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"A Christian's joy should be found in God. Like the joy saints must feel now that they have their time and place in heaven. Like the joy the Virgin Mary felt to know that she had Jesus in her womb, to accept that and to know that she is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Today, this Sunday invites us to be joyous as well, and to do so truly at heart. Because we are close to celebrating Christmas, we are close to celebrating the birth of Christ. A happiness which should be for all human beings, not for a particular person, or for a particular religion, but rather for the world in general. For everyone.
"We are in the Sunday of happiness, and thus we must be happy and give thanks to God for all that we have. For the children that God has given you, and who at times may sadden us. But then we must think why they sadden us.
"Sometimes we believe that school and the church must educate that child, and we forget that the first school is the family, where we must educate our children with our human, Christian, and civic values.
"But now is not a time for lament, now is a time for joy, happiness that we find in the Lord."
"Commit random acts of affection towards your wife"
Joe Morecraft III has been minister of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in Cumming since its inception in 1974. In 1986, Morecraft was an unsuccessful candidate in Georgia's 7th Congressional District. He's currently chairman of the United States Taxpayers Party of Georgia. The following is from his Oct. 30 sermon, "Godly Marriage 1: What God Wants Your Marriage to Be."
"The basic reason for this series of sermons on marriage is the pressure Christian marriages are experiencing from both outside and from inside the marriage. The outside, the anti-Christian American culture that surrounds us, is constantly pressuring us to compromise with this world's standards and expectations.
"Let me give you one little bit of advice: Commit random acts of affection and tenderness towards your wife. Now, how do you show affection to your wife? Now, I don't mean just kiss her and be sweet just so you can go further that evening. I'm not talking about that. That's not affection, that's manipulation. Here's some ways to show affection towards your wife.
"Prefer her over yourself. Show interest in her interests. 'How's your sewing machine working today?'
"Encourage her with words of appreciation. They don't have to be something profound, just little things. Always thank her for the meal she fixed for you, and just lavish her with words of appreciation.
"Third, brighten her day with an unexpected card, flower, or gift when you're not guilty of anything at all.
"Marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Monogamous, heterosexual unions, wherein two people bow before God to love and to serve each other till death do us part. That's the very nature of marriage. You can't cave in on it.
"Two people living together to learn whether they should marry, we condemn it. Homosexuals marrying, we condemn it. Child marriages, we condemn it. Why? Because it's contrary to the norm, it's contrary to the revealed standard.
"A gender-neutral, unisex look, fashion or lifestyle is a perversion of God's moral and social order for the human race. One verse that is very repugnant to our world -- both church and outside -- is Deuteronomy 22:5, which says a woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on woman's clothing, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
"'Abomination' -- I mean, that is as bad as you can get, something that is abominable, disgusting, wicked to the nth degree in God's sight. Homosexuality is an abomination.
"The point is that a woman should not take onto herself a man's vocation. She should not dress like a man, act like a man, relate as a man. And the man should not take onto himself a woman's vocation, and act like a woman, and be effeminate, and dress like a woman. The two lifestyles must be kept distinct.
"That's why the Bible forbids women to be in the military, for example. That's why the Bible forbids women to be in place of civil authority and church authority. Not because they are less or inferior, but because their superiorities are elsewhere."
"Life is fair. Sooner or later, it breaks everyone's heart."
Lanny Peters is the pastor of Decatur's Oakhurst Baptist Church, which openly welcomes worshippers of all ages, races and sexual orientations. Peters' following sermon, "The Glorious Inheritance of the Saints," was delivered Nov. 6.
"Many years ago, I heard Frank Tupper, who was then professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Seminary, preach a sermon in which he reflected on his wife's death after two years of enormous suffering with cancer, and his own struggles in being left as a single parent of 9- and 13-year-old children. Tupper said, 'Life is fair. Sooner or later, it breaks everyone's heart.'
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