January 3rd, 2018 — IGNITE

So here’s what really caught my eye as I read my Bible today…

The earth is in terrible shape. It’s corrupt… it’s rotten… it’s unethical… it’s immoral… it’s unscrupulous… it’s nefarious (I’ve always wanted to use that word but never had the opportunity until now!). And I’m not talking about our day and age, but the time of Noah.

When God looked around at everything He had made and took it all in, the Bible tells us…
“… the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Genesis 6:6 NASB

So, you know the account. There’s one guy, and only one, who is qualified to do something about it, and that is Noah. This Noah, the Bible tell us, has a relationship with God. Noah is a “a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). So God tells Noah to build an ark because a storm’s a coming and it’s going to wipe out everything. Everything is going to be destroyed and die, and everything is going to start all over again with Noah and his family. Noah, being a God follower, obeys and does exactly what God tells him to do.

Now up to this time, the two of the have talked. God gave Noah precise plans on how to construct the ark… what to put in it… when to get in it. And then, after the rains start coming, and the water starts rising, and God gives the final command to get in the ark, and God closed the door – the conversations seem to stop. That’s right. From the time Noah and his family got in the ark until it was time to get out of the ark – the Bible doesn’t tell us of any conversations during that one year of floating. One year and ten days later (Genesis 7:11 & Genesis 8:14) God says to Noah…
“Go out of the ark…” Genesis 8:16 NASB

What’s my point? I believe there are times that God has us on a mission for Him, and while we’re doing it… living it… wading through it… we don’t always hear Him or He’s not speaking, and at those times we might get a little fidgety. We might start questioning God as to where He is while we’re just floating through life. We might start to panic, when we feel like we’re going nowhere. Days turn into weeks… weeks turn into months…  months turn into years.

But can I tell you something – It’s all going to be OK. Everything is good, even if you can’t hear God. He’s still in control and He’s knows exactly what He’s going to do next.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t panic if you can’t hear God speaking to you. Don’t give up early because you think God’s done with you. If Noah would have tried to leave the ark to early it would have been disastrous. No, God didn’t leave Noah in the ark and He’s not going to leave you stranded either.

Father,
I need to hear Your voice in my life often. But when I can’t, help me trust You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 2nd, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever read the Bible and upon reading something someone did, or a decision they made, quickly said to yourself, “I’d never do that!” I have.

As I’ve said in the past, most often I’m the good guy in the end. I’m never publican standing in the middle of the room telling everyone how good I am. No, I’m the tax collector cowering over in the corner, humbly seeking God’s forgiveness. I’m never the rowdy thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus. I’m the one who submissively asked to be remembered when He comes in His glory. And let’s just top this all off by saying I would never act like Peter, James or John, spouting my mouth off and wanting to call fire down from heaven to consume some unruly people!

My thinking process was rebooted again today as I read chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Genesis. I don’t know about you, but that third chapter is a hard one for me to read. I mean, here are Adam and Eve, fully enjoying this beautiful life, in this glorious garden when in enters the enemy. He convinces Eve she’d have it even better if she just ate some of the fruit that God forbid. She dreamingly sees the greater possibilities and partakes of the luscious, and may I reiterate, forbidden fruit, and then immediately gives it to her husband, who willingly acquiesce.

It’s then I think to myself, “Why did they do that? Didn’t they realize the ramifications of making such a decision? I would have never done that!” But I do all the time!

I have been so richly blessed. I live in a land where I can still talk about Jesus openly and freely. God has provided me with a loving and supportive spouse, wonderful children and a whole boatload of grandchild (with more on the way). He’s provided me with a home and my daily bread. And yet, when the enemy comes in his disguise and lures me into thinking of bigger and better, I never stand up, get in his face and tell him where the front door is! No, I fall in his trap… I get hurt… I hurt others… and here’s the worst – just like Adam and Eve – without even thinking about it, I hide myself from God. I purposefully stay away. Here’s what the Word says…
“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 NASB

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Because of Jesus, you and I don’t need to hide anymore. When the enemy comes, get up in his grill and tell him in no uncertain terms – I didn’t come here to lose today!

Father,

I believe. Help my unbelief. I don’t want to hide from You anymore. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.  

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

December 29th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Do you ever feel like you just finished one race in life and now you’re off to the next? For example, you just spent weeks preparing for Christmas and all of its festivities and now that you’re done with that, you’re on to the next thing – New Years! So, it probably doesn’t take as much time, energy or money to welcome in the new year, but still, there is this constant movement into the future. Right after the New Year, you’ll be preparing for the Super Bowl… then Valentines Day… then Mardi Gra… then Lent… then Easter… then Spring… then opening fishing… then Mother’s Day… then graduations… then weddings… and throw in a child being born somewhere among those days… Ok, you get the drift. Our calendars are chucked full of activities, outings and gatherings.

But can I encourage you that in and amongst all that’s going on in your life, sometime stop and thank the Lord! As a matter of fact, every opportunity you get, you ought to have yourself a “Thank You, God!” praise party! Even if it happens when your in the midst of misery… or a time of turmoil… or a season of sickness… or in great grief. Maybe it’s a trial of tears… or another fruitless fight… more headaches of hurt. Whatever time it is, tell God, “Thank You!”

Even when they’ve walked out on you again, leaving you high and dry… or the walls of woes are closing in… the blinders of bitterness are beginning to cover your eyes and the darkness of depression is suffocating you; tell God, “Thank You!”

I’m not telling you to thank God for what’s happening or not happening, but thank God for Him still being your God. Because He is a mighty force and the two of you together are unstoppable. I’m not saying just face the facts that life’s unfair at times, but turn to the One who has everything in control, including your life. I’m not saying it could get worse because let’s face it, we don’t want it to get worse!

But how can I tell God “Thank You” when it seems like I’m about to lose my mind and my will to press on? How can I stand up and proclaim a “Thank You, God!” when it feels like I’m about to get pushed down again? How can I rise up in victory when it feels like my enemies are beating me?

It’s actually very easy. Just open your mouth and recite these words, “Thank You God!” I can say that because the Word of God is bigger, strong, more durable and outlasting than any of my problems. Here’s what the Word says…
“The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. This is the year when the LORD God will show kindness to us and punish our enemies.” Isaiah 61:1-2 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: This is the year! This is the time and place. You are the person – the right person. God is about to turn things around but will you tell Him “Thank You” while He works?

Father,
Thank You! In Jesus name I speak this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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