July 13th, 2018 — IGNITE

So, I’m was reading the Word this morning and bam – a commercial came to mind. It was a battery commercial – don’t know which one – don’t care which one, but the words jolted me – “I’ve got the power!” Remember?

Well this isn’t a devotion about batteries, but about power. This isn’t a devotion for the faint and weary, but for those who want to stand up and fight back. This isn’t a devotion for the timid, but for those who’ve had enough – enough to start making some noise.

I’ve been seeing to many lives being lost senselessly. I’ve witnessed family and friends burying their loved ones too early. I’ve heard too many relationships dissolving because it’s easier to walk away than working them out. I’ve watched too many people wander and flounder through life aimlessly and purposeless.

We’re living in a time when evil is more widespread and it’s even more bold. Evil is now staring Christians eye-to-eye and we’re the ones tucking tail and running. Evil is showing up on our jobs and we won’t say anything out of fear of who might hear us. Evil is showing up at our schools and we’re scared of calling the name of Jesus because it goes against the rules. Evil is show up at our places of worship and we’ve become comfortable enough to fellowship with it. Evil is bold enough to sit at the dinner table with us and take over our conversation. We no longer allow evil to ride because we’ve allowed it to drive. We’ve gotten complacent and it’s showing in our prayers and our worship. We’ve gotten comfortable, let our guard down and now we no longer have the power to cast out things that don’t belong. But the Word says, “I’ve got the power!”

I may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but sometimes I flicker a little bit, so listen to what the Holy Spirit laid on my heart. It’s time to stop with our soft, wimpy prayers… our feel good sermons… and our self-pleasuring worship. It’s time to stop playing with the enemy thinking we can handle it and we won’t get hurt. It’s time to stop tapping into the enemies benefits thinking he won’t come back to collect his due.

He has no power over us. We have total protection from him. He can’t hurt us. We’re covered and shielded by the blood of the Lamb. We’re children of God and everything that is His, is ours! Don’t believe me? Read this…
“I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: We have the power! Don’t be overcome… because you’re an overcomer. You’re not the tail… because you’re the head! You’re not a loser… because you are victorious through Jesus Christ.

Thank You for the Power. Jesus, You are my power source. It’s in Your name I pray. Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 12th, 2018 — IGNITE

Imagine you’re driving in your car. Only instead of driving look forward through the windshield, you’re trying to get to your destination by looking through your rearview mirror. (This is one of those times that you and I need to hear that TV voice say: “Please don’t try this at home!”) Can you imagine what would happen if you tried driving somewhere, anywhere, by only looking in your rearview mirror?

Now don’t get me wrong. I look in my rearview mirror a lot, especially in busy traffic. I want to make sure the person behind me is paying attention to the flow of traffic, like I am, and that he’s not going to read end me – though I don’t know why that helps me, seeing that I can’t stop him – I’m only going to watch the inevitable happen.

I do look in my rearview mirror and my side mirrors when I want to change lanes. I want to make sure my life change isn’t going to crash into somebody already in that lane.

But I know that if I want to get to where I need or want to be, I’ve got to keep my eyes focused through the windshield. And let’s just be honest, the windshield to rearview mirror ratio is like 100:1. I can see 100 times more looking forward through my windshield than the little mirror hanging from it.

So why do I spend so much of my time looking backward? Why am I so intent on seeing where I’ve been rather than where I’m going?

Let me put it another way, maybe a little closer to home. Why do I focus on the hurts… the failures… the let downs of the past (rearview mirror looking) control where I’m going today and tomorrow (windshield looking)? I guess I need to ask myself, if I’ve actually gone anyway in life or am I stuck in park. Have I moved on? Am I looking forward or am I still gazing at where I once was?

Jesus said this…
“No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Paul said it another way…
“I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I know we need to look in our rear view mirror once in a while, but starting today let’s look out of our windshield a whole lot more. God has given us a great big world. You can’t drive forward looking out your rear view mirror, so you can’t live for today or tomorrow looking at your past. Look forward!

Help me to see where I’m going and stop me from not moving anywhere by only looking back. Jesus in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 11th, 2018 — IGNITE

As I was reading Psalm 136, my mind was drawn back to an old coffee commercial whose tagline was: “Good to the last drop.” I started thinking about that, though I myself don’t drink coffee. If it was good to the last drop… what happened after the last drop was gone? It seems to me that it may have been very good to the last drop, but there wasn’t anymore after that last drop. Are you following me? What then?

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced anything like this, but I have. I remember feeling like God just dropped me off at the street corner and drove away. I remember feeling like God was no longer taking my calls. Sometimes in my life, it felt like God’s love had failed, when disappointment, failure, sickness, death came showing up. On days like those, it looked a lot like God’s love had walked out on me and the people I loved.

But I’m not the only one who ever felt like this. The writer of the Psalm 136 recalls numerous people and situations in their lives where nothing looked good… everything was wrong… anything was better than what they had.

But then he draws our attention back to one truth that overrides all those feelings and thoughts…
“For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

And he doesn’t tell us that just once. No, he tells us that 26 times. 26 times his redundancy is meant to drive home a truth we need to hear no matter what’s happening or not happening in our lives: HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS! (tweet that!)

Over and over again, with every passing thought… every incident in life… good, bad, or indifferent the writer beckons us to say it out loud… with meaning… with hope… “HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS!”

The Bible tells me to offer God my thanks when the diagnosis comes back and it looks bad. The Bible tells me to give praise to my God when the job fell through and I’m still looking. The Bible tells me with all sincerity of heart to worship my God because HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS!

I believe this Psalm is reminding us that when the storms rage… when our world is crumbling… when our footing is slipping… when our knees are knocking… when our head is spinning… what we need to do is remember: HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS! There is no last drop of His love because it is an ever flowing stream, that will never be tapped out, or run dry.

The more I read this Psalm, the more I understanding that amongst all the noise in this world, God is still whispering the same message to my heart: “MY LOVE NEVER ENDS.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God not only loves you… He likes you… And He’s proud of you! HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS!

Thank You for Your love. Help me always remember: YOUR LOVE NEVER ENDS! Jesus, it’s in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev.Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 10th, 2018 — IGNITE

Ever have “one of those days”? You know which one I’m talking about, don’t you? “One of those days!” You’re busy… you’re in a hurry… you’ve got an appointment to make. You running late, so you skip breakfast and just grab a cup of coffee. You head out the door… oops, you forgot your satchel. You go back in the house… grab it and head back out the door. Then you realize you don’t have any car keys. You head back into the house… time is fleeting. You grab your keys, satchel in hand, heading back out to the car. You jump in the car… put the key in the ignition… turn it… nothing! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You go back in the house to get the other car keys… now really lagging behind in time… jump in the other car wondering what else can go wrong, start it and head out your driveway. As you’re heading down the road, a couple of blocks from home, it hits you like a ton of bricks… you left your satchel in the other car. You immediately turn around… head back home… jump out of one car into the other… grab your satchel… jump back into the car that’s running… once again to get on the road to your already late appointment.

Ok, so maybe that’s extreme. Maybe it wasn’t the car. Maybe it was the clogged drain right before company came over. Or maybe it was more serious, like an unexpected illness… an accident… or someone dying.

Many times, when these things happen, it so very hard to keep our head on straight and keep the right perspective and focus. Generally, (and I’ll only talk for myself because I wouldn’t want to implicate any of you) I am so focused on the problem that it doesn’t register in my mind that God is present and everything is going to be OK. I don’t have to get all stressed out and bent out of shape. I don’t have to lose my cool and cheerful attitude. I don’t have to become anxious and doubtful. Why? Here’s why…
“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” Psalm 135:5-6

Those are some powerful words. Those are words you and I would be wise to hold on to, keep handy, even memorize for those moments when difficulty arrives.

What does that mean for you and me? Well, if our God is great and He’s not going to let anything happen in our lives that He can’t control, then you and I can survive whatever comes our way. I don’t have to deal with them – I can just give it over to Him.

Now that doesn’t mean I can just sit back and do nothing and expect Him to do all the work… nor does it give me the permission to have a bad attitude… stay angry… live in my hurt and pain… and treat people unkindly.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The next time life starts unraveling, remember this little verse… “For I know the LORD is great!” Dwell on that!

Thank You for taking care of the details of my life. Help me to find Your joy today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 6th, 2018 IGNITE

Let me retell a story for you that really happened in the life of Jesus. You can read all about it in Luke 7:36-50.

One day this guy asked Jesus over for lunch. This guy was a religious leader, who thought he had his life all in order. He was good with God and God was good with him, although that wasn’t true. I don’t get the impression he really wanted to hear from Jesus, but wanted to parade his righteous attitude in front of Jesus. I think he wanted to make a statement to Jesus about his religious appearance.

As they were sitting in this guys house, a lady, a lady with a bad reputation, walked into the house and was so overcome to be in the presence of the Savior. To be welcomed by Him instead of shunned like she was by everyone else. She knew that they knew who she was and what she was like. She weep so hard, her tears washed Jesus feet. She dried his feet with her hair and she anointed Him with her expensive perfume.

While all that was happening in one section of the living room, the guy who invited Jesus over was taking this all in with disgust on the other side of the living room. He even said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39

Jesus heard that thought. He addressed that thought by telling a story about a man who was owed some money. One man owed him a ton of bucks and the other guy owed him chump change. But instead of demanding what was owed him, he forgave their debts. Then Jesus asked…
“Which of them therefore will love him more?” Luke 7:42

Of course, the only answer was the guy who owed a huge debt. Why? Because he couldn’t repay it. He didn’t have the means to forgive his debt. He was encumbered by this deficit. The weight of the world was removed from his shoulders when the note was pardoned. For sure he would be overwhelmingly happy.

Jesus even tells this religious guy,
“… her sins, which are many have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47

Can you even begin to imagine how this lady walked away from this house after hearing Jesus say to her…
“Your sins have been forgiven.” Luke 7:48
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

For once, she was received. For once, she was accepted. For once she knew her past was really past… her sins really forgiven… her hope and joy restored. This was a new beginning!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Which one are you? The one who can do it all by yourself? Or the one who couldn’t do anything… needing everything… receiving it all, simply because of the love and grace of Jesus.

Help me walk today as one who has been forgiven much and help me love much. Jesus in your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 2nd, 2018 — IGNITE

I love my thesaurus. It opens up an entirely different world for me when I write. It takes my bland little vocabulary and makes it blossom with picturesque beauty. And you thought I just came up with these words! 🙂

As I was reading the Word today, specifically Colossians 1, the heading before verse 13 said, “The Incomparable Christ.” I was intrigued. I wanted to read on. Here’s what I read…
“For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins… by Him all things were created… all things have been created by Him and for Him… He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together… He Himself might come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 13-14, 16-18 selected

As I read those words I couldn’t help but think of how there is something that is built into us that loves the idea of a hero. I remember when my daughters were just little girls and they would play with their dolls and the handsome prince would come rescue the damsel in distress. I love watching my grandchildren, especially when they’re enamored by the latest superhero. They want to imitate them… dress like them… be them.

The top blockbuster movies all have a plot line that somehow involves a hero who comes to the rescue. We love the story of a hero. It doesn’t make any difference if we see it through the eyes of a little boy… a little girl… a man… or a woman.

Well, can I just tell you that you are actually a part of the greatest story ever told with a  hero? That’s right! God is the ultimate Hero and His heroics far outweigh any heroics of some little hero in a movie or a book. God is not only incomparable, He is… unmatched… unparalleled… unequalled… unrivaled… unsurpassable… second to none!

One of the many reasons is because He saved us from the worst thing possible, the real deal breaker – death, due to our sins. Someone can save you from losing your house or rescue you from drowning or get you out of your car or step in front of a bad guy, but they can’t save you from your sins.

Just like heroes coming back from war getting parades and thanks, so should we constantly be giving this to the ultimate Hero, God.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Remind yourself today as you watch life, read books, take in a movie, that you have been saved by the greatest Hero there will ever be. Let that sink into your very being – you needed a Hero and you have One. His name is Jesus!

Thank You for sending Your Son into my life and transferring me from the domain of darkness into Your kingdom. Jesus, I give You all my thanks and praise.  You are my Hero! It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 9th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever had that time when you knew that you knew, that you knew that what you were doing was so right… but it turned out all so wrong? You remember, right?

You had all your ducks in a row… you figured everything out to the minutes detail… there was no margin for loss. As matter of fact, if you were a betting person, you would have bet your last dollar on this decision, because you knew it was going to work. Good thing you didn’t have a dollar to waste, huh?

Even as I write this, my mind is flooded with all kinds of crazy ideas I had in my head that I knew with a little extra time and money and some elbow grease, I could make it work. But today, I thank God He intervened and stopped me.

I also think of the many things I actually did follow through on, though someone pointed out to me all the problems with my flawed idea, but I wouldn’t listen. In the end it ended up costing me.

Well, that’s what I thought about today as I read 1 Chronicles 21. It starts like this…
“Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

Satan always tries to put crazy ideas in our head. This one, though it doesn’t seem all that bad – you know, just finding out how many soldiers you have to defend your country – would bring a great cost in the end. You see, this was about pride… this was about insecurity… this was about a lack of trust –  more specifically – King David’s lack of trusting God. Did he have enough soldiers? Enough fighting men to protect what was his?

His right hand man, Joab, asked him why he wanted to take this census and even went so far as to tell the King he thought it was a bad idea. But David didn’t listen. The Bible says, “Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab.” 1 Chronicles 21:4

Joab, against his better judgement, did exactly what the king wanted him to do. His report showed that there were 1,570,000 fighting soldiers in the land. David may have been happy to hear the report, but God was displeased with his lack of trust and 70,000 men lost their lives because of the King’s bad decision. One bad decision… a decision made without first asking God… can have enormous ramifications.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Everyday we make all kinds of decisions. Some are just routine, everyday decisions that we make all the time. Others are huge, life-changing decisions. What should I do? Where should I work? Should I move? Should I marry? Should I start over? When we don’t know, we should first ask. Ask God – He’ll always answer. Ask our trusted family and friends who God has put in our lives for times just like this. And then instead of being so bullheaded and pushing through with our plan, maybe what we need to do is listen to what God is telling us through others and trust Him.

Help me trust You today with my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen