December 14th, 2017 — Devote


I don’t watch a whole lot of sports on the TV. Sometime ago I just kind of lost interest. I don’t mind watching an inning or two of baseball. I don’t even mind watching some football. But it’s pretty rare for me to watch a whole game. I don’t watch hockey or basketball either. Sometimes I’d rather watch college athletics rather than professionals. They seem to have a bit more determination. Maybe my attention span just isn’t that long anymore.

One of the things I always thought was so interesting, was when a football team wasn’t able to run their next play, because the fans in the stands were cheering too loud, and the team couldn’t even hear their own quarterback bark out the signals. They either had to take a time out, or get penalized for delay of game or a false start. I remember a couple of times, way back in the day, when the referee felt bad for them and stopped the play clock. (I don’t think that happens anymore!)

The TV crew would even put a little meter up on the TV screen, so we could see just how many decibels were being put out by the crowd and just how deafening it really was down on the playing field. They made it seem as if the noise was overwhelming, of which it probably was.

That came to my mind as I was reading my Bible today. But as I was reading all I could think of was what was going to happen to that little noise meter when this takes place…
“As I looked, I heard the voices of a lot of angels around the throne and the voices of the living creatures and of the elders. There were millions and millions of them, and they were saying in a loud voice, ‘The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise.’ Then I heard all beings in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea offer praise.” Revelation 5:11-13a CEV

Can you imagine the noise level millions upon millions can make. The largest football stadium in the U.S. is found at the University of Michigan. But they can only seat 109,901. And all those in that stadium are not cheering for the same team. But there will be a day when those in heaven… those on earth… those under the earth… and those in the sea will all proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God – Jesus! They will all be cheering for One and Only One!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Christmas is coming. The angels started their cheering the night our Savior was born. The shepherds witnessed their symphony. This year, don’t let them sing alone. Join in the with angelic chorus. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all the earth.

Father,
I lift my voice to praise Your name. Come, Lord Jesus, come. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 10th, 2018 — IGNITE

I know we all wish life could be smother at times. We hope the next turn around the bend will take us on a flat track, instead of all the hills and valleys we’ve been taking. I don’t know about you, but there are times it seems that challenges come in pairs and as soon as I’ve conquered one situation, the next one is right there, demanding an answer or a decision. Sometimes it’s almost hard to catch my breath. I just want everything to slow down so I can catch up.

You probably know what I’m about to tell you, but it serves as a good reminder to all of us. A butterfly just isn’t born beautiful and soaring through the air. No, the butterfly starts as a tiny egg. That tiny eggs grows into a caterpillar. That caterpillar only has one job in life and that’s to eat. And those little creatures are good at what they do.

They eat for a purpose. You see, when they’ve eaten enough and reached their full weight, they then create a chrysalis, hang upside down inside of it, until the appropriate time. While they’re in there something happens called metamorphosis, which means this caterpillar is losing is old sluggish body and miraculously turning into a beautiful sleek butterfly. From the outside, you can’t see any of that. But from the inside, a miracle is taking place.

When that caterpillar has finally done all it can do, the butterfly now starts to escape from its entrapment. If you’ve ever watched the great escape, you notice the butterfly is struggling, and pushing, and readjusting. It has too in order for the blood to be pushed out to the tip of its wings, otherwise it’ll never be able to fly. If you or I step in because we feel sorry for the butterfly and try to make it easier for it, we take the risk of damaging their flying potential. They’ll be grounded for life.

So why am I giving you a science lesson today. Well, because somebody who’s reading this is having a hard time trying to understand why you’re going through what you’re going through. You’ve been on your hands and knees (maybe even literally), begging God to get you out of the mess you’re in, but He’s not doing it. You’ve tried your best to deal with it, live with it, cope with it, but you can’t make sense of it. You’ve stood in front of the mirror, in the shower, over the dishes and you still can’t wrap your head around it.

Now listen to me, you’re about to start flying, but know that without the struggle you’d never get off the ground. And if God, who loves you dearly were to bring you out too soon, you’d risk not reaching your full potential. Without the struggle you’d never be free.

I thought of that as I read of a woman named Rebekah, who was having twins and those two boys were “struggling” inside of her. (Genesis 25:22). It’s the only time I know of the word “struggle” is used in the Bible.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You may be struggling now, but you have no idea what your struggle will birthe. All you have to do is be willing to fight through your struggle and not give up! Struggle is the strength you need to not only survive but thrive.

Father,
When I am struggling, remind me it’s for my good. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 8th, 2018 — IGNITE

 

Ever have one of those times when things were very tense? You know, you were on the edge of your seat… biting your nails… a bucket of nerves.

Maybe it was when you were waiting for the report from the doctor, after some test. You know, you weren’t feeling all that well, so you thought you’d go to the doctor and have have him check you out. They ran a bunch of test, and we’ve all heard the stories, because everyone tells us about their dad, or their friend, who had the same symptoms and then got the worst news ever. So you sit by the phone waiting for it to ring to hear the ghastly diagnosis.

Or you hear the buzz around the office that there are going to be some people who are going to be losing their jobs because of cutbacks. You know it’s only a matter of time, but something inside of you wants to hold on to great hope, but you also know you’re probably going to be getting the axe.

It’s at times like these your appetite is gone… you don’t sleep much… your emotions are raw… your own edge all of the time. You wonder what you’re going to do? You start making plans even before anything has gone down, because you want to be proactive instead of reactive. You pray, but there are no immediate answers. Any of this sound familiar?

I ask those questions because of what I read in Genesis 22. To me, this is a very tense chapter of the Bible. Abraham has waited till he was 100 years old to have a son born to him, the son God promised, who would be his inheritance, and the lifeline to a great nation.

But God wanted to see what Abraham was made of and the Bible tells us…
“God tested Abraham…” Genesis 22:1 NASB

He told him to take his son to a designated place, and to offer him as a sacrifice. Instead of questioning, instead of arguing, instead of complaining, Abraham loads up his donkey with some firewood, other provisions, a couple of servants, his son, and makes the journey. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much talking along the way. There was no, “Hey dad, tell me about the time…” Silence sometimes has an eerie feeling.

But Abraham followed through on what God told him to do. Even when his son finally spoke up and ask where the sacrifice was, his dad said…
“God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” Genesis 22:8 NASB

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Abraham trusted God even when he couldn’t see what was happening. Abraham knew God would provide, do you? I pray you do know that God will never leave you or forsake you. He will never abandon you or forget about you. God will always provide! You can trust Him!

Father,
When I can’t see, help me believe. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

January 1st, 2018 — IGNITE

January 1, 2018. It happens to just be the next day after December 31 and right before January 2, but you’d think this day was the opportunity to get a new life… a new beginning… a fresh start, like we never had before. We use January 1 as a launchpad to jettison us into losing weight… setting new goals… making our move.

Well, in a sense, I’m no different. I don’t make resolutions, but on this day I do have the opportunity to start a brand new Bible reading plan that will assist me in reading the entire Bible once again in 2018. I’m pretty sure this is the thirtieth time. If you want to join me, I’m using The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan put out by the Navigators (www.navpress.com).

But not only am I starting the process of reading my entire Bible once again this year, but also putting a new title on top of the page – something I’ve done the last four years as I wrote these words of encouragement. Four years ago I titled them, “Declare.” Then we had “Proclaim.” Two years ago we called them “Affirm.” And of course last year they were entitled, “Devote.” Each was inspired probably more so for me in re-establishing why I was writing these devotionals and to whom. Remember, I first write them for myself and then pray they might be an encouragement to someone else. I pray that if they encourage you, you will be so kind as to pass them on to your family and friends.

This year our devotionals will come under the heading of “Ignite.” So you know, “Ignite” is a Latin word which means “to set on fire,” “to burn,” “to kindle.” I like the concept. As we spend time in the Word and listen for the voice of God, the Holy Spirit has an opportunity to explain, reveal, clarify and magnify, and expound on things we didn’t know, understand, or trust before. When we open ourselves up to His teaching, He has ample opportunity to shape us and mold us in what He desires us to be. So let’s pray He starts a fire each and every opportunity we spend a moment of time with Him.

Here’s what I find so utterly cool about starting a new Bible reading schedule on the first day of the New Year – I read a portion of the first Gospel (Matthew)… the beginning of the New Testament Church (Acts)… the first Psalm… and the beginning of creation (Genesis). Everything is new. We’re kicking off this beginning for Him to start a fire within us; a greater love for His Word; and a stronger desire for Holy Spirit’s presence every moment of every day.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: This is a new day. Why not take advantage of it. Set a new course. Take a new adventure with God. Let Him ignite you with His love, His joy, His peace, His presence!

Father,
Set me on Holy Spirit fire this year. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen