January 15th, 2018 — IGNITE

I have to tell you, I always hate it when I’m driving and this little light on my dashboard pops on. It’s just a little light, but it always irritates me. I hate seeing it and unfortunately it doesn’t go away by itself. It doesn’t matter how much I try to ignore it, it’s always in my face. And I know it’s going to cost me. It’s my check engine light.

You’d think I’d be thankful for that little light as it turns on. It’s trying to tell me that something’s wrong with my car and needs attention. It’s warning me that if I don’t have my car looked at, something else could possibly go wrong. But when that little light flips on, there are other thoughts that flip on in my head.

As I think of how much I want to ignore my check engine light, I begin to ponder other areas in my life that I might be ignoring the warning signs. I ignore the warning sign on the scale I step onto. It only tells me the truth, but I don’t appreciate it. I ignore the warning sign of my heart pitter-pattering, racing and my blood pressure rising, but I don’t do anything. I ignore the kink in my neck, though it hurts and is a constant pain, which ruins my day and disrupts my sleep, but instead of making an appointment with my chiropractor, I push it off for another day.

My spiritual life is no different. I don’t spend time in the Word and then I wonder why my life is unsatisfying. I ignore the warning signs. I take matters into my own hands and don’t pray, but then I wonder why things don’t turn out right. I ignore the warning signs. I stop worshipping my Lord and offering Him my praise, but then I wonder why my life seems so empty. I ignore the warning.

Why would I do that? Why would you do that? I mean, you wouldn’t drive down a road that was closed would you? Would you walk across a bridge that had a sign that said, “closed for repairs”? Would you drive a car that had a warning sign that said, “no brakes”?

Then why do we keep doing what we’re doing instead of heeding the warning signs? Before you go to sleep, don’t you first get sleepy? Before you fall, don’t you feel your legs go weak? Before a storm, doesn’t God first send clouds? Before a flood, doesn’t it first have to rain? Then why ignore the signs? The Bible says…
“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Open your eyes to see and your ears to hear because they’ll never fail you when it comes to the warning signs. How do I know? Because the Bible say, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made both of them.” Proverbs 20:12

Don’t ignore the warning signs!

Father,
Help me respond to the warning signs in my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

FYI – I leave today for Papua New Guinea and will be gone until February 6th. Please pray!

January 12th, 2018 — IGNITE


Convenience. We all like convenience. I remember the days when the microwave oven came into existence. They were life changers. What once took a good amount of time to cook or bake, now took minutes. Instead of having to get a pot or pan out of the cupboard and put it on the stove and wait for it to heat up, now all you had to do was get a plate, slap your delicacy on it, plop it in the microwave, set the timer and “bam” it was done! How convenient!

Or how about some of the new cars these days. I don’t have one, but maybe you do. I’ve seen the commercials where the person wants to parallel park and the car does it all by itself. How convenient is that?

Remember the days when you needed to get a gift for someone because it was their birthday or anniversary. You got in your car, drove to the store you thought would have what you wanted (or better yet, what you thought they wanted) and purchased your item. Then you hand delivered it when you met. Nowadays, you don’t even have to leave home. You can search to your heart’s content on the internet, find things most stores don’t even have on their shelves or racks, and ship it right to your loved one.

Convenience seems to be the end goal. If we can find the most convenient way to get from point A to point B in our life, I’m pretty sure we’ll at least consider it. The more convenient – the more appealing.

I thought of those things as I read these words today…
“And our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:39 NASB

Let me put this into context. The guy who said this was Stephen. He was brought before the religious leaders for questioning. Stephen was recalling there common history and was referring to Moses as he lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. But because wandering in the wilderness was not convenient, they weren’t willing to follow him as their leader and they rejected him. He could take them out of Egypt but he couldn’t get Egypt out of them. It just wasn’t convenient.

Sometimes our convenience gets in the way of our faith walk. We want the quickest, easiest, most efficient way to walk through life. If it’s got the least bit of resistance, we generally avoid it. And if it is not convenient at all, we go back to the way we’ve always done it before.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God always has your best in mind, but sometimes it may not be convenient. It may stretch you… it may push you… it may not feel comfortable… but it is for your best. Don’t let your convenience stand in the way of receiving the good of our God.

Father,
As you lead, help me to follow, even when I don’t think it’s convenient. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 11th, 2017 — IGNITE

So just imagine with me for a moment that you have tons of money all saved up. You’ve been saving it for years for one special project – you want to build a new home. You draw up the plans with specific details about each room. You design it just the way you want it. You put together a material list, you get a permit to build, and before you know it, your off and running.

Day after day, night after night, you’re pouring your blood, sweat and tears into building your new home – it’s the home of your dreams. You hardly sleep because you’re thinking about it all the time. You want to make sure every piece of wood and each nail is in the right place.

After backbreaking efforts, you finally finish it. You decorate it and furnish it and now it’s time to move in. But instead of moving in, you stand by the front door, turn around and walk away from it. You decide you really don’t want it anymore. And right now you’re thinking,”That’d be crazy!” Right?

Now take the next moment to think about how God feels every time you think He’s forgotten and forsaken you. Just imagine how God feel when you treat Him as if He’s left you high and dry.

Don’t you realize all that God has done for you? He created the heavens and the earth in six days, giving you everything you need to survive. When sin was introduced into this world, God gave us hard work and pain as the consequences of the action, but then He insured we’d be able to endure it by making us extra strong for the task. Then sin ran rampant in the world and God sent His One and Only Son, as a living sacrifice, in order for us to be able to repent when we sin and still live. So tell me again why you think He’ll forget and forsake you?

God poured into us His spiritual blood, sweat and tears when He created us. He’s spent His time molding and shaping us. He’s even given us His breathe so that we might live. He left His Word with us so that we might know Him, believe Him, trust Him. He gave us His anointing that seals us with the power to cast out, pull down and destroy enemy strongholds.

So what makes you think He’ll forget and forsake you? Why would He do that?

God told Jacob…
“I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15 NASB

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God has not left you. He has too much invested in you to just walk away. Even when you can’t see Him or hear Him – He’s still there. You’ve never alone!

Father,
Thank You for always being with me. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

New Year’s Greetings from Wendy Showalter — NLS President

Christmas 

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ—

 

As we begin this New Year, I ask that you pray on this piece of scripture…

“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing” (Ephesians 2:10 NCV).

There are three things you can do with your life: You can waste it, you can spend it, or you can invest it. The best use of your life is to invest it in something that will last longer than your time on Earth.

The worst thing you can do is live simply for today and live for yourself. God did not put you on Earth to live for yourself. He created you to be like Christ.

We know that Christ came to Earth to do two things: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NIV).

When we begin to follow Jesus, He empowers us for a life of service. The more we become like Jesus, the more we will serve others.

Happy New Year !!!
Your fellow servant,

Wendy Showalter NLS Board President

January 9th, 2018 — IGNITE

There was a day in the life of the apostles that really stands out in my mind as one I believe brought them to the next level of their faith. This could be true for you too!

It happened that as they were living out their faith each and every day, teaching and preaching, witnessing, healing people of all kinds of maladies, that there were a religious group of men, who, as the Bible tells us…
“… were filled with jealousy…” Acts 5:18

So these religious leaders had the apostles arrested and thrown into jail. But that same night an angel of the Lord, “opened the gates of the prison” (Acts 5:19) and let them all out, telling them to get back to work. So the next morning, these apostles were right back in the same place they were the day before, teaching and preaching, witnessing, and healing people of all kinds of maladies.

The religious people “were greatly perplexed” (Acts 5:24) the next day because when they went to get the apostles from the jail cell, the doors were all securely locked, the guards were all in position, but there were no apostles inside. They couldn’t figure it out. Then they got news that these apostles were back in the temple doing what they were told not to do.

The apostles were once again arrested and brought before these religious leaders, for questioning. They said…
“We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name…” Acts 5:28a

Here’s where Peter stands up and responds…
“We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

Now, you might be thinking that must be what I’m referring to in my opening statement, as I said there was an event that I believe jettisoned the apostles in their faith and brought them to a greater level. Well, I believe this is part of it, but not all of it. I believe these men needed to tell themselves and tell those they were facing, unequivocally, that they were all in for Jesus. They were His followers and nothing was going to stop them from following Him, not even the threats of these religious leaders.

But there is something else that propelled these apostles to live out their faith. After they were told to stop doing their Jesus thing, they were beaten and then released. And instead of moaning and groaning because of the beating, here’s what the Bible says…
“So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Learn the language of praise. When you’re questioned, harassed, even beaten because of your faith in Jesus Christ… don’t tuck your tail and run… don’t complain… don’t quit. Get your gameface on, set your heart in motion, put your mouth in gear and praise God you are considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Father,
I praise you even when I get beaten for my faith. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 5th, 2018 — IGNITE

I really need to tell you something today. I mean, this is great news. I’m praying this will ignite you to believe and hope for greater things, because we serve a great God. Our God reigns and there is none like Him. No one can stop Him, hinder Him, or block Him.

Now listen to me… everything can change. When Jesus is involved, everything can change in the bat of an eye. Your circumstances can change… your future can change… your footing can change… your outlook can change… your position can change… your resources can change… your status can change.

Why do I suggest any of that to you? Because of what I read in the Word today, and I believe the Word over any emotion, any feeling, any thought I might have.

I read about a guy in Acts chapter three who for years was being carried by everyone else – literally. He was totally reliant and all his friends and family. You see, he was paralyzed and so he had to beg for sustenance. He couldn’t get from point A to point B in his life, so he needed his peeps to get him there. If they didn’t show up, he stayed home. If he stayed home, he made no money. If he made no money, be bought no food. His life was a vicious cycle and which I’m pretty sure he never thought he could get out of. Maybe he had been doing it so long, he didn’t want to get out of it. Any of this sound familiar?

But one day, one moment of one day, was all it that was needed for that to change. As he parked his carcass in front of the temple doors, like he did every day, pleading to religious people who might have a heart, he meet two men who gave him something no one ever offered him before. Everybody else chucked him a coin or two, pocket change. Others threw him their leftover lunch. But not these two guys.

As this man, who was paralyzed sat there, looking up at these two guys, anticipating something above and beyond the normal, he was given what only God could give. Read this…
“But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!’” Acts 3:6 NASB

This guy not only got up and started walking, he started leaping and jumping inside the temple, praising God!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re going through, but I do know the One who will get you through it. Stop sitting around waiting for the right person to come along to give you some chump change. Jesus is right there. In His name, get up on your feet, start putting one foot in front of the other, and give Him some praise!

Father,
I believe today is the day. I praise You! In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 4th, 2018 — IGNITE

Ok, I’m just going to be honest with you. When I read the Bible there are things that I’m told to do, but either I don’t know how to do it, or I don’t want to do it. Here’s one of them…
“Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.” Psalm 4:4 NASB

That word “tremble” caught my eye because I wanted to know what I was dealing with and wasn’t supposed to sin while doing it. It’s in reference to anger. It’s saying not to let our anger control us and turn it into something we’ll regret later.

But here’s my dilemma – I’m a pretty emotional guy. I don’t usually hold much back. My problem is: when I get angry I don’t hear to well – or at least I can’t hear what I’m supposed to hear because my anger gets in the way. When I get emotional I have a tendency to make bad decisions. I don’t know if this relates to any of you, but the Holy Spirit is sure speaking to me! If you’re anything like me, you react with the wrong words… the wrong look… the wrong decisions.

That’s why this Psalm writer was telling us to get that anger and all of our emotions in check beforehand. If we don’t, you and I are going to miss what God is trying to tell us. And when we’re emotionally angry, we’re going to find ourselves taking the wrong advice from people who don’t have our best interest in mind and then discounting the ones who do. That’s why texting and emails can be so poisonous, because we read between the lines, inflect our own voices, depending on how emotional we are about the conversation.

When we’re emotional or angry, we tend to make small stuff larger than life itself. We argue just for the sake of arguing. We misread that email and now we won’t answer the phone. We replay the hurt over and over again and then the thinking begins and we think everyone is against us.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Take a deep breath, calm down, relax. Read Psalm 4:4 again. When we’re angry, we have a tendency to believe those that hurt us did it maliciously and intentionally. Maybe some did, but for the majority, maybe not until you just stop, ponder, put the best construction on everything and let it go. I know you probably want to respond, but wait. You already have the words formulated, but don’t. You want them to hurt like you hurt, but stop. Don’t react out of anger or emotion. Sit in the stillness of God and He’ll give you the right response. Let Him deal with you first. The Bible says…
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NASB

Father,
Help me to think before I react. Put a watch on my mouth and my thoughts. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 3rd, 2018 — IGNITE

So here’s what really caught my eye as I read my Bible today…

The earth is in terrible shape. It’s corrupt… it’s rotten… it’s unethical… it’s immoral… it’s unscrupulous… it’s nefarious (I’ve always wanted to use that word but never had the opportunity until now!). And I’m not talking about our day and age, but the time of Noah.

When God looked around at everything He had made and took it all in, the Bible tells us…
“… the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Genesis 6:6 NASB

So, you know the account. There’s one guy, and only one, who is qualified to do something about it, and that is Noah. This Noah, the Bible tell us, has a relationship with God. Noah is a “a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). So God tells Noah to build an ark because a storm’s a coming and it’s going to wipe out everything. Everything is going to be destroyed and die, and everything is going to start all over again with Noah and his family. Noah, being a God follower, obeys and does exactly what God tells him to do.

Now up to this time, the two of the have talked. God gave Noah precise plans on how to construct the ark… what to put in it… when to get in it. And then, after the rains start coming, and the water starts rising, and God gives the final command to get in the ark, and God closed the door – the conversations seem to stop. That’s right. From the time Noah and his family got in the ark until it was time to get out of the ark – the Bible doesn’t tell us of any conversations during that one year of floating. One year and ten days later (Genesis 7:11 & Genesis 8:14) God says to Noah…
“Go out of the ark…” Genesis 8:16 NASB

What’s my point? I believe there are times that God has us on a mission for Him, and while we’re doing it… living it… wading through it… we don’t always hear Him or He’s not speaking, and at those times we might get a little fidgety. We might start questioning God as to where He is while we’re just floating through life. We might start to panic, when we feel like we’re going nowhere. Days turn into weeks… weeks turn into months…  months turn into years.

But can I tell you something – It’s all going to be OK. Everything is good, even if you can’t hear God. He’s still in control and He’s knows exactly what He’s going to do next.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t panic if you can’t hear God speaking to you. Don’t give up early because you think God’s done with you. If Noah would have tried to leave the ark to early it would have been disastrous. No, God didn’t leave Noah in the ark and He’s not going to leave you stranded either.

Father,
I need to hear Your voice in my life often. But when I can’t, help me trust You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 2nd, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever read the Bible and upon reading something someone did, or a decision they made, quickly said to yourself, “I’d never do that!” I have.

As I’ve said in the past, most often I’m the good guy in the end. I’m never publican standing in the middle of the room telling everyone how good I am. No, I’m the tax collector cowering over in the corner, humbly seeking God’s forgiveness. I’m never the rowdy thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus. I’m the one who submissively asked to be remembered when He comes in His glory. And let’s just top this all off by saying I would never act like Peter, James or John, spouting my mouth off and wanting to call fire down from heaven to consume some unruly people!

My thinking process was rebooted again today as I read chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Genesis. I don’t know about you, but that third chapter is a hard one for me to read. I mean, here are Adam and Eve, fully enjoying this beautiful life, in this glorious garden when in enters the enemy. He convinces Eve she’d have it even better if she just ate some of the fruit that God forbid. She dreamingly sees the greater possibilities and partakes of the luscious, and may I reiterate, forbidden fruit, and then immediately gives it to her husband, who willingly acquiesce.

It’s then I think to myself, “Why did they do that? Didn’t they realize the ramifications of making such a decision? I would have never done that!” But I do all the time!

I have been so richly blessed. I live in a land where I can still talk about Jesus openly and freely. God has provided me with a loving and supportive spouse, wonderful children and a whole boatload of grandchild (with more on the way). He’s provided me with a home and my daily bread. And yet, when the enemy comes in his disguise and lures me into thinking of bigger and better, I never stand up, get in his face and tell him where the front door is! No, I fall in his trap… I get hurt… I hurt others… and here’s the worst – just like Adam and Eve – without even thinking about it, I hide myself from God. I purposefully stay away. Here’s what the Word says…
“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 NASB

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Because of Jesus, you and I don’t need to hide anymore. When the enemy comes, get up in his grill and tell him in no uncertain terms – I didn’t come here to lose today!

Father,

I believe. Help my unbelief. I don’t want to hide from You anymore. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.  

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 29th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Do you ever feel like you just finished one race in life and now you’re off to the next? For example, you just spent weeks preparing for Christmas and all of its festivities and now that you’re done with that, you’re on to the next thing – New Years! So, it probably doesn’t take as much time, energy or money to welcome in the new year, but still, there is this constant movement into the future. Right after the New Year, you’ll be preparing for the Super Bowl… then Valentines Day… then Mardi Gra… then Lent… then Easter… then Spring… then opening fishing… then Mother’s Day… then graduations… then weddings… and throw in a child being born somewhere among those days… Ok, you get the drift. Our calendars are chucked full of activities, outings and gatherings.

But can I encourage you that in and amongst all that’s going on in your life, sometime stop and thank the Lord! As a matter of fact, every opportunity you get, you ought to have yourself a “Thank You, God!” praise party! Even if it happens when your in the midst of misery… or a time of turmoil… or a season of sickness… or in great grief. Maybe it’s a trial of tears… or another fruitless fight… more headaches of hurt. Whatever time it is, tell God, “Thank You!”

Even when they’ve walked out on you again, leaving you high and dry… or the walls of woes are closing in… the blinders of bitterness are beginning to cover your eyes and the darkness of depression is suffocating you; tell God, “Thank You!”

I’m not telling you to thank God for what’s happening or not happening, but thank God for Him still being your God. Because He is a mighty force and the two of you together are unstoppable. I’m not saying just face the facts that life’s unfair at times, but turn to the One who has everything in control, including your life. I’m not saying it could get worse because let’s face it, we don’t want it to get worse!

But how can I tell God “Thank You” when it seems like I’m about to lose my mind and my will to press on? How can I stand up and proclaim a “Thank You, God!” when it feels like I’m about to get pushed down again? How can I rise up in victory when it feels like my enemies are beating me?

It’s actually very easy. Just open your mouth and recite these words, “Thank You God!” I can say that because the Word of God is bigger, strong, more durable and outlasting than any of my problems. Here’s what the Word says…
“The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. This is the year when the LORD God will show kindness to us and punish our enemies.” Isaiah 61:1-2 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: This is the year! This is the time and place. You are the person – the right person. God is about to turn things around but will you tell Him “Thank You” while He works?

Father,
Thank You! In Jesus name I speak this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen