December 19th, 2016 Affirm

So the big question on my mind today is: how much do I trust God? Maybe it’s a good question for you to think about today as well. And here’s why I started thinking about it – God says in Isaiah 58…
“I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.” Isaiah 58:11 MSG

God actually says… “I will always show you where to go.” That sounds so good and so comforting, but the problem is – me!

Sometimes I’m just not on God’s timing. It’s not that God and I aren’t on the same page – we’re not in the same library. I want what I want, and I want it now. I don’t want to wait, so I start taking my life into my own hands. I start making bargains with God. I start laying out a fleece before God to make a deal and try to get Him to move on my behalf. I start negotiations with God in my prayers to attempt to get Him to see things my way..

And just so you know… that’s manipulation. I really don’t like that word. It really sounds terrible when I say it out loud. But I said it – because I do it. I manipulate. Maybe you do too.

Listen, I know how to pursue a dream. I know how to go the extra mile. I know how to cast a vision and win people over. Not all of that’s bad. Some of those things are qualities God has gifted me with. But when I start using those gifts to do my own thing, apart from God… when I start pushing past God’s timing, God’s direction, God’s plan – I run into trouble. Big trouble!

There are times I think God lets me push right past Him so that I can have a reality check with my headstrong attitude. More than once I’ve jumped into something I thought I wanted, only to find it more stressful and overwhelming than I ever imagined.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You might have great dreams and aspirations… you might willingly go the extra mile… you might be able to cast a vision and win people over… But if it’s only for your desires and not God’s desire, you’re only hurting yourself. Know this: It’s not up to you – It’s up to God. Trust Him! Just wait for Him! Remember, He says, “I will always show you where to go!”

Father,
I’m so grateful for Your everlasting love and vision for my life. Help me to embrace the fact that Your plans are greater than mine. Humble my heart in the moments when I try to take control so that I can fully serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 12th, 2016 – Affirm

Well, we all have them.They come in pairs. One on the right side, the other on the left side. Now, that clue alone, probably causes you to think of all your body parts. You’re thinking, “Is he talking about my ears? My eyes? How bout my cheeks?” Those would be items we’d consider talking about. I’m mean, just look at any magazine and see the importance of facial appearance. Everybodies face is perfect, or at least it seems to be.

I could be talking about your arms – you know, the big guns. Or maybe your hands. Have you noticed: some people have very nice hands, slender and straight. Others of us have more like sausages, and even some fingers that don’t work anymore.

Or, I could be talking about your hips or knees, but those aren’t real big talkative items, at least not in my world. You don’t hear guys sitting around talking about their hips or knees, unless they’re in pain.

So, that only leaves one more body part – your feet. And the truth is, we don’t talk much about feet unless we make reference to them in some derogatory fashion like: gnarly, stinky, cold, achy. Not many of us want anybody looking at our feet and I’m pretty sure there are only a handful who would actually interview for a job as a foot model. I may go to the first interview, but chances are, I wouldn’t get a second interview.

But there’s hope! Hope for you to be listed as a person with beautiful feet. It has nothing to do with appearance. It has nothing to do with whether your toes are straight, or you’re fungus free. It does have everything to do with where they go and what they do. Read this:
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger bringing good news, breaking news that all’s well, proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, telling Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7 MSG

These beautiful feet belongs to the man or woman who brings good news. Everybody I know likes to hear good news. But this just isn’t any old good news. No, this is the Good news that God our Father sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to atone for the sins of all people – including you and me. It’s the Good News that because of God’s love for us and His free gift of grace, that offer is available to anybody – and I mean anybody.

But here’s the challenge…”But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” Romans 10:14-15 MSG

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Those feet… those beautiful feet… belong to you. Go tells those who need some Good News today that our God reigns.

Father,
Here am I, send me! In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

Affirm — December 5th, 2016

Sometimes, in our own way, we have a tendency to fashion and mold God into who we want Him to be.

If we need a Provider, we look at God as sort of a Santa Claus. Someone who’s looking to see if we’ve been naughty or nice, and of course, we’ve been nice, so He’s going to provide what we want. We want Him to lavish us with gifts.

Sometimes, we look at God as a Policeman. He’s there to protect and serve, keeping us from all harm and danger, and arresting the bad guys

We look at God as a Judge, someone who will bring the gavel down and pronounce our innocence and set us free from the prison others have confined us to.

Then, there are times we look at God as our BF (our Best Friend). We talk about Him as the Big Guy in the sky… our buddy… our pal. We talk about our friendship and how He’s always there for us. He’s always at our beckoning call, something like a puppy – when we whistle we expect Him to come!

I know that sounds somewhat harsh, but it’s true. There are times we have devalued God. Just so you know, He can’t be devalued, but in our attempt to make Him more personal, more reachable, we have brought Him down to our level, spoke about Him in our terms, so that He might be more acceptable and accessible.

That’s what came to mind as I read Isaiah 46 today. Here’s what God says in verse 5…

“So to whom will you compare Me, the Incomparable? Can you picture Me without reducing Me?” Isaiah 46:5 MSG

I don’t know about you friend, but I find that I really have a limited vocabulary in trying to express how great our God is. “Awesome” just seems a bit light. “Fantastic” sounds more like fantasy and doesn’t fit. “Phenomenal” doesn’t seem big enough.

I quickly come to the realization that there is nothing that compares to our God. He is above and beyond it all… and yet, so close, so real, so intimate with us. That’s exactly why Jesus came to be one of us. He came to associate with us. He came to show He understands. He came, God in the straw, so that we would value Him, above and beyond.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Give to God, our incomparable God, the best you have. Don’t try to bring Him down to our level. You rise up to His level. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NASB

Father,
Today we lift up our praises to You. There is no god like You. Though my words may seem small, listen not just to my lips, but listen to the cry of my heart as I pour out my love for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen