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Archive for March, 2012

Think about three of your favorite foods for just a moment…………..

On my list are grilled hogfish snapper, ice-cold watermelon and carrot cake with extra lemon juice in the cream cheese icing.

Ummmmm……

A meal including these foods would thrill my taste buds and tummy.

I’d even savor for hours just the memory of enjoying that meal.

Is this the kind of feeling you have after your Sunday worship experience?

Do you have this same measure of satisfaction after a time of Bible reading and focused prayer?

Please be honest.

Psalm 63:2-5 calls us to desire delicious times of devotion toward our Lord. I want to be more like the worshipper described in the words below:

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

How will your Father in heaven feel if you see your time with Him as tasty as a plate of your favorite food?

He’ll certainly love it.

There’s no question that He deserves your praise and mine ….. forever.

What joy it is to know that our focus in the next life won’t be to fill our stomachs with delicious food but instead to fill heaven’s throneroom with delicious praise!

For God’s love IS better than life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes we read a verse in the Bible that is SO clear in its declaration.

Revelation 20:15 is such a verse.

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

I’ve been doing a lot of study lately on the varying teachings within Christianity about hell.

I’ve actually been shocked at the growing number of people who don’t believe in hell, though they are certain about the existence of heaven.

I’ve got much more work to do in order to be better prepared to converse with those who believe differently than do I, yet some verses are so profoundly simple that they must be shared.

The verse above is one of those.

Like Jesus said, no man comes to the Father but through Him. And if one doesn’t go to the Father, there’s only one other place to go.

Please help people see the need and the Way for eternal life. Remember, we’re in the rescue business.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s not easy to sing praises during storms of disappointment.

Our flesh and emotions are drawn to outpourings of “Boo-hoo” if we think only of what has been or might be lost.

But if we contemplate how our earthly and eternal future WILL be better and brighter through our faith in Christ, then worship moves from the “Do I have to?” mode and into the “Boy, do I want to!” mode.

King David had to sort through many times when circumstances were set to topple his faith and his flesh.

But almost without exception, he chose the path that pursued God rather than avoided Him.

Even when times were really tough.

I loved what I read this morning from Psalm 57 in this regard:

“I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among man-eating beasts, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

“They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path — but they have fallen into it themselves.

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” (vv. 4-8)

Many people had it in their hearts to destroy David or at least torment his life to point of irrelevance in Israel.

But David had it in his heart to praise God no matter what came his way.

This is a great lesson for us. For if we sing praises in the storms that come against us, how much greater our worship will be when we’re not dodging bullets and fiery arrows from the Enemy!

Let God be exalted over all your life.

Sing and make music to Him from a steadfast heart.

May your praise and mine awaken the dawn with songs of praise to our Protector, our Provider and our Redeemer.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Some readers of scripture might think that God went way overboard in punishing Moses so harshly in Numbers 20.

And, according to human standards, it would appear that Moses didn’t deserve the terrible consequence he was promised.

But God’s ways are not man’s ways and God had a very good reason for what He did.

I’m talking about Moses being forbidden from entering the Promised Land as a result of his losing his temper in front of the Israelite nation.

This wasn’t only about having a bad day emotionally because of the whining, demanding, ungrateful Hebrews.

This was also about disobeying God’s instruction to speak to a rock so that water would pour out as a fountain for the thirsty people.

You can read the account by clicking this link, but the bottom line is that Moses was told by God to do one thing and, in his out-of-control anger, chose to do another that showed a loss of self-control and a loss of submission to God.

At a crisis moment, if you and I default to our fleshly way of handling things, God is pushed to the side and we have declared that our way is better than His way.

How can we not expect there to be consequences from God for our rebellious moment?

Listen, somebody is always watching when we become angry.

Even if no people are seeing us diminish our faith testimony by acting worldly, God still sees it.

And His heart is wounded.

We can all, of course, understand why Moses was so upset with the Israelites. We can only take so much whining and foolish complaining before we’re at the end of our patience rope.

When we run out of that rope, though, we still have to reach out and hold onto a compliant, self-controlled faith so that we don’t set the bad example that demonstrates a loss of self-control and so we don’t have to suffer some form of consequence as a result.

If weaker believers can’t count on us to set the example of self-control in the midst of people who are out of control, then to whom can they turn?

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s ironic that so many humans trust their own goodness or ruthlessness or family name or physical beauty or social charm or financial standing as the means of feeling good about their future.

And that’s just for this life.

For those who believe in the fact of an afterlife, the notion of human attainment meeting divine, flawless standards is widely embraced even though it is logically impossible.

There is no such thing as “good enough” when the minimum standard is perfection.

Listen, heaven has the original zero tolerance policy.

Nobody gets in if even the tiniest of sin’s stains remain.

For if they did, it wouldn’t be perfect.

And Jesus would have died for nothing.

This truth jumped off the page to me this morning when I read Proverbs 11:7.

Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing”

It appears that King Solomon might have been speaking of the hopes that people had then that the kings of nations could always protect them from invading armies.

History shows that hope to be terribly hollow.

Countless times the citizens of a country learned in a most sobering way that their king had been killed in battle — they saw an invading army approach with fire in its eyes and blood-hungry swords in its hands.

The king’s promises had come to nothing.

Fast forward to now. Mortals are still believing lies.

Not as much involving clashing armies but certainly as much, if not more, involving false teachings.

Cults and other non-Christian religions around the world are growing at a meteoric rate because of the emphasis on human attainment of the mind or of the flesh.

Even Christianity is struggling in some ways because of this tendency among so many.

How many are church followers or pastor followers who drop out of Christianity whenever the church fails or the pastor fails?

Listen, our hope is to be in the Messiah who was God in human form and who was resurrected.

Any other hope will fail because it always has.

All the promise of power made by king after king, by false prophet after false prophet, by false religion after false religion has — or will — come to nothing.

Those kings, false prophets and false religion leaders are still dead and so are their promises.

Please join me in celebrating the fact that our hopes are in a living King who promises to come in power to deliver us to the “everything” of heaven.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I’ve always been sympathetic with the portrayal of Peter, James and John in Mark 14:32-42.

For in that passage describing the recurrent drowsiness of the apostles while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, I’ve found myself.

When Jesus needed their prayer support more than ever, their flesh trumped their faith.

They weren’t rejecting Him. It’s just that their level of intercession wasn’t respecting and protecting Him.

Because of the combination of several biological and life situational factors, I rarely get enough sleep. This means that my eyes are frequently drowsy.

It stinks.

Because of coffee and stubborn determination, though, I’m typically able to push through the drowsiness and accomplish most of what I believe God expects from me during the day.

I know, however, that I’m landing short of my potential in some respects because my eyes so frequently are saying, “Enough already!”

It had to be very embarrassing for Peter, James and John when they repeatedly fell asleep during the crucial times that Jesus most wanted them awake and praying.

What could they say in response? Nothing.

What did they say in response? Nothing.

What can I say to Christ when He finds my mind stumbling about in mental/eyesight fatigue rather than laser-focused on pressing needs of the Kingdom and its people?

Nothing.

Listen. Perhaps you’re like me and you need to reconsider when you pray. If I wait until late at night to pray intensively/extensively, or if I seek to do so when I’m still trying to put the toothpicks in my eyelids after I wake up before 5:30 a.m., I’m probably going to struggle like the three apostles did.

I’m praying for wisdom in this regard so that my prayer life will bear more fruit for the Kingdom and its people.

Please pray the same for your life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s so nice when we find something or someone we can really trust.

Whether it’s a case of turning the ignition and ALWAYS having the car start or a case of turning to a friend who ALWAYS listens, loves and looks for how best to help us, there is nothing better than the feeling of complete confidence in something or someone.

I was reminded of this principle this morning while reading from Proverbs 10:31.

From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom”

This brief passage is talking about more than just relevant information.

The reference to wisdom, of course, is describing tested information, PROVEN information that helps people make progress toward better lives.

We are called to seek wisdom from scripture, from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and from other believers so that we can become more like Christ and accomplish more for His Kingdom.

As we pursue wisdom, God’s Spirit coordinates a supernatural process within our hearts and minds whereby His Truth and His purposes permeates our thoughts, our words and our actions.

That’s what overflows from our lips into the lives of others.

We trust the Word that Bible people tested and trusted.

And then we speak more like Bible people spoke.

We speak more righteously.

People will trust us more.

And some of them just might be more likely to turn to the One whom they can REALLY trust — Jesus Christ.

As always, I love you
Martin

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