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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Oh Look! It’s a…

Good morning, friends! It’s Friday!

(cue the OLD Rebecca Black song – the remake is vulgar and sick).

Like I said in a previous post, I am not writing as much due to a lot of other responsibilities and the deadline I’m facing for my degree. However, as I was waking up this morning a thought crossed my mind that I thought I would share with you.

But be warned: this may trigger somebody.


Humans and Animals

I am not an atheist nor an evolutionist. On the other hand, I am keenly aware that many, many are. And what I have heard from so many of them is that humans are no different than any other animal. Am I wrong? Is that not what they say?

Now, to a certain degree I would agree with them. And I would hope that they would have a good explanation for things like altruistic love, self-awareness, higher purpose, and the fact that 99.9% of us don’t eat our young.

But there is something more basic that we all do, creationist and atheist alike… We check our puppies and kittens the same way. Keep reading.

Puppies and Kittens

It doesn’t have to be just dogs and cats; it could be a whole zoo full of critters. The point I am going to make is that whatever it is, when we first pick them up, we almost always ask a basic, fundamental question: Is it a boy or a girl?

Photo by bill emrich on Pexels.com

Granted, the way you check chickens and snakes might be different, but when it comes to most animals, especially little dogs and kittens, you pick them up, lift their tail or look at their belly, and search for a puppy pencil (penis).

If you don’t see anything protruding, you say, “It’s a little girl!” If you see a lipstick case, you say, “Oh, look! It’s a boy!

Modern Puppies and Kittens

The problem we are having now is that any time we pick up the little yard animals to check if they are boys or girls (male or female), we are running the risk of being sued by the kennel.

You see, even though you pick up a puppy and may immediately see the lid off the lipstick, assuming that puppy is a boy is an act of violence – you are attacking it with your pronouns. Fact is, regardless the genitalia, we have no way of knowing how that puppy or kitten identifies. We must wait until it squats or hikes its leg before we fill out its papers.

Further complicating things, there’s the issue of breeding. How many times have we simply assumed that putting a “male” and “female” whatever into a box would result in a litter of look-a-likes? Fact is, many of those times we did this with our German Shepherds and didn’t get a “match,” the problem might have been an offended, pronoun-assaulted hound with unrecognized identity issues!

Animals, or Not?

So, that brings me back full circle to the Creationist/Atheist comment. Are we animals, or not? If so, if we are no different from the rest of the cast of “Lion King,” singing “The Circle of Life” as we accept our fate as feline food, then why all the confusion? Why not just call it when you see it?

Personally, I think we are more than simply animals, just as I believe we were created in the image of God, similar in many ways, but distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom.

It’s just that either way – made in God’s image as male and female or nothing more than bipedal, hunting/gathering apes – there’s little basis for kennel to be co-ed.

Those are my thoughts for this Friday. Have a great weekend!

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We Preach Jesus! (Revival In Africa – and Needed in Georgia)

The following post is not new, but one from a year or so ago, maybe longer. But here are the basics…

  1. It’s been around 5 years since I went to Africa (August, 2016) and I’ve still not gotten over it.
  2. I was supposed to go to Jamaica this time last year, but then you-know-what happened. Nobody went anywhere.
  3. We are now praying for revival. The Church of God, the Body of Christ, but particularly we Southern Baptists here in Georgia, need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, a move of God among our congregations!
  4. Sometimes we need to go to other places, like Zimbabwe or Pakistan, to be reminded how big our God is and how powerfully He wants to work in our lives if we’d just let Him.
  5. Having a fired-up preacher serve as your interpreter can rock your world! And shake the Devil’s!!

So, the following post is about my trip to Zimbabwe, but the best part is the audio of the final sermon preached. I am amazed that the Lord could even use someone like me, especially back then when I (capitalized) was the one in need of revival (that’s really why I went on this trip in the first place). But if you want a real blessing, scroll down and click on the link to the sermon.

Be sure to listen to the sermon at the end!


Revival

It has been [five] years since I went to Zimbabwe. I went there to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along with several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course, preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.

The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!

Here are some photos from different services.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member's front yard.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.

image

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

The Final Service

The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!

The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!

The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to 😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.

Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They're well on their way!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!

The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing 🙂

CLICK HERE for link to the audio of “We Preach Jesus!”

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Dr. Seuss Books Discontinued

Hey everybody! I read this post from Bell and I highly recommend it. Would you show this new blogger some love and check it out? Thanks!

Story Time with Bell

Regardless of your opinion of Dr. Seuss, he is hands down one of the most influential children’s writers of all time. His work is timeless and a true classic. However, according to Reuters, the Dr. Seuss Enterprise announced that 6 of his books will no longer be printed because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Here is list of Dr. Seuss’s books that will no longer be printed. I’ve attached the read aloud in case you’d like to see the “racism” yourself.

1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street:

In this story, a child undergoes a walk down Mulberry Street and envisions silly, exciting things to tell his dad when he gets home. This is a great story that encourages imagination in times of boredom or hard times. However, critics have discontinued the story due to drawings of an Asian child, that…

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When Less is More (becoming less white)

When it Bubbles it Foams

Who doesn’t love a good, cold Coca-Cola (or as we say down here in the South – where it was invented – Coke), especially on a hot day beside the pool, after some yard work, or a good workout at the gym? Wow, not that many hands, I see. Hmm.

OK, I get it, Coke is a fun addition to a meal, especially in a big foam cup from a Sonic Drive-In, but it’s not the most thirst-quenching beverage, nor the most healthy. Yet, it’s a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse. And when it comes to their brand image, I’m sure heads could roll if some petty little inconsequential white employee was allowed to make a fool of the execs in Atlanta.

So, when a story began to bubble up about employee training that included a slide presentation suggesting we all be “less white,” the media and the company began to foam, and for different reasons entirely.

You Want Me to be LESS White?

Now, when I Googled the story about the training in question, the first thing that popped up was a Snope’s article decrying the “opponents of critical race theory and diversity training” claiming they had “no real evidence.” Typical.

A screengrab from Snopes.com

However, the non-evidence produced by Karlyn Borysenko (or as Snopes describes her, “a prominent online opponent of critical race theory and many aspects of corporate diversity training“), that of a leaked photo of the slides, clearly confirms what she has reported. And what is that, exactly?

We should all try be be “less white.”

If Less, then More

I am going to skip ahead and pass over the opportunity to discuss the reasons why every person of less pigment should be grossly offended by the obvious inferences. Yes, I am going to choose to tone back the offended victim feelings and look at this from a different perspective.

I’m not that great in math, but let me propose an analogy. Let’s just say we have 100 dollars in hand (which would be nice, wouldn’t it?). How much money would you have in your hand if I reached out and took 99? You’d only have $1 in hand, correct?

Now, what if I had $100 in my hand and kindly, graciously, and typical of WAPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) gave your friend Scratchy $10 when he asked for money to get gas to see his dying grandmother? I would have “less” than $100, wouldn’t I? I would only have $90, but it would be far more than your pitiful, lonely dollar bill, correct?

Both of us would have less, but my “less” would be more than your “less” by far.

Considering the inferences are legit, and if I’m not any of the the negative stereotypes suggested in the leaked slides, then I need to have some of those qualities in order to have LESS of them.

Creating a Monster!

So, I need to be “less” than what I’m not. Therefore, I need to become a total monster of a jerk (I’m avoiding using other descriptors for the sake of propriety) in order to find room to lessen my “whiteness.”

First, I need to become oppressive. How do I do that? Slavery has been outlawed, so I don’t have anyone to beat with a whip (I need to get a whip). I don’t have enough money nor manpower to take over anyone else’s property, so I don’t know how I can force them to dig up the gold in their back yard. I’ll have to think about this one.

Second, I need to become supremely arrogant. OK, that I can do. I mean, I am smarter than those who don’t look like me. The only reason I’m not a wonderful, godly scientist like George Washington Carver; a legal brain like Justice Clarence Thomas; a political genius like Dr. Thomas Sowell; or a musician like B. B. King, is because I have all my servants do my work and study for me. I guess I could do more for myself.

Third, I need to become certain that everything I do and believe is right. I need to be absolutely certain that my way of worship is better than others’. I need to be really confident in all my decisions regarding finances, marriage, family, ministry, etc. That way all I will need to do in order to qualify as “less white” is doubt myself every once in a while.

Next, I need to become defensive and get offended at every time someone accuses me of something just because of the color (or lack thereof) of my skin. Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll write a humorous and slightly sarcastic article, yell at the dog for looking at me funny, or join up with some group who wears black, lifts their fists, and wants to be paid for their great great great great grandfather’s troubles. Then all I’ll have to do is tune it down a little and be loved by all!

The fiph ting I need tuh do is come more da ignorunt. Penceforth i’d b’n upin my noledge wid edumacation. Buh now I gotta go in da re … re … reversssss … reversal, yeah, that’s it! and become stoopid sow I kan be less stupider. Oh, wait, were they simply suggesting that I become more informed? Well, duh, wen u ignorant ju eggspect?

The last two things, well, that’s a different story. I don’t have to become more prideful to become more humble; I’m always too prideful, and that has nothing to do with whether I’m white or not. It’s always a struggle to be humble in all things. Unfortunately, God has a way of breaking down our pride.

And when it comes to listening, if I hadn’t been listening, I wouldn’t be writing this, today. If I had not been listening, I would not have become indignant with the insinuations that people of my color are horrible people by nature. If I had NOT been listening, I would have never noticed how a training like the one at Coca-Cola is as racist as anything from the KKK.

I tell you what, how about we all pass on the Coke, drink Perrier, and continue to treat people based on the “content of their heart, not the color of their skin”?

Nothing less.

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Happy 25th, Katie!

There’s not much I can say that I haven’t said before about how much I love and how much I am proud of all my daughters.

Katie, Valerie, Alicia, and Haley

However, today is a particular milestone that I want to share.

25 years ago today was the first time I witnessed live birth. Oh, of course I’ve seen puppies being born, but seeing my daughter, Katie Marie Baker, come out of my wife, well, and I’m using a lot of commas, that was traumatic!

It was nothing like the movies. It was nothing like the Cosby show. It was nothing like anything I had ever experienced!

And it was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

Like Bill Gaither might say, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy she gives!” Nothing can truly prepare a man for the feeling of holding his first baby girl in his arms.

Happy, happy 25th birthday, Katie Bug!

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The Cancelling of Dr. Seuss

The Cancelling of Dr. Seuss
by Anthony Baker

I’ve got a cool hat,
I’ve got quite a few.
A red one, a gray one.
Even one that is blue.

I love my cool hat,
I wear it day and night.
Almost every time you see me
It’s never out of sight.

I’m a cool cat.
I’ve got a cool hat.
It’s not a ball bat.
It’s not a rat-tat-tat.

I’ve just got a hat
A pretty cool hat.
Oh, and gloves!
Forgot to mention that!

I’m a cool black cat.
Wait, what did I just say?
“I’m a cool black cat”?
Isn’t that a little ray ray?

I must think this through
Think through this I can.
I will rest my black face
On my white-gloved cat hand.

I have a cool hat.
I have white gloves.
I’m black and make rhymes
That everyone loves.

I’m black and I rhyme.
Black with a white face.
OOOOOOOHHHH, I get it!
It’s all about RACE!

I have a cool hat,
White gloves, and I rhyme,
But because of my color,
My books are a crime.

So, forget what I do,
Forget what I write.
Forget all the the children
My stories put to bed at night.

I happen to be a cat
Who’s black with a face
That happens to be white,
So there’s no safe space.

My hat, my face, my paws
Will be cancelled just because
The ones clearing the shelves
Are racists, themselves.


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Some Places Never Leave You, Even After You Leave Them

This a view from Edwards Point, the mountain bluff above where I grew up and the pinnacle of every hiking trip I made as a kid.

This is the Tennessee River Gorge. Just across the river is Elder Mountain, where my grandfather hid from revenuers.

To the right is Prentice Cooper Game Reserve. The Cumberland Trail weaves its way through there, down from the top of the mountain, down across the creek, then up to where this scene depicts.

I grew up in the community of Suck Creek. Just out of view, just below the rock bluff, the creek would feed the river. Up until a hundred or so years ago, during hard rain the creek and the river would create a powerful whirlpool capable of pulling small boats under and stopping paddle wheelers.

It was only after a system of dams were built along the Tennessee River (operated by TVA), that the river was tamed enough for safe navigation.

This is also where my Cherokee ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side resided. They were the ones who actually attacked the early settlers of Nashville when their boats were stuck in the “suck.”

The mountains and the river will always be in my blood. The peaceful drift of the water. The fresh air of old-growth forests. The legends and unforgettable scary bedtime stories from the old-timers.

Unfortunately, much has changed over the last decade. Much of where I spent my childhood and teen years are unrecognizable. Time has exacted a heavy toll from both progress and neglect. And where there was family land that outsiders feared to visit, now there’s million-dollar homes where outsiders moved to “preserve” the beauty.

Yet, I still remember. I still dream. I still imagine. That will never change. Time will only make the memories sweeter and the stories even better.

I may have left, but it’s never left me.

View from Edward’s Point, Signal Mountain, TN

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Transcript of a Sunday Evening Sermon on Ephesians Chapter 2

If you think the title for this post was long, get ready for some seriously beyond-the-normal word count 🙂

Up until this Sunday evening, I had never preached a sermon or taught the Bible straight from a manuscript. This was the first time.

The only reason I did this was because a shut-in lady requested that I send her written transcripts so that she could take the time to read what I was preaching and be able to make notes and take her time through it. She said that she was really interested in Ephesians and wanted to do more than just listen on Facebook.

So, it took a little while to write it up, but the process, as I expected, was not only refreshing and fun (yes, fun), but it did cause me to hone my focus and build a better foundation for other doctrines yet to be discussed.

So, what I’m going to do for you guys is post the written text of the sermon. However, should you want to actually watch the video on Facebook, you can go to our church’s Facebook page and watch it there. It is @BethlehemBaptistWarthen. Or, I guess I could just go ahead and post the link. Why make it difficult, right?

Just don’t make fun of my singing, OK?

https://fb.watch/3Y-uiekOBi/

No, I can’t talk without using my hands.

Sunday Evening, Feb. 28, 2021
Bethlehem Baptist, Warthen, GA
Pastor Anthony Baker
Ephesians 2, Pt. 1

I have not preached a sermon from this passage, yet. However, since I will be preaching it this coming Sunday night, I might as well do my best to write it down for you. I pray that it is a blessing and an encouragement.

As we begin looking at chapter two of Ephesians, note that it can be divided up into three  or more, maybe even five different word pictures. In other words, the Apostle Paul uses words, he uses illustrations, he draws pictures in our minds with words to help us understand, a little better, at least, the deep mysteries of salvation and the work of the power of Christ in us.

The first section can be seen in verses 1-10. In these verses Paul paints the picture of dead bodies being raised to life, not of their own power, nor by anything good they could do, but by the grace of God.

The second section can be seen in verses 11 and 12, followed by a third in verses 13-18. The second section illustrates the division that Gentiles once had with the Jews and the covenants of God. He does this as he brings up the issue of circumcision. In the third section, Paul mixes metaphors as he illustrates the bringing in of Gentiles through the picture of the “middle wall” being torn down and the making of one body out of two which led to peace with God. We will get to these things in more detail in time.

Then, in a fourth section, Paul references citizenship, followed by comparing us to building blocks in a holy temple built on top of the foundations laid by the holy prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.

In a sort of humorous kind of way we can almost laugh at the words of Paul in the beginning verses of chapter three when he says that because of all these previous descriptions of such a great mystery, previously hidden from those in other ages (3:5), he has become a “minister” (3:7) to us of the “unsearchable riches of Christ”! Well, hallelujah! I’m glad, Paul! Because a lot of us are already confused. Amen?

But it was important for you to know these things – what Paul is doing with his words – so that you don’t single out one illustration or metaphor and build a false doctrine around it. Again, this is why I always stress context, context, context! Without studying Scripture in the context of the whole connecting passage – in this case, from verse one of chapter two to verse seven of chapter three – we might miss the whole point that the author is trying to make and possibly make a major mountain out of a minor metaphor.

So, let’s now go to the first verse in chapter two:

Ephesians 2:1 KJV – And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Before we do any further reading, it will be very helpful to once again look at some words. If we misunderstand the words that are written here by Paul, but translated into English – and old English, at that – then we could easily misunderstand the meaning of the text and even fall prey to bad theology.

The first word we should look at is the word “quickened.”

Now, what is interesting is that if you are looking at a King James Version you will see that this word, actually several words, is in italics. The reason, as we have discussed before, is that the word is not in the original text, but the translators added it to help clarify the original text. What IS there is simply the Greek word ὤν (spelled “on” in English). All it means is that the “You” being spoken to “are.”

Yes, the Greek word on implies being, existence, and such. So, what Paul was really saying has been better translated in other versions such as the NIV, ESV, and CSB. The NIV reads: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”

Of course, this is not changing the Bible; this is what the Bible originally said. What the translators of the King James Version did was try to clue us in to a truth that is mentioned farther down in Paul’s description of those who are saved. It is all the way down in verse 5 where he finally uses the word that is rightfully translated as “quicken.”

Ephesians 2:5 KJV – Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Back to the first verse, now. Paul, as we have already seen, is speaking to Christians. He is speaking to those who are “in Christ.” He is speaking to those who had been lost and now are saved. But it is in these verses where he describes what being lost is really like. What it really is.

The next word we will look at is the word “dead.”

Paul said that “you” (you could even apply that to us and say “we’) were DEAD in trespasses and sins. Yet, when we look at verse 2 we see something interesting. He says, that while we were dead, we “walked.” What? Dead people walk? That’s what he said!

Could it be that when Paul was talking about being dead, he didn’t mean it the same way we understand the word to mean, at least when we talk about dead people in the grave? I think it’s important that we think about this, for it makes a huge difference in how we look at other teachings of Paul, especially in the book of Romans, chapters eight and nine.

The Greek word Paul uses in verse two that is translated in English as “dead” is the word νεκρός (nekros). Have you ever heard of the word “necromancy”? Well, that’s what people do when they try to talk to the dead. Halloween kind of stuff. However, if you notice, necromancy comes from the word nekro, which means “corpse.” A necromancer is one who uses witchcraft to reanimate the dead, that is, to bring a dead corpse back to life as a zombie, or something, or to talk with them to discover the future. Paul is telling us that when we were still in sin, before we were saved, we were corpses – dead people – dead bodies. That is why it took the power of God to give us new life, to bring life to these dead bodies, and that’s what he meant when he said that we are “quickened” to new life.

And, by the way, God doesn’t need witchcraft to raise the dead. And I highly, highly doubt any necromancer ever pulled off a genuine Lazarus story.

But that brings me back to verse two, and even verse three… if we were nothing but lifeless corpses, how then did we “walk according to the course of this world” and have a “conversation in times past”?

What we need to understand before we go any further, which is why I bring up these words, is that Paul was using figurative speech. Paul was not trying to say that we were literally dead and lifeless like a dead body in a casket. Yes, he used the term, but it was meant to be a picture of a larger truth: that we were incapable of living the Christian life, the life of the Christ through the power of the Spirit, if we were “dead,” slaves to sin, full of the world’s filth, wanting nothing of the things of God.

Dead people don’t talk, walk, have conversations, or anything like that. A dead body just lies there and rots. Gross, isn’t it? Yet, still, it is only a picture. You and I weren’t dead bodies. However, we were “dead” in that we had not been transformed by the life of Jesus. And as dead people can’t do anything, not even dig themselves out of the ground, neither can the sinner who is “dead in trespasses and sins” work his way out of death into life.

But God… Ephesians 2:4 starts with two of the most beautiful words in all the Bible – “But God.” You see, we were lost and on our way to hell… but God! We were dead in our trespasses and sins… but God! We were rotting away in the filth of the world… BUT GOD, who is RICH IN MERCY, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us, QUICKENED us together with Christ (verse 5)!

Do you know the song “Love Lifted Me”?

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Buried deeply, stained within, sinking to rise no more. But… But the Master of the Sea… But GOD!… heard my despairing cry! From the waters lifted me, now safe am I!

Love lifted me! Love lifted me! !When nothing else could help, Love lifted me!

Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help… when my works, my deadness, my lifeless separation from God, my sin, my dirty, dead self couldn’t help…Love! Grace! Mercy! Lifted me up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!

Love lifted me!

Before we close tonight’s study, I want to quickly move on to verses 8 and 9, some of the more famous verses we know.

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.

Do you understand what these verses are saying? It amazes me that they can be so clear, so understandable, yet so many people in Christian churches teach that you have to earn, you have work for your salvation. In reality, that’s NOT Christian. That’s like every other religion in the world. If being saved had any need of us “doing” any work of any kind, other than simply placing our faith in Jesus and accepting the free gift of salvation which He bought with His blood, then we might as well say we could have been there with Jesus on the first day of Creation and said, God, let me help out the Word, because He is not sufficient to bring everything into existence by Himself, you know. He needs my help! What can I do? Do you want me to sell something? Do you want me to visit something? Do you want me to join something? Do you want me to help the Logos, the Word, Jesus with his faith in His own words?

C’mon, God, you know the Word can’t create the universe out of nothing and bring into being what isn’t unless I help! You do know that, don’t you?

Yes, I know that sounds silly, but please bear with me and consider just one more word for tonight: ποίημα (poiēma), pronounced poy’-ay-mah.

Notice in verse 10, “For we are his WORKMANSHIP…” That is the word poy’-ay-mah.

Paul only uses this word twice in all of his letters; here, and in Romans 1:20.

Romans 1:20 KJV – “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,[G4161] [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

Can I share with you one more passage?

John 1:1-3 KJV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

God didn’t need us to create the universe and all that is in it. Neither does He need us to save ourselves – lest we boast. Amen!

And, OH, what God has done for us! He has set us up with Jesus in the heavenlies so we can have a high enough seat in the stands to view the entire display of God’s grace! But that parade alone will take ages! Hallelujah!

Dear Father, thank you for your grace! Amen!

The view Sunday morning from where I play my bass.
Selfie time! Or, “Make the congregation wonder about your sanity time.”

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Church

Gender Neutral Potato Head

Today, the company wants to stop leaning so heavily into this traditional family structure. “Culture has evolved,” she tells Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists—with the “Mr.” and “Mrs.”—is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

NEXTAR Media Wire via Fox59.com
See linked article for credit.

Have you ever wondered what it would take for the average person to lose his mind? Would it be a tragic loss or overwhelming circumstance that would break him? Torture? Deprivation?

What about the unceasing and incessant madness of the liberal Left and their determination to swab away all cultural norms from the deck of this sinking ship?

Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head are cultural icons. They even walk and talk in the “Toy Story” movies! Yet, because of the desire to let 3-year-old brains shape the future, Hasbro wants to further confuse them with not only a plastic toy potato, but one that can’t even decide which potato potty to enter.

“Culture has evolved,” they say. Tell me, toy geniuses, what is there about evolving that includes the deconstruction of the structural fabric which has been the framework and bedrock of society?

Oh, I get it – it’s a money thing, right? We want to appeal to the little crumb crunchers whose mommies and baby daddies have either ditched their responsibilities and commitments or unstitched and re-stitched their baby-making parts. We want to enable – for the dollar, mind you – a whole new generation of gender-confused part-swappers because leaning too heavily on the current traditional family structure is not good for the brand.

I don’t know how far I am away from losing it, but one thing’s for sure: Hasbro has mashed potatoes for brains.

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Filed under Culture Wars, current events, Family