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Thoughts and Meditations

February 2007 Archive

Personal comments made by David F. Reagan unless otherwise stated

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February 19, 2007

No Middle Ground - In writing about the pressures of the coming Revolutionary War in America, Esther Forbes in Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (p.127) states, "Men struggled desperately to keep some middle ground--until that ground was cut from under their feet by the rising tide of emotion, violence, and blood." How often this is true when men take sides on any issue. Those who want to stay in the middle are at one point forced to take one side or the other or else be attacked and destroyed by both sides. 

Bound to the Land of the Living - When Baptist historian David Benedict saw the Georgian preacher and church planter Abraham Marshall in the early 1800's, he was growing old in years. Marshall sent a message to his friends in New England. "Tell them that I am yet in the land of the dying, but am bound to the land of the living." When he was questioned on his comment, he explained, "There is no death there, while all things are dying here." From Fifty Years Among the Baptists by David Benedict (p.54)


February 16, 2007

Not in Rows - After the end of the American Civil War, General Robert E. Lee served as president of Washington College. When asked about the arrangement of new trees that were to be planted on the front campus, he replied, "Not in rows; nature never plants trees in rows." Sometimes we are guilty of putting things in rows that God never meant to be in rows. From Lee: the Last Yearsby Charles Bracelen Flood (p.142). 

And All the People Said - In my youth, I belonged to Faith Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee, and my pastor was Ted Willie. Quite often, especially after something good had been reported or a testimony had been given, he would say to the congregation, "And all the people said." The congregation would reply, "Amen." It was only years later that I found out just how biblical this practice was. 1Chronicles 16:36 states, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD."


February 15, 2007

The Soul Winner's Prayer


Oh, give me, Lord, Thy love for souls,

  For lost and wand'ring sheep,

That I may see the multitudes

  And weep as Thou didst weep.


Help me to see the tragic plight

  Of souls far off in sin;

Help me to love, to pray, to go

  To bring the wand'rer in.


From off the altar of Thy heart

  Take Thou some flaming coals;

Then touch my life and give me, Lord,

  A heart that's hot for souls.


O Fire of love, O Flame divine,

  Make Thy abode in me;

Burn in my heart, burn evermore,

  Till I burn out for thee.


        - by Dr. Eugene M. Harrison


February 14, 2007

Wonders of Creation - The wonderful richness of creation can be seen in Psalm 104:24 -"O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." In this verse we see:

  • Creation's Variety - "how manifold are thy works" - Manifold means many-folded. It has many variations.
  • Creation's Quality - "in wisdom hast thou made them all"
  • Creation's Quantity - "the earth is full of thy riches"

Worldwide Need for Bible Teaching - I just checked the last ten people who signed up for our email newsletter. A couple of them did not give any indication of their location. Several were from the United States. But three were from other countries. We had one each from Jamaica, Bahrain, and Lithuania. I thank God for the opportunity to be a blessing to these people. Please pray for those around the world wanting to know God's precious word.


February 13, 2007

Custom of Family Preaching - The Baptist Historian David Benedict in his book, Fifty Years Among the Baptists (p. 49-50) speaks of his first visit to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1810 and his stay with Pastor Richard Furman (of Furman University fame). He speaks of a custom handed down from England and then practiced in Charleston. "When a visiting minister was invited to tea among the members, it was expected that he and all company would spend the evening at the house, and that a short off-hand discourse would be delivered." Can you imagine? A preacher comes to visit. After refreshments, you gather the family and anyone else available together and ask him to give some words of help to all of you. Perhaps we should begin a new custom of family preaching.

First Baptist Preachers Imprisoned in Virginia - The first recorded instance of Baptist preachers imprisoned for their faith in Virginia was in the county of Spotsylvania. John Waller, Lewis Craig, James Childs, and others, were seized on June 4th, 1768. At their trial, the lawyer accused them with these words: "May it please your worships, these men are great disturbers of the peace; they cannot meet a man upon the road, but they must ram a text of Scripture down his throat." May the Lord give us this kind of courage today. -from History of the Baptists in Virginia by Robert Baylor Semple (p.29-30).  


February 12, 2007

The Abomination of Shepherds - In Genesis 46:34, Joseph informs his brothers that "every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians." While taking nothing from the literal meaning of the passage, this passage has a wonderful application. Egypt, in scripture, is a type of the world. Shepherds are those who as pastors watch over the souls of men They are called to keep the flock (Acts 20:28; 1Peter 5:1-2). We see from the type that this world (Egypt) hates pastors (the shepherds). They are an abomination to Egypt. The Bible further bears this out.

  • The first shepherd, Abel, was killed by Cain (Genesis 4:8)
  • The best shepherd, Jesus Christ, was killed by the world. He is also called the "good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14) who "giveth his life for his sheep."

Chariot of the Cherubims - Mentioned in 1Chronicles 28:18, the "chariot of the cherubims" is part of the design of the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon. This chariot is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. Neither does there seem to be any hint of a physical chariot in the temple. What is it? Perhaps a hint can be found in Ezekiel 10:1-22. Four cherubims are connected with four wheels and they transport the glory of God. This could be called the chariot of the cherubims. But in Ezekiel 10, there are four cherubim. Solomon just had two made for the Holy of Holies. Where are the other two? They are to be found on the mercy seat that sat on the top of the ark of the covenant. The ark was the only piece of furniture that was used in the tabernacle of Moses that continued to be used in the temple. It had two cherubim (Exodus 25:19). This gave four cherubim surrounding the presence of God at the ark of the covenant. This explains why Hezekial prayed unto the "LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims" (2Kings 19:15). These four cherubim made up the chariot of the cherubims.


February 9, 2007

Exclusion From the Kingdom - Recently, I have heard a new doctrine proposed. It is that unfaithful Christians of this age will not be in the kingdom. That is, they will not participate in the millennial reign of Christ on earth, but will be excluded. Some actually teach that they will suffer in the lake of fire during this time because of their unfaithfulness. As it turns out, this is not a new doctrine at all. Appendix 5 in the book called Forgotten Truths written by Sir Robert Anderson is titled "Exclusion From Millennial Kingdom." (on pages 148-150)

This appendix begins, "Exclusion from the millennial kingdom, we are told by some, will be the penalty imposed on Christians who lapse into immoral practices. And in proof of this we are referred to such passages as 1 Cor.6:9, 10; Gal.5:21; Eph.5:5, etc." He goes on to refute this false teaching on the basis that the kingdom of God as mentioned in the epistles of Paul is not a synonym for the millennial kingdom of Christ but refers to the spiritual kingdom of God (see Romans 14:17; 1Corinthians 15:50). 

The true believers in Christ have already been translated into the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13). Rather than giving a way into the kingdom, the passages in question (1Corinthians 6:9 and others) are exhorting us to walk worthy of the calling we have and not follow after the perversions of this world. 1Thessalonians 2:12 states, "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory." 2Thessalonians 1:5 states, "...that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer." As Sir Robert Anderson says, this is "a reference not to the future state, but to the place and calling of the Christian here and now. It is akin to the exhortations of Ephesians 4:1." This is where we are called upon to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. 

So, when was this refutation of the doctrine of millennial exclusion written? It was initially published in the year 1914--that is, 90 years ago. There is nothing new under the sun.


February 8, 2007

Gospel Witness of Genealogies – “A heathen Chinaman asked a missionary for a Gospel. The latter had at hand only a Gospel by Matthew. He regretted this: he would rather have given him the Gospel by John. For Matthew begins with its long genealogical table, which is so extended but contains, as it seems, so little that is interesting. Might not the reader after a few lines lose pleasure in the book and cease to read?—But what happened? Next day the Chinaman returned and expressed his very great joy, because the beginning of the book had been so interesting. As we know, the Chinese have a great regard for honouring their ancestors, and that must indeed be a special man, who had an ancestral tree of such importance and covering so many centuries! This had at once awakened his special interest in the history of such a man. The beginning had therefore inclined him to continue reading with double interest.” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.121). Read Psalm 119:128; Proverbs 30:5. 

Topics: Word of God, Matthew, Genealogies, China, Missions 

King James Bible English – In God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (p.211), Adam Nicolson describes the special kind of English that was used in the translation of the King James Bible: “It speaks in its master’s voice and is not the English you would have heard on the street, then or ever. It took up its life in a new and distinct dimension of linguistic space, somewhere between English and Greek (or, for the Old Testament, between English and Hebrew). These scholars were not pulling the language of the scriptures into the English they knew and used at home. The words of the King James Bible are just as much English pushed towards the condition of a foreign language as a foreign language translated into English. It was, in other words, more important to make English godly than to make the words of God into the sort of prose that any Englishmen would have written.” Read John 10:2-4; 1Thessalonians 2:13. 

Topics: King James Bible, Biblical English, Translation


February 7, 2007

Wanted: Godly Men Who Will Dare For God – “Where are our dreamers? Where are the men who can get alone with God for two hours and come out with three pages of creative ideas? Where are the ‘thus saith the Lord’ men today? America is dying for lack of purpose. If the church does not fill this need, we had better admit defeat now. Hell and all its demons know exactly where they are going with this world, and God is look for men who dare to match their intensity in purpose.” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.126). Read Jeremiah 5:1; Ezekiel 22:30. 

Topics: Challenge, Purpose, Leadership 

Lady in a Tempest – The Baptist missionary, Mrs. M. B. Ingalls, served with her husband in Burma. When he died in 1856, she refused to go home and continued for the next 46 years working in Burma alone. “While she was in charge of a lonely station, Mrs. Ingalls was holding an evening class in her bungalow when one of the nationals rushed in with great fear to report that the chief of a hostile tribe and his warriors were approaching her home. There was no time for escape, and in a few moments she heard the tramp of marching feet. 

“‘The door was opened, and a swarm of wild men, with flashing eyes, poured into the room. She alone was calm and self-possessed, receiving them kindly as if they were friends. They seemed for a moment subdued by her manner; and, as if by inspiration, she seized the opportunity to divert their attention by stories about America, telling them among other things of Colt’s revolver, laying her hand as she spoke, upon the pistol her lamented husband had presented her. The chief listened with scorn and incredulity pictured upon his face. Then, suddenly picking up a piece of paper, he stuck it upon the wall, and cried, “Shoot.” For a second her heart trembled; she did not know that the pistol was loaded, nor how to use it, for she had never fired one in her life. But again, sending to heaven a swift petition for help, she took aim and fired. The ball pierced the centre of the target. Instantly, as if shot, or perhaps expecting that ball would follow ball, the wild natives rushed from the place, and the missionary widow and her frightened flock fell on their knees to render thanks to their Divine Protector.’” –from This Day in Baptist History by E. Wayne Thompson and David L. Cummins (p.283). Read Psalm 64:1; 79:11; 97:10. 

Topics: Missions, Burma, God’s Protection


February 6, 2007

Grace in Rough Treatment – “As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster. The more the diamond is cut the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect his people. –by the Scottish preacher Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873). Read Malachi 3:17; Hebrews 12:10-11; 1Peter 1:6-7. 

Topics: Trials, Christian Growth 

Man’s Liberty to Act – The Puritan author, Stephen Charnock, in The Existence and Attributes of God (p.145-146), makes a case for man’s freedom to action alongside God’s absolute foreknowledge of all things: “If God’s prescience takes away the liberty of the creature, there is no such thing as a free action in the world (for there is nothing done but is foreknown by God, else we render God of a limited understanding), nor ever was, no, not by God himself, ad extra; for whatsoever he hath done in creation, whatsoever he hath done since the creation, was foreknown by him: he resolved to do it, and, therefore, foreknew that he would do it. Did God do it, therefore, necessarily, as necessity is opposed to liberty? As he freely decrees what he will do, so he effects what he freely decreed. 

“Foreknowledge is so far from intrenching upon the liberty of the will, that predeterminism, which in the notion of it speaks something more, doth not dissolve it; God did not only foreknow, but determine the suffering of Christ (Acts 4:27-28). It was necessary, therefore, that Christ should suffer, that God might not be mistaken in his foreknowledge, or come short of his determinate decree; but did this take away the liberty of Christ in suffering? (Ephesians 5:2): who “hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God;’ that is, by a voluntary act, as well as designed to do it by a determinate counsel. It did infallibly secure the event, but did not annihilate the liberty of the action, either in Christ’s willingness to suffer, or the crime of the Jews that made him suffer.” Read Romans 8:29-30. 

Topics: Free Will, Liberty, Foreknowledge, Crucifixion


February 5, 2007

Hatred Against Baptists – “Cotton Mather, the leading Puritan minister in New England at the end of the seventeenth century, illustrates in his diary the low opinion the Puritans had of Baptists in general and Baptist preachers in particular. He tells of a preacher named May who arrived from England in 1699 and began preaching publicly. Mather called him ‘a wondrous Lump of Ignorance and Arrogance’ and bemoaned the fact that many people were drawn to him. ‘Multitudes of the giddy People are as much bewitched with him, as if he were another Simon Magus. There is evidently a Satanic Energy on the People in this Town; and Satan is attempting, tho’ by a very little Tool, a great Shock to our churches.’ 

“Whether the man was a Baptist or not is never proven; Mather just assumes as much. The irrational and illogical attempts to defame the Baptists resulted in frequent outbursts from the Puritan establishment. Some of their accusations were proven to be completely fabricated, such as a pamphlet circulated in 1673 that claimed that an orthodox New England minister named Baxter was barbarously skinned alive by angry Baptists… Many were ready to believe this incredible story, but it was soon proven that there was no such minister by the name of Baxter in all of New England.” –from The Forgotten Heritage by Thomas R. McKibbens, Jr. (p.115-116). Read John 15:18-19; Acts 5:40-41. 

Topics: Baptists, Persecution, Cotton Mather, False Accusations 

Preaching With Effect – Duke Kimbrough (1762-1849) served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dandridge, Tennessee, for fifty years. “A peculiarity of Elder Kimbrough’s preaching was a sudden and unexpected pause in his discourse. The use of this surprise power, like the sudden stopping of a train of cars, was sometimes very effective. On one occasion, however, the surprise came the other way. The preacher was urging upon his members the importance of looking after their religion—‘fencing it up’—and with the exclamatory statement that ‘circumstances alter cases,’ came to a sudden pause. ‘Yes,’ broke in one of the sisters, ‘that’s what I told John! I told him if he planted the corn before he built the fence the hogs would root it up—and they did.’” –from Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers by J. J. Burnett (p.291). Read Proverbs 24:27; Isaiah 5:2. 

Topics: Preaching, Faithfulness


February 2, 2007

Every Word of God Important – “Concerning Paul’s word as to his books and parchments (2Timothy 4:13), there is an interesting incident that shows the value of every word of Scripture. One asked J. N. Darby what loss there would be if that remark had not been preserved. He replied that he at least would have been the loser, because in his ascetic days as a clergyman he had thought to get rid of his library, but it was the care of Paul for his books that had restrained him. When the vast benefit to the church at large that resulted later from Darby’s use of his extensive and valuable library is considered, there is a remarkable example of the value of each word of God’s book.” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.121). Read Psalm 119:128; Proverbs 30:5. 

Topics: Inspiration, Preservation of Scripture, Books, Library 

Afflictions Work to Cleanse of Corruption – “Afflictions work for good to the godly, as they are destructive to sin. Sin is the mother, affliction is the daughter; the daughter helps to destroy the mother. Sin is like the tree that breeds the worm, and affliction is like the worm that eats the tree. There is much corruption in the best heart; affliction does by degrees work it out, as the fire works out the dross from the gold, ‘this is all the fruit to take away his sin’ (Isaiah 27:9). What if we have more of the rough file, if we have less rust! If a physician should say to a patient, ‘Your body is distempered, and full of bad humors, which must be cleared out, or you die; but I will prescribe physic which, though it may make you sick, yet it will carry away the dregs of your disease, and save your life’; would not this be for the good of the patient? Afflictions are the medicine which God uses to carry off our spiritual diseases; they cure the tympany [tumor] of pride, the fever of lust, the dropsy of covetousness.” –from All Things For Good by Thomas Watson (p.29). Read Romans 5:3-4. 

Topics: Affliction, Corruption, Sin, Cleansing


February 1, 2007

Danger of Artificial Happiness – Ronald W. Dworkin, in his book Artificial Happiness (p.17-18), warns us of the danger of the new drugs that produce an artificial state of happiness. “With so many people resorting to Artificial Happiness, society as a whole is inevitably affected. The most important things in life begin in a person’s mind. Since the mind sets limits on behavior, small changes in the mind may have serious social consequences. When a man silences his misery through Artificial Happiness, he also silences his conscience. Actually, he must silence his conscience, since a bad conscience often causes his unhappiness… 

“A reckless act sometimes follows when a person silences his conscience with alcohol, since that part of his mind that appraises his activity is turned off. A murderer takes a shot of whiskey before finishing the job. A prostitute takes a stiff drink to numb her mind before work. Soldiers get drunk before sacking a city. Society is able to contain such reckless behavior because intoxicated people are relatively few in number. In addition, alcohol wears off quickly; even murderers and prostitutes come back to reason after which they sometimes feel remorse for their behavior. 

“But imagine an entire class of people who stupefy themselves regularly and constantly, who remain stupefied throughout the day, and who live not on society’s fringes but in the mainstream. Suddenly the problem grows more serious—millions of regular people stifling their consciences to live happier lives, thinking, and therefore behaving, in ways they would not otherwise do. Through sheer numbers these people pose a greater threat to the social fabric than murderers, prostitutes, and thieves.” Read Ephesians 4:19; 1Timothy 4:2; 2Timothy 3:1-4. 

Topics: Drugs, Happiness, Conscience 

Christ the Word – In The Crises of the Christ (p.72), G. Campbell Morgan makes a comparison of Jesus Christ as the Word in John 1:1 with Jesus Christ as the Word in John 1:14. In John 1:1 the Word is God and in John 1:14 the Word was made flesh. Both verses make a threefold statement about the Word and these statements are parallel to one another. Consider the following:


John 1:1

John 1:14

The Word in Time

“In the beginning was the Word”

“And the Word was made flesh”

The Word in Location

“and the Word was with God”

“and dwelt among us”

The Word in Essence

“and the Word was God”

“full of grace and truth”

Topics: Jesus Christ, Word, Incarnation, Deity of Christ




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