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Archive for May, 2011

Nobody likes being lost when they’re on a journey.

Yes, it’s true that many male drivers refuse to ask for directions when driving in unfamiliar areas, but the principle above applies in a far larger context.

Many journeys are not geographical, but instead emotional or spiritual.

I’m trying to become a better sojourner in my spiritual life, encountering a decreasing number of occasions when I don’t know which way to turn.

The more I listen to and learn from the Holy Spirit, the more efficient will be my life of faith.

In my Bible reading this morning, I read these words:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” John 16:13

Jesus would not have said this if it were not true.

This means that we can’t begin to grasp the dimensions of God’s truth if we rely only on our brains and hearts.

So many facets of faith can’t be understood without the Holy Spirit’s help.

If they could, then Jesus was lying.

Please don’t try to do the faith thing apart from a thirst for more and more truth filling your heart, mind and soul.

You’ll fail if you lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We need more truth guiding us if we are to pursue that for which God created us.

Pray for the filling and leading of the Holy Spirit.

Make sure you’ve done what Peter taught in Acts 2:38 for receiving the Holy Spirit.

It’s the only way to really know if you’re heading the right direction in loving, serving and sharing a godly faith.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Somewhere in your past, a good friend showed real kindness and love toward you.

That display of goodness and loyalty deeply touched you and left a lasting impression upon you.

Perhaps now is the time to reciprocate, not to the friend directly but instead to one of his or her relatives.

Perhaps that friend is no longer living, but his or her child or grandchild is living and can be the beneficiary of a forerunner’s gracious character.

Perhaps that past friend helped you to get a job when you REALLY needed one and even fed you several meals while you waited for your first paycheck.

Isn’t now the time to show appreciation for that mercy shown you so long ago?

Isn’t now the time to give a gift or exert helpful influence on behalf of that friend’s descendant?

I think so.

You know the details of your life. You know if there are descendants of that past friend who so deeply impacted your life.

And if you don’t know, you can ask around until you find out.

When you do find a descendant via the Internet or via friends from days gone by, generously bless his or her life and then give the credit for the blessing to his or her parent or grandparent or uncle or aunt who had a major impact on your life.

Why this topic today? Please read 2 Samuel 9 and you’ll see why.

It’s a potent display of lasting friendship. The account demonstrates just how deeply David and Jonathan loved each other and considered one another as brothers.

What makes this so cool is that God was the One ultimately responsible for the blessing that Mephibosheth received since, the Bible says, God was the One who “knit together” the hearts of David and Jonathan so many years earlier.

When God gives you a deeply committed friendship, He’s not only trying to bring you happiness. He’s also preparing you for being a tool of friendship blessing to people decades in the future.

All for the sake of friendship.

Please, dear friend, send a blessing to an old friend’s kid or grandkid.

Perhaps you’ll even treat them as your own.

In a very real sense, that’s just what they are.

As always, I love you
Martiin

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Busy, busy morning.

Good thing that the Morning Devotion message shown me this morning is so concise and compelling.

“…humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33).

It’s worldly to want the praise of men, particularly if it has not been preceded by putting others first.

Jesus was the perfect role model of serving others, regardless of whether they were serving Him.

He knew that His Father would bestow honor on Him when the time was right. And Jesus knew it wasn’t His job to make sure that He received the praise He deserved.

Instead, God sent Jesus to seek, to serve and to save.

Even to the point of washing the feet of people who would soon betray Him.

Listen, we honor God when we serve others apart from whether they praise us.

Humility before honor, my friend.

That’s the agenda that God wants to see in our hearts and minds.

He’ll honor us when the time is right.

Please don’t fall into the trap of doing for others only after they’ve fed your ego.

As always, I love you
Martin

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OK, so you’re an ancient, godly king and you learn that an army of angry God-haters is coming to kill you and all your citizens.

We’re talking an army of thousands.

So what do you do?

You hurriedly round up your army generals and you tell them to get the troops ready for battle, right?

And you work up an inspiring speech to motivate the troops, right? The kind of speech that script writers would weave into an epic Hollywood war movie?

Not if you’re King David.

It’s intriguing to see how he responded to national threats like the one above.

It’s also instructive for us since we will face smaller-scale threats through the years of our lives.

In 2 Samuel 5:17-21, the Philistine army prepared to attack David and his army.

David did something that you and I might not have done.

He asked God if he should go out to attack the Philistines.

What?

These pagans have come to wipe the Israelites off the map and yet David is asking if he should attack them? What’s up with that?

This is not a case of David being a wimp, but instead his being submissive, patient warrior wanting to act according to God’s timing.

“David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

David knew that conflict was coming with the Philistines one way or another. And he was confident that God’s plan for establishing and enlarging the place of Israel would not be snuffed out by a pagan army.

The issues for David were timing and trust.

Should he wait to be attacked and then fight? Or should he pro-actively confront and conquer those who detest God and godly people?

“The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

“So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.”

In this case and another that follows in 2 Samuel 5, God told David to confront the enemy before the people of God were attacked.

The military aspects of this chapter are interesting, yes. But I’m moved and instructed by David’s demonstration of a faith principle best described in Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

Human logic told David to make the first strike. But David didn’t want to trust only logic. He wanted to trust the will of God revealed through prayer.

Because He did, God provided the victory.

Whatever conflict situation we face, whether at work or home or school or church, let’s not rely solely on human logic. Instead, let’s discipline ourselves to seek God’s leading before we start kicking tail and taking names.

Who knows that God won’t resolve the problem for us before the battle begins?

Praying first for divine wisdom almost always leads to God receiving more glory when the victory comes.

And that is a very good thing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Harold Camping’s prediction about the end of the world occurring Saturday was one more example of someone seemingly thinking he or she is smarter than Jesus.

It’s quite surprising, actually, that one who has read the Bible multiple times would still fall into the error of neglecting Jesus’ statement that even He didn’t know when the end of the world was coming.

Only the Father knows that date.

If refuse to neglect God’s Word, we’ll learn essential truths like the one above.

If we do neglect the Word, though, we’ll fall into all sorts of error regarding the future of the world and how we are to live in it in the present.

Psalm 119:16 contains a declaration that every believer should make and practice.

“I will not neglect Your word.”

Please, dear friend, read the Bible daily. It will only take you an average of 10-12 minutes a day to read through the Bible in a year. You can even do it online at a site that I often use — One-Year Bible Online

You’ll be SO glad for your display of spiritual discipline AND you’ll grow better equipped to tell others about the certainty of your faith.

There are more people than ever who think Christians are wacko because of believing claims that don’t come true.

The more that you and I live according to biblical Truth confirmed by historical evidence and Christlike integrity, the more we’ll demonstrate the Bible really is an excellent guidebook for a successful, authentic life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Everybody wants to make better decisions because everybody wants a better life.

Unfortunately, we’ve all made some decisions that we regret.

It’s very likely that many of those decisions were ones that made without adequately seeking the advice of others.

If only we would have sought counsel from wise people before we acted….

Oh well. We hopefully have learned the value of King Solomon’s teaching in Proverbs 15:22.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

When it comes to major financial decisions or healthcare decisions or career-path decisions or spousal-choice decisions, we increase the chance of error if we don’t seek the wisdom of faithful people whom we trust.

No matter how smart we might think we are, we can’t view a potential decision from all the sides needed.

We need the perspectives of others who have already experienced the other side of the decision we’re facing, or at least something similar.

Don’t be a Lone Ranger, my friend.

Ask for help in making the big decisions.

The best source of wisdom?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Turn to the Bible for advice, my friend. Use online resources like www.Biblegateway.com in order to find occasions in scripture that involve the same issue you are facing.

And, of course, pray.

A lot.

With the Lord as your advisor and with mature Christians from your congregation and family advising you, your likelihood of success is much greater.

Proverbs 15:22 promises so.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Humility can be amazingly potent when applied in the proper way.

Sometimes it is the only legitimate choice when it comes to preventing personal disasters.

Abigal’s story in I Samuel 25 is an excellent example.

During David’s years of hiding from King Saul in the wilderness, David had provided protection from rampaging marauders for people who lived near his hideouts. And so, he thought it only fair to ask them for food help.

His efforts were rudely rebuffed by a man named Nabal.

David responded by pledging to kill every male in Nabal’s camp.

Nabal’s wife Abigail learned of her husband’s grave error and quickly loaded up donkeys with hundreds of pounds of food and went out to meet David before he reached the camp.

It wasn’t her fault, but she knew her failure to act would lead to her great loss.

Abigail decided it was better to vicariously apologize and give David some of her family’s possessions and preserve their lives than it was to give nothing and then lose everything.

I encourage you to read the story by clicking here. It’s a wonderful study in character, quick thinking and the power of humility.

You might be in a situation now where showing humility can save you a lot of future hassle.

You might not even be the one who messed up toward an influential relative or a debt-holding bank or toward an almost-out-of-patience IRS. If you’re on the verge of suffering “payback” because of a family member’s error, however, then you should plead with that family member to humbly apologize for the offense and make a generous statement of restitution.

If he or she refuses, then perhaps following Abigail’s example is in order.

After all, she was going to suffer because of Nabal’s choice so it WAS her business to get involved by doing what God led her to do.

Remember that it’s always better to humbly give up something than it is to lose everything.

Most of us aren’t needing to do this just now. When we do find ourselves in the future standing at the intersection of pride and humility, let’s remember Abigail’s wonderful example of active, effective humility.

As always, I love you
Martin

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