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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Tuesday, May 31 2016
Tuesday, May 31, 2016                     
       I trust you all enjoyed your Memorial day weekend and spent some quality time with your family or friends. I hope you also took time to remember those who, after God, made it possible for all of us to relish in the liberties we enjoy in this great country  The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor those who died serving our country but we must also honor those who faithfully served in the military and are still with us today.
       While the memories we have of our deceased loved ones can be painful at times, I choose to believe that the good memories we have of them easily outweigh the bad. The reason many people live in sadness is that they focus mainly on the death and not the life of their loved ones. The memories that we have of our deceased loved ones should be sweet and should definitely brighten and make our lives better. Psalm 116:15 reads: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants.” If the Lord sees the death of His loved ones as precious, why should we see them any other way?
       Then, there are those who continue to live in guilt and shame because they feel they could have loved or done more for a certain loved one while he or she was still alive. I hope you are not one of them. The truth is that all of us, if we are honest, know we could have done better. The devil specializes in making people feel guilty and unworthy to call or consider themselves true children of God. If He hasn’t already, Satan can also use people in your life to accuse you and constantly remind you of your past mistakes. Jesus said that He came into this world to save sinners, not to condemn them. (See John 3:16-17)  So, if the devil says you are condemned and Jesus says you are not, who are you going to believe?  If we are grateful for those who died so we could live in the land of the free, we should be even more grateful for the One who has saved us, not only from sin, but also from guilt and shame. Be free!
Memory verse for the week (John 8:36“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”      
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 07:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 26 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016        
        My wife and I were in an area of town we don’t often frequent, and near the store where we were shopping we noticed a young couple sitting near the curb looking very down and out. To us, they appeared to be the type that illegally ride the trains coming from Central America and Mexico and somehow manage to make it all the way to San Antonio. They looked very tired, worn, hungry, all alone in the world, and had a look of despair and dejection on their faces. It looked as if this was there first day here. They had a well-worn piece of small luggage and all the time they were sitting on the curb, the young lady was leaning her head on the man’s shoulder. To their credit, they were not out in the street corner begging for money. They didn’t have to. I’m sure many did what we did. We made it a point to go by where they were sitting after we left the store and left them a very generous donation. Well, yesterday, we were in the same area and this couple was sitting in the exact spot where we saw them about a month ago and they looked exactly as they did then. My wife and I both spotted them at the same time and we, of course, looked at each other with a surprised look on our face. Even before we said anything, the first thing that popped into my mind was the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
       Deception is the oldest sin on record and one of the cruelest. With it, the serpent was able to trick Eve into chomping on forbidden fruit and the rest is history. I often wonder about folks who make it a habit to beg for money at busy intersections. What percentage of them are on the level? Do they have any self respect? Do they not fear God? I may never find out, but I think if I was ever in the desperate situation these folks seem to be in, I would probably starve to death before I would resort to begging for money. In fact, I take this verse as a promise of God to all His children: David wrote: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) Paul later wrote that God will always supply the needs, not greeds, of His children. ( See Philippians 4:19)
       People who are out in the world intentionally deceiving others are probably not aware that they, like everyone else, will one day have to stand before the Lord to give an account of everything they have ever done in this world. They face a very horrifying destiny. The world is full of deceivers of all kinds , so may God give us the grace and wisdom to deal with them if and when we meet up with them, and also as we continue to be generous to those poor folks who really need it.
Memory verse for the week: (James 5:16 NIV) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 25 2016
The Rearview Mirror
Wednesday, May 25, 2016    
       If we are driving on the highway or in heavy traffic we can’t afford to take long glances at the objects in our rearview mirror. If we do, serious consequences may follow. Life is like that too. If we focus too much on the things of the past, we too can suffer the consequences. Perhaps, that is one reason the apostle, Paul, wrote: “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)         
       When he spoke of “forgetting those things which are behind” it was a matter of speaking, because common sense should tell us that many things in our past will never be forgotten. Take Joseph for example. Do you think he ever forgot what his brothers did to him? Yet, he obviously forgave them and provided for them afterwards when he was second in command in Egypt. Had any of his brothers approached him later to personally apologize for it, he probably would have said “forget it.” I think it is pretty clear that Paul was saying that he wasn’t focusing on the past but on what was ahead.
       Though there are good and bad things in our past, we tend to focus mostly on the painful events and dwell on them much, much longer than we should. Ironically, many of the things of our past are actually now up ahead, especially the deaths of our loved ones. There is no need to look for them in the rearview mirror of our lives for we will no longer find them there. Because of Christ, we will find them up ahead. All our best days and experiences are ahead of us, not behind us. Like Paul, we should all focus on the prize that is up ahead. Its gonna be fantastic!
Memory verse for the week: (James 5:16 NIV) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 23 2016
Short Prayers
Monday, May 23, 2016              
       In His Sermon on the Mount, and teaching about prayer in particular, Jesus said: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 KJV) More than 2000 years have passed since Jesus uttered these words and there are still many people today who actually believe that the more they repeat a known prayer before Him, the more God will be pleased, or the better the chances that their prayers will be heard. I suspect there may be times when God understands or allows word repetition. Here is one example: If we are in pain or in danger, we are going to ask the Lord to help us over and over again. I remember many years ago visiting with and praying for a little girl in the hospital who I believe broke the world’s record for saying “it hurts!” Therefore, there may be times when in our prayers we may say "it hurts" or "I'm scared" over and over again.
       Let’s put this situation into an every-day-life context: Suppose I want to please or praise my earthly father. I go before him and tell him the same sentence over and over again. After hearing me say the same thing about three times, he would probably say something like: “What’s the matter with you?” Prayer is nothing more than coming before our Heavenly Father to have a conversation with Him. We speak to Him in the same way we speak to our earthly father. I’ll admit that sometimes in their public prayers, ministers, me included, feel tempted to do it in the King James version, sensing it will have a better effect. That is absolutely not necessary, and neither is the length of our prayers.
       I was reading with interest recently the account in1 Kings 18, about the day the prophet Elijah publicly prayed to God and in a moment, fire came down from Heaven. If you repeat the actual prayer yourself, it will take you less than 30 seconds. (See verses 36-39) It is very unlikely that you and I will ever need something as drastic as that, but if fire can be summoned from Heaven with a short prayer such as that, it is obvious that the length of our prayers have very little bearing. An extra long session of prayer and meditation with God, however, can never be a bad thing, especially when it is done with a grateful, loving, and sincere heart. By all means, let’s pray as long as we want, but lets not be like those who mistakenly pray long because they think it will please God more.  
Memory verse for the week: (James 5:16 NIV) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
(note) Excuse the late post. I tried sending this blog early this morning but my mail server did not cooperate.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 20 2016
Say What?
Friday, May 20, 2016
       Have you ever heard the phrase “Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer.”? (I used the word “silly” instead of the harsher one which is used more often) A teacher asked her class one day, "Kids, what does the chicken give you?" One student yelled out, "Meat!" “Very good” said the teacher, “now what does the pig give you?” One kid yelled out “bacon.” “Great!” replied the teacher and then asked “now, what does a cow give you?” A voice cried out from the back of the room, “homework!” This common situation reminds me of a very famous line from a movie of long ago, “Cool Hand Luke” where the boss man said, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” Unless he was just being sarcastic, it appears the last responding kid in this story didn’t understand the question. Likewise, this was not the answer the teacher was expecting.
       This is a very common occurrence in life, people don’t always understand things they are told. A supposedly very intelligent man by the name of Nicodemus, didn’t understand when Jesus told him: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:3-4) Jesus was quick to inform him that he was speaking spiritual things while Nicodemus was thinking earthly things. If I want to see a program that’s on ABC while I’m tuned into the CBS network,  I’ll miss it every time. Here, Nicodemus was obviously on the wrong channel.
       Thank God it is not hard for His children to understand Him. After all, He not only walks with us every day, He lives inside of us. On the other hand, those who are not His will always have a hard time understanding. That is why Paul wrote: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians2:14) Of course, there will be times when we don’t quite understand things around us, or even God Himself, but if we are His, we can easily ask Him about it. If we still don’t get it, we’ll always come to this conclusion: He never does wrong, He loves us, always does what’s best for us, and He can always be trusted.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 19 2016
Need A Lift?
Thursday, May 19, 2016   
       Have you heard it or said it yourself that “it is hard being a Christian”? I personally think it is hard being just about anything in this life. I understand the phrase as it relates to our daily tasks and trials, which can sometimes be daunting, but if we are not happy with the life we have in Christ, do we know of a better one? Of course there is pain, suffering, and heartbreak in our Christian walk from time to time; those things are present in anyone’s life whether they are Christian or not. Jesus never promised that His followers would have a trouble free life. In fact, He said in John 16:33 that in this world we would have tribulation. Yet, in the very same sentence He added, “but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” The Apostle John expressed this eternal truth with these words: “The One who is in you (Christ) is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
       If our days are difficult sometimes, imagine how they would be if Christ wasn’t walking beside us. They would be unbearable. And if we want to know what kind of a life is really hard, we’ll find the clear answer to that question in the Word of God. Proverbs 13:15 says:“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors (unbelievers) is hard.”(KJV)
       If you feel that your days are difficult , perhaps its because you’re trying to carry your burden alone. One day, Jesus saw us struggling down the road of life with an immense burden on our shoulders. He stopped next to us and told us to hop in His truck. Most of us heard Him say these words: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV) We believed Him, so we threw our heavy burden in the back of His truck and rode away with Him. It was easy and it was a very welcome relief to have our heavy burden lifted off our shoulders. There were a few, however, who hopped in but continued to carry their heavy burden even while riding in His truck. You’re not one of them, are you? Yes, this of course is an allegory, but I trust you got the picture and you drop your heavy burden and let Jesus carry it for you, if you haven’t already.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 18 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016   
      There is a verse in the 3rd Chapter of the book of Daniel that is often misunderstood by many Christians. Permit me to lead into it. Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who were officials in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzer, the king of Babylon, were about to be cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to an immense statue the king had made for himself. Unlike the rest of all the king’s subjects, these three refused to do so even after being given a second chance to change their mind. Even though the king proclaimed that if they did not comply, there was no god who could deliver them from his hands, they replied: “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.” (verses 16-17) But this is the verse that disrupts the theology of many believers: But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”(verse 18)
       Many who adhere to the erroneous “word of faith” doctrine have dared to announce that these three did not have enough faith, that they should have declared from the start “our God is going to save us from this fiery furnace, period!” How can anyone be so narrow minded to even suggest that anybody who is willing to die in a furnace for someone they believe in, does not have any faith? Obviously they chose to overlook the previous verse where they resolutely declared “the God we serve is able to deliver us!” These three were confident that the Lord was going to save them one way or another. If we could indeed bring things to existence and reality merely by declaring them, why would we even need the Lord? I heard of someone who positively declared last week that the Spurs were going to win this year’s NBA title. How did that go?
       A line from one of my favorite Christian songs says: “I know not what the future holds,but I now Who holds the future.” That is a picture of faith, to keep on believing in God despite not knowing exactly what tomorrow holds for us. Job declared: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) In other words, “even if my life ends tomorrow, I will continue to believe in Him!” Things will not always go the way we want but they will go the way that God wants, and after all, He not only knows what’s best, He always does what’s best for us. Do you have this type of faith?
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 17 2016
Tuesday, May 17, 2016                       
       In the 12th Chapter of 2 Samuel, we find the heartbreaking account about the death of David and Bathsheba’s new born son. David was informed by the prophet Nathan before it happened that the child would die due to his sin regarding Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. As soon as the prophet departed, the child became ill. This prompted David to begin weeping and fasting before the Lord in hope that God would relent and not take his child. Seven days after Nathan’s visit, God kept His word and the child died. During this time, his household attendants had tried without success to convince David to break his fast and when the child died they were afraid to inform him of the news fearing he would do something desperate. When he saw them hover close to him, David sensed that the boy had died so he asked them if that was the case. When they said “yes”, David surprised them. He went to wash himself, put on lotions, changed his clothes, and went into the house of the Lord to worship. They were so baffled by David’s actions they questioned him about it. David replied: “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (verses 22-23)
       Heartbreaking and tragic experiences will sooner or later come into the life of every human being, if they haven’t already. Fathers, mothers, children, and spouses everywhere are familiar with the agonizing pain one suffers after the death of a loved one and we all know some folks who have never recovered by that hard blow, who continue to live in grief and sorrow. For God’s children, it does not have to be that way. In Christ, there is healing, peace, and comfort. He, and He alone, can mend any broken heart. He Himself said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives.” (Luke 4:18)
       If, by chance, you are still being held captive by a sorrow from the past, Christ want’s to heal your broken heart and set you free. What made David’s recovery come almost immediately? As soon as one hope was gone, a new one appeared. Now he would live in the hope of seeing his son again. David’s new hope is our new hope too. Because of Christ, the death of that special person in your life which devastated you, not only should have been transformed into one of your biggest hopes today, it will be your biggest joy on the day of that great reunion. Rejoice and be free!
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 16 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016                    
       Paul shared an eternal truth with the Corinthians we would all do well to still heed today. He wrote: Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:31) I was thinking of this advice recently when I heard a TV preacher recount the story of Daniel. He spoke about the time he stood before Nebuchadnezzer, the king of Babylon and was asked by him: “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” Before I tell you what Daniel replied, let me remind you that it was Daniel himself who asked the man who was in charge of all the captives, permission to go interpret the troubling dream of the king. He did it mostly because the king had threatened to kill all his appointed magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers, because none of them could explain his dream. To be sure, Daniel had a gift that none of the rest of the king’s advisors had. Even so, in answer to the king’s question, this is what Daniel replied: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries(Daniel 2:27-28)
       As you can see, Daniel was quick to give God the glory. He knew his gift was not ordinary, that very few people in the world are as blessed. And had Daniel been like the many “so called” servants of God around the world today many of us have seen or heard, the ones who boast in their spiritual gifts, his answer would have been something like: “Yes, yes I can. I can indeed interpret dreams.”
       The bottom line regarding the matter of all spiritual gifts is that if we ever see a person healing, working any kind of miracle, or even raising a dead person, the One who is actually doing it is God and not a human being. Of course, He has blessed many with extraordinary spiritual gifts, but the power always comes from God. Those who walk close to the Lord, never forget the words Jesus gave to His disciples: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”(John 15:5) Lets not be like the monkey who was always riding atop his elephant friend. Whenever they crossed a swinging bamboo bridge in the jungle he would always remark “we really shook that old bridge, didn’t we?” May we never forget today’s eternal truth; may we always remember to give God the glory in all things and at all times.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 13 2016
Friday the 13th, May 2016                   
       The controversy regarding people’s attire or their general appearance is an issue that has been around for a long time and will come up in almost every church sooner or later, if it hasn’t already. Apparently, it was present in the days of the Apostle Paul, at least as it pertained to the covering of the head which led him to write about the controversy. After expressing his personal opinion on the matter, he added these final words:  “But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.” (1 Corinthians 11:16) By this statement, we must conclude that this involves people’s customs. Paul never even hinted that this rule came from God Himself.
       Many centuries later, churches continue to struggle with this issue, prompting many of them to implement their own dress codes. Besides dress codes, I know of a few churches which seem to have more rules than actual bible doctrine. These are just a few rules many of them have: (1) All men must wear coats or at least a shirt and tie. (2) No one can chew gum during the service. (3) The doors of the church are closed as soon as the service starts. (4) Toddlers and young children are not allowed in the sanctuary. (5) No one is allowed to cross his or her legs during the service. (6) The men must sit on one side and the women on the other. (7) No hats or head coverings of any kind are allowed in the sanctuary. In the end, many of these churches lose people before they save them.
       I have lost count of the many times church members have approached me regarding other members’ appearance, especially when it involves the wearing of shorts. In this matter, the main complaint is that said person is disrespecting the Lord, the church, the altar, or all three. Although many believe the adage that “clothes make the person”, no one will enter or miss out on heaven due to the way they dress. To this matter and many others, however, we can apply the rules of brotherly love. The issue of eating meat that had previously been used in pagan rituals was a matter of controversy during the Apostle Paul’s day. Therefore, he was quick to write: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” (1 Cor. 8:13) So whether it involves our grooming or the way we dress, or any other thing for that matter; if we know other people are offended by it, why not do something about it? The only rule genuine children of God have to concern themselves with is to make a sincere effort not to offend and to love others as we love the Lord.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 14:27) “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 12 2016
       In our bible class in Spanish last night, I taught on the subject of true worship. I sense that to most church goers, worship only means singing hymns and praises to God in church. Perhaps that is one reason why the Sunday morning service in most churches is referred to as the “worship service.” Romans 12:1 in the King James version says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” but the NIV ends it by saying: “This is your true and proper worship.” Since service and worship are synonymous, our true and proper worship, therefore, is to serve God with all our heart, soul, and strength and is not limited only to singing and praising God in church.
       Anything we can do to advance the cause of the gospel, when it comes from the heart, is a form of worship. The truth is that many Christians, ministers included, can do great things for God and still not do it with all their heart. I know for a fact that many people have come to Christ by way of folks who were not totally committed to Him. These now have the same benefits any child of God has, yet they probably were not aware at first that those who brought them to Him, didn’t really love them or care that much for the things of God. It should not surprise us that not all who serve the Lord do it out of love. God will use people like these to accomplish His plan but He will not be pleased with their service. Whether it is at a restaurant, store, or any other place, how do you feel when the person serving you gives you the impression that he or she is doing you a favor, and not the other way around? Do you like that? Why should God? We consequently continue to patronize places where we feel appreciated and where the folks attending to us seem to genuinely care about us. It is the same in church. People will continue to attend any church where they feel loved and appreciated. It should be obvious to all that any church which is like that is preaching and teaching the truth.
       I pray I did not leave you with the impression that I am against praising and singing to God in church. No, no, a thousand times, no! Where, better than in church, can God’s children find a place where they can express their love and gratitude to God, where everybody is in one accord and spirit? Please don’t miss out on any opportunity to serve and worship God, including praising and singing to Him!
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 14:27“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:11 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 11 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016   
       Though many will say they don’t care, I think none of us wants to be unpopular. Nevertheless, popularity can be deceiving. If you’ve paid any attention to recent presidential campaigns, you know that too much is made by pollsters regarding the candidates’ popularity ratings. The truth is that, in this case, a candidate’s popularity hinges mostly on the issues. In other words, if a candidate doesn’t embrace the issues I embrace, he won’t be too popular with me.
       To typify this truth, we see the account in Acts, Chapter 4, of the time when Peter and John were preaching and teaching in the temple area in Jesus’ name after His resurrection. The priests, elders, and teachers of the law were greatly disturbed by this because many people were beginning to believe their message which was very different to their teachings. Peter and John were now preaching that salvation comes from believing in Christ rather than in following the Mosaic law so when they commanded them not to preach and teach anymore in the name of Jesus, Peter and John replied: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!” (Verse 19) The apostle, Paul, in his letter to the Galatian Church, said it this way: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10)
        That being said, I hope none of our readers go out looking for ways to become unpopular. Rather, the main message that I’m trying to convey is that it is wise for us to seek ways in which we can please God. This includes loving and doing things for others, not seeking ways to see where we can step on their toes. It is also a reminder to us to not dislike others simply because they do, say, or, stand for things that we don’t.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 14:27“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:09 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 09 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016 
       Yesterday was Mothers Day and I hope all our moms had a blessed and happy day. I mentioned some phrases  Friday that have often been attributed to mothers. Here is one more: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about others, don’t say anything at all.” Because it is such an easy thing to do, I think we all get careless and violate this principle from time to time, especially when saying something negative about those who have earned their unpopularity. Though many don’t realize it, negative talk about any thing or person, will be of benefit to no one.
       I was thinking of that this morning as I was reading in the 10th Chapter of the book of Hebrews and came again upon the 25th verse, a favorite of many pastors. They like it mostly because it addresses the issue of church attendance. However, what is equally important in this verse is that it reminds us about our need to encourage one another.  The Good News Translation (GNT) of the verse, says it this way: “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.” Most bible translations use the word “exhort” instead of “encourage” and although they are both correct, most people believe the word exhort means only to scold. The word which was used in the original manuscript is the Greek word parakaleo, whose meaning includes “comfort”, “console”and “strengthen.” We must conclude, therefore, that the verse speaks to us about the importance of encouraging and building others up especially because these times can discourage anyone.
       Many sincere Christians begin their day looking for ways to do good things and touch people’s lives in a positive way. Here is one of the best ways: Lets see what we can do today to encourage, brighten, or build someone up. Give someone today a word of encouragement.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 14:27“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:02 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 06 2016
Friday, May 6, 2016   
       With Mothers Day coming up this Sunday, I am reminded of the many things that mothers say and do and how some of those memories stay with us forever. Here are just a few of the funny things some mothers have been known to say: “ Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.” “Did you flush the toilet when you got through” “Are you going out dressed like that?” and “How do you know you don't like it if you haven't tasted it?” If you’re like most, you find yourself using some of your mom’s old sayings from time to time, or get nostalgic when you hear someone else use them, even get a tear or two in your eyes. But mothers are special mostly for the things they do and what they mean to us.
       When we were kids, whose name was the first one we yelled out when we were in trouble or needed something? Who was the first one we ran to when we got a cut, scrape or suffered some kind of injury? Who was the one who would first come to our defense when we were being attacked or criticized? I feel badly for people in life who never had a loving mother because, other than God’s, there is no love greater than a mother’s love. There are many things moms do for their children, too many for me to mention in the space allotted in this blog, but I was recently reminded of one more.
       Going into this year’s playoffs, The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the few teams that many experts believed had a good shot at winning the NBA title. Then, the roof caved in on them when they lost their best two players to injuries on the same night. They lost that game in Portland and also the following playoff game in their own home court. After that second straight defeat, a reporter for the LA Times, Brad Turner, asked Doc Rivers the Clippers’ coach, “Who do you lean on to make sure you don't get discouraged?" Said Rivers: "I don't know. That's a good question." Moment later, Rivers began softly crying. Because he suspected folks would assume he was sobbing because of his team’s loss, Rivers quickly added: "I'm not crying over being discouraged," he said. "Brad made me think about my mom, so, that would have been the person." (the one he would lean on when feeling discouraged) His mom, Bettye Rivers, died in June of last year. I bet many of us know exactly what he meant and what he felt, but whether or not you had a good father and mother, here’s one Commandment we cannot change or sidestep: “Honor your mother and your father, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Mothers are special, I hope yours was too.
Memory verse for the week: (2 Cor. 6:14“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 05:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 04 2016
Wednesday, May 4, 2016    
       I am often confronted by people whose prominent frustration in their Christian walk is that, from time to time, they can’t figure out God. They can’t understand certain parts of the Bible, especially Old Testament accounts. They don’t understand why He allows atrocities and injustices to occur throughout the world or can’t figure out why certain of their prayers go unanswered; the list goes on and on. The Bible tells us very clearly why this is so. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord declared this eternal truth: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”(Isaiah 55:8-9) Do you always understand your parents or your siblings, spouse children, family, or neighbors? C’mon, aren’t there times in your life when you can’t even understand yourself? How in the world, then, are we ever going to understand God?
       The great thing about all this is that we don’t have to understand Him. If He could ever do wrong or make mistakes, He wouldn’t be perfect and He wouldn’t be God. On the other hand, if we really believe that He is perfect and can do no wrong, why can’t we just trust Him? It is not a sin to have questions or doubts; after all, we’re human. What is dangerous is when our doubt is greater than our faith.
       If you are in a situation today that has troubled or confused you and you can’t understand why God has allowed it, I plead with you to just trust Him. I suspect all of us have already thought of the many questions we will ask the Lord to answer and explain when we see Him in Heaven. I also suspect that when we do get there, either our questions will all be answered or else they won’t matter to us any more. One thing I often tell those whom I visit with and pray for upon leaving is that they are in good hands. I will tell you the same. Don’t worry, doubt, or fear, you are in good hands. In fact, if you are truly trusting in the Lord, you are in the best of care 
Memory verse for the week: (2 Cor. 6:14“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 02 2016
Monday, May 2, 2016          
       Paul depicted the general character of the people living in the last days in his second Letter to Timothy. Here’s what the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible says about it, in part:  “They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Tim. 3:4-5)
       That advice is probably more valuable today than it was in Paul’s day because we are living in the days he wrote about. I think it is pretty safe to say that you all know people in your life that fall into one of these categories. Some of them stand out for being selfish, others for their recklessness or carelessness, or pride and arrogance, or their love for all types of fun and pleasure. Many of these will even dare to profess that they know and love God, and may even go to church regularly and may wear crosses or religious medallions ,but to anyone who has basic common sense, it will be easy to see that their actions clearly show that they really don’t know the Lord, much less belong to Him.
       To repeat Paul’s simple advice to us, “Stay away from people like that!” Common sense will tell us that, in some cases, it is not possible because we may live with people like these. But even in such cases, with God’s grace we can live with them without being like them. I know many will not believe this applies to them because they feel they are so strong in their faith that nothing or no one can shake them from it. Permit me to remind you of these two bible verses: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12) and “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Cor.15:33) Samson, in the Old Testament, thought his association and mingling with the pagan people in his time would not affect him, and we all know what happened to him. There are some in my own family that I worry about because of the types of people they hang around with. They have the notion, like so many before them, that they will draw their friends to Christ and not be negatively influenced by them. Unfortunately, the latter is usually the end result. Never forget Paul’s advice. Be careful with people in your life that can draw you away from God.
Memory verse for the week: (2 Cor. 6:14“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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