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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Thursday, December 31 2015
Thursday, December 31, 2015     
       I was talking with a church member last Sunday concerning her particular situation and reminded her that we should live one day at a time. As I thought of my advice to her I realized it also applied to me and everyone else in my age bracket. I quickly took the piece of paper I always carry in my shirt pocket for the purpose of writing notes to remind me of certain things I would like to do. In this case, I was considering writing a blog about living one day at a time. It also reminded me of Cristy Lane’s hit song “One Day At A time.” Then last night I got the confirmation. While eating at our favorite Chinese restaurant my fortune cookie message told me that something very special is going to happen to mein three months, to wait for it. I thought to myself: “I don’t even know if I’m going to be alive tomorrow, much less three months from now.”
       Going back to the Cristy Lane’s song, it was almost not released at all because most record companies thought it wouldn’t sell. Not only were they wrong, it became the number one song in country music in 1980. Who would have ever imagined that today, the Spanish version of the song is still being sung just about everywhere, especially by many Mariachi groups. Besides that, it is now a standard tune which is sung in Mexican funeral and graveside services. One of it’s stanzas expresses the exact sentiment I shared with you a few lines ago. It says: “Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus / Andtomorrow may never be mine ‘ Lord, help me today, show me the way / One day at a time.”
       Many who have sung this song probably don’t realize how biblically correct it is. Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mt. 6:34) Proverbs 27:1 says: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” James 4:13-14 also confirms that truth.
       What about you? Are you worried about tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year? Being that we are at 2016’s doorstep, this is a time when many of us are thinking that way. By all means, plan ahead. It is not a sin to set goals for ourselves; we all do it. Life is like looking out our windshield when we’re driving on the highway; we must watch to see what’s in the distance but we must focus primarily on the things that are practically in front of us. Lets live one day at a time and make the best of each new day the Lord gives us.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 12:15“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
 
 
PS: I hope to visit with you this coming Monday, God willing. Meanwhile, may you, your family, and loved ones all have a happy new year.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 30 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015      
       The prophet Joel, who lived around 800 years before the birth of Christ, wrote these prophetic words: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28) Like many bible readers, I also think we are living in the days the prophet spoke of, because now in my old age I dream often while I seldom did when I was younger. That being said, the dream I had late last night or early this morning is still fresh in my mind and I sincerely believe it is a message for one or more of our readers. Here it is:
       I don’t know how it came about but me and part of my family were living under the authority of a cruel and tyrannical group. We were closely supervised and lived in the constant fear of being heard speaking against it or it’s leader. Since church has been a very important part of my life since I committed my life to Christ, I remember vividly asking the leader’s permission to leave to attend church since it was aSunday morning. He refused, indicating to me and the others that he was teaching us a lesson. Just then, a trusted family member who was not in captivity, came by and I told her the situation. I pleaded with her to tell the police to send help, specifically to try to capture this renegade group by surprise. She promised me that she would and my dream ended with me having the complete assurance that help was on the way.   
       I am convinced that this is the message for one or more of you today: There is something or someone who has an unlawful hold upon your life. You need to confide in a strong and trusted friend and ask his or her help. Assuming you chose someone who is strong in the faith, he or she will pray on your behalf and because of it, you too should have the complete assurance that help is on the way. After all, James5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous are “powerful and effective.” Don’t hesitate any longer. If you are in a terrible situation you want to escape from and feel your own faith just isn’t strong enough, call on one or several others who will join you in your prayer. Remember: Help is on the way.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 12:15“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 29 2015
Tuesday, December 29, 2015     
       Another favorite old time hymn of mine is one titled “One Day.” It was originally written as a poem in 1908 by the well known evangelist, J. Wilbur Chapman, and the hymn, in a nutshell, relates the story of the life of Jesus from His birth to His imminent return. It’s beautiful melody was written afterwards by Charles Marsh. There are several hymns that produce tears or a lump in my throat every time we sing them in church. This is one of them. It touches me the most when we get to the chorus which says: “Living, He loved me / dying, He saved me / Buried, He carried my sins far away / Rising, He justified freely forever / One day He’s coming—O glorious day!” BTW, there is a revised modern version of this song titled “Glorious Day.” It was recorded a few years ago and given a new melody by “Casting Crowns.” It is beautiful in it’s own right. However, the original melody is my favorite. Because this poem is way better than any blog I could ever write, today I want to share it with you minus it’s beautiful refrain (chorus) which I shared with you already. I pray it will bless you as much as it does me every time I read it.
 
 
One day when Heaven was filled with His praises / One day when sin was as black as could be / Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin / Dwelt among men, my example is He!
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain / One day they nailed Him to die on the tree /
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected / Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He!
 
 
One day they left Him alone in the garden / One day He rested, from suffering free / Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil / Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He!
 
 
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer / One day the stone rolled away from the door / Then He arose, over death He had conquered / Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!
 
 
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming / One day the skies with His glories will shine   
/ Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing / Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 12:15“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
 
Posted by: Joe Marinez AT 07:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 28 2015
Monday, December 28, 2015    
       Modern Technology has afforded us some advantages and conveniences most of us never dreamed would ever become a reality. In fact, were it not for computers I would not be able to write a blog like this one, and because I never learned how to do it the correct way, when I write I have to be constantly looking at the keyboard. If my PC worked like the old typewriters, it would take me all day to write a blog article that today occupies me for an hour or two, not to mention that I would keep the manufacturers of “white out” in business. Other than computers and smart phones, the electronic age has mostly passed me by, and I know very little about many of these devices. However, one thing I have learned about I Pads and other gadgets is that folks can get too attached and dependent on them. It seems to me that, in most cases, they don’t have the gadgets; the gadgets have them. But because of their usefulness and convenience, I will not go so far as to say that they are “gadgets of destruction”; I’ll settle for “gadgets of distraction.”
       We often hear people talk about the “quality time” they spent with their family or friends but if during this time they constantly played with an electronic contraption, it was by no means “quality.” Not only do family members and friends often get robbed of some meaningful “get together” time, especially the older generation, I have seen this waste of valuable time in church as well. Members who arrive early for a service, who have an opportunity to go sit down and chat with a church family member, read their bibles, meditate, or spend some valuable altar time, often waste this time because they just have to play with their gadget of preference. Think about this: Can keeping playing a game or keeping in touch with the world, your favorite website, or your Facebook friends be more important than the things I mentioned previously, and can they not be used at our time and not the Lord’s? If smart phones, I Pads, and the like are used to read, research, or study the Bible, they have a place in church; otherwise they don’t.
       I confess that the few times I have forgotten to take my smart phone with me when I leave the house, my first reaction was one of panic. That is why I am very careful not to point the finger at those who seem incapable of existing without their electronic devices. Nevertheless, I have come to realize that I can get along quite well without my smart phone just like I used to before they were invented. Jesus reminded His Disciples one day: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) No one else can make that statement and that includes our electronic gadgets. We can do without them, but we certainly cannot do without Christ. Lets use our electronic instruments to our advantage but lets not permit them to control and dominate our lives.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 12:15“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 25 2015
Friday, December 25, 2015      
       Christmas means different things to different people, so it is observed and celebrated differently, if at all. Like our family, some of you may have gathered last night and some may be gathering today. By the same token, some may have had a great time of fellowship with family, friends, and loved ones, and some of you may have had a sad and lonely day. One thing applies to all of us, nonetheless, and that is that everything in this life will come to an end. Today will just be a memory a hundred years from now. That’s the way God decided it would be. Regardless of that, the birth and coming of Christ into this world changed man’s destiny forever. And now, because Christ lives forever, we have a sure hope that our best days are still ahead. Christ is our living hope, and because He is, Paul offered up this prayer for all of us who have made Him our hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans15:13)
       If this year’s Christmas season was less than stellar for you, you can be assured that things will definitely get better, and if it was joyful and wonderful, believe it or not, things will get better for you too. Merry Christmas!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jude 1:21“Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 24 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015     
       As we were driving around town yesterday on a busier than normal day, I kept thinking of one of the most recognizable Christian hymns of the past century, “Just As I Am.” This hymn is widely known because, for as long as I can remember, it has been the one which has been exclusively played by the Billy Graham crusades as their altar call. I’m sure many of you who have seen these evangelistic campaigns remember hearing this familiar melody as people from all sections of the stadium make their way down to foot of the stage to publicly proclaim their decision to accept Christ as their Savior.
       As far as the hymn is concerned, it’s message is best understood when one knows what prompted it’s author, Charlotte Elliot, to write the lyrics in 1834. I trust you will look up it’s lyrics as well as hear it’s melody at your first opportunity. You shouldn’t have any trouble at all finding both lyrics and melody on the internet. Ms. Elliot was brought up in a Christian home, her grandfather being a minister. Despite the fact that “church” was practically all the life her entire family knew, she struggled with doubt for many years concerning her standing with God. One day, a well known preacher came to visit her when she was ill. The preacher, sensing her lack of assurance regarding her salvation, asked her if she had peace with God. She initially resented the question, but later called on the minister to apologize. She explained that she had not committed her life to Christ because she first wanted to “clean herself up.” For many years, all the ministers she had consulted would tell her to pray more, to study the Bible more, to perform more noble deeds, or to resolve to do better. None of this advice gave her any relief so when she asked this last preacher what advice he could give her, he told her, “Go to God just as you are.” This was the gospel truth she needed to hear: No human can clean himself or herself well enough to satisfy God’s requirement. Jesus, on the other hand, provided all the cleansing anybody will ever need by way of the precious blood he shed on the cross of Calvary to win our salvation.
       Nevertheless, the real reason this hymn came to my heart and mind yesterday was because I was thinking about the apparent difficulty most of us have in accepting some people in our lives “just as they are.” It is so easy to forget that God accepts us as we are. And I’m not talking about the day Jesus saved us, I’m talking about now. Without a doubt, God wants us to do better, but yet He will always love us “just as we are.” May the Lord always remind us that we can’t change others, only He can. And may He help us to love and accept others “just as they are.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jude 1:21“Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
 
 
 
PS: I wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas and hope you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with your friends and loved ones. I plan to visit with you again on Friday.
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 22 2015
Tuesday, December 22, 2015        
       Its that time again folks! The biblical account of Christ’s birth is so well known and often repeated, it would not surprise me if all of you got perfect scores. Tell me how you did anyway.
1. Where were the Wise Men that came looking for Jesus from?
    a/ North       b/ East       c/ South         d/ West
2. How was the Christ Child wrapped?
    a/ newspapers      b/ pajamas     c/ swaddling clothes    d/ burlap
3. The Wise Men rejoiced when they saw the _______
    a/ stable       b/ shepherds       c/ Palace of Herod       d/ star
4. Jesus was born in the little town of __________
     a/ Bethlehem      b/ Bethany        c/ Berea           d/ Bethel
5. That little town was also known as the city of _________
     a/ Joseph       b/ David       c/ Saul        d/ Angels
6. Joseph and Mary came up from Galilee because of a tax decree made by
    a/ Julius Caesar      b/ Nero     c/ Caesar Augustus      d/ Mark Anthony
7. The Wise Men came to Jerusalem asking, “Where is He that is born King of the _____ ?”
   a/ World        b/ Universe      c/ country       d/ Jews
8. The gifts the Wise Men presented were gold, frankincense, and _______
   a/ silver      b/ alabaster      c/ myrrh       a/ rubies
9. After Jesus’ birth, the angel of the Lord told Joseph in a dream to flee into ______ with Mary and the babe. 
    a/ Jerusalem      b/ Egypt      c/ Damascus     d/ Jericho
10. Before presenting their gifts, the Wise Men _______ the Christ Child
    a/ worshipped        b/ carried         c/ fed        d/ bathed    
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jude 1:21“Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
ANSWERS: 1 B / 2 C  / 3 D / 4 A / 5 B / 6 C / 7 D / 8 C / 9 B/ 10 A
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 21 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015     
       Because most of us have had bosses or supervisors who ordered us to do things just to prove that they were in charge, many people have the foolish notion that God likewise commands us to do things just to show that He is in control. The truth is, however, that anything that God has ever asked or required of us is geared to our benefit. Following His commands or instructions will always hold good results for us. There are times when He commands us to do things which are strange to us. One such example is Deuteronomy 6:5 where God says: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”The reason this command may be odd to us is because we would seldom dare to command others to love us. From our standpoint, love, like respect, is not automatic. To get it we must earn it. God, on the other hand, because He is perfect, is the only One who has the right to do so. Some could protest and ask: Why, then, did Christ command us in Matthew 5:48to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect? The simple answer is because we’re not perfect.
       If we love God as completely as we are commanded, the benefits are endless and if there was ever such a thing as a gift that keeps on giving, this is it. To reinforce the point, permit me to remind you of Jesus’ words: He said that to love God is the greatest Commandment and the second was to love our neighbor. Then He added the clincher when He said: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:40) What He meant was simply this: If we can keep these two commandments, all our other requirements and obligations will be met. That is why the first thing Peter needed to know in order to have success when he was left in charge of the Disciples, was that it began with loving Christ. Although many believe, and rightfully so, that Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” three times because Peter denied him three times, I choose to believe Jesus was trying to drive home the point to Peter, that serving God in any capacity begins with loving Him totally.
       Many years ago when I was in the radio ministry, a lady called in after one program to ask my advice concerning her pastor. She said she was contemplating leaving because her pastor was too young and inexperienced. I asked her if she felt that he loved God with all his heart, as well as the members of the congregation. She said: “Oh, there’s no doubt about that!” I advised her to stay there and support him as best she could. I knew that any pastor who loves God with all his heart will study, pray, and do whatever it takes to please God, and in time, will have all the tools necessary to do the job. In closing, permit me to remind you: If you want to have success in your life in Christ, give yourself completely to Him and love Him with all your heart. All other things will fall into place.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jude 1:21“Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, December 18 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015      
       At our grandson’s recent graduation ceremony, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a musical ensemble from his school playing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” before the commencement exercises. I had expected to only hear the popular Christmas songs about Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, and all the others which most people know from beginning to end, all which I love, I might add. And being that we are deeply imbedded in an age of political correctness, I certainly did not expect to hear a musical group from a state funded university play any Christian oriented Christmas carols. Later, they even played “Silent Night.” As I was wondering why this happened, I got the impression that they mostly played these carols because of their historical value and not about their message.
       As I was silently singing along to the first carol they played, I was very aware of the song’s clear message. It’s writer, whoever he or she may have been, was reminding the world of the good news of the gospel, that the reason Christ was born was to save us from Satan’s power. (sin)  This should be more than enough reason for us not to be dismayed, but rather to have comfort and joy in our hearts. I realized that most people, and many Christians too, seldom pay attention to the words and the meanings when they sing this or any other hymn or Christmas carol. Then, I also remembered Paul’s words to the Philippians when he informed them that not everyone who preaches the gospel does it with love, faith, or sincerity. Still, he added: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” (Ph. 1:18) Remembering these words of Paul, prompted me to say a hearty “amen” in my heart. I realized that although most people will overlook the message of our many beloved Christmas carols, there will always be a few here and there who will eventually “get it”, one more reason to rejoice at Christmas time.
       I am very much aware that the hearts of many of God’s children are filled with sadness and dismay when they dwell on the way the world celebrates and observes Christmas today. Nevertheless, please permit me to remind you that the Christmas season should be a time of happy rejoicing. Don’t let today’s world rob you of it. As an old Mexican Christian “corito” (little chorus) says: “The joy that I have, the world did not give it to me. The world did not give it to me, and because it didn’t give it to me, it can’t take it away.” If you truly love the Lord, there is absolutely no reason why your heart should not be filled today with Christ’s comfort and joy.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Deuteronomy 12:32“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 17 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015       
       Many people in this world have a Santa Claus perception of God. They think He is a kindly old man with a long white beard who is sitting in a rocking chair and is looking down to earth to see who is naughty or nice. They are not much different than the children who are waiting on Santa to give them all the things they ask for, and when they don’t get what they asked for, they will never believe in him again. Have you lost count of the many times you have heard those who say they stopped believing in God when He didn’t answer their prayers, the most common one being that He let a dear loved one die? Then, there are those who think that on the day they stand before Him, He is going to let them enter heaven because they have been “good.” If that were the case, no human being would ever get into Heaven because the Bible says about all of us: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:12)
       I admit that the concept of Santa Claus is a good one because, if nothing else, it gives children all around the world a sense of hope and excitement, even if it is but for a short time. My joy and excitement about Santa slowly faded away when I finally realized he was not going to come down the chimney in our house which was just a few feet away from my bed. I know many will think I am not being “nice” for saying it, but Santa Claus is only a myth. On the other hand, God is real and so is His power. What He gives is far, far better than what we can ever hope Santa will give us. Earthly presents are temporary; what God gives is forever. And way better than Santa, we don’t need to be “good” in order to receive them; all we have to do is believe on His Son, Jesus Christ.
       Unlike many other well meaning Christians, I am not the type that goes around this time of year donning a sour face and saying “humbug” to everything related to today’s celebration of Christmas. I actually love Santa, and the elves, and the reindeer, Christmas trees, lights and decorations. Then again, I love Mickey Mouse too. You see, I can be happy with all of this because……... I believe on the true story of Christmas. The truth of it should bring a lasting hope and joy to all of God’s children. And because of Christ, this time of year we should even be more excited than any simple little tot who believes in Santa. Joy to the world!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Deuteronomy 12:32“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 16 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015      
       I know I have used the analogy before, but I feel the need to use it again anyway. Just as a professional violinist can tell when their fellow violinists have studied, practiced, and have done the necessary preparation to play their selected music, any well studied and prepared minister of the gospel, can easily tell when hearing others share God’s Word, if they have studied and prepared themselves before opening their mouths. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” Just as a powerful weapon in the hands of an untrained shooter can cause great harm, God’s Word in the hands of the unlearned and/or unprepared can do the same. That is why it is imperative that those who speak on God’s behalf, in any capacity, should be studied up and prepared. Paul advised the young minister, Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Even after 40 plus years in the preaching ministry, I still need many hours of prayer, research, and study in any sermon or bible class I share with others, and I never climb the pulpit without my notes. Even when doing the closing, which I mostly do without notes, everything I say is prepared beforehand.
       When I was in the radio ministry, I used to hand deliver my recorded messages to the station manager so he could play them at the scheduled time. One day he said it would be easier for all of us if I would just go to their recording booth, he would turn on the mike, and I could start talking. He said most preachers did it that way. I politely declined telling him I did not have the “gift of gab” like they did. The real reason, however, was that I would not dare just open my mouth and say the first thing that came to my mind. All my messages were scripted and edited before I recorded them. I wanted to ensure that I said exactly what I planned to say. I took Colossians 4:6 seriously then, and I still do. It tells us: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” It was as if the apostle was telling me personally, “Please prepare!”
       As a child of God, I urge you to study the Bible as much as you can. The more you know it, the better you can share it with others. And if you are among the honored few who has been given a platform by God to share His Word in a public setting, I plead with you, “Please prepare!” Keep in mind that there will always be some listeners in the crowd who will quickly know if what you said was studied and prepared beforehand. More importantly, you are in a position to either help or hurt your listeners.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Deuteronomy 12:32“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 11 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015   
       I think that most of you who read this blog will agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if Christ wasn’t in it, and although today it means different things to different people, we wouldn’t even have a Christmas if Jesus had not been born in a humble stable in the little town of Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Have you ever considered, however, why God chose to come to Earth in the form of a baby and what can we learn about the Christmas story?
      Without a doubt, God gave us His Son because He loved us. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8) In other words, even before Adam and Eve, God’s plan included that several thousand years later His Son would come into the world and thirty three years after His birth, He would hang on the cross of Calvary to be the payment for men’s sins. The Son who never sinned, whom He loved so dearly, would be paying the price for a sin laden mankind. That’s how much God loved us!
       People today can call it what they wish, but it was God who set the wheels of love in motion. Christmas is a time for gifts. People give them, or should anyway, because they love the persons they are giving them too. Yet, it started with God when He gave us the Greatest Gift ever. The Bible says in 1 John 4:19, that “we love Him because He first loved us.” Consequently, we give because He first gave. A great philosopher and humanitarian of the past, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, confessed that He began to do things for others when a certain someone once gave him a very precious and meaningful gift, one in which no monetary value was involved. When he and his wife were being transported one day to another prisoner-of-war camp, they were struggling with their heavy baggage on a scorching hot day. Almost out of nowhere, a poor crippled man Dr. Schweitzer had treated in the camp, came to help them with their heavy load. The man could hardly walk himself, yet he walked side by side with them until they boarded their train. His was love and devotion created by thankfulness. Family and friends, the idea to do good things for others because others have done good things for us, did not begin with a Coca Cola TV commercial; it began with God. Love is a Christmas essential. I pray that it will define your Christmas this year.    
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Romans 14:4) “Who are you (we) to judge someone else's servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 10 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015        
       Being that we are in the midst of the 2016 presidential races, perhaps you are thinking that through this blog I will be expressing my hope that our next president will finally be the one to lead this country correctly. Actually, since we are at the start of another Christmas season, I was thinking of a part of scripture which is referred to at this time of year which speaks of a perfect government. Isaiah prophesied: “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) In the following verse, Isaiah wrote that “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end”signifying that this is a spiritual and everlasting government, not ours or any other earthly government. This prophetic truth should also remind us that our main hope is not on our government or anybody else’s, but on Christ. As the blessed old hymn of the faith, “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”, says: “On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
       Although most of us still believe that ours is the greatest nation on earth, there are indications that we are slowly going downhill. And although we like to speak about our country’s past glories, it has never been perfect, neither will the entire world government ever be perfect until Christ comes back to set up His earthly, one thousand year kingdom. This country’s Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, expressed the view that it is the right of the people to institute new government, laying it’s foundation “and organizing it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” We still have the right every two or four years to elect new leaders in case we are not happy with those in office. I would venture a guess that the majority of you are not happy with the kind of leadership and representation this country has been getting. Therefore, you are anxious to go express your sentiment in the polling booth this coming election day and are hopeful that our new leadership will be better than before. 
       It is reasonable for us to do the best that we can while we are still here and although some people may not want to hear this, we are really just passing through. We belong to another country. In His prayer for His Disciples and all that would believe in their message, Jesus said: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16) Lets do our part so that ours can continue being the world’s greatest nation while we’re still here. Keep in mind, however, that our future nation will be perfect because it’s Leader is perfect.
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Romans 14:4) “Who are you (we) to judge someone else's servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 09 2015
Wednesday, December 9, 2015      
       Although we are at the beginning of a new Christmas (not holiday) season, the gifts I am writing about today are the ones God’s Spirit bestows upon His children. Paul said that “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.” (I Corinthians 12:11) To me, it is a reminder that the Lord determines everything about them, including who He gives them to and when and how they are to be used. One example of this is the account in 2 Kings, Chapter 3, concerning the prophet, Elisha. When he was summoned to prophesy before the kings of Israel and Judah concerning their impending battle against the Moabites, the prophet needed a harpist so that the hand of the Lord would come upon him and enable him to employ his gift of prophecy.
       If you are a child of God, you too have spiritual gifts which are given for your benefit, the benefit of others, and for His glory. If you are led by His Spirit, the Lord will either provide an open door, or else He will reveal to you when and how to use them. If you want to use them in your own time, and not at the Lord’s leading, besides not having a good effect, it may cause more harm than good. In Elisha’s case, he was “out of it”, so to speak. Perhaps it was because he was in the presence of Joram, the ungodly king of Israel, and son of Ahab, a man for whom he had very little regard. Whatever the reason, he needed help to get “in the Spirit” before he could prophesy correctly. The truth is that all of us are in the same position. There are times that, for some reason or another, we just “don’t have it” and we can’t use the gift or gifts God has given us. That may also explain why I don’t write these blogs every day. Many times I don’t write them because of other commitments, but from time to time it is because I just “don’t have it.”
       Don’t get too down on yourself the next time you feel “out of it.” Keep in mind that, just like Elisha, we can always call on God to send us the help we need. Although, we may not have a harpist at our disposal, we always have access to God through prayer and meditation or even turn to good inspirational resources such as bible reading, devotionals, or music. We will all be “out of it” from time to time but thanks be to God, we don’t have to stay there.
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Romans 14:4) “Who are you (we) to judge someone else's servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 07 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015     
       Because we’re human, we all wonder from time to time, how many of those we see serving the Lord are “faking it”, and how many are doing it with a sincere heart. We may think of it when we see sports stars or celebrities who publicly acknowledge God or praise Jesus, or when we hear or see radio and TV preachers, or even when we hear someone preach, teach, play or sing for the Lord in church. I sometimes wonder if some people think I’m among the fakers. Nevertheless, as the Lord has had to remind me several times, I’ll remind you as well: That is God’s business, not ours! It will be God who will one day separate the sheep from the goats. (See Matthew 25:32-33) He will one day reveal those who were truly His and those who were not, welcoming some into His eternal joy, and to others who many of us thought were the real deal, saying “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (See Mt. 7:22-23)
       As far as God’s children are concerned, we will all have our day when we stand before the Lord to give an account for our lives. Thanks be to God, however, that it will not be for the purpose of determining if we get into Heaven or not. That issue was settled for us on the day we invited Jesus into our heart. As I have told you often, we are not saved by what we do or have done, but by what Jesus did. Works is another matter. For the things we did as Christians and the reasons we did them, for that we will have to give an account to Christ when we stand before Him. There, our works will be tried by fire. There, we will know how many of our accomplishments in His service were accepted and how many were not. Writing about this matter, Paul said: “If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned , he shall suffer loss : but he himself shall be saved ; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15 KJV)
       The Lord, and probably us too, knows when we serve Him with a sincere and thankful heart and when we don’t. He also knows if and when we do things in His name to get attention or draw praise for ourselves. Let’s be honest here: There are times when we do things because we want to be loved and appreciated. After all, it is a human tendency. The Lord will not come down on us when we do, but these works won’t stand up to the test. In closing, I know that, because the old person still lives within us, we will all continue to entertain varying thoughts about those who do things for God. Nevertheless, we can ask the Lord to help us when we do, asking Him to also remind us continually that it is not our business, but His. Besides, we all have better things to do than playing this silly little game.
 
Memory Verse for the week: (Romans 14:4) “Who are you (we) to judge someone else's servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 02 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 
       Speaking to an elderly Christian recently, I was slightly shocked that she did not believe in Christ’s literal return. It prompted me to do some research in the matter and I was even more shocked in learning that some prominent radio pastors and teachers you have probably heard, do not believe in it either, although the majority of evangelical ministers do. In it’s website, one prominent denominational church even went as far as stating emphatically that it did not believe in the rapture, one of their main reasons being that, according to them, the concept of it only began to be advocated by a Scottish pastor in 1807. Horse Feathers! Their ignorance of clear and simple bible verses is evident to me and reminded me of Paul’s words to the Romans about those who suppress the truth. He said that “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22) This also reminded me of the eternal truth that much of God’s Word can be understood by children, yet hid from those who pretend to know it all. In His prayer to the Father in Matthew 11:25, Jesus said: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
       Any trusting and believing child can understand what the angels said to Jesus’ Disciples when they saw Him slowly disappear from them on the day He went back to the Father. They said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Also, how much intelligence does it take to understand Paul’s words to the Thessalonians about Christ’s return? The subject is covered in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, with verse 16 saying, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel  and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
       I firmly believe that these Rapture doubters are incorrect but even if they’re right, Christ is still our main hope, not the Rapture. Our salvation will not be affected whether we believe or not believe in it. With each new day, my chances for actually being here on the day of the Rapture grow slimmer. Nevertheless, I won’t miss out on the joy and excitement of it, and neither will you, for our ultimate joy and ecstasy will come on the day we see Jesus, whether we go by ourselves or all together in a great multitude.    
 
Memory verses for the week: (Romans 8:38-39)  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”                                                                    
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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