December 13th, 2017 — DEVOTE


Don’t you think it’s a bit weird how tight lipped we are about God? I mean, we talk about some of the most nonessential stuff, as if it were the most important news the world has got to hear. I think it’s a bit crazy how God brings us through more stuff than we’ll ever know, and we keep it all to ourselves. We’re like people locked in time and space, when in reality, because of Jesus, we’re free. I’m not sure I understand how we can go through trial and hardship… adversity and calamity… danger and disaster… oppression and sorrow… and not tell anybody! You do know all the world’s watching, waiting and listening, right? You do know you might possible be the only Bible some people will ever read, right? So, why is it so hard to tell somebody about the goodness of our God?

You’re the one people see and your life is what they read, so how can you not share? How can you get me to believe that God can heal me if you can’t tell me how He’s healed you? How can you make me believe He will love me, with all my baggage, if you can’t tell me how He’s loved you with all your baggage and what He’s done with it? How can you make me believe He will pick me up if you can’t tell me how He’s picked you up? Surely there’s got to be a witness, doesn’t there? Where is the witness?

Maybe you’re the one who got the bad report from the doctor, but you outlived it. Maybe you’re the one who was about to lose house and home, but then the money surprisingly came in. Maybe you’re the one who caught wind that your job was on the line, but that didn’t happen. Maybe you’re the one whose marriage was about to splinter, but God saved that too.

Where is the witness? Where’s the one who isn’t afraid to tell the world how great a God we have? Hasn’t God been more than good enough to you? Where’s your witness?

If we remain as tight lipped as we are now, it will take an enormously long time for people to hear the truth and some might never get the opportunity. We’ve got to quit waiting for the right moment to speak out and just open our mouth and give God some glory!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The Lord asked in the presence of all of heaven… “Is there anyone I can send? Will someone go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8 CEV). I believe He’s still asking the same question today. Wondering if anyone will respond. Be like Isaiah and shout out… “I’ll go. Send me!” You’ve got a story to tell – and the world is waiting and wanting to hear.

Father,
Open my lips and my mouth will shout out Your praise. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 12th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So how much do you think you trust God? Think about it for just a moment, and then ask yourself the tough question: Do I really trust my God? Do you trust Him with your relationships? Your marriage? Your family? Do you trust Him with your money? Do you trust Him with your health? How about your future?

For a number of months now, I’ve included in my prayers a Bible verse to help me stayed focused. I pray it, not because I don’t have faith, but as a reminder that each day I’ve got to trust my God for every aspect of my life. Some days, my trust level is pretty high – though it probably never reaches it maximum. Other days, when things happen, my trust level diminishes, probably without me even thinking about it. And the first thing I do is try to fix the problem… come up with a solution… iron out the mess. I don’t know why I do that other than a lack of trust. Something inside of me determines that God must not be doing His job in taking care of me, so I’ve got to handle it myself.

There are times, when in my lack of trust, I lose my way. I forget which way I’m going. I lose sight of the goal set before me and I end up totally off course. And then what happens next is all too common. I have to backtrack to get to where I was supposed to be in the first place. If I would’ve just trusted my Father, I wouldn’t ever have to do that. I certainly hope this is making sense to you. You may not be anything like this and this isn’t encouraging you in the least bit… but it is sure helping me! 🙂

OK, so here’s what I’ve included in my prayers. It’s found in Revelation 3:7. This is from the letter that was written to the church in Philadelphia. From what we know, they were a small band of people, but had large faith. They lived out their faith even in the face of trial and hardship. This is what they were told…
“When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it.” CEV

That’s become part of my prayer time. I really need God to eliminate all the other options for me and just give me the choice He wants. I need Him to open the doors He wants me to walk through and not allow anyone to close those doors. And I need Him to close doors, that even though they look great, are not the doors He want’s me to walk through. And if He closes them they can’t be opened, not even by me!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Trust God! He’s offering you His help again today… why not take it?

Father,
Open doors that no man can shut… and shut doors that no man can open. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 11th, 2017 — DEVOTE


This guy is really a nobody. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but really, nobody even knows the guy. He’s mentioned one time in the entire Bible, and it’s in the last book of the Bible. What we do know is, he is from a town called Pergamum. Other than that we have no history… no milestones… no checklist on the guy. He’s kind of like the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. All we know about him was he a criminal being put to death. No name. Nothing else.

At least with the guy from Pergamum we have a name. His name is Antipas. Read this about him…
“I know that you live where Satan has his throne. But you have kept true to my name. Right there where Satan lives, my faithful witness Antipas was taken from you and put to death.” Revelation 2:13 CEV

Now, just imagine you have one thing remembered about you, and it was said by Jesus Himself. It was written down in black and white, etched in words and now has been read for millennia. Would He be able to say about you, “My faithful witness…”? That’s almost beyond comprehension. I mean, look what was said about Pergamum – “Right where Satan lives…” Stop and think about what that must have looked liked. And then as I do, I start looking at the world around me. Our world is becoming more anti-Christian on a daily basis and things which were not acceptable, deplorable in years gone by, are now protected as rights under the law. All these things are like a slap in God’s face. We’re not that far away from the culture of Pergamum, are we?

How long will it be before God must withdraw His grace from us after we exhaust His deep patience, and mercy?

But what about Antipas? I can think of nothing that would be more of an honor, and yet more powerfully humbling. It may have been that Antipas was confronted by the government to deny Christ and worship the Emperor, which was common. It may have been any number of similar situations. Whatever the case was Antipas refused to deny his Lord and Savior and, in the human perspective, it cost him his life. He became a martyr. In the light of eternity, Antipas gained his freedom from the battle that wages in our humanness, between the spirit and the flesh. He lost what he could never keep, his mortal life, and gained what he could never lose – eternity with God.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask yourself… What will be recalled to others about you? Is there anything you would like to change? You still have time while you still have breath. Antipas, the unknown faithful witness, may have lost what this world holds on to tightly, but he received the highest honor from his Savior! What will be said of you?

Father,
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

December 8th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you knew you shouldn’t do something, or maybe someone told you you shouldn’t do something, but you did it anyway? And even though you knew you shouldn’t do it, and you did it anyway, it flopped just like you thought it might and now you have a bigger problem than you did before? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s done that!

In Acts 27 we read of the Apostle Paul doing some traveling by ship. But the season of the year is not necessarily good traveling weather and Paul tells them they shouldn’t set out to sea. Storms are brewing. The winds are in the wrong direction. The crew starts to panic and one day, it get’s so bad, they start throwing some of the cargo overboard and the next day, they’re throwing the ship’s gear overboard. They were stuck in this inclement weather for a long time. As a matter of fact, this is what we read…
“A strong wind kept blowing, and we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 27:20 CEV

Then, while they’re still in danger, Paul stands up and says these encouraging words…
“You should have listened to me!” Acts 27:21 CEV

It was like saying, “I told you so!” Don’t you just hate that! But he was right! These guys put themselves in this predicament, much like we do. How many times have we allowed the storms of situations, the rain showers of regrets, the thunder of trials, the lighting of lies or the darkness of depression keep us from getting where we should be? How many times have you pulled off the side of the road in life when you were in the middle of the storm and wasted time wondering if you were ever going to see the light of day again? How much have you missed in life because you were afraid of the storm? How many times have you canceled plans because life looked bad and the clouds darkened your world? How many of you have lost sleep or gone to sleep because of the inclement weather in your life only to wake up the next morning and see that the storm passed by you? I can’t be the only one! I know I’m not the only one. But what I do know, is some of us have wasted too much time, battling the storms when we should be trusting our God.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know who this is for, or what’s happening in your life, but hear what Paul told the crew and is telling you right now…
“Cheer up! I am sure that God will do exactly what He promised.” Acts 27:25 CEV

They reached shore – so will you!

Father,

Thank You for saving me even when it looks like I’m out of reach. Thank You for getting me safely to shore. In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 7th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I remember as a kid growing up, my mom asking me to do something. Maybe she asked me to go downstairs and get some potatoes from the fruit cellar. Or maybe she wanted me to go clean my room. Whatever the task was, I remember a couple of times, telling her I didn’t want to. Then instead of asking me, she told me. I do remember asking, “Why?” Her response was priceless… “Because I told you to.” Can I tell you – I’m pretty sure that kind of conversation only happened once to twice, it was not to be repeated – if you know what I mean!

I thought of those moments this morning as I read from the book of Esther. She was a beautiful Jewish girl who was once one girl out of thousands, who won a beauty contest and became the queen of a powerful nation.

Within the reign of the king, there was a evil man named Haman who didn’t like the Jews because one of them, Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, who wouldn’t bow down to him. So he wanted to put all the Jews to death. He even got the king to agree to it.

When Mordecai found out about the genocidal plans, he got a message to Queen Esther telling her what was going down and that she needed to talk to the king and put a stop to everything. But there was a snag. There was a rule in the land that no one could just pop in to see the king anytime they wanted, not even the queen. They had to be invited. If you showed up unexpectedly, you were only allowed to go forward if the king held out his royal scepter.

Knowing this law, caused some hesitancy in Esther. But Mordecai told her…
“If you don’t speak up now, we will somehow get help, but you and your family will be killed. It could be that you were made queen for a time like this!” Esther 4:14 CEV

Kind of like my mom answering my “Why? question with “Because I told you to!’

Esther could have said, “Are you kidding me? Life is good here. You want me to put my position on the line? I don’t think so. I’ll just play it safe!” But it doesn’t take Esther very long to get on broad. She got the message. Her reply…
“Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.” Esther 4:16 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I’m pretty sure your life in not in jeopardy like Esther’s, but what might God be calling you to, that you might be a bit hesitant or even reluctant to do? You may be the only Christian in your family or the only believer in your neighborhood. You may be the only follower of Jesus in your workplace or in your classroom. Like Esther, will you stand up for such a time as this? Will you use your influence where you can, when you can?

Father,
You put me here for a reason. Help me to be in agreement with You and do what You need me to do. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 6th, 2017 — DEVOTE


One day she was just an ordinary young lady, taking part in her family, doing her daily chores, being content with life, and the next thing you know, she’s on the fast track to riches, fame and recognition. It was a whirlwind experience. One I’m sure almost seemed like a blur, though it took over a year to come to fruition. And the funny thing is: she had no idea how it would turn out. Who am I talking about? A young woman in the Bible named Esther.

The story of Esther is filled with romance, adventure, and danger. She was just an ordinary girl from all external aspects, but everything she once knew to be true, would totally change when she found herself crowned as the Queen of Persia. But please understand who is behind, above, in front of and beneath all of this: God. God had His hand of involvement in Esther’s life, though I’m sure at times she didn’t notice, so that she could fulfill a very important plan that He had, though you and I can only imagine all the thoughts and emotions Esther might have felt as the details of her life unfolded.

What about you? Have you ever wondered where your life is leading to? What is the purpose? Do you even have a mission? Sometimes it’s much easier to see God’s calling in someone else’s life than in your own. But have no doubt, His plans and purposes are working out in perfectly, just as He designed. I know, I know, it doesn’t always look that way, but He’s still in control.

I want to encourage you to read the book of Esther. Her story is an encouragement to all of us to trust our Father’s will and purpose in our lives. We each have a call from God for specific reasons. He doesn’t save us and then just leave us so we can wander through life. No, no, no. He is constantly guiding us in His plans.

God’s calling just doesn’t include what we do but also who we are. Each experience in life, each loss – each victory… each setback – each progression… each trial – each advancement… is a tool that our Father uses to shape and equip us to become the person He wants, needs and desires us to be.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: If you’ve never done it before, start looking for God’s hand in your life. Look for the many ways He was protected you… provided for you… opened doors for you and closed others. He is working out His plans for you, though sometimes you might not be able to hear Him and other times it’s more than obvious. Whichever, trust Him. Know He’s always there, moving, directing, guiding. Never, ever start thinking you are too insignificant in His eyes. You and I might never be the Queen of Persia, but we are highly favored by our great God who has designed a unique calling for each one of us.

Father,

Thank You for designing me and calling me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 5th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I wonder what you would do? I guess, I wonder what I would do? I’d like to tell you I’d be cool-headed and have my wits about me. I’d like to tell you that I’d be “quick to listen… slow to speak… and slow to get angry,” (James 1:19), but something tells me that’s probably not the way it would go down. What am I talking about? Defending myself!

That’s what I thought of today as I read Acts 24. There’s a bunch of religious people who have a grievance against this guy named Paul. So they bring him to court to try to get him declared guilty. Here’s what the lawyer says…
“This man has been found to be a real pest and troublemaker for our people all over the world.” Acts 24:5 CEV

A “real pest..?” A “troublemaker..?” That’s the best you’ve got? And that’s a reason to bring someone into court? And by the way, don’t you think you’re exaggerating just a tad bit by saying, “all over the world?” I mean, really. Paul hadn’t been all over the whole world, how could he be a pest and troublemaker in places he had never been?

But here’s the cool thing I noticed about Paul. In the middle of all of it. Paul never lost his joy or his mission. When asked to defend himself, Paul said…
“I know that you have judged the people of our nation for many years, and I am glad to defend myself in your court.” Acts 24:10 CEV

When I read that, I asked myself how I would have reacted in that situation. You see, Paul didn’t forget his message, even in the face of injustice. Instead of turning his attention on himself and the way he was being mistreated, Paul spoke his message clearly, “I am just as sure as these people are that God will raise from death everyone who is good or evil. And because I am sure, I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.” Acts 24:15-16 CEV

Paul never lost sight of his purpose. In the middle of persecution, slander, injustice and imprisonment, the purposes of God were carried out in Paul’s life and ministry. It wasn’t easy, but Paul stayed focused on what God had called him to do. Oh, and by the way, just so you know… Paul was imprisoned for two more years.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask yourself… if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Also ask yourself… if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would you focus on the injustice done to you and defend yourself, or would you keep your message about Jesus and all that He’s done for you and still doing?

Father,
Help me to keep my story, Your story. You be my Defender. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 4th, 2017 — DEVOTE

What are the chances? I mean, what are the chances? In Acts 23 we read a terrible injustice happening. Paul, this strong Christian convert… who once persecuted Christians and now is the champion of sharing the Good News of Jesus, is once again before the religious leaders being questioned. They are totally bent out of shape over what he’s doing and more importantly what he’s saying. They have no love loss at all for him.

After another day’s grinding, gruesome questioning, Jesus appears before Paul at night and says…
“Don’t worry! Just as you have told others about Me in Jerusalem, you must also tell about Me in Rome.” Acts 23:11 CEV

At first you want to say, “Oh great! More of the same!” But to this guy Paul, that must have been sweet sounding news. He was on a God-mission, and it didn’t matter where God needed him to go… who God needed him to talk to… or when God needed it done, because God was behind it all and had everything orchestrated. Paul knew God’s timing was always the best timing. God is never too early and God is never too late – He is always right on time, because He has strategically designed to make things happen at just the proper time.

That’s why I asked, “What are the chances?” You see, the next day, after Paul had that visitation from Jesus, there were about 40 men who vowed they would not eat or drink anything until they killed Paul. They even went to the religious leaders and told them their plan. They actually asked the leaders to call for Paul to be questioned some more and while in transit they would kill him.

But, just about the time you think this has got to be curtains for Paul, God steps in. For in that crowd of people, within earshot of those 40 angry men, standing within range of the religious leaders, is a nephew of Paul’s. If you’ve ever read this before, have you ever asked yourself, what was he doing there? What are the chances that Paul’s nephew, someone who evidently cared for his uncle, heard the plot of these wicked men?

And the answer to that becomes very simple if you’re like me and don’t believe in luck, fate, coincidence, or chance. There is no such thing when faced with the sovereignty of God. He is aware of everything. There is nothing that gets by Him without Him knowing about it. He’s not sitting on His throne, wringing His hands, wondering how the hardships in your life, got by Him unnoticed. He knows exactly what you’re facing and He knows exactly what it’s going to take to move you on to safety.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t ever lose hope! God’s not finished yet. There is no such thing as luck, fate, coincidence or chance! Our God reigns. Trust Him!

Father,
I put all my trust in You today. You know what I need and when I need it. Thank You, Jesus. It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 1st, 2017 — DEVOTE

What matters most in your life? What holds the greatest importance to you? If you think about that for a moment, I’m really sure a whole host of thoughts will pass through your mind. People and things like: your spouse… your children… your grandchildren… maybe even your great-grandchildren, to name a few. You may add to your list, your home… your hobby… your job or career.

But I wonder how many of you might include, your Bible?.. your faith?.. your community of believers?.. your worship?.. your prayer?

I’m not sure why those things don’t get top billing in our lives. Maybe it because they’re so readily available to most of us. We haven’t ever been in a situation where we were told we couldn’t read our Bibles, or attend a worship service, or talk about our faith, or pray. Most of us have grown up with those things as part of our upbringing and continue them in our daily lives. The thought of not having them available to us, isn’t even a thought. But they still might not get the recognition as “most important” in our lives – though they are.

As I read Acts 20 today, I found what was most important to a man named Paul. Him and a few other guys had been traveling the known world at that time, telling people all about Jesus. At one stop, Paul called a group of church leaders together to meet with them one last time. As he was speaking to them he said this…
“I don’t know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God’s Spirit and go there. In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem.” Acts 20:22-23 CEV

So let me ask you… if the Holy Spirit told you to go someplace that might not be extremely convenient for you… would you still go? If you knew it might possibly be the last time you experienced freedom as you know it, would you still make the trip? How would you feel about leaving all those other “most important” things behind?

Here’s Paul’s response…
“But I don’t care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God’s great kindness.” Acts 20:24 CEV

This guy had a “most important” list. On top of that list, even above his own life, was his Savior, Jesus. He understood what it took to save his life, and so he was very willing to lay it all down so that Jesus could be lifted up.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what God’s calling you to do… or where to go… or even when to do it, but don’t let God’s dreams, stay dreams! Finish the work that He gave you to do. Make it “most important!”

Father,
Help me make You “most important” each day and every day. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 30th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So, as you might guess, I’ve read the book of Nehemiah numerous times. I’ve preached sermon series on it and I’m pretty sure I even taught a Bible Study on it. There are so many true to life examples in the book of Nehemiah that we can relate too. Here was a guy who was physically exhausted, emotionally spent, and spiritually opposed by some unruly people, and all he was trying to do was rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem to make it safe for people to live in. Did you catch that? He was just rebuilding the wall around the entire city! Pretty huge undertaking in comparison to anything I’m doing.

As I keep reading all that transpires with Nehemiah, even in the face of mean people, my attention is on the focus this guy has. He truly has a “no-matter-what” kind of attitude. He will not be dissuaded or discouraged from completing what God destined him to do. Even when they try to trick him into leaving his work and having a conversation in chapter 6, he knows it’s a plot to hurt him, so he just brushes it off and keeps working. A so called prophet attempts to get him to lock himself inside the temple because there’s a plot to kill him, but then we read…
“Suddenly I realized that God had not given Shemaiah this message. But Tobiah and Sanballat had paid him to trick me and to frighten me into doing something wrong, because they wanted to ruin my good name.” Nehemiah 6:12-13 CEV

Now it would be very easy to become overwhelmed in the attempts of others to get us off track. But not Nehemiah. Here’s what he says…
“Our enemies were trying to frighten us and to keep us from our work. But I asked God to give me strength.” Nehemiah 6:9 CEV

It would be so easy to just drop whatever we’ve been doing, and go back to the old ways. Nehemiah could have thrown his hands up in the air and called it quits. He could have given up and gone back to Susa and been the cupbearer for the king and not had the hassle of trying to do something productive, not just for self, but for many others. But he didn’t. And you’ve got to ask yourself “why?” The answer is much simpler than you think. God entrusted Nehemiah with a task and Nehemiah loved God enough to finish it. Truth be known the entire city wall was completely rebuilt in 52 days. That’s right – only 52 days.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: First, what is God calling you to do? And does it seem absolutely impossible? Good! Keep going! Second, are there those around you, who are harassing you or non-supportive? Good! Keep going! Lastly, are you wondering if you can actually complete what’s in front of you? Good! Keep going! You’ll be amazed what can happen in 52 days! don't let your dreams be dreams!

Father,
Strengthen me. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen