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Archive for April, 2014

Go to the beach at night and you’ll likely see little points of light miles away out on the ocean.

It’s amazing when you think about it, this evidence of electricity flowing through these small, glass-encased filaments on bobbing vessels perhaps seven miles away.

A tiny light in a massive expanse of darkness, yet it is clearly visible.

The darker the night grows, the more visible the light.

And so it is to be with the light of our lives as our world becomes a spiritually darker place.

You see what’s happening.

You feel the sadness at the moral decay of our nation, our communities, our workplaces and perhaps even our extended families.

You pray with increasing frequency that those close to you will draw closer to the Light of Jesus Christ, rather than moving away from Him.

It’s sad when people about whom we care are making choices that increasingly define them as “people of the night” rather than “people of the Light.”

It’s comforting, though, to know that as we make more room in our hearts and minds for the Light of scripture, the Light of the Holy Spirit and the Light of Christ’s presence, we’ll shine brighter into the darkness invading our corners of the world.

It is a truth of physics that you can’t “turn on” the dark. Remove the light and darkness automatically inhabits the space.

We can, however, turn on the light and darkness has no choice but to flee.

There is no pushing and shoving when it comes to photons.

They win every time.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5)

Let’s flood our circles of influence with spiritual photons.

Let’s radiate the brilliant light of faith.

Darkness cannot overcome light.

We just have to make sure that pride, envy, materialism, apathy and other tools of the Enemy don’t corrode our connection to the Divine Creator empowering our light.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Repenting isn’t fun.

After all, who thinks apologizing to God is a happy time?

But everybody sins.

And that means that everybody should repent before God for doing what we shouldn’t have.

Hopefully, as we mature in faith, our repentance becomes less frequent because our sin becomes less frequent.

Like you, I’ve found that it’s much more pleasant to sin/repent much less often.

You have your list of recurring sins just as I have mine.

Thank God that He is gracious and leaves opportunity for us to repent our way toward restoration of intimacy with Him.

Let’s reject Satan’s lie that repentance is an unreasonable demand of a cloud-based control freak.

Let’s remember that Satan refused to repent and was condemned to eternal suffering as a result.

Acknowledging our failure and our need for restoration through God’s mercy and Christ’s blood is a pain but without it, we won’t experience the gain of peace with our Father who was previously pained by our choice to ignore Him.

Here’s what repeatedly repentant King Solomon wrote about repentance in Proverbs 14:9…

“Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

Peace with God is always awaiting us on the other side of repentance.

When you sin — and we all do — please run down the path of reconciliation.

God will always welcome and restore a repentant heart.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Dirty diapers are a very small price to pay in return for the joy of parenting a baby.

And what successful athlete wants to give up competition simply because it takes time to work out and practice?

The fact is that life is a series of trade-offs. If we want the rewards and blessings, investment of effort, patience, resources and cooperation are required.

A successful life is not built upon the shifting sands of luck but instead upon the bedrocks of determination and cooperation.

Part of determination is staying with the task even when circumstances stink.

Sometimes, even literally.

King Solomon owned many thousands of horses and oxen so he knew something about stalls.

He knew that fields weren’t plowed and harvests weren’t transported unless there were oxen to pull the plows and wagons.

With oxen, life was ultimately more affluent.

Even though oxen make big messes in their stalls.

It was a trade-off people were willing to make.

The better lives were more than worth the stinky mess that had to be tolerated and regularly carried away.

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” (Proverbs 14:4)

Listen, dealing with certain people at work or church or school — sometimes even at home — can really stink on occasion.

But if we’re not willing to deal with people who aren’t perfect in word and deed according to our perception, then are we being the kind of people God has called us to be?

What if others decided to avoid us unless we behaved perfectly in their view?

The person who never wants kids in their home or only invites over white-gloved clean freaks or who expects others to never say or do anything of a faux pas nature is going to be a lonely person.

We all make messes that sometimes stink.

Let’s make sure that our lives are beneficial for others so that our blessing to them is more evident than our “messing” of a relationship.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Pride is our enemy.

It blinds us to our weaknesses and binds us to approaching “train wrecks” in our lives.

Do you know anybody whose life and relationships improved because he or she became more prideful?

Humility is so much better.

We’ll help people more because being helpful is the right thing to do and it shows concern for others rather than only for ourselves.

We’ll forgive more because we don’t want others or ourselves to carry the heavy burdens of unfulfilled “payback.”

We’ll listen more because understanding others’ thoughts and feelings is more important to us than making sure that they “know” that we have the best answer in every situation.

Jesus was humble and it sure served Him well.

Here’s a teaching of His that should guide our steps:

“Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26)

Putting others first in every situation is not a sign of weakness but instead a sign of strength.

Good parents make sure their kids eat first, that their kids are sleeping safely first, that their kids’ medical, clothing and educational needs are met before adult “toys” are purchased.

Good Christians make sure their church’s financial needs for ministry and missions are provided for first before other personal financial splurges are made.

Let’s take a step back of “self” and become the unselfish leaders for our circles of influence that God has saved us to be.

It’s the best way to get ahead in this world… and the next.

As always, I love you
Martin

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So Israel was told by God to drive out the pagan tribes upon entering the Promised Land.

Why? To prevent the corruption of theology and morality that would surely follow if they didn’t.

Some Israelite tribes did drive out some of the pagan tribes inn their appointed regions during the decade or so of conquest expeditions beginning with Jericho.

But some tribes didn’t.

The Book of Judges cites the tribe of Judah’s failure as attributable to the enemy’s chariots, when really it appears to be lack of faithful determination.

Pharoah had chariots. Many of them. And he was determined to use them as his key weapons for forcing the fleeing Hebrews back into Egyptian slavery.

The problem for Pharoah was that the chariots didn’t float and were destroyed by the collapsing walls of the the temporary corridor through the Red Sea.

God was bigger and “badder” than the chariots.

Judah forgot that and looked at the threat, not at history.

We do the same sometimes.

We see threats and feel fears.

We forget about the fact that chariots don’t float and that God is bigger than our biggest enemy.

We forget that God called us to overcome the enemy territory in our moral lives, our ethics lives, our financial lives, our prideful, control-freak-of-other-people lives.

Big victories don’t come by defeating weak enemies who flee when we say “Boo!” in Jesus’ name.

Those kinds of victories involve pitting steely faith against iron chariots of “stumbling block” sins and sometimes-oppressive peer pressure and physical/financial limitations that leave us feeling vulnerable.

The same God that emptied the tomb despite all that forces and wishes of Satan, his demons and his co-conspirators on earth is the God who is bigger than the chariots in your life and mine.

Whatever territory in your lifestyle that an unsanctified enemy is dug in, don’t fear the rattling chariot as you begin to attack it with the conviction of transformation.

Press in to God with prayer and study and association with fellow spiritual warriors and then press forward in faith that God will shield you from destruction as you carve out a larger sanctified zone in your life.

Remember, chariots don’t float when overwhelmed with a flood of Living Water.

As always, I love you
Martin

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You know the phrase… “Birds of a feather flock together.

It is a phrase that is true to life not just for species associations in the wild, but also with character associations of people.

Crooks associate with crooks and “goody two shoes” people associate with other “goody two shoes” people.

Those who like to tell dirty jokes and engage in rampant gossip feel uncomfortable when trying to fit in with those disgusted by such behavior.

It’s just how we humans are.

We like our comfort zones, whether they’re wholesome or unholy.

Solomon called us to hang with the right crowd.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (Proverbs 13:20).

Each of us experienced both paths during our childhood years. And what Solomon said is exactly what happened.

We had good times with little stress because we associated with the good-behavior kids.

And we randomly had unhappy times with lots of stress because we associated with the bad-behavior kids.

At your job, among your neighbors, when making time for relatives or people from church, focus the bulk of your time on those who are wise, those who learn and apply the teachings of the Bible.

It’s so much better to become more like them and for you to impart the good things of God through your life into theirs.

After all, the alternative is will only lead to trouble.

And who wants to be in trouble?

As always, I love you
Martin

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Why are serving the Lord and anticipating eternal joy in heaven such good ideas for Christians?

It’s because our sovereign Jehovah has never failed — even before time was created.

You know, I really take comfort in the fact that if I jump off the side of a boat to cool off in the ocean, I am never failed by the law of gravity.

I ALWAYS descend into the water.

It would be really bad if gravity was random and I headed toward the stratosphere.

Gravity never fails.

And neither does the Creator of gravity.

I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that God never says, “Oops!”

I sure wish I could make the same claim but I am far from being in that position.

Listen, when it comes to that upon which we base our hopes, our sense of well-being, our sense of being loved and our sense of identity, we’re far better off standing on the Rock that will not be moved.

I’m talking about Jesus Christ who was the earthly ambassador of the Father’s flawless love and Word.

Why should we strive to live surrendered, gracious, generous, Bible-compliant lives?

Because God has never let us down.

Because God has never let Himself down.

God is in the business of keeping promises.

Here’s a reminder from a guy who embraced this truth in a passionate way more than 3,300 years ago.

“Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!”
(Joshua 23:14)

Joshua, the leader of the Israelites during the years of conquest in the Promised Land, knew he would soon die and called the people to remain faithful after he died. It was the fact of God’s integrity that should inspire believers to trust the Father with an obedient life.

That’s true for us, as well.

Let’s do our best to keep our commitments to God and to others. It’s the least we can do for the God who has never failed in His promises to us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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