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Mark is a singer, storyteller, humorist, author and songwriter, whose lyric to "Mary Did You Know?" resulted in one of the most loved modern Christmas songs of this century.
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Abortion activists are not just trying to make abortion “normal” anymore. They also want to make it funny. But there is nothing humorous about killing an unborn baby in an abortion. Writing at The Federalist, Brenna Lewis of Students for Life said abortion activists’ attempts at comedy are flopping because almost no one, not even most […]The post Abortion Comedy is a Total Failure Because Killing Babies is Not Funny appeared first on LifeNews.com.
Temple Baptist Church - 7-25-2021Proverbs 17:22 Introduction: A. My theme verse is Proverbs 4:23, which says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” 1. I continue to emphasize that we are made in the image of God: a trichotomy, body-world conscious, soul-self-conscious, and spirit, God conscious. 2. If out of the heart (or the soul) are the “issues” of life, and the bible says that it is so, then that which proceeds from with the soul of each of us is what we allow to issue forth. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” 3. If the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and it is, then the natural man is utterly depraved and nothing that proceeds from the natural can be good! “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” 4. Therefore, I can reasonably say that we, as God's children, have the responsibility of controlling our “issues.” 5. It all comes down to this: if you want to be sad and have a broken (downcast, disquieted, disappointed, discouraged) spirit that drieth the bones, you have that choice. Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood … (And the blood comes from the marrow of the bone. Dried bones equal a lack of life giving blood.) 6. Or you can choose to put a merriment in your soul and a smile on your face. 7. Problems neither go away through tears or laughter so choose the later. B. This morning, I want to deal with one of my favorite verses: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” 1. I love this verse! I love to laugh, joke around, and have a great time. You can ask my wife, I meet no strangers. One of my sons said, “One day, Dad is going to get maced!” That may be but, in a world full of trouble and worry, laughter is essential for survival. 2. For the most part, I have found people to have a sense of humor and laughter is good for the soul. I lady in the checkout line at Wal-Mart (I was picking at her) said, “Never lose your joy. I lost mine a few months ago.” She was referring to the death of her husband but what she said stuck with me. People need to laugh. 3. Remember the words: “Smile a while and give your face a rest.” It takes a lot fewer muscles to smile than to frown and frowning will give you a headache! C. The word “merry” is found 28x in your King James Bible. It is an outward thing whereas Joy is an inward thing. Merry can but does not necessarily mean happy which relies upon our happenings. D. “Merry:” Cheerful in a lively sense, to cheer up; to be glad; to have joy; to brighten up. There are three verses dealing with a “merry heart” that I want to look at for a few minutes: 1. A Merry Heart Maketh A Cheerful Countenance – Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. a) Most people today look like a mule that has been eating saw briers! Everywhere you go in this world, you see sad faces, hear cursing and complaining! Men live lives of quiet desperation! b) People are dissatisfied and disgruntled. This should not be the lot of the child of God. We should be a satisfied, happy people. We are someone going somewhere! 2. A Merry Heart Maketh A Continual Feast – Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. a) Enjoyment of life! We are so blessed and yet people are still not satisfied and often live lives of quiet desperation! A feast is a merry event! I am not talking about vacations; I am talking about all day and every day! The joy of the Lord is your strength! b) I remember the old family reunions back in the 50's and 60's when our family would come from all over and spend the day together eating, pitching horse shoes, and just sitting around catching up on family news. It was a day looked for with great anticipation. c) I sure miss those days. We had a ball. 3. A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like A Medicine – Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. a) A smiling face or “drieth the bones?” A choice that we make. I tell people that you can laugh about your problems, or you can cry about them. Neither will change the problems, but laughter can lessen the pain. For to me to live is Christ! When Christ, who is your life, shall appear. b) Laughter is a medicine with no ill side effects. Can you imagine a medicine prescribed for you with all good and no bad side effects? Today, they send you several pages of what may happen to you if you take the meds prescribed. E. HOW TO HAVE A MERRY HEART 1. A Merry Heart Comes Through Conversion – You will never be happy until you know Christ. Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. 2. A Merry Heart Comes Through Contentment – You will never be happy until you know contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 3. A Merry Heart Comes Through Commitment – trusting the Lord in every part of your life. (Whatever my lot thou hast TAUGHT me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul!”) 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheles I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 4. A Merry Heart Comes Through Consecration - Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. lose life and find it – most people never find their lives because they never lose their lives! “Let me lose my life and find it, Lord, in thee!” Conclusion: God wants you to be merry, happy, in this life even though it is full of troubles and sorrows. You will never be happy until you are converted! You will never be happy until you are content! You will never be happy until you are committed! You will never be happy until you are consecrated!
Considering how crazy 2020 turned out to be, the “20-20 Vision” goal-setting and planning puns that were going on this time last year are almost humorous. In reality, if there is anything 2020 has taught us about biblical vision, it is that it must be developed in faith-filled confidence of God's sovereignty.In fact, as I have prepared personal and ministry goals for 2021, I've thought much about the role faith plays in this process. I don't want to set unreasonable goals that amount to delusional “happy thoughts”—ideas that make me feel good while writing them, but are not grounded in reality.Neither do I want to allow the challenges of this past year to leave me cynical toward goal setting at all. Truth be told, not all of the challenges of 2020 have been resolved, and we enter a new year with a need for continued flexibility and creativity in outreach and ministry. But people still need the Lord, and we must remain committed to faith-filled endeavors in the core essentials of reaching our communities and around the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.The happy medium between these two extremes—delusional and cynical—isn't to simply plan out what we believe we can accomplish in our strength. It is to develop faith-filled vision for what God can do. Planning what we can do amounts to forming a to-do list; determining how we can strategize our efforts in obedience to the Great Commission is faith.This faith-filled vision is what I endeavor to cast to our church family each year on Vision Sunday. This is when I share with our church family the new theme for the year as well as opportunities to serve the Lord as a church body in the coming year.We need biblical vision—in our lives, our churches, and any sphere of influence God has given to us. Proverbs 29:18 warns, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”Biblical vision isn't simply listing what you want to do. That is a list of goals. If our vision is not drawn from God's Word and embraced by faith, it's not a vision at all; it is simply a to-do list. So, how can you tell the difference between a biblical vision and a to-do list?Biblical vision comes from God's Word; a to-do list comes from personal dreams. Spiritual vision is viewing my life and ministry through the lens of God's Word. It is centered around obeying God's commands and fulfilling the Great Commission.Biblical vision requires faith; a to-do list simply requires good administration. To be sure, a visionary must implement wise and careful administration for a vision to succeed. Without a strategy of faith, no biblical vision will see the light of day. However, biblical vision always requires faith. It requires dependence upon God—knowing that without God's intervention you are wasting your time.Biblical vision invents the future; a to-do list predicts the future. We can set goals that will help us be more effective in what we already know we should be doing. Setting wise, measurable goals and following through on them will impact the future. Biblical vision, however, is different in that it doesn't just predict the future; it invents the future. Biblical vision forecasts our faith-filled obedience to God's Word. It stretches more than our resolve; it stretches our faith.Over the years, as I've planned to cast vision for our church, the Lord has often convicted me that I was planning with little faith. And I've often needed to pray with the disciples, “Lord increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)!There are those who will tell you that goal setting and vision casting are worthless endeavors. They would have you believe that forward momentum in gospel ministry is unattached to biblical vision or habits of faith. My suggestion? Avoid this negativity. Faith flourishes when your eyes are on Christ and your determination is centered on obeying His Great Commission.The world still needs the gospel, and Christ has still entrusted it to us. So let's reach forward with faith-filled vision for what God could do through us in 2021.And remember, the temptation to plan without faith doesn't lessen as you grow older. It actually becomes easier as you get older to simply coast and count on seeing the continuing results of past faith. But I don't want to live from the past. I want to see God use our church in the coming year as never before. I want to claim the blessings of faith!
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