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