Putting On Love

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Colossians 3:14 (NLT2)

14  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

 Kent Hughes, who pastored in Chicago, tells something which happened to a dear friend. This lady was a missionary on furlough after a particularly difficult season of service. Now, for the first time since they had been missionaries, they had bought a place of their own to rest and recover. The lady loved the patio and made it the focus of her decoration efforts.  After a few months some new neighbors moved in. The best word to describe them would be coarse. Loud music sounded day and night, along with many obscenities. They even went to the bathroom in the front yard in broad daylight! One day the neighbor’s children sprayed orange paint all over her beautiful patio—the walls, the floors—everything! She was distraught and furious. She tried to pray but found herself crying out, “I cannot love them. I hate them!”  Knowing she had to deal with the sin in her heart, she began to converse with the Lord in her inner being, and a Scripture came to mind: “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3.14). In her heart she questioned, “Lord, how do I put on love?” The only way she could picture it was like putting on a coat. So she did that—she wrapped herself in the love of God! As a result she began to experience a deeper life of Christ within her.  She made a list of what she would do if she really loved her exasperating neighbors, then did what she had listed. She baked cookies, she baby-sat for free, she invited the mother over for coffee—and the most beautiful thing happened! She began to know and understand them. She began to see that they were living under tremendous pressures. She began to love her “enemies.” She did good to them. She lent to them without expecting anything back. And when they moved, she wept!  She showed mercy, and she was changed.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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Dealing With Suicide

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Romans 8:38-39 (NLT2)
38  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Suicide is a major epidemic in America. Persons under 25 accounted for 15% of all suicides in 2000. (From the 1950’s to the late 70’s the suicide rate increased by 200%, and has remained steady since.)  Psychological autopsy studies show that more than 90% of completed suicides had one or more mental disorders.  More people die from suicide than from homicide. (In 2000 1.7 times more).  In 1999 white males accounted for 72% of all suicides. (And 84% of those over 65 in 2000) Males are more than four times more likely to die from suicide. But females attempt suicide more. (Why? Women use less lethal means.)  Most attempts are from women in their 20’s and 30’s.  Suicide rates are highest among the divorced, separated, and widowed and lowest among the married.  Suicide is also high among homosexuals and bisexuals. (One Study 30% attempted, ½ of that multiple attempts). We must begin to address this issue in the Church. We cannot continue to ignore it and hope it goes away.  Furthermore, we must proclaim that there is hope and peace in Christ.  As Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Faith Of Our Father’s

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT2)
17  It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,
18  even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”
19  Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

It Father’s Day, and the very first national celebration of this day was on June 19, 1924, by proclamation of President Calvin Coolidge (But not finalized until 1972.) But it all came about because of the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd.  Sonora was sitting in church in 1909 listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when the idea of Father’s Day first came to mind. Having been raised by her father after her mother’s death, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her for all his parental sacrifices and for being, in her eyes, so courageous, selfless, and loving. Through her efforts Pres. Coolidge designated the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. And our nation has been celebrating it ever since.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Preparedness Is The Key

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

2 Timothy 3:1-2 (NLT2)
1  You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

When criminologist Dallas Drake and two interns first searched for church shootingsin the United States, they found 137 instances between 1980 and 2005, the majority of them causing no deaths. More recently, Drake decided to update the database, and found a disturbing trend: There were more shootings in Christian churches between 2006 and 2016—147 of them—than in the 25 years prior. (The database does not include non-Christian houses of worship, such as mosques or synagogues.) In the wake of a shootingthat left 26 dead in a small church in rural Sutherland Springs, Texas, Drake’s research helps answer some questions about shootings in churches, which would seem to be particularly vulnerable in that they are often welcoming to any passerby. Yet the data suggests churches aren’t any more or less likely to be sites of gun violence in the U.S. than other publicly accessible spaces. “It’s almost that there isn’t any place that’s not at risk,” says Drake, the senior researcher at the Center for Homicide Research, an independent non-profit based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (https://psmag.com/news/church-shootings-are-becoming-much-more-common). It is for this reason that we need to be prepared. We cannot say to ourselves, “It can’t happen here,” because it can. Jesus said, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16, NLT).

In Christ,

Pastor Mark