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We’ve all had those “Gibeonite deception” moments.

I’m talking about that sickening realization that we should have prayed for God’s wisdom rather than trusting in our own.

It stinks to realize that we’ve been tricked and trapped by our pride, whether it be with a bad business deal, a poor choice of neighborhoods or a dysfunctional, morally compromised relationship.

You can read at this link about how the Israelites thought they were smart enough to make peace treaties without God’s help when they entered the Promised Land.

But then they realized that they weren’t smart enough and, as a result, stuck with a perpetual reminder that they did not cleanse the land of pagan influences as God had ordained.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6 that we are to trust the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. As we acknowledge Him (as Lord) in all our ways, then God will direct our paths.

Joshua and the people of Israel leaned on their own understanding rather than asking God for direction and they got burned.

Please pray for wisdom when it comes to entering into close emotional relationships or into business deals or into a church family or into a new place to live

Pride claims no need for God’s help.

Humility confesses an abundance of need for God’s help.

You and I are not smart enough to figure out all the angles but God’s wisdom can help us to avoid problems we wouldn’t see otherwise.

As always, I love you
Martin

Everything God does has a reason behind it.

And that includes His choice to send a blessing into your life.

The reason is that you’ll multiply that blessing into the lives of others.

We’re vessels, my friend.

Mark 4 describes us a soil.

The challenge is to be the soil that produces a harvest from the seeds of God’s blessings.

Here’s how Jesus put it in Mark 4:20.

And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

This passage is typically understood within an evangelistic context with conversions. But it is also relevent to how we respond to blessings sent our way.

And that’s what I want to encourage you to ponder and pursue today.

When God sends the seed of a much-needed encouraging word from a relative or co-worker, please make it a point to speak some word of encouragement — no matter how brief — into the lives of every person you meet.

Whether a store clerk or an online tech support person or another parent waiting to pick up a child at school or wherever, ask God to lead you in finding something encouraging to say to him or her.

Will you encounter 30, 60 or 100 people today? Probably not.

But you just might do that during the course of a week.

Will God be honored by your intentional encouragement of so many?

Yes.

Will those encouraged be blessed?

Yes.

Will you and I be a better stewards of God’s blessing if we do this?

Of course.

God is SO good to us.

Let’s say more good things to others in order to bring God a harvest for the blessing He sent our way.

As always, I love you

Martin

Like you, I’m saddened by the erosion of Bible-based morality in our communities that is even seeping into some congregations.

But I’m far from discouraged by it.

You see, this just serves as a reminder of the opportunities we Christians have to shine as lighthouses toward a darkened ocean.

Do I like that increasing numbers of people don’t care what scripture says about godly marriage and gender-appropriate conduct? Am I glad that so many have decided that congregational involvement is not needed in their lives?

Certainly not.

But the clear and repeated story of the Bible is that society ebbs and flows in the spiritual realm.

Based on my reading of scripture, we’ve got quite a ways to go before the downward slope of our national relationship with God hits bottom.

We can pray that national revival occurs long before that.

And we can pray for wisdom to love and serve people in such a way that our faith will shine like a lighthouse to those who feel like ships tossed in a dark, storm sea.

As long as there is even one neighbor or co-worker or struggling relative to whom we can show the love of Christ, we should be encouraged.

The power of grace abides and as long as we have hope to share, it’s vital that we remain faithful to the end of our days.

Perhaps “the end of days” Jesus described in Matthew 24:12-13 will happen before the end of our days physically.

In any event, let’s both be vigilant in looking for ways to guide others into the safe harbor of God’s gracious love.

As always, I love you
Martin

This is too cute not to share.

Our daughter Jessica melted our hearts a couple of days ago when she shared with us a precious moment that occurred with our granddaughter Mae.

Mae just turned 2 but, in some respects, is advanced beyond her two years.

What occurred points to the value of parents who allow their love for the Lord to overflow in visible fashion.

Here’s what Jessica wrote in her mommy-daughter journal that she’s keeping as Mae grows up:

 

“Today I was desperately trying to get you to take a nap so I laid down with you and asked if you wanted to sing a song. You started saying “Missing geese! Missing geese!”

I couldn’t figure out what song you were referring to so I asked you how it went and you started singing “Missing geese” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”

“It was incredibly precious.”

Wow.

Mae has heard her parents sing Amazing Grace and even though she didn’t have the lyrics down pat, she gave it her best shot.

And what a shot it was.

For her to choose “Missing geese” as what she wanted to sing is very inspiring.

Actually, it’s amazing.

When somebody we love is drained and needing a boost, perhaps we should start singing “Missing geese” to them in the adult form of Amazing Grace.

Thanks, Jessica and Dave for being such visibly godly parents and wonderful ambassadors of the parenting truths found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Let’s all look for opportunities to guide children toward the amazing grace of our Lord.

As always, I love you

Martin

It’s the season of giving.

Please live in a way that shows a year-round attitude of blessing.

It’s what Christ did and it ‘s what we should do.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (I John 3:16).

Please consider giving up some time today in order to help a hurting friend or a frustrated family member or church volunteer needing a hand.

Please consider giving up some money in order to treat a discouraged neighbor to lunch.

Please consider laying aside that inner desire for payback for how that co-worker insulted you.

It’s all about giving in order to help others just as we would like others to give in order to help us.

The Golden Rule really is a great idea.

As always, I love you
Martin

James 1:27 gives us a good assessment tool for measuring if our faith is doing any good for God and for others.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

Active, sacrificial compassion and consistent rejection of Satan’s temptations.

Can you do better than you have in this regard?

I can.

Let’s each pray for the Holy Spirit to convict and guide us into becoming more like Jesus.

This will bring more glory to God and more good to people in difficult circumstances.

As always, I love you
Martin

I love a phrase I read this morning in Hebrews 7:16.

“Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.”

I am deeply humbled when I think of how God is transforming me into a priest of the God Most High, not because I’m becoming more worthy but instead because of His power, His purpose, His promise and my desire to serve as a minister for His sake.

To think that Satan cannot destroy my life and my faith against my will — just as he couldn’t destroy Jesus’ life– is such an encouragement.

I was reminded by this verse of the passage in I Peter 2:9 of the mission of our salvation:

“…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.”

The power that cannot be destroyed — that which flows from the throne of God — is poured into surrendered Christians who are priests by means of the confession that Jesus is Lord.

Let’s live confidently and compassionately and biblically so that others see power compelling us that is greater than our own, keeping us going down the straight and narrow when others would have given up.

As always, I love you
Martin

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