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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Friday, September 30 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016            
       I had an appointment with my eye doctor this past Tuesday that lasted three hours. To ask “Who likes to wait in a doctors office three hours” is about the same as asking someone if they like measles. Thankfully, this vision checkup is only once a year. Nevertheless, my wife, being very much aware of the time element involved, always takes something with her to work on while we wait. Apparently, I’m not that bright and always have to just wait and exercise my patience which is not quite that easy for me. I don’t care to have a doctor confirm it, but I strongly suspect that I have adult ADD. I’m the type that, even through traffic light changes, will write notes on a piece of paper I always have in my shirt pocket.
       Anyway, during this three hour wait, I was reminded of one of my favorite bible verses, Isaiah 40:31, which says: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” The continual thought on that promise, in itself, helped me handle that long wait quite well. I remembered also the verse prior to this one which says:“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.” It is a reference to all, whether young or old, that because they think they are strong enough, will never seek the Lord’s help. These will grow weary and fall. In my case, I had no trouble knowing I needed help from God this past Tuesday to be able to cope with the long wait, so I continually asked Him to help me. Apparently He renewed my strength. My eye doctor said I don’t need prescription glasses at this time. I think that’s pretty remarkable for somebody my age. I praise Him for, it as well as our prayer warriors who were praying for me.
       As far as patience is concerned, most human beings will admit that they need help in that area. Nevertheless, just like with all our other needs, trusting God is the first step in developing patience for our lives. One of the most painful events in my life involved me waiting and waiting on someone to come for me. He never showed up. It is not so with God. He will always show up. If He promises to renew our spiritual strength if we wait upon Him, He will do just that. In fact, anyone who has a high level of patience has obviously had his or her spiritual strength renewed. Whatever your need may be today, wait upon God. He will renew your strength too.
 
God’s promise for today: (Psalm 50:15 KJV) “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”      
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 28 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016      
       Sooner or later and for any number of reasons, all of us will have nights when we get very little sleep, if at all, because there’s something on our mind we just cannot shake. It can be something we did or something that was done to us. It can include anger, fear, resentment, bitterness, a broken heart, or something else. Whatever it is, it can be very frustrating when we know that if we don’t get the rest of a full night’s sleep, we will not be able to function properly the next day. Even silly or insignificant things may keep us awake from time to time. I had one such experience on a summer day last year. During the day, I happened to hear a song I absolutely used to love when I was a teenager. You guessed it; at night I kept singing it over and over again in my mind and no matter how many times I tried, I just could not stop. At daybreak, the Lord finally answered my continual pleas and I was grateful the following morning I had no pending appointments later that day and did not have to get up early. I’m sure many of you have gone to bed with a certain tune in your mind but when you can’t stop it or get the sleep you want, its no longer pleasant.
       If your lack of sleep is caused by worry or fear, let me remind you that you, as a child of God, have the relief and remedy within you. You are neither alone nor forgotten because The Prince of Peace lives in your heart. David knew this promise well which is why he wrote: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) He knew that while he slept, he was safe and the Lord was watching over him to protect him. It is no different for any child of God for we have the same promises.
       Do you remember the account in the 8th Chapter of Luke when Jesus and His Disciples were in the middle of a storm and they panicked because He was asleep in the boat? This used to puzzle me many years ago for I could not understand why Jesus was not awake when it appeared His Disciples needed Him the most. Today, I am convinced that, just as His Disciples learned that day, we can have peace in the middle of any storm, the kind that will give us one restful night’s sleep after another. Jesus did it and we can too. If you sleep very well at nights, and before you commend yourself for it, let’s give credit where credit is due. Lets remember that, just as David pointed out in the verse we just read, this is just one more benefit of being a child of God, and sleeping well at night is a benefit many people in the world wish they had.
 
God’s promise for Today: (John 14:27) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 23 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016       
       Do you like challenges? I always have. In fact, taking on many dares in my years before Christ, got me into some serious, even dangerous, situations many times. And although I still like challenges, the ones that appeal to me now are of a very different nature because of Christ. I sensed a couple of potential challenges this morning. This was the first one: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 KJV) The second one came from Jesus Himself when He said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
       I had just been seeing the latest news of the civil unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina which arose after the shooting by police of a seemingly innocent man, and then I came across these two bible verses. These verses most definitely apply to that type of situation. On the one hand, and humanly speaking, I can understand how people’s anger and frustration can cause them to lose control, leading them to do things they normally would not do. As it regards God’s children, however, we should be led by our new God given nature. Our fist verse today instructs us to not pay evil for evil, to always follow after that which is good. There were no “ifs” or “buts” either before or after the declaration. If someone did us wrong and we payed them back in kind, they sinned against God and so did we.
       Christ’s words in the latter verse go even further. He clearly taught that we should do good to those who do us wrong. Now, that’s a challenge! Its really not that hard to tell the Lord in our prayers that we have forgiven those who hate us or have sinned against us, asking Him to bless them in the process. The hard part, the one that clearly goes against our human nature, is to pay them back in love, kindness, or by way of a good deed. I can personally tell you that this method works, that we can win over those who previously opposed us. What about you? Is there someone in your life who doesn’t like you very much, perhaps someone you yourself are not too crazy about? If that’s the case, I hope you like challenges and that you’ll take this one. If you do and are successful, you’ll have one less heavy burden to carry.
 
God’s promise for today: (Matthew 5:9) “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 22 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016       
       There is an interesting event which happened during Jesus’ earthly ministry which should be enlightening to all who aspire to serve Him. While in Capernaum preaching at a synagogue and later performing miracles of healing, He rose up very early the next morning and went to a solitary place, probably to pray. Soon after, a group of people who had seen His miracles the day before approached Him pleading with Him to stay in their town. Jesus replied: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:43) As a child and servant of God, whether you consider yours a calling or not, God has a purpose for your life and as Jesus indicated here, we are to be true to it and be careful not to be distracted or swayed from it. I suppose that Jesus would have loved to stay with the people of Capernaum on that day but if He was going to fulfill His purpose, He could not.
       Another example of this truth is the calling of Joshua. The Lord, apart from telling him to be strong and courageous, gave Him this command: “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7) This another way to tell someone to stay on focus, to not deviate or be distracted. Sadly, there are many servants of God, pastors in particular, who publicly have involved themselves, more than they should, on matters of this life, especially political and social issues. Is that what the Lord called them for? Even common sense should tell us that time spent on these matters will be time taken away from the people they have been called to lead and serve.
       Whatever your calling or purpose, stick to it and try to fulfill it to the end. You’ve heard the phrases “too many pans in the fire” and “jack of all trades, master of none.” Don’t be that person. By all means, don’t neglect the rest of your obligations, but stick to what God has called you to do, employing the gifts He has given you. We all deviate from time to time, and when we do, Let’s ask the Lord to get us back on track.
 
God’s promise for today: (John 12:26) Jesus said: “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 22 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016        
       I am by no means an expert on the issue of spiritual discernment but this is what I know: According to the Bible, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit which means that some of God’s children have it. (See I Corinthians 12:10) Nevertheless, since God’s Spirit dwells in the hearts and also directs the steps of all His faithful children, I believe we all have a certain level of it. It is one more way for the Lord to protect His people. Speaking to them about the end times, Jesus told His Disciples: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24) Sadly, many children of God today are not very spiritually perceptive but I take this verse to mean that even though they may be fooled by false prophets, their eternal salvation is secure. It is not possible, because of God’s grace and mercy, that they be deceived to the point of losing their salvation.
       The reason I was led to write on this subject today is because yesterday morning, on the way to church, I heard a new radio program replace the one we have heard for sometime, one which was led by a very solid teacher of the Word of God. This new minister said all the right things and I detected no doctrinal errors. Even so, I sensed that something was not right about it and was left with the impression that something was missing in his message. To me, it lacked love and compassion. An old saint of God told me this a long time ago: “I have heard many preachers preach about Hell, but watch out for those who, in their message, give you the impression that they actually want people to go there.”
       Back to the issue of spiritual discernment, the reason I won’t tell you the name of yesterday’s radio preacher is because, (1) I’m not sure I have “the gift” and (2) the Bible forbids it. Romans 14:4 says: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” If the preacher in question is a servant of God, I have no right to judge him. One day God will judge all His servants, whether good or bad, you and I included. Therefore, even though I think I was right, I could be wrong, so I’ll mostly keep this to myself. However, I encourage you to ask God to increase your spiritual wisdom. The next time you hear a servant of God say something that just doesn’t sound right, research the matter as diligently as you can. God is faithful. Besides shielding you from the effects of false teachings, He will help you grow in spiritual discernment. And this is one thing that is very much needed nowadays.
 
God’s promise for today: (John 10:10) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they(God’s sheep) may have life, and have it to the full.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 15 2016
hursday, September 15, 2016       
       A favorite bible verse of many Christians is Colossians 3:23 which reads: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men.” The HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) says it this way:“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” This excellent word of advice applies to every area of our lives and for every single thing we do, whether at home, work, recreation, church, or out in public. I choose to tie it to this declaration of Jesus in the 25th Chapter of Matthew: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” And although this was said specifically about the good deeds done for others, whatever we do with the awareness that Jesus is right there with us and we want to please Him, is the same thing as far as I’m concerned.
       Some people shortchange themselves thinking “I mostly stay at home and generally do things which are small and have little significance.” They don’t realize that if they pray, call or text others to check up on them or to encourage them, even do simple domestic chores but do all of them to the best of their ability, it’s as if they did it for the Lord. They don’t realize that in doing so they have honored Him and He is well pleased with them.
       To the very next thing you have to do or choose to do after reading this blog, you can apply this principle: Do it with all your heart as if you are doing it to honor and please God. Do it today at home, at your job, in your career or profession and you not only will you honor the Lord and feel the joy in your heart for doing so, you will also see positive results. I believe that if we all apply this principle on a daily basis, our lives will be so much better. Can you do that today?      
 
God’s promise for today: (Proverbs 16:7 NLT) “When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.”        
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 14 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016       
       We are nearing the day when everybody will know everything about everybody. You may not agree with me and that’s okay, but think about all the negative stuff that’s been uncovered already about our present presidential candidates. Fifty years ago, no one had access to all the juicy stuff in the lives of others, especially those who were in the public eye. Still, we still get frustrated or feel perplexed from time to time when we don’t know certain people’s secrets. In fact, many can’t contain themselves any longer and go to great lengths to try to discover what they have always suspected, some even hiring private investigators to do the job. Had you ever considered that you don’t know certain secret things because that’s the way the Lord wants it?
       Moses told God’s people a long time ago: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29) Even by way of their common sense, God’s people should have understood by that statement that there will always be things in life, no one other than God will know and that He will reveal to us those things it will be beneficial for us to know. Proverbs 25:2 says it this way: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Stated more simply, God has the right to conceal whatever He wishes, and we, just as kings do, have a right to seek answers where there are answers and the search is reasonable.
       If you, my dear reader, are frustrated because you don’t know things about a certain person in your life, trust God. Remember that because He is faithful and true to His Word, He will reveal it to you if it will be good for you to know it. In life, and especially in all close relationships, people often torment themselves because they don’t know the secrets of a spouse or loved one. A major factor in this situation is the trust issue, often manifesting itself when one hears them say, “I just can’t trust him or her.” My dear reader, relax! It is not about trusting another human being, it is about trusting the One who loves you the most and will always look out for you, your Heavenly Father. If you trust Him like you should, you know He is always watching over you and He is always watching over the person you have a hard time trusting as well. You as well as he or her are in good hands. Rejoice in the peace of God.
 
God’s promise for today: (Matthew 10:26) “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 10 2016
Monday, September 12, 2016        
       I know I harp on this theme constantly, perhaps even to the point of boring some of you, but I’m doing it again today nevertheless. Yes, the world may be presently experiencing the most dangerous times on record but this truth remains: People have always gone through trials at one point or another in their lives and it will continue being that way until the end comes. And since this is true, it is very possible that one, two, three, or more of you are going through such a period in your life even as you read today’s blog. It is just a fact of life.
       The book of Job is one of the oldest in the Bible, probably written at least a thousand years before Jesus was born, but even way back then he was quoted as saying: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) If anyone knew what it was to suffer through extremely difficult trials in this life, it was Job. Yet, regardless of the seemingly unbearable events he experienced, God never left him and his trials eventually came to an end. Not only that, God rewarded him for his faith and patience and in the end he was blessed as very few have been blessed. That is why James wrote much later: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”(James 1:12, New Living Translation)
       So if you are in the midst of a storm in your life, let Job’s experience be your model. Keep in mind the chain of events in his life. It will be the same with you. The trial will appear. Then, because you are human, you will begin to look for answers. Your faith, trust, and patience will then be put to the test and if you endure and stand firm, your faith will be richly rewarded. Why? Because all of life’s storms come to an end and because the One who is watching over you is faithful. Keep on going, don’t give up! I’m so sure you’ll soon get the victory that I ask you to join me right now, even before we see it, in thanking and praising God for it.
 
God’s promise for today: (Psalm 34:4) “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 09 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016       

       There are many methods people are advised to employ when it pertains to controlling, even suppressing, one’s anger. One lady found one which really worked for her any time she got into a heated argument with her husband. He was often amazed that she could walk away at such times without saying a word and disappear for a while, so one day he told her: “I hate to admit it but I am very impressed that you have found a way to overcome your anger. What do you do when you disappear?” She replied, “I go to the bathroom and clean the toilet seat.” He then said “You’re usually gone for about an hour. Why does it take that long to clean the toilet seat?” She replied “Because I clean it with your toothbrush.”

       I suppose some of you have tried different methods to manage your anger, perhaps you even found one that works for you. One noted pastor confessed that what worked for him was counting to ten. He then clarified that he would try to recall at least ten occasions when the Lord had mercy on him and forgave him. You know, God has many reasons to be angry, even remain angry with us, but He doesn’t. David wrote: “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime.” (Psalm 30:5) He also wrote: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14-15)

       Every time I read these last two verses, I think to myself “Oh that I could be like God!” Wouldn’t that be great, that we would remember this truth the next time we are angry or in a quarrel with someone? If we could remember that we too have caused others to be angry with us, and if we could remember how we are, and if we could remember that because of it, God has compassion on us, I believe it will help us dramatically the next time we let some thing or somebody make us angry. Whatever method you discover to help you overcome your anger, you can rest assured that God definitely had something to do with it. Our secret is God Himself. Do you know Him?

God’s promise for today: (Proverbs 16:32 -  NET New English Translation) “Better to be slow to anger than to be a mighty warrior, and one who controls his temper is better than one who captures a city.”

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 08 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016       

       Among David’s writings, Psalm 51 is one of my favorites and one which I refer to often. Matthew Henry called it “the most eminent of the penitential psalms, and most expressive of the cares and desires of a repenting sinner.” As with most bible readings, whenever I read this psalm I try to keep in mind who the author or the one being quoted is, as well as the occasion. This one, without a doubt, was David’s acknowledgement and plea for forgiveness concerning his sin against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, probably the greatest blemish upon his character and legacy. We, of course, can learn a lot from this psalm and can apply it to our lives as well. Consider the following:   David began his psalm by asking for mercy from the Lord. (verses 1-2) He then acknowledges his sin in verses 3-4 by saying: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Sadly, too often God’s children go no further than their acknowledgment of their sins and faults. Not David; he completed the necessary process. He didn’t stop at his confession but proceeded in asking the Lord to help him to not commit such sins in the future. In verse 10, he pleaded: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast (right) spirit within me."  Here’s where you and I come in. It is not enough to admit and confess our sins and faults.  Too often I have heard some Christians confess they need help in certain areas of their lives, only to see that no real effort is made to do anything about it. It would be bad enough if the problem areas in our character only hurt us. Unfortunately, they almost always hurt many others. Let’s not be content with just acknowledging our faults, lets make a sincere effort to do something about it and ask God for help. David did. In verse 10, by asking God to create a pure heart within him, he was really saying that he wanted to be different. He realized that if the Lord answered that prayer, he would not be hurting others as he did before. Can you relate to that? If that is you and you are aware that your character flaws have hurt others as well as your own reputation, isn’t it time that you lift up the same prayer as David’s in verse 10? Impossible? Not with God!

God’s promise for today: (Psalm 9:10) “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 07 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016      
       One of the meanings of the word deflect in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “to keep (something, such as a question) from affecting or being directed at a person or thing.” If you have been paying attention to the rhetoric involving the current presidential campaign, I’m sure you have heard many deflections lately. To be more specific, you have seen representatives from both major political parties go to great lengths to defend the words or actions of their candidates by employing this tactic. Another word for deflection is diversion. This tactic can also be referred to as a smokescreen and will often feature someone trying to either ignore or change the subject. I was more than slightly amused recently when hearing one of the running mates do everything but answer a simple question he was asked, and you won’t hear anyone confessing it at the present time but I’ve got a hunch that some of these surrogates go home thinking within themselves, “How long do I have to go on defending him or her?”
       I’m sorry I lingered more than I should on this nasty subject but I only did so because this practice is employed, not only in the world of politics, but also by Christians. In fact, it is very possible we’ve all done it at one time or another. As I mentioned before, we can do it when we try to openly defend a friend or a loved one who doesn’t merit being defended. It is clearly a form of hypocrisy. We can also do it when we try to justify our own sins or mistakes. One biblical example of this is found the 34th Chapter of Genesis. Two of Jacob’s sons committed a heinous murderous crime against many innocent men because of the actions of one of them. When Jacob confronted them about it, instead of owning up to their horrible crime, they tried to justify their actions by replying: “Should he have treated our sister (Dinah) as a prostitute?” (Gen. 34:31)  It was their way of saying “they deserved it” or “what they did to us was worse.” Bottom line: It is never right to do wrong and there is never a justification for it.
       How does all this relate to us? We should never try to defend or stand up for someone who does wrong, regardless of how much he or she means to us. If we really love them, it should not be that hard to tell them the truth and advise them to own up to their wrongdoings, especially after we’ve asked the Lord to help us. Neither, should we try to shift the blame on someone else when we or someone we favor has done wrong. As King David wrote a long time ago: “Behold, thou (God) desirest truth in the inward parts.” (Psalm 51:6 KJV) If we were to be flagged down for violating the speed limit, would it be to our benefit to tell the police officer that many drivers were going faster than us? I pray that the next time we try to deflect, the Lord’s Spirit will quickly point it out to us and give us the grace to correct ourselves.
 
God’s promise for today: (Proverbs 20:7 New Century Version) “ The good people who live honest lives will be a blessing to their children.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 06 2016
Tuesday, September 6, 2016         
       When training for a very highly publicized 15 round championship fight in 1941 against the light heavyweight champion at the time, Billy Conn, Joe Louis was informed that Conn, being the more nimble of the two, had stated that he would employ a hit and run strategy against the heavyweight champ. Louis replied: “he can run, but he can’t hide.” That quote became popular and is used often even today. Conn’s strategy almost worked and he avoided the champ’s punches for most of the fight, leading easily on the scorecards for 12 rounds. Thinking he had the champ in trouble, he came in closer believing he was the one who would win by a knockout. Big mistake! Louis knocked him out right before the bell ended the 13th round. In the end, Louis was right and Conn was not able to hide.
       While it is possible that in this life we can run and hide from others, no one can run and hide from God. In fact, every time I hear someone employ the phrase, my first thought is not about Joe Louis but about the Lord. Perhaps the clearest example of this eternal truth is the biblical story of Jonah. He thought he could ignore the calling of God upon his life by running and hiding. If anyone should have known the writings of King David before him, it was Jonah. He should have known David had written about God’s omnipresence. One particular place is Psalm 139:7-8, which reads: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
       The real reason, however, that I was led to write on this topic is that lately, the Lord has brought to my mind several dear people in my life whom I am convinced have a definite calling of God upon their lives. Besides me, I am sure this deeply troubles anybody who has a family member or loved one who, generally speaking, is running away from God. In fact, perhaps the Lord led me to write about this today because one of you is doing that very same thing. You may or may not yet be aware that He is speaking to your heart about it but whether you are or not, this one thing I can tell you: If you know the Lord has a definite calling on your life,……...you can run, but you can’t hide. If that is you, surrender! You can’t win.
 
God’s promise for Today: (Psalm 34:15) “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”
 
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 05 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016        
       There are some believers who at the start of their walk with Christ had the mistaken idea that all their troubles and cares were over and that their new life in Him would be a bed of roses, and although it is a fact that there is no better life than the one in Christ, our lives here on earth are not exempt from pain, distress, rejection, and heartache. Many Christians had this experience when they started their new life in Christ, me included: We thought that now that the Lord had transformed our lives and had made us better persons, all our family members and friends were going to rejoice with us and love us more than ever. That didn’t happen  and in most cases it was the opposite.
       I don’t know how long I went around feeling perplexed about losing friends and not having the approval of the people in my life I especially wanted to please, but I think the answer to my dilemma came when I read this declaration of Jesus in Matthew 10:34-36: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law  -  a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” I bet some of you are going through this experience even now as you are reading this blog. This is just one of the effects the gospel has on people. Sadly, many who seemingly start a new life in Christ, are not willing to pay this price and will fall away when it happens. In my case, and because God is good, with time I was able to win back many family members and friends. More importantly, some of these also came to Christ. I pray you too will see some of your friends and loved ones come back.
       Our walk with Christ is a life of choices. We have to make them on a daily basis. Some of them are pretty clear cut and easy to make, others, not so much, especially when we have to choose between pleasing God or certain people in our lives. We all know that pleasing everybody is impossible and the world is filled with quotes about that topic. Nevertheless, we should also know by now that we must first go by what the bible says about the matter. One such instance is found in Galatians 1:10 where the Apostle Paul wrote: “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.” The advice is clear: the One we should always strive to please first is the One who loves us the most and the One to whom we are the most indebted.
 
God’s promise for today: (1 John 2:17) “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 01 2016
Thursday, September 1, 2016 
       Because we still get influenced more than we should by our old nature, we sometimes get the feeling that all our hard work and our efforts to do right are all for naught. Not so! Reading in Psalm 37 yesterday, I was reminded that, in Christ, working hard and doing right will have it’s rewards both here and in eternity. Throughout the years, I have heard many Christians cite Psalm 37:4 and while it is an encouraging promise in itself, to me it is even more so when it is coupled with the previous verse. This is what they say together: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
       And because it is quite easy to do so, two small but very important and crucial words are often overlooked and passed over too quickly. I am referring to the words “do good.” Though it is a simple word of instruction, it is an essential one. To me it is important for the very fact that we, in our human nature, tend to get discouraged or disillusioned when we go through lapses where we don’t see any fruit or results, even after we know we did everything we possibly could, in order to have success. I believe this word of advice is the Old Testament equivalent of Paul’s statement in Galatians 6:9 that says: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
       My dear fellow believer, if you are going through a dry spell and suffering with a case of the blahs, don’t let what you see, hear, or even what you have been reasoning, influence you. Trust in the Lord! If He says that in due season you’ll reap the rewards, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Keep on doing good and working hard. Delight yourself in doing so. More exactly, take delight in it because you are doing it for the Lord. Soon you’ll see the results.
 
God’s promise for today: (James 1:12) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
 
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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