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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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- Poems

Friday, November 27 2015
What Now?
Friday, November 27, 2015   
       Well, another Thanksgiving Day has come and gone and many of us may be feeling the effects of yesterday's overeating. We sometimes think that, just like us, everybody had a day like ours yesterday, one which featured a family gathering, football, and more food and goodies that we could consume. Not so. Many people spent the day yesterday alone and with little food to eat. Being aware of this, we should be even more grateful for all that the Lord has given us, and assuming that, as God’s children, we are truly thankful, what are we going to do about it? If thankfulness itself is God’s gift to us, what are we going to do with it?
       I was sharing the following thought with our smaller than usual crowd which came to our Thanksgiving Eve church service: I told them about the story in the 5th Chapter of Mark about the tormented and demonized man whom Jesus set completely free. He suffered many years living and being treated as an animal and sub human being before Christ came into his life. When Jesus cast out the hundreds of demons in this man, they all went and entered into a nearby herd of pigs and because not even the pigs could stand them, they all jumped into the sea and drowned. This, of course, made Jesus very unwelcome by the fearful and ignorant people of the region. Because of it, Jesus got into a boat with His Disciples to go somewhere else, but before He did, the ex demon possessed man  begged Him to let him join them.
       By this ex demonized man’s reaction, it should be pretty apparent that genuinely grateful people want to do something in return to express their thankfulness to their donor. Some people have thought that, because Jesus did not let him join them, this man was never given the chance to express his gratitude. Wrong!  Mark 5:19 reads: “Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” When you think more carefully about Jesus’ response, you will see that by staying in the place where almost everybody had known him before his great transformation, he would have many, many opportunities to express his thankfulness. Better still, his story would have much more effect there and many would believe in Christ because of it.
       How about you? Do you realize that one of the best ways to express our thankfulness to God is by sharing our story with others? If you’re truly thankful, here’s your chance.
Memory verse for the week: 1 Thessalonians 5:18In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 26 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015   
       A story is told about a young ministerial student who was part of a life saving team who rescued people from a ship that went down on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, Illinois in 1860. Edward Spencer swam again and again into the lake’s cold waters and rescued 17 passengers. Because of it, his own health began to deteriorate and a few years later, not one of the people he rescued attended his funeral. Some have the mistaken idea that all people are basically good and grateful. The opposite is true. Edward Spencer’s story should not surprise us; Luke 17 tells the story of ten lepers Jesus healed one day of which only one came back to personally thank Him. Because David knew that it is easier for us to be unthankful than thankful, he wrote in Psalm 103:2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Being truly grateful for all our blessings, begins with being grateful with the One who rescued us. Our prayer to God should be that He help us to never forget. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Memory verse for the week: 1 Thessalonians 5:18“In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 25 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 
       Not surprisingly, there are many “self-made” people in the world who think that they are solely responsible for everything they have ever gotten in life. God’s incessantly griping people in the days of Moses’ leadership were like that. It was not enough that God supplied their needs, watched over them, and fed them when they were on their way to Canaan, they wanted something other than just the manna He sent them from heaven every day. They wanted to go back to Egypt because, said they: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.” (Numbers 11:5)  As is the case with all ungrateful people, these folks had a bad memory too. They had forgotten the enslavement they had suffered in Egypt and how they had cried out to God to get them out. They also ignorantly accredited Egypt for all these vegetables they now ardently yearned for, not realizing it was God who had provided them all along. 
        Mrs. Green thanked the grocery boy, for delivering a loaf of bread. “Do not thank me” he said “thank Grocer Jones, he gave me the loaf to deliver.” But when she thanked the grocer, he said, “I get the bread from baker Brown. He makes it, so he deserves the thanks.” So Mrs. Green thanked the baker, but he told her that miller Milligan should be given the gratitude. “Without miller Milligan's flour, I could not make bread”, Mr. Brown replied. The miller told her to thank farmer Foster because he made the flour from Foster's wheat, but the farmer also protested, “Don't thank me; thank God.” “If He did not give my farm sunshine and rain, I could not grow wheat.” So you see, even a common loaf of bread can be traced back to God. James 1:17 says that “every good and perfect gift is from above.” (God)
       Next time you hear someone say that everything they have ever gotten was due to hard work and the sweat from their own brow, gently remind them that were it not for God’s mercy and goodness, they would not even be able to get out of bed every morning. Were it not for Him, neither would they have the knowledge, intelligence, or strength to do what they do. In fact, were it not for God, they wouldn’t even be able to sweat. Without it, our bodies would not be air conditioned and we would not be able to continue on in our work. Without a doubt, we have to be thankful, especially to God.
Memory verse for the week: 1 Thessalonians 5:18“In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 24 2015
Count Your Blessings
Tuesday, November 24, 2015       
       The first stanza of the beloved old hymn of the faith, “Count Your Blessings”, says: [When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,   /   When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,    /   Count your many blessings, name them one by one,   /   And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.] This being Thanksgiving Week, it would behoove us to do as the hymn advises, and count the many blessings we have received from God. If we are honest and perceptive, we could think of enough things to keep our minds and hearts occupied from morning till night.
       To exemplify this idea, the famed bible commentator, Matthew Henry, lifted up this prayer to God on the night he was robbed: “I thank Thee, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”
       Unfortunately, most people, when they suffer catastrophes or hurtful experiences, immediately start griping and demonstrate a “why me?” attitude. It always makes me cringe whenever I hear somebody employ the overused cliché, “I didn’t deserve this or that.” At that point I ask God to help me from blurting out, “Does that mean you know somebody who deserves it?” There are positives in every situation, as we saw in Matthew Henry’s prayer, but narrow-minded, ungrateful people fail to see them or just plain choose to ignore them. Lets not be like them. God’s true children are a happy and grateful people. I bet you’re one of them.
Memory verse for the week: 1 Thessalonians 5:18In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 23 2015
Unashamed Thankfulness
Monday, November 23, 2015  
       Generosity is one of the characteristic traits of people who are genuinely thankful. In fact, I believe that thankfulness and generosity go together just like goodness and mercy. Psalm 50:14 says: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.” To me, the picture is clear: We give because we are thankful. We see the process also in love and in forgiveness: Because we have received them of God, with grateful hearts we want to pass them on. On the other hand, ingratitude is one of the characteristics of wicked people. Concerning those upon whom God’s wrath has been unleashed, Romans 1:21 says: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
       I want to share with you the following illustration from an old, old collection, titled “Thankfulness Comes From The Heart.” : [[A young girl sat at the counter of an ice cream store. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" she asked "Fifty cents," the waitress said with hardly a glance at the child. The girl opened her fist and looked at her coins. She asked, "How much is a dish of just plain ice cream?" Annoyed, the waitress snapped, "Thirty-five cents!" The girl counted out 35 cents and handed it to the waitress, saying "I'll take the plain ice cream." The waitress took the money without a word and brought the ice cream. After the small customer had eaten and left, the waitress, cleaning up, suddenly flushed with shame. There, placed neatly beside the dish were two nickels and five pennies, her tip.]] 
       The truth is that the gratitude, thoughtfulness, and generosity that genuinely thankful people continually display, often puts others to shame. Lets not permit others to shame us in that manner. In fact, shame should not be our main motivation to be thoughtful and generous, true thankfulness to God should. Though Thanksgiving Day is three days from now, and though we should be thankful every single day, lets focus on being especially thankful all throughout this week.
Memory verse for the week: 1 Thessalonians 5:18“In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 20 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015     
       Do you recall the feeling you got when you realized that someone very dear to you was about to leave you? It may have been that this special person was moving to another state, going on a long trip, or leaving this world altogether. I bet you started feeling lonely even before they actually left. I choose to believe that this is how Jesus’ Disciples felt when he announced He was leaving them, and since He knew what was in their heart at the time, He reassured them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18 NIV) I like the KJV rendering a little bit more where Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless”because the main thing lonely people need is to be comforted.
       Many psychiatrists believe that loneliness is among life’s biggest ills and I think many people will agree. The odd thing is that some folks can be lonely even when they are surrounded by family and friends, while others can be totally alone and still not feel lonely. I may be biased, but I believe that folks who trust God and truly love Jesus can never be overcome by loneliness. They are constantly aware of God’s promises to them, in particular Hebrews 13:5 where we are reminded that He will never leave us or forsake us. There are many promises in God’s Word which, when believed, will drive away any loneliness that may try to creep up on us. In fact, many good old hymns of the faith can have the same effect. The message in one particular favorite of mine from long ago, one which I revisit on the internet every now and then, is a great one to listen to and meditate upon whenever lonely thoughts entertain our mind. It is entitled “Never Alone” and I would encourage you to look it up and let it’s message sink into your heart and mind. I bet it will lift up your spirit. In fact, you may want to keep track of it and revisit it the next time you feel lonely.
       I hope none of you who are reading this blog are feeling lonely today. If you are, talk to the Lord about it. An old song of the faith, sung by the late Tennessee Ernie Ford, among others, had this great line: “And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.” That may be all you need, at least I hope so. If you are still struggling with loneliness today, here’s something else you can do. Why not call someone dear to you whom you suspect may be lonely too? In Christ, I bet your little chat will cheer you both up.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 41:13)  “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 06:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 19 2015
A Mutual Need
Thursday, November 19, 2015   
       The following is a favorite bible verse of pastors everywhere: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) Pastors love it because they can use it to try to encourage their members to be constant in their church attendance. The truth is, I’ve used it myself for that same reason. Nevertheless, let me make one thing clear: God’s true ministers expound this bible verse not so much because they want to see their numbers grow and have their salary increased as a result, but rather because they know that, like all other things that the Lord asks of us, it will be for their members’ benefit. That being said, today I want to focus on the last half of the verse which is of equal importance to us, the advice for all believers to keep encouraging one another. Who needs encouragement from time to time? We all do!
       Many have the mistaken idea that pastors, teachers, evangelists. and Christian ministers of all kinds live on a much higher spiritual level and have no need of prayers and words of encouragement. Not so! Regardless of their place in the body of Christ, all of God’s children need prayerful support and need to be encouraged from time to time, some more than others. The Apostle Paul asked for prayer constantly and one noteworthy thing which he wrote is found in 2 Timothy 1:16. It reads: “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.” Can you see it? The man who was known for encouraging others confessed being himself encouraged by a man named Onesiphorus. I hope you can also see the cycle: Paul’s aim was to encourage others and he in turn was encouraged by them. It is no different for me. My aim is to encourage you through this small blog, and you in turn encourage me to keep on going with your kind words.
       There are few things more gratifying than the knowledge that something we have said or done has greatly encouraged someone else. A word of encouragement can lift a downtrodden soul, help mend a broken heart, and be just the little nudge that someone may need to keep on going and not give up. Are you familiar with that feeling? I wholeheartedly endorse it and hope you will try it for yourself. You’ll be glad that you did.   
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 41:13)  “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 05:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 18 2015
Measuring Ourselves
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 
       I hesitate in asking you this question because I believe the answer may be obvious but, “Do you ever wonder how you measure up as a child of God? And please don’t think I’m talking about measuring or comparing ourselves to other Christians. No, I am referring to looking for clear evidences in our life that we are indeed true followers of Christ. I thought about that issue a few days ago when I was reading in the 12th Chapter of the book of Romans. Besides Christ’s Beatitudes in the 5th Chapter of Matthew, (verses 3-11) there are many instructions in it that we can use as our measuring stick. I’ll just highlight a few of them, perhaps you can see and identify the rest when you read the chapter for yourself more carefully.
       We begin with our mindset or our way of thinking: (verse 2) Do our thoughts and opinions generally coincide with what the rest of the world thinks or are we often the oddball? If you are in the latter group, that is a good sign. Secondly, do you think very highly of yourself ? (verse 3) If you don’t, that is another good sign. Do you mean it every time you tell others you love them or do you say it sometimes when you really don’t? (verse 9) The verse makes it clear that our love should be genuine and sincere. I once couldn’t help but overhear a phone conversation between a mother and son. Obviously, they were laying the wood to each other, even adding a choice four-letter word every now and then. At the end of the conversation, however, I heard the man end the conversation by saying “I love you too, mom.” Do you get along with everybody and do you treat everyone the same regardless of who they are or what they look like, or are there some folks you can’t stand and make an effort to avoid?
       There is so much good advice here for all of us regarding our conduct but I will only focus on one more. It is found in verse 15 and says: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Do you have the ability to sense when a friend or loved one is having a valley or mountaintop experience? And I’m not talking about guessing or looking for gossip material. Many years ago, there was one certain church member who would look carefully on my facial expression every time he saw me and would ask “What’s wrong? In his case, he was only fishing and I sometimes wondered if he was expecting me to tell him something juicy. No I am referring to genuine empathy. Recently, one dear brother in Christ came up to me to ask me what was wrong. He even called me the following day to see if I was still okay. He was right! At the time when he approached me, my heart was heavy due to another dear brother’s situation. His concern reminded me that, besides the Lord, there was someone close by who was interested in my well being. I confess that it definitely helped me rise above the hurt and a few moments later I was back on the mountaintop. If you have that ability, let me remind you that it is also a gift from God. Use it for His glory whenever the need arises.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 41:13)  “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 17 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015        
       Here is one bible verse which is particularly comforting to me: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27) One day I’ll know for sure but, for many years now, I have suspected that God does indeed have a sense of humor. After all, He did choose me to be one of His servants. If you had told people who knew me before Christ changed my life, especially my ex co-workers, that one day I would be preaching and teaching the gospel, they would have laughed until their sides hurt due to the foolishness of the idea. However, one of them was not surprised, not even at the start. He told me that he had heard about a story in the Bible (Numbers 22:28) where God once made a donkey talk.
       Some of you may remember the part in the first Toy Story movie when one of the little aliens inside the toy grab machine very happily says “I’ve been chosen!” when the “Claw” lifts him out. The poor thing didn’t know what he was in for. Neither do any of the folks who have been chosen of God know what they are in for. In their case, however, and unlike the poor little alien in the movie, in time they realize the privilege and honor they have been given. In almost every case, they don’t have the foggiest idea why God chose them, assured that He most certainly could have done better. Nevertheless, that’s the way it is with God. Just as our starting verse clearly shows, He delights in choosing those whom the world least suspected would ever be good candidates to do His work. The reason this eternal truth is vitally important is because many of God’s children see themselves as the world sees them. Believing they have nothing to offer, they remain on the sidelines perfectly happy if others do the work.
       If you are in that category, permit me to remind you of the message in today’s verse. God delights in using the “nobodies” of the world to proclaim His message. One well known prayer of a “chosen” new servant of God, went this way: “Lord, let me be that “nobody” who will tell “everybody” about the “Somebody” who can save and transform “anybody.” If you consider yourself a “nobody”, what are you waiting for? Those are exactly the ones the Lord chooses as servants. And please don’t think that God wants you to go out to save the entire world, you can start by sharing Jesus and His love with the next person you come into contact with. It is an honor to be a child of God, but being a servant of God is even greater.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 41:13)  “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Note: Please forgive my tardiness again; I’ll try to ketchup.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 16 2015
No Panic
Monday, November 16, 2015            
       Please excuse today’s late post; my internet service was down and I had an errand to run, so I’ll try to be brief. I was reminded this morning of the time when Peter tried walking on water, in particular Matthew 14:30 which reads: But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "  Lord, save me!” Maybe the Lord reminded me of this verse today because one of you has paid more attention than you should on the cares and trials of this world and, like Peter, you have cried out to God in panic to save you.
       The late saintly hero Corrie Ten Boom, would often say that there is never any panic in Heaven, only plans. Pastor Adrian Rogers once said the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) never meets in emergency session. He added that God is still on His Throne, Jesus is on His right hand, and the Holy Spirit has not stopped interceding for us.
       Don’t put too much weight on any voices or thoughts that don’t come from God Himself. If these ideas or thoughts trouble you in any way, you can rest assured that they did not come from God. I like to remind my family, as well as my church family, when they are going through some “stuff” that God is in control. I’ll leave you with one of His Promises for us, one which has always been of great comfort to me. If you need it today, take it as His special promise just for you. It will be our:
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 41:13)  “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 13 2015
Friday, November 13, 2015      
       Today is Friday the 13th, ooooh! Actually, its just another day, although those who are superstitious may not agree. Since all of you love and trust the Lord, you are more prone to approach each new day with joy and anticipation than with fear and anxiety. At the start of each new day, we can all say like David, “ This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) But I bet many people last week, perhaps you know one or two like that, worried because Friday the 13th was approaching. What is their main problem? They don’t know the Lord. Those who know Him, love Him, and the more they get to know Him, the more they will love Him. For them, fear is no longer the formidable enemy it once was. John expounded this truth in his first epistle to the church when he wrote: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 KJV)
       The devil is delighted whenever he can strike fear in the hearts of God’s people. Remember that one of his main goals is to steal so if he can rob you of your joy and confidence in Christ, he has succeeded. He knows full well that a Christian whose joy and confidence is lacking will be ineffective in his service to God. How can we win others to Christ if they don’t see in us things that they would desire?
       Don’t let the devil deceive you. He is a liar and he can only hurt you if you fall for his lies. The truth is that if you are a child of God, there is absolutely no reason to fear anything or anybody. Regardless of your situation, God knows everything about it and He has promised to protect you, supply all your needs, and to never forsake you. Whatever you burden or your need may be, and even if it seems humanly impossible, take it to the Lord in prayer. There is absolutely nothing He can’t do. If you truly trust Him with your burdens and your needs, you will be very glad that you did.
Memory verse for the week: (John 15:8 KJV) “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 06:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 11 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 
       I am not one of them but many people like to slap bumper stickers on their vehicles. They can be funny or downright nasty, and some have a good message, but either way they all attract attention. I recall a certain Christian bumper sticker that apparently was very popular a few years back with this slogan: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” I’m sure that the person who thought of the slogan wanted others to know that when God says something, the issue is settled. To me, however, to be more biblically correct, it should have read: “God said it and that settles it!” because the issue is settled whether we or anybody else believes it.” I remember an old preacher who used to say: “Many people don’t believe in Hell but that’s not going to bring it’s temperature down one degree.” The gist of the matter is that it is only important what God says, not what anybody else thinks. When God says it, we can bank on it.
       I was thinking about this matter as I was recalling recently an ex fellow postal employee and friend. He knew me before Christ saved me, and since he noticed the obvious change in my life, he would often ask me probing questions about my faith and about the Bible. Besides my personal testimony, I would often share the simple gospel message with him. I don’t remember how long it went on, but I could never get him past the idea that having our sins forgiven and receiving the promise of eternal life, was as simple as believing in Christ. Sensing he was at salvation’s door, I would often pray that God would open his eyes. Then one day, he seemed more intent than ever to press the issue. I remember him saying that he wanted to believe but he told me frankly: “I can’t go on that just because you say so.” On that, I quickly responded: “Tommy, I didn’t say so, Christ did!” I reminded him that it was Jesus who said in John 3:16 that whosoever believed in Him would have eternal life. As soon as I said that, he replied: “Oh, now I get it.” You see, it is not what we say or think; the only thing that matters is what God says.
       Even after believing and having accepted Christ as their Savior, many still struggle with their faith because they put more stock than they should on what others say or think. Even now, I venture to say that some of you are still struggling with doubt, fear, and guilt. The devil has accused you of your past sins or present weaknesses making you doubt your salvation. Perhaps you are one of those who knows God has forgiven you, yet you haven’t forgiven yourself. May I remind you that none of us was saved because of what we did; we were and are saved because of what Jesus did. We didn’t deserve salvation then; we don’t deserve it now. It is because of God’s mercy that we are His. If you trusted Christ to save you then, you need to trust that He can keep you safe now. The you can say like Paul, “I know whom I have believed , and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Memory verse for the week: (John 15:8 KJV) “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 10 2015
That Time Again
Tuesday, November 10, 2015        
       Hello children! Its time again for you to tax your brain and flex your biblical muscles. I know some of you enjoy these simple bible quizzes and perhaps one or two of you, not so much. Even so, you don’t have to indulge, and if you do, you can keep your score to yourself and don’t have to report it, although I would like to know how you did.  Ready? Here goes:
1. Who was Adam and Eve’s first son?
    A . Abel        B. Cain     C.  Seth     D. Jerry
2. When she looked back, Lot’s wife became a pillar of  _________
   A. granite      B. coal       C. salt      D.  pepper
3. After Moses died, who became the leader of God’s people ?
   A. Ur             B. Joshua    C. Caleb   D.  Nathan
4. In the book of Exodus, what did Moses’ rod become when he threw it on the ground?
   A.  a frog       B. a turtle     C. a calf   D. a snake
5. Complete the verse: He maketh me to lie down in green ________
  A . pastures     B. ribbons    C. carpets   D. Jello
6. Paul was an apostle, but what was his occupational trade?
  A. Lawyer       B. painter      C. tent maker   D.  Fisherman
7. Besides writing the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, what was Luke’s occupation?
  A. physician    B. banker      C. army general  D. carpet maker
8. In what town did David grow up?
  A. Bethany       B. Berea       C. Bethel        D. Bethlehem
9. Who warned Pilate: “Have nothing to do with that just man.” ?
  A.  his wife         B. his brother    C. his son   D. his uncle
10. What city did Joshua conquer after it’s walls fell down?
  A. Damascus      B. Jericho         C. Babylon    D. Brooklyn
Memory verse for the week: (John 15:8 KJV) “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
ANSWERS:  1B/  2C  / 3B  / 4D  / 5A  / 6C  /7A  / 8D  / 9A  / 10B
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 09 2015
More Tuit

       If you’re wondering what today’s blog title means, you are most likely less than 50 years old. Many years ago, someone came up with the idea of manufacturing and distributing a wooden or plastic coin about the size of a quarter with the word “TUIT” inscribed in the center. The idea for having some in your possession was that if someone you knew had the habit of using the lame excuse “I’ll do this or that when I get around to it”, you would hand them one of these coins and could tell them that they now had no excuses because they just got a round “tuit.” With that goofy memory in mind, I chose today’s title because of the tendency of many bible readers to isolate many particular verses, seldom realizing that there is “more tuit” than that. Here is one such verse: Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal , and to kill , and to destroy : I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV)

       This is one verse that has plenty of merit on it’s own and all Christians know that Jesus came into this world so that His followers could have an abundant life. What many bible readers do not know, however, is what prompted these words of Jesus, who He was talking to when He said them, and what the conversation was about. Neither do many bible readers know what an “abundant” life really is, most people thinking it merely involves, wealth, fame, or prosperity in business. Before I try to explain what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of the abundant life God wants us to have, let me say that this declaration was prompted by His dispute with the religious leaders of His day. They were trying to deny His Person and authority, claiming that they were God’s appointed teachers of the people and not Him. He bluntly told them that they, in essence, were thieves because they failed to love and properly attend to God’s sheep, thus forfeiting their right to do so. They did not really care for them and even these not too bright animals knew enough not to follow them. Now, to the simple meaning of the abundant life God wants us to have.

       I choose to believe that God’s Spirit gave me this simple picture to illustrate it: Many years ago, a man planted an orange tree in the ground, perhaps even a seedling. Afterwards, he watered and cultivated it until it grew and started producing oranges. Now, many years later, that tree keeps on giving many oranges, one season after another. Can you see that the purpose of the one who planted it was fulfilled because his tree keeps on giving fruit many years after? It is the same with us. Whenever, I get the opportunity to conduct a baby dedication, my main prayer for the child is that God will bless it, keep it, and that in life he or she will be a blessing to others. The Lord has saved us, nurtured us, watches over us and blesses us. Now, He wants us to be fruitful so that others can get the benefit. If we do, then ours indeed will be an abundant life and it will be good for others as well as for us.

Memory verse for the week: (John 15:8 KJV) “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 06 2015
Be Still
Friday, November 6, 2015      
       As I was having my quiet time with the Lord last night, these well known words to many bible readers kept invading my thoughts: “Be Still and know that I am God.” Upon arising this morning, I made it a point to read Psalm 46 one more time, assured that it would be God’s reminding message to me, as well as for you, my fellow believers, and a great way to start off our weekend.
       It’s first verse is really the best known and reads: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Christ saved me and changed my life over forty years ago and I still have not forgotten the many years prior which were filled with fear, desperation, and uncertainty. Not any more! Now, whenever trouble of any kind comes calling, I start calling the Lord and my heart is immediately comforted in the knowledge that He is right there with me. Is that not a great benefit!? It is said that Martin Luther would sing this psalm anytime trouble would come his way. In fact, even those who are not too familiar with this psalm take great comfort just in knowing it’s first verse. Because he knew that God was always with him, David quickly added in the next two verses that he would not fear even if the earth would be removed, the mountains shook, or the oceans roared. The trials we encounter sometimes appear to be as drastic so it is great to know that God is mightier than all our trials put together.
       The space I allot myself for this blog does not permit me to go into more detail so I’ll just jump to verse ten. Here is where God Himself is talking and tells us to be still and know that He is God. Depending on who you are and what your situation may be, it could mean one or several things. If you are troubled beyond measure, it is His way of telling you “Settle down, I am in control.” If you are one who continuously contends with Him about your decisions and the direction of your life, one who is prone to do your “own thing” often, it is His way of telling you, “Surrender, you can’t win.” Finally, if during your nighttime prayers, you are prone to never stop telling Him all your troubles, presenting Him with one petition after another, it is His way of telling you, “Can you please be still for a few minutes and let me do some of the talking” Whatever your situation may be, these truths remain: He is God. He is in control, so you really have nothing to fear. Finally, He wants to have a closer and more intimate relationship with you, one where you converse with each other morning, noon, and night. When my children were very young, they would snitch on each other to us, and because they thought that “behave” was two words, they would often say that so and so was not “being have.” With that great memory in mind, I’ll end today’s blog by asking you, “Are you being still?”
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 05 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015   
       I went to pick up one of my prescribed heart meds yesterday and it cost me 1.73 for a one month supply. My first thought when I paid for the medicine was “Wow, it’s price may be cheap but that little pill is very valuable to me.” Then, it made me wonder about the many people in this world whose lives may seem small and insignificant to many, yet in the estimation of their loved ones they are priceless and irreplaceable. It also reminded me of a very popular song during my teenage years which was sung by Kitty Kallen and was entitled, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” In it, the little things she referred to were, among others, a smile, a shoulder to cry on, a phone call, a compliment and a loving touch. The last line of the song says: “For always and ever, now and forever, little things mean a lot” and no one can argue with that. I know the song is still on You Tube cause I heard it recently.
       The premise is true but sadly, little things can also be an indication of something bad. Pastor Adrian Rogers told the story of a man who was going to be made a chief executive of a large corporation. The Board of Directors talked about it, and it was a “done deal.” In the company cafeteria one day, the existing CEO was behind this man in line. Unbeknownst to the man, the CEO saw him take a pat of butter that cost about 3 cents, then put a slice of bread over the butter so that no one would see it. The CEO went back to the Board and told them they had the wrong man. He told them that he didn’t have integrity. And for 3 cents the man lost a monumental promotion!  In fact, don’t we often read and hear in the news of people who even lose their lives over little things?
       All that being true, I choose to focus today on the little things which are good. There are many of them and they are all pretty simple to do, and even more so when we do it for and because of Christ. They are things such as a word of encouragement, a sincere and heartfelt compliment, a visit, text message, or email, a pat on the back, a warm smile, or a loving embrace, just to name a few. These may be “little” things, but when you do them, they will say a “lot” about you. I know most folks would tell you otherwise, but today I want to challenge you to go out and do something “small.”     
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 04 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015   
       Raise your hand, all of you who in your bedtime prayers last night kept asking God to forgive you because you failed Him during the day? How many of you felt guilty and unworthy of even asking Him to answer your petitions, possibly even hearing an inner or distant voice accusing you of being a hypocrite? If you answered “yes”, I congratulate you for your honesty and although you couldn't see me, I raised my hand too. I hope you’re not one who thought “Ooh, Brother Joe!” Have you forgotten that Jesus saved us because we were sinful and could not save ourselves? And have you forgotten that, although we now have a new nature, the old sin nature still lives within us? If we were not worthy of being forgiven when we came to Christ, do you think we are worthy now? Paul wrote: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) As you can see, my dear fellow saints, if there is any good thing in us, it is because of God’s mercy and grace.
       Actually, today’s blog was inspired when I read Psalm 143 this morning. In it, I saw David experiencing the same thoughts we all get during our nighttime prayers from time to time. He wanted God to hear his prayer even though he realized he had failed Him. He spoke of an enemy that was persecuting him and made him feel overwhelmed and empty. Is that not how we feel when our sinful nature has gotten the best of us? In that state, it made him recall the good times when he enjoyed sweet fellowship with God’s Spirit and expressed his desire to return to it. Is that not also what we feel and desire, for our fellowship with Him to be restored? That is why he prayed in verse 10, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”  
       Yes, my fellow child of God, if you had this troubling experience last night, or even recently, you are not going through something no other believer has not gone through. In fact, if David and the Apostle Paul were familiar with this situation, you are in pretty good company. Perhaps this is your time to pray David’s prayer. (Psalm 143:10) The truth is that we can all benefit by asking God to help us not to fail Him as often as we have, to make us wiser and stronger in our faith. If we keep having these disturbing experiences in the future, we will survive because God is faithful and merciful, but the less we have them, the happier we will be.
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Note: If you know of anybody you think might be interested in reading these blogs in Spanish, please let me know.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 03 2015
Tuesday, November 3, 2015                 
       Do you remember your kindergarten and elementary school days when you would proudly bring home a stick people drawing or a 100 on one of your test papers and someone would tell you that you did good and that they were proud of you? I’m sure most of you can answer in the affirmative, but sadly, one or two of you never experienced that. I suppose many who are in the latter group will say that it never affected them one bit and that they survived and did just fine without it. Nevertheless, and although I am not a psychologist, I suspect that God has made us all in such a way that we all need a word of approval, a pat on the back, or just to hear someone tell us that they love us, appreciate us, and are proud of us, every once in a while.
       My heart aches a little bit when I hear of people who never received any affection or words of support and encouragement as children. To make things worse, many in this group, even today as adults, are still missing out on these things, whether at home, school, work, or even in church. Parents who never take the time to acknowledge and congratulate their children when they do well don’t realize the harm they are inflicting on them. To top it all off, many kids not only lack hearing these words of appreciation and encouragement, they are criticized, scolded, and told constantly that they are worthless and will never amount to anything. It is understandable that children receive this type of treatment from ungodly parents; what is hard to accept is that it often happens in the homes of many who profess to be Christians. They either don’t know or don’t care that the Bible gives us these instructions: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath : but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)
       My guess is that most of us have benefited greatly by words of appreciation and encouragement in our lifetime. Because we have, we know the value of it, and God’s Spirit has helped us tell others that we love and appreciate them. If you haven’t done it in a while, I bet there are people in your life right now that surely need to hear such words. You know who they are. Jump on the chance right now; don’t wait any longer. Personally speaking, I love to tell people “You did good!” What is even better is that, if we truly love others and touch them in a positive way in this life, one day in the next life, we will hear the One we mainly do it for, tell us “You did Good!” Now, that, is something to look forward to. 
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 02 2015
It's About Jesus
Monday, November 2, 2015 
       Today, I would like to expand on the thought the Lord gave me for our church bulletin yesterday. Here it is: [ Jesus told a parable in the 21st Chapter of Matthew about of a man who had two sons.  He told them both one day to go out and work in his vineyard. The first said he would not but later changed his mind and went. The second said "I will Sir" but did not go. Jesus said that, of the two, the first one was the one that did the will of his father. The second son sounded like he was noble and obedient but it is clear that he was all talk and no action. We all know people like him, those who promise much, but do nothing. Though the parable does not mention it, I suspect that when he said "I will Sir", he did it in a loud enough voice so that others could hear him. When Jesus said in Matthew 6:3, "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"  , He was basically saying “Don’t tell the world what you have done or where you have been; let your deeds and actions do the talking.” As your pastor, I plead with you: Please don’t be like that. Let us not forget that people want to hear about Jesus, not about us. ] 
       Then, we have another group that is very similar, those who are always saying what they are going to do or where they are going to go. Like many of you, I believe in the “words are cheap” saying. Anyone can say “I am going to do this or the other”, actually doing them is not so easy. The Bible addresses that issue as well. James wrote about those who boasted that they were going to do this or that on the day of tomorrow, not knowing if they would seetomorrow in the first place. Be sure of this: it is not a sin to share our plans for tomorrow with others if we remember to add that we will do so, God helping us. That is why James added in verse 15, Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  If you read the entire chapter carefully, you will note that it specifically addressed those who were arrogant, proud, and boastful in doing so, the kind who tire people out because they are always speaking about themselves.
       May the Lord remind us to always go about our business quietly and with as little fanfare as possible. If we plan on doing something or going somewhere in the future, lets not forget to ask His permission, approval, and guidance.       
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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