Micah 7:18, 19
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy,” Micah 7:18.
Joe is an alcoholic. After high school, he married his sweetheart. After their first child, his drinking became heavier. His wife tolerated it and even made excuses for his drunken behavior because she loved him. But, after years of abuse and his being unable to keep a job, she and their young son left. With no family and no job, Joe drank even more heavily and added drugs to the mixture.
To support his habit he committed petty theft until one day he got caught stealing a gun. In jail, Joe finally sobered up, the first time in months. The detoxification was horrible for Joe. The doctor had to be called in to give intravenous fluids and delirium tremens medication.
The past was a blur for Joe but, now, sober he could think clearly. What had he done to his family? One day the chaplain came to visit Joe. At first, it was small talk, and, then, each time the chaplain visited Joe warmed up more and more to prayer and Scripture reading. One day the chaplain read John 3:16. It puzzled Joe how God could allow His Son to die for sinners. The chaplain tried to explain God’s great love, mercy and forgiveness and read him the Scriptures in Micah 7:18, 19. Joe accepted God’s love, mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Yes, there was a celebration in Heaven that day!
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
He knew not retreat
1876 – George Grenfell, Congo’s Pioneer and Explorer, having just married, sailed with his new bride for Africa. Within a year she succumbed to dysentery, and sometime later George remarried his second wife Rose, who was able to travel with him on many of his most thrilling journeys. George had been reared in a very religious Anglican home in England but was influenced by a Baptist Sunday school at the Heneage Street Baptist Church at Birmingham. It was during this time that he read Livingstone’s Travels and dedicated himself for service in Africa. He then entered Bristol Baptist College in 1873, but learning that his missionary hero, Alfred Saker was in England, after connecting through correspondence, accompanied him to the Cameroons, beginning his work in Africa at twenty-five years of age. In August 1877, Henry M. Stanley, having been sent to find Livingstone, appeared at the mouth of the Congo, and the world was electrified in that it had taken him three years to go from the east to the west coast. Even though the Cameroons were six hundred miles north of the Congo River, Grenfel was immediately burdened to plant the message of the cross through this great waterway. In God’s providence, a wealthy man in England provided a ship to penetrate Central Africa with the gospel that was made available for Grenfell’s use. With untold sacrifices and privations he gave himself to the work. He buried his children in Africa and grieved continually over the deaths of his fellow missionaries. But he wrote, “God’s finger points ONWARD! FORWARD! What caused him the most pain was the indifference of the home churches to sending missionaries. When his mission agency considered receding, he wrote, “It is either advance or retreat; but if it is retreat, you must not count on me, I will not be a party to it, and you will have to go on without me.” Grenfell died on July 1, 1906.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 76.
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The Faith of the Lepers
1876 – Dr. James M. Haswell died after forty-one years of missionary service in Burma, with his dear wife Jane Mason, who he had married on August 23, 1835, and sailed for their chosen field one month later. He was more fruit from the Hamilton Theological Institute in Bennington, Vermont. Dr.Haswell mastered the Burmese language and then turned to the Pegulan dialect to reach the 80,000 of that tribe. He only took two furloughs, one in 1849 and another in 1867 and those were used to spur interest in missions. He was most diligent that his son James should follow him which he did but tragically died of cholera but a year after his father in 1877. But the Haswell vision lived on through their daughter Susan who founded the Maulmein Leper Colony in which she invested sixty years of her life. The government gave the land and the lepers themselves built the thatched roof buildings with, in some cases, stumps for hands and feet. It stood for years as a memorial to her and the faith of the lepers. Untold thousands were saved. [A.H. Burlingham, The Story of Baptist Missions in Foreign Lands (St. Louis: C.R. Barns Publishing Co., 1892), p. 944. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 501-02.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Shanghai – 1850
Forty-two Fruitful years in China
1847 – Matthew T. Yates and his wife Eliza, his childhood sweetheart who he had married on Sept. 27, 1846, arrived in the Shanghai harbor for a most fruitful forty-two year ministry in China. Matthew’s father and mother were active in a Baptist church in N.C. where his father William was a deacon. The Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church had sponsored a tent meeting where Matthew attended and fell under great conviction for his sin. The young man went into the woods to pray and was soundly converted and then was baptized and became a member of the
Mt. Pisgah Church. Matthew soon discovered a great desire for prayer, and established a place of solitude in the woods where he sought the presence of the Lord regularly for prayer. The love of Matthew and Eliza sustained them as they served their Lord through the Taiping Rebellion, the Civil War in America, typhoons, the cholera epidemics, and their own many illnesses. [Wm. R. Estep, Whole Gospel-Whole World (Nashville: Broadman & Holmn Publishers, 1995), p. 103.This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 499-501.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
He Served Longer than the Others
1884 – W. Holman Bentley sailed from England to the Congo to begin his second tour of missionary service, married for the first time, and with four other men and their families. Holman was the son of Rev. William Bentley, Baptist minister at Sudsbury, Suffolk, England. Holman was born Oct. 30, 1855. At 17 young Holman was reading from the Hebrew Psalter and Greek New Testament and at 19 was baptized into the Downs Chapel (Baptist) at Clapton. He became actively involved in witnessing. He was appointed as a missionary by the Baptist Mission Society on Jan. 15, 1879. The Congo missionaries had many trials including escapes from wild animals, disease and cannibals. Bentley served longer than any of the others who left with him in 1879. Even though he only lived to be fifty he translated the N.T. into Congolese and gave the people a complete dictionary and grammar. He saw over 1200 baptized and according to historians saw a whole district of wild, barbarous people almost completely evangelized and civilized, if not Christianized. [H.M. Bentley, W. Holman Bentley-The Life and labors of a Congo Pioneer (London: religious Tract Society, 1907), p8. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 481-483.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
“He said that people laughed at Noah too.”
Mr. and Mrs. John Winstead were married on Jan. 27, 1947 having been childhood sweethearts were reared in the same fundamental Methodist church. They were baptized Biblically at the same time in an old pond by a Baptist preacher. John had been converted as a 22-year-old man in the Bunn Methodist Church in the summer of 1949. He was born near Bunn, N.C., in Franklin County on March 16, 1927. On the very night he was saved he was called to preach. John left the denomination after he learned the doctrine of the autonomy of the local church. He started an independent church in a chicken coop called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. People laughed, but he said that people laughed at Noah too. A permanent building was erected in 1970 and they renamed it Calvary Baptist Tabernacle. John began Bible training at Bob Jones University in 1954 and was elected Chaplain of the senior class in 1958. His wife Lucille worked for Oliver B. Greene’s “Gospel Hour.” During this time John pastored the El Bethel Baptist Church in Swainsboro, GA. For 25 years they traveled in evangelism starting Baptist churches in Pennsylvania and two in Bunn, N.C. including many other areas. He pastored Maranatha Baptist in Bunn until his death on Feb. 8, 1992.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins