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.

Jonah & Matthew 11

This morning we look at two very different books of the Bible in one way, but similar in others.

John the Baptist is in jail. He is doubting whether Jesus really is the Messiah. He has done everything right and yet he is sitting in a Roman prision. So he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the One. Jesus doesn’t scold or belittle him, He points him to what He has been doing… the marks of the Messiah. And then as John’s disciples leave Jesus says this:

11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:11-12 [ESV])

The old King James reads, Since the days of John the Baptist till now the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men (women) take hold of it. I like that rendering better. Kingdom work is not for whimps. When I stop to think of it I can think of at least nine people who have given their lives for the sake of the kingdom. One theologian has said, “The church advances on the blood of its martyrs.” Now that gets your attention doesn’t it.

Jonah was thinking of himself and John was thinking of the kingdom. When you think of your place in God’s kingdom are you thinking of yourself or the kingdom? Do you think of what’s in if for you or how your work will further the kingdom? John died in that prison through events that seem totally repulsive to us. Jonah was spared his life and yet in the end pouted about it. He would rather have died than seen God’s kingdom prevail.

Paul Carlson (Congo), John & Betty Stamm (China), Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Jim Elliot (Equador) all gave their lives so that the kingdom could advance. We stand on their shoulders today and the shoulders of countless others. What’s your approach to God’s kingdom? Will you stand firm and partner with Him in moving it forward? Let’s pray for one another as we serve our Lord each day.

Father God, Thank you for including us in your kingdom work. Help us to serve you with all we have and to be the people of your kingdom that joyfully moves it forward instead of running from it. In Jesus strong name I pray, Amen.

PS: If you’d like to hear the story of John & Betty Stam, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdFslNA-jQE

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1 Kin 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Psalm 129; Matthew 1

“I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.(1 Kings 19:4b-5[CSB])

Have you ever said that to God? Have you been tempted to say that to Him? I know I have. You’ve done your best, you have worked hard for Him, but it still comes out wrong, or people still complain, or you still have bad things happening to you after doing all God has asked of you. You/I don’t get a break, even — so it seems — from the God we serve.

But like Elijah who uttered these words we don’t know the whole story and later on we find that he is not alone. There were at least 7,000 Israelites that were still true to the God they served.

The next time you feel like giving up remember Elijah. Remember you are not alone. Keep your eyes on the God of the universe who is working out His will in your life and the lives of others. So don’t give up. Stay the course.

Father God when we feel like giving up, like we’ve had enough remind us of Elijah who felt the same way, but whom you encouraged and still used for your honor and glory. We pray these things in Your wonderful and powerful name, Amen.

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1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9; 1 Timothy 6

Three very interesting portions of Scripture for our consideration this morning. I am struck by a phrase that is used in 1 Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9. These are words from the Queen of Sheba about what she sees in King Solomon’s Kingdom, 8 Blessed be the Lord your God! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, he has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.” (2 Chronicles 9:8 [Christian Standard Bible]).

(By the way while I was reading this passage I was listening to a classical station and they were playing The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel. Click on this link and listen to it while reading the rest of this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KLee4Kgr_E&t=6s)

This concluding remark by the Queen of Sheba had to do with what she saw as a by product of Solomon’s wealth and wisdom. He had to have been the richest person in the world at that time. One scholar’s calculations put his wealth in today’s terms at about 100 billion dollars. He humbled himself and asked for wisdom and God gave him both wisdom and wealth. As a result the Queen of Sheba states, “he (God) has set you (Solomon) over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.” When wisdom and wealth are used in a right manner the people are happy and contentment, justice and righteiousness prevail.

Yet as we read on in 1 Kings we see Solomon drifting from his commitment to God. Along with that came a degrading of that justice and righteousness and Solomon started worshiping other gods. And in the end his heir lost the bulk of the kingdom. I wonder what the world would be like today if each of Solomons heirs governed like he started. The world would be an entirely different place and perhaps justice and righteousness would prevail.

So the Apostle Paul paints a dire picture of a person who persues wealth for wealth’s sake. He writes to his protege Timothy the following: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:6-10 [CSB]).

Money used or desired in the wrong ways only leads to grief and heartaches. I’ve known of many who have wandered away from the faith and have found themselves in these situations.

So what about us. I believe we need to focus on verse 6 above. If we focus on godly living and being content with that no matter what our economic standing is, we will find great contentment.

Father God, pursuing a relationship with You is where we find our greatest contentment. I pray that we would all be doing that as we grow in You. In Jesus strong name we pray, Amen!

Florence, Italy: Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gate of Heaven. Solomon receives the Queen of Sheba, the gate panel

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Proverbs 19-21 & 1 Thessalonians 4

As we read the last section of 1 Thessalonians this morning my Bible titles that section, “The Comfort of Christ’s Coming.” Now that is not inerrant writ — it’s a commentators way of splitting up the different sections of a chapter. Yet all of us who follow Christ should look at these words as great comfort:

13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 [Christian Standard Bible])

What comforts the believer from the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica?

First, we have hope. When a believing loved one leaves us we know they are in heaven with Jesus, v. 13. Although they have died it’s like they have fallen asleep.

Second, those of us who are left will be raptured when Jesus returns, vv. 14&15. This will be done with a lot of pomp and circumstance. There’s going to be a shout from heaven and an archangel will be shouting and a trempet will be sounding. This is going to be fun!

Third, we will always be with the Lord, v. 17. We will never leave His presence and He will always be with us for all eternity.

Fourth, if we take Paul’s words to heart we are to encourage one another with his words, v. 18. Have you done that lately. Have you had a conversation about the second coming with anyone in the last month that has been encouraging? Why not start today. Find someone and spend some time encouraging one another about this great hope of the Christian believer.

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Proverbs 3-5 & Romans 10

So it’s great when one of the passages you wanted to study falls on a day that’s your turn to write for the 66books blog. Proverbs 3:5&6 so happens to be that passage. I did some research — not done yet — but will give you some ideas about parts of this passage from several theologians. What a blessing to have these great men and women’s teaching and insights as we study God’s Word.

Proverbs 3:5&6,

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight

Here are some thoughts on this passage:

Warren Wiersbe: The word translated “trust” in verse 5 means “to lie helpless, facedown.” It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.

John McArthur: The “heart” commonly refers to the mind as the center of thinking and reason (Pr 3:3; 6:21; 7:3), but also includes the emotions (Pr 15:15, 30), the will (Pr 11:20; 14:14), and thus, the whole inner being (Pr 3:5). The heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects speech (Pr 4:24), sight (Pr 4:25), and conduct (Pr 4:26, 27).

Bridges: AND DO NOT LEAN ON (expresses attitude of trust) YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING: Don’t trust yourself…your unrenewed fleshly thinking is still just that = fleshly.

C.R. Wood: Ten things to do based on this passage…

What should you do when you do not know what to do? Here are ten suggestions ?

I. Walk Closely With the Lord
A. Maintaining daily fellowship with Him will help in time of need
B. Make a regular practice of turning everything over to Him

II. Take the Matter to Him in Prayer
A. Do not ever do anything without His guidance
B. Do not fail to do anything He shows you to do

III. Don’t Try to Figure Things Out on Your Own. Lean Not on Your Own Understanding.
A. Unaided reason will always lead to more problems
B. It is not wrong to use your reason

  1. So long as it is not your reason alone
  2. Reason must be submitted to the will of God

IV. Submit Yourself and the Situation to His Will
A. Be willing no matter what His will may be. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine (John 7:17)
B. Do not try to predetermine or rubber-stamp His will

V. Clearly Express Your Problem
A. Put it in writing

  1. Helps to clarify it
  2. We sometimes find answers while stating the problem
    B. Be sure you really have a problem
  3. Sometimes our only problem is worry
  4. Some problems are not worth having

VI. Search for Bible Principles
A. If there is no direct teaching available
B. Try to find principles that apply

  1. Why it is important to express the problem clearly
  2. There are principles for every situation

VII. Be Sure There Is No Sin or Disobedience Involved
A. If I regard iniquity in my heart (Psalm 66:18)
B. Sin blocks

  1. Not doing what we know we should while seeking to know more
  2. Broken fellowship prevents answers
    C. Sometimes our problem is that we know the answer, but we just will not act on it

VIII. Seek Godly Counsel
A. Cautions

  1. Do not go to those you know will agree with you
  2. Do not seek too many
  3. B. Why it helps
  4. Others may have been through the same thing
  5. The uninvolved see more clearly

IX. Do Not Act Until You Have to or Until You Know What to Do
A. Often we do not have answers because we do not need them yet
B. Many situations care for themselves or provide their own answers

X. Expect God to Give You Direction
A. Move on do not let it stop you
B. This verse is a promise

Conclusion:
Here’s what to do when you do not know what to do.
These steps can help you do something about the tough situations and keep you going until you find the solutions God has for you.

Almost too much for one sitting correct!?!

Well if we master this I think we’ll have beautiful feet for Jesus:

Romans 10: 14&15

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful [on the mountains (Isaiah 52:7)] are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Only after mastering Proverbs 3:5&6 can we hope to bring good news to others.

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