Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:10, 11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I am sure many people say the same. It is a time of festive joy that seems almost palpable at times. Even the normally grumpy are a bit tempered in their grumpyness. But, rather than just the festive joy, it is the reason why there is joy is what makes it my favorite. Yes, at times all the “festivness” can seem a bit overwhelming. It is in those times I must stop and remember why there can be joy at all. It is not the lights, parties, presents, or even family, it is Christ. Even if there were no festivities, there would be Christmas because, Christmas is Christ. He came, and He came for me!

Perhaps what excites me most is the fact of His coming just as it is written in the word. The angel, the shepherds, the star, the wise man, all of it. This Christmas I would like to share with you a little story I wrote some time ago about the visit of the angels to the shepherds. While it is a work of fiction, I have followed the Scriptures as well as facts of history and traditional beliefs. I trust you will find it encouraging this season. Merry Christmas!

The Castle of Bethlehem

I was with Baba, my father, that night. It had been a long day. Baba was a shepherd. But not any shepherd, he was a shepherd for the sheep that would one day be sent to the temple for sacrifice. Baba was a good shepherd, in many ways he was considered the lead shepherd for the temple flocks. All the others looked to him for leadership and teaching the ways of a shepherd. That is why I was with him that night. I had just gone through bar mitzpha and was now to learn my way as a man. The day had begun with great excitement. I would spend the next several weeks with Baba in the field learning to watch the sheep. This would be the most time spent with my father in a long time. As a temple shepherd he was almost never home, and though he cared for temple sheep he was under a rabbinical ban since he could hardly ever go to the temple for services.

It was the 9th of Tebheth and so a fast day, for the Rabbi’s believed the Messiah would come on this day, though they had said such for a long time. But Baba loved Jehovah and the promise of His coming and so we fasted. This made the day even longer. With the cold wind and wandering sheep, the hunger in my belly had grown as large as the tiredness in my limbs. Once the sun was down I was so glad to finally have some food and lay upon my rough bed and sleep.

It seemed as only minutes had passed, though it had been many hours since we had our dinner. suddenly Baba was shaking me to awake and see. It should have been dark but all around was bathed in bright light from the sky. It was then I heard him; Fear Not! By now, Baba was standing motionless with an uplifted face. I couldn’t help but stand beside him, unmoving and enraptured by what we saw before us; an angelic being shrouded in what could only be a heavenly glory. He spoke;

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10-12)

As soon as he finished the entire night sky around the Migdal Edar was enthroned with a host of angels. Together they spoke in unison giving praise to Jehovah.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

I heard every word clear as if they were talking just to me within arm’s reach. And yet, as they spoke it was as if a pure and heavenly song was coursing through my very being. And then they were gone!

Baba spoke, “David, we must go.”

“Where Baba?” I replied.

“To Bethlehem. We must see this child. He is the Messiah. And Jehovah has announced to us, of all people, His birth. We dare not ignore such an invitation!”

“Yes, Baba.” Though I so wanted to be a man, I couldn’t help but take my father’s hand in mine as he struck out for the village of Bethlehem a few miles off. The other shepherds were following us. All of them!

It seemed to take us only minutes to walk those few miles to the village. It was almost as Baba knew exactly where to go. We came to the inn at the edge of the village. My uncle Abram owned this inn. When we brought the sheep for the temple to town it was in his stable that we kept them. Oddly this stable was filled with light this night. There was a young couple there. Candles were burning brightly while the cattle lowed softly.

There He was, just as the angel said. Wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. The man kneeling close looked up as we approached. He appeared startled that all of us were there. “Yes,” he said, “can I help you?”

“May we see Him?” Baba replied.

The man just stared at first with a question in his eyes. “How did you know a baby boy was here?”

“The Angel told us.”

“An angel?”

“Yes. Just as we have found him. May we look into His eyes?”

At first he was hesitant, but then, “Yes, yes, you may come and see.”

We came to look. Each of us. One by one. A wonder began to fill my mind and heart. As we left, Baba began to chuckle.

“What are you laughing at Baba?” I asked.

“I heard today in the market some wise man came to King Herod looking for the new-born king. They went to the wrong castle. They should have come here to the castle of Bethlehem. For where the king is, that is the castle! Come, David. We must tell everyone that the Messiah has come.”

“Everyone, Baba?”

“Yes, for that is who He has come for!”

I have spent the rest of my life telling everyone I meet the story of that night. For He came for me and…

I heard the angels,

I saw the glory,

I viewed the Messiah!

Isaiah 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

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Published in: on December 25, 2018 at 12:06 AM  Leave a Comment  
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They Come in Threes

They say that they come in threes, funerals that is. I am not sure who “they” is. Neither can I confirm the truthfulness of the statement. I suppose it depends when you start counting. Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy it seems.
What I do know is that First Baptist in Laurel, Montana has suffered the loss of three prince servants of the Saviour this year, already. The first was Brother Greg Trout, missionary to Ireland. Though his service the Emerald Isle was short, we trust his influence continues to touch those he was reaching out to. The second was Dr. Wayne Musson, retired pastor. Dr. Musson had preached the Gospel for over 50 years. While some may remember him as a war-horse of a previous era, my memory is a bit different. I remember a man who loved his savior, the Word, and to preach. His last official sermon was to the Christian school kids of First Baptist Academy. Even singing them his “Grumbler” song. An old war-horse? Perhaps. But more importantly a man who still desired to be used in the service of the Saviour.
Lastly, and most recently was the promotion of dear saint; Mrs. Judy Cherry. When health permitted she could be found always serving the Lord. Whether that was as a Sunday School teacher, assisting her husband, or washing dishes in the church kitchen, hers was an attitude and action worth emulating. In fact each of these servants left a legacy to be followed.
We know that the Lord’s servants are precious to Him.

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Are we living our lives in such a way that faithfulness is modeled for those we leave behind? Are we living in a way that others are spurred to serve? Or, in a way that causes them to spurn the service of Christ? Are we living for now or later?

Published in: on July 28, 2016 at 12:19 AM  Comments (3)  
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The New Year

As I write these thoughts the New Year’s Day is fast drawing to a close. Many have already made their resolutions for 2016. While, normally, such resolutions only serve to give us a false sense of determination, it doesn’t have to be so for a Christian. That is, if your choices for the new year are in light of your relation to Christ and submission to His spirit. He promises to enable us to live and walk in the power of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Let us as children of the heavenly father resolve to depend upon His enabling for this new year that we may finish it well and not with regret.
Last year, here at First Baptist, our theme was “Joy in Jesus.” My final sermon to our church family was entitled “Finishing with Joy.” I would like to share it with you. May the Lord be even more real to you this year!

In His Service,
Pastor Widdis

Published in: on January 2, 2016 at 1:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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History of Fundamentalism

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

There are truths that we ought to stand and contend for. Dr. George Dollar gives a history of this ongoing struggle in his work A History Of Fundamentalism in America. First published in 1973, it has been updated by his daughter, Marcia Dollar Phillips. The updated edition includes material that Dr. Dollar had been preparing for an update covering the three decades that had elapsed since its first issue.

This work is well worth procuring for the serious student of the history of our movement. Though not as easy to read as Beale’s Pursuit of Purity by BJU Press, it is perhaps, more thorough and gives proper emphasis of the contribution of Baptists. I highly recommend it!

In His Service,
WEW

Published in: on May 11, 2010 at 9:59 PM  Comments (1)  
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Revival with Dr. Flanders

Psalm 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Last month we had a week of revival meetings with Dr. Rick Flanders. They were a real blessing to me as well as to our church. Of course there were the usual evening meetings. There were 4 individuals saved through out the week and many other decisions. Two of those that came to Christ were during the meetings, one Wednesday evening and the other Thursday evening. One of our teenagers was burdened for her friend that evening and after the service chatted with him through Facebook and he trusted Christ. Thursday afternoon we had a “Gospel luncheon outreach” at a local business. The owner allowed us to have a brief service with his employees and the foreman got saved. On Friday afternoon I hosted a Pastor’s luncheon at Perkin’s restaurant in Billings. The purpose of the luncheon was to encourage area IFB pastor’s in the are of revival.

As you can no doubt tell, the week was very helpful and spiritually productive. Perhaps the most moving other than the sound preaching was the revival prayer meetings that were held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening after the service. Those that could stay did, with no pressure to pray or stay. We definitely seemed to come to a unity with each other as we sought the Lord’s will and favour for the meetings.

Mat 18:19-20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

In His Service,
WEW

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 4:15 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Revival – What, When, How?

There is much talk of revival among independent Baptists. Some of that talk is negative – they don’t believe that it can come, and relegate the desires of the other side to Keswickian¬†leanings. The other extreme seems almost Pelagian in that it is all dependent upon man’s actions, faith, submission, and that God is obligated to give it due to our spiritual arm-twisting. Not to mention the many works that are available from other corners of “Evangelical Christianity.”

With all this confusion no wonder so many christians either don’t know what it is or if it is even necessary or wanted. Let me say that I do believe that revival is a biblical truth and that it is possible to have revival today. I desire such a moving in my life and ministry. But with so many voices the truth of Scripture sometimes gets drownded out by the good sounding ideas of men.

While I don’t claim to know all and am still learning what it is, I do know the true revival that I desire and that every Christian needs is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Also it is clear from Scripture that He can be quenched and grieved when my life is not in line with God’s truth. I encourage you to listen to the sermon included in this post. It is entitled A Heart and Mind for God. While one sermon can not be all-inclusive of the truth concerning revival, this may be a start for you.

In His Service,

WEW

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM  Comments (2)  
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