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

September 27th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Can you remember a time when you were given a responsibility to carry out a task at a given time, and you were told of its importance? I can think of numerous occasions when my bride put something in the oven and then for whatever reason entrusted me with the responsibility to take it out when it was done. And I can also remember times when I didn’t carry out those responsibilities like I had been asked and all that was found in the oven was a sacrifice, a burnt offering. If you know what I mean?

I mean, I didn’t do it on purpose. It wasn’t as if I just sit there and thought, I’m just going to forget about that cake in the oven because I really need to see what happens to those ingredients if they get too hot for too long. Nor was I trying to get back or get even with my wife, saying in my head, “Oh, this will show her. I’m just going to let that roast shrivel up into a little dried out, dust ball.”

No, I just forgot. It slipped my mind. I was busy with my own stuff and though I had good intentions, my stuff was more important than her stuff, even though she completely trusted me carry out the duties I said I would.

I share that little thought provoking scenario because of what I read in the Word today. Here it is…
“God was pleased to trust us with His message. We didn’t speak to please people, but to please God who knows our motives.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4 CEV

Paul told those Christians, and us today, God gave us a responsibility. He trusted us with His Good News. He wanted us to share it every opportunity we had. And though we all hear that and know that, many times we forget that. It’s kind of like that cake in the oven. Oh, I don’t intentionally forget it. I’m not trying to be mean or obnoxious. I’m not trying to get back at God for not answering my prayer the way I wanted Him too. I just forgot. It slipped my mind. I had so many things on my plate that I forgot about taking care of His business, what He asked me to do.

But the truth is: God trusted us with THE most important task at hand – share the Good News. That’s all. There’s no timer! There’s no alarm! It’s a lifestyle. Can He trust you?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: If you’re like me and you’ve forgotten to do what God has asked you to do, ask Him to forgive you. Then get on with it. He’s trusting you. He’s given you a responsibility. Paul Yongi Cho said,

“If not me, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?”

Thank You for trusting me with Your Good News. Forgive me for the times I’ve neglected my responsibilities. Holy Spirit, help  me be about my Father’s business, even before my own. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 26th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I know each and everyone one of us are called to “do the work of an evangelist,” but not everyone feels real comfortable in talking to people outside of their circle of family and friends about Jesus. That doesn’t eliminate us from speaking out and sharing our faith. I’m just saying, most Christians I know, are pretty quiet on the topic. They aren’t the ones who will give a testimony of the love of God while waiting in line at the grocery store or standing on a street corner handing out leaflets.

But if we’re not going to verbally say a word about our great God, can people at least see Jesus in us? I thought of that today as I started reading the book of 1 Thessalonians. The Apostle Paul started a church in the city of Thessalonica and it wasn’t always the words that were spoken that made the difference, it’s also what the people saw in him and his associates. Here’s what he tells us…
“My dear friends, God loves you, and we know He has chosen you to be His people. When we told you the good news, it was with the power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words. You knew what kind of people we were and how we helped you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 CEV

Can I tell you… letting Jesus shine through you happens when you “do life” among people. You weren’t meant to be an island in the ocean, a pie in the sky or the Lone Ranger. You were created, forgiven and saved to let your light shine among people. People should be able to see that you’re different, not just hear it. Being a follower of Jesus is caught as much as taught.

There’s nothing that replaces the opportunity for others to see how Jesus influences the real routine of our lives: family, friends, work, recreation, trials and even the mundane issues we deal with like shopping for groceries or cutting the grass. But it requires two things:

  1. God’s Holy Spirit to be living and active in our lives. And

  2. For us to live among other people with intentionality.

Paul was very intentional. He wanted people to see the “real Paul.” He knew that would have the greatest impact on people’s lives. To be able to not only hear, but see, how Jesus had absolutely changed his life.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I know being open and honest sometimes leaves us in a vulnerable situation, and we don’t like that. But, being intentional about living in such a way that honors Jesus, so that the world sees, will not only glorify Him, but it will rub off on others. Live your life, letting Jesus shine through you.

Help me be very intentional today and every day, living my life for You, so that those around me can not only hear it from me, but see it in me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 25th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Have you ever met that one person who just always seems to light up the room when they arrive? I mean, they have this kind of personality of hope and joy and their like always smiling. They walk in confidence. They always seem to be happy. Even when they tell you the bad stuff they’re facing, they have this reassuring smile on their face, like they know everything is going to be OK. They carry about them this sense of strength and stability even though there might be earthquakes in their lives. They exude this sense of hope and peace even when the flood waters are rising and threatening. Maybe you’re that person.

That’s what I think of when I read the words in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul. He has this tenacity about him as he writes, no matter what his circumstances.

Let’s face it, this guy gave up a lucrative career when he became a follower of Jesus. He was on the rise, climbing the ladder, as it were, in the religious world as a Pharisee. But then Jesus stepped into his life and everything he thought he knew, he had to relearn. He had to figure things out through the life of Jesus in him. Everything he once stood on became sinking sand and washed away.

Here’s a guy who had it all, in a worldly kind of way, then gave it all up to follow Jesus. And let’s face it, it cost him. He was beaten, he was whipped, he was mistreated and abused by many, and he spent much of his later years in prison, though he did nothing wrong to be thrown in prison. But here’s what he said…
“I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have. I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” Philippians 4:11-13 CEV

It would be so interesting to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with this guy. To ask him how he did it. How did he keep so positive about life? How did he find enjoyment in hardships? How did he celebrate each day when the skies were so dark? I’m sure he’d answer now like he answered then: “Christ gives me the strength to face anything.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re facing today… what hardship you’re dealing with… what dreaded decision you have to make… but can I tell you, you’re not facing it alone. You never face it alone. Jesus is right there with you. He will provide everything you need to get through. His strength will be your strength. His joy – your joy. His peace – your peace. Trust Him.

Walk with me today. Be my strength today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 22nd, 2017 — DEVOTE

Can you begin to imagine how many more people the Apostle Paul could have reached with the saving Gospel message of Jesus, if he would have had FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.? I mean he could have reached millions more than he actually did. But here’s what caught my eye as I read the Word today…
“Every time I think of you, I thank my God. And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy. This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it.” Philippians 1:3-5 CEV

When I read that, I realized that I felt the same way about you. Many of you join me in this devotion every day, whether it’s in printed form or video and you partner with me in passing it along to others.

I know some of you who only get the printed form, cut and paste or just forward this devotion to many on your mailing list and in doing so you are partnering with me in sharing the Good News of our Savior Jesus.

Those of you who watch this devotion on FaceBook, share it on your FaceBook page which allows countless others to watch it as well, who pass it on to others.

With the Apostle Paul, I say “Thank you for partnering with me in spreading the Good News of Jesus.”

I find it a very amazing thing. It’s so simple if you really stop to think about it. I spend time each morning in the presence of God, in His Word. Holy Spirit encourages me with a thought that is true in my life and hopefully, prayerfully, is true in your life. I write it down and pass it on to you, or I sit in front of my computer and make a video. Either way, it gets in front of you. You then, being touched by the Holy Spirit, send it on to your family and friends, of whom I’ve never met. They, in turn, might possibly do the same. And in a moment of time, lives are changed, hope is restored, love is shared, encouragement is giving, and our God is glorified. Don’t know if you realize this, but we’re doing ministry together! We’re partners. I may write this devotional, but without you, it’s just a journal for me. But together, we’re kingdom builders.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I’d like to ask you to pass these devotionals on to as many people as possible, so they too may be encouraged in their faith and know they’re not walking alone. Cut and Paste, of just Forward this message to as many as you can. Or, share this on your FaceBook page for others to watch. Bottom line: It’s all about Jesus! When we lift Him up before people – His kingdom will come and His will, will be done. Thank you for reading and watching. God bless you.

You’ve called us into an awesome ministry where we get to partner with our brothers and sisters in passing on Your Good News. Help us as we work together to give You all the praise. In Jesus precious name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 21st, 2017 — DEVOTE

Just about every day now for the last week or so, I’ve been online looking for a car to replace the one that got totaled. Let me tell, you there are a million options out there. If you’re not picky you can could end up with a real lemon. So, I’ve learned you got to have a plan.

#1, on the top of the list is: know your budget. How much are you willing to spend? Do you want to have a car payment or find a car with the money allotted by the insurance company?

#2, decide what it is you really need? Are you looking for good gas mileage or a more comfortable ride? Not saying you can’t get a comfortable ride out of a smaller car, but I just haven’t experienced it.

#3, don’t be talked into a bad investment. Take your time, do your homework, use wisdom.

Well, some of these same thoughts can be true when it comes to following Jesus. Without a strong foundations, it’s really easy to be pushed and pulled by whatever other people say and what they believe. Listen to me now, if you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe anything. And you can quote me on that!

Today I was reading Romans 16. In it, Paul, sends greetings to many different people, all of whom played some part in his ministry. Then he tells everyone…
“… watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don’t know any better.” Romans 16:17-18 CEV

What do we learn from this? If we don’t know what the Bible teaches, we’ll believe just about anything if it sounds good. We’ll end up questioning what the Bible plainly states and start rationalizing sin based on the persuasive arguments of people instead of the truth. In order to stand against flattery and smooth talk, we have to know what we stand for. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. (Wish I said that first!)

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The absolute best way for you to know what’s true, good and right, is for you to know what the Bible says. Take out your Bible and read it for yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. Scripture interprets Scripture. If you come to a part that you don’t understand, go ask a seasoned Christian, maybe your pastor.

Remember: If you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe just about anything.

As I read Your Word, teach me. Holy Spirit, help me to understand what the Word say, so that I know what I believe and won’t buy into whatever the world says, no matter how good it sounds. Jesus, in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 20th, 2017 — DEVOTE

There’s a couple of things missing in today’s world, well actually more than a couple of things, but I’ll stick to a couple for now. Now, understand, I’m not a professional businessman, so I can’t tell you a thing about today’s economy or what it will look like in the future. All I know is, when I go to fill my car up with gas, gas prices have gone up and so have a lot of other things.

It also seems to me, as I listen to people, that either we’re a lot sicker than we used to be, or there are just more doctors available to see us. Seems to me that there’s a lot of people either in the hospital or in the doctor’s office on any given day, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of answers for our ailments.

Well, those things and so many more, can cause us to lose hope. We work hard, but the pay doesn’t seem to cover all our expenses. We’re always short.

We’ve taken care of ourselves over the years, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well, but we’ve seemed to hit some roadblocks in our health that have knocked us down.

We’ve loved freely, helping others, serving when we could, only to be left alone when our time of struggle came.

It’s through these experiences that we lose hope. It’s fleeting, it rises and drops very quickly. We feel like a roller coaster of emotion. We’re on top of the world one moment, with great faith, and then plummet to what we call reality, the next.

But did you know, there’s a better way? Did you know there is help? Did you know there is an answer to our problem of loss of hope? It’s found right here in the Word of God – literally. Here’s what the Word says…
“… the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.” Romans 15:4 CEV

You want hope? Read your Bible! You need encouragement? Read your Bible! Paul wrote that this Book will teach you and encourage you, by putting hope back in your life. Then he adds his own prayer for us. He says…
“I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.” Romans 15:13 CEV

Don’t you just want to say… “I’ll take some of that! God if you give hope, I’ll take it! I want to be happy and could use some peace in my life and I believe, You, Oh God, have given it to me. Holy Spirit, fill me with hope!”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Hope is waiting for you. God’s hope will never let you down, it won’t disappoint you. Why not turn to Him and ask Him for His hope today?

Bless me with You hope. Holy Spirit, fill me with hope. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 19th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I started reading the Old Testament book of Zechariah today. It’s a beautiful book of hope and encouragement. I’d invite you to read it and recognize yourself as “the apple of His eye…” Zechariah 2:8.

The people of Israel, or at least about 50,000 of them, having been released from slavery and bondage, were now back home in Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. But there were some complications. While rebuilding the temple, they all recognized the new temple could never be as great as the original temple. That broke their hearts. There was another problem… there was no king from David’s family. These and other factors made the people distraught and discouraged.

But what really stood out to me were the promises God told the people. Now, let’s understand something about a promise. When we promise something, there have probably been times when we went back on our word or renegotiated the original declaration. But God can’t do that. You do know that if God ever broke a promise, He would cease to be God. He can’t go back on His Word. He can’t change His mind. The Bible even tells us, “For I, the LORD, do not change…” (Malachi 3:6 NASB). In another place it says… “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” (1 Samuel 15:29 NASB) That’s in reference to God.

So God makes a couple of promises to His people in their time of downheartedness and hopelessness. Here’s what He says through the prophet Zechariah…
“The LORD Himself has promised to be a protective wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem, and He will be its shining glory in the heart of the city.” Zechariah 2:5 CEV

And then in verse 10…
“The LORD has promised to come and live with you.” Zechariah 2:10 CEV

God wasn’t about to let His people live in dejection and disappointment. He knew that depression and despair would set in and the rebuilding of the city and the temple would never happen. He didn’t bring them back to this time and this place for them to be defeated. So He promised to be a wall of fire around them, and promised to live with them. And He did!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It’s very easy to be overcome by the events of life, especially when we suffer loss of some kind. It’s even easier to be swept away with lack of confidence when our spirit is low and laid bare. But God made a promise. He will be that wall of fire that surrounds you. His glory is still shining in your heart. He has come to live with you. He’s done all that through His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s His promise and God always keeps all His promises.

Thank You for being the One and Only Promise Keeper. I know You’re living with me today and everything is going to be good. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

September 18th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Today, a few thoughts are rumbling through my head. The first has to deal with my old athletic days. I can recall the half-time of some football games where our coach became unglued. The words that I can still hear him say was: “WAKE UP!” Evidently, we were sleeping walking. Ok, actually we weren’t playing to our potential and coach was trying to snap us into playing the game much better.

Another thought was on a sad, sad night in a garden called, Gethsemane. It was there, you’ll remember, that Jesus and the disciples went to, after they had celebrated the Passover, and Jesus instituted the Eucharist. This would be the place where Judas and the soldiers would come to arrest Jesus and start the whole process of putting Him to death on the cross.

Before Judas arrived, Jesus was praying. He had asked His disciples to join Him in prayer but each time He returned from His prayer, He found them asleep. His question was simple… “Couldn’t you stay awake one hour and pray?” In other words, “WAKE UP!” Can you imagine the scene? Jesus, in the inner circle of the garden, heavy and distraught – and for good reason. And the disciples, sound asleep, tummies full, blissfully unaware of the torment their Savior was enduring. Powerful!

That all crossed my mind this morning as I read these words…
“You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You should know the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord.” Romans 13:11 CEV

Did you catch that? The man writing this, Paul, was telling the people then, and us today, to “WAKE UP!” He was sounding the alarm that today we are one more day closer to our salvation than we were yesterday. Time just isn’t marching on. We aren’t just getting older. The years aren’t passing by quicker. We are that much closer to the day of our salvation than we ever were before. “Salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” He was trying to get us to “WAKE UP,” from the slumber of our routine life which has lulled us to sleep. The life that is more focused on the things of this world than the coming of the King.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You guessed it – “WAKE UP!” See each new day through the eyes of God. See what He sees. Take notice of His presence in your life. Recognize the beauty of His creation. Observe the power of His hand leading and guiding you. Witness for yourself His protection, His providence, His promises and His peace. We truly are, one more day closer to the day of our salvation. Praise God!

I want to be awakened by Your love, mercy and grace today. Help me to live this day and every day for You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen