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Pastor Ed Baswell's Column

Pastor Ed Baswell

Clarion Baptist Church

Elm Grove, Louisiana

Prior to becoming a preacher, Brother Ed was widely known in the Arklatex as the Sports Director for KTBS, Channel 3 Television.  Each evening Ed would be in our homes broadcasting the highlights of the games our favorite teams played that day.  After nearly two decades in the television business, Ed retired to become a preacher.  In his “other” job, Ed works as a Lieutenant with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office.  Ed lives in Bossier City with his lovely wife Cindy.  They are the proud parents of a grown daughter, Shelly.

Ed is the founder of Baswell Communications, a company designed to confront today’s culture from a Christian perspective.


OTHER OPINION

by

Ed Baswell

 

November 5, 2012

 

GIVE BARACK OBAMA HIS WALKING PAPERS

 

    When voters go to the polls tomorrow, they need to fire Barack Obama.

    The results of his job performance are in after four years and he has failed his evaluation.  His presidency has been marked by debt, deceit and death.  He has steered this country closer and closer to bankruptcy, he has not been honest with the American people about a terrorist attack that resulted in the death of four brave men and he does nothing to protect the unborn.

    First, debt.  America’s national debt is now $16 trillion.  The real figure, when you include unfunded entitlements, is approximately $200 trillion, meaning every American household is on the hook for about $534,000.  Barack Obama is responsible for at least $5 trillion of that debt.  He has added to the debt, he has not reduced it by one penny.

    When it comes to the national debt, he feigns ignorance.  During an appearance with David Letterman on September 18th, he was asked by Letterman about America’s debt.  Letterman said, “Now, do you remember what that number was? Was it $10 trillion?”  President Obama responded, “I don’t remember what the number was precisely.”

    Are you kidding me? The President of the United States can’t “remember” the amount of our national debt?  America’s C.E.O., as it were, can’t come up with the proper figure? The fact is, he knows exactly what the figure is, but he cannot bring himself to actually publicly utter the words “sixteen trillion” because our debt is one of his biggest political liabilities.

    The national debt is one of America’s most pressing problems.  We owe the Chinese a lot of money, yet we continue to borrow from them.  There is no guarantee China won’t call in those markers at some point, making us their financial slaves.  Proverbs 22:7b says, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” 

    Future generations will have to pay for all this spending and it is immoral for one generation to hand the next generation debt as far as the eye can see, and beyond.  In addition, the debt is a national security problem.  A bankrupt country cannot defend itself.  According to the founding documents, providing for the common defense is the first duty of government. 

 

    Over time, the president has proven he is not at all serious about deficit reduction, and in turn, debt reduction.  Not once has he submitted a balanced budget.  In fact, every budget he has submitted has been at least $1 trillion in the red--$1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011, and an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2012.  When he was elected, he promised to cut the deficit in half, but with politicians—and he is a garden variety politician—you always have to hold them accountable for what they do and take what they say with a grain of salt.

    Second, deceit.  On September 11th, terrorists attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and four government employees were killed.  U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others lost their lives during the attack.  There are numerous reports that Stevens was raped before he was killed and his bloody body dragged through the streets.

    On a day when security around our embassies all over the world should have been INCREASED, security in Benghazi had been DECREASED.  Any commander-in-chief worth his salt should have known to order increased security on 9/11, of all days.  After all, that day is celebrated by Muslim extremists all over the world as the day in 2001 when 3,000 Americans were killed in New York City by terrorists.  It is a jihadist holiday, if you will.  A competent president would have expected trouble and should have been prepared for it on 9/11.

    The blood of four Americans is on the hands of Barack Obama.  The buck stops with him.  In the military, the motto is, “No one left behind,” but Stevens and the others were apparently left to die when help was reportedly only an hour away.  Instead of being re-elected, Barack Obama should be impeached for his shameful dereliction of duty.

    In response to all of this, the president, the secretary of state and our ambassador to the United Nations, stuck to the fairy tale that an anti-Muslim video prompted a mob to gather in Benghazi, then attack the consulate and kill the four Americans.  At the very least, our public officials should tell us the truth.  Proverbs 12:5 says, “The thoughts of the righteous are right:  but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.” 

    Now we have e-mails verifying the fact that the president almost certainly knew, virtually in real time, that the attack was extremely organized, was not because of an anti-Muslim video and was definitely the work of terrorists.  Still, the president has yet to truly level with the American people about what happened at Benghazi and he has not explained why there was little or no effort to send help to the beleaguered government employees.  The day after the murders, he jetted off to Las Vegas for a campaign stop, as if nothing had happened.

 

 

    Third, death.  Mr. Obama is the most pro-abortion president in American history.  He wants abortions to be available from conception to birth and beyond.  He is O.K. with partial birth abortions which are performed to kill a child even after a portion of the baby’s body has emerged from the birth canal.   He wants unfettered abortion and has become a cheerleader for Planned Parenthood, an abortion mill.

    In America, 3,000 helpless, innocent, unborn babies are slaughtered in the womb every day.  That amounts to 90,000 a month and 1.5 million a year.  Since 1973, when legal abortion became the law of the land, approximately 50 million babies have been aborted.

    Abortion is the American holocaust and even though we have a president who says he cares about the helpless and the hopeless and the least among us, he does nothing to protect the most helpless, the unborn.  When it comes to abortion, the president and his party are morally bankrupt. 

    Abortion is the murder of a human being, but under this president it continues unabated and he has done nothing to stop it, partly because he feels he must pander to his political base.  Our founding documents tell us God has given us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A president should be protecting life, not advocating death.  He and his party are in violation of the Sixth Commandment, which says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

    Debt, deceit and death.  Based on his record, Barack Obama should be fired and Mitt Romney hired.  In the words of Clint Eastwood, “When somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.”

 


 

OTHER OPINION

by

Ed Baswell

 

November 12, 2012

 

AMERICA AIN’T WHAT SHE USED TO BE

Center-Right Has Moved Left

 

    We are not a “center-right” nation any more.  The results of the election last Tuesday proved that.

    Americans spoke and they said “left-of-center” is O.K.  In fact, by re-electing Barack Obama, they said creeping socialism is O.K.  With him as president, we will almost surely see more debt, more taxes, more ineffective programs, less military spending, the full-blown effects of Obamacare and more “free stuff.”  I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

    The days when America was “center-right” in her politics actually began to dwindle down during the latter Bush years.  We may come back from the left to center-right, but it is going to take a while and it is going to come after a period in the “socialist” desert where times will probably be extremely tough.

    While it is true the election was not a wholesale repudiation of center-right politics—Romney won almost half of the popular vote—it sends a message:  America ain’t what she used to be.  In spite of his dismal record, the exit polls tell us Americans were generally happy with the job the president did in his first term.  High unemployment, debt and deficits, Benghazi and “flexibility” with the Russians did not faze more than half of the electorate.  Obama won the popular vote, and more importantly, the Electoral College.

    The American Left has experienced more than its share of lopsided defeats—George McGovern in 1972 comes to mind—but liberals always seem to be able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back in the race.  Now, we’ll see whether the America Right can do the same.  Will conservatives live to fight another day? The ability to bounce back is essential in a democracy because the great questions of the day are never really “settled.”  Each generation has the right to ask those questions again.

    Over the years, the Left has shown an ability to quickly consolidate power after winning elections.  When Liberals claim new territory from the private sector, they believe it is theirs forever and, for the most part, that is true.  Once the Left grabs it, there is no taking it back.  That only happens when their policies end up being unmitigated disasters and the citizenry says, “Enough!”  Sometimes, even then, Liberals are able to keep what they have captured.

 

 

    Such is the case with Barack Obama.  It is highly unlikely that health care will ever completely return to the private sector.  Medicine has been socialized, perhaps forever, and there will be no turning back unless America slides toward the center again, and even then it may not happen.  So-called “death panels” will probably be a part of the discussion indefinitely.  Eventually, the government may very well decide whether you live or die, depending on how much your care is going to cost the bankrupt “nanny” state.  It will be all about dollars and cents and, at the time, it will make perfect sense when the government accountants explain it.

    No, we are not “center-right” any more and you can partly blame George Bush.  He deserted capitalism and conservatism when he initiated the bailouts.  He topped off the tank for Obama and Obama is pressing hard on the accelerator.  One can only wonder what this Chicago “community organizer” has planned for his second term.  I am not optimistic.

    Thanks to Obama and his party, power is more centralized than ever.  Much of the control has been raised to the federal level.  Every couple of years, we get to vote on who can use it, but there is no discussion about returning it.  Time and time again Tuesday night, the big blue cities cancelled out a sea of red suburbs and counties.

    We are at a point in our history when the failure of politicians to keep their promises doesn’t matter.  What they say matters more than what they actually do.  Obama said he would cut the deficit in half.  Instead, he added at least a trillion dollars to the deficit every year.  Didn’t matter.  He’s still in control.  That’s because, to many Americans, promises are plans.  A politician “saying” he or she will do something is tantamount to “doing” something.

    The “takers” won Tuesday night.  The “makers” lost.  In the long run, the American people will lose.  A debt bomb is about to blow up and our leaders rumble along—fat, dumb and happy—as if there is no problem.  The chickens will come home to roost, in the immortal words of Jeremiah Wright, and America will pay a heavy price.

    The world view of the Obama supporters is dangerously incorrect, but Mitt Romney was not able to convince a now “left-of-center” nation to change course before it comes in contact with some painful realities.  The discussion will continue, because in a democracy, the dialogue never ceases, but it is going to take a huge amount of persuasion to convince America to move back to the center-right.

    Will four more years of Obama be horrible enough to convince Americans to walk back toward the middle?  Maybe.  People do change their minds, sometimes in very profound ways.  Then, when they are told they can’t go back, they may get very angry.

 

 

    They will see the influence of Republican governors, now at the highest level in ten years, confronting the federal government.  Hopefully, many of the most popular red state governors will roll up their sleeves and engage in political warfare with the feds.  More often than not, they will lose, but it may very well change the way their constituencies view Washington.  That may set the stage for a 2016 presidential candidate who can make a bold, passionate statement for free-market conservatism and individual liberty.  That candidate may win and America may once again be described as “center-right.”

    The challenges for any conservative will be enormous in 2016.  The changes Obama has made, now ratified by his re-election, are virtually institutionalized.  The tactic of describing any movement toward fiscal sanity as a heartless “cut” to vital services and vulnerable dependents will continue to be the Left’s calling card.

Government employees—“victims”—will weep and wail when the axe of spending cuts and de-regulation begins to fall.  The “folks” will be blamed for not wanting to pay their bills.  “Progressivism” always figures the takers will be more eager to defend what they are given than the makers will be eager to defend what is taken from them.

    A moderate-to-conservative consensus will involve more than a national discussion.  Layers and layers of bureaucratic garbage will have to be removed first.  Center-right America is, so far, buried in a deep grave and it is going to take lots of moderate-to-conservative shovels to dig her out.


 

LIFE LINES

 

November 19, 2012

 

OBAMA CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE ASHAMED

Carrying Satan’s Water

 

    Barack Obama is not the Devil, but he often carries Satan’s water.

    Barack Obama is on the Devil’s side when it comes to abortion.  Satan loves abortion.  God hates it.  Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not kill.”  Proverbs 6:16-17 says, “These six things doth the Lord hate:  yea, seven are an abomination unto Him:  a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.”  Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you.”

    Barack Obama is on the Devil’s side when it comes to homosexuality.  Satan loves homosexuality.  God hates it.  Romans 1:26b-27 says “For even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”    

    With all of that in mind, why did an estimated 40 million people who identify themselves as Christians vote to re-elect Barack Obama?  That is one third of the 120 million or so Americans who voted in the 2012 presidential race.  Ninety percent of African-American Protestants voted for Obama.  So did forty-four percent of non-evangelical white Protestants such as Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians (Anglicans) and Lutherans.  Three out of four Hispanic Catholics also voted for Obama, as well as forty percent of white Catholics.

    Some of those people who identify themselves as Christians may not really be Christians.  Barack Obama says he is a Christian, but he is not.  He is a universalist.  He says there are many ways to get to Heaven, but the One he says he follows stands in direct opposition to universalism.  In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Jesus leaves no wiggle room.  It is His way or no way. 

 

    In a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani, Obama said, “I believe that there are many paths to the same place.  All people of faith—Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone knows the same God.”   

    Does the president think Jesus is lying?  Jesus has never uttered a lie.  Does the president think Jesus is misinformed?  Jesus is never misinformed.  Does the president think Jesus is confused?  Jesus is never confused.  He is God, and by definition, He is perfect, so that rules out lying, misinformation and confusion. 

 

    It is Barack Obama who is confused.  He claims to be a Christian but denies the truth of what the founder of Christianity says about salvation.  You cannot have it both ways.  You cannot claim Christ on the one hand, deny Him on the other and be a Christian.  It won’t work.  It doesn’t fit.  Are you going to believe Barack Obama or Jesus Christ?

    So this is the man 40 million self-identified Christians voted for.  He is the most pro-abortion president in our history.  In May of this year, after saying he believed in the traditional definition of marriage, one man and one woman, he “evolved” on the issue into being a same-sex marriage proponent.  He pandered to the base of his party by cheerleading for the Democrats’ pet social issues, abortion and homosexuality.

    Black Christians voted for Obama in droves, despite the fact that most polling data indicates a majority of them stand opposed to abortion and homosexuality.  Before the election, there were dissenting voices trying to reach them with a warning about Obama.

    Dr. Alveda King, daughter of Martin Luther King’s brother, the late slain civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King, said, “Obama’s answer to the ills of society, of higher government spending, weaker national defense, continued tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, and support of gay marriage, are diametrically opposed to everything African Americans truly believe and an anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

    Black author William Owens, Jr., the founder of Black Americans For Real Change (BARC), said before the election, “Barack Obama is directly contrary to many positions and beliefs of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Obama is trying to make African-Americans believe he is the reality of the Dream come true, but he’s not.  It’s a nightmare.  It is high time for black America, white America and all America to stop making their ethnicity such a big deal that we become zealous for our color over being zealous for what is right and what is truth.”

    With Obama’s voiced support and voting record for partial-birth abortion, Alveda King takes issue with him.  She is a leader in the pro-life and civil rights movements.  “We can talk about poverty; we can talk about war; we can talk about teen pregnancy; we can talk about incarceration; however, if we’re not allowed to live, we’ll never encounter those issues,” she said.

    King recalls her Uncle Martin saying, “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.”  For Alveda King, abortion is a civil rights issue.  “Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother,” she said.  “The mother decides his or her fate.  How can the Dream survive if we murder the children?” asks Dr. King concerning abortion.  “Life was very precious to my uncle and life today is precious.”

    “Our best interests as black Americans,” Owens said, “lie in a new direction that reflects our core beliefs and values, not merely a resemblance of someone we look like.”

 

    Again, before the election, quoting her uncle, King said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”  And, she added, “This is not the time to be silent; this is not the time to give Barack Obama a free pass.  There is too much at stake.”

    But, the fact is, Barack Obama did get a pass right back into the White House, thanks, in part, to forty million Christians who turned their backs on Jesus and the Bible.  They are complicit in the murders of unborn babies and the immorality of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  They will have to give an account for their votes.

    On November 6th, like the president they voted for, they helped carry Satan’s water.


LIFE LINES

Daily Devotional

 

September 14, 2012

 

RESPECT GOD’S NAME

The Third Commandment

 

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

Exodus 20:7

 

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 again.

 

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 name.

 

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 one’s word.

 

If you care about God, handle His name with care.

 

                                                                                                Ed Baswell

                                                                                                Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 


 

LIFE LINES

September 14, 2012

by

Ed Baswell

Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 

AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO YOUNG TO DIE-III

The Roots Of The Republic

Her Freedom

 

    When I mention, 1776, what comes to mind?

    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 freedom.

    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 want.

    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 freedom.

    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, III.

    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 death!”

    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 want?

    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 indispensable.

 

    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 ring.”

    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 documents.

    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 thyself.”

    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 given.

    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 people?

 

    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 Ministries.

 


 

LIFE LINES

September 7, 2012

by

Ed Baswell

Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 

AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO YOUNG TO DIE-II

The Roots Of The Republic

Her Founders

 

    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 country.

    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 country.

    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 world.

    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 God-given principles.

    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 view.

    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 wrote.

    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 agency.”

    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 citizens.”

    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 Judeo-Christian principles.  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 Amendment.

    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 healing.

    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 heritage.

    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 evil.

    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 weeping.

     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 Ministries.

 


 

LIFE LINES

 

August 31, 2012 

by

Ed Baswell

Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 

AMERICA, YOU’RE TOO YOUNG TO DIE-I

The Roots Of The Republic

Her Foundation

 

    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 politics.

    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 collapse.

    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 today.

    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 pluck her?”

    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 vulnerable.

    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 problem.

    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 Christ.

    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 revival. 

    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 do.

    Will you say that? Will you mean it? Will you pray with me, “America, please repent,” and, “God, please bless America again?”

 


 

 

LIFE LINES

 

August 8, 2012

 Posted 08/08/12

by

Ed Baswell

Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 

THE SUPERIORITY OF THE SAVIOR 

PAIN AND SUFFERING

 

    Can any good come from pain and suffering?

    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 perfectly 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 both.

 

    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 perspective.

   

   In the first century, there was a group of Hebrews who needed perspective.  They 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 Gentiles.

   

   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 Savior.

   

   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 suffering.

   

   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 you.

 

    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 experienced.

   

 So, 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 humanity.

   

   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 understand."  He

identifies with us, and when we suffer, we identify with Him.

 

    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 suffering as

a friend, rather than an enemy, Christ identifies with you and you identify with Christ.

   

 Not 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 suffering.

 

    Perhaps you were a slave to a sexual sin.  Perhaps you were a slave to alcohol or drugs.  Perhaps you were a slave to greed.

   

 Those 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 devil.

   

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 us. 

 

    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 Father.

 

    I can remember when I was a little boy and I had messed up.  I had disobeyed and

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 will.

 

    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 you.

 

    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 you.

 

    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 sleeps.

   

Just when 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 sins.


 

LIFE LINES

 

By Ed Baswell 

 August 8, 2012

posted 08/08/12

 

GOD’S FORGIVENESS

 

“…We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness

of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Ephesians 1:7

 

Read:  Ephesians 1:3-8

 

The Bible gives us directions to Heaven.

 

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 by me.”

 

There are at least three landmarks that will be seen on this “road” to Heaven.

 

LANDMARK #1:  I am a sinner.  Everyone has done wrong, no exceptions, and our sin separates us from God (Romans 3:23).

 

LANDMARK #2:  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.

 

LANDMARK #3:  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 family.

 

                                                                                                Ed Baswell

                                                                                                Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain


 

LIFE LINES

By Ed Baswell 

June 24, 2012

 posted 07/14/12

IT'S WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS

 

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…"

                                                       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 prevailed.

    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

he."  Knowing this, David asked God to open his heart and remove everything that was unclean and displeasing to the Father.

    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

inside.  What does He see when he looks in your heart?

    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 embarrassing.  Sometimes, 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 life,

helping you deal with some of the tough issues that confront you.

    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 anymore.

     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 page.

    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

century.  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

is "inappropriate."

    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 spiritually.

    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.

 

                                                                                                Ed Baswell                                                                                                Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain


LIFE LINES

By Ed Baswell 

June 17, 2012

 posted 07/14/12

FATHER KNOWS BEST

Sacrifice, Surrender, Submission, Substitution

 

Read:  Genesis 22:1-14

 

    In the natural realm, when two wolves fight over a territorial boundary, the conflict ends in an unusual way.

    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 free.

    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 Him.

    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 Genesis 22:1-14.

    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 22:2).

    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 Isaac.

    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” (Genesis 22:3).

    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 wood.”

    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 son.”

    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.

 

                                                                                                Ed Baswell                                                                                                                             Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain

 


 

LIFE LINES

By Ed Baswell

June 10, 2012

Posted 07/14/12

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DEMONIAC

From Ruin To Regeneration

 

Read:  Mark 5:1-20

 

    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 can

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 day.

    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 5:a).

    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 devil.

    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 restrained.  "…and 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" (Mark 5:3b-4). 

Humanly speaking, this man's situation is utterly hopeless. 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"

(Mark 5:7).  Jesus was an enemy to the unclean spirit who dwelled in this man. 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"

(Mark 5:10).  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" 

(Mark 5:15).

    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 him.

    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.  He

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 regenerates.

    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 Christ?

    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 Lord Jesus?

    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 time.

    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 treasure?

    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 spiritual giant.

 

Ed Baswell

Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain


 

 

LIFE LINES

By Ed Baswell

Posted 07/14/12 

FAITH FROM AFAR

Believing Is Seeing

Read:  John 4:46-54

 

    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 secure.

    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 dying.

    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’ miracle.

    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 Cana.

    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 needs.

    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 you.

 

 

                                                                                                Ed Baswell

                                                                                                Bossier Sheriff’s Chaplain


 

 

 

LIFE LINES

By Ed Baswell

Posted 01/21/2012

THE COMING OF CHRIST

The Promise Conceived

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 you.

    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 decisions.

    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 is.

    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 created.

    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 too.

    First, you must decide to believe God’s Word.

    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 family.

    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 of God.”

    Mary decided to believe God’s Word.

    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 else.

    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 Savior.”

    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 worshipped.

    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 panic—praise.

    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 heart.


LIFE LINES

by

Ed Baswell

Posted 01/31/2012

THE COMING OF CHRIST

The Promise Believed

 

    When you think about the coming of Christ, you must focus on The Promise.

    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 The Promise.

    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 tree.”

    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 Genesis 3:15.

    “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’) heel.”

    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 received.

    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 Scripture.

    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 privately.

    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 Nazarene.”

    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 them.

    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 do.


LIFE LINES

by

Ed Baswell

Posted 10/14/2011

 

HOW TO KNOW GOD

Believe He Is Awesome

 

    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 earth.

    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 Antares.

    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 calculation.

    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 God.

    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 knows.

    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 ways.”

    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 moment.

    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 it altogether.”

    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 presence?”

    Former New York Yankee star Yogi Berra once made a great observation.  He said, “I have noticed that everywhere I go, there I am.”

    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 me.”

    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 fish.

    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.”


 

 

LIFE LINES

by

Ed Baswell

Posted 10/14/2011 

HOW TO KNOW GOD

Believe He Is Real

 

    Of the 41,173 verses in the Bible, one half of one verse is given to the atheist.  Of the 774,746 words in the Bible, only 11 words are given to the atheist.  But, big things come in small packages and in a short statement in Psalm 14 we learn some great truths about the reality of God.

    First of all, we see that the foolish deny the reality of God.  Psalm 14:1 it says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”  In the first part of that verse, we see what God says about the atheist.  He calls the atheist a fool.

    It is almost as if God does not want to waste His breath.  He simply mutters “fool.”  God knows the world is full of brilliant fools.  There are PhDs in leading universities who can intellectually understand E equals MC squared, but spiritually they do not know their ABCs.

    They see a car and they believe in a manufacturer, they see a portrait and they believe in an artist, they see a book and they believe in an author, but they see a creation and refuse to believe in a Creator.

    In effect, there are two types of atheists.  There is the intellectual atheist and there is the practical atheist.  There is the person who believes there is no God—that is the intellectual atheist.  Then there is the person who behaves as if there is no God.  He is the practical atheist.

    The most foolish person in the world is not the person who says he does not believe in God.  The most foolish person in the world is the person who says he does believe in God, but doesn’t live like it.

    Now we understand why God called such a person foolish.  If a person knew there was not a God, and said so, he would be wise and even courageous for telling the rest of us we were wrong.  If a person was convinced there is no God, when actually there is one, he would merely be mistaken.  But, the reason God calls this person foolish is because deep down he knows there is a God but chooses to believe and act as if there is not one.

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair, perhaps the leading atheist of her generation, once said, “I am an atheist, not because I have searched behind every star and looked under every rock to prove there is no God.  I am an atheist because I live my life as if there were no God.”

 

 

    The second thing we see in Psalm 14 is that the filthy detest the reality of God.  Psalm 14:3 says, “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt;  There is none who does good, no, not one.”

    The word “corrupt” in the Hebrew language literally means “soured milk.”  The atheist is the person in whom the milk of character has curdled.  You see, you will never understand atheism unless you realize it is not so much a mental problem as it is a moral problem.  The atheist is not a person who cannot believe, the atheist is a person who will not believe.

    He does not have a head problem, he has a heart problem.  Again, Psalm 14:1 says, “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.”

    God takes a spiritual x-ray of the heart of the unbeliever and here is what it reveals:  The reason the atheist wants to deny God is not because there is no evidence that God is real—the reason the atheist wants to deny God is because He is a threat to those who want to be their own God.

    Atheism is not primarily an intellectual problem, it is primarily a spiritual problem.  If there is no God, then there is no good.  If there is no good, then there is no judgment and there is no hell.  If there is no judgment and no hell, then you can live any way you choose without repercussions or consequences.

    If there is no God, then Stalin can kill 20,000 Russians and Hitler can annihilate 6,000,000 Jews and get away with it.  The Russian philosopher Dostoevski once wrote:  “If God does not exist, then everything is permissible.”

    The third thing we see in Psalm 14 is that the faithful discern the reality of God.  Psalm 14:5 says, “For God is with the generation of the righteous.”

    God is not seen primarily by the eyes in our head, but rather by the eyes in our heart.  The unbeliever does not see God because he does not seek God.  You can see the power of God by the eyes on your face, but you can only see the Person of God by the eyes in your heart.  The reality of God is only truly known by faith.

    I believe in God, but more than that, I know God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  I can say beyond any shadow of doubt, God is real.  You, too, can know God if you will simply place your faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

 


 

 

LIFE LINES

 by

Ed Baswell

 

A SINNER IN GOD’S COURTROOM

Facing The Accuser

 

    One of these days, you and I are going to be standing in the True Supreme Court.  It is truly the court of no appeal.

    This court is different than any other court in history, because in this court, there are really no attorneys.  There is no jury.  There is no case and there is no debate.  There is simply a Judge and a defendant—that is, unless you qualify for a defense attorney.

    Not everyone in this courtroom is guaranteed the right to legal counsel.  But, there is something even more different.  If you do qualify for a defense attorney, the defense attorney is none other than the Judge Himself.

    Now that raises the question, “Will you and I qualify?”  Will the Judge serve as my defense attorney?  That all depends on where you stand with the Judge before you enter the courtroom.

    We have the privilege of actually going into this courtroom and seeing how at least one sinner fared in his trial.  Your case can turn out just like his case, but the choice is yours.

    In the Old Testament book of Zechariah, chapter 3, verses 1-7, we read:  “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee:  is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

    “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.  And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’  And unto him he said, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’

    “And I said, ‘Let them set a turban on his head.’  So they set a turban upon his head, and clothed him with garments.  And the angel of the Lord stood by.  And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; if thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’”

 

    The first thing we see here is the sinner’s guilt.  The setting of the drama is in a courtroom, the Supreme Court of the Universe.  God is the Judge, Joshua, the High Priest, is the defendant and Satan is the prosecuting attorney.  Satan is bringing his case against Joshua before the Lord.

    Satan will oppose anything you do, except sin.  The only time Satan is on your side is when you are against God.  Satan not only loves to get us to sin, he loves to point out our sin after we sin.

    So, how do you handle Satanic accusation?  First of all, you need to learn the difference between Satanic accusation and Holy Spirit conviction.  Both Satan and the Holy Spirit deal with guilt.  Satan uses it to paralyze you, but the Spirit uses it to purify you.

    Satan will use guilt to accuse you and then confuse you.  The Holy Spirit will use guilt to convict you, then cleanse you.  Satan will condemn you and then seek to rebuke you, but the Spirit will convict you and then seek to restore you.  Satan wants to lead you to remorse, but the Spirit wants to lead you to repentance.

    The second thing we see in this passage is the Savior’s grace.  Notice that Joshua did not say a word.  The Lord is the one who rebuked the Devil.  It was not Joshua’s battle to fight.  The battle belonged to the Lord.

    You and I are constantly in a war with Satan, but the battle and the victory belong to the Lord.  God will never defend His children’s sins, but He will defend His children.

    Joshua’s defense is taken up by Jesus Himself.  He is our Advocate and He has never lost a case.  The Bible says, “Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us.  That is, Jesus, day and night, pleads our case.

    Then, the last thing I want you to see in that passage in Zechariah is the saint’s glory.  Because Joshua came out of God’s courtroom cleansed, clothed and crowned, he regained two things he had lost—authority with God and access to God.

    You may be a guilty sinner or a backslidden saint, but, either way, you have an Advocate in heaven.  No matter what you have done, whether you are saved or lost, if you will bring your guilt and your sin to the Great Advocate, Jesus Christ, He will take your case, plead your case, win your case and commute your sentence from death to life.

 

 

Ed Baswell is the Bossier Sheriff’s Assistant Chaplain, the pastor of Clarion Baptist Church and the founder of his teaching ministry, Clarion Ministries.

 


 

LIFE LINES

by

Ed Baswell

 

Posted 8/10/2011

HUGS OF THE HEART

 

    Children are fascinating.

    I remember a time when I read to a group of kindergarteners and it reminded me

of just how special children are. I was reading to them as a representative of the

Bossier Sheriff's Department, so I had my uniform on and I had my gun with me.

    They couldn't take their minds off the fact that I was a policeman. In fact, one of

them called Mr. Cop Man--and they asked all kinds of questions.

    "Do you shoot people," one of them asked.

    "No, I always try to avoid shooting people," I said.

    "Do you take kids to jail," asked another child.

    "No, I don't take kids to jail," I said.

    Not only did they ask questions, they also volunteered all kinds of information.

    "My dad's been to jail," said one.

    "We all make mistakes and we must try to learn from our mistakes," I said.

    "My dad's been to jail, too," said another child.

    "Well, like I said, we all make mistakes and we need to try to learn from our

mistakes," I said again.

    And so the conversation went, over the course of an hour.

    Jesus would have loved being in the classroom with me because He loves children.

They occupy a special place in His heart. While He lived on this earth, He took little

children into His arms and blessed them and He is still in the child-embracing