Bethel Baptist Association

Linden, Alabama

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Want to Know God?

Want to know God?

By Bobby E. Hopper
January 28, 2010
Director of Missions
Bethel Baptist Association


J.M.’s eldest son asked, “Dad, why don’t you give your heart and life to Christ?” J.M. answered, “Son, you don’t know what all I have done.”

J.M. had an intriguing past. As a 5-year-old, he, along with his eight siblings, felt the impact of the Great Depression. Six years later, he witnessed his dad’s suicide. At 18, he left for World War II.

While serving in North Africa and Italy, J.M. had a machine gun and a grenade wound. He was left for dead in a foxhole, was taken prisoner, eventually escaped and was missing in action for a short time. His mom received word that he was dead — killed in action. She responded, “No, he is not because I am praying for him.” Yes, J.M. had a praying mother. Her last plea before her death was that all her children be saved.

Somewhere in J.M.’s past, he learned his sins were so bad that he could not be saved. He attended church on Christmas and Easter and for funerals without any persuasion but had to be begged on other occasions. He wanted his children to be Christians, but he knew there was no hope for him. He always made sure that someone offered the blessing before a meal. He acknowledged that God was in control but could not accept the fact that God could forgive him.

J.M.’s eldest son could not bear the thought of eternal separation from his dad. He would say, “Dad, if you ask God to forgive you, Psalm 103:12 says, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.’”

J.M. was confident that his sin was too great. He understood Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” but did not understand Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto Him (Jesus) that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” The Holy Spirit was working in J.M.

Finally he could not resist the prayers and pleas of those who loved him. At 58, J.M. asked Jesus to forgive him. Dying two years later, he had lived an abundant life as promised in John 10:10b, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

 

Want to know God?

By Bobby E. Hopper
February 25, 2010
Director of Missions
Bethel Baptist Association


Everett did not have time for God. He spent Sundays working on his work car. The pleas of his wife and mother-in-law to attend church with them were answered with “I have to work on my car so I can make a living.”

Everett was about to get a startling revelation from his mother-in-law, whom everyone called Granny. Granny was a God-fearing widow and sharecropper who raised nine children during the Great Depression. She lived by faith. Her revelation for Everett: Working on the old car was reward for not spending time with God. She was not a name-it-and-claim-it person, but through her hardships, she had learned to depend on God. Her challenge to Everett: Trust God and serve Him. Granny used Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:33–34: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Frustrated with the endless task of car repair, motivated by the prayers and loving compassion of his wife and mother-in-law and drawn by the Holy Spirit, Everett decided to put his faith in the Lord. He accepted the salvation found in accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. He made a public confession of his sins and committed his life to serving Jesus.

Everett committed to reading the Bible, joining and attending the local church and tithing. Granny challenged Everett to stop spending money on the old car and give to God. 

Everett never looked back. Serving the Lord for the rest of his life, he never missed an opportunity to share his testimony. He wanted people to know God and His promise to care for His children. 

Everett admitted that when he spent more time with God, he spent less time working on his old car. God did not give him a new car or more money. Everett just became a better steward of what God gave him.

That is what knowing God is. It is seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness and believing He will meet your need. 

Want to know God?

 
Thursday, March 25, 2010
By Bobby E. Hopper
 

One night at prayer meeting, I watched as an elderly church member reached for a newborn baby. The baby's mother slowly and tenderly handed the newborn to the woman. In that single moment, I thought, "God, what are you teaching me?" The oldest member of church was holding the newest addition to the church family, and the profundity of it has intrigued me since that moment.

An elderly woman holding a baby boy does not sound profound, but the significance of the moment is. Ninety-plus years of wisdom was holding innocence. The experience of that woman who had witnessed many innovations caressed an immature babe who would see advancements the woman could never imagine. A mind full of memories was staring at one who would not remember this moment. One dear woman nearing the end of her journey was blessing a little boy just beginning his.

I pondered the love that Miss Martha gave to little Mac that night. It was a special flash to see how wonderful God is. Was Miss Martha passing the Christian baton to Mac? Was she praying for Mac's health, his journey in life or his salvation? How many newborns had she held and blessed in her lifetime? Did she ponder the thoughts Nicodemus mulled over when Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:7)? She had been born again many years before and now walked feebly toward the end of one journey yet spiritually ran boldly toward the beginning of eternity.

Was Miss Martha rejoicing over the apostle Paul's saying, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" as she held a new baby (2 Cor. 5:17)?

I do not know Miss Martha's thoughts or Mac's mother's feelings, but I know I felt a sense of awe when God's saint held a newborn in the house of the Lord. I felt as though I saw Anna when she saw baby Jesus. "And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:36a, 38).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

By Bobby E. Hopper

Thirty -two years ago dad died.  Here is a patriotic Poem in his honor:

 

The Man in the Middle Lives
 
Appearing as a dark fog drifting from hole to hole
Death, devastation, and destruction shrouded
The sacred ground where demonic fiends
Methodically pierced the hearts of the mutilated
 
Silent are loud bombs, rattling guns, exploding grenades as
Aromas of sulfur, blood, and guts saturate the air along with
Coalescing cries of pain, pleas for help, and begging God
Become quiet as the grim reaper surveys the carnage
 
Enthusiastic agents of death with spikes of demise
See three in another death pit to add to their trophies
Two disfigured youth had given the ultimate sacrifice as
Death laughed when his urchins penetrated their silent hearts
 
One urchin twisted his lethal tool deep into victim’s heart
As his partner made a noxious jab in the other victim’s heart
Shielded by the prayers of a mother on her knees and far away
Her son lies motionless beneath two that died to set people free
 
Petrified, the son deciphered enemy idiom concerning his plight
With devious confidence, the urchin replies the third one is ours
Blinded buoyancy does not allow them to see the young man’s verve
Death cannot and will not eradicate a mother’s prayer and true life
 
Anonymous and gone are the two who shielded the man in the middle
Eternal are the praying mother and the son whom she loved
Always present are the agents of evil seeking to kill and destroy
A praying nation will continue to bolster the red, white, and blue
 
The man in the middle left a legacy behind through his children
Teaching them be responsible citizens because freedom is not free