Monthly Archives: October 2012

Is It Too Late For America To Have Hope?

Many Christians have expressed deep concern over the presidential election 2012.  Vital issues related to faith and family remain at the forefront of national politics.  Policies and appointments made by our next president will almost certainly contribute to either the healing or the declining of our country.

But this election presents a much bigger question than who will be in the White House for the next four years.  Rather than simply choosing the lesser of two evils, concerned believers should be asking why we are faced with the current choice of candidates.

Some Christian voters say that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism makes no difference.  How can that be?  Mormonism may present some attractive morals, but what about the underlying teachings about the character and plan of God?

Many evangelical believers were outraged when Barak Obama announced that we are no longer a Christian nation.  Yet many of those same people are now apparently willing to vote for a man who professes a religion that is in direct competition with Biblical Christianity, a religion started by a man who declared that all Christian movements and leaders before him taught a false gospel.

Others remind us that the Bible calls for a just society that cares for and provides for the weak and the marginalized.  They believe that Barak Obama’s policies will ensure that we live in a nation that expresses these Biblical values.  But how can we forget that Obama scoffed at the notion of using the Holy Bible as a guide for government policy?

In addition, at a time when God’s design for family is under siege, how can we overlook Obama’s record of promoting abortion and supporting so-called “gay marriage”?  The deconstruction of marriage and family threatens to unravel the fabric of our culture.

By almost every measure the U.S.A. is declining, especially by the most important measure: spiritual vitality.  The spiritual condition of America is shaky at best.  Unless something changes we will find ourselves in a desperate situation.

Pragmatists will insist on limiting the focus of the debate to the two men who are running for office.  But we must honestly ask ourselves why we are faced with such a discouraging dilemma in this election.  How did we sink to our current spiritual state and what should we do about it?

Zedekiah faced a desperate situation.  He was king of Israel about 600 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  He ruled at a time when his nation was threatened by a hostile and powerful enemy.

King Zedekiah needed a word from the Lord.  So he went to the prophet Jeremiah and asked him, “Is there any word from the Lord?”

The prophet Jeremiah had a word from the Lord for Zedekiah.  The king and his nation would be handed over to their enemy, Babylon.  Zedekiah and Israel had ignored God far too long and it was too late for deliverance.

What is the word of the Lord for our country?  Is it too late for America?  I hope not.  But we need to do more than vote for the lesser of two evils.  We need to seek a word from the Lord.

Although the Lord’s word for Zedekiah’s generation was a word of judgment, there was still hope.  A remnant would survive and rebuild at a later date.

More than seeking the right leaders for our government, we urgently need to seek God’s word for our generation.  Our Lord’s policies and decisions are more important than those from Washington, after all, “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:1).  Indeed, “there is no authority except that which is from God” (Romans 13:1).

God’s kingdom plan in this age will not be thwarted by either the schemes of his enemies or by the disobedience of his own people.  When one generation fails, God patiently waits and raises up another generation who will faithfully carry on his work.

What will become of our generation?  Let’s exercise our right and responsibility as citizens of this great nation to vote in the election Tuesday November 6.  As we go to our polling places let’s prayerfully and carefully consider the spiritual needs of our society.

Above all else, let us urgently and with open hearts seek a word from the Lord for our time.

Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Church, October 2012
Printed 10/
26/12 by Camden News


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Jesus found himself surrounded by hostility even in his own home.  His brothers did not believe in him.  Apparently they were embarrassed by Jesus.  They prodded him to leave home in Galilee and go to the big city, to Jerusalem, so that he could impress the world with his miracles and teaching.

Jerusalem was a dangerous place for Jesus.   Like Jesus’ brothers, the religious leaders did not believe in him.  He was a threat to their positions of power and privilege.  They were looking for a way to eliminate Jesus before he could build up a big following among the people.  These were the very men who would eventually scheme to have him crucified.

And the people!  The people were hopelessly divided in their opinions about Jesus.  Those who were sympathetic toward Jesus stayed silent out of fear.  They knew that the leaders were against Jesus and they did not want to endanger themselves.  As a result, Jesus had very few, if any, who would help him or come to his defense.

It would have been easier for Jesus to lay low and keep quiet.  He could avoid the conflict and keep himself safe from harm.  Jesus did not act foolishly, but neither did he back down.  He went to Jerusalem and he courageously and publicly continued to speak the truth.  He obeyed God and great things happened.

It would be easier for us to lay low and keep quiet in a world that is increasingly hostile toward Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ.   But we should do as Jesus did.  We should not unnecessarily seek out conflict, but neither should we back down out of fear.

Like Jesus, we can trust God and courageously fulfill our mission in this age: to make disciples of all nations and to grow toward spiritual maturity.  Let’s reaffirm our commitment to unapologetically serve the Lord.  Let’s obey our Lord and we will see great things happen.

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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The Sheep from Another Pen

Jesus painted wonderful and memorable word pictures that describe God’s marvelous love for his people.  In John chapter 10 he pictured God’s people as a flock of sheep.  The Good Shepherd, Jesus, calls his sheep by name and they recognize his voice.  He goes ahead of them and leads his flock out to pasture.

The flock is endangered by a wolf and made vulnerable by a hired hand.  The wolf slips in to steal and destroy the flock.  The hired hand flees, leaving the sheep to be attacked and scattered.  Although the hired hand protects himself at the expense of the flock, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus’ metaphor is a striking way to think about God’s people (the flock of sheep), Jesus (the Good Shepherd), Satan (the wolf), and false teachers (the hired hand).  The great affection of the Good Shepherd for his sheep is expressed by his willingness to die for his flock, an obvious reference to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary.

In his lovely portrait of God’s sacrificial affection, Jesus introduced the idea that he also has sheep that are from another pen.  In other words, the people of God include more than citizens of Jerusalem or Israel.  In fact, God sent Jesus to be Savior for people from every tribe, language, race, and nation.

Jesus emphasized his global mission to tell all people everywhere about God’s plan of salvation after his resurrection, just before he ascended back to heaven.  We should not, however, mistakenly get the impression that the Great Commission was a sort of afterthought or last-minute addition to Jesus’ mission.  The worldwide scope of Jesus’ mission is in the DNA of his words and works.

Missionary work is not an afterthought in Christianity; it is the very heart of God.  The Good Shepherd has a love that leaves the ninety-nine in order to find the one lost lamb.  And he rejoices when that endangered sheep is found.   And the Good Shepherd calls his followers to share in the toil and the triumph of God’s global mission.

May the love of Christ compel us to go and tell the Good News,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Faith: Finding Faith, Growing in Faith and Saving Faith

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (10:17, NIV).  This verse is speaking to all those who are followers of Jesus Christ.  It reminds us of our task and our method.

According to Romans 10:17, our goal is “faith.”  We serve together in order to help people find faith.  And for those who already have faith, we help them to grow in faith.  As we help others, we grow in our own faith, too.  God’s Spirit knits our souls together with him and with one another into a thriving community of faith that serves his Kingdom and enjoys his blessings.

The faith of Romans 10:17 is not just any faith, but faith that comes “through the word of Christ.”  The Bible tells us that some faith is in vain.  Faith in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ is not saving faith.  Other faiths may be comforting faiths, or satisfying faiths, or popular faiths, or even impressive faiths.  But only faith in Christ is saving faith.

Faith comes from “hearing the message.”  We need not worry about finding a message; we have one already.  Jesus sacrificed himself as a sin offering so that all who place their faith in him will be completely forgiven and eternally blessed by God.

Faith comes from “hearing the message.”  The message is the word of Christ.  As followers of Jesus we have the great opportunity and challenge to tell the Good News about Jesus Christ.  We participate in God’s Kingdom work by making sure that every child and every adult possible hears and understands the great message of saving faith through Jesus Christ.

Every local church exists in order to help people find faith and to grow in faith.  As people are saved and strengthened in faith, the Body of Christ is built up.  And as we carry out our God-given mission we bring glory to God the Father who saves us through his Son Christ Jesus.

May the Lord empower us to grow strong in the faith,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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The Party of the Cosmos

Jesus did not die only to save us from our sins.  He also died to unite God’s people, removing the barriers that separate us from one another (Ephesians 2:14-18).  To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to God’s people.  Jesus’ death has given us a new and living way into the holy Presence of God and a new and vital relationship with one another.

The Christian life is one of serving and worshiping God together with other believers.  Once saved, we are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom, so we share a common loyalty and a common mission.  We are fellow members of God’s family, so we share our individual lives.  And we are living parts of God’s Temple, so we share the indwelling Presence of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Followers of Jesus are like the various parts of a person’s physical body.  The parts are many but the body is one.  The individual parts do not all have the same function.  Each part contributes in a unique way to the health of the body.  Each part needs the body and the body needs every part (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).

Each follower of Jesus is called and equipped by God to serve the Body of Christ and to be served by the Body of Christ.  Believers are equipped with spiritual gifts, abilities given by God’s Spirit like teaching, leading, or showing mercy.  No single believer has every spiritual gift, which means that every believer is dependent on other believers in order to live a healthy spiritual life.

Many of you know your spiritual gifts.  You know what God has called and equipped you to do in order to serve him in the local church.  Others of you are still seeking.  Please pray and search the Scriptures, especially Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.  God has given you the ability to do something that will honor him, strengthen the church, and bless you.

In addition to a kingdom, a family, a temple, and a body, the church in the New Testament is also pictured as a bride.  All believers collectively are the radiant Bride of Christ, for whom the Lord is preparing a great feast: the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-8).  Our Lord Jesus is working toward the day when he will present his Bride, the Church, to himself without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-30).

My prayer for each of you is that you will take your place in God’s Kingdom, Family, Temple, and Body, and labor for the day when we will celebrate together with our Lord at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

May the Lord knit us together with the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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