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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Thursday, March 31 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016   
       I had a friend who many years ago had a radio program which was heard locally. I would tune into it often and clearly remember that he would always end his broadcast with these words: “Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.” I found out later that he never got one card or letter from any listener. Back then, I thought that he was fooling himself, that he was obviously mistaken if he thought God had called him for the radio ministry. But was he? Because he got no cards and letters, did that mean no one was listening? I was!
        We all live among people who may not be wise enough to know the importance of expressing their gratitude or giving others words of encouragement, but does that mean they are ungrateful? Could they not be like the many folks we know who just assume that people know they are thankful even though they don’t say it? Or maybe my friend just kept on going because he believed God when He said: “So is my Word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) Could it be that my friend completely understood that it was not his word but God’s that he was preaching, and if it was God’s Word it would not be for nothing? Bottom line: He did not preach in vain. 
       I wonder if God reminded me of those days of long ago because one of you is beginning to feel that what you do for the Lord and for others is pointless, that you’re just spinning your wheels and are really getting nowhere. I suppose that if I tell you “I’ve been there” some of you may think I’m just blowing steam. Well, if you think that way, you are greatly mistaken because almost every servant of God contemplates giving up at one time or another. I’ve lost count of the times I quit the ministry. Very few people other than God and myself knew about it because I never told anyone, and because God used someone to encourage me. They themselves did not know it but the Lord used them to get me back on track. I have learned the same lesson the Apostle Paul learned. He shared it with the Philippian church with these words: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Ph. 4:11) I have been at points in my life where I felt unimportant, unappreciated, useless, and all alone, and I have had experiences which are totally opposite. In fact, I had one just last night after church. It was a handwritten letter from one young member who expressed her love and appreciation for me. I plan to read it again if and whenever I’m down in the dumps. In the end, the good experiences always outweigh the bad for those who serve the Lord and others in any capacity. Don’t quit! 
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 29:13) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 30 2016
Wednesday, March 30, 2016    
       Okay ladies and gentlemen, since its been four weeks since our last quiz, its time for you to put your thinking caps on again. Let me know how you did on this one.
 
1. Which King persecuted and tried to kill David?
    a/ Samson       b/ Solomon        c/ Saul       d/ Shallum
2. Who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River?
    a/ John     b/ Jeremiah     c/ James      d/ Jethro
3. Which of these names also refers to Satan?
   a/ Behemoth     b/ Belshazzar     c/ Beor     d/ Beelzebub
4. Which one of these men was a prophet?
   a/ Hebron      b/ Habakkuk     c/ Heman     d/ Hiram
5. Which one of these is an angel of God?
   a/ Malachi     b/ Mordecai       c/ Michael     d/ Manasseh
6. Which one of these was Jacob’s wife?
  a/ Rachel        b/ Rahab        c/ Reba      d/ Rizspah
7. The disciples, James and John, were often referred to as “the sons of _________ .
  a/ Treason      b/ Time         c/ Truth        d/ Thunder
8. What land was referred to as “the land of milk and honey?
   a/ Caesarea       b/ Canaan      c/ Capernaum      d/ Carmel
9. Jesus raised this man from the dead.
   a/ Lucas       b/ Lehi       c/ Lazarus     d/ Lot
10. This religious group almost always opposed Jesus.
   a/ The Pharisees     b/ The Philistines    c/ The Perizzites   d/ The Parisians
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 29:13) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
 
 
Answers: 1C   2A    3D    4B    5C    6A    7D    8B    9C    10A
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 29 2016
Tuesday, March 29, 2016    
       Pastor Jim was a man who truly lived what he taught and preached. He was known in many hospitals and nursing homes in town for visiting, praying, and often attending to the needs of many sick patients. One day when his church van ran out of gas, the only container he could find to put gas into, of all things, was a bedpan. He happily walked two blocks to the closest gas station, filled up the bedpan with gas, and headed back to his car. As fate would have it. Pastor Jim started tipping the gas into the fuel tank as the traffic light turned red and had quite a large audience witnessing the spectacle. Just when he finished pouring in the last drops into the van’s gas tank, a fellow opened up his window and hollered, “Sir, I haven’t done so in years but I swear if your van starts I’m coming to your church this coming Sunday
       All God’s children know that those who have genuine faith don’t need to see unusual or extraordinary things in order to believe in God. On the other hand, just like in the corny joke above, many have come to Christ because they saw or experienced something miraculous. He himself told the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders of His day: “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38) In the case of these unbelieving men, contrary to those who believed by what they saw, these saw many of His wondrous works and still did not believe.
       Being that people can come to Christ by what they see, do you realize that you can draw people to Him by what they see in you? If drawing others to Him is one of your genuine concerns, I hope you see now how important it is for us to try to live a God honoring life. In the case of many around you, it is even more crucial because they are in a life and death situation. And we are not speaking here about living a perfect and sinless life. That would be impossible. Love, here is the key. If you draw closer to God every day, you will love Him more and more every day. And when you do, you will learn to see others just like He sees them, and love them as He loves them. In time, others will see Christ in you and will draw closer to Him because of it. After all, you yourself are a miracle of God’s creation and, in time, others will see it and believe.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 29:13) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 28 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016  
       Have you ever been falsely accused of being a liar when you are absolutely certain of what you said, saw, or heard? I’m sure most of you can answer “yes” and you also know the anger, resentment, or frustration felt when someone falsely accuses us of being “liars” or “false witnesses.” Can you imagine what Christ’s Disciples must have endured as they kept declaring that Jesus had been raised from the dead? Regarding that subject, the Apostle Paul wrote: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15) Paul simply said that if Christ was not raised from the dead, then all who said He did would automatically be false witnesses.
       In our case, to continue to insist that Jesus is real and lives forever will only leave us open to the mockery, criticism, and slander of all skeptics and atheists, at least in this part of the world. In the case of Christ’s Disciples, as well as many believers in some parts of the world today, however, their open profession of faith in Christ has cost them their lives. Multitudes of people throughout the world claim they cannot believe in a God they have never seen or heard. These will never see or hear Him because they are dialed in to the wrong channel. If I keep my TV dialed in to the Cooking Channel, I will never see any football games. In the same way, people are never going to find God if they are relying on their intellect or human reasoning. If, on the other hand, they look for Him with all their heart, they will surely find Him. 
       How about you? How often do you get mocked or criticized for professing you believe in Christ or for taking an opposing stand on many of today’s moral and social issues? Don’t be afraid to confess Christ with your lips and with your life; others have paid a much higher price for it. If Jesus is all He says He is, you will always have all the strength, grace, courage, and protection you will ever need to confront any enemy that comes against you.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 29:13) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 25 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016    
       Nobody knows for sure when the term “Good Friday” originated. Here are two main theories: (#1) It started with the Gallican Church in Gaul, a region which once included parts of present day France and Germany. The term, “Gute Freitag” is Germanic in origin and means “Good” or “Holy” Friday. (#2) It is a variation of the original term “God’s Friday” which was changed to “Good Friday” because the word “God” was deemed too holy to be spoken aloud. Historically speaking, the name “Good Friday” was adopted by the Roman Church around the 6th or 7th century.
       To me, the focal point of Good Friday is the Cross of Christ, the principal event being Jesus’ crucifixion. The message of the Cross is so important that Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians: “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:1-2) An elegant Christian church had a guest speaker one Sunday morning who was much shorter than it’s pastor. Because of it, the folks in the congregation were able to see a large drawing of Christ directly behind the pulpit during the sermon. A little girl sitting next to her father in the audience noticed it too and asked him: "Where's the man who usually stands there so we can't see Jesus?" Just as in Paul’s day, many preachers and churches today get in the way of the central point of the gospel, teaching and expounding things that oftentimes have very little value or significance in our lives.
       One question that also arises around this time of the year is: “Should Christians observe or celebrate Good Friday?” The truth is that nowhere in the Bible do we read we must observe it. On the other hand, neither does the Bible forbid it. It does, however, give us the freedom to make our own choice. Paul wrote: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”(Romans 14:5) Whether you choose one or the other, nevertheless, please do not forget what Jesus did for you when He suffered and died on Calvary on your behalf. As for me and my house, we will choose to observe and celebrate it.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 16:8) “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 24 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016    
       Hidden and often overlooked in an Old Testament prophecy about the earth’s end times, we find this illuminating verse: “ Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”(Romans 12:3) Here is another biblical reminder of how necessary, vital, and desired light really is to mankind. Think for a moment of stretches of days from time to time throughout the year when the sun fails to make an appearance. If you are like most people, you long for the sun to make it’s return and rejoice on the day when it finally breaks through the clouds. Almost immediately, your day becomes happier and much more positive. Dark and dreary days, on the other hand, tend to make people feel grouchy, cynical, and pessimistic. No wonder Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, told His listeners to let their lights shine before men. Not only does that bring glory to God, it brightens the day of those around them.
       Besides brightening others’ lives, the light we emit can be life changing, even save lives. I’ll never forget the family vacation we took to Florida in November of 2014. The Lord sent me two lights that saved my life on the highway that night, as well as the lives of those who were in the car with me. I had not planned to do much driving on that trip, especially at night because I don’t see very well in the dark. Even when I was young I had a hard time driving at night. Well, that evening I found myself driving at night while the others slept, and as soon as we passed the outskirts of Houston, there was practically no light on the highway, or at least in seemed that way. It was around 1 AM, and driving in the darkness I thought, “what am I going to do now?” In an instant, I spotted the lights of a car closing in behind us. Its as if the Lord told me then: “As soon as that car passes you, stay as close to it as you can.” I did just that, and though it was going faster than I would have wanted, it tailed it for about two hours. That car provided all the light that I needed. Then, when we got to a highway junction around Luling, it took a turn towards Austin. Again, I thought, “what am I going to do now?” Almost immediately, the moon broke through and the clouds disappeared. Now the sky was clear and the moon was positioned directly above the highway. It provided all the light that we needed to arrive safely into San Antonio between 4 and 5 in the morning. I cannot describe to you how grateful I felt when we drove into our driveway.   
       Although I was aware that it was the Lord who provided that needed light, He used an unsuspecting motorist as well as the moon and stars to guide us home that night. In the same manner, God’s children don’t always realize that the light of Christ in their lives has given direction to many who are lost, even saved lives. Keep on Shining!
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 16:8) “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 23 2016
Wednesday, March 23, 2016    
       When I was a kid and up until my early thirties, I was very much afraid of death. I bet many of you can identify with that. Most of us, however, now that we are in Christ, no longer fear it. The truth is that most Christians get to a point in their life when they actually welcome it. Fear is a hard thing to understand at times and I suppose all people have a certain degree of it especially when it concerns the unknown. We all fear different things, yet we all fear something and it is not uncommon for God’s children to fear getting sick but not fear death itself. Strange, right? I am not a great theologian, but I’m pretty sure that fear entered the world on the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed and sinned against God. Up until that day, they did not know what it was. In fact, were it not because of that first sin, we would not know what fear is today. Just like pain, heartache, grief, worry, and sickness and all other type of suffering, fear is for this life only. All of these things will end the instant we enter Heaven.
       If you still are afraid of death, even though you are a child of God, there is no need for it. Jesus’ death and resurrection already stripped it of it’s power. That is why the Apostle Paul could write: “O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians15:55)  Death is now like a roaring lion without teeth and claws. It is not the real thing, only a shadow. Perhaps that’s why David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
       And speaking of shadows; in Pastor Adrian Rogers’ devotional yesterday, I read about the little girl who was riding in her father’s car one day when they passed a big delivery truck on the freeway. As it passed by, she cried out, “Daddy look at the huge shadow that truck is making!” He quickly asked her: “Sweetheart, if you had your choice, would you rather be hit by the truck or by it’s shadow?” She replied, “That’s easy, the shadow can’t hurt me.”  It is the same with us: Because of Jesus, earthly death is just a shadow. It can’t hurt us.  
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 16:8) “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 22 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016            
       I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit ordained that this verse be included in the Bible: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 KJV) The NIV renders it this way: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Here is just one case in point: On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel to the huge crowd that had come to see what the commotion was all about. Acts 2:37 reads: “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Four verses later, we read that three thousand believed the message and were added to their number. I suppose we can reasonably surmise by this that more people come to Christ by hearing than by reading,
       I am especially happy to know this truth because not all of God’s children are avid readers of the scriptures, or anything else for that matter for there are some people in the world who believe in Christ even though they cannot read. I’m sure that all of you who receive this blog, on the other hand, can read but I also sense that not all of you are avid readers, myself included. I am by no means an avid book reader and were it not for the Bible and other resources associated with it, I suspect I would not be reading as much as I do. In fact, I see myself more as a researcher than a reader and am certainly not like others who read mainly because they enjoy the pastime.
       If you ever find yourself reading a verse, sentence, or paragraph over and over again because you didn’t quite understand it at first, and you doggedly pursue the matter until you’re fairly satisfied that you got it, then you’re like me. Some of you even prefer to hear the Bible instead of reading it and absolutely love it when someone reads it to you. The same goes for those of you who love to hear recorded sermons or bible teachings. Because this is true, no child of God can reasonably state that they don’t know the Bible because they don’t read much. We don’t have to! I am convinced that those who read the Bible understand and retain it a little bit better, so I always encourage people to read it on a daily basis. But whether we read it or hear it, there are not many excuses for not knowing God’s Word. Remember: faith comes by hearing.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 16:8) “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 21 2016
Monday, March 21, 2016    
       I read an article in last Friday’s newspaper regarding a local atheist who filed a lawsuit against a Corpus Christi pastor who had a cross built next to his church believed to be the largest in the Western Hemisphere. To begin with, it seems odd to me that this would concern or matter to a man who lives 150 miles from it and I suppose that even some folks who profess to be Christians may not be in favor of the giant cross in question. Nevertheless, the reasons the petitioner filed this lawsuit were that the cross in question violated the state constitution and that it jeopardizes the safety of passing motorists. Off the record, he ironically added that the giant cross was “tacky as hell.” I don’t want to sound cruel, but this poor man may one day be more qualified to compare things to hell than today. He also demanded that the mayor of the city and two other council members who attended the groundbreaking ceremony be officially reprimanded even though it was on a Sunday and not a business day.
       As is the case with publicly voicing our opposition to many social matters, our main motive is very often hidden. I choose to believe it is no different in the case of this avowed atheist. He may have presented arguments that seem to have some merit, humanly speaking. Nevertheless, I believe he was mostly motivated by his hate or prejudice against anything that is associated with the name of Christ. Preparing His disciples for the opposition they would encounter in their service to Him, Jesus told them: “If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.” (John 15:24) Hate was the underlying reason the religious Jewish leaders constantly opposed Christ during His earthly ministry. They hated Him because He was not like them and because what He preached and taught exposed their error and hypocrisy. Should it be any different today with all who oppose anything that is associated with Christ, in particular atheists? I suppose there are some atheists who oppose us mainly because they feel we are delusional, but I suspect hatred is what mostly motivates the majority of them against us.
       Dear child of God, you can give the criticism leveled against churches and Christianity in general some thought, but don’t put too much stock on the opinions of those who are obviously prejudiced against all things Christ. There, of course, will be some times when the criticism of a church or Christian leader may be valid. After all, Churches are composed of imperfect people. That is certainly not God’s fault, however, for He is perfect. Our obligation is to be led by what God says in His word and not by what others say or think. Those who stay close and are true to Christ don’t sway in the wind. Neither are they swayed by worldly opinions.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 16:8) “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 18 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016    
       Times, customs, and people’s attitudes change and we are seeing and talking about things today we probably never imagined many years ago would become a way of life, particularly as it pertains to social issues. God, on the other hand, never changes. Malachi 3:6 tells us that He does not change and Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That being true, that means Jesus is the same today as He was when He walked the earth. He does not now, all of a sudden, see things differently than He did before. Keeping that truth in mind can help us, as God’s children, to confront and deal with the controversial social issues of the day.
       It is as normal as drinking water, for us to have questions and be ready to speak out against things around us we certainly do not approve of or condone. Whether it is genuine holy indignation or not, many Christians feel it is their duty to strongly speak out against what they deem as sinful ways of living and many of those who do, feel they would be failing or dishonoring God if they kept their mouth shut and did nothing. That is understandable. Before we act, however, it would do us good to carefully consider how Jesus dealt with the same issues as portrayed in the gospels. Remember that He came into a world which was no different than today’s.
       It is a fact that Jesus was accused by the Jewish religious leaders of His day of attending events where He mingled with all kinds of sinners. I bet among them were adulterers, abusers, perverts, prostitutes, drunkards, embezzlers, slanderers, and thieves. Yet, there is not one hint in the gospels that He ever rebuked, condemned, or even addressed their particular sin. He did not have to. In a story in Luke 19 regarding His encounter with Zacchaeus, the well known tax collector promised he would repay fourfold whatever he had illegally taken from others without Jesus ever telling him he needed to confess and repent. This came about just because he found himself in His presence. The bottom line for us, then, is to try, as much as we can, to be like Jesus and treat others like He did. He did not come into this world to condemn people, but to save them. (See John 3:17)  Our obligation, therefore, is to share the truth and the love of Christ to those we meet on a daily basis. That is our part. The Holy Spirit will do the rest, and that includes convincing sinners of their need to repent and giving to all who are sincere, the faith to believe and reach out to Christ. I am reminded of the words of instruction we all got when we learned how to color in first grade: “Stay inside your lines!”    
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 119:72) “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 17 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016    
       We finished off our study last night in church on the story of Gideon and I want to share with you some of it's features. When the Lord called Gideon he was busily at work threshing wheat in an unlikely indoor venue (winepress) for fear that the enemies, the Midianites, would come and steal it like they were doing to all other Israelites at the time. In Gideon, God chose a seemingly ordinary man to save Israel from the enemies who had cruelly oppressed them for seven years.
       Like all of us, Gideon, although he believed and remained true to the God of Israel, had his bouts with fear and doubt and was well aware of his human limitations. Nevertheless, the Lord knew his heart and the strength and courage with which He would endow him to lead His people to a spectacular and miraculous victory over an enemy who at the start of the battle outnumbered them four hundred to one. In the end, Gideon and his 300 men didn’t have to do too much fighting because the Lord confused the Midianite army causing them to fight and destroy each other. (I actually told the class an angel of the Lord wiped them out, but that was another battle, which goes to prove that I don’t always know what I’m talking about. The end result was the same, however, because this was really the Lord’s battle and not Gideon and his army)
       If you are fighting a seemingly unwinnable personal battle, take heart. If you are a child of God, all the grace, strength, and courage you need are at your disposal. Gideon was not too much different than you and the Lord did a great and mighty thing in his life. More importantly, your battle is really the Lord’s battle so you can rest assured that your victory will surely come. Call upon the Lord and put all your trust in Him. Then you will be able to say as David said in Psalm 34:4: “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 119:72) “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 14 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016    
       Hebrews 4:12 reads: “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This verse should remind us today that the Word of God (the Bible) is a powerful resource. It can be used to teach, reprove, comfort, encourage, and instruct. And because it is like a powerful weapon, it can do more harm than good when used by those who do not know it.
       How often have we heard of children who have killed others by fooling around with a gun they found laying around the house? That is why God’s children, and especially those who serve Him in the ministry of the Word, need to know their bible well and use it correctly. That is also why Paul advised Timothy: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not be ashamed, who rightly divides the Word of Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)
       The Bible is our strong defense against any thing or being that comes against us. The best example of this truth is Jesus when He defeated every temptation Satan could throw at Him in the wilderness merely by His “It is written” comments. That it penetrates to the soul and spirit means that it does something on the inside of a person. As I mentioned before, it can comfort, encourage, assure, or even bring fear to those who read or hear it. How often have you heard others say that what the teacher or pastor was saying was personally directed at them? Has that happened to you as well? This happens because God’s Word knows and judges the different thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Thank God that, as His children, we do not have to fear His Word as so many other people in this world do. Nevertheless, we all need to study and learn it better, and then use it for our benefit. Those who go deep into God’s Word, will hardly ever find themselves in deep trouble.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 119:72) “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 11 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016    
       All God’s children have two natures that live inside them, so even though we are saved, we all let some of our old human characteristics surface from time to time. The sad news is that our old nature will continue to cause us trouble until Jesus calls us home. The good part, on the other hand, is that our new nature in Christ can help us keep many of these old tendencies in check. Paul wrote that, as God’s children, we all have the mind of Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 2:16) These means that it is now normal for us to strive for the things He strove for. When He washed His Disciple’s feet, He told them: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15) The idea was not so much washing one another’s feet as many Christians think, but rather He was teaching them that true disciples should be inclined to serve others and not think they need to always have the preeminence.
       Before Christ was in our lives, it was normal for us to think of ourselves as “Numero Uno” but now that He lives in our heart we no longer have to……….. always be first, always be right, dominate every conversation, always be noticed, be first in line, get the bigger and best portions, pass every car on the freeway, and other things such as these. When Paul found out that some members in the Corinthian church were suing one another, He told them: “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” (1 Cor. 6:7)  Another thing: we don’t have to tell the whole world who we are, what we have, or what we have done or are doing. Let’s not be like the fellow who proudly proclaimed: “I used to very conceited, but now that I’m a Christian I’m probably the best person you’ll ever meet.” If we live as God’s children should live, our lives will do the talking for us and if we truly love the Lord and want to serve and please Him, it begins with serving others.
       If you are still struggling with your old hurtful tendencies, bring your petition to the Lord. He is faithful. He will help you. With time you will have the same mindset John the Baptist had, and say as he did, “He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 118:6) “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 10 2016
Thursday, March 10, 2016    
       We all make decisions on a daily basis. Our routine can start with simple decisions like what to wear today day or what time we must leave the house or what route we need to take, and so forth. None of these require much time and thought, at least they should not. Sooner or later, however, we are all faced with decisions which will definitely impact our lives. That reminds me of the two men who were discussing the decisions they had made in life. One of them proudly reported that he and his wife always shared in their decisions, that she made the small ones and left the important ones to him. When asked to be more specific and say which small decisions she made and which important ones he made, he replied: “Oh, she has decided things like where we should live, which colleges our kids should attend, how to handle our budget, stuff like that.” His friend replied: “Hmnn, and which important decisions have you made?” He answered: “Oh, I decide when it’s time to go buy groceries, do the laundry, wash the dishes, mop the kitchen floor, things like that.” ……..Well, those things are important!
       Through the years, many church and family members have confided with me and have asked my opinion on certain decisions they are contemplating. When this happens, I immediately lift up a silent prayer to God to help me say the right words and since I dread giving out the wrong advice, I often tell them to wait until the Lord gives them a more sure answer or else opens a door for them.
       Some of you may, at this time, be contemplating an important life decision. I don’t always know the answer to other people’s important decisions but I do know two important truths concerning them. First, we should never make them when we are angry, hurt, confused, bitter, or resentful. In a story in 1 Samuel 25, David had already decided to go kill a man who had offended him and ten of his faithful men. Were it not that the man’s wise and faithful wife intervened with the voice of reason, David would have followed through on his foolish decision. David later praised and thanked her, thanking God that He had sent her, keeping him from something which would have been very hurtful to himself and many others. Second, Jesus speaking on the cost of being His true disciple, said these words: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? This truth applies to all important decisions. They require much thought and prayer. We must carefully consider the cost and think about all the possible results. In closing, if you are not sure about your important decision, just wait. The Lord will give you all the grace and patience you need. And if you trust Him, your answer will surely come.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 118:6) “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 09 2016
Wednesday, March 9, 2016   
       My wife and I were shopping at a local department store last week and as we were walking up to it we spotted an elderly man sitting in a bench by the front door with a young lady with obvious special needs. He was helping her eat a sandwich. I assumed he was her grandfather. Later, I saw them walking inside the store arm and arm and although she only made something like a grunting sound, it seemed like he understood her and would reply. As I pondered those scenes, my first thought was that this man would never in his lifetime ever hear her tell him “thank you” or that she loved and appreciated him.
       There are many people in this world like this elderly gentleman who are totally devoted to someone in their life. They will never get a “thank you” or a pat in the back for their selfless efforts, yet they continue doing what they do with complete dedication never grumbling or complaining about it. They give without expecting anything in return, a true picture of unconditional love. The rest of us, we get upset when something or someone interrupts our daily routine. Do you ever wonder why certain people are thrust into a situation like the one of the elderly man in our story? I’m not an expert on the matter but I suspect they’ve just been chosen by God for such a task just like He chose Moses, David, Joseph, and many other bible heroes to do what they did. I bet none of these heroes of the faith ever thought they had what it took to accomplish their daunting tasks. In a way, they were right. If it were not for the fact that the One who called them also supplied them with the courage, grace, and strength that they needed, they could have never done what they did.
       In is no different for the rest of us. If He hasn’t already, it just may be that God will chose one, two, or more of us to perform a task which at the present time we are convinced we cannot handle. Whether we want to be chosen for something like this or not, we should all be ready, for it is God who determines who He will call. One thing is certain, however, and that is that if He calls us, He will also equip us. If, on the other hand, one or two of you are already in a situation which, humanly speaking, is beginning to weigh heavily on you, don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 reminds us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” It just may be that the “thank you” or the pat in the back will not come to you in this lifetime, but God’s promises are sure: In due season you will reap the benefits if you don’t give up. Others in this life may never acknowledge or become aware of your efforts but rest assured that your Heavenly Father is watching and what He thinks of you is all that really matters.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 118:6) “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 12:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 08 2016
Tuesday, March 8, 2016  
       I was speaking to a young Christian recently who confessed she was afraid that certain things that troubled her in the past would reappear in her life. I also sensed that, in her mind, if fear resurfaced in her life it was a sign to her that she was still not complete in Christ. In case some of you may have a similar situation, I want to remind you of the same truth I shared with her.
       There are two kinds of fear. One is normal, and all people, Christians included, deal with it to a certain degree on a daily basis. The second type, the one that keeps people from performing common and necessary things, is not from God. Let me give you a simple example: Like some of you, one of my biggest natural fears is going to see the dentist but thought I fear it, I go see him whenever it is necessary. On the other hand, if it was a spirit of fear I was dealing with, I would wait until I could no longer stand the pain and then when I did go, my entire experience would be filled with terror. The apostle, Paul, referring to this type of fear, wrote: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Those who have the second type of fear I mentioned need to seek help for it, especially from God.
       Don’t be afraid of being afraid and don’t let a spirit of fear keep you from enjoying the peace in your heart and mind God wants you to have. As a child of God, you have all the grace and strength at your disposal to tackle any kind of fear that confronts you. Trust in God and in His promises. If you still have some trouble with fear, get closer to God, read your bible, pray often, and stay in close fellowship with Him every day. When you do, fear will not be a problem in your life.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 118:6) “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 04 2016
Friday, March 4, 2016     
        How much of a creature of habit are you? I was thinking about that question last Wednesday night while on our way to church. As far as my wife and I are concerned, we can take many different routes and still arrive in church, yet we usually take the same route over and over again. Nevertheless, we are not the only ones who do that. I bet many of our members take the exact same route to church they have taken for years. Once there, many of them will sit at the exact same spot over and over again. In fact, some make it a point to be early so that no one can beat them to their favorite spot. Bottom line: For most people there are many different ways to get to church.
       Getting to Heaven, however, is an entirely different matter and there is only one way to get there. Jesus told His Disciples one day: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Most people never get this nor understand it’s truth. Even to this day, many still believe they will get to Heaven in one of many ways. It could be through their good deeds or because they belong to the one true church or religion, or because of their godly parents, or because they’ve never harmed anybody, or because they have a position of leadership or authority in their church, or because they give a lot of money to churches or worthy causes; the list could go on and on.
       Remember the old phrase “there is more than one way to skin a cat.”? That may be, but as far as getting to Heaven is concerned there is only one way, and His name is Jesus. After telling you all this, it just may be that all of you knew that already. Even so, I felt led of the Lord to share that truth with you again today. Who knows, maybe one or two of you have lost your focus and have, all of a sudden, been putting too much of your trust on some thing or someone other than Christ. And if you haven’t, reminders such as these can’t be a bad thing.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Colossians 3:12) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 03 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016       
       I suppose some Christians, especially the younger set, may think I’m overreacting a bit but I sincerely believe that the conduct of God’s children should be on a much higher level than that of those who don’t believe or follow Christ. I was motivated to write on this topic because of the way some of the present presidential candidates have chosen to conduct themselves, including their form of expression. The ones in question all profess to be Christians but their words and actions clearly deny the fact. In fact, a person claiming to be from a Christian university responded to one of the articles about one of the candidates using language definitely uncharacteristic of a genuine child of God.
       I usually don’t include more than two bible verses in my blogs but since I believe this is a very good model to follow, I hope you don’t mind me sharing these 4 verses: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:1-4)
       I’m sure you all know by know that I like goofy stories and corny jokes and although I make an effort to keep them clean it just may be that not all of you may be happy about that. Nevertheless, there are some folks who think that funny jokes will be even funnier if you cross the decency line or that one’s point will be a little bit stronger if the words used are vulgar or saltier. If you have seen the debates and some of the campaign speeches lately, you know there has been a lot of obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking lately. To borrow a phrase used by some old fashioned country folk, “There are some pretty slim pickins out there”, at least it seems that way in regards to the present presidential candidates. Because God is merciful, maybe the winner will surprise many and turn out to be a pretty good president when all is said and done. Here are two things we must not forget, however: First, we must continue praying for our president and all who are in positions of leadership no matter who they are and secondly, we must never forget that the One who is in control and is ever watching over us is the Lord Himself. So there; things are not as bleak as they may appear. We can all still sleep well at night.
 
Memory verse for the week: (Colossians 3:12“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 02 2016
Wednesday, March 2, 2016  
       Its that time again folks. Today’s quiz is in a fill-in-the-blank format with well-known complete or incomplete bible verses. Once again, it is a multiple choice. Let me know how you did.
      
1. Paul wrote: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is  _________
     a/ Heaven      b/ painful       c/ gain      d/ sorrowful
2. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also ________
    a/ deserve       b/ reap       c/ discover     d/ cover
3. For He has said: “I will never leave you nor ________  you.”
     a/ forsake      b/ chastise      c/ deceive        d/ trouble 
4. When asked about his brother Abel, Cain asked God “Am I my brother’s _______ ?”
     a/ shepherd     b/ judge        c/ master          d/ keeper
5. The repentant tax collector in the temple told the Lord: “God, be merciful to me a _____ .”
    a/ criminal       b/ sinner        c/ publican       d/ hypocrite
6. Peter told Jesus, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of __________ .”
    a/ comfort        b/ peace         c/ eternal life         d/ truth
7. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the ______ .”
   a/ Life          b/ Lord         c/ Savior         d/ Answer
8. Jesus also said: “A city that is set on a hill cannot be _______ .”
   a/ attacked      b/ forgotten      c/ small       d/ hidden
9. Jesus also said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my _____ shall not pass away.”
   a/ presence      b/ words         c/ Commandments     d/ anger
10. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be ______ ?”
   a/ forgiven       b/ spared        c/ saved      d/ healed
 
Memory verse for the week: (Colossians 3:12“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Answers: 1c /2b /3a /4d / 5b /6c / 7a / 8d / 9b /10c
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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