October 31st, 2017 – DEVOTE

Sometimes when I read the Word of God, I just shake my head and come to the realization it’s talking about me and talking to me. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so good either. It pinches, if you know what I mean. It makes me feel uncomfortable because it hits really close to home.

Actually what’s happening is, the Holy Spirit is talking to me and revealing to me what needs to be seen and dealt with. At first I don’t like what I see and try to shrug it off. But as I keep reading the Word it cuts deeper and deeper. Here’s the Word that challenged me this morning…
“My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.” Galatians 5:13 CEV

So let me ask you, just because the Holy Spirit asked me today, “Do you ever suffer from the ME Syndrome? You know, that time of the day or the month when you feel it’s all about you… it’s your time. I don’t know about you, but I sure do – way too often as a matter of fact. I usually don’t realize it until I’ve crossed the line… did the wrong thing… said the wrong word… didn’t react at all, because it was all about me.

But the Bible tells us we’re free not to take care of ourselves, but to serve others. Instead of focusing all my attention on me, I should be asking where my Father wants me to serve – who He wants me to serve.

You see…

When I’m free from ambition, I’m free to serve with a joyful heart.

When I’m free from selfishness, I’m free from irritation.

When I’m free from jealousy, I’m free to celebrate with others when they succeed.

When I’m free from judgment, I’m free to pray with a pure heart.

When I’m free from expectation, I’m free to enjoy whatever happens.

When I’m freed from controlling others, I’m free to see miracles.

When I live free like the Bible says I am, I’ll see the Kingdom of God in my life.

And truth be known, that’s really what I want to see in my life – the Kingdom of God. What’s that going to take? It’s going to take busting free from my own ME Syndrome. It’s going to take looking at things through God’s eyes. It’s going to take me accepting God’s help. In other words, in order for me to be free, I have to be free of me!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Do you want to be free? Do you want to be free from your Me Syndrome? Through faith in Jesus Christ, you are free. Live free to serve others.

Father,
Remind me today that through the all-atoning work of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus – I’m free. Holy Spirit, free me of me and help me serve those around me. In Jesus name, I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 30th, 2017 – DEVOTE

So it happens to me every year. For whatever reason, it catches me off guard. It seems to be happening earlier every year. It’s such a driving force and many really miss what’s happening. They all think it’s a gimmick, a strategy and quick buck, but in reality the message of the Gospel is being shared without most people knowing it. I’m talking about Christmas.

I realize it’s only the end of October but I’ve been seeing commercials on TV with people decorating Christmas trees and wrapping presents already. The stores have put out their Christmas displays, and we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving.

But this morning as I was reading the Word and thought about the commercialization of Christmas… it put a smile on my face. These big companies, might be selling their goods because the time is upon us when people will spend tons of money on their wares, but they’re also reminding us the birth of the Savior is coming.

Now, if you’ve grown up like me, in a Christian home, you’ve probably heard the Christmas story a gazillion times. But for today, I’d like us to rewind about 2000 years ago and replay it.

Here’s how most modern day people would like to see Christmas…

  1. We’d expect the Messiah to be born into a well rounded royal family. However, God chose peasant parents – a blue collar carpenter with his teenage virgin fiance.

  2. We’d expect the Messiah to be born in an influential city like Rome or Jerusalem. However, God chose the little town of Bethlehem, where the sheep probably outnumbered the inhabitants.

  3. We’d expect the Messiah to be born in a comfortable palace or at least a world renowned hospital. However, God chose a manger in a stable.

  4. We’d expect all the religious and social elite to be in attendance. However, God chose the social outcast and religious outsiders like the shepherds to witness this miracle.

Those were my thoughts as I read this today from the Word…
“But when the time was right, God sent His Son, and a woman gave birth to Him. His Son obeyed the Law, so He could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children. Now that we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. And His Spirit tell us that God is our Father.” Galatians 4:4-6 CEV

The people, the place, and the time were all on purpose. Evidently, when God sent His Son to this world, to launch His rescue mission, He wasn’t doing it for strategic reasons, as the world does. This wasn’t a marketing ploy to get people excited. This was to change the world.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I know exactly why the big companies are pushing Christmas on us earlier every year. I used to get upset about it. Today, I’m celebrating. They may be doing it for all the wrong reasons, but the message of the Newborn King is still being proclaimed. So, let’s celebrate Christmas all year long!

Father,
Thank You for sending Your Son, our Savior, to set us free. Jesus, we love You. It’s in Your name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 27th, 2017 – DEVOTE


So, I know we’re all different. We all have different likes and dislikes, whether it be food or clothes or where to live or what kind of car we drive. We like different music and read different books. But that’s not a bad thing. Actually, in my humble opinion, that’s a good thing. It means God has created us with variety and a whole array of qualities. Now I have to tell you, I don’t always appreciate every one else’s qualities, especially when I want things done my way and someone comes in with a different approach.

So, with all your abilities… all your skills… all your giftings… all your qualities…, of which there are many, do you know the number one reason God gave them to you? I hope you do, though maybe not. Before I give you the answer, let me tell you of what one man found out about his life.

Before the Apostle Paul became a strong leader for the Christian Church, he was fighting against it. This is what he wrote about himself…
“You know how I used to live as a Jew. I was cruel to God’s church and even tried to destroy it. I was a much better Jew than anyone else my own age, and I obeyed every law that our ancestors had given us.” Galatians 1:13-14 CEV

This guy had qualities. He had confidence. He was bold and courageous. He had no fear. But one day, he met Jesus face-to-face and everything changed. This is his story…
“But even before I was born, God had chosen me. He was kind and had decided to show me His Son, so that I would announce His message to the Gentiles.” Galatians 1:15-16 CEV

Did you read that? God chose Paul, even before he was born, to be His spokesman and take the good news of the Gospel and present it to people who were lost and condemned.

All of Paul’s growing up years, he had a different direction. He was doing his thing… living his life, his way… using his abilities, skills, giftings and quality’s for his own gain and purpose. But what he found out the day he met Jesus, were all those abilities, skills, giftings and quality’s were giving to him by God, for God. Even before he was born, God had chosen him. That’s why God made him the way he was. That’s why God made you the way you are! For His purposes. He chose you before you were even born.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God has purpose written all over you. It’s why He created you. It’s why He gave you your abilities, skills, giftings and qualities. Use whatever you have to bring Him glory, praise and honor this day and every day! He created you and chose you with purpose.

Father,
Thank You for making me the way I am and for using me however You choose. Help me to willingly follow. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 26th, 2017 — DEVOTE


Many people in our world today are mesmerized by stardom. If they could just get their picture with that famous athlete… or that illustrious actor… or that renowned singer… their day would be made. They long to not just catch a glimpse, but want to touch and speak to their hero.

I remember years ago, while I was in Brazil, I was stopped by some young people who wanted to know if I was Andre Agassi? Many of you will remember the talented tennis player, who in his younger years, had long flowing hair. Towards the end of his career though, he shaved his head like mine. Unfortunately for them, I had to inform them I wasn’t, but I was Mark Marxhausen. They simply walked away not needing any more information.

Just recently my three year old granddaughter and I were going someplace in grandma’s minivan. In the back seat were some DVD’s we have for long trips and for when we need to transport the grandchildren. My granddaughter picked one of the DVD cases up and asked, “Bubu, why do you have a gun?” I had no clue what she was talking about until she showed me the front of the case. It was Bruce Willis and one of his Die Hard movies. My granddaughter thinks I’m remarkable – so I will wait a little while to let her know that’s not me in the picture. Hope that’s no insult to Bruce Willis.

I thought of how we look at the importance of others – their roles, their positions, their titles – and then thought of where I fit into that scheme. My conclusion: I really don’t fit. I’m just me. I’m an original. I am the prototype God designed. And though I may not have anyone asking for my autograph, I do have the opportunity to reach stardom, in a sense.

Here’s what I read in the Word today…
“Everyone who has been wise will shine as bright as the sky above, and everyone who has led others to please God will shine like the stars.” Daniel 12:3 CEV

Paul, another writer in the Bible said something just like that…
“You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights (stars) among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.” Philippians 2:15

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Like me, you may never reach what others in this world consider famous. You may never be the main attraction at the concert. You may never get your picture on the front of the Wheaties box. But you can shine like a star by being faithful to your Lord. And by the way… His recognition is worth far more than anything this world could offer you. So today, shine on!

Father,
Thank You for shining Your light on me. Let me shine for you! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 25th, 2017 – DEVOTE


Tomorrow is such a long word. I mean just look at the word. It’s eight letters long. Now compare that to “today” which is only five letters or the “present” which is only six letters.

I just checked with Siri and she told me there are only 67 days left in 2017. Which means almost 300 days have gone by. How in the world did that happen? I mean, I lived every single one of those days, but it almost doesn’t seem possible we’re winding down another year. Some people are already looking forward to and making plans for the new year.

Where am I going with all this? Well, this is what I read in the Word today…
“What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.” James 4:14 CEV

This is what Jesus said about “tomorrow”…
“Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.” Matthew 6:34 CEV

Here’s what King Solomon said…
“Don’t brag about tomorrow! Each day brings its own surprises.” Proverbs 27:1 CEV

Bet if I kept looking, I could find more Bible verses that would give us the same advice about tomorrow.

So why do we focus so much of our attention on the future – tomorrow? Where we’re going to live? What we’re going to do? Where we’re going to go? The Bible specifically tells us not to, but we still do it. It wouldn’t be good planning on our part if we didn’t, right? You’ve got to plan for the future.

Well, of course, that’s true. But here’s what else James tells us…
“You should say, ‘If the Lord lets us live, we will do these thing.’” James 4:15CEV

I don’t know about you but I’m not counting down the days here in 2017 but I am counting on my God. I’m not waiting till next year to get my act together and exercise my faith muscle when I know God is still in charge right now. I have faith right now that God will still open doors – doors I’ve never seen before. I have faith right now that God will close doors – doors I wasn’t meant to walk through. I have faith right now God will still heal. I have faith right now God will set some people free.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Stop waiting for the right moment… stop waiting till you get all your ducks in a row… stop waiting until next year to seek God when you have time right now! Don’t overlook the remaining days in this year waiting for the New Year when God can still do it for you today. Don’t miss your blessing… Don’t miss your healing… don’t miss your deliverance… Don’t miss your breakthrough. Do it today!

Father,
Thank You for today! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 24th, 2017 – DEVOTE


I don’t watch a whole lot of sports on TV, especially professional sports. It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s just that it takes so much time. It consumes 3-4 hours and I generally always have something else I’ve got to do or something else I want to do – that might even include taking a nap.

The other thing I’ve notice about sports is the number of “armchair quarterbacks” there are. You know the person who knows exactly what the players and coaches should be doing but they themselves are not doing it or could not do it. Doesn’t matter if it’s the commentator on the TV, the friend on Facebook, or family or friend in my house. Sometimes, I take the role myself.

But it doesn’t stop with professional athletes. Once we get used to being so critical, we criticize our President, our boss, our teacher, our pastor, other christians. It’s very easy to become cynical about what others are or are not doing without actually making a difference ourselves. But the saying proves to still be true… “If you’re not part of the solution… you are the problem.” And just so you know, being an “armchair quarterback” is never part of the solution.

One of Jesus’ disciples, James, wrote this for us to ponder and remember, especially when we want to be critical but unwilling to help make a difference. He wrote…
“Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do.” James 3:13 CEV

James was telling us that our wisdom and understanding aren’t going to be seen by our words or our criticism of others, but by being “humble and wise in everything” we do.

Everytime and anytime we see the good that should be happening and critique others, yet we don’t move a muscle, we are responsible and accountable. James went on to write in chapter four, verse seventeen, “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.”

It’s easy sitting on the “sidelines” and complaining about what others are not doing or are doing wrongly in your opinion, instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

So, here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t be an “armchair quarterback.” Get up… get involved… help… assist… provide… boost… reinforce… encourage… serve… support – OK, you probably get the idea!

Ready… Break!

Father,
Forgive me for sitting back and watching others do Your work and then criticize what they’re doing. Holy Spirit, help me get in the game, use my gifts and build Your kingdom. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 23rd, 2017 — DEVOTE

 

Here’s the words from the Bible that jumped off the page and hit me smack in the face today…
“Daniel answered, ‘Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! My God knew that I was innocent, and He sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.” Daniel 6:21-22 CEV

If you don’t remember the account, let me fill you in. The favor of God rested on this guy, Daniel, because Daniel had great faith in God. Even though he was in a foreign land, God used him mightily and opened so many doors of opportunity for him.

In Daniel 6 there were some men who didn’t like Daniel, so they coerced the king to write a decree that said that if anyone prayed to anyone other than the king, they would be thrown into a lion’s den and left for meat. At first, it sounded good to the king. Without thinking the whole thing through, however, the king wrote the declaration and signed it into law.

But Daniel still prayed to God. As a matter of fact, Daniel had a habit, a good habit, of kneeling down and praying three times a day. His enemies knew that and turned him into the king. And even though the king didn’t want to follow through on his new law because he really liked Daniel, he had to do it.

Daniel was in the lion’s den alright, but the the lions left him alone all night long. It wasn’t because they were godly lions either. They were regular, normal lions, who given the opportunity to eat anything, would. But the Bible tells us there was an angel in the lion’s den with Daniel and those lions didn’t want to mess with him. I’m thinking Daniel even had a pretty good nights sleep.

Now that’s real peace. Being able to lay your head on your pillow at night, knowing and believing that all is well. That God is still in charge… He is still on His throne… And He is in complete control of your life.

Are you in a lion’s den today? A place you’d rather not be? A predicament that has left you wondering how you got there? Do you have some enemies that are trying to defeat you. Your worst enemy, “the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack” (! Peter 5:8). And that someone is you!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t get distracted from the purpose God has placed in your heart. Be like Daniel. Stay focused. Keep your priorities… keep on praying… keep on living for Jesus each and every day… keep on claiming the promises of God… keep on trusting God to bring you through the toughest ordeals, because He will! Remember, those lions might be able to eat your body, but they can’t touch your faith!

Father,
I won’t be distracted by the teeth of the lion today, because I know You’re near. I’m safe and protected by You. Thank You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 20th, 2017 – DEVOTE


I remember back in the day when our children were younger, we had a conversation van. We made many a trip in that van. Probably one of the highlights of that van, and for many families today, was the TV and at that time a VCR. Our children watched a lot of movies while we were on the road. There was always a movie playing.

Today, most cars come with separate audio systems for the front and back so that passengers can listen to different music.

I saw a new stocking cap that has a very small speaker built right into it and is bluetooth ready so you can connect to your phone and listen to whatever your heart desires.

There aren’t too many days that go by that I don’t see somebody with a set of earphones or earbuds in their ears.

I also saw a little infomercial the other day about a couple who went wilderness camping but they were unable to sleep because it was too quiet and they had an app on their phone that played soothing city noises of traffic and horns blowing in order to fall asleep.

Ok, let me tell you one more. I read this lately on the internet. In 1968 there was a man whose job was to record nature sounds for films and television. He would pack up all his recording equipment, hike out into the woods, drop off his gear, and then return sometime later for the undisturbed recordings of nature. Back then, in 1968, in order to get one hour of undisturbed sound, which meant no planes, no sirens, no human presence, it would take 15 hours of recording time. Today that same man continues to record, but in order for him to get 1 hour of unaffected nature sounds, it take 2000 hours of recording time.

What am I trying to tell you? We live in a loud world. There is so much noise going on all around us, all the time. Many people feel totally uncomfortable when there is no noise. It’s difficult to be in the silence.

I thought of that as I read Psalm 85 today and especially verse 8…
“I will listen to You, LORD God, because You promise peace to those who are faithful and no longer foolish.” Psalm 85:8 CEV

Many of us want the same things this writer wants… we want to hear what God has to say to us, because we know from experience that whatever He says will bring peace into our lives. But how can we ever expect to hear God speak when our ears are filled with all the sounds of this world?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask yourself, when was the last time you intentionally sat in complete silence just to listen to God speak to you? There are time when God will speak to us through the loud noises of today, but there are other times when He’ll show up in the dead of silence, if we’re willing to listen.

Father,
I will listen to You today! In Jesus name I pray this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 19th, 2017 – DEVOTE


All you have to do is start reading Lamentations chapter 3 and you soon realize you just have more of the same first two chapters. This guy, the guy writing this stuff, is really in the dumps. His life has been hard and he’s spilling it all out, recalling much of it. His heart is heavy, his mind is unstable, and you can tell it.

Ever met anybody like that? When you start having a conversation with them, they talk about the injustices, the tragedies of days gone by. It’s as if they’re stilling living them. They talk about the suffering, the loss, the attacks, the hardships, the hurt and the pain. It’s very real though it may have happened decades ago. It’s kind of like they’re still living it.

That’s what it sounds like when you read Lamentations 3. The prophet says things like…

“He (that’d be God) chased me into a dark place, where no light could enter.” Lamentations 3:2 CEV

“He forced me to sit in the dark like someone long dead.” Lamentations 3:6 CEV

“God built a fence around me that I cannot climb over, and He chained me down.” Lamentations 3:7

This guy’s life is a mess. He’s hurting. He’s lonely. He says…

“I cannot find peace or remember happiness.” Lamentations 3:17 CEV

And…

“That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.” Lamentations 3:20 CEV

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. It’s as if whatever happened, whenever it happened, stunted your life and that part of your life is still locked in that moment of time. You lost something and you’ll never be able to get it back. Believe me, I’ve lived it.

But most often here’s the difference. Unlike the prophet, we stay there – he didn’t! And truthfully, what’s happened is we’ve learned to stay in our rut, to stay there and live there. But here’s what the prophet said after all his lamenting…

“Then I remember something that fills me with hope. The LORD’s kindness never fails! If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, ‘The LORD is all I need; I can depend on Him!’” Lamentations 3:21-24 CEV

Listen to me… if you woke up this morning and you’re still here – God has plans for you today. He is faithful. He is kind. He is merciful. He’s not forgotten about you or turned His back on you. He made a promise to be with you always, and believe it or not, He’s keeping it.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Join in with the prophet. He says in chapter 3, verse 40, “… we should think about the way we are living and turn back to the LORD.” That’s a great place to start today – to start living the way He intended you to live. Rise up man of God! Rise up woman of God!

Father,
Capture our attention today. Draw us close to You. In Jesus name we ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 18th, 2017 – DEVOTE

Well I’m just going to have to do it again. I’m going to have to use that three letter word. It’s better than one of those four letter words, but still, no one likes to hear this one, at least not many do these days. It seems to almost be outdated, as if it doesn’t pertain to us anymore because we’ve mastered it. I’m talking about sin. That’s what I thought about when I read this verse…
“Your prophets deceived you with false visions and lying messages – they should have warned you to leave your sins and be saved from disaster.” Lamentations 2:14 CEV

Listen, if I don’t have a sin problem, then the truth is I don’t need a sin solution. And just so we’re all clear on this… sin is not doing what God says we should do (James 4:17 – “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned) and is doing what God says not to do (Romans 7:7 – “… if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like.”). Sin is disobeying God, and that has ramifications – “Sin pays off with death.” Romans 6:23

Until I see how deceptive sin is, that the joy I get from it is only but a brief moment, and that it’s deadly and totally destructive, that it corrupts from the inside out, I have no need for the solution that Jesus offers me.

What I really need to do is pray for my sin to be exposed. Let me see if I can illustrate. Every once in awhile I can feel a cold sore coming on my lip. I know where this going because I’ve experienced it so many times before. But instead of me trying to hide it, what I really need it to do is run its course so I can get it out of me. I know everyone is going to see it, and their eyes are going to be drawn to it when we talk, but I really need it out of me. The same is true for sin. I really need it out me and that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. If I don’t feel the agony of my sin anymore, it’s probably because I’ve shut down the Holy Spirit’s work in me and no longer feel convicted of my sin.

But once I recognize my sin problem, I want a solution. Like that cold sore, I want to apply a medication that will relieve me of malady. So that you know… there is only one solution to our sin problem. His name is Jesus. He gave us the victory. He paid for our sin. He made all things new again.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Whatever you do – don’t ignore sin. It will kill you. Ask the Holy Spirit to do what He does best – show you the real you. You’ll never regret it!

Father,
For Jesus sake, show me my sin and forgive me this day. Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen