September 26th Affirm

It happens each and every week, usually on Sunday. Either my bride ask, or I do the asking, but the question is always the same: “What does your schedule look like this week?” It’s then we compare our notes so that we can find out when our paths will cross.

Today is Monday. We’re back at it. Our schedules are probably fuller than we want them. Kids going off to school, meetings we need to attend, phones calls we need to make, crying babes, doctor visits, got to pick the car up from the garage. You name it, it’s happening. Our stuff, that fills our daily and weekly grind, doesn’t care that we just had a weekend off. It doesn’t care that we just recuperated from the previous week. As fast as it can, it fills our every waking moment, like water finding the path of least resistance, or sugar sand sifting through our fingers.

Today is Monday. The prophet Isaiah calls us to sing, shout, raise the roof, testify to the greatness of God with wild abandon, to throw off our fears and celebrate our salvation. But it is Monday and let’s face it, it can be hard to praise God on a Monday.

But Isaiah didn’t really care what day of the week it was. Here’s what he said…
“Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. And as you do it, you’ll say, ‘Give thanks to God.’” Isaiah 12:3 MSG

This metaphor is perfect for a Monday, because it celebrates all that God has done for us by imagining praise as a routine, as an everyday survival activity, like drawing water from a well. Praise of our God should be as routine as brushing our teeth or getting dressed.

So here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It’s Monday. I know it’s Monday, So let’s move through our Monday, and our Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday and we might as well include Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with finding ways to sing and shout, to praise and tell the world of God’s saving power through His Son, Jesus Christ. Let’s try that and then you tell me if your week didn’t work out better than you had planned.

Father,
We praise You for all You have done for us. As we move through our ordinary days, help us rejoice in You always. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 19th Affirm

It’s happened to me a number of times in the past. I’ll be walking through a convenience store and I notice some salesperson is staring at me as I walk by. I know better than to make eye contact with them because I also know as soon as I do they’re going to want to engage me in a conversation and want me to buy something.

Well it happened again the other day. I was just walking through the aisles of a store, not looking for anything in particular but really looking for my wife, when a young good looking man stepped in front of me and asked if he could help me find whatever I might be looking for you. My first thought was, “Hey, I didn’t even make eye contact with you!” My next thought was asking him if he knew where my wife was, but instead I simply told him I didn’t need any help.

Then the sales pitch came. If I would have just ignored him that would have been rude. And since I answered his question he believed he had the right to ask me another question. His question: “Do you have satellite or cable TV because we have a great deal and can save you a lot of money.” I told him that wasn’t possible. He kept going with his sales pitch, until I interrupted him and told him there was no way he could lower my bill because I have an antenna and my TV watching in free. He politely excused himself realizing I was a lost cause.

I thought of that incident as I was reading Job 33 today. A young man named Elihu says this…
“God always answers, one way or another, even when people don’t recognize His presence.” Job 33:14 MSG

Have you ever wondered what channels God uses? The number one way that God speaks to us is through the Bible. That’s why we should be reading the Bible every day. God’s will is found in God’s Word.

God also speaks through godly Bible preachers and teachers. Have you ever been in church or at a Bible study and felt like the preacher/teacher was speaking directly to you? In that moment, God is speaking directly to you.

God also speaks through other Christians. He even speaks through you. If you’ll stay in tune to Him and learn His Word, sometimes God will use you to say things to people that He wants to say to them. It’s not something especially reserved only for pastors; God speaks through every believer at different times.

God isn’t limited in any way in how He speaks to us. So here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Know this… God is speaking all the time, but we must listen. Tune in to God, and He’ll lead you where He needs you to go and do what He needs you to do.

Father,
Speak with me today. Help me recognize Your presence in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

Affirm September 12th 2016

Let me tell you about Ellie. Ellie was a very distinguished senior citizen who lived in a very well kept trailer home. It didn’t matter if it was Sunday or a work day, Ellie was always in peak condition, mentally and physically. Though she was a widow, she was very strong. Maybe being a widow forced her to take control of things.

Ellie loved coming to church. She was the epitome of Psalm 122:1, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” (MSG) That was Ellie. She loved worshipping, singing in the choir. She was part of a ministry that wrote letters to our college students to keep them informed of what was happening back at church and to remind them they were loved. She even sent them care packages filled with her delicious brownies and other delectables. As a matter of fact when we were building the church, her and another lady, Dorothy, varnished all the interior wood – and there was a lot of it. Going to church and being at church made Ellie happy.

However, I do remember one day when she wasn’t very happy with me and the situation at hand. It was a Sunday morning and I was greeting people before our worship service when I realized that Ellie was standing right next to me and was not one bit happy. Seems that some new people came to church that day and sat in Ellie’s seat – Fourth row, first chair! That’s where Ellie sat each and everySunday and everybody knew that was Ellie’s seat – except for these new people. Ellie wanted me to move them. If I didn’t, she told me in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t be able to worship and her day would be totally ruined.

I tried to reason with Ellie that neither of those were true and that hospitality to our guest should be freely offered. She wasn’t having any of that. She wasn’t real happy with that day, but she did get over it. Every Sunday thereafter, Ellie was in church just that much earlier to make sure she reserved her seat. Her heart once again leaped for joy to be in God’s house.

How about you? Does your heart leap for joy in knowing you’re going to God’s house!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Going to God’s house to worship, to pray, to learn, to fellowship, to work, should bring joy to your heart. Not because you get what you want, but simply because you get to be in the presence of God and surrounded by brother’s and sister’s in Christ. You should be able to say, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.”

Father,
Today we thank You for our church – for meeting us there. For loving us unconditionally and telling us every opportunity You get. Thank You for those who walk with us in this journey of life. Fill my heart with joy! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

Affirm – September 5th, 2016

Have you ever had your proverbial “back against the wall?” You remember, don’t you? Whatever the situation you were in, your opponent kept pushing and pushing until you had nowhere else to go. From any direction, things didn’t look so good. You were in a bad spot and you knew it.

Well, let me ask you another question: Have you ever been in a situation that seemed totally hopeless – until “the tables were turned”? You remember that too, don’t you? Everything was bleak and black and then before you knew it or could even explain it, everything was cheerful and sunny. Friends, that’s what God can do to accomplish His purposes in any situation and God can turn the tables in your situation even today.

I tell you that because I just finished reading the book of Esther this morning. I love that book of the Bible. Let me share with you a few of the many contrast in this book. Consider these contrasts, showing how God turned things completely around to protect His people and preserve His plans:

  1. Mordecai goes from sackcloth and ashes (4:1,4) to royal clothes and a crown (8:15).
  2. Mordecai goes from sitting outside the king’s gate (4:2) to a place of honor inside the palace (8:1).
  3. The Jewish people appear vulnerable and marked for annihilation (3:13); yet become a formidable group, striking fear in other nations (8:17).
  4. The Jews go from severe mourning (4:3) to great rejoicing (8:16).

Friends, God is more than able to take seemingly hopeless situations and work them out for the good of His people. Here’s what the Apostle Paul said about our lives being taken care of by God…
“… God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28 MSG

Did you read that? “Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Though you might not be able to see it because things seem bleak and black – above the dark ominous clouds the Son is still shining. He’s working everything out.

Father,
I rest secure knowing that my life, every detail of my life, is being taken care of and everything is going to work out for good. My praise, thanks and adoration go only to You. In Jesus name I come, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen