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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Thursday, October 29 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015    
       In a parable in the 18th chapter of Matthew, Jesus told the story of a master who one day summoned his servants to pay off the money they owed him. One man who was brought in owed his master what today would be the equivalent of more than 100 million dollars. He, of course, would have never been able to pay back that amount. Verse 25 reads: “Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.” Upon hearing this, the servant fell on his knees crying out to his master and begging him to be patient, promising that he would repay the debt. The master knew that there was no way in the world that this man would be able to do that, but he was moved with so much compassion when he saw his servant in that state, that he forgave him and completely wiped off his debt.
       The story goes on to say that as soon as he went out, he found a fellow servant who owed him what in that day amounted to the wages a man would earn for a hundred days of work but much less than his debt by more than a thousand to one. He grabbed his fellow servant by the neck and began to choke him demanding payment of the debt. Just like he himself had done earlier in the day, the fellow servant pleaded with him to be patient promising that he would pay him but he refused and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. What a jerk, right? Talk about selective memory! This guy immediately forgot how extremely merciful his master had been with him to forgive his debt but did not forget nor forgive the money his fellow servant owed him. If a person’s attitude does not change after he has been given such an enormously valuable gift like the one this man received, there has got to be something absolutely evil living inside his heart. Would you ever be the same again if someone today were to completely pay off your house, vehicles, and every other outstanding debt you have? Would you not be more patient, kind, and forgiving after that?
       At this point, I bet some of you have already considered what you yourself would do to someone like that if given the opportunity; but wait a minute, child of God. Before you start pointing the finger at people like this, consider your own situation. Whether others, besides you and God, know it or not, have you forgiven everyone who has wronged you? Now at this point, I sense one or two of you could say, “Bro. Joe, you don’t realize what they did to me nor the emotional scars I may carry for the rest of my life because of it.” Remember the gigantic and unpayable debt the man in the parable had and was yet forgiven? Our sin debt to God was far greater, yet He forgave us on the day we asked His pardon. When we don’t forgive others, we are essentially making them our debtors because had we genuinely forgiven them, we would have actually completely wiped off their debts to us. We should forgive others because the Lord forgave us. But to make the matter more simple, we should forgive others their debts to us because the Lord said we should. If you need to forgive someone today, please don't wait any longer.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:2) “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
      
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 28 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015    
       The Lord reminded me yesterday while we were praying at the altar at our weekly prayer gathering, of a situation that ha​ppens far too often in the lives of many Christians. Perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself at one time or another. I am referring to the many times when we have asked the Lord to help us in a situation which merits a crucial life decision on our part because we are not sure of the direction we must take. I know for a fact that on many occasions some who have asked me to pray for that type of situation have seen very clearly that the Lord opened the door they needed to open and walk through, yet they lacked the faith or the courage to do so. In many of these instances, the leading of the heart got in their way and denied them the victory God had wanted to grant them. I know I have said it a few times before but let me remind you anyway. The advice you hear often in the world to “follow your heart” is hogwash. The Bible makes it quite clear that we cannot trust the leading of our heart. Jeremiah 17:9 reads: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Did you see it’s clear message? Our hearts can and will deceive us. And whether our hearts or emotions are involved or not, the only good decisions we will ever make are the ones which are led by God’s Spirit.  
       I realize it is not always easy to take a leap of faith. It certainly wasn’t easy for Abraham when The Lord asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I’m sure that, although He trusted God and followed through in obedience, Abraham’s heart was crushed all the while. Yet, because he did not permit his heart to deceive him, God blessed and favored him more than any other man before him. One thought that passes through my mind over and over again when I am praying for help in making an important life decision, is this: “God is faithful”, “God is faithful”, “God is faithful”, and another is the promise in Proverbs 3:6 which says: "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
 
       Child of God, allow me to give you this word of advice: If you find yourself in a situation which merits a tough decision, seek the Lord with all your heart. Ask Him to give you the exact direction you must take. Remember that, because He is faithful, He will open the door you must open and walk through. Ask Him to also give you the courage and the faith to follow through once you sense the door is open. Once you’ve made your decision and have taken the step of faith, don’t look back and don’t double guess yourself. The Lord will honor your faith and keep you safe because you have trusted Him.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:2) “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 27 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015                 
       As I was reading yesterday in I Samuel, Chapter 30, I saw many spiritual lessons which can be applied to our everyday lives. In it, David made a mistake by leaving the women and the children by themselves while he and his men were out on a mission and when they returned, they found they had been taken captive and carried away by the Amalekites. With God’s help, they would later save them and bring them all back unharmed, but during their absence his soldiers were so grief stricken they considered stoning David because they felt he was solely to blame. They all quickly changed their mind and opinion of him once the captives were recovered.
       For a brief period, David’s men had forgotten that they volunteered to follow him, and that they had because, on many occasions, he had proven himself worthy of their trust. Were it not for God’s gracious intervention, David would have died and his followers would have never experienced the many victories they would later enjoy because they chose to stay by his side. That momentary loss of trust almost destroyed the relationship that David had with his men. Today, all types of relationships are built on trust and when it is lacking or absent altogether, that relationship will not stand. Sadly, it happens in families, marriages, in the workplace, in sports teams, and yes, even in church. If the leader or one of the main players in the unit no longer has the trust of those he or she serves, the relationship will soon be dissolved.
         Among the qualifications set out by Paul for all church leaders in 1 Timothy, 3, they were to be above reproach, which basically means that others would have no valid reason to accuse them of wrongdoing. They should be temperate, self-controlled, apt to teach, gentle, and one who, just like David, had proven himself worthy time and time again. A bible teacher recently said that many members will, from time to time, wonder if their pastor can be trusted. They ask themselves if he is able to stand up to the task because, for whatever reason, it seems to them that he doesn’t appear to be the one to lead them safely and properly. The teacher used this little story as an illustration: A man and his family needed to cross over to the other side of a river and they came up to this creaky old bridge that didn’t seem to be too sturdy. They were afraid and asked “Can this old bridge be trusted to get us to the other side?” While they talked amongst themselves, they saw many people quickly get on it, crossing over with no problems and then one big truck after another crossing over too. That was all the proof they needed and they also happily walked on it and crossed over. That is the basis of our faith in God. We know He can be trusted because He has never failed anyone. If your leader has always been faithful, why doubt or question him or her now?
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:2) “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 26 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015 
       Having received his permission, I want to share with you today the excellent meditational thought Pastor Ruben Treviño wrote for our church bulletin yesterday. I hope you will be blessed by it as much as I was when I read it. Here it is:
       [ How is your memory? Because I consider myself one that does not have what can be called a good memory, I admire those who claim and have demonstrated that they do. I admire those who can memorize things fairly easy. I also believe it is a gift from God, one which I once hoped for and desired in my life. Unfortunately, I am not one who can say or brag of having a good or great memory. But I can say that I’m still blessed and can honor the Lord by remembering all the good things He has done in my life, as well as those He has done for my loved ones. It is easy to remember the Lord when He works in clear and obvious ways or when things are going well, but remembering the Lord’s goodness can become difficult when a prayer has not been answered or when we begin to pay more attention to the blessings than the One who blesses us. Whether you are one who has a great memory or, like me, one who does not, there is one thing we must always have a good memory of, and that is the goodness of God.
       If you need encouragement today and if your heart is heavy due to a particular burden you are carrying, remember God’s goodness towards you in the past. The same God who helped us before, will continue to help us today and tomorrow. While we may forget many things for different reasons, let us not forget God’s grace and goodness of the past as we wait for His goodness for today and tomorrow.
       Do you need encouragement today? Remember what God did for you in the past so that you can wait for His goodness today with Joy and anticipation. In Psalm 77:11-12, the author wrote this: “ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”Remembering and meditating on His past goodness will also comfort you as you wait for His goodness for today. His goodness will come! Remember, it has come before. ] 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:2) “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:51 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 23 2015
Friday, October 23, 2015        
       As I was reading in the 16th Chapter of the book of Acts earlier this morning, I saw one verse that reminded that it is not always easy to accept God’s will in our lives. Here is the verse:  “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (verse 7) The Apostles gathered in Jerusalem and gave Paul and Barnabas their blessing and approval to go preach and teach the gospel to new gentile regions. I’m pretty sure Paul and Barnabas drew up their plans regarding which places and in what order they would be visited but their plans did not go according to their design. To begin with Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement regarding John Mark. Paul did not want him to go and Barnabas did, so they went their separate ways and Silas joined Paul on his journey. Then, when Paul, Silas, and the rest of their group drew near to Bithynia, that plan was scratched, for reasons known only to Him, by the Holy Spirit Himself. I suppose that closed door didn’t sit well with Paul and Silas but if you read what happened later it is easy to see that the Lord afterwards gave them one success after another in the places where the Spirit did allow them to minister in.
       I bet that some of you are struggling right now, or have recently, accepting God’s will for a particular situation in your life. All of God’s children will do the same from time to time. May I remind you that accepting the Father’s will was extremely difficult for Jesus when He went to the cross? And please don’t think that, like most of us would, He was afraid for the physical torture that He was about to subject Himself to. No, in His case, the fact that the weight of the entire world’s ugly sin would be put upon His shoulders and the knowledge that the Father would have to turn away from Him at that moment, was torture in itself. Yet, because Jesus willingly accepted the Father’s will, you and I are saved today and enjoy the innumerable blessings all of God’s children receive on a daily basis.
       I hope none of you are fighting God’s will in your life today. If you are, not only will you not win, you will miss out on a greater blessing that is just ahead for you and also on His peace and Joy in the meantime. Paul and Silas found out later that humbly accepting the will of God, afterwards brought them to  many other joys and victories. We will too.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 14:8) “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 21 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015    
       After someone has criticized or corrected you, how often do you find yourself thinking you should have answered or responded differently than you did? And how often do find yourself planning to give certain people in your life a “piece of your mind” the next time you see them or let them know how you feel and what you really think about them? I was thinking about this matter recently when I saw the readers’ opinions to a recent national news item. After reading many of the cruel and nasty responses, I kept asking myself “Why do I keep visiting these opinion forums since they mostly put a damper in my day? Will I ever learn?” Please pray for me concerning that issue. One thing I have learned in these forums, though, is that one nasty remark gives birth to another and the trend continues. It is no different in life and I’m sure you all know what arguments and disagreements can lead to.
        Sometimes even a seemingly cordial discussion at the onset can turn into a heated argument and lead to a full scale war. Knowing the dangers involved in this matter, Solomon wrote: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 KJV) Regarding this verse, the great Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote: [“If wrath be risen like a threatening cloud, pregnant with storms and thunder, a soft answer will disperse it and turn it away.”] In just two biblical examples, this truth is confirmed. In the 8th Chapter of Judges, the Ephraimites angrily confronted Gideon for not inviting them to join him in his battle against the Midianites. When Gideon softly and wisely answered their question, their anger immediately subsided and no harm was done. On the other hand, in 1 Kings 12, we read the story of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and his response to a certain faction of the Israelites who wanted him to treat them more fairly than his father. His nasty response to them angered them so much, it only lead to his country being weakened and divided. I hope you can read these accounts for yourself when you get a chance.
       I know we are all human and sooner or later we may say something foolish. Nevertheless, it will behoove us to make “soft answers” a part of our everyday lives. Be on the lookout; you may get a chance today to see what a soft answer can do for you. With the support and help of God’s grace, we can  all do the same, and when we do, not only will our relationships improve, things  will go better for us. In the end, God will be pleased and we will help advance His Kingdom. And after all, isn’t that what we all want? 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 14:8) “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 20 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015   
       I think it is safe to say that if you believe in God, you believe in miracles. I might add that, because we know Jesus, we see some that the world will seldom see. In fact, most people in the world don’t even know what a miracle really is. I hate to sound cruel, but many folks wouldn’t recognize one if it slapped them in the face. Then there are those who obviously don’t believe in God, yet they believe in miracles. You may have one or more of these in your own life. You might ask “How can that be?” Very simply, these are the bosses or supervisors who expect their work force to do miracles. They want them to do a task in one day, that normally would take a week. I can almost see some of you smiling already because you have or have had that exact type of boss in your own life.
       Even among Christians, many only ascribe miracles to physical healings. We all tend to forget or ignore the miracles of the rebirth and the changed lives. How many times have we carelessly attributed escaping close brushes with death or calamities in our lives to luck, and sometimes when we speak to others about certain people we know, how often do we remark that reaching some of them for Christ would be impossible? We seem to forget the miraculous way in which we ourselves came to know Him. I understand that, humanly speaking, some folks are impossible cases, but once we are in Christ, we have crossed from the human realm into a new and wondrous world, one where even miracles are commonplace.
       I just experienced a miracle yesterday. A certain person I know who, not too long ago, was telling others who know me that basically I was a fake and unworthy to consider myself a servant of God actually gave me a warm hug and told me “I love you.” I bet some of you have seen this type of miracle in your lives as well. Why, even the way we are made is a miracle in itself. Who, other than God, can make a machine as durable, precise, and intricate as the human body, one that can last a hundred years or more. Of that, David wrote: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) And one starry night, upon considering God’s amazing creation and the fact that He condescends to mankind, he said, among other things, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” (See Psalm 8) I hope that, if you haven’t seen one today already, you will see one of God’s mighty works. Come to think of it, if you are a genuine child of God, you yourself are a living miracle.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 14:8) “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 19 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015   
       When I was a boy I remember often hearing a Betty Boop type of song entitled “Button Up Your Overcoat.” Well, recently, I thought it strange that this tune came into my mind and I kept singing it over and over again in my head. Do you ever do stuff like that? Does a certain song pop into your head and you just can’t seem to shake it? Well, if you are also the type that believes that nothing in our lives happens by accident or coincidence, you might want to consider what the Lord wanted to remind you about. After all, aren’t songs really just musical messages? In my case, I choose to believe that God wanted to remind me that we belong to Him because these are about the only words I remember from that silly song: “Button up your overcoat when the wind is free / Take good care of yourself, you belong to me.  / Eat an apple every day, get to bed by three / Take good care of yourself, you belong to me.”
       Paul wrote these eye-opening words in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17: “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy Him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” To some of you, this sobering reminder may be a little bit too harsh but be assured of one thing: it is not a condemning warning. Condemning thoughts that pop into our heads every once in a while, don’t come from God; Romans 8:1 very clearly reminds us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. One thing is certain, though; The Lord wants to remind us that everything He has given us, including our bodies, are sacred and should be treated accordingly.
       I hope you take this message to heart: Take care of yourself, including your body and, health, and take good care of everything the Lord has given you. If you won’t do it for your family, friends, loved ones, or even yourself, do it for the love of Christ. The better you take care of yourself, the longer you will be here, and the more chances you will have to touch other people’s lives and honor God in the process. And this is the number one reason that we should take good care of ourselves: We belong to Jesus!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 14:8) “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 16 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015         
       I know few of us will admit it but there are times when we think we’ve got a better plan or solution for a certain situation in our lives and there are times when one of God’s commands seems to miss the mark or else merits clarification. I was reading one such command this morning in the book of Leviticus. It reads: “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:5KJV) This command, of course, coincides with one of the Ten Commandments, the fifth to be exact, which says: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
       How many times have you heard someone say something like: “The Lord couldn’t have meant my parents for they are or were not worthy of respect”? Every time I hear someone say something like that, I am tempted to ask them if they feel that they themselves are worthy. I know you also hear people use the overused cliché that he or she did not deserve what they got. There too, I am tempted to ask if they know someone who did deserve it. In the end, who decides who is worthy or not? Is it not God? Just a few days ago I spoke to a young man who told me he is hesitating getting involved in a particular ministry because he felt he is unworthy. I quickly replied that there is absolutely no one who is worthy enough to serve God and those who feel that they are will never be fruitful if they do get involved in a ministry.
       Going back to the fifth Commandment just in case one of you, for whatever reason, has failed to honor your father and mother. May I suggest that you start today, even if they are no longer in this world? Forget the idea of worthiness or unworthiness. If you do, I guarantee that things will get better for you, but here’s the bottom line: We keep God’s commands to honor Him before we honor anybody else. If we won’t do it for others, lets do it for Him. It is just like forgiveness; we forgive those who have wronged us because God said we should. But the best thing is this: No matter what God asks us to do, it will always be a big blessing and benefit for us when we comply. Has He asked you to do something but you still haven’t? Today is as good a time as any. Don’t wait any longer.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 34:10 KJV) “The young lions do lack , and suffer hunger : but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 15 2015
Thursday, October 15, 2015    
       Are there certain people, whether well-known or not, you would like to know better? Well, here’s one way: Just pay attention to the words that come out of their mouths, even the things they write. Jesus said in Luke 6:45“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” The simple message in Jesus’ words is that, sooner or later, our words will reveal what is really in our hearts and who we really are. When you pay close attention to the words that come out of peoples mouths, things such as kindness, gratitude and joy, or anger, resentment, selfishness, and bitterness, among many other things, will eventually emerge. I was thinking of this topic a few days ago when someone read me the Facebook post written by one of my grandchildren. The way he expressed himself revealed the kind of person he really is. It made me extremely proud and made me think that just maybe, at least in a small way and besides his parents, grandma and grandpa had something to do with it too.
       My number one boyhood hero was the great New York Yankee, Mickey Mantle. I remember the many years I would buy the newspaper just to see how he did on the previous day’s game so I could calculate his batting average and home run production on a daily basis. For many years I thought this man could do no wrong and then after he retired, my bubble was burst when I learned of his womanizing, infidelity, and drinking problems during his playing days. Had I been around him on a regular basis and heard his daily conversations, I would have known these things about him before the rest of the world found out. Nevertheless, Mickey Mantle’s life ended on a positive note for it was reported that, right before he died, his friend and Yankee teammate, Bobby Richardson led him to Christ. 
       What can God’s children do to ensure that the words that proceed from their mouths will not speak badly about them? One way is to think about our responses carefully before we express ourselves with our words, but to me the surest way is to draw as close as we can to Jesus every day. In time we will be a little more like Him and if we are more like Him, the words we speak will be His words. What are your words saying about you?
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 34:10 KJV) “The young lions do lack , and suffer hunger : but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 14 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015  
       When we go to sleep each night, isn’t it normal to try to find our most comfortable position or favorite spot in bed? Well, at yesterday’s weekly prayer meeting at church, the first thing I did when it was time for personal prayer was to try posture into a comfortable position at my favorite spot at the altar. I perceive that, deep down inside, I feel that I’m going to find the perfect position and stay there the entire time that I am there. Not so! Probably within a minute I find myself moving into another. I do that during the night as well and will move repeatedly from one position to another. I’m aware that we are all different and some of you may be the opposite, the type that will wake up in the morning in the exact spot and position that you were in when you hit the bed. Regardless of the type of sleepers we may be, we all want to find our comfortable position and stay on it all night, and if and when we do, we have no desire whatsoever to move. Because it is a natural tendency, we can let it also carry over into other areas of our daily lives as well and once we find our comfort zone, we want to stay there forever.
       All of us who are in Christ, have found a life so beautiful and blessed that it is understandable if we don’t want anything or anybody to disrupt it. And though we can’t forget it is a human inclination, it is not that way with our new spiritual nature. If we are led by the Spirit of Christ, we want to move and see what we can do or say to share God’s Word and love with others. In the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John, when the Disciples came back with food and found Jesus conversing with a Samaritan woman, they pleaded with Him to eat since they sensed that He had to be hungry. Jesus answered them saying: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work”, (John 4:34) implying that just as food satisfies and fills the body, doing the will of God fills and satisfies our spirit.
       I pray that we will never be so filled and satisfied in our daily walk with Christ that we will have no desire to move and do new and good things. May we ever be willing to move out of our comfort zones, at least as often as we sense the Lord wants us to move out and touch someone’s life. Don’t you feel grateful when a friend or loved one goes out of his or her way to do you a favor? You can imagine, then, how others will feel when you share Christ’s love and good news with them. Add a little joy and excitement to your life and move out of your comfort zone as often as the Lord prompts you to do so. You’ll be happy you did.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 34:10 KJV) “The young lions do lack , and suffer hunger : but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 13 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015   
       Although I don’t completely agree with all of them, most of the church oriented articles I read from time to time in a favorite Christian website, (crosswalk.com) are very enlightening and informative. Nevertheless, after reading the article I often check the reader’s comments section to see what others have to say about it. Almost every time that I do, however, and regardless of whether others share my same view or not, I am saddened and distressed to see how so many of these supposedly professing Christians express themselves.
       In the end, this current trend should neither shock nor surprise me when I take into account what Paul warned Timothy about in his letter to him. (2 Tim., Chapter 3) He described the general character of people living in the last days, including those who would pass themselves as God’s people.  Verse 5 reminds us that they will have a form of godliness but their actions and words will plainly deny the fact. Among other things, they would be boastful and proud, and love themselves more than anybody else. Reading some of their unkind posts, you should quite easily identify these character traits in them. Paul added that they will consider nothing sacred and although we cannot consider any human being as being sacred, to say disparaging remarks about a servant of God who has proven over time to be faithful is to speak against the sacred work God has called him or her to do. If we are commanded to support and pray for all who are in authority or in positions of leadership, (see Romans 13) this most certainly will apply to God’s servants as well. None of God’s servants is exempt from error and although they may be wrong in their stand or in the application of His word, they do not deserve the accusations or name calling many of these so-called Christian respondents make.
       Can we seriously take into account the opinion or position expressed by people who are cruel, vindictive, and slanderous? Can we really think that others will believe us when we share the gospel with them if we are acting more like the children of the devil than of God? As I have said in previous articles, there are many out in the world who constantly talk about the love of God, yet you never see it in their own lives. Again, in verse 5, Paul told Timothy:“From such people turn away.” You do the same. If you ever find yourself in a Christian forum and you see some respondents being very unchristian, don’t take them seriously and don’t permit them to ruin your day or put a damper in your walk with Christ.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 34:10 KJV) “The young lions do lack , and suffer hunger : but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 12 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015   
       Have you ever found yourself sitting next to a friend or family member at a restaurant and when you see what’s on his or her plate you say to yourself, “Man, I should have ordered that!?” If you are honest and confessed that you have, permit me to remind you that you’re just being a normal human being and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that impulsive thought. On the other hand, if you crave what they’ve got to the point of doing something drastic about it, you have just crossed over into a danger zone, namely the area of coveting. The tenth Commandment God gave His people through Moses, says: “You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17) The key to better understanding this command is to focus on the last part of the sentence, “or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Going back to my initial question, there would be no harm involved if you were to order the same thing your neighbor ordered. If, on the other hand, you were to take someone else’s plate away from them and take if for yourself, that is definitely a sin.
       I’ve never researched why so many people are covetous but I suspect most of them are unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and ungrateful. For example, after you have just finished a good meal and are full and satisfied, will the thought of more food even cross your mind? Relating to my opening question to you, I heard a professional comedian once remark that marriage is like eating at a buffet. After seeing what the person in front of you just put in his plate, you wish you had gotten that for yourself. If you agree with that mindset, then you must not be happy or content with the spouse the Lord gave you.
       Sadly, life is like that. The world is filled with people who are not satisfied or content with what they have to the point that they will seek something or someone who will fill the void. Then, there are those who are not happy being what God made them. Some men want to be women and vice-versa, as if God actually made a mistake when He created them. The plain truth is that none of these know Christ personally. Those who know Him and love Him are more that happy with who they are and what they have. In Christ, there is true contentment.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 34:10 KJV) “The young lions do lack , and suffer hunger : but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 09 2015
Friday, October 9, 2015          
       The most successful sports teams are usually not the ones which have the most talented players, but rather those who play as a unit. In other words, every member of the team does his or her part. It is no different in churches. Those which are most effective are those where every member faithfully does his or her part. I was reminded of that truth this morning when I turned on a TV sports show and both hosts were coming down hard on a very talented football player who, according to them, only plays for himself and not the team. To be more specific, they said that this particular player likes to catch the ball but not block. To me, it would be the same as a pastor who likes to preach and teach but will not do any other pastoral duty. I Corinthians 12:12 reads: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” This verse makes it quite clear that God intended that the church should function as one unit.
       In every church, the members who get things done are rarely the most gifted or talented, beginning with the pastor. I bet you know people who claim they know more bible than the pastor and if he or she were given the chance, they would preach or teach way better. In many cases, this may be a valid assertion. Nevertheless, God doesn’t call people into Christian service because of their ability, but rather because of their heart. That truth is confirmed in the story found in 1 Samuel 13: When King Saul again disobeyed the Lord’s orders, the prophet, Samuel told him: “But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people.” (verse 14) That, of course, was David, a man after God’s own heart. Saul was bigger, stronger, and probably better looking, but David had heart and Saul did not. Many centuries later, these things keep repeating themselves in the body of Christ. One thing that distresses many pastors, me included, is to know that they have gifted and talented people in their congregation who are doing very little or absolutely nothing. Then they have those who are in positions of leadership who are often not available. I know it is a cliché but it is true nonetheless that, in Christ, the most valuable ability is avail-ability.
       Dear child of God, permit me to remind you that you are a member of Christ’s body and that it is very important for you to carry your load and do your part. If you don’t, your unit will not be effective and many will be discouraged because of it. And don’t let anyone or anything convince you that you do not qualify or have nothing to offer. If you are available, God can use you. How is your heart?
 
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 25:21 NIV) His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness’!
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 08 2015
Thursday, October 8, 2015    
       No, this article is not about a professional football team in Baltimore, but rather about this encouraging word Jesus gave His Disciples in Luke 12:24“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” This verse caught my attention this morning as I read it because just yesterday evening on our way to church we saw a large group of crows looking for a spot to roost. You can call it natural instinct if you want, but I choose to believe that God has made these birds very intelligent. Some years ago I was baffled why our dog’s water bowl was always colored during the day when I knew I filled it with fresh water every night. Then one morning I looked out the window and I noticed some crows pick up some of the dog food nuggets and soak them in the water in the dog bowl, then eat them when they were soft enough. That also answered my question about often finding dog food nuggets in the bottom of the above-ground pool we used to have.
       Did you know that, depending on the weather where they live, crows migrate when they have to? Have you wondered why they roost in enormous groups mostly in the fall and winter, and mainly in urban areas? For one, it is generally 5-10 degrees warmer in the city than in the country and in the city’s power line areas there is more light at night enabling the crows to better watch out for their main predators, owls of every kind. There are many other interesting facts to know about these amazing birds but the main thing Jesus wanted to teach His Disciples when he referred to them was that God cared and provided for them. He quickly added that they were much more precious to God than the birds of the air. Therefore, if He watched over and cared for them, they could expect even better care and provision from their Heavenly Father.
       Dear child of God, we all need to be reminded from time to time not to worry more than we have to about the trials of life. Because we are His children, we should know that He loves us, knows what we need, and that He will always be there to help, care, and provide for us. So put your complete trust in Him today. Everything is going to be alright ! And because it says it better than I ever could, I’ll end with these lines from one favorite Christian hymn of old: [ “Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, / Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, / When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: / His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’ ]
 
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 25:21 NIV) His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness’!
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 07 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015  
       One thing that really rubs me the wrong way is a practice known as “baiting.” That is why I want you to know in advance, in case you want pass on today's blog or delete it altogether, that this topic is about giving. I understand that “baiting” is probably the most effective method in catching fish but when it is done to people, it is deceptive and unethical. Unfortunately, it is done by churches and Christian organizations as well. Recently, I was browsing through my favorite website, one where I find many valuable bible study resources, and I was intrigued by one free video that addressed the issue of one Commandment many churches are breaking. Naturally, I started watching the video, which by the way was excellently produced. The first four or five minutes were quite fascinating but soon after, I thought it was odd that many of the bible experts in it were all teachers, professors, or pastors of a certain Christian denomination. When they finally showed their hand that they were leading up to promote their denomination’s main doctrine, one which most evangelical churches do not agree with, I immediately turned it off. I’m sure this denomination believes they are right and the rest of the churches are wrong, especially in this doctrine. Nevertheless, to me what they did was not only underhanded, it was totally unchristian.
       Back to the topic of giving, this one verse which I read this morning, inspired me to write about it: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7 KJV) The NIV Bible calls it “not reluctantly or under compulsion” but I prefer “grudgingly.” This verse always reminds me of the story of the little boy in church whose dad gave him a dollar and a quarter right before the offering plate was going to be passed. He told the boy that one was his and the other would be for the Lord. Later, when the dad asked him why he gave the quarter and kept the dollar, the boy replied: “I heard the pastor say that God loves a cheerful giver and I knew if I gave the dollar, I was not going to be very cheerful.” Silly story as it is, that is exactly the point.
       Keep this in mind: God doesn’t need our money, His servants and His churches do. And if one doesn’t give, the Lord will always find someone else who will. Because of it, when He asks us to give, it is not for Himself but for His servants everywhere. Now, put yourself in God’s place: How would you feel if someone handed you a dollar and said something like, “Here! Don’t be badgering me anymore.” That is a true picture of giving grudgingly. If those around you took notice of it, I bet one of them would urge you to tell the person to take back his dollar and go to………..  I’ll end by reminding you that when you love someone with all your heart, giving is automatic and that true love has no price tag.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 25:21 NIV) His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness’!
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 05 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015   
       I read this verse a little while ago and it reminded me of a problem that exists among Bible readers regarding the correct application of God’s Word. This is the verse: “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4 KJV) My first thought was: “I wonder how many Christians specifically ask God to make them perfect?” Are you one of them? The truth is that asking God to make us perfect is far from being unreasonable. I suspect many Christians will not do it because “perfect” to them means “without sin” and they realize that no human can attain that status in this life.
       I presume that most of you read a more modern version of the Bible and, because of it, this verse poses no application problems for you. For example, the NIV rending of this verse reads: “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” As you can see, this translation has “perseverance” in the place of “patience” and “mature and complete” instead of “perfect.” This is the most correct application of this verse because in the original Greek manuscript the word that was used was “teleios” which refers to “maturing growth” or complete, like the perfect time to pick fruit from a tree. I don’t suppose I have to convince you that the Lord wants His children to be and act “grown up.” That is what the bible verse in question is trying to convey. So go ahead, child of God, don’t hesitate in asking God to help you to become perfect.
       Although in this life we may fall way short of perfection, because of God’s grace we can “grow up”, and when we do, we’ll be better role models and examples to those around us. And one thing we must never do is to shortchange ourselves. In spite of the old nature that lives within us, Christ lives within us too. Therefore, we can still do some great things in this life. Keep this anonymous simple little poem in mind: “When you are discouraged and feeling blue, take a look at a mighty oak and see what a nut can do.”
 
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 25:21 NIV) His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness’!
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 06:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 02 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015                 
       There is an interesting little story in the 2nd chapter of Luke concerning the time when Joseph and Mary momentarily lost Jesus, who was 12 years old at the time. I trust you will read it at your next opportunity. The story has some good lessons and comparisons I would like to share with you today. If you have ever lost track of one of your children, whether at home or in a public setting, even if it was only for an hour, you know how terrifying it can be. I had one such experience with my granddaughter, Aderyn, when she was in pre-school. Actually, it may have been the scare of my life. She was tiny and petite, and so small she couldn’t even reach the bottom of our mail box. She was a little trickster as well and would often hide from me whenever I would leave her alone in the kitchen. One day, she hid so well it took me over an hour to find her and the longer I searched the greater the panic I felt, not to mention the thoughts that kept racing through my head, like “What kind of grandparent am I” or “what am I going to tell her parents?” I looked inside and out and even considered calling the police, when I finally found her in one of the rooms I had checked on before. There just happened to be a blanket on the floor and it seemed like it was lying flat, but wouldn't you know it? She was fast asleep under it. I didn’t know if I wanted to wake her up and spank her, or just hug her real tight at the huge relief.   
       In the biblical account, Joseph and Mary just assumed Jesus was in the company of friends and family when they left Jerusalem after the Feast of the Passover. In the spiritual comparison, how many times do we relax and get careless in our duties and obligations just because we assume that Jesus is with us. When they went back to Jerusalem, they found Him three days later, sitting among the teachers and elders, listening and also asking questions. When they saw Him, His parents scolded Him for having treated them this way. Wasn’t it rather their responsibility for making sure that He was with them before they left on their journey? How often do God’s children complain to Him for having left them, when all the while it is they who have left Him?
       The third comparison I want to point out today is the fact that, in the end, Jesus was at the very place where they had left Him. Dear Child of God, have you lost track of Christ for whatever reason? You will find Him where you left Him. Was it after a crisis in your life or on the day one of your loved ones died? Did you get angry with Him and let Him know it in no uncertain terms? If you have lost Jesus for whatever reason, let me plead with you to go back to Him today. C’mon now, you know where He is.
 
Bible verse for the week: (1 John 3:19-20 KJV) “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”
 
 
 
 
Posted by: Joe AT 11:09 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 01 2015
Thursday, October 1, 2015       
       While reading the 14th Chapter of John yesterday, I was reminded of one amazing truth after another. Every one of them encouraged my heart and reinforced my faith, and not only reminded me of God’s promises to His children, it also reminded me of the role we all play in the body of Christ. For that reason, I want to share some of these truths with you with the following “did you knows.” (Note: When I wrote “For that reason”, I was almost tempted to use the familiar quote from the TV program, “The Shark Tank” and write: “For that reason, I’m out.” Please excuse my silliness) Perhaps there may be more “did you knows” in this chapter than those I’m sharing with you today. Nevertheless, I pray these may excite you as much as they excited me when I read them. Here they are: Did you know that:
1.Heaven is a place that is specifically prepared for you and me?                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Absolutely no one can go to Heaven except through Christ?                                                                                                                                                                                3. If you know Christ, you know God?                                                                                                                   4. You know the way to Heaven because you know Jesus? In fact, He is the Way.                                              5. The same power that was in Christ to do great and wondrous things, lives in you too?                                   6. No matter where you are or where you go, God goes with you and never leaves you even for one second? You wouldn’t be wrong either if you see it as Christ or the Holy Spirit going with you wherever you go. It is the same thing. I shared this thought with a fellow believer on Tuesday: Since Christ walks with us wherever we go, no place will ever be the same again after His true followers arrive there, especially in places where He was previously not welcome. Because of modesty and humility many of you will not say it, but I bet that places where you have been were changed on the day you arrived and may never be the same again.                                                                                                                                                                       7. If you love Jesus, the Heavenly Father loves you?                                                                                             8. It was no accident that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the “Comforter”? Some versions of the  Bible have the word “Counselor’ instead and although God’s Spirit is that as well, in the very first verse in the chapter, Jesus told His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Is that not comfort?                                                                                                                                                                   9. The world cannot see Christ as you do? The answer is simple: They do not know Him.                                10. Only those who truly love Christ, will obey His Words? (teaching)
       Perhaps you knew these things already and I’m only preaching to the choir, so to speak. Even so, it can’t do us harm to be reminded, from time to time, that we play a bigger part in God’s work than we may have realized. With the hope that this doesn’t puff you up too much, let me remind you that, because of Christ, you are someone special.
 
Bible verse for the week: (1 John 3:19-20 KJV) “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”
(Please excuse me if the page did not appear in a more uniform manner.)
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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