May 2nd, 2017 — DEVOTE

Regardless of who you are, or whether you realize it or not, spiritual warfare seems to be the norm these days. The question is not whether we’ll face hard times and even persecution, but rather, “What do we do when attacked by the enemy?” Do we give up and throw in the towel?” Do we look for sympathy and feel sorry for ourselves?  Or do we seek strength from a supernatural source?  

I don’t know about you, but I still hear people ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Maybe the question should be, “Why do we think good people should be exempt from bad things; or how should good people respond when bad things happen?”

It’s obvious in Psalms 119:81-88, the person that wrote this is hurting.  Have you ever been there? He needs rescuing (v. 81), he’s worn out from waiting for God to keep His word (v.82), he’s suffering – maybe not physically, but emotionally (v. 84), proud people are trying to trip him up (v.85), people are lying about him (v. 86), he’s almost died (v. 87). Yet, he continues to seek God’s word and prays for revival, as he says, “Show that You love me and let me live, so that I may obey all of Your commands” (v. 88).

Verse 81 opens with the theme of suffering and the longing for divine intervention.  The hour is urgent.  The crisis is clear.  The need is great.  The intensity is unbearable.  He is, however, not in despair, as he says, “Your Word is my only hope.”

For this writer, this isn’t a drill or academic exercise, the persecution is real. Using a simile, the psalm writer describes himself as a “dried-up wineskine” (v, 83). This means that he is shriveled up like an old wineskin.  He’s cracked and dry!!! Yet, he stands on God’s word in his distress: “But I have not forgotten your teachings.”  In his pain, God’s promises are there.

How wonderful and refreshing it is to know that in the midst of hard times we can find refuge and salvation in the Word of God.  While I don’t have issues with conferences, retreats and a host of other Spiritual gatherings, let’s not forget that Jesus’ mission is to, “Seek and Save.”  What saves this psalm writer during persecution is the Word of God.  He draws his strength from God!

If you or anyone you know is being persecuted or attacked, going through hard times, being dragged through the mud, take the time to share this devotional with them.  

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Be encouraged! Do not to give up… do not give in to the enemy. Just remember the victory is in Christ Jesus and you will come through whatever you’re struggling with.

Father,

Give me fortitude to seek Your face when hard times come. Holy Spirit help me to draw strength from Your Word. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

May 1st, 2017 — DEVOTE

Yesterday during our worship service I felt so convicted by Holy Spirit, about always saying”No” to Him. I mean I don’t literally say “No” to Him, but my actions, my decisions, my direction is generally always in the opposite direction then from His prompting, when I really think about it.

I want to say “Yes,” and there are times I even do, but even then, it comes out, “No.” I’m reluctant, uncertain, hesitant, cautious. I don’t know why. It’s not as if He’s ever left me hanging, or put me in a dangerous predicament. He’s never lied to me or misled me. Of anybody, you’d think I’d be totally open to His leading. I don’t have any cause to be wary.

Well, I thought about that today as I was reading the Word. Sometimes yesterday’s convictions are explained the next day or the following days through things we notice. Their highlighted for us and we’re made more aware of things – they just stand out. After yesterday, what I read today made perfect sense. Here it is…
“Ruth answered, ‘I’ll do whatever you say!” Ruth 3:5 CEV

Let me put it into context for you. Ruth is a young widow, living with her mother-in-law, Naomi, in a strange country, working out in the fields of her mother-in-law’s, husbands relative, Boaz (hope that’s not too confusing).

Ruth and her husband never had any children to carry on the family name before he died. Back then, one of the relatives would need to marry Ruth and have children to keep the family name going. Naomi tells Ruth to follow this relative Boaz after being out in the fields all day without being seen. After he goes to bed that night, she’s supposed to lay down at his feet – a sign of submission. At first it sounds a bit weird, but it’s part of the custom of the time. There’s nothing sexual here or immoral.

Boaz notices her and in the end the two of them get married and have a son to carry on the family name. As a matter of fact… this son born will be the the grandfather of King David and the great ancestor of our Savior, Jesus. Just think of what might not have happened had Ruth said “No” to Naomi’s request. See how important it is to say “Yes” to Holy Spirit?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what’s happening in your life – the decisions you need to make… the directions you’re looking at taking… the things you battle. But I do know that it’s time for you and for me to stop saying “No” to Holy Spirit. Let’s start saying “Yes”, and see what He’ll do through us. Let’s join Ruth in saying, “I’ll do whatever You say!”

Father,
Forgive me for always saying “No” to You. Holy Spirit convict my heart and grant me a willing spirit to say, “I’ll do whatever You say!” In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen