We hope to be able to spend Thanksgiving weekend with our family in Pigeon Forge, TN, this coming year. My desire is to set memories for our children and grandchildren of their Mother and Grandmother, who is known to the grandkids affectionately as "Gree." This is Shirley's name, given to her by the oldest of our children's children. Shirley's cancer is once again increasing in its activity. The oncologist told us Tuesday (September 26th) that he would set up a CT-scan after our October revival to assess what changes have occurred. Her current CEA number is 467.2 (the higher the number, the more active the cancer). She has miraculously started her third year of chemo in August. Her next treatment is scheduled for October 18th. We plan on attending Freedom Baptist Church during that stay. Pastor Ed Parton and his wife are dear friends.
The last day of the year is a Sunday for 2017. Pastor David Cooper has asked me to spend that day with them, at the Bible Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. I look forward to preaching and to having fellowship with Pastor Cooper and his great church. The morning services will begin with Sunday School at 10 a.m. and Sunday Worship at 11 a.m. Since this is also New Year's Eve, I am not certain of the evening schedule, whether it will be the normal time or moved to a watch-night service.
I have the joy of holding a meeting at Lee's Chapel Baptist Church in Gardendale, AL, from Sunday, October 8th, through Wednesday, October 11th. Pastor Paul Pschirer has kindly extended this invitation to preach to his people and to have fellowship once again with he, his wife and their dear family. It has been several years since we have seen Pastor Pschirer. Shirley and I are looking forward to the meeting. Pray for our health, safety as we travel and our financial needs. Most importantly, pray for souls for Christ and a touch from heaven in the meeting.
When the Apostle Paul writes his second epistle to the church of Thessalonica, he reveals an amazing view of God's coming judgment: it is a righteous thing! Paul declares that he is bound to give thanks to God always for this great church for two primary reasons: their faith was growing exceedingly and the charity of every one of them abounded toward each other. And while the Apostle is thanking the Lord for this church, he understands that "it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you" (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
Paul not only gives God thanks on their behalf, he also glories among the other churches for the patience and faith these Thessalonians showed in all their persecutions and tribulations, noting that they suffered for the kingdom of God. In fact, the Apostle declares that such suffering is a "manifest token of the of the righteous judgment of God" (2 Thessalonians 1:5). Such suffering is an evidence of being counted "worthy of the kingdom of God." Job was counted worthy to suffer for Christ, as was the Apostle Paul himself. So, too, were the saints of Thessalonica. As Peter writes, "Happy are ye" when ye suffer for righteousness' sake (1 Peter 3:14).
So, to you who are troubled, rest with us. It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe in that day!
I have the joy of holding a meeting at the Community Bible Church, in Camden, SC, from Sunday, September 17th, through Wednesday, September 20th. The Sunday service are as follows: Sunday School (10:00 AM), Sunday Worship (11:00 AM) and Sunday Evening Worship (6:00 PM). The services on Monday through Wednesday will begin at 7 PM. Shirley and I thank the Lord for Pastor Peacock and his dear wife, whom we have known for many years, and for his faithful Church family, who have proven themselves our dear friends. Pray for the Lord's leadership in the services, for souls to be saved and for the saints to feel a touch from heaven through the preaching of God's Word.
Pastor Jeff Stewart has invited us to be with Choice Hills Baptist Church, Greenville, SC, on Sunday morning, September 10th. I look forward to preaching and singing, and hearing Shirley play the piano and testify for the Lord. These folk are dear saints of God, and we are honored to be a part of their fellowship on Sunday, September 10th.
The saint of God needs revival. It can be a personal need or a national need (a need for revival within any group of which a saint is a member): such as a family, a church body, or, literally, a nation among whom we live. Revival of the national kind is the revival desired by the writer of the 85th Psalm. He prays, Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people my rejoice in thee (Psalm 85:6)? The cause of God's anger was not the fault of the saint praying. This dear saint recognized that God had turned himself from the fierceness of his anger (Psalm 85:3). He had forgiven the iniquity of his people, having covered all their sin (Psalm 85:2). Yet, the Lord is angry with the generations that refuse to recognize what this saint knows: there are generations that refuse to acknowledge the mercy God has provided through his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. We have been bought with a price; yet, we must repent of our dead works and received the gift of God's Son! God's promise is to all: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else (Isaiah 45:22).
After pleading with the Lord to show the us mercy and to grant us salvation, the Psalmist turns and declares what he will personally do while he waits on the revival for which he prays: I will hear what God the Lord will speak (Psalm 85:8). Not what men say; not what the talk shows discuss; not what the devil whispers. He will hear, Thus saith the Lord! In his burden for revival, in this need for revival, God the Lord will speak (1) peace unto his people and to his saints (Psalm 85:8). (2) God will warn his saints not to return to folly, but to walk before him in fear (Psalm 85:8b-9). Not the fear of the wrath of God. No! In Christ we have the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14). But the fear of a reverence for the One who loved us so. Like our Saviour, God hears our prayers in that we fear him so (Hebrews 5:7). (3) God will witness to his saints that his salvation is near them that fear him (Psalm 85:9). (4) The Lord will remind us of truth springing out of the earth because mercy and truth are met together, of righteousness looking down from heaven because righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10-11). Christ, who is truth, came into the world in the form of man, that the Spirit of Christ might be poured out among men! (5) the psalmist will be reminded that the Lord shall give that which is good (Psalm 85:12).
Waiting on revival? Follow the Psalmist's example and listen to God the Lord!
We are looking forward to being with Pastor Karl Zielke and New Hope Baptist Church, Candler, NC, on September 3rd, for their Homecoming. Service will begin at 11 a.m., with a meal on the grounds afterward. Our appreciation to Pastor Zielke, and to the Lord, for inviting us to be a part of this great day!
Pastor Bobby Watts has invited us to testify, sing and preach in the evening service, August 27th, at Mt. Bethel Baptist Church in East Bend, NC. This will be our first time with Pastor Watts, and we look forward to being with him and to meeting his congregation.
Ever notice the wording the Apostle Paul uses in Titus 3:8? He declares, These things I will that thou affirm constantly. It is Paul's "I will...." Normally, we turn to 2 Timothy 4:6 when we think of Paul's last moments: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.... The date given for Paul's writing of 2nd Timothy is 66 A.D. The date for Titus is 65 A.D. Remember, we write out a will before we die. Before Paul's departure to be with the Lord, the Apostle willed that we constantly affirm the following: that we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another: but after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not be works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).
This is a faithful saying, faithful to Moses and to all of the prophets. We all were sinners. And "after that" the kindness and love of God appeared. Christ died while we were yet sinners. Jesus saves sinners. He will have mercy on you, according to the hope of eternal life, which is in Jesus Christ. This hope is the gospel: that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and three days later, arose from the dead! He did this "according to scripture": he fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies and promises. Christ shed his blood on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins that the Father could shed the Holy Spirit on us abundantly, through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Receive the grace of God. Let him save you by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. God is calling. Any man who thirsts can come and take of the water of life freely. That water is his word. Receive his promise: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:17-18). Believe in the name of Christ today, and confess him as your Saviour before men!
Pastor Ronald Humphries, Sr., Truth Missionary Baptist Church, Moncure, NC, has asked that I fill-in for him on Sunday, August 6th. Shirley and I are looking forward to visiting his church. Dr. Humphries has been a dear friend for many years. I will miss his fellowship on this trip, and I count it a privilege to be of some service to him and his church family. They are a wonderful group of believers. Shirley's next cancer treatment will be Wednesday, August 2nd. Thank you for keeping her in your prayers. She had to slip out of the afternoon service at Bible Baptist Church, Marietta, GA, on yesterday (September 23rd) for a few moments. I thank the Lord for her dedication.
The week of September 23rd to September 30th is an exciting week at Bible Baptist Church, Marietta, GA. The Ladies' Meeting held on Saturday, September 22nd, the regular Sunday services, the Independent Baptist Fellowship on September 24th, and the Dean Burgon Society Meeting on September 26th & 27th will fill the week with great preaching, great fellowship, and great praise unto our Lord and Saviour! I am humbled that Pastor Cooper has asked us to stay through the 30th and have me preach for him once again. Let me take this time to thank you once again for your prayers, especially for my wife and her ongoing battle with stage 4 cancer. She faces her next treatment just after this meeting, on Wednesday, August 2nd. This will start the third year of chemo infusions. That the Lord has graciously allowed her to stay here is a great blessing. She has faced death on several occasions along the way since learning of her cancer July, 2015; and, she has passed the two years that were the doctors' initial estimation for her life expectancy as of July 18th. Praise the Lord!
The Bible Baptist Church of Marietta, GA, will be hosting the annual meeting of the Dean Burgon Society, beginning Wednesday, July 26th, and ending on Thursday, July 27th. Dr. David Cooper, the host pastor, has graciously invited us to attend the meeting. Shirley and I look forward to hearing Dr. D. A. Waite, President of the Dean Burgon Society, and the men he has selected to speak throughout the meeting.
The Bible Baptist Church of Marietta, GA, will host the Independent Baptist Fellowship of Georgia on Monday, July 24th. This is the oldest Independent Fellowship of Georgia, started by the late Dr. Verdie Edwards. The meeting begins at 2:00 p.m., with a supper at 5:30 and an evening service to follow. Pastor Tim McCulley, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Calhoun, GA, will bring the evening message. Special music will be provided by the University Baptist Church Choir of Atlanta, GA. Their pastor is Dr. Gary Ledford. Missionaries present in the afternoon will be given a time to present their ministry. Among the afternoon preachers are Pastor Brian Swafford, Calvary Baptist Church, Carl, GA; Evangelist Larry Youngblood, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Carl, GA; and myself. Dr. Youngblood is also an author. Among his books is Biblical Principles for Parenting. I highly recommend it. You can write to him at P.O. Box 69, Auburn, GA 30011. Bible Baptist Church is located at 2037 Eula Drive, Marietta, GA. Dr. David Cooper is the host pastor. You can call him at his church (770-592-2660) for more information.
Shirley has been invited to speak to and fellowship with the Ladies of Bible Baptist Church, Marietta, GA, on Saturday, July 22nd, from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. The community is cordially invited. Our appreciation to Pastor & Mrs. David Cooper for their prayers and fellowship over these years, especially most recently regarding Shirley's cancer. July is an anniversary of sorts. We were told of her cancer July 9, 2015. Her first chemo treatment was July 27, 2015. The assessment of the oncologist was 18 months to 24 months to live. Her condition is stage 4 cancer: infection of the colon, the liver and the lungs. Having her here, alive and functioning today in this world is a miracle. God has altered our lives through her condition, and He is still changing it, as her treatments and their effects demand time and attention. Two years since the news. Two years through various treatments and dangers. Two years in the valley of the shadow of death, and the Lord is still our helper! Reaching July, 2017, makes it an anniversary month. We appreciate your prayers, and we give God all of the glory!
Pastor Jerry Peacock has graciously invited me to preach for him on Sunday, July 9th. Shirley and I look forward to seeing both he and his wife, and to fellowship with his dear congregation. I will preach in both the morning and evening services, the Lord willing. I thank the Lord for the kindness of pastors who allow us to come just for a Sunday. Given my wife's cancer treatments, weekly meetings must be staggered around her schedule. However, the weekends are fairly regularly available. We thank the Lord for the kindness of pastors willing to work with our schedule.
The statement, Ye must be born again, may seem strange to some, but it is understood by every saved person. The Bible does say, If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. The connection between the gospel of Jesus Christ and the new birth is faith. Faith, saving faith, comes from hearing the word of God.
Men can hear, that is, receive, portions of the Bible, believe statements from the Scriptures, and not be saved. Consider creation, for example. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. Men have believed in the direct creative act of God and assumed he has left his creation to maintain itself, like a time piece the clock-smith sets upon a mantle. They call their faith Deism.
Judgment can be believed without receiving mercy. Those who hold that their good works will out-weigh their bad works at a final reckoning are counting on earning their salvation. Though judgment is eternal (Hebrews 6:2), Hell can be strangely tolerable to some who believe it is for a limited duration, either through a reprieve, as with purgatory, or for a limited duration, as in the Seventh-day Adventist's idea of soul annihilation. They have heard some things from the Bible, but they have missed the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have failed to see the second birth. They have ignored God's gift of salvation.
Hebrews 8:1 declares that we, who have believed upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, have a High Priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. He is a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man. He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises, what we read of in the New Testament. By this new covenant, which is made possible through the blood the Lord Jesus shed, God has promised to be merciful to our unrighteousness and to remember no more our sins and iniquities (Hebrews 8:12).
I wondered about God's mercy toward our unrighteousness the other day, so I checked to see what was the first reference to unrighteousness in Scripture. It is Leviticus 19. The word appears twice, verses 15 & 35: Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. Exact wording, both times. This is echoed by the Lord when he pleads for men to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). God is not unrighteous (Romans 9:14); the Lord is not unrighteous (Psalm 92:15). Man is unrighteous.
Leviticus shows us what righteousness and unrighteousness is. We are not to be unrighteous: we are not to respect the person of the poor nor honor the person of the mighty in judgment; we are not to be a talebearer among God's people; we are not to stand against the blood of our neighbor (as in defending a murderer); we are not to hate our brother in our heart, nor rebuke him or suffer sin upon him; we are not to avenge ourselves or to bear any grudge. In short, we are to love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:15-18).
Our High Priest is such an High Priest that he does not respect persons. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. You are as important to the Lord as any famous, intelligent, wealthy, popular, talented, handsome individual on this earth. Our High Priest is not a talebearer. He is not talking about you to your hurt. He is not reviewing your past sins or spreading your present struggles. Consider the Old Testament saints mentioned in the New Testament: nothing derogatory is said by the Lord. Though Abraham hesitated at the Lord's directions (Genesis 17:17-18), God testifies that he staggered not at the promises of God (Romans 4:20).
No grudge is held by our Lord, no vengeance sought upon those who have turned to him in repentance and faith. The Apostle Paul confesses that he was a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious to those who loved Christ; but after his salvation, God elevated him, used him, honored him: no grudge, no vengeance.
Such an High Priest can be your High Priest. The Lord has given all this invitation, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47). He that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ (that he died for our sins and was buried, and that he is risen again) is not condemned before God. But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18). Believe on him today!
We look forward to spending the day with Pastor Freeman Weems, First Baptist Church, Atoka, TN, on Sunday, May 21st. He and his dear wife have been our friends for a long time. Shirley will speak to the ladies during the Sunday School hour; I will have the privilege of teaching a men's class and preaching during the day.
Shirley has the joy of speaking at a Ladies' Brunch on May 20th, hosted by the First Baptist Church, Atoka, TN. Their theme is Fill My Cup. It will begin at 10 a.m. Please be in prayer for her, both for a touch from God spiritually and for added strength physically. Shirley will have a cancer treatment on Wednesday, May 17th. We will travel to Tennessee on Thursday and Friday. She generally experiences a burst of strength the day after a treatment.
Shirley will be one of four speakers for a two-day Ladies' Mother/Daughter Meeting hosted by Highland Baptist Church, Vass, NC. The meal will be served on Friday evening, May 12th, followed by two speakers and resume on Saturday morning, with two other speakers. She is looking forward to seeing Mrs. Vaughn, the pastor's wife, and the other dear women of the church, along with the many ladies who will be coming in for the meeting.
Pastor Shane Hull has extended to me the privilege of preaching the Sunday services at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Greer, SC, on May 7th. Sunday school at 10 am, preaching at 11 and again at 6 pm. It is always a delight to visit with this dear man of God and with his church family.
Shirley has the privilege of speaking at a Ladies' Luncheon hosted by Emmanuel Baptist Church, Greer, SC, on May 6th. It will begin between 11 and 12. She looks forward to seeing Mrs. Tanya Hull, the pastor's wife, and all of the wonderful ladies of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that God confirmed the promise made to Abraham by an oath, to show the immutability of his counsel unto the heirs of promise (Hebrews 6:17). God's oath was made "that we might have a strong consolation by two immutable things" (Hebrews 6:18). Those two things are described as the two things in which it was impossible for God to lie. Notice the it, which serves as an expletive to tell us the subject follows the verb. The subject is the infinitive to lie. To lie was impossible for God, especially in these two things. These two immutable things are a reference to the two covenants, two declarations of God's oath: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament and the New Testament agree on the way of salvation. Early in his Roman epistle, the Apostle Paul declares that the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe is witnessed to us by the law of Moses and the prophets (Romans 3:21-22). At the close of the Roman epistle, Paul declares that the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began but is now made manifest (a reference to the New Testament) was made manifest according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith (a reference to the Old Testament). These two are not only in one accord, they are in agreement with Paul's gospel and the preaching and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25-26)
Who can lay claim to God's strong consolation? All who have fled to Him for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us (Hebrews 6:18). This hope is the anchor of our soul, both sure and stedfast. This hope is the forerunner of our faith, even Jesus, who has entered into that holy of holies for us. He has been made high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 6:19-20). Have you fled to Christ? Have you anchored your soul?