Affirm – November 28th, 2016

Today, we’re going to have a little science class. I always liked science and as I was reading the Word this morning, I came across a verse that intrigued my mind – “Inquiring minds want to know”, sort of thing. Here’s the verse I read…
“You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.” Micah 7:19 MSG

So, I wanted to find out how deep the deepest part of the ocean is, the bottom, just in case my sin was really bad. I mean, what if my sins were so bad that they prohibited me from getting into heaven? What if Jesus died, but His blood and sacrifice weren’t quite enough for my wretched life? What if my sins floated on top of the water for everyone to see?

Here’s what I found…

  • Somewhere around 130 feet is the depth a scuba diver can safely go.

  • When you go down to 330 feet, a football field plus a endzone, that is where decompression sickness occurs and is fatal for divers

  • 1640 feet is the maximum depth for massive Blue Whale

  • Double that – 3280 feet is what they call “The Scary Zone” because light from the surface can no longer penetrate to this depth

That would probably be a great place to stop. Divers can’t reach our sins anymore and at this depth there is no light to see our sins. But wait…

  • At 13,123 feet, or 2.5 miles, the water pressure is 11,000 pounds per inch, meaning the pressure of the water around you would crush you. You would actually cave in.

  • And so that you know, the average depth of the ocean floor is 13,999 feet or 2.65 miles.

All of a sudden I feel a bit more comfortable in knowing that God throws my sins in the deepest part of the ocean. But wait, the news only gets better…

  • The deepest known part of the ocean is a whopping 36,070 feet. That’s almost 6.8 miles. Almost three times more than the average depth of the ocean floor. More than a 100 times the depth that divers should go.

But wait…

Here’s one last little bit of hope if you find it hard to believe that God is so loving and so forgiving… Scientist have only accurately mapped 5% of the ocean’s floor so there might be somewhere out there that is actually deeper.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God would go and has gone to the end of the world just for you. Through His Son, Jesus, He has taken your sins and thrown them to the deepest part of the ocean and He’s not about to retrieve them. Now that’s some good news! Class dismissed!

Father,
Thank You for going above and beyond, or should we say, so deep, in making it known to us that all sins are forgiven through the all-atoning sacrifice of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus. Holy Spirit, help us to live as forgiven people today! In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 21st 2016 Affirm

Time keeps on moving, moving, moving… into the future! Maybe somebody should write a song to that…. Oh, skip it. Somebody already did!

I thought of that as I pondered that in a few short days, we will be celebrating once again, Thanksgiving. Where did all the time go? It’s moving so fast. Somehow Thanksgiving snuck up on me and I have to start thinking of something to be thankful for. I wonder if we have anything to be thankful for? That’s why I’m going to try to address the concept of thanksgiving in each of my messages this week.

Let’s start with this one that I found in the book of Daniel this morning. Daniel was praying and in his prayer he spoke to God and said,
“Act out of who You are, not out of what we are.” Daniel 9:17 MSG

Aren’t there just times you wished you could come of with powerful stuff like that? I mean, that’s really powerful. Of course Daniel knows that God is constant, He never changes. So, it’s not as if He is going to change His character because of something we do, or don’t do. It’s not that He’s going to start pouting because we didn’t do it the way He wanted it done. He always remains the same, unlike us.

We’re pretty fickle, you know. We have good days and bad days. Somedays the sun is shining and other days were in the gloominess of the storm. Someday’s we’re strong and sure, other days we’re victims and defeated. Someday’s we’re happy as a Lark… other days we’re grumpy and stingy.

Generally there are way too many circumstances in life that determine what kind of day we’re going to have or how we’ll react to other people. Cross me and you’re out! Look at me the wrong way, and we’re done. Disagree with me and we’re finished!

But God never acts like that. His consistency never wavers according to our failure. His love never runs dry because of our disobedience. His grace never falters because our sin was so enormous. His forgiveness never is withheld because we didn’t deserve it. We don’t deserve it – but in His mercy He freely gives it, because that is who He is!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t wait until Thanksgiving Day to be thankful. Today, in your own way, thank God for who He is and that He treats out of His character, not out of yours.

Father,
Help me to respond to life today knowing full well that You never change and Your mercy, grace and love are as available today as they have been every day of life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

Affirm November 14th, 2016

Sometimes I get so confused. The other day I was watching the Television and a familiar face appeared on a commercial. It was the guy who used to always say, “Can you hear me now?” Of course, at that time, he was promoting Verizon Cellular. His kind of nonchalant, only the facts persona, won people over. Verizon’s catchy little slogan caught on with people and it didn’t take long for them to be sharing the same slogan in many different settings. I remember using it myself as I was discipling one of my children – “Can you hear me now?” I thought it had a great effect in that context.

But in the commercial, just the other day, this same guy actually came out and asked if we remembered him saying, “Can you hear me now?” but wanted us to know he wasn’t asking that anymore. He then went on to describe the minimal differences between any and all of the major cellular services available to us. He had switched sides, joining Sprint and wanting us to do the same by asking, “Did you hear that?”

Something tells me what really happened was Verizon’s little slogan had run it’s course and this guy’s services were no longer necessary. His contract wasn’t renewed. Which opened the door for the competitor to step in and take advantage of something that worked really well in the past, hoping it would work well again now.

Well, I share all of that with you, because as I was reading the Word today I read this…
“The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice.” John 10:2-4 MSG

And then twice more Jesus says this…
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own sheep and My own sheep know Me.” John 10:14, 27 MSG

There are so many familiar voices in our world today. Voices that push us and pull us in every direction. Voices that offer to us the world, but voices that will only suck the life right out of us. Voices that will cause division and confusion, but yet sound almost OK.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Listen for the Good Shepherd’s voice. It’s like none other. He’s still speaking to us today. He’s never stopped. You may need to silence all the voices trying to drown out His, but if you will, you’ll find the peace, the joy, the contentment for your unsettled soul that you’ve been looking for.

Father,

Speak to me now and often. Holy Spirit help me silence all the other voices in my life because I want to hear the voice of my Shepherd. Jesus, in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 7th 2016

We all have them. Some are good, some not so good, others downright devastating. Some are very noticeable, others we try to hide. Do you know what I’m referring to? I’m talking about habits. You know, those things we do on a continual basis, like a routine.

Some good habits are: brushing your teeth, eating healthy food, getting exercise. As Christians we should include reading our Bible, having prayer time, sharing our faith. Those are all good habits.

Some not so good habit would include: chewing your fingernails, picking your nose, talking with food in your mouth, coughing without covering your mouth. It’s not as if these are detrimental, but not good manners or etiquette.

And then we have the really bad habits: drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, money. We all know people who have become overcome by these habits and lost their way. These things became permanent fixtures, controllers, in their lives and they can’t break them in and by themselves.

Well, can I tell you God has a habit too and He’s not going to apologize for it either. We generally don’t think of habits as being good – maybe because the bad ones far outweigh the good ones and are so damaging to our lives. But God’s habit is always beneficial to us. God has made it a habit to forgive us. Listen to what the Psalm writer wrote…
“If You, GOD, kept records of wrongdoings, who could stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is Your habit, and that’s why You’re worshipped.” Psalm 130:3-4 MSG

Now so you know, that doesn’t give us liberty to just go out and sin all the more because we know that God’s habitual grace will cover all our sins. Yes, His love, grace and forgiveness are immeasurable… no length, no width or no depth. Yes, His unconditional love is who He is and He can’t change that. Yes, He has a permanent case of forgiveness, because He looks at You through the cross of His Son, Jesus. He’s not looking at Your sin – He’s looking at You through Jesus and when He does, He can’t help Himself. He loves you. He showers grace on you. Even if you don’t think you deserve it.

God’s habit of forgiving you isn’t based on anything you did to deserve it. It’s not like you stopped doing a bad habit so then God changed His mind about you and decided to offer you pardon. No, it’s not only what He does, it’s who He is! He’s always ready to forgive and offer you a brand new start.

Here my word of encouragement for you today: Like me, you’re probably in need of some forgiveness today. Why not spend a moment with God and allow Him to once again assure you of His habitual love, grace and forgiveness.

Father,
Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your Son, Jesus, to die for us. Thank You for no limits on Your habitual grace. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen