Category Archives: Life/Death

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

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Hope In Death

Let’s get right to the point –

Today, I watched a man die, and I’m happy.

At this point you’re thinking: “Who in his right mind would admit to being happy he saw a man die?” Well, without the proper context, only a sick man, that’s for sure!

But here’s the context: I was with a family from my church as a 51 year-old son, father, brother, and grandfather breathed his last breath, and I was able to rejoice with them in the hope of Jesus Christ.

Meeting Joey: the 1st Time

Joey and his dog, Willie

Several months ago, I was able to talk with Joey Armor for the first time. He was sitting on the tailgate of his truck, taking a break from welding. As we got to talking, he apologized for not coming to church more often, but he appreciated that I was the new pastor, and he hoped to become more regular. He also told me how sick he was.

Joey had battled with a lot of health issues over the last few years, and at that point he was not doing bad enough to keep him in bed. As a matter of fact, he was the type of person that not only avoided pain medication as long as possible; he never wanted to stop being active doing something, even if only a little welding here and there. The day I first talked with him, he was having a hard time breathing, but he was happy to be doing something he enjoyed.

Faith, Assurance, and Hope

The next few times I saw Joey Armor was in the hospital. It seemed that his body all of a sudden decided to give up, even though he was not willing to. The doctors had hope that he would recover, and for a little while it looked like he would, but it wasn’t long before things began to look dire.

The last few times I saw Brother Joey was when he was at home, a couple of times sitting in his recliner, a couple of times in his bed. On one occasion, I felt compelled to lead Joey through the plan of salvation. Because I had never seen him make a profession of faith, and since I could tell he was nervous about dying, I had to make sure he had an opportunity to accept Christ as his Savior.

Come to find out, Joey had indeed put his faith in Jesus, but he had come to the point where he was scared of what was to come. He had made some mistakes, not been perfect, and now he was facing death head-on. He needed to be reassured God did indeed love him and was faithful, as He always is, even when we are not.

Another time I took a communion kit, and with a deacon from our church I shared with him the elements and together rejoiced in the goodness of our Savior! We talked about Christ’s body and His blood, how each was given for us, and how by taking part in communion we proclaim his death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:24). Even though he could barely swallow anything (he even had a feeding tube inserted into his abdomen), he took the little piece of matzoh and the tiny cup of grape juice and consumed them both. It was a special moment, indeed.

Talking About Home

The last time I saw him before today, the Holy Spirit had placed in my heart the urgent desire to go talk with him about Heaven. Joey new he was going, and he knew it wouldn’t be that long. So, I wanted to go by and encourage him with the facts about the place he was about to see. He asked for his large-print Bible so he could read along with me.

First, I turned to John chapter fourteen:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” – John 14:1-3

These verses deserved a little amplification, and I knew Joey would appreciate it. I focused on the words “mansions” and “place.” Jesus wasn’t telling Peter he would have a four-story house of gold in Heaven; Jesus was telling him not to worry, for even though he’d mess up by soon denying Him, there was already a place in His Father’s house prepared – a room of his own! Compared to here, that room might be a mansion. But how much more wonderful is the promise that God wants us to live in HIS house with HIM forever??

And when it came to the word “place” (蟿峤瓜慰蟼t贸pos), heaven is more than spirits floating on clouds; it is more than a feeling; it is more than being absorbed into the infinite: Jesus said it is a PLACE! I said, “Just like Chicago or Atlanta, Heaven is a place just like any place on a map down here. It is a place, and you are going there!”聽

Next, I turned – we turned – to Revelation 21 and 22. There, within the verses of those chapters we read of a holy city, a heavenly city, that God has prepared for those whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Joey listen as I read, awake, but with his eyes closed, resting.

I said, “Well, Joey, I guess it’s about time we get out of here and let you rest.” He nodded.

Then, with weak voice and a slight smile, Joey said,

“I’m looking forward to seeing what my Father has for me.”

Today, around 12 p.m., my brother in Christ, Joey Armor, exhaled one last time, only to inhale for the very first time the celestial air of his new home.

I am glad his family was able to be there. I’m glad I got to see him off.

He’s seeing what his Father has prepared for him, and even more importantly, he’s hugging Jesus.

I’m happy for him!

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Family, General Observations, Life/Death, salvation