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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Wednesday, December 31 2014
Wednesday, December 31, 2014             
 
       I was thinking this morning about certain people I know who are either trapped or else are not completely free because they live with or are constantly around a “control freak.”  Even though some people who suffer living with control freaks will never admit it, they have lost a lot of their own independence, creativity, and freedom. Simply put, they are not being all they can be because of their constant fear of upsetting or letting down the controlling person in their life.
 
       The term “control freak” first became common in the 60’s and some have even gone as far as blaming Frank Sinatra’s hit tune of the era, “My Way” for spawning that mindset. In my mind, I have imagined people who heard that tune, say to themselves, “Yes, that’s me and I’m going to run my own life as I please.” I’m not a psychologist but, to me, a “control freak” and a “perfectionist” are one and the same. The term was originally intended to be derogatory but today many people we know proudly label themselves by these terms, as if it were a good thing. It is not! People who are infected with this mindset can be beneficial and productive to society at times, but for the most part they cause plenty of grief to themselves as well as those around them. And if you think that Christians can’t be “perfectionists” or “control freaks”, you are greatly mistaken.  
 
       Nevertheless, before I completely go off track, the message God placed in my heart this morning was essentially a plea to those who are trapped in some sort of relationship with a control freak. It is time to break free and start being all you can be in Christ. In case you are still denying it, I hope you will open your eyes and face up to the truth. The Pharisees and scribes who constantly opposed Jesus were also in denial. They arrogantly proclaimed that they had never been in bondage to any man after Jesus told them “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) If we are going to submit ourselves completely to anybody, it should be Jesus and no one else. And if you are hesitating because you don’t want to upset or let that certain person down, let me remind you that the only One we should never let down is the Lord. This is the perfect time of the year for you to break away from your trap and start enjoying your liberty in Christ. If that is you, and you free yourself today, this coming year may be your best ever.
 

Memory verse for the week: (1 John 2:28“And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear , we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.”

 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 30 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014  
 
       There is a situation that many people worry about, and although they won’t always let it be known, it weighs on them heavily, sometimes for years. I am referring to their fear of a certain loved one in their life who they feel will miss out on Heaven. I would not be surprised if someone who is reading this blog today is in that category. One thing is for sure, however, and that is that almost every one of us has a preconceived idea of who will go to Heaven one day and who will not. Even though we may keep our opinions secret, we all have established certain criteria in our minds that will determine who goes to Heaven and who misses out. For example, those who habitually use profanity, are unfaithful or addicted to drugs, alcohol, or pornography, don’t get along well with others, are loners, don’t go to any church, or are forever angry with God, just to name a few, can’t possibly be candidates for Heaven in the eyes of many.
 
       If there is a one or several loved ones in your life that you are worried won’t make Heaven someday, I want to remind you today of a few eternal truths. First of all, please remember that God is always good, just, merciful, forgiving, patient, loving, kind and faithful. Jesus told His audience one day, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11)  Therefore if you are asking God for the salvation of a loved one, is that not a good thing, and will He deny it to you? Want more? John wrote: “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Is it not “according to His will” to pray for someone’s salvation? Peter wrote that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (See 2 Peter 3:9) Isn’t God’s will pretty clear regarding this issue? 
 
       There are many other promises in the Word of God that should encourage you today not to give up on people, and especially the Lord. To me, if all else seems to fail, I always remember that God uttered this truth many ages ago: “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (See Exodus 33:19) The bottom line is that anybody who ever enters Heaven, will get there because of God’s grace and mercy. You needed it when you came to Christ, and those who you are praying for are in the same situation. If God had mercy on us, He will have mercy on them. After your initial surprise for being there one day, don’t be surprised if someone you worried wouldn’t make it is there too. After all, God did say He will show mercy to anybody to whom He wants to show mercy.
 

Memory verse for the week: (1 John 2:28“And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.”

 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 29 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Today’s topic is not about physical addresses although, to be honest, they have played an important part in my life. As many of you are aware, I was a postal clerk for over 35 years, and zip codes, cities, streets, and specific addresses still live in my brain even today, many years after my retirement from the USPS. I still know, by their zip codes or addresses, most streets and some residences and places of business in San Antonio. Today, however, I am thinking about the way we address one another. Yesterday in church I addressed one of my granddaughters as “my little girl.” Since she is in her middle teens, she quickly reminded me that she is not a little girl. I explained to her why I so foolishly and carelessly called her that, and that is the gist of today’s meditation.  

       I believe that the way people address us says a lot about their relationship with us. For example, there are still some members in the church that seem intent on calling me “Joe”, and although that’s my name, the only people in the world that I will call only by their first name are those who are in my immediate family. When I address adult members of our church or those I know are Christians, I always refer to them as “Brother” or “Sister”, with the exception of those whom I consider “family.” It is a form as well as a title of respect and an acknowledgement that we are members of the same family. (God’s)

       In his first epistle to the church, (in the King James Version) John addressed it’s members as “little children” nine times. When you read it in it’s entirety it is evident that he calls them that because he loves them dearly. Here is one example: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Although senior citizens may hear it a lot from people they don’t know, terms such as “cutie”, “sweetheart”, “honey”, “sweetie pie” and others are terms of endearment and if people that know you call you by any of these names, it simply means that they love you.

Memory verse for the week: (1 John 2:28) “And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear , we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.”

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 26 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014             
 
       As I was mulling over the events of this past year, one of the thoughts that troubled me about it was the dear friends I’ve lost contact with. In the case of some, I no longer see them in church and with others, they never contacted us expressing a desire to keep receiving these daily meditations. The bottom line is, I miss them dearly. As I begin to get sentimental over the departure of these dear folks, I started humming a tune I had not heard in ages. It was a favorite love song of mine when I was a teenager back in the fifties. You know, throughout my lifetime there have been songs that bring a tear to my eye every time I hear them. Some were downright corny but they had this effect on me anyway because to me, songs are stories and I took them as such. There are many of them, but three songs in particular are “Puff The Magic Dragon”, George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”  and Mark Schultz’s “Walking Her Home.” This song was one of them also and was titled, “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” by The Five Keys. I just heard it again yesterday for old time’s sake on You Tube. It has a familiar theme, one of a fellow whose gal has left him for another, who according to him, has forgotten he existed. Nevertheless, as these type of songs usually go, he tells her in the end that she may be “out of sight, but not out of his mind.
 
       Although the situation is a bit different, one constant remains: People we love dearly, may be “out of sight”, but they definitely will never be out of our hearts and minds. If you are that “someone” who, for whatever reason, has walked out on those who love you, I want to remind you that you are dearly missed.
 
       Jesus illustrated this truth in His Parable of The Lost Sheep when He said these words:“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:4-6)My prayer today is that those who are out of sight in your life, as well as mine, will come back.
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 127:) “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 25 2014
Christmas Day,  2014
 
 As I woke up late this morning to the beautiful day the Lord gave us, I was reminded of how blessed we are. I know many people fantasize about having a White Christmas but as far as some of us are concerned, we'll take a bright sunny Christmas morning like this anytime. I also was reminded of a certain harmonica-playing dear member of our church, who is rejoicing in Heaven along with his wife right now, who would make it a point to call me personally every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's day just to wish me a good one. Perhaps I'm just a corny, sentimental old guy but it always meant a lot to me. Perhaps, I'm misapplying it a bit but I thought of these words Jesus shared with His Disciples in John 14:12: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do ; because I go unto my Father."
       I took it as a reminder that, because of today's electronic advancements, I can personally wish all of you together a heartfelt blessed Christmas day just by use of my pc. And that's exactly what I just did. Have a blessed day!
 
P.S. I forgot to add that I appreciate getting Christmas greetings by way of email just as I would a phone call.  In fact, if those who did it in thepast would have had computers back then, they would have resorted to that instead of their home telephone.  Those who have sent greeting, thank you very much for thinking of me.  
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 24 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014     
      
       On a bloody battlefield on a memorable Christmas Eve in Belgium in 1914 between British and French forces pitted against German troops, the fighting came to an unusual halt when the words of a German Christmas carol suddenly drifted in the frigid night. They were singing "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" ("Silent Night, Holy Night").  Soldiers who had been killing each other by the thousands slowly and cautiously emerged from their  trenches and all met in the middle of the battlefield to shake hands and sing the carol together, each in their own language. Some gifts were even exchanged. Sadly, a few days later, the fierce battle resumed. Though it was only momentary, they all turned their thoughts to the Prince of Peace that night and realized that peace can be found even in the midst of war.
       Today, one hundred years later, many have discovered the same truth but in their case, they know that this Peace is not momentary, but continues on. The prophet Isaiah  said it would be that way long before the world experienced the eventful first Christmas in Bethlehem. He wrote: “For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
 
       May all of you know this comforting truth and have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas in company with your family and friends. Trouble and strife may be all around us, but if Christ dwells in our hearts we can enjoy His peace nonetheless. Merry Christmas; I hope to write to you soon.
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 23 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014           
 
       I am not a doctor but I have recently come across an old un-named condition that appears to be as hurtful as it is contagious. I bet others have detected it, maybe you too, but it has not yet been named to this day as far as I know. Therefore, I will name it the SIC Syndrome. The letters stand for “Sorry, I Can’t!” I seem to hear this phrase or something similar with much regularity nowadays. The truth is I believe I was infected with it early in my Christian life and although I don’t feel I am completely cured of it, I choose to believe that I have improved quite a bit. Permit me to elaborate: The Lord so impressed me about this condition years ago, I took it as a personal indictment and wrote a poem about it and titled it “An Unforgettable Dream.” It is a story about a Christian man, like myself then, who felt he was in pretty good standing with God until the night he had his unforgettable dream. It really shook him up when the Lord took him before a giant panoramic screen and showed him the true effects of his careless, thoughtless, and selfish ways. Here is one of them and part of the poem: [The day I got an invitationI promised I would keepI told my brother “Sorry!”/ But now I saw him weep.] Oftentimes, we let people down thinking it’s no big deal and assuming it is the same for them also. In the story of the poem, the man who had the dream found out otherwise and was shown just how much it affected the one who was turned down.
 
       I’m aware that I’ve cited this passage several times but I believe it is important enough to be repeated: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) This means we should make an effort to comply with other people’s requests, especially when it concerns family or friends, and assuming they are reasonable, for sometimes they are not or we just can’t. I’m also aware how prone we all are to stay in our “comfort zone” as much as we can, and I’ve lost count of the times when I grudgingly went somewhere I did not want to go, but I also remember how happy I was afterwards that I went anyway.
 
       Since this is the season for giving and soon we will embark on a brand new year, may God help us to learn to give more of ourselves, now and throughout the year. May we develop a reputation for being the kind of people that know how to do favors for others; that are intent on not letting people down as much as we have in the past. If we start today, this Christmas will be more fulfilling and meaningful to us. More importantly, we will please and honor our Heavenly Father in the process.
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 127:) “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 22 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014      
       Many years ago, an old country doctor was driving home in the middle of the night after responding to an urgent call from one of his patients. It was a cold and rainy winter's night when he missed a curve and drove his car into a lake. He managed to get out of it before it completely submerged but not before it had drifted into the middle of the lake. Since he had never learned to swim, the old gentleman did his best to stay afloat but sensed he would not survive this ordeal for he realized that his strength would soon fail him or else hypothermia would set in. All of a sudden, the night stillness was interrupted and he heard a splash in the distance. In a few moments, he was being led out toward the bank and eventually to safety. The young man who saved him that night, quickly wrapped him in some blankets, set him down, and in a few minutes built a fire to keep him warm. In the firelight, the young man looked familiar to the doctor and when he gave him his name he soon realized that this was a baby boy he himself had delivered about thirty years prior.  
       This story also reminds me of the beautiful Christmas song “Mary Did You Know?” that says “this Child that you’ve  delivered will soon deliver you.” Many in this life have risen to greatness from humble beginnings, but none can touch the magnitude of Christ’s ascension from practically nothing to the highest point possible. From a human standpoint, who could have imagined that a little boy born to a poor and seemingly forsaken young couple in squalor and isolation, would one day rule the world? Even before He was born, the angel Gabriel informed Mary: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33)
       There are many great and wonderful lessons to learn from the Bible’s Christmas story, but I’ll just focus on two for today. The first one is that, because of God’s grace and mercy, no one is doomed to a meaningless and hopeless life. Samuel’s mother, Hanna, said it this way in her prayer of praise to God: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:8) No  matter who you are or how humble your beginnings may have been, please don’t think that you can’t have a meaningful and productive life, even if you haven’t up to this point. Your life is not over and it is not too late to start. Let your life be a gift to God as well as those around you. After all, Christmas is a time of giving. The second lesson, and one which is near and dear to this old coot, is this: This was just a small family of three on that momentous first Christmas, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, but they were together! Over two thousand years have passed since that first Christmas morning and still, Christmas cannot be Christmas if Christ is not in it, and if the family is not together. Family; to me that’s what Christmas is all about.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 127:) “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.”
 
      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 19 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

To me, one of the saddest accounts in the Bible is the one found in the 6th Chapter of John, in particular verse 66 which reads: "From that time many of his disciples (Christ's) went back , and walked no more with him." Many pastors know the pain and sadness caused by members who leave the church, for whatever reason, andperhaps thats why I feel that way. Nevertheless, the more I read and analyze the chapter in question, the more I come to the conclusion that, just like in life, in the end that these so-called disciples left Jesus was the best thing that could have happened to everyone involved. It may be that one or more of you who is reading this blog today has learned this truth first-hand, just like I did. Someone you loved dearly and thought you couldn't do without, left you one day. You may have thought your dreams were shattered and that your life was over, but now you realize you're still standing and may even feel glad or relieved that he or she left you. You have come to realize like the fellow pictured in a song who is saying that he thanks God for unanswered prayers. He had prayed for a girl he thought he just could not live without and many years later he realized that the lord not answering his prayer was the best thing that could have happened to him.

One of you shared recently a saying one of your supervisors would give his workforce from time to time. It went something like this: "If your presence here hasn't made much of a difference, neither will your absence." That was the case with the disciples that abandoned Jesus that day. They had not done much for the advancement of His Kingdom when they were with Him anyway. In the account, you will also note that Jesus did not beg them to stay; He knew better. If and when it happens to us, we should not plead with them either. Paul practically gave this same advice in the 7th Chapter of Corinthians. In it, he taught about marriage and in verse 15 he wrote: "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart." In fact, when Jesus told the twelve "do you also want to leave?" in John 6:67, they probably understood that it is better for those whose heart is not in it to leave. When you think about it, why would you want someone who doesn't really love you to stick around? Would that be a good thing? I heard a wise young man once tell me that his girlfriend was debating whether to choose him or another young man she was interested in. He said it pained him to do it but he told her one day, "choose him." He realized that if she was the wavering kind, sooner or later she probably would do the same to the other fellow.

The bottom line is this: The only One we can absolutely not do without, is the Lord. You can be hard-headed, stick to your guns, cross your arms defiantly and say, "No, I won't be happy and I won't give up until so and so comes back to me." If you are in that group, all I can say is, "don't hold your breath." However, I think more highly of you and am convinced you are better than that.

Memory verse for the week: (John 3:16) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever will believe on Him, will not perish but have everlasting life."

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 18 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Does a particular song from your past suddenly and unexpectedly just pops into your head one day and it's melody lingers with you and because of it, you find yourself singing, whistling, or humming it for a good part of the day? Well, one such old song I had not even thought about for years came to my mind yesterday. In fact, it was older than what I thought because I found a you tube version of a lady singing it back in 1929. The name of it is "Button Up Your Overcoat." Besides the plea to button up the overcoat, other advice such as eating an apple daily, going to bed early, being careful when you're crossing a street, wearing flannel underwear, being diplomatic when addressing a policeman, and being careful with frozen ponds, stocks and bonds, and peroxide blondes, among other things, is given. The reason the person asks this of the one he or she loves is pretty obvious. This is the principal line in the song: "Take good care of yourself, you belong to me."

As I thought about the song's prominent line, I realized that this is something the Lord could tell His children as well. I suppose it is safe to say that the person responsible for the song's lyrics didn't have God in mind when he wrote it, but the only One who has the right to make these demands of one He loves, is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." David said it this way in Psalm 100:3 KJV: "It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves."How much clearer can this be? If He made us we belong to Him period, and if His Spirit lives within us, should we not be careful with what we do with it and what we take into it?

I don't believe in coincidences so if I started humming this old tune all of a sudden yesterday, I have to believe that it is because the Lord has already been dealing with one or more of you about taking better care of yourself. I perceive that some of you may be thinking that this is no big deal, and I'm also aware of all the arguments folks can present to prove their point. Hey, I can relate. Recently, in one of my scheduled checkups with my cardiologist, a man who was 93 years old signed in after me. I confess that my initial thought was, "Whats the point?" Nevertheless, and as I think about it now, at what age do we stop being God's property? The bottom line is this: Because our bodies belong to God, we should take better care of ourselves. If the Lord has already been dealing with you about this matter, I pray you won't put it off any longer and do something about it for your own good. Just imagine God singing these words to you: "Take good care of yourself, you belong to Me."

Memory verse for the week: (John 3:16) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever will believe on Him, will not perish but have everlasting life."

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 17 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One of my favorite psalms of David and one we can often identify with, perhaps because it is a psalm of repentance, is Psalm 51. It was written after David was confronted by the prophet Nathan concerning his adulterous affair with Bath-sheba, and although I'm far from being a certified bible scholar, it is obvious that he went through an extended stretch where he knew that his fellowship with God had been broken, because of his wicked escapade, before he did anything about it. He may have gone even further in this interrupted relationship had not the prophet appeared to apprise him of God's complete knowledge of the affair and His displeasure concerning it. The entire story is found in 2 Samuel 11-12.

It was after God demanded an answer from him that David finally saw the wickedness of his sin and was reminded of the misery, heartbreak, fear, and lack of inner peace he experienced all the time he was separated from the sweet fellowship he had enjoyed with the Lord beforehand. The first thing that David was reminded of was that anytime we sin, it is God against whom we sin first, thus his words: "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." (verse 4) Then he was reminded that the Lord requires complete honesty of His children at all times. Concerning that truth, he wrote: "Surely you desire truth in the inward parts." (verse 6) There is so much teaching and instruction in this psalm but the truth I want to focus on today is the misery and lost joy God's children experience when they stray from Him. David expressed it this way: "Restore to me the joy of your salvation." (verse 12)

If this happened to David, it can happen to any of us. It is quite possible, then, that one of you who is reading this blog today is going through such a period. For whatever reason, you know for a fact that the love, joy, excitement, peace, assurance, and enthusiasm you had before in your relationship with Christ is missing. If it has gotten to the point where it is really beginning to wear on you, why not do what David did? Why not ask the Lord to return you to the place where you once were, namely the "joy of your salvation"? If the Lord answered David's wholehearted prayer, He will answer yours too. After all, Christ came to this world so that we could enjoy an abundant life. (See John 10:10) It is time to start living again.

Memory verse for the week: (John 3:16) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever will believe on Him, will not perish but have everlasting life."

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 16 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014     
 
       A lady carrying two grocery bags boarded a metro bus one day and had to stand because all the seats were taken. Becoming more agitated when she noticed that several men were sitting down, she said in a loud voice, “The problem nowadays is that there are no more gentlemen in the world.” One wise guy quickly responded, “No ma’am, that’s not the problem. The problem is that there are no more seats.” I am reminded of this corny joke whenever I hear of members who complain that their church doesn’t grow because they have “no vision.” As was the case with our opening joke, the problem is often not the lack of vision but the lack of funds. There is an old phrase in Spanish that says, “Al que quiere celeste, que le cueste.” It generally means that if you want the good stuff, you’ve got to pay for it.” A more literal translation would be, “If you want something heavenly, its going to cost you something.”
       Just as with our own personal budgets, any organization, churches included, should not even consider additions or improvements if it can barely cope with it’s financial obligations. Often, those who complain the most because their church is not moving or growing are those who are doing the least and may be, in fact, the ones mostly responsible for the lack of no growth or “vision.” Their gripes are about as senseless as those who complain about elected officials when they themselves did dot vote. And please don’t think that this is something new, one notable example being found in the small book of the prophet Haggai. This is part of the New Living Translation’s rendering of God’s message through the prophet:  “This is what the LORD Almighty says: The people are saying, 'The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD's house -- the Temple.'" So the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:2-4)
       Please don’t think that this happens in all churches because it doesn’t. There are many churches around, especially the large ones, where lack of funds will never be an issue. Here too, please don’t think that just because a church has all the money it needs, it means that they are doing everything right as far as God is concerned. You may want to revisit Revelation 3:14-22. The general message I wanted to convey today was this: Lets not complain about any situation in our lives, especially if we are doing little or nothing at all to change it. Let us rather focus on the things we have and not the things we lack, and lets be thankful to God for them. When we do that, we will be happy, and after all, God’s people are a happy people. That is why David wrote: “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” ( Psalm 144:15)
 
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should, not perish but have everlasting life.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 15 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014       
 
       Although, like many of you, I love giving or doing things for others, trying to find the right Christmas gifts for friends and loved ones makes me quite uneasy, to say the least. Perhaps, its just a guy thing but if it were up to me, everyone on my list would just get a gift card. I can almost hear some of you say “No, you can’t do that; its too cold and impersonal” and although I may grudgingly agree, my response would be that I would be very happy if I received nothing but gift cards, especially the restaurant type.
       I was reminded of this situation yesterday when I heard Pastor Ruben’s message in our first church service yesterday speaking about the “Perfect Gift.” In all your Christmases past, do you recall ever getting the perfect gift? I’m pretty sure none of you are thinking about a tie, pajamas, a fruitcake, underwear, or a sweater. Speaking of sweaters, although there seems to be much conversation these days about ugly Christmas sweaters, they sure seem to be popular for we see a lot of people wearing them. Considering the apparent fondness of today’s society of faded and torn jeans, it should not be so surprising, then, that many would love wearing these colorful sweaters. Yes, to some of you, a certain Christmas gift you once received may stand out from the rest; you may even think that it was perfect for you and I completely understand. Nevertheless “perfect” means different things to different people. To me, it is like the word “awesome.” Some people, especially the younger ones, apply the word to just about everything, leading me to conclude that “awesome” to them may be anything that is just nice or cool.
      I believe that “perfect”, as well as “awesome”, can only be correctly ascribed to God Himself, which leads me to declare that the only perfect gift the world has ever known is the One He gave us which is Jesus Christ, His Son. Most people in the world know John 3:16, but even though it is as clear as a sunny day, many still cannot see it’s message that Jesus was God’s gift to the world. Therefore, if God gave this gift, it had to have been perfect. With this truth in mind, our church was named, “Saved by Grace.” Ephesians 2:8 says: ‘For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the Gift of God.”Another important truth to know about the nature of this perfect gift is that it was given in love. Even among the gifts we give one another, the best ones are those which are given in love. When someone gives us something out of obligation, pity, respect, or anything other than love, that gift will be far from being perfect. The ones we cherish the most are those we know were given to us because the giver loved us. The best thing of all is that everyone in this life can have this “Perfect Gift.” If you have not yet done so, I pray you will ask God to give you this perfect gift today. It will be your greatest Christmas gift ever.
 
Memory verse for the week: (John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should, not perish but have everlasting life.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 12 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
 
 
       Back in the 60’s, a great controversy arose nationally over the rejection of Lyndon B. Johnson of the commissioned presidential portrait of himself. The artist was Peter Hurd and although the president called it “the ugliest thing I ever saw” it hangs at the White House today. I remember LBJ well and, to be honest, I thought the artist did him a great favor despite the president’s claim. To be fair to the artist, both he and the great sketch illustrator, Norman Rockwell, both claimed LBJ was very rude, impatient, and uncooperative when he posed for their drawings. Now to be fair to the president, I also think that most photos of me are ugly, although I won’t be criticizing those who take them. When I see them, I think, “Hey, that’s not me!” Maybe it’s the same situation as the one I wrote about this past Tuesday and I still see myself as I used to be, and not as an old geezer. You know the main reason I don’t like the photos of myself ? I almost always come out as I really am. That’s why I think that I, LBJ, and everyone else just needs to face up to reality once in a while. You’re familiar with the saying “the truth hurts”, right?      
       All people struggle with accepting the truth at one time or another. I didn’t see the movie, but I have seen the clip many times where Jack Nicholson yells at Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” If somebody says that about us, will they be right? I am reminded of the biblical accounts in I Kings and 2 Chronicles of the day when Jehosaphat, king of Judah, agreed to join Ahab, the king of Israel, in his battle against the Arameans. When the king of Judah, after hearing the prophecies of Ahab’s hand-picked priests, asked if there was in Israel a prophet of the Lord they could consult with, this was Ahab’s response:  “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” (1 Kings 22:8) I bet you can see that Ahab hated that prophet because he always told him the truth. I’m sure you all remember that Herod, and especially his wife, ordered John the Baptist’s beheading because he denounced their adulterous relationship. They, just like Ahab, definitely could not handle the truth.
       Christ’s true followers will all admit that every now and then, they may cringe and even say “ouch” when they read or hear one of God’s truths. Neither is it uncommon to hear some folks declare that they felt the preacher was singling them out and referring to them during his sermon. The truth certainly has that effect. Genuine believers, however, will embrace and accept the truth and learn from it. In the end, they will be thankful that God’s Spirit, more than the preacher, brought it to their attention. God’s Word can make us feel uncomfortable at times, but it is always there to help us, not hurt us. One more reason why we should love the truth is because Jesus is the truth. This is what He said in John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” To love Jesus is to love the truth.
 
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27)  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 11 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014    
 
       Speaking about His true followers, Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount:“You are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13) Those of you who are familiar with Jesus’ parables and teachings know that He almost always used earthly things to teach heavenly things. It was common for the people of His day to hear Him speak about such things as bread, doors, light, sheep, shepherds, houses, seeds and birds, among other things. When He taught that His true followers were like salt He was saying much more than what it appears to be on the surface. In those days, salt was not only useful and necessary, it was also very valuable. In fact, the word “salary’ comes from the Latin word “salarium” which was the allowance given to Roman soldiers in those days to buy salt. It still has the same qualities today but back then people were more aware that besides giving flavor, salt was an antiseptic, preservative, an antidote for heat exhaustion, (in my early years in the Post Office, carriers were all given a supply of salt tablets on hot summer days) and was used in all animal altar sacrifices. It symbolized durability, fidelity, and purity, a desirable description of God’s children, don’t you agree? I have no idea whatsoever, then, why profanity is often described today as “salty’ language.  
       I’ve heard many remark that when their doctor advised them to eliminate salt from their diet, they chose not to follow that advice, some even insinuating that they would rather die than give it up. You’re not in that group, are you? Let’s be honest; doesn’t our mouth water sometimes as we think of that big juicy steak or some other favorite meal we are planning on eating? You know what makes that food so appetizing? Among other ingredients, it probably has a generous amount of salt. Even knowing that, some people want more and may add a few more sprinkles as they dig in.
       If God’s people are indeed the salt of the earth, they are giving this world more flavor and inside of them (Christ) is the antidote for the lethal effects of sin. Just as salt makes food more desirable, those who live for Christ create a thirst in others to want to join them. This is a well known Spanish phrase: “De ver, dan ganas.” It means that when others see us really enjoying something, they immediately want to join in. What do you do when you see someone eating a big juicy steak or hamburger? If I remember the story correctly, Tom Sawyer fooled his friends into whitewashing (painting) a long wooden fence by pretending he was having a great time doing it. His performance was so convincing, they even gave him things for the privilege. In our case, there is no need to pretend. What we have in Christ is reason enough to be joyous and enthusiastic, and many who see it want a part of it too. That is one reason Paul gave this advice in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” To rejoice in Christ is to give salt to others. On the other hand, Jesus said that if we lose our joy it is like the salt which has lost it’s flavor. He added in Matthew 5:13, “It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Lets pray that we never lose our “salt” for there are many people all around us whose life is in dire need of it.
 
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27)  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 10 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014     
 
       I managed to see bits and pieces of this past Sunday night’s football game and noticed a few occasions where the cameras were focused on the expletive-filled tirades of one of the quarterbacks in the game. Since it was televised nationally and the only football game at the time, quite naturally, there was much internet discussion about the matter the following day. As you can well imagine, considering today’s social climate, opinions seemed to be evenly divided. Those who sided with the quarterback or claimed it was no big deal, alluded to, among other things, such things as, (1) It’s a big boy’s game, and boys will be boys, (2) in the heat of the battle, this type of reaction is expected, and (3) this is the best way to motivate your teammates. It did not surprise me at all, that many would side with said quarterback and reminded me of a similar occurrence many years ago in the post office.
       I have told you often that the way people live their lives is a reflection of everyone or anything they are related to or associated with. Well, thinking of that fact, I brought to the attention of our station manager one day, the continual practice of a certain mail carrier who seemed to delight in loudly filling the air with his four-letter word rants. I never pretended, and I still don’t, that I had delicate or lily white virgin ears, and I did not seek the manager’s intervention in this matter for me, but rather for our entire unit. You see, this carrier’s work station was directly behind the panel that separated the work force from the customer lobby and any customer could clearly hear what was going on right behind the window clerks. My argument to our manager was that this one carrier was not only making our workforce look like a ragtag unit, it was a smear to the entire postal service, him included. His reaction was very similar to the position taken by all the folks who sided with Sunday night’s quarterback. Then I remembered, that this one manager had a reputation himself of being loud and profane. As I left him that day, I thought to myself, “What did you expect?”
       Here is the bottom line: There can never be an excuse for bad conduct! The practice of trying to justify our evil actions is as old as the Garden of Eden when Adam told the Lord, The woman that you gave me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:12) When we do wrong, we’re not going to convince God that we were justified in doing what we did. Why look around, then, to see if we can find some thing or someone else to blame? That’s what our quarterback did; he blamed the network for focusing more on his behavior than on his play. That’s it; it was the network’s fault. Could you not also see that Adam tried to put the blame on God when he messed up? I’m not judging nor condemning this football player, who will most likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame when his career is over, for we are all capable of doing some pretty nasty things. I just want to remind us all that we, as God’s children, are constantly being scrutinized. Let’s be careful, and should we sin against God, lets be quick to admit it and confess it. There is no better reaction to bad behavior than that.
 
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27)  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 09 2014
Tuesday, December 9, 2014   
 
       I want to share with you today, in a little more detail, the thought I wrote about in our church bulletin this past Sunday. I am no longer on Facebook but I often hear the comments about it from family or church members and one item that seems to be popular is the posting of old photos showing someone’s parents or grandparents when they were young. It is not uncommon to hear others say how beautiful or handsome these old folks used to be. But you know something that is not as strange as some may think? I have no idea what the percentages may be, but many people still see their loved ones as they used to be. I used to be a little bit leery whenever someone we had not seen in years would come up to me and my wife and remark that we haven’t changed and still look the same. My cynical thought at such times, which I would certainly keep to myself, was, “Perhaps, if you saw some of our old photos you would easily see the difference.” Now, I confess that I am not as suspicious as I once was whenever we have such encounters, and I’ll tell you why.
       The simple answer is a little word we are all familiar with called “love.” In regards to my children, I still see them as they used to be, at times as children, and at other times as teenagers. I bet some of you parents can say “amen” to that. Now I can better understand why my mom would say, whenever she saw me approaching, “Here comes my baby.” I was well into my forties but to her, since I was the youngest of the twelve, I was still her baby boy. Someone who recently saw a photo of my wife when she was twenty, said “Wow, she sure was beautiful.” Did you hear of the man who ate 64 plums? He went plum loco! Well, some of you may think I’m plum loco too, or that I’m just buttering her biscuit, but I still see my wife as young and as beautiful as ever. Many may just see her as grandma, but I certainly don’t. Why does that happen? Once again, the answer is love. To his mother, even a baby gorilla is beautiful.
       Another thing to remember is this: Our physical bodies may grow older every day but the person living inside is still, or at least should be, the same. One of my favorite Frank Sinatra tunes of the past was “Young At Heart.” God’s people should be like that. One of my favorite verses says: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23) To me it is a reminder that though our bodies may age, our hearts don’t have to. As we age, it is easy to lament over our lost youth and get stagnant. And while it may be true that as we age, we can no longer do things we used to do when we were young, the truth is we can still do something. Regardless of your age, keep on going and doing what you can. Remember that, just like defeat, old age is not old age until it reaches the heart.    
 
 
 
    Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27)  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 08 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014  
 
       Have you ever wanted to tackle a certain chore around the house and then you are stopped in your tracks because you don’t have the specific tool for the job? It can be frustrating, right? That happens to me more often than most because, other than the basic, I don’t have too many tools to begin with. If I had a wide array of specialized tools around, I probably wouldn’t know what to do with them anyway. My excuse? Its not my calling. If you are like me in that regard, and I hope you are not, you may often find yourself trying to perform a certain task with a tool other than the one you really need. C’mon now, how often have you tried turning a screw with a dime or hammering a nail with a hairbrush? It will seldom do the job. Speaking about hammering a nail with a hair brush reminded me of the lady who tried hanging a picture on her wall doing the same. Her husband who was nearby, noticed her futile attempt and barked out at her, “You can’t drive that nail with your hairbrush; use your head.” Of course, he really meant that she should think of getting a hammer instead.
       That right-tool situation is the same when it concerns serving God as well, whether in church or in life. In church, for example, you wouldn’t generally expect the pastor to lead the choir or the praise team, and you would not expect a praise team member to preach the Sunday sermon. In life, you would not seek your neighborhood butcher for financial planning, or go to your primary doctor to fix your car. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, that the body of Christ (His church) is made up of many members, just like our physical bodies. From our head to our toes, there are many, many parts, each has a specific task, and every one of them is dependant on the other. For example, our hands and feet would unable to function properly, if we did not have use of our eyes and our brain. Just like he perfectly arranged our body, the Lord has perfectly arranged the body of Christ placing each part in the place where it belongs. Verse 18 says: “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
       Here is where problems in life or in the church arise: Some members of the body want to be something other than what God made them. If God made you a finger, for example, you should not try to be the toe. In fact, this is a picture of today’s world in general; there are millions of people all around us that are trying to be what God never intended them to be. If God made mistakes, would He be God? In order for the church to function effectively, every member has to be in the place where God has placed it. If you relied on me to do some handyman’s work around your house, you would be in for a very rude awakening because that is neither my place nor my calling. There will be times when even the smallest part will come to the rescue of the entire body. Some may be more prominent and may even appear to be more important than others, yet every part is necessary and without it the body would be incomplete. Be happy with who you are and where God has placed you. No member of the body is unimportant or unnecessary. Regardless of who you are, the rest of the body needs you and would suffer dramatically if you were not around.
 
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27)  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 05 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
 
Our recent vacation to Florida started off on a great note for me when we stopped to eat and gas up our cars in a small roadside strip mall in Tallahassee. Before resuming our journey I visited the men's room which was very clean and well maintained. There was no one but me and the attendant in the room when I got there. All the while he was busily attending to his duties, he was happily whistling a melody that sounded quite familiar to me. When I took the liberty to ask him what he was whistling he quickly gave me the title of the tune, one which I should have remembered since it was a classic romantic Mexican tune of long ago. I also commented that it was very refreshing to see and hear someone who seemingly enjoyed doing his work. It especially made my day as I considered that his type of job is not one which others might view as being meaningful or enjoyable.
 
Since he was quite obviously not an American citizen, many thoughts came into my mind about that encounter as we continued on our journey. Here are a few of them: Many may view the man in our story as a "criminal", one who has taken the job one of our own genuine citizens could have had. I understand and respect the argument but, at the same time, why do we see all those "now hiring" signs everywhere we turn? Who is gobbling up those jobs? How many people would want to be a janitor in a small strip mall restaurant's bathroom, and how many of them would happily whistle as they did this job?
 
Notwithstanding your position concerning undocumented workers or any other name you may have for them, here is the bottom line: Why can't we all be as happy when we work at our jobs or when we do anything else for that matter? We don't have to sing as we go to work like Disney's seven dwarfs but the Bible does offer us this advice: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Colossians 3:23) I think it all begins with having a grateful heart. Those who are happy with who they are and anything else that God has given them are like that. The truth is, it is God's will for us to be thankful. Paul said as such when he wrote, "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) When we think about all that God has done for us, how hard can it be for us to smile and be happy, maybe even whistle a happy tune as we travel along in life? Are you grateful and  happy today?
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 18:28) "You, O LORD, keep my lamp
 
burning; my God turns my darkness into light."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 04 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014    
 
 
       In our Spanish bible class last night, I presented this question, “Can the weak and timid serve Christ?” I recently heard one of our church members testify that he wanted to be bolder and more forceful in sharing the gospel with others, especially his children. That burden was weighing heavily in his heart and he asked us to pray for him as well. Have you ever felt that way? When you see how God uses certain people to draw others to Christ and lead them to the knowledge of His salvation, do you lament the fact that you are not like that? Do you wish you could have that kind of personality? Well, if that is you, let me remind you that Jesus’ Disciples each had their own distinct personality and they all served the Lord nonetheless. Let me remind you also that Moses, the great man of God, once felt inept and incapable of fulfilling the task God gave him, namely to go back to Egypt to lead His people out from their bondage. He wanted to be excused from this mission because he was a stutterer. Exodus 4:10 NLT says: “But Moses pleaded with the LORD, "O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me. I'm clumsy with words.”
       Stuttering, as well as other deficiencies, can be a disadvantage, but God will always help us to make adjustments so that we can be successful. Such was the case in a joke I heard once about a stuttering paratrooper. Upon making their first jump, the leader had instructed the team to jump, count to ten, and the pull the ripcord. When the stammering paratrooper took an agonizingly long time to ask to what number he had to count before pulling his ripcord, the leader immediately answered “In your case, one!” Because he was a man of stammering lips, Moses felt insecure in other areas as well. When the staff of God he had in his hands turned into a snake, he jumped away in terror. (Exodus 4:3) The Bible also informs us in Numbers 12:3: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” He too may have felt that he did not have the type of personality needed in order to serve God effectively. Boy, was he wrong! I confess that, at the start of my ministry, I too felt incapable of serving God. I have always believed that if I were a salesman of any kind, I would have starved to death a long time ago.
       Weak, timid, bold, or persuasive, God can use anyone and here is the key: It is love! When Christ put Peter in charge of His disciples upon His ascension to Heaven, Peter had to learn the secret. If he truly loved the Lord more than anyone or anything else, He would have much success in serving Him. Those who truly love Christ will love others and prove it with their actions. They will weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Like Jesus, they will want to do things for others, even give them things. In the end, those who live their lives like this, will serve God effectively, regardless of their personality. It is a great thing to be bold and to have spiritual gifts, but more people are won to Christ by way of spiritual fruits than by gifts. When summoned to serve, Gideon felt incapable as well, but in Judges 6:12 God’s angel called him “a mighty man of valor.” You also may feel too small or insignificant to serve Him, but in our case, the Lord says that we are “more than conquerors” through Him that loved us. (Christ) Let’s believe God instead.
 
 
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 18:28)  “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 03 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014     
 
 
       Someone asked me a question recently and I answered by saying “I assumethat it is.” Afterwards, I thought about my answer and began to wonder if I should have said “presume” instead so I proceeded to investigate the matter. Although some are of the opinion that they both mean “suppose”, most grammar experts do note a distinction. They say that although they both mean to take something for granted, a presumption is usually more authoritative than an assumption. In other words, to presume is to make an informed guess based on reasonable evidence, while to assume is to make a guess with little or no evidence. In my case, it would have been more correct to have used presume instead of assume.
       Speaking of presume, it is the root word for the word presumptuous, an adjective which the Merrian-Webster dictionary defines as: “overstepping due bounds: taking liberties; being too confident in a rude way, and something done without permission, right, or good reason.” David wrote in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright , and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”David recognized that while all sins offend God, presumptuous sins are the worst and that is why he referred to them as the “great transgression.” To put it more plainly, a sin of presumption is a willful sin. Can you know see the connection, that when one commits a presumptuous sin, he is taking liberties he does not have? Going back in David’s life, was not the sin he committed with Bathsheba and against her husband a sin of presumption? Did David not think at the time, “Hey, I am the king and I have the right to do anything that I please.” No, he did not have that right and he probably knew it at the time, although he permitted the devil to deceive him and persuade him into justifying his actions. Sadly, David forgot his prayer to God on the day he committed his ugliest sins.
       Grace is one of the greatest gifts we have from God but unfortunately we all try to take advantage of it from time to time. Our thinking is, “I’m saved by grace; there is nothing I can do to separate me from the love of God.” We then proceed to think that, since we can never be condemned, we have a free ride and can do anything we please, just like David thought on the day that he fell. If that prayer to God to keep him from presumptuous sins was important to David, it is equally important to us. Lets not permit anything or anyone to deceive us. Lets remember that Paul wrote, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 5:6) Lets keep in mind that God will chastise His children when necessary. More importantly, let me remind you that, as God’s children, we are better than that.
 
 
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 18:28)  “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 01 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014  
 
       Greetings to all. We got home early this morning from a week long vacation in Florida with part of our family, thankful to God for taking and bringing us back safely, and to you for the prayers lifted on our behalf. Our drive back was more hectic and took much longer than we had expected due to several highway traffic jams in Louisiana. It was especially difficult in the last leg of our trip since we were still out on the road into the early hours of the morning. I guarantee you one thing, our prayers were a little bit more urgent at that time. Speaking for myself, I was extremely thankful to the Lord for the much needed extra light he provided out on the highway. I’ve always had a hard time driving at night, even when I was young, so one of my silent prayers to God was for some extra light to guide me. Not only did the Lord answer my prayer quickly, it was very obvious to me when and how He did it.
       Once we passed Houston, there were not too many cars on the road and I had a hard time seeing the white lines which divide the lanes. When another car passed me, its as if the Lord said, “Follow that car and stay close to it.” When I did, I quickly realized that it was lighting up the road and making it much easier for me to see the dividing lines. As that driver unsuspectingly guided our way, I thought of the many people in life who unknowingly have been guiding lights to others. Many of us generally take such people for granted. May God help us to be more mindful and more appreciative of folks like these. I stayed close to that car till it took an exit about 60 miles from San Antonio and then I thought, “Now what?” Immediately I noticed the moon came out of the clouds directly above us. The way it was positioned, it was if we were driving straight to it. Well, that light stayed with us until we arrived safely at home.
       Once safely at home, I thought about the reality of David’s words in the Psalms regarding the light of the Lord. I now had a new perspective of Psalm 119:105 which says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I had been afraid when I drove past Houston but once we were home, I remembered David’s words in Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” I felt then like bopping myself in the forehead like the V8 commercial and telling myself, “I should have trusted the Lord from the start and not have been afraid.” Hopefully, I’ll keep it in mind the next time I find myself in a similar situation. If you are going through a situation that has worried or has filled your heart with anxiety, I pray you will keep these divine promises in mind.
 
 
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 18:28)  “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
 
             
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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