October 17th, 2017 — DEVOTE

You’ve heard me say that generally I only read one Book and that being the Bible. It’s my source of hope, strength, and knowledge. It fills me up each day and points me in the direction I’m destined to go in. To this day I have not grown tired of reading it, and I don’t plan on it in the future.

But occasionally, (and let me emphasize – occasionally), I will pick up a book and read. Now, I’m not the guy who necessarily likes to read mysteries, or romantic type novels. I’m not into sci-fi or adventure stories. I’ve read Westerns but am not drawn to them. Probably not going to read a book of poetry. If I’m going to read a book, it’s probably going to be a book that will help me learn something I don’t already know. I’ll probably read about a study that was done in the church world and it’s findings. I like reading statistics and percentages.

I tell you that because I want you to know that I’ve just entered into the book of Lamentations in my Bible reading. The name alone sounds dreary. Most attribute the writing of this book to Jeremiah and it makes sense as we coined him “the weeping prophet.” This is a book expressing deep sorrow about the destruction of Jerusalem.

The prophet who wrote this book realized that Jerusalem was being punished because its people had sinned, tremendously, though being warned to stop, over and over again. To the prophet, the suffering seemed greater than what their sins deserved. In the first chapter he uses phrases like…

“The Lord has punished Jerusalem because of her awful sins; He has let her people be dragged away.” Lamentations 1:5 CEV

“Zion’s glory has disappeared…” Lamentations 1:6 CEV

“Her sins had made her filthy, but she wasn’t worried about what could happen.” Lamentations 1:9 CEV

“The Lord was right, but I refused to obey Him.” Lamentations 1:18 CEV

“I’ve lost all hope…” Lamentations 1:22 CEV

Those are depressing words. Those words weary our souls. Who wants to read that?  But there is still hope. We’re only in chapter  one, so you’ll have to wait. It’s kind of the same for us – we never truly understand or grasp the amazing grace of God until we understand how far away our sin has taken us.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Unlike having to wait to hear some good news in the book of Lamentations, wait no longer in your own personal life. The Bible tell us, “… if we confess our sins to God, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” (1 John 1:9 CEV). If you’ve got a cloudy, dreary, depressing day, maybe, the place you should start is by letting God lift that all from you and let His Son shine in your life.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 16th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Can you remember a place that you went to and having arrived and having taken it all in you thought to yourself, “I’ve got to come here again.” Maybe it was an amusement park and you had so much fun, laughed so hard, you had to go back. Maybe it was an athletic event, and the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, convinced you to keep coming back. Maybe it was a place out in the wilderness that had a stunning view, away from all the motion and commotion of your everyday life and it seemed to draw you into its splendor. Or maybe it’s just your favorite chair, with your Bible sitting in the sunlight, mediating on the Word of God.

I have a number of places that I like to retreat to. I love a good walk in the woods. I love being in my boat out on the lake or canoeing down the river with my bride. I love being in my workshop making sawdust and creating things. And yes, I do love getting up early every morning, entering into my little cove and listening to what God is saying to me in His Word.

But, I find I lose my way sometimes. Maybe you do to. Those moments of peacefulness, joy, satisfaction are easily converted into times of stress, hopelessness, lostness. I forget all about the majesty of God, the power of His Holy Spirit who lives in me, the peace that passes all understanding. I get overwhelmed by the little details and that calmness I once possessed went away in the blink of an eye, a snap of my fingers. How could that happen so quickly? One moment I’m reveling in contentment and the next moment I reeling in desperation. My world is overturned and collapsing. But can I tell you – God’s world is not. He is not moved by what moves us. He is not frustrated by what frustrates us. He’s not worried… He’s not doubtful… He’s not afraid.

I was reminded of all of that as I read these words in scripture this morning…
“My people, you are lost sheep abandoned by their shepherds in the mountains. You don’t even remember your resting place.” Jeremiah 50:6 CEV

I hope it’s not just me, but why is it, it’s easy to be thrown off kilter and forget where we find balance, and strength, and hope, and joy? Why is it that we can’t even remember our “resting place”? You know, that place in the “palm of His hand,” wrapped in our Good Shepherds loving arms. Held tight against His strong chest. Embraced and caressed with such tremendous love.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Remember your resting place – Jesus Christ, and when life throws you a curveball, waste no time. Head right for Him. He’s waiting for you!

Hold me tight today. Reassure me. Remind me of how much I am loved by You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 13th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So how much can you believe God for? I mean really! I know you believe in God but when is it you decide that you better take things into your own hands because evidently, God’s not doing enough? You following me? Let me see if I can break this down.

Last May while on a mission trip with our youngest daughter, Keturah, in Papua New Guinea, I know I heard from the Holy Spirit about what He wanted me to do with my life. He wanted me to train, equip and encourage national pastors. That was an answer to a long prayer – about 11 months of praying. But that meant that some things were going to change. I would need to leave the church I was serving and step out in faith and raise my own support. My bride and I went into this knowing and believing what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer is true… “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily… not weekly… not monthly… not yearly, but daily bread. We have no idea what a yearly salary looks like. It’s a step of faith. We trust God, We believe Him.

But can I be honest with you? Sometimes it’s hard, because so much of what we do as a people is based upon money. We have to buy food… we need to buy gas… we need to pay our bills… we need to pay our mortage. Believe me when I tell you, many thoughts run through your mind when the money isn’t coming in. Just last week while at Menards I noticed a little display by their front entrance saying they were hiring. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of working, but as my bride reminded me, how can I do HIs work, if I’m working for someone else. Bottom line: Do I trust God?

I share that with you because of what I read in my Bible this morning and really convicted me. Here it is…
“Don’t fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that He will not leave us or desert us.” Hebrews 13:5 CEV

I want to justify my lack of trust by saying, “I don’t love money, but it is a necessity.” To which I’m pretty sure God’s response is, “And you don’t think I know that?” Either I trust God and fully rely on Him, or I take matters into my own hands and do it my way. Any of you want to guess which one I’m going to do? He promised to never leave me or desert me, and I believe His promise.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably read this verse from Hebrews 13 and told yourself, you didn’t love money. Until that is of course, when there wasn’t too much then you reacted. Trust God. He promised to never leave you or desert you.

I trust You for my daily bread, today! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 12th, 2017 — DEVOTE

As I was reading the Word this morning, I got this mental picture running through my mind, of someone, maybe you or someone you know, who is going through a difficult time. I’m not sure the situation, but you’re baffled. You’ve been doing all the right stuff, but still you feel constrained. You’re praying, and God’s still speaking, but nothing is changing in your life. You’re worshipping and glorifying God, “giving thanks in all circumstances” as the Bible tells us, but still you feel weighed down, sometimes frustrated and alone. You’re doing what God has asked of you – go speak to that person… go deliver this… walk this way…, but still you’re wondering what’s going to happen next in your life. You feel shackled, chained, imprisoned.

You’d like to breathe, but the air around you is so thin, it’s hard to catch your breath. You’d like to be free, but it seems as if every time to get an opening, someone closes it right away. You want to help others, but any help you provide is not appreciated. You have Holy Spirit given solutions for others, but none for your own questions. The prison walls are creeping in on you and you’re stuck in the mud.

Whoever you are and whatever it is you’re facing, I believe I’ve got a word of hope for you today. As I was reading the book of Jeremiah, I felt this tension inside of me, this holy aggravation. The man, Jeremiah, was given instructions by God to warn the people of Judah they were going to be taken captive by the King of Babylonia, King Nebuchadnezzar. Year after year after year, Jeremiah faithfully did everything God asked of him and in that entire time, he was ignored, ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned, dropped down in a well and left to die, until it finally happened. Jerusalem was overrun, everybody was accosted, even the king of Judah who had to watch his son be killed before they poked his eyes out. The Bible tells us…

“Only the poorest people who owned no land were left behind in Judah…” Jeremiah 39:10 CEV

Even Jeremiah was lead away in chains. But on their way to Babylonia, where they would live a life of slavery, one of the Babylonian officials set Jeremiah free. This unbeliever told Jeremiah that God had different plans for him. And then he said this…
“Today I am taking the chains off your wrists and setting your free!” Jeremiah 40:4 CEV

That word has a twofold meaning. It was a word to Jeremiah and it is a word for you today. God has taking the chains off your wrist. You are not a slave any longer. You have been released. You now have permission go and do, for you are free!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know who this message is for, but I know someone needed to hear those words. If it was you, praise God and receive what He’s telling you. If it’s for someone you know, please pass this on, so they too might be free!

Your Word will not return to You void and empty, but will accomplish what You sent it for. Let it be so with Your Word today. Set Your people free. In Jesus name I ask this… Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 11th, 2017 – DEVOTE

It’s Wednesday, and for most people I know they call this day “hump” day because the week is half over.

But today somebody, probably not just me, is weeping from the woes of this world because it seems like every time you get your head above the water that seems to have you drowning, you get tangled in some more mess that pulls you down – one bad decision leads to another.

Every time you take a few steps forward something happens that knocks you 5 back.

Every time it feels like you can finally breathe again because some weight has been lifted off your chest, you get punched and get the wind knocked right out of you.

Every time you think you’ve cried out, the doctor delivers devastating news and now the tears start flowing again.

And every time you think you’ve done all you could do, been all you could be and gone everywhere you thought you were needed, that enemy shows up with more hell than you bargained for. So what now?

Do you wallow in the worry… wander like you’re alone in the wilderness… waste your time weeping… willingly allow your life to wither… Or do you withdraw from life because you’ve been wounded and wronged?

Don’t you know that in order to grow you have to sometimes be pushed down? Well, in order for a seed to grow it has to first be buried under dirt. Do you honestly think an oak tree came to stand as tall as it does without first starting out as a seed?

Then where is the faith, the mustard seed sized faith, that God can see you through whatever it is you’re facing?

Where is that mustard seed sized faith that lets you know that no matter what you’re looking at now, it won’t always last?

Where is that mustard seed sized faith that allows you to stand in your storm and think about all the things that God has already done which lets you know that no matter how hard the rain falls, it won’t cause you to drown?

Where is that mustard seed sized faith that allows you to walk into a room of your enemies knowing they can’t do you any harm?

Where is that mustard seed sized faith that allows you to answer the phone call from the bill collector knowing that it’ll work out in your favor?

Where is that mustard seed sized faith that allows you to apply for a job that, on paper, you aren’t qualified for but through God, it’s already yours?

Where is your faith when Jesus says in Matthew 17:20, “But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you.”

All you need is a mustard seed sized faith because “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1).

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Just believe! Have faith in God! All you have to do is try it before you give up!

I believe! Help my unbelief. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 10th, 2017 – DEVOTE

Yesterday I shared with you my all-time favorite Bible verse, my life verse – Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to Me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (NASB)

Today, believe it or not, I had the privilege of reading my second all-time favorite Bible verse. It’s Hebrews 10:24. It reads like this…
“We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things.” CEV

From the New American Standard Bible it reads like this…
“… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”

I love that verse. I want you to notice what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say we should consider how to “irritate” one another. Nor does it say we should “frustrate” each other. Or “aggravate” or “agitate” or “infuriate” or “exasperate.” No, we are to stimulate and encourage each other to love and good deeds.

Just like you, I need friends in my life. I don’t just mean friends who make me laugh or smile, but friends who love me enough to share what God is doing in their lives and who are willing to even correct me if needed. I need friends who will help me grow to be more like Jesus every day. I need Christian friends like that and so do you.

But not only do I need friends like that, I need to be that kind of friend. I need to love people unconditionally. I need to invest of myself into their lives. I need to listen with both ears and only say what the Holy Spirit would have me say, rather than my opinion.

God has never called us to run this life race alone. We aren’t meant to be an island in the ocean… a pie in the sky… or the Lone Ranger. He has graciously put us into a family – a huge family. A family made up of every color and every tongue and tribe and nation. He put us in this family to provide encouragement to keep going… support to stand up and be accounted for… care when our wounds need healing… and correction when we’ve gone the wrong way or done the wrong thing.

Today, I am so thankful God has given me the family and friends I have, that including you, to continue to point me to Jesus and encourage me to live each and every day for Him.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Let’s you and me consider how each of us can motivate, activate, and stimulate our friends today towards love and good deeds and how we can point them to our Savior Jesus.

Because of the all-efficient work of Jesus on the cross, You invited me into Your family as You did for everyone else. We are the family of God. And You’ve brought us together to be one in You, that we might bring light to the world. Jesus in Your name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 10th, 2017

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a number of favorite Bible verses. You know, as you’re reading your Bible, you come across a particular verse and you underline it or highlight it because it’s speaks to you. It’s a verse you use often, go back to, because it has power… it provides insight… it relieves pain… it puts joy in your heart. Many a person has heard me say something like, “Oh, that’s my favorite Bible verse!” I say that a lot.

But maybe there’s one verse that stands out among all the others. It’s become your life verse. It’s that nugget that speaks directly to you.  Do you have a life verse? I do! I picked up this verse as I was reading my Bible many years ago. I remember I was going through some difficult times, mentally and spiritually. As I read it, it jumped right off the page at me and stuck to me. It spoke loud clear and even today, I go back to this verse often. I’ve used it as my username and even my password.

The guy who wrote it was in prison, unjustly, for telling the truth. But God was still with him. God was concerned about him. And here’s what God said to Jeremiah the prophet…
“Ask Me, and I will tell you things that you don’t know and can’t find out.” Jeremiah 33:3 CEV

When I first read it in another translation it came out like this…
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 NASB

Those words gave me hope, then and still now today! Those words strengthen and encourage me. Those words pick me up and then drive me to me knees in prayer, where I seek my Father’s direction… His wisdom… His answers for my life.

I have learned over the years that when I feel like I’m locked away behind bars, either of my own making or those given to me by others, all I need to do is cry out and ask my God what I’m to do, because He promised to answer me and not only answer me but explain and reveal things I have no clue about. And can I tell you, He is faithful. He always answers. Maybe not the way I want, but the absolute best way for my life.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: In James 4:2 it says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” You need wisdom today… ask! You need answers today… ask! You need strength today… ask! God will provide all you need and more! Just ask!

As we cry out to you today, hear not just our lips, but listen to our hearts. And Father, answer us in words that are simple, pure and true and in tones we recognize. For this we ask in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 6th, 2017 — DEVOTE

What picture comes to your mind when I say the word “anchor”? If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t see a little boat anchor like we might have in our boats, but you saw this great big anchor, with a tremendously heavy chain, that would be attached to a huge ship.

Now think about that massive anchor, the one if on land you and I together would be unable to budge, the one that is probably less than 1% of the total weight of the entire ship, but it’s this anchor that keeps the boat steady and keeps it from drifting. It’s this anchor that keeps the ship securely in place, so that no storm can drag it off into uncharted waters. This anchor keeps the boat from being turned in every direction, or even capsizing. This anchor is heavy, and when it’s put in the water, it goes to the deepest part of the water to secure not only the ship, but those on the ship.

I’ve told you this before, but I write these devotions first of all for myself. I needed to read this word, write this word, and hear this word today. Today is a day when I’ve got to stand firm in what I believe and in the hope that I have in Jesus. People… things… are always going to disappoint us, but Jesus never will. Here’s what I read in the Word today that spurned all this on…
“Now His promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls.” Hebrews 6:18b-19a CEV

I don’t know what kind of  inclement weather you’re facing in your life. It really doesn’t matter how much the winds and waves are battering your ship, or how much more you think you can face. It’s doesn’t matter if you think you’re going down for the last time, because your anchor holds!

That’s right – your anchor holds! So does mine. Jesus is that anchor. Jesus is our hope in the middle of the storm. He is sure… He is steadfast… He will keep us from being tossed around… He will keep us upright… He will keep us secure… He will keep us safe until the storm passes.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I’m going to ask you to think on this verse today. Remember Jesus is our hope. That just as the anchor of a huge sea-going vessel goes all the way down to the deepest part of the waters to secure the ship… Jesus went all the way down into the deepest part of the earth to secure you – His vessel! Anything you have to face today, you don’t have to face alone. I pray our God fills every one of you with hope – His hope!

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand! Jesus, in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 5th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I spend a good amount of my time in prayer. I pray when I drive… when I’m in my workshop… out on the boat… or just walking in the woods. I love to pray. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Don’t picture me as a monk in some monastery, down on my knees before an altar, praying. I’m not that devoted or spiritual, though I probably should be. But, nonetheless, I love to pray.

I love to be in dialog with my God. I talk to Him – He talks to me. I’ve learned there are more times than I’d like to admit, I would be better off listening, than speaking. But God is patient. He lets me spill my beans, and ramble on, like a little boy who just got back from the zoo and wants to tell his dad all about it. I lay all my concerns before Him, knowing full well, I can’t hide anything from Him. I tell Him what I need and what I desire. I ask for wisdom a lot, because the Word tells us if any of us need wisdom, we should ask God, and it will be given to us. (James 1:5) I seek His direction because I’ve gone the wrong way too many times.

But there’s a part of my prayer life which makes a good many Christian people uneasy. They’re a bit uncomfortable when I start praying for others who are being attacked by the enemy. That’s when my voice gets louder and though my eyes are probably closed, I have a scowl on my face. My mom and dad named me Mark which I think was prophetic because Mark means “Warrior.”

When the enemy steps in and causes fear, doubt, heartache and sickness, many Christians never recognize it as an attack from the enemy and many are more focused on their problem… their dilemma… their disease… than on God and they don’t even begin to think about prayer until much later. There are times, I’m no different. I get caught in the waves of life, being tossed back and forth, instead of taking my ground and standing on the Rock.

But, hopefully, it doesn’t take as long anymore for me to realize that  “it’s on!” I’m in spiritual warfare mode. If Satan wants to pick a fight, I all in! I won’t back down. I won’t tuck tail and run and hide. And he’s going to get an earful of the power and strength of Jesus in me. I will get loud! I will cry out. I will demand him to let go. I refuse to offer up wimpy prayers that offer little hope or help because all things are possible for my God.

Do you realize Jesus prayed like that? The Word says…
“And while Jesus was on earth, He begged God with loud crying and tears to save Him. He truly worshipped God, and God listened to His prayers.” Hebrews 5:7 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Who in your life needs someone to fight for them? Who’s that person whose life is in a mess right now and they can’t fight for themselves, but you can. By the power and blood of Jesus, cry out! Make some noise! Tell the enemy to back off. Tell him his rights and privileges have been revoked because Jesus lives.

Hear my heart cry for those in need. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 4th, 2017 — DEVOTE

As many of you know, I love my Bible reading time. I might be dogged tired in the morning because I stayed up way too late the night before, but I pop up early in the morning because I know I get to spend quality time in the Word. Here’s the gem I read this morning…
“What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell Him the truth.” Hebrews 4:12-13 CEV

Isn’t that awesome! The Word of God, our Bible does all that. No other book ever written does all that, because the written “Word of God” is exactly that, “the Word of God.”

The person who wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us the Bible is “alive.” The Word of God isn’t some lifeless, dormant, passive literature. No, no, no! This Word is interactive, alive, aggressive. It’s not only living, it’s also life-giving.

The second quality the writer tells us is that the Bible is “active!” The Greek word he used is the same word we have in English for energy. So the Word is powerful! It’s energizing! That little battery bunny has nothing compared to the Word. This Word is able to act and produce all God has purposed it to accomplish. As soon as I say that, I’m reminded of another Bible verse, Isaiah 55:11 which says…
“That’s how it is with My words. They don’t return to Me without doing everything I send them to do.” (CEV)

There’s a third property this Word has – it’s “sharper than any double-edged sword.” Though we don’t walk around wearing a double-edged sword like they used to back in the day, a double-edged sword should paint a picture in our minds of the awesome work the Word of God can accomplish. God’s Word can pierce or penetrate deeply into our thoughts and spirit. The Word of God can cut through our conscience and open us up displaying all our wicked and deceitful ways. This double-edged sword exhorts, rebukes, corrects and instructs all who are open to it.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Yup! You guess it! Read your Bible. But don’t just read it, allow its power to work in you, through you and for you. The devil doesn’t care if you read your Bible. He doesn’t care if you study your Bible. He doesn’t even care if you memorize your Bible. What he doesn’t want you to do and what bothers him the most is when you apply what you read in your Bible to your life. Don’t just read your Bible – live it!

Let Your Word work through me and revitalize my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausenll