August 31st, 2017 – DEVOTE


Having been a pastor for over 30 years has given me many experiences, some good, some not so good. There have been times of great celebration: hearts united in marriage… the birth of a child… the dedication of a new building. There have also been times of great sorrow: the death of a child… the loss of a job… the burning of a home.

It’s at those times, most often, people want answers. Maybe you yourself remember the time when your friend was going through some rough times and they came to you for help, but you weren’t sure what to say that would help?

It’s then we pull out a verse like Romans 8:28, “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves Him.” (CEV) We believe that verse will help them feel better, that God is going to take their horrific situation and turn it around for His good because they love Him.

We do that because we can’t begin to fathom not having any words to say to our friend when they’re hurting and afraid. Or we try to explain why their situation is happening or give them words to try to comfort them. Job’s friends did the very same thing.

Most of the book of Job is his friends telling him why all of his children have died… why all of his livestock is gone… and why he has sores all over his body. If I were to break it down in the simplest form they told Job he’s only getting what he deserved because he sinned. Some of the things his friends say to Job, probable make sense to us and are probably things we ourselves have thought and maybe even said. However, none of the reasons they gave Job were what caused his loss. They thought they were comforting Job when in actuality they were only causing more discomfort. That’s why Job said…
“I have often heard this, and it offers no comfort. So why don’t you keep quiet? What’s bothering you? If I were in your place, it would be easy to criticize or to give advice. But I would offer hope and comfort instead.” Job 16:2-5 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: There are times God will use us to give comfort with a scripture verse when our friend is hurting, but there will be other times when we really have no idea what to say or how to help. Instead of just spouting out the first thing that comes to our mind, no matter how religious it sound, try this first: listen… listen… and then listen some more, instead of trying to solve all their problems.

Father,
Help me be the kind of friend my friend really needs. They don’t always need an answer to life’s frustrations, but just a listening ear. Help me, help them. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausenell

August 30th, 2017 – DEVOTE

I have to be real honest with you – I don’t like pain. For example, a couple of weeks ago I had a horrific tooth ache. Ever have one of those? It’s amazing how one bad tooth can cause such tremendous pain in your entire head… raise havoc on your attitude… and make a grown man want to cry.

But that kind of pain is nothing compared to the broken heart of a parent whose child is doing all the wrong things and throwing their life away. Or a person who’s letting their addiction dictate and ruin their life. Or the person who’s lost a loved one and now finds themselves alone and afraid.

Suffering and pain are never welcome guest in any lives, yet at times we all have them stop by for a visit. So why is there suffering? And we might ask, “Where is God in our suffering and why isn’t He doing anything about it?”

Can I be honest with you again? Sometimes in our suffering, God is glorified by the way you and I lean on Him and trust Him to deliver us. There are also times God will glorify Himself by just taking the suffering away.

But what will our response be? Most often in our suffering and pain, we want immediate results. We want God to step in so we don’t lose another minute of sleep, or drop another tear. But will we persevere? Can we totally trust Him that we will get through to the other side and see the light of a new day?

I thought of that as I read Job 13. This man Job has lost everything, even his family. He’s searching for answers that seem impossible to find. He wants to understand. Not only does his heart hurt, he’s going through the trenches emotionally, spiritually and physically. But even in this he says…
“God may kill me, but still I will trust Him…” Job 13:15 CEV

Job’s friends were barking up the wrong tree and sometimes we do as well. We want to analyze our suffering and get to the bottom of our problem. We want to know why we have to go through this? Let me be honest with you one more time. Even Godly people can suffer pain, and still be right in the middle of God’s good and perfect plans.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re going through… how bad you hurt… or how much more you can take. What I do know is: you can still trust God. There may be times when God chooses not to heal the sick, raise the dead, or do what we plead with Him to do and it’s then we need to trust Him.

Job couldn’t see the end of the tunnel. His hurt and pain were very real. Yet he said, “I will trust Him.” So must we!

Father,
When the world comes crashing in on me… suffocating me… killing me, I will trust You. Help me Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 29th, 2017 — DEVOTE


Sometimes the truth is just too hard to believe. When we’re in the thick of things… the worst things… the bitter things… sometimes it can be hard to remember who we are and Whose we are. I’m sure there might have been a time or two in your life, just like mine, that you either totally left God out of the picture or you wondered where He was when you were facing the hard stuff. Can you relate? Maybe you’re in one of those times right now!

I’m telling you this because as I was reading in the book of Job today, I ran across this verse…
“You, the source of my life, showered me with kindness and watched over me.” Job 10:12 CEV

Now, let me put that into perspective for you. Job had just unloaded a whole pile of complaints and his complaints were point directly at God. I’ve heard people say something like, “Well, God’s a big guy, He can take it!” Can I advise you never to say that. He’s still God! He deserves our respect and honor.

But at the end of Job’s complaints he turns his thoughts and utters those word you just read.

I want to remind you today – If you believe in the all atoning work of Jesus Christ – you are a child of God. And because you are a child of God and He is the source of your life, He will shower you with kindness and always watch over you.

Now, I didn’t say He was going to roll out a red carpet for you and your life would never have any more hiccups. We just knows because of sin, that’s not a possibility.

But you can enjoy God’s best for your life. He wants to shower you with His favor and His kindness, though not a one of us deserve it.

I love closing out a worship service with the Aaronic Benediction: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; The Lord look upon you with His favor and give you His peace.” Numbers 6:25-26

By the way… that’s God’s desire!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find a way to believe what God’s Word says about you more than you believe what the world says about you. When the negative comments come your way… when the business project flopped… when family and friends misunderstand you or exclude you… when your thoughts tell you, you have little value – let God’s Word steady your heart and mind. The Bible says…
“… because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” Philippians 4:7 CEV

Today, remember who you are in Christ. Tell yourself that you walk in God’s favor… that you are the child of the King of kings… and you are loved more than you can imagine.

Father,
Walk with me and talk with me today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 28th, 2017 — DEVOTE

The Book of Job is such a hard book to read. It’s filled with deep conversations between men, each trying to give their opinion on why mankind suffers, what God is like and what they think Job should do. Remember, these friends of Job were saying all of this to a man who lost all his earthly possessions and was suffering miserably with a skin disease. The Bible tells us…
“When they came near enough to see Job, they could hardly recognize him. And in their great sorrow, they tore their clothes, then sprinkled dust on their heads and cried bitterly. For seven days and nights, they sat silently on the ground beside him, because they realized what terrible pain he was in.” Job 2:11-13 CEV

Evidently, these three friends were kind and compassionate. They loved Job enough to stay with him, even in silence. When Job started speaking in chapter 3 he asked questions about why he just didn’t die at birth and why did God let him live?

A conversation erupts between Job and his friends. You get the impression that his friends really don’t understand Job. He’s trying to figure this whole situation out and their telling him what he should do to get out of it. Even in their misguided attempts, every once in awhile they speak a word of truth, though it doesn’t really pertain to the situation. Here’s one of them that struck me today…
“Papyrus reeds grow healthy only in a swamp, and if the water dries up, they die sooner than grass.” Job 8:11 CEV

This friend was trying to tell Job that that’s what happens to people when they turn away from God and trust in something else.

Though this didn’t explain Job at all, it was a true statement. Papyrus reeds grow healthy only in a swamp. It’s kind of like saying, “Garbage in… garbage out!”

I have what I call a swamp on our property. It’s just low land where the water settles. I don’t ever go down there, because I don’t especially like swamps. But there is all kinds of growth down there in that swamp.

Where am I going with this? Well, as I read that statement I realized that it’s truth still speaks to us today. You and I would never consider drinking the water of a swamp or bathing in a swamp. But Papyrus reeds grow healthy in a swamp. Which lead me to start thinking of what is it in my life that’s growing healthy in my swamp? What bad habit… what awful manner… what atrocious obsession has taken root in my life and is growing beautifully, that shouldn’t be?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: We don’t always like looking in the mirror and seeing our sin, but confession is good for us and allows the Holy Spirit do to His job in our life and brings us back to relationship with our Father. Drain the swamp! Don’t let the bad stuff keep growing!

Father,

Thank You for speaking to me today and getting me back on track with You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 25th, 2017 — DEVOTE

As I read Psalm 32 today, my mind fluttered back to my childhood and the game of “Hide-and-Go-Seek!” Our neighborhood gang played that game often. There were nine homes in our stretch of neighborhood and the yards of all nine homes were fair play.

There was one place that I had located where nobody ever found me. I think I’m pretty safe divulging it now – I don’t think I’m ever going to play “Hide-and-Go-Seek” again in that neighborhood.

The neighbors right next door had a small porch on the front of their house. There was a very large pine tree right next to the house that created this beautiful, unforeseen cavity that I could slip into. I had the advantage in this deep hollow to see and hear anyone that walked past me, but because the tree was so big and I was tucked away in a corner, they couldn’t see me. It was the absolute best place to hide.

Actually, I should say, it’s the second best place to hide. The first is found in Psalm 32:7. Read this…
“You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble, and You put songs in my heart.” CEV

Isn’t that comforting? When King David wrote this Psalm he expressed his great joy in knowing that He was forgiven, He was loved, He was protected by God’s mighty hand. Here’s what he said…
“Our God, You bless everyone whose sins You forgive and wipe away. You bless them by saying, ‘You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.’” Psalm 32:1-2

A few verses later he says…
“So I confessed my sins and told them all to You. I said, ‘I’ll tell the LORD each one of my sins.’ Then You forgave me and took away my guilt.” Psalm 32:5 CEV

It’s then he confesses…
“You are my hiding place!”

He’s not telling us he’s hiding from people so that he won’t be found out. He’s not telling us he’s hiding from his offences because he doesn’gt want to get caught. He’s not running away from truth, denying anything that he’s done wrong. He’s just sharing with us what He’s found to be true in His life. He has a sickness, a deadly disease called sin, that he can’t cure. But he’s found relief in God, whose love, grace and mercy washes over him when he stops trying to hide his sin and he himself simple hides in God.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You no longer need to be afraid. You no longer need to run and hide. You no longer need to deny you sin. When you admit them to God, He takes them all away. The blood of Jesus Christ, forgives you of all your sins. Why not step into God’s hiding place today and let Him protect you from trouble, put a song in your heart, knowing that you are safe and saved?

Father,
You are my hiding place! I feel safe there. Jesus, it’s in your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 24th, 2017 — DEVOTE


How easy is it for us to just move from one thing to the next? Yesterday, I talked about those projects that failed and we thought to ourselves, “all that hard word for nothing.” But how easy is it, once we’ve finished a long, hard exhaustive project… or wrestled through a tough conversation that needed to be… or just made it through a really tough, grueling day at work… how often do we celebrate by worshipping God? Or how often do we just jump right into the next thing on our “to do” list, or maybe plop down on the sofa, kick up our heels and call it a day?

That’s what I thought of as I read some chapters from the book of Ezra. The people of Judah were given permission by King Darius, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem including the temple. It took 20 long years to finally accomplish the project. These people had talked about it… they had dreamt about it… they prayed about it… and they worked hard at it. There was a lot of sweat equity that went into this detailed venture. All 20 years were filled with hard projects… countless tough conversations… naysayers always attacking… more hard days than anyone ever wanted to count. Body aches and pains.  

But when everything was said and done… when it was all wrapped up… these people didn’t just move on to the next thing… they didn’t tackle the next project… and they certainly didn’t kick off their shoes, plop down on the couch and have a cold one.

They set aside seven days to celebrate. Did you hear that? For seven days they did nothing else but praise and worship God. They gave Him thanks for helping them, letting His favor rest on them, and by allowing them to finish the task at hand. The Bible tells us…
“Everyone was happy because the LORD God of Israel had made sure that the king of Assyria would be kind to them and help them build the temple.” Ezra 6:22 CEV

Many of us can’t even fathom praising and worshipping God for seven days. One hour is pushing it.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re working on – maybe it’s a home remodel, or a self makeover. Maybe it’s the biggest proposal you have ever been given and much is at stake. Can I suggest something to you: before you just move on to the next thing on your “to-do” list, and before you take some pictures and post it on FaceBook, SnapChat, or Instagram, be sure to spend some time thanking and praising God for all that He has done for you. Thank Him for supplying all your needs and helping you see it through.

Father,
You are awesome in all Your ways. Thank You for the task you lay before us. Thank You especially for those that are too hard for us to ever do. They remind us how much we need You. Jesus, You be praised and glorified in our life. It’s in Your name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 23rd, 2017 — DEVOTE

Remember that project you decided to work on? You did all the research… studied long hours on how to do it properly… got all the materials… started the process… and then everything went wrong. Everything you tried to do to fix it only made it worse. It was a complete flop. Remember?

Maybe it was something as simple as learning how to bake bread. Or maybe it was something much larger like an extended vacation, a relationship, a career. I remember one time we had planned a family vacation. Everything was set. The destination was all planned out. The bags were all packed. We were on the road. On that trip we blew 3 of the 4 tires – all at different times. We spent a lot of time getting towed, waiting in shops, frustrated, and weary.

Maybe when your situation went south you thought to yourself, “I did all that for nothing.” And the truth is, maybe you did.

I know that sounds a bit weird, but the Word of God really spoke to me this morning. Read this…
“You expected much, but received only a little. And when you brought it home, I made that little disappear. Why have I done this? It’s because you hurry off to build your own houses, while my temple is still in ruins. That’s also why the dew doesn’t fall and your harvest  fails. And so, at My command everything will become barren – your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing.” Haggai 1:9-11 CEV

I know that sounds harsh, but if you really believe the Word of God is true, living and active, then what is God saying to us today?

Well, that seems pretty simple to me. Could it be there are things in my life that don’t work out the way I planned because I’ve totally eliminated God from the picture? Since I didn’t start with Him, focus on Him, even ask Him… could it be it wasn’t meant to succeed? Could it be that when I expected a lot to happen and nothing happened, did God withhold it from me because He had different plans? Was He trying to get my attention? Was He trying to show me a better way?

The Bible says…
“We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go.” Proverbs 16:9 CEV

Do you believe that? Is there enough room in your life to allow God to have access to every decision, every movement in your life? Do you trust Him even when what you worked so hard for doesn’t pan out?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: That which you planned for and worked hard for, that did not come to fruition, didn’t happen for a reason. Trust God. He always has a better plan and yes, He always knows best!

Father,
Help my plans to be Your plans. I want to be in step with You, not stepping away from You. Jesus I ask this in Your holy name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 22nd, 2017 — DEVOTE

Do you remember the MasterCard “Priceless” commercials? I had to do a little googling this morning to get some information. What I found was MasterCard started those “Priceless” campaigns back in 1997. In the very first one that aired on TV a dad takes his son to a baseball game and pays for a hot dog and a drink, but the conversation between the two of them is priceless. It runs like this…

“Two tickets… $46.”

“Two hot dogs, two popcorns, two sodas… $27.”

“On autographed baseball… $50.”

“Real conversation with an 11 year old son… (dramatic pause) Priceless!”

And then we hear MasterCards catch words, “There are some things money can’t buy…. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” And just so you know, MasterCard spoke those same words to us for 17 years and each time they presented to us a touching moment.

That’s what went tumbling through my mind this morning as I read Psalm 84. The Psalm writer fills our thoughts with the joy of worshipping our great God in His temple. This is how he starts the Psalm…
“LORD God All-Powerful, Your temple is so lovely! Deep in my heart I long for Your temple, and with all that I am I sing joyful songs to You.” Psalm 84:1-2 CEV

He lets us know that…
“You bless everyone who lives in Your house, and they sing Your praises. You bless all who depend on You for their strength and all who deeply desire to visit Your temple.” Psalm 84:4-5 CEV

And then the writer throws in the clincher…
“One day in Your temple is better than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather serve in Your house, than live in the homes of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

Just “one day” in the presence of God… Just “one day” giving Him our highest praise… Just “one day” to declare with all our mind and might, that our God reigns… is better than a “thousand anywhere else.”

I’m just wondering if that’s how you feel? I mean it’s so easy for us to go to worship with a laissez faire attitude. We’re complacent… we’re bored… we’re reluctant. Through the years of ministry, I’ve had people come up to me at the end of a worship service and tell me they didn’t get anything out of the worship service that morning. My response was pretty simple, “I’m sorry to hear that but did you put anything into it?”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The fellowship of other believers… free! The opportunity to sing praise to God… free. The privilege of hearing God’s holy Word spoken… free. The honor of being in the presence of the Living God… Priceless! “One day in Your temple is better than a thousand anywhere else.” I know it’s only Tuesday, but you can worship Him every day.

Father,
I love being in Your presence. I love hearing Your voice. I love feeling Your touch. There is no place I’d rather be. Jesus, in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

August 21st, 2017 — DEVOTE

Have you ever wondered at how patient God must really be with us? I mean, He’s patience is really mind boggling if you think about it. You and I would never put up with 1/10 of what He has to deal with and the truth is: He’s dealing with us!

I thought of that as I was reading Psalm 78 today. The writer of the Psalm is giving a recap of the history of the people of Israel, telling time and time again of how God provided all that the people needed, but how quickly “they forgot all He had done.” (Psalm 78:11 CEV)

The writer recalled events like parting the Red Sea and allowing all of them to cross over on dry ground… “how God guided them during the day with a cloud and each night He led them with a flaming fire.” (Psalm 78:14 CEV)

Then when they complained they were thirsty, He made water come out of a rock. Can you even imagine that? Watering coming for a rock?

But it doesn’t stop there. “They stubbornly tested God and demanded from Him what they wanted to eat.” (Psalm 78:18 CEV) Can you imagine griping to God that you don’t like the food He’s providing and that you want something else? Sure you can, because both you and I have done it before in some like fashion.

But what does God do: “He opened up the doors in the skies” (Psalm 78:23b CEV) and each and every day supplied the people with Manna.

Then when they didn’t like the Manna anymore, they moaned about wanting meat to eat. So God covered the ground with fresh quail. The Bible says,
“God gave His people all they wanted, and each of them ate until they were full.” Psalm 78:29 CEV

I don’t know what would make a better topic for us: God’s patience with us and His overwhelming grace, love, forgiveness and providence OR our lack of appreciation for all that God has done for us? For today, we’ll stick to God’s abundance, not our lack of love.

Like I said in the beginning, God’s patience, His perseverance, His persistence, His tenacity, His self-control, His endurance with us is beyond comprehension. The Bible tells us that even though the people of Israel were “unfaithful and broke their promises,” (Psalm 78:37 CEV)…
“Yet God was kind. He kept forgiving their sins…” Psalm 78:38 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re facing today, or this week. I don’t know what you have to deal with, figure out, decide on, that’s keeping you up at night, totally on edge, frustrated and confused. But what I do know is, we have a God that is calmly waiting for us to turn to Him and waiting on our every need. Instead of giving one more complaint today, offer Him your praise for never giving up on you.

Father,
Thank You for Your amazing grace and Your patience with me. Forgive me for always demanding one more thing. Jesus, in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausenl

August 17th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I really do believe there’s a huge swing in the pendulum between encouragement and discouragement. I also believe we get our fair share of discouragement on a regular basis and in good amounts. That’s why encouragement is such a must.

It doesn’t matter how the discouragement comes, whether verbal or in actions, because it daunts and dampens everything inside of us.

Maybe it’s the lack of acknowledgement for a job well done. We did it because it was supposed to get done and weren’t really looking for applause, but it sure would have been nice for someone to notice. And then to top it off, not only wasn’t it noticed, but then when it was, someone criticized the work. We thought to ourselves – “I’ll never do that again.”

Or maybe you set out on a new goal, a project, a dream, your bucket list, but you got easily discouraged because the results you expected didn’t come quickly enough and there was no one to help spur you on.

Or, there’s that one person at work who has the gift of negativity and they have this way of demoralizing you which easily saps your energy and enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure you get my point – we’ve all been there.

I share that with you because as I read 2 Chronicles 32, I read how the Assyrians were planning to attack Jerusalem, they started by trying to discourage all the people. They told them they were losers and their God was a loser god and there wasn’t a god who could actually stop the Assyrians. This is what the Word says…
“The officials said all these things in Hebrew, so that everyone listening from the city wall would understand and be terrified and surrender. The officials talked about the LORD God as if He were nothing but an ordinary god or an idol that someone had made.” 2 Chronicles 32:18-19 CEV

All those officials were attempting to do was to so discourage the people they couldn’t win, so they would just fold up and quit. And that’s something probably all of us can relate to.

So let me share two Bible verses with you, to put in your arsenal when discouragement attacks.

Jesus said…
“Take courage!” Matthew 14:27

He told that to the disciples when their boat was sinking. Here’s another one…
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulations, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I hope you caught that. Jesus said, “Take courage.” In other words He’s saying, “I have courage to give you, take it.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: When you are discouraged, there’s only one place to get your courage back – Jesus. He’s offering. It’s free for the taking. Reach out and grab some courage to be encouraged.

Father,
I’m reaching out today for some courage, so as to be encouraged. I feel better already. Thank You, Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen