May 23rd, 2018 — IGNITE

Sometime it would be interesting to share life’s notes with a whole group of people. You know, sit around and share life’s experiences – the good, the bad, the ugly. By the way, I saw a quote that said this: Your past may have been dark and ugly, but you are not.” Something inside of me gravitates towards those words. I needed to read that!

Just like you, I’ve experienced a good many things during my lifetime. Some had to do with health and injuries. Some had to do with death. Some of the hardships were work reality. Others had to do with places I have been allowed to go and the people I have met. As I get older, experience has shown me that all these aspects of my life, the good, the bad, the ugly, have actually been a blessing and God used them all for my good. Lets understand, it’s in life’s deep struggles, when we aren’t able to pull ourselves up, that we are forced to cry out to God to “save me.” It’s when we’ve reached the end of the line, the bottom of the pit, that we call on His name.

Here’s what the Bible says,
“I love the LORD, because He hears my voice… The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” Psalm 116:1, 6

This Psalm is one of thanksgiving for being delivered from some life-threatening situation. It might have been an illness, but the description was open-ended enough apply to any number of horrible situations in life. No matter what the writer of this Psalm was facing, no matter how painful, the focus is not on the problem but on the truth that he turned to God at that moment and God was there.

The other thing we should note is that God loved the writer and us enough to respond in our moment of deepest need. He is never too early and He is never too late. Why? Because we are of great value to God. In His eyes, because of the all atoning sacrifice of His Son, we are worth it. The world around us may not see us as being special, or wanted, or needed, or have much value, but God always sees us as we really are: priceless! It’s important to view ourselves the way God views us: priceless!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Thank God for specific moments in your life when He carried you through the deep struggles and challenges you were facing. Then continue to thank God for seeing you as valuable, even when other thought and treated you are worthless. Allow God to humbly lift you up and give you the worth to do meaningful and worthy things. It’s not until you understand how blessed you are that you will understand how to be a blessing to others.

Father,
I love you for listening to me, saving me, claiming me as Your own and giving me value. Jesus, thank You for making that all possible. It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 22nd, 2018 — IGNITE

Remember the time you really thought that God was no longer hearing you pray? Ok, so maybe you’ve never thought that way, but I sure have. So for today I’ll just speak for myself.

I remember being in that place where I desperately needed help. There were times it was about health… there were times it was about relationships… there were times it was about money (or the lack of money). I remember crying out to my heavenly Father with despair in my heart. But there seemed to be no answer. The doors of heaven seemed shut. God had turned a deaf ear toward me.

I also remember other times where I was doing my compraining (praying + complaining), venting all my frustrations, wanting God to take care of my problem or take a certain person, who was just a thorn in my backside, out of my way, or simply just praying with a bad attitude. I wanted God to do what I was unwilling to do myself. I wanted God to intervene on my behalf and settle the issue. I wanted God to honor my request because I had a more righteous cause than the other person and somehow had convinced myself I deserved it.

I don’t know about you, but I have learned over the years that I have had to thank God for what He hasn’t given me. And I have also learned to thank Him, and am still learning to thank Him, for the request of mine He didn’t grant.

I thought of that today as I read the precious Word of God. Here’s what I read that made me think of that today…
“In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!’” Mark 15:31-32

What if God answered all of our prayers the way we demanded? I realize what the chief priest and scribes were saying probably wasn’t offered up as a prayer in our terminology, but it was a request, though probably more rhetorical. What if Jesus, hearing their request, somehow felt obligated to oblige them? Or, in response to their arrogance and meanness, decided to appease them? What if, Jesus came down off the cross because they asked? You do realize, we’d still be in our sin… there would be no victory over sin, death or hell… we would still be lost and condemned.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Thank God for always listening to you. Thank Him for the times He said “No.” to your prayer. Thank Him for what you don’t have. And thank Him for not always granting what you ask for but doing what’s best for you.

Father,
I know You are always listening to me. Thank You for hearing me and being so good to me. Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 21st, 2018 — IGNITE

I know I’ve said this before, but I really do love the Word of God. I love what my eyes see when I read it and I love how my heart feels when it reaches past the surface and goes deep within me. Here’s what I read this morning that grabbed hold of me…

“Tremble, O earth, before the Lord…” Psalm 114:7

I have to tell you, there’s something comforting in knowing we worship a God who causes all the earth to tremble. There’s something reassuring knowing the power our God holds. There’s a confidence that comes when you know our God can even do such a thing.

The popular thinking of today tends to shy away from a God of power and might, choosing to emphasize lowliness and meekness. But the same God who emptied Himself, took on flesh, and became a servant is also the God who causes the earth to tremble and shake, mountains to crash into the depths of the sea. The same Son of God who entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey will one day return leading a host of heavenly beings, the mighty army of God.

Tremble in the presence of the Lord. Never take for granted who it is that you worship. Never forget that He spoke billions of stars into existence. Never forget that He created not just one daisy, but billions upon billions of daisies and is still doing it today. Never forget that He intricately and wondrously formed you. Always keep in mind that you will one day stand before His judgment seat.

I remember a Latin phrase I learned in college many years ago. The two words were Coram Deo, which means before the face of God. Today, like yesterday and tomorrow, live Coram Deo, before the face of God. He sees your every action, hears your every word, knows your every thought. But even as you seek to live in the sight of your holy God, be comforted knowing that our God reigns over all creation. The earth will tremble at His presence. Every knee will bow before Him. Every tongue will confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And the trials you now face will one day be over as Jesus welcomes you into your eternal home with Him. The Lord, the righteous judge, will take vengeance on all His enemies and He will reward all those He has made His children.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Tremble at the presence of the Lord. Tremble in awesome respect and fear at His power. Tremble in overwhelming joy at His mercy toward you.

Father,

Even as the earth shakes in Your presence, I know I am welcomed to come before you through the blood of the Lamb. Jesus, thank You for making the way for me. It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 18th, 2018 — IGNITE

Do you remember the last time something completely captivated you? It held your attention so tight, even if it was just for a moment of time? Maybe it was a documentary about an amazing historic figure or event. Maybe it was an athletic contest. Maybe it was a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Or maybe it was simply a love and interest in your chosen hobby. Whatever your interests may be, almost everyone has experienced the excitement of something new.

The person who wrote Psalm 111 is amazed, Here is what he says… “great are the works of the LORD”. These works aren’t simply good, they’re great! And just as some things in life usher a sense of awe and wonder, so should God’s works. In fact, His great works surround us through nature and are demonstrated throughout the Bible.

Unfortunately, sometimes we lose our sense of wonder in our walk with God. The majesty of His works and power lose their freshness, become normal to us and feel stagnate. This means that many times we can simply go through the motions of our faith and when that happens our power and glory fade and falter. Don’t let the works of God become like this in your life.

As we hear and read Bible passages often, let’s never lose our sense of awe. As we drive by the same mountains or forests, rather than growing accustomed to their beauty, we should look upon them with a wonder-filled heart that God has created something so big and beautiful. Not only are we called to delight in the majesty of God’s works, but they benefit us in our knowledge of and faith in God. We learn the following about the character of God as you read Psalm 111 :

vs. 3 – He is full of splendor and majesty; His righteousness endures forever

vs. 4 – He is gracious and merciful

vs. 5 – He remembers His covenants

vs. 7 – He is faithful, just, and trustworthy

These are all attributes of God that we learn by studying His word. This knowledge in turn increases our faith and gives us a greater appreciation for what God has done in, for and around us. Let’s rejoice and be glad that we serve such a loving and powerful God!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Many people are looking for something that will boast their sagging faith. Their looking for an outside source that will pick them up and move them along. But the truth is, He, that is the Holy Spirit, is already inside of you. As you take time to concentrate on the works of God in your life, you’ll find a renewed sense of joy and delight in Him. Don’t miss it.

Father,
Help me keep my eyes wide open today to see Your beauty and glory. Refresh my faith. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 17th, 2018 — IGNITE

I noticed something in the Word today that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before. It’s not as if I’ve never read this verse before, because I know I have numerous times. But when I read it, I had to stop and think deeply into it. I couldn’t go on to the next verse, because I believe the Holy Spirit was teaching me something I needed to learn, and I’m learning it. Maybe this will help you as well.

Remember after the Passover meal was celebrated by Jesus and His disciples, and He instituted what we call, The Lord’s Supper, they went out to this place called Gethsemane? He knew what was about to happen. He knew everything that He came to this earth for was about to go down. This was the moment all of creation had longed for.

Jesus does what most of us should do a whole lot more than we do – He prays. As they enter Gethsemane, this garden area, He tells His disciples to wait at the entrance while He spends some time in prayer. He took with Him, Peter, James and John into the inner circle of the garden, but then goes off by Himself for some heavy soul searching. He told these three this…
“My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” Mark 14:34

Then this is what we’re told…
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.” Mark 14:35

I know you know the next verse and what Jesus said to His Father, but let me tell you again…
“Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

But before you concentrate on verse 36, read again verse 35, He “began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.”

And when that didn’t happen, it’s not as if Jesus just stopped praying, for we know He prayed the same thing two more times (Mark 14:39). He didn’t give up. He just didn’t stop and give in. He didn’t throw His hands in the air in total frustration. He didn’t try to bargain with God or manipulate Him. He didn’t decide to take matters into His own hand. He didn’t run and He didn’t hide. No, He pursued God in His deepest, trying time and He accepted what His Father had planned, knowing it was the absolute best plan. He focused on His Father rather than the situation.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re facing today. I don’t know what hardship has knocked you down or is about to knock you down. But what I do know is what will happen if you focus on your heavenly Father, rather than the circumstance. He will deliver you.

Father,
I’m keeping my eyes fixed on You today. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thoughts; May 16th, 2018 — IGNITE

I need to make a statement and then I’ll explain. Here’s my statement… my announcement… my proclamation. I don’t say this half-heartedly, flippantly, or frivolously. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. I am saying this as a public declaration and manifesto. Are you ready? Here it is: “Jesus can be trusted!”

There you have it. “Jesus can be trusted.” He can be trusted to fulfill whatever He says. He can be trusted to complete whatever He has told you. He can be trusted to accomplish that which He has invested in you. He means what He says and says what He means. And here’s why I say all of that!

I was reading from Mark 14 today. It’s Jesus’ last days here on earth. It’s that time of year again for the Jewish celebration of Passover to occur. The timing of Jesus life and death couldn’t be more perfect. It was at Passover that the perfect lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the people. Jesus is that perfect Lamb.

The disciples knew Jesus wanted to remember Passover so they asked Him where they should set up the meal. Here’s what Jesus told them…
“Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; and prepare for us there.” Mark 14:13b-15

Then we’re told…
“And the disciples went out, and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them…” Mark 14:16

See, those kind of things catch my eye. They jump right off the page and smack me right in the face. They grab my faith strings and start pulling them. There is no such thing as luck, fate, coincidence or chance. Jesus is the answer to every question in life. When He says “go find a guy carrying a pitcher of water and follow him,” that’s exactly what we should do, because he’s going to lead us to where we need to go.

What’s my point? When Jesus tells us something we should buy into it with everything we have. Radically obey Him. Fanatically and uncompromisingly follow Him.

When He says, “Do not be afraid!” Why would be ever be nervous, anxious, scared or timid again?

When He says, “Do not doubt!” Why would we ever be apprehensive… confused… hesitant… reluctant… or suspicious again?

When He says, “I have gone to prepare a place for you!” Why we would ever desire to stay here any longer, prolonging this worldly separation with Him?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Jesus can be trusted. He can be trusted with every aspect of your life. Do you trust Him?

Father,
Help me trust You more. Jesus in Your glorious, powerful name I ask this, Amen.

Rev, Dr, MM Marxhausen

thoughts; May 15th, 2018

I really can’t think of anything greater to talk about than God’s love. I mean, there isn’t an event… a celebration… a ceremony… a contest, that compares with God’s love. Here’s what the Bible says…
“For Thy lovingkindness is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reaches to the skies.” Psalm 108:4

God’s love is so much greater than ours. Our love can reach for the skies but will never reach the skies. Our love can sometimes imitate God’s love, or reflect God’s love but never can it surpass, match or replace God’s love. We can love like He loves, but our love will never compare to the height, the depth, the width or the length of His love. Unlike our conditional love, His love is unconditional, unlimited and unrestricted. Our everyday goal should be to strive to love more like He loves, always recognizing our shortcomings. His love has no limits; it’s endless, bottomless, matchless, precious and perfect.

God loves us. He loves you. He loves me. God loves the world. Sometimes, I just need to meditate on that truth and let it sink into my deepest parts, so that I can fully appreciate it. This verse reminds me that the connection between me and Him is not based on time and space. The old question goes something like this… “If you aren’t as close to God as you used to be, guess who moved?” And just in case you’re not thinking real clear today, let me answer that for you… it’s always us who has moved away from Him.

But, isn’t it always His love that comes and gets us? Doesn’t He seem to show us kindness… or send a word of encouragement… or through a song, touches us… or reminds us of something near and dear to us… that draws us back to Him? We can run but we can’t hide. We can pull away and walk away or close our eyes and ears and even shut down, but He always draws us back. It is indeed His kindness that leads us to repentance. His love melts our hearts. We need this kind of love.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Life’s too short. From time to time, reach your hands up to heaven, let out some kind of joyful noise and remind yourself that His love reaches that high. Look up into the sky, above the clouds during the day, beyond the stars at night and think of how great is the love of God that reaches to the heavens. When I ponder this great love, I can’t resist Him. He puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I can lean on Him… trust Him… and walk with Him. Look beyond your own limits to just receive His limitless love. And remember… He not only loves you… He likes you… and He’s proud of you!

Father,
Thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your love that never changes though I do. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thoughts; May 14th, 2018 — IGNITE

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about having a “thorn” in the flesh. He describes it as “a messenger of Satan” sent to harass him, and he say that he begged the Lord to take it from him multiple times (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). I’ve always wondered what that thorn was. Was it a certain temptation? Was it some sort of mental or physical problem?

Regardless, the point is that Paul had a thorn he couldn’t get rid of, and so do each of us. For some, it’s a chronic illness… a physical limitation… an addiction… or insecurity. What all thorns have in common is that they threaten to replace Jesus as Lord in our lives. They try to overwhelm us with their bigness and scare tactics… or in some cases, their appeal.

If that’s you, here’s a few things – a few truths to comfort, strengthen, or convict, regardless of your particular variety of thorn.

#1. Remember How Small You Are

We can all agree that Job was very familiar with affliction. He had so many thorns. In his suffering he was tempted to despair… to doubt… and even to take his own life. What God says when He finally answers Job’s condition is amazing:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job 38:4

He spends the next four chapters reminding Job of how big He is. He works to bring about repentance and the right perspective in Job.

As big as our own affliction and temptation can feel, it’s important to remember that it’s nothing compared to what our Lord endured to save us.

Thorns, literally, are small, but when they are the focal point of our perspective rather than Jesus, they cast a huge shadow. It’s really a comfort to remember that it’s our Lord Who’s big, not our suffering. We’re actually very small – just pieces of His vast and unsearchable will. But we can rest knowing that in His will, He has purposed all things for good, including affliction and weakness.

#2. Remember How Loved You Are.

I don’t know if I can say this enough times to you to really help you believe it, but I’ll most certainly try again because you’re worth it:

God not only loves you… He likes you… and He’s proud of you!

Read that live a million times if you have to. Let it be absorbed throughout your entire body because it’s the truth!

#3. Remember How Covered You Are

Though Paul never divulges the nature of his thorn, he does tell usu the Lord’s answer to it:
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9

That’s incredible. It’s all covered. The Lord’s grace is sufficient in answer to any weakness or hardship we might experience.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: What’s your thorn? What weakness is God perfecting in you with His grace.

Father,
Help me focus on how big you are. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 11th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten the power that resides in you? I know you’re facing some things right now, but remember who you are!

You see, we are children of God and since we’re children of God, we are His anointed. And since we are anointed, we need to stop letting disappointments steal our appointments. We’re too blessed to keep allowing stress to put our feet in a mess. We should be actively living and that starts with forgiving. We’re running the race by God’s amazing grace. This war you’re fighting is already won; it was fixed when God sent His One and Only Son!

We are the anointed! Understand this; God’s anointing isn’t limited to those who are charged with His calling of preaching because anointed means to simply be chosen by God. That means all of us! God doesn’t show any favoritism. He treats us all the same. We’re all His children. Being His anointed one isn’t based on who you are or what you’ve done, but simply on the mercy and grace of God.

You see, when you get your anointing from people, they can change their mind and take it back from you. When your anointing comes from people, they believe they own you and they can do with you and to you what they want. But when you’re anointed by God, He will keep the covenant He made with Abraham and even all the people of Israel when He told them as they wandered through the wilderness that He wouldn’t allow any harm to come their way because He would protect them… He would be their covering… He would be their shield.

Psalm 105:15 says… “Do not touch My anointed ones…”

We are His anointed ones, each and every one of us who are in His will by the blood of Jesus Christ. God’s anointing covers us even when we are in the thick of it. God’s anointing empowers us to stand up and fight back. God’s anointing fills us even when we feel drained

Here’s what the Word says…
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Remember who your are and Whose you are. You are God’s anointed – children of the heavenly Father. Stop minimizing your anointing and stop evaluating your anointing by the circumstances your dealing with. Live like you really belong to the family of God and are one of His children!

Father,
Today I remember I’m Your child. You have anointed me. Today I will not only remind myself of that, but I will live like I belong to You. Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thouights: May 10th, 2018 — IGNITE

As I was reading the Word today, my mind kept saying the same thing over and over again – “Wouldn’t that be nice!”

“Wouldn’t that be nice if God treated you that way?”

“Wouldn’t that be nice if God responded to you like that?”

“Wouldn’t that be nice if God answered your request like that?”

Why was I thinking like that? Well, as I was reading 1 Samuel 23, I found David once again running for his life from King Saul. This is like the umpteenth time, but he’s running again. He and his men had just fought the Philistines who were trying to overtake this little town. And while there David knew that King Saul was going to come and try to kill him again.

So what does David do? He prays! This is what he says…
“‘O LORD God of Israel, Thy servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down just as Thy servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I pray, tell Thy servant.’ And the LORD said, ‘He will come down.’” 1 Samuel 23:10-11

See what I mean? Wouldn’t it be nice to have God answer you like that? But wait… there’s more… keep reading…
“The David said, ‘Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?’ And the LORD said, ‘They will surrender you.’ Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go.” 1 Samuel 23:12-13a

I just want to say, “Wow! To have God answer your request like that – on the spot! What would that be like? How nice would that be, to ask God your life’s question and have Him answer you right away?

God, should I buy that car?

God, should I marry this person?

God, should I invest my money here?

God, should I sell my house and move?

God, should I look for another job?

God, should I retire?

Maybe that’s the whole point! Maybe I just never ask Him those questions, though He’s very willing to answer them. Maybe I just figure I’ve got myself this far along in life without asking the questions, why start now? Maybe I’ve just never tried asking God my questions because I didn’t want to hear what He had to say because I already had my mind made up on what I wanted to do. Maybe I believed He wouldn’t talk to me like He talked to David – that succinctly and that expeditiously.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God’s always been available to hear your prayers and answer them. Are you willing to ask Him? Are you willing to listen to Him? Are you willing to follow Him?

Father,
As I pray today, speak to me… direct me… guide me… in words I understand, in tones simple, pure and true. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen