July31st, 2017 — DEVOTE

Not sure why or how it happens, but some people are gifted, some are cursed, with a competitive spirit.  There is this drive inside of some people who are compelled, given the right situation, who will not give up, quit, tuck tail and run, until they have given their complete best in coming out victorious. I happen to be one of these.

I remember when our son was still shorter than me, and we would play a friendly game of “Horse” or “Pig” or whatever other animal we wanted to spell out. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, one person shoots a basketball at the net. If they make it their opponent has to make that same shot. If they miss they get a letter in the name of the animal. The loser is the one who spells out the animal first.

When my son and I played, I always won. My bride would ask me if I could just let him win once in awhile, to which I would thoughtfully reply, “No.” The competitive spirit isn’t always nice or even fair.

Just so you know, some people have very little interest as to whether they win or lose and I just don’t get that. I like to win. I don’t like to lose. I’m just wired that way.

I thought of that today as I read Luke 19. In it Jesus is entering into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people are all shouting and spreading their garments and tree branches out on the road as He comes. They’re giving Him what we call a “triumphant entry,” praising God for Him and what’s He’s done.

However, there were some religious leaders who didn’t like all the commotion and what the people were saying so they told Jesus to make them stop. Jesus relied…
“If they keep quiet, these stones will start shouting.” Luke 19:40 CEV

That right there, kicks in that competitive spirit within me. To think that if I keep my mouth shut in praising and worshipping my God, rocks will outdo me, just hits me wrong. To think that a rock could out sing me, out pray me, out service me just doesn’t sit right with me. Thinking of it, kicks me into action.

Now, just so you know, I have lost some events. I haven’t won them all, but I can honestly tell you, I lost them giving my absolute best. But the thought of an inanimate object, I mean, one that can’t even move unless I kick it down the road, beat me in loving my God, says, “Bring it on!”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t let the rocks beat you, even if you don’t have a competitive bone in your body. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Open your mouth, pour out your heart and praise God for all He’s done. Don’t let the rocks win!

Today, I give You all my praise! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausenell

July 27th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So today, I read Luke 16. Another great chapter in the Bible. Beginning with verse 19, Jesus talks about a rich guy who lived with no needs. He’s dressed in the finest of clothes, has the most expensive house and only eats the best of food around. Every day he passed by a homeless guy, a beggar, by the name of Lazarus, who was dumped off at the gate of the rich man’s house by his family and friends.

Now get this, Lazarus, this homeless beggar, only asked for the crumbs left over from this rich guys table… you know the scraps… the crust no one wanted… the bones not thoroughly cleaned off of meat… that’s all he asked for, but the rich guy just ignored him day in and day out.

Then one day, both Lazarus and the rich guy die. Because the rich guy had his reward here on earth, he was destined to hell (and some people say there’s no hell!) Lazarus, on the other hand, because of who he was and what he endured, he was destined for glory. The rich guy, now, in agonizing pain in the pits of hell looks up to see Lazarus standing with Abraham off in the distance. So he starts begging Abraham to let Lazarus, the homeless beggar, dip his finger in some cool water so that he could cool his tongue.

Please remember, this is the same rich guy who wouldn’t even give the scraps from his table and he wanted the non-recipient of his table scraps to come from the guy he ignored. Isn’t that sweet justice? The rich guy even asked if Lazarus could go back and warn his brothers who were living the same way. Abraham told him…
“Your brothers can read what Moses and the prophets wrote. They should pay attention to that.” Luke 16:29 CEV

Please don’t get any of this wrong… being rich or being poor doesn’t finalize your flight plan in the end, but it’s your heart that determines your destiny.

Where am I going with this? What I’m really trying to tell you is: be grateful for the scraps you have. Even if what you have isn’t what you want, be grateful for it. Even if your checking account is low, be grateful for it. Even if your refrigerator is empty, be grateful for it. Be grateful for your scraps because while you’re busy trying to store up everything here on earth the Bible says…
“Abraham answered, ‘My friend, remember that while you lived, you had everything good, and Lazarus had everything bad. Now he is happy, and you are in pain.’” Luke 16:25 CEV

See, while you and I are so busy, down here, trying to build up our riches, we’re really missing the message of our Messiah. While we’re being stingy and reluctant to help anybody, we’re only placing stumbling blocks in our own way. While we’re being selfish with the blessings God has already given us, we’re blocking any new ones from ever been seen.

I’m not telling you you shouldn’t work to be debt free, or have money in the back, or be able to go where you want to go and do what you want to do, but I will tell you, don’t get so high that you start looking down on people, walking past people who ask for your help or you know need your help. Being rich doesn’t make you better than the next person, your heart does.

Sometimes all someone needs is the scraps that you’re about to throw to the dogs, because although the crumbs may not be much to you, they’re a whole lot more to someone who receives them.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Be grateful for your scraps!

Thank You today for my daily bread. Help me to share it with others. In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 27th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Today, as part of my Bible reading, I got to read Luke 15. It’s another great chapter in the Bible. It starts off with all kinds of “bad”, “undesirable” people surrounding Jesus and following Him, while the religious people all scoff at Jesus for allowing them to do so.

Jesus then breaks into three stories. The first is about a guy who loses one sheep. Please understand this is not an inexperienced little lamb, but an adult sheep who should have known better about wandering off and getting lost. It made a choice to walk away. The owner went and searched for it… found it… was joy filled… put it on his shoulder… carried it home… called his neighbors and friends… threw a party… because as Jesus said…
“In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don’t need to.” Luke 15:7 CEV

Jesus then tells a second story about a lady who lost a lost coin. She lit a lamp… swept the entire house thoroughly… found the coin… called her neighbors… threws a celebration… because as Jesus said…
“In the same way God’s angels are happy when even one person turns to Him.” Luke 15:10 CEV

Then Jesus tells a third story about a runaway son, who asked disrespectfully for his share of the inheritance, while his dad was still alive, mind you, ran off… spent everything he had… ran into bad times… repented… went back home… repented… dad threw a celebration… older brother didn’t like it one bit.

We know the story as the Prodigal Son. And of course, as I’ve said many times, we are always the good guy in Jesus story, never the bad guy. We most definitely are not the religious people at the beginning of the story who turned their noses up at Jesus who was friendly to sinners and ate with them. And we’re definitely not the older brother who was angry the dad was happy his son returned home.

So we must be the son who ran away, came to his senses and returned to Jesus, right? Is that who we identify with? If that’s true, have you ever asked yourself what the word “Prodigal” means? Because I think a good number of us Christians might still be a little prodigal!

Prodigal refers to someone who is wastefully or recklessly extravagant. And you thought it referred to someone who was rebellious, or a runaway, right? No, it refers to someone who has been given so much and waste it.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You and I have been blessed tremendously, over and over again with the greatest gift man could ever have received – God’s love and grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. He purchased us with His own blood. You are extravagantly blessed. So don’t waste it, but be an extravagant blessing to someone today.

I’ve wasted so much time, energy and effort on the things of this world. Forgive me and find me again! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

july 26th, 2017 DEVOTE

T.S. Eliot wrote, “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”

Why do I start that way? Because of what I read in 1 Chronicles 13. This is such an interesting chapter in the Bible. I’ve read it, studied it, taught on it, preached on it, but still we make the same mistake David made, over and over again.

In the opening verses of 1 Chronicles 13 we read David conferred with each of his officers – those who were commanders of thousands and hundreds, about bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. They all agreed it was something that should be done and they would be very willing to make it happen.

Then David brought it before all the people and told them the situation and the plans. He said…
“‘We will invite everyone in Israel to come here, including the priests and the Levites in the towns surrounded by pastureland. But we will do these things only if you agree, and if the LORD our God wants us to.’ The people agreed this was the right thing to do.” 1 Chronicles 13:3-4 CEV

Everything was set to go. Everyone was in agreement. However, a group of godly men and an entire group of people, all with good intentions would soon make a very significant mistake because they took the counsel of each other, but they never did consult with God. Because they never asked God, Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant, which was forbidden and died.

They had great intentions but still did everything wrong, like… instead of allowing the priest to carry the Ark, like they were supposed to, they just put it on a new cart. A lot of our service to the Lord is like that – a new cart, a new program, a big production – and we have the strength of those around us leading out in front – yet it’s all done without ever inquiring of God.

The Bible does tell us “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Proverbs 12:5 NASB. It’s good to have people around us who offer us good godly counsel but ultimately we must first inquire of the Lord and listen to His direction.

I believe David prayed for God’s blessings on this big production, but he didn’t ask God regarding the big production itself. This was a good thing done the wrong way.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t let your good intentions, even when backed up by family and friends, ever be done without God’s direction. Your good intentions will only make things worse.

Thank You for not rolling Your eyes at me when I have a great idea, but have totally left You out. Thank You for grace and love which covers over my multitude of sins. Help me start with You and end with You in everything I do. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 25th, 2017 — DEVOTE

When programs become more important than relationships, we have a problem. Let me say that another way: when what we have planned; our routine, our service, is more important than people and personal ministry, things are going in the wrong direction. Let me explain.

One day Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. It was a Sabbath day, so a good many people would have been present, doing their religious expectation. One of the people there was a lady who for 18 years had a debilitating disease that left her totally bent over. For 18 years, instead of walking upright like most of us, she was forced to see life looking at the ground. The only way she could look up would have been to turn her head to one side. For 18 years that was her lot in life, but still you’ll notice she was in worship on the Sabbath day. Nothing was going to stop her from worshipping.

This was not just some hereditary disease passed on to her by her parents, for the Bible tells us it was an evil spirit that did this to her. Let me emphasize again – 18 years. She lived this way for 18 years. Many people saw her come and go. Many people saw her in the meeting place and ignored her. Many people, I’m sure, stared at her and watched with crossed-eyes, but none did anything to help her. Why? Because it wasn’t in the program.

But then…
“Jesus saw the lady…” Luke 13:12 CEV

Jesus noticed her. He noticed her and called her over to Him and spoke into her life. He said…
“‘You are now well.’ He placed His hands on her, and right away she stood up straight and praised God.” Luke 13:12-13 CEV

How awesome is that? Can you imagine her response? I’m not sure how you interpret in your mind what it means that she “praised God,” but my mind tells me she got a little loud, a lot jubilant, maybe even did a little dance for joy. She was free! She was released! She was happy!

But not everybody was happy. We read…
“The man in charge of the meeting place was angry because Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath .” Luke 13:14 CEV

Isn’t that just typical of us. Jesus does something spectacular for someone and we don’t like it. It messes up our routine, our program. We had order until Jesus showed up and then He fouled everything up and went against the rules. We had everything planned out according to our customs and traditions, but Jesus threw a wrench into it. Why does He seem to do that all the time?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Jesus is always more concerned about relationships than our programs. We should too! Invest in people like Jesus invested in you. And remember, “Relationships always comes before programs.”

Forgive me for the times I feel I need to stick to the program and overlook the needs of people. Jesus, in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 24th, 2017 — DEVOTE

So, let’s have a serious talk about worry. You know the thought and the feeling because you most likely have done it before… not just once, often. And for some of you, it’s a lifestyle. Some people I know just can’t help it. They’ve lived their life that way for so long, it becomes their first and last reaction. But can I tell you; it not only ruins your physical health but can also raise havoc on your spiritual well being.

What are some of the physical effects of worry? You can suffer from headaches, stomachaches, heart problems and a host of other ills that are due to your worry. No wonder Jesus asks the questions…
“Can worry make you live longer? If you don’t have power over small things, why worry about everything else?” Luke 12:25-26 CEV

Here are a few others things I’ve noticed about worry and how it affects us.

Worry makes us less productive. Our faith motivates us and empowers us, but worry paralyzes us and immobilizes us. It causes us to lose our concentration and our focus and evidential it turns us into procrastinators. I’ll admit, there have been times when I had something I needed to do, but I really didn’t want to do it, or was thinking I wasn’t going to succeed at it, so I put the job off until further notice. All it did was prolong the agony.

Worry can also cause us to mistreat people. Most people who are worriers aren’t necessarily pleasant to be around. Most often they’re tense, fidgety, sometimes resentful and complainers. But they believe worry is their calling in life, or their spiritual gift. However, worry then blinds them to the real needs of others and how they can actually be a help to them. We become so preoccupied with our problems that we can’t reach out to minister to those God’s put in our path. Jesus certainly had many reasons to worry if you think of how many times the Pharisees were trying to kill Him, but still He walked in love, and He always gave a helping hand and encouragement to others.

But probably the most detrimental affect of worry is how it hinders our ability to really trust God. You see, worry is rooted in fear, and fear and faith can’t coexist. They are total opposites. Faith enables us to hear and receive for God. Fear gives the dark forces of this world an inroad into our lives and circumstances. You worrying is really like telling God, you don’t trust Him or believe in Him and it leaves you taking matter into your own hands.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Jesus said, “I tell you not to worry about your life.” (Luke 12:22 CEV). Trust Him! Believe Him! Give Him all your troubles and concerns! “Your Father knows what you need. (Luke 12:30CEV)

Today, I cast all my worries to You. They’re killing me while Your trying to save me. Forgive me for not trusting You completely. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 21st, 2017 — DEVOTE

The 9th chapter of Luke is by far one of my most favorite chapters of the Bible (I know… I say that about a lot of chapters of the Bible). But seriously, this is one powerful chapter.

In it Jesus sends out His twelve disciples. Their marching orders are really very simple…
“He gave them complete power over all demons and diseases, Then He sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:1-2 CEV

And that’s exactly what they did. We don’t know how long they were gone, or where exactly the went to, but verse 6 tells us “they went from village to village… everywhere.”

As someone who has an evangelistic calling, these verses resonate in my being. I love talking to people about the one thing that means the most to me, my Savior, Jesus. I’ve knocked on plenty of doors in my lifetime. One of my favorite places to talk about Jesus is on the airplane. I figure, “where are they going to go?”

Now I know, most Christians here in the U.S. don’t feel all that comfortable talking about their faith. We’re pretty hush-hush unless we know the other people we’re around are Christians as well. But if you’ll take a different attitude it might help. I take the attitude, what’s the worst they can say, “No.” But I at least want to give them the opportunity to say, “No.” Most often we just assume people aren’t interested in talking about Jesus, but you and I don’t know that.

These disciples experienced great results and so can we. But like the disciples, I’m afraid we’ll possible fall into the same rut they did.

You see, sometime later Jesus and the twelve were traveling again. As day was ending and they were in a pretty desolate place, the disciples told Jesus to tell the crowd of people to go home. They needed to rest and get something to eat. But Jesus said to the disciples “You give them something to eat.” Did I mention, they were in a pretty desolate place? Did I also mention that it was late afternoon? And you do know there were no fast food places around the area, right? And we all know it takes money to buy food, duh? Did I also tell you, there were about 5000 men, plus women and children. This is no little crowd.

The disciples said to Jesus…
“We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish.” Luke 9:13 CEV

You know the rest of the story. Jesus took the fish and bread… prayed over them… had them distributed… everyone ate as much as they wanted… twelve baskets of leftovers.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t fall into the rut of the disciples by offering Jesus the little you think you don’t have. You are a World-changer! You are a History-maker! You are a Water-walker and a Holy Spirit Fire-starter! No more excuses! Tell em all what a great God we serve!

Open my mouth and I will sing Your praise! Jesus, all for You, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 20th, 2017 – DEVOTE

The 8th chapter of Luke is packed with some of the most powerful adventures with Jesus.

First, Jesus tells the disciples, He wants to go to the other side of the lake. After departing for the other side, Jesus decides to take a nap. While sailing (evidently there were no motors allowed on this lake), a powerful storm pops up and the boat starts sinking. The disciples panic, wake Jesus up, to which He stands up and orders the wind and the waves to settle down. The Bible says…
“They obeyed and everything was calm.” Luke 8:24 CEV

The next day, on the other side of the lake, Jesus and His disciples are met by a demon possessed man. He’s a menace to society. As a matter of fact, he was bound with chains and leg irons, but even those weren’t strong enough to contain him. These demons had the run-of-the-mill in this area for quite some time and didn’t actually want to be expelled from it, so asked Jesus permission to enter into some pigs. It’s granted and a whole slew of pigs die. Word spreads quickly in the town and everybody comes out to see Jesus and this lunatic, but…
“He had clothes on and was in his right mind.” Luke 8:35 CEV

Then the next day, Jesus and the disciples cross the lake again and are met by a man whose daughter is dying. The man asked Jesus to come to his house – Jesus consented. While on the way, a lady with a bleeding disorder sneaks up on Jesus and touches the fringe of His clothing and she is immediately healed.

On the way to the man’s house,  they’re informed the daughter died, but Jesus continues on anyway. Upon arrival, everyone in the house is weeping and crying because the girl died. Jesus tells them she isn’t dead, but only asleep. The weeping and crying turn into sarcastic laughter. The Bible says…
“The people laughed at Him because they knew she was dead.” Luke 8:53 CEV

Really? Because Jesus went into her room, took her by the hand and brought her back to life!

What’s my point in all of this? Pretty simple! If Jesus can still the winds and the wave… If Jesus can rescue a man full of demons… If Jesus can make the flow of blood stop… If Jesus can bring a young girl back to life… What can He do for you?

I mean, nature couldn’t stop Him. Demons couldn’t stop Him. Health issues couldn’t stop Him and not even death itself could stop Him.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what’s attacking you… what you’re battling… what issues you’re facing… or how far gone you think you are, but this I know – nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, can stop Jesus. All creation must submit to its Creator! He is Lord of all!

Come mightily in my life. Still my storms, make me whole, cleanse me and bring me back to life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev.Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 19th, 2017 – DEVOTE

There are times when I’m reading the Word of God that some of the strangest things jump right off the page and hit me right between the eyes. I have to stop reading and let my imagination go on a bit of a road trip for a moment, if you know what I mean. I believe it’s the beauty of each of us and how God has created us and who we are, that the living Word can catch us and inspire us. I know all of us could read a chapter of the Bible and probably something different would be noticed by each of us. The Word is life and power!
So today my Bible reading was Luke 7. In the first verses we meet an army officer who has a loved servant of his, who is sick and dying. He heard Jesus was in the vicinity, so sent some religious leaders to ask Jesus to come heal his servant. When they asked Jesus consented.
While they were still a distance from the house, some friends came to tell Jesus to just say the word and this army officer knew his servant would be made well. Jesus said He had never seen such faith. The servant was healed.
Then as Jesus and the disciples are traveling, they happen to come upon a funeral procession. A widow lost her only son, who would have been her means of financial support. When Jesus saw her, His heart was moved and He went over to the stretcher the young dead man was lying on, and touched him, and told him to get up. Then this is what I read today…
“The boy sat up and began to speak.” Luke 7:15 CEV
I’ve said this before, but have you ever noticed that Jesus has a way of ruining every funeral. But what stopped me in my tracks this morning was the verse I just read, “The boy sat up and began to speak.” Have you ever wondered what he was saying? Can you imagine what he was saying?
“Hey, what’s going on here?”
“Why does everybody look so shocked?”
“Why am I all wrapped up in this lining cloth?”
“Who are You?”
Isn’t that the big question? I can imagine this young man looking at Jesus, knowing that something isn’t quite right, but this Man standing right next to him has made everything right again. This Man standing right next to him, helping him off the stretcher, giving him back to his mom, has done something no one else could. He gave him back his life. Now can you imagine what he might have been saying?
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: What has Jesus done for you? Has He stepped into your life’s procession and given you back your life? Has He lifted you up from your stretcher and offered you hope? So then, what is it you want to say?
Thank You for giving me my life through Your Son’s life. Thank You Jesus for raising me back up again. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

July 18th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Have you ever noticed that some people just aren’t nice? Even as I say that, certain people flash in front of my eyes. They always seem to have this edge about them. They have this slanted look in their eyes when they look at you and their voice seems a bit tense. Generally they’re pretty critical of you, and when they do try to compliment you it has a condition to it. They say somewhat nice things to your face, but you know full well, behind your back, the things they say, negate what they said to you. You even have a hard time saying anything nice about them.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced people like this, whether it be someone in our own family, a co-worker, even someone in our church family. Sometimes it seems like we attract those kinds of people – it’s kind of our lot in life – our thorn in the flesh that we need to live with.
But this morning as I was reading the Word, Holy Spirit was convicting my heart in a different direction. Maybe those people are around me because it’s the way I treat I people. That’s right, maybe I am getting what I’ve been giving. Ouch, right? I don’t always like it when Holy Spirit convicts me, but this I know, He’s trying to refine me, sanctify me, and sometimes making me look in the mirror causes me to not like what I see.
Here’s the verses I read today…
“Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you.  Don’t be hard on others, and God won’t be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you.” Luke 6:37CEV
And then Jesus goes on to say…
“You can see the speck in you friends eye. But you don’t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, ‘Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of you own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friends eye.” Luke 6:41-42 CEV
Notice, Jesus didn’t say, leave the speck in your friends eye. No, He said we should help our friend get the speck out, but first we should take that huge log out of our own eye – you know the one which is so large, but we can’t see.
It’s easy for me to point out everyone else’s glitches in life and overlook my own. It’s easy for me to be just as critical of my own family members, co-workers or even church family, because if I can tell you their problems, I won’t look as bad.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Jesus said, “The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.” (Matthew 6:38) If you’re not being treated so well, check out how you’re treating others. And if you’re like me, start the process of taking the log out of your own eye.
Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen