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

October 3rd, 2017 –DEVOTE

So let me start with a couple of verses from the Bible that got me thinking. Here they are…
“Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called ‘today.’ If you don’t, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn.” Hebrews 3:12-13 CEV

So that you know, there is a good reason we all need each other. The writer of this book is trying to help us understand that left to ourselves, we will end up going in the wrong spiritual direction. He says it… “Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God.” Our first response is… “Who me? I’d never do that!” But the truth is, turning from the living God is easier than you think.

When we’re bombarded by the things of this world – natural disasters… shootings… all kinds of evil things happen. We start blaming God for the travesties that occur. When those travesties happen, we start questioning God as to why He didn’t stop it. When evil is all around us, we start making up our own fantasy religion and make God into the image we want Him to be. We believe God is OK with our sinful lifestyle because He understands us or He created us this way. And possibly without even realizing it, we start pulling away from God. We don’t know it because we still think we’re religious or spiritual but were standing all alone.

The writer tells us to “encourage” each other, every day. That’s how serious this is. Walking away from the living God is not a slow burn. It happens very quickly because we’re such finicky people. If you don’t believe me, look how easily we turn on our favorite sports team. When they’re winning – we’re good to go. But when they’re losing – we walk out. We do the same thing with God.

The writer of all of this tells us to “encourage” each other. That’s an interesting word and is better described with a mind picture than just a definition. To encourage means to call someone to your side and stand next to them to bring hope, peace, counsel, aid, love.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Maybe you’re in a tough place right now and you need someone to stand next to you because you know the last thing you want to do is turn away from the living God. Reach out! Ask someone for help! Find that Christian friend who can and will encourage you.

Or maybe you know someone who is going through a difficult season. Why don’t you call them to come stand by you? You encourage them with Word and the Spirit, so they don’t walk any further away from the living God. Please, do it today!

You’ve put me in a community that loves me. When I’m walking away, let there be someone who will call me to their side to encourage me. And give me eyes to see my brothers and sisters in need, and then inspire me to call them to stand next to me. Help me be an encourager! Jesus in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

October 2nd, 2017 — DEVOTE

Do you remember the time everything around you just made you sad? It didn’t matter what time of day it was or what the situation, you just had a heavy heart and your mind was flooded with sorrow. Maybe there was something that happened that triggered the hopelessness – the loss of a loved one… relocation… financial crisis. The world around you was dark and gloomy and it was hard to find any light to brighten your day.

And then some well intentioned person, maybe family or friend, stepped into your life and gave you that all inspiring pep talk… “Just be happy!” Maybe you’ve done that a time or two – I have. As if the person should just be able to throw a light switch and instantly have a smile on their face and be bubbly with joy. I wished it worked that way, but it doesn’t. I may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, and some days I feel like just a flicker, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you don’t tell someone to just cheer up and be happy when their chin in on the ground and their heart is heavy. It just doesn’t work.

But there is a solution to overcome the problem of heartache and despair. Here’s what I found in the
Word today. It’s a nugget of truth and hope. Read this…
“Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NLT

That was written by a guy who was nicknamed, “The weeping prophet.” Jeremiah had a tough job. His responsibility included telling the people of Israel God’s message that because of their rebellion He was going to forsake them. Jeremiah kept telling the people, but they kept ignoring him. It broke his heart.

But he found hope. He found it in the Word of God. It’s the same place you can find it. There are many, many promises God has made that will pick you up and help you along life’s way. Promises that just weren’t for yesterday, but right now, today. Promises not just for everybody, but for you in particular. Promises that will give you sure footing and promises that will lift the heartbreak and replace it with His joy.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: There is hope. I’m not just talking about a slap on the back and some verbiage like, “Don’t worry… be happy!” I’m talking about replacing the darkness with light.. the lostness with seeing again… the heaviness with lightness. It can happen and you’ll find what you’re looking for in His word. Why not go there now and let the One whose name you bear – The LORD God Almighty – bring you His peace.

We just don’t want to be told to be happy – we want to be happy. Holy Spirit help us not just read our Bible, but believe and live our Bible. Jesus in Your precious name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 29th, 2017 — DEVOTE

As my brother’s and sister can attest, we had a great dad. But, can I tell you, he was a tough dad. He meant what he said and said what he meant. He never lowered the bar for any of us. As a matter of fact, I think he always raised the bar. He had high expectations and he wanted each one of us to meet those expectations. He never asked us to do something he himself was not willing to do.

I remember being in first grade, coming home with my report card. That night when I gave it to my dad, he looked at it and asked what I thought about it? Of course, I thought it was O.K. It was all A’s and B’s, plus one C. I had no failing grades. But he wanted to talk about that one C. He asked me if I knew what “capable” meant. I was only in 1st grade, so I told him, I didn’t. To which, he told me to get the dictionary, and look it up. I got the dictionary, was rifling through the pages only to realize that I not only didn’t know the definition of the word capable, but I didn’t even know how to spell it.

After he helped me find it, he asked me to read the definition. He then asked me if I thought I was capable of getting a better grade than a C? It was his way of pushing me to do better and be better. He knew what I was capable of and he wanted me to match that capableness. He knew that if I worked a little harder, I could do it. And he was right!

I recalled that moment in time with my dad while I was reading what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church members at Thessalonica. He told them…
“Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 CEV

A few verses later he says…
“We don’t have to write you about the need to love each other. God has taught you to do this, and you already have shown your love for all of his people in Macedonia. But, my dear friends, we ask you to do even more. Try your best to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work hard.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Because your a follower of Jesus, don’t settle. Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity. You are above average, so live that way!

I am different because I am Your child. You don’t lower the bar for me because You know with the Holy Spirit in me, what I’m capable of. Help me to live in Your capableness. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 28th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Every now and again, I get drawn into the Word and my mind gets engulfed in its truth. Sometimes when I read the Word I don’t want to acknowledge my sin and my need for repentance. No, many today believe we don’t need to do that, because we now have God’s grace, as if God’s grace eliminates our need to confess and repent. Let me tell you, it doesn’t. We still need to come before our God humbly, seeking His righteousness. For He is holy and we are sinful. Here’s why I’m pointing this out. Read this…
“A hunter traps birds and puts them in a cage, but some of you trap humans and make them your slaves. You are evil, and you lie and cheat to make yourselves rich. You are powerful and prosperous, but you refuse to help the poor or get the justice they deserve. You need to be punished, and so I will take revenge. Look at the terrible things going on in this country. I am shocked! Prophets give their messages in the name of a false god, my priest don’t want to serve Me, and you – My own people – like it this way! But on the day of disaster, where will you turn for help?” Jeremiah 5:26-31 CEV

Now that’s a tough word. But let’s be honest – it’s a word that needs to be heard in our time and age. It’s not about putting God back in schools – though we should have never taken Him out. It’s not about laws that reflect our interpretation of the Bible – though they should. It’s not about a denomination or religion. It’s not about legality. It’s more than that. A whole lot more. It’s about a personal relationship with our Creator God.

God gave this warning to the people of Israel millennia ago. But it applies to us today. Listen to me, time is running out. So it’s time to stop trying to win people over with our gimmicks and our minds and our pride. It’s time to stop trying to win people over with our laws. It’s time to stop trying to win people over by telling them what they can’t do and start telling them what they can do.

You can do that by telling them your story. Tell them of how God has moved in your life. Tell them that believing in God is no longer enough. Tell them how your life changed when you yielded your life to God. Tell them their life can change. Tell them God wants them more now than ever. And even better, let’s get ourselves in a closer relationship with Him so when He tells us to move, we do nothing else but move in the way He tells us.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The change starts with you. It starts with your relationship with God, and it all starts on your knees.

Start with me today. I do confess my sins. Thank You for forgiving me through the blood of Your Son. Jesus, in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen