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Summary: A Lenten service featuring our opportunities for obedience!

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THE BAKER'S DOZEN OF THE COMMANDS OF JESUS

Last week, we began with the 10 saddest words in the English language, and then talked about the BAKER'S DIRTY DOZEN of things for which we need to repent.

Today, let's consider 10 of the happiest words in our language as our springboard to the commands of Jesus. His commandments are NOT hard!

I like these words:

1. Rainbow: Jeffrey Lloyd, now known as Aberjhani, said, "Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow, with gold at both ends!"

2. Outstanding: What better words to hear, when spoken about either your life, or a special project, or perhaps, your faith and service to God and country!

3. Butterflies: Butterflies are flowers that waft on the breezes of life.

4. Romance: a quote from Dr.Seuss: "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

5. Kisses: How about John Loudermilk's old song - "Kiss me each morning for a million years / Hold me each evening by your side / Tell me you'll love me for a million years / Then if it don't work out, then if it don't work out, you can tell me goodbye...."

I had a hard time deciding between the song, and this:

"The best kiss is the one that has been exchanged a thousand times between the eyes before it reaches the lips ...."

6. Sunlight: from the mind of the Persian poet, Hafiz : "Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, 'YOU OWE ME.' Look what happens with a love like that: it lights the whole sky!"

7. Optimism: Just when the caterpillar thought life was over, it became a butterfly. Just when WE think life is over we become ......a citizen of forever!

8. Extraordinary: Overcome that tendency to be ordinary and normal...it robs you of the opportunity to be EXTRAORDINARY!

9. Happiness: SMILE! happiness looks gorgeous on you!

10. And # 10 is Joy: From the mind of Mother Teresa: "One filled with joy preaches without preaching!"

Today, we want to look at the positive side of life, as we examine some of the BAKER'S DOZEN of the commands of Jesus. Let me say, however, at the outset, that there are so many more than just the BAKER'S DOZEN ... what I have done is to select 13 different TOPICS, and a command for each of the topics.

Let me further explain that there are more than 1 command for each of the topics we have selected ... in many cases there a half dozen, or more. That being said, let us begin with # 1, which is:

1. REPENTANCE .... In the third chapter of Matthew, we have the story of Jesus being baptized, and in the 4th chapter, we have the story of His temptations in the wilderness. And then, Matthew quotes from the Prophet Isaiah, saying, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

The next verse, then, reads like this: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Repentance is the first step we take on our Gospel Journey, if I may say it that way.

2. THE NEW BIRTH ... you can already guess the command for this one, I'm sure ... Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, as recorded in John 3, "You must be born again!" and, in support of this admonition, there's a followup ... it's sort of a command, I guess, but it's also solid advice ... "rejoice, because your names are written in heaven!"

One of the things I like about this latter verse, from Luke 10 is that the verse says, "your names ARE written in heaven," not 'will be!'

Can you imagine a brighter way to start each day, than to realize that your eternal future is already in place? Can you imagine how a day could improve from that ... unless, of course, it's the day in which you are TRANSPORTED to that wonderful place of grace!

3. BEING FED is # 3 on our list of the BAKER'S DOZEN OF the COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS ....

And, as I've said far too many times, you don't get to be my size by being picky at the table ....nevertheless, I just love the command in John 7:37, where the word says, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and preached, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink."

4. Now, after we have repented, after we have experienced the new birth, after we have been fed, it is time for us to obey command # 4 ... FOLLOW ME! Read it in John 12:26! "If any man wants to serve Me, let him follow Me!"

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