Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2014

The last book of the Old Testament is rich with relevant counsel for Christians.

A couple of verses in chapter 2 of Malachi are of particular interest since they describe what I know God has called me to do.

And not just because I’m a pastor.

These are words that describe the ministry to which God as called every Christian:

The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.” (vv. 5-6)

Wow. What a wonderful legacy that the Levites had left as described by Malachi 2.

I want to live this kind of life.

I want to leave a legacy like this.

And so I need to live with reverence and worship with awe, passing onto others the truths of the Bible as I commit myself to righteous living.

It is then that I will be more effective in turning others’ lives from sin.

Please…. join with me in this call from God as we head into a new year.

So many need to experience His grace and peace and power as part of a new life.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

In the years toward the end of the Babylonian exile for the Jews, Zechariah the prophet was approached by some Jewish leaders and asked if the people who had been exiled for nearly 70 years should continue mourning the destruction of the Jerusalem temple as they had been doing “for so many years.” (Zechariah 7:4).

Zechariah responded that the mourning and fasting that had been done by most had actually been insincere. When spiritual festivals had occurred, the people had been thinking about their stomachs, not their spirits, the prophet said.

Check out the way the people should have responded:

Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.” (vv. 8-10).

Yes, there are things in our faith life that we wish had turned out differently, particularly if our congregation’s attendance and community popularity falls short of other congregations that don’t have our same set of challenges.

Moaning over what used to be does us no good, though.

Ministering to people in need is FAR more important to God than is how beautiful our church building used to be or how filled the parking lot was or how large of a budget surplus we used to have.

Let’s focus on what’s important to God now.

Let’s do what Zechariah said.

Humble service is always the better path.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

At one time or another, we’ve all felt like David did when people we counted on had let us down.

Fortunately, our lives haven’t been stuck in such sentiments.

When they have occurred for you, though, I pray that you’ve had the confidence to go to the One person who could help you through the darkness.

“You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” (Psalm 142:5)

David knew that the only relationship he really needed was with God.

People are important to us. Some human relationships have huge roles in our lives and can bring incredible satisfaction to our hearts.

But people are not our Creator. They are not our Redeemer. They are not our Provider.

People cannot do what God does.

He can comfort and heal in ways nobody else can.

He can lift us to heaven when humans can only point us in that direction.

God is to be all we really want in life.

Because with Him, we have all we really need for eternity.

Please see God as your refuge in the storms, in the droughts, in your weakness, in your loneliness, in your poverty and in your remorseful failures.

After all, He really wants you to spend eternity with Him and sent Jesus to the cross in order to prove it to you.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

There are 12 words in Psalm 141 that can revolutionize our lives if we’ll apply them.

The fact is that many of our headaches in every aspect of our lives can be traced to our not doing what the words say.

“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

Oh my.

We can’t rewrite history and expunge the pain and loss caused by our loose lips.

We CAN write a better future, though, if we’ll invite the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and words.

We CAN make greater progress toward our potential in Christ if we’ll commit to saying only words that build up rather than tear down, words that reflect the compass of faith and not the corruption of the flesh.

Let’s allow God’s Word and Christ’s example to lead our lips.

Life will be better for everybody in our world as we do.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

God does so many things first.

Most importantly, He loves us first.

As in loving us before our action shows that we love Him.

Huh?

Even as Christians, we sin.

We put ourselves first.

Yet the convicting, loving voice of the Holy Spirit talls us to repent and return to the narrow path of walking with God.

He knows that we probably won’t step back toward that lane of love if we aren’t given the divine carrot of forgiveness.

Because He does promise to forgive us when we confess our sins (I John 1:9), we can be made right with Him after we’ve done wrong to Him.

Thank God for Jesus, that’s what I’m sayin’…..

Here is a verse that can deepen your faith as it has done for me:

“Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.” Psalm 130:3-4

We can’t survive spiritually without God’s grace.

Let’s seek it.

Let’s share it.

Let’s learn to live as people who respect the One who shows it.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Here’s a thought that can help you and me to do the godly thing more often:

“All glory to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us.” (Revelation 1:5)

Jesus loves us and freed us from the sentence of eternal, spiritual death when He went to the cross for us.

We can never thank Him enough but we can show our appreciation by giving Him all the worship and service we can.

Even if we praised and served Him with every waking breath and action, we still couldn’t match what He’s done for us by rescuing us from an unimaginably horrible forever.

Give Him glory in every part of your life, my friend.

Speak as He spoke.

Serve as He served.

Resist temptation as He resisted temptation.

Love all sorts of people as He loved all sorts of people.

Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all for the glory of God, we’re told in Colossians 3:17.

He did SO much for us.

Let’s do more for Him at work, at home, at church, in the neighborhood or wherever.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

As a kid on the playground, I couldn’t stand it when a bully was picking on another kid.

Sometimes, I even got into trouble because I invited the bully to leave the kid alone and pick on me instead.

It didn’t turn out well for either of us at such moments.

Even as an adult in ministry, I’ve had occasions when I interceded in situations where one person was being treated unfairly and the attacker’s guns were then directed at me.

That’s OK. I just didn’t want the weaker person to be suffering unjustly and I knew that the Lord would sustain me during the attacks.

Part of being a Christian involves helping the weaker, whether emotional or physical or financial.

If we see someone hurting — particularly if from unfair treatment — our hearts should be moved to intercede in some way.

It’s not just about helping them, but also about confronting those who trample the rights of others.

Not everybody is able or willing to stand up for the weak person’s rights.

Those of us who can should do just that.

“The godly care about the rights of the poor;
 the wicked don’t care at all.” (Proverbs 29:7)

It’s like dealing with the bully on the playground.

If there are no boundaries drawn against attacks on the weaker, other wannabe bullies surface and chaos ensues whether in the workplace, the school, the church or the extended family.

If you have a friend or relative needing help in dealing with a corrupt mortgage lender or a neglectful landlord or an exploitative employer or a vindictive, manipulative relative, please pray for wisdom on how to pray with that person and perhaps even coach that person into better strategies for response.

It’s the godly thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »