RELIGION COLUMN: Follow Jesus for the right reasons
By Emily Agee
“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottle break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved. While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live, and Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood 12 years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her he said, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Matthew 9:10–22).
Thought for the week: ‘Keep Me Strong’
“Lord, help me to accept the changes that you bring, and if my heart should break, help me endure the sting. Let me lean and grow from each and every test; help me keep my faith and leave to you the rest. Help me to sing praises whatever comes my way, knowing “this shall pass,” and there’ll be a brighter day. Help me to hold on to what you have done before, when you pierced the darkness and opened up the door. Letting in the sunshine of your blessed love, filling me with peace that comes only from above. You’ve not failed me yet, Lord; I know you never will, and when my faith is weak, I know you love me still. So hold my hand – keep me strong, whatever comes my way, when my tears begin to fall, let me stop to pray. And may your precious name be glorified through me. May I reflect your love so others are drawn to thee.”
Worship service at Holly Grove Baptist Church in Jemison began with praise service, themed “A Willing Mind.” For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath and not according to that he hath not. 2 Corinthians 8:12, “One willing worker is worth more than 99 worried watchers.” The scripture was read by Willie Nunn with prayer by Pastor Dukes and Carl Singleterry. Songs sung were “Come and go,” “Let It Be Real” and “Amazing Grace.”
Pastor Dukes brought the morning message. His theme was “Why? Why did you follow Jesus?” John 1:38. John introduced Jesus to the light, and he baptized Jesus. They followed him. What is your reason you follow – because of what someone else said? It is important that you establish why you follow him for the right reason. He won’t leave you or forsake you, whatever the reason. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Some follow for personal gain. Seek ye first the kingdom, then everything else will be added. Do you follow him for his miracles? Walking on water, making increases in food? Don’t follow for the wrong reasons. Some follow to impress others or because you’ve been in church all your life. Follow Christ for who he is, not for what others think. Do what God says to do, not what people say. In God there is salvation in him. There is victory. He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Serve God because he is a healer, he can make a way out of no way. Without him there is a chance and I love him. In him there is salvation, joy and peace, plus eternal life. Benediction was by Pastor Dukes.
Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mrs. Leola Varner in their time of bereavement. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. at Hopewell Baptist Church in Clanton. Agee Brothers Funeral Home directing.
On our sick list this week, we ask you to remember in your prayers: James Singleterry, Martha Binion, Harold Frazier, Sam and Vivian Hicks, Ella Faye Nunn, Dorothy Sims, Von Harris, Janice Floyd and Arthur Agee. May God heal, strengthen and keep them in his care is our prayer.
—Emily Agee is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. Her column appears each Thursday.