Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2013

Deep roots are good.

In fact, the only time they’re not good is when somebody is trying to pull the plant out of the soil.

That’s why Satan likes seeing shallow roots in a Christian’s life.

He’ll either attempt to parch the believer by trying turn up the heat of turmoil or he’ll plead for permission from God to block blessings.

For the shallow-rooted believer, the result is too often disappointment, despair and disengagement from serving the Lord.

For the deep-rooted believer, though, Satan’s efforts often work against himself.

Such a believer often prays more.

He or she reads the Bible more.

And he or she will serve other believers more in order to be strengthened by the joy of serving an almightly, gracious God.

I’m glad that my Morning Devotion time helps to deepen my roots.

For you can be sure that Satan loves turning up the heat of turmoil in my life.

The roots are stronger than his lies and the wounding words of people, though.

I thank God for this reminder found this morning in Proverbs 12:3…..

“…the godly have deep roots.”

I’ll pray more.

I’ll read the Bible more.

And I’ll serve other believers more.

Thanks for the shove, Satan. You’re prompting me to become stronger just before Easter.

Praise the Lord!

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

He hadn’t eaten for 40 days and His stomach was surely complaining.

But that didn’t keep Jesus from declaring that scripture was more important than food when it comes to our overall health.

You’ll recall from the gospel accounts of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness that Satan played to the Lord’s famished flesh and suggested that He turn a stone into bread.

Jesus rejected the Esau-like response of “I want it now!” and thought long-term, not short-term.

Jesus knew the soul was far more important than the stomach.

And that’s why He said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Did Jesus just cook up that quote to sound spiritual and to counter Satan’s scheme?

No.

Instead, Jesus was showing the fruit of many years of scripture study and memorization. For what Jesus told Satan is what Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy just before they entered the Promised Land more than 1,400 years earlier.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Wow.

A 40-day fast from food. A 40-day feast on the Word.

No wonder Jesus was so resistent to Satan’s efforts.

Whenever you’re hungry, my friend, let it be a reminder to you that God also wants us consuming His Word with the same dedication.

We’ll be far less vulnerable to Satan’s traps if we’ll do this.

And far happier with reduced stress, by the way.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.” (Proverbs 11:30)

As I prepare for bed each evening, I need to look back on the day and evaluate what kind of fruit did I offer to people who might have been hungry for encouragement or compassion or wise advice or for spiritual insight.

Was the tree of my life a source of blessing to them?

Or was there nothing hanging from the branches of my words and actions that was appealing or helpful to them?

God created me to help people toward a relationship with Him.

Not because I’m their Savior but instead because His Son IS their only hope for a better life here and in eternity.

If people find help and blessing and a good example of faith when they see me, then my “tree” is just doing what it was created to do — help save spiritual lives.

It’s true that caring, competent Christians can have a part in saving physical lives as well when it comes to advising people on how to avoid destructive behaviors or lifestyle patterns.

But it’s the soul that is eternal and it’s the souls of others that should be our primary concern.

That was Jesus’ primary concern while He was on the earth.

People need hope. People need to know where to find fruit that is truthful and tasty.

People need to find Jesus for that is what will save their lives.

Please join me in asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us anything hindering our bearing of more good fruit, whether it be an overt sin of the flesh or a subtle, insecurity-based sin permeating through our attitude and words.

Here’s an excellent passage to help us with this needed refinement:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

Now that’s some tasty fruit, huh?

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Our lives are like rose bushes — we have moments when our words and actions bless others’ hearts with beautiful roses in the form of sweet-smelling blessings of kindness and encouragement and intercession.

At such times, the handiwork of God manifested in the colorful compassion toward another is so inspiring.

At our worst times, though, people around us don’t feel soft petals but instead sharp thorns.

Perhaps we’re upset with them and don’t want them to enjoy something nice from us, almost as a form of punishment for offending us.

They’re punished if they try to get close to us and, in a moment of spiritual blindness, we might even think, “It serves them right for what they did to me.”

Listen, Jesus is the Rose of Sharon, not the Thorn of Nazareth.

God never calls us to be thorns, but instead to offer a sweet aroma of faithful living to Him and to those around us.

Here is a teaching by Jesus on this topic:

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:44-45).

The Great Commission of sharing the gospel isn’t served when people see or feel thorns in our lives. Even if there are random good deeds and kind words dangling from our life’s thorny vine here and there, the risk of being hurt is greater in the unsaved person’s eyes than the reward of a small piece of help or encouragement now and then.

Let’s each pray for humble wisdom in order to have more roses in our lives and fewer thorny branches.

More people will reach out to us, and ultimately to Jesus, if we’ll do this.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Are you thirsty for unconditional love?

Parched of passion toward life?

Has a drought of inspiration left you direction-less in a desert of uncertainty regarding the real purpose of your life?

It’s time to drink deeply from the river flowing with clear, clean water.

It’s time to pray, to read the Word, to open up to trustworthy people who’ve learned how to satisfy the thirsting of the soul.

It’s time to find refreshment in God.

“The river of God has plenty of water.” (Psalms 65:9 NLT).

Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4) that all who drink from His fountain of truth and love will never thirst again.

If you’re feeling emotionally or spiritually parched, head to the fountain.

It’s fed by the river of God.

You’ll not only be refreshed but you’ll also become a vessel of refreshment through whom God and Jesus might refresh other thirsty souls.

Please start doing what I do in the morning before writing the Morning Devotion.

Read the Bible.

Here’s the website to start. Click this link and then add the website to your favorites. You just click the relevant month from the list on the top left and then you select each date. It’s easy.

And it will not only change your life but help you to be a tool for helping others to change theirs.

Remember, the river of God has plenty of water and that’s why I share a cup of cool water from it each weekday via the Morning Devotion ministry.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

We all heard the phrase during our childhood, “Do it because I said so.”

Perhaps it was parent or grandparent.

For years, we did things because they told us to do them.

But adolescence breeds independence and that sometimes devolves into a non-compliant path that isn’t good.

Hopefully, logic and love and faith guide your decisions today as they should guide mine.

And that includes trusting the wisdom and judgment of people who sometimes have a clearer view of the right path than do we.

The reality is that consistent, stubborn refusal to accept wise direction “because we know better” is a foolish, sometimes costly choice.

Another reality is that we’ve all played the fool in this way at one time or another.

We were walking a dead-end road at work or in a relationship or with our health and we refused the advice of caring people who knew what they were talking about.

What really bristled us was when were at the end of the road and we knew we had no viable option except to listen to the one or ones we had ignored.

We couldn’t understand how their advice would help, but when they said, “Do it because I said so,” we finally trusted them and — Voila! — the advice worked.

Our job performance or office relationships improved. Our marriage our parent-child relationship improved. Our cholesterol or BMI levels improved.

And our propensity for prideful stubbornness was hopefully diminished a bit.

Why this message today? Because there are times that we should do things because the Bible tells us to, regardless of what we think.

We don’t understand how it will all work out to do it God’s way, but it does if we’ll trust and obey.

That’s what happened in Luke 5 when Peter and his boat crew fished all night and caught nothing.

You know how the story goes with Peter initially disputing Jesus’ direction.

The nets went down, though. Why?

But because you say so,” Peter said to Jesus (Luke 5:5).

Of course, the catch was huge.

Good thing that Peter put out the nets because Jesus said so.

Let’s surrender our will and forgive the really hurtful offenses — because Jesus said so.

Let’s surrender our will and forsake the really tasty sins — because Jesus said so.

Let’s surrender our will and overcome our shyness and invite co-workers to church and the gospel — because Jesus said so.

Let’s surrender our will and do whatever the Word calls us to do, even if it conflicts with out pride-limited perceptions and precepts.

And let’s surrender our will and do what caring, prayerful, spiritually mature mentors counsel us to do when we’re not biblically certain of our path.

The catch of peace and blessing will be huge.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Stupid dream…. geez!

I rarely have ridiculous dreams that awaken me but that’s what happened this morning at 4:22 a.m..

I won’t get into the details of what I remember, but let’s just sum it up as disjointed, contentious and fortunately terminated by my subconscious realizing how stupid the dream was.

I was frustrated subsequently because I could not get back into a sound sleep, tossing an turning until the alarm went off a bit after 6.

I missed an opportunity that usually I respond to in a better fashion.

Perhaps I was too tired mentally to think clearly.

After helping Lori to get out the door to work, I grabbed a cup of coffee and read my One-Year Bible segment for the day.

And this is what I saw in Psalm 63:6…

“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.”

Thanks for the corrective Word, Lord.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 45 years and yet I still have faith focus lapses.

When a stupid dream awakens you, do you ever become frustrated and struggle to sleep again?

Or do you automatically start meditating on God’s Word and His grace as a means to displace crud from your mind in favor or thoughts about God’s goodness?

Last night was a reminder that I’m still on a journey of spiritual growth. Perhaps you are, too.

Let’s meditate more, particularly whenever we’re awakened during the night.

That way, if Satan has any hand in prompting our stupid dreams, he’ll realize he’s hurting his own cause and perhaps he’ll back off.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »