Hello, Praise The Lord!
“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23
When Rebekah first said yes to “going out” with me, I was elated and did something I had not done since kindergarten - I asked her for her phone number. She obliged, but then I, as a 14 year old, was not really sure what to do next. She warned me she had only ten minutes to talk on the phone, but I was worried more about what I would say to her in those ten minutes. I finally got up the nerve and called her house when a male voice came on the line and said, “Hello, praise the LORD!” I was startled and almost hung up the phone, but Rebekah soon came on the line and we talked for the allotted ten minutes. This was my first introduction to Richard Baldwin, and little did I know that I would come to hear that phrase many times over.
My father-in law was a preacher in Avondale, Arizona and started Grace Independent Baptist Church. He brought his family from Tennessee to heed God’s calling and served God faithfully in Avondale as the pastor and anything else the church needed. He sacrificed many things along the way, but I believe he viewed them more as tokens of gratitude to God. He was a man of God and desired to serve Him each and every day. If you ever went to church with him, you would hear a loud “Amen!” when the preacher struck a spiritual chord, which happened quite often. He made every service lively and sought to be an encourager to the preacher giving the message. He never met a stranger in his life, and his smile was full of the joy of the Lord.
He loved telling the Christmas story to the family every Christmas, and he loved talking about the Lord. I never met anyone like him, and I am grateful for the legacy that God created through him. I will be forever grateful for his love and concern for me and my family, and for the many prayers he prayed for us. He was a man who loved God and his family, and he was an encourager to all he knew and even those he didn’t. He encouraged Rebekah and I to get back in church when we had strayed, although it was more like "strongly persuaded". I cherish his wisdom he gave in small group time at Freedom That Lasts, and our group was not the same when he was no longer able to come. He encouraged many people and impacted lives for eternity. Eternity will only tell the impact he had on the lives of others, but I cannot think of a better way to live your life. Even in his last days, he still put up gospel tracts in his room, still concerned for the souls of others.
On November 22, 2020, God choose to call my father-in-law home to Heaven. II Corinthians 5:8 says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Richard Baldwin is home with the Lord and in perfect health as never before, with a smile that puts to shame all the smiles he had on this earth. Although there are tears of sorrow, there are also tears of joy for a life that was lived for the Lord, a life that impacted many, and a life that was used of God.
What legacy are you leaving behind? Who or what are you living for? Are you known for complaining or are you heard praising the Lord? Is your outlook on life and its circumstances influenced by a right view of God? Death brings us earthly sadness, but it holds no eternal blow to the believer. I Corinthians 15:55-58 states, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We know that Richard Baldwin's labor was not in vain in the Lord, and that he is experiencing the ultimate victory right now because of Jesus. I take joy in knowing that one day I will again hear him say, “Praise the Lord!” Till we meet again on the heavenly shores...
Stay in the fight!