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We’ve all had those “Gibeonite deception” moments.

I’m talking about that sickening realization that we should have prayed for God’s wisdom rather than trusting in our own.

It stinks to realize that we’ve been tricked and trapped by our pride, whether it be with a bad business deal, a poor choice of neighborhoods or a dysfunctional, morally compromised relationship.

You can read at this link about how the Israelites thought they were smart enough to make peace treaties without God’s help when they entered the Promised Land.

But then they realized that they weren’t smart enough and, as a result, stuck with a perpetual reminder that they did not cleanse the land of pagan influences as God had ordained.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6 that we are to trust the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. As we acknowledge Him (as Lord) in all our ways, then God will direct our paths.

Joshua and the people of Israel leaned on their own understanding rather than asking God for direction and they got burned.

Please pray for wisdom when it comes to entering into close emotional relationships or into business deals or into a church family or into a new place to live

Pride claims no need for God’s help.

Humility confesses an abundance of need for God’s help.

You and I are not smart enough to figure out all the angles but God’s wisdom can help us to avoid problems we wouldn’t see otherwise.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Financial problems are as old as mankind.

Even Cain got in big trouble because he thought he didn’t have enough wealth to do what he knew was right with respect to worship offerings.

When we fret over our finances, we become vulnerable to making poor choices.

That’s why the words of Jesus to His followers recorded in Luke 6:38 are so important.

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

God clearly wants to give us more than we give to Him.

And the fact that He asks only for a tithe offering (10 percent of all income) as part of our worship shows His great love for us.

If you want more financial blessings, start blessing others financially more than you have.

Give and you will receive.

Abundantly.

The Bible tells us so.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Everything God does has a reason behind it.

And that includes His choice to send a blessing into your life.

The reason is that you’ll multiply that blessing into the lives of others.

We’re vessels, my friend.

Mark 4 describes us a soil.

The challenge is to be the soil that produces a harvest from the seeds of God’s blessings.

Here’s how Jesus put it in Mark 4:20.

And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

This passage is typically understood within an evangelistic context with conversions. But it is also relevent to how we respond to blessings sent our way.

And that’s what I want to encourage you to ponder and pursue today.

When God sends the seed of a much-needed encouraging word from a relative or co-worker, please make it a point to speak some word of encouragement — no matter how brief — into the lives of every person you meet.

Whether a store clerk or an online tech support person or another parent waiting to pick up a child at school or wherever, ask God to lead you in finding something encouraging to say to him or her.

Will you encounter 30, 60 or 100 people today? Probably not.

But you just might do that during the course of a week.

Will God be honored by your intentional encouragement of so many?

Yes.

Will those encouraged be blessed?

Yes.

Will you and I be a better stewards of God’s blessing if we do this?

Of course.

God is SO good to us.

Let’s say more good things to others in order to bring God a harvest for the blessing He sent our way.

As always, I love you

Martin

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Like you, I’m saddened by the erosion of Bible-based morality in our communities that is even seeping into some congregations.

But I’m far from discouraged by it.

You see, this just serves as a reminder of the opportunities we Christians have to shine as lighthouses toward a darkened ocean.

Do I like that increasing numbers of people don’t care what scripture says about godly marriage and gender-appropriate conduct? Am I glad that so many have decided that congregational involvement is not needed in their lives?

Certainly not.

But the clear and repeated story of the Bible is that society ebbs and flows in the spiritual realm.

Based on my reading of scripture, we’ve got quite a ways to go before the downward slope of our national relationship with God hits bottom.

We can pray that national revival occurs long before that.

And we can pray for wisdom to love and serve people in such a way that our faith will shine like a lighthouse to those who feel like ships tossed in a dark, storm sea.

As long as there is even one neighbor or co-worker or struggling relative to whom we can show the love of Christ, we should be encouraged.

The power of grace abides and as long as we have hope to share, it’s vital that we remain faithful to the end of our days.

Perhaps “the end of days” Jesus described in Matthew 24:12-13 will happen before the end of our days physically.

In any event, let’s both be vigilant in looking for ways to guide others into the safe harbor of God’s gracious love.

As always, I love you
Martin

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This is too cute not to share.

Our daughter Jessica melted our hearts a couple of days ago when she shared with us a precious moment that occurred with our granddaughter Mae.

Mae just turned 2 but, in some respects, is advanced beyond her two years.

What occurred points to the value of parents who allow their love for the Lord to overflow in visible fashion.

Here’s what Jessica wrote in her mommy-daughter journal that she’s keeping as Mae grows up:

“Today I was desperately trying to get you to take a nap so I laid down with you and asked if you wanted to sing a song. You started saying “Missing geese! Missing geese!”

I couldn’t figure out what song you were referring to so I asked you how it went and you started singing “Missing geese” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”

“It was incredibly precious.”

Wow.

Mae has heard her parents sing Amazing Grace and even though she didn’t have the lyrics down pat, she gave it her best shot.

And what a shot it was.

For her to choose “Missing geese” as what she wanted to sing is very inspiring.

Actually, it’s amazing.

When somebody we love is drained and needing a boost, perhaps we should start singing “Missing geese” to them in the adult form of Amazing Grace.

Thanks, Jessica and Dave for being such visibly godly parents and wonderful ambassadors of the parenting truths found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Let’s all look for opportunities to guide children toward the amazing grace of our Lord.

As always, I love you

Martin

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