Category Archives: Life/Death

I’m NOT Going to Puke! I’m n…

This is going to be an unusual entry, as if the title wasn’t enough of a clue. I’m going to talk about holding back from puking – puking my emotions, that is.

Let’s start with the whole disgusting vomiting thing.

You know what it’s like – that feeling of a sour stomach, a queasiness, a warning that your body is preparing to expel what it thinks is harmful to process, right?

Have you ever had that feeling but determined you were going to do everything in your superpowers to stop it from happening?

First, you try to convince yourself that it’s nothing, really. I mean, sure, you didn’t give thanks to Jesus for that sandwich from Chick-fil-A because, after all, it came pre-blessed. And that sushi from the kiosk in the food court didn’t taste too strange, at least no more than normal.

The next thing you do is think, “It’s only a little upset stomach,” then ask, “Where’s the Mylanta?” Yeah, that’s all you need.

The sweat begins to bead on your forehead. More excuses. More rationalizing. You find a place to lie down and moan a muffled declaration into your pillow: “I’m NOT going to throw up!”

Sometimes it works. Sometimes.

Well, this is the best way I can describe the feelings I have after the death of my mother, Rebecca Marie Baker, this past Tuesday morning.

Rebecca Marie Baker 12/28/44 – 3/16/21

It’s like I feel a familiar sensation, a pressure, a something… it’s like I know if I was so many other people I would have already broken down and wept. But when the urge comes my immediate response – and it’s actually a physical, tangible response – is to tap it back down. And I am not even sure if it’s on purpose. Actually, I know it’s not.

If the body eats something that is bad for it, the natural response is to expel it. To keep it inside and to digest it could be harmful.

But what of the heart? What of the emotions? What of pain and grief?

I mentioned this to my wife and she suggested I “let it out.” But the last time I cried uncontrollably was when I stood at the door of the bedroom of one of our daughters after she moved off to college.

I don’t like to cry like that. I don’t like being that weak. I especially don’t like people seeing me that way.

However, Jesus wept. Yes, He did.

But not every time.

At least that we know.

I know these last few weeks were difficult, and I know we talked a lot about you going to heaven, but now that you are gone, I’m going to miss you. I am glad I was able to tell you I loved you and to hear your weak voice whisper back, “I love you, too.”

I’m thankful I was able to sit by your bed, hold your hand, and sing Amazing Grace to you as you left this world of pain. I wish I could have seen the look on your face when you breathed your first taste of heavenly air.

I can only imagine what it was like for you and Daddy to see each other again.

This is why it’s hard to cry. This is why it’s difficult to grieve. You are where you were born again to go.

Your faith has become sight!

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15 NLT

I’m happy for you, Momma! I’m sure there are tears of joy where you are, too.

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Filed under Life/Death, Relationships and Family

Retired, Rusty Relic: Still Useful

Watercolor & Gouache on Cold-Pressed (by Anthony Baker)

It鈥檚 just an old truck sitting in a field. It will most likely (almost guaranteed) never run the dirt roads of middle Georgia again.

But is it worthless? Good for nothing? Useless?

NO!

If nothing else, it inspired this painting – and this post 馃檪

What about when people are unable to run the roads like they used to? What about when the old, broken-down, rusty relics from a different era can鈥檛 haul the load, only sit where they鈥檙e planted?

Are THEY useless?

It鈥檚 sad if you think so.

How much is inspiration worth?

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Filed under art, hobbies, Life/Death, old age, maturity

I Will Speak Out While I Can

The Cancel Culture

I am sure you’ve seen it, everywhere you turn there is someone else getting blackballed. If it’s not a Republican for supporting Trump, a celebrity caught by a hot mic saying something supposedly bigoted, or whole media platforms that offer too much freedom of speech, it’s lowly folk like you and me who somehow gain the attention of the all-seeing eye of Big Tech.

No one is safe from being blocked from Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon. No one is safe from being de-humanized. For that’s really the point, isn’t it? To deny a person with whom the uppity-ups disagree the right to exist and prosper in the public square, even though they’ve done nothing illegal? And the “wrong” they’ve done, well, it’s all subjective, correct? It has to be, for objective good and evil is in itself a taboo subject.

Therefore, while I still have a platform, I am going to share what I believe regardless what others may think or whether or not they approve.

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9 KJV

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

Today is a somber and serious day to celebrate. Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, a day that started with the proclamation first made by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 on the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Today is also a somber day to remember because it was the first year that Donald Trump did not make a proclamation for this day. Bill Clinton refused for 8 years. Obama refused for 8 years, also. Now I can only assume there will never be another presidential proclamation celebrating the sanctity of human life, for Biden will surely promote the funding of the current national holocaust begun in 1973 with the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and renewed federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Today was also a day when I used the pulpit I’ve been given to stand of the Truth of God’s Word and hold nothing back in my denunciation of abortion. As I requested, God gave me boldness and courage to say what needed to be said, no punches pulled. If it gets me banned from social media, then so be it. It’s in God’s hands.

I was just the messenger.

“Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed. – Jeremiah 48:10 ESV

7 Points of Needed Agreement

In this morning’s sermon (which, incidentally, did not last longer than normal) I shared a record 17 points! Actually, the first 10 were not my own, but 10 ways Christians could celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

But the last 7 points were mine, and I want to share them with you, today. Unfortunately, I am 100% positive not all of you will be in agreement. However, we should be.

Things we should agree on and/or support if we believe Human Life is Precious and we are made in the image of God.

  1. Life is a right; abortion is a decision.
  2. Human life is more valuable than any other form life.
  3. Human life at any age, young, old, or preborn, his intrinsic value and purpose.
  4. Adoption should be encouraged and prayerfully considered.
  5. The Death Penalty is not immoral; God demanded it. 聽Genesis 9:6
  6. To memorialize a life is to acknowledge the value of life.
  7. Saving a life has eternal ramifications.

Now, I could expound on each one of those points, and maybe I should, but I would encourage you to look up my sermon on our church’s Facebook page. If you have specific questions about any of these points, leave your question in the comment section.

But I do want to leave you with one other thing.

If Not Sanctity, then WHAT?

The word “sanctity” is very appropriate when talking about the value of human life in the context of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, etc. Consider the various definitions I collected from the web…

  • The quality of being very important and deserving respect; the state or quality of being holy, sacred, or saintly.
  • the quality or state of being holy or sacred聽:聽INVIOLABILITY

Consider the synonyms listed:

holiness聽路聽godliness聽路聽sacredness聽路聽blessedness聽路聽saintliness聽路聽sanctitude聽路聽spirituality聽路聽piety聽路聽piousness聽路聽devoutness聽路聽devotion聽路聽righteousness聽路聽goodness聽路聽virtue聽路聽virtuousness聽路聽purity

Yet, when our government leaders, our media, our entertainment, and half our electorate mock, bemoan, belittle, and censure those who believe in the sanctity of human life, specifically the innocent life within a mother’s womb, then what?

What is the antonym of sanctity? . . . “wickedness.”

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” – 2 Timothy 2:19 NIV

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says '" We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life- the unborn -without diminishing the value of all human life. President Ronald Reagan national RIGHT TO LIFE'

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Filed under Abortion, America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Life/Death

7 Questions I Feel Impressed to Ask You – Because We’re Not Promised Tomorrow

shutterstock_12937579 - Curata Blog

While getting ready for tomorrow’s sermon…

(which has nothing to do with what I’m about to ask)…

I came across a list of questions I had written a while back.

I think I had compiled them as an introduction to a sermon on James chapter 4.

But as I glanced over them tonight, a heaviness came over me, along with a feeling that I should share these questions on my blog.

Like now.聽

So, here they are:

1. What could you do today that you’re putting off till tomorrow?

2. What are you planning for in the future that is robbing from today?

3. What good do you feel led by God to do?

4. How many years have come and gone? How many resolutions have you made and not kept?

5. How many years do you have left?

6. Are you filtering your plans through God’s will?

7. What is His will for “now”? (Oh that we could have more of a “now” faith!)

Some people are so busy planting seeds for the flowers in the future that they forget to smell the flowers that are already in bloom.

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Filed under blogging, Future, Life/Death, Preaching

When Your Heroes Die

This morning I posted a heartfelt and serious impromptu video directed at my youngest daughter.

However, it鈥檚 for everybody.

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Filed under Apologetics, current events, Depression, Life/Death

The Unspoken Variable In the Death of Rayshard Brooks

The following video was recorded this afternoon as part of our “afternoon devotionals.” It was recorded while I was waiting with my wife and mother for seating at Cracker Barrel in Augusta, GA.

I had just watched the news conference on Fox News (on my phone) while waiting for my mother to receive her chemotherapy treatment. It literally made me both sick and angry, for out of all the praise for their deceased relative, none of the family laid any blame on the fact that Mr. Brooks had been overly intoxicated.

Just like the disgraceful Mayor of Atlanta, Ms. Bottoms, they blamed the police for the “murder” of their loved one. Not once did they consider the role alcohol played in the actions of Mr. Brooks, nor how if he’d been sober this probably wouldn’t have happened.

Folks, let me be clear, I cannot show you definitively from Scripture that drinking alcohol is a sin; it’s not. However, I most certainly can make a strong case for avoiding it! I love the way the New Living Translation interprets these particular words of wisdom from King Solomon:

“Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.” – Proverbs 20:1 NLT

Like I alluded to at the beginning of this post, having a drink, a beer, or whatever every now and then will not send you to hell: it’s not inherently a sin (Romans 14:17-23; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Colossians 2:16; 1 Timothy 5:23).

However, the unwise will disregard the warnings and end up meeting their Maker a lot quicker than those who can think and act with a clear head.

Don’t let yourself be controlled by something that makes you do stupid stuff. The consequences can be deadly.

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Filed under Alcohol, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, current events, Life/Death, wisdom

Yes, I’m Still Preaching

“You Still Preaching?”

I don’t hear it too much anymore, but I used to hear it rather frequently. Family members, old friends, former acquaintances, and the average person I never wanted to see again would come up to me and ask, “Hey, you still preaching?”

Maybe it’s the thing to do. Maybe it is customary to ask a person if they are still doing what they were doing the last time you saw them. It makes sense. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of asking:

  • “Are you still unemployed?”
  • “You still sick with that sickness thing?”
  • “You still married?”
  • “You still running off at the mouth about things you know nothing about?”
  • “You still planning to party with Hitler for eternity?”
  • Are you still as stupid as you used to be?

I just don’t get why people ask if I am still preaching. It’s like they think I’ll change my mind or walk away from the ministry, or something.

Some Statistics

In reality, it’s not that unreasonable to ask someone who once accepted the call to ministry if he is still preaching. Even though it sorta feels like an insult, I shouldn’t be surprised by other people’s shock. I mean, it has been 36 years since I made my calling public. I’ve known more than one who has walked away the first year.

If more people knew the statistics, few would ever enter the ministry. Stop and think about it, would you enter a career with the highest rate of heart attacks? Would you take out student loans for a degree that demands you work multiple jobs? Consider these sad facts…

  • 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called.
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 80% of adult children of pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression.
  • 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

Still Preaching

Yet, I’m still preaching. It may surprise people who haven’t seen me in a while, but I’m still doing the Lord’s work and still following the call I first heard when I was 16. It may sound strange, but I can’t help it.

“But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” – Jeremiah 20:9 NLT

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV

photo (16)Today, June 11, is the聽anniversary of the death of a mighty man of God, my father. He died the week before Father’s day.

Not long ago I went to his grave and placed my Bible on his tombstone. There, glistening in the sun, were the gilded words “Rev. Anthony C. Baker.”

“Daddy,” I said, “I’m still at it.”

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Church, Life/Death, ministry, Preaching, Relationships and Family

The Price of Freedom

Memorial Day

Today is the day on which we Americans pause to remember and honor those who have fought and died for our country.

Unfortunately, most people use this day to only focus on the celebration aspect of the holiday, not the memorial. But had it not been for those men and women who bled in the trenches and fell from the sky, there might not be a place to hold a barbecue. We celebrate because we are free, but that freedom came with a price.

Visiting Memorials

Four years ago at this time I visited Washington, D.C.. with my family, and one can’t visit D.C. without going to the memorials, especially on Memorial Day.

It had been a long time since the last time I was here, and new monuments to the fallen had been erected. One of them, which is probably the most impressive, is the World War 2 Memorial. I took my time exploring it.

One of the places at the WW2 Memorial is pictured below. Gold stars are affixed to a curved wall above a reflective pool. A plaque beside the reflective pool reads, “The Price of Freedom.”

Each star represents 100 who died in the war to defeat the Axis powers. Did you get that? 1 star = 100 dead.聽

image

On this day let us pause and remember the lives sacrificed so that we (and the world) might live in freedom. Remember also that those stars represent mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and scores of children whose loss purchased our gain.

Freedom isn’t free.

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, Vacation

An Important Afternoon Devotional: “Cancer Treatment”

On Monday afternoon I did a Facebook LIVE devotional for my church congregation. It became very personal and displayed more transparency than I intended.

But, you know what? Maybe that’s exactly what a lot of people needed. Honesty.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Life/Death

Vlogging About Blake鈥檚 Song

So, what are you REALLY saying, Blake?

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Filed under General Observations, Life/Death, music