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Pastor Joe and MaryHelen Martinez

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Tuesday, September 30 2014
Stay On The Road
Tuesday, September 30, 2014  
       Today, I will write on the subject I had in mind yesterday before I was led in a different direction. Pastor Ruben preached an excellent message this past Sunday about folks who are looking for things they already have. A few years ago, we were stopped at a traffic light on San Pedro Avenue travelling north. A car pulled up next to us and a man inside rolled down his window and asked: “How can I get on 281 heading North?” I replied “You’re on it already; just keep on going.” That particular stretch is one, like many others in San Antonio, that is known by dual names. In this case, it starts out as San Pedro and if you continue travelling north, it becomes 281. Remembering my post office days, I know for a fact that for a couple of miles on that road some businesses there use the San Pedro address and others US 281 North. The point is this driver was looking for a road he was already on.
       When Christ came first into my life many years ago, I was so excited at the thought, that I dragged my wife and children to as many church services and functions as I could find with the hope that I would gain more spiritual knowledge and acquire more of God’s spiritual gifts. I heard one preacher emphasize Paul’s advice in I Corinthians 14:1 to desire spiritual gifts and I wanted to ensure that I did not miss out on any of them. In time, I learned that I did not have to go from one church to another in order to find spiritual gifts but more importantly, I eventually learned that, in Christ, I was already complete. Apparently, the Colossians in Paul’s time were being told by some false teachers that they also were lacking knowledge. That is why he reminded them: “In Him (Christ) rests all the fullness of God, and you are complete in Him.” (Col. 2:9-10) I remember the times in my early stages in Christ when other “mature” Christians implied that I was lacking God’s spiritual gifts, and I believed them. I was like the poor simplistic fellow who proudly remarked: “All my friends say I’m gullible, and I believe them.”
       This is not to imply that we should be content as we are and not seek to draw closer to Christ in our daily walk. In fact, Paul, in his same letter to the Colossians advised them to continue their walk in Him and to be rooted and established in Him. (Col. 2:6-7) As far as being incomplete and lacking gifts or knowledge, however, there are no second class citizens in Christ. To know this is important because, too often, many Christians have been led to believe that they are inferior to others, and as a result live defeated and discouraged lives. Don’t let that happen to you. The truth is that it is Satan who is really behind all these foolish beliefs and ideas. God loves all his children the same and not one of them is less loved or less important to Him. Hold you head up high and never forget this truth. You’re on the right road, just stay on it.
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 9:9) The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 03:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 29 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014 
       I had planned to write today about a different topic but last night this one kept coming to my mind. I ordinarily like to present messages that will bless and encourage our readers, and even though my heart’s desire is that it will bless and benefit you, today’s thought may be more cautionary than uplifting. I kept recalling these sobering words Jesus uttered in Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” For whatever reason, there are certain bible verses people tend to overlook and assume that they don’t apply to them, in particular those that feature a warning of some sort. This may be one of them.
       I wrote recently about our need to become more childlike, especially as it pertains to being humble and inoffensive. The sad truth is that often we are the opposite, and things that we do and say hurt and offend others deeply. A true child of God hurts when a brother or sister in the Lord is hurting; that is especially true with the Lord’s genuine ministers. They are troubled when they become aware that certain members are going through an experience where they are being constantly threatened, bullied, abused, and intimidated, which happens mostly at home. It bothers them more when they feel there is little they can do about it. Then they remember that there is plenty they can do, in particular they can present their case to the Lord. They remember that God knew it all along to begin with, and that He, in His time, will intervene when they won’t or can’t do anything about it. Such was the case with Moses on the day when his own sister and brother criticized him publicly. Being the tenderhearted soul that he was, Moses would never have done anything about it. In fact, he did not even bring the matter up to the Lord. He didn’t have to, for God took over. Just these five words in Numbers 12:2 tell us all we need to know:“And the Lord heard it.”
       If you find yourself in one of these situations at home where you are being continually hurt, let me remind you that God saw and heard it and will do something about it in His own time, if you can’t or will not. The action He takes may not be pretty and you yourself may feel that it is too harsh, but the Lord knows what to do and how to do it. On the other hand, if you are willingly doing and saying hurtful things to someone in your life who you instead should be helping, protecting, and encouraging, I plead with you to desist immediately, especially if you consider yourself a child of God. And please don’t take the position that you have a right to do what you are doing. No Christian ever has a right or an excuse to be selfish and cruel. Please keep in mind Jesus’ eye-opening words in the bible verse we began with in today's blog.
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 9:9) "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 27 2014
A Matter Of The Heart
Friday, September 26, 2014 
       I was reading with interest the internet story regarding Stephen Hawking, considered among today’s most brilliant minds. In a recent interview he declared that he is an atheist and, that in his opinion, there is no God. Because today’s world in general tends to believe more in science than in the Bible, many take Hawking’s opinion as being the final word on the matter of the existence of God. (This sentence I just wrote reminded me of Eskeleto, Nacho Libre’s sidekick who declared he believed in science; some scientific expert he was) How can a man with such a brilliant mind as Stephen Hawking not believe in God? The answer is really quite simple. It’s as easy to explain as a person trying to find a favorite TV program on the wrong channel, or trying to buy a Big Mac at a Dairy Queen; they are searching in the wrong place. Have you ever checked out the History Channel’s or Hollywood’s versions of biblical figures and events? They don’t even come close. Would you seek financial advice from a friend or an uncle and not from a reputable financial consultant? Would you ask your pharmacist to fix your roof or a roofer to style your hair?
       Believing in God or that there is a God is a matter of the heart, not the mind. That’s one reason the Lord led the prophet Jeremiah to write: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer.29:13) and why Paul wrote: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) I repeat: Believing in God is a matter of the heart, not the mind.
       I also believe that a good number of those who claim to be atheists, don’t really believe there is no God, they just won’t admit that they don’t want to have anybody to answer to regarding how they live their life. In the end, they are only fooling themselves. In fact, the Bible says that those who say there is no God are fools. (See Psalms 14:1 and 53:1) To ask Stephen Hawking to explain God is like asking me to explain the mysteries of the universe. Besides, even common sense will lead a person to suspect that there has to be a God. And as far as explaining or figuring Him out is concerned, how can human beings do it when they can’t even figure out their own spouses or family members? A visitor in a man’s home remarked “I’ve never seen a dog as smart as the one you have here.” His owner remarked “How smart can he be, he prefers drinking water from the toilet instead of drinking from his water bowl?”
Memory Verse for the week: (Proverbs 16:2) “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 25 2014
Childish Ways
Thursday, September 25, 2014   
       I’d like to share with you a delightful experience I had yesterday: As I was walking to the mail box yesterday afternoon I saw our new neighbor walking down the street with his little boy. As I greeted him, his little boy, who was wearing a popular football jersey around these parts, started waving at me also. When I told him how nice he looked, he let go of his father’s hand, walked quickly toward me, hugged me around my legs and told me “I love you.” I had the newspaper in my left hand and he motioned that he wanted it. His dad told him not to grab it because it belonged to me but I gave it to him because we canceled our subscription two weeks ago and they are still sending it to us. In fact, I was about to dispose of it in the blue recycle bin anyway. The boy, who appears to be three or four years old at the most, walked away with it like he had just found a treasure.
       The incident reminded me of these words Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 18:3: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” If you are familiar with the story, this declaration of Jesus came in response to their question to Him about who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Disciples really had people in mind, like the outstanding servants of God of the past, or perhaps hoping that they themselves were in this elite group. Jesus wanted to quickly dispel their foolish notions and teach them that humility should be a prevalent characteristic of every child of God. Up to this point, they had not yet been convinced of the truths Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount. In pointing out what type of character genuine children of God possess, Jesus said that they are, among other things, poor in spirit, tenderhearted, meek, merciful, hungry for righteousness, pure in heart, and ambassadors of peace. The world may not see it that way but as far as God is concerned, greatness begins with childlike humility.
       I thought of these traits yesterday in my brief encounter with this precious little boy. Unlike so many adults we all know, he found it very easy to say “I love you” to an old timer he yet doesn’t know. Was it because I remarked how nice he looked, or was it that he has not yet learned to be wary of others or to be prejudiced, as so many people in the world have? Don’t you wish there were more people like this child in the world, who have no difficulty loving others and expressing it with words and action? Remember Jesus’ words, that we have to be meek, loving, and humble as children generally are? Just as this little boy brightened my day yesterday, I pray we may follow his example and do the same. Look around; there just may be someone close by who could really use a hug  today and hear you say the magic words, “I love you.” After all, you are a child of God, right? Well, that’s what God’s children do.
Memory Verse for the week: (Proverbs 16:2) “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 24 2014
Sharing The Load
Wednesday, September 24, 2014  
       There is a story in the 18th Chapter of Exodus which I can relate to because I saw the same situation at least twice in my life. In this biblical account we read of the time immediately following the Israelite’s safe flight from their bondage in Egypt. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro was visiting when one morning he saw how Moses had audience with his people from morning to evening to hear and give judgment to their questions or concerns. Many of the Israelites stood waiting in line all day just to be able to talk to him. When Jethro saw this and asked why he was doing all this alone, Moses implied that no one else besides him had the type of access to God that was needed to render correct decisions. Jethro said that this could not be a good thing because not only was he going to wear himself out, he was going to wear out the people as well. He suggested that he should find some capable and honest men who, because they feared God, would not accept bribes. Then he could appoint them to judge simpler matters, some to attend to a handful, others to 50, 100, or even a thousand. This way they would make Moses’ burden much lighter and more bearable. Jethro ended his respectful suggestion with these words: “If you follow this advice,and if God directs you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” (Ex. 18:23) Moses wisely accepted and acted upon this advice. 
      Moses had developed the mindset that no one else could do what he did, or else he may have thought that God’s purpose would suffer if less qualified men did the same work. Today, many people who are in a certain calling in life, even a ministry, often have that same mindset. I hate to say it, but some of these are so zealously devoted in their calling, that they don’t want anyone else to help or take part in any way. I confess that I once thought this way also, and though the Lord never sent me a Jethro, I reached the point of being so overwhelmed with my obligations at home, work, and church, that it finally dawned on me that I too needed faithful and reliable men to help with my load. I’m glad the Lord sent me men such as these because they came to my aid when I needed them the most, and because of it, as well as God’s grace and mercy, I am still standing today. This happened to me also with my job in the postal service. The work that I did required a lot of postal knowledge and experience and I felt that when I retired, my unit was going to suffer greatly. “How are these poor folks going to exist without me” I asked myself. I was shocked when the mail kept on being handled and delivered. I shouldn’t have been because I should have known that in Christ, no one is indispensable.
       If you are in a special calling or ministry, don’t make these mistakes Moses made. Don’t be afraid to get some help if you need it. And don’t be afraid to include those who are “less qualified or talented” than you. If they are faithful, God will take care of the rest. The Lord’s work was being done when we came, and it will continue when we’re gone.
Memory Verse for the week: (Proverbs 16:2) “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 23 2014
A Reason To Rejoice
Tuesday, September 23, 2014  
       Do you ever think about the importance and significance of numbers? One of the first topics students taking theological courses encounter, is numerology. Although the study of numbers, as the world knows it, is mostly associated with the occult arts, numbers, when they appear in the Bible, all have significance and are not there by accident. For example, as I was reading yesterday in the 10th Chapter of Luke, the very fist verse said that Jesus sent out 72 "other" disciples to go minister in every town and place He himself would visit later. As I pondered the significance of the number 72, I quickly realized that it was 6 dozen, and since these were not the original 12 disciples, together they formed 7 dozen. As most of you know, 7 is God’s perfect number and always shows completion. Even before reading the rest of the chapter, the very fact that Jesus now had 7 dozen men in His service, was an indication that these would meet with much success, which they did. In fact, because they rejoiced so much with their success when they reported back to Jesus, it brought another matter to my mind.
       These 72 other disciples were not as close or as familiar with Christ as the original 12. It should be no wonder then that they were so amazed to discover that even the demons were subject to them when they invoked His name. I really like these 72; I think most pastors would too. Think about it: They did not come back moaning about the long distances they had walked, or about the opposition they met with, or about the less than desirable food they were offered; No sir, they rejoiced in discovering that the "one" who had troubled or tormented them in the past, was no match for the power Jesus had equipped them with. To confirm and multiply their joy, Jesus quickly added, and I’m paraphrasing, “Boys, when you were out there ministering, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Nevertheless, He also added this necessary advice: “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
       Psalm 144:15 says that God’s people are a blessed and happy people, and Paul, in his letter to the Philippians reminds us all to rejoice in the Lord always. (Ph. 4:4) As God’s children we have so many things to rejoice about. We can rejoice, like the 72 did, that Satan and his evil spirits have no control over us, or that God loves us, hears our prayers, and is always with us, or about the honor and privilege of serving Him and being called by His name, or simply because He has forgiven us and made us His own. However, Jesus made it very clear that the greatest source of our joy is that our names are written in Heaven. Now, that's something we can rejoice about every day.
Memory Verse for the week: (Proverbs 16:2) “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 22 2014
A Current Outrage
Monday, September 22, 2014 
       Concerning the current NFL scandal, centered around the issue of spousal and child abuse, I find it hard to believe that these occurrences only started this year and then spread like wildfire. The reason I say that is because people don’t change, times do. Is it that today’s society has really become more sensitive and caring, or could it be that in this age of political correctness, it is wise to pretend that we do? It is hard to imagine that 10 or 20 years ago, there was not a single professional athlete abusing his wife or children, that this is something new. I believe it was happening back then; it just wasn’t reported. Now, all of a sudden, people and organizations everywhere have stepped up to publicly express their outrage about the crimes being perpetrated nowadays upon the innocent, and while it is more than reasonable to stand up against things that are obviously wrong, folks shouldn’t do it simply because it’s the popular thing to do.
       I don’t suppose my popularity has risen because of it, but I’ve have stated before that I believe there is a little bit of hypocrisy in all of us. If you don’t believe that it can arise in the hearts of good people, let me remind you of one particular occasion involving King David, who was a true man of God in every sense of the word. He had just committed two detestable crimes against Uriah, one of his faithful soldiers, first by committing adultery with his wife, and then by playing the major role in his death in the heat of a battle. Soon after, the prophet Nathan came to court to tell him of a certain rich man who had stolen his neighbor’s only lamb and later offered it in a meal to one of his guests. Upon hearing that account, David sprang from his throne expressing his outrage against that offender by saying, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Immediately after that outburst,Nathan dropped this bomb on David: “You are that man!” Did you see the hypocrisy? David was in no position to express that kind of indignity against another offender. (That story is found in 2 Samuel, Chapter 12.)
       I was reminded of that bible story a few days ago when the Anheuser-Busch Corporation, one of the NFL’s biggest sponsors, released their statement concerning the NFL’s handling of these reported abuse cases committed by now several of their players. Here is one particular line in their statement: “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.” Really, a beer company with a lofty moral code? As I stated before, there is absolutely nothing wrong in standing against things that are wrong, let’s just not be so quick to condemn and keep on pounding on all wrongdoers. And let’s not do it just because others are doing it. That would be hypocritical.
Memory Verse for the week: (Proverbs 16:2) “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 19 2014
What Sin?
Friday, September 19, 2014 
       A fellow preacher I know was traveling on the highway to an out of town engagement one day when he was stopped by a highway patrolman for speeding. He acknowledged the same to the officer but when he revealed he was a minister, the policeman not only gave him a ticket but also berated him for being a bad example and a smear to all men of the cloth. After a few minutes into the cop’s lecture, my friend could no longer contain himself and told him, “If you’re going to hand me a ticket that’s fine, but don’t give me a lecture as well. Please do one or the other.” The officer quickly left in a huff. The devil, and today’s society are like that also. Even after one has paid his debt for the crime, they never forget and always keep throwing those past mistakes in our face. What makes this matter worse is that we often tend to believe the negative things that are said about us and continue to beat ourselves up about it.
       There was a song a few years ago by a young man named Morgan Cryar entitled “What Sin?” The song speaks about a person who just can’t seem to forget and shake himself free from a certain sin of the past. He begs for his sin to be washed and the Lord replies: “What sin, what sin? That’s as far away as the East is from the West. It was gone the very minute you confessed, buried in the sea of forgetfulness.” These are more than just sweet comforting words; they are promises taken directly from the Word of God. (See Psalm 103:12 and 1 John 1:9)
      If you find yourself in the same situation as the person in the song, you can shake yourself free today. Whether it is someone in your life that keeps reminding you of one or more of your past transgressions, or whether it is you yourself, you should know who the real source of these haunting accusations is. It is the devil himself; that’s what he does, and the reason the Bible refers to him as the “accuser of the brethren.” However, and because of Christ, he is like a lion without teeth. Revelation12:10 says: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” God’s children are instructed to confess their sins to Him. When they do that ,the Lord will faithfully forgive and cleanse them. The sooner they do it, the sooner they will be clean and free. If you should forget, and keep asking the Lord afterwards to wash that same sin, He will also ask you, “What sin?”
Memory verse for the week: (Philippians 3:8 NLT) “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”    
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 01:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 18 2014
Giving Up On Love
Thursday, September 18, 2014   
       Many of you know or have heard of this well known question Peter asked Christ one day: “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” The story is found in the 18th Chapter of Matthew. Jesus answered: “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” There are many misconceptions concerning this bible rule. For example, many have taken Jesus’ advice literally and believe that one has reached his limit after sinning against his brother 490 times. Even common sense and decency will quickly point out the absurdity of carrying around a notebook for the purpose of recording every offence a person has committed against us. If such a thing should be done at all, which it should not, it would be better to tally the times we offend others.
       Another misconception regarding Christ’s teaching is that it only applies to brothers (siblings) and not to others. No, this rule involves everyone. In fact, it begins at home. This is important because this is where most offences begin. Arguments and disagreements between spouses, family, friends, or loved ones are more common than most people want to admit. Unfortunately, many of these result in divorces, divided families, and shattered relationships. It shouldn’t have to be that way. Besides Christ’s teachings, the Bible admonishes all God’s children to be loving, forgiving, patient, and tolerant. In the heat of many squabbles, these things are easy to forget. Since disputes and misunderstandings, especially in the home, are inevitable, it is important to set some reasonable guidelines to follow and apply should we find ourselves in the middle of one. The first and foremost thing is to lift up a prayer to God for help in the matter. He will probably bring to our mind the many, many times He has been patient, merciful, and forgiving with us, and how He has never given up on us. Then you must consider the person you’re having the disagreement with. If it is someone you love deeply, reflect on the love you have for him or her. That thought alone should help you be more patient and understanding. What’s more, the Bible gives us this great piece of advice in 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 
       If an argument or disagreement has distanced you from someone you love deeply, please remember that the love of God is greater than all things. It is sad to say but too many people have given up on love way too soon. Those you truly love deserve better than that.
Memory verse for the week: (Philippians 3:8 NLT) “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”    
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 17 2014
A Sign Of The Times
Wednesday, September 17, 2014     
       I don’t always have a chance to read the newspaper and catch up on the daily news, but I did yesterday. What I saw in the headlines reminded me of some hilarious headlines of the past. In particular, I remember the goofy headlines Monday night segment on the Tonight show with Jay Leno of a few years back. I would tune in mostly just on Monday nights to check them out. They featured funny headlines, story lines, or classified section items. They are still around on You Tube if you want to have a few laughs. Here are just a few: (1) How To Prepare Pets For Thanksgiving (2) Pets: “For adoption, 1 male Old English dog w/2 glass eyes. Good guard dog.” (3) Church section ad: “Welcome to Westside Church of Christ / Morning service10:30 AM sermon: Preparing For Marriage / Evening service 6 PM sermon: A Look At Hell. (4) Health section: Body Odor Can Be Controlled By Bathing (5) Chinese Restaurant ad: General Tso’s Double Delight 13.95: Chunks of chicken and jumbo shrimp urinated and fried until crispy.
       Actually the headlines yesterday in the paper, though they were not necessarily funny, were strange and basically a sign of the times. In case you didn’t see them, here are a few: (1) Texas Worker Charged For Rubbing His Genitals On A Pizza  (2) Man Ate Ex-girlfriend’s Organs. (3) Decades Later, Vietnam Soldiers Get Medal Of Honor. (4) Woman finds body in the trunk of her car after shopping at Walmart (5) Chihuahua, used as weapon, dies in fight. It is no wonder that Jesus describing the last days, said: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) The Apostle Paul later added in 2 Timothy, Chapter 3 that many would have no natural affection. And did you see the very informative story by researchers from the University of Virginia showing San Antonio’s racial divide on the map. The study found that San Antonio is 63% Hispanic, Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, and Olmos Park have a large majority of white residents, the East Side has the largest concentration of black residents, and that the areas west of U.S. 281 and inside Loop 410, where I live, are heavily populated with Hispanics. Pardon the sarcasm, but who knew, right?
       Here’s the point I’m trying to make: It seems like there are few meaningful stories to report and that the bad news easily outweighs the good. Actually, I’m pretty sure there are many good things to report. It just seems to me that the newspapers and all the media outlets know that propagating sensational and controversial news items are the big money makers. Here’s some great news to consider though: Jesus is coming back, perhaps real soon, to take us to a land where no evil things will ever happen again. I don’t believe that the world can go on like this too much longer.
Memory verse for the week: (Philippians 3:8 NLT) “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”     
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 11:11 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 16 2014
Heaven Bound?
Tuesday, September 16, 2014  
       Today’s message may not be for you but I hope you know someone in your life you may want to share it with. It’s all about going to Heaven when we die. I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard by now that salvation (Eternal life and Heaven) is not something you earn by being good or doing good deeds, and that one attains it simply be believing in Christ. John 3:16 is the bible verse that almost everybody knows and if you knew no others, believing this one would be enough to get you into Heaven. In it, Christ himself said: “For God (The Heavenly Father) so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever would believe in Him (Jesus) would not perish (in Hell) but have everlasting life.” (In Heaven) You’ve probably also heard that people are “saved by grace.” (God’s unmerited favor) He only requires that they believe and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.
       That being said, I bet some of you, though you believe in Christ, doubt from time to time that you are really saved. You may not be aware of it, but you let a little voice whisper in your ear something like, “Who are you trying to fool? Look at the way you are; you can’t possibly be a Christian.” Then you dwell on that thought and begin to believe it too. Did you forget that you once believed in John 3:16, or that you once told Jesus you believed in Him, or that you asked Him to forgive you and come into your heart? Well, on that day Jesus saved you and made you His forever.
       In the first place, condemning thoughts like that don’t come from God. The Apostle Paul made it very clear when he wrote in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The world’s general perception is that only good people go to Heaven when they die; the rest go to the other place. The truth is that if people could be good enough to get to Heaven on their own, Jesus would not have died on the cross of Calvary. The bottom line is that we are all sinners. The only difference between us is that some have believed in Christ and have committed their life to Him, making them “saved and redeemed sinners”; the rest have rejected or have never believed in Him. These are the “lost sinners.” Being saved is a “simple” process; living a God honoring life, on the other hand, is not that simple.
     If you believe in Christ today, and if you know you have committed your life to Him, enjoy and relax in your redeemed status. Nevertheless, if you really want to please God, draw close to Him and serve Him like never before. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor and you just may inspire others to do the same.
Memory verse for the week: (Philippians 3:8 NLT) “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”     
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 15 2014
A Needed Push
Monday, September 15, 2014 
       Part of the reason the Apostle Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy, his son in the gospel, was to encourage him in the difficulties he knew Timothy would encounter in his own ministry. He told him to be strong and to endure hardship as a good soldier would, adding: “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer.” ( 2 Timothy 2:4)  I hope you see, as I do in this verse, purpose, focus, commitment, and devotion to duty. In our daily lives, all these things are necessary, not just for soldiers. Paul wrote that a good soldier’s purpose was to please his commanding officer. What is your life’s purpose? Why has God placed your in your present situation, why do you do what you do, and who do you do it for? What are your goals?
       If your purpose and goal is to care for and provide for your spouse and children, you will admit that sometimes the task becomes difficult. You wake up to a hateful sounding alarm some mornings, knowing you’ve only had a few hours of sleep. You turn it off and sit at the edge of the bed looking for and thinking of a reasonable sounding excuse you can give when you call work to tell them you won’t be coming in. Then you think of those who are depending on you and also, of course, on not being a bad testimony for Christ. The thought that you can’t let those you love down gives you the strength to get up and go do a good day’s work. 
       Therefore, whatever you do today, do it with all your heart and to the best of your ability, remembering who you are doing it for. You may not be the strongest, smartest, the most skillful or resourceful person doing what you do, but if you are a child of God, you should not come in second to anybody as far as reliability and dedication are concerned. After all, when we do what we do for a certain somebody, there is no one higher than Jesus.
Memory verse for the week: (Philippians 3:8 NLT) “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”     
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:42 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 12 2014
The Best Motivator
Friday, September 12, 2014    
       As we were driving home yesterday morning, we saw three men walking down the street close to our neighborhood. It appeared 3 different generations were represented. They all had ties, were toting a small briefcase, and all had a somber look on their face as they went door to door. I’m sure you all know which particular organization I’m referring to. I very possibly could be wrong, but in all the years I’ve seen the people in this group, I don’t ever recall any of them being overly friendly, or looking happy and excited, and I’ve met very few people who speak in glowing terms about them. Perhaps that is one reason that many churches have abandoned the practice of going door to door to tell others about Jesus. For fear of being mistaken with this organization, they resort to other methods in their efforts to advance the message of the gospel.
       Every time I see these folks, I wonder what motivates them to do what they do, although I’m pretty sure I know what it is. To be blunt and direct, they do it because they feel they have to, for if they don’t they won't have a part in the impending "new world". In other words they are doing it for their own benefit and not for others. I hope you don’t think they go door to door because they really love people and are genuinely concerned about their eternal wellbeing. And their main motivation is definitely not love, which happens to be the most excellent motivating factor of all. Paul wrote: “For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”  
       Lets say someone did something special for you. Like the members of this group, they may have done it because they felt they had to. They may have done it because they felt sorry for you, or because they wanted to get something in return later on. They may have done it to impress you, get on your good side, or even because they respect you. Lastly, they may have done it simply because they love you. Which one of these reasons (motivating factors) would please you the most and be the most meaningful to you? Without a doubt, it would be the last one. It is no different when we serve God. It honors and pleases Him the most when we do what we do simply because we love Him. Love for God then translates into love for others. Never forget that what we do is not as important as the reason we do it. A line from a poem I wrote long ago says: “Its not what you do but the reason you do it.” If I ever find it again, I plan to share it with you.
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:34 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 11 2014
A Current Social Trend
Thursday, September 11, 2014   
       Is it just me or do you also recognize that today’s society is not very forgiving? Take a high profile professional athlete, singer, musician, politician, league commissioner, owner or official, or any other celebrity, and let him commit a crime, be caught in a lie, or make a remark or take a position that is offensive and it seems that everyone wants to fire or punish him or her immediately. That being said, I hope you don’t think I’m coming to the defense of everyone who does wrong, making them the victims; I am not. I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. However, if we believe in the idea that a reputation is not built in a day but in a lifetime, why is society so quick to denounce and completely give up on those who slip up once or twice? It really disturbs me to see TV networks devote hours upon hours of a person’s crime or mistake, or a controversial news story, sometimes even an entire day, running it over and over again. Are there are no other news stories in the world to cover?
       Think about this: If Moses, David, and the Apostle Paul were all living today, they would all be in prison because of the crimes they committed. Then, there was Chuck Colson. He was sentenced to prison for his part in the Watergate Scandal of the early 70’s. In 1973, he committed his life to Christ and upon his release from prison started his Prison Fellowship ministry and later his daily radio program, Break Point. I suppose there were many who never again trusted him or believed his conversion to Christianity was genuine, but he did many good things for millions of people nonetheless. To doubt the conversion of wrong doers is to doubt the power of God. Paul wrote: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
       The reason this matter is important is because sooner or later you and I will be seen doing something wrong, or heard saying something we should not. On that day, we may encounter some who will not be very understanding or forgiving. A comforting thing to consider, however, is that those who know us and love us will not turn their backs on us on that day. What’s even better is that our God is the God of the second chances, and the third, and the fourth, and many, many more after that. If we fail Him a thousand times, He will forgive us a thousand times if we ask Him. Perhaps, also, when we see others slip and fall, we will realize it can happen to us as well, and remember that the Bible says: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12) I trust we will be more careful in the future regarding what we think or how we view and deal with wrongdoers, and pray we may do it God’s way and not society’s.
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 10 2014
Unanswered Prayers
Wednesday, September 10, 2014        
       A Garth Brooks song of a few years back drew my interest from the first time I heard it because it promoted the eternal truth that sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is for God not to answer some of our prayers. That thought came back to me recently when I became aware that some people I love dearly were praying that the Lord would not answer a particular prayer of a loved one. In their case, the Lord answered their prayer by not answering the other. FYI, are you aware that many times when you pray that God will do something specific for you that there are others who, at the same time, are asking Him to do the opposite? It is very human to always pray for something that we truly desire and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, we must never forget to ask that God’s will be done, even if it means that we’re not going to get what we really prayed for.     
    In the song in question, the man in it’s story speaks about running into an old high school flame. He recalls the times back then when he would pray each night that God would make her his own and how he promised Him that if he answered that prayer, he would never ask for anything again. Now many years later, he realizes this girl was not the angel he had thought she was many years before, and as he turns and sees his wife by his side, he thanks God for not having answered his foolish prayer of the past, saying, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
       Many Christians have been perplexed upon reading the account of one of the Apostle Paul’s unanswered prayers. He prayed that God would free him from a tormenting thorn in the flesh. He wrote: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9) Some will dwell on the fact that God did not answer his prayer and fail to see that the Lord gave him something better than just a one time healing. He gave him the grace to not only handle this thorn in the flesh but to be able to endure all the other trials he would face later on. Child of God, here’s the bottom line: God answers each and every one of our prayers. Sometimes He will answer by saying “no” or “not yet”, and we may not always like those answers, but He will always do what is best for us. You may not see it now, but in the end you will see that He indeed answered all our prayers. You may even declare someday like the guy in the song that “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 10:09 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 09 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014   
       “Entitlement” is a fairly new word in my vocabulary. I heard it for the first time perhaps two or three years ago, but now I hear it being used frequently. The word has several meanings but the one I want to focus on today is: “the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something.” (such as special privileges) One piece of advice I bore our church members often with is this: “Live life as if nobody owes you anything.” I even put it up on our church marquee once. When people go around thinking that someone owes them something, it is very likely they will get angry, bitter, and resentful. Even though that in itself would be more than bad enough, anyone who carries these adverse emotions in the heart will manifest them and act upon them sooner or later. They are like the pressure cooker with a closed valve that can explode at any time.    
       I suspect that the people who struggle the most with the feeling of entitlement are those who believe that God or life has been unusually unfair to them, whether it concerns a financial loss, broken relationships, poor health, or even the death of a loved one. Though they won’t always admit it, they will rebel and lash out doing and involving themselves in things they should not, believing they are rightfully justified in doing so. Here’s a case in point and one you are all familiar with: They will interview a person on TV whose loved one has been murdered or killed by a drunk driver. In many cases, you will hear them say that they will never forgive the one who did it and in some cases hear them vow that they will make it a point to be present when they execute the murderer. Although the majority of these folks know that it is against God’s will not to forgive, they believe that in their case they are fully justified in not giving it.
       In my long years in the ministry I have seen, time and time again, members who begin to slack off in their church attendance and are seen in places where they should not be, doing things they should not do. In almost every case, these are those who have gone through a difficult experience in life. Once again, they won’t always admit it, but deep down inside they feel they have the right to do so because of what God, life, or others did to them. They will have the mindset Asaph had momentarily in Psalm 73 when he suggested that he served God and was still struggling, while wicked people around him who did not believe in Him were prospering. He thought that way, until he went into the sanctuary. He had almost given up, and then went to the place where God’s presence was, the temple. If life has handed you a bitter pill don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 tells us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” And by all means, please don’t think that we, as God’s children, can live as we please, regardless of what we’re going through. We are all accountable to someone.
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 08 2014
A Very Good Practice
Monday, September 8, 2014 
       If you are a church attending child of God, I bet you’ve lost count of the many times you’ve heard people remark that they don’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites there. That’s just like me saying that I never vote because there are too many crooked politicians, never seek legal counsel because there are too many phony lawyers, and I never call the police for help because some cops are corrupt. Of course there are a lot of hypocrites in church; the truth is there are probably more outside of it, and if we’re going to be totally honest, there is a little bit of hypocrisy in all of us. Nevertheless, most people that use that worn out quote use it as an excuse to not attend church.
       On the other hand, there are people that go to church because it makes them feel like their one hour there covers their obligation to God for the week, thus satisfying their conscience. And then there are those who mistakenly believe that belonging to a church or religion gives them an automatic free pass to Heaven. Pastor Mike preached yesterday in his Spanish sermon about the people in the prophet Jeremiah’s time who thought that as long as they were worshipping in the Lord’s temple they were safe. No, trusting in a church or religion for one’s salvation is not a new thing. However, please don’t think that I am trying to suggest that church attendance is a waste of time; it is quite the contrary, and God’s true worshippers go there on a regular basis.
       Assuming it is a God honoring, Christ centered church, there are many, many benefits when one goes there. Here are but a few: (1) Our faith is strengthened. Romans 10:17 says that “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (2) Prayer: Most Christian churches encourage those in attendance to come to their altar to pray, be prayed for, or commit their life to Christ. (3) Attitudes improve. In Psalm 73, Asaph writes about the day he was upset and frustrated reflecting on the seemingly prosperous wicked people of his day, suggesting that his serving God may have been in vain. He thought that way until he entered into the sanctuary. (Vs. 17) Time and space does not allow me to share more. However, and for your own benefit, please make church attendance a regular part of your life. If you have slipped and have abandoned the practice, I urge you to get up and start all over again. You’ll be very happy that you did.
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true 
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 09:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 05 2014
 September 5, 2014
       Arranging our personal life’s priorities correctly is important because we often have to choose one over the other. Arranging them and attending to them properly is not always an easy thing but if we are truly led by the Spirit of God, He will always help us with our choices. Many of our members have heard me say throughout the years that my priorities are: God first, family second, and church (ministry) third. Nevertheless, by what I’ve seen and heard, I suspect that some of them have misunderstood and have subsequently misapplied the premise. Sometimes they think they are choosing their family over church, when it’s really God they are putting in second place. At other times they choose family over church when it really isn’t necessary because they could have been included together. Before I committed my life to Christ, I was committed from Monday to Saturday to the Little League baseball team I was coaching. I spent every afternoon and evening at the practice field and at the baseball park. Unlike other managers, however, my wife and children were with me every night at the baseball field, and although concession stand food was our staple every night, we survived. Can you see that it was not one over the other but both together? Even though I wasn’t saved back then, I thank God for giving me the wisdom to realize that my obligation to my team was not greater than the one to my wife and family, and for the common sense to bring them together. Forty years later, our family is still close knit. Please remember that, after God, no relationship is more important than family.
       A very successful business man was having an argument with his wife one morning before he left for work. He left her crying and complaining that his job was more important than their marriage as he walked out the door. While in his car, he thought about it for a moment, walked back into the house and called his office to cancel all his day’s appointments. Wise choice! He realized that losing his wife was worse than losing his job. 
       Although choosing our priorities on a daily basis requires prayer, meditation, and common sense, permit me to offer up a few tips.  First and foremost, lets not forget that we must involve God in every decision as we choose our day’s priorities. Proverbs 3:6 advises us to “Acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He will make our paths straight.”  Secondly, beginning with God , lets keep in mind, to whom we have committed and obligated ourselves, who is more important to our lives, and who needs and depends on us the most. In the end, our life’s priorities will be pretty obvious to those who know us and will say a lot about us. Lets choose wisely.
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 30:5 NLT) “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 04 2014
How Long, O Lord?
Thursday, September 4, 2014   
       Everywhere we turn and each new day, we see and hear of the violence, cruelties, and injustices being carried out all over the world, sometimes even under our noses. Like many of you, I started to think more about these things a couple of days ago upon seeing the news of the beheading of an American citizen by a fanatical extremist group. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus characterized God’s children as peace makers, yet I bet the blood of many of you boiled when you saw the image of the terrorist who was about to behead one of our citizens and you would have kicked through your TV screen to get to that merciless coward if you could have done it. Let me repeat that these atrocities and injustices occur every day in our country as well. Things like these are  difficult to understand and as we try to  make sense of it all, many thoughts cross our minds. Here are a few: (1) How much longer will God permit these things to continue? (2) Is He trying to tell us something? (3) Does all this mean that Christ’s return is at the doorstep? Can we know His answer today to all these questions?
       The truth is that these questions have arisen in the hearts of God’s people before. One example is found in the writings of the prophet Habakkuk. Around 600 years before the birth of Christ, he complained to God because of all the violence around him as well as the seemingly unrestrained cruelty of His enemies. Lets take a glimpse at the beginning of his book and see how it so closely resembles the questions many of us would ask God today: [How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.] Does this not also sound like the many people who have turned their backs on God because, according to them, “If He is God, why does He allow all these evil things to happen?” These things happen because of sin in the hearts of people and because, as free moral agents, God has given us all the right to choose between right and wrong.
       To answer all the questions I listed before, the day will come, perhaps very soon, when God will put and end to all these things. Habakkuk was given this answer also. Every human being will one day stand before Him to give an account of his or her life. As far as God’s children are concerned, their forgiveness and salvation are secure. Only their works will be determined, not their eternal destiny. Not so with all who rejected Christ. And yes, God is trying to tell us something, and it includes that the end is so near that it is the time to get closer to Him than ever. The knowledge of this, if you love the Lord, should excite you, not scare you.
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 30:5 NLT) “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 04:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 03 2014
A New Mindset
Wednesday, September 3, 2014        
       Throughout the years I have heard people grumble that when they get home from a hard and long day at work, the last thing they need is to be bothered by anyone at home. This situation has caused divisions in the family and many relationships to go sour. I can understand that stress in the workplace can frustrate and wear people down, but I also believe that those who “take it out” on others when they leave work, have not learned the secret of leaving their work back at work. Of course, I’m referring to bringing your work problems into the home. I had this little daily ritual during my postal service career: As soon as I stepped out of my car and started walking into the workplace, I would lift up a silent prayer to the Lord to help me throughout that day not to do or say anything that would give Him a bad name. I was aware that I was about to enter a much different world (the workplace) than the one I just left. (Home) Once I left work, I would pray that I would leave it and it’s problems behind and not take them home with me. I bet some of you do basically the same thing.
       If you are one of those who just can’t shake off the effects of a long and bad day at work when you get home, the Lord has the solution. Its as easy as developing a different mindset. The Bible says in Romans 12:2 NLT: “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” Permit me to offer this simple scenario: The world’s general way of thinking leads us to believe that when others “mess with us” or cause us grief, we do not have to take it. Well, at work we have to, if we want to keep our jobs. It’s a totally different matter when we are on our own time. Because “we took it” at work, our mindset will be that we’re not going to take it at home, so we may already be looking for an excuse to explode. When we’re going home with that attitude, the wisest thing to do is to pray and ask God to help us.
        If we lift up our prayer sincerely and in faith, God will quickly change our way of thinking. We will now see it very differently. We will realize that our work problems are behind us, and pretty soon we’ll be spending some quality time with the people we love the most.  Its as simple as this: When you’re out of God’s will, the last place you want to go to is home; when He is with you, it’s the first place you want to rush to. The phrases “There’s no place like home” and “Home is where the heart is” are much more meaningful when Christ is in it. If you ask Him to, Jesus will make your home “the best place on earth.”
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 30:5 NLT) “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 06:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 02 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014         
       Today, I would like to suggest you take a walk down the memory lane of your life. Think back to where you have been and where you are today. If you are like me, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that every important milestone in your life happened to purposely bring you to the place you are today. Childhood experiences, times with your family, loved ones, and friends, scary times, perhaps even brushes with death, times of heartaches, anguish, sadness and weeping, and also times of joy, laughter, and merriment, all these events, whether good or bad, should have taught you many things, made you stronger, and especially should have strengthened your faith in God.
       The reason I started today’s blog with these words is because recently, some of you have gone through some personally painful experiences and/or have had some doors of opportunity closed to you. Therefore, I wanted to point you back to some of your past experiences so you could see that you’ve gone through such things before, and apparently you’re still standing. Because I wholeheartedly believe it, I tell people often that when a door of life closes on us, the Lord opens up another which leads us to a much better place. I shared with you these words so that you will not be fearful or in dismay, and will reflect and rely upon the promises of God. Hebrews 10:23 tells us: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”His promises are for you personally and here are just a few.
       If you are afraid, here is a favorite of many: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) If you feel all alone, read Hebrews 13:5 and also the last line in Matthew, Chapter 28. If you feel helpless or without strength, read Philippians 4:13, and if you’re in a financial bind, read Philippians 4:19 and Psalm 37:25. If you are going through a time of sorrow, read Psalm 126:5 and Matthew 5:4. No matter what situation you are in or what it is that you are in need of, the Lord knows all about it and He will see you through. Remember yesterday’s blog? Well, you haven’t yet reached your final destination. When you do, there will be no more doors. There may be one window, however; it will be the one where all the cares of your life will fly out through.
       Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 30:5 NLT) “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 05:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 01 2014
A Comforting Truth
Monday, September 1, 2014
       Greetings, and a Happy Labor Day and start of a new month to all. Today, I would like to share with you some very good points made by Pastor Ruben in his message yesterday on the 23rd Psalm, in particular verse 4. It reads: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
       Although we all have mountaintop, as well as valley experiences in our lives, whenever we are going through a dark and difficult time, and because we are human, we often tend to think that God is not with us even though He has promised never to leave or forsake us. From the onset of this, his most well known psalm, David made it quite clear that he was speaking from the standpoint of one of the Shepherd’s sheep. (The Lord is my Shepherd) In verse 4, he referred to what was probably the scariest time for the particular flock he was in, that is, when they were passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Even then, he wrote that he was unafraid because his Master was with him. The very sight of the Shepherd’s rod and staff comforted him because they reminded him that He was very near. When I was an imaginative and easily scared little boy, I could still sleep comfortably at night just knowing that my dad was in the next room. I bet some of you had someone like that in your life as well.
       Brother Ruben used the example of an Old Testament story in 1 Kings, Chapter 20. The enemies of God’s people, because they had been defeated in battle in the hills the previous year, came back the following spring to attack the Israelites in the valley. They had thought that the God of the Israelites was the God of the hills and not the God of the valleys. They were fatally mistaken. In our case, however, this is further proof that our God is with us whether we are on the highest mountain or the lowest valley.
       I’ll end with this last point Brother Ruben made: If you are going through a dark and difficult time in your life, remember that your valley is a “passageway” and not your “destination.” All storms in this life are temporary; they don’t last forever. Do like David and declare that although you’re going through a valley, you’re just passing through. Better still, say “I will fear no evil for God is with me.”
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 30:5 NLT) “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted by: Joe Martinez AT 08:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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