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RELIGION: Three Marks of a Christian are Joy, Peace and Hope

May 6, 2021 at 4:56 a.m.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning to be in God's house. Jerry Abercrombie greeted the Mill Creek Baptist Church congregation and opened our service with prayer.

Sheri White and Tiffany Hazelton were celebrating birthdays. Special prayers were requested for the Danny Frye family, the Don Brackney Sr. family, Jim Frye, Jimmy Easter, the Kaye James family, Karen and Mike. Shelley shared a praise and Jeannette shared a praise of thanks for a good neighbor.

"Willing," a study of Luke 22:41-53, was the title of the adult Sunday school lesson taught by Shelley Hall. "To God we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience" was the key doctrine. We should willingly submit to God's plan and stand with confidence when following God's will.

Linda Abercrombie shared information about Bereaved Mother's Day which was Sunday and the history of how it started in 1908. It is to honor and give attention to all mothers who have lost a child. Linda shared personal testimony about the hurt of losing a child. "Such a loss is hard to deal with and you grieve forever, but you have to heal and rebuild around the loss even though we are never the same." Linda shared a poem about grief, feelings and living and what we lose and what we still have. Grief reminds us that love never dies.

Congregational hymns, including "Living For Jesus," were led by Karen Gardner, who also sang special praise music, "I Asked the Lord." Tyrel Lett asked God's blessing upon the offering and he and Rick Lett served as ushers.

Our pastor, Brother Mark Hall, brought us God's message from John 10:10, in which Jesus says, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." As Brother Mark talked about Jesus coming to give us life more abundantly, he talked about how that happens. He referred to Romans 15:13, which says, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound to hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Brother Mark told us that everyone wants abundant life, but few understand where we find it. They chose it, but run in the wrong direction.

Romans 8:5-6 tells us how we get sidetracked, chasing what we think is the abundant life, and says, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Brother Mark told us that we veer off the path of abundant life because we live according to the flesh. "Everywhere we look, people are doing it. They are chasing what they perceive to be abundant life and missing what abundant life really is because they have moved away from God. The devil will promise you the world and will steal your joy and peace and then your hope. Those are the three most important things in your life and you only get them through Christ."

Brother Mark told us that joy, peace and hope are the three marks of a Christian. "The enemy is Satan. He is smart and persistent and will steal, kill and destroy. Satan veers us away from God. He knows our weaknesses and uses them to pull us away from God and His will. Joy, peace and hope are the byproducts of that trust we have in God. Satan could care less about us and works to erode our faith and trust in God."

Romans 15:13 tells us, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Brother Mark told us that the more we believe in God, the more joy, peace and hope He will bring into our life. "We all have weeks when the wheels fall off everything we do or bad news rocks our world. Some days are diamonds and some are stones. Nothing on earth can insulate you from that, but the only way we hang on to our joy and peace is to trust in the God of hope."

Brother Mark referred to what he calls his "secret scripture" in Psalm 112 about the man who fears the Lord. "Trusting in the Lord is the secret to peace, joy and happiness. Nothing will be perfect. There will be good days and bad days, but without God, our hope is out the window. Fear is what the devil uses to steal our joy and hope and erode our faith. We don't have to live with that fear if we trust in the Lord. That is easy to say in church and harder when that fear hits us. We may get a little overwhelmed and it's okay to cry, but get your trust out to get your hope, peace and joy back. This doesn't mean be fearless. Use caution. God gave you a brain. But don't live in fear if you trust in the Lord. There is nothing that the devil has that is worth our peace, joy and hope. Trust in the Lord and His righteousness will be yours. The world needs more joy, peace and hope."

Our hymn of invitation was "He Was There All the Time." Rick Lett gave the benediction.

We invite you to worship with us next Sunday at Mill Creek Baptist Church as we recognize all the mothers for Mother's Day. We are located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90. Everyone is welcome.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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