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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Friday, July 31 2015
Friday, 7/31/15     
       Our little test of faith continues for my wife and I. We were supposed to finally get CPS to reconnect us yesterday but the service person left a note pointing out a few other requisites we have to meet before they come again. So after being out of our house 62 days, our test of faith continues. If that wasn’t enough, our beloved Chihuahua, Pewee, passed away possibly during our Wednesday night service. We did not find out until we returned around 11 PMfrom our nightly trip to our home to feed our dogs and pick up our mail. She was just a small little dog but her passing has left a huge hole in our hearts. I buried her yesterday morning in a place in our back yard that gets plenty of sun, something Peewee absolutely loved. Ironically, she came back home before we did. Although my wife and I are heartbroken, God’s grace continues to sustain us and we are well aware that some folks are struggling with a trial far more difficult than ours, perhaps even some of you. God is good; we have no complaints, and the I5 years of happiness and joy Peewee brought us easily outweighs our temporary heartache. Besides, we totally expect to see her again.
       On our way to take Pewee to her final earthly resting place, I momentarily begin to think like the people of the world think. I thought, “How can there possibly be enough room in Heaven for our pets, considering the millions upon millions of people who will be there?” Immediately, it was as if the Lord was asking me, “Can there be anything too hard for me? Would Heaven really be Heaven for you if your beloved pets were not there also? “Can any man measure the immensity of my universe? How can you think, therefore, that  Heaven’s space can be limited?” Those reminders of God’s greatness and love settled the issue for me. It was enough to lighten up my sad face and cause a smile to break through. There is absolutely nothing to fear or worry about. The same goes for you too, child of God.
       God is faithful and He is in control of everything that happens in the lives of His children. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us of this truth: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Nobody goes through things God does not know about and there are really no accidents our coincidences in life. I’ll repeat something I wrote about recently: “Lets not give our temporary earthly troubles more credit than they deserve.” Because we are in Christ, our earthly woes will soon be past and we can all look forward to some mighty exciting days which may be much closer than we think. Keep looking up!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 10:27“And he answering said , Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:35 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 28 2015
Tuesday 7/28/15                               
       I felt led of the Lord to basically address the same subject as yesterday. I hope I’m right. Because we are human, it is very easy to place too much importance on things that really are not. I was reminded of that fact a few days ago when a church member called me to ask who was scheduled to preach on Sunday. As many of you know, our church has the unique distinction of having five pastors, all of which are actively involved in preaching and teaching in English and Spanish. I have thought in the past of posting our schedule in advance so that our members would always know who’s next but I decided against it because I believe faithful members should support their church always, regardless of who’s preaching or teaching on any given day. That being said, it is not a sin to prefer one pastor or teacher over another. If we are honest, we’ll all admit, even if its only to ourselves, that we too have our favorites. Nevertheless, that does not mean that our second, third, fourth, and fifth choices cannot be good. For example, your favorite meal may be a juicy steak, but your love for a burger from a particular place, or Mexican, Chinese, or Italian food may not be far behind.
       When I read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, it seems to me that they were overly impressed with those in the church who were endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even today, many people rate ministers by the apparent manifestations of their spiritual gifts when Jesus clearly stated that people are known by their fruits, not their gifts. (See Mt. 7:16) Jesus, warning against false prophets in that chapter, pointed out that they seemed to be part of His flock and even appeared to have genuine spiritual gifts, yet they were none of His. Paul alluded to that truth when he wrote in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 that if He had all the faith, knowledge, and spiritual gifts a person can have, and have no love, he would be nothing. He later added in 2 Corinthians, 11:14 that Satan himself is sometimes transformed into an angel of light.
       Next time you wonder about the authenticity of a certain pastor, evangelist, teacher, or any other kind of minister, keep in mind these words which Jesus told His Disciples: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:35) In the end, the preaching and teaching which will be closer to the truth and benefit the hearers the most, is the one that will proceed from the mouths of those who truly love God as well as people, even if they themselves are not flashy, talented, or seemingly gifted. A genuine minister of God is more concerned about being known as a “good person” than as a great preacher or teacher.
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 10:27“And he answering said , Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 27 2015
Monday,  7/27/15    
       If you truly love and want to serve the Lord, today’s slightly longer message is for you. I trust you will see in it or else be reminded of what your greatest need and obligation is. John, Chapter 21, is the account of Jesus’ 3rd appearance to His Disciples after the resurrection and there just may be enough teaching in to make our life of service to Christ a fruitful one. We will begin with verse 3, which reads in part: “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” We can immediately see that Peter was obviously the group’s leader. Even so, it is also pretty evident that John was the most spiritually perceptive because he was the first to realize that the stranger calling out to them from the shore was indeed their Master. Some Bible commentators and theologians add that John was the Disciple that knew Him best because he was always the closest and that he was the closest because he was the one who loved Him the most. After all, he was the only Disciple who was present with Jesus when He died on the cross at Calvary. In this Chapter you will see that Christ designated Peter as the leader of the group. One obvious truth to me, therefore, is that the leader in a body of believers, very likely a pastor, is not necessarily the one who loves Jesus the most. Nevertheless, as we will be reminded in this chapter, all genuine servants of God love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. In the King James version, we see John turning to Peter first to tell him it was the Lord Himself who was calling them. Here again, we see John’s spiritual insight in recognizing that Peter, of all the Disciples, would be the one most longing to see Jesus again. He was right because as soon as Peter heard it, he jumped out of the boat and swam to His Master, reaching Him way before the others.
       We should be able to see why Jesus chose Peter to be their leader. Apart from being a natural leader, he would be the best suited to teach and convey to others the love, mercy, kindness, and especially the forgiveness one finds in Christ. Here are some things Peter learned on that day, things all of God’s servants should always keep in mind: Jesus did not rebuke, criticize, belittle or embarrass him in front of others, never once mentioning his denial of Him on the night of His arrest. He could have told him something like: “Was this the way you repaid the kindness of a friend?” “Did I not tell you beforehand that you would prove to be a coward?” Then we have Christ’s question to him: It was not “do you honor, fear, respect, or admire me?” It was not “How much have you fasted, wept, and how much sleep have you lost since the night you failed me?” His question to him three times was rather “Do you love me?” This is where the key lies! There are servants of God everywhere who, because they don’t love the Lord will all of their being, do not genuinely love those they minister to. When their brethren are hurting or going through hard times, it concerns them very little. Those who don’t love people, have no business being involved in Christian ministry. I repeat: If you truly love the Lord, you will love others as well. And when you do, there will be much fruit in your ministry and you will honor and please God in the process.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Luke 10:27“And he answering said , Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 24 2015
Friday, July 24, 2015
 
I've preached and taught the Word of God for over forty years and have served as an ordained pastor for 38 years and yet, I really cannot understand why it is that some good church members just do not like to attend church. You will see them at other church functions but not too often for the worship services. I bet some of you know people who fall into this category and you may have just as hard a time as I understanding the real reason. If it seems to you that this issue bothers me more than it should, you may be right. Nevertheless, it may not bother me for the reasons you may suspect. I am mostly concerned with these folks' relationship with Christ. What do you think? Are they genuine Christians or not?
Those of you who know me know that I am a big San Antonio Spurs fan, yet an ex coworker friend of mine once said that I was not. He asked me if I go to their actual games and I replied that I seldom did. Once he heard that, he said that I was not a genuine Spurs fan. If his assertion was correct, then we can say that people that don't attend church are not true Christians. I not only think He's wrong, I pray that he is. To begin with, I know that, without a doubt, I love and root for the Spurs. Why not attend more games? The answer is simple. If I watch the game in the comfort of my own home, I don't have to fight a crowd, struggle to find parking, pay exorbitant prices for a burger and a Coke, worry about finding the nearest bathroom, not to mention the price of tickets which would put a definite strain on our tight budget. Watching the game in our living room, I can wear my comfy, and sometimes sloppy home clothes, eat and go to the bathroom when I want, and go to bed the minute the game is over. Did I mention that watching at home saves us some money too? Even after I explained all that to my friend, he still insisted that I was not a true Spurs fan. That being the case, Christians who don't attend church often, are going to have a hard time convincing some people that they are true Christians.
To be fair, there are many God loving folks who either cannot attend their worship services or else they may have other valid reasons why they don't. Nevertheless, for most hale, hearty, and able bodied church members, that is not the case. To be a church member and not attend church is unusual. It may not be as rare as teeth on a turkey, an honest thief, or wild animals that do their business in public bathrooms, but it generally makes little sense. If the opera was popular in our neck of the woods and my wife loved going to it, I would ask God to either give me the grace to accompany her or else help me to at least start liking it myself. If you love the Lord but do not necessarily love church, perhaps you may consider lifting that type of prayer to God yourself. If there were no benefits for you and your fellow brethren in attending church, this advice would not be in the Bible: "Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another
--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
 
 
Memory verse for the week: (John 16:33) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome
the world."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 21 2015
Tuesday 7/21/15                                         
       I’ll ask you the same question I posed to our bible class this past Wednesday: “How many of you can honestly say you hear God’s voice?” I suppose many of you will hesitate to answer because you are not really sure or else you may have thought I meant an audible voice. Speaking about the relationship between the Shepherd and his sheep, Jesus said in John 10:4 that His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. To literal sheep, the voice was audible and they followed their Shepherd because they heard it and recognized it. As far as it relates to His spiritual sheep, If your life is living proof that you are a follower of Jesus, apparently you have heard His voice. To read the Bible and seriously heed it’s message is to hear God’s voice. When you are tempted to do something you should not and you struggle with the thoughts, it is because you are listening to opposing voices. If you do what is right, it is because you heard God’s voice and chose to obey it.
      I hope we have established the fact that all true children of God know and hear His voice, even if they themselves don’t realize it. Nevertheless, there may be many reasons why many people do not hear His voice. Two of them are obvious. Here is the first: Many have blocked it out. Here is where the phrase “selective hearing” comes into play. Think about this: If there is a person in your life that constantly ignores you when you speak to him, won’t you eventually just give up and no longer talk to him? Why would God be any different? Romans, Chapter 1, which to me just happens to be an indictment against today’s society, shows us where God just stopped talking to those who ignored Him. Verse 28 says it this way: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” The second is that many will not hear God’s voice because they are simply too far from Him. Proverbs 15:29 says: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” 
       To no longer hear God’s voice is a very dangerous and heartbreaking situation to be in. As children of God, it is essential that we stay as close to Him as possible and when we hear His voice to always obey it. Remember this corny line?: “What do you get when you breed a parrot with a Lion? Reply: “I don’t know, but if he talks you better listen.” I think it applies here. God’s voice may come to us in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, when it does, we will probably know it. 
 
Memory verse for the week: (John 16:33) Jesus said: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.1 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 20 2015
Monday,  7/20/15    
       The Apostle Paul wrote: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) If that is true, and it is, why do wemake more of a fuss about our troubles than on the promises of God? If your father is rich and has legally made you the sole heir of his entire estate, you would be sitting pretty right about now, right? Well, right before today’s text, (Rom. 8:16-17) Paul shared the truth that, as God’s children, we are heirs to all His riches along with Christ. In last Friday’s blog I shared with you a situation involving my wife and I that had clouded our spiritual vision. We began to lament our woes focusing on what we lost and not on what we still had.
       Almost all of us, except for maybe one or two of you, often wonder why God permits times of trouble and hardship to come into our lives to disrupt our joy and peace in Christ. If we think more carefully about the matter it really makes all the sense in the world. God wants His children to get stronger in their faith and the best way to attain it is by first letting us go through the fires of affliction. When purchasing a new vehicle, it makes sense to give it a test drive before making the final decision, right? Why should God not test us as well? My wife and I were recalling the best memories involving our family and the ones we are fonder of are the ones where we went through tough times. The memories are even sweeter because we went through them together. That just may be the reason why we are a closely knit family even today. Have you noticed when others recall notable experiences in their lives, they almost always involve hard times? It is probably the same with you. A poem I read once by an unknown author went something like this: [“I walked a mile with pleasure, she chatted all the way. But left me none the wiser, for all she had to say. I walked a mile with trouble and not a word said she. But oh the things I learned from her, when trouble walked with me.”]
       A man who lived by the seaside decided to build a wall to protect his house from the constant strong winds but they still knocked his wall down time and time again. Determined to conquer the winds, he decided to build it differently. This time his wall was wider than it was high. When he finished it, he turned to his wife and proudly said: “Now, if these stubborn winds knock down our wall again, it will be taller than before.” It is the same with you and me. Because Christ lives in us, once the time of testing is over, we will be stronger than ever. Lets not give our troubles more credit than they deserve.
 
Memory verse for the week: (John 16:33) Jesus said: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.1 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 17 2015
Friday, 7/17/15    
       Please bear with me because today’s blog is longer than usual. It is about accepting God’s will for our lives. Some of you know, my wife and I have been out of our house since a storm on May 29 knocked out our electrical system when one of our neighbors trees fell on our driveway and front yard, severing the power line to the house. To this date we have not returned, although the only thing we are waiting for now is for CPS to reconnect us. The city inspector approved our new electrical setup 11 days ago but we’re still waiting.
       As you can imagine, we’ve had our share of frustration, anxiety, anger, uncertainty, and resentment dealing with the city of SA and CPS, but mostly with our insurance company. I hinted at that situation this past Tuesday when I wrote about unfair treatment. Although we’ve walked with Christ for over forty years and probably should have coped with our situation a little bit better, it was hard not to focus on sleeping on cots every night, having to travel 26 miles daily to pick up our mail and feed our dogs, and make sure they have fresh water. Since we go mostly at night and have to go inside the house, we struggle doing things in the dark and in the heat. I take my blood pressure readings every night at bedtime since I am officially a heart patient, and from May 29 till this past Tuesday night, my readings had been much higher than when we were at home. That all stopped Wednesday night.
       After church Wednesday night as we were on our nightly trip to the house, I realized my wife and I were actually laughing and joking about our plight. I remember telling her that I felt like singing the old song “Jimmy cracked corn” because I no longer cared. Later when I took my nightly BP reading, my numbers were 22 points lower than Tuesday night and 27 points lower than Monday night. Coincidence? Never! What happened was simply that we finally accepted God’s will for our present situation and we were no longer focusing on the negatives. Obviously, the pressure was off. Now we were focusing on what we had, not on what we lost. The reality is that we have a great place to stay and conveniences which many folks do not have. By way of our daughter in law and our son, God has blessed and has amply provided for us. Now we can say we learned the secret that the Apostle Paul learned a long time ago when he wrote: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”(Philippians 4:11) By God’s grace, it seems we also put this advice of Hebrews 13:5 into practice.  Be content with what you have, Because God has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I think that is exactly what happened with Joseph, Jacob’s son. He suffered a long string of injustices which obviously exasperated him so much, he started seeking help from people, something he never got. The Bible does not say it directly but I believe when he finally accepted his plight and devoted himself to honor his God regardless of his situation, in his case being the best prisoner he could be, not long after that, God not only got him out of prison, He elevated him to the second highest position in Egypt. Only Pharoah was higher than he.
       I wanted to share that with you today because I suspect that one or more of you is also going through a time of testing. My advice for you is that you ask God to help you accept His will for your life at this time, to help you not to care more than you should. Then, just sit back and trust Him for the answer. When you do, it will immediately bring you back your peace and joy. It may even bring your blood pressure back to normal, just like it did me. 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:6 NLT)  “The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”    
             
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 14 2015
Tuesday,  7/14/15    
       I think we all have, at one time or another, been treated unfairly by someone bigger than ourselves. When that happens, and because we are human, we start thinking about all the different things we can do about it because our legal or moral rights have been violated. In fact, some of you may be in that type of situation even as you are reading today’s blog, just like my wife and I are experiencing right now. If we happen to share our plight with others, we may get a wide variety of suggestions, very much like when we tell others about a certain ailment or condition; It seems like everyone has a solution. The truth is that there are many options we can rightfully avail ourselves of, but what is the best thing can we do in situations like these? Will it include speaking up and claiming our rights? Do we write letters, file a formal complaint, sue, or take someone to court? To me, the best thing we can do can be summed up in two words: Trust God!
       This one thing is certain too: If we dwell on the unfair treatment we have received or the fact that we have been taken advantage of, we may lose sleep, be in a constant sour mood, even have our blood pressure rise to new and unsafe levels. The latter had been the case with me. On the other hand, we can trust God and wait upon Him. If we must complain, its best that we bring our complaint to Him and not to those around us. That’s what David did in Psalm 142. Verse 2 reads: “I poured out my complaint before Him; I shewed before Him my trouble.” David knew where his answer lay. That is why he also wrote: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” (Ps. 34:15) I suggest you read Psalm 142 at your earliest opportunity; it only has 7 verses. I trust you will see that David, like all of us at one time or another, was lamenting the unfair treatment he was receiving from others. 
       There are many promises in God’s Word for those who have been treated unjustly. If we dwell on them instead of our troubles, we will be content and have His peace, joy, and assurance in our hearts. On the day when Moses was slandered and treated unkindly by his own brother and sister, he basically said and did nothing. Not so the Lord! Perhaps you can revisit the story in Numbers, Chapter 12. My favorite five words in the chapter, and the ones which excite me, are these: “And the Lord heard it.” (vs. 2)  In our case too, if we have been treated unfairly the Lord not only heard it, He saw it. And if He’s on our side……...        
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 103:6 NLT)  “The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.” 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 09 2015
Thursday    7/9/15    
       This past Sunday, I preached on a tremendous benefit of which many Christians do not avail themselves. I am referring to this eternal truth found in the book of Colossians: “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to His cross.”(Col.2:13-14) Many Christians just cannot grasp the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, He paid for the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future. These two verses state that this means He also cancelled what was, and has ever been, written on record against us, our sins as well as the accusations.
       I don’t recall now how this came about, but at a stand-up meeting many years ago at the postal sub-station where I worked, our station manager told the one hundred or so employees what I used to do and be like when I previously worked under him in another unit. Everyone had a good laugh at my expense and later, feeling guilty, my manager apologized to me for bringing it up. I told him that it did not bother me, which it didn’t, because everything he said about the “old” Joe was true. I knew less then about the things of God than I do now, yet I knew enough to understand that my sins and all the accusations that went along with them no longer had any effect on me. That was the truth that I was trying to convey this past Sunday. I reminded our congregation that there is plenty of symbolism in the Bible. For example, water baptism symbolizes what Christ already did for us. We were buried with him and resurfaced in newness of life. We supplied a “stick-em” page to the church bulletin and I encouraged them to participate in the symbolism implied in Colossians 2:14 . If they believed that truth, they would write on that piece of paper anything that was “against” them and then come pin it at the cross we also provided for them in front of the altar, symbolizing what Christ did on the day when He went to the cross.
       I am very happy for the 42 honest and courageous souls who took me up on that challenge and stuck their piece of paper on the cross. That piece of paper represented any time, past or present, when they have been judged, accused, criticized, belittled, condemned, or slandered because of their sins, failures, and weaknesses. It also included anything that was threateningly looming over their head such as guilt, shame, fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, un-forgiveness, worry, doubt, or anything else that may have denied them their release. It is the same for you too, dear reader. Anything that has ever been against you yesterday, today, and in the future, Christ took it with Him to the cross, nailed it, and left it there. All these things against you died that day; they no longer exist. Believe it and be free! 
 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Peter 3:14 KJV)  “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”        
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 08 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 
       I congratulated one of our church members recently because she succeeded in having some of her close family members join her in our Sunday morning worship service. She, however, said she felt a little bit guilty that she had to employ guilt-trip tactics to get them to come. I said I could understand her feelings but reminded her that the bottom line is that she brought them to church. I quickly remembered Jesus’ parable of the Great Banquet in the 14th Chapter of Luke. The host sent out his servants to invite many guests but most of them made excuses and did not come. When the exasperated servant came to report that these “elite” guests declined, the host became angry and sent out his servants again to bring in as many as would come. It did not matter to him if the poor, crippled, blind, and lame were included; he wanted to fill his house with guests. When the servant returned and announced that there was still plenty of room, the host said: “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”  (Luke 14:23 (The KJV says: “Compel them to come in.”) 
       The gospel is like that; the invitation is for “whosoever” will come. I also remarked to our dear sister in Christ that “whatever works” is just fine. I’ve never been the enthusiastic sounding, rah rah type, and often feel slightly envious of those with effusive personalities who can strike up a conversation with anybody they meet. Nevertheless, we must do what we can when we want to draw others to Christ. I suppose we all have our ways and methods. Speaking of methods, I remember many years ago a fellow worker, who was also a professing Christian, criticizing me because my “witnessing” method was all wrong. When I asked him which method he employed, he couldn’t give me a clear answer. In fact, I don’t recall my friend ever using any kind of method or ever sharing the gospel with anybody.
       Many pastors and churches have “witnessing” classes where one can learn how to share the gospel with others and very possibly these may have good results. Nevertheless, I’ve come to know that not everyone is the same and not everyone responds to the same method. I believe that the key words are “whatever works” which could on some occasions even include extreme or unconventional thinking. I once followed a man to his car after a Sunday morning worship service and brought him back to the altar to accept Christ as his savior. Today, he is a pastor and faithful servant of God. If you love the Lord and want to share Him with others, you’ll find a way. Keep this in mind, however: whichever method you use, and in order to be effective, it almost always has to include you yourself living a Christ-centered and oriented life.
 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Peter 3:14 KJV)  “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”        
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 06 2015
Monday,  7/6/15                 
       A car parked next to us in a store parking lot recently which had a huge religious icon on it’s back windshield which is popular in South Texas. However, right next to it on the bottom right it had a cartoon figure with the words, “kiss my….. (posterior)” I remarked to my wife, “I wonder if this fellow realizes he is sending out a mixed message.” On the one hand, he is signifying his devotion to his church and religion and on the other he is exhibiting what may be his true colors. When we left the parking lot we quickly saw a big truck dart in front of us who also had mixed messages. The first was a huge depiction of a cowboy kneeling before a cross with his horse nearby. Then, on the tailgate he had that well-known pin up girl in silver which seems to be popular with men with trucks. That made me wonder if we too, as children of God, send out mixed messages to those around us without realizing it.
       Today, more than ever, the world is keeping a closer eye on everyone who dares to call himself a Christian, especially in light of the many present social issues which have done a good job of dividing the country. If you have noticed in the responses which people make on the social media outlets regarding today’s news items, you are fully aware that a good number of the responders can be pretty nasty and blunt. They will quickly come down hard on everyone they view as being a religious hypocrite. Let me give you an example: If you take a public stand against the recent ruling by our Supreme Court, they will quickly denounce your own faults or point out some Christians or churches that have committed well documented wrongdoings.
       That being said, we have to be more careful than ever to try to live God honoring lives. We must remember that Jesus said that His people are the light of the World and we should let our lights shine before others so that God will get the glory. (See Mt. 5:16) In his epistle to the church, Peter wrote that it honors God when we are falsely accused of doing wrong. On the other hand, if we do wrong and get accused, criticized, or judged for it, then we had it coming, but in that case, the name of God gets slandered. We can’t expect the world to live right when we ourselves are not doing it. Peter also wrote:  “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God;1 and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” He also advised us to always be ready to give an answer to those who ask us about our faith (I peter 3:15) which, of course, will reveal our position  on today’s social issues. The best answer we can give, however, will always be the way we conduct ourselves.   
 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Peter 3:14 KJV)  “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”        
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 06 2015
Monday,  7/6/15                 
       A car parked next to us in a store parking lot recently which had a huge religious icon on it’s back windshield which is popular in South Texas. However, right next to it on the bottom right it had a cartoon figure with the words, “kiss my….. (posterior)” I remarked to my wife, “I wonder if this fellow realizes he is sending out a mixed message.” On the one hand, he is signifying his devotion to his church and religion and on the other he is exhibiting what may be his true colors. When we left the parking lot we quickly saw a big truck dart in front of us who also had mixed messages. The first was a huge depiction of a cowboy kneeling before a cross with his horse nearby. Then, on the tailgate he had that well-known pin up girl in silver which seems to be popular with men with trucks. That made me wonder if we too, as children of God, send out mixed messages to those around us without realizing it.
       Today, more than ever, the world is keeping a closer eye on everyone who dares to call himself a Christian, especially in light of the many present social issues which have done a good job of dividing the country. If you have noticed in the responses which people make on the social media outlets regarding today’s news items, you are fully aware that a good number of the responders can be pretty nasty and blunt. They will quickly come down hard on everyone they view as being a religious hypocrite. Let me give you an example: If you take a public stand against the recent ruling by our Supreme Court, they will quickly denounce your own faults or point out some Christians or churches that have committed well documented wrongdoings.
       That being said, we have to be more careful than ever to try to live God honoring lives. We must remember that Jesus said that His people are the light of the World and we should let our lights shine before others so that God will get the glory. (See Mt. 5:16) In his epistle to the church, Peter wrote that it honors God when we are falsely accused of doing wrong. On the other hand, if we do wrong and get accused, criticized, or judged for it, then we had it coming, but in that case, the name of God gets slandered. We can’t expect the world to live right when we ourselves are not doing it. Peter also wrote:  “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God;1 and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” He also advised us to always be ready to give an answer to those who ask us about our faith (I peter 3:15) which, of course, will reveal our position  on today’s social issues. The best answer we can give, however, will always be the way we conduct ourselves.   
 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Peter 3:14 KJV)  “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”        
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 03 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
 
 
We were having breakfast this morning at a popular place of many and I was reminded once again of a not so good human characteristic. I am referring to our tendency to like the things we should not while we sometimes detest things which are good, a pattern which started in the Garden of Eden with our original parents. Adam and Eve were told by God that they could eat from any of the countless trees which were in the garden except one. Now, the Bible does not say it directly but it is very likely that Eve just went directly one day to the one tree they were told not to eat from. Perhaps she did not go there with there with the intention of eating from it, mind you, she just wanted to see how this one was different from the others. That is like those who say they want to quit smoking but they just happen to have a pack in their pocket, or if not very close by. It is like the boy who went swimming in a nearby pond after school one day even though his dad had told him to come straight home. When his dad found him swimming in the pond, his excuse was that he was going to go straight home but then he remembered he was wearing his swimming trunks underneath his clothes. The Apostle Paul referred to this human trait when he wrote: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15)
 
 
The restaurant we were visiting today offers their customers some healthier choices but looking around I didn't see anybody close by opt for any of these. C'mon, we all know some folks who consider phrases such as "reduced fat", "sugar free", "artificial sweeteners", and "healthy spread" as dirty words. Should we thank our original parents for messing us up or should we ask God for the grace and wisdom to make better choices for ourselves? Unless you are of the super sensitive or super spiritual sort, I don't believe you can say that folks who don't eat healthy all the time are going to go to Hell because of it. On the other hand, it stands to reason that an unhealthy lifestyle will probably get us to Heaven a little bit sooner. Thats something to keep in mind as we embark on this long July 4th weekend. That being said, my breakfast choice this morning was not in the healthy options bracket. Nevertheless, I'll close with this well worn phrase,"Don't do as I do................"
 
 
Memory verse for the week" (2 Peter 3:9 KJV) "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish , but that all should come to repentance."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 01 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015           
       I was reminded yesterday of the story of Daniel in the lions’ den found in the 6th chapter of the book that bears his name. His dedication and courage were evident when he continued to pray openly to his God knowing it was in violation to a new law which was specifically enacted at the spur of the moment by his adversaries. They just wanted to do away with him because of his faith in the one true God. He knew in advance that his continued show of dedication to his God would likely have him thrown into a den of lions, but he did it anyway.
       Now, the day has come when all of God’s children need to be dedicated and courageous just like Daniel. Ironically, the new nationwide law which was enacted this past weekend may force us to show the world where we stand regarding the issue of same sex marriages. Up to now, I have been silent on the matter and although I realize that I will have to be more careful than ever about what I write and say, my absence has mostly been due to the fact that I have not been able to sit down in front of my computer.
       Somebody asked me this question yesterday: “In your opinion, what does God think about all this?” I replied that I am a very simple minded man and I believe the answer is very simple as well. To begin with, I cannot honestly say that I believe in God, if I don’t believe the Bible. And if I believe the Bible, I believe that God does not change, that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (See Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8) If He is the same as He has always been, then He still detests homosexuality and has not changed His mind or has approved of it all of a sudden. (Here are a few bible references on that matter: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and Romans 1:18-32)
       Even so, we cannot forget that we are living in the age of God’s grace whose start I believe was typified at Calvary’s Cross when Jesus uttered, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” God has not changed His mind on this matter or sin in general but in His mercy and grace is allowing mankind ample time to repent before Christ makes His return. Meanwhile it is our duty to love and treat others as Christ did, regardless of who they are, even if they don’t believe as we do. We have to be careful also how we react to those who openly oppose us and be prepared to the sometimes intolerant stand taken by those who claim we are the intolerant ones. As God’s children, it is likely we will be accused of more wrongs than before but if we live as Christ would have us live, all these accusations will be false ones.
 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish , but that all should come to repentance.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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