Worship

May 29, 2016

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Scripture

The one thing I ask of the LORD — the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD ’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.

~Psalms 27:4, NLT

Quote

Enter His presences thanksgiving and praise and He will enter your circumstances with his power and grace.

~Image Quotes

Everyone needs a sanctuary; we all need a place to go to get away from the condemnation and critical eye of the world. David loved to go to the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting and spend time with the LORD. David went to the tabernacle to delight, to meditate on the Lord’s perfection. Worship is not about us. It is not about our sin or shortcomings. We don’t go to worship to focus on our sin, we go to focus on our sinless Savior. If Jesus was not sinless, we would have no one to worship. When we congregate, the primary objective is not to talk about what is wrong with us but what is right with Jesus.

Obviously, we will not worship unless we confess our sinfulness but that is not the focus of our worship. Psalm 27 addresses our problem of fear and we all have it. The good news is that Jesus didn’t: He was not afraid, not ever and by grace He becomes our courage. I love to meditate on Jesus courage. I try to imagine being there the day He made the whip and drove out the merchants and bankers. The Jewish Religious Establishment, made up of elite and wealthy Jews, hated Jesus with a passion and they still do. Jesus was not afraid, He marched right into their stronghold and He never flinched. Wow! What a magnificent Savior.

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  • Spent the day on the road visiting: didn’t get a lot done but did have some quality visits. Kathleen Anders is in DGH. She has COPD and she believes she is in the last stages. Most of you don’t know Kathleen, she is Hugh’s first cousin and a female version of the same. She’s feeling rather low. She was in the room beside Tom and we didn’t know it.
  • Tom’s Celebration of Life Service will be Tuesday, First Baptist Hartselle at 2:00 and visitation will be Monday night 5:00-8:00 at Pecks. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, brother Joe Bennich, daughter Debra Anne Bennich and a son Darrell Brian Bennich. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Edith Smithson Bennich, Two SonsDewayne Bennich (Carol) of Falkville, Dan Bennich (Christy) of Hartselle, one daughter Donna Bennich Rushen (Jim) of Summerville, SC and two brothers Larry Bennich (Linda) of Decatur and Rex Bennich (Karen) of Hartselle. Pallbearers are: Barry Pearson, Mike Childers, Steve McKee, Stacy Adams, Joe David Bailey, Charles Sanford, Charles Quinn and Joe Howell.

    Members of the Morgan Baptist Disaster Relief Team, First Baptist Ramp Builders and members of the Morgan South Gideons Camp will serve as Honorary Pallbearers.

Tom Bennich

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Scripture

Don’t put your trust in human leadersno human being can save you. When they die, they return to the dust; on that day all their plans come to an end.

~Psalms 146:3, GNT

Quote

I don’t think we need to send astronauts to the moon, I think we should send politicians.

~Ya’akov [Idea comes from Ron Paul]

Not many of my readers can go back to the 70’s and the infamous Carter years. Jimmy Carter was a horrible president, totally inept and amazingly incompetent. American’s breathed a sigh of relief when Ronald Reagan burst on to the scene. Hope and confidence emanated from the man. To be honest with you, I thought we were beyond recovery. I firmly believe that Ronald Reagan was the greatest leader of the century but he was limited to two terms and then quickly faded into the sunset. I am among the guilty of those who put too much confidence in a human leader. As the Psalmist said, “When they die, their plans die with them.”

I say this not to discredit Reagan but to reinforce the scriptural truth that no merely human leader can save us. Jesus is human but He is no mere human. If you deny His humanity, your are a heretic; if you deny His divinity, you are a lunatic. Reagan had to be elected and he was limited not only in the terms he could serve but by time itself. Jesus doesn’t have to run for office. He was not voted in and He can’t be voted out. He is the eternal self-existent One who has no beginning and no end. He is not King for a day, King for a month or King for two terms. He is KING forever, ceasing never!

You have probably heard the story of the cannibal restaurant. A group came their to dine and the menu’s were handed to them. As they looked at the menu, they noticed that Peasant was only $9.99, Preacher was $19.99 and the Politician Platter was $99.99. All were curious as to why the Politician was so much higher so when the server came back to the table, one of them ask: “Why is the Politician Platter so much higher than the other entrees?” “Oh, that is an easy question,” said the waiter, “do you realize how long it takes to clean a politician?”

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  • I got word yesterday that Blanton Adair [Helen Doyle Hogan Adair’s husband] was promoted yesterday. Brandy told me Wednesday night that he was very sick. I had planned a trip to Birmingham today. Bro. Blanton was a Director of Mission for most of his ministerial life. He was good for Helen and I know she was good for him. I liked Blanton, the last time I saw him at the Pastor’s conference, he had on walking shorts and crocks. I like a man who is not afraid to be himself.
  • I thought Gary was about the same. I have not touched base with Randy Lewis yet but I understand he finished his first round of chemo yesterday and he gets a two week recovery time.
  • Due to the weather, I will probably go to Birmingham on Saturday.
  • We will have Deacon’s Sunday even though several are going to be gone. 

Gary, Keri and Kane

A Volley Of Praise

May 31, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

Praise the Lord!

~Psalm 150:1, 149:1, 148:1, 147:1, 146:1

QUOTE

Praise is the human side of worship: we cannot make the fire fall, but we can praise the One who can.

~Ya’akov

my thoughts red

How don’t know how many times I have read through the Psalms but yesterday I noticed something that I had missed: the last five Psalms all begin with “Praise the LORD.” How fitting for the Psalms to end with a volley of praise. So I began to think: what reasons do we have to PRAISE THE LORD?

  1. He is worthy of our Praise. All of His attributes and actions are worthy of praise.
  2. He delights in our Praise.
  3. Praise is good for us. It forces us to focus on Him. Self-centered folks don’t praise Jesus. They don’t have a desire to praise HIM.
  4. He blesses those who praise Him. Adoring Jesus is the most edifying thing we can do. Praise is a good way to start your prayers, start your day and start your worship.

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TODAY WE PRAY FOR SENIOR ADULTS

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  • Sunday Schedule is normal: Deacon’s meeting at 8:15, LCBS 9:15 and worship at 10:15 and 6:00.
  • Wednesday night, June 3, VBS PREREGISTRATION AND PIZZA SUPPER.
  • Next Saturday, June 6 is DELIMMA DAY. There are two weddings, a 50th Wedding Anniversary for Terry and Gerri Cole and the Rally for Marriage at Montgomery. I am committed to the Marriage Rally.
  • VBS-VBX June 8-12…8:30-11:30
  • TAKE A STAND FOR BIBLICAL MARRIAGE. We need a crowd in Montgomery next Saturday. I don’t predict a big turn out at Montgomery. I’ve had only one person mention going. Sadly for me, there is no way I can attend any of the other functions but I know that folks will understand. If you want to go to Montgomery with me; you need to let me know between now and Friday.
  • There is a MARRIAGE RALLY TODAY in Guntersville at 3:00 PM…for more info go to FaceBook, type in Sanctity of Marriage Alabama and you can get all the updates.
  • VBS T-shirts are on sale. Buy one and you get the second one for $10.
  • YOUTH are leaving for L.A. right after am services.
  • If you like FORDS buy from Eddie and Jason Pruitt. They worked on our van and trailer for two days and would not take a penny. We sure do appreciate their kindness.
VBS JUNE 8-12

VBS JUNE 8-12

Keri and Kane

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The Condescension

April 27, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!

~Psalms 22:6, NLT

QUOTE

“In comparison to God, people are maggots; we mortals are mere worms.”
~Bildad the Shuhite
my thoughts red
Psalms 22 is one of the Messianic Psalms that prophecies Jesus condescension, incarnation and death on the cross. Isaiah referred to Jacob as a worm which seems demeaning but not really. Both Jesus and John the Baptist referred to the unrepentant Pharisees as snakes [Matt. 23:33, Luke 3:7]. The worm will not retaliate when hurt but a snake strikes back. Jesus said in John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.” Peter said, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” In His life and ministry, Jesus was a Lamb, not a snake but on the cross He became a snake because He took on our sins and sinful nature. Jesus became a snake to save the snakes. Would you become a snake to save the snakes? Not me, I don’t like snakes. I’m not sure we will ever understand how low Jesus stooped to save us. Amazing love, how can it beThat you, my King would die for me. Amazing love, I know it’s true, and its my joy to honor You.

TODAY WE PRAY FOR MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES

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  • God is good, more than we know. What a blessing to get to preach the word and feel the Spirit in the praise and worship. Your singing gets better and better. On that last song when David stepped back, I took that as a cue to listen to you and you sounded like a choir of angels. I was blessed in both services.
  • April is practically gone which means 1/3 of 2015. Mother’s Day a week from Sunday. One more week to get those Roses ordered.
  • Church directories are in, at least the hard copies. We should get the phone apps soon.
  • GOLDEN GIRLS this Saturday at Cracker Barrel, 9:30 am.
  • Miss Clara is sick: Don Fields is going to have surgery. Heart related but I don’t know the date. Chloe Bug will have a surgery on Tuesday morning; removing adenoids.
Keri and Kane

Our High Priest

April 11, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

~Hebrews 7:25, NLT

QUOTE

Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.

~Andrew Murray

my thoughts red

There are two verses in the bible that stagger my imagination: the first is Psalm 139:17, How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me.” The second is Job 7:17 where Job says, What are people, that You should make so much of us, that you should think about us so often.”  Just the thought of Jesus thinking about me blows my mind.

It is always nice to know that someone is thinking about you. It is especially comforting when you’re confined to quarters and unable to go. The two verses above remind me that our Creator and Redeemer has us in His thoughts.  Hebrews 7:25…Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. and Romans 8:34…remind us that Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Every time I climb the platform to enter the pulpit, it encourages me to know Jesus is praying for me. Seriously, what can be more encouraging than to have Jesus interceding for you.

For the record, there are some among us, I refer to them as the halos, who think prayer depends on our holiness but in reality, our privilege to pray depends on Christ holiness. A part from His atoning work, we would have no right to pray. As the Author and Finisher of our faith, Christ draws us to prayer in unison with Him and the Holy Spirit. We are united with Christ in His life, death, burial, resurrection and intercession.

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  • Today we pray for FAMILY.
  • GOLDEN GIRLS this morning at Cracker Barrel at 9:30.
  • No Deacon’s meeting Sunday…LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15 and 6:00. Sunday morning we will celebrate Communion and Sunday night we will Commission Haley Rae Garnett.
  • I’m still struggling to sit upright at my desk. I can’t walk without pain either but I do see some slight improvement and I am thankful. I plan {God willing} to eat breakfast with our Golden Girls and then lead the Communion Service on Sunday morning. One thing is certain: God can stop me in my tracks anything He wants to. I go back to Dr. Black Monday evening. I think my next step is an MRI but I am not sure.

 

Surface Judgments

March 10, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

The Stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

~Psalm 118:22

QUOTE

Examine the contents, not the bottle.

~Talmud

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The only thing worse than making a surface judgment is to be the victim of one. What are we to do when we suffer from a superficial evaluations? There are times when you do nothing. Jesus never defended Himself. Although He was very misunderstood and totally rejected by many, He never made it a personal issue. Psalm 118:22 is quoted three times in the New Testament to show that human misunderstanding has no influence on the truth and certainly no power to thwart God’s purpose.

Mother’s often quoted the proverb, “You don’t judge a book by looking at the cover.” The years have taught me that mother was right about surface judgments and many other things. I have learned that first impressions mean very little. Some years ago, a friend came to me with an apology. She said, “My first impression of you was that you were an arrogant jerk but since I have gotten to know you better, you are not arrogant…. just a jerk.” Actually, she did not say it in those exact words but I read between the lines. This same thing happened to me three times in less than two years. Am I a victim or a jerk?

I’m kidding: She said, “I judged you without knowing you and I was wrong.” I thanked her for the apology and then confessed being guilty of the same transgression.

Revival Strip

  • TODAY WE PRAY FOR TEACHERS.
  • Clara was praying for a flood yesterday, she didn’t want to go to school. She wanted more snow but Shohn told her that snow was probably out of the picture, so she started praying for rain. If we get a flood this week, we will know Clara caused it.
  • We got enough for three more houses which leaves us needing four. Let’s get her done this Sunday!
  • Haley and Charity are singing Sunday. They have yielded to the pressure. I can’t wait!
  • SENIOR ADULT FELLOWSHIP March 20 {Soup, Salad, Sandwiches and Sweets}
  • SPRING BREAK March 23-27 [No mid-week services]
  • Next Communion Service April 12.
  • New watch coming out April 24. My Garmin Vivofit does steps, miles, calories, and tracks. For $50 additional bucks, I could have gotten one that does heart rate. They have them that do BP and email now but the new one will do everything. You talk to it instead of using a key pad. I wonder if they will have one that understands red neck? The cost $1,000 so I will not be getting one.

Keri and Kane

A Grateful Heart

January 16, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

~Psalm 106:1, NKJV

QUOTE

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

~Karl Barth

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One of our deacons text me this morning and said he was praying for me. Judging by the way things went for me, I am assuming several must have prayed for me and I want to thank you. In the old days I got very anxious about weddings and now it is Celebration of Life Services. I don’t get anxious about weddings anymore because Joe David does the weddings. Everything went well at Roy’s service and the best way to describe me is thankful. I do appreciate our DBC family who attended and I also thank Ray and Adeline for buying my lunch. I am not encouraging you to stop praying for me. You will see several request in the EXTRA.

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  • TODAY WE PRAY FOR FAMILY
  • Continue to pray for Kenny Holladay. He was not feeling well enough for me to converse with me yesterday. I spent about 5 minutes and had prayer. Please pray for Kenny: he is sore all over. It hurts him to move. Would you stop right here and saw a prayer for Kenny. Elisebeth Elliot says, “When God does not give us what we ask for; it is usually because He has something better in mind.”
  • When I booked Phil Glisson for a one day Sunday meeting, I never thought about a super bowl or any other kind of bowl. I’m not much of an NFL fan since they persecuted Tebow but I have watched some of the playoff games and enjoyed what I watched because I don’t really care who wins. I talked to Phil yesterday and he wants to go with the February 1 date as planned and I have no problem with it.
  • As of this moment, we are planning to leave for Mobile Saturday about noon. Joe David will be preaching Sunday morning and night. No deacons meeting but LCBS is at 9:15 and worship at 10:15.
  • CHURCH DIRECTORY is going great to date: I don’t think we had any cancelations last night or anyone who was late. Even David and Ginger were on time.
  • I accidentally came across a movie MOM’S NIGHT OUT that was produced by the church is Georgia. It is a comedy about the stress that mothers endure in raising small children. If you are the mom of small children, it would be a refreshing watch. Trace Atkins is very good and so are the others. It was filmed in Birmingham I think. The associate pastor is the only one I recognized from the church. Most of the actors are profession. Hollywooders made fun of the movie, called it pathetic. I don’t think it will become a classic but it is not pathetic.

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God gives what we need LEWIS

Whitey’s Story Made The Internet

[Courtesy of Bobby From L.A.]

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car. His father said he’d make a deal with his son, “You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.” The boy thought about that for a moment, decided, he’d settle for the offer, and they agreed on it.
After about six weeks his father said, “Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.” The boy said, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there’s even strong evidence that
Jesus had long hair.”  The dad replied, “Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?”

 

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SCRIPTURE

I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

~Psalms 40:10, NLT

QUOTE

The quality of the news determines the degree of the sin in keeping it to ourselves.

~Ya’akov

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If I knew that we were going to have sunshine tomorrow and warm temps, that would be good news to a lot of folks but there would be little harm if I kept that news to myself. However, if I had a cure for cancer and kept that to myself, that would be a grave sin. I have a good friend and a nephew that are hurting today: if I had a solution to their pain and misery and yet let them suffer by keeping it to myself, that would be unpardonable.

There are two types of cancer; one attacks the body and the other the soul. One we call cancer and the other we call sin: both are caused by rebellion. Cancer is a rebellion of bad cells rebelling against the good. Once the bad cells outnumber the good cells, you have problems. Cancer destroys the body but sin destroys something more important and that is the soul. God will give us a new body, but He will never give us a new soul. Jesus said, “Don’t fear him who can destroy the body, fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

You and I know the cure for sin. We have the good news that Jesus forgives sin, saves the soul and resurrects a new body. This is more than good news, it is the best news we could possibly hear but not only do we not share this good news with others; we don’t even feel guilty about not sharing.

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  • Today we pray for SENIOR ADULTS
  • Deacon’s meeting at 8:15, LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15 and 6:00.
  • We had good visits with Kenny and Henry yesterday [Sat. Jan. 3]. Kenny was not feeling as good as the day before but we were able to talk. I showed him the video of the 6 row cotton picker. Henry was much better: breathing was almost normal. He still has to sit up to breathe. If you are a smoker, Henry will talk to you: room 772 in HH, just tell him brother Jack sent you and that you can’t give us cigarettes. If you talk with him and you don’t quit, there is no hope of you quitting. He has a strong testimony.
  • Today we switch gears and move from Holiday mode to normal. You can sign up for the Wednesday night supper at the welcome center. It may be your last day to sign up for church directory. I think photographs begin on January 18,19,20. Our next Holiday is February 21, Secretary’s Day unless you count GROUND HOG’S DAY.
  • GOLDEN GIRLS meet this coming Saturday at Cracker Barrel at 9:00 am.
  • My favorite picture message from 2014….This is for Henry and Kenny…

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Who Needs A Password

November 29, 2014

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SCRIPTURE

Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.

~Psalms 89:16, MSG

QUOTE

Praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.

~C.S. Lewis

my thoughts red

I think everything related to a computer has a password and I hate passwords because I cannot remember them. One older lady tried to make “incorrect” her password. Her logic was if she entered the wrong password her computer would say…”Your password is INCORRECT.” The problem is, the folks on the other end of the line demand that you create a unique password and sometimes they demand that it be a combination of small case, large case with at least two numerals. Are these people smoking crack or what!

Praise is a program that is easy to get into because the PASSWORD is simple. God is really into the simple because He wants all of us to come to a knowledge of the truth. The PASSWORD to praise is THANKSGIVING. If you’ve been unable to get into PRAISE, perhaps you are using the wrong password. Delete the ‘Me’ or the ‘Music Style’ and try ‘Thanksgiving’ in any case: see if it does not get you into praise.

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  • June fusses at me for doing blogs on Holidays and I should listen to her because not many people read blogs on holidays but I can’t help myself and I know that Jimmy and David will read it. I think those who go through Facebook are having some problems getting to the Blog. I don’t know who changed what but it wasn’t me. The simplest thing to do is make the Blog a FAVORITE and then it is one click and you are there. My own daughter has not been reading the blog or even looking at the pictures. I ask her today if she saw Mandy’s Christmas sweater and she didn’t know what I was talking about. Another so called friend who knows all about computers used the Facebook glitch as an excuse.
  • Mrs. Martha Newby’s Celebration of Life Service is Sunday at 3:00 at SARDIS SPRING BAPTIST CHURCH. Visitation is prior, 12:30-2:45. I borrowed a picture from the SS Facebook Page [Below]. My Christmas has changed and below are three reasons why. God is good. Out of pure kindness He put these wonderful people in my life: Thank You Jesus!
Martha Allen Newby, James M. Newby and Naola Bailey

Martha Allen Newby, James M. Newby and Naola Bailey

  • We are trying to get ready [Today] for the BILLY GRAHAM MY HOPE video of HEAVEN. I’m going to need some help around 10:30 or 11:00. If I can get two good men for 15 minutes; “We’ll get’er done”. I will also need Brent Anders to help me rig up the sound but it will be later in the day. I don’t think I have his number: someone text me his number and I will call him.
  • SUNDAY SCHEDULE: Deacons and Wives Meeting at 8:50…LCBS at 9:00…Worship at 10:15 and 6:00.

Bonus From Bobby

Semper Fi!

Early one morning a retired Marine yelled to his wife: “Honey, come see what I created! It is an abstract panorama depicting the last six years of the Obama presidency.” She yelled back: “Flush the toilet and come eat your breakfast!”

Congrats Bobby: I would call this one “Bobby’s Best”. It is a grand slam, no pun intended.

EXTRA/LCBS LESSON PREVIEW FOR NOVEMBER 30

Ministry In The Face of Mental Illness

Introduction

All our Bible Study groups are to begin their class with an intercessory prayer time. Most of the prayer request will relate to sickness. On any given Sunday, our classes report 10-20 request related to cancer. I doubt if you can find a person in our church that does not have a friend or family member battling cancer. The one thing that does not come up is MENTAL ILLNESS. Why is this? They say that one in ten suffer from some form of depression. Let me give you a list of types mental illness and I doubt that the list is exhaustive.

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood Disorders [Bi-polar, huge mood shifts]
  • Psychotic Disorders [Schizophrenia]
  • Eating Disorders [anorexia, bulimia]
  • Control Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsion Disorders
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorders [usually related to the sexually abused or possibly someone who had an abortion]

You see the list and the statistic that one out of ten suffer from one of the above. Do you think it is possible to be a member of a church which has 600 plus members and none with a mental health issue. What comes to your mind when you hear the words “Mental Illness?” {You think psychotic, someone who needs to be in an institution} Most of the people around us who suffer from mental illness are not psychotic: many are simple depressed. One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 10:24-25…And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Depression is a form of discouragement. As a child of God, your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to encourage someone this Sunday.

Don’t take the Marine approach…”Suck it up you loser. Stop whining–no one cares. It is a cruel world-get use to it.” I made this mistake for years. My logic was simple: “I am a child of God and I know to be in Church on Sunday morning. I don’t need a call, a card, a visit or for my wife and children to beg me. If you are a child of God, you should be like me. I will visit lost folks but I am not pandering to the whining immature Christians that need to be encouraged every week.” If you are hard wired like myself, you may not need a lot of encouragement to do what you know is right but everyone is not wired the same and herein lies the problem. Some people need more encouragement than others. It does not mean they are weak, bad, or inferior: it simply means they need encouragement.

SCRIPTURE TEXT [2 Corinthians 1:2-7, NLT]

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

As Charles said in the TG service, “All God’s blessing are meant to be shared.” God gives us comfort so that we can pass it along to others. Did you notice: the more we suffer for Christ, the more God showers us with His comfort. Let’s just list the insights before we get into the questions…

  1. God’s blessings are meant to be shared.
  2. The more we suffer for Christ, the more comfort we receive.
  3. God is a merciful father.
  4. He is the source, the giver of all comfort.
  5. Being merciful and giving comfort connects HIM to hurting people. [Psalms 34:18]

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  1. More young people [18-24] die from suicide than by traffic accidents. Does this shock you? Why do you suppose this is true?
  2. For youth the age of 10-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. What is the problem? Why are young people taking their own life?
  3. Have you ever considered suicide? Be honest.
  4. Why is our culture looking at divorce, drugs, destructive habits and unhealthy relationships as a way out?
  5. How does God bring comfort the hurting? [The life of His Son, His Spirit and His word but he also using believers to share comfort with the hurting]
  6. Think of your circle of friends: do you have a friend the is hurting? [grief, disappointment, depression]
  7. What is the most effective way to comfort? [Use Job and friends at a case study]
  8. What was the most effective thing that Jobs friends did by way of giving comfort? [presence, listening]
  9. What was the most ineffective? [preaching, giving advice, passing judgment]
  10. To be effective at giving comfort: what one thing do we need? [call it compassion, love, sensitivity, concern, whatever but if you don’t have it, you’ll do more damage than good. If you really don’t care: stay at home]
  11. Jobs friends felt a moral obligation to give comfort: it was like a religious show: is this enough?
  12. Think small–little acts of kindness make a huge difference to the hurting. You can’t solve their problem. You can relieve their pain. You cannot rescue them from a bad situation but you can do small things that indicate your love and concern. What are some small things that we can do? {cards, calls, emails, gifts, take them out to eat, bake them cookies or a cake, small gestures of kindness]
  13. How big of a problems is our sense of helplessness. We reason that since we cannot do something miraculous, why do anything. Do you think that our being overwhelmed by their problem causes us to be inactive?

INSIGHTS

  1. Mental illness is not a myth; it is a real problem that we need to address.
  2. We cannot fix mental illness anymore than we can cure cancer but we can do something.
  3. The one thing our hurting friends and family members need to know is that “We love them and they have our support.”
  4. We all need to remember that mental illness can strike at any time and the older we get the higher the risk. Be merciful, someday you may need mercy.

STORY

Years ago, more than 20: June and I were in Memphis, Tennessee attending the COLS of Ramona Eaton’s mother. One of the associates from Belleview did the service at the grave side and he told this story which I will attempt to retell. An elderly lady had a very disturbed mind. She imagined that two men were stalking her relentlessly. She went to her children for help but they ignored her. She talked to her neighbors but they treated her like she was crazy. Finally, in desperation, she went to see her pastor. She explained everything in detail and he listened intently. He not only listened, he cared about the woman. While she was talking, God whispered in the ear of the preacher and gave him detailed instructions on what to do. When the woman concluded, she said, “You don’t believe me do you?” “Yes mam,” said the pastor, “I believe every word.” She was so excited, “You mean, you believe that two men are following me day and night?” “Yes I do and I know their names,” said the wise pastor. “You know their names,” said she. “Yes mam, there names are actually in the bible” and then he opened his bible and read Psalm 23. He said, “Come over here and let me show you…see there is verse 6 ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.'” He said, “You are so blessed. God has sent two people by the name of Goodness and Mercy and they are going to watch after you as long as you live.” The woman was overcome with joy.  From that moment on she had perfect peace and she clung to the promise in Psalms 23:6. She never had another anxious moment about being followed.

You might say, “Well, she was still crazy.” As Elmer Jackson says, “We all have a screw loose somewhere.” Where as the woman was not perfect balanced, her pastor did his job and he gave her comfort which is what we are supposed to be doing. Am I right or wrong?

 

jealous mrs. santapg

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Perfect Justice

November 27, 2014

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SCRIPTURE

Nobody gets by with anything, no one plays fast and loose with Him.

~Psalms 76:12, MSG

QUOTE

Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful.

~C.S. Lewis

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Asaph said in Psalm 73, No doubt about it! God is good!” God is good and thus He is just. No sin escapes His judgment. Jesus died to save us from the penalty of sin which is hell but as followers of Christ, we are to give up the practice of sin. It is a paradox that I cannot resolve: Jesus blood atones for all my sins: past, present and future and yet I am accountable for my sins. The writer of Hebrews in chapter 12 quotes Proverbs 3, “My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.” For the child of God, we are disciplined for our sins and this will take place in this life time. For the unbeliever, there is punishment for sin because they rejected Jesus who is our atonement.

Naturally hurting people, those who have suffered an injustice due to the selfishness of another, have a desire to see justice. I am sure you have heard of the Nuremberg trials which began in November of 1945. It was an international court appointed to the task of prosecuting Nazi war crimes. It is hard to get an exact figure but some 1,800 Nazis were prosecuted. The law of retribution is woven into the very fabric of the universe and no human or group of humans can destroy this code of justice. When a human feels the deep pain of rejection and betrayal that often accompanies divorce; it is a natural tendency for them to want to see justice. I always quote the verse above to the hurting, “Nobody gets by with anything: no one can play fast and lose with God.” It is impossible to deceive Him.

  • Give into lust and you will pay.
  • Mistreat your wife and you will pay.
  • Neglect your children and you will pay.
  • Love money more than people and you will pay.
  • Reject Jesus and you will pay.

I can make the list longer but the point is: sin pays in real wages for anyone, believer or non-believer. NOBODY gets by with ANYTHING! Be thankful that God is just, good and merciful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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