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Planning ahead, the Lord willing!

Here are some seed thoughts to help preachers and teachers and Bible students prepare Spiritual Bread suitable for God's hungry children.


 A Preacher in his Study





The miracles of Jesus, around three dozen of them are recorded in Scripture. And He performed a lot more than are mentioned in the four Gospels.

Some day I’d like to preach or teach on His miracles of raising folks from the dead.

When I do, I would remind folks of the fact that the little twelve year old girl Jesus brought back was only departed a few minutes. In fact, in Luke 8 the skeptics said she was not really dead, that recently she had expired!

Then I’d point out that when Jesus raised the widow’s son at Nain from the dead, he had been deceased a few hours, perhaps a day at most. According to the customs that prevailed in Luke 7 anyway.

Finally in the Gospel accounts, Lazarus is brought back to life by Jesus. And he had been dead four days. See John 11:39, inspired of the Holy Spirit.

See the progression?

Dead an hour!

Dead a day!

Dead over half a week!

Jesus, what a Saviour!

What a miracle-worker!

But He’s not through yet.

Some day He is retuning to the air above planet Earth to call away every dead body of every child of God who has ever died, members of the New Testament Church!

And some of them have been dead two thousand years now! “The dead in Christ shall rise first” … because Jesus has come to continue His miraculous death-defying Ministry!


Death has lost the Battle!

Jesus is the Lord of Life!

                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Notice these sentence sermons in First Thessalonians chapter five, Paul’s closing remarks in that great Epistle!

There are several sweet “volumes in a clause” as this great piece of inspired Literature culminates.

Here they are. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.” First Thessalonians 5:16-26

Short verses with great meanings!

Some day I would like to preach or teach these little jewels from the pen of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s advice to a Church family he loved dearly.

But for today let’s look at the logical sequence in which these little commands fall. Paul’s parting advice to the Thessalonian Christians.

First of all we are to rejoice! “Rejoice evermore.” Attitude is that important it seems, not losing one spirit of praise!

Then we can pray better. Praying in a defeated and negative spirit can only hinder one’s effectiveness at the Throne of Grace. So it must be this way: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.” A right attitude is a prerequisite for right praying!

But prayer sets one to giving thanks! Almost automatically! So Paul wrote in this order: “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.”

Then we are to love preaching, “prophesying” here. But before we can properly hear the Word of God declared powerfully, we must be sure we have not grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit! One precedes the other. “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.” Get right with God on the way to Church!

And of course the natural result of hearing Biblical proclamation is to: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

And when we’ve eaten a good spiritual meal, heard and applied great preaching, we are ready to pray better for each other and love one another more fervently! “Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.”

Herein we have proper spiritual growth I believe. These commands are in exactly the right order!

Now that’s a Bible paragraph worth studying!

                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It’s one of my favorite all time Bible Passages.

It’s powerful, too.

It is sequential also.

Eight Holy Spirit ordained, perfectly arranged steps to spiritual growth.

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge. And to knowledge add temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness. And to godliness add brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Second Peter 1:5-8

This Text has probably captivated me for years. This Preacher, I think, has spent more time here in Peter’s Epistle than anywhere else in the whole Bible!

I’m sure of this fact. Herein lays the “secret” to spiritual maturity as children of God.

Faith comes first because that’s how we got saved, “By grace through Faith in Jesus.”

Virtue or purity follows, always, because once a person is saved the Holy Spirit “cleans up” his life.

Knowledge is third because this essential quality is only acquired by the Holy Spirit’s teaching. And He only instructs a “clean” student!

Temperance means “self-control” and must be applied as we learn how to live for Jesus. Temperance always follows knowledge. Putting into practice what the Lord has taught us to do.

But why is patience fifth? This grace, only available through responding properly to life’s tests and trials, comes when people react to our living for Jesus. In this sense patience is the natural expectation of self-control.

By the time we’ve blended these first six qualities into our lives, we are ready to worship the Lord. And that’s what godliness involves.

And as we grow, little by little we come to better appreciate the input in our lives fellow Christians have. Maybe we experience brother kindness out of necessity at first, then out of eager desire at the end.

 Finally the Spirit carries us to the apex of spiritual success, love or charity or that little Greek noun agape, fervent attachment to those we serve!

What a list!

Eight ingredients, essential traits for balance and victory in the Christian way of life.

Someone reading here today “play” with this tally. See what insight the Lord gives you as you analyze the Holy Spirit’s recipe for maturity.

                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I’ve used this verse for years. But recently seen it in an altogether new “light.” The Word of God is that way, always alive and showing its students new ideas and meanings and applications!

What a Book it is!

Psalm 66:18 says “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” If I willfully harbor sin in my life, God is not obligated to hear and answer my prayers!

That’s true, all right.

But wait a minute! As a born-again child of God my sin has already been forgiven, all of it. At the Cross of Calvary two thousand years ago.

One thing for sure about a Believer in Jesus is this, he or she is forgiven. Right now, for all time! Sin is gone, in its past and present and future sense too!

So the rest of this Psalm 66 paragraph is all the more startling! Though iniquity might be in my heart, the next verse promises something, or observes something, almost too good to be true! “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19

As messy a Christian as I am, as carnal as I can be, as lukewarm as we all are at times … the Lord still hears me!


If a Christian is sincere in his love for the Lord, if she is non-hypocritical in her heart attitudes … I’m pretty sure this great paragraph holds true.

Watch it all now.

“I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” Psalm 66:17-20

Though I sin. Though I am such a failure … He still hears me! He still attends to the voice of my prayer! He does not turn me away! His Mercy is omnipresent!

Thank You, Lord.

Grace, what a word!

                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

I do not mean these thoughts to be a "license" to sin. A growing Christian wants to please the Lord, not live carelessly. Nonetheless, where sihn abounds, Grace does much more abound.




After Naaman the leper was cleansed, his vileness washed away by the power of God, the tender new “man of faith” asked an unusual thing.

I really think Naaman typifies or pictures a sinner who has just been born again!

A “babe” in Christ, that’s what one of my old Pastors called such a Believer.

Such folks, inexperienced in the faith, can sometimes come up with some unusual ideas!

For example, what the newly-washed, Jordan-cleansed Naaman asked of the Prophet Elisha. He petitioned the man of God on the way back home, back to Syria, immediately after the miracle that changed his life.

Here’s what the man asked. To us it’s a “silly” thing, but to him it was obviously a different matter.

“And Naaman said to Elisha the Prophet, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.” Second Kings 5:17

Did you read this?

Two mules’ loads of dirt!

Naaman must have reasoned, “This land is where a great healing occurred. In their River Jordan where my deadly leprosy was cleansed.

I must go back to Syria, a long way to travel. But my King is there. I am committed to his service. I am the captain of his army and the head bodyguard to his person.

But this “Holy Land” is wonderful! I am so thrilled with what happened to me in this place. I am a new person. A new life has been given me!

I know what I must do, thinks Naaman.

I will take some Palestinian dirt home!

That’s special soil, no doubt.

It might be “magic” dirt!

I will take some Palestinian dirt home!

That’s special soil, no doubt.

It might be “magic” dirt!

And we of course all laugh a little.

At his superstition or immaturity or whatever it was.

But I’d like to caution us all.

Young, immature Christians can still come up with some “strange” ideas.

And we had best expect such. They need to be guided and encouraged and occasionally corrected!

Yes, Naaman was really cleansed!

He was a genuine miracle!

But with some strange ideas!

Until he grew some in the Lord, no doubt.

We need not be surprised at such things yet today.

Thank God they’re saved!

Help them grow in Jesus!

God’s Work marches onward!

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Sick Preachers, they are my topic today.

Paul was one of them, at least at times.

He writes to one of the Churches: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” Galatians 4:13

Obviously now I am talking about physical illness, bodily ailments. For that matter emotional crises can be added as well, burn-out and breakdowns and the like.

We do not even know for sure what kind of “sickness” Paul had while in the province of Galatia. The commentaries are rather silent about the issue too.

We just know this. The Man of God kept on preaching the Word … even while sick!

We know too that God eventually alleviated some of Paul’s burden in this area. The longer Paul lasted, the more fiercely persistent he became in serving God’s people in that wild heathen land … the more he improved in his body.

That does not always happen though. Some of God’s choice servants die.

The point being made today is this. Some of you attend Churches where your Preacher is not as strong as he once was. And mark my word, eventually criticism will come his way, someone will verbally attack that dear man of God.

Listen to me. If he is preaching the Word, even in physical weakness, stand with him!

Love him

Encourage him.

And challenge anyone who would hurt him!

This is for sure. God will bless you for your loyalty!

Preachers are my heroes.

“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”

Especially those who serve God through hard times!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I think this is my favorite of all the Easter Texts in Scripture. Unless the very Account of Jesus’ Resurrection surpasses it. What Truth these verses proclaim!

Paul is writing in First Corinthians 15, certainly the Bible’s great Resurrection chapter.

Here it is. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also.” First Corinthians 15:3-8

This obviously is a list.

A list of people Paul knew, including himself, who had “seen” Jesus, had witnessed His being Alive, after His crucifixion!

Folks, these are eyewitnesses to the literal “coming back from the dead” of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s powerful evidence!

Let’s count them.

One, Peter, also known as Cephas.

Next, the Twelve, the disciples after Judas had died.

Three, over five hundred people at once!

Four, James the Pastor of that early Jerusalem Church. He was also likely a half brother to Jesus.

Fifth in the list, Paul himself!

How many witnesses?

Reliable, vocal, saw-Him-with-my-own eyes accounts!


Yes, Jesus is no longer dead!

He is alive for evermore.

Praise His Name!

And through the eye of faith, I’ve seen Him too.

                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I have always though today’s verse was amazing. Jesus, after His Resurrection from the grave, in His “glorified” or “glorious” Body according to Philippians 3:21, appeared to a number of people. All of whom were already Christians best I can tell.

But according to Mark’s Gospel, at least once, our Lord showed up “in another form” to some folks walking down the roadside.

Here’s the record. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.” Mark 16:12

This is an unusual wording here. In Greek it’s “en heteros morphe.” The implication is that a resurrected body, like Jesus now possesses anyway, can transform itself into different appearances!

Yes, that adjective “another” is “heteros” and means “a different one than expected.” Different from the previous form!

Jesus appeared in a different form than He ever had before! Apparently even different than when He appeared to Mary Magdalene earlier that Day!

All I am saying is this.

One, Jesus is alive!

Two, He possesses an unusual Body, literally but glorified!

Three, He if so desired can change His appearance, alter His very form!

Four, we are going to see him some day!

Five, then we sill more fully understand the verse we’re discussing!

Last, God’s Word contains no error!

“In another form!”


                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Verse is found in Romans chapter five, one of the classic doctrinal treatises in the whole Bible.

And it ties into the Resurrection motif as well, the statement I want to mention to you today.

Typical of the Gospel accounts is the statement the angels announced to the women who had come to the tomb, Jesus’ empty tomb, that first Easter Sunday morning. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6

Now let’s juxtapose this golden statement that flowed from Paul’s inspired pen, still talking about Jesus. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life.” Romans 5:10, especially “We shall be saved by His Life!”

The greatest thing about Jesus today is not merely that He was raised from the dead. Far more ponderous is the fact that He keeps us saved, day by day by day, through His eternal Life and Ministry! I mean as He prays for us at the Right Hand of God the Father!

Easter: He is no longer in the grave. He is risen!

Even better than Easter: And He has ascended to Heaven! There to live for us eternally!


What a Saviour!

We are saved by His Life.

                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




That last chapter of Mark!

Some say, almost all “progressive” Bible scholars, that verses 9-20 are not genuine.

These men and women are wrong!

They have succumbed to current theological pressure, forcing them to deny certain portions of God’s Word in order to “climb the ladder” of professional success.

Personally I believe Mark 16 to be authentic, all of it. All fundamental Bible preachers agree really.

Strip Christians of the last half of Mark’s final chapter and you’ve robbed us of  one of the Bible’s Resurrection accounts. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” This is verse 9 word for word.

Also bereft of verse 12 we lose a whole dimension of understanding about Christ’s resurrection body. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.”

No sir.

I’m keeping all of Mark.

All of the New Testament.

All of the Bible!

The critics say vocabulary differences and content variations and manuscript evidence argue for dismissing this Text.

I say the Holy Spirit approves it, sufficient data for any Believer surely!

The Bible, our dependable and inspired and inerrant Book.

Thank God for it today!

And as we near Easter, read it again, Mark’s narrative of the last few weeks Jesus spent on earth before ascending to Heaven.

Read it and worship Him, our dear Lord.

                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Just how important is the Resurrection of Jesus?

Even doctrinally speaking?

Is belief in a Living Saviour essential to our Christianity?

Or is it optional?

The Bible is of course the place to find such an answer. And Paul supplies it in one of his main Epistles.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” Romans 10:9-10

This is how important the Truth of Jesus’ Resurrection is, our very salvation depends upon it!

One must believe in this vital tenet of the Faith to even be saved in the first place!

The Bible just said so!

Besides, how can a dead Jesus help anyone?

Then sequentially, after Jesus saves a lost man or woman … that individual will know experientially that a living Lord inhabits his or her life!

The old hymn rightly declares: “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”

Are you saved?

Do you know this Living Saviour?

                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell   




I saw a practical bit of truth the other day as I read one of the New Testament’s Resurrection narratives.

Here’s Mark’s report: “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”  Mark 16:1-6

 These good ladies approached the Grave of Jesus with worried hearts. They fretted over the issue of that huge stone that secured His Burial site. Again, “And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”

But when they arrived at the cemetery, the stone was already moved! "But when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away!"

Worry certainly is the enemy of faith.

Then I thought this, “How often do I ponder and pace and fuss over things that never come to pass?”

Over “stones” that need to be moved, too big for me to handle … yet when “moving” time cones, the Lord has already taken care of the “burden” at hand!

Yes, the ladies agonized over an unmoved stone, but it was not there when they arrived! An angel had already alleviated their burden … and they fretted in vain!

God had already solved their problem before they got to the tomb!

I think that same God has our problems under control too!

“Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was already rolled away: and it was very great.”

Thank you, Lord!

For handling our heavy loads!

For opening doors in our lives!

                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




“And Peter,” said the angel. Be sure that you don’t forget Peter! He must know the good news too.

These brief words are part of the Resurrection story as told by Mark. In that last chapter of his, Mark 16, the one most skeptics say is not part of the original New Testament!

Here the verse, again quoting the angel: “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

But why is Peter especially mentioned? Why are Matthew and Thomas or any of the other Disciples omitted here, by name anyway? “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter ….”

The answer as it seems to me is sweet, encouraging.

Peter has just denied the Lord.

And cursed.

And claimed that he did not even know Jesus!

Of course he nearly immediately repented, weeping bitterly.

Still, at his lowest point ever since meeting Jesus, the old fisherman must have been ready to quit.

The Lord surely would no longer love such a denier, such a traitor!

But not so!

Even in Peter’s state of acute human weakness and keen personal despondency, the Saviour wanted the weak apostle to know!

To know that our Lord had been raised from the dead!

Anyone reading here today who is much like Peter?

A failure?

Ready to quit?


Jesus wants you to be aware that He is alive!

At the Father’s Right Hand!

Praying for your wellbeing!

“Father, I pray today for all my children … and __________. Place your name in the blank and thank the Lord from the bottom of your heart!

He loves you too!

Particularly you!

Especially you!

Delight in that fact today.

                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




They all said it, each Gospel writer. As he relates the Easter story, the account of Jesus’ Resurrection. For example, Matthew puts these glorious words in the angel’s mouth, words about the Lord: And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:5-6

He is not here.

He is risen.

But there’s more.

“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Must be something very important about these words.

If the witnesses would just come and look at where Jesus was placed, when He was buried, and see the graveclothes … they would instantly believe!

John adds this. “So they, Peter and John, ran both together: and John did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also John, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.” John 20:4-8

Come see where Jesus laid!

You will then believe, for sure!

What was so special about those clothes?

I think they were undisturbed, still in the same shape they had assumed when firs wrapped around Jesus’ Body!

He came through those clothes!


Just like He came through that yet unrolled-away stone!

Just like He came through that locked door later Easter Sunday, there where the Disciples were gathered.

Undisturbed graveclothes!

Jesus had to be alive!

And there was the proof on the floor of the tomb!

“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




One last Easter meditation, this Monday after the holiday. I would really like to again preach the Text in which this verse is found.

The Resurrected Jesus appeared to two travelers as they journeyed away from town, from Jerusalem. This duo was discouraged, having been followers of the Crucified Potential Messiah!

They did not recognize Jesus, not at all.

Until He began to expound the Scriptures!

Then we are told, my point today: And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Luke 24:31-32

Two different people, but they had one heart!

What unity!

What purpose!

What beauty!

They may have been husband and wife. We only know the name of one, Cleopas. If married, what grace and propriety they are showing, “one heart.”

Then again, these two may have just been so touched by Jesus’ exposition of the Bible, things concerning Himself, that their hearts collectively melted together, merged into one!

Holy Spirit preaching and teaching can do that, propagate unity!

One “heart” said to two individuals!

“Lord, give us that kind of attitude in our churches today,” we pray.

The Living Lord!

The unified Followers!

And the Work progresses!

                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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