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If your job is going well, be careful.

If your health is good, be careful.

If your family relationships are strong and smooth, really be careful.

The fact is that we’ve all got to be very careful when our lives are going very well.

God said so.

For if we carelessly lose sight of the real reason why things are going so well, things just might turn south in a bad way.

“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!

“Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

“He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”

These words from Deuteronomy 8:11-18 provide a potent reminder that what we have regarding abilities, opportunities or possessions has been given to us by God. To Him we are beholden. And for Him should our obedience be complete.

Tell everyone that our blessings and abilities are gifts from God.

They just might want to start thanking Him for their blessings and abilities as they recognize — as should we — that it’s only because of God that they even have life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s so nice to be around people who are so nice.

The alternative is not what anybody wants to experience.

That’s why I encourage you to think often today about how Jesus interacted with people.

He was always caring, always honest, always kind, always humble, always looking for how to help others and His words never tore people down.

He was the textbook friend.

When He spoke, life-affirming words flowed.

Let’s each pray for conformity to His example.

Let’s make sure that Jesus is Lord over ALL of our heart, not just the “church” part.

For how we speak to others is a direct reflection of the place Jesus has in our hearts.

Jesus said so.

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45)

I love the people God has placed in my life and into my heart.

I just have to make more room in my heart for the words of Christ so that whatever I say to them will be caring, honest, kind, humble, helpful and encouraging.

I pray that you do the same because the world needs more textbook friends.

As always, I love you
Martin

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So you hear a knock on the door and it turns out to be a winged angel with a message.

“Jesus is coming to your house for dinner in a couple of hours,” he says and then he flies away.

A check of your refrigerator and pantry show that a quick trip to the grocery is in order since you don’t want to serve leftovers to your Savior.

It’s a rush but two hours later, you’re sitting down to a delicious meal with the best, freshest ingredients and you have the peace of knowing you’ve given your best for the One who gave His all for you.

None of us would serve leftovers to Jesus in this scenario.

But do we have the same determination when it comes to everyday life?

When we refuse to forgive somebody who offended us or stole from us in some way, do we hold onto our grudge while at the same time defending our faithfulness because we’ve already forgiven that person a couple of times for earlier offenses?

“I forgave them when they didn’t deserve it. Doesn’t that count for something?” is our tempting defense.

That plate of spiritual leftovers is not going to satisfy Jesus’ hunger of our humility and grace toward others.

And what about our giving to ministry? Are our tithes and offerings the first item on our weekly budget?

Or is it the last?

Do we put God first as the Bible commands? Or do we satisfy our cost-of-living tummies first and then consider what might be put in the offering plate?

Think about how many additional blessings we’re probably missing out on from the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

If we gave more, God would give more.

That’s the promise of scripture.

That’s the pattern of blessing observable in the lives of abundant givers.

So here’s the reason for this devotion today:

“Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you.” (Numbers 18:29)

God first.

The first day of the week should show Him clearly that He’s first in your life.

The first moments in the day should show Him that His Word and His will are your desires during the day.

He is to be the first One to consider when making decisions about life, love and learning.

The first One to praise when things go well.

The first One to consult when things aren’t going well.

The first One on the financial priority list.

Whatever you’re given, please make sure that God sees how willing you are to give back to Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Let’s do what Joseph of Arimathea did on Good Friday.

Let’s leave our comfort zone for God’s sake.

Let’s take a glorified risk.

Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” (Mark 15:43)

Joseph understood what was at stake socially, financially and spiritually when he decided to place godly faith ahead of earthly status.

His heart was convicted to do the right thing, the worshipful thing, without regard to how his peers might squawk.

I’m so glad he did.

I need to have the same determination to do the right thing to honor Christ.

In whatever circumstance I find myself.

It’s all about honoring the One who died for me.

Take a risk today.

Do something that shows everybody that Jesus is first in your life no matter what hassles you might face.

Say “yes” to godliness when the world says “no.”

Say “no” to ungodliness the world answers “yes.”

Forgive when the world would vindictively punish.

Love when the world would hate.

Living like Jesus — and for Jesus — is risky.

But, man, the rewards are sky high….

As always, I love you
Martin

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“Thank you, Lord, for a potent reminder of all the reason we need to continually strive to please You.”

This thought resonated in my mind this morning after my devotional time in the Bible. More specifically, the words of Psalm 49:15 jumped off the screen and into my soul.

“But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.”

I thought of that horrible scene in the movie Ghost when the director’s vision of death angels came to take the soul of the bad guy with them to hell. I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about a kicking and screaming trip to hell.

You see, Christ’s death on the cross has given me the gift of a choice between heaven and hell.

Because Jehovah is my God and Jesus is my Savior, I have chosen heaven.

I have chosen life.

I have not earned it, of course.

But I have received it.

Earlier in Psalm 49 were these frightening words:

“Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (vv. 8-9)

Believers are blessed people, that’s for sure.

We’re bought and paid for from a divine pocket infinitely deeper than ours.

This provides all the hope and peace we need to keep sharing with others about the hope and peace they need.

Start speaking words of hope and peace into others’ lives today, my friend.

One kind word and one kind action at a time.

We are saved by a higher power. Let’s show others how that higher power can help them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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