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2-16-14. Good beautiful morning we praise  you for dear God. Such a relief after being snowed in. Sunday school began with the reading of Psalms 53. Opening prayer was given by Sister Sue Thomas. Our lesson is from II Timothy the 4th chapter. Paul is giving Timothy charge to preach the word and to continue with the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ in season and out of season. Do it even if you aren’t feeling up to it. Paul is giving his last testimony before he dies and he has mentioned those that have turned against or away from him. He mentions that the day will come where people will not endure sound doctrine, but will prefer to hear fables. Paul knows his time is drawing to an end and he also knows his reward has been kept for him. There is a crown of righteousness Paul is ready to have that God has made ready for him and to all who love and look forward to Him appearing. Paul names those to Timothy that had forsaken him, as well as, the followers who were preaching in different areas. The only follower with him at this time is Luke. He tells Timothy to bring Mark with him because he will bring profit to him and his ministry. He also asks for his cloak that he left with Corpas at Troas and the books, especially the parchments. What do you think those parchments were? Some think they were the orginals of the Epistles where others think they were the skins of which he made his tents. I think it would be a good area to research, but since Paul knows his end is near, I lean more to these parchments being the original epistles. Why is he going to need his tent? He is very soon going to be in a mansion. Paul acknowledges that all men forsake him in the sixteenth verse, yet he prays God not lay it to their charge. Remember when Christ was dying on the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Praise be unto God the Father and God the Son that He gave this prayer or we would all still be in despair and without hope. Paul, who was converted on the Damascus road, now is asking God the same request. He is conforted in his last days that “God had delivered him out of the mouth of the Lion and he would deliver him from every evil work and will preserve him into His heavenly kingdom to whom be glory forever and forever, Amen.” This is our hope and belief and praise God for it.

We all congregated to the front to attempt singing praises to God. We had a lot of hoarse voices, but the words, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” It says nothing about making a beautiful noise. I think Ronnie and Sue Thomas were the only ones that weren’t croaking. I am just thankful we were all blessed with getting to come together once again and yes a joyful noise we made.

The sermon came from St. John 15:1-14. This is a familiar scripture to most, but very much one that we need to review over and again. The vine and the branches. Jesus is our vine and we as His children are the branches. Some of the time we get this backwards. We try to lead God rather than grow by His leading. Everything we do should be by His love and leading hand. If we keep His commandments we abide in His love. He commands  us to love one anoher just as He has loved us.  He didn’t just request it; He commanded it, that we love each other as He loved us. There is no greater love than He who laid down His life for His friends. If we love Him, we will bear fruit from our branches and this fruit is what glorifies our heavenly Father. Our fruit should be love as He hath loved us. We should place our faith in God the vine and do as He leads us. When we fail, we ask His forgiveness and be ready to forgive one that has failed us. If our branches do not produce fruit we are not abiding in God. We are told what happens if we go our own way and not follow God. We wither and men gather the unfruitful branches to burn them. The branch came forth, but without fruit. The unfruitful branch was useless and it was disposed of by fire. How about your friend? Is there love in your heart for those among you or is there only hate and contempt? Do you follow God and consider His will or are you living your life as you want without His direction? If this be the case you are a fruitless branch that will be burned, but you will never burn up. Your soul will eternally suffer without God. There will be pain, sorrow and gnashing of teeth. This is not just another fable we read of through our school years. There is a heaven to gain and a burning hell to shun. Please open your heart and accept Christ. You cannot grow from His vine of love unless you do. You may do all sorts of good deeds, but without Christ these works will burn just as you will. Only Jesus can save us from sin’s destruction. Please come to Him today.

We are praying for Larry and Bobbi Miller that God’s healing touch will be applied to you Larry. Even if man can find no cause for the pain of illness, God can and He can cure it. Please continue to pray for Sister Dale Thomas and her son, Howard. Pray for their caregivers as well. Don’t forget to pray for those who have had to let go of their loved ones. Even months and years later the heart yet grieves.

It is my understanding the Fourth Sunday Singing is at Sweden. I personally have not been able to attend the last few and hopefully I can make this one. Don’t forget Gentry Church’s monthly singing is Friday night, Feb. 21. I know you will be welcomed and receive a blessing should you attend.

God bless you all and have a great week!

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