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Archive for June, 2015

There’s something different — something richer — about a relationship where the only reason somebody spends time with you is because they want to, not because they’re required to.

That’s why aging parents love it when their adult children break away from their busy lives to spend a few days with Mom and Dad.

Not in order to pick up a check but in order to make cherished memories.

We love such times.

God is a Daddy and He loves such times, too.

It’s very meaningful to Him when we break away from our busy lives and — by our own desire to show Him our love — we set aside time to fellowship with Him, to pray to Him, to worship Him and to be guided or even transformed by Him.

We aren’t to attend worship or place our tithes and other offerings in the plate because we think God needs it to survive.

He doesn’t. He already has countless angels and souls loving and exalting Him in heaven.

Instead, we worship and serve and give in order that WE might survive spiritually and thrive emotionally.

Here’s a verse from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible that reminded me of how God is SO much greater than we and how blessed we are to have a God that cares BY CHOICE.

“… human hands can’t serve His needs — for He has no needs.” (Acts 17:25)

Wow.

No needs.

Only wants.

And one of those “wants” is the love and loyalty of your heart.

This being the case, please link your need for salvation and fellowship with God and His want for fellowship with you.

It’s the desire of His heart.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Stick with me on this.

I read a verse this morning from Proverbs that sounds discouraging, yet it actually — indirectly — affirms the importance of investing time and effort and perhaps money into learning efforts.

If you find a person who really wants to learn at the job or in college or, better yet, at church, then you’ve found a good thing.

You’ve found a good investment.

People who want to learn are our greatest resource for our families, for our congregations, for our workplaces, for our communities.

People who don’t want to learn are foolish and are choosing to remain as such.

I want to be the person who is always learning, even though it takes commitment to vigilantly gain new knowledge and wisdom.

I never want to become the type of person mentioned in Proverbs 17:16 —

“It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.”

When my daughters were in private school and later in private colleges, a lot of money flowed from my bank account into the schools’ bank accounts.

I was glad, however, for being able to invest in the girls’ education since they both had hearts for learning.

Both have become very successful in their careers and I give all the glory to God for providing the resources needed for providing the education they needed.

If the girls had been slothful in their studies and disinterested in learning, though, I would have been a poor steward to keep spending fistfuls of money on their college bills.

Listen, if we display a heart for learning regarding the scriptures and the work of the Church and the ways of humbly encouraging/equipping others, God will continue investing heavily in blessing us.

Let’s be very careful to avoid becoming fools in God’s sight who aren’t striving to learn more about serving Him.

Please make it a habit to learn DAILY something significant about the Bible or about helping a church member. God always blesses those who invest in knowing Him — and serving Him — in a better way.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There’s much value in asking a mature believer to accompany you when it comes to talking with people about Jesus.

Barnabas was a wonderful, caring, godly man who wanted to see people get saved in a city called Antioch. And he was having some success for the gospel, according to Acts 11.

That was good. But it could be so much better, he and other church leaders realized, and that’s why Barnabas made the trip to another city to recruit the Apostle Paul to help him reach more souls for Christ in Antioch.

“When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.

“Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)” (Acts 11:22-26)

As you pray for wisdom in how best to build bridges of godly influence — and ultimately share the message of salvation — please remember the example of Barnabas. Consider asking a mature believer to join you in the faith-sharing effort with an unsaved person.

Perhaps that mature believer might have something in common with the unsaved person such as a hobby or birthplace or type of job.

It’s always good to connect believers with unbelievers on a friendship basis. It’s even better when that connection has the potential for connecting a soul with Christ.

If we’re not having the measure of evangelistic influence that is needed — and few of us are — only good can come from teaming up with another believer who also loves the Lord and wants to see people turn from darkness to light (Acts 26:17-18).

As always, I love you
Martin

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Once again, I’m humbled by my lack of perceptiveness.

Here was my prayer just now:

“Thank you, God, for reminding me of why I must continue re-reading the Bible year after year. I have SO much to learn.”

I have read the book of Acts countless times and yet I never paid close enough attention to the first verse of Chapter 3.

I did today, however, and I am convicted of a change I need to make in how I approach prayer.

Here’s what I read there:

“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.”

The two apostles were used to praying at a designated time during the day. It was part of their spiritual discipline.

And when you read the rest of Acts 3, you’ll see how their devotion to prayer opened a huge door for ministry.

I like that sequence.

I want to experience the same depth of opportunity.

I believe as I become more structured in my prayer life, God will open more doors for ministry.

I’ve never designated a non-meal time during the day when I would stop for prayer other than my morning devotional time.

I need to make this change.

Perhaps you’ll do the same.

I need to have set-aside time with God.

Pray that I will find the discipline to get this change done. I have set my phone alarm for 3 p.m. daily in order to remind me.

I believe that more ministry opportunity — and power for ministry — will result.

I will pray the same for you.

Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could pledge to hold each other accountable for doing this?

If you’d like to join me in this, please let me know.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We all agree that simple is good.

I enjoyed the reminder of this truth that I read this morning during my devotional time.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior”

These simple words of 2 Samuel 22:1 instantly encouraged me.

I found comfort in knowing just how solid my life can be because of my faith in God.

He is my rock, assuring me that as long as I stand on His Word and do not depart from His presence, I will not fall and I will not be shaken.

For who is able to shake the ground under God’s feet?

No one, of course.

He is my fortress, assuring me that as long as I stay within the boundaries of His will, I will find His protection during the inevitable attacks of life.

Foes will send arrows and will batter the walls and pronounce all sorts of accusations. But they will not defeat the walls of God’s authority and promised safe haven for the souls of those who remain in Him.

And He is my Savior.

I really like this declaration of King David.

It’s great to have a solid place to stand and a fortress to protect us.

But what about eternity?

Do we really want to be in a situation forever where enemies can attack?

Of course not.

We look forward to the day in glory when enemies are no more and we won’t be standing on the rock but instead on streets of gold.

I am so glad that I have a Savior to deliver me to heaven.

Our rock. Our fortress. Our Savior.

It’s really a good thing that David saw God for who He is.

I pray that you see God the same way.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If there is an enduring obstacle to your pursuit of a settled life, perhaps there is an unjust decision in your past, whether made by you or someone close to you.

If you believe in God, then you have to believe that people will always — eventually — face consequences for unjust decisions that harmed others.

You and I won’t encounter restitution decisions on the scale faced by King David in this passage, but the principle remains the same.

If we do wrong against others, particularly if it violates an oath made to God, somebody someday will suffer the consequences until there is a restitution/reconciliation effort.

The offense mentioned in this passage regarding King Saul violated Israel’s oath during the Promised Land conquest to not kill Gibeonites. It’s a long story recorded in Joshua 9 but the point is this: If we break a promise, even generations later, God will see to it that we face consequences.

Promises are very important to God.

It’s all about integrity.

Good thing, too.

We’re sure counting on God to keep His promise of eternal blessing to us.

Let’s do our best to live in ways that pours blessing into others’ lives, not broken promises.

And if we encounter a life obstacle that just won’t go away — whether individually or as a family or congregation — let’s pray for wisdom to see if a broken promise or residual, unrepentant sin is perhaps the cause.

A settled life moving unhindered toward eternity is a much better outcome.

As always, I love you
Martin

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