Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him!

No Help? Selah

Many there be which say of my soul, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah. – Psalm 3:2

FullSizeRender (1)Selah. It’s a word that instructs us to pause and consider what was just read or sung (the Psalms were actually songs). But what good is there in pausing to think about people who want to discourage us?

There is no help for him in God.” How depressing those words are! Do they make you want to give up? Do you believe them?

Fortunately, King David, the author of most of the Psalms, did not believe what the “many” said of his soul. And neither should we, that is, if our hope Christ.

The Many

Let’s start with thinking about the “many.” Who are they? In the case of David, they were the ones who were intent on usurping his throne and replacing him with his son, Absalom. Like modern propagandists they tried to weaken King David’s resolve by removing all hope in his Rescuer and Deliverer. They struck at the very core of who he was by attacking his faith in the very God who promised “thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16).

Who are the “many” in our lives? Jesus spoke of them as men who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and the “praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). Paul describes them in Romans chapter 1 as those who suppress the truth by their wickedness (18), refusing even to retain the knowledge of God in their minds (28).

So, the ones who say that God will not help are the very same ones who refuse to know nothing about God. Think about that one for a moment! What do they know??

The Help

David was not about to lose hope in his God. In a later Psalm we read : “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). Who were they, those who refused to know God, to tell David the One who made heaven and earth…the One who promised to establish his throne forever…the one who delivered him from the lion, the bear, and the Giant…was unfaithful?

David had seen the mighty Hand of God in action. He has been witness to His deliverance and protection too many times before. That is why in the very next verse he could proclaim with confidence in the face of those who would discourage him:

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. – Psalm 3:3

Just Wait

There may be people who say the very same things to you that they said to David as he hid for his life in the caves. They mock your faith and hope as you huddle in the dark, waiting for deliverance. But just hold on, believer! His promises are true! You’ve seen the way He works, and He’s not done, yet!

The “many” have no clue what they’re talking about; they can’t see your soul and they don’t know your God. So, just wait on Him, and you’ll never be ashamed (Psalm 25:3a)!

Selah.

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Your Little Church On the Web

Where Do You Go?

Do you have a place where you regularly worship? In other words, do you regularly go to church anywhere?

If you do, that’s awesome! But if you don’t, I would encourage you to find a place to go, even if it’s not perfect – is any place?

But if you don’t go somewhere…maybe you live too far away, or maybe you have a legitimate issue with crowds…I would like to encourage you to check out the website of the little church where I pastor: SouthSoddyBaptist.org.

If you don’t have a regular place to worship, and if you don’t like or don’t trust the megachurch places or internet ministries, our little church would like to help fill a void in your life. Maybe, just maybe, we could be your “Little Church On the Web.”

The Little Church

Believe me, churches don’t get much smaller than South Soddy Baptist, but we are a legitimate congregation of believers on mission from God.

We don’t have a lot to offer by way of flashy worship music. We don’t have a cool stage with lumber on the wall and mood lighting. Heck, we don’t even have a projection screen!

But what we DO have is a love for each other and a heart for God. We believe in genuine, caring fellowship and friendship. We care about what’s going on in each other’s lives.

We were blessed to be able to start our website so that we could minister to those not only in our community but around the world. Even though it’s not a huge website, like our little church it offers the basics, and sometimes that’s what is missing in other places.

Join Us

Look, if I had my preferences, I would like for you to attend a real worship service in a real brick-and-mortar building. But if that’s not where you are right now, why not make SouthSoddyBaptist.org your Little Church On the Web?

Read the blog posts. Listen to the sermons. Send your prayer requests – which we will absolutely pray for – through either email, text, or by phone. Go to our Facebook and YouTube pages as we begin to publish more content that’s simple and helpful.

We are a real church in a real city with real people who care about the Truth of God’s word and want to love people like Jesus would.

Would you join us?

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God Did Not Create Another God

Would you take a moment and consider something?

When God created man, He didn’t create another God.

You might think that’s nothing new, but it is a very, very important truth – one that is rarely unpacked when discussing issues of sin and suffering.

There are people who wonder why God, if He exists and is so powerful and wise, created a free agent who could sin (break God’s law).

Others question why Scripture would suggest that Jesus was slain before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20).

The answer to these questions and many more is that God did not create another God, only man.

God has certain characteristics that Man could never have simply because he was created. The most obvious are that he is not eternal, omnipotent, immutable, or omniscient. The most important is that Man, no matter how perfect he was at the moment of creation, was not holy as God is Holy.

If God were to create another like unto Himself, then God would not be God. If Man could be created, he couldn’t be eternal.

No matter what God created, His creation could never be Himself, and therefore not God.

God is eternally immutable, unchanging, therefore He cannot sin. On the other hand, Man is not eternal, nor immutable, so even from the beginning of creation, he had the potential, however remote, to sin. Therefore, even though God did not create sin, nor did He cause Adam to sin, sin was inevitable simply because God created a creature that was not Himself.

Why was it part of God’s plan that Jesus would be crucified, even before Adam even sinned? Because simply creating Man brought with it the inevitable possibility, the inevitable reality, that he would need to be redeemed – because he is Man, not God.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 KJV

Simply put, the only way sin could have been avoided would have been for God to never create any being capable of freely communing with Him. If he had created a robot, a machine, then sin would not have been inevitable. But since Adam was given the freedom to choose, a will, and since he was not God, the inevitable required an Emmanuel.

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An Exegetical Look at 1 Peter 3:15

This post contains part of an assignment I was given in a class I am taking on cults (yes, I’m still in school – working on getting more letters after my name). I was asked to do a quick exegesis of 1 Peter 3:15.

1 Peter 3:15 KJV – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

If you would like to read it, the following is what I wrote:

Authorship

1 Peter 3:15 was written by the Apostle Peter and most likely addressed to Christians living in Rome (Babylon). There are, however, various arguments against the Petrine authorship of the letter, but none have been taken seriously by the Church. As a matter of fact, by “the end of the second century and beginning of the third century, the letter is explicitly identified as Peter’s.”[1]

General Context

The overall context of 1 Peter is one of persecution. In other words, Peter wrote this letter to Christians who were heavily burdened with “manifold temptations” and “trials” (1:6-7). Scholars differ on the exact date of the writing and to which time of persecution the letter was actually addressing, but persecution was evidently a common occurrence.

Immediate Context

The immediate context of verse 15 has it on the heels of an exhortation by Peter to live in such a way that shows love to the brethren (v. 8). Immediately following in verse 16, Peter writes that by living this way their “good conversation” will put to shame any false accusers or those who may speak evil of them. Therefore, the exhortation of verse 15 is part of an overall call to be witnesses to a hostile world who is watching and looking for any reason to find fault.

Words to Examine

There are several words within 1 Peter 3:15 that are worth examining in closer detail. By doing so, we will be able to obtain a richer and fuller understanding of the passage.

  • Sanctify. The word translated “sanctify” is the word hagiazō (ἁγιάζω), which means “to make holy …purify or consecrate; …venerate…sanctify.”[2]
  • Heart. The word translated “heart” is a word that could be understood to be the actual organ within the body that pumps blood, but kardia (Strong’s G2588) can also mean – and in this case does – the center of spiritual life.
  • Ready. Peter suggests that the Christian should “be ready always…” The idea here is that of being prepared for something. We read in Matthew 25:10 of those that were “ready” for the coming of the bridegroom. Their readiness involved preparation for a future event. When we attach the adverb “always” to “ready,” what we have then is a readiness that is always anticipating something that could happen at any time.
  • Give an answer. The Greek word translated “give an answer” is apologia (ἀπολογία), which is a verbal defense of something, or reasoned argument (G627). Paul used the same word in 1 Corinthians 9:2 when he said, “Mine answer (apologia) to them that do examine me is this…” The idea of the word has nothing to do with making an excuse for something, but to give a reason for it in defense of it.
  • Reason. The Greek word here is logos (G3056), which has to do with words, things said, ideas expressed, thoughts communicated. Jesus was called the Word (Logos) in John 1:1. He was described as the Wisdom of God expressed. The Bible is the Word of God, the inspired, written revelation by God of Himself to mankind.
  • Meekness. This word in Greek is praÿtēs (πραΰτης), which is defined as a mildness of disposition, or a sense of humility (G4240).
  • Fear. The Greek word translated “fear” is the word phobos (G5401), which carries with it the idea of dread, terror, or exceeding fear.

Expanded Translation

Taking into account the background and context of 1 Peter 3:15, including an examination of the words used in the text, the following expanded version of the verse would thereby seem appropriate:

1 Peter 3:15 KJV – But sanctify [set aside as holy and revered, set up higher than anything or anyone else] the Lord God in your hearts [your life, your essence, the seat of your emotions, your way of thinking]: and be ready always [make preparations beforehand; do the work in advance of the need; anticipate the issue and prepare accordingly] to give an answer [a well-though-out response, a reasoned reply, a logical defense] to every man that asketh you a reason [because some men want more than “I don’t knows”; they want to be convinced with language they can understand] of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [because there are grave consequences for not being ready…1) the lost may remain in their lostness and reject Christ, and 2) the One who is Holy is judging your works].”

Conclusion and Application

As mentioned above, 1 Peter 3:15 was written to those who were enduring trials and tribulations, i.e., persecution. Today, even though we are not enduring the same kind of trials and tribulations, there are other more minor forms of persecution and tribulation we may encounter in the immediate future. Nevertheless, all trials and tribulations, regardless of the severity, should provide for us an opportunity to exhibit a “hope” that is in us and beg the reason why.

Therefore, as Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15), we should study as those who are to be examined, so when the time comes when we are asked to “give an account,” we will not be ashamed (1 Peter 3:16), but offer our actions AND our testimony as reasons for our faith.


[1] The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude. Thomas R. Schreiner. 2003, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville. Page 22

[2] The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. (G37)

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I’ll Never Run for Office

By now you’ve probably heard of the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It has been alleged that he sexually assaulted a woman (Christine Ford) more than 35 years ago while in high school.

What makes this so frustrating is that no one in their right mind would want to belittle or scoff at any woman’s claim of being assaulted, yet the circumstances surrounding the release of this information is patently suspicious. The indignation shown by Kavanaugh’s political adversaries at the suggestion the release of the accusation at this particular time is nothing more than a political stunt is rather laughable – except it’s not at all funny.

It has become known that Dr. Christine Ford (the accuser) has been very active in promoting liberal causes and the political left. It is also obvious that what supposedly happened 35 years ago could have been brought to the attention of authorities at any time during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s rising career, one that has had to endure six FBI background investigations (count them – SIX!) and multiple U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. But now that Kavanaugh is poised to become a key personality on the Supreme Court, coincidentally right before a potential shift in congressional control, an accusation of assault comes out.

So, yeah, I’m not the only one who is skeptical.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh shook President Trump’s hand, so he must be the worst person in the world. Obviously.

Which brings me to the point of my writing this morning: I’ll never run for office.

No, even though I’ve considered it in the past, I will never put my name in the hat for any political office – my closet has too many skeletons. Oh, don’t be too shocked. What kind of things did you do when you were young? Did you ever get into a schoolyard brawl? Did you and your sweetheart ever get into an argument? Did you ever get a speeding ticket? Did you ever get angry and accidentally hurt someone, even slightly?

If you did any of the above, then odds are – according to Left – you’re a lawbreaking abuser with an unpredictable temper unfit for public office. If you run for office, or if you’re nominated for any critical position in government, people from your past will come out of the woodwork to accuse you of things you don’t even remember, and that in itself will be a testament to the fact that you are cold and uncaring, blind to the wounds you cause others.

It was in first grade I threw a rock on the playground and hit a girl. It may or may not have been an accident, but I can’t remember. As punishment, I was called into the Superintendent’s office and made to apologize, then was told to give her a hug and a kiss to prove I was sorry. That was in 1972. Should I run for office, I’m sure that the story would come out that I assaulted a young girl and then participated in unwanted sexual advances. Even more, I would then be made to answer questions about why I did not report me being asked to sexually assault the young girl. I wouldn’t doubt that an investigation would be launched into the private school I attended, and any other related offenses would be linked to me because I had never publicly opposed them.

I was only 5 or 6 years old, but who cares? That’s politics. And I didn’t even tell you what happened when I was a teenager!

And that’s why I’ll never run for office.

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On Jost and Che: Thanking Jesus

The Emmys, etc.

I didn’t watch them.

I never do. I never watch any award shows.

I used to watch them – years ago – when they were actually funny and entertaining. Now they are nothing more than self-indulgent platforms for self-important people to slam normal people who actually make a difference in the world.

So, all I ever see from the modern awards shows, like the Emmy Awards, is what ends up on the news or viral YouTube clips.

I just don’t care.

The Jesus Joke

Then just this morning, all over the media news outlets, there came the clip from the Emmy Awards’ opening monologue from Colin Jost and Michael Che. Oh, it was hilarious! Not.

What made the news! Oh, nothing more than what has become the norm for those on the political and social left.

Michael Che (who is he, anyway?), a black man, joked that his mother wasn’t going to be watching the Emmys. Why? Because the winners on “white” award shows never thank Jesus for anything. He went on to say,

“The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Funny. Really funny. Absolutely brilliant, original, creative comedy. NOT.

It’s just so easy to insult Christians, and that’s nothing new. For that matter, this whole story is nothing new; it’s been this way for years, now. It’s just becoming so common that the shock factor has completely worn off and even the atheists are getting bored.

And what’s also getting old is pointing out the fact that no joke, ever, not on their life, would be offered in the same way about Muslims. Nope. Never.

Because, odds are, no Christian or Republican who thanks Jesus for anything will hunt you down or pose a real terroristic threat to your next black-tie venue. Christians…those sheep who go silently to slaughter. Those Republicans…who never fight fire with fire.

Thanking Jesus

For the record, I am a Republican. I also thank Jesus for everything. However, I’m not an ex-crackhead – because I’ve never used crack. I am a sinner redeemed by grace, however.

But those “ex-crackheads” who are thanking Jesus might be worth listening to. Better than the drug addicts on stage, I would suppose.

And to all you Democrats out there, who do you thank? Have all the Jesus-thankers left your party?

I know Christian Democrats (I don’t understand them, but I know them), and I believe – unless I’m been deceived – they give thanks to Jesus.

I also know a lot of Republicans who are heathen, so…

Again, this is why I don’t watch this stuff; it’s stupid, offensive, and certainly not funny.

Thank Jesus I had better things to do.

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Starting Over

Today is my birthday! I’m excited.

Actually, I’m not as excited as I was last night, because last night was when we actually celebrated my birthday. Today I just got older.

Well, that’s not completely true. You see, my wife and daughters baked a cake for me and decorated it, but the only candles we had were a “1” and a “2.” Even if we had had 51 little candles, I would have hated blowing them out! And they would have melted the icing!

So, I decided the “1” candle would work (I had to blow out something), and that made me think…instead of turning 51, I’m starting over!

Now, if I could only live to my 20’s or 30’s I’ll be in good shape 😉

Birthday Gifts

Last night my family presented me with a few gifts, and I was very pleased. Each one was evidence they had really thought about me, for each one took some thought.

And that’s the way gifts should be, you know? Gifts should give the impression you care, not that you were fulfilling an obligation.

But if money and reality were no object, I would like to add the following to my birthday present list. If any of you out there would like to check any of them off, be my guest 🙂

  1. One of those really nice, calfskin-covered, high-dollar new Bibles. You know, something like an Allen or a Cambridge with a wider margin for making my own notes.
  2. A couple of new suits that actually fit.
  3. A Breitling watch.
  4. An iPad pro.
  5. A ride in a WW2-era bomber or fighter.
  6. To drive an exotic supercar, like a Cobra, Ferrari, or Porche 911 turbo. A Dodge Demon, 2019 Mustang GT, 2018 Corvette would be nice, too.
  7. A trip to the holy land.
  8. Another mission trip either to eastern Europe or Africa.
  9. A Gen4 Glock
  10. A trip to Washington, DC, to see the new Bible Museum.

But the love of my family is worth more than any of the items on my list. Sure, the things on the list would be really cool, but I’m infinitely blessed beyond measure to have a loving wife and 3 daughters who love the Lord.

Happy birthday to me!

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