1 Peter 1:1-9

July 4

While I believe that the problems that ail our country can spiritually and ultimately be traced to our problem with sin, politically I think we can also see a cause. In our founding document, those brave men who stood up to King George’s tyranny wrote, 

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We have chosen to do the opposite. We now have the ability to dismiss tyrants with the power of the ballot box, but we chose tyranny over freedom. Our forefathers fought and died that we might have freedom. We now cheer as tyrants strip away our freedom. We celebrate what our founders shed blood to stop. 

Take time today to read again this founding document and be reminded  what American freedom is supposed to look like. 
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Deuteronomy 5:6-15

Deu 5:6-15 ESV
(6) “‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
(7) “‘You shall have no other gods before me.
(8) “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
(9) You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
(10) but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
(11) “‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
(12) “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
(13) Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
(14) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.
(15) You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Four essential commands for those delivered from bondage.

I. Delivered people are to have no other gods (v.7)

II. Delivered people are to have no carved image (vv. 8-10)

a. Nothing carved and no likenesses (v. 8)

b. You shall not bow down or serve them (v. 9)

c. The Lord is jealous and shows wrath and love (vv. 9-10)

III. Delivered people are to not take the name of the Lord in vain (11)

a. See list on next page.

IV. Delivered people are to keep the Sabbath (vv. 12-15)

a. It is observed because it is already in place. (v. 12)

b. Work is the cease (vv.13-14)

c. The works of the Lord are to be remembered (v. 14)

List of taking the Lord’s name in vain from Joseph S. Exell in 1900:

1. The not making any profession of religion, as being afraid or ashamed to own that in which the name of God is so much concerned.

2. Persons take the name of God in vain, when, though they make a profession of religion, yet it is not in such a way as God has required, and this is done by using His attributes, ordinances, or works, in which He makes Himself known, in an unbecoming manner.

3. The name of God is taken in vain by blasphemy, which is a thinking or speaking reproachfully of Him, as though He had no right to the glory that belongs to His name.

4. This commandment is broken by not using religious oaths in a right manner, or by violating them; and, on the other hand, by all sinful and profane oaths and cursing.

5. This commandment is also broken by murmuring, curiously prying into, and misapplying God’s decrees or providences, or perverting what He has revealed in His Word, i.e. when we apply things sacred to profane uses, and have not a due regard to the glory of God, which is contained therein.

6. This commandment is further broken by making use of God’s name as a charm; as when the writing or pronouncing some name of God is pretended to be an expedient to heal diseases or drive away evil spirits.

7. This commandment is further broken by reviling or opposing God’s truth, grace, and ways; whereby we cast contempt on that which is most sacred, and lightly esteem that which He sets such a value on and makes Himself known by.

MP 4 SBC2016 (parody for the SBC)

Since it became obvious to me todaaaaaaaaay that it is now acceptable to campaign to be President of the Southern Baptist and because, obviously, no one would ever nominate me, I have decided to make history by nominating myself.

My name is (Dr.) Micheal Pardue and I am nominating myself for the Presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am not famous. In fact, I am not even well known, not even in my own state. Not even in my own community. I grew up in an SBC church, I was called to ministry at an SBC camp, I married an SBC girl, and attended an SBC seminary.

I pastor a fairly average SBC church in rural North Carolina. We have had good periods in our nearly 100 years and we have had struggles. I am not sure where church health experts would peg us right now, but I am sure they would have an opinion. We are not large and we have a limited reach. I will actually not be able to travel and speak as much as most SBC presidents because I do not have the extra staff to cover for me in my absence.

We do support the Cooperative Program at 10%. I imagine that is less than some of your churches while more than some others.  Again in this, I guess we are average. I cannot take credit for our giving. It takes the offering of the entire congregation and their yearly vote on our budget to put this giving percentage in place.

I am the husband to Rachel. I am not sure she has any interest in being the First Lady of the SBC. She probably will not come speak to your women’s event. The fortunate thing is that we have the Women’s Missionary Union. For the next year (or two) you’ll need to call them. They’ve been doing this missions thing for a long time anyhow.

I have seven children. Yes, that is a lot. Yes, we know how that happens. And yes, we will hope we are through. We are a multicultural family. Four of my children are adopted. I don’t tell this to you to brag, but so that those of you prone to gossip (you are good Baptists after all) will not think my wife or I have a previous marriage since some of my kids clearly do not look like me.

I am the author of multiple books, but none of them have sold well and all but one are self-published. I expect that there will be some increase in sales after this speech, even if it is the media attempting to find out how kooky the man who could have been president really is.

Often these elections are about who you know. I wanted to take a moment to humble-brag about a few of the pivotal moments in my ministry. I once preached in a revival with Richard Blackaby. I spoke with Danny Akin in the parking lot at Southeastern Seminary when he was walking his dog (he also handed me my diploma). I heard Kevin Ezell speak in chapel at Midwestern Seminary last year. I was once corrected by D.A. Carson after I messed up some facts from church history. Finally, and maybe most impressively, I had a seat beside Johnny Hunt on a plane from Greensboro to Atlanta last fall, even though I got bumped further back in the plane after a delay. He did autograph his book and rode the tram with me after we landed.

Obviously, the most important question many of you will have is “Am I a Calvinist?” To aaaaaanswer this I look to the wisdom of beloved Southern Baptist patriarch, Bilbo Baggins: “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” In other words, to some of you, the answer would be “yes.” For others, a resounding “no.”

I want to close with this reminder. I am probably not your choice to be President of the
SBC. I will not be elected. However, If you vote for me, I can promise you this: you’ll regret that vote much less than the vote many of you will cast for Donald Trump later this year. May God Bless you, may God bless our convention, and may he lead us to even better days for the sake of His Kingdom.

Mark 15:33-47

I want to know what love is…

This month’s FBI newsletter:

Nearly forty years ago, the band Foreigner in their hit I Want to Know What Love Is, told of a lonely traveler who was desperate for love. His plea was for someone to show him what true love was. He has experienced lots of heartache and pain, but felt he had finally found love. As a listener to what has now become one of the top rock ballads of all time, the question is, what does Foreigner, or any other social commentator, mean when they say love?    As we enter the second month of 2016, and thus the second month of our Reach One campaign, we often associate this short month with love. In our culture, love has been twisted and distorted and the word carries very little meaning. The term is thrown around in the most lackadaisical of manners. As we think about our responsibility to reach out to others around us with the good news of Christ, we must recapture the meaning of this all important word. After all, the Word of God tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). The Apostle John is clear: “Anyone who does not love does not know God (1 John 4:8). How, then, do we know what love is? Where will we find the answer? May I suggest that we look no further than the Scriptures for our definition of love? We would do well to filter our culture’s definition of love through the lens of Scripture, knowing that there we will find God’s answer. I think we all want to know what love is and Paul has told us:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never ends.

(1Co 13:1-8)

1 Peter Devotional