“You shall not take
the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
The third commandment was taken so seriously by
Israel that at one time the scribes would not even write the name Yahweh
(Jehovah) until they had first taken a bath and changed their
clothes. Then, after they had
written it, they would take another bath and change their clothes
Their focus on the word itself, however, often
overlooked the broader implications of the commandment. J.I. Packer says, “What is
forbidden is any use or involvement of God’s name that is empty,
frivolous, or insincere.”
This includes any kind of irreverence, because it fails to take
seriously God’s character and reputation, which is represented by His
We are not to use the name of God or Jesus Christ
as profanity, because this expresses neither praise, worship, nor
faith. In addition, this
commandment relates to breaking a promise when God’s name is used to back
If you care about God, handle His name with
Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain
September 14, 2012
AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO
YOUNG TO DIE-III
The Roots Of The
When I mention, 1776, what comes to
More than likely, that date brings to mind at least two things—the
Declaration of Independence and the 4th of July. Both a document and a date point
to one thing that gives them such meaning, even to this day, and that is
When our Founding Fathers decided to risk life and limb to begin
this “grand experiment” called America, they did not know a lot about what
they DID want, but they did know a lot about what they DID NOT
They did not want tyranny.
They did not want taxation without representation. They did not want an absentee
landlord from an ocean away running their lives. They did not want to answer to a
state church or a king—they wanted
No one said it better than a red-headed, fair-skinned follower of
Jesus Christ named Patrick Henry.
On March 20, 1775, the 2nd Virginia Convention convened
at St. John’s Church in Richmond.
They had gathered there to discuss how to deal with the tyranny and
oppression of Great Britain and King George,
On March 23rd, this 39 year old Christian stood to his
feet and uttered some words that would become the spark that would light
the fires of freedom that have burned so brightly now for almost 240
years. He said, “Is life so
dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and
slavery? Forbid it Almighty God—I know not what course others may take;
but as for me—give me liberty or give me
Put another way, Patrick Henry said, “Let freedom ring!” But, that brings up the question,
“What did our Founding Fathers mean by freedom?” What kind of liberty did they
In this column, I am going to show you how their understanding of
freedom, the role of government and the rule of law lines up perfectly
with what the Bible has to say about freedom. You are going to see how our
Founding Fathers understood clearly that the connection between God and
government and freedom and faith was not only necessary, but absolutely
First of all, the Bible says genuine liberty is given by God. Galatians 5:13 says, “For
brethren, ye have been called unto liberty.” God says freedom is a calling and
it is a calling on every person.
Who calls us to freedom? God does.
This whole concept of freedom goes all the way back to the Garden
of Eden. The first gift God
gave to Adam and Eve was life, but the very next gift God gave to Adam and
Eve was liberty.
Do you remember exactly what God said to Adam after He had created
him and put him in the Garden? Genesis 2:16 says, “And the Lord God
commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest FREELY
eat.” In the Garden of Eden,
to the first man who ever set foot on this planet, God said, “Let freedom
The source of Adam’s freedom was God. From that moment until now,
freedom has been the divine call on every person’s life. Freedom is imbedded in God’s
Scripture and our forefathers imbedded it in government’s scripts, the
What does the Declaration of Independence say? “We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life,
LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Bible makes it clear that our liberty comes from God and the
Declaration of Independence echoes that sentiment. It also says our liberty comes
from God, the Creator.
On the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., are these words of
Thomas Jefferson: “The God
who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may
destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
Jefferson and many of our other forefathers understood, when God
goes, so does freedom.
That’s why we need to beware of any leader and any organization
that wants to extract God from the public arena. Anyone who wants to take God out
of the public arena and totally separate God from government may very well
want to take away your freedom.
So, genuine liberty is given by God, and then, genuine liberty is
governed by love. Galatians
5:14 says, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: thou shalt love thy neighbor as
Our forefathers understood something about liberty and it is
something we are forgetting today:
liberty is governed, or limited, by love. It is love that will keep people
from going to extremes with freedom.
Love replaces law.
Love takes the place of every law God has ever
Think about this. If
all people loved other people as much as they love themselves we could
solve every problem we have on this planet. Here is why. Once you really love other people,
you will begin to exercise your freedom with this thought in mind: What is best for other
If you love others, you don’t steal from them, lie about them, envy
them, or try to hurt them.
Love in the heart is God’s substitute for law in the head. The law cannot make people do what
is right. Where love is, law
will be unnecessary. Where
love is not, law will be helpless.
You say, “I am an American and I have the freedom to identify with
the party of my choice or vote for the political candidate of my choice.” You’ve got me there. You can identify with any party
you like and you can vote for any candidate you like, but here is what I
would say to you.
Where did that freedom come from? Did it come from government or
from God? The Bible says it came from God and the Bible says you must be
careful how you use that liberty.
In America today, we see many people who do not let love limit
their liberty. The party that
says, “Keep abortion legal,” does not have God’s approval. That party’s freedom to support
abortion is not limited by love for an innocent, unborn human being. The candidate who says, “Keep
abortion legal,” does not have God’s approval. That candidate’s freedom to
support abortion is not limited by love for an innocent, unborn human
being. The Bible says God
hates the shedding of innocent blood.
Jesus set the perfect example as to how liberty is supposed to
work. He loved us more than
He loved Himself and because of His death on the Cross, the person who
receives Him has liberty in Him.
He frees that person from their burden of sin and takes them to
Heaven when they die.
Ed Baswell is the Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain. He is also the pastor of Clarion
Baptist Church and the founder of Clarion
September 7, 2012
AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO
YOUNG TO DIE-II
The Roots Of The
Ignorance and apathy.
Unfortunately, those are two of America’s biggest problems. Many in this country are ignorant
when it comes to America’s history, her heritage. And then, many in this country are
apathetic when it comes to patriotism, love of
I make no apology for being a red-blooded, flag-waving American
patriot. I believe it is
logical, it is reasonable and it is Biblical to be patriotic. America is my fatherland. America is the land of my
birth. America is the land of
my loyalty. I love my
I firmly believe America is the greatest nation on earth, even with
her faults. Why is America
great? Is it because we have greater natural resources? No, because other
nations also have great natural resources. Is it because Americans are
smarter? No, there are plenty of smart people all over the
America is the greatest nation on earth because God has blessed
America. And why has God
blessed America? God has blessed America because America was built on
It started with the Mayflower Compact in 1620. As part of that compact, the
pilgrims wrote that their coming to the colonies from England was “For the
glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” They came to our shores primarily
for religious freedom.
That was the cornerstone of the foundation those pilgrims built
when they came to America—religious freedom. Anyone who says differently is a
revisionist. And what is a
revisionist? A revisionist is
someone who takes history and twists it to fit his or her particular world
You will find many atheists and secularists and humanists who
attempt to revise American history.
Why? Because, it fits their narrative and their belief system
better when God is not part of the American equation. So, they spin history and twist
it, pretending the forefathers did not write what they
I am going to give you a sampling of what our forefathers wrote,
and as you read these words, I think you will be able to see God was an
integral part of the founding of this country. He permeates everything the
forefathers said and did.
On April 30, 1789, in his first inaugural address, George
Washington said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge the invisible hand
(God), which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the
United States. Every step, by
which they have advanced the character of an independent nation, seems to
have been distinguished by some token of providential
Our first president was saying God was leading and guiding our
forefathers from England to America, through the writing of the
Declaration of Independence, in and out of the Revolutionary War and down
the road to a framework of freedom that has never been matched. God’s hand, the invisible hand,
was there from the beginning.
In December of 1820, Daniel Webster, considered to be one of our
greatest orators, said, “Let us not forget the religious character of our
origin. Our fathers brought
hither their high veneration for the Christian religion.” He also said, “Whatever makes men
good Christians, makes them good
On July 4, 1837, John Quincy Adams, our 6th president,
in an oration at Newburyport, Massachusetts, on the 61st
anniversary of the Declaration of Independence said, “Is it not that, in
the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly
linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in
the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of
Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the
Redeemer’s mission upon earth?”
Adams was saying the birth of Jesus and the birth of America were
all a part of God’s plan. He
was saying the birth of the Savior and the birth of this nation were a
part of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. He was saying the birth of America
helped spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was saying the Declaration of
Independence was founded on the principles Jesus used to fulfill His
mission on this earth.
So, our forefathers blazed the trail and founded this country on
As a result, we have a long list of freedoms. One of those freedoms is the
freedom of religion. In
America, because of the First Amendment to the Constitution, every citizen
has the right to believe in God or not believe in God. Every American has the right to be
a Jew, a Buddhist, an atheist, a Mormon, a Baptist, a Catholic, or of any
other denominational persuasion.
That’s why, if I am asked to pray at a prayer breakfast, for
example, I will always pray in the name of Jesus. I have the right to do that, even
if it offends someone, because it is guaranteed by the First
That also means, if a Muslim imam is invited to pray at that same
prayer breakfast, he has the right to pray in the name of Allah, even if
it offends someone. Why? Because he has freedom of religion
and freedom of speech.
God has blessed America.
God has prospered America.
America is sleek and well fed, but America has forgotten God. America worships other gods. America worships money. America worships celebrity. America worships sports. America is sick and needs
Born in 1776, she will soon be tossed onto the scrap heap of
nations if she does not change her ways. The ship of state has lost its
moorings and is on a collision course with disaster. We are letting atheists and
humanists and secularists and revisionists steal our
Christendom is in America’s rear view mirror. Slowly but surely, religion is
being removed from the public square and America will rue the day when
Christians have no influence in the culture. Believers are supposed to be the
salt and light in our culture, but I am afraid Christians these days are
too apathetic and too intimidated to season our world and shine a light on
I am afraid there is going to be a lot of weeping in America if
there is no repentance for things like abortion, same-sex marriage and
illegitimacy. If repentance
comes, then revival, there will be rejoicing instead of
As long as there
is a God in Heaven, I refuse to give up hope. He is our hope, He is our help and
He is our healer.
Ed Baswell is the Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain. He is also the pastor of Clarion
Baptist Church and the founder of Clarion
August 31, 2012
AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO
YOUNG TO DIE-I
The Roots Of The
Our forefathers were spiritual and moral giants. With God guiding them, they formed
what was, and still is, in my opinion, the greatest nation on the face of
the earth, warts and all. It
is the most incredible social experiment the world has ever known. It is a melting pot for people and
But, this nation, born July 4, 1776, must be born again or it will
perish. Some day, if revival
does not come, some historian will write about the rise and fall of the
American empire. The old
timers will sit around and talk about what a great country this USED to
be. To some extent, we are
already doing that.
The nation of Israel has a history very much like the history of
America. Israel has a
glorious heritage and so does America. Israel broke the chains of
Egyptian bondage and America broke the chains of British bondage. Israel forgot God and judgment
came. America has forgotten
God and judgment may come. We
can learn a lot about the relationship between God and America by studying
the relationship between God and Israel.
Psalm 80 was written during a period of national calamity in
Israel’s history. That is why
we read in Psalm 80:3, “Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine;
and we shall be saved.”
Israel had reached a point where she was compromised and corrupt
and on the verge of collapse.
America is in much the same condition. She has compromised on abortion
and same-sex marriage. She is
corrupt with drugs and illegitimacy.
And, without revival, America will
In the 80th psalm, we notice several things about Israel
and I am going to draw some parallels with America. First of all, there was deep
despair in Israel. What was
this deep despair all about?
It was about spiritual sterility, personal sorrow and national
shame. Psalm 80:4 says, “O
Lord God of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayer of Thy
people?” Israel was praying,
but her prayers were making God angry. The people were praying, but their
prayers weren’t getting off the ground. Why? Because Israel was sinful and
unrepentant. She prayed, but
there was no answer. Prayers
coming from a wicked heart only move God to anger.
In America, we say, “We need to pray, we need to pray,” but our
prayers go no higher than the ceiling. Why? Because America is
unrepentant. The cesspool of
iniquity is overflowing and we dare sing, “God Bless America.” It is a wonder He does not blot us
off the face of the earth.
Then, we see divine design.
Israel was divinely planted, divinely protected and divinely
prospered by divine design.
Psalm 80:8 says, “Thou has brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen,
and planted it.” The vine
being talked about here is Israel. God planted her right where she is
supposed to be. He planted
her with a plan and a purpose.
I believe, correspondingly, America has been divinely planted,
divinely protected and divinely prospered by divine design. The American dream was placed in
the heads and hearts of our forefathers, so this country was planted
intellectually, physically and spiritually where she is
The next thing we see is dire danger. Israel faced, and still faces,
external, internal and eternal danger. Psalm 80:12 says, “Why hast Thou
then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do
Here is a vineyard—divinely planted, divinely protected and
divinely prospered—and now, God suddenly removes the hedge of protection
that was around Israel.
Anyone who came by could pluck her fruit. Israel was now
America is in the same boat.
We may be more vulnerable than we have ever been. We have enemies without and
enemies within, but the biggest threat is the One above. God is patient and God is full of
grace, but when a nation continues to thumb its nose at Him, He often
brings judgment. He brought
it to Israel and we are not immune.
What will America’s judgment be? Will it be financial
collapse? With 16 trillion
dollars’ worth of debt, we may well be on our way to insolvency. Will that be what God uses to get
our attention? You see, at
its core, America does not have a money problem. America has a moral problem and the
moral problem, in many ways, has caused our money
You say, is there hope for America? Absolutely. That’s the next thing we
see—definite deliverance. The
first element that must be present for deliverance to take place is the
Man of God. Psalm 80:17 says,
“Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the son of man Whom
Thou madest strong for Thyself.”
The Man of God, “…the man of Thy right hand,” is none other than
Jesus Christ. In order for
America to be delivered, she must return to the Lord Jesus
The second element that must be present for deliverance to take
place is the movement of God.
Psalm 80:18 says, “So we will not we go back from Thee: quicken us, and we will call upon
Thy name.” There must be a
return to the Man of God and there must be a movement of God for America
to be delivered.
The third element must be the miracle of God. Psalm 80:19 says, “Turn us again,
O lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” The miracle of God is
If we enthrone the Man of God and implore the movement of God, we
will see in America the miracle of God. God wants to bless America
again. God wants to send
revival. The Man of God wants
to instigate the movement of God and the movement of God can and will
bring the miracle of God.
Castro took Cuba with a band of 80 cutthroats. Lenin began His Communist
revolution with a few thousand in 1917. Jesus began the mightiest movement
the world has ever known with twelve men.
I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do,
and what I can do and ought to do, by the grace of God I WILL
Will you say that? Will you mean it? Will you pray with me,
“America, please repent,” and, “God, please bless America
August 8, 2012
THE SUPERIORITY OF
PAIN AND SUFFERING
Can any good come from pain and
The great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, wrestled with that
question. In his
book, The Problem Of Pain, he wrote:
If God were good, He'd wish to
make His creatures
happy, and if God were almighty, He'd be
able to do what He wished. But the
creatures are not happy. Therefore, God lacks either
goodness, or power, or
The truth is, God is good AND God is all-powerful. So, in order to understand
how pain and suffering fit into the
divine scheme of things, one must have the right perspective.
When one thinks about pain and suffering, one must view them in
light of eternity. The only way to make sense out of
pain and suffering is to look at them from an eternal
In the first century, there was a group of Hebrews who needed
were, more than likely, in Rome. They were suffering. They were followers of Jesus
Christ and they were being persecuted
and ostracized by their Jewish brothers and sisters, and by the
A letter was written to these Hebrews to give them hope, to
reassure them, as they yought to walk in the Lord's footsteps. It is the 19th book in
the New Testament and its theme is the superiority of the
The author of this letter, and we do not know for certain who the
author was (possibly the apostle Paul), reminds
his readers over and over again about the superiority of Jesus Christ. In the verses we're going to focus
on, we see that Jesus Christ has conquered pain and
When you suffer, remember Jesus Christ suffered too. When you feel pain,
remember Jesus felt pain. But most of all, remember Jesus
Christ conquered pain and suffering and so can
Jesus Christ was the pioneer of suffering. That means, if you are one of His
followers, you have hope. The first four words of Hebrews,
chapter 2, verse 9, are: “But
we see Jesus…”
When you are suffering, in order to keep it in perspective, do not
take your eyes off Jesus.
When you suffer grief, do not take your eyes off Jesus. When you suffer loss, do not take
y our eyes off Jesus. When
you suffer tragedy, do not take your eyes off Jesus. When you suffer doubt or
disillusionment or loneliness or brokenness or despair, do not take your
eyes off Jesus. When it comes
to pain and suffering, you'll never experience anything He hasn't already
Jesus was the pioneer of suffering, and then, Christians are the subject
of suffering. That's the bad news, but the good
news is, because Jesus suffered, He can identify with the suffering of
Jesus Christ identifies with you. That's why, when you pour your
heart out to Him and you tell Him you are hurting, He can say, "I know, I
identifies with us, and when we suffer, we identify
In the crucible of suffering, a bond is forged--one that draws us
closer to Christ than health or wealth or success ever could. When you look at pain and
a friend, rather than an enemy, Christ identifies
with you and you identify with Christ.
only is there pain in our identification with Christ, there is also pain
when we are enslaved to sin. If you are a Christian, think back
to the days when you served another master. You were enslaved to the
devil. For many of you, those
were days full of pain and
Perhaps you were a slave to a sexual sin. Perhaps you were a slave to
alcohol or drugs. Perhaps you were a slave to
were days of rebellion. Those
were days of revenge. Those were days of running with the wrong crowd. But when Christ came into your
life, things changed.
He rendered the devil powerless in your life. If you're in Christ and your
fellowship with Him is what it should
be, you are no longer enslaved by the
So, there is
the pain of enslavement, and then there is the pain of failure. When we sin, we fall on our face morally. That hurts us and humiliates
When we fail, what we need is a helping hand, and who steps in to
offer us a helping hand? Jesus Christ, our merciful and
faithful high priest, intercedes for us
with God the Father. When we sin, when we fail,
when we fall on our face, Jesus Christ steps in to smooth the way with God the
I can remember when I was a little boy and I had messed up. I had disobeyed
my father was prepared to wear the living daylights
out of me. Guess who stepped
in sometimes as my merciful and faithful high
priest? It was my
mother. She would
say to my father, "Why don't you give
him a break?"
That's what Jesus will do for you, if you will give Him the
chance. At this very moment,
He sits at the right hand of God the Father and He is making intercession
for His followers. If you are
a believer, He is your lawyer, your defense attorney, if you
He paved the way for the Christians who have come behind Him. He blazed a trail from the Cross
all the way to Heaven. If you
are one of God’s children, you can take comfort in knowing that His Son,
Jesus Christ, lives to make intercession for
If you are suffering physically, He understands and is making
intercession for you. If you
are suffering emotionally, He understands and is making intercession for
you. If you are suffering
financially, through no fault of your own, He understands and is making
intercession for you. If you
are suffering spiritually, He understands and is making intercession for
No matter what your circumstances, Jesus Christ of Nazareth
understands your predicament completely and is interceding for you with
God the Father. Even in the
middle of your trials and troubles, you can rest in the fact that your
Lord and Savior is always on the job. He never slumbers and He never
you think you can’t take another step, you will find Him faithful. He will never leave you nor
forsake you. Take this
opportunity to thank Him for His grace and His mercy and for His
intercession with the heavenly Father.
On the other hand, you may not be able to say you are a part of
God’s family. You have never
confessed your sins and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive you. There is no time better than the
present to do that. Ask Jesus
to come into your heart and ask Him to save you from your
By Ed Baswell
“…We have redemption
through His blood, the forgiveness
of sins, according to
the riches of His grace.”
The Bible gives us directions to
It does not say morality will get you to Heaven,
although it is good to be moral.
It does not say good works will get you to Heaven, although it is
good to do good works. It
does not say being patriotic will get you to Heaven, although it is good
to be patriotic.
What does it say about how to get to Heaven? Scripture is very clear. The only “road” leading to Heaven
is faith in Jesus Christ. In
John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but
There are at least three landmarks that will be
seen on this “road” to Heaven.
I am a sinner.
Everyone has done wrong, no exceptions, and our sin separates us
from God (Romans 3:23).
Jesus is perfect. His
sacrifice on the Cross bridged the gap between God the Father and sinful
human beings. Jesus paid the
price to cover people’s sins.
People need Jesus. The
turning point during a person’s journey is when that person places his or
her faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
They believe He is Who He says He is, they confess their sins and
they repent of their sins. At
that point, the pilgrim is given a new nature and is welcomed into God’s
Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain
By Ed Baswell
June 24, 2012
IT'S WHAT'S ON THE
INSIDE THAT COUNTS
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
Superman was able to leap tall buildings with a single bound and he
had unlimited strength, as long as he
didn't stray too close to kryptonite. Another
weapon in his "super" repertoire was his x-ray
vision. He could see through
walls, doors and entire buildings, but he
could not see through lead.
In spite of his
limitations, he always
God has no limitations, which means nothing can block his
vision. He not only
sees through walls and buildings, He
also sees through the hearts of men, women,
boys and girls. And, not only can he see through
hearts, He can also touch hearts.
In the 139th psalm, David wrote, "Search me, O God, and
know my heart" (Psalm 139:23).
He was asking God to perform a spiritual CAT scan because he knew
the only way he could be in proper
fellowship with his heavenly Father was to come to Him with a clean heart. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, "For as he
thinks in his heart, so is
Knowing this, David asked God to open his heart and remove
everything that was unclean and displeasing to the
As you read this column, who is sitting in your chair? Better yet, which you is
sitting in your chair? You are actually one of three
people--the person you think
you are, the person you want others to think you
are and the person God knows you are.
No matter what people see on the outside, God knows what is going
on on the
What does He see when he looks in your
What you think determines, to a great extent, the quality of the
life you live. For
most of us, there are times when we
don't want anyone to know what we are
thinking, especially if it is negative or
though, God tests us, and when we are squeezed, what is on the inside
is revealed. God does this to
show us and others where our anxieties
and fears are. Then, when it
is all out in the open, we can place all of our faith and trust in
Him. Under the influence of
the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote, "Cast all of your cares on
Him, for He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7).
Once you've poured your heart out to Him, He goes to work in your
helping you deal with some of the tough issues that
We are living in a culture where people don't want to admit sin
exists. They do
away with God and sin and guilt and
responsibility. Once they
have done away with
those things, they do away with punishment, and all
of a sudden, what God calls sin doesn't seem so bad
God performed spiritual surgery and David wanted to know the
results. He told God to operate on him and pull out anything that
was wrong, show it to him and
remind him of how wicked he really was. This was so it could be rooted out
of his life and put him and God on the same
Compare what David did to what we do today. When someone talks about sinful
or wicked ways, people roll their eyes
as if to say, "You're living in the wrong
Nobody believes anything
is really a sin anymore. God
calls it wickedness, but the world simply calls it weakness. God says it is adultery, but the
world says it
David, however, was interested in the bottom line. He knew he was on his way to
heaven, but he wanted to live a godly
life on his way there. He
made many mistakes,
as we all do, but he was always willing to admit he
was wrong, confess it and get back on track
David knew it was what was on the inside that counted with
God. That's what
makes you valuable to Him--what's on
the inside. It's not how you
live on the
outside--going to church, reading your Bible, or
even being "religious." God
sees through all of those things and looks
at what lies beneath the surface, so when you
come clean with Him and your life paints a picture,
people will see Jesus.
Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain
By Ed Baswell
June 17, 2012
FATHER KNOWS BEST
Sacrifice, Surrender, Submission,
In the natural realm, when two wolves fight over a territorial
boundary, the conflict ends in an unusual
When one animal realizes he cannot win, he indicates surrender by
exposing the underside of his neck to the teeth of his adversary. For some unexplainable reason, the
victor does not kill the loser.
Instead, he allows the conquered to go
In the spiritual realm, you and I must be willing to give to Christ
what is most precious to us.
He wants more than our spare time and our left-over
possessions. He wants to be
Lord of everything in our lives.
Only when we are willing to let go of what we love most can we
experience the freedom that comes by yielding to
Our Heavenly Father knows what is best and the man we are going to
write about knew that. One of
the best examples in Scripture of someone who was willing to submit to
God, to surrender his most precious possession, was the Old Testament
patriarch, Abraham. Father’s
Day is today and Abraham is a great example of how an earthly father ought
to submit to the Heavenly Father.
There was an incident in the life of Abraham that spoke volumes
about him as one of the Heavenly Father’s sons and it spoke volumes about
him as an earthly father to his son, Isaac. We read about this incident in
The first thing we see in this passage is the sacrifice. “And (God) said, Take now thy son,
thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of
Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains
which I will tell thee of” (Genesis
God is asking Abraham to sacrifice his most precious earthly
possession—his son, Isaac.
All of Abraham’s hopes and desires and affections are centered in
With that in mind, here is God saying to Abraham, “Take your
precious son, your only son, the son you love, and sacrifice him as a
burnt offering.” God is
asking Abraham to sacrifice his prized possession. This was, undoubtedly, the
toughest test Abraham ever faced.
What will your answer be when God says, “Put Me first.”? When that question comes, I want
you to think back some 2,000 years to a day when God sacrificed His most
precious possession, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave His all for you so that
you could have hope, so that you could be redeemed, so that you could be
saved from your sins.
So, the first thing we see is the sacrifice, and then, we see the
surrender. “And Abraham rose
up early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young
men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt
offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him”
There are at least two elements we see here in Abraham’s
surrender. First, he
responded promptly. The text
says, “…he rose up early.”
Not only did he respond promptly, he also responded
deliberately. How do we know
that? He prepared the wood beforehand. In verse 3 it says, “…he clave the
So, we see the sacrifice, then the surrender, and then the
submission. “And Abraham took
the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he
took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them
together” (Genesis 22:6).
What an incredible picture we see here! We see the submission of
Isaac. He trusts his father
implicitly, so he submits to the will of his father, Abraham. Isaac also knows, Father and
father know best.
In the same way, Jesus Christ submitted to the will of His
Father. He was willing to be
burdened with the sins of the world.
The weight of your sins and my sins bore down on Him as He suffered
on a cruel cross.
In submitting to the will of
his father, Isaac was not only willing to be burdened, he was also willing
to be bound. “And they came
to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there,
and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the
altar upon the wood.”
Jesus Christ was bound to the Cross. He was led like a lamb to the
slaughter. He opened not His
mouth. Why? Because He was
bound to the Cross by love for you and me. He was motivated by love for
sinful men and women, so He was willing to be burdened and He was willing
to be bound.
So, there is the sacrifice, the surrender, the submission and then
there is the substitution.
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him
a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram,
and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his
God provided a ram to be offered in Isaac’s place. The ram becomes the burnt offering
and the submissive one goes free.
The scene here on Mt. Moriah is a foreshadowing of what would
happen one day on Mt. Calvary.
Why would God even ask such a thing of Abraham? Because God was
interested in Abraham’s spiritual growth. Abraham came out of this
experience richer spiritually.
You see, Abraham loved his son, but he loved God more. Isaac was God’s gift to Abraham,
but if the gift becomes more important than the Giver, then the gift
becomes an idol.
If you are lost, what are you going to do with Jesus? If you do not
know Him, if you are not in a personal relationship with Him, that means
you are lost in your sin.
That means you must confess that you are a sinner, you must repent
of your sins, you must ask the Lord Jesus to forgive you of your sins and
you must ask Him to save you.
If you are without Christ, I invite you to be reconciled with the
Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, His Son. Father knows best.
Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain
By Ed Baswell
June 10, 2012
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF
From Ruin To
In Mark, chapter 5, verses 1-20, there is the story of Jesus'
encounter with a demoniac.
As we study this passage of Scripture, I want you to see how sin
corrupt and condemn someone. And then, I want you to see how
the Savior can change a sinner. Sin and salvation are all a part
of what this demon-possessed man is going to experience in one
Notice, first of all, during a typical day, this man spent some of
his time among the tombs.
"Who had his dwelling among the tombs…" (Mark
What drew him to the graveyard? Birds of a feather flock
together. An unclean
spirit will always choose an unclean
place. The evil spirit within is his master. He is
a helpless instrument in the hand of the
A lost person is a helpless instrument of sin. If you don't know Christ, if
you've never experienced His saving power,
you can't cope with sin.
Not only did he dwell among the tombs, he also could not be
no man could bind him, no, not with
chains: Because that he had
been often bound
with fetters and chains, and the chains had been
plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him"
Humanly speaking, this man's situation is utterly
So, we see this demoniac could not be restrained, and then we see
he wandered in
the mountains. "And always, night and day, he was
in the mountains and in the tombs…" (Mark 5:5a). The path of a sinner is a very
uneven one and the ways of a transgressor are hard. Sinners,
under the influence of the devil, often stumble and fumble their way
through life. Not only did this man wander
through the mountains, he also spent a lot of his time among the tombs, "…crying, and
cutting himself with stones" (Mark
5:5b). Again, this
is a picture of the consequences of sin. The sinner parties at night,
then cries in the morning with remorse
and pain. So, he cried and cut himself with stones, and then
notice that he was afraid of Jesus.
"And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with
thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou
torment me not"
Jesus was an enemy to the unclean spirit who dwelled in this
If you are without Christ, if you are living a life of sin, the
last Person you want to
see is Jesus.
Jesus is light, and the light He brings to bear on a sinner,
exposes him for what he is.
Not only was he afraid of Jesus, this demoniac was also in unity
with the devil. "And he besought him much that he would not send
them away out of the country"
Notice the word "them."
The man and the unclean spirit are one. If you are lost, you're in unity with the
devil. Jesus says if you're
not for Him, you're against Him. A lost man or woman is in unity
with the devil when he or she seeks to be safe IN sin as opposed to being safe
FROM sin. So, the demoniac and the unclean spirit are one,
but notice what happens to this man.
"And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the
devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed,
and in his right mind: and
they were afraid"
What a change! Jesus
has delivered this man from this unclean spirit. And what do we see as a result? First of all, we see he is sitting
at Jesus' feet. He has found
a resting place at the feet of
Jesus. No man could bind him
or tame him, but the grace of God was sufficient for
That's what happens to people who are lost and meet Jesus. They find themselves
sitting at His feet. This man was also clothed. When you come to know Christ, He
clothes you with a robe of
righteousness. When Jesus
saves you, He changes you. He
changes you from someone who worships the things of the world into someone who
worships the things of God.
changes you from someone who is wrapped up in sin
into someone who is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He changes you from someone who
thinks and looks
and acts like the world into someone who think and
acts like Christ. He gets rid
of the old and brings in the new.
He revives. He
Has Christ changed you? Do you worship the things of the world or
the things of God? Are you
wrapped in sin or are you clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Do you
think, look and act like the world, or do you think and act like
Once you make the decision to receive Christ, God wants you to grow
spiritually. If you are
already a Christian, are you plunging into the unsearchable riches of the
Many years ago, the Spanish Armada was sailing off the coast of
Florida. A hurricane struck
and the ships laden with gold and silver ingots sunk to the bottom. People knew the treasure had been
lost and believed one ship went down near Vero Beach in Fort Pierce,
Florida. Anglers fished over
that spot and almost certainly hung a hook on a lump of gold from time to
One day some explorers went diving and there was the treasure in
shallow water. It had been
there all along.
In the same way, there are many who are yet to discover the
treasure they have in Christ.
Have you plunged into the treasure that is available to you in
Christ? Or are you living in
the shallow end, cheating yourself out of spiritual
I urge you to take advantage of God’s standing offer of salvation
through Jesus Christ and then do everything you can to grow into being a
By Ed Baswell
FAITH FROM AFAR
In a healthy, functional relationship, a father loves his son
deeply. There is almost
nothing he would not do to see that his son is safe and
In the New Testament, there is a story about a man who dearly loved
his son, but there was a problem.
His son was near death.
We are not told why his son was near death, but we are told he was
In John 4:46-54, we see this nobleman approaching Jesus. He has heard about Jesus’
reputation and he is hoping Jesus can heal his son. He believes what he has heard
about Jesus, but this is the first time he has ever acted on what he
believes. His faith has been
activated by a crisis.
Sadly, that is often the case with many of us. We believe what we have heard
about Jesus, but we never put our beliefs into action. Many times, it takes a crisis for
us to act on our faith.
Like so many of us, the nobleman finds himself in a crisis, but
here comes Jesus into Cana of Galilee, where He has already performed one
miracle—turning the water into wine.
His reputation precedes Him.
No doubt, the nobleman has heard about Jesus’
He needs a miracle and he knows Jesus can perform a miracle. His need was desperate, it was
total, it was beyond his ability.
So, this is where the nobleman finds himself as Jesus comes into
The fact is, we all have needs. That is the reality of the human
condition. Still, your needs
are probably going to be different from mine. My need may be financial. Your need may be physical. Beyond that, we all have spiritual
Bottom line, Jesus healed the nobleman’s son, then the nobleman and
everyone in his was saved.
With that in mind, what was the greatest miracle of all? Was the
greatest miracle the sign or salvation? The answer is simple. The miracle of conversion is
ALWAYS greater than signs and wonders.
Every time a person places his or her faith and trust in the Person
of Jesus Christ, it is a miracle.
They move from darkness to light. They move from death to life. They move from a future in hell to
a future in Heaven.
Have you embraced the Person of Jesus Christ? God is ready to
perform a miracle in your life.
In complete sincerity, simply admit you are a sinner and ask the
Savior to come into your heart and save
Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain
By Ed Baswell
THE COMING OF
The world’s three most famous promises are promises
that are never kept. Do you
know what they are?
Number one, the check is in the mail. Number two, I will love you in the
morning. Number three, I am
from the government and I am here to help
Politicians are famous for making promises they do not keep. In the 20th century,
these are just a few promises that were not kept. The Federal income tax will apply
only to the wealthiest individuals and will never go above six
percent. Social Security will
always be there for you and the tax will only be two percent. Federal aid to education will
never mean federal control of education. The Medicare program will never
allow bureaucrats to interfere with your doctor’s medical
Unfortunately, we have come to expect people to break their
promises. Five out of ten
people who make a sacred promise to God to stay married for life, break
that promise. People who
borrow money and promise to repay it, only later to declare bankruptcy,
break their promise.
We are basically numb to promise breaking, because it happens all
the time. We are in the
middle of the time of year that ought to be a reminder to us of just how
important promise making and promise keeping
Remember, God made a promise at the very beginning of time in the
Garden of Eden that He would one day send the Messiah of the Jews and the
Savior of the world to Planet Earth.
From the time He hade that promise in the 3rd chapter of
Genesis, He had one item on His to-do list. He had one main concern on His
agenda and that was to keep The Promise.
In part one of “The Coming Of Christ,” we saw the promise believed
with Joseph. Now the time has
come for the promise to be conceived, as we see in Mary, and the story has
an amazing beginning. Luke
1:26 says, “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God
unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.”
The angel announces that God is going to keep this promise of
sending this Savior and this Messiah through a nobody peasant girl named
Mary. The God of the universe
descends from Heaven and is born as a baby to live among the people He
God had a whole world of women to choose from and He chooses a
poor, peasant, teenage Jewish girl named Mary. When we understand why He chose
Mary, it gives all of us hope and understanding as to why He could and
would choose us to use for His
glory if we will just let Him.
The reasons God was able to use Mary are also reasons God can use
you if you will allow Him to, because Mary did three things that allowed
God to use her andbless her in a way she could never hav
dreamed. If you will do these
three things on a daily basis, God can use you
First, you must decide to believe God’s
Put yourself in the place of a little 14 year old peasant girl, who
is illiterate, educated, in no sense a spiritual powerhouse, just
a humble Jewish girl who loves God, wants to get married and raise a
Without any prior warning, an angel appears to her with these
words, found in Luke 1:31.
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a
son, and shalt call His name Jesus.”
Mary was told this would be a virgin conception and a virgin birth,
and she knew enough about biology to ask the key question. Luke 1:34 says,” “How can this be,
since I am a virgin?”
God, speaking through an angel, then tells her how this is going to
be done. Luke 1:35 says, “The
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee: therefore
also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son
Mary decided to believe God’s
Second, Mary determined to do God’s will and so should you, if you
want God to use you. You will
never achieve God’s best for your life, God’s greatness for your life, and
you will never ever fulfill God’s purpose for your life, until you come to
a point where you want to do His will in your life more than anything
God has a custom-built plan for you. He has a purpose He wants you to
fulfill, a plan He wants you to follow, but if you are not careful, you
will miss that purpose. God’s
job is to reveal His will to you.
Your job is to do it.
Mary was determined to do God’s will. Luke 1:38 says, “And Mary said,
Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy
word.” In other words, Mary
is saying, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever
He wants. May everything you
have said come true.”
So, Mary decided to believe God’s Word, she determined to do God’s
will, and then, she desired to prioritize God’s worship. Luke 1:46-47 says, “And Mary said,
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my
Mary is going to have a baby, even though she has never known a
man. Her reputation is going
to be ruined. She may lose
everything. She has every
reason to be worried sick, but instead of worrying, she
When you get into a situation where you think you are in over your
head as you follow God’s will, and you realize it is getting more
dangerous and difficult by the minute, don’t worry—worship. Don’t
Do you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, change your life,
take total control of your life, so that you will believe His Word, do His
will and prioritize His worship?
Only then will The Promise of Christmas be conceived in your
THE COMING OF
When you think about the coming of Christ, you must focus on The
In order to understand the Old Testament, you must understand The
Promise. In order to
understand the New Testament, you must understand The Promise. In order to understand Christmas,
you must understand The Promise.
In order to understand your purpose in life, you must understand
And what is The Promise?
The Promise goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had royally blown
it. God had put them in a
perfect environment—it was never too hot, never too cold. It was just right. The Garden made Disney World look
like a dump.
In Scripture, we are told God did point out one tree in the
Garden. It was the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
He said to Adam and Eve, “You can have anything else you want in
this garden, but do not eat the fruit of that
Just as soon as they thought God was not looking (a word to the
wise here: God is always
looking), Eve listened to a snake in the grass, who was Satan in disguise,
and the Devil told her to pay no attention to God and eat the fruit, which
she did. That one act put us
in the mess we are in today.
For a moment, Satan was deliriously happy. He thought he had messed up
everything—a perfect world, a perfect marriage and a perfect fellowship
with God. The Devil would
have won, but for the fact that God made The Promise. You can read The Promise in
“And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and
between your (Satan’s) seed and her seed; it will bruise your (Satan’s)
head, and you will bruise his (Jesus’)
Bottom line, The Promise was that Jesus, the seed of woman, would
one day crush Satan. So, from
the moment God made The Promise, He had one item on His to-do list. He had one priority and that was
to keep The Promise He made to send Jesus into the world to take care of
Satan, sin, sorrow and suffering.
That is where Joseph, Mary and Jesus come in. In Joseph, we see The Promise
believed. In Mary, we see The
Promise conceived, and in Jesus, we see The Promise
From Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, we can learn many
valuable lessons. First, we
learn that, in doubt, you can trust God’s promise. We see, right away, that Joseph’s
life has been turned upside-down when he is first mentioned in
Matthew 1:18 says, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this
wise: When as His mother,
Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found
with child of the Holy Ghost.”
Joseph has a real problem on his hands. He has a teenager who is pregnant,
but the child is not his, so what was he
to do? According to the law,
if a young woman was found to be unfaithful before her marriage took
place, one of three things could happen. She could be stoned to death, or,
her husband-to-be could make a public disgrace of her and tell everyone
about her unfaithfulness, or, the husband-to-be could divorce her
Joseph decided to do the latter. Matthew 1:19 says, “Then Joseph
her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public
example, was minded to put her away privily.” However, before he did that, he
did something we should always do when we are in the middle of a situation
where we do not know what to do.
He took his problem before the Lord and thought it through. Matthew 1:20 says, “But while he
thought on these things.”
So, in doubt, you can trust God’s promise, and the second thing we
can learn from Joseph is that, in danger, you can trust God’s
promise. Matthew 2:13 says,
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to
Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and His mother,
and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young
child to destroy Him.”
God’s will does not always involve the softest way or the safest
way, but His will is always the surest way to His blessing and His
protection. God’s will may
sometimes lead you to a perilous place, but the most dangerous place is
anywhere outside the will of God, because inside the will of God you are
always under God’s protection.
The reason Joseph had to go to Egypt, even though it was a
dangerous journey and he was fleeing from danger, can be found in Matthew
2:15. “That it might be
fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of
Egypt have I called My Son.”
Once again, we learn God keeps His promise. God had made a promise and that was
that out of Egypt, His Son, the Messiah of the Jewish race and the Savior
of the world would come.
Here is the final lesson you can learn from Joseph. In difficulty, you can trust God’s
promise. Matthew 2:23 says,
“And he (Joseph) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which
was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a
Why did Jesus have to live in Nazareth? The reason, again, is The
Promise. His father, under
the most difficult of circumstances, moved Jesus from Egypt all the way to
Nazareth because that is exactly where the prophets said He would
live. God’s smallest promises
are so important to Him that He will move heaven and earth and even kings,
like pieces on a chess set, to make sure He keeps
You are going to find, there are times when God’s will is not the
easiest thing to do and you are going to find there are times when God’s
will is not the most convenient thing to do. But, using Joseph as your example,
when you trust God’s promise, you will see His will is always the right
thing to do and the best thing to
HOW TO KNOW
Believe He Is
The biggest animal on earth is the blue whale. Just the flippers on its tail are
bigger than most animals on earth.
But, a blue whale is not anywhere as big as a mountain. If you could put 100 blue whales
inside a huge jar, you could put millions of those whale jars inside a
hollowed-out Mt. Everest.
But, Mt. Everest is not anywhere as big as the earth. If you stacked 100 Mt. Everests on
top of one another, it would be just a whisker on the face of the
In turn, the earth is not anywhere as big as the sun. You could fit 1,000,000 earths
inside the sun.
Still, the sun is not anywhere near as big as a red, super giant
star called Antares. You
could fit 50,000,000 of our suns inside
But, Antares is not anywhere near as big as the Milky Way
galaxy. The Milky way galaxy
is not anywhere near as big as the universe. There are billions of other
galaxies in the universe.
Yet, filled with billions of galaxies, the universe is almost
totally empty. The distances
from one galaxy to another are beyond human
The One who created it all, spoke it into being and sustains it
with His power, but I still have not done justice to the greatness of
David, in Psalm 139, tells us more about God than we are told
practically anywhere else in the Bible and he describes just how awesome
God really is.
In verses 1 through 18 we see several things related to the
awesomeness of God. First of
all, we see that God is omniscient in His perception. He knows our character. Psalm 139:1 says, “Oh, Lord, you
have searched me and know me.”
Sometimes we say we can see right through a person and that is
exactly what God does. He has
x-ray vision that can pierce the hardest heart and He sees the true, inner
core of the soul.
Down in the bottom of your heart, God can see where you are clean
and where you are dirty, where you are right and where you are wrong,
where you are good and where you are bad.
Because of His omniscience, not only does He know your character,
He also knows your contemplations.
Psalm 139:2 says, “You know my sitting down and my rising up; you
understand my thought afar off.”
God knows not only what you are thinking now, but what you are
about to think before you even think it. At this very moment your thoughts
are being broadcast in stereo into the headphones of God. You can tell God a secret, but you
cannot keep a
secret from Him, because He already
In His omniscience, God knows your character and your
contemplations, but He also knows your conduct. Psalm 139:3 says, “You comprehend
my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my
God knows every place you go, everything you do and every step you
take. He knows the what,
when, where and how of everything you do at any given
And then, because of His omniscience, He knows your
conversation. Psalm 139:4
says, “For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know
God knows every word in every language spoken by every human being
on every continent at every moment of every day. Think about that. God knows what you are going to
say before you say it.
The second thing we see in Psalm 139 is that God is omnipresent in
His presence. Psalm 139:7
says, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your
Former New York Yankee star Yogi Berra once made a great
observation. He said, “I have
noticed that everywhere I go, there I
Everywhere you go, there God is. Death cannot take you away from
the presence of God. Psalm
139:8 says, “If I ascend into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in
hell, behold, you are there.”
It would be foolish to think you could run to heaven and get away
from God, because that is where He lives.
Even hell cannot take you away from the presence of God. The word for “hell” in that eighth
verse is “sheol,” which really refers to the grave. So, the message is: Whether you are flying high or
lying low, you cannot get away from God.
Death cannot take you away from the presence of God, and then,
distance cannot take you away from the presence of God. Psalm 139:9-10 says, “If I take
the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold
David said, if you fly in the air, you will find God soaring with
the birds. If you dive into
the water, you will find God swimming with the
Death and distance cannot take you away from the presence of God,
and then, darkness cannot take you away from the presence of God. Psalm 139:11-12 says, “If I say,
‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide
from you, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are
both alike to you.”