November 8th, 2017 – DEVOTE

So, now that I’m am not receiving a salary from a church, but raising my own funds to do ministry, I feel like I can speak out about how much or how little pastors, christian teachers, christian workers actually get paid.

Let me start here. If I need to call in an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, or take my car to a mechanic, I’m usually astounded at how much the estimate or bill comes to. As you well know, it’s not the materials that cost so much, but the labor. As much as I may not like it, I pay the bill because I don’t have the expertise or knowledge to do it myself.

And here’s the rub. Most christian people know something about the Bible, at varying degrees, but because they have read some of the Bible, or even most of it, and have heard numerous sermons, and have read a score of books, they believe they’re experts, professionals, skilled theologians and know how to run the church, lead the church, and though they don’t like to stand up in front of crowds, they are critical about how the pastor preaches or teaches. Though they can’t do it any better, they believe it’s their right and privilege as a member to voice their displeasure on how he/she speaks and leads.

And it’s in that mindset that a pastor, a teacher, a christian worker’s salary is formed. Many churches have a pay scale of some kind to help churches determine how much they should pay their staff. It’s based on how many years of experience they have, how many members are in the congregation, the geographical area, and other similar factors. But very few, look at a these salaries from a Biblical standpoint.

Here’s what the Bible says…
“Church leaders who do their job well deserve to be paid twice as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17 CEV

According to the Bible, and we’re all Bible believing people, there’s a double honor to be given to the church leader who preaches and teaches, not because their special or an elite class of Christian. No, the double honor is not even given to the person. The double honor is given as an investment into the preparation and communication of the precious Word of God.The double honor is given to the church leader who will devote themselves to prayer and the Word of God without the distraction of secular employment.    

Here’s what you should expect from the church leader who deserves the double portion…

They must hear from God the message God wants given.

They must prepare the message through study and meditation to ensure the Biblical accuracy of everything they say.

They must prepare the message for the clearest and best communication possible.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Pray for you pastor, your teacher, your church leader and today consider God’s approach to giving them the double honor. You’ll reap the benefits.

Thank You for those who serve You for us. Help us to honor them rightly. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.    

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 7th, 2017 – DEVOTE

A couple of weeks ago, when we had our first snow, one of our trees broke off about 30 feet up and came crashing down. It’s happened before without any damage, but this time we had some trouble.

As the tree came down, a big branch from the top broke off, and came crashing through the roof of my workshop. It pierced the tin roof and sheathing like it were a piece of paper. But it didn’t stop there either. Upon impact another branch broke off, sliding down the roof and went through the window of my van. It didn’t take much to figure out what happened. All you had to do was look at the branches sticking out of the roof and the window.

I went to get some replacement tin, but was told it would be a couple of weeks before it came, as it was special order. However, it came within a few days and this last Saturday I climbed up on the roof, replaced the sheathing and the tin roof needed.

Now I want you to know, I’m not really keen on heights. I’m not afraid of heights at all. I do have a heightened sense of awareness though, as to where the ground is and how fast I might hit it if I make the wrong decision if you know what I mean?

I remember thinking as I climbed my ladder, hoisting a piece of tin up with me, “Be careful. Take your time. Don’t fall! Remember, it’s not the falling that hurts… it’s the landing!” I probably told myself that a dozen times.

I was just about finished. I had only a couple of screws to put in as I edged my way to the top crest when it happened. I slipped on the cold, wet tin. Since I was close to the top, I reached out and grabbed the top crown, preventing me from going any further. I stopped. Took a deep breath. Gathered my thoughts. Finished screwing the tin down and then carefully and swiftly got off that roof!

So why do I tell you that harrowing story? You got it… it came to mind after I read these words from Scripture…
“Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself but the people who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16 CEV

This was the advice of the older, more experienced, seasoned, Apostle Paul, to his young intern, Timothy. Paul knew that it only took one slip in judgment… one misstep in character… one indiscretion… one mouthed blunder, to ruin an entire ministry.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Watch your step. Be careful. Your life and the life of others watching you are on the line. Live for Jesus every day. Live as if He’s with you every moment of every day. Protect your witness and guard your faith. Keep doing this and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you and see you.

Guard my every step this day. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 6th, 2017 – DEVOTE

So, we’ve all heard the joke about pastors and how little they work, right? Supposedly, we only work one hour on Sunday mornings, so how hard of a job could this really be? For some reason, no one is quite sure what a pastor does with all the rest of his/her time. Pretty cushy job having to sit behind your desk and write a sermon once a week… make a few phone calls… maybe lead a Bible Study… and visit a few people in the hospital or homebound. And we all know there are benefits to making those homebound visits, like fresh cookies.

I share that because of what I read in 1 Timothy 3 today. Here’s what it says in verse one…
“It is true that anyone who desires to be a church official wants to be something worthwhile.” 1 Timothy 3:1 CEV

Most often when we read that verse, we don’t think much of it and we quickly go on to the next verses describing the qualities and character of this church official. I won’t take the time here to explain the in-depth meaning of word church official, but please understand it is someone who is in a place of spiritual leadership. The problem is we don’t fully understand what Paul is saying to Timothy or why Paul is saying this to Timothy.

So let me fill you in. This book of the Bible was written when Nero was the Emperor and he hated the Christians and persecuted them relentlessly. Leaders like James, Peter, and Paul himself would all be put to death by this guy. Think about it. About five years after Paul had written this to this young pastor, himself and two other spiritual leaders were put to death.

When we read this verse we might think of some of the big name pastors today or those who fill the auditoriums or sanctuaries of our churches. We might think of how good they have it and forget all about the spiritual leaders in non-Christian countries whose lives are on the line every day or those who were martyred.

A spiritual leader in Timothy’s day was in constant danger and faced the real threat of persecution and maybe even losing his life. They didn’t have the luxury of looking forward to speaking in front a packed house or have a book signing – they looked forward to hardship and constant struggle, laying everything down for the sake of the Gospel.

I’m reminded of what Jesus told His disciples…
“If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must be everyone’s slave. The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give His life to rescue many people.” Mark 10:43b-45 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Please remember to pray for your pastor. Lift him/her up that they lead with all their heart, mind, soul and spirit for the sake of the Gospel.

We have very little persecution here because of our faith. But others are laying down their lives for You. We lift them before You today and ask Your hand of protection and providence in their lives. Jesus, in Your name we ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 3rd, 2017 – DEVOTE

When our youngest daughter and I were in Papua New Guinea last May/June, she told me about a study she had read concerning smiling and the many positive effects it can have on a person.

We all know from experience that smiling can transform the world around you. Doesn’t matter if you’re walking down the street, in a crowded elevator, or on the road. Smiling is contagious. I often watch my wife with little babies. She talks with them in this high, soft voice and has the hugest smile on her face. It’s as if she’s coaching that little baby in the art of smiling, wanting them to respond in like manner.

They say smiling makes us look more attractive. It lifts our mood and the mood of those around us. Studies also show it can lengthen our lives. So before you go any further – slap a smile on your face. You can thank me later.

Each time you smile you actually throw a little party in your brain. The act of smiling activates transmitters in your brain that relaxes your body, can slow down your heart rate and drop your blood pressure. Those same transmitters act as natural pain relievers, with no side effects. Probably the most important, when you smile serotonin is released which serves as an antidepressant. It’s all built right into your smile. How cool it that?

I hope I’m not boring you. Let me tell you a little bit more. When you smile you’re actually better looking (and I’m not blowing smoke at you!) When you smile, people treat you differently. The studies say you’re more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere.

I also read that there’s a part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expressions and when you see someone smiling, without even thinking about it, you automatically mimic their expression.

So why do I tell you all of this? Here’s what I read in the Bible this morning…
“Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.” Psalm 80:3; 7, 19 CEV

Did you see that? The writer of these words asked God to “smile on us.” And he doesn’t say it just once… he says it three times. Why? What did he know about the effects of a smile? And how much different, how powerful to think of God smiling on us. What effect would that have?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Smile! Not just because you can, but because it’s good for you. Smile because it’s good for those around you. Smile because God is smiling on you and you can’t help but smile back. And then when people ask you what you’re smiling about just tell them it’s a natural reaction from God smiling on you!

Smile on us today. Fill our hearts, minds, soul, and spirit with your joy. And help us smile more, sharing it with those around us. In Jesus name, we ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 2nd, 2017 – DEVOTE

Back on September 3rd, my bride’s birthday, our parked car was hit by another driver. No one was it in, so no one was hurt. The cost to fix the car in comparison to it’s worth didn’t equal out, so the insurance company totalled our car. Funny thing was, we just paid it off, like five months before. And of course, the insurance company didn’t give us what we thought our car was worth. It wasn’t an expensive car… or even a luxury car… but it was our car that we hoped to drive for many years yet to come.

During the weeks that followed, I looked at many cars. Cars I found on the internet… cars along the side of the road… cars being sold by dealerships. I knew what I was looking for, but I just couldn’t find it. I had only a limited amount of money from the payoff, so wanted to stick as close to that figure as possible. I kept hitting roadblocks.

I found a couple of cars I really liked. They were the right color… they had the size engine I was looking for… they had those things my bride wanted in a car… plus they had low mileage.

But every time I sat down with the dealer or owner of the car, we couldn’t agree upon a price. One dealer, whose car had really caught my eye, wouldn’t budge from his asking price. We weren’t far away from each other, but I knew how much I had and how far I was willing to go and when to stop. He kept wanting me to match his price because he knew I really liked the car and he was pretty sure I’d just give in and agree to pay what he wanted.

When I finally reached over his desk to shake his hand, and thank him for his time, getting ready to walk away from his car, he asked me if I was seriously going to walk away? I looked at him and told I was. He even asked me why, since I really like the car? Here’s what I told him, “Everything I have belongs to God. My wife and family… my home… my cars… even my money. I’m going to have to give an account one day of what I did with what He gave me, and I want to be able to tell my God, I used it wisely without spending more than I had.

Here’s what we’re reminded of in the Bible…
“The earth and everything on it belong to the LORD. The world and its people belong to Him.” Psalm 24:1 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today; It’s true… It all belongs to God. Use whatever He gives you in the best way possible. Use it knowing it’s been given to you by the One who owns it all.

Thank You for what I have and what I don’t have. Help me to use what You’ve given me wisely. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 1st, 2017 –DEVOTE

I really do like the sixth chapter of the book of Galatians. Paul has so much godly counsel in this chapter that I wished he’d split it up into many chapters because there are so many thoughts I’d like to talk about.

He opens this chapter up telling us, if we see someone trapped in sin, we shouldn’t just watch it happen, but we should gently and loving lead that person back on the right path. Generally, what we do, is talk about that person… talk to everyone else about that person, but not that person… and let that person keep going on their own downward spiral, not wanting to get messed up in their stuff.

Then he tells us not to think we’re better than anyone else and not to compare ourselves to others. That’s not any easier than the first words of counsel. We’re constantly in a state of flux with other people. We either think we’re above them or in some instances we might think we’re beneath them. And that whole comparison statement is so true. We compare ourselves with others according to the cars we drive… where we live… how we dress… what kind of job we have.

He talks about some other key truths, but here’s the Word that I’ve seen, read, meditated on and even use for my own biography, that hits me every time I read it. Paul says this…
“I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of His cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.” Galatians 6:14 CEV

This world held nothing for Paul and Paul held nothing for the world. He knew he was in this world, but this was just a pass through. He wasn’t staying here. There was something so much better awaiting him.

When asked to be involved in a ministry, or speak at some gathering, I’m often asked to give them a biography so that people know who I am, where I come from, what I’m doing in life, if I’ve written any books and any other facts I want to offer up. Years ago, after reading Paul’s words I changed my biography from all that information and started sending them something else. Most often, I get a return question as to whether I’m sure I really want to use what I wrote, or could I use something else, being a little more descriptive. My answer is always the same – No, not really!

Here’s my biography, inspired by Paul…
“Mark Marxhausen died and now Christ lives in him!”

I’m not the main attraction – Jesus is! I’m not the keynote speaker – Jesus is! I don’t have the answers – Jesus does!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Keep your eyes focused on the cross of Christ. He died there so you would have life. But the life you live should be lived in Him, for Him and through Him.

Free me from me and let me live in You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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.

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!

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.

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!

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

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen