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Wayne Holly and Becky Johnson were celebrating birthdays Sunday at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Wayne greeted the congregation and opened our morning worship service with prayer. Special prayers were requested for the Gene Hall family, travel prayers and for several in Shelley's family. Ashley and Skip shared a praise.

"God Justifies," a study of Isaiah 53, was the adult Sunday school lesson. The text of the lesson talked about the "Servant (Jesus Christ) who faced rejection to secure our salvation, bore our sin, taking the judgment in our place, willingly paid the price for our sin and still provides salvation to all who accept His sacrifice."

Wayne and Karen led the congregation in singing hymns of praise, "The Sweetest Name" and "Victory in Jesus."

Joe Brattin filled in at the pulpit for Brother Mark and brought us God's message, "Do We Know How Much God Loves Us?" Joe told us God's real love for us is explained in the verse we all know, John 3:16. As he talked about the song, "If That Isn't Love," he told us that if Jesus paying the price for our sins isn't love, he didn't know what was.

"There are all kinds of love -- romantic, family, brotherly and the most important is God's divine sacrificial love for us. He loved us first. To know real love, we have to know God's love first."

Joe referred to 1 John 4:7-19 and said, "God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. Jesus hung on that cross for us and even for the ones who nailed Him to the cross. Jesus' love for us is what held Him to the cross. That is sacrificial love."

Joe told us that we can tell someone we love them, but words without action, how do they know? "We can say we have faith in Jesus Christ, but how do we show it? We show God's love to one another because we love Him. When we show love for those around us -- God's love shows. It is up to us to reveal God's nature of love and forgiveness on earth as God's children. Plant the seed and show God's love to those around you."

As Joe referred to the scripture in 1 John, he told us that, as we grow in Christian life, Jesus Christ reveals more of himself to us if we will allow it. "Because of that blood that Jesus shed for us, we can have confidence on that day of judgment for our salvation. There is no fear in God's love. People let us down. God doesn't because His love is perfect."

Joe talked about three things that love does. "First, love sacrifices. We should consider others' needs more important than our own." Joe referred to Philippians 2:1-15.

"Second, love forgives and is compassionate. When we get upset with others, we have to remember all that God forgives us. We have been given a sin debt that only Jesus could repay. We never could.

Third, true love disciplines. Like parents who discipline their children and sheep that go astray, God has to bring us back in line with His discipline because He loves us." Joe referred to Hebrews 12:5-10 and Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus tells us "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets." Joe told us that if we can do those two things, all the other commandments take care of themselves.

Joe also told us what love doesn't do, as he referred to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, and does not rejoice in iniquity."

In closing, Joe told us that true love does not keep a record of wrongs. "True love finds a way to forgive people of wrongdoing against us. Love helps us get along. True love begins with God. He puts it in us when we are saved and it dwells in God's children. Have you repented of your sins and trust in Christ? Are you still walking in God's love?"

Our hymn of invitation was "I Surrender All." We invite you to worship with us as we begin this season of Thanksgiving. Mill Creek Baptist Church is located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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