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Archive for November, 2011

Every believer’s spiritual garden should include plenty of “let us.”

I found a patch of body-building “let us” this morning during my Bible reading.

“…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:22-25).

  • Drawing near to God with confidence that our verbal and baptismal confession assures our acceptance by God.
  • Holding firmly to the hope we proclaim because God never lies.
  • Bonding together as family in a determined, encouraging manner.

Wow…. daily consumption of this “let us” list will make us stronger, not just individually but also congregationally.

Fill up today on this “let us,” my friend.

Your spiritual body — and your church body — will be stronger as a result.

As always, I love you
Martin

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As part of our midweek Bible study last night at church, we looked at I John 3:10.

Wow.

It poked us all in the eyes.

Not so much that we were convicted of non-compliance but instead in the sense that so many people say they love others, but might not really mean it in a biblical, always-put-others-first sense.

Here’s what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write:

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (I John 3:10)

John doesn’t beat around the bush here, that’s for sure.

If I do what is right and I show genuine Christian love to my Christian brothers and sisters, I’m a child of God.

If I buy into the lie that having a favorite sin or a bitter spirit toward somebody is not a problem, then I’m a child of the devil.

Like I said… wow.

It’s important to understand that John was speaking to the motive of the heart.

Remember, Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. So John’s words aren’t speaking about the presence of sin in our lives. It’s evident to me that he’s talking about the prevailing intentions of the heart whether in our actions or our attitudes toward other believers.

One of us might say or write something hurtful to a brother or sister in Christ, but that doesn’t mean we are absent of love. Instead, we momentarialy absent of good judgment and Christlike behavior.

If that brother or sister comes upon hard times, though, our love for them compels us to help them however we can. That’s what God desires from us. And the absence of such an attitude reflects the absence of surrender to our heavenly Father.

That’s why John wrote what he did.

If we have an obedient attitude toward God and a serving heart toward His children, we show He’s our Father.

Life in His family is so much better in this life and the next, so let’s strive to always do what’s right and always love — truly love — our brothers and sisters in Christ.

As always, I love you
Martin

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As part of our congregation’s recent ministry outreach series, I’ve highlighted the importance of preparing and sharing personal stories of faith.

We all know the power of a story when it comes to influencing others.

Imagine trying to market a new product to the public without any testimonials as to its effectiveness or desireability.

Stories are vital for building influence and loyalty.

The idea of a personal testimony has always been important for promoting godliness in the lives of others. Here’s a 3,000-year-old reminder of why we should prepare and share a personal testimony.

“Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those He redeemed from the hand of the foe, those He gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south” (Psalm 107:2-3).

The rest of Psalm 107 provides several, abbreviated examples of how God’s intercessory power and grace rescued sinful people who humbled themselves to cry out for help.

It’s a good read that I encourage you to check out here.

If you have prepared and shared a testimony — whether in part or in full — I want to thank you. You’ve planted a seed that the Holy Spirit and other believers can continue to water in the hopes that spiritual sprouting will occur.

If you haven’t and you’d like a simple guideline for preparing a concise testimony, please reply to this Morning Devotion and I’ll send you the tool that I provided to our congregation members.

We’re called to tell our story, my friends.

Please do so that that His story can become their story.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Oh my, what a busy day awaits me….

Here’s a great reminder of why God saved my soul and yours and of what I’m pursuing today:

“Save us, LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise” (Psalm 106:47).

You’ve heard the teaching of Ephesians 2:10 that says Christians are created (saved) in Christ Jesus for good works.

The fact is that God made us in order to love us and so that we will love, honor and serve Him.

Hmmmm…. isn’t that the rationale for people who want to be parents?

I pray that you’ll say and do things today that declare to God and to others your great thankfulness to Him and your heart of worship in your testimonies to others of His blessings.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I splash on some men’s cologne every once in awhile when I’m taking Lori out for a date.

But usually, I’m not a “smelly sauce” guy.

There’s one kind of perfume that I should be wearing more often, though.

In fact, we all should. Including the most macho of believers.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (Proverbs 27:9)

Listen, when I have a friend that gives me loving advice that is truly motivated by the desire to help me through a difficult situation, the sense of pleasantness that results is multi-faceted.

It is pleasant because the friend cares about me.

It is pleasant because the friend takes the time to think and pray and to talk with me.

It is pleasant because I’m gaining the benefit of a second set of eyes which is almost always helpful in assessing a situation.

And it is pleasant because when I apply the friend’s advice, I’m far more likely to have a partipating partner in resolving the situation.

If I’ve had a long day at work and then get cleaned up to go on a date with Lori, smelling the refreshing aroma of Lori’s perfume as we walk to the car is so refreshing and relaxing and… pleasant.

You see, the perfume smell tells me the hard part is past and that better times are on the way.

That’s what heartfelt advice from your good friends has meant to you in the past — hope for better times.

Please be that kind of friend to another.

Wear the perfume of sharing your heartfelt, love-motivated, Bible-based advice with friends.

They just might feel that the hard part is past and that better times are on the way.

It will also serve as a pleasing aroma to the God who created you.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Never forget that the desire of God’s heart is to have a forever relationship with you.

That’s why He sent Jesus to earth.

That’s why He asked Jesus to die on the cross for your sins and mine.

And that’s why He placed in scripture the words found in Hebrews 6:19-20.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

If you don’t have that anchor of hope to keep you safe in the storms, please receive it by embracing Christ as Savior.

Believer, if you’ve pulled up that anchor in the past because of various poor choices, throw out the anchor again and find the soul rest of knowing you will not be swept away by the waves of sin and hardship.

I’ve spent many a day on the ocean in various forms of rough weather and I can tell you that bouncing around on an anchored boat is not pleasant, but it is infinitely more comfortable than the thought of being smashed to bits and killed on the rocks.

Choose safety. Choose Jesus.

He’s faced the greatest storms ever and yet His faith in the Father held firm.

We’ll endure every storm, too, if we hold onto Jesus.

As always, I love you
Martin

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A teenager who alternated between sucking on a pacifier and drinking milk from a baby bottle would need some serious counseling.

And so would any parent who enabled such behavior.

Fortunately, I’ve never seen such behavior.

At least not in the physical realm.

I wish I could say the same in the spiritual realm.

We’re called by God to grow consistently in our depth of spiritual understanding.

It’s one thing to experience the blessing of spiritual birth and then ask questions as to why daily prayer and weekly church attendance are important. It’s quite another to be a 10-year veteran of church life and yet still not be able to simply answer the questions.

This stunted growth in maturity would never fly in an academic setting or workplace setting. And you can be sure that failure to mature in social settings will have painful and embarrassing consequences.

Let’s do our best to leave behind the spiritual pacifiers and baby bottles as we age in faith. There’s so much more waiting for us in comprehending God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and in accomplishing ministry for the Kingdom of God.

Here’s the message from the writer of Hebrews that deals with this topic:

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14)

Sink your truth-seeking teeth into the Bible every day, my friends. Share the Morning Devotion with me on weekdays. Save this link to your favorites list for brief, daily Bible reading.

Milk might do a body good, but the meat of God’s Word puts meat on our spiritual bones so that we can overcome the trials that come against us and utilize the ministry doors that the Lord opens up for us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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