December 28th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So, if you haven’t heard me say this before, let me tell you again… I believe, to a certain degree, you can determine your spiritual well being by your prayer life. If you are a person of prayer, praying without ceasing as it were, your spiritual health will be on top. If you’re the person who only prays once ever so often and only when you’re in dire need, your spiritual life may on the downside. If you’re the person who never prays, you might want to check your spiritual pulse to see if you’re still alive.

Now please understand, this is not a judgment on my part concerning whether you’re a Christian or are saved. This is mainly an observation from my own life, that I’m very willing to share with you.

When I’m most spiritually depleted and things are going all the wrong ways in my life, it’s dawned on me that my prayer life was pretty non-existent. I had stopped any communication with my God because I was too busy trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life… or how I was going to undone what I had done… or was trying to rationally and strategically decide what path I was going to take next. All the while, I had stopped talking to the One who had all the answers.

But I was reminded of another truth found in the Word today. There were times I was praying, and are still times when I am praying, but I didn’t and don’t get an answer. It’s like the doors of heaven have been shut and my voice is muted. Something is not right and I know it and can feel it. It’s as if God has turned a deaf ear to me. Ever feel that way? I know that may seem harsh to say about God, but understand, He is a God of His Word and He can’t go against what He Himself said in the Word. For example…
“The LORD hasn’t lost His powerful strength; He can still hear and answer prayers. Your sins are the roadblock between you and God. That’s why He doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see His face.” Isaiah 59:1-2 CEV

You might not have wanted to hear that, but the truth will set you free. If you’re ever wondering why when you pray nothing’s happening… nothing’s changing… nothing’s turning… nothing’s getting healed… nothing’s getting paid for… nothing’s heading in the right direction… instead of blaming God for not taking care of you, you might want to look within your own heart to find the answer. There’s a roadblock that’s stopping your prayers from being heard by God, and He’s not the One who put it up!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The Word says, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise!” (Psalm 51:17). Check your heart first. Turn back to God. Then pray. Pray like everything counts on you but you can do nothing about it!

Father,
Hear the cries of our hearts. Help us take down the roadblocks we’ve put up so You can hear our prayers. In Jesus name we ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 26th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Do you ever imagine what God is doing on a daily basis? I mean, first off, that’s not really even a good question, because God can’t be constrained by time, only we are. God is limitless and infinite, so time doesn’t apply to Him.

But let’s say it does and if so, here’s how I imagine a whole lot of people’s thought process concerning God. They might not want to say it out loud, but if interpreted, their concept of God would be someone sitting on a throne, watching over the whole universe, listening to people praying and answering those prayers. In their mind that’s what God does, all the time. That’s why we have different time zones, right? So that He can answer everybody’s request… take care of everyone’s problems… rescue them when the fall… grant them their request. That sounds more like a waiter who takes our food order than a triumphant, ruling God.

God is most definitely sitting on His throne, ruling. But He‘s not overwhelmed by our barrage of petitions. He doesn’t have His notepad in hand, writing down our order for Him to fulfill. That’s not what He spends all His time doing. Yes, He hears our prayers. Yes, He answers each and every one of them. But you and I can’t limit Him to the smallness of our imagination and cram Him into our little God box. You know, the one we’ve constructed that says, “I think God is like this…”

God is so much more than our narrow thinking. Here’s what the Word says…
“I will keep you safe in the palm of My hand.” Isaiah 51:16 CEV

Can you let that sink in for just a moment. You… me… and some 7 billion people on this plant… some who believe and some who don’t believe… all of whom were created by One, whether they acknowledge Him or not… all fit in the palm of His hand. And though we might feel like we’re cramped for space, He has more room for us than we’ll truly ever need.

And truth be known, God is not a reactionary God. He’s not wondering how your mess went unnoticed until now. He’s been involved with every aspect of your life. Yes, He’s let you go down your own path though He’s known it wasn’t right for you. Why? Because He loves you. He’s not the great puppet Master. He’s a loving Father, Who’s heart and mind all totally fixed on the wellbeing of His children.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Next time you wonder if God knows what’s happening in your life and if He cares, just remember, “You’re in good hands!” He isn’t about to dump you out and leave you stranded. He isn’t going to let you slip through His fingers. He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Father,
Watch over me today. Remind me You’re leading and I’m following. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 25th, 2017 — DEVOTE

It’s Christmas Day. Once again we get to celebrate the birth of the our Savior and King, Jesus. I wonder how many people will miss that thought today? I wonder how many will be meeting with a whole host of people, and never once will the name of Jesus be brought up, though He is the reason for their gathering?

Sometimes I try to look at life through God’s eyes – from His perspective. When I do that I begin to wonder why God ever puts up with us. I mean, think about it for just a second. We lie… we cheat… we steal… we gossip… we abuse… we kill… we grumble. And to top it off, sometimes we do that to others, but all the time we do that to our God!

But even though we are so unappreciative and unloving, God still shows up. I mean, He’s never pulled the plug on our celebrating His Son’s birth. He still forgives us… heals us… provides for us… protects us. He still justifies us… sanctifies us… and blesses us.

Then it hit me. God doesn’t do any of that because of us – He does it because of who He is! His reputation is on the line. He’s the One who had that Bible written and everything about Him is recorded right there in black and white for everyone to see (some in red if you have a red letter edition :-)).

Think about it. We are His namesake. We’re born in His image and made in His likeness. That in itself tells us – it’s not about us! That’s why He continually cleans us up and clears our name. That’s why He doesn’t go off on us, but instead forgives us. That’s why He’s favor rest on us when in truth we should be forgotten. That’s why He can use us today even when we let Him down yesterday. It’s not about us. Christmas isn’t about us – though we’d like to think it is. We make it about the food, and the presents, and the games. But it’s isn’t about us, it’s about Him. He’s got a reputation to uphold. His name is on the line.

Here’s what I read in the Bible that made me think of all of that…
“I, the LORD, am true to Myself; I will be praised for not punishing and destroying you. I tested you in hard times just as silver is refined in a heated furnace. I did this because of who I am. I refuse to be dishonored or share my praise with any other god.” Isaiah 48:9-11

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Remember, it’s not about you – it’s all about Him. Today is all about Him. Tomorrow will be all about Him. Your eternity will be all about Him.

Father,
Help me get my perspective on life aligned. This is all about You. Jesus, thank You for making that so clear, by being born like one of us. It’s in Your name we pray, Amen.

 

December 22nd, 2017 — DEVOTE

It’s as old as the hills – pointing fingers… blaming others. It’s a power play the enemy uses to keep us in our place and make us feel like we can never rise above the situation and we are lost and defeated before we even get started.

I told you yesterday, the Bible comes right out and boldly tells us that Satan lost the battle, and him and all his comingelers were kicked out of heaven (Revelation 12:8-9 CEV). I also told you that’s probably why he’s so mad and relentless, because he wants us to feel like him. He’s a loser and wants to push those same feelings on us. He actually want us to believe him.

In verse 10 of that same chapter we read this…
“Satan accused our people in the presence of God day and night.” Revelation 12:10 CEV

That’s what he does. He attacks when we’re at our lowest. He blames us for the troubles in our life and those around us. He complains of our lack of righteousness. He implicates us in the horror of this fallen world. And you know what? He doesn’t even have to lie about. It’s not all truth, but it’s not all lies either.

So what do you do with his incriminating accusations? I told you yesterday, when Satan gets in your face and starts spewing all this belittling lies, you stand up, get in his face and tell him, “I didn’t come here to lose today!”

How do you do that? Get in the presence of God! In Isaiah 36, the King of Judah was a man by the name of Hezekiah. The king of Assyria was out and about destroying everything in sight and conquering every nation in his path. His commanders came to Jerusalem to scare the bejebbers out of the people of Jerusalem, that they were next on the hit list. They tried to confuse the people by telling them their God (our God) couldn’t stop the great king of Assyria, because no one else could. Sound familiar?

But here’s what stood out to me. We read it in Isaiah 37:1…
“As soon as Hezekiah heard the news, he tore off his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the temple of the LORD.” CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It’s the same tactic that has always been used and will always be used by the enemy. We already know the enemy is going to accuse us unjustlly. He’ll condemn us for never being good enough. And you know what? He’s right! By ourselves, we’ll never be good enough! But Jesus is! Jesus is our righteousness. When the enemy comes knocking on your door, don’t act like your not home. Go answer the door and remind him, he lost, Jesus won, and you’re on the winning side.

Father,
Thank You for my victory through Your Son, Jesus. When I’m in Your presence I know all is well. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 18th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I’m not sure I always like what I read, written by Christians, on places like the social media. We are such an interesting people, with such a poor witness. I guess since we live in the land of freedom, we believe we have every right to say whatever we want to say… how we want to say it… when we want to say it. But can I tell you something? With the words we use, and the witness we give, I’m not sure why anybody would want to become a Christian.

Based upon the things I read, life it hard…  life is unfair… life is depressing… life is cruel… what good is God? I read one brother’s outpouring as he listed everything that has gone wrong in the past year, from losing jobs, to having their house being foreclosed, to sickness and disease. There would be no Christmas tree… no Christmas presents… no Christmas celebration this year. But then he wished everyone a Merry Christmas!

Now, I know that Christmas isn’t about trees, presents and celebrations. I know Christmas is all about the King of kings and the Lord of lord’s birth. But how does all my earthly problems trump the Savior’s coming?

I’ve read a number of people who are totally distraught because of loved ones who have gone home to be with the Lord, so they’re no longer here celebrating Christmas with us. I get it! It’s not as if I haven’t had anyone close to me die. Both of my parents are gone and I’ve lost children. But if we’re really Christians and believe in the resurrection hope given to us by the One whose birth we are celebrating, how can this be such a terrible time of year? This Child came to conquer sin, death and hell because we couldn’t! Instead of telling everyone how lonely we think our life is, why don’t we start telling them what a great God we have and how thankful we are Christmas is here, because we are reminded Who’s in control!

Those thoughts have been brewing in my mind for sometime now, but were highlighted as I read this…
“The LORD will put him in charge of the key that belongs to King David’s family. No one will be able to unlock what he locks, and no one will be able to lock what he unlocks.” Isaiah 22:22 CEV

Sounds to me like what Jesus said He would give us…
“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But He will not allow anything that you don’t allow.” Matthew 16:19 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You’re an overcomer through Jesus Christ… you’re not overcome! You’re the head in Jesus Christ… not the tail. You’re on top in Jesus Christ… not the bottom. You’re on the winning side in Jesus Christ… not a loser! Let that be your testimony to a world wondering why we’re Christians.

Father,
Forgive us for half-hearted believing. You sent Your Son, Jesus, to give us life. We receive that life in His holy name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 21st, 2017 — DEVOTE


Sometimes we get so beat up. If we don’t get beat up, we get torn down. I’m praying its a thing of the past and your not there right now, but tell me if there was ever a time in your life when you could relate to any of these words? Overcome! Overwhelmed! Overthrown! Beaten! Conquered! Defeated!

There’s probably not a one of us who haven’t felt like that during our lifetime. Many times we’d rather not admit it, or even tell anybody about it. Maybe it was when we got fired from a job. Maybe our marriage abuptly ended in a heated, ugly divorce. Maybe we were sued and ended up in court.

There are always forces out there that are trying to permanently imprint those words, those negative words, not only on our hearts but on our foreheads where everyone can see them. We feel hopeless about the future because everybody knows our past. We’ve come to understand that without hope there is no future and without a future there is no hope. We can’t seem to slide out from under that heavy wet blanket of shame and guilt. We’re weighed down with remorse about something we did, or didn’t do, that has haunted us and is still haunting us.

I remember a lady who carried her dirty secret of having an abortion for almost twenty years. She never told her mom… she never told her twin sister. She felt like God could never forgive her and she was destined to live with her past life for the rest of her life.

Why do I being this all up? Because I read today in the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation, that war broke out in heaven between the angels and the demons. Read this…
“But the dragon lost the battle. It and its angels were forced out of their places in heaven and were thrown down to the earth. Yes, that old snake and his angels were thrown out of heaven! That snake, who fools everyone on earth, is known as the devil and Satan.” Revelation 12:8-9 CEV

Did you read that? Satan lost the battle. Now you know why he’s so mad. He can never win, but he keeps trying. He’s keeps lying to you, telling you you’re the loser… you’re a failure… your a flop! But the truth is – He is! He can’t beat you – you’re on the winning side. Jesus crushed that old enemy on the cross and sealed the deal when He came out of the grave.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: When Satan gets in your face and starts pumping you and riddling you about your past, your present and your future… You get right back up in his face and tell him, “I didn’t come to lose today!” Remind him he lost, and you’re on the winning side!

Father,
Thank You for my victory through Your Son. Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 20th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Today happens to be Wednesday, what we call the middle of the week. It also happens to be the Wednesday right before Christmas. So why we have a few days left, let’s call this “Check up Wednesday” and do a little spiritual heart surgery before we celebrate the birth of our King!

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I find myself questioning God. I’ll ask things like, “God, can You hear me now?” “Where are You, God?” “When is it going to be my turn, God?” Sound familiar?

But once you’ve asked the question, have you ever just stopped to hear God’s response? Or do you just assume He’s not going to answer? Have you ever stopped to answer the questions God has for you? Which, if you haven’t noticed are the same questions you asked Him. “Mark, can you hear me now?” He asked that when my life is so full that I have very little time to pray, to worship, or basically I’m just squeezing Him in when it’s convenient for me. I can’t hear Him because there so much other noise in my life that’s drowning out His voice. “Mark, where are you?” Again, He’s asking because there are all kinds of people around me who need help, guidance, a kind word or prayer, but I have my eyes closed and I can’t see them, only my immediate needs. “Mark, when’s it going to be My turn?” He ask that when I’ve been spending my time with everyone else but Him.

I guess it wouldn’t matter if Christmas were right around the corner or not, it’s always this way. So, let’s call today, “Check Up Wednesday!” and do a little self-diagnosis!

Why? Because a lot of us need to do a self-diagnosis of ourselves. We’ve diagnosed everybody else and their problems. Now it’s time to have the Holy Spirit take a look within us.

When we really feel all alone and wondering where God is, let’s really ask ourselves, “Who moved?” Him? Or me? When I don’t feel like God is really hearing what I have to say, or is concerned about the wellbeing of my life, let’s ask ourselves who cares more about my life more – Him? Or me? When I feel like life isn’t fair and I’m constantly getting run over, let’s ask ourselves if we’d send our only Son as a baby to take the place of not just a few people, but all people who are willing to receive Him?

Here’s the Bible verse that spurred that all on…
“The LORD God is waiting to show how kind He is and to have pity on you. The LORD always does right; He blesses those who trust Him.” Isaiah 30:18 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Check yourself. Check what you’re listening to. Check where you’re going. Check what you’re doing. Check the limits you’ve placed on God. Yes, He’s listening… are you?

Father,
Speak to me today, I’m listening. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 19th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So, let’s get down and dirty today. Let’s have a real honest talk. We’ll actually, I’ll do the talking… you read… and think about what you read.

Have you ever just stopped the bus in life for a moment, got off, and asked yourself why you’re weighed down? Why are you dragging through life? I mean, you’re still holding on to the words that were spoken by some mean-spirited person years ago, as if he/she just said them yesterday. And because of that you still carry that large, heavy boulder around your neck, weighing you down. But they don’t. They’ve moved on! They forgot all about it – shouldn’t you?

You’re still trying to keep up with everyone else by spending what you don’t have and your debt is weighing you down. You’re still grumbling you lost the job, when in reality you were a poor employee who criticized everything about your boss, instead of getting behind them and supporting them, and it’s weighing you down. You’re still lonely even though you’re married because you stopped investing in your spouse and the loneliness is weighing you down.

You’ve got to untie that weight from your neck, shoulders and back. Stop allowing anger, hate, debt, sickness and disease, other people’s problems and especially the things you can’t control, weigh you down. Either you believe the Word or you don’t. Either God is true and everyone else is a liar, or God can’t be trusted and you’ll have to figure it out on your own, just as you’ve been doing. By the way… how’s that working for you?

Read this…
“You, LORD, are my God! I will praise You for doing the wonderful things You had planned and promised since ancient times.” Isaiah 25:1 CEV

And this one…
“The LORD give perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.” Isaiah 26:3 CEV

Let me give you for “P’s” to remember next time you’re weighed down. Remember…

  1. Promise – God promised! Recall the promises of God, understanding God can never break a promise. If He does, He ceases to be God. And that’s not going to happen. His promises are always “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus!

  2. Provision – God will always provide. Might not be exactly what you wanted, but Father knows best! He will provide your daily bread.

  3. Peace – His peace will always guard your heart and mind. His peace will calm the raging storm and break open the dark clouds with His Light.

  4. Presence – He will be with you always – to the bitter end!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Stop allowing yourself to be weighed down with more problems than what you already have. Put an end to the victim mentality that nobody knows how bad you’ve got it. The real problem is: with God on your side, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Don’t add to your problems – add to your praise. Praise God for doing all the wonderful things He planned and promised!

Father,
Today I praise You. Everyday I praise You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 18th, 2017 — Devote

I’m not sure I always like what I read, written by Christians, on places like the social media. We are such an interesting people, with such a poor witness. I guess since we live in the land of freedom, we believe we have every right to say whatever we want to say… how we want to say it… when we want to say it. But can I tell you something? With the words we use, and the witness we give, I’m not sure why anybody would want to become a Christian.

Based upon the things I read, life it hard…  life is unfair… life is depressing… life is cruel… what good is God? I read one brother’s outpouring as he listed everything that has gone wrong in the past year, from losing jobs, to having their house being foreclosed, to sickness and disease. There would be no Christmas tree… no Christmas presents… no Christmas celebration this year. But then he wished everyone a Merry Christmas!

Now, I know that Christmas isn’t about trees, presents and celebrations. I know Christmas is all about the King of kings and the Lord of lord’s birth. But how does all my earthly problems trump the Savior’s coming?

I’ve read a number of people who are totally distraught because of loved ones who have gone home to be with the Lord, so they’re no longer here celebrating Christmas with us. I get it! It’s not as if I haven’t had anyone close to me die. Both of my parents are gone and I’ve lost children. But if we’re really Christians and believe in the resurrection hope given to us by the One whose birth we are celebrating, how can this be such a terrible time of year? This Child came to conquer sin, death and hell because we couldn’t! Instead of telling everyone how lonely we think our life is, why don’t we start telling them what a great God we have and how thankful we are Christmas is here, because we are reminded Who’s in control!

Those thoughts have been brewing in my mind for sometime now, but were highlighted as I read this…
“The LORD will put him in charge of the key that belongs to King David’s family. No one will be able to unlock what he locks, and no one will be able to lock what he unlocks.” Isaiah 22:22 CEV

Sounds to me like what Jesus said He would give us…
“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But He will not allow anything that you don’t allow.” Matthew 16:19 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You’re an overcomer through Jesus Christ… you’re not overcome! You’re the head in Jesus Christ… not the tail. You’re on top in Jesus Christ… not the bottom. You’re on the winning side in Jesus Christ… not a loser! Let that be your testimony to a world wondering why we’re Christians.

Father,
Forgive us for half-hearted believing. You sent Your Son, Jesus, to give us life. We receive that life in His holy name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 15th, 2017 — Devote

What do you think? Is it possible to say, “thank you” too much? I wonder if I say it enough. And when I say it, does it convey my deepest feelings of gratitude, or is it just my lips flapping because it’s the words that are expected at that given moment. Thanksgiving! Gratitude! I wonder if I express what’s truly in my heart, not only to those around me, what most importantly to my God.

I want to say “thank You” for all He’s done for me but the words are just so puny. I want to say ‘thank You” for all that He’s doing for me but my words seem so measly. I want to say “thank You” for what I know and believe He’s going to do in my life, but my words are frail.

You see, when I think about the way things could be; I’m thankful. When I think about the way things should be; I’m thankful. When I think that my God didn’t have to provide for me… He didn’t have to protect me… He didn’t have to make any promises to me and then on top of it, keep every one of them… He didn’t have light my path… give me strength for each new day… fill my life with joy – I just want to say “thank you” but Lord, those words sound almost feeble.

I was thinking of things like that as I read my Bible today. Here are the words…
“Our LORD, we are thankful and we worship only You. We will tell the nations how glorious You are and what You have done. Because of Your wonderful deeds we will sing Your praises everywhere on earth.” Isaiah 12:4-5 CEV

I hope you realize with me that even if I couldn’t speak a word, I could still thank God. Even if I never mumble or stutter another syllable, I can still give thanks. Even if my vocal chords never move again, I can still say “thank You, Lord!”

You see, when I raise my hands, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When tears of love and joy flow from my eyes, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When I shout in the midst of my storm, I telling my God, “thank You!” When I dance before my enemies, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When I bow my head at the table prepared for me in the presence of those who hate me, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When I’m standing before a door that’s just been closed, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When I’m walking through a door that’s just been opened, I’m telling my God, “thank You!” When I’m about to partake of the daily bread He’s graciously supplied, I’m telling my God, “thank You!”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t think it’s possible to say “thank you” enough. But go ahead and thank God today for all He has done, is doing and will do. And if need be, use words!

Father,
Listen not only to my lips but listen to my heart as I give thanks to You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen