<![CDATA[Valley Forge Baptist Church - Blog]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 21:57:29 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[What I Need BEFORE He Uses Us!]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:36:54 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/what-i-need-before-he-uses-us     Doctor Pink is one of my favorite preachers and authors!  He was very, very good and making the truth of the Bible clear and understandable to those who seek to know and walk with the Lord.  I came across this challenging graphic and it made me think deeply about myself and my walking with the Lord regarding how I understood what my own perception of self was/need to be in order to walk with Him in a way that was glorifying to His marvelous Name and beneficial to His Kingdom.

     It is only when I am aware of what I am in my own strength and being that I can expect that the Lord to do and be to me all I desire for Him to be!!  It is not that I do nothing, but I must know that, in and of myself, without His enablement and empowerment, I can even stand before Him as useful His servant -

and that what I dearly want to do!!
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<![CDATA[Justifying and Condemning - Abomination]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:54:06 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/september-11th-2017Pastor Bill Farrow
“He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.” (Proverbs 17:15 (Cf. 24:24))
     I’m certain that that there were some events and happenstances that prompted Solomon’s statement here; we don’t have a clue as to what exactly they were, but it seems obvious that there was something going that Solomon found distasteful and that he was convinced that God hated and found more than a little objectionable Himself.  While we don’t want to just take another’s word for a matter, I think it essential that we lend some greater (if not a good deal greater) credence to that which the Word of God puts forth as reliable and binding to the way we think and act.
      I read a short article by Dr. John MacArthur recently about the definition of truth in the modern world and whether or not  the concept of truth has any hope of surviving in our modern world today! 
     He asked a very stirring question for us to consider…Is truth subjective?  Does it hinge on our preferences and perspective?  Many today would answer yes to both questions. That’s why most social media platforms today are weighed down with endless debates that boil down to “my truth” versus “your truth.” But that kind of relativism is nothing new. It merely echoes the ancient question that Pontius Pilate asked of Jesus: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
     Where, after all, does the concept of truth come from, and why is it so basic to all human thought? Every idea we have, every relationship we cultivate, every belief we cherish, every fact we know, every argument we make, every conversation we engage in, and every thought we think presupposes that there is such a thing as “truth.” The idea is an essential concept, without which the human mind could not function.
     Even if you are one of those trendy thinkers who claims to be skeptical about whether “truth” is really a useful category anymore, to express that opinion you must presume that truth is meaningful on some fundamental level. One of the most basic, universal, and undeniable axioms of all human thought is the absolute necessity of truth. (And we might add that the necessity of absolute truth is its close corollary.)  He then strove to give a Scriptural definition of truth:
     So what is truth:
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<![CDATA[Justifying and Condemning - Abomination]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:50:47 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/justifying-and-condemning-abomination2254195Pastor Bill Farrow
“He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.” (Proverbs 17:15 (Cf. 24:24))
     I’m certain that that there were some events and happenstances that prompted Solomon’s statement here; we don’t have a clue as to what exactly they were, but it seems obvious that there was something going that Solomon found distasteful and that he was convinced that God hated and found more than a little objectionable Himself.  While we don’t want to just take another’s word for a matter, I think it essential that we lend some greater (if not a good deal greater) credence to that which the Word of God puts forth as reliable and binding to the way we think and act.
     I read a short article by Dr. John MacArthur recently about the definition of truth in the modern world and whether or not  the concept of truth has any hope of surviving in our modern world today! 
     He asked a very stirring question for us to consider…Is truth subjective?  Does it hinge on our preferences and perspective?  Many today would answer yes to both questions. That’s why most social media platforms today are weighed down with endless debates that boil down to “my truth” versus “your truth.” But that kind of relativism is nothing new. It merely echoes the ancient question that Pontius Pilate asked of Jesus: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
     Where, after all, does the concept of truth come from, and why is it so basic to all human thought? Every idea we have, every relationship we cultivate, every belief we cherish, every fact we know, every argument we make, every conversation we engage in, and every thought we think presupposes that there is such a thing as “truth.” The idea is an essential concept, without which the human mind could not function.
     Even if you are one of those trendy thinkers who claims to be skeptical about whether “truth” is really a useful category anymore, to express that opinion you must presume that truth is meaningful on some fundamental level. One of the most basic, universal, and undeniable axioms of all human thought is the absolute necessity of truth. (And we might add that the necessity of absolute truth is its close corollary.)  He then strove to give a Scriptural definition of truth:

     So what is truth?
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<![CDATA[Faith Persevering in Trial]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:50:53 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/faith-persevering-in-trialPastor Bill Farrow
     The basic idea is Psalm 40 is kind of a unification to two thoughts
  • First there is the idea of what a good thing it is to “wait” on the Lord
  • Secondly, there is the idea how faith can help us to persevere in the difficulties that afflict us during our lives.
     We should note that a couple of these verses are pretty famous ones, well known for how well and directly the connect with believers and their living for Christ.  The first three verses, in particular, speak to the blessings of “waiting” on the Lord:
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1      I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.

2        He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.

3        He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.
     Now, before we move forward in considering just what David has to say to us, let’s get in mind and then keep in mind that the over-arching idea here, that gives an underlying sense to all that follows this very first phrase is that we are talking about what can (and likely should be) that, as the children of God and as those who know and trust Him – we are those who wait and wait patiently on He and on His actions in our lives. David wants us to be reassured that when we are willing to wait for the Lord, specifically, when we set ourselves to wait “patiently” for Him.  Setting the stage for us, we’ll note that David, as he frequently does, started his message by telling us to whom he was writing and what it was intended as
     This can reassure us that God is not silent or inactive on our behalf when we are having difficulty.  David speaks to use regarding a number of blessings that are ours when we wait patiently for the Lord. 

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<![CDATA[Remove Not the Ancient Landmark]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 17:40:35 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/remove-not-the-ancient-landmarkby Pastor Bill Farrow
 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
​– Proverbs 22:28 (Cf. 23:10, 11).
     This is one of those verses in Proverbs that, as Solomon wrote it, conveyed the general sense of one who would understand it in the context of one who lived at the time and in the society he lived in.  The “landmark” he uses to give the beginning reference to was the boundary stone which sense was drawn from Deut. 19:14; 27:17:
     The first place we see any categorical reference to it is having to do with what we can call “Property Boundaries”

14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. (Deuteronomy 19:14
     Moses is referring to the markers that defined the inheritance that a person had, either which he received himself or coming down through his family.....
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<![CDATA[Fearing, Departing, Raging or Confidence]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 17:57:28 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/fearing-departing-raging-or-confidencePastor Bill Farrow
 “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth and is confident.” – Proverbs 14:16 (Cf. 12:15; 22:3).
     Once again we see Solomon, reputedly the wisest man who ever lived, teaching us about the difference between one who behaves in a wise fashion and one who conducts oneself in a foolish way.  As is the case in many of instances in which this kind of language is used, it is the relationship and of the one that is object and their relationship and interaction with God that is compared with one who has no such relationship.  Just to take note, this particular verse is talking about the “wrong way” of handling the matters that confront people in life.  It tis not the only place in the Scriptures where such a “wrong way” of proceeding yields bad result.  We’ll not develop these other examples but simply mention them:
  • There is the example of Nabal who proceeded on a terrible direction setting himself against King David in 1 Sam. 25:36-37.
  • There is the example of Solomon (the writer here!) himself in 1 King 11:1-8 and Eccl. 2:2, pursuing literally HUNDREDS on foreign wives which resulted quite a number sinful result, most serious being the embracing of foreign gods.
  • Of course, there is the example of Belshazzar in Daniel 5 where he had a great and lively feast which allowed the MedoPersians to have opportunity they ought not have had.
  • Likewise there is the example of the Israelites themselves in Amos 6:3-7 who indulged themselves and reaped the results of that indulgence.
  • Of course we also remember the example of Judas (Acts 1:25) who is cited and reaping the result of his own self service.
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<![CDATA[The Rich Rules Over the Poor]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 15:07:39 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/the-rich-rules-over-the-poorPastor Bill Farrow
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
​– Proverbs 22:7.
     The verse here is one of quite a few that illustrates the contrast between what Solomon calls the “rich … lender” who rules the “poor … borrower” (v. 7) and tells us that such an  one is in contrast to the bountiful person who shares with the poor (v. 9). Between these two, v. 8 describes the powerful man who will come to ruin.  Though it sure that this is naturally true we should remember that such an attitude by those with riches is condemned (cf. 22:22, 23; Deut. 24:14–18; Is. 5:8; Jer. 34:13, 17; Mic. 2:2).  We should also note that this can be seen to be a warning about placing ourselves into a position of being in debt incautiously.  We can see that this can be seen as a warning against being a borrower; and we should remember that other proverbs warn against guaranteeing others’ debts (6:1–2; 20:16).
     We might also note that this is not telling us that ALL rich people are horrible and exert their “richness” over those not in that condition.  But there is a clearly negative idea present here. 
“The rich rules over the poor, and” – Proverbs 22:7.
     However, we want to note that thee negativity of the idea is that of seeing things from the perspective of the poor person.  Those having riches do have authority and influence over those who have none.  This is a clarity that is present throughout Proverbs AND Psalms.  It is not saying that everyone having money is a true villain and wants to exert evil over the poor.
     Just as an interesting note, this is an idea that we see today, particularly in our country (the USA).  We seem to think that the “rich” are inherently evil whose only intention is to serve themselves and exert power over all others.  This is not what Solomon is saying to us here (or in other references to the rich). His point is that those who are lacking in possessions should remember that it is, indeed, those having possessions that exercise influence over those without. 
     His point here is that it is important for all of us to see that it is money (or things) and the possession of them that give influence in society.  Likewise, the second phrase tells us that it is seeking (borrowing) of material goods (money?) that makes one, at least to some degree, the servant of the one from whom it is borrowed.  What Solomon means by this:
…the borrower is servant to the lender.
     “Servant” in this second phrase is the chief word used in the OT for “Slave” speaking of one owing or being forced to serve another.  Here, the one who borrows MUST pay that which is borrowed, or, at least do what is needful to see to it that what is borrowed back to the lender.  It is a MUST.  Until the borrowed amount is repaid, the borrower MUST do what is needful to meet the obligation.  Of course, this is not a particularly surprising or mystifying idea to us.  In this age of credit cards and using lent money for all manner of things, we can easily understand what Solomon is saying to us.
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<![CDATA[A Way That Seems Right to a Man]]>Sat, 12 Aug 2017 16:40:29 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/a-way-that-seems-right-to-a-manby Pastor Bill Farrow
“There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” – Proverbs 14:12 (Cf. 7:27; 12:15; 16:2, 25; 21:2).
     Once again, we consider one of the more famous of Solomon’s Proverbs.  It is a part of a section where he is considering some fairly significant
  • In Chapter 14:1–35 we see him draw a contrast between the wise and foolish, the rich and poor.
  • Next, in Chapter 15:1–33 He talks about the better course
    (as opposed to the thoughts in the prior chapter) of wisdom and serving God.

  • In Chapter 16:1–33. He speaks of the better way of life through serving the Lord.
  • Then, in Chapters 17:1–18:24 we read of the various maxims regulating good conduct.
  • Finally, in chapters 19:1–22:16 we find listed various Proverbs regulating personal conduct.
     Here in chapter 14 we note that our verse is framed by verses that contrast
  • the approach of the prudent (vv. 8a, 15b) with that of fools
    (v. 8b) and the simple (v. 15a).

     Solomon believed that it is prudent to recognize that appearances can be deceptive (a person’s exterior vs. the state of the heart, vv. 10 and 13; the solidity of the house vs. the tent, v. 11; and a way that seems right, v. 12).  He makes it clear that whatever the appearance, the path of one’s life has consequences consistent with how it is walked.
     This is a VERY important concept to get into our heads as well live out our lives.  We should note that it was one that Solomon learned by experience as throughout his life he made choice after choice that had terrible circumstances.  He is NOT seeking to exalt a sense of superiority over his readers (and neither should we!!) but rather is using his personal experience as an example of the principle set forth here so that you and I might learn from it and avoid the kinds of trouble that he, sadly suffered in his life.

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<![CDATA[What A Scorner Seeks]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 15:28:37 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/what-a-scorner-seeksby Pastor Bill Farrow
 “A scorner seeks wisdom, and finds it not:
but knowledge is easy to him that understands.”

– Proverbs 14:6

     One of the things that we see in our modern society is the tendency to express oneself with a small or a larger degree of sarcasm and/or mockery.  There are a couple different words used, depending on the English version you are using.  In the Scripture, you may see scorner or mocker, a noun which speaks of someone who jeers, mocks, or treats something with contempt, or perhaps, who calls out in derision.  It can actually speak of anyone who speaks in a negative or scoffing manner.  It can be used to tear down, to speak derisively, even to being boastful or in a fashion that seems to put on airs or encourages another to think less of what is being spoken of.
​     The Bible actually has a LOT to say about those who indulge in “scorn”:
​     Of course…we all know that David told us that the sufferings of Christ, at least in part, involved his being “scorned”
But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him! (Ps 22:6–8 ​)
Similarly, Isaiah the Prophet said that scorn would be a part of Jesus’ experience:
Is 53:3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Luke 18:32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.
The Gospels tell us that, once he was here, Christ endured as a reaction to what He said and did...
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<![CDATA[Remaining in the Congregation of the Dead]]>Sat, 05 Aug 2017 21:01:21 GMThttp://vfbaptist.org/blog/remaining-in-the-congregation-of-the-deadPastor Bill Farrow
The man that wanders out of the way of understanding
​shall remain in the congregation of the dead.  ​(Prov. 21:16)
     This is the 12th and the last of the Prophecies Solomon puts forth in his Book.  One of His intentions is to communicate that when justice is practiced, it is a joy for those who have walked in its ways and a terror to those who have perverted them (v. 15). Verses 16–18 describe the reality of the terror for the wicked: they have turned from the path that leads to life (v. 16), loved mere pleasure and luxury to their own impoverishment (v. 17), and are themselves a ransom—an image that likely reflects the merciless manner in which they treated others (v. 18; cf. vv. 10, 13).  The essence here underscores what has come to be the knowledge of what we call “common sense”.  It is not anything that requires “special” knowledge of insight.  Solomon’s point is that all men should know and practice this or they will suffer the lack for it. 
     This fact is driven home by the use of the Hebrew word translated “wanders”.  It speaks of wandering about unknowingly or with lack of purposeful choice.  It speaks of “staggering” or unknowingly going in an erroneous direction.  We can get the message if we get in our mind one who is badly confused and cannot discern just which “way” in which he ought to procced.  Thus, his ability to make that choice winds up with him “wandering” instead of proceeding in the purposeful and thoughtful way he should have gone.
The man that wanders out of the way of understanding
​shall remain in the congregation of the dead. (Prov. 21:16)
     The implication of the verse is that there is some purposeful choice involved here.  The choice is not for the particulars of the path taken.  It is for the decision to NOT do what is needful to see to it that all is done to be sure that they will go rightly and how they must. 
     How many of us have failed in this manner?  In so many regards, life requires a careful and deliberate examination in order to plan and see to it that we do NOT end up wandering around subject to wandering “out of the way of understanding”.  The “way” here speaks of the path or the road that leads to what Solomon calls “understanding” which, in turn speaks, not of mental capacity or a grasp of things, but rather of success or understanding/ comprehension that prepares and enables one accomplish what he desires to/must or should do.  Whatever is needful to move along that “path” deliberately and with the aim of accomplishing the goal that it leads to. 
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