Category Archives: writing

Your Suggestion Could Save Millions of Lives

Dear Readers and Subscribers,

First things first, I want to thank a fellow blogger for sending the funds to pay for a year’s worth of ad-free blog posts. I won’t name him on here, but it was a serious blessing. May the Lord bless in return!

Next, to the point of this short post,

I want your help in determining the posts/articles/papers I will write over the next few weeks. It’s not that I have writer’s block; I want to write what you want to read.

You see, there are things I would like to address, including why it is understandable for a Christian to vote for Donald Trump – in response to all the other articles from the Left and left-leaning Republicans who pontificate otherwise.

But some of the things I think are important may not be important to you, or at least most of you. There may even be some subjects about which you would really like to hear my opinion.

And since I don’t have a lot of time to write in the first place, I’d like to make my time count.

Here’s your opportunity to fill the calendar.

Starting this Tuesday, August 17th, and all the way through Tuesday, the 29th of September, I will only write about what YOU suggest. And, if you get it in early enough, I WILL write about it (the best I can, depending on the subject matter).

I’m looking forward to seeing what you suggest. Just leave your suggestions in the comment section.

And who knows? Your suggestion could lead to something groundbreaking, an inspiration that could change the world, even save lives! Millions of them! 

You just never know 😉

God bless, stay well, and thanks for reading!

Anthony

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Filed under blogging, writing

I Succumbed to the Temptation

This is our dining room table.

Half of it is covered with my “stuff.” There’s my paints, paper, brushes, a candle for when I am reading, my coffee, magnifiers for looking at watches close up, my Bible, and my laptop.

I didn’t really have time to sit down to write, but the open computer and the longing for that tactile feeling of my fingertips clicking the plasticky, rubbery keys of the keyboard… You know, for the writer, it’s like a drug!

I’ve got reading to do – LOTS of it.

At 1 pm I am supposed to be somewhere.

There’s so many things to talk/write about, yet I just don’t have the energy (emotionally or physically) to do it.

But man, the feeling of that keyboard and the visual proof on the screen that creation is taking place…

I gave in. I’m here. Forgive me.

But I promise, should you want to visit for dinner (or supper), I’ll make sure the table has plenty of room.

I feel much better, now.

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A Quick Exposition of 1 Peter 3:15 (Applicable to Today)

A while back, I was asked to do a quick exegesis of 1 Peter 3:15 for a class I was taking in seminary. I then shared on this blog what I wrote at that time.

But even though what I wrote was geared more toward the idea of being a witness during persecution, there’s never been a better time for us to be able to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ.

My prayer is that the following words will embolden you and give you courage as you “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.”


1 Peter 3:15  – 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:

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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Filed under Apologetics, Bible Study, writing

Poetry: Is It That Simple? Or, Do Cooling Cookies Feel?

Simple Rhymes

I never had a problem making simple rhymes. It always came real easy; I did it all the time. So when, in school, the teacher said, “Today, we will be writing verse,” I lept for joy and grabbed my pen, while other students cursed.

It’s also one of the many reasons I love The Princess Bride. The following scene left me splitting my side.

Advanced Poetry

But when it comes to the more complicated kind, my poetry skills fall way behind. Like just today, I read a piece that was slicker than butter in bacon grease. Yet, try as I might to comprehend it, it was too aloof for me to apprehend it. It seemed to make absolutely no sense, like putting a cat inside a fence. However, I knew, it wasn’t the poet; I was simply naive, as my comment doth show it.

I thought and I thought, I wrought and I wrought, until a moment of inspiration! “I know what,” I thought to myself, “I’ve too much preparation!”

I must start with a premise, a theme, or current event, then write with philosophic self-aggrandizement. It doesn’t matter if there’s no rhyming or detectable meter. All one really needs are random thoughts, the more confusing the better.

Heck, what makes it even better is when the poet refuziz to conform to societal norms, standard: punctuation, & ^ CAPitalization rules? get it?

Therefore, if you’ve yet to see through it, my theory is really that anyone can do it.

“Cooling Cookies”

I tried BBB’s “monster cookie” recipe 🙂 Click on picture for link.

Fourteen cookies on a cooling sheet, lying there, cooling there.
Fourteen, cookies. Numbers on a sheet. Only numbers.

Why must the raindrops fall from clouds? Are not oats round?
Hot. Cool. And now the bed is hot, too. The silence is dephning.

Meet me in St. Louis, if Louis is really that saintly. Did he play the trumpet?
Fourteen notes, like fourteen cookies, falling like spit from a trap.

Eat them! Do not lick them! They have cooled.
And when you have eaten them, you’ll turn your back on them.
Stooled.

– by Anthony C. Baker

 

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Filed under Food, poetry, writing

Jesus Is More than a Crutch!

Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my office and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.

But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.

Below is a copy of the text…

You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.

Jesus is more than a crutch!

Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.

Just think about it:

The Devil tries to burden me down
    -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

The Devil wants me to sin.
    -Jesus bore my sin.

Satan will try to weaken me.
     -Jesus is my strength.

When Satan fires his arrows at me,
    -Jesus is my Shield.

In the midst of the storm
    -Jesus hides me in his hand.

Satan would see me defeated.
    -Jesus fights my battles.

Satan would have me fall into despair.
    -Jesus lifts me from the pit.

Satan would harm me.
    -Jesus will heal me.

When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me,
    -Jesus is my Light.

When Satan says, “There is no way,”
    -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”

When Satan says I’m guilty,
    -Jesus paid my debt.

When the Devil would lead me astray,
    -Jesus is my Shepherd.

When the Devil would watch me fall,
    -Jesus carries me.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey

He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Jesus, worship, writing

For Bloggers, Internet Missionaries, and Those Who Use the Web

On the night of January 14 I was privileged to speak to a group of men, mostly older men, about social media and the ministry of Christian blogging. My first impression was that these guys had no clue what I was talking about.

I was correct about some of them.

But others got it. They knew how to use Facebook, understood the dangers of being online, and one had even thought about starting a blog.

Regardless, nearly every one was blown away by the world-wide impact that can be made from one’s laptop on the kitchen table, or even one’s smartphone.

However, as I pointed out, not everyone can write, especially for a blog. Nevertheless, God has placed us here for such a time as this, and whatever it is for which we have a talent or gift, God has a plan to reach the world, even if it’s only a small part of it.

Let me share four passages of Scripture with you, then I would encourage you to listen to the short message I gave to the 45 men here in Georgia.

  • Esther 4:14 – “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this?
  • Philippians 1:27 – “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
  • Colossians 4:2-4 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (3) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: (4) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
  • Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Click the Picture

This photo is of my wife and me on our way to last week’s minister and wives retreat in Pigeon Forge, TN. The picture has nothing to do with the recording. I just wanted to use it 😉 If you click on it (or here) you can listen to the 21-minute sermon.

 

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Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

It’s still a work in progress, but take a look at my new writing spot!

It’s not the most comfortable seating position (in relation to the keyboard), but I think I’ll get used to it… Oh, cool! I just lowered my chair and the keyboard’s in a better position! Sweet!

Anyway, it’s been a really long while since I sat down to write a brand new post, so here it goes!

Culture Shocks

Moving to a new city and a new culture brings with it a multitude of “shocks.” You’d think that a distance of 250 miles (201 as the crow flies) wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong. Life in rural middle Georgia compared to metropolitan Chattanooga (Gig City) is totally different, and some adjustments are easier than others.

For instance, back in the Chattanooga area there are tons of restaurants, and not just the fast-food variety. There, for instance, you can find several very good barbecue restaurants, all within a few miles of each other. Yet, when my wife and I decided we wanted to find some barbecue down here, we had to drive 45 minutes to a place that was open only on Fridays and Saturdays, had outdoor bathrooms, had no air conditioning, and the floor was sawdust.

I asked a lady sitting quietly nearby, “So, tell me about this place.” With matter-of-fact tone and an attitude that gave me the impression she didn’t enjoy strangers asking stupid questions, she replied, “My daddy woke up one day and decided he wanted to sell barbecue, so he did.”

Hey, the food wasn’t bad, but even more, you didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling!

As we find other culinary establishments to visit, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Should you come visit and get tired of my wife’s cooking, you’ll be better aware of your options.

Critter Shocks

We left not only our daughters behind when we moved away, but we left two little dogs we loved, too. However, even though I have no wagging tails to great me when I walk in the door; there are plenty of wagging tails on the outside.

Imagine waking up your first morning in a new house, sitting down on your front porch to enjoy the cool, misty air while you sip a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then, imagine looking up to see two dogs trotting down the quiet two-lane road, one with a shoe hanging from its mouth by the strings. With only the sound of a few birds singing in the trees and the faint squeak of the antique glider you’re sitting on going back and forth, imagine saying to yourself – as I did, “Well, that’s different.”

Here in the equivalent of Mayberry, the dogs are happy, wander the neighborhood, enjoy being petted, and steal any shoe left overnight on a front porch. Literally, the very next morning this same dog came from the opposite direction with a different shoe … only this time she came into my yard and dropped it long enough lick my hand and roll on her back to greet me. A neighbor, out for a walk at the same time, hollered from the street, “She’s the community dog … she doesn’t belong to anybody, but she’s a good watchdog … her name is Dog.”

…There’s also the gnats.

Did you know there was such a thing as the “Gnat Belt”?

Well, we are in it!

Continued Observations

Honestly, there’s a lot more I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. If I bore you now, you might not come back. How sad would that be?

I mean, I’ve left my hometown; I’d hate to lose you guys!

So, hug the ones you love, thank the Lord for His blessings, and be on the lookout for some more posts. What I’m learning I’ll certainly share with you 🙂

God bless!

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Filed under animals, blogging, community, Food, General Observations, places, writing

The Joy of Writing

Why do we enjoy writing?

I have a simple theory…

Writing is almost like creating something from nothing: from the mind into reality. Therefore, writing brings the writer joy because in his DNA is the ink stain of the One who created him.

In every writer is a little bit of the Author, evidence of His handiwork.

My actual keyboard 🙂

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Filed under Apologetics, blogging, writing

Jesus Is More than a Crutch!

Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my tiny office in the basement of our church and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.

But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.

Below is a copy of the text…

You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.

Jesus is more than a crutch!

Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.

Just think about it:

The Devil tries to burden me down
    -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

The Devil wants me to sin.
    -Jesus bore my sin.

Satan will try to weaken me.
     -Jesus is my strength.

When Satan fires his arrows at me,
    -Jesus is my Shield.

In the midst of the storm
    -Jesus hides me in his hand.

Satan would see me defeated.
    -Jesus fights my battles.

Satan would have me fall into despair.
    -Jesus lifts me from the pit.

Satan would harm me.
    -Jesus will heal me.

When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me,
    -Jesus is my Light.

When Satan says, “There is no way,”
    -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”

When Satan says I’m guilty,
    -Jesus paid my debt.

When the Devil would lead me astray,
    -Jesus is my Shepherd.

When the Devil would watch me fall,
    -Jesus carries me.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey

He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Jesus, worship, writing

Planning for 30,000!

I published my first posts on WordPress back in September of 2009 – all 4 of them. It was not until July of 2010 that I began to post more often.

But what bothers me is that I have yet to reach the 30,000-view mark. As a matter of fact, this year’s stats saw a dramatic drop, even though the number of posts I published were essentially the same (42 less than last year, and 9 more than in 2017).

So, being that this September will be my 10th anniversary with WordPress, it’s about time I break the 30K glass ceiling.

The following are my plans to accomplish the 30,000 mark:

  1. Pray before each post.
  2. Publish posts that are beneficial, not superficial nonsense meant only to score a few views.
  3. Focus on more in-depth series, like the 10-part one I’m about to do based on a sermon outline.
  4. Re-blog (share) posts from other bloggers on a regular basis.
  5. Read and comment more on other sites.
  6. Explore the “tags” and find new people to meet.
  7. Publish more than one post a day, even if the posts are shared posts or quick, encouraging thoughts, memes, or verses.
  8. Make myself available for doing guest posts.
  9. Keep a sense of humor and sanctified sarcasm 😉

If you have any other suggestions, I’d love for you to share them.

Blessings to you all!

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