January 30th, 2017 Devote

“Who am I to go to the king and lead Your people out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11CEV

That’s the questions Moses asked God at the burning bush. Moses had been out tending the sheep when he saw this phenomenal anomaly taking place. He decided to investigate it closer. From a distance it seemed as if the bush was on fire, but it wasn’t burning up. As Moses got closer to confirm his suspicions a voice spoke to him and Moses responded to it. Moses knew this was out of the ordinary and we’re told he was even afraid to look, so he hid his face from God.

But God told Moses, He saw and heard what was happening to His people as slaves in Egypt and He was going to save them, and He was going to do it by using Moses. Moses was going to deliver them from their oppression and tyranny. God sent Moses to the king of Egypt to lead the people of Israel.

“But Moses said…” How often to do have a rebuttal? How often do we respond with something like, “Who me?” “You want me to do what?” And then we even go on to tell God and others why we can’t do what was asked of us. “I don’t have the time…” “I don’t have those gifts…” “I’ve never done that before…”

I wonder if God ever gets frustrated? I mean, He had just told Moses, in no uncertain terms, that the people of Israel were coming out of Egypt and he was going to be the one to do it. What more did he want or need? What more do we need?

We’ve been given our marching orders, to go set people free, telling them the Good News of Jesus Christ, but like Moses we’re still looking for someone else to do it. Moses didn’t stop with the “Who me?” concept either. He followed it up with, “But what should I say, if they ask me Your name?” Genesis 3:13 CEV

Good thing my Bible reading only went to Exodus chapter three today, because Moses has two more ridiculous questions in chapter four that I won’t even entertain in this devotion.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Before you start listing off all your reasons and excuses why you can’t do what God has asked you to do, consider hearing Him out first and then when He’s told you what He’ll do through you, just do it! Step out in faith. Believe Him. Trust Him. He wouldn’t ask you, if He didn’t know He could do it through you. You see, He believes in you!

Father,
Forgive me for my reluctance to do what You’ve asked me to do. Forgive me for coming up with all my excuses to not do what You assigned for me. Holy Spirit, as You lead, I will follow. Empower me! In Jesus mighty and precious name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 23rd, 2017

Have you ever had that feeling that you were heading nowhere real fast? You know, you felt like you were at a dead end. You were stuck!

Sometimes I think that’s how Joseph must have felt (Genesis 4o-41). At one time, he was daddy’s favorite – even had the coat of many colors to prove it. He also had some dreams  (though he probably should have kept them to himself) that proved he was going to be somebody, one day.

And then the next thing he knew, his brothers attacked him, and sold him like a piece of property to some strange men who didn’t even speak his language. Then, he was taken for a foreign land, where he still couldn’t speak the language, nor did he know the customs, but was put in charge of managing a prominents officials house, because the “favor of God” (F.O.G.) was on him. Even in the face of lostness, there was a ray of hope.

But even that turned sour, as the official’s wife wanted more than him managing the household affairs (if you know what I mean). Integrity is shown when he refuses, but then is thrown into prison. How can this get any worse for doing the right thing? Ten, eleven years have past. When is this going to end?

Yet, even in prison, the “favor of God” (F.O.G.) rest on Joseph and he’s put in charge of the prison system. There he interprets two dreams. One man put to death, one man released and Joseph even asks the man to help him get out of prison. But two more years pass by before anything happens.

It’s not until the king of Egypt has a couple of dreams that Joseph is remembered and called in to interpret the dreams. After all these years, how many of us would have given up a long time before?

Next thing you know, Joseph interprets the king’s dreams and is made second in command over the entire nation. He is only subject to and answers to one – the king.

But can I tell you – Joseph isn’t put as second in command because he can interpret dreams. He’s put in charge because through the years, through different experiences, he has learned a new language, new customs. He has learned administration, cooperation, delegation. He has had to fight through conflict resolution and hone in on his organizational skills. He has got to see the big picture and work for the good of the whole.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God waste nothing. You’re not in a holding pattern. God has not forgotten about you. He has plans for you and He will see them through. It may not happen the way you thought, but God will get you where He needs you at just the right time.

Father,

Calm my anxious mind and heart. Holy Spirit help me trust more each day the plan my Father has for me. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 16th, 2017 Devote

It’s so easy these days to get sidetracked and when we do we find that we are way off course. We wonder how we got so far away from where we started and why what we’re doing isn’t as successful or as impactful as it used to be. But because we’ve gotten so far away from our original purpose, we’re fearful to just stop what we’re doing and go back to the beginning or we’re just so deep within our rut that we don’t know how to get out. So, most often we just add more stuff to our regime in the hopes that it will produce the desired fruit.

This happens in the church all the time. We have a tendency to believe bigger is better… more bells and whistles mean more buy-in from people… the greater the show, the greater the income and the output. But that’s not how it works according to what I read in the Bible.

Let me see if I can simplify this as much as possible.

#1. God sent His Son into the world.

Now the word “sent” is an interesting Greek word. In English we would use the word apostle. It means one who is “sent.”

The Bible says…
“The Son was sent to speak God’s message, and He was given the full power of God’s Spirit.” John 3:34 CEV

So, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to redeem the world from it’s cancerous sin and offer salvation. Then…

#2. “Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instruction.” Matthew 10:5 CEV

Those apostles, or “sent ones” went out and did what Jesus did. As Jesus was sent by His Father, Jesus sent out His followers to carry on the mission.

And we all lived happily ever after. NO! The apostles, then instructed and sent out others… who instructed and sent out others… who instructed and sent out others, until it got to us. So I have two questions for us…

#1. Do we understand that now we’re the “sent out” ones?”

#2. If we understand that, are we doing the “sent out” instructing and sending out others?

So you know, if we don’t, it all dies with us! You see, most often we’re expecting the event, the revival, the worship team, the exceptional preacher, to win over the hearts of people. But the event is just an event. Worship is just a tool to get people in the presence of God. Preachers come and preachers go. But you and I have been instructed to go out and find others to instruct in order to send them out. You might say, “Make a friend… Be a friend… Bring a friend to Christ!”

Now here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It starts with you. He sent you. That’s where we need to get back to.

Father,
As You sent Your Son, You’re sending us. Help us understand You sent us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 9th, 2017 Devote

I’m sure most of you have used a GPS (Global Positioning System). Strange as this might sound, even though you use one, some of you might not know how they work. Here’s just a little tidbit of information you might consider interesting. According to one source I read, there are 24 satellites orbiting earth. These 24 satellites are divided into six groups of four and each group travels around the earth on a different orbital track. This orbital track is roughly 20,000 miles above the surface of the earth and can provide location information anywhere on the planet within seconds.

As you’re driving, you see none of that. As a matter of fact, you probably never think about any of that. All you do is obey the commands of the voice that says, “In one mile, turn right.” Most often you don’t even question the voice telling you, “recalculating,” or “rerouting,” but patiently (or sometimes impatiently) wait for the little voice to tell you what are your next options. It is then that you promptly obey, without hesitation, believing that what you’ve just been told will get you to where you want to be.

The one that gets me the most is the one that says, “at the next intersection, make a U-turn.” This happens most often because I know where I’m going and how to get to my destination and don’t want to take the route the little voice is prescribing. I know a shortcut, but the little voice keeps telling me to “make a U-turn.” Eventually, as I ignore the suggested route, the little voice complies with my choice of route and decides to do it my way.

Those thoughts rumbled through my mind today as I read what John the Baptist was telling the people. He said…
“Turn back to God!” Matthew 3:2a CEV

Other versions of the Bible use the word, “Repent.” In contemporary language it means to make a U-turn. Its means as your life is going in a direction of bad choices, wrong motives, horrible habits (sin), you need to make a 180 degree turn and head in the other direction back towards God.

The problem is, I think I know a shortcut. I think I know where I want to go and I know how to get there. And when the voice of the Holy Spirit starts telling me to make a U-turn, I generally override the information and continue on my merry way, all the while I keep getting lost.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Never be afraid to make a U-turn. Turn back to God. Don’t ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and don’t think that if you just keep going, eventually God will just comply with your wishes. He always has a better route.

Father,
When I’m driving my life in the wrong direction and I think I know the way, please tell me to make a U-turn. Forgive me for thinking I can get to my destination without You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 2nd, 2017 – Affirm

So, here we are, having the first of what I hope will be many devotions in 2017. I’ve been writing these devotions for a number of years, but the last couple of years I prayed about a title theme I could use that would describe what I was trying to convey in the form of some encouragement. For example, the 2015 devotions fell under the heading: “Proclaim.” 2016 was, “Affirm.” Well, I been thinking about this for a number of weeks and the one word that kept coming to my mind and of which we’ll use for 2017 is, “Devote.” I believe the Holy Spirit is asking us to be devotional people, devoting our time to meditate on the Word and being filled with His presence and purpose. So let’s start Devote 2017!

Here’s what I read today…
“Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land. One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the LORD, and Abel also gave an offering to the LORD.” Genesis 4:2b-4a CEV (Contemporary English Version)

You remember the account, don’t you? Adam and Eve had sinned and were escorted out of the garden of Eden. Eve started having babies – two to start with: Cain and Abel. As we’re told Abel grew up to be a shepherder and Cain was a vegetable farmer. I’m sure both worked hard. Both gave their full attention to their work. Each of them dedicated their time and energy to produce their best, they had too. It wasn’t as if they could go out and hire people! At this point there were no other people.

But when it came to giving back to God a sacrifice of praise, Cain had some shortcomings. His devotion to the Provider of everything was lacking. Here’s some things we should understand.

  1. When Adam and Eve were made clothes by God, they were giving animal skins to cover themselves. Therefore, they knew the sacrifice that was made, was made by an innocent third party, and innocent animal who shed its blood to cover their sin.

  2. Cain would have known that and should have brought a blood sacrifice, not “part of his harvest.”

  3. Which is also a good indicator for us. Abel sacrificed an entire lamb. Truth is, you can’t sacrifice part of a lamb. But Cain only gave a “part of his harvest.” God wants it all!

  4. Also, and I may be taking liberties with the Word of God, but I really do believe that part of the reason that Cain only brought “part of his harvest.” was because his attitude was bad. He didn’t give with a joyful heart but out of obligation or possibly even grudgingly.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Devote yourself this year to wholeheartedly presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Don’t hold anything back. Offer yourself freely and watch God bless you!

Father,
Today I start by offering myself as a sacrifice to You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen