Category Archives: Christianity

It’s Gap Time, So Step Up!

This morning I turned to the book of Ezekiel and came across a short outline I prepared years ago. That 5-point outline directed me across the page to a verse that has, in the past, been what you would call a “life verse.”

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:30

Upon leaving the church where I last pastored, I’ve been forced to do some self-examination. Being completely honest, there are still some things I need to improve. With humility and prayer, I will seek God’s help in those areas.

Regardless, now is not the time to accept defeat or wonder about my abilities – NOW is the time to step up and stand in the gap. That is true for all of us!

I will probably preach a sermon this coming Sunday based on this passage of Scripture, so I won’t go into much detail in this post. However, I feel it important to encourage you (and myself) to remember that God isn’t looking for the perfect soldiers; all He is asking for are WILLING ones.

Unfortunately, all it takes is for us to receive one discouraging comment or critical observation to make us abandon our posts and our weapons, thereby leaving just enough of a gap through which God’s judgment can enter and destroy the very ministries and individuals we supposedly love.

Do your own study of Ezekiel 22, particularly verse 30, and then see how you can use the following outline to create your own sermon.

5 Ways to Stand in the Gap

  1. Answer the Call
  2. Be a Warrior
  3. Look for Broken Places
  4. Pray for God’s Mercy
  5. Don’t Give Up

Lord willing, this coming Sunday on my YouTube channel I will address this subject and use this outline. Join me for the premiere at 11 a.m. Eastern.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Church, Preaching

What Are You Expecting This Morning?

Sunday morning, that is.

By the time you read this, it could be any day of the week. But I am writing this on a Sunday morning. As a matter of fact, it’s not long before Sunday school will begin, followed by the morning worship service at our church.

So, my question to you is this: What are you expecting this morning?

Unfortunately, so many people, particularly Christians, are not expecting anything. Oh, they are expecting to do something, maybe go somewhere, or maybe they’re just expecting a late breakfast in bed. But when it comes to worshipping their God in a congregation of believers, most don’t expect anything – they just go.

Why is that? Why is going to church on the Lord’s Day something to be taken for granted? Even more, why is it something to be taken so lightly that washing one’s car or pancakes are more important?

One big reason, like I just mentioned, is that they/we, for the most part – if not always – never expect anything to happen that hasn’t already happened week after week, year after year. Nothing.

Yet, when we go to church – WHEN we go to church – there is the distinct possibility to witness a genuine miracle, one that can directly affect each of us on an individual level. I’m not referring to “miraculous” healings or “manifestations;” I’m talking about being spoken to by the holy God of the universe.

Oh, you can stay home and watch TV or play with your kids, and those things are OK in and of themselves, but what you are going to miss is nothing less miraculous than the breaking of the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000. And you think catching a wide mouth bass is better than that?

I would encourage you to rethink your priorities, dear Christian. The God who saved you from hell is offering to you a special opportunity which cannot be duplicated or recreated afterwards. He wants you and the rest of His children to experience this together as a family.

Please, accept the invitation your Father is sending out. Accept it and expect to hear from Him.

Otherwise, do not expect much from God by way of joy and fulfillment when what you choose to do replaces a personal offer from Heaven.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Church, worship

“With” or “As,” That Is the Question

If you are old enough to have any memory of 1993, and if you were living anywhere in the Southeast at the time, “Storm of the Century” means something to you.

Like when Kennedy was shot, when Elvis died, or when the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Superstorm of 1993 was one that left people remembering where they were, who they were with, and how long they were cooped up.

For some of you, snow is no big deal. Heck, you’ve even got shoes to wear in it. But in the South, where an inch of snow can shut everything down, 19-21 inches of the white stuff practically cataclysmic! And that’s what we got when the “Storm of the Century” came through.

But wherever you get snow, especially if it’s just enough to cover everything with a blanket of white, for a little while everything is so pretty, isn’t it? Even the trashiest places in your neighborhood (like the guy’s yard with all the car parts strewn around the lawn, or the grimy streets of some major, liberal-run city) can momentarily appear sanitary and safe.

Unfortunately, what covers up something doesn’t necessarily make it better, fix the problems, or make it any safer than it was before.

Back in March of ’93, when the snow in my yard was 21 inches deep, we had a blast jumping and falling into it. We had no fear of falling backwards, forwards, or any direction because the snow was just so deep that we would never hit anything hard.

However, what we never considered was that as we did the same thing around the neighborhood the risk of injury was much greater. We never stopped to think that just under the surface of that soft blanket of white could lie a broken bottle, a board with a nail sticking through it, or a pitchfork.

In Psalm 52 we read King David’s sorrowful prayer of repentance following his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. Throughout the psalm we sense how dirty he felt, begging God to “wash,” “cleanse,” and “purge” him. Then, in verse seven David mentions snow.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7

Notice, David was wanting his unrighteousness to be washed away so that he would be white AS snow, not covered with it.

The prophet Isaiah also mentioned snow in this context.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:18

Snow is the adjective, not the object. The desire is to be as clean and white as freshly fallen snow, not covered with it.

David knew the difference between works and grace. He knew there was nothing he could do to cleanse himself; only God could do that. Yet so many today simply try to cover up their sin with the snow of good deeds, appropriate associations, philanthropy, and religiosity. Sadly, all they really end up with are “whitewashed tombs” full of dead men’s bones.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers [tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Jesus – Matthew 23:27 (KJV)

Have you ever asked yourself why it is that a snow-blanketed landscape is so beautiful? What about it appeals to us, especially when underneath the white are myriads of color, even if only multiple shades of brown and gray? Could it be that within humanity is desire to be clean? To be free from guilt? To be forgiven? To be “white as snow.”

Could it be that the beauty of fallen snow is more innate than perceived? Could it be that there’s more to it than simple aesthetic beauty, but a spiritual longing?

What is your desire? Don’t try hiding your mess with the snow! May snow itself lie and wish to be as white as the soul redeemed with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

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Filed under Christianity, grace, salvation

A Thought on Real Forgiveness: To Worship with the Predator

A while back, but less than 10 years, my family fell prey to a sexual predator. Some of you may know what that is like, what the roller coaster of emotions one must endure feels like, and how violated you feel when the one that did the harm was supposed to have been a friend.

I’m not going to share many details, but I am thankful for the fact that our loved one didn’t go missing or wasn’t found dead in a ditch. It could have been much worse.

Regardless, as a pastor, I learned some hard lessons about how sexual predators prey on children by infiltrating congregations while disguised as the best church members you could ever want. I also learned that forgiving a sexual predator does NOT translate into wiping the slate clean and “forgetting” in the same way God does our sin.

Initially, even though it’s hard to say with certainty because a man doesn’t truly know what he will do until he’s put in a situation, if given the opportunity I would have killed the man. As a matter of fact, there have been times when I doubted my manhood because I didn’t kill him. But that desire for vengeance has passed.

Do I want the man to be released from prison? Not any time soon. That’s because I don’t want him to have the chance to do more harm, to abuse more young girls. But do I want him to stay in prison forever? Honestly, not really. Actually, it’s not something I think about anymore.

Granted, if he showed up at my door unannounced, there would likely be bloodshed. Just saying. Why? Because I’ll never be able to trust him again. Period.

But do I hate him? No, I don’t. Have I forgiven him? Yes, I have. And I love him, too.

How is this possible? Well, to begin with, I gave him over to the authorities to deal with. They were the ones set up by God to carry out justice on this earth. Taking justice into my own hands would be contrary to God’s law, therefore a sin. I’m not seeking more punishment, for to do so would be seeking vengeance, not justice.

Next, my prayer is that one day this man would genuinely recognize the harm he has done and call out to God for mercy and forgiveness. I want him to feel remorse, but I also want him to bring God glory by calling out to Him in faith.

But this is how I know my heart is right, at least as right as can be considering the circumstances. I would love to see this predator in heaven one day. And do you know what I want to do when I see him there? I want to smile and say to him, “Isn’t God good!”

The greatest end to this tragic story would be to stand there with that sinner and recognize that my own sins would have damned me to hell just like him . . . if not for God’s grace, if not for Jesus!

Then, at that moment, the only right thing to do will be to turn toward the Throne and worship the One who saves to the uttermost!

What glory is there in seeing someone burn in hell for an eternity? God doesn’t want that, for He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The glory comes when God is praised for his grace and mercy that is greater than all our sin! The glory comes when God is praised for eternity and His goodness and wisdom is displayed to all the principalities and powers in heavenly places!

"At the Cross"

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

- Isaac Watts (1707)

Real forgiveness starts at the foot of the Cross.

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The Deadliest Vaccine Comes from Christians

First, a Rant

We are living in unprecedented times. The moment we think we have seen it all, something new comes around and throws everybody into a crazed frenzy. Most of those unprecedented things are the ripples in the sea of our society (actually, more like crashing waves) caused by COVID-19.

What started out as a virus that took off in China and spread around the world has gone from a “We’re in this together” event to brother-against-brother infighting, borderline-economic collapse, and governmental tyranny.

Yeah, we’re still in this together, but a lot of us are ready to get out. We are tired of our freedoms being assaulted by everyone from presidents, prime ministers, and politicians to governors, mayors, business owners, and even the run-of-the-mill Karen.

A year ago the most respected and honored citizens among us were our first responders. Nowadays they are being threatened, demeaned, and terminated for conscientiously objecting to being vaccinated. Heck, they’ve survived THIS long, so what’s the problem? You think they may get sick and die? Well, you’re essentially reaping the same consequence by firing them!

By the way, whatever happened to the mantra from the left, “My body, my choice”?

I Digress

Now that I’ve blown off a little steam, let’s move on to the subject in the title of this article: “The Deadliest Vaccine Comes from Christians.”

Everybody from the piously religious to the angry atheists have had something to say about COVID vaccines. However, regardless whether the disease kills you or one of the vaccines turns you or your children into three-legged frogs, there’s a MUCH WORSE vaccine running rampant . . . and it’s being developed and dispersed by Christians.

What is it?

Christians are inoculating unbelievers to the Gospel!

You do know how vaccines have traditionally worked, don’t you? They inject a dead version of a virus into a person so that his own body will develop antibodies to the live virus. That way, should the person ever come in contact with the real thing, his natural defenses will fight it off.

I want you to read the following words from the Apostle James:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

Listen, the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the majority of Christians either don’t think it’s appropriate to share their faith with others, or the “faith” that they are sharing doesn’t consist of a biblical worldview! This was shown in recent surveys published by Probe.org and an article in The Christian Post which covers the story. Unbelievably, as the title of the article in The Christian Post describes, “Nearly 70% of born-again Christians say other religions can lead to Heaven“!

But where the inoculation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ comes into play is when the average Christian (or the person who THINKS he is a Christian) lives a life around unbelievers with no evidence supporting his claim. Acting just like the unbelievers . . . engaging in the same behavior and enjoying the same things they enjoy . . . injects a dead faith (James 2:26) in them which inoculates them to the real thing.

The worst thing you can do, if you want to win your unbelieving friend to Christ, is to enjoy the sinful pleasures of the world with them while claiming to be a Christian. Whenever you finally make the bold move to show you actually care about their eternal soul, their natural defenses will fight you off with mocking laughs. Your “faith without works,” your “dead faith,” will have given them the ultimate antibody . . . .”Why? We’re no different from you!”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus (Matt. 5:16)

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What Is Salvation, Exactly?

Sunday Sermon

This past Sunday I preached a sermon on salvation. It wasn’t a sermon calling people to salvation, although that was certainly a part of it; it was a sermon explaining what salvation actually is.

To help the congregation, I provided my notes with the intent to keep things moving along and to give everyone something to take with them. That’s what I’m providing for you in this post.

More than 5

As I told my congregation, there’s a lot more to what salvation is than what I could cover in only five points. However, the five points I do share in this outline are pretty important and worth noting.

When you get to the comment section, feel free to add more things that salvation is. As we who are saved know, the depths are limitless.


Opening Text: Acts 16:30 – . . . and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

(Speak to the context of the Philippian jailor’s question)

But there are other questions people ask, like:

  • Does God still love me after what I did?
  • If I was really a Christian, why did I do what I did?
  • If I am a Christian, why can’t I stop sinning?
  • Can I still go to heaven?

First, Let Us Ask: What Is Salvation?

1. It’s a Legal Transaction

We must understand that a crime was committed, and a verdict has been issued: Sin is breaking of God’s Law, and judgment for that is the DEATH PENALTY.

  • Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
  • Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
  • Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

BUT! Romans 5:6 – For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

2. It’s an Appeasement of God’s Wrath: Propitiation

1 John 4:10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

Before we go any further, we need to understand something else: God is Love, but He’s also a God of wrath.

  • John 3:36 – He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Of course, his anger is not an irrational lack of self-control as it so often is with humans. His anger [His wrath] is the … opposition of his holy nature to everything that is evil.[1] To turn away the wrath, the anger of God, will take more than a wave of the hand or any amount of apologizing on our part. On the contrary, Hebrews 9:22 – And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

(Propitiation: Turning away of anger by the offering of a gift.)

1 John 4:10… [He] loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

3. It Is Redemption

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  • Galatians 3:13 – Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
  • Hebrews 9:12 – Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

4. It Is a New Birth

  • John 3:3, 7 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
  • 1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

5. It is a Limited Time Offer

  • Genesis 6:3 – And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 – . . . behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)

So then, what is the answer to the original question?
What must I do to be saved
?

Is it simply believing there is a God? Answer: No.

James 2:19 tells us: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Is it doing good, or at least more good than bad? Answer: No.

Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Not by 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; – Titus 3:5 KJV

All one needs to do is …

Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved …”

Romans 10:9, 13 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 10:28-30 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand. I and [my] Father are one.


[1] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Propitiation,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1784.

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I Believe in the Invisible Man in the Sky

The late Norm McDonald was being interviewed about his personal faith, during which he mentioned a conversation he once had with another comedian who’s going to have a lot to answer for when she finally kneels before her Messiah.

Sarah Silverman asked, “So, you believe in the invisible man in the sky?” Norm McDonald replied, “Uh, yeah, I do.”

There was no debate, or at least none that he spoke about. There was no attempt to reason with Silverman over his beliefs, the likes of which he admitted are rare in show business. I don’t know what McDonald’s actual theology amounted to, but at least he – at one point – was unashamed to wear the label of “Christian.”

Well, I just want to go on record as siding with the late funny man, Norm McDonald, by saying that I, too, believe in the Invisible Man in the sky.

No apologies.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16

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Are You a “Nerd”?

In an effort to get a better understanding of the the word, I did what any self-respecting scholar would do: I “googled” it. Well, actually, that’s not correct, I “binged” it.

Anyway, I found several different definitions for nerd. Some of them, quite frankly, seemed a little harsh.

  • (Noun) a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.
  • (Verb) engage in or discuss a technical field obsessively or with great attention to detail.
  • A person, especially a man, who is not attractive and is awkward or socially embarrassing.
  • A person who is extremely interested in one subject, especially computers, and knows a lot of facts about it.

So, to sum it up, a “nerd” is not a good thing until you need one . . . or until one becomes a billionaire and his looks and social skills no longer matter.

On the other hand, being called a “nerd” could be sort of a compliment.

Called Black by the Pot

There’s an old saying about an iron pot and an iron kettle. If you have seen them you know what they look like – they’re both jet black. Well, when a black pot looks at a black kettle and with smug indignation points out said kettle’s blackness, what you have is either hypocrisy or irony.

I R O N y …. see what I did there? 😉

So, when just the other day I was told by gamers and Discord server owners that I was a nerd, well … this kettle had to laugh at the pots.

I’m on Discord!

By the way – and this is important – I am taking part in a brand new mission field!

If you are a gamer, then you are familiar with Discord. Believe it or not, this is one of the greatest mission fields we have seen in our lifetimes. No joke.

If you would like to check out what I’m doing, along with a list of growing content on our server, FaithChatt, then click the link below and join in! Currently I am doing a Bible study through the book of Ephesians every Friday morning at 9 a.m. (Eastern).

discord.gg/faithchatt

Back to the NERD Stuff

Anyway, last Friday morning while teaching in Ephesians on Discord, I began talking about my love for watches. The purpose was illustrate how that when we are really into something, we talk about it. We talk about what we know.

Photo by Matilda Wormwood on Pexels.com

It wasn’t long after I started with the analogy that I heard muffled laughter . . . snickers (not the candy kind) . . . and the hint of a conversation going on in the chat room. That’s when these guys, the ones who know all about “bots” and “bumps” and “boosts,” said, “You’re a nerd.”

Riiiiiight.

That’s when I really got to thinking …. am I a “nerd” about Jesus? Are you?

You see, when it comes to so many things we get excited about, we are quick to tell people all about it. Just a tiny opportunity is all we need.

Are we that way about Jesus?

Can we go on and on about who He is? Can we boast about His stats? Are we so familiar with Him that we can talk for hours about all the quests we’ve been on and the battles we’ve won?

And for all the watch lovers out there like me, you get so excited about those man-made jeweled movements that tell time, but what about the One who created time?

Are we nerds about Jesus?

Why not?

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They Stabbed Me 3 Times While I Slept

Yes, I was stabbed three times in my sleep this past Friday morning. And if you count the 3 IV’s I got on top of everything else, then I was stabbed a total of 6 times!

Now, I assume you get the joke, right? I WAS stabbed in my sleep, but it was with robotic tools meant to save my life, not take it. I went under the knife and laparoscopic surgery to remove a 3-inch tumor in my chest, and, thank God, I survived.

But I’ve got some really good news to share! What they removed when they took out my thymus gland was NOT a tumor, but a large cyst! Yay!

Sure, a 3-inch cyst pressing against your aorta isn’t exactly a wonderful thing, so it still needed to come out. However, a cyst is much less likely than a tumor to come back from testing as cancerous. I know a whole lot of people all over the world were praying for me, and I am very grateful.

Yet, it really is amazing when I look at my reflection in the mirror – they really messed me up! I mean, really, there are 3 major wounds in my side, How a person can have all that done to him and survive will always be amazing to me. I’ve just got to take it easy and not overdo things while I’m at home recovering.

The only thing I’m really dealing with is a heck of a lot of pain in my left side, everything from the searing jabs where nerves are reconnecting, to muscles around my ribs cramping when it’s already painful enough to take a deep breath.

And then there’s the itching and burning! Why, with all the technology available to them these days, did they have to shave my body?

Well, tomorrow I will share a new watch story. Until then, again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am unworthy, but I appreciate the grace. My wife sends thanks, also (and I’m more than thankful for her!).

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Filed under Christianity, Struggles and Trials, worship

What Do I Do When I Doubt?

Yes, I have my moments

Look, the last thing I want to do is lie to you – I have my moments of doubt from time to time. You may wonder how that’s even possible, especially considering that I’m Dr. Baker, the pastor, the author, the spiritual giant, the pillar of the community, da da da, etc.

But it’s true…. and I bet I’m not the only one, either.

. . . . and I’m not a spiritual giant.

Discord Recorded

Image result for Epic Discord Logo
Here’s a link to join our forum that’s only good for 7 days. https://discord.gg/kZpke65k

Well, tonight I spoke about the subject of doubt

and what I do when I’m tempted with it. I did this on Discord, a platform which I’m only beginning to learn how to navigate.

If you are a gamer, you are probably familiar with Discord (If not, I’ll simply have to ask you to google it for a definition). If you want to join our server, look for FaithChatt forum and friend me. You will know me as DrWatch8262.

Anyway, tonight I elected to do an impromptu “lecture” on the subject of doubt and how I deal with it in my own life. The whole thing was recorded and I downloaded it for your benefit.

I would love for you to listen when it’s convenient. I hope it will be a help and a blessing to those who hear it.

Lecture on dealing with doubt by Dr. Anthony Baker with guest speaker Dr. D. R. Fraley

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