May 8th, 2018 — IGNITE

As I was reading the Word this morning, my mind was glued to an expression I’ve heard in the past, but wasn’t quite sure what it meant. Maybe you know it… have heard it… or even used it yourself. Here’s the expression – “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Or maybe you know this one, “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Or maybe this one, “… an offer you can’t refuse.”

Those expressions are used when a person is faced with making a choice between two unsatisfactory options. Yup, that’s what I thought of as I read 1 Samuel 17. It’s the whole account of the Israelites up against the Philistines and their champion, Goliath. Evidently, he was undefeated. He was a terrifying mammoth that brought fear and trepidation wherever he went. It wasn’t that he just had a big body, he had a big voice – one that froze the army of Israel.

Here’s the verse that caught my eye…
“And the Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.” 1 Samuel 17:3

Here’s the dilemma. Do you go and fight him?

On the one hand, you’re a soldier trained for battle. On the other hand, you’ve never fought against anyone like this before.

On the one hand, you might win and be the hero. On the other hand, you might lose your life.

On the one hand, you’d feel so much better if someone else – someone a little braver… a little stronger… you know, one of the leaders, would actually commit to fighting the giant. On the other hand, you know no one’s going to do it.

So all the while, you stand on your side of the valley, listening to the taunts of the merciless enemy. He’s not whispering in your ear. No, he’s shouting in your face that you’ve lost even before you started. He’s telling you your bird food… your carnage. He’s mocking you… intimidating you… bullying you so you won’t do anything.

But I want you to hear this today… this battle, the one you’re living out right now, is not yours. God is going before you. God is your Deliverer. God will bring you out victorious. Here’s what David knew and said…
“… for the battle is the LORD’s and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Quit standing on your side of the valley, listening to the mindless, endless chatter of the enemy, paralyzing you with fear. Go, get your five smooth stones… grab your sling… run out onto the battlefield and meet the giant. Don’t give him one more precious moment of your time. Get in his face and reassure him you did not come here to lose today! Why? Because this battle is the LORD’S.

Father,
Go before me as I step out in faith today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 7th, 2018 — IGNITE


Many years ago I attempted to write a book – That was about 15-17 years ago. Seemed like a good thing to do. It was about what I called God’s Strategic Placement. Let me see if I can describe what I noticed in the Bible and why I tried to put it down on paper.

There were these instances in the Bible that someone was just in the right place, at the right time, for the right reason, and things happened because of it. It’s what convinced me there is no such thing as luck, fate, coincidence or chance. God is in complete control, ruling and reigning over everything and He had strategically placed this person there for His purposes.

Let me give you an example – one that I read today from the Word. King Saul disobeyed God and the Bible says, “the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.” 1 Samuel 15:35

So God told the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king and that would be David. After Samuel had seen all of Jesse’s boys and the Lord hadn’t give the go-ahead on any of them, Samuel asked if there were any other boys left. David was out in the fields taking care of the sheep. When he was brought in, he was anointed as the next king, though he wouldn’t take the throne for years.

Meanwhile, the Bible tells us, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” 1 Samuel 16:14

His servants knew the evil spirit would be silenced if someone strummed a tune on a harp. But where could such a person be found? There was no musicians guild, or want ads, facebook or twitter accounts to search out such a person.

But this is what we’re told in the Word…
“So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.’ Then one of the young men answered and said, ‘Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.” 1 Samuel 16:17-18

Can I just ask you… what are the chances? It wasn’t as if David had been seen on America’s Got Talent. He was a shepherd boy – out in the fields –  unnoticed… undetected… unrecognized… overlooked by everybody, except God. How did this young man know David could even play the harp and play it well enough to soothe the savage beast within the king? I don’t know if he did, but God did. God had plans for David, and God was going to put him right next to the king to learn how and how not to rule as king.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God has you right where He needs you. There is nothing that’s out of His control. There is no such thing as luck… fate… coincidence or chance. Our God rules and reigns.

Father,
You lead, I’ll follow. In Jesus name I pray this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 4th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever wondered if truly God hears your prayers? Let’s be honest, you and I both have had times when we were lifting something up before the throne of God, over and over again, with seemingly no results. It was as if the doors of heaven were closed and God was taking no more request. We were pouring out our hearts before God because of the urgency, but the office was closed for the weekend. Remember?

It might have been a health issue, or a financial debt that needed to be paid off. Maybe it was a torn relationship that wasn’t getting any better – as a matter of fact, it was getting worse. And as you prayed with all the faith you could muster, nothing was changing. Nothing.

You even reached a point of thinking (you would never dare say it out loud) “What’s the use? I’m stuck in the situation and evidently it’s my issue and I have to deal with it.”

But I’m going to tell you now is not the time to back down. Now is not the time to slow down. Now is not the time to give in. Not today, not anyday. The enemy cannot convince me otherwise. He’s a liar… a deceiver… a manipulator. He’s trying to stop you dead in your tracks… keeping you up all night… whispering stupid stuff in your ears. But no more! Today, we’re going to get up and move out! We’re going to go stand in front of the King of kings and Lord of lords and speak up.

That’s what Bartimaeus did (Mark 10:46-52). He was a blind guy who sat on the edge of the road everyday begging for money, or food, or whatever anybody would give him. Some days were better than others. But most often, multitudes of people just passed him by, not paying any attention to him or what we was saying or needing.

But if it only took a moment to bring havoc into your life, it will only take a moment to set it right when Jesus steps into your life. Blind Bart heard Jesus was passing by. He wasn’t interested in an autograph or a selfie with Jesus. He wanted something much more than that. He wanted to see again. So he started shouting to Jesus. The people told the poor blind guy to stop making such a fuss, no one cared about him anyway. But he shouted even more. It was now or never. Who knew if he’d ever get this opportunity again.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Blind Bart got his eyesight back that day because He believed Jesus could do that. Though there were plenty of people telling him to stop bothering Jesus, he was tenacious. Do you have that kind of audacity?

Are you going to sit around and keep begging? Or are you going to cry out to the One who always hears, get up on your feet and go meet with Jesus?

Father,
Hear my heart cry today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 3rd, 2018 — IGNITE


Sometimes I wonder how much we must weary our God? I mean, I know He is long-suffering and patient, but does our constant bellyaching and complaining ever fatigue Him or exhaust Him?

I know those aren’t His attributes and what I’m really doing is putting Him on our level, so none of those things are true of Him. But I did notice something in the Word today that made me stop and ponder. Here it is!

There comes a time when we are whining and fussing about life… what we don’t have and what we want… what we like and don’t like… how unfair life seems… and we start bringing that before God and also demand of Him our desires, and He lets us have them. Yes, He knows it’s not really what we need, but He lets us have them.

How can I say that? Read 1 Samuel 8 today. We’re told the prophet Samuel had been ruling Israel for many years and was now an old man. He put his sons to work to serve as mini-judges over Israel. But Samuel’s sons weren’t like him in respect to the things of God. As a matter of fact, they were deplorable. The Bible tells us…
“His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.” 1 Samuel 8:3

Well, the people of Israel didn’t like that so they went to Samuel, telling him he wasn’t going to be around forever, and his sons were wicked, so they wanted a king like all the other nations.

Samuel was aghast. Shocked and stunned don’t even begin to describe his emotions. It was preposterous to have such a request. What were they saying about God? Who was He? Had they forgotten Him? So Samuel prayed!

And this is what the Lord said to Samuel…
“Listen to voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them… however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:7, 9

And that Samuel did. He told them a king would take all their possessions, even their sons and daughters… their money… their land. He told them not just once, but twice, and this is what the Word says…
“Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, ‘No, but there shall be a king over us.’” 1 Samuel 8:19

And they next thing we read is…
“And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Listen to their voice, and appoint them a king.” 1 Samuel 8:22

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today. God’s way is always better, but just know, there might come a time He’ll let you have your way, but it won’t be the best way. Which one would you rather have? Your way or the best way?

Father,
Forgive me for the times my stubbornness gets in the way. Your way is always the best way. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thoughts; May 2nd, 2018 — IGNITE


Oh, I can’t help but use Psalm 96 as my devotion today. This Psalm gets me pumped up. I mean, I just want to say thank You to God for all that He’s done for me, but as I think about it, those words seem so small. I want to say thank You for all the things He’s doing for me right now, but those words seem almost puny. I want to say thank You for all the things I know He’s going to do for the rest of my life, but those words are measly – they’re just not enough.

You see, when I think about the way things could be… I’m thankful. When I think about the ways things should be… I’m thankful. When I think about the truth that God didn’t have to provide me with anything… He didn’t have to protect me… He didn’t have to lighten my load… He didn’t have to light my path… He didn’t have to provide daily bread… I’m thankful.

My words don’t totally express what’s inside of me, so I’ll let the Word do my talking…

“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the people.” Psalm 96:3

“O sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.” Psalm 98:1

“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 106:1

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4

Yes, I realize that even if I couldn’t speak another word, I can still thank God. Even if I never mumble another sentence, I can still thank Him! Even if my mouth never moves again, I can still say, “Thank You, Lord!”

You see, when I raise my hands, I’m telling God, “Thank You!” When I cry tears of joy, I’m tell God, “Thank You!” When I shout in the middle of the storm, I’m telling God, “Thank You!” When I bow my head and fold my hands to bless my food, I’m telling God, “Thank You!”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Surely, you have something to be thankful for. It might seem like the uncommon thing to do… it might seem like the most unlikely thing to do… it might seem like a ridiculous thing to do… but “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Stop mumbling… stop grumbling… stop complaining… stop moaning… stop groaning… stop objecting and protesting… AND START THANKING GOD! Give Him your best. Give Him the praise and glory He deserves. Give Him your thanks!

Father,
Thank You for life. Thank You for all my yesterdays, today and my forever with You, because of Jesus. Jesus it’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 1st, 2018

So I know you’ve asked this question before, if not once, a hundred times, but never really got an answer. You may have wanted an answer and then again, maybe it was one of those rhetorical type questions, where you really weren’t looking for an answer, because you already knew the answer, but verbally asked the question anyway. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it came up again in my Bible reading today.

Oh yea, the question… I can’t forget the question. “Why Lord?” That’s the question no matter what happen or to whom. “Why Lord?”

Well, today, believe it or not, I have an answer for you – actually God has the answer for you. It sounds like this…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Now, I realize that might not be the answer you wanted to hear, but it’s a great answer. We all kind of have this dreamy belief that because we’re a Christian, we’re under the blood of the Lamb, and so nothing bad is ever going to happen to us. We’re clear sailing. The red carpet couldn’t look any finer. And then reality hits. We still have problems. The bills still mount up. That relationship is still sketchy. Everyone at work hates us and we hate them. Our health is fading and we just wish we could feel good again. Therefore the question, “Why Lord?” “Why me?” “Why now?”

Why are we going through what we’re going through? Because even though you’re going through it, you’re not going through it alone. God is right there with you, even if you don’t recognize His presence or even desire His presence. You’re going through what you’re going through because you’re going to get through it because of your faith in Jesus and God’s mercy and grace. And because you’re going to get through it, there is going to be someone else who is going to go through what you went through, and you’re going to be able to help them get through it, because God helped you get through your own ordeal.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You’re not in this alone. God is right by your side, even through the hard stuff. But He’s going to get you through. Now remember why and how you got through it, because He’s going to ask you to help someone else get through their mess.

Father,
Thank You for all the times You kept my life safe and even more so the times You carried me through the rough times and strengthened my faith. With all my experiences, help me to help someone else and lead them to the cross. Jesus in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

April 30th, 2018 — IGNITE

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How come what everyone thinks matters more than what you think or what God says. I mean really… come on now. You know what I’m talking about. Everybody has an opinion, and instead of just following the lead of the Holy Spirit like we’ve done in the past, we get persuaded by that one strong person who speaks before they think. Their answer to our life’s problem seems plausible. It’s sounds valid and credible, but everything inside of us is saying something different. We feel this unction from God that’s taking us in a different direction, but one we know won’t be acceptable from the general public because it’s not the norm.

I thought of that as I starting reading 1 Samuel today. It starts off by telling us of this lady named Hannah. She couldn’t have children and though I’m not a woman, I can’t even imagine the hopeless feeling that comes with that.

Her husband had a second wife and she had no problem giving birth to a number of children. The real problem was how she treated Hannah. She actually used her gift of children as a tool to make Hannah cry and drive her into despair. (1 Samuel 1:6) This was not just a once in while taunt. This went on for year after year. Every chance she got, I’m sure she pounced and  pounded Hannah’s lack into her. But Hannah never gave up. She wasn’t going to be lured into this web of depression. She wasn’t going to be seduced into the belittlement of this other woman. She knew God. She knew God was the answer. She knew God could hear her voice.

At just the right time, as Hannah prayed, God answered her prayer and Hannah became pregnant. She gave birth to a son and named him Samuel. (1 Samuel 1:20)

After Hannah gave birth to Samuel she sang a song. In the first verse of it she says she is going to “speak boldly against her enemies” because God set her free. I want you to catch that. Hannah got back at those who belittled her not by putting it in their face… not by flaunting her newborn child at them… not by telling them how wrong they were or how mean they were. No, she praised God. She got back at her enemies by praising God for providing her heart’s desire. Here’s what she said…
“My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation.” (1 Samuel 2:1)

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: As long as we rejoice in our salvation through Jesus, our enemies can never put us down. Our treasures are not here on earth. We have won no matter what happens because of our Savior. Give a shout today, praise God, and don’t worry about what your enemies are saying.

Father,
Lead me today. I’ll follow. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen