March 7, 2016 - Peter writes, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet 1:9). There are different “stages” of salvation. For example we are to save ourselves from this evil generation (Ac. 2:40). We can be saved from our sins (Ac. 2:38). We can also be saved from the wrath of God (Lk. 3:7). But eternal salvation does not come nor is it guaranteed until the end as Peter said in the passage above. Eternal salvation is based upon our faith or faithfulness while in this life.

Notice what Peter said just prior to the above verse, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Pet. 1:5-7).

Eternal life is not given until we have proven our faithfulness to God. Oh yes, it is reserved in heaven (1 Pet. 1:4) but it is only a reservation. Much like making a reservation for a room or a flight, it is reserved or guaranteed but we do not literally have it until we arrive and check in.

Peter said in the text that their faith was tested, they were in heaviness, had manifold temptations and tied by fire. Our endurance through such times brings about the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

Jesus said be “faithful till the end” (Rev. 2:10) in order to receive the crown. Demas was said to have left the faith (loved this present world) (2 Tim. 4:10; 1Jn. 2:15-17). The Hebrew Christians were warned to not given up their reward (Heb. 10:35-36,39).

Paul writes, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). He also wrote, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Cor. 9:25).

James also writes, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (Jm. 1:12). And Jesus said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).

Our faithfulness in this life in times of temptations and trials will bring about the end of our faith. The end or outcome of our faith will be rewarded with eternal life. A life of sin and a love of this world will cost us our inheritance in heaven and cancel our reservation of eternal life.

Let us strive to receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls. As we go through the many fiery trials and manifold temptations of this life let us do so with our eyes fixed on our reservation in heaven!

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March 7, 2016 - “Sons are a heritage from the Lord --children are a reward from Him...” Psalms 127:3

When I was Pastor of The First Baptist Church of Mauriceville, Texas, I received a surprise visit from Dr. R. G. Commander, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at East Texas Baptist University In Marshall, Texas. He was soliciting my help as a ETBU alumni in the construction of  a new Science building at the college. Dr. Commander’s two children and I received B.A. degrees there in 1958. 
Several minutes after he drove away, he returned to our house.  “I forgot to tell you something”, he began. “As you know, for many years,   I’ve been pastor one of the largest Baptist churches in Texas and serve on the Board of Trustees in two Texas Universities.  I’m proud of my work record, but if I had life to live over again, I’d spend less time pleasing people and would spend more time with my dear children. “Doug, I’ve watched your young children playing in the yard today. Be sure to spend plenty of time with them while they are young. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Your church members are important, but not more  important than your dear children.” 
I remember Dr. Commander’s advice as if it was yesterday.  My children are grown now and have their own families. Two live in New York, and three live in Texas. I hardly ever see them and miss them so much…day in and day out …every day.  I cherish  the memories of them as they were  growing up…talking about what happened at school every day…fishing and swimming with them …helping them dress for church….laughing  with them around the table.  The memories are overwhelming.  Sometimes they make me laugh…sometimes they make me cry.
I’m an old feller now and would love to put my arms around all of them today.  Sitting with them again…hearing them laugh ….(and argue)…. would be a dream come true.  Maybe we’ll get together this year.

It would be a great entry to my list of good memories.

March 1, 2016 - This week we will be in the book of Luke, Chapter 19, Verses 41-44. In the days leading up to their arrival at the city of Jerusalem Jesus foretold to His disciples of His entry into the city, of His betrayal and of His death and resurrection but even they did not truly comprehend what was going to happen. Verse 41 of our scripture says that as Jesus drew near to the city of Jerusalem that He wept or lamented over it. The dictionary describes "lament" as; "to feel or express sorrow or regret: In verse 42 Jesus laments over the people of Jerusalem, knowing that they would soon reject Him, call for His death; even call for a murderer to be released in place of the Lord Jesus. 

Jesus knew that they would be left without excuse for their rejection of Him and He agonized over their coming fate. As he rode into the city there were many people there praising Him, spreading palm fronds in his path and acclaiming Him as the Messiah. They had no idea that in one week they would be calling for His death on the cross. 

Only Jesus knew the events of the coming week. He would clean out the temple one last time. He would institute the Lord's Supper that we still celebrate today. He would suffer agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He would be falsely arrested, tried and crucified. But as He rode into the city his thoughts were not on Himself and His upcoming agony but on the people of the city who were going to pay for their actions against Him and the many prophets God had sent to them in the past. 

They had stoned each one who had come to proclaim the coming Messiah and now they would cry out for his death as well. Verses 43 and 44 tell of the overrunning of the city in AD 70 when the Romans overthrew Jerusalem. The city was leveled with not one stone being left upon another just as Jesus foretold in these verses. The Romans even burned a pig upon the alter in a final gesture of disrespect for the Israelites and their beliefs. 

The Jews paid a heavy price for their rejection of Christ, yet their nation has finally been restored to some extent though not nearly as large geographically as originally promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That gift required obedience by the people to acquire in full. Judgment follows rejection of Christ and only through repentance and faith can one be justified and receive eternal life with the Lord. "Whosoever will" can come and be saved by His grace. Salvation waits, but it is up to man to claim it. Please feel welcome to join us at Spring Hill Baptist 

Church for our weekly Bible study each Wednesday evening at 6:00 PM. may God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you each day. For more information call: 936-615-1427 

February 29, 2016 - Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ in San Augustine, Texaswould like to invite the community to Family and Friends Day on Sunday, March 6 at 3pm. Pastor Brandon Owens Sr. and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church of Center Texas will be special guest.

February 29, 2016 - Sunday was the Third Sunday in Lent.  This special time of reflection and inward looking is coming to an end.  May we use the remaining time to further understand His word.  The last week of Jesus’ life is referred to as Holy Week.  So much is packed into that week that I plan to preach several sermons on that fateful time.  The Gospel writers spend a great deal of their time looking at the events of this one week.  My scriptures for the next several Sundays will come from the oldest of the four Gospels, Mark.  Mark has the best chronology—not just the days but sometimes even the hours. 

This week began with Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  His followers and onlookers cheered and laid their cloaks and palm branches in front of Jesus.  Jesus heard the cries and saw the hopeful looks in people’s eyes as they wondered:  Could Jesus be the one?  Also entering Jerusalem that day in front of a large army was the governor, Pontius Pilate.  He always left his seaside villa to be on hand if trouble broke out during Passover.  Having to be away from the sea and in the dusty streets of Jerusalem, Pilate started the week already in a bad mood!           

We had a small crowd this Sunday.  As usual Fannie put together a great Sunday school lesson.  I always notice the similarities between our study in Sunday school and the scriptures for worship.  We will start a new quarter in our studies, so we got new books, which include some of my favorites from the Old Testament.  Joe and Hilda teamed up for our music this morning, and we sounded pretty good on some old standards.  

Sue and I delivered the food that our church has collected this month—rice and beans—to the Community Christian Services.   In March we will be collecting cans of chili.  Next Sunday will be Holy Communion.  This sacrament is so important to the life of the church but is especially important in these days before Easter.  Fannie announced that the Watsons will host Easter Sunrise Service.  Fannie said she thinks this will be the 29th Sunrise Service that they have held at the Watson homeplace.  Everyone is invited: I know we will enjoy the time of worship and song—and of course the breakfast afterwards!

 Last Thursday we went to Lakeside Assisted Living.  We had so many volunteers, and the residents filled the living room.  Some of the staff joined us too; Sue and I were so pleased to see one of our favorite former students, Sandra McDaniel Harper.  Ollie and Fannie had poignant stories to share, and Pastor Matt brought a short message.  Gene sang a few specials, and Maggie and I tried to keep the music and program going.  Judging by the spirited nature of it, I think we did a good job!  Nora told a story with props and also sang a song.  With Nora singing on the group songs and Hilda and Sylvia playing the piano, we sounded better than we had a right to! 

“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:15 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed!

February 29, 2016 - Gates Chapel Baptist Church will host its 103rd Church Anniversary on March 6th at 2:30pm. 

The guest speaker will be Rev. Anthony Jackson of Mr. Dena Baptist Church. 

Everyone is invited to attend says Paster Frankie Cooper. 

February 29, 2016 - Open Door Baptist Worship Center at 900 Cotton Ford Road, Center, Texas 75935 invites the community to our Pack the Pew Services on Sunday March 6, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. 

Guest Speakers will be Pastor Damien Reese and St. James Baptist Church from Gladewater, Texas.

February 29, 2016 - Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

As Paul writes this young preacher he warns him that the day will come when “Christians” will not want the absolute, unfiltered truth of the gospel. They will want a more “touchy feely” non-offensive version of Jesus.

Preaching the gospel involves telling folks what they need not necessarily what they want. It involves rebuking for sin and for straying from the truth. And doing it in season and out of season, in other words reproving and exhorting even when it will not go over very well with the congregation. Is there ever a comfortable time to reprove and rebuke? As a preacher I have not found one yet.

As Paul said “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”. And we see this today, many people are more loyal to a man than the truth. It was true in Bible days and it is true today. Remember Paul said they will heap to themselves teachers, in other words they will heap up teachers that will tell them what they want to hear and not what they need to hear. Itching ears can always be scratched. But a scratched ear is not the same as enduring sound doctrine.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

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February 29, 2016 - "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  John 8:36  

During the seventeen years that Pam and I have fed the birds at our house, we’ve seen some unusual species drop in.  The Incas doves (Mexican doves) began nesting here fifteen years ago and are now here in large numbers.  A few years ago, a ring-necked turtle dove (a.k.a. “collared dove) eased in one day and nine more were at the feeder the next day.

Three beautiful Zebra Finches stayed with us for over a month last year and a few months ago we awoke to the whistling of a Bob White Quail.  Even though we used to hunt them, I never knew that they were ventriloquists.  As the male perched ten feet from us, we watched his beak as he “threw his voice” to sound like he was a hundred yards away! It was a real treat to wake up every morning to the whistling of this little bird.  He and his mate were here only two weeks before disappearing.

As I glanced out our kitchen window last month, I called out to Pam, “Come quick!” “There’s a parrot at the feeder!” We grabbed our Kaufman Bird Book and found that our visitor was a Peach-faced Lovebird. After nibbling millet for a few minutes, he chirped loudly and flew away. We thought we’d never see him again, but a few days later he was back in with two other lovebirds.  We named the first bird “Peachie” and refer to the other pair as “The Twins” since they always perch together as they feed.

Originally from Africa, sizable numbers of these birds have been seen   recently around the Phoenix, Arizona area.   Were our birds once caged birds? We don’t know.  Some have suggested that we put a cage out to see…but we won’t do that.  It’s more enjoyable to watch them play freely in the trees above us.  We want them to stay free. …We wish all of our birds to be free.

When I was released from the cage of my sin at fourteen years of age, I’ve never desired to be caged again.   It’s so wonderful to be free!   
I wish everyone was.

February 23, 2016 - God called Jeremiah to be a prophet at an early age, even as a child, Israel had been taken into slavery years before and now Judah was slipping into the same sins of idolatry and immorality.

God called Jeremiah to warn the nation of God's impending judgment that was to come upon them if they did not repent and return to Him. He was even called the weeping prophet as he had a tender heart and would often weep when people did not believe him, most ridiculed and persecuted him instead of heeding him. In (Jeremiah 1:17-18) God told Jeremiah of all the things he was to do and of the things God had put in place to protect him from his own people.

For over 40 years he warned them but they did not heed him and eventually they were taken into slavery by King Nebuchadnezzar, who gave Jeremiah the choice of going to Babylon or staying in Judah with the remnant of old people. They did not take those who could not do hard work but left them to fend for themselves in a desolate land. Jeremiah stayed with the remnant who eventually fled to Egypt where he spent his last years on earth.

The final message that God gave to Jeremiah is found in (Jeremiah 1:19) "And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee." These were his own people that God warned him about, his own people who ridiculed and persecuted him, once even placing him in a cistern as in a prison cell.

As God's children and His workers today our opposition many times is much more secret, more sneaky than the frontal assaults that Jeremiah faced. Much of our opposition seeks to make us uncomfortable, unsure of ourselves and our faith.

I assure you that every day that we seek to carry out God's will the evil one sends his army of demons against us. They will try to hinder and slow us and block our path each day in order to try and halt our daily work for our Lord.

They will try to confuse us, to make us doubt one another and maybe even falsely accuse one another.

They will always try to interrupt us when we witness to another person for the Lord; trying to make that person doubt the truth we are telling him.

God assures us though that through it all; even if we grow weary and fearful that we cannot ultimately be defeated for He is with us. He fights for us and protects us from His enemies. He tells us as He told Jeremiah that; "they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee."

We must put on the full armor of God, His Word, pray for His blessings for America, pray for God to send us godly leadership, and we shall overcome, and America will not fall as did Judah and Israel.

May God Bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you each day.