November 29th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Why is it, there’s always got to be somebody who wants to rain on your parade? You know you step out in a new project… you have a grand idea… you launch a new thought… and then the criticism starts flying. You’re put down, not built up. You’re insulted, not encouraged. You’re beat on instead of helped.

Read this…
“When Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, heard that we were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he became angry and started insulting our people. In front of his friends and the Samaritan army he said…” Nehemiah 4:1-2a CEV

Well, it doesn’t really matter what he said. The damage was already done. His insults left a black mark all over the people who were trying hard to do something good – rebuild the wall of their city. His words cut to the heart. He didn’t like what they were doing, though it really didn’t effect him in the least bit. But nonetheless, he had a gripe to pick with Nehemiah and those working with him. All it did was put a dark cloud of discouragement over their heads.

It’s so easy these days to have an opinion. But understand this: there’s a difference between having an opinion and being opinionated. We all see things differently, but when you and I push our opinion as the only one that matters, we have crossed the line. Sanballat was opinionated (and that’s just my opinion).

My mom used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” (Many of you just finished that sentence with me. Did we have the same mom?) I don’t know who’s the originator of that thought, but it sure seems appropriate today.

We’re told a little later in Nehemiah 4, that when Sanballat and all the other opposers saw the wall of the city going up, “… they became angry and decided to stir up trouble, and to fight against the people…” (4:7-8)

They were relentless. They weren’t going to let up, no matter what. Have you ever had anybody like that in your life? A co-worker who didn’t want you to be promoted? A friend who was always critical? Even as I say that another question crosses my mind – have I ever been like that? Have you? Having an opinion on steroids as if you’re the only one who has the right answer?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: When others are trying to keep you from dreaming… from growing… from experiencing… from fulfilling the plans God has given you… do what Nehemiah did, “But we kept on praying to our God, and we also stationed guards day and night.” (4:9) Pray and take the appropriate actions. Keep having a dialog with God and set some guards around your mouth and around your heart to protect them. Don’t let the enemy dissuade or discourage you from all that God has called you to do!

As I cry out to You, hear my prayer. Keep me looking up to You, fulfilling Your plans in my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 28th, 2017 – DEVOTE

In the 1600’s a man by the name of Blaise Pascal said this…
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Can I just tell you – I wish I had said that! That is such a profound truth. It’s so deep and meaningful. Pascal hit the nail right on the head when he said that.

I mean, let’s all face it… we try so desperately to fill our lives with stuff. We’re so busy with stuff like meetings… shopping… running errands.. that at times we’re not sure if we’re coming or going. Our garages are stuffed with stuff so we can’t even park our cars inside of them. We have boxes and boxes of stuff that we think are so important, but the truth is, nobody else wants them.

It reminds me of when I was a child and I would say to my mom, “Mom, I’m hungry.” She would reply, “Go outside and play.” Quizzically, I would respond, “But mom, I said I was hungry.” To which she would tell me, “You’re not hungry… you’re bored. Now go do something.”

My mom was right. I wasn’t hungry. My thought of being hungry was just so that I had something to do, instead of doing something. I used food as my filler though it wasn’t what I really needed.

We do the same. We fill our time slots to overflowing. We double book ourselves and leave very little time for the things that are really important. Recently, I was talking to a colleague of mine who had told me he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before because his 18 month old son was up most of the night and as a good dad, he stayed up with him. As nice as I could, I told him there was good news and there was bad news. The good news was – his son would one day grow out of that. The bad news was – he would never regain that lost sleep.

We overspend. We know what our budget is, but somehow convince ourselves that we can make it up later. But later has a way of only making things worse.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because of what I read in the Bible. Here it is…
“God has done all this, so that we will look for Him and reach out and find Him. He isn’t far from any of us, and He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are.” Acts 17:28 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Nothing can fill that God shaped vacuum in your heart, but God Himself. Why not let Him fill it again today? Why not let His peace… His promises… His power… His presence, fill your cup to overflowing?

Fill that vacuum in my heart today. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 27th, 2017 — DEVOTE

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this… but I love God’s Word. I love reading my Bible. I love it when I see something I’ve never seen before, though I’ve read it multiple times. I love it when it speaks directly to me about something only I am dealing with. I love it when it gives me a word of correction or a word of direction.

That’s what happened again today as I started reading the book of Nehemiah. This guy finds out how his hometown was demolished. He cried when he heard the devastating news. His first reaction was to pray. He asked for God’s favor in rebuilding the entire city. I love it when he says…
“Please remember the promise you made to Moses.” Nehemiah 1:8 CEV

God loves it when we remember His promises and bring them back up to Him. He hasn’t forgotten them, but when we bring them back up, just know, something’s about to happen, because He is a promise-keeping God.

Nehemiah not only asked the king he served if he would allow him to go back to rebuild the city, but he had the audacity to ask the king for all the materials he needed to do the job. And though Nehemiah wasn’t exactly sure how the king would respond, he got everything he asked for. 

Even when opposition rose up from a couple of naysayers, trying to prevent him from going forward with the work, Nehemiah was even more determined, because he knew he had God’s favor and calling. He didn’t like what they were saying, but he wasn’t going to be dissuaded from fulfilling the calling God had on his life. He knew he was going to succeed, because God was in it. God opened the king’s heart to release Nehemiah from this ministry. God had the king supply all the materials needed. God gave Nehemiah a unshakeable, unstoppable faith to step up, step out, and step forward in his calling. Was it going to be easy? All depends on how you look at it?

It was hard physical labor. There were enough detriments to overcome. It didn’t happen through the blink of an eye or a snap of one’s fingers. But… since God was in it and all over it, it happened.

I don’t know what God has called you to, but I do know what He’s called me to. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you might wonder if you made the right decision. Did you really hear Holy Spirit speak to you or was it just a vivid imagination? When you reach a glitch in your road, do you think of ways to make up for your loss, or do you trust God?  

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Show up… Stand up… and Speak up! The call God has on your life, is His call, not yours. He will accomplish in you what He called you to do.

You called, I answered. Help me walk out in Your calling. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 24th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Will Rogers has been quoted as saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” But I wonder if every man liked him? I’ve never met Will Rogers, and from the little I’ve read about him, he seems like a likeable guy, but knowing the world around me, I’m pretty sure there was someone who didn’t like him in return. Here’s the key though… evidently, it never stopped Will Rogers from liking people.

I thought of him today as I read Acts 13. In this chapter the disciples are all together having a worship service when the Holy Spirit gave them the directions to commission Paul and Barnabas to spread the Good News of Jesus. How the Holy Spirit did that, I don’t know. But I do know that He did and everyone present believed the word and they all laid their hands on these two guys and sent them on their way.

These two traveled all over the place and each place they arrived to, they faced some opposition from some and approval from others. There were some who liked them and others who didn’t. But it never stopped these two. They kept moving forward… pressing on with a purpose. They showed up, stood up and spoke up.

Read some of the opposing verses…
“The next Sabbath almost everyone in town came to hear the message about the Lord. When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said.” Acts 13:44-45 CEV

And again…
But the Jewish leaders went to some of the important men in the town and to some respected women who were religious. They turned them against Paul and Barnabas and started making trouble for them.” Acts 13:50 CEV

How discouraging would that be? All you want to do is share the greatest joy you’ve ever experienced, the love of Jesus, and some of the people who are hearing it are just downright mean.

But here’s the clencher…
“Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet and went…” Acts 13:51 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t stop what you’ve been saved to do. God didn’t save you so that you could keep it all to yourself. He saved you with purpose and design. He saved you to be light for a dark world. He saved you to be salt to a tasteless world. He saved you to show up, stand up and speak up… even if there are people who don’t want to hear it. Just keep pressing forward. There will always be those who will oppose you. Don’t focus on them. Focus on those whose lives are changed through the working of the Holy Spirit and love of Jesus. So just put a smile on your face and show up… stand up… and speak up.

Help me to fulfill the call You have on my life. I want to let my little light shine for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 23rd, 2017 DEVOTE

Have you ever felt like life was slipping through your fingers? Ever lost hope before, feeling like everything you tried just failed? It’s not that uncommon to reach a point in life when we know we’re at the end of our rope and our options are very few.

Peter was in a terrible predicament. Things weren’t looking very favorable for him as he lay in a dark, musty prison cell. Acts chapter 12 recounts his very unpleasant position even more by telling us he was chained to prison guards, one on each side of him… was unclothed… was locked behind the prison doors with other guards right outside those doors… and he was facing the death sentence. The man who wanted him dead was the king and by his command, Peter was to die the next day. There wasn’t a person who even thought he was leaving that jail alive. But then, we read something that changes the whole course of the account…
“While Peter was being kept in jail, the church never stopped praying to God for him.” Acts 12:5 CEV

That was the game-changer! That was the one thing everyone overlooked. The unimaginable… the unthinkable… the unreasonable happened, because God heard the cries of His people on Peter’s behalf.

Things changed that night in Peter’s gloomy situation, because those praying involved God. The impossible was made possible. The guards never woke up, but the chains fell off. The guards weren’t disturbed but the prison doors flung opened. The guards noticed nothing, but Peter walked out, a free man!

That’s the sort of things that happen when the church prays. Things can change today when and if we start praying. They may be unnoticed by many, but that doesn’t negate the truth, God is working on our behalf.

Sick people can be cured by God’s answering our prayers. Fearful, dangerous situations can turn around in peaceful outcomes, when our request are made known to God. Young and old alike can have their lives changed when we decide to lay it all around the throne of the One who sees it all, knows it all, and controls it all. Broken relationships can be saved. Jobs can be restored. Finances can be reconciled. Health can be mended. All those things we have counted off as hopeless can be rejuvenated, invigorated, revitalized all because the church, you and I, took it to the Lord in prayer.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Call out to God today. It’s your first line of offense and your strongest form of defense. There is always hope when we get God involved in our lives. There’s nothing God can’t do, when we, the church, call on Him for help!

Let our request be made known to you today. We are not defeated… we are not overcome. You have control of every situation in our lives. Help us trust You, believe You and rise up to take our rightful place. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 22, 2017 – DEVOTE

So how do you label yourself? If someone were to ask you if you believed in something or had faith, your answer would be yes. If they asked you what faith you were, you might tell them the church building you go to, or maybe respond, “Protestant” (though we’re not protesting anything, anymore – as matter of fact we’re more accepting and tolerant of most everything), or you might use the word “Christian.”

But let me ask you… do you understand what the word Christian implies? We first hear of it in Acts 11. It reads like this…
“Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. He found Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they met with the church for a whole year and taught many of its people. There in Antioch the Lord’s followers were first called Christians.” Acts 11:25-26 CEV

Here’s what we know: it wasn’t those who believed in Jesus who called themselves Christians, but it was the people of Antioch who called them that. The word means, those belonging to Christ, or Christ’s men. As these Christians talked about Jesus to people everywhere, the Gentiles around them labeled them Christ’s men. At first it was a term of reproach. It was meant in a hateful, derogatory way, like saying, “Look at those crazy people! They come into our city, they don’t worship our idols, they live lives entirely different from ours.” So they referred to them in a negative way as Christ’s men – Christians.

But the disciples thought it was a compliment, that it was wonderful to be recognized and called Christ’s men, so they adopted the name and called themselves Christians. That’s why we still carry on the name Christian today.

But do you understand the depth of that word? Christ is not Jesus middle name. It’s His title, His position. It means the Anointed One – Messiah. He is God’s chosen to redeem and save the world.

But do you realize what that means for you? The Bible says, “… you have an anointing from the Holy One…” 1 John 2:20

In other words, when Jesus came into your life and you allowed Him to take full rule of your life, His anointing became your anointing. All His righteousness became your righteousness. All His truth, mercy and grace became your truth, mercy and grace. His anointing is your anointing. That’s what makes you different from all the rest of the world around you. The Anointed One Himself has anointed you. You’re His chosen one.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Being a Christian is not just a title or a label, it’s a relationship, a calling – one you didn’t deserve, but one that was freely given to you by Jesus. Be one of those who people will say, “He’s one of Christ’s men!” “She’s one of Christ’s women!” Let His anointing radiate through you for all to see!

Shine through me for all the world to see that I am a follower of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus. It’s in His name I pray, Amen.  

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 21st, 2017 – DEVOTE

Imagine what would happen if I came home from a long day of work, opened up our front door, peeked my head into our house and said something to my bride like this…

“Oh, you most beautiful. You with the fairest of skin and the with twinkling of eyes. I love you more today than I did yesterday and I will love you more tomorrow than today. Thank you for loving me in return. Thank you for bearing our children and for providing for them and me a home filled with peace and joy. Thank you for standing by my side when times are hard and speaking truth and life into me. I cherish our time together. My schedule is quite full, so I’ll have to keep this brief… would you please be so kind as to wash and iron my white shirt, and make sure my shoes are shined. It will be snowing soon, so please make sure the driveway is cleared when I come home and please continue to keep the house clean along with all those other things you do that I’m not aware of. For these and all other things I give you my devoted love and attention. Until next time… goodbye.” And then I closed the door and went somewhere else.

What kind of relationship do you suppose my bride and I would have? No need for you to answer that as we all know that wouldn’t fly very far.

So, if we all know the outcome of a situation like that, why is it we do that with God? Let’s face it, sometimes our prayer life is just like that. We pray when we can fit it in… or when we’re in need… or when we’re desperate. We tiptoe into the presence of God, we acknowledge Him as best we can, then we thank Him for what He’s done, then we ask for more, and we tiptoe back out the same way we came in with a final Amen.

What if my bride actually wanted to say something back to me? What if she wanted to have a conversation? And as I think about that, I begin wondering how my prayer life became just another speech or a monologue instead of a dialogue? When do I allow God to speak to me?

That’s what I thought of today as I read Acts 10. Two men, Cornelius and Peter, both were praying, at different times and at different locations. Both had encounters with God during their prayer time. Both experienced something most of us haven’t because we’re in such a hurry.

Here’s my word in of encouragement for you today: Instead of just rattling off a bunch or request to God, things you wish He’d do something about… why not just listen for His voice. Jesus said His sheep would follow Him, because they know His voice (John 10:4). Can you hear Him now?

Help me hear Your voice above all the other noise in my life. I want to have a dialogue with You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 20th, 2017 — DEVOTE

Have you ever gone through a job change? That’s probably a silly question, right? Most everyone has. But think about it. You may not have left your field of expertise, your skill or competence, but maybe you joined a different company, relocated to a different region, or maybe you just stopped one thing and started another.

However it looked and however it panned out, there were some adjustments that needed to be made. You talked about salary and benefits before you took the job. You had to learn a new system in the office, or protocol out in the field. The transition, though not all that difficult, was a new learning curve. There were new people to deal with and maybe a new boss to report to.

But what do you think it would be like if God called you to do the complete opposite of what you’re doing now? What kind of adjustment would it take for you to stop what you’re doing and make a 180 degree turn to undo all that you did?

That’s what I think of when I read the account of a very relgious man who was persecuting Christians, by the name of Saul. This guy was relentless. He was downright scary. He was also very good at what he did. He so despised the Christians that he got permission from the religious authorities to arrest them. He travelled all over the land to do his job. He wasn’t going to quite until he snubbed out this new movement.

But then, he had an encounter with Jesus and instead of arresting Christians, he “started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God,” (Acts 9:20b CEV) and in essence, giving them freedom.

The Bible also tells us this…
“When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the followers. But they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a true follower.” Acts 9:26CEV

Just think about it. The people you used to work for, no longer want you, trust you or like you because you turned your back on them. And the people you’re now working with, don’t want you, trust you or like you, because of what you used to do. But you have no choice, because God called you to this position. God designed you for this ministry. God chose you to be His spokesperson.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: A good number of people have felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to step out into something new, but because it was a bit ackward, or it really didn’t seem possible, or it was frightening, they didn’t do it. Don’t be that person. When God calls you, go do it. It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks or how they treat you. It doesn’t matter if you understand it or it seems like a rational thing to do. Just walk out in faith and allow God to take care of the details.

When You call, I want to answer You. Help me Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 17th,2017 -DEVOTE

As I write these devotions, I happen to be in West Palm Beach, Florida for a Board of Directors meeting for Via de Cristo ( I have always had a hard time sitting through meetings like this, or Church Council meetings, Elders meetings, etc. It’s not because I don’t think they’re important meetings, they just drain me. I always kind of figured that I had somewhat of an attention span deficit or lacked the ability to concentrate so hard on what I considered mundane. I got bored easily and still am constantly wondering when we’re going to be done or when we can talk about something else. Let me tell you, I have a great appreciation for those who are geared to lead, endure and even enjoy these types of meetings.

Recently, my bride helped me discover some things about myself, things I would have appreciated knowing years ago that could have prevented me from getting involved in which I had no right doing.

My bride recently became a consultant for a group called Career Direct ( Career Direct is an individual, personal growth resource designed to help you maximize your God-given talents and abilities. But it’s more than just a simple career test. It helps you analyze four critical areas of your life, unlike some other career assessments which might only do one or two. The four areas are: personality, interest, skills and values.

What I found out taking this assessment is, I don’t have deficiencies. I’m uniquely created by my God and there are just some things that I am not created to do. What I really need to do is focus on what He has created me for, designed me for, gifted me for.

That’s what I thought of today as Acts chapter 6. The newly founded Christian church was growing. Many things had to be taken care of and some people starting complaining that the apostles weren’t getting things done. They were feeling neglected and overlooked. The apostles told the people to choose seven men who were respected, wise and filled with the Holy Spirit to take over the responsibilities they were asking for so the apostles could focus their attention praying, serving God and preaching (Acts 6:2-4 CEV). It was a brilliant decision that pleased everyone. It wasn’t that the apostles thought we were too good to do those responsibilities as much as they knew who they were and what God had for them to do.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Know who you are… know how God created you… use what He’s given you to do what He’s called you to do. You and I weren’t meant to do everything, but were meant to do what our Father gifted us to do. What’s your passion? And are you doing it?

Thank You for uniquely creating me for Your purposes. Help me focus on what You’ve created me for. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

November 16th, 2017 – DEVOTE

Have you ever felt like you were on the wrong side of the fence? You know, everyone else wanted to go one way, but you were absolutely positive you were to go the other way. Well, I have.

I remember quite a few times when I’ve walked into a situation and it took me a long time to figure out what everyone else was saying, but what they were saying just didn’t make sense to me because I really felt God had a different direction and a different plan. We just weren’t on the same page. Well, it wasn’t that we weren’t on the same page, we were in different books, at different libraries.

I thought of some of those times when I was reading the Word this morning. Here’s what really jogged my memory…
“Leave them alone. If what they are planning is something of their own doing, it will fail.” Acts 5:38 CEV

Let me fill you in. The apostles had been arrested on multiple accounts, like teaching and preaching in the synagogue. I guess the religious leaders didn’t like that too much. But because God was doing some really great things through these guys, lIke people were being saved and others were being healed, the religious leaders were afraid to really punish them because of what the response of the people might be.

As they were trying to figure out their next move, one of their leaders stood up and expressed his thoughts. He told them to be careful what they did and then shared a couple of experiences of some men who were leading revolts, but fizzled out all on their own. His closing remark goes like this…
“But if God is behind it, you cannot stop it anyway, unless you want to fight against God.” Acts 5:39 CEV

Here’s something I’d like us all need to remember… If you and I are in tune with what God has planned for us, His plans will be unstoppable, uncontainable, uncontrollable and unrestrainable. I almost wrote “our” plans will be unstoppable, but I really don’t think “our” plans are going to actually be that effective.

We may not know how God’s plans will come into being, but once we take part and truly do His work, following His Holy Spirit’s guidance, the efforts will be unstoppable.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God in you is an unstoppable, uncontainable, uncontrollable, unrestrainable force. Make sure as you look at your “to-do” list, seek His Holy Spirit guidance, listen carefully, react fully, don’t look back and never be afraid.

Please guide me in being guided by you. Help me to pause as I need to and regroup, and listen for Your direction. When I am doing Your work, I know amazing things will happen. I see Your hand in so much of what I am doing now. Thank You. Please, Lord, keep me close. Keep me listening. And keep me acting under Your direction, not my own. Jesus, in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen