready to receive Jesus. Who wants to join me?” Many came to Christ that day.

Father God, you may give us the privilege to experience something like what happened in That Town, or to become more aware of the power of the gospel all around us every day. Open our eyes to work you do in our lives and the lives of others as we share the love you have given us. I pray these things in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.

PS: Some critiques say that answers to prayer and these everyday power sightings are just coincidences. It’s interesting how many more of these coincidences happen when we become Christ followers!

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Judges 19-21 & Mark 16

We come to the resurrection of Jesus just as we are in the middle of Holy Week and looking forward to the celebration Sunday of our Lord’s resurrection. This Sunday in our church the pastor will be finishing a series on the resurrection. One of the things that has caught my attention is the difference between how we depict the resurrection in the West and the way the church views it in the East.

Resurrection is the keystone of our faith. As the Apostle Paul shares with us elsewhere that without the resurrection our faith is indeed useless. It is the resurrection that brings fulfillment to the gospel. Those of us in the East and West understand that. Yet in the West we often depict an empty grave. And that is a great thing to celebrate. But our brothers and sisters in the East depict the real meaning of the resurrection in their artwork. Looking at the picture below you see the artist has Jesus standing on, really trampling on Hades (the gates of death). He has defeated death by his resurrection. We no longer need to fear death. And Jesus sets our standing before him right again. See Jesus pulling up Adam and Eve from death. The second Adam sets right what the first Adam could not.

So, when you look at our empty tomb art here in the West please remember what that really represents. Jesus has defeated death and has set us free from the prison of sin as we put our faith and trust in him alone for our salvation.

He is Risen!

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