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 44-47; Luke 14

Scripture:

14:25-33, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Observation:

Jesus is gathering a strong following. I believe he knew that many were following him for the wrong reasons. They wanted their stomachs full, they wanted to be healed and they enjoyed his teaching from a purely intellectual point of view. However, many did not understand that part of the way of Christ is one of suffering and hardship. Now Jesus wasn’t stating here that if you didn’t count the cost first you couldn’t follow him. He was stating that a wise person would do that. Salvation is always by faith alone, but it’s wise to count the cost before committing to something. I was listening to a dialogue between Bill Hybels and Dallas Willard and the topic of the lions came up. When a person in the first century was presented the claims of Christ, did they also have to know about the lions? You know, those animals that ate Christians in the Colosseum in Rome! Or did you let them find out about it afterwards? Dallas stated that they already knew about the lions. Christians were counting the cost and dying for their faith. Others contemplating Christianity knew that was a part of the deal. Jesus was telling the crowds it was time to count the cost. Many left him over that little talk.

Application:

It’s too late for many of us. We are already in. We have trusted Christ alone for our salvation. So we didn’t count the cost before joining God’s family. However, I need to count the cost every morning when I awake. I need to remember there are responsibilities that come along with my position in Christ. It’s not always easy and I need to realize that and plan my days accordingly. John Maxwell was quoted over the weekend as saying the closer we walk with God, the more he requires of us and the more friends we tend to lose because of the path he has us on. That very well could be true. Some reading this have lost relationships with family or close friends because of your faith. Others have been passed over for promotions and the resulting better life-style that brings because of your faith. We are counting the cost. There are brothers and sisters that are suffering greatly around the world today for their faith. That makes me feel less than adequate knowing my cost for following Christ is minuscule compared to them.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. I pray that every morning I would count the cost of following you and that I would not shy away from paying that price. Help me to be true to you and follow strong after your Son Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world today who are suffering beyond comprehension. Please be their portion. I pray these things in Jesus Name Amen.

Dave (dmbaldwin)

From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on October 27, 2009.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, New Testament, Uncategorized

Job 40-42; Psalm 150; Revelation 22

And so we end the year with three important passages of Scripture. Whether your year has been hard or easy, challenging or a breeze, we can always spend our days praising God. Psalm 150 gives us that basis:

1 Praise the Lord!Praise God in his sanctuary!Praise him in the sky, which testifies to his strength! 2 Praise him for his mighty acts!Praise him for his surpassing greatness! 3 Praise him with the blast of the horn!Praise him with the lyre and the harp! 4 Praise him with the tambourine and with dancing!Praise him with stringed instruments and the flute! 5 Praise him with loud cymbals!Praise him with clanging cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!Praise the Lord! (NET)

We are given many ways we can praise God and everything that does have breath should praise God. And here’s a great reason why. Because of how the whole story ends, how this time on earth comes to an end and we read that in Revelation 22.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (NIV)

Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Are you living each day and each year like you’re ready. Let’s start 2019 with that attitude and lifestyle. Come Lord Jesus. Come.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Job, Psalms, Revelation, Uncategorized

Job 24-27; Revelation 17

So it is Christmas Eve. We celebrate the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world. This event is but a chain of events that end in the total victory of the Messiah — the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world — against the powers of darkness in this universe. So it is fitting that we read Revelation 17 today. The verses that strike me are as follows:

14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (Revelation 17:14&15 [NIV]).

Today we celebrate a link in the chain that brings total victory for God. An eternal Kingdom that will be established and God’s reign will be established for all eternity.

Part of celebrating this first advent is also preparing for the second advent, when Christ returns and this prophecy begins to be fulfilled. What are you doing this Christmas 2018 to prepare for the coming second advent of Jesus? Think and pray about that because what we read in Revelation 17 will some day become reality.

Merry Christmas!

1 Comment

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

Nehemiah 7-9; Psalm 140; Revelation 7

Lately I’ve been quoting Revelation 7:9 a lot to individuals when talking about two things:

  • When will the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19&20) be completed?
  • What does God say about culture?

Here’s the verse:

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands… (Revelation 7:9 [ESV]).

The first question may be answered by stating it could happen in our lifetime. There are approximately 7,000 unreached people groups in the world. The Apostle John states that he sees people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. We have a long way to go. And if this is going to be a reality in the future — which I believe it will be — then even the return of Christ depends on these peoples being reached. The question for you this morning is, “What are you doing in your life to see these peoples reached with the gospel?” There’s a lot to yet be done before the Lord returns. In a sense we are on a war footing. How are you helping to win this war?

The second question is a really cool one. I believe God thinks very highly of ethnicity and culture. Did you catch the wording here? The Apostle John saw people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. He saw! I believe we take our ethnicity into heaven with us. If you are white now — you’ll be white in heaven. If you are black now — you will be black in heaven… For what purpose I don’t know, but let’s celebrate our cultural diversity as Christians around the world and look forward to a great time together in heaven.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Esther 4-6; Revelation 2

We come upon one of the most profound verses in the Bible when it comes to matching God’s will with our lives and our will. It’s the words of Mordecai, Queen Esther’s relative. The king has ordered that all the Jews be killed in the kingdom and Mordecai is persuading Esther to intervene. Here are his words:

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 [NIV])

The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17 that we are here on earth in God’s timing and to do God’s will. That’s what Mordecai was sharing with Esther. She had come to power at such a time as this. Really to save God’s people from annihilation. Esther was placed on earth at just the right time for just this purpose (I’m sure there was more she did for God, but this was the big one).

Why did God cause you to be born in the 20th or 21st century? Why does He have you living where you are? Why does He have those neighbors living close to you? Well in Mordecai’s words, “For such a time as this.”

1 Comment

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

Zechariah 9-11; 1 John 5

Periodically I hear people criticize Christianity because they say it’s just a bunch of rules you have to follow. And the Apostle John sort of agrees with them in this passage. And yet in the middle of these verses you find an astounding statement. See if you can find it.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—sour faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5 [ESV])

Did you find it? I think the second sentence in verse three is astounding, “And his commandments are not burdensome.” I am reminded of some of the world class athletes we know. Michael Jordan never complained about the rules in basketball. He never complained because the basket rim was at 10 feet. He never complained about the 3 second rule or the length of the court. He was world class while playing within those constraints and excelled.

The rules and commands we find in the Bible are for our good. They protect us and give us freedom. They are not there to control but to bring freedom to our lives. They are not oppressive but freeing.

How bout you? What command are you having trouble with? Have you thought about the fact that obeying that command will bring you freedom. Try it and see if it works.

Oh and by the way. By keeping these commands in no way gets us into heaven. The Apostle John addresses that later in the chapter and takes all the guess work out about the heaven thing. Read below:

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 [ESV])

So he gives us that answer right there in the statement. We enter into an eternal relationship with God by putting our trust in Him alone for our salvation. Simple believe in what He has done for us on the cross.

So where are you in all this today? Are you believing in Jesus alone for your salvation? Do you understand that it isn’t a bunch of rule keeping that gets us there? But on the other hand do you realize how freeing it is to live by the rules and commands God has given us? Think on these things today.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized, Zechariah

Ezra 1-2; John 21

The scene is set. Peter and Jesus are sitting around an early morning charcoal fire… Just like the charcoal fire the night Peter denied Jesus three times…

Jesus then asks Peter if he loves Him and asks Him three times.. Read below:

15 Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.” 17 Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17 [ESV])

Jesus always looks past our sin to what we can do for Him in His kingdom. Peter had done the unthinkable. He had denied Jesus three times. Even when Jesus takes Peter aside and tells him He was praying for him Jesus looks past the denial. We read the following:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31&32 [ESV])

One of the greatest sins ever committed and Jesus doesn’t demand an apology. He let’s Peter know He knows in the passage of this morning, but His call to ministry was the focus of Jesus here.

If Peter hadn’t turned back, or had blown off the sin Jesus wouldn’t have had the early morning breakfast meeting with him. Jesus knows our hearts probably more than our words.

Some of us have struggled with sin and we have asked and asked and asked for forgiveness. The first time would have been enough, but even still Jesus knows your heart. He knows you are sorry and when He does He gives you a new mission to accomplish in His Kingdom work.

We have all had to ask for forgiveness but has dwelt there. Jesus wants us to look forward to the new assignment He has for us. Satan is the one that keeps us at the sorry point putting the lie into our heads that we are no longer any good to God. God is waiting to give you your next assignment in His Kingdom. What will it be for you?

Leave a comment

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