Rode 2,200 miles to wed
1792 – Three days after Abraham Marshall arrived back from New England where he had gone seeking a wife, he spoke again of his intent on marriage. The forty-four year old preacher and thirty-one year old maiden had a whirl-wind six day romance then the bold preacher proposed marriage and at 7 pm that evening, the couple were married before a group of friends. Abraham had stopped at the John Waller home in Spottsylvania, Virginia on his way to the North where he met his daughter, the lovely Miss Ann Waller. John Waller was the famed Separate Baptist preacher of that day. Miss Ann proved to be of the same hardy stock, and the couple set off on their “horseback honeymoon,” which covered approximately five hundred and fifty miles. Abraham told of his trip in his diary, how they swam rivers and creeks, chased loose horses, slept out under the stars, and shivered through cold and rainy days and dark nights, and ever meeting good friends…until three months absence to a day, found “us at home amid the tears, joys and congratulations of friends, on Big Kiokee.” Ann proved to be a great blessing to her husbands ministry. The couple had four sons, and their oldest son Jabez, succeeded his father as pastor at Kiokee. He wrote tenderly of his mother, “Through the whole of her life she was exemplarily pious…Often, when her husband was traveling and preaching the glad tidings of great joy to perishing sinners, would she collect her little family at home, her children and servants, and teach them and instruct them in the ways of truth…Often would sing with them, and collect them around her upon her knees, and supplicate the God in whom she had trusted, to bless her rising family.” Ann died in 1815 at age 54, Abraham died in 1819 at age 72. What an example for us.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 130.
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The historic exchange
1974 – We should ever remember that this was the day that Rev. Georgi P. Vins was arrested then on Jan. 27, 1975, at a five day show trial, he was sentenced to five years in concentration camps, followed by five years of exile in Siberia and the confiscation of all his property. Vins had refused to have the local churches and their pastors controlled by the government. His strong position had led to his arrest and trial in 1966 in which he was sentenced to three years in concentration camps. Following his release, Vins continued his ministry and was sentenced to a year of forced labor in 1970. After that, being under constant surveillance, he hid from public view and carried on his ministry traveling covertly, without authorization. During the time that he was underground, his mother was arrested, tried, and imprisoned for three years. Thankfully, President Jimmy Carter exchanged two convicted Russian spies for five Russian dissidents, which Carter insisted would include Vins. On April 27, 1980 the exchange was made in NY, City. Vins wife and children joined him later. This was a major event at the time and news articles said, “Vin’s group is a secessionist “Reform Baptist” assembly that is more militant about religious rights than is the mainline Baptist group in Russia.” Vins, like many of his counterparts in the USSR, was desirous of maintaining the age-old principle of religious liberty. There are three types of church-state arrangements practiced in the world. First is that which places the church above the state, the ecclesiastical is also the political leader. Another puts the state above the church. This makes the Political leader over the church. Then there is liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment where the church has the right to be under Christ alone.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 128.
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II Samuel 15:1-6
David’s son Absalom wanted power and position. He knew how to get it.
2Sa 15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
He put on a show. He gathered an entourage to impress the simple. It is very apparent that people are impressed with some one that has a following. The thought may be, here is some one that others are impressed with so therefore let me join. Has anyone noticed a gathering gathers? Simply put, where people are, people go. One or two people can stand on a side walk and stare into the sky and point and others will begin staring. Absalom had his show going on, running around in his chariots and fifty men with him. Something to remember – crowds do not necessarily make anything right or correct.
He put on a facade. He stood in the gate where the elders of the city normally sat and attached himself to those entering in. His speech consisted of a lament that the current administration did not have anyone in the gate to address problems. He would them commiserate with them over their problems. Yes, you have a problem that needs to be taken care of but the current administration does not have anyone here to address this problem. Look, here I am. I am available to try your case. I can bring justice if only this were my administration.
He feigned a loving compassion. These people, impressed with the following and the interest in their cause found someone they could bow to and reverence. Reverence won is hard to lose. They were betrayed by a kiss just as our Lord Jesus was betrayed. He won the hearts of people by showmanship, false wisdom and faked compassion.
We find Absalom is like many false religionists and politicians to day. Showmanship draws. False wisdom wins. Fake compassion seals the doom of the simple people.
Three generations of pastors
1832 – Jabez Marshall died and ended three generations of the Marshall’s family as the pastors of the Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia. His father Abraham and his grandfather Daniel had followed before him. Jabez died of the complication of measles at the age of thirty-nine along with that of an overworked body. This ended sixty years of the ministry of this one family. Jabez was also the pastor of the Sharon Baptist Church and had founded the Salem Baptist Church. Jabez had performed the marriage of Issachar J. Roberts in 1830 and his bride who pioneered a missions to lepers in China and finally died there of leprosy himself in 1866. Jabez was a zealous advocate of all mission’s activities at that time. At his own request he was buried at the church rather than in the family cemetery. The Marshall family were Separate Baptists who ministered from 1772 to 1832. Jabez was the oldest son of Abraham and Ann Marshall, but his early life didn’t hold much hope of spiritual fulfillment. His father sent him off to college but he had little interest in an academic life. When he returned home he was soon under great conviction of sin and was saved and baptized. It wasn’t long until he was preaching and exhorting, and after proving the sincerity of his faith was ordained into the gospel ministry. Abraham passed away in the summer of 1819 and Jabez served as the interim pastor of the church and then was called as full time pastor in Nov. 1821. It wasn’t long that he proved himself to be the same caliber Shepherd that his father and grandfather had been for the flock. He was persuasive in his preaching, and is messages never lacked doctrinal undergirding. What a great reunion day that must have been when all three Marshall’s met again when home at last.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 127.
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Psa_63:1 is one of those verses of Scripture that once you read it, you can’t leave it: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Once David understood who God (’Elōhiym, January 7) is, he longed for God in a way that should strike all of us.
To get the full impact of this verse, we need to set the stage (2 Samuel 15). After being driven from his throne by the political intrigue of his own son, Absalom, David is forced to leave Jerusalem and head into some of the most desolate, dismal, and depressing land on earth, the wilderness of Judea, which stretches right to the banks of the Dead Sea to the east.
David, therefore, writes: “My flesh longeth for thee.” Longeth is kāmah (H3642), which appears only here in the OT and literally means “to faint” and is related to an Arabic word that means “be pale of face, gray.” Driven into exile, it wasn’t his possessions, power, or position that David missed; rather it was God and the “sanctuary” (2Sa_15:2), that is, God’s presence in the tabernacle, that place of prayer and public worship, that David longed for.
Especially striking is that kāmah speaks of something physical. David’s craving for God was not some “emotional high,” rather a physical need; without God’s presence, his face was pale and he was physically ill. As the story continues, Zadok and Abiathar actually brought the Ark of the Covenant to David, sincerely thinking this would comfort and encourage him, but David sent them back. Why? It wasn’t some object that David needed, no matter how sacred. It was God that David needed. He didn’t want a picture; he needed the Person.
We, too, live in a “dry and thirsty land,” a desolate world. While it has amusements, some of which we can certainly enjoy, as did David, true pleasure is found in God alone. Likewise, if we were driven into exile, what would we miss most? Would we long for our nice house, creature comforts, and possessions? Or would it be God’s presence that we missed most? Would we miss the house of God, being with God’s people, and being immersed in His Word?
Scriptures for Study: What does Psa_63:1 say concerning how David began His day? Compare that with the following: Psa_5:3; Psa_119:87; Psa_119:147-148; Pro_8:17.
Author – William Andrew Dillard
In communication exchanges with my dear cousin, Sandra Thieme of Colorado, she mentioned the idea of a chisel. I cannot get this off my mind, mainly because it makes so much sense. Accordingly, I attempt to expand on that idea for my own analysis, and I hope it may make some sense to others who read these lines.
How prone we are to live life to the fullest, but as much as humanly possible within our comfort zone. When something invades our comfort zone, it is always by an external force, and not of our own making. We are secure in who we are; identify ourselves by the peripheral things and people around us, especially those we have known for a lifetime.
When a parent, sibling, or child dies, we feel ourselves chiseled. But we must understand that we really are as a sculptured work of art, fashioned by the Master Artist, and fully realize that He is not done with those of us who remain. When one of my children was still-born, it was as a chisel strike that I would have avoided at all cost, but one that brought more clearly into focus the fashioning of my life by my loving and righteous Creator-God. When deep depression struck in 1984, the chisel had never struck so hard and so painfully to shape my life to solely depend on my loving Sculptor. Then, dad died in 1987. The chisel struck again; painfully, but masterfully, further defining what I am to ultimately become. When mom died in 1988, it was a chisel blow. When my sister died in 2000, the chisel struck again. She was the first of my siblings to cross the bar, and I felt so vulnerable; that there was less of me than before. This week, my brother just older than I, succumbed to a massive stroke, and I am again feeling the strike of a chisel. There was love between us, even though we were not so close in later years as we had been as youngsters growing up. Still, all the precious people were there, and I knew it, and to some degree depended upon it. That was my comforting, self-definition of life. I feel the chisel from which no one is immune, even ministers of the gospel.
I do not seek immunity from the chisel, nor do I lament each blow as it may appear that I do. It is just that life is ever changing, and those who love the Lord will feel the chisel as He uses the events of life to channel us into complete trust and comfort in Him rather than the people and things that surround us. One day the Master Sculptor will be done with the chisel, and changes will cease to occur for we shall see Him as He is because, at last, we shall be like Him. Until then, may God give each of us the strength and grace to be still, and to cherish each blow of the chisel in the comforting knowledge of what He is doing to and for each one of us.
A Slave who was free
1901 – On this day, the “Onesimus of Colonial America”, John Jasper, went to be with the Lord Jesus, whom he loved with all of his heart. John was a black man, born into slavery on July 4, 1812, and though never able to attend school, used his God given gift of oratory to see multitudes, both black and white, brought to eternal salvation. His father, a slave Baptist preacher, died before John was born, but his Mother, Tina, dedicated him to the Lord with this prayer, “Lord, if dis chile you’s sendin’ me is a boy, doan’ let him do nuthin’ else but sing de praises of Jesus!” His mother’s prayers brought him to conviction and his testimony was, “I was seekin’ God six weeks – jes’ cause I was sich a fool I couldn’t see de way.” On July 25, 1839, John was gloriously saved at the tobacco stemmery where he worked for “Mars’ Sam – Mr. Sam Hardgrove, the owner of the stemmery and a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. He had belonged to the Widow Mary Belle Peachy, but upon her death, her son John sold him to Mr. Hardgrove. Jasper’s love for Mars’ Sam and Dr. William Hatcher, a local Baptist pastor was beyond question and Mr. Hardgrove allowed John time off to preach whenever he wished. Almost immediately after his conversion he began to preach the funeral of slaves, and God’s power was evident upon him. It wasn’t long until both whites and blacks were flocking to his orations. He became used in pulpits and open air meetings all over. After Praying to learn to read, another slave, William Johnson, labored for seven months with a tattered copy of the New York Speller and John became an avid Bible reader. John Jasper founded the 6th Mount Zion Baptist Church which had two-thousand members when he died.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 126.
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“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” James 4:10.
What happens when the pangs of personal guilt and shame for committing sin are not enough to lead us to confession? What happens when we do not apologize for wrongdoing in a quick manner but, instead, choose to pretend that we did nothing wrong? Unfortunately, if we do not pay close attention to our hearts and motives, we can easily find ourselves overlooking our own bad behaviors. When that happens, it gets easier and easier to forget our own wrongdoing, and as we get into the habit of ignoring the Holy Spirit’s conviction, our hearts become hardened and our pride swells.
In the church at Corinth, there was a man who was having an adulterous affair with his stepmother (1 Cor. 5). Paul rebuked the church for not reprimanding him and overlooking the obviously illicit relationship. You might think such oversight is uncommon today but look around your own church or family. Is there a common sin in which many people engage, yet, no one talks about? What about gossip, gluttony, envy, strife or consumer excess? You see sometimes we are guilty of walking in pride, pretending nothing is amiss.
What is the answer? James wrote that we should “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep” over our sin (James 4:9). We should allow our hearts to be sensitive to our own wrongdoing, asking God to expose our sins immediately, so that we can immediately confess them to Him. The answer is humility.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you weep over your own sin today?