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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Thursday, May 28 2015
Good, Better, Best
Thursday, May 28, 2015                 
       The Sermon on the Mount is a picture of what true believers do and how they live their lives, and the mindset of a genuine child of God is represented in Jesus’ words of instruction given in Matthew 5:41 which reads: “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.” On a daily basis, and sometimes several times in a day, we are given the opportunity of doing good, better, or best. On the day when Christ gave this word of instruction, people were compelled by law to carry a Roman soldier’s burden for one mile if he asked them to. Jesus was implying that the law required one mile but God’s grace called for something higher, and true Christians are not be satisfied with doing ‘good” or being average, for they are better than that.
     Think about this: Does God give you something just good or average on a daily basis and is He just a good part of your life? I trust you will keep that in mind today when you’re doing your daily duties at work or at home, when you go out in public, or when you go out to eat at one of your favorite places and leave your tip. After all,  what is Christ to you? I trust you will say He is the best part of your life. Tonight, when you think back on how you did today, I hope you can honestly say that you did your best.
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 127:3) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 27 2015
Knowledge Vs Faith
Wednesday, May 27, 2015         
       I think the world has the mistaken idea that Christians in general are not very bright; even Christians themselves tend to believe this. Perhaps one more reason they think this way is because they misunderstood this verse in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Cor. 1:26 KJV) Like many other bible verses that are misunderstood, especially because they are isolated and taken out of context, this one throws people off because they interpret the “called” as being the “saved.”
       When one reads the entire context of this position, particularly verses 27-29, it is clear to see that God chose to use those who are generally despised, and not expected by the world in general, in order to confound those who tend to glory in their knowledge and intellect. If it took intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom in order to be saved, those who were saved would tend to glory in themselves, and not attribute their entry into Heaven entirely to God. We cannot deny that many unlearned and uneducated people around the world are Christians. Nevertheless, they did not come to Christ because of their lack of worldly knowledge, but by their childlike faith. In fact, the knowledge of those who “know too much” tends to block their way to faith since they are inclined to want to humanly analyze and understand everything. That is the reason that most Christians have come to a saving knowledge of Christ at an early age because human wisdom and knowledge are not in the way at that point and time in their lives. The truth is that anybody who wants to come to Christ by way of their knowledge or intelligence will never see Him because they are tuned in to the wrong channel. In other words, if you wanted to check up on the current world news, you would not tune in to ESPN but to CNN.
       Please don’t think that there are no intelligent and educated in God’s family. In fact, in a recent survey among secular professional groups, the one with the highest percentage of believers (90%) were the astronomers, probably because their work mainly consists of their extensive study of the heavens. Even so, how much worldly education would one need in order to look up into the heavens one starry nigh, and proclaim, “Wow, somebody created all of this!”? Education is a great thing to have and worthy of being pursued, but salvation is even greater.
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 127:3) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 26 2015
Had It Not Been
Tuesday, May 26, 2015        
       Have you ever found yourself waking from a bad dream and being extremely happy and grateful the moment you realized it was just that and not reality? I had such an experience three mornings ago. At first, I thought it was a senseless dream but as I thought more about it, I realized it made all the sense in the world. Remember the general plot of the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart? Clarence the angel showed him how bleak and heartbreaking the lives of his family members and friends would have been had he not been born. When he awoke and snapped back to reality, he yelled and danced for joy and saw how beautiful his life really was, regardless of the possible financial ruin he was facing.
       I saw that bleakness and hopelessness in my dream. In it, the marriage of two of my children was in shambles, as well as my own. It was very troubling to say the least and I caught a glimpse of the pain and anguish many families cope with on a daily basis. By God’s mercy and grace our family is not like that at all, and although we are far from being perfect and have our share of problems, because of Him we are a very united and closely knit unit. We are blessed to see our children and grandchildren at least once a week, some of them two or three times. Even better, they all know and serve the Lord, which means we will be together forever. Many parents wish they could say the same and because God is good, they can someday. And we are perfectly aware, just as David was when he wrote Psalm 124, Who’s responsible for the many blessings our family enjoys. He began by saying If the Lord had not been on our side” and then added that their enemies would have swallowed them alive, and like raging waters would have swept them away. He ends his psalm with these words: We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”(verses 7-8)   
       We all have many enemies too and not all of them are human. Still, it is the Lord who saves us from them continually. We are all familiar with the word “dysfunctional” which is used to describe many families nowadays. To be objective, I don’t believe anyone today can see what line separates “functional” from “dysfunctional.” Even so, we all know some who certainly fit in the latter category in our opinion. That being said, if our family is not dysfunctional, we can be very grateful to God for it, and if it is, we can look to Him with faith and hope knowing that He can change it and restore it. The formula is really quite simple: the more we draw closer to God, the better the chances for our own family to draw closer together as well. If nothing else, if we walk closely with God, we will have “family” everywhere we go. Would you like that? Would you want your family to be closer together? Then don’t forget the simple formula and believe God for the answer.
Memory Verse for the week: (Psalm 127:3) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:13 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 25 2015
Memorial Day
Monday, May 25,           
       The day when God’s angel of Destruction “passed over” the land of Egypt to slay the firstborn of any household which was not under the protection of the blood on the doorposts was a very memorable day. In fact, it was a day which God Commanded should be memorialized for all generations to come. Speaking to Moses, the Lord said: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Exodus 12:14
       Our nation observes our own “Memorial Day” every year around this time and I realize that many of us will take advantage of this national holiday to rest or spend some quality time with our families and friends. Nevertheless, may we never forget that it was because of the sacrifice of many that we can even enjoy days such as these, not to mention the many benefits of living in the greatest nation on earth. Take the time today to thank God for the many who gave their lives to make our lives so much richer, never forgetting to thank God every day for the One who gave His life to give us life and make us free. Relax and enjoy your holiday today and I plan to visit with you again tomorrow
Psalm 144:15: “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 22 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015                     
       Have you ever caught yourself complaining about something you should be extremely grateful for instead? If you say that you never have, I ask you to either pray for the other 99 percent of us, or else that the Lord may help you with your memory problem. Speaking of that, did you know that there are some poor souls out there who have forgotten they have a memory problem? It reminds me of the lady to accompanied her husband to a medical checkup and urged him to tell the doctor about his memory problem. He said, “Oh yeah doc, sometimes I forget things from one minute to the other. Have you ever heard of that?” The doctor replies, “Hmnn, how long have you had that problem?” The man responds, “What problem?” Okay, your groans are coming through loud and clear. Nevertheless, complaining about something we should be grateful for instead is as old as the Garden of Eden, when Adam basically complained to God that the one who made him fall into temptation was the wife that He gave him. As Pastor Solis has remarked in the past, I too believe that when Adam saw Eve for the first time, he said “Wow!” and was totally grateful to God for her. Though, next to God, she was the best thing to happen to him, now he was complaining about her.
       Following the accounts of David’s life, it is pretty clear he caught himself making this mistake many times. One such indication is found in Psalm 142 where he confessed pouring out his complaint to God in verse 2. In verse 4, he complained in part that no one cared for him. That obviously could not be true because there were many who loved him and cared about his well-being, especially his faithful followers who were at his side at the time. If he had been more careful, he would have thanked the Lord instead for those who were on his side. I don’t have the information at hand, but if the book of Psalms is in perfect chronological order,  David seemingly forgot the  advice he himself had penned in Psalm 103:2, which is: “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” He even listed some of His benefits immediately after this verse. They are, among many other things: forgiveness of sins, healing, redemption, love, compassion, spiritual renewal, and justice for the oppressed. I would invite you to read this favorite psalm of many as often as you can; it will do you much good.
       The reason I was reminded of this careless blunder we all commit from time to time is because I recently heard a man say that he complained to a good friend about the problems he was going through with his wife and children. His friend replied, “Gee, I wish I had a wife and children!” Do you see the picture? Keep this in mind next time you complain about your wife, children, boss, job, or even your church or pastor. In the end, I trust you will see that you are much better off for having than not having them in your life.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 6:33 KJV) “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 20 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015          
       Hearing a pastor share a funny but eye-opening experience recently, reminded me of a necessary experience we all need to have, namely the need to be brought back down to reality every once in a while. James 4:10 says: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” It is a reminder for us to keep a proper perspective of life as well as of ourselves and “not to think more highly of ourselves than we should”, as Romans 12:3 advises us. Many you are not like most people, but in their case, when they are riding high and everything is going well for them, they tend to think that they’ve “got it all together”, so to speak, not realizing they are being set up for a fall. Proverbs 16:18 says that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”              
       Because the Lord knows it is a human inclination to think more highly of ourselves than we should when things are working well in our lives, He gives us advance warning in His Word, like the previous verse, so that we can avoid a painful or embarrassing experience down the road. I remember an experience I had some time back at church one Sunday after the service was over. It had been an exceptionally good week, The Lord had answered some of our pressing prayers, the attendance was great, the parking lot was full, and my sermon had been very well received. The church was almost empty and I was feeling pretty good about myself. To me, it was an obvious sign that I was “doing things right.” As I walked up to the water fountain to take a drink, there was a little boy from Sunday School still walking around in the back. As I passed Him, he cried out in a strong voice, “Hi there, Pastor Mike!” I had begun to think that I was a “hot shot’ and one of our church kids didn’t even know who I was. Apparently, he didn't know who Pastor Mike was either. Besides, Bro Mike and I may have the same last name but we definitely do not look alike.
       Let it be known that I have had “come back down to earth” experiences much more embarrassing than that one. The point that I want to make, however, is that we all need such experiences in our lives from time to time, and if we don’t stay humble or make it a practice to humble ourselves before the Lord, He will find ways of doing it for us. No, He doesn’t want to embarrass us for sport, He just wants us to be better life examples for Him, and keep us from something more painful later on.  Lets keep it real, folks.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 6:33 KJV) “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 19 2015
Making A Difference
Tuesday, May 19, 2015        
       To those of you who enjoy reading a good book, there are few better than the beautiful story found in the biblical book of Ruth, even though it is only four chapters long. Even if you have read it before, I would suggest you slowly and carefully read it again; I bet you’ll be glad you did. One particular verse in the story is among the best known in the Bible. It is this one: But Ruth replied, “Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16) This is what led up to this vow Ruth made to her mother-in-law, Naomi.
       Years earlier, Naomi’s husband left Bethlehem during some hard times, and took her and his two sons into the land of Moab. In time, the sons each married a woman from that land but not long after, the father died, and later his sons, both of whom died before any children were born into their marriages. Hearing that things had gotten better there, and now without her husband and two sons, Naomi decided to go back home and when she did, her daughters in law vowed to go with her. It appears that once they got to the border, Naomi tried to dissuade them from joining her, claiming she had absolutely nothing to offer them if they went with her. She succeeded with Orpah, the other daughter-in-law, in convincing her to stay in Moab but not with Ruth, who remained faithful to her vow.
       One question which arose in my heart, as I considered Ruth’s decision, was this: What was it that, in the end, convinced her to leave her country, her gods, her way of life, and her family to follow after Naomi? The Bible doesn’t say it directly but I believe it was Naomi’s life testimony. The great bible commentator, Matthew Henry, made this observation: [“She is so in love, not with her mother’s (Naomi’s) beauty, or riches, or gaiety (all these were withered and gone), but with her wisdom, and virtue, and grace, which remained with her, even in her present poor and melancholy condition, that she resolves to cleave to her.”] I see it as him basically saying that she treasured what she saw in the life of Naomi so much that she not only wanted to be like her, she wanted to be around her for the rest of her life. To me, this is one of the story’s best lessons, that is, that we can all, as children of God, make a difference in those places where life’s destiny takes us. Apparently, when Naomi arrived in Moab, her life made such an impact in that place that things there would never be the same. Are you like that? Are you living your life in such a way that the new places where you arrive change just because you are there? If you answered “yes” it is because you are living a Christ centered life, and I congratulate you for that.           
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 6:33 KJV) “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”    
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 18 2015
Me Worry?
Monday, May 18,       
       Addressing the issue of worrying, Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes.” (Matthew 6:25) I hope you realize that people in Jesus’ day were no different than the people of today. Just as they did then, most honest people today will confess that they worry, or place more value than they should, on things that really do not have that much importance. Many will not admit that things such as food and clothes are at the top of their priorities list and although I am not on Facebook, the majority of the few pictures I do see from time to time show folks eating their favorite foods or at their favorite restaurants, or else the new clothes they just bought. If food is not so important in the lives of people today, why are the TV food channels so popular and why have so many chefs become household names all of a sudden?
      Please let it be known that I’m not here to rain on your parade for I am like most people. I also like food and have my favorite eating places and I don’t turn down too many invitations to go meet someone at a particular restaurant. Like many of you, I also get the urge from time to time to go eat at one of our favorite places. Nevertheless, I don’t overly worry or lose any sleep over it. C’mon, how many times have you caught yourself thinking about your next meal while you’re still not done with the one you’re eating? The truth is, I don’t recall ever feeling guilty or foolish when I have done that. Maybe I should.
       However, the main points Jesus made about worrying, as well as other places in the Bible are: First, there is no need for it. In Psalm 39, David wrote that people in general “heap up riches” (vs 6) and have no idea who will actually wind up with them. Secondly, having all the food, clothes, money or material things the world can offer, will never bring peace, satisfaction, or happiness. Such things only come to those who please God. (See Ecclesiastes2:26) Thirdly, There is no better thing than to have Christ and the peace He gives. Ecclesiastes 4:6 says: “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (4) In His Parable of the Sower, Jesus said that those who make life’s riches and pleasures their main focus, miss out on receiving the benefits of the Christian life. (See Luke 8:14) Such was the case with Martha, Lazarus’ sister. She missed out on the full benefits of Jesus’ visit to her home because she was more concerned about the meal she was going to prepare for Him and the rest of His party than just being in His presence. Don’t miss out on the peace, joy, satisfaction, and happiness just knowing Christ can bring by worrying more than you should on unimportant things. Having Jesus in our life is all we’ll ever really need.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 6:33 KJV) “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”     
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 15 2015
Where's The Beef?
Friday, May 15, 2015                     
       I bet most of you remember the “where’s the beef” TV ads featuring the incomparable Clara Peller back in the 80’s. They showed her being outraged at the burger place who had just sold her a big-bun burger with a small patty inside and uttering her still famous line. Well, I think of that line from time to time when I hear certain televangelists or teachers give their messages. In a spiritual sense, it has a lot of potatoes but no meat. It’s as if you went to your favorite steakhouse and ordered a big juicy steak dinner with all the trimmings and when you get your plate you quickly see a whole bunch of trimmings but a steak so small you can eat it in two chews. God’s ministers must do that; they are obligated to feed their listeners the most filling and nutritional spiritual meals they can provide for them. In their case, the meat is the Word of God; anything else they add to it, like life examples, illustrations, stories, etc., represent the trimmings. There should always be plenty of meat in their meal.
       I touched on this subject in last Sunday’s church bulletin and I would like to share it with you today. Here it is: [[ Preaching and teaching the Word of God is like playing the violin; to the general population it sounds beautiful no matter who plays it. God’s Word is also a powerful weapon. Hebrews 4:12 says that it is "powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and can penetrate the soul and spirit"   and because it is powerful, in the hands of the untrained it can inflict a lot of damage. Although it is intended to give life, hope, and many benefits, used in the wrong way and by the wrong people, it will do more harm than good. That is why every sincere preacher or teacher of God’s Word should always keep these words in mind: "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth."  (2 Tim. 2:15) Pastors are always grateful to God for their members who pray for their health and well being but next time you pray for your pastor, pray that he will always study God’s Word. This way he will best honor God and benefit you also. ]]       
       Keep this also in mind the next time you hear someone, even your own pastor, preach the word of God, and ask the Lord to help you see past the hype. The “trimmings” are a necessary ingredient and can be delicious on their own. Nevertheless, consider the general message as a whole. How much of the Word of God was in it and was the truth presented supported by other verses and the general message of the Bible? If you did not agree with the main message or something in it didn’t sound exactly right, I would advise you do some investigative research on your own. You may even ask others, especially those who are well versed in the Bible what they think about the matter. Let me repeat that the trimmings, especially if they have nutritional value, add a lot. However, the meat, (the Word of God) especially in the spiritual sense, is where the essential and necessary spiritual nutrition is found. Trimmings, by themselves, will never really fill you, but a good meal can sustain you for an entire day.
Memory verses for the week: (Psalm 24:3-4) “Who may ascend the Lord’s Holy Hill? Who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 14 2015
Evident Growth
Thursday, May 14, 2015                  
       I received a call Tuesday morning from one of our church members advising me that he and his family would not be attending this Sunday’s morning worship service. It was a legitimate excuse. Then he added that although he would not be in church on Sunday, he would stop by the church on Saturday to leave his tithe. Another church member just happened to be present when I got the telephone message and asked the reason for the smile on my face as soon as I put my phone back in my pocket. I replied that it was due to the obvious evidence of spiritual maturity this particular member had just displayed. He not only displayed accountability, he also demonstrated his faithfulness in giving. Members with this type of character are every pastor’s dream and they wish they had more people like that in their flock. Here’s the reason why: When God’s genuine pastors see spiritual growth in their lives, it is his confirmation that his labor among them has not been in vain and although their faithfulness in giving is another positive sign, he is more interested in their spiritual well-being than in their money.
       A case in point is seen in Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church. He wanted to express his appreciation to them for their past financial help on his behalf and wrote these words: “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this.  Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.  I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness.” (Ph. 4:15-17 NLT) He made it clear he did not bring up the subject because he wanted another gift; what he wanted instead was that God would reward them for their kindness.
       Those of us who have children should remember those occasions when our children brought smiles to our faces on the days they flashed signs of growing up. Do you not remember that first time they did some house chore, take a bath, or go do a good deed for someone without being told? How about the day when they first told you how much they loved or appreciated you? I bet that brought a smile to your face, perhaps even a tear or two as well and I bet it reminded you that you must have been doing something right after all when you raised them. Well, God’s ministers get those same smiles and tears when they see the spiritual growth in those under their care. It is His gracious reminder that they too are doing something right and offsets the times of doubt that come to them from time to time. Have you put a smile on someone’s face lately?         
Memory verses for the week: (Psalm 24:3-4) “Who may ascend the Lord’s Holy Hill? Who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 13 2015

Circumstances would not allow me to write today's blog.  I expect to write one tomorrow.

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:42 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 12 2015
Tuesday, May 12, 2015                    
       I suppose most of you have already figured out by now that I do not ascribe to the “forgive and forget” theory because I have written in the past about it. Although it is just another cliché in my opinion, most people sincerely believe that one doesn’t really forgive until he forgets the offence committed against him. I, of course, do not. One reason is because of the biblical account of Joseph and his brothers. They thought he would not forgive and forget what they did to him. They were fifty percent correct. After their father’s death they approached him claiming, probably falsely, that he had left these instructions to them: “This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” (Genesis 50:17) Joseph had already given them ample proof that he had forgiven them and even if he had forgotten the matter, they were the ones that brought it up again. Nevertheless, I choose to believe that offences of this type cannot easily be forgotten and I bet Joseph mused that sad experience many times throughout his lifetime. I’m sure he even shed a few tears just to think that his own brothers one day thought so little of him that they would actually sell him as a slave. I also believe one can forgive even when he doesn’t forget the offence because I have experienced it several times in my own life. I realize, as well as understand, why many may find that hard to believe, but believe me that my fear of lying to God in this matter is much greater than my fear of lying to you.
       Even so, we must never think that the emotional wounds we inflict when we offend others will just simply fade away with no scars left behind, especially when the one offended has seemingly dropped the issue and has forgiven us. This brings us to another obvious fault and bad habit, namely the brushing aside of the matter and not having the courage and decency to ask forgiveness from the one we knowingly have wounded. We all know people in our lives who will never admit a wrong and will never be heard asking anybody’s forgiveness, sometimes even daring to claim they never offend anyone. To convince you that such a claim is absurd, 1 John 1:10 says: “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
       Probably none of you who read this blog fall into this category, but if you do, shame on you. No genuine child of God can ever go through life without ever needing to ask forgiveness from others; it just happens. Lets not permit this be one of our faults. Next time God’s Spirit tells us we have offended someone, let’s ask Him for the courage, grace, and strength to say “Please forgive me!” It will bring healing both to us and them.
Memory verses for the week: (Psalm 24:3-4) “Who may ascend the Lord’s Holy Hill? Who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 11 2015
An Often Unnoticed Crime
Monday, May 11,       
       Most people seem to think that the horrific crimes that are being inflicted on God’s people at the hands of ISIS these days are new and have never been seen before. Sadly, they are not. One particular biblical proof that something this vile and despicable has happened before is found in I Samuel, Chapter 22. To show that this crime was even more deplorable, it was perpetrated by one who should have been on God’s side, King Saul. He was so jealous of David and hated him so much, he forsook all other matters of government to wholeheartedly devote himself to pursuing him, knowing he would never be satisfied until David was dead. Publicly, Saul pretended that it was David who was trying to kill him and when he heard from one of his officials that Ahimelec, the high priest, knowingly helped David one day, Saul ordered not only his execution, but 84 of his priests with him, and later everyone in his family and hometown, women and children included.  
       Even though this act was very contemptible, we all can relate to a certain aspect of it, namely one person blaming and punishing innocent bystanders for the assumed offences of someone else. I bet you all know people in your lives who have this nasty habit, who make the innocent pay the price for the misdeeds of others, just like Saul did on that infamous day. We see it sometimes in something as simple as bringing your troubles home from work with you. When this happens, those at home suffer for something they know nothing about.
       I think it is safe to say that, for the most part, we don’t realize it when we commit this sin, thus minimizing it’s ugliness and the damage it can cause. I also believe that, deep down inside, most of us picture ourselves as fair minded individuals. Nevertheless, to make others pay for the misdeeds of others is to be very unfair indeed. If you live with someone who has this ugly habit, I sincerely feel for you because, like some of you, I have been on the receiving end of their tirades. On the other hand, if you have ever been accused as someone who regularly does this very thing, I would encourage you to first bite your tongue if you have to, and then honestly evaluate the accusation. Make this prayer of David your prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT) If you are honest and sincere, you will make this one of your regular prayers to God and when you do, you will make things so much better for yourself and especially for those around you.
Memory verses for the week: (Psalm 24:3-4) “Who may ascend the Lord’s Holy Hill? Who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 08 2015
Ready, Set, Go
Friday, May 1, 2015   (Posted on May 8, 2015) 
       Hello Boys and girls, the IRS tax deadline is over but with us, its time once again to slightly tax your brain with this simple bible quiz.  Remember that it is perfectly alright to do some research when you’re not sure about the right answer. The thing that matters most is that you know the correct answers regardless. I am sincerely interested at how you did so let me know. Note: I bet everyone will get the bonus question right and it will tell me a little bit more about you.
1. Fill the blank: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall _________ His people from their sins.”
  A/  Keep       B/ Protect     C/ Save        D/ Defend
2. What guided the Wise Men to the Baby Jesus?
  A/  Map         B/ Star        C/ A Jewish scribe        D/ Instinct
3. Who was sold by his brothers to a group of merchants going to Egypt?
  A/  Ruben      B/ Simeon     C/ Levi       D/ Joseph
4. After all the animals were safely inside the Ark, who shut the door?
  A/  Noah         B/ God       C/ Noah’s wife        D/ Noah’s oldest son
5. Which is the 3rd book of the Bible?
  A/  Leviticus      B/ Exodus    C/ Deuteronomy      D/ Numbers
6. To whom did God say “You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.”
  A/  Cain      B/ Lamech     C/ The Serpent       D/ Adam
7. Who lived in Bethany with his two sisters?
  A/  Joseph        B/ Peter       C/ Mark       D/ Lazarus
8. After the crucifixion, Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb of this man.
  A/  Joseph of Arimathea      B/ Gamaliel       C/ Nicodemus       D/ Herod
9. Fill the blank: Jesus prayed, “Father, if it be possible , let this ______ pass from me.”
  A/ Thorn       B/ Storm    C/ Cup       D/ Ordeal
10. Here’s an easy fill in: “For by _______ are ye saved through faith”
  A/  Perseverance        B/  Mercy       C/ Patience        D/ Grace
Bonus Question: Which is your favorite Restaurant?
Answers: 1 C / 2 B / 3 D / 4 B / 5 A / 6 C / 7 D /8 A /9 C /10 D
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 07 2015
Making The Distinction
Thursday, May 7, 2015                        
       A well known bible teacher made this remark: “Life would be simple if it were a choice between good and bad. But typically, it is a choice between “good” and “best.” One biblical story that immediately came to my mind when I thought about “good” and “best” was the account in Luke 10 about the day Jesus was invited into the home of Martha, Lazarus’ sister. Martha was upset that her sister was not helping her with the preparation of the meal and brought her complaint to Him. Jesus responded: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better , and it will not be taken away from her.” (verses 41-42) To be more correct, in this instance it was a choice between “good” (Martha's part) and “better” (Mary's part) but I trust you get the idea.
       In the early days of my ministry, a well known area pastor called me on the phone to invite me and our church to join them in a city wide rally against abortion, suggesting that no one could consider himself a decent bona fide preacher of the gospel if he did not take part in this worthy cause. I declined simply because I was not convinced this was something our church needed to get involved in at the time. I knew then much less than I know now but I quickly recognized it as a choice between “good” and “better, the "good" being the cause and the "better" staying in the calling of God for my life. (tending to my own flock) My feeling was confirmed when I later found out that things happened in that rally where certain “Christians”  behaved themselves more like the children of the devil, which resulted with the media outlets criticizing the churches involved and their overzealous members.  
       Besides choosing between good and bad, all of us are constantly faced with deciding between “good” and “best.” Pastors deal with this situation often. They hear members say they were not in church because they rather chose to do such things as visit a sick friend or family member, go pass out gospel tracts, entertain their out-of-town guests, or catch up on some needed chores around the house, etc. Now, all of these are good, even noble, things, but why did they choose to do them on the Lord’s time and not on their own? Of all the time frames that were available to them, why did they choose to do these things on a Sunday morning between 10 AM and 12 noon or on a weekday church night between 7-9 PM? Dear child of God, ask the Lord to help you distinguish between the good, bad, better, or best the next time they confront you, and for the grace and courage to choose your best option. Many people around you will never know when you chose one over the other, but you and the Lord will always know when you chose correctly.
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 06 2015
Managing Your Storm
Wednesday, May 6, 2015                
       In the NIV version of the bible, Matthew 14:22-36 is titled “Jesus Walks On Water” but the part of the storm I would like to focus on today is the storm that the Disciples found themselves in on that day. The first noticeable facet of the story is found in verse 22 which reads: “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd.” (The KJV says He “constrained” them to get into the ship.) This should remind us that the storms in our lives are no accident and are merely another event the Lord has marked us for. Secondly, this storm, which also featured the apparition of a “ghost” terrified them. If we are honest, we too will admit that many of our storms have scared us half to death. Thirdly, when it seemed that the storm would be the end of them, Jesus came to them and immediately calmed them down by telling them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (verse 27) 
       Then we move on to the part of the story involving Peter’s attempt to walk on water, just as Jesus did. When the Lord gave him the go ahead, he started out well but then verse 30 tells us: [But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” ] Of course, you all remember that the Lord did indeed save him. The part of the story I am focusing on ended with verse 32 which reads: “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”      
       Here are the comparisons and the application: (1) If you are going through a particular storm right now, keep in mind that the Lord knew you were going to be in it even before it happened. (2) Just like it did to the Disciples, your storm may be striking terror in your heart; you may even be thinking that it will be the end of you. (3) Again, just as it happened with the Disciples, Jesus is not very far away from you and will, in fact, come to remind you not to be afraid, that He is with you and everything will be alright. (4) As far as Peter is concerned, he tried to defy the raging sea by walking right over it, but when He took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm, he immediately began to sink. A favorite pastor of mine made this comment: “You should be in your circumstance, not under it.” You do the same; don’t focus on your storm, focus on the One that is here to rescue you. Finally, as verse  32 should have shown us, no storm lasts forever. Neither will yours! Jesus said that the Truth will make us free, and since He is the Truth, and regardless of your storm, consider yourself free.
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:28 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 05 2015
Fault Finding
Tuesday, May 5, 2015   
       I’ll never forget two supervisors I had years ago at our Post Office substation; one was the station manager and the other his lead supervisor. They had the hateful habit of standing side by side at some distance from the rest of the workforce to make snide remarks about any employee whose work did not meet with their approval. Even those employees who were not within earshot could tell that these two were cutting people down whenever they stood side by side. I purposely drew close enough to hear their conversation one day and it went something like this: Station manager: “Look at that guy over there just goofing off.” Supervisor: “Idiot!” It was almost like a comedy routine; the bad guy would make a nasty remark and his sidekick would second the motion. I guess I don’t have to tell you that this pair was not very popular with the employees. In fact, when the manager took me in to suggest I do my job his way and not mine, he started off by telling me that he was not running a popularity contest. As soon as he said that, and since I knew him when he was just a fellow clerk, I did not hesitate to tell him that his plan was working beautifully because he definitely was not very popular at our office.
       The reason I thought about these two men recently was because I caught myself once again thinking about the faults of many people I see on a regular basis; some of which I don’t even know. As I lifted up a silent prayer to God to forgive me for being that way, I sensed that “fault finding” ironically is a fault most normal people have. Don’t you agree? Don’t you think that spotting other people’s faults is about as easy as drinking water? Those of you who are chess or checkers players, is it not true that when someone else is playing, you can spot their mistakes more easily than when you yourself are in the game? I think life is like that; it is easier to see other’s mistakes than our own.
       You don’t have to agree with me, and perhaps “fault finding” is not one of your indiscretions. Nevertheless, I don’t believe these words of caution and instruction attributed to Jesus are in the bible by coincidence: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3) In fact, these very words came to my mind that other day as I was thinking of the hateful habit of my two ex-supervisors. Its as if the Lord was telling me, “So, when you find fault with others, are you not being like them? Do you want to go back and point the finger at someone who used to do what you are doing now?” Hmnn……  I suppose its possible that, besides me, only one or two of you may have this nasty habit. To you I say, “Watch it!” To the rest of you I say, “Pray for us!”
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 04 2015
Sharing Our Gifts
Monday, May 4, 2015                     
       I only touched lightly on one of the points in my message in church yesterday about the last chance God gave Samson to redeem himself and atone for his past mistakes. I am referring to the eternal truth that all of God’s children, like Samson, have been set apart by Him, even before birth, for a specific task or purpose. If you, as a child of God, take a look back at your life, you should have enough spiritual perception to realize that your special gifts, talents, or abilities did not come to you by accident or coincidence. The Lord gave them to you because He knew you were going to need them and because there were going to be people in your life that that would need to avail themselves of them. Referring to spiritual gifts, Paul wrote: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
       That being the case, it is a tragedy when people will not use their God-given “gift” for the common good. It is like the richest man on earth not sharing any part of his wealth with anybody. It is like a man knowing the remedy for one of life’s most devastating illnesses and keeping the secret to himself. It is like the star player on a team preferring to sit on the bench and watch while his teammates are struggling to win the game. Forgive me for the excessive corny comparisons; I just wanted to express how I really feel about this particular travesty.
       In his letter to the Philippians, Paul advised them: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Ph. 1:27) As it pertains to the unwillingness to share the gifts God gave us, it would be very unbecoming of the followers of Christ. I would encourage you to share your gifts and talents with the world. When you do, you will be enriching someone’s life and honoring God in the process.
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 01 2015
Love Taps
Friday, May 1, 2015    
       Here is a very meaningful and instructive verse in one of the bible’s most beautiful stories: “So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) Although, with God’s grace and mercy I have come a long way, I am not the most expressive guy in the world and I still feel slightly awkward when I find myself in tender moments. Nevertheless, sincere expressions of love and compassion mean a lot to me, although I still find it difficult to express my feelings. I was thinking of this recently as my wife and I were sitting side-by-side at this week’s prayer meeting. I don’t recall ever telling her this, and I’m not even sure if she even realizes it herself, but her little love taps or hand squeezes here and there give me much comfort and reassurance, reminding me that besides God, I’ve got the love and support from the one I love the most in this world. These little love expressions make me feel like the luckiest man in the world and grateful to God for having her in my life, despite the fact that we are in our “golden years.”
       I think of the prodigal son on the day when he came home. I wonder how many tears he and his dad shared that day. I wonder how he felt when his dad hugged him like he had never hugged him before. They say that love is the universal language, that it says more than words can ever say; and I believe it. By now, you may be sensing that my principal aim in today’s blog is to encourage you to be mindful to express your feelings of love to your friends and those who are in your family. If that’s the case, you are correct. Nevertheless, I also am encouraging the same with a little bit of fear and anxiety. Let me explain.
       Many people in life whose heart is not in the right place, may take this advice and use it to fuel their immoral tendencies, under the guise of being loving and compassionate individuals. They may even use the Apostle Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 13:12 to “greet one another with a holy kiss” as a license to be “overly affectionate.” Sadly, this happens just about everywhere and probably even more so in church. What these unscrupulous individuals don’t take into consideration is that, if they are fooling anybody, it is only themselves. One has to be very naïve not to be able to distinguish between love and lust, and every child of God has enough spiritual discernment to tell one from the other. Even so, child of God, don’t let other’s misdeeds discourage or deter you from doing right, even if you are naturally stiff and awkward like me. Find some way to express your love and appreciation in Christ to others, especially those who are in your family.
Memory verse for the week: (Hebrews 10:25“Let us not give up meeting together, (going to church) as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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