Category Archives: God

Advent – Christmas Eve

th377WQ8QIOn Christmas Eve, the white center candle is traditionally lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Let’s look at our scripture passages for Christmas Eve beginning with the letter to Titus, Titus 2:11-15 (NASB) . . .

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Our Second passage is from the gospel according to Luke . . . Luke 2:1-14(NASB) . . . .

1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Advent+-+First+Sunday-003[1]
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Tonight all candles are lit starting with the “Prophecy Candle” (purple), then the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple), Next is the “Shepherds’ Candle” (rose), then the “Angels’ Candle” (purple) and tonight the “Christ Candle” (white).

Let us pray . . . Father unto You be glory, honor and power, joy, peace, love and purity for only You have given us Christ the Lord Who is King and Shepherd, Savior and Lord. We thank You for Your graciousness and love, for the amazing sacrifice You make, in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIThe fourth and last Sunday of Advent is for the celebration and representation of Peace. Let’s read our scripture passages, the first being from the first letter to the church of Corinth. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (NASB)

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Our second passage of scripture comes from the gospel according to Luke Chapter 3, verses 1-6 (NASB) . . . .

3 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;
4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,Advent week 4 wreath - BVC
Make His paths straight.

5‘Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;

6And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

Today we light four candles, the “Prophecy Candle” (purple), the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple), the “Shepherd’s Candle” (rose) and the fourth and last purple candle, oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace.

Let us pray, Father we thank You for bringing us through this time of preparation to receive Your Son, our Lord and Savior. What a magnificent gift You have given and are giving us when He returns to gather His brothers and sisters, Your children, Home to glory. Keep us ever mindful of the price You paid when He came to earth in human form, totally human, yet totally divine, in His precious name we pray, Amen.

The Third Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIOn the third Sunday of Advent we concentrate on joy. Lets look at our scripture passages. The first one in from the letter to the church at Philippi, Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB) . . .

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Our second scripture passage is from the gospel of John 1:19-28 (NASB)

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.Advent wreath

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy. Today we light three candles, the “Prophecy Candle” (purple); the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple) and todays is the pink or rose candle know as the “Shepherd’s Candle.”

Let us Pray . . . Father thank You for giving us time to prepare for the coming of Your Son.  As we look forward to His birth, we also look forward to His coming again and thank You for our redemption through Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Second Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIOn the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger. As we begin our Celebration of the Second Sunday of Advent, let’s join together and read from the letter to the Romans, chapter 15, verses 4-13 (NASB) . . .

4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,
9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,

“Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Your name.”

10 Again he says,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him.”

12 Again Isaiah says,

“There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lets now read together from the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 11:2-10 (NASB)

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples
and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:
the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the gospel preached to them.
And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Advent-wreath-wk2-m8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!
But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
  This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger Who will prepare Your way before You.’

Now let’s light the “Prophecy Candle” from week one and now the “Bethlehem Candle” for this week.Advent-wreath-wk2-m

Let’s pray, Father we thank You for Who You are and for all the ways You show us Your love. Through the Prophets of old You gave us a promise and we see You have fulfilled it. We can therefore learn from this that Your word is tried and true. You will always keep Your promises. Thank You for showing us Your love as we prepare for the birth of our Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The First Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIAs we begin our Celebration of Advent, let us begin with a reading from the Epistle (Letter) to the Roman (church) . . . Romans 13:11-14 (NASB)

11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Our second reading is from the book of the gospel of Luke, chapter 21:25-33 (NASB) . . .

25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 Then He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.Advent - First Sunday

Let us light the first candle of Advent. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah. (Light the first Purple Candle)

Father we thank You that You love us enough to send us Your son for our redemption and new life. Prepare us for the day of Your coming again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Advent – What It Is, When It Is, and How It Is Celebrated

th377WQ8QICelebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. In Western Christianity, the season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. In 2014 it begins on Sunday 30 November and is celebrated each Sunday after that until it climaxes on 24 December.

What is Advent?

Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy.

Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time.

Definition of Advent

The word “advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something having great importance.

The Time of Advent

For denominations that celebrate Advent, it marks the beginning of the church year.

In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last or fourth Sunday of Advent.

For Eastern Orthodox churches which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days rather than four weeks. Advent is also known as the Nativity Fast in Orthodox Christianity.

What Denominations Celebrate Advent?

Advent is primarily observed in Christian churches that follow an ecclesiastical calendar of liturgical seasons to determine feasts, memorials, fasts and holy days:

Catholic
Orthodox
Anglican / Episcopalian
Lutheran
Methodist
Presbyterian

Today, however, more and more Protestant and Evangelical Christians are recognizing the spiritual significance of Advent, and have begun to revive the spirit of the season through serious reflection, joyful expectation, and even through the observance of some of the traditional Advent customs.

Origins of Advent

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Advent began sometime after the 4th century as a time of preparation for Epiphany, and not in anticipation of Christmas. Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ by remembering the visit of the wise men and, in some traditions, the Baptism of Jesus. At this time new Christians were baptized and received into the faith, and so the early church instituted a 40-day period of fasting and repentance.

Later, in the 6th century, St. Gregory the Great was the first to associate this season of Advent with the coming of Christ. Originally it was not the coming of the Christ-child that was anticipated, but rather, the Second Coming of Christ.

By the Middle Ages, the church had extended the celebration of Advent to include the coming of Christ through His birth in Bethlehem, his future coming at the end of time, and his presence among us through the promised Holy Spirit. Modern-day Advent services include symbolic customs related to all three of these “advents” of Christ.

Advent Symbols and Customs

Many different variations and interpretations of Advent customs exist today, depending upon the denomination and the type of service being observed. The following symbols and customs provide a general overview only, and do not represent an exhaustive resource for all Christian traditions.

Some Christians choose to incorporate Advent activities into their family holiday traditions, even when their church does not formally recognize a season of Advent. They do this as a way of keeping Christ at the center of their Christmas celebrations.

What Are the Colors of Advent?

Advent Colors and What They Symbolize

Purple has traditionally been the primary color of Advent, symbolizing repentance and fasting. Purple is also the color of royalty, demonstrating the anticipation and reception of the coming King celebrated during Advent. Today, however, many churches have begun to use blue instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent.

Pink (or rose) is also one of the colors of Advent used during the third Sunday. It represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season away from repentance and toward celebration.

White is the color of the center Advent candle, representing purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

What is the Advent Wreath?thF5OUV8GM

Symbols and Customs of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services. Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

Each week on Sunday, an additional candle is lit. On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger.

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy.

The fourth and last purple candle, oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is traditionally lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Celebrating with an Advent wreath during the weeks prior to Christmas is a great way for Christian families to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, and for parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

Abraham Baldwin – Signer of the United States Constitution – Georgia

thMGZR0SUEAbraham Baldwin, was born on November 22, 1754, to Lucy Dudley and Michael Baldwin in North Guilford, Connecticut.  He represented Georgia at the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was a fervent missionary of public education. Throughout his career he combined a faith in democratic institutions with a belief that an informed citizenry was essential to the continuing wellbeing of those institutions. The son of an unlettered Connecticut blacksmith, Baldwin through distinguished public service clearly demonstrated how academic achievement could open opportunities in early American society. Educated primarily for a position in the church, he served in the Continental Army during the climactic years of the Revolution. There, close contact with men of widely varying economic and social backgrounds broadened his outlook and experience and convinced him that public leadership in America included a duty to instill in the electorate the tenets of civic responsibility.

Baldwin also displayed a strong sense of nationalism. Experiences during the war as well as his subsequent work in public education convinced him that the future well-being of an older, more prosperous state like Connecticut was closely linked to developments in newer frontier states like Georgia, where political institutions were largely unformed and provisions for education remained primitive. His later political career was animated by the conviction that only a strong central government dedicated to promoting the welfare of the citizens of all the states could guarantee the fulfillment of the ideals and promises of the Revolution.

The Baldwins were numbered among the earliest New England settlers. Arriving in Connecticut in 1639, the family produced succeeding generations of hard-working farmers, small-town tradesmen, and minor government officials. Abraham Baldwin’s father plied his trade in Guilford, Connecticut. Abraham eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant in the local unit of the Connecticut militia. A resourceful man with an overriding faith in the advantages of higher education, he moved his family to New Haven where he borrowed heavily to finance his sons’ attendance at Yale College (now Yale University). Abraham Baldwin never married, but he made a similar sacrifice, for after his father’s death he assumed many family debts and personally financed the education of the family’s next generation.

Baldwin graduated from Yale in 1772, but, intending to become a Congregationalist minister, he remained at the school as a graduate student studying theology. In 1775 he received a license to preach, but he decided to defer full-time clerical duties in order to accept a position as tutor at his alma mater. For the next three years he continued in this dual capacity, becoming increasingly well-known both for his piety and modesty and for his skill as an educator with a special knack for directing and motivating the young men of the college.

Baldwin’s continuing association with Yale College contributed directly to his entry into military service. The college, which had produced a major share of Connecticut’s clergy for nearly a century, now became the major source of chaplains for the states Continental Army contingent. Baldwin apparently served as a chaplain with Connecticut forces on a part-time basis during the early stages of the war, and finally in February 1779 he succeeded the Reverend Timothy Dwight, another Yale tutor, as one of the two brigade chaplains allotted to Connecticut’s forces. He was appointed as chaplain in Brigadier General Samuel H. Parsons’ brigade, remaining with the unit until the general demobilization of the Army that followed the announcement of the preliminary treaty of peace in June 1783.

The duties of a Revolutionary War chaplain were quite extensive, varying considerably from the modern concept of a clergyman’s military role. In addition to caring for the spiritual needs of the 1,500 or so soldiers of differing denominations in the brigade, Baldwin assumed a major responsibility for maintaining the morale of the men and for guarding their physical welfare. He was also assigned certain educational duties, serving as a political adviser to the brigade commander and subordinate regimental commanders. In his sermons and in less formal conversations with the officers and men he was expected to help the soldiers understand the basis for the conflict with the mother country and thereby to heighten their sense of mission and dedication to the Patriot cause.

Although Baldwin’s unit did not participate in combat during the last four years of the war, it still played a major role in Washington’s defensive strategy. The Connecticut brigades were assigned to garrison duty near West Point. There they helped secure vital communications along the Hudson River and guard this critical base area against British invasions. They performed their mission well; the Continental brigades in the Hudson Valley formed the bedrock of Washington’s main army against which no British general was likely to attack. With his center thus secured, Washington was free to launch successful offensive operations against smaller enemy forces in other parts of the country. The soldiers in Baldwin’s brigade eventually trained for an amphibious attack on the British stronghold at New York City late in the war, but the plan was never put into effect.

Baldwin had little to do with these purely military matters, but his service as a chaplain proved vital to the Patriot cause. Along with the rest of the main Continental line units from the New England and middle states, Baldwin’s Connecticut brigade had weathered the darkest days of the war. During 1778 these units had received rigorous training under Washington’s famed Inspector General, Frederick von Steuben, and they had emerged as seasoned professionals, the equal of Britain’s famous Redcoats. Nevertheless, the’ deprivations of such a long war exacted a toll on morale, leading to desertions and occasional mutinies in the 1780s. The Connecticut units, however, remained among the most reliable. Thanks in great part to the success of leaders like Baldwin, the troops had been thoroughly educated as to the nation’s war aims and the need for extended service by the Continental units. As a result, Connecticut stood firm.

Military service in turn had a profound influence on Baldwin’s future. During these years he became friends with many of the Continental Army’s senior officers, including Washington and General Nathanael Greene, who would take command in the south in late 1780. He was also a witness to Major General Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of his country. These associations moved the somewhat cloistered New England teacher and theology student toward a broader political outlook and a strong moral commitment to the emerging nation.

In 1783 Baldwin returned to civilian life and to a change in career. He rejected opportunities to serve as a minister and to assume the prestigious post as Yale’s Professor of Divinity. While still in the Army he had studied law and had been admitted to the Connecticut bar. Now, after settling his family’s affairs, he left New England for the frontier regions of Georgia, where he established a legal practice in Wilkes County near Augusta. Two men probably influenced this decision. Nathanael Greene had announced his intention to move to the state he had so recently freed from British occupation and was encouraging other veterans to join him in settling along the frontier. More importantly, Governor Lyman Hall, himself a Yale graduate, was interested in finding a man of letters to assist in developing a comprehensive educational system for Georgia. He apparently asked Yale’s president, Ezra Stiles, to help him in the search, and Baldwin was persuaded to accept the responsibility.

Baldwin decided that the legislature was the proper place in which to formulate plans for the education of Georgia’s citizens. A year after moving to the state, he won a seat in the lower house, one he would continue to hold until 1789. During his first session in office he drew up a comprehensive plan for secondary and higher education in the state that was gradually implemented over succeeding decades. This plan included setting aside land grants to fund the establishment of Franklin College (today’s University of Georgia), which he patterned after Yale.

Baldwin quickly emerged as one of the leaders in the Georgia legislature. In addition to sponsoring his educational initiatives, he served as the chairman of numerous committees and drafted many of the states first laws. His role reflected not only an exceptional political astuteness, but also an ability to deal with a wide variety of men and situations. As the son of a blacksmith, Baldwin exhibited a natural affinity for the rough men of the Georgia frontier; as the graduate of one of the nation’s finest schools, he also related easily to the wealthy and cultured planters of the coast. This dual facility enabled him to mediate differences that arose among the various social and economic groups coalescing in the new state. As a result, he exercised a leadership role in the legislature by devising compromises necessary for the adoption of essential administrative and legal programs.

Baldwin’s exceptional work in the legislative arena prompted political leaders in his adopted state to assign him even greater responsibilities. In early 1785 Georgia elected him to the Continental Congress, initiating a career in national government that would end only with his death. Although he had moved to Georgia to serve as a “missionary in the cause of education:’ as he put it, he nevertheless willingly assumed the burdens associated with national politics in the cause of effective government. In 1787 Georgia called on Baldwin to serve in the Constitutional Convention where, avoiding the limelight, he earned the respect of his colleagues both for his diligence as a delegate and his effectiveness as a compromiser. Baldwin remained active in politics during his years as president of the University of Georgia. He continued to hold his seat in the Georgia Assembly until 1789, but in 1785, he was also elected to the Confederation congress. Two years later, Baldwin served as one of four Georgia delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787 (the other delegates were William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce. Of the Georgia delegates, only Baldwin and William Few signed the constitution.

Baldwin was an active participant in the deliberations over representation that were at the heart of the constitutional process. He had originally supported the idea of representation in the national legislature based on property qualifications, which he saw as a way to bond together the traditional leadership elements and the new sources of political and economic power. When delegates from his native state convinced him that small states like Connecticut would withdraw from the Convention if the Constitution did not somehow guarantee the equality of state representation, he changed his stand. His action tied the vote on the issue and paved the way for consideration of the question by a committee. Baldwin eventually helped draw up the Great Compromise, whereby a national legislature gave equal voice to all thirteen states in a Senate composed of two representatives from each, but respected the rights of the majority in a House of Representatives based on population. His role in this compromise was widely recognized, and Baldwin himself considered his work in drafting the Constitution as his most important public service.

After the adoption of the Constitution, Baldwin continued to serve in the last days of the old Continental Congress and then went on to serve five terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate, including one session as the President Pro Tem of that body. His political instincts prompted him to support the more limited nationalist policies associated with James Madison, and he was widely recognized as a leader of the moderate wing of the Democratic-Republican party. Throughout his years of congressional service, Baldwin remained an effective molder of legislative opinion, working in committees as well as in informal political circles to develop the laws that fleshed out the skeletal framework provided by the Constitution.

Baldwin’s political philosophy was encapsulated in his often quoted formula for representative governments: “Take care, hold the wagon back; there is more danger of its running too fast than of its going too slow.” A man of principle, who had learned much from his service in the Continental Army, Baldwin demonstrated throughout a lengthy public career the value of accommodation between competing political interests, the critical need of national unity, and the importance of education to a democratic society.

Baldwin is remembered today in Georgia primarily for his statewide educational program that created a state university and provided state funds for that institution. Highlighting his own education principles, Baldwin once stated that Georgia must “place the youth under the forming hand of Society, that by instruction they may be moulded to the love of Virtue and good Order.” He believed that no republic was secure without a well-informed constituency. Baldwin never married. In a curious parallel to a later renowned Georgian, Alexander Stephens, Baldwin assumed custody of six of his younger half-siblings upon his father’s death and reared, housed, and educated them all at his own expense.

On March 4, 1807, at age fifty-three, Baldwin died while serving as a U.S. senator from Georgia. Later that month the Savannah Republican and Savannah Evening Ledger reprinted a eulogy of the great statesman, which had first appeared in a Washington, D.C., newspaper: “He originated the plan of the University of Georgia, drew up the charter, and with infinite labor and patience, in vanquishing all sorts of prejudices and removing every obstruction, he persuaded the assembly to adopt it.” Baldwin is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia and Baldwin County in middle Georgia are named in his honor.

Hope

hope(4)I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. (5)They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. (6)This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. (7)The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. (8)O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:4-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
No matter what country, background, or ethnicity we may have, all of us have experienced disappointment in our lives. Whether it is a desire to serve the Lord in ministry, or a plan to expand a business, or the hope of a bride in her new marriage, things don’t always turn out as we had hoped. These are times of “shattered dreams.”

There was a time in several friends’ and my own life where it seemed as if everything kept derailing – no forward momentum but lots of backwards falling. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick . . . ” is the way the Scripture puts it (Proverbs 13:12 NASB). Yet we learned to move forward and not give up, in spite of heartaches and what seemed like failures. We learned that friendship are huge helps in times of trouble, as are our deepening relationship with the Lord. And we learned that what we THINK we see, may not be what God is doing!

And there is good news! The second part of Proverbs 13:12 which we rarely hear says “. . . But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” God is all about life. The reason Jesus went to the cross is to allow us access to life – both here and throughout eternity (John 3:16). When God created the earth and all that is in it, He commanded all of it to prosper and bring forth life. He asks us to be the vessels of His “River of Life,” the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t break “bruised reeds,” people who are sad and hurting. He came to bring us LIFE and that MORE ABUNDANTLY (John 10:10).

When it seems like there is no hope, there is God who creates the dawn. When the dreams appear to be dead, there is the God of resurrection! Tomorrow is a new day for us all. What happens today may be the stepping stone to the breakthrough you have waited for. Faith is built on what we can’t see, but we know God has in store for us. May the fulfilled desires of your heart come quickly, and may all that delays your hope be destroyed by the blessings and love of our Savior!

(This information is taken by permission, from “Whispers of Heaven” written by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011.)

 

Loving Much

Casey & Jay(36) Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to s house and reclined at the table. (37) And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, (38) and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. (39) If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” (40) And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” (41) A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. (42) When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” (43) Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” (44) Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. (45) You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. (46) You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. (47) For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (48) Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” (49) Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say Who is this man who even forgives sins?” (50) And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)

“Her sins which are many have been forgiven because she loved much . . . and I love my Jesus!” Her name is *Carolina Toscani. On 29 Sep 1981, she came to understand there was someone who loved her regardless. Allow me to give you a brief summary of why love is an important factor in her life.

Outraging remembrances of abuse self-medicating at an early age to make feelings and memories go away, it is no wonder why by 1981 her weekly alcohol consumption was enormous and her pharmaceutical usage was monstrous. Having seen death up close and personal, along with wondering why almost all those she loved died before her, it was not surprising when some young ladies from a metropolitan church knocked on her door she was passed out on the floor. Hearing the knock, she opened the door, inviting them in; they proceeded to discuss Jesus and various scriptures, along with a testimony of someone who attended the church.

You see Carolina was what was known as a functional addict. Able to work, take care of herself and appear “responsible” to all those around her. Talk about Jesus, certainly! She had been brought up in the church always being taught one needed to be a “Christian.” The sad thing was that no one had ever told or shown her she could have a “personal relationship” with the Lord; nor had they shared there was a man who loved her unconditionally . . . . regardless . . . period . . . end of statement.

(In her own words) “You see, I never knew there was someone I could trust and love without having to “perform” for him.”

Well, to make a long story short, about a month later she called the church on a Sunday night from a payphone, insisting she be allowed to speak to the man. (The man, we’ll call Jim for his privacy) She would not hang up the phone until she talked with him. You see she had been trying to make a drug connection. Unable to do so, she “was at the end . . . out of men, out of drugs, out of booze.” Jim agreed to a home visit the upcoming Tuesday. At that time Jim shared about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jim shared if she confessed with her mouth Jesus was Lord, believed in her heart God had raised him from the dead, (and ask forgiveness for her sins) she would be saved, changed, become a new creation, old things having passed away, all things becoming new; “well I did and I am.” (her words)

Her life changed dramatically. It has not always been pleasant. No, she faced many challenges, also, magnificent joys. She would love to tell you nothing bad or taxing has entered her life in those 32 years. That would not be the truth, nor would it be reality. One thing however never changed . . . the fact – Jesus loves us and is consistently faithful to His word. He has never left her, nor forsaken her. He will do the same for you. She is now retired and ministers to others as often as possible. The most important things in her life are being devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and obeying Him.

Praise = Triumph, Restoration, Redemption

thCAHQJPAJ(19)“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.(20)“The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people.(21)“The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise. ——-Isaiah 43:19-21 (NASB)

Why does our God want us to praise Him? Is He an ego-maniac? No, He wants us to praise Him because true praise is an expression of love. Plus, He inhabits our praise (Psalms 22:3)! The more we praise Him, the more we pull down the plans of the enemy.

In a practical sense, praising the Lord brings our minds out of our situation and focuses us on Him. In the spiritual reality, praising the Lord allows His Presence to flow without interference. It creates a place of thankfulness in our hearts. And being thankful is also an expression of love.

Not everyone has positive experiences with their earthly father so at times it is difficult for them to relate to God as Father, the more we know Him, the more we are thankful and filled with praise, the more His Presence will heal all the places we missed from any lack in in our earthly parents. The praises we sing give us refuge under His wings. They give us triumph over circumstances. They bring His restoration and redemption to our lives in a River that flows unrestrained through us.