St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church

Service Times: Sunday School: 8am Breakfast: 9am Morning Service: 9:30am "In for Preparation...Out for Demonstration." Allen G. Madison II ~Senior Pastor Louis Berry Sr. ~Assistant to Pastor

Operating as usual

Happy Birthday Bro. Dickerson!

We are called to be spirit -led!
As Christians, we have two choices in life – be led by the Holy Spirit or be led by the desires of our flesh. The desires of our flesh tend to be cravings and yearnings for things that will remove our focus from God. These desires never draw us closer to God, if anything they always serve as traps to make us feel guilty.
Fleshly desires don’t have to be "blatantly wicked." An example of a desire of the flesh would be sleeping in instead of waking up for church. You know that you need to church, and that is the direction that the Holy Spirit is trying to lead you in, but your body is telling you otherwise. Your body is trying to convince you that it would be much better to sleep in and miss church.
As Christians, from the day that we receive salvation, we become subject to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always take us to places that will bring us closer to God – it will never be the opposite. It is through the Holy Spirit, a person is able to grow in their prayer life, understand the writings in the Bible, and grow in their spiritual gifts.
In our everyday lives, the Holy Spirit will guide us to act the way Jesus would act in a situation.
For example, if you are driving in traffic and someone tries to cut in front of you, you are faced with two choices.
Your Fleshly Desire: Yell a number of profanities at the driver and make sure that they know you are angry.
Spirit-led decision: Let the incident slide, pray for the driver, and allow peace to reign in your heart.
Choosing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit won’t always be easy but it will definitely be more worthwhile. Walking in the Spirit means that we are walking in the way Jesus Christ would desire us to walk.
You may not realize it at the time, but your life serves as a testimony to others. When you choose to walk in the Spirit, the world gets to see the love and wisdom of God through your words and actions.
If you choose to follow the desires of your flesh – which are always contrary to the will of God – you will communicate the wrong message to the world and they will not feel compelled to receive salvation.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“Put your money where your mouth is!" Have you ever heard that phrase? It is often said to us when we make a claim that others think we can’t back up. Sometimes we talk a good game, but can’t play it. We let our mouths get carried away and sometimes that leads to all kinds of trouble. When we make a habit of talk, talk, talk but can’t follow it up with do, do, do, then we lose credibility and no one will believe a word we say. This verse reminds us that if we are going to “talk the talk," then we must “walk the walk." When we talk a lot about being a Christian and how we pray all the time and how we read our Bibles all the time and how we go to church all the time, people have an expectation of how we should behave. When our behavior contradicts what we say about ourselves, people lose faith in us. And because we represent Christianity to them, they lose faith in all Christians. It is a terrible thing to mislead someone about Christ. We must be excellent ambassadors for Him, in word and deed.

“Put your money where your mouth is!" Have you ever heard that phrase? It is often said to us when we make a claim that others think we can’t back up. Sometimes we talk a good game, but can’t play it. We let our mouths get carried away and sometimes that leads to all kinds of trouble. When we make a habit of talk, talk, talk but can’t follow it up with do, do, do, then we lose credibility and no one will believe a word we say. This verse reminds us that if we are going to “talk the talk," then we must “walk the walk." When we talk a lot about being a Christian and how we pray all the time and how we read our Bibles all the time and how we go to church all the time, people have an expectation of how we should behave. When our behavior contradicts what we say about ourselves, people lose faith in us. And because we represent Christianity to them, they lose faith in all Christians. It is a terrible thing to mislead someone about Christ. We must be excellent ambassadors for Him, in word and deed.

St Mark Baptist Church Sunday 01 10 21

He sought the Lost!
Jesus Christ did not come to condemn anyone. His mission to earth was not one of doom and destruction. Jesus Christ came for the lost – which was every single human being at the time. Pharisee, Rabbi, Fishermen, Laymen – they were all lost. Everyone was lost because they were without redemption. They did not have a way to redeem themselves of the sinful life that they were born into. But Jesus Christ did not come to this earth to point this out to man in order to make everyone feel bad about themselves. Jesus came on a mission to save every lost soul.
The love of God, the same love that resided in the heart of Jesus Christ, compelled Him to come for every soul so that they would have a chance to receive salvation and be set free from the bonds of the enemy.
There are a lot of sermons in the world that tend to focus on the doom and the destruction of the world. Some people try to use fear tactics to compel a person to become saved. But that is not what Jesus Christ came to do. Jesus came to share the good news with everyone – that the Messiah had finally come to the earth.
Some people believed him, while a vast majority of people thought that he was crazy. But this did not change the truth of the matter that Jesus Christ had truly come to save us all. Now, we are able to live a life of freedom because of the salvation that we have received.
If you take a look at the world around you, you will realize that everybody is looking for a savior. Many of those who have not received salvation find themselves questioning life and looking for a meaning to it all. They are caught in the despair of their sin and the hopelessness of the world, but they fail to realize that this is a result of the fact that they have not allowed Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of their lives.
In Christ, we have peace and assurance about our purpose on earth and our life after our time on earth. Unbelievers do not have this same peace. At one point in time, the whole world comprised of unbelievers, and Jesus came to change that.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

God despises a haughty spirit. He would rather us be humble and gracious in all dealings. In our humbleness, God is able to lift us up. We don’t have to go around singing our own praises. We should not seek our own glory. So what if we labor for years and years with no recognition from the world. If we will go about God’s business in humility, He will make sure that our praises are sung by others. Our humbleness inspires God to be our Champion, usually when we least expect it.

Father, Help me to be humble in all my ways. Let me not be arrogant and full of myself, but let serve You in humility. I trust that You will raise me up according to Your will and exalt me according to Your timeline. Amen.

My Righteousness, My Redemption!
I have met many people in my life. Christians from different countries, races, cultures, etc. The diversity of the body of Christ always leaves me feeling astounded. It’s a wonder to think that so many different people, from different walks of life, have come together as one under Christ. I have met humble, loving Christians. I have also met self-righteous Christians who believe that they are blameless.
"Well, aren’t we blameless now that we are in Christ Jesus?" You might be asking. This is true, we are. But the kind of blamelessness I am referring to when I’m talk about these people is a blamelessness that is dependent on one’s own actions. I have met Christians who believe that they are righteous as a result of their own actions. This couldn’t be any farther away from the truth.
Romans 3:23 is a part of the Bible that reminds us of one thing that we all share in common, despite our varying backgrounds. On our own, as individual human beings, we have all fallen short of the glory of God as a result of our sins. There isn’t a single human being on the face of the earth who can stand and say, "I am righteous as a result of my own actions." That would be a big lie the person would be telling.
Ever since the fall of man, from the beginning of time, every human being was born a sinner. No matter how good a person tries to be in their own power, they are no more than a sinner.
The factor that makes Christians different, and gives them the confidence to stand boldly and declare that they are righteous is Jesus Christ. There is no man on the face of the earth who can boast of their own, self-made righteousness. It is nothing in comparison to the righteousness of Christ Jesus. But we as Christians can stand to boast of the freedom, redemption, and righteousness that we have received as a result of receiving Jesus Christ into our lives.
It is through Jesus, we have been cleansed of our sins and have become heirs of God, the Father. It is through Jesus that we have been able to unite as one body and as partakers of the glory of God.

He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth.
reproof erreth.

Men are notorious for not asking directions. It doesn’t matter if they are completely lost, they would rather try to figure it out themselves. There have improvements now since most people use some kind of GPS system to navigate, but it is still funny to watch a grown man arguing with Google Maps about directions. Sometimes we think we know better than a highly sophisticated satellite guidance system, so we don’t heed the directions it gives, or listen when it seems to chastise us for making the wrong turn or failing to follow directions. We try to make our way and end up so lost that no amount of “re-routing" can fix it, or we waste so much time making u-turns that we are late for our appointment. If we don’t heed the guide, then we find ourselves on the wrong path. The same holds true for the guidance we get on the path of life. God is supremely able to guide us safely and accurately along the path He has decided for us, but sometimes our stubbornness takes over and we get lost. We refuse His “re-proof" and we go “astray." If we can swallow our pride and rely on His guidance, we will go far. If not, we find ourselves stalled out on the road of life.

Father, Help me to always heed your guidance. Keep me straight on the path You’ve made for me and don’t let me go astray. Amen.

Lost, Now Found!
There was a point where every person on the earth had chosen to live their life on their own accord. No one cared to listen to what God had to say. The same way sheep tend to wander off, mindlessly, was the same way that everybody had decided to wander off and do their own thing.
We see the same thing in the current world that we are living in. Many people have chosen to follow their own advice over the wisdom and guidance of God. Some people have turned to worldly wisdom for guidance.
Think of how you would feel if someone decided to ignore everything you had to say, and they chose to follow their own way instead. You would be pretty upset, wouldn’t you? There is a high chance that you wouldn’t want to help anyone ever again because of the pain that they caused you.
But man’s actions didn’t faze God – and they sure as anything did not phase Jesus. Jesus Christ took all of the sin, infirmities, and imperfections of man upon himself. He stood in the place of every human being and he chose to take the fall for us so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of our fallen nature. Jesus didn’t wait for our approval before he decided to do what he did. He left his heavenly home, became a human being – like you and me – and lived the way we did. He ate the food we would eat. He walked on the same ground. He drank the same kind of water. The only difference between him and the rest of humankind was that he chose to express God’s nature of love wherever He went. Even when he was being beaten and mocked by his own people, Jesus did not change his mind about dying for us.
You won’t find a love like that anywhere else. We can only find such a deep, unashamed love in Christ and this is why we need him. Scripture reminds us of our fallen ways and how Jesus Christ came to take care of the sin that we could not take care of ourselves. Our lives are nothing without Christ. This is why we need to cling on to Him. We won’t find a love like this anywhere else.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Mark Twain wrote, “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history." (Reader’s Digest [1/93], p. 155). Here Twain emphasizes the importance of our thought life. It is important for the believer to understand that all actions begin with thoughts. In the song “Slow Fade," by contemporary Christian artists “Casting Crowns" the lyrics read: “The journey from your mind to your hands is shorter than you're thinking." The song is about the process of sin as it begins in our minds and transforms, through compromise, into actions. As Christians, we must take hold of our thoughts. Here Paul directs us with a pretty specific guide of the things we should think about--"honorable" things, “pure" things, “lovely" things, “true" things. If we focus on these positive thoughts, our actions will, in turn be positive. Let this list be a guide to helping us “take captive every thought."

Father, Help me control my thoughts. Help me think only on the things which please You: truth, honor, purity, excellence. When destructive thoughts make their way into my mind, help me to cast them aside and replace them with thoughts that are constructive. Amen.

Happy Birthday Sis. Edell Howell

A Peacemaker
Are you a peacemaker? How about the people that you surround yourself with? I think that all of us are weak at times, seeking the exact opposite of peace when things are not going well or when we are in a foul mood. In these instances, what do we make? Trouble, conflict, even war.
The teachings on the Sermon of the Mount are often taken like the teachings of a fortune cookie, but I urge you not to take these words of Jesus lightly. These are not meant to be clever quips in order to interest his listeners. These are the urges of Christ in an attempt to save our souls, in order to show us the path to heaven.
Think about what it would mean to truly be "a peacemaker." Someone that seeks peace with all that they do, say, and think. Someone that MAKES peace with all that they do, say, and think. I certainly fall so short of this command. Even the words that I am currently writing have a tinge of aggression behind them, but it is because I want the world to be a more peaceful pace. Think about what is happening in current events: is there anything that the world needs more than a little more peace and understanding? Think if even a small percentage of the people of earth truly were peacemakers. What a profound different that would have on the events that happen every day! Be a peacemaker yourself and lead by example. If you seek peace, I believe that it will touch others around you and lead them to do the same.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Paul continues to express to his listeners the events of Christ’s return. Here he references a passage from Isaiah 25. He says that death will be “swallowed up." What an appropriate end for Death! Death swallows up all its victims. People waste away in the throes of cancer and disease as death just consumes them. To know that one day, death itself will be swallowed up brings hope to the believer. In the glorious world Paul talks about, the power of the grave will be no more. Death will take no more loved ones. We won’t have to watch anyone else we love to die. God will wipe away the tears we’ve shed over what death has stolen from us and put an end to death once and for all.

Father, I look forward to the day when death will die. You will swallow it up and eliminate its power. No more tears will I ever have to cry because Death has stolen someone I love. You have assured me of that and I praise You for it. Amen.

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