We live in a culture that is endeavoring to abolish distinctions that God has established. This is obvious on many fronts: the definition of life, the definition of marriage, gender classifications, and many other moral inconsistencies. As we endeavor to shine as lights in a dark world, it has become increasingly clear that we have become a moral minority, fringing upon irrelevance, from the world's perspective, to our own national culture. What's more, in a culture like what ours is becoming, fear can begin to paralyze us into silent gospel proclamation. Our thinking, our philosophy, our theology have become obtuse to the people we live next door to, work with, or shop with. If we allow it, this contrast can freeze our witness and deaden our desire to proclaim Christ.

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The Problem

The Bible records the first miracle that Jesus Christ ever performed in the gospel of John, chapter 2. Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding where Christ's mother, Mary, was attending. Mary came to her Son with a big problem ... THE WINE WAS ALL GONE! This was much different than when we run out of tea and lemonade at a church activity today. In Jesus' time, hospitality and service of guests was not only an honor, but a great responsibility to be kept at all costs. If the wine truly was out and none could be found, then this newlywed couple and their families would carry this embarrassment with them for the rest of their lives. The problem was a simple one. The consequences, however, were extremely heavy.

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Philippians 2:25-30; 4:18

The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had a habit of highlighting the ministry of believers unknown to us except for his reference. Whole chapters of some of his epistles are given to listing the faithful co-laborers with him in the gospel. Many of them were paid the highest compliments by a grateful messenger of Jesus Christ. I am convinced that the Lord wanted us to know that God was faithful to remember the ministry of those who would otherwise have been forgotten.

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Mark 1:1-20

Here at church, there has been a lot of talk about the topic of Following JESUS. In the last devotional that I wrote, I gave you a challenge to make following Jesus your number one goal in this new year. How have you been doing at following Jesus this year? It seems like this year has just started, but today is already day number 58 of the year. I point this out to remind us that following Jesus is a daily choice. If we aren't intentional about daily following Christ, the days will just pass us by; we will look back over the year and regrettably not be any closer to Christ. It is my desire that each person in our church be proactive and intentional about following Jesus each and every day.

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Lamentations 4:5, "... they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills." This describes the extremes one person can go to in life ... from being clothed in scarlet to hugging a dunghill. This describes a blown life. It tells of a person who once loved the fragrance of holiness, but now is more comfortable filling his nostrils with the stench of the dunghill. You may be the one this describes and/or you may know one who "fits the bill." Maybe it's a girl that went to a Christian school, now embracing the morals code of the wicked; or a preacher who once trumpeted the gospel message, now out of the pulpit because of the dunghill; or a fundamentalist who now sits in the modernist camp.

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