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Perhaps the greatest way to communicate faith to an unsaved person is to do all we can to comfort that person when things go sour in his or her life.

For it is at such times that the non-Christian can see the value of heart-comforting faith that has sustained us and that can do the same for them.

Even the non-believer understands that divorce hurts, that losing a family member to accidental death hurts, that losing a long-held job hurts.

When the non-believer sees that our hearts might be hurting yet we are also finding healing through the comfort of our faith — and we continue trying to provide blessings to others — it gets them thinking.

We’ve all faced some really tough times in life.

If we’ve held tightly to God’s hand during such times in ways that others noticed, we can testify authentically about the strength and direction we’ve found.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

That testimony of a comforted heart can provide a huge boost to our evangelistic influence.

Let’s sincerely want to help others to stop hurting emotionally.

Let’s comfort them.

Let’s show them how faith in God helps us to stop hurting emotionally.

Let’s show them how God comforts us.

As always, I love you
Martin

The Christian who feels he or she has lost everything should try to remember that he or she is rich beyond comprehension.

For no amount of earthly calamity can bankrupt the certainty of God’s promise to the one who remains faithful to Him in the midst of terrible circumstances.

If Christ remains on the throne of our hearts, guiding our humble words and actions, a wealth beyond comprehension awaits us in heaven.

It’s guaranteed.

And no thief, no disease, no natural disaster and no financial markets downturn can destroy that promise.

We simply have to make sure that we never deny the authority of God and His Word over our lives.

I’m reading through the book of Job now as part of my devotional time and I was moved today by a statement he made regarding his faith:

“At least I can take comfort in this:
 Despite the pain,
I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10)

When really tough times come our way, when we’ve lost SO much of what is so important to us, let’s do our best to remember that no force in this world can take from us the fantastic future awaiting us in heaven.

As long as we don’t deny the Word of God in how we live — or in how we suffer — we have the comfort of knowing eternal comfort awaits us.

As always, I love you
Martin

I need to be more like Job.

I need to pray more for our kids.

Job prayed for his children’s relationship with God and when he was concerned that they might have sinned, he would offer sacrifices to the Lord on behalf of each.

Praying as he did so, of course.

You can read about in the first part of chapter 1 in the book of Job.

Perhaps you’ll be compelled by Job’s example as was I.

I need to pray specifically for each of our children and their spouses. I need to pray for our grandchildren.

And I need to do this every day.

The adult kids are not perfect just as I’m not perfect.

They sin just as I sin.

That’s why I need to pray for them to hear the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit so that they’ll fall before the Lord in the repentant desire for forgiveness, something that I need to do often as well.

Job 1:5 is so compelling regarding intercessory prayer and sacrifice — “This was Job’s regular practice.”

Let’s make our regular practice, as well, whether on behalf of biological children, in-law children, adopted children, godparent children, nieces, nephews….

You get the idea.

As always, I love you
Martin

Every Gospel-minded believer looks for opportunities to build bridges of influence with non-Christians.

Bridges are essential if seeds of the Good News are to be carried over and planted into the lives of those apart from Christ.

The Apostle Paul excelled at exhibiting his passion for Christ in ways that connected him with lost people.

“I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” I Corinthians 9:22

It doesn’t take very long in reading of Paul’s ministry life to see how fervent he was for evangelism. In jail or in the marketplace or in a synagogue, Paul’s fervor for an infectious faith was the same.

One thing you don’t see in his life, though, is spiritual compromise in order to build bridges with an unsaved person.

Paul didn’t need to go to “happy hour” or other world-centric activities in order to build a connection with hurting hearts. He looked for other opportunities within in their lives.

He understood that embracing spiritual compromise as an evangelistic approach is like asking a dieting person if he or she would meet you at the ice cream shop to talk about weight-loss strategies.

Let’s be careful that the common ground that we’re called to seek with others is common ground that Jesus would stand on.

Let’s pray more fervently that the Holy Spirit lead us in our connection efforts with those needing Christ. Such efforts clearly don’t have to be “churchy,” but they do have to be Christ-friendly, whether in the stands of a kids’ baseball game or at the wine-available wedding reception or at the workplace Christmas party.

Let’s remember Paul’s warning in I Corinthians 10:12 against thinking that we can handle any temptation circumstances within which we place ourselves —

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.”

Let’s stand where we know Jesus will stand with us. It’s better for us, better for those we’re trying to convert and certainly better for the Kingdom.

As always, I love you
Martin

Sometimes, the Gospel is served when our egos are suppressed.

It’s never pleasant when a non-Christian says or does something offensive to us.

And it’s an emotional stretch sometimes when we choose to forgo the purchase of a much-wanted item so that we might donate the money to a truly needy person or to a missions ministry of some sort.

And what about those moments when Satan is making it SO easy for us to dive head first into satisfying our “stumbling block” vice? Do we consider first the implications for our personal testimony? For our confidence of being resistant to Satan’s temptations?

Here’s the deal — our direction at every intersection of choices in life should be guided by a concern for the Gospel.

Memorizing and abiding by Colossians 3:17 helps in this regard — whatever we do in word or in actions should be directed at glorifying God.

The Apostle Paul was passionate in his purpose of building the Kingdom of God. All that he endured for the sake of the Cross and its message is an amazing display of determination.

Here is what he wrote to the church in Corinth regarding the importance of a life that puts first Christ and the spreading of the Gospel.

We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.” I Corinthians 9:12

Sometimes, people are grumpy and abrasive and hurtful toward us. It’s important that we only respond with grace and Christlike remarks. For any response fighting fire with fire will likely become an obstacle to the Gospel.

Sometimes we face the choice of cutting back on church offerings because of car trouble or a costly household repair. Are we willing to get by with patched-up yet functional vehicles and residences in order to keep tithing so more people can hear of God’s grace and connect with His Son?

Let’s become more willing to put up with anything if it’s going to protect our opportunity to share Jesus with others.

As always, I love you
Martin

No, the dog didn’t eat my homework. But the cyberspace dog did eat my first Morning Devotion post earlier today and it’s nowhere to be found.

Oh well. Here’s the condensed, hopefully remembered version — don’t flirt with the edge of behavior boundaries of scripture if there is ANY chance that you’ll encourage or influence a weaker believer to try to same.

For there is the real possibility that your choice might prompt another to make a choice that leads them toward crossing the line.

They just don’t have the good spiritual brakes you do. And you and I don’t want that on our life record when we stand before the Lord.

Heed Paul’s words, please, when it comes to your choices for spending on luxury items or with drinking alcohol or with how much skin to reveal with clothing choices or with what jokes you tell or with what movies you watch or with what church gripes you verbalize to others.

“But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” I Corinthians 8:9

So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.” I Corinthians 8:13

Paul calls us to concentrate on building each other up. Let’s make sure that our examples lead others closer to the center of God’s holy path rather than toward the edges.

As always, I love you
Martin

If you believe in the Bible, you believe in Jesus.

And if you believe in Jesus, you’ve got to believe the Devil is real.

That means that spiritual warfare is real since Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.

If we’re going to survive spiritually in the cosmic conflict between good and evil, between the magnet of God’s will and the malicious scheming of Satan, we need to take seriously the call to prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare.

That means learning the Bible and having its truths ready for application when spiritual turmoil comes against us.

Paul told us that the Bible is our sword, needed for rightly dividing truth from falsehood.

Jesus showed us during His time in the wilderness that scriptures aptly spoken can rebuke Satan and even cause him to flee.

The Old Testament book of Nehemiah reminded me this morning of who important it is for us to be armed in the conflict against evil.

Nehemiah was writing of physical weapons when he described those rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem many years after the exiles’ return from Babylon. But the principle clearly applies spiritually.

“The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.” (Nehemiah 4:16)

In all that you do to set a good example of faith in front of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers — even during the difficult times — please make sure that scripture is never far from your mind and that every action and word is guided by a biblical principle.

Even if you’re not quoting scriptures right and left.

Let the words of Colossians 3:17 guide you — “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

With this principle in mind, we’ll be ready for anything.

As always, I love you
Martin

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